Sunday, May 29, 2005

RE: All Work and No Play

For 5 years I studied for the CFA exam. This year it will be given next Saturday. Always the Saturday after Memorial day. For 5 years this was a bitch.

The exam process is that they give you a reading list: several text books, academic articles, etc. They gave you a brief outline of what they are wanting you to learn. Then they give you a year to study. The exam format (when I took it) was about 14 - 17 essay questions. You had 6 hours to answer them. There are three levels, each to be passed before the next one can be sat for the following year.

3 levels? 5 years? Yes. I failed Part 1 the first time, waited a year passed it, failed Part 2 the first time, waited a year, then passed it and passed Part 3 on the first attempt. This is about average.

Anyway, usually by April end I was done studing and spent May reviewing...and reviewing...and reviewing....The 3-day Memorial Day weekend (3 days, 10-hour days) was spent at the office or library doing a final review. The week before the test I only did relaxed 1 hour a day review. Usually I took a week vacation in March to intensely study.

The worst part. The really gut wrenching part is that since the test is all essay and graded by hand I had to wait 3 months to get results. So a year's work, a week's vacation, and Memorial day weekend could be all for nothing until that envelope arrived.

The program has an extremely high attrition rate, but I survived and I finally passed all three levels and my Memorial Day weekends are free and I promised that I would always enjoy them for now on. The money isn't rolling in like I thought it would, but at conferences and conventions I'm the big swinging dick of the place. That's nice.

And here's what I have to do this week. I have a workshop I'm hosting at a local country club on Saturday. I have to get some invitations out for a dinner I'm hosting on the 14th. I also have to finish this book before the weekend is out.

Our little side business of Signature Communication has landed it's first client. I have to re-write a NASD Series 6 exam book for one of the country's leading providers of Securities Licensing training. I figure it's a 150-200 hours worth of work at $20/hour with a deadline of October 31st. When am I going to do that? That's a little bigger than I was expecting for the first time out, but I've learned that you gotta run with what you get.

What do I want to do? Finish reading this book. Lay on the couch. Experience absolute quiet.

We're going to a party tonight.

Stay You.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Next Big Story

A high school senior was killed last night in Cincinnati by his younger brother. Story is here. Here's the lede:
A Summit Country Day School senior was beaten to death in his house Tuesday, just 11 days before he was to graduate from high school, and his younger brother has been charged with his killing.

John Warrington, 17, was found dead just after 1 p.m. at his home on Berry Avenue. Police were led to the home by a teenage boy who had been seen washing blood off himself in the Hyde Park Square fountain.

I'm afraid this could be the next big media story. The school that the kids go to - Summit Country Day - is a $16,000+/year school. It's based in Hyde Park which is a toney Cincinnati neighborhood. This is the school and neighborhood that Topher Grace and Erika Christensen went to in the movie Traffic (boy did that piss them off at the time). It's about 10 minutes from my house. Alicia and I like to eat there.

I'm a bit of a class snob. I don't typically like these types of people. They always seemed self-absorbed and haughty. More money than class or brains.

Why do I think there's more to this story?

Keep an eye out.

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Recital Night

The girls had their annual recital for Manyet Dance (boy, do they need a new website) and they did very nicely. I almost don't mind paying the money.

Here's a very uncomfortable looking photo. I am grinning and bearing it. Harper is acting goofily as always and Dagny looks like she's done. Mom and two sets of grandparents were simultaneously offering directions and taking pictures with multiple cameras. I guess I should have taken the camera bag off my shoulder.

Anyway, the next day we had Harper's birthday party. Said grandparents were there as well as aunt, uncle, and cousins, and a few friends from the neighborhood. Does that explain the large quantities of beer I drank?

Except for the torture of standing for pictures after a recital, I think they are being given a nice childhood. I'm not perfect, but they have a stay-at-home mom, a consistently employed father, private schools, dance class during the school year, art classes during the summer. No mental or physical abuse. No abandonment. The Divine Mrs. M and I have our disagreements, but divorce has never been a remote possibility (at least on my end).

So I think they are being given a pretty nice childhood. That's the goal. Sure much of the stuff listed in the previous paragraph has eliminated a certain amount of physical comfort. A large savings, new cars, etc, but that's temporary, material stuff.

Harper is 4 years old now. When she's 80, I'm hoping she'll realize these years shaped her mind to expect happiness and thus she'll receive it.

Happy Birthday Harper.

Monday, May 23, 2005

An Apology and a New Story

No I don't feel well today. But I think you need to blow off a little steam every now and then. I slept in and now the work has piled up. I don't really have much to offer today.

