“Feeling the pains of an old-fashioned recession”

From the Record:

Bad loans continue to rise for NJ banks

Toxic loans held by New Jersey-based banks continued to climb in the second quarter even as bad loans at U.S. banks declined, according to new government data.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday in its quarterly industry profile that loans more than 90 days past due or no longer accruing interest at New Jersey’s 117 banks and thrifts rose to 3.61 percent of total loans as of June 30, up from 2.91 percent a year earlier. Those banks’ combined seriously delinquent debt climbed in each of the past four quarters.

Meanwhile, the combined bad loans at the nation’s 7,513 banks fell to about 4.4 percent of the total, down from 5.2 percent a year earlier, the fifth straight quarter of declines.

Paramus-based Hudson City Savings Bank, the largest thrift based in New Jersey and a high-end residential mortgage lender, had 123 foreclosed properties on its books at the end of June, up from 52 a year earlier.

A weak economy, persistent high unemployment and a slow foreclosure process have all contributed to the recent rise in bad loans throughout the state, said Bill Brewer, partner at the Livingston office of Crowe Horwath LLP, a community bank auditor. “Banks have had a hard time moving this stuff off the books,” he said. “The banks have the capital to withstand this, but it is a continuing problem.”

Increased delinquencies have been across the board with weakness in residential mortgages, commercial real estate loans and other types of business and consumer loans, Brewer said.

Kevin Cummings, chief executive officer of Short Hills-based Investors Savings Bank, said New Jersey is “feeling the pains of an old-fashioned recession.”

This entry was posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, Risky Lending. Bookmark the permalink.

112 Responses to “Feeling the pains of an old-fashioned recession”

  1. grim says:

    From the Sacramento Bee:

    Generation of homeowners stuck in first houses

    They’re trapped, like so many members of their generation.

    Steve and Tasha McLaughlin have had two kids since they bought their two-bedroom “Brady Bunch”-style house in South Natomas seven years ago. They need more room, but they can’t move: The house they bought for $256,000 is worth just $90,000, and an attempt to sell it failed.

    “We are literally stuck,” said Tasha McLaughlin, 33. “There’s no light ahead.”

    The McLaughlins and tens of thousands of others like them in the Sacramento region are unable to take the traditional second step on the American home ownership ladder. They are captive to outsized mortgages born in a real estate bubble, which have balances much higher than the homes are now worth.

    During the boom years, young families could sell their first homes to buy larger ones, using the equity they built up in their starter models. But for those who bought at the height of the market, plunging prices have wiped out their equity and then some.

    Tasha McLaughlin, the South Natomas homeowner, says her situation is already hard, and she doesn’t know what to do about it. The market fall has left her stuck with a house that’s too small and a mortgage that’s too big. She and her husband pay $2,000 on their interest-only loan; that payment will rise to $2,400 a month in 2017.

    McLaughlin said she and her husband, Steve, also tried to sell their home last fall when he took a job in New Jersey as ticket sales manager for Rutgers University.

    But nobody bought. Her husband opted to quit his job after nine months, and the family returned to Sacramento. He now works as an alumni director for a local high school.

  2. grim says:

    From the Record:

    More sellers add a cash incentive

    Robert Beckert and his wife, Reiko, found a colonial they loved in Maywood, at a price they could afford. But there was a catch.

    “We had enough for the down payment, but not enough for closing costs,” said Beckert, 33, a restaurant manager.

    The answer: a seller’s concession or credit for closing costs, a financing tool that allows buyers to roll the upfront costs of buying a home into the mortgage amount. It’s popular with buyers looking for ways to get into a home without laying out a lot of money.

    “Everybody has less cash these days,” said Sal Poliandro, a Re/Max agent in Saddle River. The seller concessions are most often requested by first-time buyers, like the Beckerts.

    “A lot of people need that cushion,” said Johnny Rojas of Century 21 JR Gold Team in Garfield. “Without a seller concession, there’s no way they could close the deal.”

    Some sellers offer this help to buyers as an incentive, rather than simply cutting the sale price by the same amount. And sometimes the buyer asks.

    Here’s how it works: Let’s say you’re buying a house worth $300,000. You figure that your closing and prepaid costs will come to about $9,000. So you ask the seller to charge you $309,000 for the house, but give you $9,000 toward the closing costs. That way, your mortgage amount is a little higher, but you’ve got $9,000 in hand to pay immediate costs.

  3. still_looking says:

    3 Fab

    Wow! can’t even try.

    I will repost our river side experience.

    sl

  4. still_looking says:

    still_looking says:
    August 29, 2011 at 5:52 am

    off to work, but…

    Wow~ stu/gator – sorry to hear about the basement.
    Heck, sorry to hear about everyone who has a basement!

    We are (thankfully) dry. We plastic sheeted and sandbagged around the front and river-side of the house. Hubby nailed wood strips to secure the plastic.

    I guess my inability to choose rugs, furniture etc came in handy. When the neighbor down the road came to tell me he was already putting his furniture etc on cinders/planks and taught us how to sandbag our toilets/drains. (no, not kidding…)

    He reminded us we are below the usual sewer line. Last flood he had backwash coming up his toilets. We had sandbags ready for that.

