Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Howard in a Chicken Suit

Last night I was at Harrison High School. Why? Sometimes I wonder myself. Like Donna Summer, I work hard for the money. I can't say that it was really hard.

I was at a college night describing to people who walked up to my table in the cafeteria that I would be back at Harrison High School in two weeks giving a 1 hour presentation on the college aid system and how it works. How they determine how much and what kind of aid you will received. I said that last sentence about 100 times. The goal is I speak in two weeks to about 50 people, then the parents come see me for a more in-depth meeting. I show them some things they didn't know and every so often a couple ask me to become their advisor - IRAs, insurance, whatever. You don't get rich doing this, but I've built up a decent practice from it over the last 5 years. I've helped alot of people who were terrified of the specter to college costs. I feel good about this.

While doing this type of thing though I sort of feel like the guy in the chicken suit outside a Kenny Rogers Roasters trying to get people to come in. You're an idiot, people are trying to ignore you or at least not make eye contact. But I'm here - CLUCK! CLUCK!

I've met some nice people - they are mostly nice. About 95% seem like good solid people. Seeing the kids and the parents together has taught me one thing - if your kid kind of looks like a dumbass slacker who can barely function in the non-competitive world of a rural high school much less the big bad world at large, more than likely you look about the same - just 25 years or so older and 40 lbs. fatter. If the parent looks ok, so does the kid - for the most part and in their own way. I sometimes wonder why parents let their kids out of the house looking like hell and then I see, oh, the parents look like hell. What does their house look like? Their finances?

If Woody Allen said that 75% of success is showing up, another 20% is the following: take a shave, brush your hair, wash your face, stand up straight and speak clearly when spoken to. I shouldn't have to say this but you're 45 now and your kids are watching and learning from you.

Stay You.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Right Kind of Tyranny

Sure I'm a Gen-x'er, I have a conscience. Come on, it's my generation that grew up knee deep in the hoopla and was hungry like the wolf. We learned the lessons of generations past and took our suburban experiences of abject wealth and spoke truth to power. We let 'em know that it was hip to be square.

Alright, now that I got that off my chest, on to something more depressing.

The pissed off parishioner almost returned this Sunday. It wasn't the Pastor's fault at all. He just happened to mention seeing a movie called Amen regarding the Nazi's and the holocaust and I had earlier in the morning seen an ad for the Motorcycle Diaries. It raised the question, why are some maniacal tyrants and murders acceptable?

The Motorcycle Diaries is a youthfully romantic road story of two young friends bumming around South America. Sounds nice, until your realize that one of them is Che Guevara. You know, the Che of t-shirts, restaurants, and firing squads and death camps. This was a bad man who killed alot of people and help establish systems to enslave much of Latin America. Would it be acceptable for a movie to be about the youthful romance of two young artists desolutioned by war struggling to find their place in Vienna where one grows up to find success as Der Fuehrer? I know not. To his credit, Paul Berman dissects The Motorcycle Diaries here.

I guess what was irritating me about my Pastor mentioning Amen is that it's another Holocaust movie. While not date movies, I think they are important and should be made. But why does the genocidal National Socialism of Germany receive the attention of Hollywood and the Soviet style Socialism get ignored. The deaths at the hands of communist is on orders of magnitude higher than the Third Reich, but it remains unaddressed and often times - as with the Motorcycle Diaries - gets romantized (see also Reds.)

Just from memory in no particular order, I can think of the following Holocaust movies: Schindler's List, Jakob the Liar, Amen, The Pianist, Life in Wonderful. I'm sure I could come up with more if it wasn't so early. Also just from memory in on particular order, I think of the following movies about the victims of communism: The Killing Fields, Moving the Mountain and I would bet most haven't seen the latter. Unless you have a book by Anne Applebaum or the heroic Solzhenitsyn, you don't know the depth of that evil.

I know why this is and don't feel like getting into it. David Horowitz details in great detail in Radical Son. Only the wrong kind of tyranny gets critizied.

The terror of the National Socialist should never be forgotten, but I just wish that the equally evil terror of the Soviet Socialism would at least be acknowledge.

Stay You.

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war

I was bumming on the couch flipping through the channels this past Saturday when I happened upon Fox News Channel and heard this guy talking. It was somewhat incoherent or maybe I wasn't paying attention, but the argument he seemed (seems) to be making to Neil Cavuto was that there may be some economically stimulative effects from the Florida hurricanes.

This is garbage akin to saying war helps the economy because it puts people to work. In fact, I wrote about that in my book The Pure Investor:

The cataclysm of war is a catastrophe to people, economies and businesses alike. Factories, infrastructure, and people are destroyed and unavailable for productive uses. The Pure Investor knows that the common idea that WW II brought the country from depression is a dangerous fallacy. People believe this lie because they reason that the stimulus to the economy of building arms and employing people as soldiers and defense workers will lift up the economy. It is a notion that should be removed from the conscious of the public for fear that policymakers may follow this misguided idea and plunge the country into war during a future economic slowdown.

