Silly MSM Articles

A judge threw out the lawsuit filed by the purchasers of the Westfield house claiming that “The Watcher” letters scared them half to death and the sellers should be liable.

And I think that’s good.

Either it’s the silliest piece of low-grade stalking ever or it was an addle-minded hoax. I have long thought the latter.

With the suit ending, I don’t see any book or movie rights either. That is also good. It would make the Amityville Horror look like a cinematic masterpiece in comparison:


House Foyer, Twilight. Wife in business attire is sorting through the day’s mail. Menacing music as she goes past the gas bill, the electric bill and the ValPak(tm) coupons (gotta get the product placement in). Zoom in on hands and opener as they open the individual envelopes. Show the Watcher letter making its way to the top of the pile. Unsettling music becomes more frenetic. Wife opens the letter. Reads it. Zoom in on face as her eyes widen. Close up as she sets other mail on hall cabinet. She audibly exhales.

Wife: Great. Another letter from that dumbass weirdo.

End Scene.

In the name of public service, if you want to scam your sellers, start the threatening letters before you even make your offer. Make an at-the-asking or slightly above asking offer. Then do a few more letters before suing. Some minor physical property damage would be a plus to make it more convincing.

But even if you do that, I think you’ll still lose.

I have a minor interest in knowing what the Broaddus’ were thinking. I don’t think I would get a straight answer though. Only their lawyer would know for sure.

So long, Watcher.

“The Watcher” 1905?-2017


I missed the Oscars last night. Again.

And the reviews indicate that the three hours plus doing something that I already don’t remember was time better spent. And based on the ratings, more of the American public seems to agree with my stance.

I am holding out for better movies. Better Oscar nominees. And acceptance speeches that should only be amusing anecdotes or just “Thank you”. I will not rest until it is “rant free”.

If they meet my demands I will double my annual visits to the movie twice.

The fact that this story made the S-L is a surprise, especially since I don’t think it’s that rare.

One time when I was taking the bus in for a meeting in the city, the driver heard a bulletin to avoid the Turnpike due to very bad traffic. And then our odyssey began that was a partial recreation of the Soprano’s opening credits.

But this sounds worse…and NJ Transit will hopefully call it “a coaching opportunity” for one of its employees…because you know they won’t get fired.

Passenger Aileen Iosso sent this text to her boss:

“I don’t know where I am and I don’t know when I’ll be in.”

She said she boarded her usual express bus in Cranford around 7 a.m., expecting to arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan by the usual 7:39 a.m.

The bus didn’t get there until 9:22 a.m., according to NJ Transit, which publicly expressed regret.

“We apologize to our customers for their experience and we plan on reaching out to them,” said Nancy Snyder, a spokeswoman for the statewide transportation agency. “Appropriate action will be taken pending the outcome of the investigation.”

The driver’s name was not released.

During the convoluted trip, Iosso said, the bus was on Route 3, went by the Secaucus Junction train station on the Turnpike “three or four times,” passed the Secaucus outlets and pulled over before the entrance to the George Washington Bridge.


Before Woodrow Wilson went off to Washington to be a favorite president of most historians (as you can see the majority of Presidents in the top quartile were lefty and elitist outside of  the big three of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln; you can look here for proof:, he was extremely accomplished at ruining fun for everybody.

For example: he banned fraternities and sororoties when he was president of Princeton University. And they’re still struggling with it today as scores of students prefer them to the haughty and mostly lame “eating clubs”. (Being too stupid to attend Princeton, I only crashed some of their parties, and yes, I strongly preferred the beer-swilling extravaganzas at my college of choice (sorry, Dad, but I think you knew that already)).

So Princeton is cracking down and will actually suspend freshmen who are caught joining Greek organizations. Which are off-campus and relatively underground anyway as they are not recognized by the University.

That strikes me as harsh. What’s wrong with freshmen learning how to control fun while learning? Some will learn the hard way and land on academic probation. Organizations or not, some will get alcohol poisoning. Yes, due to our litigous society the University is compelled to make an effort to prevent students from dying (and avoid the bad publicity), but they also often take on the role of surrogate nanny.

Another thought: If they’re not recognized and underground, then Princeton students are the worst secret keepers ever.

Yeah, it’s a few days old, but:

The fist-shaking oldster in me is wondering why the cops went through and processed 47 kids (yeah, in my day they would break up a party and we would scatter..with only the occupants and the truly inebriated left to fend for themselves)..and also how the 47 kids were cornered in such a way that they ended up being caught and processed. But that’s not the main point.

