Coconut Telegraph

It’s a sad day in San Luis Obispo.  Lights out is right.  Having worked in that area, I can say that this really is the end of an era.  Very sad.

Also very sad, I’m hearing it’s very bloody over at Triple 7.  All I can say is I’m sorry.

And the tall grass wave in the wind

Here we are at the end of 2008. Since PBE is all about accountability, here we go. First, a snippet from the 2008 goals list.

Victim in Vegas wrote in a couple of New Year’s Resolutions for Patty Hauptman and I’m going to build on those. Feel free to add your own.

  1. public apology to all employees, past & way past. -Didn’t happen
  2. pay checks sent immediately to those who have been shorted.. -Didn’t happen although they did manage to get that into the bankruptcy filing.
  3. Learn about ethical business practices and apply them -Might have something to do with teaching a pig to sing
  4. Stop trying to get away with something and start trying to conduct business in an honorable way. -The Hauptmans? They were still taking for themselves as Mercury crashed into the Rocky Mountains.

I was hoping for five, but that should be enough to keep her busy for 2008. I mean really, how do you learn ethics at her age anyway? That’s going to be a tough one. And here’s a couple of mine for John Harritt.

  1. Admit that you are not business material, you are not CEO material. You are a salesman. Period. —Johnny hasn’t gotten here yet. He’s still trying to get something going.
  2. Return some phone calls and start behaving in an honorable manner –That didn’t happen
  3. Get out of the title business, you’re part of the problem (actually that could be Patty Hauptman’s #5 too) –Didn’t happen although I guess it’s safe to say that Patty’s out of the title business now.

That’s all I have for John Harritt. You can’t make a New Year’s Resolution to be less of a dumb ass….can you?

Wine Dogs Goals (since we don’t do resolutions)

  1. Get the 50 pounds off -swing and a miss
  2. Set records in the new weight class (I’ve already checked, it’s so doable) –swing and a miss
  3. Finish the four classes I’m enrolled in -Done those were my real estate classes
  4. Pass the appropriate tests -Done (I was talking about my real estate licensing)
  5. Keep Pinkbunnyears rolling and interesting, key topics to include
    1. Title business and my crusade to stop the corporate wankers -Didn’t miss a beat
    2. Body for Life -not particularly impressive
    3. Powerlifting -Done
    4. My dogs (yeah, I said DOGS. See below) -Done
  6. Train the newbie (see 5.4 above or picture below) -Done
  7. Build an organic garden -Done
  8. Landscape back yard -Swing and a miss
  9. Start three planned businesses and write business plan for fourth -Two out of three
  10. Use less emotion and more brain unless the situation calls for more emotion and less brain. –I’ve really been pretty good on this one

It’s real interesting to see where I was on January 1, or December 31 last year and where I am now. Last year when I said “dogs” I meant Beauregard and Rita. I could have never guessed that my heart would be broken in June when Beauregard succumbed to cancer. I didn’t even know he was sick. I could have never guessed that I would be living with a hillbilly blue dog. I had hoped that maybe I got out of the title business, I was taking the appropriate course of action. Who knew it would be done for me. I figured the Amateur Now Demoted Manager had it out for me. Who knew he could get the corporation to do it for him. I know he’s not that smart. Just lucky. Well, see how that works out for him on a go forward basis. I didn’t lose an ounce of weight last year. I did buy a new bike and fell in love with distance. I do have the wood to build a deck off the french doors that still aren’t completely installed. It’s in the garage and the BMW still sits in front of the house rather than in the garage behind a new automatic door. But all and all, a lot happened last year.

So, without further adieu….drum roll please…

Wine Dog Goals for 2009

  1. Continue polishing Rita’s training
  2. Get Bubba’s training to the next level
  3. Lose that damned 50 pounds
  4. Set two new powerlifting records
  5. Finish a
    1. Bicycle race
    2. Metric Century
    3. Century
  6. Raise $5000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation through Team Fatty (see new button in the sidebar)
  7. Organize real estate business to optimal efficiency
  8. Finish getting the title service business running
  9. Close a deal every three weeks
  10. Get a solid marketing campaign going and stay on target with it
  11. Finish at least one of the writing projects
  12. Get this damned house painted
  13. Landscape both yards
  14. Remodel main bath (the only thing inside the house I didn’t do.