Sara is helping me with my other site. Thanks again to her. Although with the house crowded this weekend I wasn't able to do anything she told me to do. Maybe tonight Sara?

I do have a new story out in The Sunday Challenger here. India seemed like the student I would have hated in high school, but want my daughters to be in a few years. I think you should enjoy it.

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Drunken Sunday Night

Thanks to Jeremy for whatever. And thanks to Sara for the help. I'm sure mysite will look goood.

However, I had my parents in town this weekend, and the divine mRs. Ms. and we also had some guests over. It was Harper's 4th birthday and I think she had a good one.

Only one kid fell in the pool. Her mother dived in to save her. Funny...

I drank alot of beer and shouldn't be on the internet right now. Nothing serious, but Brian has alreayd whent home and I always drink toooo much with him. He is satan.

This was fun after a rough week.

Friends of my wife Alicia brought over a corn hole game. Here. I playued it until I fell down. BOOOOM!>

I have to appointment at work tomorrow at 8_00,. but I'm not feel ing well.

Jesus saves the blessed children, but as for me and my house we shall serve the Miller Lite becaiuse it doesn't make me burp as mucyh.

Hap[y Birthday Harper. I'm going to slep. My father-in-law bought the beer. Thatnks.

My little clock says it's 1026 and thus it is time for bed. It's also my anniversary and hvae to do something epsicls for the divine mrs m but I'm feeling l alittle but sick.

You can all go yto hell if you don't like this post because it's the best I can do right now and it's a sunday anight and I don't feel feeeel and weel and I stil lahve to feed the dog and such.

My basement is drak at night. I think we need a remodeling but whatever.

good night blogosphere.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Little Technical Support Help?

Ok, so I can't stay away. But I'm also building a blogsite to represent our new business venture. Feedback is welcome. The Theme is ripped off, but I've given credit to the authors still and I've made some changes and learned alot about how to and how not to work with Wordpress.

Check it out at

I would like to jazz up the header. Maybe have a Welcome to.. Signature Commuinication with the name of the company in some kind of script, but damned if I can figure it out.

Also, on the sidebar, some of the links are indented slightly and others are not. I can't seem to come up with the right combination of clicks and
  • tags to fix that. It just looks cheap.

    I plan on finishing it this weekend and we already have some pro bono jobs lined up to beef up the portfolio.

    Feedback is welcome

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  • My Star Wars Adventure

    I was 7 when the first Star Wars movie came out. I wasn't too turned on by it. I wasn't one of those kids who went 72 1/2 times. I saw it - maybe twice, ok three times - and that was fine for me. I know I went to the theatre within the first few weeks when the others came out, but I just don't remember being excited by it. I haven't seen any of the new ones.

    But what what Star Wars did was set the nomenclature of kid play at that time. You had to have the action figures and the ships and know the outline of the story and the basics of the characters to create your own dramas with the other kids. You couldn't have something like Han Solo shooting Leah. That would be crap (crap was a dirty word at that time). But Han and Luke fighting over Leah - that was ok.

    Which leads into my major disappointment as a child. You just had to have the toys. My parents didn't understand the importance of this and they didn't understand the culture and they were somewhat cheap so oftentimes I got crappy Battlestar Glactica knock off toys. They didn't know the difference. The boy wants a space show toy, this is a space show toy. They were cheaper too.

    So I was the only kid to show up at a Rebel hideout with a cylon ship (the one on the left) to defeat the Empire. Who piloted this fine ship from another concept? I had the Commander Adama action figure. Yes! I was the only kid with a Lorne-freekin'-Green Action Figure. Heck, he was the "Voice of Canada".

    Yes! There was ridicule in the suburbs that day.

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    Thursday, May 19, 2005


    Admittedly I have an addictive personality.

    That's mainly why I avoid drugs and don't keep alcohol to a minimum.

    I know I have a hard time stopping things. Apparently blogging has become one of them. I can't stop. I must comment on this Newsweek thing, I must check haloscan to see if Jeremy has left me something interesting. I must check sitemeter to see if I'm over 20 hits for the day.

    I've even given thought to hitting that traffic building thing again to try to get my average to 30/day, but God that is a waste of time and I'm busy and business sucks and people are coming into town to visit and ...

    What's Joanne doing?

    Hello. My name is Howard and I'm a blog-a-holic.

