Thursday, December 30, 2004

My Little Girl is Gone

My little girl, she was swept out to sea.
My little girl, they found her under a mango tree.

I was worried about bills and money; my career,
Now I would pay anything just to feel her near.

She was right there on the beach playing.
Now I kneel here on my knees praying.

O, God! Christ Jesus! This pain is too great!
She's too pretty, too precious to deserve this fate.

You're to blame. You're the cause. With your mysterious ways.
I'm sorry. Help me. Help me through these next fews days.

Stay You.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Outsource This!

I'm a free-trader down to my bones.

Don't believe me. Buy my book!

While we pity and donate to the tsunami victims, I'd like to remember that during the campaign - and even before - there was a lot of griping about these people - Indians, Malays, Thais - stealing our jobs. It looks like about 100,000 of them have just been wiped out. Maybe some of those jobs will come home now. Feel better?

Sorry, but in working with the public, I get a little tired of fat, middle-aged, privileged (you're privileged if you were born here) Americans who barely show up for work and can't bring themselves to take advantage of their company's tuition reimbursement program complaining about their jobs going overseas. You don't own the job, buddy! Get out there and compete!

But I do have an out-sourcing idea. What to hear? I just knew you did. I think alot of the international tension lately isn't so much to do with Pres. HitlerBush but with the fact that most European and several Asia countries have outsourced their military to us. We're not going to let Germany invade France a fourth time; we'll come in sometime to keep the Slavs from killing each other; we'll stand up to the Evil Empire; and we'll patrol the Sea of Japan and the Taiwan Straits. I don't truly mind this since it keeps them from starting some serious trouble, but it does toss alot of the cost onto us.

Here's the payback deal I propose:

Since our drug-approving FDA sucks, why don't we just turn over that responsibility to the European Union. I trust 'em. There's no need to ask them. It's simple: If you've gone through the trouble of getting your pill approved there, you can sell it here. How much do we spend on the FDA now? Let's spend that money on lowering drug costs here. The Europeans will pay all the regulatory costs and we will reap all the benefits; it's just the reverse of their benefiting from our military. Does that make us even-Steven? No, but it's a start.

N.B. I did the roundtable discussion with 4 CPAs last night for an upcoming Challenger special. Thanks for all those that helped. My part will be the centerpiece. Before you ask, Yes! A night with 4 CPAs is as exciting as it sounds.

Stay You.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Natural Disaster; Two Apologies

My bleatings about Christmas now seem petty and immature and way too self regarding in light of what's happened in the Indian Ocean. This boy could be Daughter No. 1. God save him.

A few years back I started reading National Review online and this article on natural disasters was one of my first reads. I cringed a little while reading it, but it's true. Here is Jonah's apology issued the next day.

When the evils of British colonialism was thrown off these places that were just destroyed, the former colonies were left with something worse - citizens educated in British Universities where, at the time, Marxism was all the rage and taught well. So the Brits bugged out and left little Marxists in these already bad off places who immeadiately took control of the countries and made them horrible places. My point - and the point of Goldberg's article above - is that with a few years of unbridled capitalist growth these tragedies will be minimized. Structures and warning systems would have been in place if they hadn't crippled themselves with various 5-year plans.

God save these people. God help them in the future. But they don't need more of the same.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal today says it much better than I. Also, I had forgotten about Michael Crichton's speech from a few years ago touching on the subject just a bit.

Stay You.

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Sunday, December 26, 2004

A Christmas Miracle, Part 2

Could it get any better? First, I was grumpy from having too many demands, etc. Then we got snowed in. The only thing we then had to do was show up for the Church's Christmas Eve service. The Divine Mrs. M. has volunteered to corral the kids during the service and she expected my help in this task. She even made treat bags for the little ones. Well, we got a call that Holy Week was cancelled. Sorry baby Jesus! Christmas Eve service - cancelled. Christmas Day service - cancelled. Christmas Sunday "today"- cancelled. I know it's horrible, but teh, he, I love it! We go to an "urban" church meaning most of the parking is on-street and since the streets are clogged with snow, there's no parking. What little parking the church has (10 spaces) is iced over snow over ice that is impossible to plow.

