Friday, July 29, 2005

Howard's Holiday Vacation

So where have I been? On vacation!

Not a lavish one, no traveling, but one that has actually made me relax without the required high doses of rum and cokes.

Where'd we go? First the zoo. I think I've been once and that was it. We went with a friend from high school and his 14-year old son. I'm the kid's godfather - please don't laugh. I feel bad about never going to the zoo because it's large and a ten minute drive away. The girls could really learn alot. If nothing else where the zoo is. It's one of those benefits of leaving here that I've just not taken up. So I bought a premium family membership. They always get me with the free parking. The zoo is stuck right in the middle of the north part of the city - very close to UC - and I think it must be nice and strange for some of these people to hear Ziegfried and Roy's White Lions of Timbavati roar in the middle of the night.

With this new membership we can go any time. It takes a few minutes to get there so maybe we'll return today.

Next we went to a Red's game on Sunday. Since my friend is a client also I used the company season tickets in section 141 in right field. They both had a nice time. I'm not a big baseball guy but even I thought Adam Dunn's ninth inning homer that landed 10 feet behind me was way cool. If you see a video of it on ESPN, I'm the guy crouching with Daughter No. 2's head covered.

This was the second day of the mid-western heat wave and while I enjoyed the game and being at the ballpark, the heat truly sucked.

Monday we spent driving to a hotel and relaxing by the pool because we were going to spend 2 spectacular days in Holiday World. The hotel was in a place called Tell City, IN, Holiday world is in Santa Claus, IN on the beautiful shores of Christmas Lake. When the Divine Mrs. M started talking about how much others recommended this place and it was good for the kids, etc. I both inwardedly and outwardly rolled my eyes. A park based on Christmas? I don't like Christmas in December why would I like it in July? What are they going to do? Make me wait in line to buy overpriced gifts for people I don't like.

But once again I was wrong. Here's Holiday World. It's a very impressive theme park in the middle of nowhere. I could only get 1 FM station, but it was very nice. We live about 25 minutes from Paramount's King's Island (the park the Brady Bunch went to) and about 10 minutes from a smaller park so I wasn't too excited about this. But then my wallet felt better.

Tickets were about normal theme park prices, but the parking was free. I hate being charged for parking. Paying $10/hour downtown? Fine. Paying in the middle of a corn field? I get pissy. Then I realized they gave away free drinks. Every little park section had a Pepsi Oasis which is just a place where you can get fountain drinks gratis. And it wasn't crap. A full selection of drinks. Also, there were free sunblock stands. Finally, the food. It was good and nicely priced. I remember I got Harper her baked potatoe for $1.90. I got a chicken sandwich for about $3. And the drinks were free. They even post the food prices.

The rides were very nice. Dagny even rode their small coaster The Legend with me. Other Streaming video is here.

The Holiday stuff was underplayed. You have the distinct feeling that the place is run by evangelical christians. There are rules posted everywhere about the dress code shoes, shirts required. Crude shirts will be cause for removal. This is nice. The last time I was a King's Island, I was with my oldest daughter behind a man whose shirt simply said "F&%K Off" on the back. He was with this young kid. Now I mutter that word several times a day, but what would cause you to put it on a shirt in a family park and what kind of world are we in where he is not asked to change it or leave?

I'd say the park looked like it was began by Ned Flanders but then Homer took over the last half to make sure it was good. Te only overt religion park - besides christmas - was that Santa told the kids a story and then at the end highlighted that their nighttime prayers were very important. Also, crosses, etc were sold in the gift shop.

After two days at holiday work and three night in a hotel, I'm home today and back to work on Monday. It's been nice.

Stay You.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bush and the Supremes

I watched Bush announce his nomination of that guy last night...then I did some work.

No. I watched the analysis for about 15 minutes and it looks like conservatives will be happy (if that's possible). But what disappointed me about the conservative talking heads is...

Why do we care? As a conservative, I like the power to be away from the Feds. The nomination will be a huge ordeal with many people on both sides thinking that it is a life-or-death fight. The fact is that since it is a big deal means the Feds have way to much power and that's a defacto loss for the conservatives.

People should be able to lead there whole lives not giving a damn who is on the Supreme Court because their life shouldn't be that affected by the Court. People should be more concerned about who their county prosector or police chief or neighborhood night patrolman is (know yours?) because that person does have an effect on you and your families safety and well-being.

