8X10 glossies with pictures and arrows depicting motion

This is kind of old news, but it’s Inman, so here’s your linky-loo. So over here at PBE Rumor Control Center, we get a lot of wild leads. Some good, some not so good, but I always sit on stuff until I’m certain that it won’t cause problems for anyone who’s name isn’t Patty Hauptman or John Harritt. I’ve been hearing that certain large lenders have forbidden their transactions to go through Financial Title Company, a Mercury Company. (Mercury’s website is down again. Maybe they’re trying the break the incoming links from PBE) I can’t seem to substantiate this rumor, nor can I disprove it. I would love to get, oh, I don’t know, the email from the lender would be scorching hot. Anyway, any good information on this one would be great. I’ve been hearing it for two weeks now, ping the Wine Dog and we’ll get’er out there. (Or maybe Ivy would like to ring in on this one)

Ringing in 2008

The thing about this year is it’s the year that I turn 50. It kind of implies that I should be an adult, or at least a grown up, or at least asked to the grown up table at Thanksgiving dinner. I look in the mirror and I’m certainly gray, but that seems to be extremely premature. Like 30 years premature, because I’m really just a 19 year old kid back from a trek around Europe.

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I remember the t-shirt. It’s from a hamburger stand on Balboa Island. I left it at a hostel in Amsterdam when I was too sick to notice I didn’t have all my crap. I don’t know where that bottle of rum came from. I have never drank rum as a rule in my life. An occasional Pina Colada back in the day, and then there was a certain night where we worked our way through the Bacardi cookbook that came with the bottle, but that’s what you do in college… Right? Anyway, as we embark on 2008, I will have to sort through the debris that is my life and try to find some sort of meaning, or not. Because it’s half a goddamn century fergodsakes.

Original Sin

The original purpose of this blog was to chronicle my Body for Life adventures and some other crap and whatever I felt like. Well, as of late, I feel like holding some people accountable for their ineptitude. Are ya feeling me Patty? Johnny? Anyway, my March to March is in it’s third week and going well. I will kick it up a notch tomorrow, which is always a capital idea after drinking all night. Perhaps I should revisit this in the morning. I encourage my gentle readers to post their goals or resolutions. I don’t do resolutions personally, I do goals. I’m going to take submissions for Patty Hauptman’s New Years Resolutions and John Harritt’s New Years Resolutions, and then add a few gems of my own. And check out the “Are you going to eat that?” page. It’s finally got some contact info for the Wine Dog. Very disguised, because the Wine Dog HATES spammers. The most egregious spam will be posted here and ridiculed appropriately.

You must not be drinking enough

I should probably hold contests or something for guessing or knowing where I get my post titles from. For what it’s worth, they come from my head. Generally, they’re from songs or movie quotes. This one’s a Don Henley song. Occasionally, they are a direct quote of some saying some miscreant in my past. Once in a while, they’re just titles with no special meaning. I did dig how I used a quote from a Grace Slick song and got google ads for her art work. She isn’t singing any more. She was living in Malibu doing art. Anyway, I’m a big Grace Slick fan. If you meet her in person, which I had the privilege around 10 years ago, you can see that she’s brilliant and insane all at the same time. The woman actually has gray eyes. It’s a trip. And she is brilliant and insane at the same time.

Back to the subject at hand…drinking.

