He grabbed a carton of milk and he poured a glass

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Hopefully that code stuck.  And for all those folks out there who are bitching about civilians telling the Generals “how to do their jobs” uh, that’s the way it’s been in this country forever.  Keeping in mind that Obama kept Bush’s guy in place.  Yeah, Gates is Bush’s guy.  Robert McNamara ran the Viet Nam war and had no background in defense matters.   He spent three years in the Army Air Force starting in 1943.  That’s it.  There was plenty of kvetching about the strategy back then too.  A strategy run by Congress and the Department of Defense.  So when Melvin Laird decentralized decisionmaking and let the military take a large roll, the results were same shit different day.  And that Vietnamization thing workout out great.  We haven’t “won” a war since WWII.  We’re kind of like the Cubs.  We’re still thinking like we’re this big dynasty, but we don’t have the stomach for any prolonged engagement any more.  I did name a cat Westmoreland once.  That kitty had great eyebrows.

On the subject of critters, and bad decisionmaking.  I am probably getting a hospice case here this week.

They named him Ike, since Sherman was named after a General, we’re considering this guy to be named in honor of Eisenhower.  He’s got Wobbler’s.  I actually diagnosed him and the shelter vet took the X-rays and confirmed.  He was flat when he came in and they brought him back.  He gets around ok and with some proper care he could go for a couple of months, maybe a year at best.  He’s only 4ish, but he deserves better than dying in a shelter.  Wobbler’s dogs can’t navigate on slick flooring.  They have a hard time with hardwood floors, linoleum, tile.  I have slate.  I’m one of the few places he can get around that isn’t a shelter.  So unless their volunteer who really liked him but only wanted to foster for a short time takes him, he’ll come here until his time.  Only those who know me in RT know or remember Cody.  He was a trainwreck of a greyhound who spent his last seven months here.  He belonged to a friend of mine who couldn’t take him where they were going.  And of course Toby, the gypsy Doberman who spent 19 months here until the cancer got her.

There’s certainly enough reward to be worth the risk to me.  I know he’s not going to go too long, my job is to make him as comfortable as possible for as long as I can.  And if he ends up here I will.

Look around everywhere you turn is heartache

Today’s just a quicky.  Yes, I’ve been busy.  Yes, I know you’ve all figured out that the lack of posts equals busy Wine Dog.  Just hope that my busyness translates to business.

In from OTG, the Evil Empire walked in and decimated their claims department in Irvine.

No notice, just swooped in and canned all the attorneys, claims officers and assistants.  I guess they are transferring all the files to Florida and Omaha.

Are you sure they aren’t processing those claims in Bangalore?  Wine industry, are you listening to me?  Thought not.

And file this one under “That’s going to leave a mark”.  A little more from Source of Title.  And a really good article written when the story broke in 2006.  I know I’ve talked about this case before but I have too much to do today to find the old references.  I’m sure it’s back in the archives filed under “That’s going to leave a mark”.  Looks like it did.  “Chicago employees knew that what they were doing was wrong.”  Like that’s never happened before.  These clowns just got caught.  Good luck getting work to Michael Godwin, Craig Gainor and Zuzzette Nieto.  I’m thinking it might be time to look for a new line of work.  Sonofabun just ran into an old loan officer.  He’s still an officer.  A security officer.  At the local emergency room.  Ouch.

Lots of ad wonks wish their videos would go viral.  This is how you do it.

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My diaper is full.  Wine Dog out.

I’m a uptown third ward magnolia t.c. driver

This morning might be the Jim Rose Flying Circus version of PBE.  First up, Kevin Costner.  I kept hearing his name, and here we are 63 days and Bull Durham is the guy that’s supposed to save the day.  Interesting.  I thought maybe it was another Kevin Costner, but it’s not.  So we have elected on Governor for starring in a bunch of movies, we’re running another one who’s claim to fame is running an internet startup that actually took off and Bull Durham is the guy with the machine that may just save the day.

