Monday, July 16, 2007

Rain, at last!

It took us 39 days to get a few good rainstorms today; what a relief! It seems that for the 22 years that we’ve lived in Utah, we’ve never seen as dry a summer as this year. Well, who knows? We’ve never kept records until now… We’re thrilled to see rain again after such a long absence; please, nice little rain, keep us wet for a while longer…

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Last night we went to the Deer Valley outdoor concert series to see Pink Martini, a terrific band that is one of the best performances we’ve ever seen in town… While we were lying on the grass and working on our picnic, I couldn’t help but observe a group of local realtors involved with an ugly, oversize, upscale project in town called Sky that happened to be one of the event sponsors. These realtors were all busy “schmoozing” potential buyers, helping them with food, wine and conversation.I didn’t envy them, as I have never been able to schmooze well. Granted, I enjoy conversation, but I hate to entertain standing on a sloppy grass field, hoping from one person to the next while precariously balancing a plate filled with food, a leaning glass of wine and some hollow-sounding words. When I eat and drink, I prefer to be seated and it's essential that I like the people I’m sharing a meal and a drink with!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Investment Gurus

If you listen to financial gurus, self-proclaimed experts or other pundits to help with your investment strategy, sooner or later you’ll find out that they don’t know much more than you do. This is simply because if we were so smart and had developed a money-making investment formula, would you write a book about it? Would you publish your own newsletter touting your secrets? Would you accept speaking engagement or even anchor your own investment show? I doubt it very much, because you wouldn’t need the brain damage that comes with these activities and -- that perhaps sounds mean -- because you would want to keep your secret to yourself and your close family! The bottom line is that I have read many investment books, newsletters and also watched a number of financial talk shows and in so doing I have yet to find a valuable secret or a working formula. I've learned my most valuable lessons when I have lost some real money through my lacks of smarts or whenever I have failed to listen to my instinct!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Latin Mass is back!

As a former altar boy who knows Latin like a pro, I’m glad to see the Latin Mass back, or at the very least returning into favor. Pope Benedict XVI is really a smart guy who understands that if people are leaving the Catholic Church in drove, it’s simply because they understand Latin better than English, French, Italian, German or even Swahili! I used to speak to my cat in Latin, so there’s no question that it’s a more user friendly language than my native French or English. What a brilliant man Pope Benedict XVI is!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Big, stupid houses

Like many American resort towns, Park City has seen the average size of its houses more than double over a 20 year period. The reasons behind these bloated dwellings seem to be more than just a fashion trend; granted, the skyrocketing cost of raw land is a clear driver, but not just the only one. A popular belief is that, in order to enhance resale, a house should be large enough to match market demand (which would suppose that the market precisely wants big homes), another one is that a modern home needs more rooms, such as a recreation room, media room, home office(s), extra bedrooms, all with their own bathrooms, pushing inexorably the need for extra space. Similarly, a three-car garage is now standard while an increasing number of larger homes feature four or more garages… The problems with big homes are many; first they are more expensive to build, as interior volume grows faster than total square footage. They’re also more expensive to heat or cool, maintain and update, especially after 10 or 12 years following construction. Another observation is that larger space encourages sloppy and inefficient design as well as poor finishes that never get “caught” in the various stages of design and construction. In a market like Park City, there’s now a plethora of huge homes, but a rarified supply of small, high quality homes. The demand for smaller homes is about to be exacerbated by a large contingent of baby-boomers becoming empty-nesters who are ready to unload their “big, stupid” home for a small, high quality one. So the question becomes what will happen with the huge inventory of big homes for sale? Like with cars and SUVs, it seems quite likely that soon, bloated homes will become politically incorrect and will further lose their luster and appeal. If you are considering downsizing, better do it fast!