I've done nothing for several days.

Today, I completed The Divine Mrs. M.'s birthday present by taking us all to see the Nutcracker. Call me a Philistine, but I just don't get ballet. Never have and never will. I've seen several and they all look the same to me. I love the Opera, I love Shakespeare, most of the fine arts, but just not ballet. But Music Hall is a great space, so I just look around.

I think for me this has been the best Christmas ever and it's all due to a freak snow storm.

Tomorrow it's back to work and I'm ready for it. I'll make this blog more Pure Investory and less me me me. I must start focusing on building my investment advisory business in 2005. I'm tired of not rolling in dough. This has to be the year for making the business take off or not. Which way will it go? I'll keep you updated. Let's have fun.

See you tomorrow. I feel good.

Stay You.

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

It's a Christmas Miracle

So in yesterday's post I was a bit grumpy.


But today I feel great. Why? Take a look at these. Not what you expected? Sorry. Anyway, because of the storm all those demand, expectations and committements are now out the window. I came home from work on Cincinnati's westside (where a lot of those pics are from) early yesterday. 1 1/2 hours for a normal 20 minute drive. All I had...nay, today is sit. Even the govmit says I must stay home. Ok, so I spent 3 hours digging my car out of the snow for a mere chance to drive up to the grocery. But even if it won't move, it's not too long of a walk. I'll try that when Daughter No. 2 wakes up from her nap.

Anyway, there's nothing I can do but relax and enjoy. Thank you Jet Stream!

Stay You.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Christmas Is An Ugly Bitch That Needs to Get Paid

Sorry for the obscense post title but that's the way I feel most times.

I'm never at my best at Christmastime. Too many people making too many demands of me. It gets me grumpy when everyone else says - demands - I should be merry. It seems like the the burners that are normal life are turned up even more. More time away from home, more work committments, more social events, and money just flying out every window in the house. My pot is boiling over. I try to keep a lid on it because any steam let off ends up in the common Christmas Carol refrain that I RUINED CHRISTMAS!

I just want to make it to this Sunday, coast through to New Year's, get loaded on good wine, and face a cold, eventless, expectationless January with nothing to do but go to work and come home to quiet.

Stay You.

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Monday, December 20, 2004

The Pure Investor is Out

Traveled Today. Today I drove to Akron, Ohio and back. It's now 8:00, I'm answering my mail, checking e-mail, leaving messages in response to voicemails and going home.

Stay You.

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Friday, December 17, 2004

Death Penalty and Taxes

Madame Butterfly points out that there weren't alot of comments on my death penalty post Should Scott Peterson Die from a couple of days ago. I can only imagine it was because you were all stopped in your tracks by the beauty of The Divine Mrs. M. But go check it out. Let me know what you think. Here's a hint: I'm agin it.

But today.....I need help. The week after Christmas, I will be doing a roundtable discussion of tax issues with several CPAs for an upcoming feature in The Sunday Challenger. The focus will be the typical middle class reader of the paper and their tax issues. I'm coming up with an outline, but what would you guys like to know? If you would like to know it, chances are my readers will also.

My fear is that the CPAs will speak at too high level. While I'm not a CPA, I am a CFA with an Accounting degree and Finance degree. I don't want to talk down to my readers but speak to there level. A CPA will get excited about a new depreciation schedule for capital equipment. My reader just wants to know 5 things he can do not to screw himself with Uncle Sam.

Thanks and.....

Stay You.

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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Birthday Thanks and Christmas Blahs

Thanks to all who wished The Divine Mrs. M. a Happy Birthday. You make me look good.

Her gift was tickets to the Nutcracker at Cincinnati's Music Hall for the whole family. Music Hall is beautiful and we've gone several times BC (before children) to the summer opera series, but not so much now.

Ahhhh, BC. We used to go the the
Shakespeare Festival and the Ballet and a couple little art theatres. Now I just want my Tivo to work.

Anyway, we'll go to the Nutcracker later this month.