I picked up a couple of fillet mignons yesterday. I love a blackened fillet. To blacken a fillet, Cajun style, you mix up a goodly amount of cayenne, black pepper and salt. You use about half as much of onion powder and garlic powder. Personally I use Trader Joe’s roasted garlic and crush that in the mortar and pestle. Then you get a plate and melt the butter, I use the microwave for about 30 seconds. While all of this is going on, it’s important to put a cast iron fry pan on the cooktop and fire it all the way up. Open the windows and turn on the fan. When the pan smokes, dip the steak, or fish or whatever, in the butter and pat some of the spices on both sides and drop it in the pan. For a medium rare steak, I cook it two and a half minutes on the first side, turn it over, pour the rest of the melted butter over it and cook it another two and a half minutes. Perfection. So I reach into the wine cellar during the last two and a half minutes to find something to go with the blackened fillet and there before me sits, like angels singing the La Storia 2004 Zinfandel. The first time I had it, I was looking for a peppery Zin to go with a blackened fillet. The guy at Andronico’s hooked me up. Since then, I’ve joined Trentadue’s wine club and love their wines. Really love the La Storia line. Their winemaker is from the old country and I think that helps. Anyway, I’ve had this thing for a little while, perhaps a year, and I opened it up and Holy Cannoli! It blew me a way. I got currents and spice right off. Lots of fruit, berries amazing. And perfect with a blackened fillet. Now it’s half gone and I’m blogging. Now y’all know my secret.

I don’t know if I’ll get a missive off tomorrow before the New Year or not, so if I don’t, I’d like take a moment to wish all my gentle readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year and please be safe out there tomorrow. If no one else misses you, I will. 😉

Cocaine don’t make me lazy, champagne don’t make me crazy

 

Cocaine don’t make me crazy,
champagne don’t make me lazy.
Ain’t nobody’s business but my own.

Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.
You can drink all the liquor down in Costa Rica.
Ain’t nobody’s business but my own.

OK, because we aim to please here at PBE, a little about what to drink on New Year’s Eve…from a plastic tumbler. Hurricanes. There’s only one bar on Bourbon Street that the locals go to. I found it by sticking to my rule of avoiding places that had neon signs that proclaimed “Hurricanes”. I think this was good practice. The one place the locals go has no such sign and the day I found them a guy was sitting in there with his German Shepherd Dog laying at the foot of his bar stool. I thought “Who drives to New Orleans with their dog to go drinking? This must be where the locals hang out.” And it was.

My personal choice for champagne is Moet & Chandon. Unless I’m going to take it up a notch, in which case I would check out the Piper Hiedsieck or the flower bottle. After that you’re pretty much getting into a bunch of French words that I don’t understand. OK, you can’t go wrong with the Grand Dame. Actually, you can go wrong, very wrong, but that’s another story, kind of like Fight Club. And fergodsakes, stay away from the Asti Spumanti…unless you’re 19 years old, and in Italy. As for American sparkling wines, stay away from Cook’s. It’s a headache in a glass. Gloria Ferrer is making some decent offerings. Roederer Estate is also making some nice sparkling wines. I like Schramsberg’s Blanc de Noir, but I think that might just be a character flaw. The J Schram is very good for a higher end California offering. As I rule though, if I can’t afford the good shit, I just drink beer. Dutch beer.

Photojournalism

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Here we have the Old Man making the traditional Christmas cheeseballs (these are not the nasty ass kind, these are the THEY ROCK version) under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Pierre Beauregard.

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Here we have The Brother working diligently on his Beef Wellington, or possibly doing something with cheese, once again under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Beauregard and his attentive assistant Loki.

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One of my favorite ball players was Jeffrey Leonard. Here Loki does his best 1 flap down in honor of the Giant’s slugger.

But wait there’s more!

Apparently Patty Hauptman sent out a missive to her minions at Financial Title Company affirming her commitment to the Financial Title brand. Patty, is this commitment in the Liz-Taylor-I’m-trolling-for-my-8th-husband kind of way or the Owen-Wilson-I-need-a-big-time-out sort of way? Don’t all of your FTC folks feel all warm and fuzzy? I would.  Really.  OK, not.  So Patty, what’s the shelf life on this commitment?

But you can’t cut a chicken!

I think we need to write a list of New Years resolutions for Patty Hauptman and John Harritt. Gentle readers, have at it!

The Orgasmatron

Here’s a little something for y’all.
OK, that was a cheap thrill.

Have you seen me?

