Sunday, November 1, 2009

Can't do housegirls

Eliot Spitzer is the subject of this weekend's Lunch with the FT. In it, FT interviewer (and Spitzer biographer) Brooke Masters writes,

But the spectre of Ashley Dupré, the 22-year-old prostitute who became Spitzer’s downfall, hangs over the conversation. At one point we are comparing notes on skiing, and I make a pitch for how nice it was to have a catered chalet with what I refer to as a “houseboy or housegirl” to cook all the meals.

“Housegirls I can’t do,” he says bluntly.


Anonymous said...

I've got an investment-related question. There have been recent news articles about how the city of Detroit has been trying to auction off abandoned dilapidated houses for as little as $500. Given the very low prices, do these sound like a good deal? I figure that for all of Detroit's woes, the city may eventually turn around and property values will rise. Even if the houses being sold for $500 are beyond redemption, with enough of a turnaround the land itself might go up enough to allow a decent return on the $500 and whatever taxes were paid in the interim.

My main concern is that the city might levy huge fines for code violations or too much debris on the property or something else. Do you have any thoughts on the idea?


DaveinHackensack said...

$500 sounds like a great price for a house, even in Detroit. I don't know how feasible it would be for you to buy one living in Strong Island though. With real estate, things often come up that require the attention of someone local.

Now, if an entrepreneur put together a fund or a REIT to buy up these houses at $500 a pop, and he had someone local to handle the details, that would be something I'd consider investing in. At this point, it's hard to see Detroit getting worse, unless it gets reclaimed by wilderness. More likely, parts of it will get reclaimed by a gentrifying vanguard, and when that happens, those $500 houses will be worth a lot more. Heck, even if they only sell for $10k a few years from now, that would be a 20-bagger return.

Anonymous said...

I had a wacky theory about Detroit and the auto industry. People still laugh at me but I persist.

When the compact disc came out, the record industry reissued ALL their music on CDs and made a mint. The consumer was happy to replace their vinyl and the record company was happy to sell them little plastic disks.

Persistant high gas prices could be the "CD" for the auto industry. At $5/gallon gas, the variable cost for driving a guzzler is the same as the total cost of ownership for a high mpg car. The value proposition for the consumer is there. Every penny they got for salvage value of their guzzler is free money.

An economic recover and a cap'n'trade tax to pay for our sins could get us to $5/gallon gas very easy.

DaveinHackensack said...


At $5 per gallon, it would still be cheaper to drive a used Honda Civic than a new hybrid or even fully electric car. And what makes you think the high mpg car of tomorrow will be built in Detroit as opposed to somewhere in a right-to-work Southern state?