    Water came through the fence and broached the river-side. We sealed around the HVAC unit on that side and sandbagged to an extra two foot height.

    Two large swamp maples (not from our yard) with 2.5 ft diameter trunks fell *away* from the house and onto our neighbors yard to the side of us. We lost a few branches only.

    It’s been wild but have found neighbors that are just wonderful. They have shown us kindness and concern – all of them.

    We hope everyone else keeps safe, dry and healthy.

    sl

  5. still_looking says:

    still_looking says:
    August 29, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Also, when hubby called town police to tell them that the river was starting to go down, they called back about twenty minutes later to tell us a dam in Mahwah had broken.

    Water started coming back up the drive to the front door but never exceeded the initial highmark of 3 feet from our front door sandbag barricade.

    When I had four pallets of sand bags delivered, I also got 200 empty bags at the same time.

    I was scared shit less. We have almost no rugs (thankfully) and we put what furniture we had on benches, in plastic containers, and brought in all the outside furniture etc.

    sl

  6. still_looking says:

    BTW,

    In contrast to the humbling kindness of our neighbors (and even the town police) who stopped in to check on us multiple times, my FIL did call, later in the day, when the sun came out, to see if my hubby could get out of the house (at the time, the water was still receding from the driveway for the second time, so he told him, “No.”

    He probably needed help with his own basement which probably flooded as it has in the past. I like my neighbors (who actually care about us) better than my in-laws.

    sl

  7. Confused in NJ says:

    https://www.firstenergycorp.com/outages/outages.do?state_code=NJ

    Good link to see power outages in NJ JCP&L territory. They update it frequently.

  8. grim says:

    sl – Dry inside? Did the river make it up to the sandbags on the water side?

  9. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Zillow estimates 4.3% decline in home prices

    Standard & Poor’s is likely to report a 4.3% decline in June home prices year-over-year and a 1.2% increase from the previous month when it releases its June Case-Shiller Home Price Indices study next Tuesday, Zillow said Friday.

    Zillow, an online real estate marketplace, released its forecast of the S&P Case-Shiller results on Friday, saying the S&P 10-City Composite Home Price Index for June could drop as much as 3.5% year-over-year while still increasing 1.2% from May.

    Zillow’s second-quarter home price report was released earlier this month, showing a 6.2% drop in 2Q from a year earlier and a slight 0.4% gain from the first quarter.

  10. still_looking says:

    yes, dry inside.

    yes, water up to the sandbags on the river side -where the other HVAC unit is.

    gotta run

    sl

  11. Now that the air has cleared, the stench of death is back.

  12. Stench of death coming from Europe. SocGen is dead man walking.

    “That European wholesale, and particularly dollar, funding has been “problematic” in past weeks is an understatement. One merely needs to look at the Fed’s recent expansion in its transatlatnic swap lines to figure out that someone, somewhere is struggling to meet their USD-denominated obligations. However, is it just one bank, as recent data out of the ECB suggest, or is this merely a symptom of a far more acute underlying cause? Alas, as Barclays’ Joseph Abate confirms by looking at the transformation in funding patterns within that most fulcrum of European banking systems – that of France – the threat is far more prevalent than has been speculated. In fact, based on the rapid transition in funding from unsecured to secured lending markets within French banks in general, and one name in particular, it seems that while SocGen stock may have avoided its daily rout courtesy of the extension in the short selling ban, there is a far greater concern for the bank: one of maintaining orderly daily operation funding. And there is little that European stock market regulators can do to restore liquidity, aka confidence, once it starts evaporating. Which it has… although mostly in unsecured markets… for the time being. Should secured funding (ABCP and Repo) wilt next, then it gets really, really bad. To wit: “Bank funding worries have flared up again with the news that the Federal Reserve’s currency swap line with other central banks has been tapped at least twice this month. The trivial amounts borrowed belie significant wholesale funding stresses for some institutions in dollar markets.” Let’s take a look at what “some” means…”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/europes-funding-scramble-peeking-below-calm-surface-waters-french-bank-liquidity-and-lack-there

  13. Shore Guy says:

    I wonder how many people who never view themselves as being in danger from flooding — who never bothered with National Flood Insurance, and whose homeowners’ policies do no cover flood damage — will be broken by flood losses. Any thoughts on this?

  14. nj escapee says:

    I think we should actually have a national catastrophic insurance program which could include flood, tornado, hurricane and earthquake insurance. The national flood insurance program is extremely important and on it’s surface is well run here in the Keys. Folks that choose to go without flood insurance are taking on a lot of risk. The libertarian argument that government has no place in this type of endeavor are kidding themselves as we would have no bridges, interstate highways, airports or other port facilities without taxpayer support.

  15. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  16. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    April 1984, my ground level apartment in Pequannock ended up taking on 6′ 8″ of water. 3 days later a neighbor gave me a ride to my apartment in his rowboat. Everything I owned except my brand new 1984 Honda CRX was ruined. I had been reading my Honda owner’s manual the night before in my apartment. It actually stayed dry on my kitchen table as the table apparently floated up with the rising waters and was put back down on all four legs when the waters receded. My four stereo speakers ended up atop each other in the shower. A few months earlier, with my newly minted Engineering degree in hand, I did my own site survey before signing my $300/month lease. I calculated that two full blocks of houses would have to go almost completely under water before the Pompton River even got to my doorstep. I was right. I’ve been living on higher ground ever since.

