The jig is up the news is out they finally found me

What! No PBE for two days? It’s going to get worse Kittens. The Wine Dog will be heading to Mazatlan a week from tomorrow (January 26) for five days. I’m terrified to be away from my business for five days, but I was given a time share, so it’s only costing me airfare. I’ve requested Capt. Sully to fly the plane. I just don’t think that should be an issue. Yeah, I’m afraid of flying. It’s gotten worse over the years. When I was young and stupid I flew all the time. Now I find myself working out charts and numbers and equations to justify driving. Mazatlan was too far away. I don’t think the lap top is going with me and I don’t think I can blog off of the iPhone so unless I delegate another author, we’ll go silent for a week. Laptop, golf clubs, laptop, golf clubs. If I have to haul something annoying with me, it’s going to be the golf clubs. Jury is still out on that one.

Yesterday I rode with my friend Javier. He’s good for taking me on ridiculous rides and not telling me what he’s getting me into until after my legs are on fire and my lungs have exploded. Yesterday, we did long and flat though and it was good. not so good this morning so no map. Around 32.45 miles. I’m having issues getting the new bike computer to pick up the speed reading so I’ll be tinkering with that today. The cadence works perfectly and the heart rate is great, although the thing beeping at me because it thinks I’m working too hard is annoying. I’m not. I know the numbers. I have to go back to the manual and teach the machine the numbers. I would have made OTG proud last night. One word. Cheesecake.

Actually, since I’m exhausted and don’t have much, how about a screaming cheesecake link? Yeah. I found this site back in 1995. Yes. That’s over 500 cheesecake recipes. She’s built her site up over the years and it’s one of the most amazing homegrown cooking sites on the web in my estimation.

For all of you shaking your head, Body for Life allows a free day every week. I usually make Saturday my free day. Yesterday I had to work in the afternoon which kind of screwed things up but at the end of the day, it was me, a baked potato, a pork chop and bottle of Clos Pegase and a little cheesecake I got a Diablo Foods. It’s funny, very rarely do I want the things that most other people want to misbehave with. About a year ago I wanted a bowl of Captain Crunch. The unfinished box is still in my pantry. I should probably throw that out. Generally what makes me happy is potatoes fixed in a way that’s not BFL. And cheesecake. Occasionally pie. I do love me some pie. Rarely cake. Frequently cookies. Never fast food. My problem is that I’ve figured out flavorful ways to prepare things that are good for me and I’ve gotten used to my cooking. So unless you’re talking about a high end chef or Sonofabun’s cooking, I’m probably happier just putting it together myself. That being said, I’ve taken off about 3 pounds so far this month. (Because I need some sort of accountability to make this goal.)

Yesterday I went to probably the worst house I’ve been in for plain old filth. These pigs left just garbage all over everywhere. And it stinks. And there are rats. There may be roaches too but I can’t smell them through the filth. I’m just pleased they didn’t leave an animal to die inside. They left around Thanksgiving and I can’t go in until the electrical is turned off. They finally turned it off on the 7th of January. I was afraid there was a cat or little dog left in there, but there wasn’t. They apparently didn’t use a cat box though. I’m always shocked at how people can live like that. I’m just wondering if I can get the Marchesa Carpino to pick up this dog of a house. It should have similar pricing. As I was leaving I stepped on the ramp leading up to the house and slipped and ended up on my back in a pile of leaves and God only knows what else. All I could think was “Why couldn’t I fall like this when I was working for the Bloodless Empire?”

Bubba is quickly becoming my shadow. My 72 pound blue shadow. Somebody once said about Beauregard that if I stopped too quickly he’d be up my ass. Bubba has taken on that role. It may be the new school or maybe he’s just finally comfortable. Either way, I signal when I stop now.

Because I speak of the pompatus of love

Words are funny.  Language is funny.  I clearly have my own style.  I’m well aware of the fact that “studor” is not a word.