One thing I do find distressing is what I find the “felonization” of childhood. Seriously. Some of the stuff kids get caught for and penalized for (having a drinking bust on your “permanent record”) is much more severe than it was for us. And I think we were probably worse than they are. Full disclosure: As a kid/teenager, I ran away from police on more than one occasion. And a couple times I was caught too (for nothing serious…One time my friends and I had been bumper riding on a snowy night. In my town there was a very wide road with an incline and we were grabbing onto cars there and riding on the snow covered street. We had a few rides until an old Plymouth Duster rolled past. The driver said to grab on, and proceeded to floor it. For the few seconds between the thrill of sliding and ‘holy crap, I better let go’ we covered some distance and all of us rolled to a snow-encrusted stop.  We were getting up and starting to dust ourselves off when the beams of the headlights from a police cruiser hit us. Grounding was for three weeks). If I was a kid now I probably would have been sent to juvie. Back then I was one of the good ones in my town.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want our kids to do bad things. I don’t think we should tolerate serious drug use, theft, vandalism, drunk driving or infliction of bodily harm. But is so much more “formal” now with much less room for mistakes. And I did learn from mine.

And using out-of-context Facebook entries as a smoking gun? It’s one thing to be busted, it’s another when a gag photo can affect your entire college admissions process and, indirectly your career. Authorities LOVE low-hanging fruit (like ICE and the wonderful job they do making the legal immigration process so arduous), and what is easier than finding a picture of a coed with a red Solo cup on Facebook? Never mind that it was at a family reunion barbecue and was full of Sprite. This is offensive to me.

Kids need to be kids. And that means that they will do some stupid things. It is our job as parents and educators to prevent them from doing reaaallly stupid things that can get them hurt or ruin their lives. But the temptation is there to prevent EVERYTHING. And that is not the parent’s job or the educator’s job. That is the kid’s job. They have to learn. If they have no experiences they will not learn.

And they won’t have as many anecdotes to tell people 20 years later.

If I were a real CEO, I’d be one that would listen to presentations by McKinsey, Bain and Boston Consulting, for example, very skeptically.

Why? Because I know that a lot of people that work there aren’t as brilliant as they try to pass themselves off, (plus I know that a consultant’s primary goal is increasing the project, with solving your problem coming in well in second).

This article helps vindicate my suspicion. Wall St. and Consulting Firms rely on elite college admissions staff to screen their hires.

I’ve met and worked with enough idiots from the top schools to know that while yes, a Harvard grad would, on average, likely be smarter than someone from say, Wabash, they are not all perfect. Yes, I have come across people from Harvard that were scary smart. But I have come across scary smart people from Middlebury, Denison, Dickinson, William and Mary, Brigham Young Michigan, Colgate, Rutgers, and even a friend who is a high-school drop-out (later GED’d).

But if I stack up the people from the other schools against the people I know from the elites, my assessment is that the elite grads have bigger egos, but did not show a willingness to get dirty, do detailed quantitative work, or even possess anything that could be argued as superior analytical skills.

But to many firms, the name is what matters:

Steve Hsu points out that, effectively, the hiring process of elite law firms and investment banks is being “outsourced” to college admissions officers.

It is odd that the soft firms, which market themselves to clients as being super-smart repositories of brainpower (of course this is largely a fiction; see point 3 above), would rely so heavily on university admissions committees. They effectively outsource a big chunk of due diligence on their most important investment (human capital) to a group of people whose judgement they somehow trust, but perhaps without detailed understanding. When I was on the faculty at Yale I knew people in admissions and it’s not clear to me that they were the best able to spot potential in 18 year olds. In studies of expert performance admissions people are less good at predicting UG GPA than a simple algorithm. (The “algorithm” is simply a weighted sum of SAT and HS GPA!)

By the way, Hsu thinks this situation applies more to “soft firms”—law firms, investment banks, and consultants where the actual performance of the firm is harder to measure than “hard firms”—such as hedge funds and technology companies—where he thinks prestige is likely to count for less.

The question is why so many firms do this? One answer is that it seems to work—it gets them the right candidates so why mess with the formula? If you add in an efficient market hypothesis, you could say that if using college admissions as a proxy for fitness at an elite firm was a mistake, some firm would take the opportunity to hire all the under-demanded smart kids from other colleges.

Ah, but there is where the author has a mistaken assumption: that HR people are not pathetically lazy. HR people don’t want to scour the world for talent. That takes time and effort. And if someone is hired who is an idiot, they can get away with a shrug and “What could I do? He got into Harvard and interviewed well. How could I have known?”

So if I ever amount to anything, some of you reading this can take heart that I will happily throw the Harvard, Yale, and Princeton resume books into my recycling bin should I ever receive one. I’d give the kids from College of NJ and Drexel a shot.

In the real estate section our number came up…they did a Living in Cranford article:

The fun thing is that the article raves over everything that posters hate: The downtown, the DMC, the College with its parking problems, the “white elephant” that is Cranford Crossing.

Two things can happen from these types of articles….burglars see it and think, ‘hey, that’s a nice town to go knock over some houses’ and pompous Times readers will check out Cranford in addition to Montclair when looking to escape from the Upper West Side.

Note to pompous Times readers: just move to Montclair…nothing to see here in Cranford. Move along….

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