I offered The Divine Mrs. M a quiet dinner at home ordered in after the kids were in bed, but she wanted a family occasion so off to a restaurant we've enjoyed before called Washington Platform. We parked about a block and a half away. The air was bitingly cold so we did a quick jog to their door to be greeted by a hand lettered sign saying "Closed Tonite - gas problems." Damn. Back to the car in the biting cold. Where to? Where all the restaurants are around our house - the Levee! Our too many choices are here. Where'd Mrs. M pick? Here. Claddagh's Irish Pub. The girls were good and we left satisfied and Mrs. M. was happy which was the whole point. Mrs. M. had the Shepard's Stew and I had a half order of Fish and Chips where the fish was as big as my forearm. I would have been afraid of the full order.

Blogging will be light but I'm still trying for daily for the rest of December. I'm burning out. Maybe we'll try photoblogging. I have a new sweater I may model for you. Check back.

Stay You.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Happy Birthday to The Divine Mrs. M.

That's right. She's 36 today...and still smoking hot! Please fill the comments section wishing her a Happy Birthday.


Stay You.

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Should Scott Peterson Die

I'll honestly say that anytime I see a news teaser that something on the Peterson case was coming up, I changed the channel. I just don't care.

But all the hoopla this week gets me thinking about the death penalty. Sitting in my easy chair, drinking my G&T, reading my Hayek, I think about it and say, "Yep, I'm against the death penalty." Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these freaks that go to the prison the night of the Big Event and sing Kum-by-ya softly until the lights flicker then quietly weep. I simply don't like giving the State that much power over an individual.

I don't want to try to rehabilitate murders. I don't really care about them and I certainly don't want them released after 30-years. Dig a hole, dump him in, let him have a Bible or a Koran or a Torah or a Sears catalog from 1974, toss him a few bananas every day until he dies. This serves the function of keeping my taxes low and keeping the maniacs away from my kids. But I also want to tell the government, "No, you can't do this. Your power ends here. Here's a line a power you will not cross. Let me point out the others."

This won't happen, I know. Too many people want the killers dead. Too many people want the ones that aren't dead treated nicely. Fine, let's until we come to our senses start charging up Sparky.

Stay You.

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Monday, December 13, 2004

On Bernie Kerik (You Dog) and Victor Yushenko (You Hero)

On Saturday I expressed doubt Kerik's withdrawing his Homeland Sec nomination saying he hired an illegal immigrant nanny really meant that he was withdrawing his Homeland Sec nomination because he had hired an illegal immigrant nanny. The illegal immigrant nanny excuse has really been worn thin.

Anyway, now we find out why he withdrew his nomination. He was cheating on his wife with a girlfriend for 10-years and cheating on them both with Judith Regan. I love being right. Although come on, it's Judith Regan! Kerik now has a shot at being VP in my book. OK, not actually my book, but you know what I mean.

On another front: I'm really, I mean really tired, of visiting my left websites and hearing them whine about election fraud, et. al. Bush won! Both times! Get over it! It gets under my skin like every time someone makes the Bush=Hitler comparison. The simple fact is that if Bush=Hitler - you wouldn't be able to say Bush=Hitler because you'd be dead. Also, I find it not only obnoxious, petulant, and immature, but insulting to the people who suffered under Hitler to equate Bush with him because he wants to do rovering wire taps on suspected terrorist.

Anyway, go ahead and whine about the election and some central Florida counties that couldn't possibly have gone for Bush and then take a look at the face of real election fraud. Time to grow up. Go figure out to win elections.


Stay You.

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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Bernie Kerik, Fat People Not Dancing & Handicap Pregnant Women

We actually slept in today. The kids are apparently moving out of that phase where they need to get up at 7:00 and immediately wake us up. The Christmas Party last night went fine. It was at a local country club. It was smaller - sorry, intimate - than usual but with people I can deal with. Tanquary and tonics and people that don't irriate me that much and I'll be fine.

