CSotD: Friday Funnies – The way we heard it should be

Timing is everything in humor and I often find myself laughing at a panel because it happens to hit at just the right moment. (And you greatly increase the odds of that if you subscribe to GoComics and Comics Kingdom rather than just relying on the dozen strips your local paper offers.)

As it happened, yesterday’s Bliss hit me soon after I’d been talking to someone at the dog park who used to live in Colorado.

I moved down to Colorado Springs in 1974 and bought a house for $27,000. When I moved out in 1987, I put it on the market for $70,000 and, to my chagrin, had a full-price offer within a week.

What had happened was not simply inflation, nor was it supply and demand. It was a lot of California people moving to Colorado and having insane California prices in their heads.

I probably could have priced it at $90,000 and had it sold within a few months. Oh well, what the hell.

It could have been worse, because I left when the local job market began a collapse, and, shortly after I left, the HUD repo book went from a slim magazine to something like a phone book, largely because of the combination of an unwarranted building boom — you can’t turn that tanker around on a dime — coupled with double-digit mortgage rates.

GIs at Fort Carson would buy a townhouse with what was called, at first, a 3-2-1 Buydown, which meant it would be three points below the real interest rate the first year, two points below the second year, a point below the third and then at the real rate the fourth year, but, by then, you’d be on your next assignment anyway, so you’d have sold out and moved on.

Only mortgage rates climbed and developers started offering a 5-3-1 Buydown, and, at the same time, the job market collapse meant that the townhouse project you lived in was still being built.

Which meant that someone who wanted to buy one could buy yours — which was now totally underwater, thanks to that generous buydown, and which had grape juice stains on the livingroom carpet — or they could buy a spiffy, brand new one just down the row and get that five-points-below-market temporary rate on their contract.

People were walking away from their mortgages in droves.

Meanwhile, there was a huge development on the east side of town where they had put in all the streets and sewer lines and built a high school just as the market collapsed, so the few people who had bought early now had massive, five-figure property taxes, so they bailed, and Focus on the Family sold their houses in California, bought bargain-basement homes in the Springs and …

… well, anyway, I was just thinking that there are a number of reasons to explain housing prices but most of them are rooted in “Whatever the Market Will Bear,” which has no relationship to reality, logic or common sense.

Sigh. One more thing for the Millennials to beat us up over. As Carly Simon said, “Their children hate them for the things they’re not, they hate themselves for what they are.”


Juxtaposition of the Day



A different sort of timing at work here: I read Zits first and there was a conceptual clank, because very few people who resonate to Cat Stevens have 17-year-old sons, or, at least, not from a first marriage.

Harsh math: Then-wife and I had “Tea for the Tillerman” and “Teaser and the Firecat” constantly playing through our first year or two together.

Our babies are now in their 40s. Our eldest granddaughter has a year-old daughter.

Yes, we are great-grandparents, and Jerry Scott of the Zits Guys just turned 65 yesterday, so he’s only five years younger than we are.

But our kids were teens in the time of the mohawk, and they do have adolescent offspring, so a point to Adam@Home for timing the cultural reference.

Partial credit for the Norah Jones reference. She’s kind of timeless, though her dad played at Woodstock. The real one, not the one they just cancelled because they couldn’t round up enough drugs to keep the crowd supplied.

To get back to the warning I’ve received — you can take it with however many grains of salt you wish — that the brown Metamucil which is circulating around us is not specifically too good. 

I’m kidding, of course.

We’re not allowed to take anything with salt.


Oh, wow …

Good timing, too, on this Moderately Confused, because I’m currently nursing an arthritic hip, which I’ll have replaced over the summer. In the meantime, I did try to see if marijuana — edible or weed — would help.

And the answers were (A) no, it didn’t help, though (B) the nostalgia was pleasant, however (C) my productivity fell into a chasm, so we’re not doing that anymore.

For the next few months, I guess I’ll just walk around like Grandpappy Amos, the head of the clan. (He roars like a lion, but he’s gentle as a lamb.)

And if you caught that reference, you’re old.


Juxtaposition of Despair

(Reality Check)


Dave Whammond provides a Reality Check, all right, and a reminder that productivity is overrated.

As it happens, the fellow at the dog park with whom I was reminiscing about Colorado does maintenance for property owners, mostly commercial landlords, which is a job I envy, though I’m no good with my hands.

But one day you’re a painter, the next day, you’re a plumber and maybe the day after that you’re a carpenter. The head of maintenance at one paper where I worked was the son of a chemistry professor and much happier than his old man or any number of other people with neckties and letters after their names.

I’m not so sure we’ve done the Millennials a lot of harm by pricing them out of college, but we should bring back shop class and make it unisex.

Give them an alternative to piling up debt in order to sit in meetings for the next 40 years.

And I’ll just let Carly comment on today’s F-Minus:


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies – The way we heard it should be

  1. Listened to a lot of Cat Stevens in my youth in the early 80s (and have a 19-year-old, from, yes, my first marriage). Have a somewhat younger friend who is a big Cat Stevens friend. Jeremy’s parents seem like folks who would have been latter-day hippie-wannabe like us.

  2. Agree with both the unisex shop and Home Ec. I learned a lot in Home Ec, including that I liked sewing but not cooking. I would have loved shop. Both are varied enough that kids can learn a lot of basics, good lessons for adulthood.

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