Waging war is not productive. If it were the case that war could bring a country out of recession, the Pure Investor suggests that countries who would fight each other to spur their economy should do without all the horror and carnage. They shouldn’t fire missiles into the air. They could fire Cadillacs, or computers, or furniture. This way they can avoid killing anyone. Using this strategy, soldiers become workers. The economy is lifted and no one gets killed.

Stay You.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

10th Letter to the Editor Printed

A dream just delayed.

I haven't received the Sunday Challenger today, but went to their on-line version and SURPRISE! they printed my last letter. Not bad. I think there has been 12 issues and I've been in 10 of them. Again, not bad.

Anyway, here it is. (I've got to post again today to get my face on the last post off the site when I bring it up.) I wrote about CSX in the Challenger previously here. This weeks letter is in response to this article.

So after 10 in-a-row, where do I go? I'll keep writing, but I think here. I'm writing a letter now to Mr. Mitsoff to see if he can use me.

I always wanted to write a book. I did that. I've always wanted to write at a more professional level, so I'm going to give it a shot now. I'm not stopping my duties at my firm at all. That pays the bills and will for a long time. Heck, I haven't even got an interview yet, but wish me luck. This will be a good sideline to work at. It will make me a better advisor to my clients and in all honestly, I may even work harder at it.

Stay You.

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My Picture

Posted by Hello
The Divine Mrs. M states that if I am going to attempt the type of hypnosis that I did last night that I will have to post a picture so my readers can see what kind of degenerate I am. This is from this morning on the way out the door. I am also still trying to learn how to post my picture under my profiles.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

You Are In My Power

Posted by Hello

Tonight, the first ever Blogger Hypnotism.

Stare at the above poster for 30 seconds. Then read below in a spooky voice:

Your body is relaxed. You mind is going blank. You are taking slow deep breaths.

You are getting sleepy.....



You are my power.


Click on this link and buy several copies of my book The Pure would make a good holiday gift.


Take your top off, take a picture of yourself and mail them to this e-mail.

You are still relaxed....

you are slowly coming awake are aware again of your surroundings and you will remember nothing of this post.

That was an interesting experiment. Now, if it was successful, you will receive several hundred copies of my book in a week and your credit card balance will have magically increased or lurid pictures of yourself will be posted on several disgusting websites. Either way, we all win.

Stay You.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I Heart Autozone

I did my client workshop Tuesday evening. Those things really stress me and I need downtime afterward so I was looking forward to a relaxing Wednesday night of mind numbing television when The Divine Mrs. M called me to let me know she had just walked home after her car wouldn't start. (She wasn't too far and the girls behaved.)

My brain began to melt because the last thing I wanted to do that night was drop a few hundred bucks I don't have on a car I don't like. I swore and stomped around and maintained a general pissy attitude the rest of the day. So after work I inspected under the hood. I don't really know what I'm looking at but I thought, "Hey, let's take the battery to Autozone to have it tested." I was pretty sure I bought the battery over a year ago and I'm pretty sure that I bought the cheapest piece of crap that they had, so it was conceivable that the battery was dead. Possibly by it's own hand. Either way, it's the only thing I could think to do.

A grumpy old man at Autozone tossed my battery into a little black box, hooked up some jumper cables that were connected to some kind of machine. A number flashed on a digital display and he said, "Battery's fine. The post's look like hell. Don't you clean 'em?" To which I said, "You should clean your battery posts?" No expression registered on his face. He simply walked over to a rack, pulled off a silvery little do-hikey and said "Use this."

It was a little double ended scrub brush. One end fit over the battery posts and the other looked like a short bottle scrubber and cleaned the cable connectors. I tried it and the car started up great.

So I worried a whole afternoon of my life away for a $2.49 tool. Also, I learned that the grumpy old man at the Newport Plaza Autozone could have screwed me over for a battery or an alternator or a flux capacitor, but didn't. To give myself some Instant Karma, I called to thank grumpy old Autozone man today and let him know I will not go anywhere else but his fine store ever again. He answered "Whatever." and hungup.

Thanks grumpy old Autozone guy - even if you don't care.

Stay You.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Working for Public and Private Schools

My workshop went well last night and I met 7 new families via 13 of my existing client families. All nice people. I truly like my clients. Anyway, about 40 people in all had to hear my opinions for about 30 minutes. Not bad, I think it went well. At least they got themselves fed. I Got to the office at 7:00 yesterday morning and got home around 9:30. I've done that too often.

