Do you believe in magic?

luck is something you work at

gorilla

Such interesting stuff I read about magic and luck the other day.

Luck is what you make of it, and in a way totally different from what the old saying infers.

To know about luck, the psychologist Richard Wiseman, based at the University of Hertfordshire, said, understand a little about magic.

(How would you like to make your living talking about luck and magic — He also studies humor? — Some guys have all the luck!)

He also throws lying and the paranormal into the fray.

One of the things that struck me, was what he said about something called unintentional blindness.

Have you ever seen a magic trick up close? The handkerchief that skitters across the ground for example? Well, it’s not about smoke and mirrors. This one is all about a string…

But you can’t see it when you don’t know about it.

Same thing with luck, he said. Those that have it know, somehow, about the string. They are not blind to it…

So, is all this about deception or perception? In a way. The better you are at detecting those nuances, the luckier you are. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve drawn after looking through his website.

“There are only two types of person who cannot become lucky,” Wiseman said. “There’s the person who is happy to be unlucky, for whom misfortune is a central part of their identity. And there’s the person who’s not prepared to put the work in; there’s a lot of effort involved in applying the principles.”

Lucky people he says, have the following in common:

Principle One: Maximize Chance Opportunities
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.

This is the one I sort of measured with that unintentional blindness thing. It seems that lucky people sort of see that string.

Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches

Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune

Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.

Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

For one of his studies, he gave participants two problems. He said they would either receive a hard problem to solve or an easy problem to solve. Some people thought they had the easy problem and so worked hours on it to solve it, handing it back, saying they had the easy test. Others thought they received the hard test, worked on it for a few minutes and handed it back, saying they had received the hard test.

Read about what he says about connections and the small world phenomenon, too, and, of course, don’t miss his section about  laughing…

I think I want to go take his course!

Ps: did you miss the gorilla? People do miss it, said Anjana Ahuja, in The Times article from 2004.

That writer went on to tell of a bar brawl happening right next to hm that he missed completely.

That’s common, said Wiseman.

Now back to the  gorilla:

Wiseman explains in his book Did You Spot the Gorilla? , the gorilla is a why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-that-before insight, a flash of brilliance that seems obvious once unleashed. Examples include Ikea— the idea of funky, cheap self-assembly furniture — and Post-it Notes, which stickered their way into ubiquity after an enterprising employee realized that the weak adhesive he had unintentionally developed might have a use after all. Other recent gorillas include the Anywayup Cup, a non-spill beaker for toddlers, and easyJet, the no-frills airline that has utterly changed the way we think about air travel.

You’d think a gorilla wouldn’t be all that hard to spot, wouldn’t you?

Life’s a beach

bare-footing it.

A sunny day. Puffs of clouds. A lagoon, I guess and two sailboats. One beached and decrepit, the other, in not much better shape, anchored in the bay. Seagulls flitting, Scrub bush and an occasional crab.

Home on the range, so to speak.

It’s the place he enticed me to, when I was 19 years old. “Come on, ” he said, “We’ll live on an island, run around naked and have babies.”

It sounded wonderful at the time. So bohemian. So nomad. Except for mother. She was furious.

Don’t marry him, she chided. Not unless you want a husband who sits on a stoop drinking beer in his undershirt all day.

(Little did she know. He went on to make millions. On Wall Street no less!)

But that was way after we ran away, lived the barefoot (and undershirt) life, and had two kids of our own.

Of course, the “marriage” didn’t last, but since it wasn’t actually a marriage, there was no divorce, either. Or alimony.

Life hands out its share of surprises. It bestows bounty with an extended palm, and does a sleight of hand with the other. No surprise there.

Those three years did give me something to write home about, though. Although, I didn’t.

Too busy running around barefoot, wearing an undershirt, drinking beer, and having kids. No stoops on this island. No time to sit around, either.

There’s something about living on an island. All that water and no place to go. The way we lived, complete with fried fish, fresh vegetables and fruit, in season, gave the title “Earth Mother,” new meaning (Make her tan and lean, with tangled dark brown hair).