So we slept in, had some breakfast, then off to Daughter No. 2's dance class. I try not to be mean to fat people, but I may be here. Daughter No. 2 is 3. The class is designed for child and parent to work together. It only lasts 1/2 hour. I usually go because it's on a Saturday and most of these events are held during the weekday (also, The Divine Mrs. M and Daugher No. 1 went rolling skating today). However, here's what I've noticed over the last couple of months. The fat parents don't dance with the kid. They kind of stand back and watch. The kid usually wavers between dancing and running over and grabbing onto mom or dad. I want to yell at these parents "Dance with them, dammit". The thinner parents are more active. Believe me, a few rounds of head-shoulders-knees-and-toe can be a nice aerobic workout. But to the fat parents: maybe this is a chicken and egg question, but are you fat because your that lazy or that lazy because your fat. Either way, this class is nothing more than glorified stretching, get in on the fun. It feels goooooooooooooooood.
Bernard Kerik has withdrawn his nomination for Homeland Security Secretary because of some nanny problem and/or because he made some bucks consulting with a security company. First off, how many potential cabinet secrtaries have been torpedoed by this illegal immigrant for a nanny problem. I think Linda Chavez in 2000. And I remember a few Clinton people. I can't imagine this isn't one of the first things that's checked on these guys. Because I think this, I also think that the "illegal for a nanny" excuse might be code. Maybe it's better than saying what's really holding up the nomination - back taxes, a girlfriend(s), a few DUIs, a domestic distrubance, an illigitimate child by a crackhead that you've been palming $50/week to. Just a thought. I have no inside information. Second, so Kerik made a few mil consulting for a security firm. That's probably because he's good at it, but in this country in 2004 making money at something makes you suspect. It he had been nominated for Education Secretary I guess he would pass although he probably knows nothing about education. Come to think of it, that might be a good idea.

I spent much of nap time writing an article about the upcoming Girl Scout Cookie Sale for the Sunday Challenger. This brought to mind Inflation, what I call the Fifth Tax in my book. Why? Because I wanted to type "50 cents" for a price increase, but instead of writing the word "cents" I looked for the cent symbol. You know that do-hickey "c" with the line vertically through it. This one, anyway my old typewriter from high school (bought three months before pc's took over the world) has one, but I guess with the amount of inflation over the last 30 years there's just not as much need for it.

Finally, maybe this is a local phenomena, but does every 10th person have a handi-cap sticker? Last night, I accidentally parked in a handi-cap spot because the symbol painted in the space was very faded and I was in a hurry and didn't see it. Don't worry there were plenty of other spaces and I didn't see any no-legged men hobbling in from the back of the lot. But I've been noticing that alot of people have these that look fine to me. I know there are some handicaps that are not visible, but there just can't be this many. Who's getting them? I think it may the aforementioned non-dancing fat people, but I've seen plenty of others. The Divine Mrs. M has also noticed this. We'd like to see the rules on who gets one, but neither of us is that amibitious on the topic. She did offer an idea. Pregnant women should get one - maybe starting with the 2nd trimester. Sounds fine to me, but with all the growing number of handicap people and now pregos, where am I going to park.

OK, sounds like the girls baths are done so it's bed time. Enjoy.

Stay You.

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Friday, December 10, 2004

An Uncommitted Blogger

Thanks for the concern Katie and Madame. I was not lost, I was traveling on Wednesday and Thursday with the Black Dogs of Depression on my heels with no time, energy or inclination to blog.

Very busy day of catch up today then office party tonight.

Where did I go? To visit some advisors who work through our office. On Wednesday it was from my office to Waynesville, OH and then from Waynesville to Louisville, KY - a very pretty drive I enjoy alot - then back to the office and home at 11:00 p.m. On Thursday it was up at 6:00 a.m. to Youngstown, OH and back. Youngstown is not an enjoyable drive. Kentucky is much more picturesque than Ohio. Also, it took me 5 hours to get there and about 7 to get back. Blah!

Now, it's 7:25 a.m. and I've a long day ahead of me.

N.B. Because it was 24 years since John Lennon's murder and since I'm a major Beatlemanic which I haven't blogged about yet. It was the perfect opportunity to listen to my Beatles Anthology CDs. All of them. Their version of Besame Mucho should be in the 25 mph credit category of Driving While Rocking.

Regular blogging to resume shortly and Tuesday's post was not B.S.

Stay You.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Life of a Blogger

I got into the office today at about 11:00 after a client event this morning. I log on to my sitemeter to see what kind of traffic my blog has earned today. One hit. That's it! So I get curious. Who's checked me out? I go to the referral page and it's a Google search. Here it is. Scroll down to the last site listed on the page. There I am.