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Here’s something that just boggles the mind. Virtual Escrow. Define virtual. Do they virtually do your payoffs? Or do they really do them? Do the virtually pay their staff? Or do they do them like you did in California and Nevada. So you get your virtual check out of your virtual escrow and the Hauptmans pay virtually no one (gotta love that Hauptman style) and keep all the dough for themselves. No messy employees to have to deal with. Patty, are you freaking kidding me? How dare you start up another business under the supposedly bankrupt name of Alliance Title Company when you have outstanding vacation pay and outstanding commission checks and outstanding contracts that you have breached. Would that be your own special version of virtual reality? Isn’t that a little too Sleepers? Now I’m a little scared of that bathtub.

Santiago… died because he had no code, and no honor. And God was watching.

Here’s the promised rant.

Where would be be if every mortgage broker, every lender, every real estate agent, every escrow officer, every notary acted as if God was watching?  What if John Harritt and Jerry and Patty Hauptman behaved as if God was watching?  What if Bill Foley acted as if God was watching?  What if all business and all employees behaved, as if God was watching?  There would have been no mortgage meltdown.  Hell, if people in business acted as if God was watching there would have been no dot.com bomb,  because honorable people do not behave like that.   We have to answer to a higher power.  What are we with no honor?  We deserve a karmatic code red.  There’s a lot of crap going on out there right now.  Less than honorable at best.  At the end of the day, you’re all you’ve got.  Did you treat your colleagues honorably today?  Did you behave honorably today?  Did you do the right thing?  I know of someone right now, who has done the right thing.  He’s taken one for the team, to his own personal detriment.  The team owes him a great debt of gratitude that I’m sure he will never call in.  And that’s when business is right.  When you’re a manager, it’s your duty to do the right thing, for your staff.  This guy did and we tip our hat to him.  So few managers will follow through any more, they won’t fight for their people, they won’t get their backs.  They’re all trying to get theirs at everyone else’s expense.  I used to know a “manager” who would take the lion’s share of the bonus allocation and keep it and then spread the remaining scraps out to the staff.   That’s not a manager.  That is a classic example of lack of code and honor.  We are our lowest common denominator.  And sometimes, that’s really low.

Do you hide behind layers and layers of corporate entities and then go lunch at the Biltmore or Kevin Taylor?  Or do you take out the checkbook or a note or a line of credit and pay them their due?   How do you continue to do business up until the total implosion?  Where is your honor?  How do you sleep at night?  What will you tell your maker when this dance is over with?

Ok, deep breath, let’s take a swipe and my other favorite target.  How do you let this happen?

Fidelity National Information Services: Personal information on over 8.5 million individuals was compromised when a senior database administrator working at Certegy Check Services Inc., a subsidiary of Fidelity National, illegally downloaded the data and sold it to brokers. Fidelity National, which is separate from the better known Fidelity Investments, initially said that only 2.5 million records had been compromised when it first disclosed the breach in July. A few weeks later, it quietly upped the number to 8.5 million in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the company, the stolen data appears to have been resold primarily for direct marketing purposes and not for ID theft or other sorts of fraud.

Nice job, ass clowns.

I am pleased to report that Placer Title picked up some ATC folks out in San Joaquin County, and some more were picked up by Stewart Title in Modesto.   Best of luck to everyone that’s dusting themselves off and getting back in the game.

Merry Christmas

The elves at pinkbunnyears.com have been hard at work. We didn’t get all of our tasks done, if you read last night’s post, you’ll know our elves were out drinking instead of researching. Did you expect anything less of us?

The Sommelier: You seem quiet, you ok?

Wine Dog: I’m fine, I just don’t know the words to “Here Comes Santa Claus”.