  17. Juice Box says:

    Garbage men are going to busy once the proletariat start throwing out all of their rotting food. Eat up fatsos it is going to be a long week with no power!

  18. Juice Box says:

    The Donner Party…the Shackleton expedition…those soccer players in the Andes — We’ve all heard stories of people who have survived hardship under impossible odds, but brace yourself for the tale of JJ and the Beaches Resort Hot Tub.

  19. Happy Renter says:

    [19] Thank you for making me spill coffee on my keyboard.

  20. Anon E. Moose says:

    Glad all here are upright and taking nutrition.

    Getting back to real estate, I have a new desire to see every property owner eating the grass on their beloved homesteads to fight off starvation. In my most recent escapades concerning one certain parcel, the deceased owner’s children seem to wish nothing more than to have two successive generations of their family die owning the same house; which is odd considering they hired a realtor and have it listed for sale for over 18 months. I guess the kids thought the listing agent works for “free” — which because of their negotiaing skills (or lack thereof), in this particular case will be true.

  21. nj escapee says:

    Moose, Could it be the problems you’ve been experiencing in your search for a house are due to your own approach? You write as though you are a very arrogant and bitter person. Maybe these “kids” would prefer to eat grass or cr-p than to deal with you.

  22. 3b says:

    Power went out in the land of Unicorns at 3:00 p.M. yesterday. PSEG recorded message says it should be restored by………..Sept 4th!!!

  23. 3b says:

    Juice: SL was great as usual perfect days (even with the little earthquake thing). good restaurants etc. The Mary Holder agency in town was closed.

  24. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Grim,

    25 in mod with no bad words. Was I banned or something?

  25. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (19) juice

    Classic!!!

  26. Anon E. Moose says:

    nje [22];

    Well, some consider my view on things naieve, but I (foolishly?) thought that if the owners wanted to keep the house then they wouldn’t have listed it for sale. That seems like a lot of trouble (though, as I noted, no real trouble to them, its all OPM, right?) if they didn’t want to follow through with the sale. They seem to be saying that they want some money more than they want to house.

    But what would you suggest in this particular case? The house has been lingering on the market for a 18 months, chasing the market down at least $100,000 in asking price, still $50,000 above the 2 (count them: 1, 2) recent comps in the neighborhood. I offered 80% of current ask and after sitting on my offer for three weeks, obnoxiously refusing to even answer may agent’s calls (not even so much as a call back to say ‘The owners are still considering it.’), their counter offer was $1k below current ask.

    Maybe it’s just me, but if I had missed the market by $100,000 on this very property in the very recent past, it might be arrogance to think that your new asking price was no more than $1,000 off the mark.

    BTW, interesting that you have good things to say about taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance. As someone who has only the remotest speculative need for the product, certainly no current need, but a certainty of current higher tax bills to pay for it, I think that the program only encourages its beneficiaries to rebuild in same flood-prone areas again and again only to be washed out in the next drizzle. The perceived value of the program would depend highly upon where one’s name appears on the relevant check: the middle line (as it “Pay To the Order of…”), or the bottom line.

  27. 3b says:

    Anybody know if the NJ Monthly magazine is out with this years schools rankings? I believe it is usually printed in the August issue.

  28. Juice Box says:

    Anybody on the Ramapo River or on Pompton Lakes?

    Between 15 and 20 heating-oil trucks were pushed into the Ramapo River after a 9-inch torrent of rain fell near Tuxedo Park, N.Y., and the stream overflowed. “An environmental disaster is floating down the river,” said Mayor Tom Wilson in an interview. “There’s fuel spilling into the river. … It’s everywhere.”

  29. schabadoo says:

    BTW, interesting that you have good things to say about taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance.

    If it’s the same program that guarantees those huge houses built in high risk areas on pylons…I’m not a fan.

  30. Punch My Ticket says:

    escapee [15],

    Do not agree with you on national flood insurance. This is a product that could and would be offered by the free market if the feds weren’t there. There is no justification for this program whatsoever.

  31. JJ - AKA Two Hands says:

    I am back from vacation!!!

    First of all Flood Insurance is a scam for most people. I live in a flood zone. I have no flood insurance. It is expensive. 1% of the amount covered. So $400,000 coverage is 4k a year. Second it does not cover contents of house damaged by house, you need a second flood policy for that. Thirdly, it does not cover any part of the house below ground level. So it would not cover my den or crawlspace. Flood Insurance is only useful if you have a house at risk of being severely damaged, to get it for a little flooding in basement every ten years like I have is a wast of money. All homes in my areas with a mortgage require flood insurance. However, the check is payable to lender to fix damages to house and does not cover contents. I had one flood ten years ago that caused me an afternoon of ripping out a wet rug and spending $500 on a new rug. However, that would have not been covered anyhow.

    The bigger issue is Huricane insurance carries a 5% deductable, unlike the regular deductable. in my case a Huricanne I have a 25K deductable, but since it was a trop storm by time we hit us any damage would be under my regular deductable of $500. that was a huge deal for most

    Shore Guy says:
    August 29, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I wonder how many people who never view themselves as being in danger from flooding — who never bothered with National Flood Insurance, and whose homeowners’ policies do no cover flood damage — will be broken by flood losses. Any thoughts on this?

