We’re living in our eloquence, another old lang syne

It’s a blue moon and the Wine Dog will be holed up in the bunker with the Hellhoundz tonight.  For the most part I think New Year’s eve is amateur night.  I’d say “take a cab” but I remember one night years ago in the City where in fact we did take a cab.  Several cabs.  And I got myself a little stupid.  And the last cab ride home it was like 2:30 in the morning and the guy was driving like a complete asshole.  Now, I know a little about driving like an asshole.  So I said to the cabbie “Dude.  Stop the cab.  Right now.”  He did.  I continued “Look buddy, I’m hammered and I could be driving like an asshole and trying to get us killed.  But instead I’m paying you to drive like an asshole, trying to get us killed.  We can get out now or you can stop driving like an asshole and take us home safely .” He settled down.

Ten years ago today was my last day at First American Title Guaranty Company.  I worked in Commercial Services in Pleasanton.g.  FATCO didn’t allow anyone time off from November 1 until December 31 every year.  Somehow the management always got time off.  My manager when home to the Midwest.  She asked me to cover her big closings and I did.  With aplumb.  Because I’m that good.  We had some monster deals go down in that unit.  Still I did bigger deals at LandAmerica NCS.  That’s where I got a piece of the KSL resorts deal.  1 billion dollars.  5 properties, four States.  The deal was put on hold because of a hurricane in Florida.  I think it was Ivan. Or the financial restructuring of 73 Kelly Moore stores in nearly every county in the State of California.  Talk about moving pieces.  Anyway, it was my first last day at FATCO.  January 3, 2000 after the Y2K bug did not bring the world to an end, I reported to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter at 101 California in San Francisco.  That was an amazing ride.  I will never forget standing in the window of the 62nd floor of the WTC looking out at the little planes flying by and then looking down at the ants on the sidewalk.  Or the room sized elevators, I’d never seen anything like that before.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to be in one of those when the flaming jet fuel started pouring down the shaft.  Even though September 11, 2001 put a fork in that portion of my career, I can say in retrospect that what I learned at Morgan Stanley allowed me to be where I am now.  That was worth every moment.

OK, enough bullshit.  Here we go.  Last year’s goals:

Wine Dog Goals for 2009

  1. Continue polishing Rita’s training  –on track
  2. Get Bubba’s training to the next level –on track
  3. Lose that damned 50 pounds -fail
  4. Set two new powerlifting records -set three
  5. Finish a
    1. Bicycle race -done
    2. Metric Century  -done
    3. Century -done
  6. Raise $5000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation through Team Fatty (see new button in the sidebar) –fell short but raised $1200 in this economy I can’t complain
  7. Organize real estate business to optimal efficiency -fail
  8. Finish getting the title service business running -fail
  9. Close a deal every three weeks –I did this for August, September and the first part of October.  Consistency this year.
  10. Get a solid marketing campaign going and stay on target with it -fail
  11. Finish at least one of the writing projects -fail
  12. Get this damned house painted -done
  13. Landscape both yards -getting there, can’t call that one done or a fail
  14. Remodel main bath (the only thing inside the house I didn’t do. -fail

Not bad.  When I look back on this the key is organization and I failed badly with being organized.  The REO business we do is based a lot of a CYA mentality.  The bank Asset Manager is covering their ass with their manager, the servicer’s AM is covering their ass with the bank AM who is covering their ass with their manager and that of course just rolls up the food chain.  Our team wants us to cover our ass with the servicer’s AM who is covering their ass with the bank AM who is covering their ass with their manager and that of course just rolls up the food chain.  And at the end of the day, I’m the schmuck who has to run around and cover all these asses.   Trust me, one has always dropped the ball and it’s always my job to fix it.  It took me several months to figure out how to manage these peoples’ emergencies.  In the beginning I spent a lot of time chasing my tail.  My broker is too busy to teach me much of anything so I have to figure it out on my own.  I got knocked around pretty bad in the last year, but I would say I was smart enough to learn what to do and what not to do.  And take my beatings in stride.  I had it rolling for a couple of months but didn’t have the systems in place to keep it rolling.  One of my unwritten goals was to get the mortgage paid on time every month last year.  I did.  After 32 years of working for The Man, the concept of a free fall has finally penetrated my understanding.  Don’t want to ever be there again.  In addition to last year’s goals I mentioned the BMW parked in front of the garage.  This morning it is parked in the garage.

