a little about the wordpress api key

in case you don’t know.

I have three blogs, all are what is called “self hosted.” That means that each of the blogs are attached to my three sites, and you don’t get to them through wordpress. One of the blogs was receiving a ton of spam. and I could not get the spam plugin to work, because I couldn’t find any wordpress api key on my admin or profile pages. Here’s what I found out. The key that I needed was on my wordpress account. I had to log in using my user name to wordpress, and voila, i found the key.

Sounds simple enough. However, it took some thought. I have three user names and two emails attached to my blogs. If I were to change a password, did that mean that I would bollux up my accounts? Well, I’m glad to report, no.

So, life is sweet, short and simple. today at least.

Cielito Lindo – Palm Beach – Historic Homes for Sale

Cielito Lindo’s original owner, Jessie Woolworth Donahue, may have come from dime-store money, but she had lavish tastes. Her luxury home. completed in 1927, the 45,000-square-foot Cielito Lindo, was designed by Palm Beach architect Marion Sims Wyeth, and while not as large as Mar A Lago, it was palatial, with a four-story tower, 30-by-50-foot living room, six master bedrooms, 10 staff rooms above the garage, houses for the chauffeur and gardener and a tap room.

The Mediterranean-style estate was built on a parcel of land stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway, with orange groves, tennis courts, a tea pavilion, lily pond, boat hoses and extensive gardens.

Subdivided into five separate dwellings in 1947 when Jessie Woolworth Donahue downsized to another oceanfront estate also designed by Wyeth, her living room was demolished to make room for King’s Road and the two major wings of the main house became the largest residences on either side of the road.

The tower, on the south side, totally refurbished and on the market, is still a little bit of heaven priced at $8,750,000.

It’s a little smaller than its former self – 12,380 square feet, with five bedrooms – but it still has a jewel-like feel, an ivory façade with red tile bands, red barrel tile roof, and geometric interlaced wood details.

“Of all Wyeth’s work, this house was his largest and most impressive,” says historian Donald Curl. “It was also the most Moorish, especially the tower and the entrance way.

“Wyeth was rather proud of it. There’s no question.”

The entry to the house was originally on the south side of the tower, and on a lower floor. “As you can imagine, it was quite impressive.”

One came through gates that led to a courtyard, with a pond and fountain directly opposite the front door, Curl says.

“When you entered on the lower floor, there was a grand set of stairs that took you up to the foyer, which then led to the cloister,” he describes.

The cloister, delineated by a U-shaped series of columns, surrounded the main rooms of the house. “It started on both sides on the west end, and went across the living room, and partially, it provided a walkway around the house, but it also provided shelter from the western sun,” Curl says.

Now one enters the main foyer from the north side of the tower, through glass and iron doors. With stenciled ceilings, impressive columns and marble floors, it was at one time the landing of the main stairway and overlooked the living room, Curl says.

“The entire floor on that level was the stairway, a foyer, a taproom and a library, which has been used as a living room over the years.”

The present living room, to the south of the foyer, overlooks the pool and gardens. This room used to be the stairway, Curl says. The kitchen and dining room are to the south of the foyer and living room, along with a guest bedroom suite.

To the east of the foyer are the taproom, library, a powder room, elevator and stairwell to the tower rooms.

The hallway to the powder room features a tromp l’oeil tile mural in blue and white as well as a red tile floor with painted tile insets. The library has pecky cypress paneling and a fireplace. The taproom features a stenciled ceiling and paneled bar, tile floor, painted tile bar and patterned tile chair rail. All of these rooms open to a terrace that wraps around the rear of the house.

On next floor are two bedroom suites and on the top floor is a lookout room.

The master bedroom has French doors that offer gorgeous views. Architectural features in the bedroom include layers of molding and a fireplace. Other rooms in the suite include two bathrooms and closets, an office, a balcony terrace and a covered terrace. The second master suite opens to a terrace, as well. Also on the second floor, and accessed from another stairway are two bedrooms and a bathroom.

Crowning the tower is the lookout, which features a stenciled ceiling, tile floor with painted tile insets, a fireplace and multiple French doors that open to small balconies to the east and south and a large terrace on the west, all offering spectacular views.

Hogarcito, Palm Beach – Historic Homes for Sale

Hogarcito, “Little Hearth” at 17 Golfview Road, Palm Beach, was designed by architect Marion Sims Wyeth in 1921 for cereal heiress and Palm Beach socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post while she was married to financier Edward F. Hutton.

The 10,000 plus-total-square-foot Spanish Mediterranean house with five bedrooms, six bathrooms and a bell tower encompasses two buildings: the main house and a second house, which are connected by an arcade.

