Irrational Exuberance

In all my irrational exuberance last night, I neglected that old lumbering shell of it’s former self.

Pay Exercised
Mr. Aldo C. Zucaro , 69
Chairman, Chief Exec. Officer and Chairman of Exec. Committee
Mr. James A. Kellogg , 56
Pres and Chief Operating Officer
Mr. William A. Simpson , 66
Director, Chairman of Republic Mortgage Insurance Company, Chairman of Mortgage Guaranty and Pres of Republic Mortgage Insurance Company
Mr. Karl W. Mueller , 49
Chief Financial Officer and Sr. VP
Mr. Rande Yeager , 59
Sr. VP of Title Insurance, Chief Exec. Officer of Old Republic Title Insurance Company and Pres of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company

I’d hide those salaries too, if I were you. On the other hand, you guys made $20.2 million. I didn’t see that coming.

He’s lucky to get a job and some pay

  Pay Exercised
Mr. Parker S. Kennedy , 59
Chairman, Chief Exec. Officer, Member of Exec. Committee and Chairman of First American Title Insurance Company
$ 1.66M $ 0
Mr. Frank V. McMahon , 48
Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer
$ 1.43M $ 0
Mr. Dennis J. Gilmore , 49
Chief Operating Officer
$ 1.49M $ 0
Mr. Barry M. Sando , 48
Pres of Mortgage Information Segment
$ 1.39M $ 0
Mr. Gary L. Kermott , 54
Exec. VP
$ 1.44M $ 0

Nice work if you can get it. So these guys lost $67.5 million dollars. So let’s do a little math. Executive compensation, as listed above, $10,400,000.00 So $67.5 minus $10.4 gets us to $57.1 million dollar loss. Now like Ted over at LFG, they got rid of 1200 of those nasty FTE’s. And they pay those guys in Bangalore $16 a day. Maybe I should have taken more algebra to figure this one out.

  Pay Exercised
Mr. Alan L. Stinson , 62
Chief Exec. Officer
$ 3.19M $ 11.80M
Mr. Raymond R. Quirk , 61
$ 2.27M $ 11.46M
Mr. Brent B. Bickett , 43
$ 3.19M $ 10.03M
Mr. Anthony J. Park , 41
Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Exec. VP
$ 689.00K $ 1.40M
Mr. Peter T. Sadowski , 53
Exec. VP of Fidelity National Financial Inc and Gen. Counsel of Fidelity National Financial Inc
$ 1.61M $ 591.00K

If you had any doubts that the pay over at the Evil Empire was better, ask these guys. Not to worry, they lost $44.9 million dollars. Executive compensation total? $46,230,000.00. Say what? Yep, give back the executive compensation and FNF is in the black. Rut-roh.

  Pay Exercised
Mr. Malcolm S. Morris , 61
Chairman, Co-Chief Exec. Officer and Member of Exec. Committee
$ 661.00K $ 679.00K
Mr. Stewart Morris Jr., 59
Co-Chief Exec. Officer, Pres, Exec. Director and Member of Exec. Committee
Mr. Max Crisp , 73
Chief Financial Officer, Exec. VP of Fin., Sec., Treasurer, Director, Member of Exec. Committee, Chief Financial Officer of Stewart Title Company and Exec. VP of Stewart Title Company
Mr. Matthew W. Morris , 36
Pres of Title Unit
$ 280.00K N/A
Mr. E. Ashley Smith , 61
Chief Legal Officer, Exec. VP, Gen. Counsel, Chief Legal Officer of Stewart Title Co, Chief Legal Officer of Stewart Title Guaranty Co, Exec. VP of Stewart Title Co, Exec. VP of Stewart Title Guaranty Co, Gen. Counsel of Stewart Title Co and Gen. Counsel of Stewart Title Guaranty Co
$ 379.00K N/A

Here’s a couple of guys who play it close to the vest. Total Disclosed compensation $1,999,000.00 If that’s actually close, I can’t even pick on these guys. Actually they cut 1500 of those cumbersome FTE’s. Hell yeah I can pick on them.