See what this person was searching for?

Makes me feel great.

Stay You.

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Sen. McCain Wants to Shot Barry Bonds/Jason Giambi in the Back

I don't follow baseball. I'm sure it's a good game. I go to one or two games a year. I can hear the crowds cheer the Reds at the Great American Ball Park from my house and that's nice on warm summer nights while I sit in my little above ground pool, but I just can't get all worked up about the game.

That's why I'm surprised (not really) that John McCain is proposing legislation over this whole steriod deal. As I address in my book, most legislation is one form or another of a tax. That's not good. Put aside taxes for now. Just think about what McCain is suggesting here. To end the abuse of steroids by a bunch of well-paid atheles, he wants to bring the full force, weight and measure of the U.S. Federal Government to bear on them with all of it's prosecutorial, judicial and law enforcement powers. Doesn't this seem a little too much? Apparently, not to the Senator.

With congress passing laws whether they be 'roid rules or taxes, I always apply the O'Rouke test. P.J. O'Rourke asked about taxes,
"Would I kill my kindly, gray-haired mother for this? He explains that "all tax revenue is the result of holding a gun to somebody's head. Not paying taxes is against the law. If you don't pay your taxes, you'll be fined. If you don't pay the fine, you'll be jailed. If you try to escape from jail, you'll be shot."

My question to John McCain: would he be willing to shot Jason Giambi or Barry Bonds in the back over their steriod use? If no, stay out of it, Senator.

Stay You.

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Sunday, December 05, 2004

On Writing, The Blogosphere, and Opening a Vein

Venemous Kate had a great post last week concerning her writing and the vulnerability that it exposes her to. It's been hanging in the back of my brain since I read it. First, Kate's writing is always clear and sharp(tongued). I love writing that doesn't waste my time. This may explain my book's slight 135 pages! I'm not always a fan of Hemingway's content, but the man never wasted a word and neither does Kate.

I like all kinds of blogs, but Kate's post is what the blogosphere can be. Red Smith once said, "Writing is easy. You sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." Kate opened a vein a few times and the raw power of it overwhelms you. This is something new. It's not a poem, a short story, can't be turned into novel length nor probably sold to a magazine as is. What is it? It's a type of blog post. It's an insight into the human condition which has been allowed an audience and possibly provides the author with some financial gain. Not bad for a medium a couple years old.

Stay You.

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Saturday, December 04, 2004

WKRP in Cincinnati Architecture Lesson - Failed

As a kid I drove through Cincinnati very fast from Ft. Wayne on my way visit relatives in South Carolina. We never stopped. So when I moved here the only thing I knew about Cincinnati was the Reds, the Bengals, and there was a fountain that said "Dedicated to the People of Cincinnati" from repeatedly watching the opening credits of WKRP in Cincinnati (OMG! There's an actual Gary Sandy Official Website). That fountain is called the Tyler Davidson Fountain. Here's a pretty good history and description.

Last weekend, the family and I went downtown (another benefit of not living in the suburbs) to view the lighting of the "Holiday" Tree - what Holiday they didn't specify - but I thought I would photoblog the fountain. Great idea in the tradition of Althouse, but, alas, I screwed up just about every shot. But there were really good shots. Really. The fountain's theme is water. Original, eh? Anyway, because the Ohio River is so important to Cincinnati they picked that theme. Under the lady holding out her arms are four scenes on each side all having to do with the uses of water. So you get someone drinking, bathing, putting out a fire, and cleaning. Well, here's a pic that didn't suck too much:

Sorry the others didn't turn out. It's actually a pretty nice fountain. In this shot on the right some dude's taking a swig of water and on the left some lady is putting out a fire. Here's what the tree looked like if you were stoned and your eye sight was slighly blurred.

If you look closely at the bottom of the pic, you'll see Daughter No 2.'s red hat and The Divine Mrs. M. holding her.

And here, finally, are the three women in my life. Somehow, the girls managed to stop jumping and screaming for the exact fraction of a second that I took this picture and look totally irritated. Go figure?

Stay You.