Here’s a little of Hogarcito’s history according to historian Donald Curl. “It was the first house on Golfview,” Curl says. “Many of the other houses were built literally because Marjorie Merriweather Post wanted to populate the street with what she called, ‘young marrieds,’ which was how she saw herself. She would have been in her 30s at that time and was married to her second husband.

“Jesse Woolworth Donahue’s sister was one of the young marrieds, Mrs. McCann. Her husband was an attorney and they bought a little Wyeth house that he had done for Mrs. Post. Golfview was like a housing development, particularly on the north side, where Wyeth did a number of little houses. They were purchased very quickly and he added onto them over the years.”

Although impressive, Hogarcito was fairly simple and was never an enormous house, Curl says. “That is part of the reason Mrs. Post built Mar a Lago. She always claimed Hogarcito was not big enough. She had all these daughters coming home with their friends, and she needed something larger. She decided she wanted a knock-them-dead house.”

And hence, she built Mar a Lago.

However, Hogarcito’s “courtyard is marvelous, and the new pool adds to the whole thing,” Curl says. “The house has all these exterior galleries and the tower has a bell in it. Wyeth was very proud of Hogarcito. He thought it had a good design.”

Entry is by way of an impressive foyer with a Cuban tile and stone floor. Straight on to the south is the living room with herringbone wood floors. To one side, doors open to the terrace, and to the other, doors offer views of the garden. Through the living room is an enclosed loggia, where the walls are covered in trellis. From French doors there, a covered walkway leads to the separate two-floor master suite.

The loggia looks out to the terrace with its 17th century fountain, one of four  fountains on the property.

To the west of the foyer is a salon with hardwood floors and French doors that lead to the courtyard. Farther west is the dining room, and then the kitchen. In this portion of the house are also the garage and staff quarters.

To the east of the foyer and up a few steps is the library with Cuban tile floors, pecky cypress ceiling and a fireplace.

On the second floor are three guest bedrooms ensuite and a master bedroom suite.

And then there’s the bell tower. When present owner Bruce Bent moved into the house 25 years ago, it was boarded up. “I opened it up, and to my surprise, there were bedrooms and a bathroom up there. I converted the space into a den,” he says.

“There are two terraces on the roof. They are very private, and it’s a neat spot.”

I am getting struck by wanderlust, a bad sign

Or maybe not. Leave it to my friend, Martha, who says she never has any good ideas, to be living the best stories. She doesn’t need to make them up.

Her oldest daughter, an archaeologist, is working on a lead coffin project. The photos here, are hers, I think.

On the English Heritage Web site, under places to visit in the southwest region in Somerset, the Farleigh Hungerford castle is pictured along with a few paragraphs on its history.

“Farleigh Hunderford, the site says, was begun in the 1370s by Sir Thomas Hungerford, Speaker of the Commons, and extended in the 15th century by his son Walter, Lord Hungerford, Agincourt veteran and distinguished medieval statesman.”

Their fortified mansion was built in the style of its day. The quadrangular building with four towers (two are still standing) had a walled outer court containing a chapel and priest’s house.

The chapel holds family monuments and is decorated with wall paintings. It stands over a crypt where the lead coffins of 16th and 17th century Hungerfords are still visible, the site notes.

“These have ‘death masks’ of the deceased indented into them, and are probably the best examples of their type in Britain.”

These Hunderfords look to be sleeping peacefully. But the lives of some of their family members were anything but sleepy or peaceful. Two were executed during the Wars of the Roses and another, who imprisoned his wife within the castle for four years, “was beheaded for alleged treason and witchcraft by Henry VIII.”

One Lady Hungerford, the site notes, “was hanged for murdering her first husband and burning his body in the castle’s kitchen oven, another was charged with adultery and attempted poisoning.”

Will have to find out from Cammie, Martha’s daughter, how the story continues, and who these entombed Hungerfords are. I wonder if they’ve been moved for study…

Statistics

Since I’m looking at household statistics, here’s some more numbers that made me stop.

According to Justin Fox, Time, Nov. 10, 2008: There is a segment of households called “lucky duckies” who pay no federal income tax. That’s because they make less than $40,000 and qualify for credits added to the tax code. Lucky? hmmm. I wonder if they consider themselves so?

The number of that class = 45.6 million households, or one-third of all income tax filers (according to the Tax Foundation). Because of proposed tax cuts and credits, that number will rise to 63 million households by April 2009. And what was the number of households estimated in the previous post? 112,362,848. About half the households make less than $40,000.

All in a day’s work. Really, it took that long.