I suspect Obama’s doing a lot more in the background than any of us know.  Y’all wanted business to have free rein so he’s letting BP clean up their mess.  Just like you assholes wanted it.  Minnesota?  STFU.

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Who says “slammer” any more?  This bitch is stark raving mad.  She’s accusing Obama of taking a bribe from BP.  Does she not know that he’s a wealthy man? And he didn’t get there like Blagojevich.  That crazy bitch makes Bill O’Reilly make sense.  That’s some kind of crazy.

For the love of God can we elect some people who know what the hell they’re doing?  Joe Barton?  Seriously?  BP should be giving away free gas to the entire Gulf region for as long as they continue to put that region out of work and destroy the environment.  They have killed scores of wild life, crushed small businesses, demolished families and killed eleven guys.  And you apologize?  Joe, you’re an asshole.

And on the subject of some kind of crazy, Sonofabun sent me this yesterday.  On one hand it’s funny, on the other, it’s terrible.  It is what gives us real estate agents a bad name.  And when they say we need to start using social media, if this is how you use it, don’t.  Roll the video Wine Dog.

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What you don’t know from the video is that the property is over priced by about $200k.  Of course there is no such thing as “red cherry oak” cabinets and the appliances are GE profile not GE plus, but those are the minor issues.  They are offering 4% commission to the selling agent if they oversell it by $200k and get the asking price.  After that it drops to 2%.  If there were a Rule 405 in real estate, which their should be, this jackass would be sitting in front of the board defending his license, as he should be anyway.  Because I promise you, overselling a house by $200k is not a suitable investment for anyone.  This house is not for sale, it’s just being advertised.  If it were for sale it would be priced at the market, or near the market and they would have hired a professional.  So necessary.

Sherman went to his forever home last week.  I’ve gotten several pictures and reports on him.  He’s doing awesome.  He’s bonded with the husband and follows him all around.  He’s chosen a couch as his own.  There’s a picture of him curled up in a round side chair, just like Beauregard used to do, but I can’t download that one.

I was back in Oakland yesterday.  There’s another boy there.  The gals over there are doing a great job of moving the Dobermans to safety.  This one’s gorgeous and sweet and pretty sick but we’ll probably work something out anyway.  I really wish people understood that you can’t breed a Doberman without extensive health testing.  This poor boy’s problems could have been avoided with some simple health testing of the parent.  Probably both on site.  Probably some jackass thinking he could make some money breeding dogs.  And this poor animal will suffer because of it.  He’s got that bad of an issue.  If you haven’t finished your dog in Confirmation, Obedience or have a working title on them, don’t even think about breeding it.  Period.  If you have then go get some health testing, don’t cherry pick the results and then and only then you can think about breeding it.  It ain’t your right to go out there an overpopulate the world with poorly bred animals that end up in shelters being euthanized.  That isn’t a right and if you think it is, you’re an asshole.  It’s our responsibility as guardians to this earth to do the right thing and that ain’t it.

What goes up, must come down and down and down

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Have we had enough of BP yet? Or Joe Barton? I heard an amazing economist speak last week.  Carol Rodoni managed to cover damn near everything in the current economy and connect it to Contra Costa real estate in about 90 minutes.  She touched on BP.  I’ve heard her speak before and believe her to be pretty conservative fiscally.  She said that she believes that BP is criminally negligent and will be charged as well they should be.  I found that to be interesting.  She has been 100% right on everything I’ve heard her talk about.  I hope she’s right on with this one.

Bubba has been spending more time up my ass hanging out with me as of late.  I think he’s afraid that he’s heading where ever in his dog mind he thinks Sherman went.  Don’t worry little man, you aren’t going to Washington, it’s cold and rainy up there.

Those are the memories that make me a wealthy soul

Today is short and sweet.

Every now and again, something comes together exactly perfectly.  The family that was supposed to visit Sherman at the rescue came down around noon yesterday.  He is with his new family heading home this morning.  I always tell dogs exactly what’s going to happen if I can.  I’ve always told my dogs when I would be back if I were going out of town, how many sleeps before I returned.  I told Sherman he was going to stay with a lady and some other dogs and he would have alot of room to run for a few days.  Then some people were going to come see him.  I told them they had a dachshund and that she would make the final decision.  Be nice to the dachshund.  I would like to hope that when he saw the dachshund yesterday, he knew that the hobo phase of his life was over with and he was heading home.  Have a great life little man.  It’s your turn.