Anyway, with our half-assed research sort of done (it’s kind of like the prelims you get from India) we provide the following little snack for our readers:

An employer who willfully fails to pay any wages due a terminated employee (discharge or quit) in the prescribed time frame may be assessed a waiting time penalty. The waiting time penalty is an amount equal to the employee’s daily rate of pay for each day the wages remain unpaid, up to a maximum of thirty (30) calendar days. Mamika v. Barca (1998) 68 Cal.App4th 487 An employee will not be awarded waiting time penalties if he or she avoids or refuses to receive payment of the wages due. If a good faith dispute exists concerning the amount of the wages due, no waiting time penalties would be imposed. A “good faith dispute” that any wages are due occurs when an employer presents a defense, based in law or fact which, if successful, would preclude any recovery on the part of the employee. The fact that a defense is ultimately unsuccessful will not preclude a finding that a good faith dispute did exist. However, a defense that is unsupported by any evidence, is unreasonable, or is presented in bad faith, will preclude a finding of a “good faith dispute”. Labor Code Section 203 and Title 8, California Code of Regulations, Section 13520

Even if there is a dispute, the employer must pay, without requiring a release, whatever wages are due and not in dispute. If the employer fails to pay what is undisputed, the “good faith” defense will be defeated whatever the outcome of the disputed wages. Labor Code Section 206

If you had as much fun as the Wine Dog did yesterday, you may have to move your lips when you read this and maybe even read it out loud. Finished? Now, wasn’t that a good Christmas present? The PBE legal beagles have expressed actual knowledge of success under this Labor Code.

Sorry, Patty, today I’m your Grinch. Go take a soak in that tub, you’ll feel better.

Grandma got run over by a reindeer

Let’s see, what would be the least responsible thing to do on Christmas Eve? What would be the ONE THING that I could do that would be like waving a red flag at law enforcement? WWWDD. What Would the Wine Dog Do? Go wine tasting in Santa hats singing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. What else?

First stop, Chateau St. Jean. For the most part, my general feeling about them is the same as my general feeling about Chateau St. Michelle. I was wrong about them too. We tried a slew of their wines. They were all of journeyman quality, but a few stood out. The Robert Young Alexander Valley 2005 Chardonnay was a stand out. Definitely oaked, smooth with some cream to the palette, finishing with a toasty creme brulee finish. Really a nice wine. They ran a couple of the younger wines through a really cool toy they had there. I had to buy one. How freaking cool is that? It literally changed the taste of the wine. I wished I had one when I opened that 2000 Merlot last week. It grew on me because the oxygen got into it. With that cool little toy, I could have aerated it immediately.

Next stop Benziger. There’s a special place in my heart for Mike Benziger, simply because he owns a Doberman and makes organic juice. The Ricci Pinot was particularly interesting. Not your usual Pinot, dark, smoky with a dark chocolate finish. Left me thinking…hmmmm. The wine notes said something about grilled salmon and I made a comment to the guy at the tasting room. He admitted he didn’t know where that pairing came from. Another suggestion was pork loin and that made a lot of sense to me. Especially my pork loin grilled with an orange chipotle glaze. The Claret was also pretty interesting, but their Pinot was the one that grabbed me.

Next stop, their sister winery, Imagery. Last time I went to Imagery, we went to the Reserve room and were wholy ignored by the wine imp. He was so busy wetting himself over the Stag’s Leap event planner who was there tasting that he completely ignored the Wine Dog. I’ve been trashing them ever since. So under duress I returned to Imagery. Well, the same Wine Imp was present, but he was a lot more attentive today. We tried probably 8 or 10 of their wines. I came home with a bottle of their Malbec, but I could have easily brought home the Mourvedre. The Malbec was $38 and Mourvedre was $42. I had about $40 worth of love for either of them. The Malbec just jumped out at me and said “grill a steak”. I was helpless to it’s evil force. They also made a White Burgundy that I enjoyed, I thought it was priced well. Apparently it was an accident that occurred 10 years ago and was so successful they repeated year after year after year. It had a nice tropical beginning with a vanilla middle and toasty finish that I really enjoyed. I was definitely feeling the Chardonnay blends today.