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    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    A Damp, Drizzly November In My Soul

    The above is from Moby Dick, the first page which is about as far as I made it into that book recently. Whenever Ismael had a damp, drizzly November in his soul, he headed out to sea. I've got no place to go. I need to find a place. This blog helped for a while, but doesn't seem to be doing the trick anymore. Maybe booze? Maybe pills? Works for others. But that's probably not the best idea.

    Emotionally I'm running on psychic empty feeling drained and undernourished. As Mr. Burns might say, I need to "push out the jive and bring in the love." It seems like there's nothing out there but jive.

    There's too much work to do; to much shit to do; not enough joy.

    That being said, this blog is one of the things I feel an obligation to (why?) so I will retire this blog for a while - at least cut down on the posts.

    I'm also going to quit watching the news for a while. Daughter No.1 said to me recently, "The news is stupid. All it tells you is what happened. Why don't they tell you what's going to happen." Plus I'm sure it depresses me. From now on it's going to E! entertainment television and VH1 for me.

    Take care!

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    Monday, May 16, 2005

    Implicit Approval

    Sometimes what you don't explicitly condemn, you implicitly approve.

    Parents know this. You have to tell the kids not to take drugs, hit people, have sex, etc. You can't just assume your great parently skills will let them know this.

    In the past I complained about the romantization of Che Guevara in film and t-shirts. I even picked on David Allen Grier, but now I have to deal with this topic on a personal level.

    Yesterday the Northern Kentucky Interfaith Commission had it's Yom HaShoah Ceremony at a local synague. My pastor in the commission's leader. He asked several of us to do readings. He had persuaded the local Jewish leaders to remember other holocausts that have occurred. They were:
    These are all horrors. Not a good record for the 20th century. The causes and ALL of the criminals should be remembered and brought to justice (if justice can ever be brought for these horrors).

    However, when looking over the list above, not any of the dead from that black plague of Communism is remembered. Not the Ukrainian Famine, not the Cuban gulags created by t-shirt icon Che (
    too many links to choose from), the killing fields of Cambodia, or the mass murders in China (again, too many links to choose from). Also, nothing is mentioned of the Soviet Imperialism: the freezing of Prague spring, Hungarian invasion, Poland, etc.

    Is this on purpose? Of course not. I just don't think they are considered on the same level although more died because really - as a professor of mine once said - you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. The omelet being a worker's paradise.

    I don't think we want to get into ranking who's worse - commies or Nazi facists (N.B. where do American Indians fit into this list and how?) They are all the same. Totalitarian governments must be fought.

    But when you choose to not explicitly condemn one genocide you are tacitly approving another genocide.

    Don't believe me?

    Wal-mart got themselves into a little bit of trouble by comparing Flagstaff government to Nazi's. While I don't agree with Wal-mart's point - if the votes of Walmart don't want low prices and wide variety that's fine by me - it is a political point made quite often in our uncreative society. Many got rightfully outraged by the Nazi slur (although where is the ADL when Republican's are routinely compared to National Socialist). Afterall, Hitler was a bad guy.

    However, was he the worst? Possibly, but Mao would give him a fight for top billing on that popularity contest. Mao killed millions not only with flawed economic policies and totalitarian government, but with the genocidal Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward.

    As I said, sometimes what you don't explicitly condemn, you implicitly approve. Here's the Minneapolis Public Library using him in an fund-raising campaign. Cute, eh? (h/t: Lileks who is worth reading).

    So if I did a reading at the Yom HaShoah Ceremony? Would it have implicitly approved Communist Genocides? I don't know. All must be remembered. Mostly my decision to attend hung on the fact that it was also the 4th Birthday of my daughter Harper Hissong McEwen - so we went out and had Chinese food like she asked for then bought her a small trampoline.

    Can you imagine the conversation with the shrink in 20 years, "Yes, doctor, then my father took me to a Holocaust ceremony on my fourth birthday..."?

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    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    People I Can't Stand

    I need to find something out about myself: I have this almost Pavlovian response to a certain stimulus that forces me to run from the room. Why? I don't understand it.

    I can't stand certain celebrities.

    I hate Sean Hannity. I hear his voice on a radio promo and get angry. I his face on Fox News and switch the channel. I probably agree with most of his politics, but I'd rather just watch his little reptilian partner Colmes that Hannity. There's a certain pious, sactimonious, smuggness that makes my skin crawl.

    I picture him as the non-dope smoker who - when the jay gets passed at the Foghat concert - isn't happy to let it pass on by, but gives the others a lecture about drug abuse and then calls a cop.

    I just want to punch this face. I hate him.