  32. Captain Foresight HEHEHE says:

    Man am I getting some of these people in Hoboken riled up – too funny:

    http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2011/08/pictures-from-downtown-hoboken.html#idc-container

  33. nj escapee says:

    JJ, to be safe, it is necessary to have both windstorm and flood insurance coverages. The carriers play this game where they can determine that damage was caused by storm surge and was not wind related even though the hurricane winds caused the storm surge / floods.

  34. chicagofinance says:

    They’ve had to revise it, and some of the schools were washed away…..

    3b says:
    August 29, 2011 at 10:17 am
    Anybody know if the NJ Monthly magazine is out with this years schools rankings? I believe it is usually printed in the August issue.

  35. JJ - AKA Two Hands says:

    OK here are my good Beaches stories. Met the reality TV star from some show I never heard of about gun shop owners, funny it was on tv that very night. Met some washed up English rock star, met some filthy rich guy from NJ, so rich had like 12 coaches club tickets and more adopted kids then Brad Pitt. Food was amazing and was sunny and 90 degrees all seven days without too much humidity. Only weird story was I went snorkling, water was choppy as storm was coming and I pulled a nancy boy as there was a bit of a rip tide that kept pulling me from boat and said screw it I must be getting old and I ain’t dying on a tropical island.

    Anyhow we get back to shore and helecopters everywhere, some Japanese guy from US who was there with his family was doing snorkling off the beach near a reep near treasure beach just outside lifeguard zone. To see the really good fish you go close to reef which looks beautiful but is sharp, anyhow guy is bobbing in water for like ten minutes before anyone realizes it, they go get him and it appears the choppy water due to huricanne coming smashed his head into reef, they pulled him out on beach right in front of kids and everything and he was a bloody mess. Turns out at beaches the “lifeguards” are not real life guards and don’t even know CPR. The guest tried to do CPR on the guy but he was dead with blood all over face. But at Beaches party went on they had music playing and serving drinks right next to body.

    That night at beach BBQ comedian DJ goes anyone from NY, anyone from NJ, anyone from England etc. And of course people cheer. Then he goes anyone from Japan? No one answers and guy goes I did not think so!!! However, no papers, no internet, no phones and 7 days of sun was nice. I much rather pretend no huricane is coming, no recession etc. Nice.

    Juice Box says:
    August 29, 2011 at 9:21 am

    The Donner Party…the Shackleton expedition…those soccer players in the Andes — We’ve all heard stories of people who have survived hardship under impossible odds, but brace yourself for the tale of JJ and the Beaches Resort Hot Tub.

  36. JJ - AKA Two Hands says:

    Play it safe from what? Houses in my town are worth peanuts. Not like I have a spring lake mansion. Only part of house that can get hit is den. Which is why it has 40 year old paneling and a 55 year old boiler and my washer drier I lifted off ground. Only sucky part is I never want to renovate and neither did prior owners as it is tempting the gods to renovate a den below ground level.

    nj escapee says:
    August 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

    JJ, to be safe, it is necessary to have both windstorm and flood insurance coverages. The carriers play this game where they can determine that damage was caused by storm surge and was not wind related even though the hurricane winds caused the storm surge / floods.

  37. Dan says:

    3b,

    NJ Monthly does that list every other year. NJ.com had a list which I posted a couple of days ago.

  38. 3b says:

    #38 Dan: I was on vacation, and did not see your post. Where did the land of Unicorns place this year on the list?

  39. Juice Box says:

    3b – it’s not out yet, just the top 20 list of towns to live in.

    http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns_and_schools/the-top-20-towns-in-new-jersey.html

  40. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (40)

    We beat summit and Chatham. Woohoo!!!

  41. 3b says:

    #40 Juice:Thanks. Just found the list on nj.com. Unicornia schools according to this list rank lower than some towns that would surprise some people. However, this list will be ignored, as the NJ Monthly list is considered the bible for those who believe in the rankings.

  42. chicagofinance says:

    Respite a la nompound…..

    WSJ
    SALA, Sweden—London’s Savoy Hotel is synonymous with swankiness. The Ritz in Paris gave its name to luxury. Now, Sweden’s Sala Silvergruva is taking sterling service to a new level for guests who want to stay someplace less ordinary.

    The establishment’s mine suite is a high-style bedroom more than 50 stories underground, in a 600-year-old silver mine dug through solid marble. Guests, whose only link to the surface is a four-minute elevator ride and a special radio, can lounge in silver-colored leather chairs and sip champagne beside a silver candelabra.

    The vaulted chamber is ideal for busy couples who want to escape life’s distractions, says spokeswoman Sofie Andersson. “I don’t recommend sleeping there alone,” she adds. “It gets kind of spooky.”

    Sala Silvergruva is one of several oddball lodgings creating a new niche in European hospitality. Others include a dock crane, former prisons, grounded airplanes and oil-rig escape pods. Some accommodations are cheap, others pricey. The common thread is putting old structures to very new use.