  Pay Exercised
Mr. Theodore L. Chandler Jr., 55
Chairman, Chief Exec. Officer, Chairman of Exec. Committee, Chairman of Lawyers Title Insurance Corp., Chairman of Transnation Title Insurance Company, Chairman of Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, Chief Exec. Officer of Lawyers Title Insurance Corp., Chief Exec. Officer of Transnation Title Insurance Company, Chief Exec. Officer of Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, Pres of Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, Pres of Lawyers Tit
Mr. G. William Evans , 53
Chief Financial Officer, Chief Financial Officer of Lawyers Title Insurance Corp., Chief Financial Officer of Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company and Chief Financial Officer of Transnation Title Insurance Company
Mr. Jeffrey C. Selby , 62
Pres of LandAmerica Commercial Services
Mr. Kenneth Astheimer , 59
Pres of Agency Services
Ms. Melissa A. Hill , 51
Pres of Residential Services and Exec. VP of Operations Resources

Don’t ya just wonder what they paid Ted to drive that sonofabitch off the side of the mountain? It was an excellent ski adventure, wasn’t it?

Bodies strewn across the dead end street

Holy CRAP!

They said around $50 million.  $67,500,000.00 lost in Q4 2007.  My head is spinning.  I think Radical wins it at $63 mil.  I know dolphyngryl came in some where around there, but I can’t find your comment.   They’re running this thing like the Federal Government.  Wowwie.

Talk amongst yourselves.

(seems like a bad time to take over one of Patty Hauptman’s weazing enterprises)


The winner is dolphyngryl at $65 million.   I would say congratulations, but as we know, Pink Bunny Ears contests are like working in the title industry or for the State.  You’ll get know credit or someone else will take credit for your work and you’ll get no compensation.  Professor Shays suggested we double the prize, so you’ll get nothing times two.  And no credit.  Thanks for playing our game.

It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do

Paroxysmal tachycardis of uncertain nature. That’s a long day at the office.

Well, I got a fine how-do-you-do yesterday morning at the gym. I work out with a heart rate monitor, because knowledge is power after all. And last month I had a sub max test so I know where my ticker’s supposed to be humming along at. So yesterday I did my cardio workout like usual. It’s a graduated thing that starts at level say 5 then moves to 6 after two minutes then 7 after a minute then 8 for a minute, then 9 for a minute then 10 for a minute, (10 is supposed to equal your maximum effort) then backs off to 6 and starts the upward climb again. Four cycles equals 20 minutes and there’s your cardio workout. Except yesterday, my body had something else in mind. So I finished the cardio went over to do some ab work, which I had been a little remiss about. Did my reps and stood up and thought “Wow, I’m dizzy”. Really dizzy. And my heart seems to be doing the rumba. So I walked over to a cardio machine so I could get a reading. (you can wear the watch or just stand next to one of those machines and it’ll pick it up). The thing said 194. WTF said the kangaroo. So I went in the locker room and sat down but it wasn’t backing off at all. (because sitting in an empty locker room was soooo much smarter than staying on the gym floor where someone could see me drop). It wasn’t slowing down at all, so I got my stuff and went down to the front desk where my golfing buddy Ron works. I told him what was going on and he says “I really need to take that CPR class”. Yeah, maybe. So I walk over to a machine and check again, 188. I sit there for about 10 minutes, but I’m not catching a break. Maybe a shower will help. So I drive home. (OK, I’ve gotten in enough trouble for that boneheaded move, so leave me alone about that). There I get the monitor’s watch, and I’ve calmed down to 177, but it’s been 20 minutes now. I decide that I’m giving this 30 minutes and then I’m going to Emergency. So I do the exact right thing and pour another cup of coffee and sit down to watch a Tivo’ed Law and Order to see if just sitting and relaxing will calm it down. Then, just as strangly as it started, it went away. By then I had already used that day’s beats up and I was exhausted, and I’ve got this monster deal I’m working on, so I went to work. All day I had spurts of high revs, followed by dizziness and some confusion. More than the usual confusion. A long day at the office. Finally I decide I really need to get this looked at. What if I wake up dead…right? So I ask around for a recommendation for a Cardiologist who would understand that I’m a competitive weightlifter and just writing a script and patting me on my head and sending me away wasn’t going to cut it. I get two great recommendations and in neither case can I get through the labyrinth of their voice mail systems to speak to a real person. And no call back. No wonder each thoughtful message tells your to hang up and dial 911 if this is an emergency…because we sure as hell aren’t going to talk to you. I’m taking a class on Tuesday nights and last night was the first quiz. Now blowing off the quiz because you went to the ER just isn’t going to fly, so I went to the class, took the quiz and then took myself to the ER.