That ought to keep me out of trouble. Feel free to throw yours out in to the comments section

But I can’t help but be confused

Miss me? Sorry, I was busy doing what it is I do. Like the Return of the Zombies, IndyMac is lumbering back to life. I don’t have time to look up Paulson & Company, but I sure hope that doesn’t have anything to do with the Secretary of…..never mind. No relation. Still the ad I got at the top of the article was for the Bloodless Empire’s Loss Mitigation Bonanza Bottom Feeders Solutions.

Heard it through the grapevine

I’ll bet they’re missing NASCAR Teddy over at his Splintered Excellent Title Adventure. I’m hearing that heads are rolling in a major way. If you’re a County Manager and reading this dribble Yay for you! duck and cover. My theory is if they can’t find you, they can’t can you, so RUN! Run Forest Run!

I want to ride my bicycle

I finally took on Ygnacio today. Up the hill in 9:39. Not a land speed record but I’ve done worse. 1:06:15 for the entire ride. Not bad for the first time up since my acquisition of health insurance. It’s nice to be working out on the bike again.

Well, I was a little smug about breaking Bubba of his marking habit quickly. Not so fast said his little boyness. He didn’t like sharing his man space with the HVAC dude. He let me know by marking it. Now, the HVAC dude did not piss in my hallway so Bubba shouldn’t have either in my book. He certainly now wishes he hadn’t. He also has a misfortunate situation this morning involving the wine refrigerator. The HVAC dude was nowhere near that. And I caught him that time too. He’s been a little contrite all day. I’d just be happy if he kept it in his dog pants.

I’m drinking an Alcina 2006 Pinot. In the beginning it was finishing like rubbing alcohol. Thankfully that has improved. Fruity on the front with some black tea with an invisible finish. Strange wine.

And the best song since Gretchen Wilson went lingerie shopping at KMart

[youtube EmqIsnIp5uc]

And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad

We love the comments section. Today we love it even more. Escrowdude weighed in with a faint recollection. Not so faint to the Google.

TOP CEO GOLFERS
Of the 12 best CEO golfers at Fortune 1,000 companies, only four can also brag that their stock is beating the S&P 500 index so far this year.
CEO

Handicap

Company

% change 2005

% change YTD
Jim Crane
0.8
EGL
25.7%
-19.5%
Jerry Jurgensen
0.9
Nationwide Financial
15.1%
6.3%
Curt Culver
2.4
MGIC Investment
-4.5%
-13.1%
Ted Chandler
3.0
LandAmerica Financial
15.7%
1.5%
John Lundgren
3.0
The Stanley Works
-1.9%
-1.9%
Steve Macadam
3.5
BlueLinx Holdings
NA
-7.2%
Ed Stack
4.1
Dick’s Sporting Goods
-5.4%
26.0%
Barry Davis
4.2
Crosstex Energy
50.5%
40.8%
Steve Bennett
4.4
Intuit
21.1%
18.2%
Mike Eskew
5.2
UPS
-12.1%
-6.5%
David Perdue
5.2
Dollar General
-8.2%
-35.1%
Mayo Shattuck
5.2
Constellation Energy
31.8%
3.4%
S&P 500 index
3.0%
4.2%
Source: Golf Digest

My goodness. NASCAR Teddy is a good golfer. Not so much in the board room. The Source of Title blog was on fire this morning. I guess he saw the article in the Denver Post too. Come on gentle readers, where’s that petition?

The Connecticut Law Tribune has a great article on the situation as a whole. There’s one paragraph that is probably the most telling of all.

• Lenders have significantly tightened their appraisal process and scrutiny, making it harder to get mortgages approved. For example, at Bank of America, the loan officers writing the loan are no longer allowed to have any contact at all with the appraiser doing the appraisal, presumably out of fear that the loan officer would push to for a too-high appraisal just to close the loan. But this also means that legitimate errors in appraisals cannot be addressed in as quick a manner. In addition, the rumor is that many lenders are receiving appraisals and then cutting the value even more depending upon whether the property is in a town with “declining market values.” This means deals between buyers and sellers have to be renegotiated—sometimes more than once—and that puts increased stress on all parties in the transaction.