    And the same goes for Meg Ryan. Can't stand her. I hear the opening Harry Connick, Jr. piano roll of When Harry Met Sally and I have to leave the room. To steal from Lileks today, I'd rather hear someone screech like Fran Drescher fed into a wood chipper, than listen to her delivery leaden dialogue.

    I hate that floppy clown-footed walk that she does in every movie that is so awkward that it has to be an affectation. I hate the slopped shoulder posture. She has maybe 2 more expressions that William Shatner. She's can't act. Every shot of every movie seems like a self-conscious uncomfortable pose.

    This Meg Ryan thing seems a bit unnatural. I like blondes. I mean I really like blondes. It's not that brunettes are ugly to me, it's just that there's no trigger. I don't understand it. Don't want to (maybe I was born this way), but this does nothing for me. Nor this or this. And none of these.

    Comments desired.

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    Wednesday, May 11, 2005

    Any of you techies have a solution for me.

    I signed up with to host my website. No great research was put into it - uses them so I said what the heck. Portions of it's website have been down or non-responsive for 1+ week. I'd like to call them, but the number listed on is no longer valid.

    Now my control panel doesn't work.


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    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    Howard the Pool Boy

    I opened the pool last night. The Divine called to say it doesn't look too bad today.

    Don't think this is some fancy teardrop shaped olympic pool. I try to live simply. The Divine Mrs. M. says cheaply. Either way, it's 4' deep of cool refreshment after mowing the small piece of group that I call a yard.

    I hauled out the pump, removed the tarp, and started to reconnect the hoses to the filter. The hoses however and gone through a major degeneration process over the winter and - when touched - crumbled.

    I was begin shot with water going everywhere. The Divine and the girls were at a volleyball game and the rush of water wouldn't stop. After much soaking, much swearing, and much scrambling for miscellaneous hose segments, I stopped the break.

    I drove up to the little neighborhood hardware store in town. It was close and I like to support local small businesses, but at 6:45 they were closed. Fine, I said a swear and drove the 5 miles to one of those evil big box stores that victimizes the little man. They had what I needed at a cheaper price (including the cost of gas).

    Anyway, now the water is clearing and weather is warming and I'll be ready for chlorine clean fun.

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    Monday, May 09, 2005

    Mainstreaming of Pedophilia

    I have commented in a few places that pedophilia is the next great cultural taboo that will be broken. Many smirk at me, but put in perspective, there's alot done now that was smirked at in the past. Turn the clock back a few years on societies sexual outlook on gay marriage, co-habitation, interracial marriage.

    Your average 80-year old has seen a lot of changes in her time. She deserves some credit.

    Bill Maher on the Late Late Show makes my point on pedophilia though. I missed this in the Corner.


    Late Late Show

    May 3, 2005


    Bill Maher: "I think that there is no perspective. People have no perspective, especially about crime. You know, zero tolerance. You know, of course, nobody ever wants to see a child, you know, diddled. That’s just plain wrong. But even the people who are testifying against him, they’re saying that he serviced them. They didn’t service him."

    Craig Ferguson: "You don’t have kids, do you, Bill?"

    Maher: "No."

    Ferguson: "No. I have a son. It makes me crazy, this thing, this Michael Jackson thing. It drives me, the idea of someone touching my kid, I would go, I nearly swore there. I’d go crazy."

    Maher: "Very wrong. But, you know, I remember when I was a kid. I was savagely beaten once by bullies in the schoolyard. Savagely beaten. If I had a choice between being savagely beaten and being gently masturbated by a pop star. It’s just me."

    Ferguson: "The always controversial Bill Maher, everybody."

    Maher: "What? That’s it?"

    Ferguson: "Bill Maher. We’ll be right back with Rain Pryor."

    Did he say a kid should be blown by an adult that beaten on the playyard? For Maher to have this thought, I'm sure he tried it out on his people and I'm sure that they agreed.

    I can almost buy into the argument: Who do you want your straight or homosexually curious son or daughter to experiment with? An experienced adult or some inexperience, clutzy kid?

    Don't women want their first time to be with someone with a few...road miles... on them? Maybe I'm wrong there. But I don't think women want someone with no experience. Am I wrong?

    Then I think: Hey, it's a kid, motherf#^&er? For the adults it's hand off and if you want to put your hands on that shows there's something wrong with you gay or straight. If you're tempted - end yourself! That's the right thing to do.

    As for Bill Maher, I don't think his terrorist are brave statements were all that outrageous. (more outrageous was a show called Politically Incorrect that was the most politically correct on tv - not to mention not funny.)