I was looking for foreclosure numbers last month, and found myself with a daunting project. How many homeowners are there in the United States, and how many are in, or going into, foreclosure? How much is that number up from previous years?

(I’m sorry, but I have to tell the back end of this story, first. If you aren’t interested, just skip down– I’ve put the basic info in red, so you can find it easy.)

I thought finding those numbers on the net would be a simple process. Well, it wasn’t.

Then, this Sunday, while standing in line waiting to vote (it took four hours) I read Time from cover to cover, and saw that I’m not the only one who has trouble with foreclosure numbers.

As Time pointed out, when Congress, Wall street analysts, the US Treasury, the FDIC, the FBI, a few Federal Reserve banks, a dozen states, even some lenders, want numbers on foreclosure, they use RealtyTrac.

Who is RealtyTrac? The company was started by Derek White, a real estate agent, and Michael Keane, a computer programmer, in 1996. They got the idea to gather, then sell, a list of addresses of repossessed houses to Santa Barbara Calif. real estate agents.  James Saccacio, a one-time corporate banker, took over as CEO in 2000, and he decided it would be a good idea to offer foreclosure information on a national level.

Not such an easy job he found out – each state has its own laws about how the three steps of foreclosures (default notice, court judgment and sheriff’s sale) are made public, and to wade through all that is time consuming and labor intensive.

According to Time, RealtyTrac has 150 contractors collecting data in 2,200 counties, which covers some 90% of households.

And although RealtyTrac has been the go-to (and, by the way, cleared $40 million in revenue last year), the company has also been gone after. In 2007, after RealtyTrac came out with numbers putting Colorado near the top of the list of states with foreclosure problems, Kathi Williams, director of the Colorado Division of Housing, called RealtyTrac’s numbers “ridiculous and irresponsible.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s chief economist (who wasn’t named in the Time article) complained that RealtyTrac was “damaging the industry.”

As a result, RealyTrac has changed its methodology (it now counts “unique” houses, what does that mean?) and since its business is to sell addresses of foreclosures to real estate agents, investors and homebuyers, it gives data to any government entity that wants it.

Note that RealtyTrac’s measure of foreclosures as a percentage of all households, while, if you measure foreclosure rates as a percentage of households with a mortgage, you’d get a different (and higher) figure.

With that said, let’s head on over to RealtyTrac and see if we can find the numbers…

“Through August of 2008 more than 2 million properties nationwide received a foreclosure filing, up more than 50 percent from the same period in 2007, according to the RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. If foreclosure activity continues at the same pace for the remainder of the year, close to 1 million homeowners will lose their homes to foreclosure in 2008, up from about 400,000 in 2007.”

Nationally, here are its numbers on properties with foreclosure filings for Sept. 2008.

39,892 with Notices of Default, 58,606 with Lis Pendens, 61,442 with Notice of Trustee Sale, 24,780 with Notice of Foreclosure Sale, and 81,312 properties that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by the bank
Total is 265,968, up 20.98% from Sept. 2007 and a rate of 1 of 475 housing units.

Florida foreclosures total is 47,965, with 1 of 178 housing units and 43.78% more than last year.

Other numbers I’ve gleaned from Google:
Homeownership in the United States was at about 66.2%, according to the 2000 census, and a ratio of 2 to 3 US householders (69.8 million) owned their homes.

Between 2005 to 2007, 22 million Americans purchased a new or existing houses (Paul Krugman, New York Times, 6/23/08).

And here are some other numbers – these from CBC, Oct. 31, 2008:
“About 7.63 million properties, or 18 percent, had negative equity in September, and another 2.1 million will follow if home prices fall another 5 percent, according to a report by First American CoreLogic. The data, covering 43 states and Washington, D.C., includes borrowers nationwide, even those who took out mortgages before housing prices began to soar early this decade.”
The article goes on to say, “About 68 percent of U.S. adults own their own homes, and about two-thirds of them have mortgages.”

Hey, I’m just trying to figure out the numbers here. Overall population in the United States = 300 million people. Households = 112,362,848 (that number is from http://www.census.gov/population/projections/nation/hh-fam/table1n.txt ).
Use the CoreLogic figure of  68% households owning their own homes, and that comes to 76,406,737 households. Take 2/3 of that and it comes to 50,937,824 householders with mortgages  (I just did the math on that one, and what’s going on with the 22 million who purchased in Krugman’s two-year period? How are those figured in?) Now, think about one million of those families losing their homes this year…

Well, that’s the closest I can get. Am waiting to hear back from RealtyTrac to see what numbers they use for householders owning homes and what a unique house is, anyway.