I came in this morning and realized why I work so hard (except for blog trolling!). One main reason is to pay my kid's private school bill. It's not as bad as in some parts of the country, but is still steep for me. To add salt to the wound, I also paid my property taxes. 75% of those go to pay for the public schools we wouldn't send our kids into. In fact, to threaten my 7-year old, I tell her public schools are an option. That straightens her out right away! She knows to be afraid because she went to public kindergarten and she remembers it. "Too crazy," she says.

I've written about public schools here, but then I saw this article and it confirmed what I already knew. Teachers won't even send their kids to public schools!!! A snap shot:
In Philadelphia, 44 percent of the teachers put their children in private schools; in Cincinnati, 41 percent; Chicago, 39 percent; Rochester, N.Y., 38 percent. The same trends showed up in the San Francisco-Oakland area, where 34 percent of public school teachers chose private schools for their children; 33 percent in New York City and New Jersey suburbs; and 29 percent in Milwaukee and New Orleans.
Here's a useless paragraph:
Michael Pons, spokesman for the National Education Association, the 2.7-million member public school union, declined a request for comment on the study's findings. The American Federation of Teachers also declined to comment.
They don't need to comment. Their union members are saying it loud and clear with their wallets. Public Schools Suck!

Oh, well. While I may have to pay for both of them; at least my kids get to go to the better one. Others aren't so lucky.

Stay You.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

LaRosa's Pizza Inflation/Investment Workshop Jitters

I'm excited about my workshop tonight. I've 37 clients and their friends/family reserved. I plan on only speaking about 15 minutes after the eat. I've a guy from Eaton Vance talking for 5 - 10 minutes and then it's going home. This is a little different from other investment seminars out there which drag on for 2-3 hours, but I think my clients will appreciate the information and they can be home by 8:00. Above all, I just respect their time.

It will be informal and held at a local pizza chain, but it's a nice place. It's step or two above Pizza Hut - maybe three. I noticed a couple of weeks ago they have a 1969 menu of their's framed in the men's bathroom. What to know what a 4-topping large cost? $3.95. Today price? $17.90. That's a 353% increase, or 4.41% average annual increase. The price at the current rate in another 35 years? $81.06. The Ohio sales tax during that time has gone from 4% to 7%.

This is incredible. Some of this is inflation, but some of it's also the other 4 tax of The Five Taxes I write about in my book, The Pure Investor.

Anyway, the above illustrates why you will want to be invested. If a banks giving you 6% average, but prices are going up at about 4.5% and taxes are doubling and other things are increasing your costs, at 6% you're just falling behind.

Anyway, tonight will be fun. I hope all 37 people or more show up. It should be a blast, but right now my stomach is churning.

Stay You.

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Letter-to-the-Editor Failure

My streak ends.

I failed.

My 10th letter-to-the-editor did not make it into the Sunday Challenger this week. The paper wasn't delivered on time, so finally on Sunday night I drove up to a newstand and bought a copy- the letter wasn't there. Oh, well....

Their loss. I think I won't write one this week. The paper looked kind of boring and I'm not really of mind to write one today. I've had a headache for the last few days and I went to a Greek funeral today that lasted quite a bit. Didn't understand a word of it. I also have a large investment workshop I hosting Tuesday night for clients and their friends & family (this is the best way to meet new clients). So too much in my head and too little time and I must put a priorty on relaxation for the workshop. Wish me luck!

Anyway, here's the letter to the editor that they didn't publish. I have a feeling it will be in next weeks. But who knows. It was in response to this article.

The Sunday Challenger deserves kudos for keeping the pressure on CSX to be a good neighbor. Your September 12 issue focusing on CSX’s history of failures in the community was insightful. For many, the sense of romance at the sound of a passing train has been replaced by a sense of disgust at CSX's unsightly bridges and a sense of fear of a potential derailment in the heart of their city.

It was exciting to read how city officials and citizen groups have joined together to fix this situation. It is this type of cooperation that binds communities together, makes them stronger and, in the long run, raises property values because more people will want to live there.

It was distressing to not read about state or federal officials work to solve this problem. Is this because the Challenger didn’t talk with them or because these officials haven’t caught on that this is an important issue to many in Covington and other cities? With so many campaign signs in our yards these days, would it be too much to ask a politician “What have you done to make CSX a better neighbor?” I’m sure that CSX would respond to a call from a state or federal legislator. I’m also sure that a state or federal legislator would respond to calls from citizens to get this problem solved. Where are they on this issue?

Stay You.

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Friday, September 17, 2004

Stupid Dad of the Year Gets Better?

The Stupid Dad story gets better?

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Stupid Dad of the Day

Stupid Dad of the Day Posted by Hello

Here's the link to the news story. Here's also the powerline guys comment on the story.

Sorry, this dad is an idiot. As the father of two girls - 7 and 3, I wouldn't consider taking either of them to a political rally and then hold up the opponets signs - especially when surrounded by backward baseball hat wearing union painters while I'm standing there in my suit. This guy exposed his girl to danger by doing this.