No job of course. For him. (Perfect set-up in my mother’s opinion) For me, either, for that matter. Except for the having babies part. And taking care of them. Not for the faint of heart, a million miles from home and the nearest baby sitter.

But you can’t beat the beach life, except for hurricane season. Then you have to do some fancy barefootwork. Grab the kids, get the chickens, and head for the hills. Except there weren’t any. Not on this island…

We survived the hurricane, but not the “marriage.” I took one look at what used to be “home,” and realized that I’d have to start over. Too much work, I concluded. And headed back for the real world.

He can stay; I’m out of here.

But what’s a girl to do, after alienating her family?

I’d have to choose a place to live. A place that I could afford, go back to school, start over.

But I was ready. For one thing, I could fry up fish like nobody’s business. I could take care of kids. Teach them how to swim. Survive on the water’s edge. We might not have city smarts, but we had our own kind of intelligence — a gritty, sandy kind of thing. And, alas, we did survive.

My experiment as island queen played out, the kids ended up clothed, and, eventually, educated.

He, thank god, stayed on the island. For the time being at least. Guess he didn’t mind sleeping out in the beach, in the sand, under the stars.

I still dream about that place though. In my mind’s ear, if there’s such a thing, I can hear the soft lap lap of the water, the swish and swirl of the waves. The sound of the breeze tussling the palm fronds. Who can resist the Garden of Eden? It pulls, it sings, it beckons. And then, a slight shimmer, a vague quiver, and it disappears.

home modifications revisited p2j unedited

State of making home affordable fall 2010

37 smiley faces.  27 unhappy faces.  Five undecided.

That’s the official result of a random survey taken by Delray Beach realtor, Mary Lou Ciambriello, as she stood in line all day Tuesday, Nov. 16 with a thousand other homeowners at the 46th Making Home Affordable workshop. Held at the convention center, homeowners had the opportunity for face-to-face consultations with their loan servicers.

Her unofficial take on the mood of the crowd: “It’s a very scary situation. I had no idea of the magnitude.”

The workshop was put on by the Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable program, the HOPE NOW Alliance and NeighborWorks America.

Of the line of people waiting, Carol Lambert, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Treasury on hand that day, said, “I am glad they are here, rather than being taken advantage of by the scam artists,” who, by the way, were actually lurking around or in the parking lot.

Said Ciambriello: “Someone solicited me while I was standing in line.”

Were there some bright spots this day, other than these homeowners will finally get to sit across the table from their servicers?

In the area of West Palm Beach to Miami, more than 21,000 homeowners have received permanent modifications, Lambert said, and while the nation’s median savings per month have been $520, in this area it’s closer to $600.

And, there’s the new program, the Principal Reduction Alternative, but that just started mid October so it’s too early to tell how effective it will be. (That alternative allows for those who qualify under the HAMP program to receive a principal reduction rather than a discounted interest rate.)

But there is something new about that program: although the program is voluntary for servicers, “we do ask them to look at the cost benefit, with and without a principle reduction. We are requiring them to do this evaluation,” Lambert said.

And, no. Ciambriello did not receive the interest reduction she was looking for. “I don’t qualify,” she said. “They told me, ‘Shop around. You pay. Someone will want you.’”

INTERVIEW with Shari Olefson, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida real estate and foreclosure attorney and  Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Court Mediator. She is the author of Foreclosure Nation: Mortgaging the American Dream; Florida Foreclosure Defense Strategies, Saving the American Dream; and What Lawyers Need to Know Now; The Commercial Real Estate Market Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

1. Concerning the Making Home Affordable program (MHA), following are numbers listed in the HUD scorecard. Is it referring to permanent or temporary modifications?

Since April 2009, low rates have helped 7.1 million homeowners to refinance

3.15 million modification arrangements through June 2010 (1.3 million HAMP; 472 FHA loss mitigation and early interventions; 1.4 million through HOPE Now)

A. These are the numbers for temporary modifications. There are only about 500,000 permanent modifications. The good news about MHA’s HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) is that it did succeed in laying down a foundation for banks to do their own modifications. To see how successful the main banks are in doing these modifications, check out the bank’s websites.

