First, the bad news: Housing is still a mess, and is likely to be a drag on the consumer spending and the economy in 2008. Year-over-year sales dropped 20% from November 2006.
However, I am going to surprise a few people, and point out that this single month’s report actually has some good housing news in it:
- Purchases rose 0.4%;
- October sales were revised upwards;
- Median home price fell 3.3 percent.
- Existing homes for sale fell 3.6% percent to 4.27 million. That’s 10.3 months’ supply versus 10.7 in October.
The most astonishing piece of news in the NAR release was this dollop of reality that seemed to have accidentally crept in:
“Inventory is still high, and further reduction in prices may be
required in some areas to induce buyers back into the market”
-Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
Of course, like a junkie, they just can’t help themselves, going back for another hit of that sweet, sweet shit:
“Near term, existing-home sales should continue to hover in a narrow
range, just as they have since September, and that’s good news because
it’ll be a further sign that the housing market is stabilizing,”
Sure it will. Once, crack, head, always a crack head . . .
Existing-Home Sales Rise in November, Market Likely Stabilizing
NAR, December 31, 2008
Of all the distractions, entertainment, and discussions that the inter-tubes provided in 2007, I think my favorite discovery was the Ted Talks. It consistently provides the most curious, thought-provoking, surprising sets of ideas found anywhere on the web.
Instead of watching online, I finally clicked over to the Apple iTunes podcast section, went to TedTalks and selected "Get All." An hour later, all 101 chats were downloaded and iPod ready. Sure, its not as funny as Ricky Gervais’ podcasts — but they are a whole lot more educational.
Its internet Barry’s gift to commuting Barry for 2008 . . .
He may be the single most recorded of all piano players.
Oscar bridged the swing and bop eras, rooting himself in a style that was at the same time stunningly complex yet soulfully elegant.
Nobody used more notes to swing! Oscar is sometimes dismissed because he wasn’t groundbreaking in the way that many of his contemporaries were. But the range of expression he achieved on the piano along with his technical prowess is hardly rivaled in mainstream jazz.
Many consider his solo recordings of the late 60s and early 70s to be his most outstanding work, but do not overlook his trio recordings both with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen and later with Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson.
The live album "The Trio" from 1973 (not to be confused with a Verve release of the same title) is a great recording of Oscar with Pass and Pederson and shows Oscar at his most virtuosic. Check out the Brown Thigpen work live here.
compendium of his 1960s work in both trio and solo settings, the
excellent box set "Exclusively for My Friends" will keep you
entertained for years.
I am also partial to A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra.
The 1962 album "Night Train" with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen is also a favorite. It showcases Oscar at his best on both ballads and uptempo numbers and he really shows his blues chops.
Oscar Peterson will be missed . . .
Oscar Peterson’s ‘Jazz Odyssey’
Hear an extended version of Bob Edwards’ interview with Oscar Peterson.
Oscar Peterson, 82, Jazzâs Piano Virtuoso, Dies
NYT, December 25, 2007
A Jazz ‘Behemoth’ Moves On
WSJ, December 28, 2007
Tributes paid to Oscar Peterson
BBC, Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 08:00 GMT http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7159772.stm>