I'm not excusing these thugs from tearing up a little girls sign, but this would be equivalent to being the obnoxious Indian fan at a Red's game. Sorry, but if you do anything more than modestly clap for the tribe, you're going to get some beer thrown on you.

Stay You.

A Killing on My Doorstep

Last July I looked out my office window and the traffic was backed up in front of our building. I saw police cruisers down the street. I figured an accident and did some busy work for another 15 minutes to kill the time. I looked out again and the traffic was still backed up - more cruisers, ambulances, a couple of fire trucks.

It was a bad day. Gloria Valles was killed while crossing the street. Zachary Costa killed her while joy rider/drag racing down Glenway Ave. Her body was thrown over the head of her boyfriend. She landed about 50 feet away on an access road to a strip mall. I barely knew her. She worked at the Chipotle across the street and had made a couple of my burritos.

He got three years in prison. His family begged for leniency. I thought three years was lenient for a killing.

I bet Jimmy C. in the office that he wouldn't spend 1 year in prison. I'm marking my calender to check.

What do you have to do to spend some serious time in prison? As readers of The Pure Investor know, I have a special affinity for immigrants. From previous reports, it sounds like this woman lead a rough life, but she was working a couple of jobs. Maybe she wouldn't have achieved the American dream, but her kids might. She was trying. She didn't deserve this. And Zachary Costa deserves more. The skid marks of the car are still on the road; the police laid down some kind of powder to soak up her blood. It washed away after a few days.

Sorry, but this pisses me off beyond belief.

Stay You.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Me in my Red's uniform

I'm currently trying to learn how to post pics. Please be patient with me.

I went to a Red's game this summer - a couple actually - and No. 1 Daughter took this pic. Posted by Hello

Response to Sara RE anti-Semitism of the left

NYCSara asks for some articles about anti-Semitism on the political left.

Sara states that she's only heard of it from the right. I don't know - I just haven't noticed it on the right in my 34 years. Can she send articles stating otherwise? Yes, I'm sure you can. Anti-Semitism and it's kissing cousin racism are shared by many. Let me affirm that I think that modern (last 50 years or so) anti-Semitism is found on the political left; not that the political left is anti-Semitic. See the difference? Hope so.

I became sensitized to the anti-Semitism of the left at college. A few left profs seemed to speak of the Jew's role in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict with a certain contemptuous tone that I had heard before. It was the same tone that I heard from my older Southern relatives refer to blacks in polite conversation. Nothing obvious, nothing I can put my finger on, but a certain dismissiveness and disregard that I'm sure an overweight middle aged white suburbanite interviewer has given a black applicant.

I then started to question the whole blame Israel for everything in the their region instinct. It wasn't even moral equivalence. The news always seemed to make it out to be Israel's fault. I speak of my confusion in this post I linked yesterday. I'm still looking for someone to explain it to me.

Maybe I'm wrong, Sara. Convince me otherwise. Anyway, here's some articles:

From some righty websites:
Would Harvard Host a David Duke-like Idiot? I think not.
And Another One

Here's one from a politically left women's studies professor.

Finally, a news story that scared the hell out of me at the time.

Here's SFSU's plan to combat anti-Semitism. Combatting anti-Semitism? In SF? It sounds like something that the Feds would try to do at this silly place.

Thanks for reading, NYCSara.

Stay You.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Passive Anti-Semitism?

One thing that I think 9/11 brought into sharp relief for me is the large amount of anti-Semitism that's out there. I hope I'm wrong, but I saw this in college quite a bit and that was a while ago. I honestly didn't know that it was so prevalent in academia and the political left quite a bit. I posted my thoughts previously here.

I use Juno for my blog e-mail. It caused me to write this:
Dear Juno,
While writing an e-mail, I needed the word "anti-Semitism." I clicked send and my spellchecker caught it. At first I thought that I had misspelled the word, but it appears that Juno doesn't even consider this a word. Instead the spellchecker offered "antifeminism." Honestly, this isn't a word that I've ever heard before. May I suggest that you correct this in your spell checker before others more sensitive than me are offended.
I will be posting this e-mail to my blog
Howard McEwen, CFA

I don't think Juno is a bad company, but come on....

Stay You.

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Food and Fashion Rant

I got in some good work today so I feel good about that. I didn't get home last night until about 10:15 because of a seminar I was doing in a place called Waynesville, OH. Actually, it was sponsored by an advisor that works through our office. It seemed to go well.

It was held at a place called Der Dutchman - Amish cooking. I didn't know anything like that existed. Apparently it is quite popular with old, old people. There's nothing in that food to disrupt the sensitive bowels of the elderly. No spices, no herbs, no flavor. Although the spice routes to the East were opened up in the 15th Century, that was still too early for the Amish. The fried chicken tasted bland, the mash potatoes tasted bland as did the gravy. The beef was cooked and cooked and cooked until it had the consistentcy of mush with all the flavor of mush.