Where trouble melts like lemon drops

Sherman is up at the rescue now. We miss him, but I know that he would become a big boy and he would fight violently with Bubba.  That’s what male Dobermans in the same home do.  Only Magnum P.I. has “the boys.”  He knew.  I imagine that’s because I told him.  And he’s that good of a dog.  Someone is going to get a great little dog.  He’s in good hands now.  That little dog didn’t have a single “accident” when he was here.  Outside every single time.  He barked in the morning to let me know he wanted to go out.  But he was afraid.  After I hooked him up to leave today, I remembered my phone back in the office.  He did not want to go back in my office at all.  That was the only time he went into that room.  He went into the bedroom once and that was because I led him into that bathroom to clean his ears last Sunday.  I don’t know who hurt that poor little dog but I’d sure like to jack them up myself.

He did learn some things from Rita and Bubba.  Like which couch he could sleep on.  He really liked sleeping on the couch.  He learned that on Friday.

And check this out.  Very cool what these guys do.

[youtube WAjZS12bNio]

And I approve of the use of IZ in this case.

I don’t know if I can yell any louder

Today is a good day.  Y’all get to watch me weave this post together.

A little event occurred this week.  It was not lost on the Wine Dog.  The Burgermeister bought Chalk Hill Winery.  Supposedly he plans to live in the palacial main house.  I suppose the good news is to those in Whitefish, Montana, who, if you’re reading the comments sections are a little over his act.  Of course, the title insurance business is beyond over his act, but the wine business doesn’t know what they’re in for yet.  I’ve sounded the alarm but it’s fallen on deaf ears.  Let this be the “I told you so” post.  He is Satan.  He is going to ruin the wine industry.  Mark my words.  Consider yourselves informed.

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What they should say is that she’s so bad, she isn’t even good at being bad.  I certainly respect her for her battle with breast cancer, but her battle was fought with the best Doctor’s money can buy.  Most women in this country would be just as well off trading a goat for medical services.  It certainly taints the results.  I haven’t been able to find the total number of layoffs from FNF in the last four years and of course we can’t count all the poor schmucks who are still there making 40% less than they were while he takes 171% increase in salary, but you get my drift.  Percentage wise, I bet FNF layoffs dwarf what Fiorina did at HP.   FNF is cut throat.  Foley is cut throat.  What on God’s green earth makes the wine industry think they are immune from this? The worst of it is that California wine is going to suffer because people have their heads buried in the sand.

Here’s what he did.  He took over, paid outrageous salaries, stole the best employees from good paying jobs and then fired them the minute the business had a pull back.  There are quality title officers and escrow officers with 30 years experience who can’t get a job right now because the work is being done predominantly in India for $16 a day.  American workers used to earn twice that in an hour.  Now the part of the job that is Stateside is being done by people being paid $15 an hour.  So think about spending four years at UC Davis or Sonoma and working your way up the food chain for the love of wine.  Then your winery is taken over by a corporate raider, you are now expendable and it’s over.  Just like that.  That’s the future of the wine industry with Bill Foley and is blood money.  It’s going to be bad.  Trust me on that.  I just pray the family wineries can stay the course and make it through his “serial acquiring” phase. I, for one, will support them with an unmatched fervor.  At the end of the day, I want good wine from California.  I want to enjoy the expression of the terroir.  And I don’t give a goddamn about distribution channels.  I’ll find the good stuff if you make it and I will testify from the highest mountain.  Don’t give in to Bill Foley.  Fight for your life.

Bill Foley is a corporate CEO in America.  That means all he cares about is himself and the bottom line.  Believe me there is a path littered with the rotting corpses of quality title and escrow staff who were tossed out by his machine.  He does every thing he can to skirt the DOI laws.  He does every thing he can to skirt the Labor laws.  He is not a nice man.  They cut every corner they can.  In case anyone has forgotten, this is what happens when you cut corners.