I’d heard lenders were doing that now too. LO’s should have never been allowed to bully appraisers the way they did.  How do you answer to “If you don’t appraise this at XX you won’t get any more business from the Bank of XYZ”?  Yeah, as an appraiser you can say “No” but at what point do you end up being the only guy with no clients?  So while I understand the bank’s overcorrecting, because that’s what it is, I understand how we got here too.  I gave up my stamp so I wouldn’t be asked to sign off people who didn’t understand or shouldn’t have signed the loans they did.  But I had a day job.

HVAC

I don’t know if I mentioned that I had a termite guy do a reinspection here.  This place had subterranean termites when I went into contract on it.  They were taken care of as part of the deal.  I had a recheck done to be sure the little bastards stayed out of the house.  One apricot tree has already fallen over and a second is right behind it.  I didn’t need the house third in line.  It wasn’t, but the guy pointed out to me that the ducts on the heater had fallen off in a couple of places.  So today I had an HVAC contractor come by and fix it and give me an estimate for air conditioning, because we aren’t going through that again.  Three ducts were completely disconnected and the Y under the house had fallen down and disconnected.  All better now.

Now I get to ride out to my lifer listing and see if somebody really did break in again.  I’m sure they did.

Never wanna stick around to the very last dance

We may have a winner for Today’s Best Person in The World, with a nod to Keith Olbermann. Greg Griffith of the Denver Post, armed with God’s flashlight has shone the light on those cockroaches on Waverly. An excellent article, well researched and strangely accurate. Those of us who have been in the business know how often the press actually gets our business right and Greg did his homework and came up with a damned fine article. We raise a glass to the Denver Post. In case you’re bored of clicking through my links, here’s a taste of what Greg uncovered.

Members of the Hauptman family and their trusts also received close to $2 million in dividends and stock redemptions during the 12 months preceding the bankruptcy filing. At that time, Jerrold and Patricia Hauptman owned an apartment in downtown Denver and a house in Keystone.

Yeah, click through that link, he did a good job. One question, since Greg did such a good job…is there a petition for dissolution? That’s what I hear but I haven’t seen it.

Wow! That’s a lot for a Sunday morning early you say. Nope, I’ve got more. Down in Richmond Virginia the failure of a Fortune 500 company has devastated their economy. NASCAR Teddy who strangely manages to retain his job has to be one of the most unpopular guys in town. Him and the Circuit City clown. It’s kind of strange for one town to have two major failures like that. You got to wonder what they’re doing down at the country club. Actually, I’ve never found NASCAR Teddy’s handicap on the golf index so I guess he plays tennis. We know from yesterday’s post that The Burgermeister just sits at the bar and knocks back vino. Anywho the Times Dispatch has a nice article on the effect the Landamerica implosion has had on the local economy. And if you wonder how they got there in the first place, the Times Dispatch has a nice article on the regulation lack of oversight in the 1031 business.

“The FTC said there was not enough fraud, and it did not warrant oversight,” said Mary B. Foster, past president of the federation and owner of a 1031 company in Washington state. “It needs to be kind of rampant fraud for them to do the oversight of the industry.”

I think you can lay this turd on the doorstep of Mr. Regulation Restricts Business himself. That genius who couldn’t find oil in Texas, couldn’t put a baseball team together with all that Texas oil money and drove the entire country into a depression recession. Because we are.