Next stop, my good friends at B.R. Cohn. I have drunken pictures of Moose now. Here’s a professional picture of Moose, and Bruce Cohn, owner of B.R. Cohn and manager of the Doobie Brothers, uh borrowed from their website. OK, my pictures of Moose didn’t come out, but what a cool dog, eh?

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I’m sure Bruce is a nice enough guy, but Moose rocks. Bruce makes damned good wine and excellent olive oil. The Olive Hill Cab is off the hook, but this year, very much out of my range. I’ve got a bottle in my cellar I got last year, that will have to do for now. Their Pinot was on sale for $36 a bottle, originally priced at $45. It was a deal at $36. It didn’t have all that fruity crap going on, it was quite smooth and elegant with vanilla and spice and a smooth finish. I almost brought that bad boy home. Final stop, the Girl and the Fig on the square in Sonoma. While we were starving by the time we got there, the duck was amazing. It came with a butternut squash gratin and some steamed spinach. it was a beautiful meal. By then I’d drank enough wine and had a Stella with dinner. All and all, the kind of Christmas Eve that’s worth repeating.

I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier

Is there anything better than being home sick with a head cold on a icy Saturday night? Yeah, pretty much anything is better, but, at least the furnace is new and works like a mofo. I had a few questions posed in the last couple of days. Some I know the answers to, some I know an answer, maybe not the answer and for the rest, I’ll just talk out my ass.  But first:

The cutest damned puppy in the whole damned world

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Click click click…they’re links! (Beauregard, you’re still the best damned dog in the whole damned world)

Can you bring a class action against someone with no class?

There was a question about class action. Keeping in mind, the Wine Dog by profession is a Commercial Title Officer and while I play with attorneys all day long, I’m not one. From my limited knowledge, caveat, caveat, caveat, I see two groups. A lot of people were under contract, and those contracts appear to have been breached. For example, if your contract said you had to generate $25k per month and you always hit your numbers, they broke it. If your contract said you had to generate $25k and you hit $15k for the last four months, your contract probably says (if it’s written like most of them) that they have to give you written notice to get your act together. If they didn’t, they broke it. Or maybe your contract didn’t have any numbers in it at all. If you met your portion, they broke it. If you are one of those examples, I would think long and hard before I joined any class taking class action. Your particular situation may be worth way more than you’ll ever recover in a class action suit. (more on that later). If you’re an average Joe with no contract, punching a clock and got jacked for your vacation and commissions, you’re in a different group. If I were in this group, I would be thinking class action.  Keeping in mind, I’m not an attorney, blah blah blah, caveat, caveat, caveat.

I’ve heard rumblings that they are pursuing a class action in San Joaquin County. I don’t have actual knowledge about this. It could be just rumblings. If I were looking to pursue a class action, I would be looking for a firm that was well experienced in these sorts of matters. Don’t know that kind of experience lies out in San Joaquin County, but then again, two words. Erin Brockovich. (God I love photoshop…). On the other hand, as a public service, because that’s how we roll, I offer up a firm that has been vetted and does fight to right wrongs. Schneider & Wallace. The Wine Dog is not a member of either of these classes, and I haven’t worked with the firm, we just vetted them last week.  I’m just sick and tired of title people getting it in the shorts. I’ve got a good rant in me right now, but I’m going to save it for a few days while I get it formulated in my head. Here’s a little nugget to mull over while I’m getting ready to tee off. Oh yeah, and it’s nearly Christmas.

My BFF sonofabun called last night to verify

“we aren’t exchanging right”

“right”

We both got shit canned on the same day in October of 2006 and we’ve both struggling for over a year to put our lives back together. That being said, I could easily be accused of being a train wreck on a lot of fronts. While that’s true, I was raised Christian and while I don’t approve the direction the church has taken, the teachings from my childhood are important. Still, the season is about the birth of Christ. If you don’t believe in that sort of stuff, that’s fine, it’s your prerogative, but that’s why we have Tuesday off. If you don’t believe in it, go to work that day. Really. Go. Now, it’s time for a pet peeve. If I’m out shopping for gifts right now, wish me a Merry Freaking Christmas for crying out loud. If I bought a driedl and some matzo balls the first week of December wish me a Happy Freaking Hannakah. What is a matter with people? The holiday right now is Christmas. It’s not any thing else. No one in their right mind is out shopping for the hell of it right now, so wish us a Merry goddamn Christmas. Thank you. And Merry Christmas gentle readers.

Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall

Judging from the comments on the last post, I’d say it’s safe to say that National Alliance Title bit the big one. No vacation, no commission checks paid, although they did receive a spiffy note promising the same. The Wine Dog’s mailbox has been off the hook in the last week. In an effort to keep things as factual as possible, a lot of stuff doesn’t make it up onto the website immediately or at all. Strangely, I think I’m a junior Edward R. Murrow, and I’m checking facts. (I would want to be caught flat footed like Dan Rather…Brady lives dammit)  Some stuff garners a lot of mail. Some things wake up Mr. McGuerney, the Wine Dog’s attorney. So here’s his helpful hint for our Nevada friends:

NAC 608.115 Payment for time worked. (NRS 607.160 , 608.016 , 608.250)

1. An employer shall pay an employee for all time worked by the employee at the direction of the employer, including time worked by the employee that is outside the scheduled hours of work of the employee.

2. If an employer pays an employee by salary, piece rate or any other wage rate except for a wage rate based on an hour of time, the employer shall pay an amount that is at least equal to the minimum wage when the amount paid to an employee in a pay period is divided by the number of hours worked by the employee during the pay period. This subsection does not apply to an employee who is exempt from the minimum wage requirement pursuant to NRS 608.250 .

3. For the purpose of a claim for wages, holidays, vacation days, sick days and any other days that an employee did not actually work are not counted as time worked by the employee.

And for the internet savvy:

Linky-loo

Actually, Mr. McGuerney is not the Wine Dog’s attorney, he’s just real good with google key words. And the Wine Dog isn’t really a dog, although occasional slobbering does occur. But I’m feeling a little Hunter S. Thompson with my black label Jim Beam, my virus induced haze and the Grace Slick reference.

There was a bit of talk in the comments about Donna. While I applaud her hard work and integrity, she’s not the only one. There are managers throughout this State who have lost their jobs and are trying to cut deals to get their people back to work. That is how business should work. I wish Donna and those managers all the success in the world placing their staff. A lot of those managers hired people away from good jobs at John Harritt and Patty Hauptman’s beckoning. Guess what? That business model didn’t work. At least those managers have the class to do the work to take care of their staff. I wish them success.

Don’t you wonder why Alliance Title Company ran out of money RIGHT NOW? I wonder if there is a dividend to be paid from Mercury Companies and if Patty’s preserving her next Architectural Digest remodel by shutting down a loser twelve days before Christmas.

For those of you who are new here, I get on this subject from time to time. It’s usually got a slug of either “corporate wankers” or “rant”. There are so few people in business who behave admirably any more. I just finished a great book, Blood Money and Mutiny: The Fight for the Soul of Morgan Stanley. Now one would think that a huge multi-national conglomerate financial behemoth like Morgan Stanley would also be soulless. But you would be wrong. They nearly had a proxy fight three years ago and Phil Purcell was forced out. Eight retired executives, the Gang of Eight and four current superstars (including my hero Mary Meeker) went to the mats and fought to return the company to it’s roots. It’s roots were J.P. Morgan’s motto “First class business in a first class way”. Words to live by. Then they handed it over to John Mack who managed to lose $3.61 per share last quarter, (sub-prime mortgage risk) but you know what? They didn’t fold up the tent and move back to Colorado, or go on vacation in Montecito. John Mack gave back his bonus (around forty million dollars) and the company will move forward. Think Patty Hauptman gave anything back? Me either.

Remember, gentle readers, Alliance Title employees were paid on Mercury accounts. Precedence, my little dears. I’m also hearing that the Mercury accounts are just as flush as ever. Just sayin’.