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And eleven families will go on without their breadwinner.  Because BP wanted to close it down quicker.  They wanted to save time and money.  How’s that working for you now Tony?  Oh, you want your life back?  So do those eleven families.  And this is the mentality that goes on at the top in corporations.  And it’s wrong.  In BP’s case, it probably is criminally negligent.  I hope they get that “Company Man” and string him up and every one all the way up the BP food chain by the balls.  It’s wrong.  They will do it as long as we let them.  It’s time we said enough.  It’s no different than the abuses that occurred during the Industrial Revolution the resulted in unions.  It’s part of the plan to defang unions, but if companies would act right, unions wouldn’t be necessary.  I would like for their to be less regulation but as long as guys like Tony Hayward and Bill Foley continue to act like spoiled brats, regulation is necessary.  They’re spoiled little jerkoffs that can’t do the right thing if it’s counterintuitive to their personal greed.  And that’s wrong.   So I support regulation, because it’s necessary.  Like The Brother says “Act right and I’ll be out of business”.  Act right and there is no need for regulation.  The new business thinking is to get away with as much as you can.  And that’s wrong.  Bill Foley is wrong and will always be wrong.

Is it possible to do it right?  Hell yeah.  Check out this guy.  He made a gazillion dollars, he did the right thing every step of the way.  They were ahead of the curve in moving towards sustainable materials and he led the charge to leave our precious National Parks as pristine as they were found.  They pioneered organic sustainable recycled products in their clothing line and their equipment line.  So I’m not full of shit.  It’s possible to make a buttload of money while being responsible to your employees and your planet.  That makes people like Bill Foley, Tony Hayward and Carly Fiorina even more reprehensible.  Because they’re too stupid and ignorant to do it the right way.  This makes me think of a discussion I had with Michael Keenan about moving his winery to solar power.  He did the numbers and couldn’t justify not moving to solar power.  That is good management.  Using seawater because you want to go faster and killing eleven employees…you’re an asshole.  And a criminal.

Enough is enough.  Boycott Foley Family Wines or the Foley Portfolio or whatever he’s calling it these days.  It’s the right thing to do.

I’m gonna sing those songs that offend the censors

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Every now and again you get to meet a rock star. I got to meet one tonight at Pleasant Hill Wine Merchants. Pam Starr. Rock star. She’s got a resume that’s as long as all of our arms put together. She’s got stops at Sonoma-Cutrer, Edna Valley, Carmenet and one of my favs, Spottswoode. She teamed up with Charlie Crocker and is doing some amazing things. More important, she’s fun and engaging.  The guy I was chatting with wasn’t a Sauvignon Blanc fan. She makes two and cajoled him into trying both. Two damn fine Sauv blancs. She has a second label, I think it’s Bridesmaid? I want to call it Brideshead. Anyway the Crocker Starr one was the one that I loved. The Bridesmaid was a more typical Sauvignon Blanc, but also a very good one. The CrockerStarr was fully developed with lime on the front and she called it sea shells and it really fit, sea shells on the finish. It’s minerally and has this essence like you just shot an oyster. Just that last bit. Yeah, like that.   She makes a Cabernet Franc that’s out of this world.  It’s damned near chewy it’s so thick.  I got Dr. Pepper, clove, spice and thick ripe fruit on the palate.  A nice long finish.  We agreed that it was the kind of wine that was so good you would drink the whole bottle by accident, just because it felt so good in your mouth.  Amazing offering.  The final wine was her Stone Place, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.  This bad boy needs a little more time in the bottle to me, but it is going to be unparallelled when it’s done.  Currently it’s a little tight on the finish like all well made California Cabernets, but there’s something about this one that’s going to blow everyone away someday.  Currently it’s got dark fruit, coca cola, coffee, chocolate, leather all that good stuff, but the finish is a little tannic.  Give it a couple of years and all the good stuff will have mellowed into an elegance that I dare say any one else got in 2006.  I wish I’d gotten a bottle of it, but I came home with the Cabernet Franc, which I don’t regret one iota.