Everyone said the food was great. I just smiled. What do I know?

Here's a hint: use a little garlic, use a couple of herbs (parsley isn't only for garnish) - fresh if possible - and your life will change. At last count The Divine Mrs. M.'s herb garden had about 14 different herbs in it. Small space. Nothing fancy, but it makes the meal much more enjoyable. All she has to do is walk down the steps and clip them off.

While I'm telling everyone how to live. I say too many men last night not dressed well. Here's a hint: When wearing a dress shirt - wear an undershirt. A simple cotton t-shirt does wonders for your appearance. It acts as a support garment for many and smooths out your look. Plus no one wants to see a grown man's nipples peaking through his shirt. Also, get your shirts dry cleaned. I take mine to a client's place who doesn't give me a break and it costs $1.66 each. Your shirts last longer and you look 1000% better than in you do in that shiny shirt you pulled out of the dry an hour ago.

OK one more: Pay for decent haircuts. The less hair you have the more you should pay. Nothing is worse than a Great Clips or Master Cuts chop job. (This last is a lesson I only recently learned.)

I'm embarrased to think about what I'm doing now that I shouldn't be. What will I learn in the future? Keep reading.

In the meantime, here's me in my Red's baseball uniform.

Stay You.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

High School Pics

Looked at my earlier ones and yes I did have that "bespectacled-acne-faced-virgin-caught-in-the-headlights" look. Senior year not bad. Apparently that camera took away 20 pounds because in actuality my face is much more round these is my mid-section.

But at least I don't have to look back and see things like this. How are these people going to explain this.

Stay You.

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Know the Media for What It Is

This will be short. I'm tired. Pool problems, No. 1 Daughter's Spanish Test, #2 Daughter's oozing vomit, airline and disney ticket purchases that took forever (I know: boo hoo) wore me out last night.

I did catch a little of the news on the likely faked CBS memos calling Bush a child raper or some such thing. There's enough for liberal and conservative alike to be annoyed at with him, why make stuff up?

Anyway, here's a snippet of what I had to say in The Pure Investor about the media:
The purpose of broadcasting and printing financial news is the same as that of broadcasting cartoons, sit-coms, and cop shows: to sell advertising. In order to sell advertising, newspaper editors, news anchors, and news radio must get people reading newspapers, eyes watching television and cares listening to radio. The best way to do this is to make the news as dramatic and compelling as possible to the most people.

This same problem is particularly evident on the financial cable channels such as CNBC and CNNfn. Every announcement, event, and issue that at one time would not have made it onto the evening news or the front page of the Wall Street Journal now gets massive amounts of attention. The event gets hours of air time, its own logo at the top of the screen, and two analysts speaking about how this triviality will effect the markets, the economy and their audience's wealth.
Brilliant 'eh? Then go buy the book.

Stay You.

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Chartered Financial Analyst

Some regular readers have e-mailed to ask what a Chartered Financial Analyst is. Here's the main site that should give you a full run down. Here's an article describing the testing experience.

What do I do professionally? Mostly try to help middle-income individual investors with their investment needs. I also do a little life insurance for my investment clients.

Stay You.

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Pissed off Parishoner con't

No, I'm not really pissed off. That was a bit of blogger drama. Mind?

The text of the sermon was the parable of the one lost sheep which then shifted into a discussion on responsibility. Pastor H. gave several examples and then mentioned "outsourcing" with the hypothetical question (I'm paraphrasing), "Does a company have a responsiblity to only the stockholders and the bottom line or is it more - to the community, society, etc." Answering in my mind, I said "No."

Why does a company's mere existence give others - society, the community, the church - some kind of claim over that company. The investors took and continue to take the risk, the owner/managers work to grow the company. They didn't grow the company throught deceit but through hard work and voluntary exchange. The owners should be the only ones with a claim over it. But no, a part of society has constructed a whole rationale and philosophy for people to expect a portion of others work that isn't due them.

I thought of my clients first. If they invest their money in a company, does that make them immediately indebted to others. Does local Cincinnati favorite P&G's shareholders and managers owe me something because they've operated in the same town where I live? Do I have a right to tell P&G to not open a plant overseas because they have incurred an obligation here? What give me the right to say that to P&G? There is no right, but only my own ability to use guilt or misuse morality on them.

Taken to just my small business on the west side. Do I owe the west side of Cincinnati something because I've built up a small business here? No. Back to the topic of outsourcing: If I want to move my office closer to home across the Ohio River to Bellevue, should the west side neighborhood association be allowed to control my business and say "No, you can't move. You have a responsibility to the west-side." If so, I'd tell them to go to hell. I built this business. You weren't here when I was at 6:00 a.m. or at 9:00 p.m.