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I have pretty much built the deck I was talking about last year.  And the front of the house has new double panes.  I was able to pay for the dog’s large vet bills as they came up but I’d like to stop having Pet Emergencies next year  Bubba’s diagnosis is chronic IBD.  I think I’ve mentioned the woman I know who owns the Top Twenty Doberman.  I saw her last week.  She suggested soaking their food before I gave it to them and giving Bubba Japanese rice.  He’s been getting Japanese rice, so that was good.  His regimen is 2 cups Taste of the Wild wetlands formula for breakfast, soaked in warm water, two cups of rice about 3 hours later, with Grizzley salmon oil on it, 2 cups of rice with lean beef 3 hours later and 2 cups of Taste of the Wild 3 hours later.  I noticed Tuesday when I was walking him that his coat is shining and thick where it’s come back.  It’s also not the light grey that it was, it’s a charcoal grey.  He’s on prednisone and I think he’s in less pain.  It’s been a month like this and I want to do this for a total of 3 months with no change before I reassess his situation.  I think we’re finally getting there.  And thrilled that he doesn’t have cancer.

1-17 bubba

I drank some amazing wine last year and went to some amazing places.  Met people that I would have never guessed would spend time with the Wine Dog.  Even more shocking, they remember me the next time they see me  It’s really quite a blessed existence I lead.  So without further ado….

Wine Dog Goals for 2010

  1. Lose that damned 50 pounds
  2. Organize real estate business to optimal efficiency and STAY ORGANIZED
  3. Get marketing plan running and keep it running
  4. Close a deal a minimum of every 3 weeks consistently
  5. Finish landscaping the yards
  6. Remodel main bath
  7. Bench 215 in competition, deadlift 300
  8. Ride faster (15mpg average) and complete
    1. At least one metric event
    2. At least two Century event
  9. Raise $2500 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation through Team Fatty (new button to be there soon)
    1. pie-in-the-sky-goal -Ride for the Roses in Austin.
  10. Attain goals #1, #2, #3 and #4 by June 1 so that I can justify a new S-Works frame and all the accouterments
  11. Finish a writing project
  12. Get broker’s license
  13. Buy a new vehicle for business

That’s enough  Yes, another year with no wine goals, but that’s been working for me, so why change?  Naturally there are other things that I’m not going to put out there right now, but if I get at least half of those it will have been a great year.  Of course shining God’s flashlight down on cockroaches will always be a goal of PBE and I will not let up on Bill Foley or the Hauptmans  I will continue to point out Foley’s business practices whenever his name comes up in the wine industry and do what I can to stop him from ruining another business that I love.  And the Hauptmans, well, they’re just cockroaches.  At least Mr. Balter got everyone but the Alliance folks dialed in and he’s working on them now.  I think there will be a lot more justice than we thought, I just hope that it isn’t too late for those folks who have been trying to save their homes while the Hauptmans play legal games.  Cockroaches.

Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world

Enron Anthrax H5Na Google Starbucks iPhone Gas Prices Credit Freeze Freedom Fries Swift boat iTunes Nancy Pelosi American Idol Wardrobe Malfunction Ron Paul Lehman Brothers Mortgage Meltdown Survivor Elian Gonzalez Iraq MySpace Sully Hanging Chads Homeland Security Advisory System iPods 9/11 LiveStrong Foreclosure youtube Columbia Tsunami Turd Blossom Facebook Katrina H1N1 Going Viral Goldman Sachs 24hour News Cycle Barbaro Wikipedia Friendly Fire FDNY Schiavo Dot Com Bomb Blackwater Napster Barack Obama Lady Gaga Shock and Awe

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Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I know you said
Can’t you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

What it is you think I should

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

To carry the weight of unravelling where we went wrong

Today I’m going with the best of the worst of the last ten years.  Shit we could’ve just done without.

Of course I have a very specific view on this one.

NOLA-Lumber

Probably because I took the picture, the last week of September, 2005.

NOLA-Skipper

You’re doing a heck of a job there Brownie.

minneapolis_bridge_collapse

And we sure didn’t need to see this either.  Because no taxes is so much better than a safe infrastructure.  And we saw way too much of this.

sarah-palin

And too much of this too.

invisibleaffairs2

OK, way too much of her.