Mt. Diablo Medical Center is now the Concord campus of John Muir. The changes are palpable. It feels like you’re at John Muir in Walnut Creek. I walked in around 7:10 and was called in around 7:15 and in a bed by 7:15 hooked up to every machine in the whole world. AND I was back out of there by 9:30 with walking papers, a diagnosis and the feeling that the Doctor (Doctor Stuart Shikora, a great guy) actually understood what was going on and gave a damn. He checked everything for an injury to the muscle itself and there was none. I’ve had this problem before but it was twelve or thirteen years ago and cardio life is different at 36 than it is at 49. He said I have a beautiful EKG. How sexy is that? The guy who was waiting on the guy in the next bed (I think he’s a serial ER buddy) said my oxygen levels looked good too. I know my bp is sterling. And of course my heart saved the rumba for another day. Here’s the sad news: No caffeine or strenuous exercise until cleared by a Cardiologist. I’m not happy about that. Hopefully one of them will call me back today.

I can’t remember the last experience with our health care system that went this well. Once discharged I had to go to room 14 where I was certain I would be strong armed for every last nickel in my wallet. Nope. No co pay for you, have a nice evening. Do you need to make a copy of my card? No, you’re covered, do you need me to call someone for you? Uh, no, thanks. So props all around for John Muir Concord and Dr. Shikora and all of the great nurses in the ER last night. Y’all were cool.

As I was driving home, I thought about how curious it was that this occurred on the same day that I saw the article about Walter Reed. I thought “is it really that hard to treat the soldiers who are defending this country the same way I was just treated?” It shouldn’t be.

Put the lime in the coconut

Needless to say, I have alerts set for Financial Title Company.  This one just came in.,2933,332776,00.html#5

Leave it to Faux News to blow a story.  It’s in foreclosure.  It will be foreclosed when the sale takes place on the courthouse steps on March 18th.  (And what a lovely courthouse that Santa Barbara County Courthouse is)  Up until that point, he can catch the loan up and proceed as if all is well.  On March 19th look for Sonofabun to be trying to make a cash for keys deal.

Sorry, that wasn’t anything juicy on FTC.  It’s been painfully quiet on that front.  Apparently their foreclosure division is still in business.

Why do you run and hide from lies

I’m running behind today and I’ve had one of those four/five/six day headaches. I’m sure it’s brought on by spending too much time trying to figure out how one single woman is going to fix 70 feet of broken fences over the weekend with laundry change, while the largest developer in Contra Costa County sits back and tells me to piss off. So I’m a little light on material today.

Miniature Rose had this gem this morning. It’s all I can do to keep my head from blowing off my shoulders. So we throw more tax money at corporate America so they can “teach” the staff at Walter Reed how to treat the men and women who have been wounded in combat with dignity and respect? I’m sorry, if you don’t have enough human decency to treat our injured soldiers with dignity and respect WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE PAYROLL? What is Donald Duck going to teach your cold dark heart?

Don’t give us none of your aggravation

I think the storm has passed. For the first time in a week it’s NOT raining. Saturday night I lost the back fence again. This time it went down bad. I should have taken a picture of it down, but it was laying on top of two of the bareroot berries I had planted two weeks ago and it needed to be moved NOW. So I didn’t get pictures of it down. I did get pictures of it kludged together.


You can see in the center of the picture that it’s not connected. And it’s not. It’s just sort of leaning there.


At the bottom of this fence post you can see where it moved about a foot because of the mud.


That two by for is just about the only reason that bad boy is upright. Discovery Builders is not going to like this morning’s phone call. I think they just tried to blow me off last time. Something you’ll notice from these photographs is the side of the fence which has the bones and the side which is finished.


Yeah, the bones are on my side and the finished fence is on Seeno‘s side. You wonder about how a guy gets a place like this, then behaves like that. It makes no sense to me. They get construction supplies at cost and they have tons of guys on staff and the thing could be fixed for probably half of retail. A good neighbor would have already arrived at that point. I’d love to split half of retail with them, yet they chose to yank my chain instead. That sure says a lot about their business practice and ethics.

So either things go a little differently this morning or as soon as I get this monster deal put to bed, I’m taking days off and hammering on a fence.