On a happier note, my headache is gone, the guy who cancelled on me yesterday morning called last night and asked to go this morning and it’s strangely nice outside. My shoulder has been killing me and I’m going to have to stop benching for a couple of weeks while I try to get it back in shape. It’s not quite frozen but if I keep screwing around I’m pretty sure I can freeze it up. I went and saw my chiro who told me to buy the Buchberger-12 and get back to her next week. I, of course, can’t wait for it to show up and have managed to find the bulk of the program online, after two days of searching I finally dreamt up the correct keywords. Now I can start while waiting for the DVD to arrive. She didn’t really tell me what she was hoping to accomplish but I talked to one of the trainers at the gym the next day and he hadn’t heard of the Buchberger-12 but he explained why my shoulder was impinging. It’s sad that the gym has been sold and the corporation that took it over is probably not going to continue to allow independents like Coach. His knowledge is vast. He’s probably around 60 years old, in awesome shape and someone I look up to in the gym. Most trainers are just clowns that took the test. They don’t really understand the kinesiology that goes behind the movements. Coach gets it. He’s got a couple of protégés at the gym and they get it too. They’re all going to end up leaving and it’s not right.  Anyway, armed with Coach’s information, and a pirated copy of the program, I’m off to correct my shoulder problem.  I’ll have to put today’s bike ride off until later this afternoon which translates into less time on City streets for safety purposes.  I’m doing 30 miles today, I did 30 last week too.  After the 3rd 30 mile ride I’ll start adding miles on the long ride.  I tried to build the button yesterday for my LAF challenge but the PBE mac has been sick and it won’t open stuffit so I can’t install the program.  I really need to find the software disk and reinstall the operating system.  But, for those who haven’t seen it yet, please join me in the fight against cancer.  CLICK HERE!  My personal goal is $5000 and I’m sure with your help I’ll make it.  Thank you for your support!

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They’re creepy and they’re kooky

I’ve had a headache for two days straight. So in lieu of real content…Remember Elvira Mistress of the Dark and her Feedbag?

Apparently Elvira was the First female to twirl tassels on a national network. Who knew? Back when she was just doing her show in LA and I was living in Santa Barbara we used to watch it every Saturday night before we went out and got into that evening’s trouble. I saw the original Jello bit when it happened live. Nuff said. Then she went Nationwide, and I moved to San Francisco. ANYWAY, from the PBE feedbag…

OldTitleGuy, a brilliant guy in his own right sent in this mathematical puzzle. It’s puzzling all right.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL???

Try it without looking at answers.

1) Pick your favorite number between 1-9
2) Multiply by 3, then
3) Add 3, then again Multiply by 3 (I’ll wait while you get the calculator ….)
4) You’ll get a 2 or 3 digit number ….
5) Add the digits together

Now Scroll down …………..

Now with that number see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list below:

1. Hillary Clinton
2. Nelson Mandela
3. Tony Romo
4. President Bush
5. Bill Gates
6. Gandhi
7. Brad Pitt
8. Brett Favre
9. OldTitleGuy
10. Barack Obama

That’s really pretty ooky eh? And now this from the feedbag, a quote from the SF Gate article:

Foley Wine Group founder Bill Foley, who is chairman of the national insurance company Fidelity National and got into the wine business as a sort of second career, said Monday from his home in Montana, “We’re not planning on changing branding, but we may change the packaging of the Sebastiani wines.”

Foley first considered buying Sebastiani in June, but talks fell apart and other suitors lined up. When discussions were reactivated a month ago, Foley said he was drawn to the deal because of the Sebastiani name, the price points, and the wines.

Having been on a winery-buying binge for more than a year – he owns Firestone Vineyards in Santa Barbara County, Merus in Napa, and Three Rivers Winery in Washington, to name a few – Foley also sought more leverage with distributors. Sebastiani produces 280,000 cases a year.

In other words, The Burgermeister is going to shit up do for the wine business the same way he screwed up what he did for the title business. This saddens me in ways I cannot explain. Thank God for Spanish wines. I just wish this classless clown would go back to flipping burgers and leave legitimate business (in particular wine) alone. Can’t wait for him to outsource grapes to some godforsaken hellhole to save money. Any vineyard workers who had special perks like benefits or decent wages can kiss that goodbye. He’ll be laying everyone off and bringing them back as temps. Jerk-off. We can chose which wine to drink and I would encourage everyone that reads PBE to boycott the Foley Wine Portfolio.

Shot a man in Reno just to watch him die

Another great one has past.

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I saw her probably twenty years ago at Kimball’s in Emeryville. On the list of things to do in this life, seeing her perform live was on it. (I should devote a post to The List) She had to be around 60 at the time. Anyone who’s been to that Kimball’s knows what a small venue it was. Are they still there? Anyway, she played for about 10 days and I got to see her while she was there. She was amazing and the world is a better place because she stopped by. And who else would have gotten away with this in 1966?