I could have skipped this bullshit

Mission-accomplished

Because it wasn’t.  I could also skip the new bullyism.  There is no honor is squeezing your opponents eyeballs until they turn to powder. Most good attorneys will tell you to negotiate a reasonable settlement.  But for most of the decade we bullied the rest of the world.  I don’t know the last time that this Nation was as unpopular worldwide as we were in the last decade.  And I don’t think we’ve been as polarized internally as we are right now since the incendiary ’60s.  And that’s the result of rhetoric this time.  The noise has gotten so bad that there’s a faction of this country that thinks that “winning” is the only answer even though personally they probably haven’t won a damn thing in their whole miserable life.  But some bullies on Clear Channel have them believing that it is the only way.  It’s not.

Abu1Abu2

And we should have never allowed that to happen in the first place.  It was and is a violation of the Geneva Convention.  We put our own service people in more danger by ignoring agreements we had made and behaving like barbarians.  And condoning it.  Shame on every single American who did not see the wrong in this.  Especially the turds who got face time on the 24hour news cycle.

We can not “win” the war on terrorism.  How long have we been fighting “the war on drugs”?  We will not “win” that.  We did not “win” in Viet Nam.  We did not “win” in Iraq and we will not “win” in Afghanistan.  The ’60s were not won.  The issues of the ’60s were resolved with understanding, negotiation and removing the criminal element from the movement.  That’s how issues are solved.  Violence begets violence.  But as a Nation we missed that lesson this decade.  And we have to deal with morons setting their balls on fire in hopes of taking down a plane on Christmas day.  He’s in a US prison awaiting trial.  That’s where he belongs.  That’s where bin Laden belongs.  That’s where every one involved in the planning of 9/11 belongs.  That’s the right way to do it.  But with the new American Bullyism there is only one religon in the world now, Bush’s Christianity.  Fanaticism in Islam is bad. Fanaticism in Christianity is good.  Good, Evil.  We’ll tolerate Jews because when they return to their homeland it will be the End of Times.  And we don’t even acknowledge the Hindus, Mormons, Hare Krishna, Buddhists, Atheists, Shintoists, Sikhs, Jainists, Agnostics, Taoists, Wiccans and Rastafarians.  And this Nation bought that horseshit hook, line and sinker.  Crush your rival’s eyeballs to powder because God told you to.   All Muslims are bad.  All Christians are good.  Nobody else exists.  Kill abortion Doctors because God told you to.  It’s ok to beat up a fag because God wants you to.  Criticizing those who murder and torture in the name of God shows that you’re weak.  As long as they murder and torture in the name of the right God.

In my perfect world, when those people get to the Pearly Gates, St. Peter is standing there looking puzzled.  When these disgusting excuses for human beings arrive and start spouting off all the things they think they did “for God” he just shakes his head and says “What the hell were you thinking?”

Hello, it’s me, Picasso

This was certainly the decade of viral video. Actually I don’t think there was viral video in 1999.  I predict the next two to take off are the Genie owning Tiger Woods onstage and Max Baucus ranting/rambling on the Senate floor.  Because it’s easier to say he’s drunk than to say he’s pissed off and right about something.  Some of my favorites in no particular order

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Of course this guy.  BTW, you’re being arrested for being an asshole.  Last decade you couldn’t have gotten IN TO a Bush campaign stop to act like that.  The DNC really needs to stop being soft on assholes.

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And my favorite.  And the response video.

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And of course this guy

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And a little something you don’t get very often, but I’m hellbent to get back there next year and spend more time on the board.  Yeah, the goal list review is coming.

Cowbunga

The key is actually yoga.  Who knew?

And a little something from the PBE Canadians of the day.

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‘Cause the one thing stronger than the whiskey

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Damned smug Canadians.

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Until 2000 I never had to put an animal down.  It started with Rayette DiPesto at my place at Parkwoods.  She had kidney disease.  My vet was closed that day so I took her to a vet out in San Ramon who wanted to hospitalize my 15 year old cat.  I asked “What will this accomplish”.  He said “She’ll get three days, three weeks maybe three months”.  I said “I see what’s in it for me and I see what’s in it for you, but I don’t see what’s in it for the cat”.  He couldn’t answer the question so I loaded her up with SubQ fluids and took her home for one more night, because I’d never put one of my pets to sleep and I needed one more night to sort it out.  When I took her back to my vet he agreed she was done and I let her go.  I immediately had her littermate Broderick Catford tested for kidney disease.  He had it too.  I lengthened his life by three months because I caught it and he got SubQ fluids for the last three months of his life.  Three months later I lost him.  That cat had no fear.  I had to teach Beauregard the command “Get the cat’s head out of your mouth”.  He loved that cat and was despondent when he died.