Things are up-side-down and that's a defeat for the conservatives no matter who Bush nominated.

Stay You.
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Monday, July 18, 2005

Jesus in the Marketplace

The Weekly Standard has an article in a long line that I've been following regarding the steady but dramatic decline in attendance at mainline liberal protestant churches. This one is about the United Church of Christ (UCC). I discuss others in The Pure Investor.

While attendance is dropping, the church's leaders are embracing homosexual marriage, anti-Israel initatives and a few other fun things.

This is somewhat timely because The Divine Mrs. M spent the weekend prepping for Vacation Bible School this week at our church. Our church does this in conjunction with a UCC church in Bellevue. This one. Their pastor is gay (lives up the block from us) and their attendance is dropping. Our churches do several activities together and from what I can tell (I haven't been rude enough to ask) much of the congregation is now homosexual. Do I care? Not really. They all seem nice. They help out.

But I'm wondering. Why are these people leaving the UCC? Is it because they hate gays? I don't think so. The UCC tv commercial that plays in the link above would make it seem so. I think people leave because they don't feel comfortable at the church anymore. It's not the gays but the overt political and obnoxius attitude that they seem to have. I find that commerical extremely insulting and probably so do many of their long-time parishioners.

Imagine you're a long-time UCC'er. You may be a moderate East-coast republican who wrote checks to the NAACP in the 60s and 70s, but you just can't bring yourself to embrace gay marriage. You don't really have a problem with homosexuals per se, but...marriage? Now they seem to be forcing it down your throat (te-he) Also, you don't see what Israel is doing wrong. You don't follow it closely but building a wall to stop bomber doesn't sound evil and definitely not in comparison with other things going on in the world. This makes you like most Americans. And anyway, you don't come to church for politics do you?

What do you do? Do you fight and go to the Synod meetings and rally an insurection of other like minded parishioners agains the church leadership? Or do you just go down the street to the Methodist church? (better parking) or the Prysbeterians (closer to the diner)? Or maybe you just stop going to church? (free Sundays). There's a marketplace for Jesus. Look around, every church in town is offering a slightly different version. Take your pick.

Stay You.
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Sunday, July 17, 2005


I am a Beatle fan. I'm a Beatlemanic. I spent way too much time in high school listening to them, reading about them and spending way too much money at this silly place than I'd care to remember.

Why? (i've given myself an hour to state the reasons)

Obviously, the music. I have no music training besides a couple years playing rythym guitar - which I stopped after realizing it only takes about 3 chords to impress a drunk 18-year old girl - and about 20 lessons on the banjo; both packed up and forgotten in my daughter's closet so I will not try to analyze that.

If you want that, go bore yourself here. I will go for the easier route (the route most Rock critics take): what the Beatles meant to me and why I delved into that particular pop culture alley way about 1985. But to suffice it to say that the music was just plain good. It was hummable. That's all.

Anyone can get hooked on the music, but me being a dorky overthinking 15 year old, I had to take it further. Here's what I came up with.

First, I remember reading a bio of Lennon (well before I got my hands on the Bible) that spoke of his troubled youth and mispent adolescence and his failures at school. Five years after the guy's death I was intrigued by what I saw as a predetermism that would make John Wesley proud.

I imagined that a teacher or neighbor of Lennon's during his boyhood spent the 60s and 70s on the other side of the moon and never heard of the Beatles, or Yoko, or all that. If someone had told him he was shot down in the street, the man would probably shrugged, thought back to Lennon the Teddy Boy, Lennon the drop out, Lennon the orphan and said, "You could have seen that coming."

It was almost as if Lennon couldn't have escaped his fate no matter what he accomplished. Deep thoughts for a rich suburban kid in the mid-west, eh?

While the music grabbed my attention and overthought Beatle theology got me thinking, the real reason for my facination of the Beatles is that they represent all of adolescence.

No matter which Beatle you looked at or which phase of their career you listened to, some part of every boy's adolescence was there.

Look at John again, he's was there as a model for the cool loner type. Distance gaze (caused by this not wearing glasses on stage) and dangling tie (couldn't tie one) he looked the tough guy. We all want to be cool at some time. That wanting makes us not cool, but at least we could look to John and see how it's done. At least he wasn't McCartney.