    The Malmaison Oxford Hotel, in England, mixes history and recycling. “It’s difficult to think of a better use for an old prison,” says Malmaison operations director Mike Warren. The stone compound, part of which dates to 1071, jailed residents until 1996. It became a boutique hotel in 2005.

    Turning relics into fine lodgings isn’t new—the Ritz occupies renovated townhouses. But Europe’s new wave displays whimsy more expected of American kitsch meccas like the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where rooms are decorated in themes such as jungle and caveman. At Sala, guests also can sleep in wooden dormitories built for miners a century ago, for only about $60 per person. The mine suite costs about $600 per couple, including dinner and a subterranean tour.

    Tourists seem eager to sleep in obscure corners of history. Stockholm’s Långholmen Hotel was fully booked on a recent evening, even though many rooms are “very tiny” and have bunk beds, said Louisa Benk, a student from Stuttgart on vacation with her family.

    “The gray walls still give the impression it was a prison, but I think they’ve made it nicer than it was,” she said, standing outside her wooden cell door. The jail, which carried out Sweden’s last execution in 1910 and closed in 1975, opened for guests in 2008. Detailing includes mirrors that look like guillotines and gray sheets striped like prison garb.

    Unusual challenges can arise turning oddments into hotel rooms. One problem: connecting plumbing and electricity to the cab of a 44-year-old harbor crane that can still be made to rotate. “A lot of things had to be invented,” says Carla Comello, who with her husband manages the one-room inn in Harlingen, Netherlands.

    The crane, which stands 56 feet up on four legs, originally hoisted cargo. It now has a double bed and bathroom with a toilet and shower. Large windows command panoramic views. Guests preferring a different vista simply push a joystick to turn the 143,000-pound steel room.

    “They want to go round and round all day,” says Ms. Comello, but the motor stops automatically for half an hour after 20 minutes, to avoid overheating. Between spins, guests can relax on the rooftop patio. Day rates range from $570 to $857, during holidays.

    Dutch “garbage architect” Denis Oudendijk, who specializes in reusing building materials, was shopping for a boat when he found four oil-rig escape pods for sale. He snapped up the orange capsules, which resemble flying saucers, and opened them for lodging in 2003, moored at the Hague.The units were built to seat 28 oil workers abandoning a doomed platform. Mr. Oudendijk put a big hammock in each for sleeping. Recently, he snazzed up one pod with a bed, silk sheets and a disco ball.

    “The only problem is that if you’re in the water, you roll out of bed. So you need the hammock,” says Mr. Oudendijk. “Half our guests say it’s their best sleeping experience ever and half say it’s their worst. “He charges about $86 for a night in the pods. Bathrooms are outside.

    Swedish hotelier Oscar Diös simply gutted and rebuilt the inside of a Boeing 747 when he turned it into accommodations at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport in 2009. The jumbo jet once flew for Pan Am but was grounded in 2002. Now it has 27 rooms, most with bunk beds and cabinets made from original luggage bins. As in the air, guests share lavatories along the corridor, but they now have showers and porcelain toilets.

    Suites in the plane’s nose and tail offer double beds and bathrooms. The most popular, Mr. Diös says, is the c-ckpit, which retains some original equipment. Guests have curtains to close. Prices range from about $60 for a bunk bed to $500 for the c-ckpit suite.

    Even more luxurious is a Soviet-built Ilyushin 18 from 1960 that once belonged to East German’s government. For $500, one couple can sleep in the remodeled propeller plane, now parked an hour from Amsterdam.

    At Sala, opening the mine suite required warming the space above the tunnel’s year-round temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Thanks to a new partition and electric heaters, the suite remains at 64 degrees. The bed has a down cover and extra blankets.

    Showers are above ground, but there’s an unheated portable toilet outside the suite for urgent use. Visitors are advised not to wander down the labyrinthine tunnels or swim in the frigid underground lakes.

    Sometimes history presents hoteliers with new opportunities. The mine suite started with only basic furniture when it opened in 2007, but last year managers installed the baroque silver furniture, to evoke Sala’s glory days.

    Says Mr. Andersson: “We wanted to bring the silver back to the mine.”

  43. Anon E. Moose says:

    Gov’t jobs… welfare by other means? Looke here. You threaten to cut off the teat and “It’s for the Children!” goes right out the fncking window.

  44. chicagofinance says:

    Happiness Is a Toy Gun
    From the backyard to the cubicle, nothing offers a quick hit of fun like these weapons of leisure.

    By MICHAEL HSU

    With summer on the wane, you’ve no doubt already swung at it, dived into it or jumped off it. But you’re missing out if you haven’t shot it from a gun. Not an actual weapon, of course. We mean the slew of toy guns that deliver all of the fun of a firearm without the requisite background check.

    You likely have favorites from your youth that you want to revisit (like our two retro picks). But don’t let nostalgia distract you from some of the latest advances in novelty ammunition, since what you’re shooting is just as important as what you shoot it with. These days, you can litter your yard (or office) with everything from marshmallows to colored gel (it’s nontoxic and environmentally friendly, according to the company).

    And when the weather turns, bring it all indoors. Mad at your spouse? Don’t talk it out; shoot it out. A duel with the Vortex Praxis, in particular, can be surprisingly therapeutic. And when the company Foosball table just doesn’t cut it anymore, there’s only one solution: Take arms.

