When I went to work for LandAmerica’s National Commercial Services, Jan Alpert was the CEO. She came up through the NCS system. She knew what it was like to actually work for the company. And it ran pretty well. Of course, not well enough for Wall Street, so in comes NASCAR Teddy. And we start hearing about one stop shopping. I don’t know what it is, but every time I hear someone talk about one stop shopping, I bristle. Can’t tell you why, I just do. It might be something like irregardless. That makes me bristle too. So part of their one stop shopping included this little podunk loan subservicing business that Billy just picked up at fire sale prices out of the bankruptcy. While I dislike one stop shopping, I really don’t like large conglomerates. If you asked the founders of Pontiac today if they would have liked to remain autonomous, I think they would have a different answer, simply because the brand is now gone. Because General Motors is a bunch of idiots. More on that later. But something interesting came out of that bankruptcy last week. It’s good, but the way the court allowed it to operate bothers me. LandAmerica agreed to fully fund the pension plan. Since I’m always looking for the vig, I’ve got to figure it’s here. Granted this is good for the employees who have lost their jobs and were in the pension plan, but let’s ask who those employees were? They’re saying it affects 9600 employees and former employees and retirees at the firm, but dollars to donuts NASCAR Teddy and his cronies are in there getting their grubby little fingers back into the pie. Of course this is couched like they did it to avoid having the Feds take the whole thing over, but to me, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…quack quack quack. And of course there’s the ongoing issues with the poor schmucks that chose LandAmerica as their 1031 exchange company. I just don’t get how that judge arrived at that decision. You hand a company money to hold in trust pursuant to a government tax scheme provision, the company commingles and then fails and still gets to keep it? They weren’t investing in LandAmerica, they were giving them their money in trust. Did they receive a prospectus? Bet not. Bad form all around.
Other folks who deserve my ire this morning.
And as we all know, I’m full of bad ideas. Yesterday was no exception. After that ride and this heat I woke up with no real direction. Not good. I could have cleaned my office, cut the weeds, bathed the dogs, set up my marketing campaign and folded the laundry or I could have pointed the lean green machine northerly and met my pal Luscious Lush for a wine adventure. Yeah, I chose B. I cannot be blamed for this. She was going to Folio. I’ve talked about these guys before. It’s Michael Mondavi’s project. It involves 2,3,4,5,6 different wineries, all small production, making very interesting product. One of my favorites is I/M, his wife’s project. She is solely responsible for my interest in RosÃ©. Yesterday’s vintage was the new one and it was amazing. Such strawberries on the nose, it was insane. I’ve never smelled that in a wine. It was dry and fruity glass of summery goodness. We met some cool people out on the veranda and Lessley made sure that we got to taste the best of what Folio had to offer. I left with a bottle of the RosÃ© and a bottle of Spellbound Reisling, because I never have any white wine here. And it was good. Kind of a melon thing going on but dry at the same time. Very interesting wine. We were there for a long time running through their amazing line up and some secret squirrel stuff not on the menu. That’s my kind of wine tasting adventure.
Next stop Artesa. This place is amazing for the view. The wine, not so much. It was ok, just after Folio, it was kind of pedestrian. And they were packed like a tourist destination and they pretty much ignored us and that’s not what I’m looking for in wine adventures. OTOH, the view.
Last stop Domaine Carneros. I thought I’d been here, but I hadn’t. I’d been to Domaine Chandon and they pissed me off. We were going to eat in their restaurant and everything was so freaking convoluted and pretentious that we left after the cucumber infused freaking water are you kidding me? I think their tasting fee was ridiculous too, I don’t remember what it was but the whole experience was gag invoking. Domaine Carneros, a lot different experience. They have a tasting restaurant sort of set up. Not as personal, Duckhorn has something similar, but it worked for this part of our day. We did a sampler and I’ve got to say, not a dog in there. I liked the Le RÃªve. It’s a blanc dÂ´blanc and had the fruity dryness that I like in a sparkling wine. We ordered a cheese plate that was full of tasty little cheeses. If they could just fix the air conditioning it would have been the perfect finish, but who knew it was going to be over a hundred the second weekend in May? It was still a pretty darned decent finish to a great spontaneous wine adventure.