Paul seemed, to me at least, the Good Guy. The guy every mother liked and he was good with his girlfriends and he was just great. He looked good, he was smart and polite and always had a girl and he was never me. Maybe every once in a while. I think every decent guy quietly strove to be this guy. This guy lead a great life was usually happy, made middle management and retired to some island in South Carolina. He's the guy I sort of wanted to be when things were tough but never would. I could at times fake it. I think I've become him.

George was me. Looking for attention but not getting it, standing in the background, overshadowed, doing my own thing. Shining every once in a while. To get notice you have to do something strange like bring in a Sitar (or bring the Beatle tape on the road trip in 1986).

A then there was Ringo. When I was in those silly who cares if I'm not cool (that makes me cool) phase I was Ringo. Ringo didn't care if the homework wasn't done, Ringo took the puff when the jay was passed, Ringo had a good time. Ringo didn't care about anything and life would take care of him - and it normally does.

So I was always a Beatle, at least one of them. They represented 4 distinct personalities that I always was. Of course, these distinct personalities made them wonderfully marketable, or was I just marketing some personalities?

And then there was the music.

Really, what is adolescence but a quick change of moods and interests and desires and focuses. Most bands then and now only focus on one aspect. You get the every song is about a girl crap that boy bands the last few years focus on but is just another in a long tradition (Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees), or you get the Stone "I want to Screw You" songs, or the artsy folksy Belushi smashes their guitar types (Hi, Dave Matthews!), or dorky overwrought political activism. But the Beatles had it all and did it all.

Youthful puppy love? It starts at 14 or so and ends....? Then you've got She Love You, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, etc. From If I Fell:
If I fell in love with you
would you promis to be true
Sex? I Want You, Why Don't We Do It In The Road, I Saw Her Standing There:
She was just seventeen
and you know what I mean
At 35, I do and it makes me uncomfortable.

How about that stage of youth where you do have great big thoughts like linking John Lennon with predeterminism? They've got plenty of that: Across the Universe, Dear Prudence, We Can Work it Out, even Here, There and Everywhere, and most especially A Day in the Life. Heck, just throw in all of Pepper and most of Magical Mystery.
I look at you all, see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps.
I don't know what it means but it must mean something important.

Youthful Anger and I want to Rock? Helter Skelter, Revolution (single version), Run for Your Life

But they went beyond the obvious. Everyone had that first girlfriend that seemed like more than puppy love. It seemed "serious" with serious overtones and you were really committed and this is the one and all that. You know the one, the one you ended up making out with her friend after getting drunk on 3 beers at your buddy's house. That one. Then you have Girl:
Was she told when she was young that pain would lead to pleasure?
Did she understand it when they said,
That a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure?
Will she still believe it when he's dead.
Cool! (BTW: The background vocals on girl is the work tit repeated over and over. Deep.) Toss in Yesterday and I'm a Loser and any thing from the Rubber Soul or Revolver albums.

All joking aside, they put aside silly love songs (at least until 1976) at times and went for mature themes: Norwegian Wood, In My Life, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away (A gay theme? Yes.), Let it Be, Hey Jude, etc.

I followed Lennon into the solo albums. Listening now, it's kind of sad, but he address that overt political activism that some kids starts to embrace. I own - on vinyl and CD no less - the Sometime in New York City album. Look at those song titles.

Okay, I've over the hour that I budgeted for this so I'm cutting it off. Sorry for lack of proof reading and links.

How does a conservative mid-western guy growing up in the 80s get hooked on the Beatles. A little opened mindedness (not easy in those particular suburbs) and a realization that the Beatles are adolescence. They define it and they wrote a complete soundtrack for it. I hear the 60s geezers sometimes talk about how the Beatles were the soundtrack for their generation. Not true. Every generation is pretty much the same with the same hormones and emotions and thoughts and experiences. There's nothing new under the sun.

The Beatles didn't write the soundtrack for that generation, but for all generations.

Why do I still listen? Because it takes me back to that time, that adolescence when hopes were higher, pains more deeply felt, new experiences of love, sex, drugs, booze, freedom, responsibility were coming at me every day. It lifts me out of the mindset of the guy with the mortgage with the private school tuition due and the underfunded retirement account worrying about some change in his health insurance.

and that feels good.

