The House

30 years ago today, Saint Karen (who must be a saint to put up with me), our two kids (who were children then), and I moved into our house.

I’ve been thinking about it. If I’m not mistaken, the only parts of the house we haven’t changed are the driveway, and the patio. We’ve replaced the roof, siding, every window, interior and exterior doors, all the interior wood trim. We’ve installed a new electric service, lots of rewiring, relined the chimney, put in a new furnace and oil tank, new water heater (twice), removed some 70’s style wood paneling, added three closets (could use more), remodeled the kitchen and both bathrooms. New front and back steps, rebuilt the porch, repaired sidewalk and curb, planted what’s now a giant oak tree out front.

All this makes it seem we didn’t like this house when we bought it. So, why did we buy it in the first place? 

From the Way Back Machine

Since President Biden tripped while climbing the stairs to get into Air Force One last week, I asked my wife if that meant Chevy Chase was going to return to “Saturday Night Live.”  She chuckled, so I told her she was old if she got that joke.  Of course, I’m old too if I came up with it.

Since President Ford left office more than forty-four years ago, maybe I should explain that joke to people who aren’t old.  Gerald Ford tripped and fell on more than one widely-reported occasion when he was the President of the United States.  His apparent clumsiness was mocked repeatedly by Chevy Chase doing pratfalls when Chase was a featured performer on “Saturday Night Live.”

If you still don’t think my little joke is funny, I understand.  It’s happened before.

Oh Horror!

Ronald DeFeo died in prison last week.  He was 69 years old.  You may not know the name, but you heard about what he did back in 1974.  Or you’ve seen the tabloid articles, and the movie series which fictionalized those events.  If you don’t know the name DeFeo, you know the name, “Amityville Horror.”

DeFeo was convicted of murdering his parents and his four brothers and sisters.  Before confessing, he said a mob hitman did it.  A subsequent owner of the home claimed it was haunted by demons. 

After the murder and especially after the first movie, the murder scene, a house in Amityville NY became a tourist attraction, much to the chagrin of people who subsequently owned it and to people who lived in the neighborhood.

I was once a reporter.  I’ve always known where the house is.  Neither the house nor the people who live there now had anything to do with the murder of six people that took place there almost five decades ago.  Subsequent owners of what’s become known as the horror house have painted it a different color, changed the building’s distinctive fenestration and even gotten the post office to assign a different house number in an effort to reduce the building’s attractiveness to oddball curiosity seekers.  Maybe the results are different if you live farther away, but I just entered the current three-digit house number and only the number into Google maps and that house is the first thing that came up.  If you use the old house number, the same thing happens.  In fact, if you’re curious enough to look for it, you can easily find the complete address on Google yourself.  So, without any additional publicity, the house remains very well known.

Still, the NY Post this week has seen fit to publish the current address of the house and pictures of what it looks like after it’s been remodeled.  Since I think the Post should be criticized for this, that’s what I’m doing here.  And the Post isn’t the only newspaper to do it now or ever before.  Newsday has also joined the chorus, and not for the first time.  This week, Newsday ran an article about what it’s like to live near the house with all the curiosity seekers abounding.

Both articles are clear and unwarranted invasions of privacy for the people who now own the horror house and those who live nearby.  Any news that happened here happened 47 years ago.  You may argue, and I’m sure the two newspapers I just cited would argue that their articles are just repeating information that I’ve already agreed is widely available.  So, what’s the problem?  The problem is that the internet helps people who are actively looking.  The newspapers aren’t waiting for people to look.  They’re shouting, “Hey, it’s over here!”


This is being written before Oprah’s interview with Meghan and Harry airs tonight.

I read the duh news article of the week in the Sunday morning paper.  Nothing is going to top the article telling us that Queen Elizabeth isn’t going to stay up to watch Megan and Harry’s interview.  It won’t be aired until tomorrow night in England, but she could watch a live satellite feed.  However, it’ll be 1:00 AM in England when it airs here in the USA.  And the Queen is 94-years old!  She’ll hear about it in the morning.  I’m not 94, but I don’t think I’ll watch it either.

I have zero personal knowledge of the British Royal family.  I have been to London twice and I have stayed in more than one Holiday Inn Express, but that’s all the background I bring to the following opinion:  Judging from all the pro Harry and Meghan articles and all the articles attacking them that I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, I have to think each side is sicking attack flying monkeys and/or attack PR people on the other.