12-27 brokerick

I was watching football on the tv above the fireplace and they all laid right there.  I sold the condo in Parkwoods and bought the house in the hood in Concord.  Cody the greyhound came to stay with us.  He was old and only lived six months.  I had to put him down.  Then came Toby the Gypsy Doberman.  She stayed with us for 19 months before the cancer got her.  Then in March of 2005 I came home and found Xica gone.  She’s the only one I didn’t have to put to sleep.  She would have been the hardest if not for Beauregard’s cancer.  I always thought that dog took herself out of the game because she knew it would break me to do it.  And then of course Beauregard.  I sold the house in the hood, stayed out of the market for a year (should have stayed out for six more months but hind site is 20/20)  and bought The Farm.  Beau made it to the Farm.  He loved this place.  That dog thought I had bought him a dog park the yard is so big here.

There’s been a lot of critters through here in the last ten years.  I’m proud that every one of them got to live out their lives as naturally as possible.  I hope I can continue the streak.

And now here’s Newsweek’s spin on the last 10 years.

And a best of the best video.

[youtube BOv-2HzNPaA]

Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn

Check it out.  We’re at the end of a decade.  How did that happen?  Last time we were at the end of a decade everyone was in their bomb cellar with a coffee can full of $100 bills.  And some 20 year old Tang.  Because we all knew that the world as we knew it was coming to an end because computer systems would all have the Y2K bug.  Aren’t we a bunch of assholes?

So I thought for the next week I’d do a best of the best, PBE style.  So sometimes it’ll be dog pics, some video, just the best of the best.  So we might as well start with the End of the World.

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There might be a pic of the day too.  Until the end of the world.  Watch out for those Canadians.  Their most famous export is Pamela Anderson fergodsakes.

12-26 Rita

How do I feel this good sober?

Where to start, where to start? I really want to rant about the health care bill, but I may just leave that alone since it seems to be ever evolving. Oh what the Hell?  I spent some time today with a Canadian friend of mine.  He thought he was here legally until he found out his paperwork was flawed.  Prior to that discovery he worked legally in this country (or so he thought) paid taxes, even got several tax returns from our government.  We all know the great threat is not Mexico.  It’s those damned Cannucks.

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Anyway, he got sick here and went to the hospital.  And he’s an illegal alien.  And you know what?  They sent him a bill.  And he paid it.  He also told me that if he were in Canada they would have just taken care of him.  Blame Canada.

Sonofabun and I have been talking about doing Cuban night ever since I found that HobNob Shiraz. I thought it was an Aussie, but it’s actually a French shiraz.  Nice fruit on the front, not a lot in the middle but a ton of vanilla on the finish.  The balance is ok but this wine retails for $12 a bottle.  Shut.  Up.

Hobnob

It had so much vanilla on the finish that I knew it needed that needed that spicy, allspice jerk thing.  So we failed on Cuban per se, but we did pretty good with Caribbean.  We split up the menu and got to work.  He made a Cuban bread that was awesome and some stuffed potatoes that were like deviled eggs potatoes.

12-20cubanbread

And Mojitos.  A special thanks to Ines for pointing us in the right direction on our mojitos.

mojito

I did essentially Nigel Spence’s Big Ass Jerk Ribeyes and Frijoles Negros.

12-20ribeye

He made a scented rice to go with the beans.

12-20rice

And there’s a dessert that we aren’t talking about.  It all came out amazing, except the dessert we aren’t talking about.  The good news is that we put flan ice cream over the dessert we aren’t talking about and flan ice cream is pretty damned good.

12-20dinner

12-20table

Let’s do some living after we die

Every now and then something magnificent occurs in this world. I’m certainly not a fan of dressage, it’s one of those things that I could take or leave, but I can recognize beauty when I see it. So allow me to waste 10 minutes of your life with something amazing.

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