To study under the tutor of a great one.  To tutor in a studious manner.  Oh hell, it’s a Frankism and we all know it.  Who am I trying to kid.  It’s not like I mentioned the bivouac or the ice cave or being in the web.  OK, I’ve mentioned being in the web.  (it’s a condition brought on by too much imbibing.  Usage:  I stayed out way too late last night, I’m really in the web this morning)

Ok, back to real words.  Gourmet.  There’s a word that used to mean something and now it doesn’t really mean anything.  Deluxe.  That used to mean something and now it means nothing.  Jello.  That used to be a brand name and now it refers to all flavored gelatin.  Sometimes it doesn’t bother me.  Sometimes it does.  One word’s misusage always sends me through the roof.  Hero.  Unless we’re talking subs, heroes are few and far between.  I know one.  He was a Captain at Khe San.  His men mounted the only internet campaign in history to get him the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service.  He’s got a Purple Heart from that battle.
I think he has a couple of more.  He’s a hero.  And I love that he’s one of my buddies.

Today we got to see a hero in action.  While what he did was really just part of his job, in this day and age, you’ll find few people who will walk the length of a crashed, water bound airplane TWICE to be sure every single one of his charges are clear of the wreckage and safe.  Chesley Sullenberger III safely landed his limp bird in the Hudson River then walked the cabin twice to be sure that every last one of his passengers was out of the plane.  You sir, are a hero, and here at PBE we salute you as Today’s Best Person in the World.

And you knew I had a video for this

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I’m goin’ way down south, way down where I can be free

Those of you who know me know that I’m a Libra. If you ask all those airy fairy people, they’ll tell you that I seek balance and justice, blah blah blah. Those of you who know a Libra, or me for that matter, know that what it really means is that because we can see both sides to every issue it takes us an inordinate amount of time to make a decision. If it’s a close call, we can actually become paralyzed by the possibilities. If you’ve been here for a while, you know that a lot of my rants are peppered with “While I understand that…” where I can actually pretty well articulate the other side. Those of you that have been paying attention know that I like the Governator, which doesn’t necessarily play into the bleeding liberal heart mold. Even OTG knows that I can understand strict conservative politics. (Although he knows that I think the current regime is a bunch of ass monkeys) Knowing all that, I’m sure since I threatened to write about the Oscar Grant situation a few days ago, many of you have been waiting for this train wreck in cyberspace. Well, buckle your seatbelts Kittens, today’s the day.

The first murder of the year was committed by a BARF police officer. I know you’ve probably been missing my BARF rants. Who can forget the BARF cops coming on the train in Concord and telling the bum to pull up his pants. These are the BARF cops I know. They show up late and ask bums to pull up their pants. They rarely arrive to the party on time. Generally the party is over by the time the BARF police show up. They write ridiculous parking tickets that are managed by a bunch of jerk-offs in Huntington Beach who don’t ever release the tickets or do what they say. (guess who has my BMW tags tied up right now.) I would be tearing up the BARF board right now about those klowns if one of their cops hadn’t shot an unarmed young man in the back on New Years Day. That kind of trumps parking tickets, so I’ll just have to wait for my tags.

We’ve all seen the tapes. We’ve all seen the protests. I’ve seen the damage. The Brother has been sent home from work early twice this year because he works in Oakland, near the BARF headquarters. Everybody has an opinion about this one. Here’s mine. Something bad happened out there that night. And none of us know what it is or how it went down. We may never.

Let’s start with the victim. Much ado has been made about the fact that he was a young black man shot by a white officer. That really hacks me off. He is not better because he was black and he is not substandard because he was black. He is a young man who was shot by a BARF cop on New Years Day. The officer is not bad because he is white and he’s not better because he is white. He is a cop that shot an unarmed man in the back on New Years Day. When we stop adding these descriptors to the situation we can stop diluting the magnitude of the act by assigning color.

Truly, we don’t even know who this kid is. He was a young guy who worked at the local organic grocery store. At the blog for his work, they posted this:

My deepest sympathy and condolences goes out to the family of Oscar Grant, Joe and Diana Tam, all of Oscar’s friends at Farmer Joe’s, his co-workers, and his friends in the community. Oscar, I will miss your smiling face behind that meat counter at Joe’s. No words can express my sense of loss and outrage at what has happened. Things have happened that simply shouldn’t, and now you are gone.