Unless something really juicy occurs, which I’m not expecting over Christmas, I’ll be offering the incite insight I received from the California Employment Development department when I was unemployed. I learned a lot about transitioning. (careers, not into a drag queen) Apparently, I’m well suited to be a Strategic Missile Commander. Who knew? And there’s openings for 49 year old inexperienced Strategic Missile Commanders coming up all the time.

We are Family!

The Mercury Family of Companies

There will be a few less seats at the Mercury family of companies table Christmas dinner this year. While they still boast of 18 operating companies, it’s down two from this time last week. I’m hearing that National Alliance Title in Nevada is kaput. Wonder if those poor schmucks got their vacation and commission pay. I’m going to guess not, but I’d love to hear their story. Speaking of which, do you want to tell your story? Would you want to go on the record with how it all went down for you? In the real press, not just horsing around with me on pinkbunnyears? Ping me, I’ll hook you up. I’ve talked to several folks who don’t want to go on the record, but have lost their vacation and commissions. Feels a lot like Stockholm Syndrome to me. Take off that Army jacket and put down the gat Patty Hearst! Break the chains! Join up! Make Patty Hauptman pay up! Write the Wine Dog for more information.

Speaking of the Mercury family of companies, I spoke to a couple of Ex-ATC folks who are now over at their formerly sister company, now surviving sibling Financial Title Company. The best response I got was from an Escrow Officer. Being the genial sort that I am, I asked “How’zit?” She responded “It’s terrible, I want to kill myself”. Hopefully, she’s kidding and doesn’t want to harm herself. Save your money honey, that one’s next. Ivy’s smarter, but something sinister will certainly trickle down and deal the crushing blow. The Hauptmans want out of California and they’re going to get out. Remember when they told you that the employees were the company’s best asset? Yeah, until it comes time to cut the checks, then your just a liability.

What the Wine Dog is drinking…

Jim Beam Black label, Kentucky sour mash. No ice. (I should have installed the ice maker) The Wine Dog picked up another head cold. Second one since November. Mass transportation sucks. I knew I was doomed when I realized the lady across the aisle was a disgusting snotty mess. I thought, I can’t bathe in enough bleach and antitoxins to cleanse myself of an hour of this exposure. And I couldn’t. Chad, the building security guy told me he was coming down with something the other day, but he killed it with his special Secret Squirrel concoction, which I will now share with you. (He did kill it, he’s not sick). Apparently, you mix castor oil, two shots of Southern Comfort and orange juice in a mini blender and then chug it down. Chad says you don’t want to taste it, I get that. I truly believe that it does work, because I’m certain that it induces violent uncontrollable projectile vomiting. No self respecting virus could live through that, especially when you’re dry heaving up your toenails. I use a more traditional mixture. Bourbon, honey, lemon, hot water. If nothing else, it affords the patient a good restful night’s sleep.

Needless to say, the head cold stalled my progress temporarily on my 24 week march. I’ve switched out my workouts from Russian power lifting routines to old school body building. My body kept breaking down and that’s usually due to too much of the same thing, so time to switch it up. The bicipital tendon seems to be what I blew up in Yuba City. With rest, it’s coming around. Unfortunately with the head cold and the rain, Beauregard is missing his morning runs jogs. Nothing like a having a cranky 80 pound Doberman up your ass when you don’t feel good.

Speaking of which, for all you ex-ATC folk, the best thing I did for myself when I was off was to go to the gym every morning as if I were still going to work. It creates balance, routine, structure and keeps your head on straight. I also cycled every other afternoon. Long walks work just as well if you don’t belong to a gym, the point is to do something good for yourself every day. And I figured if I ever caught myself watching The View that it was time to get a job at Starbucks. To my credit, I never watched The View the whole time I was off. I did catch Maury’s Meth Mom Makeovers one day, but that’s more like watching the WWF, and that’s okay.