Thursday, December 29, 2005

Welfare Mom to College Grad

With Updates: Multiple Posts...Cool!

It's been almost two weeks since the Enquirer printed anything I've written for them. Vacations and business reorg have been playing heck with their schedule, but finally this one is out.

It's a nice making good story about a welfare mom who graduated college. The original story was 500 words cut down by the editors to 135. Ouch!...but it pays the same.

The bits that were cut was some specifics of her travel agent job and how the state of kentucky will pay welfare benefits to people getting their degree. Also, the younger daughter pictured in the background photo has an anxiety disorder called selective mutism. The kid hasn't spoken in 3 years. The most she's done is some closed mouth "ehum"s. Sad.

The story also brought to mind my self debate about the worth of a bachelor's degree - at least in today's public university system. I'm not sure if it's the end all and be all that it was sold to me as. I'm not impressed with some of the kids coming out of the local universities and I'm seriously impressed with alot of people I work with doing demanding jobs without a degree. There seems to be something about a "degree" that robs people of iniative and drive. That being said, I will insist both daughters get a good liberal arts education. that's invaluable. But my accounting degree? Couldn't I have learned the same things in a 2 year trade school? Gotten to work that much quicker?

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Father Snaps

So a skinny girl, groggy and sleepy, but with a little bit of the Christmas glow picks up her boyfriend in the early chill before they both go to work together at Mickey D's. He rushs out to meet her in the driveway, gets in the car and says that her dad just called and her mom has had a bad accident at home. They rush back, walk in the door.

It's a 6 a.m. ambush. Her father kills them with a .50 caliber rifle as they walk in the door. He's already killed his wife - her mother - and the family dog.

This happened yesterday. Too close to my house - walking distance.

What pain was this girl living with? She was 18. Almost out of there.

Luckily no cop was killed. The last police office killed (click officer's memorial) in Newport was the son and brother of clients. It happened about this time of the year in 1984. His little kids are now in college. I can't imagine the fear these cops live with. Their wives live with. This guy had an arsenal. It's a nice street. A subdivision with small homes and rollings hills.

But still what did they have to see?

If you click the pictures, you'll see our coroner Mark Schweitzer. I have a profile of him appearing sometime soon. What did he have to look at? How does he not go home to his 5 young and pretty kids and wife and say to hell with it. I don't want to look at that. He's got a business and enough kids he could lose himself in. But I trust he's doing a good job. But why?

What kind of pain is out there?

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Cincinnati Roundup

A mosque was bombed in Cincinnati if you didn't hear. If I was following the template provided to those commenting when muslims attack I'd say that this is sad and trajic but these muslims need to understand the underlying causes of the anger that drives someone to carry out one of these acts....but that would be wrong.

And it isn't 'hateful' as the headline says. It's criminal. Why is the motivation (unknown at this time) more important than the act. It's actions that matter.

Bombing a storefront mosque or church or abortion clinic seems like a cowardly thing to do. If you have a problem with them, confront them head on. Don't hid behind some schematic you found on the internet and $20 worth of junk from the hardware store. Confront them. It's no better than hiding under a sheet or in a mob.

Oh, and another thing...there's a huge Mosque just off I-75 highway north of town and with all the crap flying around about Muslims over the last few years no one has touched that place. Redneck America has left them along. There's another one off the same highway south of Toledo that's still standing - minarets and all.
One of the best stations in the country is woxy which is just out of range where I live unless the wind is blowing right. I don't even have it programed on my car. But I just found it on iTunes and they stream and I have it going all day. Cool!
The Bengals are the AFC north champions. I went out shopping last night and every overweight guy in Cincinnati that can't run 100 yards is wearing strips. It was quite a few years ago in the early years of Jeff Blake's tenure as QB here that I decided that watching a gov't subsidized stadium'd NFL team with a multi-year losing record just wasn't the right way to spend my time. I swore I wouldn't watch football until the Bengals finished a season with a winning record. They've done it. I still don't feel like watching.
Writing of football, Colts (the other team I followed that had a losing record until I moved away) head coach Tony Dungy's son has killed himself. He looks like a nice guy. He was rich, nice looking, 18, in college, with a girlfriend. Too bad. Depression can get you no matter what. It's a wicked thing. My cousin killed himself when he was 16 (I was a few years younger) and I saw how it affected his parents (my favorite aunt and uncle). But as a kid you have no idea the pain of a parent. I don't know how the Dungy's can cope with it. they have 5 others so I guess you carry on for them...but still.
Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Some Fellow Named Mohamed

I should stay busy today. So briefly from Mark Steyn:
These days, whenever something goofy turns up on the news, chances are it involves a fellow called Mohammed. A plane flies into the World Trade Centre? Mohammed Atta. A gunman shoots up the El Al counter at Los Angeles airport? Hesham Mohamed Hedayet. A sniper starts killing petrol station customers around Washington, DC? John Allen Muhammed. A guy fatally stabs a Dutch movie director? Mohammed Bouyeri. A terrorist slaughters dozens in Bali? Noordin Mohamed. A gang-rapist in Sydney? Mohammed Skaf.
I'm still waiting for that prominent Muslim cleric to announce that all of these don't represent Islam. Instead, I all I hear from Muslim cleric - when I hear anything at all - is how racist we are for thinking Muslim's might be terrorist. Arabic Kurt Cobains - "All Apologist".

Oh, and here's a story I did on two young dancer's from the Cincinnati Ballet.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

May You Live In Interesting Times

God Bless the Iraqi's. I don't have much hope for them but at least they've come closer than the majority of humanity to achieving self-rule. Let's try to help them.