Here are a couple samples:

Sept. 21: Bank of America has provided mortgage modification assistance to more than 680,000 homeowners, including an industry-leading 79,859 completed modifications through the government’s HAMP program through August and more than 600,000 through the bank’s proprietary programs since January 2008.

October 25: Wells Fargo & Co. said that of modifications started since the beginning of 2009, the company had 556,868 active trial and completed modifications in place as of Sept. 30, 2010. Included in that total were 495,026 of its own modifications and 61,842 modifications through the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

In the second quarter of 2010, about 92 percent of Wells Fargo’s mortgage customers remained current on their loan payments, according to the Sept. 10 edition of Inside Mortgage Finance, and the company’s delinquency and foreclosure rates were less than three-fourths that of the industry. As a result, fewer than 2 percent of the loans secured by owner-occupied homes and serviced by Wells Fargo proceeded to a foreclosure sale in the last 12 months.

The government keeps lowering the numbers and adjusting MHA’s goals. 500,000 have received permanent modifications. The report card is a little misleading; it doesn’t show re-default and now they are seeing redefaults.

2. What about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)? For this program, people must have the mortgage with Freddie or Fannie and the banks must agree to write off 10 percent. FHA claims that this program will help 500,000 to 1.5 million homeowners. Will that be effective?

A. Concerning the refinance HARP alternative, negative equity makes these deals impossible to do. It’s not about unaffordability anymore. The problem is unemployment, and these programs are not going to help you if you are unemployed.  We shouldn’t be bailing people out beyond a certain level. It’s not realistic and what the lenders get paid isn’t enough.

I think that, like HAMP, it’s not about the actual number of people it will help. Like HAMP, I think HARP will provide a model for banks to set up their own refinance programs.

3. How will the robo-signing problem, leading to a holdup on processing foreclosures, affect home values?

A. Here are my thoughts on the issue in general. Fannie Mae and the banks set deadlines that flat-rates foreclosure mills had to meet, which everyone knew would be impossible to meet, especially with the volume and securitization issues.  Pretty much everyone knew shortcuts were being taken (This does not make it right to file false affidavits, etc.). Every regulator either missed this or knew it was going on.

A quick, cheap residential-foreclosure process benefits everyone: Borrowers in recourse states, who will eventually have to pay the legal fees, etc.; neighbors, who look at abandoned homes for months; local governments, who pay to maintain them; banks and Fannie Mae (which translates to taxpayers), who take the bulk of the losses, etc.

The real problem is the foreclosure system has not kept up with mortgage industry practices and the volume.  Procedures vary by state and even circuit.

Now everyone’s got an agenda: Politicians to get votes, banks to keep shareholders happy and profits up, borrower defense counsel to get more business, judges to get caseloads off their desks.  Even the Attorney Generals with their ongoing investigation, they want to raise money for their states and save face with big settlements – particularly those who were not re-elected and have only another few months in office.

Example; Bank of America came out with a press release when it resumed foreclosures that read something like: “We’ve found no foreclosures were wrongly filed,” and  “We stopped for a while to show our customers we’re concerned about their concerns,” and “Our investors have given us permission to resume the foreclosures.”  Well, the issue was never whether foreclosures were wrongly filed – it was that ONCE they were filed, these false affidavits, etc. were used.

And what exactly have they done to show customers they’re concerned?  And of course their investors want the foreclosures to proceed.  How did that address the problem? And does this mean no authority told them it was OK to proceed…just their investors?

The impact on home values will be (1) causing more delays, and (2) causing more uncertainty. Both result in dragging the problem out when, in truth, we need to get through this inventory as quickly as we can.  And it will also result in reducing the prices folks will pay – the homes will deteriorate more and people may pay less because of their uncertainty – there’s more risk – of title issues.

4. Concerning solutions, is there anything coming down the pipeline?

A. If you read between the lines in many Federal Government press releases, you will see the mention of affordable rentals. That’s the direction I think we’re going.  But the Administration won’t come right out and say MHA failed. They’ll start setting other little goals – distracters from MHA if you will – and then come out and make a big deal about how they’re achieving those other goals. MHA will just disappear into the sunset.

