The View From The Golden Dome

Views on the week's events plus some of mine.

European Tsunami. Sharp Cop. Password Problems. FHA. and so much more

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough. But there was more than that this week. I read an interesting story about a tsunami in Geneva. Not recently. So, knowing that Geneva does not have much oceanfront property, I was, of course, curious. It’s a short story. The event was covered by the newsmen of the day, Marius Aventicensis and the Frankish historian Saint Gregory of Tours wrote about the event, describing how the local Mount Tauredunum collapsed, causing the wave in Lake Geneva. This event, dated 563 A.D., all but wiped out the town of Lausanne and covered most of Geneva with eight meters (about 25 feet) of water. And it could happen again, geologically speaking.

This article was significant because it went on to discuss other geologic possibilities. But those have already been covered in such epic movies as ‘The Day after Tomorrow’  so I won’t opine on those. But kids, have your floaties ready !


Meanwhile, in Piedmont Oklahoma, the extremely diligent constabulary managed to cite a three year old boy for peeing outside. So this was a three year old who was in the process of being potty trained. Nature called and the young fellow pulled down his diaper and watered the garden. The diligent constable, who was parked down the street, promptly whipped out his…ticket book and wrote out a ticket which he gave to the toddler’s mom. The cop, being an outstanding member of the community, graciously wrote out the amount of the fine, on the ticket.

So what’s wrong with this event. Obviously, even to my readers, there are a few things. Was this the most egregious crime being committed in the metropolis of Piedmont? ever? Why was the cop seen parked down the street for days preceding this heinous crime? Was he lying in wait for another toddler? And to the cops credit, he knew the amount of the fine, and graciously wrote it out for the mom. Yes, the fine is only $2500 !!!


Meanwhile, the NY Times had a great article on passwords, not the game, but the reality. Hackers abound. There are password cracking programs that can test millions of passwords per second. Per Second. Most of us have been hacked at some time. My business email was hacked a few years ago and was being used to sell Chinese ‘drugs’. So here are the tips from the experts:

– if your password can be found in the dictionary, you might as well not have one.

– never use the same password twice (I failed already).

– come up with a passphrase that is 14 characters or longer. A pass phrase is a favorite movie quote or song lyric where you use the first one or two letters of each word.

– jam your keyboard (lkj8893rf()76%$#) using your shift and alt keys, copy the result into a text file, then put that on a file on an encrypted password protected USB drive.

– store your passwords securely. Not on your computer. If your computer gets infected, you’re toast !

– ignore security questions such as “What middle school did you attend?” That’s available on the Internet. A secure answer might be “Your favorite song lyric” – an answer that is irrelevant to the question.

– use different browsers for different activities. A study by Accuvant Labs last year found that the least susceptible browser, less than Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, was Google Chrome.

Here is the link to that article. It is worth reading, especially if you have a computer


More treasures have been discovered in Bulgaria. Of course, you need to be able to find the country on a map of the world without googling it first. Many gold jewellery pieces and other carvings were found in Thracian tombs in Northern Bulgaria. This tribe was called the Getae. Yes, I am going somewhere with this. That tribe was in touch with the Hellenistic tribes, aka, the Greeks. The Thracians, ruled by a powerful warrior aristocracy rich in gold treasures, inhabited an area extending over modern Romania and Bulgaria, northern Greece and the European part of Turkey from as early as 4,000 BC. They lived on the fringes of the Greek and Roman civilizations, often intermingling and clashing with the more advanced cultures until they were absorbed into the Roman Empire around 45 AD.

So all of this merely proves that you CAN take it with you. And thousands of years from now, when archaeologists from the planet Gabunda X-839 come to the remains of planet Earth, they will find my bones and wonder why I had those shiny metal things in my teeth. Likely, they will surmise that those shiny things represented great wealth and that’s why I took them with me.


Meanwhile, on the home front, the Federal Housing Administration, aka, FHA, has exhausted its reserves. FHA is the new sub prime – and has been for the last few years. You can buy a house with a 3.5 percent down payment through FHA. And the agency magnanimously allows their fees to be added to the purchase price. For example, if you buy a house with a $200,000 FHA mortgage, the fees will make your loan will be about $203,500. So you are actually paying interest on the higher loan amount as well as the monthly insurance premium. If you can’t qualify on your own, you can have several friends co-sign with you. Of course, then when you default on the payments, your credit is hit, as well as that of every one of your friends. FHA is increasing premiums again in 2013.


Sort of like the post office – they lose money every year so they increase postage rates. Hey Mr. Postmaster General Donahoe (with a salary of $276,840). Quit jacking the rates and stop Saturday mail delivery and post office opens on weekends. I remember when I was living in Canada and Saturday deliveries were stopped. There was an uproar for a couple of months prior to closing, for a couple of weeks after, and then no one cared. The unions will have to suck it up and accept this. I seldom use the snail mail, except for the very occasional check, and the occasional greeting cards. How many billions will that closure save the taxpayer?


Case history – a married couple received my complimentary Mortgage Health Check-up . They have a first mortgage and a large equity line. They know that rates will go up eventually and so will the payments on their equity line. They asked me to arrange a new first mortgage that incorporates both loans and eliminates the interest rate risk. The homeowner is so happy that they will have the peace of mind that they want. To find out how structure can help save you money, call me at 818.305.4695.

Have a better week!




Berman’s Factoids of the Week

Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called ‘passing the buck’?

Haunted French pancakes give me the crêpes.
Velcro — what a rip off!
A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.
A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing, he would ‘pass the buck’ to the next player.



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 Les Berman CMC
Real Estate Loan Specialist
NMLS ID 227675
Voice: 818.305.4695



November 18, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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