The one thing holding them back is their own - our own - human nature. We'd rather embrace security and stability and totalitarianism that insecurity, change, and self-rule. Democracy is messy and most people decide it just isn't for them. Even in the US our people seem to want to embrace a take-care-of-me-ism from the government than to forge their own way.

It makes me remember that supposed Chinese curse of "May you live in intersting times." The Iraqi's are. They don't know what's around the corner - a messy democracy, and crystal clear dictatorship, anachry.

Last night I watched the very fine The Third Man from 1949. Orson Welles character has the following lines when his friend confronts him about the water downed penicillin Orson's been dumping onto the black market:
Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.
For my own children - and the Iraqi people - I hope they don't live in interesting times and it's a life full of cuckoo clocks for them.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Amerika - 5 Years of Fascism

Do you wet yourself with worry over the PATRIOT Act? Do you fear the chilling effect the right-wing bomb throwers of the blogosphere is having on the traditional media? How about the hate for all that is rippling through Bushitlerburton's America?

Grow up.

Two head lines that worry me. This one about a inventing psychiatric illnesses from bad thoughts - now that's Hitlerian and it's not Bush-puppet Cheney pulling the strings! Don't think homosexuality is such a great thing? You're not an evangelical Christian or a devout Catholic or even a slighly observant Muslim - your sick and need to be hospitalized...or is that reeducated?

Don't think we're getting there? Take a look (h/t Mark Steyn, again). From this report, a woman was questioned by Scotland for what I see as a not to obvious point. Homosexuals are much like hetersexuals. Maybe we should pause a moment before disrupting 5,000 years of human society. No! Call the cops! This woman is a menace! Talk about a chilling effect. I'm sure that one police visit quieted down 100 others who may want to ask questions but don't want their neighbors to see a Scotland Yard detective parked in their driveway.

A long dark night of Facism may be dawning, but it's not coming from chimpy Bush or other evil limited-government-low-tax-types.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Grumpy and Grouchy About Life and the U.N.

I'm in a dark, pissy, bitchy, damp and dank mood that only a muscle tear at the gym can pull me out of today...but at least I'm not a Jew*....or a Chinaman** who can vote. If I was, then the U.N. wouldn't even acknowledge my goddamn existence.

Over the weekend Mark Steyn drew my attention with this story to this post (site?). The Iranian president wants to wipe Israel from the map figuratively (he literally wants to exterminate the Jews) and the U.N. actually does it literally. I've never gotten an answer to my questions - why do some many people dislike Jewish people? I don't get it.

That follows up on a tid bit from this story from the U.N. (3rd paragraph from the bottom) where the U.N. named the People's Republic of China (ChiComs) as a founding member of that august body when it was actually the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Chinese democracy would be non-existent if it was left up to the U.N. How about giving the 7th Fleet the Nobel Peace prize instead of hopefully dead-by-the-time-you-read-this Tookie?

Tookie writes childrens books. For his best work click here.

*Jew- I wrote that in jest. Is it just me or is Jewish much more polite than Jew. I don't think either is wrong, but I picture Jew being snarled by some bigot and Jewish not. If you want to read a story in the Enquirer I did today about a Jewish foundation wanting to help folks in Northern Kentucky, click here.

**Chinaman- that's what my grandfather called anyone from Japan to Pakistan. Cute, eh?

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Merry Christmas

It snowed yesterday and my usual 25 minute car trip turned into 1 hr and 45 minutes. But it snowed! Three inches or so. I'm in a Christmas mood! family's coming so now I'll turn grumpy.

Yesterday we also updated our server and desktops. That's right. I now have XP at the office which apparently since I have XP at home I can do some fancy remote connect thing that I'm not quite sure I want, but what the heck.

It's time to drink!

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Play's The Thing

I always thought I'd want to be in a play. In 7th grade I even auditioned for my middle school's dinner theatre production of The Music Man but since I had no idea what I was doing, I was relegated to the status of waiter. That was actually more fun because I didn't have to do any of the work and I could screw with the food of the teachers who attended. Maybe someday I'll be in a play, but (sigh) I'm getting too old to play Biff in Death of a Salesman. (To this day, when I'm in someone else's office I have an almost irrisistable urge to steal a pen.)

Anyway, all this is prelude to this piece I did for the Enquirer for a play at a local university. The thing is I'll most likely never be in a play. From limited experience, I don't think I'd enjoy hanging around theatre people that much. It would be too much like being on one of those reality shows where people are just tooooo much.

Here's a review of the play that ran today.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Howard's Back

Where have I been? Where haven't I been?

This weekend The Divine Mrs. M and I finally had our annivesary dinner which I've worked into a story for the Enquirer. Like how I do that? I can now make a buck off a romantic evening - and make a fancy dinner tax deductible!

I've been doing stories for the Enquirer also - here's two from this past weekend. Very pedestrian and very boring. Yes? However, they pay the bills and they lead to other more interesting work. Also, the quality of people I'm working with is excellent. Oh, and I also do a weekly police report for the river city of Covington. Here's last week's. Covington has a population of about 45,000 - the fourth largest city in Kentucky. It's considered by many to be crime ridden but it's trying to fight back. I know it mostly by the police reports. Assaults, burglaries, rapes, crack crimes and the general stupidity of the poverty ridden. It's sad really, because it's almost like they can't learn. Who is teaching them?

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Where's Howard

Sorry I've been AWOL. My goal of every day blogging has been flushed good and hard this week.

Excuses, Excuses. I've been swamped with Holidays and visitors and work and writing and pending deadlines and crying kids and bills piling up and a house that needs 101 little things fixed (like an outlet that is loose).

Anyway, I'm still visting my favorite blogs but by the time I get all the other work done I'm just uninspired to write for this blog. You can visit me over here where I sometimes play.

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