    But this was and I just heard about it. Have I had my head in the sand? No. This is the opening salvo. I'm sure there's already research papers in the works or published already claiming pedophilia isn't that harmful. Expect a refining and negation of the definition of pedophila. Post- versus pre-pubscent sex maybe? Post- isn't bad and pre- is? Just a question. Just a prediction.

    The fact that Maher isn't publicly hung out to dry is telling about us. Let's check back in 10 years and see if this story about NAMBLA is thought of the same way. They appear to be just helpful citizens and I'm forcing my close-minded outlook on them.

    We're all going to hell. See you there.

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    Friday, May 06, 2005


    Still have that cold. The Divine Mrs. M took care of me last night when I went home early with a migraine/stress/forgot-to-take-blood-pressure medicine yesterday afternoon.

    Thanks to her.

    I have no time to blog today. I have a meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis at 11:30. That's Indy, baby, the Circle City or as some black people call it - Naptown. It's a 1 1/2 hour drive from Cincinnati or the Queen City or da 'Nati as some black people call it.

    I like monikers for cities. Don't know why. I grew up in the Summit City of Ft. Wayne. Live for a few years in the Gem City of Dayton or as some black people call it - Dayton.

    Growing up, I always pictured myself moving to the Windy City even if it is the Second City.

    Enjoy. I'm off in a rented Malibu with my i-Pod.

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    Tuesday, May 03, 2005


    Got a late winter/early spring cold. I hate it when that happens.

    I don't care about anything right now except going home and getting comfortable. I want to sleep, but The Shield is on tonight. Must sleep...must watch The Shield...Must Sleep....Must Watch The Shield.

    Who am I kidding? I know The Shield will win.

    I go to a meeting with Daughter #1's speech therapist. I know that sounds extreme, but it's not serious. Apparently she mixes up the sounds of her R's with W's. I can't hear it. The Divine Mrs. M. says it's there and probably needs fixing. I'm wondering how many Federal dollars are involved. Which leads me to the questions....

    Don't we live in Kentucky?

    Isn't she suppose to speak differently? Who decides whether a Northeastern accent is bad and a mid-Western accent is good? In our little spot in Northern Kentucky, you get a variety of accents. The Divine and I speak with a flat mid-Western, but many of her friends have an Appalachian accent that truly grates on my nerves. Most people have a Cincinnati accent (with quirky grammar) that is also a little unique. I spent my summers in South Carolina. I can easily sleep into that twang if I'm not careful, but who says that twang is wrong?

    I feel a Sudafed induced rant into the merits of our fine federalist system of government coming on so I'll stop - for your sake.

    Anyway, these are questions I've asked before and not gotten a response on. Tomorrow I think I'll press a little harder. The Divine Mrs. M may give me a polite kick under the table, but I'm gonna have to ax them.

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    Monday, May 02, 2005

    Jail the Runaway Bride

    I have populist tendencies. I'm put off by vanglorious consumption.

    In my business, everyone is suppose to drive a German automobile. Mercedes, BMWs. I like my Chevy.

    I'm also suppose to move to the suburbs. Buy a sprawling house with cathedral ceilings, muddy grass, over-sized kitchen and upstairs bedrooms made small by the aforementioned ceiling. I like my bungalow in the city. Yesterday, I walked with my 3-year old to the grocery to pick up a paper and then to the park to let her play. Can't to that in any "development" without sidewalks.

    What sets me off about this is that runway bride b&^%h. Yes, I said bitch. I don't care if she was under alot of stress. I want her in jail! It infuriates me that middle class people go into hock or empty their savings for a wedding - a party - that is to celebrate something that only has a 50% chance of surviving anyway.

    I find it obscene.

    Yes, I'm a free-market, free-will capitalist who finds money spent on cake and wear-only-once gowns, and rented tuxes wrong. 30 person wedding party? 600 guests? What are these people trying to prove? After spending this money, how are they ever going to afford that house in the suburbs with the cathedral ceiling?

    Yes, I'm a populists. Yes, this pittful, big -yed, thin, rich(by global standards), white woman was under alot of stress with so much money being spent on her wedding. Isn't it understandable that she bolted. No! She moblized a community and multiple state police forces in this search. She selfishly played with the emotions of her friends, neighbors, and city. She turned the Amber Alert into a joke (doesn't she know its reserved for parents abducting their own kids?). She cut her hair and went to Vegas.

    I want her to go to jail for as long as some black middle level drug seller in Duluth, GA would. He's under a little bit of stress himself. But she won't

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