[youtube TLbpwadl35E]

Meet the Donner Party

Remember the other day when I said sometimes I let things run to see what’s going to happen? I probably shouldn’t do that when it comes to planning trips. I let The Sommelier plan the ski adventure. I know the lay of the land and I really should have stepped up and taken a look at things, but I didn’t. So we stayed in Reno. Had I thought about that I would have known that staying on the OTHER side of the hill during a SKI adventure (key words are emphasized) might be a dumb idea. And I really hate staying at casinos because of the cigarette smoke. Harrah’s has a smoke free tower at their Laughlin locations, but we weren’t going to Laughlin, we were in Reno. They had a free shuttle to Northstar, which was great. I just kind of wished we were staying at Northstar, or somewhere near by, like maybe in California…or the west side of the Sierras. Then when the storm hit yesterday we would have been in Auburn on the way down, not Verdi, Nevada on the way up.

Those footprints belong to me and the Sommelier. So there’s my truck at the parking lot of Terrible’s in Verdi Nevada. The winds on the pass were 80mph and they weren’t letting us through. I played video poker and drank coffee while the Sommelier paced. Eventually she found the lady who had the knowledge. Apparently we had missed an earlier window of an hour when the pass was open. We weren’t missing another window. Around 11:30 she comes screaming over to my perch announcing they just opened the pass. Of course I was up. I’ve never left a bar stool so fast in my life. We went over the pass around 25mph. With the cable chains we were using we couldn’t go over 30mph and quite honestly, I was fine with that. Three of the cables broke going over. The guy who we paid to take them off asked if it was bare up there. It wasn’t, they just broke. Kind of pissed me off. $150 bucks for chains that you use once? Who are these asshats that make these chains and where can I get a piece of that racket? We got off the hill around 2pm and started busting home. Why are there always big accidents in Vacaville? What is that about? And why does everyone going westbound have to stop to look at an accident going eastbound? And then wreck cars going westbound?

Oh yeah, yesterday was Christmas. The Sommelier announced that next year we should go to Vegas. I made a suggestion that was anatomically impossible. I didn’t get to wrap the Brother’s present, primarily because it arrived Tuesday after I left. I didn’t think I was going to see him yesterday as we sat in Verdi, NV. So I told him where it was and it was Christmas fergodsakes, he let his inner child guide him to and open the box from Amazon. Score. I missed on some sizing on some other things but I’ll rectify that over the weekend. I will not be in a store today, with the noted exception of a grocery store. There’s new music, new All Clad and soon to be a new bike computer at the Farm, life is good. The Brother is always very good to his nephews and nieces. They are currently munching on brontosaurus bones. The dogs, there’s a whole ‘nuther story. I was so stressed out about my dogs. I haven’t been gone since I got Rita. So she has never spent a night without me. Naturally, neither has Bubba. Now, they were not only going to spend two nights without me, but they were going to have a dog walker come in twice a day and Sonofabun stopped by Tuesday and Wednesday in the middle of the day. They did outstanding. They were normal as if nothing was different when I got home. OK, Bubba was making little crying sounds as he pushed himself as close to me as he possibly could, but Rita ran her perimeters just like normal. Then I sat down after I got back last night and they laid down in the office next to me. Rita put her head on Bubba’s hip and they slept. Probably for the first time in three nights.

Speaking of bike computers, I swear I’ll get the button built in the next day or so. In the meantime, thank you to all who have stopped by my LiveStrong page. I’m very excited to be a part of this.

With the echo from the amplifiers ringing in your head

Yesterday the book closed on Ted’s Excellent Title Adventure.  The Evil Empire acquired Commonwealth and Lawyers Title at NASCAR Teddy’s fire sale.  The party’s over.  The City of Richmond understands what this means.  The big question is do they do what they did with Chicago and run a separate entity or do they roll it into the big show and use the unbranded title production centers?  Truthfully I don’t know how much the Evil Empire off shores.  I know that NASCAR Teddy spent a bunch of money stealing Bloodless Empire’s people in Bangalore and Mangalore.  Smart move Teddy.  Why do you still have a job?  And I know the Agents of Destruction from the Evil Empire have been skulking around NASCAR Teddy’s title operations ever since this saga began.  Enquiring minds want to know.  I presume The Burgermeister operates separate entities like he has all along.  His theory is “If I piss you off at Fidelity, no matter, there’s a good chance you’ll end up at Chicago and I’ll get your premium dollars anyway”.   Now he has three more ways to piss of the clientele.  Not counting Servicelink.  Check out this graphic from Inman:

I don’t need a calculator for this one.  If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…I’d like to buy a hotel on Marvin Gardens.