Or he’s an asshole fighting on a BARF train on New Year’s Day. Or he’s both. I don’t think we know who this guy is. That night two gangs had been fighting on the BARF trains. Apparently the BARF cops broke it up once before. Was he part of that? We don’t know yet. Or was he just scooped up in the melee? We don’t know that either. We know it was scary out there that night. Imagine you chose to take BARF to the City to celebrate New Year’s Eve. On your ride home a gang fight breaks out. You’re in a tube going 80 miles an hour, no cops to be seen (trust me they were no where when it started) and two gangs get on and start jawing and ultimately pounding on each other. I’m sure none of those guys was carrying. OK probably most of them were carrying. Would there be the same outrage if one of the gang members had shot him? Or would there be the wall of silence? The snitch culture. You don’t snitch to the cops. Would the Usual Suspects have taken to the street if that’s how it played out?

So they stop the train and pull a some of guys off the train and young Oscar Grant gets pulled off with them. Until I saw all the tape I though he could have been swept up with the other guys. Having seen the tape and having seen how few cops there were compared to the size of the crowd, it looks like there was a reason they had him. This video doesn’t show the shooting (the gunshot is heard) but certainly sets the tone for what was going on that night. The platform was full of a bunch of drunk people acting like assholes. Rule One. When the cops show up, quit acting like an asshole. Actually that’s Rule One A. Rule One should be “Don’t be an asshole”. At any rate, it’s clearly a very tense and scary situation. And then something terrible happens.

Did he shoot him on purpose? Did he think he was getting his taser? I’ve heard several cops interviewed who weren’t involved in the situation and they say it wasn’t a taser situation. They had him pretty much under control. Did the gun go off by accident? Had he just had enough and capped the guy? We don’t know. Cops are trained to perform under pressure, but at the end of the day, they’re human. He could have simply made a horrible mistake. We just don’t know. What we do know is there has been a ton of outrage. Rightly so, it was an outrageous situation and now Oscar Grant’s young son will be another boy coming up without his father. We’ve seen protests and pundits and every other goddamn thing. And Burris, stirring the pot.

Mr. Burris, this event happened at 2:15 am on New Year’s Day. The year that we just completed saw 120 victims of homicide in Oakland. Many of those cases go unsolved because of the snitch culture. Where is your outrage for those victims? The year before that 145 people became victims of homicide. Where is your outrage for those victims? If we are all equal, then those 365 people should all receive the same amount of outrage. And you should demand that the very people who are calling for this cop’s head, cough up the names of the perpetrators of these other crimes. Because somebody knows who did every freaking one of them. And the street should give up the names of those 365 murders and you, Mr. Burris, should demand the same swift justice from the street that you’ve demanded from BARF.

Winter, spring summer or fall

Every now and then, somebody puts a series of thought together and I read it and think “Damn, I wish I’d written that.” I wish I’d written this. And it’s probably pretty fun to be Tina Brown.

I asked the other day what the Hell the DOI was doing. Now we know. Wax. Wankers.

For those in the Bay Area, what’s with this weather? I showed property yesterday and didn’t need a jacket. It was awesome. I had the back door of the house open until around 7pm last night. How about a quote?

“After the anti-science Bush administration, this is like going to a Mensa meeting after eight years of being trapped in the Flat Earth Society.” – Daniel J. Weiss, Center for American Progress, regarding nomination of Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy

Bubba did great in dog school last night. He’s actually doing better in school than Rita. I think he’s a little less ADD. He will do a 1 minute down and he’ll do a stand properly. He did a lousy recall. I could go back in the archives and find stories of Beauregard’s recalls. They were the best, and he’s legendary at the dog school for them. He would gallop at full bore and slam on the brakes about 10 feet out and slide into position. I called Bubba last night and he just stood there. I guess he didn’t hear me. One of my Doberman pals showed up last night with her gorgeous girl. Bubba saw her come in from across the room. It’s weird how they know their own kind.

I’ve got a ridiculously full plate today, so there could me more later. In the interim and in lieu of real content:

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I could do without Celine Dion, but seriously, doesn’t Carole King look like Barbra Streisand’s therapist?

Like a peacock, that’s your style

When I talk about the Ygnacio Loop, this is the ride.