In terms of the foreclosure process, here are a few ideas, also off the top of my head:

Require borrowers to escrow some sort of payment in contested foreclosure proceeding to avoid folks trying to live for free.

• Allow buyers in short sales to assume the mortgage at an attractive rate – keeping original homeowners on the hook at least for some amount of time – this will generate more sales and higher prices.

• Expand lease for deed program and include a right of first refusal to buy back to encourage more folks to use that program

• Tax break for underwater people who pay down their mortgage

i love lilly

a lilly pulitzer-designed house

Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau is selling her home and tropical jungle!

Lilly and one of her cats. I think she called him the old man.

And, yes, it’s everything you’d imagine when you think of Palm Beach’s “Lilly” label – flowers, color and whimsy everywhere, as well as unique architectural classical detail along with bits of bric-a-brac and gingerbread.

All together, in the main house, casita and pool house there are a total of nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms and three half baths and 8,233 square feet inside and out, sitting on one-and-a-third acres of meandering paths, patios and tropical gardens. Lilly’s estate at 710 S. County Road is listed with Brown Harris Stevens for $11.5 million.

Here is the story of Palm Beach’s one-and-only Lilly-designed estate.

“Enrique and I had just sold our house on the lake, and we were just looking,” Lilly says. “Enrique found this, and when I saw it, I said, ‘Oh my god. We are going to have to build,’ because we fell in love with the property.

“It was a tropical oasis, really beautiful – specimen trees, huge banyans, orange trees and a little stream. There were a Chinese garden and an orchard and a service road coming through to the ocean – unbelievable.”

She had remodeled many times, but had never built a home before, she said. “Building was quite a process.

“Kemp Caler from Hobe Sound was the architect. It was quite a project and, for a while, we didn’t get very far because I didn’t know what I wanted.

“So, I told him to put it on hold for a little bit, then, after a few months, I told him I was ready to start up.

“He’d give me the design of the day. I’d spread it out on my desk with pencils and rulers, and I’d remodel what he’d done, give it back to him, and then, he’d redo what I’d done.

“That’s how it went. Little by little. It took a year, and then I told him, I have one more request. Flip the plans and make the pool on the north side of the house.

“I thought he’d kill me. But the next day, the plans were flipped. Nothing to it. And we went with it.”

Just north of the S. County entrance is the original gatekeeper’s stucco cottage – the property was part of the Love estate. Lilly calls that Lady Chatterley’s lover’s casita. Within it are a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, and two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, and it’s surrounded by it’s own lush gardens and patios.

The main house is set back onto the property. And once through the front door and into the entry foyer with its Herpel-tile floors and barrel-vaulted ceiling, visitors are welcomed with all the colors from Lilly’s palette, and then some.

What color are the entry’s walls and ceiling, Lilly? “How about tomato bisque?” she answers.

yes, that's tomato bisque

To the south is a powder room and to the north is her office. A little further along is her center-island kitchen with professional grade appliances, open shelving and breakfast room – Lilly loves to cook. And take note of those refrigerator doors – covered with two big framed florals.

Lilly's appliances are not integrated into the cabinetry!

At the end of the foyer is a sitting area, with a daybed heaped with pillows, and the pale-green dining room, with furniture she brought with her.

doesn't matter how many come to dinner

“Sometimes I keep the two tables together. Sometimes, I split them apart and it turns into a group of 16,”she says. “It’s there to change for whatever group is here.”

A bit further east are the loggia, bar and living room.

Lilly loves sitting in the loggia when she’s not outside soaking up the sun. And the living room is unique, octagonal shaped, two huge windows with fans above, and a soaring ceiling.

“My ex-husband’s bedroom was octagonal, and I loved the shape of that room,” she explains about her sources of inspiration.

yellow is not Lilly's favorite color, but it goes with everything, she says.

“And I saw a picture of that window in some South Hampton brochure. I said we should have two. On the one, we faked it (the fan above the window) – it’s a mirror, and it looks just fabulous.