I hate to sound like a Randian, but whether someone takes my property by breaking through my back window or by demanding that I hand over control of it to someone else by force of the bible is still thief. It's a loss of property rights which I describe in my book.

As for feeling guilty or whatever, I stick by what I wrote in The Pure Investor:
The Pure Investor is not affected by the guilt heaped upon him by those who do not know how wealth is created. Unfettered, unbound capitalism is the best anti-poverty program available. Capitalism, and the political freedom that always comes with it, is the reason why Cuban cross the Florida Straits, mainlanders swim Deep Water Bay to reach Hong Kong, and East Berliners ran face first into the barbed wired wall perating them from the west.

One other thought: when my business has a problem, should I expect society to help me out. Unless I'm huge it ain't gonna happen.

Stay You.

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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Pastor Pisses-off Parishoner

We've a nice new pastor at my church. I like Pastor H. and my kids definitely like him. As a bonus, I can follow his sermons. With past pastors I usually just zone out and think about what I've got to do at work the upcoming week, but he keeps my interest.

As you can tell, I'm not very religious. It's not that I'm a non-believer but in the ways of faith I don't seem to have any. But some very smart people I respect - including The Divine Mrs. M. - believe in God and the good He can do in the lives of every person, so I won't discount any of it nor be disrespectful. Is that OK?

My church going approach is to show up, listen, and sometime, somewhere in the future a revelation will hit. Maybe I'll have a moment where the light shines down and there will be a moment of pure ecstacy or maybe it'll just be a warm sense of peace that overtakes me. Maybe I'll understand what it's all about, but right now I just don't. But I know I'll never have that revelation if I just sleep in on Sundays, stay at home and watch the weekly news shows or football. So there I sat, and listened, and enjoyed, and then got a little pissed off.

No not really, not raging red-faced pissed off, just annoyed. Not enough to tell off the pastor, but I'll discuss it with him and I'll write about it tomorrow when I'm more awake and the girls don't have Lion King 1 1/2 blaring in the background. Anything I write today will just not be coherent.

Stay You.

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Sara in NYC - Free copy of The Pure Investor

Sara in NYC was nice enough to put up a post here but I didn't she my post on getting a free copy of The Pure Investor. I put the entry about that over on the right, but if Sara sees this, just e-mail your address here and you'll get your free copy. Additionally, I have 3 copies left for any other posters.

Stay You.

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Labor Day, Fireworks and the 9th Challenger Letter

Every Sunday before Labor Day in Cincinnati a local rock station puts on a huge fireworks show. The fireworks are launched from barges anchored in the Ohio River between the Bengal's and Red's stadium and thousands line the banks on the Ohio and Kentucky side to watch. Pretty cool. They're huge!

Bellevue is right across from Cincinnati so instead of fighting traffic and paying for $15 parking, we walk down to the river in about 10 minutes, stop when it gets too crowded, watch, and walk home. No muss; no fuss - just another nice feature of living in Bellevue. Knowing both the Divine Mrs. M and myself, if we lived in the suburbs, we would never come down to see them. Too much trouble.

Anyway, the fireworks were the focus of The Sunday Challenger last week. Here's one of their articles. So I answered with this letter to the editor. I don't think it was one of my best; a little too saccarine for my tastes but I had to write something to keep the streak going. This makes number nine and I've just finished writing number 10. That was the goal - ten in a row. Check back next week to see if I made it.

Stay You.

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Saturday, September 11, 2004

My Best Failure

Textbook publishers are not the most imaginative bunch. As a finance major at Ball State and later while obtaining my CFA, about 25% of the finance books had pictures of the New York skyline on them. Many focused on the World Trade Center. They jump started my ambitions. I promised myself that I'd get that first high paying job in New York and someday work at the World Trade Center. My fallback position was Chicago.

I didn't make either.

I failed.

Thank God.

Stay You.

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Friday, September 10, 2004

Anspaugh Ave, Bellevue Kentucky

Friday is Garbage Day in Bellevue; that makes Thursday night Garbage Eve.

I feel at home and comfortable in Bellevue. More so than anywhere else I've lived and more so than the neighborhood I grew up in. Odd? But I like it and it fits The Divine Mrs. M and me. It's an urban neighborhood classified by the U.S. Census as "inner city", but there's none of the problems associated with that word. Historically it has been German Catholic with a sprinkling of Irish Catholic. Until last year the Germans and Irish had seperate parishs and churchs - on the same block. I feel in love with it because my house sits almost at the top of a hill overlooking the rest of Bellevue. I can tell the time by the church tower of Divine Mercy, the bells tell me the changing hour. When older, my kids can walk to school. I can look across the Ohio River to see Mount Adams, the upper portion of the Cincinnat Art Museum and a sliver of the eastern edge of downtown. No. 1 Daughter thinks the Proctor and Gamble World Headquarters are pyramids. That's nice. These pics tell it all for me.