Last year I got it down to 1:03 and change. Yesterday the wind was blowing like a mofo. I didn’t freewheel too much down the hill because I was afraid of catching a crosswind out of one of the ravines and ending up in a traffic lane, on my ass. So yesterday I did it in 1:09:14. Going up Ygnacio it was a straight up gale coming at me. This ride is about a miles or so as the crow flies from Mount Diablo. Mount Diablo had gusts up to 75mph yesterday. I was riding into somewhere between 20-30mph wind. So I think I rode pretty strong under the circumstances. We’ll be watching times on the Ygnacio Loop. I got a new bike computer finally. It’s got cadence as well. The guy was trying to tell me that most people who get cadence don’t use it. My mind tends to wander and if I have a constant reminder to keep my cadence around 80rpm, I’m going to ride stronger, train better and take time off. I was right. That cadence thing makes me pay attention. I need to reset the heart rate monitor portion. It’s got my max at 170 and I had my submax done last year and my max is 192. So I was not working that hard and it was flipping out at 90% and I know that’s only around 153 or so, which is about where I’m at going up Ygnacio. I also switched out my pedals. Several of my riding friends ride Speedplays and swear by them.

Every time I go to buy them the sales guy talks me out of them. And then I do another Artie Johnson and get all pissed off at the Look style pedals I have. It’s been going on for a year now. judi hates her Speedplays and offered to sell them to me. I almost took her up on it but then I thought “If I get them at a store and hate them, I can return them”. So I went down to Performance to get a set of Speedplays. They were having a sale and I had a coupon for even more off. Still not as good as judi’s deal but I could return them. Well, they make different kinds of pedals because different people like different things. I got there and the guy tried to talk me out of them. He told me about another guy who had spent 15 minutes in the parking lot trying to clip in and came in and gave up. He really didn’t want to sell me those pedals. They tried to sell me another set of SPD SL pedals. That’s what I have and I hate them. They may look at my size or age and determine that I’m not in good shape and I’m not serious about my cycling. They would be wrong. I made him sell me the Speedplays. I love them. I can get in and I can get out. They don’t put too much pressure on the ball of my foot and there is a little play in the downstroke. They make different pedals because people are different and like different things. I like the Speedplays. I wish I’d known, I’d have gotten judi’s, but I didn’t and with everyone trying to talk me out of them, I was afraid.

And here’s a little slice of my day

Lenders won’t pay for any repairs to the property without a photograph. I had a property that the former owner just flew the coup. They left damned near everything there. I think they got on a plane back home and said to hell with the Bay Area, or California, or the USofA. Who knows. What’s important is that they left a Mercedes in the driveway and a freezer full of meat in the garage. Last June. I called and said “be sure when they trash that thing out they take the freezer in the garage”. It was maggot infested and I was so over it and that house. The ass klowns at the arm of the Evil Empire who do these trash outs left the friggin’ freezer. You can smell it from the house, and I prefer to NOT open the garage door and I’m sure not going over to that damned freezer if I don’t have to. So I call and say “Hey Ass Klown Asset Services left the maggot filled freezer, tell them to get their butts back out here and get it out of here”. The response “Can you take a picture?” WTF! Can I what? They didn’t do their jobs, tell them to get back out here and finish their jobs. Please send a picture. So here’s the Wine Dog dressed for work that day.

I really don’t get why I had to take the picture of the maggots and now juvenile flies. I think they should have sent a Manager from AssKlown Asset Services out to check their work. The Evil Empire still permeates every aspect of my day and I still hate it. And I’m not drinking any of their damned wine.

Branded, scorned as the one who ran

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Good afternoon everyone,
We would like to begin by wishing you all of you and your Families a Happy and prosperous New Year.
Well it has been a very unique year for us here at southland title. We know that most of you are aware of some of the changes that have occurred and that are continuing to occur. We would like at this time to ensure that all of you are properly informed and up to date with the status of our company.

On December 22, 2008 Fidelity National Financial, Inc purchased (NYSE:FNF) announced the closing of the acquisition of Land America Financial Group, Inc.. This ended what was a tumultuous time for the Land America Brands including Southland Title. While Land America never intended to close regional operations, terms of the original agreement with FNF were made public and consequently many bank’s confidence in Land America’s Title Companies eroded. We are happy to say that with the purchased of Land Am by FNF these problems no longer exist. We are now underwritten and insured by FNF and that will continue.