    While there are plenty of battery-operated guns out there, we went with the old-school manual models. In this age when you can do so much with a pinch and a swipe, it’s more satisfying to have to work a bit for your fun. Here are five favorites that would be confis-cated on school grounds immediately.

    Executive Marshmallow Shooter
    Clearly, this is why mini marshmallows exist. You can stuff about 25 marshmallows into the barrel and blast them a good 30 feet for rollicking fun of which even the Cleavers would approve. Just know that a precision firearm this is not. Expect a few double fires and the marshmallows to go flying pretty much everywhere—which is the whole point, really. The shooter comes in a range of styles (camouflage, zebra stripes), but the chromed finish of the Executive line is the most refined. $30, marshmallowville.com

    Nerf Vortex Praxis
    This new pump-action shotgun, which hits stores Sept. 10, delivers the Jason Bourne experience and then some. It shoots foam discs—think mini-Frisbees—that fly incredibly far and ricochet hard. Firing off a few rounds makes you feel like you’re launching an armada of mini UFOs. The Praxis is also supremely satisfying to handle—jamming in the 10-disc magazine as well as the solid KA-CHUNK sound you get each time you reload never gets old. $25, nerf.com

    Xploderz XGround Pounder Blaster
    With an astounding 100-foot range, the XGround Pounder shoots squishy blue gel balls that break apart on impact. The ammunition looks disturbing, but it’s made from a super-absorbent polymer used in agriculture to release water slowly into arid land. They’re safe to sca-tter around your backyard (they end up watering the grass) and won’t stain your carpet. Additional ammo comes in a packet of 500 tiny beads that expand when submerged in water. Despite its gun-like shape, the XGround Pounder has no trigger. According to the manufacturer, toys that shoot small objects can’t use stored energy for safety reasons, so to fire, you pull and release a spring-loaded lever. Which pretty much makes the XGround Pounder like a supercharged slingshot. Neighbors, beware. $50, xploderz.com

    Nerf Dart Tag Quick 16
    What could be more fun than shooting foam darts? Shooting Velcro-tipped foam darts that stick to any fuzzy surface: sweaters, tweed jackets, wool-upholstered cubicle dividers, office chairs. This sub-machine-gun-style toy is a weapon of choice in Nerf Dart Tag competitions (the 2011 World Championship was held last weekend in Orlando; start training for next year). But even the lowly office prankster will appreciate the ability to fire off an entire 16-dart clip in rapid “slam fire” mode: With the trigger pulled, keep c-cking the chamber to unleash a glorious hail of darts that whistle as they whiz by. Coworkers will be keeping human resources on speed dial. $20, nerf.com

    Burp Gun
    Forget the technological advances in toy-gun technological over the past half century. This classic from the ’50s is still the bomb. No batteries, no springs, no complicated mechanics. Instead, it relies on old-fashioned air pressure to launch a plastic ball up to 20 feet. Each blast is accompanied by a crisp pop—which somehow manages to be both wholesome and mischievous sounding. The ammunition looks like a standard ping-pong ball but is, in fact, slightly smaller. Be sure to buy extra. $20, hammacher.com

  45. Dan says:

    That top 20 list is for towns, not schools. I guess Muslims getting gunned down on the street helps get Boonton into the top 5. I don’t know what that guy was thinking. His wife was hotter than his mistress.

  46. Michelle "God was Angry at Us so He Sent an Earthquake and Storm" Bachman says:

    “The libertarian argument that government has no place in this type of endeavor are kidding themselves as we would have no bridges, interstate highways, airports or other port facilities without taxpayer support.”

    And your liberal-@ssed point is? Anything we need, the private sector will provide, at the lowest cost all while being stewards of the environment as they provide for all our needs based on industry best practices.

  47. Michelle "God was Angry at Us so He Sent an Earthquake and Storm" Bachman says:

    Bye the way, how do I apply to receive my government support for our farm and clinic?

  48. nj escapee says:

    47, 48 lol

  49. Shore Guy says:

    “If it’s the same program that guarantees those huge houses built in high risk areas on pylons…I’m not a fan.”

    If I recall correctly, I believe there is something on the order of a $250,000 cap on coverage. I beliver the McMansions-by-the-sea are largely uncovered.

  50. Michelle "God was Angry at Us so He Sent an Earthquake and Storm" Bachman says:

    Hey Escapee. Do you want to come over and watch me eat corn dogs? Bring a friend if you want ;)

  51. Shore Guy says:

    Note to self, must send $ to Huntsman. Perry and the messenger of God CANNOT be allowed to be the nominee.

  52. Shore Guy says:

    “The Top 20 Towns in New Jersey”

    Boy, Alpine is gonna be ticked off.

  53. 3b says:

    #53 Ah no Shore, Brig on hack will be livid!!!

  54. nj escapee says:

    http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/faqs/what-is-increased-cost-of-compliance-coverage.jsp

    What is Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage?
    If a flood damages your property, you may be required by law to bring your home up to community and/or state floodplain management standards. If you have NFIP insurance, and your home has been declared substantially damaged by your community, ICC coverage is provided to cover up to $30,000 of the cost to elevate, flood proof, demolish, or relocate your property. ICC coverage is in addition to the coverage you receive to repair flood damages; however, the total payout on a policy may not exceed $250,000 for residential buildings and $500,000 for non-residential buildings.