But no matter how much I like it, Garbage Eve comes every Thursday and I truck out to the curb the wretched refuse of our past weeks living. Sometimes I'm embarrased by how much we don't recycle, but most times I don't care. I gotta live.

For whatever reason, when one of the neighbors starts taking out their garbage, it triggers the rest to get up off the couch and do the same. We then talk with each other. Septeginarian Mrs. R to the right of us usually takes out hers and heads back in right away, but if she's in the mood and it's not too hot, she'll stop you to talk. If that's the case, relax because you're going to be there a while. She likes to talk. She's a pleasant older lady who I see head off to Mass every Sunday. She bought her house in '46 brand new. She's divorce and raised 8 kids in a two bedroom house. She's had problems I wouldn't want to deal with. Usually when she talks she wants to know what's going on with the neighbors and she'll provide you a history of who's who. I like her and hope she'll be living next to use for years.

On the other side, Mrs. M and J. usually speak briefly and we exchange what on the block needs to be rectified. Someone is parking in the wrong direction, or not putting lids on their cans, or not mowing their grass. They know I'm somewhat of a jerk and will call the city to be the issue fixed. So over the waste of a week we catch up on gossip and problems and kids. We don't often go into each other's house. No coffee, or tea, or stopping in. Just these weekly chats. It keeps the neighborhood going. A neighborhood I like.

I intend on living here until I die. If you're looking for a new place to live, come and visit, but don't try to buy a house on Anspaugh. I like it like it is.

Stay You.

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Proper Way to Heckle

Here's a story about some guy who heckled Kerry while he was here in Cincinnati. A Kerry supporter "silenced" him. Good for the Kerry supporter! As I've written before, I don't much like Kerry, but as I've also written before, I think it's just rude to stand up while a U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate is speaking and start shouting at him. It's just rude!

I'm assuming this guy is a Republican and/or conservative and when you're a Republican and/or conservative making a big show of your politics just doesn't seem right to me. Republicans/conservative are the "silent majority." They don't protest WTO conferences or travel by bus to protest a convention for a week. They go to work, they pay their taxes, they educate their kids and then most go to vote at 7:00 a.m. for their guy while the protesting type stayed up late, slept in, putz around the house all day in his bathrobe, forgot where he was suppose to vote, and then complained about facism when he finds the polling place closed at 8:23 p.m. Then again, I do love that Protest Warrior does what it does - and with more than a bit of humor.

I guess if I was a better blogger I would have tried to attend the event. The Museum Center where Kerry spoke is on the way home, it would have been easy. But I have a day job and need to keep it so I can pay my taxes and pay tuition bills and keep current on the mortgage.

Stay You.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Blogger Down! Blogger Down!

Yes, yes, I know. I'm falling down on my blogging committments.

A certain dispiritedness has overtaken me. I don't usually know where these moods come from. I think it's because I didn't do anything productive over the labor day weekend. Many people can live with that, in fact they embrace it, but I can't. It seems a waste. I need to learn to relax. The "killing kids for Allah" news also brought me down. I fear that this is only going to get worse and I'm a little upset that all weekend long a hurricane blew a few hundred murdered children off the news. God, I'm glad where I live. I'm not very religious, but we're raising our daughters Lutheran, and we send them to a Catholic school that treats them wonderfully.

To make matters worse, I have visitors coming in this weekend. We've had too many visitors (family) in the past two months and I'm worn out. The Divine Mrs. M. and I are insular homebodies. We seem to do quite well by ourselves with the daughters. People just drain us of energy and these visitors seem like a dark cloud hanging over my head.

So today I'm going to get a ton of work done and I think I'll feel better. I'll update tonight if I can after the meeting at my daughter's school; Some mandatory parent meeting where they are going to tell us how much tuition could have gone up and since it didn't that much we now much sell 14,000 boxes of some godawful junk.

I'll leave you with on a positive note with two quotes I have had posted on my monitor here at the office.

The first is a supposed Jack London fake, but I think he'd claim it if he could:

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow,
than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

The next is from FDR's 4th inaugural:

I remember that my old schoolmaster, Dr. Peabody, said, in days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled: "Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights—then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend."

Stay You.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

When Mom Takes a Toke - Letter to the Editor

Here's my latest letter to the editor for the Sunday Challenger commenting on this article.

Last week's issue truly troubled me. About a third of pregnant mom's in Kentucky smoke while pregnant. Whaaaaaa?

The Divine Mrs. M. is an avid fan of Diet Coke - a real caffiholic - and has been as long as I've known her, but the minute the tests came back positive for both of our girls, she stopped cold turkey. She just figured caffiene was bad for the little fetuses. She was a little grumpy yes, but tempted to chug a few of those brown bubbles - no.

