"When we get the figures for the spring, I expect to see a discernible improvement in both sales and prices."  -- David Lereah, chief hypemaster (er, economist) for the National Association of Realtors, responding to his organization's report yesterday that home prices had dropped in nearly half the metro districts it surveys.

    If there was a way to short the real estate market every time Lereah says "the end (of the bottom) is near," we'd be rich.  His supporters at the NAR can take heart, however.  Someday, the market will reach its bottom, and the hypemaster will be right.

    Former minor league baseball player Bill Richardson may be the best golfer in the running for President in 2008, according to the few handicaps for Presidential wannabes that we could find published at GHIN, the Golf Handicap and Information Network.  At the Alto Lakes Country Club in New Mexico, someone named Bill Richardson maintains a 14.1 index , just 7/10 of a stroke better than U.S. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT); we know the Senator does indeed play out of the respected Black Hall Golf Club in CT.  At 18.3, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani trails by four strokes.
    Giuliani lists two home courses, Trump National in Westchester, NY, and the 45-year old Noyac Club in Sag Harbor, Long Island.  We haven't visited either course, but if the way the popular former prosecutor signs his handicap card at the two courses, Trump National is a stuffy place.  There he is Rudolph W. Giuliani.  At Noyac he is just plain Rudy, no middle initial either.
    By no means does this mean the three gentlemen are the only golfers in the Presidential race, but we searched for all the others by their home states and, in the case of sitting U.S. legislators, by the District of Columbia.  No luck.  But we may have looked in all the wrong places.  We'll mail a copy of Zagat's 2006/07 Guide to American Golf Courses to the first five readers who can add to our list of candidates with verifiable handicaps (and, please, resist the temptation to submit Bill as Hillary's handicap!).  Just click on the 'Comments" section below and name the candidate, the handicap and the source of your information.