After the acquisition we have also learned that the Land America Companies in our region will now be called Lawyers Title. While this branding change occurs we wanted to make sure that you all knew that we will continue the same service experience from the same team here and in Riverside County that you have grown accustom to. Our number one priority has been and will continue to be to assist you all to reach your goals.

We will be available if any of you have any questions and we look forward to servicing you in 2009 and beyond.

With malice toward none

Oh LOOK! Another one of my bugaboos on the front page. It’s a good week for the Wine Dog. What’s that word? Starts with a kick and ends with back? Yeah that one. If you’re going to clean up the business, clean up the business.

So since I have a ridiculous amount of work to do today and I screwed off all weekend. OK, I didn’t screw off but I didn’t do my BPO’s and I didn’t show any property or hold any open houses. In my defense I hadn’t taken a day off since Christmas and well, I spent 8 1/2 hours driving over the pass on Christmas. Anywho, Obama has been studying Lincoln’s second inaugural address while preparing his own. I didn’t realize that Lincoln was elected twice. I really thought he was shot in the twilight of his first term. In my defense I knew it was in 1865. Focus. So I looked up his second inaugural address and well, it’s pretty darned good. So why listen to my blather when I can quote Lincoln?

At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention, and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it–all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war–seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope–fervently do we pray–that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether”

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

With malice toward none.

Well he treed a possum in a hollow log, you could tell from that he was a good ol’ dog

(These are all clickable to larger images)

Why I love Rita

This is why I love Rita

And this is why they’re such great dogs.

And I love when I get a shot like this.

And I love this big old dork of a dog.

Rita treed a squirrel this morning.  At 8:15.  The neighbors must love me for that crap.  She had him in the apricot tree which is the only tree that stands by itself, meaning a squirrel must touch the ground to escape.  I went out to settle her down and saw the squirrel in the tree.  Squirrel, you’d better bring your A game or you’re going to be a snack here.  Well, Squirrel had his A game with him.  He ran down the tree in circles and managed to escape BETWEEN the Hellhoundz and get up the oak tree before they got him.  They tried.  Squirrel 1 Hellhoundz 0.  Thanks for playing our game.

And down here from the ground I see who you are

Buckle your seat belts Kittens, I’m on a roll.

The business model where you bully the competition out of business is bad business. This is how the Burgermeister made his mark in the title business and this is how NASCAR Teddy got his comeuppance. There’s been a discussion going on one of my lists about this very topic and how it pertains to bookstores. Consider this. Stacey’s AND Cody’s are now either gone or nearly gone. Moe’s hangs on by the skin of their teeth. And now Border’s is closing stores. The big megastores came in and ran the little guys out of business and now they’re pulling back on operations because they over expanded. How is this practice good for the community or good for the country? I don’t think it is. One of the gals from SFWOW wrote a post a few days ago about this. How do you have an experience like this from a megastore? You don’t. For you San Franciscans, remember Spinelli’s Coffee? There was one in the Noe Valley I used to go to, one in the Castro, one up on Fillmore (around Sacramento Street), and I think one on Union Street. They were locally owned. Starbucks and Tullys came in and crushed them. Now both megacorporations are closing stores. How was this good for anyone? When was the last time you saw a locally owned hardware store? Even my local ACE is the place is part of a chain of Aces.

My business is so busy that a lot of stuff fall off the radar. I just looked down and see the phone number of a guy who’s ready to buy a house and looked at one of ours. I should be looking for a home for him but he fell off the radar. There’s a couple more like that right now that I have to call either today or tomorrow. Real estate is going great guns right now. Lots of homes are being sold, lots of loans are being made and lots of property is changing hands. Lots of REO property. (For those not in the biz REO means Real Estate Owned, which is a line item on the banks balance sheet)