Should’ve been dead on a Sunday morning, banging my head

It’s time to light up PETA and HSUS. They’re both great a self-promotion. Not so great at actually helping animals in need. I first became aware of their issues during Katrina. HSUS and the SPCA got into a huge pissing match over who was going to run the show down there. It was all politics and no consideration for the animals. Eventually HSUS took the lead. Without Jane Garrison, the whole thing would have been a bust. She worked tirelessly and I give her credit for recognizing who we were and putting us on the “hot” calls, because we were experienced dog handlers and could deal with the special cases. The DPCA and Special Needs Dobermans were at the ready to get the pure bred Dobermans out of there, on behalf of Doberman owners and because it was the right thing for the National Club to do. HSUS would not allow a breed club to come in and take dogs that were obviously purebred and make other foster arrangements for them. Special Needs Dobermans and the DPCA had the money to board every Doberman they pulled until the owner was ready to take them back. It wasn’t until a well placed phone call was made to the President of the Louisiana SPCA that the DPCA was able to pull those dogs from Lamarr Dixon and get them health care and boarded and in all but one case, rehomed, as the owners could no longer care for them. They (meaning the Disaster Relief team) found every single owner of the 14 purebred Dobermans they pulled. Pasado took one of the Dobermans, that’s always bothered me. They’re the numb nuts that allowed this to happen. (warning, link is gruesome) As a member of the DPCA Disaster Relief Team, I saw the contempt these “activists” had for us. One of them actually asked me to steal a dog for her. Their hypocrisy was mindboggling. What they don’t understand is that if puppy mills are shut down and all breeders become responsible for the life of the animal they breed, then we’re the good guys. Bubba up the block that let his bitch have mixed puppies, so his kids could learn about… oh hell that stupid reason just makes my brain leak out my ear… didn’t show up at Lamarr Dixon to help get those dogs back to their owners. But the National dog club for Doberman Pinschers showed. So did the Rottweiller people, and the GSD people and I’m sure a lot of other breed clubs. We’re not the bad guys. We love our dogs. A lot. We aren’t their guardians or their Mom’s or anything else. They are dogs and we own them. We love them, probably because man was made to have a canine companion. But they’re dogs. We have rights as dog owners and we will not allow butterfly wingnuts like Ingrid Newkirk, (another gruesome link) the biggest dog murderer of all, to have a say in how we humanely treat our pets.


And now for the good guys. Let’s first give a shout out to Doberman Rescue Unlimited. These guys were awarded Rescue of the Year by Pedigree. (They’re the second video, with the dogs running in the snow.)  Of all the thousands of breed and non breed specific rescues out there, these guys got it. Props all around. To quote Bobby Flay, “just keep doing what you’re doing”.

And finally, AB1634 must be stopped in California. It’s not the right solution for a number of reasons. Levine has hooked up with the AR gangs and is trying to legislate how we treat our dogs and cats. Mandatory spaying and neutering at 4 months is ridiculous. Once again the answer is education. If people understood that they should only leave an animal intact if 1) it really is of the quality that should be bred or 2) sterilization would threaten the animal’s health, then we wouldn’t have the problem we do. My first point is a lot more powerful than just “yeah, she’s a pretty girl”. Quality that should be bred throws out most puppy mills completely. They never health test dogs. They don’t temperament test dogs. They don’t even let them out of their cages. Those dogs are not of the quality that should be bred. If a dog isn’t of the quality that the health testing is clear and the temperament is exceptional, it should not be bred. Period.  Truly well bred dogs don’t go nuts and bite the family.  Education is the only solution to that problem, legislation is not. Instead of ignorant inane ads like this PETA piece of crap, why don’t we start talking about what should and should not be bred. And lets talk about where you should be looking to get your purebred dogs from, i.e. not pet store or breeders over the internet where you can’t visit their home and see that the animals have been raised humanely. Then lets see if this really is a problem.

Saturday night and you’re still hangin’ around

I decided to make yesterday my free day. I gave blood, which I normal do every eight weeks or so. Since I’d had one head cold after another, I hadn’t donated since October. One of the EO’s I work with is married to a firefighter. On Monday she told me about this accident that had occurred. The firefighter who was critically injured is good friends with her husband. She had worked the blood drive for Captain Martin over the weekend. So I got off my butt and went down and kicked in a pint in his honor. He and his wife have a four year old.  There’s another drive on March 2 for our North Bay readers, or folks that just like to drive. It took a lot of blood to save his life so the local supply is low. My donation went to replenishing the supply. There’s also information on the Marin County Fire page for cash donations for his family. He’s still in the hospital, upgraded, but facing more surgery.