  55. nj escapee says:

    How much flood insurance coverage is available?
    Flood coverage limits for a standard flood policy are:

    Coverage Type Coverage Limit
    One to four-family structure $250,000
    One to four-family home contents $100,000
    Other residential structures $250,000
    Other residential contents $100,000
    Business structure $500,000
    Business contents $500,000
    Renter contents $100,000

  56. nj escapee says:

    Michelle “God was Angry at Us so He Sent an Earthquake and Storm” Bachman says:
    August 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm
    Hey Escapee. Do you want to come over and watch me eat corn dogs? Bring a friend if you want ;)

    Only if you promise to bring Sarah along with you ;)

  57. Shore Guy says:

    NJE,

    I see a JJ-type movie in the works.

  58. nj escapee says:

    Shore, you betchya

  59. nj escapee says:

    Punch My Ticket says:
    August 29, 2011 at 10:39 am
    escapee [15],

    Do not agree with you on national flood insurance. This is a product that could and would be offered by the free market if the feds weren’t there. There is no justification for this program whatsoever.

    You’re entitled to your opinion but fact is that state insurance regulations are routinely gamed by private sector property and casualty insurance companies. Those carriers know how to hide profits through transfers to offshore affiliates some of which should be held in reserve in case of a catastrophic event. That gaming guarantees never ending premium hikes.

  60. Dan says:

    If you ever wanted to know why more Jews aren’t Republicans, look at Michelle Bachmann’s earthquake and hurricane quote for your answer…….

  61. schabadoo says:

    I guess Muslims getting gunned down on the street helps get Boonton into the top 5

    Boonton isn’t in the top 5…

  62. JJ says:

    Michelle is like free ham

    Dan says:
    August 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm
    If you ever wanted to know why more Jews aren’t Republicans, look at Michelle Bachmann’s earthquake and hurricane quote for your answer…….

  63. chicagofinance says:

    Jewish dilemma….50% off sale on ham…..

    JJ says:
    August 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm
    Michelle is like free ham

    Dan says:
    August 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm
    If you ever wanted to know why more Jews aren’t Republicans, look at Michelle Bachmann’s earthquake and hurricane quote for your answer…….

  64. Jamil says:

    Michelle “just put the tip in” Bachman

  65. Jamil says:

    Chi Fi remember when we explored the meaning of stimulus that night n lower Manhattan?

  66. scribe says:

    My cousins in Edison lost power at midnight on Saturday, and PS&G is telling them it won’t be back on until next Sunday. Yikes.

  67. JJ says:

    The Vault in Lower Manhattan did have a no exchange of bodily fluid rule, pearl necklaces only.

    Jamil says:
    August 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm
    Chi Fi remember when we explored the meaning of stimulus that night n lower Manhattan?

  68. Barbara says:

    Brilliant…watch the National Guard in Manville…drive under water…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTSKCN0LvkY

  69. Shore Guy says:

    68???

    Some how I doubt the Junior League sweater-set and pearl necklace look was all that popular in a place called vault.

  70. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    Anybody else own NXG shares?

  71. Libtard in Union says:

    Chifi,

    “Jewish dilemma….50% off sale on ham…..”

    I’m offended…now where is this sale you speak of?

  72. Juice Box says:

    re # 69 – Barb to bad Christie wasn’t riding with them.

  73. Anon E. Moose says:

    Shore [70];

    You don’t really need a link, do you?

  74. JJ - AKA Two Hands says:

    Christie only gets away with those comments cause he is a fatso. Fat people get away with more. However, nobody wants a fat President. So if Christie ran for president he would have to lose weight but then he can’t get away with saying things.

    Christie also has an Al Roker problem. I like my fat people fat, Al Roker looks like death now. Fat people usually only get skinny when they are about to die.

  75. Al Mossberg says:

    69.

    LMAO. NJ’s finest.

  76. grim says:

    drive under water…

    I’ll give them credit, they made it further than I thought would have been possible. I think the first truck through actually made it through to the other side.

  77. grim says:

    Clarification – “Them” is the designers and builders of the truck, not the driver.

  78. Barbara says:

    grim,
    agree and I was just going to hit the send on that clarification. Also, is this a scary example of just following orders? I like to think that I would have stopped by at least the time the water was lapping over the hood. I found it hair raising, good thing they didn’t drown in the things.

  79. frank the Renter says:

    hello everyone….long time lurker, big fan of the website.
    question for the crew…young family, 2 kids (4.5 and 2.5) currently living in rental in weehawken and running out of space. looking to rent for a year or two in friendly town with good schools. Have family in fort lee and would love to be somewhat close. work in midtown. any suggestions?

  80. scribe says:

    JJ,

    We missed you.

  81. Juice Box says:

    Max water dept for the LMTV 2.5 Ton is 5 ft with the fording kit (snorkel) and only 3 ft without. They pushed it way too deep, trucks are 9ft 3 in tall, the snorkel looks like it can go a bit deeper than 5 ft but then you are gurgling allot of water trying to navigate underwater. The CO is gonna be POed, mostly because it was filmed and they had to be rescued by the State Police using ladders across the roofs of the trucks.