The writer of the article attributed the smoking to poverty and lack of education. He even cited a cut in smoking education for would-be mom's. This is preposterous. I can walk into any run down trailer in any valley in Kentucky and I'm sure I would find some Atkin's approved products and the people living there could tell me how their white bread is making them fat. The pregant chicks need a government funded class to tell them smoking is bad? Give me a break.

Another point The Divine Mrs. M. brought up, "Smoke a few packs and you're a bad mom, go get yourself an abortion and you've made a choice."

Have a good labor day and don't stay too sober. I'm off to see the fireworks.

Stay You.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Welcome Madam Butterfly...come and get it.

Madam Butterfly was good enough to offer a post to The Pure Investor Blog. She's the second after Blogination which entitles her to a free copy of The Pure Investor. She just needs to send mail info here. Three more to go!

Check out her site....I mean NOW! You're back? Good. I think you'll agree the blog has some crisp and clean writing - a dose of family, a dose of politics, a dose of whatever...just like life.

Also, I will be the first to buy a copy of initiations - with The Divine Mrs. M's permission, of course.

Stay You.

Early Mornings & School House Terrorists

A thunderstorm rolled across the city last night. At 4:00 a.m. No. 2 daughter awoke and crawled into bed. She prefers to sleep perpendicularly with her little legs lodged between a parent's 6th and 7th rib. I decamped to the couch. At 5:00 a.m. with thunder getting louder and lightening flashing through the house, I heard No. 1 daughter sliding down the steps. She choose to wedge herself on the remaining edge of the couch. Aaaaaaahh, fatherhood.

Now uncomfortably awake, I clicked on the DirecTV. Yippe, no rain fade! Pulled up Fox News to see what was being said about the RNC Convention, but learned instead a little bit about the Russian school that was being occupied by "militants." From what the BBC describes, I'd say they are terrorists. No mention that these are Islamic terrorists or, if you prefer, terrorists who are Islamic. But I know they are.

One thing I don't see is that American Muslim leader who is always on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox everytime some fanatic hijacks his "religion of peace" and blows up someone or something. What's his name? You know the one? Oh, that's right - there isn't one!

I've mentioned this here before. Sorry if I'm repeating myself, but so are they.

The BBC reports the following:
Security forces had opened fire to save the lives of hostages who were being
fired on by gunmen, he said.

These hostages included children. The terrorist were firing on children running for their lives from their own school that their parents had taken them to. Unfathomable and unbloggable.

I'm somewhat depressed. I'm tired. There's a whole day of work ahead.

I'm glad I took No. 1 daughter to school myself today.

Stay You.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Letter to The Sunday Challenger Editors

Here are posts on Letter to the Editor's I've submitted to the Northern Kentucky Sunday Challenger. It's a weekly newspaper that goes out to the northern Kentucky - about 65,000. I'm having fun seeing how many weeks in a row I can keep them appearing.

7/16/04 Literacy
7/25/04 Kentucky's New Motto
8/1/04 Burley Quota
8/8/04 Big Corporation Acting Stupidly
8/16/04 Overcrowded Jails
8/23/04 Publix Skools
8/29/04 Cross-Burning Yahoos
9/5/04 Toking While Pregnant
9/12/04 Big Bangs in Cincinnati
9/26/04 Big Corporation Acting Stupidly, Part Deux

Stay You.

Think Long-Term Because Everyone's Getting Longer in the Tooth

I know this is suppose to be a RNC Convention-free zone, but.....

I was watching it last night when I noticed that both of GWB's parents were up in the gallery watching the big show. Bush I was wagging his finger at one of his hottie granddaughter's who was giggling on stage. I began to wonder how many parents have been able to stand together and see their son re-nominated and possibly re-elected president. I know Bush I's mom was alive when he was prez, so was Clinton's, Carter's, and Nixon's but no dads. And not only are Bush I and Babs alive, but he's jumping out of planes and she's raking in the dough speaking around the country.

This is why I wrote in The Pure Investor that we need to keep invested even during retirement, because retirements are lasting longer and longer and these old people live longer and longer.

As I wrote:
When building an equity mutual fund portfolio, the fear that most people have is of losing their money. However, the Pure Investor is concerned with outliving his money. More and more people are realizing this as medical science increases life expectancy each year. According to the National Center fo Health Statistics, a newborn in 1950 was expected to live 68.2 years. By the year 2000, the figure had increased to 76.9 years.
Owning equities in retirement scares people, but again there's nothing scarier than running out of money because you put the funds in low or no return vehicles.

That's all I got. I'm tired. I reviewed this post and it seems to suck. I promise to get more sleep and pep this blog up tomorrow.

Thanks for staying with me.

Stay You.