Freewheeling free day

So I decided since they were going to give me cookies anyway, I might as well just say the hell with it and make Friday my free day, then behave over the weekend. It’s going to storm here, the skies are gorgeous right now, pink clouds, but Hell is rolling in and we’re going to get our asses kicked. I’ll probably lose the fences tonight or tomorrow. Anyway, getting a bottle of wine yesterday afternoon seemed like a good idea, so one of the assistants came into my office and handed me a $20 and said “I don’t know anything about wine and the EO just sent me to buy a bottle of wine”. So I walked across the street with him and got a St. Supery Oak free Chardonnay for $18.99. It was very good. St. Supery is hit or miss. They’ve made some really great reasonable wines and some that were a breath better than plonk. This one was very good. It was a buttery Chardonnay with apples and pears on the forward palette. There’s some light vanilla in the middle. Finished very clean and made for a nice ending to a pretty stressful week. I have a monsterous transaction on my desk right now. Ten figures. Wine was just what the Wine Dog needed yesterday. So on the way home I stopped at Gordo’s Gourmet Hamburgers in Walnut Creek. That was by far the best burger I’ve gotten in YEARS. I will drone on ad nauseum about Derf’s in Santa Barbara. They put their burgers on Vior’s sourdough buns and their fries were always perfect. But I haven’t been to Santa Barbara in probably more than 5 years. So getting a good burger has been an issue. Gordo’s hand grinds the meat, the buns are not that soggy crap, the lettuce tastes like lettuce, the tomatoes taste like tomato and it was a rockin’ burger. They are on the free day list.

And because it’s the weekend


They’d like to let me know it’s about damned time I got home and would I sit down and scratch their ears now. Buttheads. Actually, in the picture you can see how much bigger Beauregard is compared to Rita. She’s so small. And she eats the same amount he does. And here’s a bonus historical Doberman picture.


Ain’t no sunshine

I figured after Karn Evil 9, y’all needed a break.

I do love the Coconut Telegraph.  More meetings.  No looka good.  Big fish eats little fish? Waiting for a smoke signal from Folsom.  Note to Ivy.  RUN!

LFG 3 Year Chart (Ted’s Excellent Alpine Ski Jump Adventure)


Under heavy trading yesterday LandAm dropped 8.34% in ONE DAY.  Ouch mon.  That’s what happens when your investor call (10am yesterday EST) includes such jewels as a $45.9 MILLION dollar Q4 loss.  That’s what happens when your claims are up to 9% of your premium dollar for the year.   Good news they got rid of a bunch of those cumbersome FTE’s.

The Big Mo


Someone out there knows what they did to recover  a little here.  I guess it helps when you only lose $40.2 million dollars.  Their stock was essentially flat yesterday, I think Wall Street already adjusted for this.

The Burgermeister


$44.9 million dollars is a lot of freaking burgers Bill.  It takes some brass ones to announce a .30 cent per share dividend when you bleed money like that.  I suppose getting rid of all those nasty expensive FTE’s helped a lot.  Nice job Billy, now lets talk about your handicap.

Parker’s Posey moment

February 28 8a.m. PST is FAF’s call.   If you haven’t submitted your guess for how much they lost, you have until 8am Thursday morning.  Of course, so does Parker.

The Wine Dog is drinking….

Highgate 1999 Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  Out of Graton, California.  A friend sent  me a mixed case of wine a few years ago.  Essentially, the deal went like this:  I was expanding into San Francisco County.  I knew we needed the E&R cards that Egon Hall had created over his career.  I called an old friend who happened to have a copy.  This copy came from the ORIGINAL Commonwealth Title Company of San Francisco.  They failed in 1984 or 85.  My friend was sitting in the empty building with the commissioner’s deputy who said “I don’t know what we’re going to do with this crap (meaning the title plant itself) Take what you want”.  She took the E&R cards, knowing that they were the key to San Francisco.  In 2002, I was opening a new San Francisco Title operation.  I called her and she says “you know I’ve got the old E&R cards in my basement”.  I paid her handsomely for them (wasn’t my money and really it was cheap for an entire county).  She sent back a case of wine.  In it were two bottles of Highgate.  I’d never heard of them and still can’t find much about them.  Anyway, it’s aged quite nicely.  Deep berries, plums, a touch of sweetness you don’t usually see in a cab, but it’s nice.  Very well structured, beautiful mouth feel and a much better bottle than I thought I was opening last night.

Oh yeah, and it’s raining.