File this under “Don’t let this happen to you”.  And if you do, don’t let the Wine Dog pick it up on Google Alerts and draw attention to it.  Bad form over at Dinty Moore.

I went insane and let a buddy talk me into a trip to the snow…even though I live at the bottom of Mt. Diablo and it’s freaking snowing up there.  So PBE will be quiet for the next few days (the crowd noise is Parker Kennedy, Bill Foley and Ted Chandler erupting in spontaneous applause) while I reacquaint myself with a little thing I like to call roulette…and maybe some skis.  Also a form of roulette in my world.  And my good friends at Heineken.

I’d like the thank everyone who’s opted in on my LiveStrong ride.  The Lance Armstrong Foundation requires that you raise a certain amount to participate and I’ve hit that amount in two days.  I know it’s the holidays and it’s tough out there so I am truly humbled by your generosity.  For those who haven’t been here in a couple of days…click here and join me in the fight against cancer.

Free, on my own that’s the way I used to be

Well, this isn’t much of a surprise. I’m just wondering at what point someone tries to stop the new Title Rep rules. I feel bad for the reps up here. The ones I know fly right and at this point they’re concerned about being seen in a restaurant with a realtor or mortgage broker after the first. I’m also a little ticked off. I need my dry cleaning picked up. Psych! OK, the poor reps I know have endured over a month of “you need to take me out for cocktails before the new rules pass”, “you need to pick up my dry cleaning”, “you need to buy me a copy machine” and various incarnations of the same from me and Sonofabun. Truth be told, I just need a farm today, in electronic form for a very small neighborhood. Shouldn’t be that hard. Yeah, I’m still doing business today, three days before Christmas.

In other news, the FBI says that the theft of copper is threatening the infrastructure of this country. Every time I go into one of our listings I have to check the water heater to be sure that the copper is still there. They don’t get that much money for the amount of work it takes to yank it out of a foreclosed property, but we’ve had some thievery and it’s a pain in the ass to rectify. I always thought it was crackheads trying to buy some rock with some old copper tubing.

Every day Bubba comes along a little bit more. One of the things that Beauregard used to do was come in my office and sit on my foot while I was typing. Today, Bubba came into my office and sat on my foot. I absentmindedly reached down and rubbed his chest like I used to do to Beau before I realized it was Bubba sitting there and not Beau. Of course he followed that up by putting his big fat foot on the keyboard and making things pop up on the screen that I’d never seen before, but baby steps little man, baby steps. I also met a lady in Sports Basement who told me she thought he had blue dilution alopecia. Upon reading about it, I’m sure he does. That and gas. If anyone has any homeopathic remedies for CDA let me know. I think the gas is why he’s massaging his side. I’m digging through this guy’s page. Bubba may be allergic to Innova so he’s on duck and sweet potato. Anything that’s worked for anyone with a CDA dog will help.

Until I get the button up, I’ll link at the end of the posts to my LiveStrong page. Join me in the fight against cancer. Basically if everyone that comes to this site donated a minimum of $5, I would blow my goal away in a week. Let’s show them the power of PBE. I know the power of PBE, it got me fired…nevermind. Let’s put the power of PBE to work for good. The distance I chose was 65 miles or a metric century. I rode that distance four times last summer. I quit riding distance for about two and a half months when I didn’t have health insurance. The idea of sitting in county hospital with a drool cup because I didn’t have insurance when some jackhole ran me over was enough to keep me off of city streets. My new insurance has kicked in and I’m back on the road. I did 30 miles on Saturday. It was a slow 30 as I hadn’t done any distance in a while but it went by quickly. They’ve finished the work on Ygnacio and as soon as the holidaze are past and I don’t have to worry about getting dusted by eggnog soaked soccer Mom I’ll be doing the climb again. I’ll be posting my routes again soon, but after a beer soaked afternoon with Sonofabun, I need to quit screwing around on the internets and get to work.