So why are the title companies still failing and why are good title and escrow people still losing their jobs? Because title companies and lenders continue to break the law by forcing business to certain locations. For those of you who haven’t seen these central locations, they are located in areas where the rent and labor are cheap. Trust me, this reflects in the product and service the consumer (my clients) receive. There are offices that have rows and rows of cubicles with stacks and stacks of files and no hope for any personalized service. None. Trust me. I finally got personalized service by quoting procedures song and verse to the point that the Executive Vice President called me on my cell phone. Yet, here we sit with title companies and lenders continuing illegal practices and putting good people out of work. At what point does the DOI step in and do their freaking job? At what point does HUD call up the big banks and say “Knock it off or we’re going to fine your asses?” Does it take a consumer to file a class action for being forced to LandAm when they failed? Yeah, I know it’s a Commonwealth or Lawyers policy, but it’s got to be a mess trying to close a deal for anyone who opened with LandAm right before they failed. It could be argued that the customer wanted to go to NATCO or ORTC or even the Little Engine that Could, (who is still open in spite of all the vicious and unsubstantiated rumors). It could be argued that the close was held up because it was forced to LandAm costing the buyer money. And my big question is why. Why are the lenders forcing business anywhere at all? I’m going to say it because I think it’s true. Kickbacks. I think they’re there. I think they’re negotiated on a higher level than we’re used to but I think that’s why lenders give a crap who closes a deal. I think that’s why deals in Hayward, California are shuffled to freaking Temecula. Dear DOI, get off your asses and take a look. Why else would they do this?

Now for the part that really matters. What you say? Something matters more than kickbacks? Strangely yes. This practice of forcing business to remote locations does two things, neither are good. It allows companies to use under trained and underpaid staff to do the work that was previously done by highly trained and well compensated staff. It devastates local markets. I’ve written probably 10 times in the last two months. Two have been accepted. I wrote in the companies of reps who had been helping me. My deals have all been forced to a remote location. I’ve been told to write in a certain company or my deal will not even be considered. THAT IS A RESPA VIOLATION! The local market has so far gotten none of them. That means extra expense to my buyers as things need to be FedExed all around the country. (Pennsylvania, Stockton, Irvine) We couldn’t drive to any escrow office for one of the deals because the arm of the Evil Empire did not maintain storefronts. That deal cost my customer more than it would have if it had gone to the rep that I wrote in the contract. Where are you DOI? Hello HUD? Here’s an excerpt from a recent CAR Legal Update:

No seller can require that the buyer purchase title insurance from any particular title insurance company. This rule pertains to transactions involving a federally-related mortgage loan for one-to-four residential units as defined under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) (12 U.S.C. section 2608). Although this is a well-established rule under RESPA, it bears repeating given the recent upsurge in REO transactions.

REO transactions are not exempt from RESPA requirements. If an REO lender chooses the title insurance company, as is often the case, it cannot require directly or indirectly, as a condition to selling the property, that the buyer purchase the title insurance policy. An REO lender that violates this RESPA requirement can be, among other things, held liable to the buyer in the amount equal to three times all charges made for such title insurance. Moreover, anyone who believes that RESPA has been violated may file a complaint (and may request confidentiality) to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For more information about filing a RESPA complaint, go to

What have I been saying all along. Sometimes I just want to scream. You can’t do that. And that means you have to move the business back to the local escrow branches and quit bullying the selling agents. That means that the consumer gets to choose where the business goes and that means you get to shut down those sweat shops in Temecula and San Bernardino and Stockton and start doing business the way it should be done. It’s going to be hard on those communities with the boiler rooms but in the end it will be better for the entire economy because the professionals who have been displaced throughout the State will be able to go back to work locally. THAT will stop the spiral in the economy and THAT will make the difference.

You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane

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Today is the Old Woman’s Birthday. We won’t say how many fingers, and toes, or how many times we have to count the same fingers and toes all over again. But she is catching up to the Old Girl in Sacramento.  Happy Birthday Ma.

OK, I’ve got three rants in me on three topics. Weight in America, the BART shooting and how centralizing the title business cost jobs and exacerbated the economic downturn. Today you get the easy one, and more of a Saturday topic anyway.

Two things got me going. Talking to a friend who said I don’t have 50 to lose and dolphyngyrl’s little rant. And maybe the Good Morning America challenge I see every morning in the gym. And the New Year’s Resolutioners that are making my gym visits tenacious.