“I wanted to see jungle everywhere. Didn’t want curtains and wanted it open to whatever was out there.

“Then came the surprise. They pulled a fast one on me. The painters wanted the color for the living room by the next day and I hadn’t picked the fabric for that room, yet.

“Oh, my god. What color will I do the living room? Yellow. It’s my least favorite color but it goes with everything.”

Good choice, she found out. Since that time, she’s recovered and reupholstered tons of times in many different color schemes. “It’s a mish and a mash, but whatever I do, it looks like it’s always been there.”

Continuing east from the loggia is a guest bedroom and master suite. Lilly’s bedroom has a fireplace, bay window with a window seat, and high tray ceiling, papered below the deep crown molding and painted above.

Lilly said if I got there before she did, make sure I didn't let the cat out!

Also in the main house are two more guest bedroom suites on the second floor.

Behind the house is the pool house. Part of it was there when she bought the property, Lilly says. “It was a garage or tool shed with a little apartment over it. I added the living room right after finishing the house. For the bedroom, I grabbed the beautiful bed (English bamboo with an unusual tester) that came with the armoire that’s behind the grand piano in the living room.”

Now, the pool house is comprised of the living room, bedroom, bathroom, cabanas and sauna downstairs and a guest suite above.

And, of course, all of this is surrounded by the lushest tropical gardens imaginable. Paths are everywhere and little surprises are hidden all over.

hammock on a hillock
Lilly remembers a playhouse on her grandparents' estate.

There’s a trampoline, which Lilly says, every kid around has been on, and a charming play house, a hammock on a hillock, a bridge, and, of course, Lilly’s favorite, the enormous slat house.

the slat house

“It was right in the middle of the gardens,” Lilly recalls. “It was the plant hospital for the main house. Really love it.”

This has served as her dining room for her houseful of family and friends for holiday meals, as well as the setting for wedding ceremonies.

Another patio for an outdoor kitchen and picnic seating is close by, as well as huge patios around the pool.

Lilly says she hasn’t a clue where she’s going.

“I’ve had many wonderful years in this house. It’s really a dream. It’s the coziest house. I’ve had a really good time, here, and I’m onto whatever.”

Discover Local Artists: Visit Bounty and 10X10

Two openings Saturday November 20

Among the artists featured in a group show, “Bounty,” at Mary Woerner Fine Arts November 20 through December 18 are Hanne Niederhausen and Terre Rybovich.

Hanne Niederhause

Niederhausen works in a variety of media experimenting with various materials and techniques. In “Scroll Down,” the three upper images are photographs taken on travels through Europe, whereas the three lower ones are painted and drawn in gestural layers of ink, acrylic and graphite on hard boards.

“This piece brings together my interest in books, printmaking, as well as in the history of writing systems,” she said.

Historically, a scroll is a roll of papyrus, parchment, or paper, which has been written or drawn upon for the purpose of transmitting information or for decoration, she explained. “Nowadays a scroll is used in a virtual rather than a physical sense – the action of scrolling has become an integral part of our daily lives at the computer. How often did you let your screen scroll down today?”

"Scroll Down", 31 by 47 inches, $2,400

“Scroll Down” might convey a seemingly old feeling, yet is contemporary in its message.

Terre Rybovich

“Here’s what I do when I draw,” Terre Rybovich said. “I start by blackening a sheet of paper with charcoal. Then I lie down naked on it, leaving a clear imprint of my body. The imprint is what defines the drawing—not me, the artist. I say I collaborate with chance, but I’m the one doing all the work. This method of drawing is not the easy way out: Even though I’m collaborating, it’s a long, hard process before I can let go of a drawing.”

The imprint of her body defines the text or symbols as well. “I just transcribe what my body gives me,” she said.

When the brain sees text it jumps into action: “Oh look, there’s work for me to do.” Our brains want do decipher, to find meaning in patterns. They find pleasure in that,” she said. “Yet in this case, in incorporating the whole body in generating text, the brain has to work a little differently. The message is elusive. It’s what you make it out to be.”