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Thursday, December 02, 2004

My Racist Past

Last night Channel 5 WLWT in Cincinnati ran this story on landlords discrimiating against black people based on the sound of their voice. I know this happens because I've done it. Am I that bad? No. I was a kid.

My mother's side of the family is from North Charleston, South Carolina. My grandparents own a run down trailer park with several lots. The phone would ring often with people asking if there was a vacancy available. As a kid visting often on summer breaks, I was instructed to say no if it was a black person. I didn't have to ask the person if they were black, I could just tell by the voice. I know this was wrong, but as an 8-year old and I was just following orders. Is that an excuse?

Anyway, how do we stop discrimination based on voice? Do we pass some law? Do we demand that landlords track incoming phone calls and whether they sounded black or not (profile them?). I just don't think passing laws helps stop discrimination. Clearly to me, however, discrimination exists. If someone says something racist to me, I just consider them low-class - for lack of a better word - and distance myself from them. Maybe it's the group I hang out with, but making a racist comment is held against you more than abandoning your kids - it's just not done. What I'm getting at is that stopping racism isn't done by adopting more laws but by changing attitudes and that can only be done by society disciplining those who step out of line.

A point more controversial: Do black people increase the chances of being discriminated against? Why is there a "black" voice that can be distinguished? Is that cultural? A black co-worker of mine who sounded "white" said that blacks held that against him. These people can't win. Another point, the wife in the Channel 5 story was named Tewanna Harvey. If this lady had submitted a application to the apartment through the mail, she would have still been discriminated against because she has a "black" name. I can't complain about parents giving strange names to kids (Daugher No. 1 is named Dagny, No. 2 is Harper), but the name Tewanna only draws attention to her being black and doesn't even get her foot in the door to get past any racists gatekeepers.

Solutions? I don't have any. Just complaints today.

BTW: In my later teen years/early twenties, I noticed black people living in the trailer park. When asked, I was told that they are no worse than the white trash they had in there.

Now there's progress in equality!

Stay You.

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Today's Gripes, Complaints, & Bitchs

I'm running on fumes this week. This is just not the best time of the year for me. The holidays always seemed like noting more than people making more demands on me and my time and my money. That's probably a lotta childhood baggage but I would someday like a simple holiday not filled with people telling me where I have to go and what I have to bring and what they want for Christmas (and I'm not talking of my kids or The Divine Mrs. M.). So I'm going to let loose with some ad hominem gripes, complaints and bitches in the hope that it will flush out my system. Let's hope Happy Howard is back tomorrow.

What is a communications degree? I was in a conversation with a group of people a while back when one piped up that her daughter is getting his communications degree. Everyone became uncomfortable until a guy - early 50's - innocently said, "Oh, I didn't know she was an athlete." She wasn't. No one takes a communications degree seriously. Is this in the same category of sociology majors really being good at basketball? I've read my alma mater's site on it here and I still have to ask: What is a communications degree? There's a bunch of other degrees out there that I'm suspicious of also but don't want to piss off too many readers.

I went to the National Review website yesterday and spotted Princess Diana's long dead face and couldn't bring myself to read the article. (But I'll give you the link.) I also watched a new South Park last night tearing into Paris Hilton. Besides the skank factor with Ms. Hilton, what's the difference between Diana, Hilton, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis? These women are put up on pedastals of various heights and lifetime movies of various quality and I can't think of one thing they've ever done besides spend enormous sums of other people's money. I've got two daughters and I want them to know that they can accomplish what ever they want without marrying some rich guy (although that would be ok) or being yanked out of the right crouch. Let's ignore these women and focus on true heroines. There's plenty out there. And don't give me Amelia Earhardt! What'd she ever do besides get lost?

Brokaw did a final sign off, Rather is retiring. So what? I cannot remember the last time I watched either of their news shows. I don't know when they're on. When I want the news I click on CNN or Fox or whatever. Do people with cable still watch these people? Can you cover the world in 20 minutes? I clicked on a couple of times and they gloss over things at the speed of light. Another thing I don't watch: Saturday Night Live. Haven't for years. I've clicked on it too and haven't found anything funny. Why is it still on? Give me repeats of Seinfeld anyday.

Stay You.

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