–verb (used with object), -posed, -pos⋅ing.

to place close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast.

1850–55; back formation from juxtaposition

Juxtapose is one of my favorite words.  And I love doing it.  When I was in New York in 2000, we went and saw Jackie Mason.  What else would you do if you were in New York and he was playing?  He did this hilarious bit on fancy restaurants and the portions and then how Jews would go to these other restaurants and eat lousy food but when asked they’d gush “The food was lousy, but the portions!”  That little bit has stuck with me ever since.  As Americans we’re not happy if we don’t get more and bigger of everything.  Some guy made a name for himself with the Supersize movie.  If you watch the commercials that we’re bombarded with on television, more than half of them are all about how much more you’ll get.  Whoppers and Big Macs and Ultimate Supreme Pizza’s with $1.99 Crazy Bread and Crazy cheese.  Happy hour two for one specials.  Target Expect More, Pay Less.  Walmart Save Money Live Better.  Meal Deal’s. 20oz Porterhouse’s.  Gas guzzling behemoths.   Beer suitcases.  Monster homes.  McMansions.  What are we thinking?  And what gives us the right to take that much from this planet?

Sorry, focus.  So on one hand we’re being told that we have to be runway thin and on the other we’re supposed to do it holding a Cheesy Double Beef Burrito.   Juxtaposition.  So where is the balance?  How do we walk that fine line?  Well, first, stop watching commercials.  That makes me happy, but I have a TIVO.  But understand marketing for what it is and reject it.

Next, I’m predisposed to fight with my weight.  It doesn’t matter how much I work out, that’s my station in life.  I started working out in 1980.  For the most part I’ve worked out steadily since then.  I missed workouts with injuries and sickness over the years, but never more than a few Doctor ordered weeks off.  And I still weigh 210.  So why is one of my 2009 goals to lose 50 pounds?  And why is it such a struggle for me?  Or anyone else?

I remember going to a friend’s daughter’s 16 birthday party.  The whole time the whole family was “Eat, Eat”  I had a plate when I got there and I started with “I did, I did” and as time progressed it became “No, No”.  Part of our culture is now to sit around and eat.  If we go back in time, travelers would arrive and it would be essential to feed them and for them to eat.  They’d been walking or on horses for hours, maybe days.  Such is not the case anymore and while quaint, not particularly applicable to our lifestyles.  It’s not like we’re going to go out and hunt and gather.

So why does it matter to me?  Because, if I’m carrying 36% body fat (which I am) that shit is gathered up around my heart and my other organs.  And I’m not ready to have my card punched.  Because there are things I can’t physically do any more due to my girth and that pisses me off.  I don’t want my life to be limited in any way and right now it is.  My knees hurt, my hips hurt and my back hurts.  50 less pounds would reduce a lot of that pain.  Guarangodamnedteed.

Do I want to be thin?  No, I don’t.  And I couldn’t if I wanted to.  If you were to see me and I were thin, ask me if the treatments were working because my lithe appearance would be due to catastrophic illness.  Being big boned is kind of a cultural joke now, but I really am.  So thin, lithe, those things, aren’t in my future, hopefully ever.  I just bought a new bike helmet and I had to buy a large.  There is not fat on my head.  My skull is that big.  I do want to reduce the amount of fat I carry on my frame and recapture some of the movement that has been restricted by my slow and steady weight gain.  I’m 50 and it’s time to quit screwing around.

Does that mean I’m going to be doing some ridiculous diet?  No more cookies for the Wine Dog!  Perish the thought.  I’m just going to be watching the portion sizes.  So a couple of cookies now and again yes.  Polishing off a six pack of Whole Foods snickerdoodles?  Not any more this year.  (Although their snickerdoodles rock)  I’m going to settle back into my Body for Life program.  I’ve been working on my riding in addition to my lifting.  I’m planning to do a Metric in late February early March, followed by a Century in May, followed by the LiveStrong Challenge in July.  I’ve been stalled out on donations for a while here, so like a said before, even $5 helps me reach my goal.  If you can spare it, I know things are tough, thank you.  And did you catch my widget in the sidebar?