"Excerpt 5," 34 by 22 inches, $950.

But it’s still an ice-breaker, she added. And ultimately the message is, “Talk to each other. We need to talk to each other.”

Mary Woerner Fine Art is at 3700 South Dixie Highway, #7, West Palm Beach. An opening reception is on November 20, from 6-8 p.m.

For more information, call (561) 832-3233. or visit Mary Woerner Fine Art’s site.

Also, on Saturday, Nov. 20, is the fourth annual 10X10 exhibition  from 6-10 p.m. at Lake Worth Storage, featuring sixteen installation and performance art pieces in self-storage units measuring ten feet square or less.

The audience must wander the industrial facility of several hundred storage units to seek out the art installations, which are spread throughout the space.  When one comes upon an open unit, it is a total aesthetic surprise, revealing the ingenuity of the artists who have created intense multi-media, conceptual art installations in 10 square feet or less.

The eighteen regional artists participating in the exhibition are Laura Atria, Steve Backhus, Birds are Nice, Aliya Bonar, Gage Branda, Christian DeFazio, Angela DiCosola, Mark Franz, Nicole Gugliotti, Kristin Miller Hopkins, Lauren Jacobson, Brad Lewter, Shark Man, Patrick Maxcy, Sally Ordile, Dana Matthew Shores, Misael Soto and Adrienne Turk. Half of the artists are new to the show.

For a taste, here’s the description of Unit 2185 Adrienne Turk’s “Lair of Mourning Dove.”

This piece is a raw self-portrait about coping with loss and the strange process of grieving through the Jewish mourning ritual, Shiva. Text of the mourner’s prayer looms amid personal and iconographic (symbolic) references coated in fleshy, temporal latex. Haunting rendition of the graveside prayer EL Molai Rachamim (God Filled With Mercy) by my cousin Noa Tucker. In loving memory of my father Sol Turk.

A new feature of the exhibition this year will be The Store Unit with small, affordable art works by the participating artists for sale.  10×10, produced by Walker-Tome’s ArtSite Projects, is fully funded by the admission charge of $5 per person. Lake Worth Storage is located at 4166 South Military Trail, Lake Worth. Limited on-site parking (with ample nearby street parking available). For more information call (561) 670-9658.

refrigerator drawers

For the bar, or the cabana.

REFRIGERATOR DRAWERS

r16333v-1.jpg

Above: Sub-Zero offers a trio of two-drawer undercounter refrigerator drawer configurations: refrigerator only, freezer only, and a combination refrigerator/freezer. The Sub-Zero 700BC Combination Refrigerator Drawers are panel-ready 27-inch-wide refrigerator/freezers (one drawer each) that retail for $3,799 and include an icemaker. The Sub-Zero 700BR Refrigerator Drawers offer more than 5 cubic feet of storage space in two refrigerator-only drawers. Measuring 27 inches wide, the panel-ready unit retails for $3,659. A pair of Sub-Zero Stainless Drawer Panels with handles retails for $499. To find a local retailer, go to Sub-Zero. N.B.: Sub-Zero is one of the only brands that offers Energy Star-rated refrigerator drawers.

Above: Perlick is a Sub-Zero neighbor (both are made in Wisconsin) and, according to our sources at BSC Appliances in San Francisco, a highly regarded manufacturer. The company offers a 24-inch-wide (same as a standard dishwasher) stainless steel two-drawer undercounter refrigerator: the Perlick Signature Series HP24RO5. With a 5.3-cubic-foot capacity and full-extension adjustable shelving, it retails for $3,599 at AJ Madison (a 15-inch-wide model is also available).

Above: A slightly larger 30-inch-wide option is offered by Marvel (the Pro line of Aga), the first company to offer this size. The Marvel 80RDE Built-In Double Drawer Refrigerator offers customizable storage divider options; $2,449 at AJ Madison (Marvel also offers a 24-inch model for $2,149).