My wine buying capacity was deeply hindered by this.

From this point forward the lean green machine will be known as That Punk Ass Bitch of a Car.  Really.  You had to lose your fuel pump on the highway?  Yeah, I need that.  I coasted to the side of the 24 and thanked my lucky stars that I had AAA and a father who taught me common sense with cars.  The bitch of the whole thing was I was about a mile from the shop, on the road to the shop, pointed right at the shop, heading to the shop and I couldn’t make it.  The boys at M Service did a great job of hooking me up on this one.  Dante got in there and crossed a few things off of the list that were fine on my car and didn’t need to be done and got me back on the road for the number I told him he had to get me back on the road for.  I was planning on doing the radiator next week, but on the way home from the City on Wednesday it started doing something funny.  I called them the next morning and was on my way to the shop, but she insisted on dumping me on the freeway.  It’s the second time she’s dumped me on the freeway this year.  Me and that car are heading to the Big D and I don’t mean Dallas. 

Why was I in the City?  I went down to Biondivino  on Wednesday night for their Brunello tasting.  She specializes in Italian wines.   And she’s pretty good at it.  

They had Altare in from the Piedmonte region of Italy.  Altare’s winemaker, Silvia Altare showed up too.   It was a week for women in wine, that’s for sure.  Silvia is a charming woman.  I would guess she’s in her 20’s or early 30’s, she’s got that great Italian skin so who knows.  She didn’t stay behind the table, she grabbed a bottle and worked the crowd.  And she makes some damned fine juice.  They had 9 bottles open.  The first one, which to me was the strangest was the Campogrande Cinqueterre 2008.  Now, we all know I have a pretty decent palette.  I cannot tell you how they arrived at their $77 price point on that one.  To me it drank like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  I can almost consistently spot what they’re talking about not on this one.  Anyone care to explain it to me, I’d be pleased to listen.  The Elio Altare Dolcetto d’Alba 2007 at $25 made a heck of alot more sense to me.  It was bright and fun.  Silva said you could serve it cold in the summer if you so chose.  It was like a good Nuevo Beaujolais.  She had two Langhe Larigi, the 2005 and 2007.  I think the translation is kitchen sink.  Actually they are Barberas.  Very good ones as well.  I preferred the 2005 with it’s intensity and gentle tannins.  They had a vertical of the Altare Barolo 2004, 2005, 2006.  I liked the 2006 best.  It had brighter fruit, a nice ripeness to it.  The Elio Altare Barolo Arborina is her big boy wine.  It clocked in at $130 a bottle.  And she brought two. The 2005 and the 1998.  The 2005 was a bright and lively wine.  Dark ripe fruit, leather, smoke and a little bit of anise on the finish.  Now here’s the rub.  The 1998 had some elegance to it that time in the bottle will produce but it was still very tannic on the finish.  Her wines can and should be laid down for literally YEARS. 

I think Silvia has taken an old Italian tradition and made it sexy.  I don’t know a ton about Italian wines, but I know Altare wines are like a rave in your mouth.  And as they mature, they have that elegance of a maturing artists who still likes to bite back once in a while, because youth is wasted on the young.

Then everything went black

How cute is this?

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Yeah, that’s cute.  Now who was the dumb ass that recommended I watch Hachiko?  You suck.  Although I’m fascinated that it was based on a true story, which is really cool.  Although stuffing and mounting him is kind of weird

On the other hand, it’s been hot here and here’s something we don’t see in slow motion at The Farm

[youtube 63Ch2pNkZwU]

I harvested my fava beans on Saturday.  I resisted the temptation to serve them with liver and a nice Chianti.  Instead I got some hot Italian sausage, the fava beans, the last of the chard and some whole wheat fettuchini.  I dressed it with olive oil and lemon.  It came out really good.  Photojournalism did not happen.

And back by popular demand, the bike routes.  3:35 average speed 11.4 average rpm 77