    Cleaning these trucks and lubricating all fittings as well as engine over hall on these trucks once they are salvaged will take days and could be punishment.

  82. Dan says:

    Frank,

    What’s your max distance? Would you prefer Bergen or west?

  83. Dan says:

    Schab,

    I totally agree!!!! However, the article doesn’t……..

    Rank Municipality County Population, 2010
    1 Ho-Ho-Kus Bergen 4,078
    2 Peapack Gladstone tone Somerset 2,582
    3 Bernards Townshipship Somerset 26,652
    4 Boonton Townshipship Morris 4,263
    5 Rumson Monmouth 7,122

  84. frank the Renter says:

    84.
    I’m flexible but would prefer sub 1 hour to NYC. I’m more familiar with your traditional east bergen towns..”land of unicorns”, tenafly, etc. rental inventory is pretty grim.
    **fans of the Hudson county Democrat machine..Sal Vega got the boot recently in WNY, which I thought would never happen. thoughts?

  85. Essex says:

    I dig the corridor that I inhabit. Yet would never invite the uninitiated into it’s vortex.

  86. Dan says:

    When you say sub 1 hour, how would you get in and where in the city?

  87. Anon E. Moose says:

    frank [86];

    I’m flexible but would prefer sub 1 hour to NYC.

    You and everybody else (take it from a renter who formerly commuted ‘sub 1 hr’ to midtown, and is now actively looking for other options). If ‘sub 1 hr’ means less than an hour with your a$$ in a seat, what you’re really looking at is 1.5 hrs door-to-door each way, or 3 hrs. a day. It works out well enough for the secretaries who shut down the computer at 4:55 and hit the bricks at 5:00 on the dot. I’m looking no further than the border of ‘sub 1 hr’ solely for resale value, and consider it a doomsday option if I have to invoke the midtown commute from a ‘1 hr’ location.

  88. NjescaPee says:

    Jeez, it used to take me 1 hr door to door to go from Woodside Queens to Manhattan and that was less than 5 miles.

  89. Frank the renter says:

    You can keep the vortex, just looking for a decent town (or neighbor) that I would ultimately consider buying in.
    I work by grand central and get in pretty early…be there by 7:15. No issues with either bus or train. I know this is probably something that 90% of us “bitter renters” are looking for.

  90. NjescaPee says:

    Ok. 1hr included time to pick up coffee and a bagel.

  91. NJCoast says:

    There’s nothing more annoying than the drone of your neighbor’s whole house generator when you’re sitting in the dark.

  92. NjescaPee says:

    NJ Coast, Light some candles and listen to the Doors When The
    Music’s Over

  93. Confused in NJ says:

    93.NJCoast says:
    August 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm
    There’s nothing more annoying than the drone of your neighbor’s whole house generator when you’re sitting in the dark.

    The 17K Natural Gas Power Stations are actually fairly quiet.

  94. Libtard at home (which is now dry) says:

    Mikkeller Belgian Tripel – Awesome little beer that I finally remembered the name of from my foray to Philly last week. The 9% alcohol is hidden nicely in this one.

  95. NJGator says:

    I read somewhere tonight that the flooding in Cranford has exceeded the 500 year flood plain by 4 blocks. Crazy!

  96. Shore Guy says:

    A very sad sight from Vermont:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck7Xtxo2ZQU

    Frick’n Irene!

  97. Punch My Ticket says:

    escapee [60],

    Boo hoo. Somebody’s making a profit and it ain’t me. Boo hoo.

    If it were such a great deal for the insurers, then there is a solution in the free market: Start your own insurance company.

    But no, there is another solution. We can convince our idiot Congressmen to subsidize building – and more important: loans against buildings – in at risk areas. Feh.

  98. gator (97)-

    Funny how we get a “500-year” flood event in NJ every 2-3 years.

  99. Pat says:

    jj….I want a fatso for Pres if fatsos get away with more. Somehow, CC has been less frustrating overall than many others. His tactics are simple, clear and consistent. Or maybe I just relate to his bad attitude.

    But would that mean a bigger helicopter? Maybe the president could campaign on a gastric bypass promise and the entire presidency could be reality TV.

    Real leadership in health care could be added into the entire health care IT redesign initiative. Pull the values words off the wallpaper and surgically instill them.

    Yesterday at noon, when the O’s flew overhead back to DC in like 8 helicopters after the scare was over, I pondered the logistics issue. What a waste.

    Anyway, I liked your vacation reminiscences.

  100. Started in on this year’s Oktober beers today. The Dogfish Head “Punkin” and Weihenstepfaner Oktober are especially good.

  101. Stu (96)-

    All the Mikkeller stuff is the shit.

  102. Pat (104)-

    I want anyone to be President other than the current retard holding the office.

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  104. Teyona says:

    “Toxic loans held by New Jersey-based banks continued to climb in the second quarter even as bad loans at U.S. banks declined, according to new government data.” This news is very alarming and may affect NJ’s economy. I hope sooner it will have a better solution to this kind of problem.

  105. Great blog, I’m going to spend more time researching this subject

  106. If past austerity measures have essentially failed to drag the property market out of toxic territory, what will? Certainly not more austerity packages …

  107. Awesome read , I’m going to spend more time reading about this topic

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