60rda-clt-1.jpg

Above: We like the look of the AGA ARD Built-In Double Drawer Refrigerator, which is available in several classic Aga colors, including red, blue, black, and cream. Measuring 24 inches, the drawers feature a commercial-quality stainless interior and retail for $3,169 at AJ Madison.

Above: The highly rated GE Monogram ZIDS240W(SS) measures 24 inches wide and retails for $2,399. Contact GE Monogram to locate a dealer in your area.

Above: For more capacity (12 cubic feet), consider Perlick’s 48-inch Signature Series Undercounter Refrigerator. Available in both built-in and freestanding configurations; $4,999 at AJ Madison.

UNDER-COUNTER REFRIGERATORS

Above: Top-of-the-line Energy Star-rated Sub-Zero UC-24R Undercounter All Refrigerator comes panel-ready and measures 24 inches wide and 34 inches tall, which means it fits in a standard dishwasher-size cabinet opening; $1,799 for the refrigerator and $279 for the stainless steel door panel and handle. Go to Sub-Zero for the retailer nearest you.

Above: Summit Commercial Series (FF7BSSTB) Undercounter All Refrigerator is 24 inches wide and is just shy of 34 inches high for easy placement in any location; $730.55, as shown in stainless with pro handle, at AJ Madison.

Above: U-line focuses on the undercounter refrigerator category and has several affordable options, including the U-Line 24-Inch 1175 Undercounter Refrigerator; $1,349 with a stainless finish at Abt Electronics.

Above: Liebherr, a company known for its high-quality, space-efficient refrigerators, offers a 24-Inch Indoor/Outdoor Undercounter Refrigerator with a stainless exterior and door for $2,049 at AJ Madison.

Above: Perlick’s 24-Inch SP24RS Undercounter Refrigerator offers zero-clearance hinging, which allows for abutment with surrounding cabinetry. Available with stainless, wood overlay, glass and wood, or glass and stainless door options; $2,699 to $3,099, depending on door choice, at AJ Madison.

they’re wonderful because they fulfill an application not previously available. Particularly in a cook’s kitchen,  a vacation home, a  family room or bar, a master ensuite or a cabana –just to name a few.

noise pollution

a chart that shows records kept on problems in New York City

i don’t care whether you call it noise, music, what-have-you.

As we live in more and more concentrated areas, noise will have to be controlled, just like other kinds of pollution. Remember the days when smoking was allowed everywhere? Below, in New York City, noise is one of the biggest problems…

Anyway, this is a great chart, about New York City’s complaints. And what an interesting system developed to monitor and help control common problems!

From Barry Ritholtz’s blog, read more here.

Originally conceived as a way to field emergency calls (dial 311 to call in a problem).

From Wired, the source of the story.

“Launched in March 2003, 311 now fields on average more than 50,000 calls a day, offering information about more than 3,600 topics: school closings, recycling rules, homeless shelters, park events, pothole repairs. The service has translators on call to handle some 180 different languages. City officials tout a 2008 customer satisfaction survey, conducted by an outside firm, that compared 311’s popularity to other call centers in both the public and private sectors. 311 finished first, barely edging out hotel and retail performance but beating other government call centers, like the IRS’s, by a mile. (At the very bottom of the list, not surprisingly: cable companies.) Executive director Joseph Morrisroe attributes 311’s stellar scores to its advanced technology, relentless focus on metrics, and employee training, which ensures that “customers will speak with a polite, professional, and knowledgeable New Yorker when they need assistance.”

If anyone still wondered whether the 311 concept was here to stay, New York’s 100 millionth call should have dispelled all doubts. So, for that matter, should the other 300-plus public call centers now in operation across the US. For millions of Americans, dialing 311 has become almost as automatic as 411 or 911. But—as New York learned in the maple syrup incident—the hundreds of millions of calls also represent a huge pool of data to be collected, parsed, and transformed into usable intelligence. Perhaps even more exciting is the new ecosystem of startups, inspired by New York’s success and empowered by 21st-century technology, that has emerged to create innovative ways for residents to document their problems. All this meticulous urban analysis points the way toward a larger, and potentially revolutionary, development: the city built of data, the crowdsourced metropolis.”