Sunday, June 19, 2011

Edinburgh's Most Famous Native Son

Dateline: Edinburgh, Scotland

Grave of Adam Smith

Who knew that Edinburgh's most famous native son was Adam Smith? Even more interesting, the grave of the father of modern free-market capitalism is behind a museum dedicated to the proletariat! The exhibitions in the museum trace the conditions of the working class through the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Carbon Offsets: Who Should Be Picking Up This Tab?

Last month I purchased a round trip airplane ticket online for a trip to Denver from Detroit. At the end of the transaction, Delta airlines invited me to contribute $11.74 to the Nature Conservancy to "offset your share of carbon emissions for this trip." The distance traveled will be approximately 2,300 miles.

Maybe I am missing something here. But who is the carbon culprit in this case? Shouldn't Delta, who is producing the carbon emissions and making a profit in doing so, be making the carbon offset donation?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Some Laughs to Start Your Weekend!

With special thanks to John G Colby, a retired, Northern Virginia real estate developer and a very old friend. Even if these are photoshopped, as Colby puts it, "the images are certainly credible, and funny!"


The Nominees are: 

(1 & 2)

(3 & 4)

(6 & 7)


No, You can't have your money!


AND The Winner :

(Imagine some drumbeats here)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Welcome Aboard the Salant Express

Welcome to my remodeled website and my blog.

After 8 years it was time to get more connected (my blog and Twitter remarks on my website’s home page!). And, it was time to reorganize my archived columns to highlight my current interests and the sea changes that have occurred in the home building and remodeling business since 2003 when I started the website.

Some categories are new.

“Emotional Intelligence,” one of the new categories, focuses on the connections between “house” and psychology. For example, why does it take the hanging of photographs and art work and the displaying of family treasures and knick knacks from travel to make your new or new-to-you house feel like it’s home? Hint: it’s more than just the visuals.

“The Big Picture” is another new category organized around this question: In this post-McMansion era, what will be the next version of the American Dream?

“Remodeling” is also new. In the current economy more people are remodeling than are building new houses, and more readers are interested in this.

“Green and Greener” was needed because I have written so many columns on green building I needed to organize them into subcategories. The number of green building products available in nearly every building category has exploded. And, the environmental impacts of home building and home owning have become critical as we have become more knowledgeable about the connections between home energy use and climate change. In the U.S., most households use energy derived from coal, natural gas, and oil. When these fossil fuels are burned to produce energy, they also produce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming.

With the blog I also hope to share the nuggets of useful info that often end up on the cutting room floor as I write my regular Housewatch column. For example, now that summer is here, you can reduce the energy needed to run your central A/C by about 24 percent if you simply turn the thermostat up two degrees from 72 to 74. If the air is humid, moving air across your skin will keep you comfortable. The energy needed to run a floor or a ceiling fan is much less that the amount needed to run the A/C.

Look for new posts on Tuesdays and Fridays!