Here's my personal favorite Beatles song, I'm only Sleeping from Revolver:
When I wake up early in the morning,
Lift my head, I'm still yawning
When I'm in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream

Please don't wake me, no
don't shake me
Leave me where I am
I'm only sleeping

Everybody seems to think I'm lazy
I don't mind, I think they're crazy
Running everywhere at such a speed
Till they find, there's no need

Please don't spoil my day
I'm miles away
And after all
I'm only sleeping

Keeping an eye on the world going by my window
Taking my time

Lying there and staring at the ceiling
Waiting for a sleepy feeling

Please don't spoil my day
I'm miles away
And after all
I'm only sleeping

Keeping an eye on the world going by my window
Taking my time

When I wake up early in the morning,
Lift my head, I'm still yawning
When I'm in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream

Please don't wake me, no
don't shake me
Leave me where I am
I'm only sleeping
Stay You.
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Friday, July 15, 2005

Brain Dump

Every so often I need to clear the cobwebs out of my head and dump the contents of my brain onto the blog page. Maybe these items don't make sense, but maybe they do.

Ever since the Cincinnati riots happened, the cops have slowly been retreating out of those communities. Some other incidents have happened and the politicians have caved and the cops just aren't showing up as quick. People are pissed because the cops actually are doing their jobs. It leads to incidents like this Wednesday story where a pregnant 14 year old is shot in the neck at a late night party and here on Thursday where a man is shot by a stray bullet on his room couch talking on the phone.

I've stated before that I think Cincinnati is a racist city, but these cops do want to do their jobs, but they don't want to be called Nazi's for it and if they are going to be endangered they're going to let the place turn into a shooting gallery. I drive through these neighborhoods on the way to the office and tomorrow I'm taking the kids into one of the to shop at the market. I'll be looking suspiciously at each black male under 25. That's not racist. Just sad...and smart.

The Sweetest Smell; The Saddest Sight. That was the title I was thinking of for this next part. Any good?

Anyway, I treated The Divine Mrs. M to two things on my way home from work. We had her car in the shop again so she took and picked me up from work. I had to drop off a UPS package downtown so there we went. The UPS center in on Mehring way (see map) an industrial section of town. On the way we pass the Sunbeam baker. It's an ugly building, but a very nice smell. If I'm working late the smell of fresh baked bread hangs heavy in the air and gets my stomach going feeed me.

Just around the corner you come to the barbed wire fence of the Hamilton County Jail. The street runs right against it and it stands about 8 stories or so. The barred windows look down on you and you can see the men's arms sometimes hanging out of them. Now that the weather is warmer you start to see women on the other side. I'm assuming these are the girlfriends, paramours and wives. Sometimes just two or three; sometimes 10-15. They're just standing there. Some wear their Sunday best and others dress like whores. Oftentimes they hold signs with hearts and ballons; oftentimes they hold children in their arms; too often they make sexual motions - once I saw a women lift her shirt and squeeze her breast provocatively. This wasn't pretty. The street traffic blows past them.

This all happens underneath a sign that reads that "Abortion is the No. 1 killer of black youth" with a picture of an angelic face.

Then I think about the Supreme Court and the hysteria that's about to sweep the political classes. I think abortion is wrong. It shouldn't happen. But I have very pro-choice tendencies. Do motivations matter? If I'm pro-choice because i think women should control their bodies is that ok? If I think that early pregancy caused by society, rape, molestion, etc is too crippling on a young girl is that bad? My main jump to the pro-choice side is when I think of the baby of the 14-year old girl that was shot and the babies standing with their mom's outside the jail.

These are the kids that - when grown- will be harming my kids or grandkids. They don't have much of a chance. They are born into a evil system. Am I wrong in thinking that they should have been aborted? Look, their lives suck, their not going to be doing much with them. Get them out of the way.

Then I think that maybe they can be like that Sunbeam baker. It's in an ugly part of town, it's in an ugly building, but what comes out of it smells and tastes so good. There's that chance; that possiblity that something great can come out of those kids.

New topics?

I love my IPod.

I've been editing a text book. Something new. It's been fun.

The Divine Mrs. M's car was in the shop. Again. The thermometer gauge was cut by the fan and then the coolant was low. The people who replaced the engine last time fixed it up charge.

I read the above and some of it may sound racist. It's not. It's just that that part of town is black. If I had to choose, I'd rather walk through Cincinnati's black Over-The-Rhine neighborhood than some other neighborhoods that are predominantly Appalachian. The next town over from Bellevue for example - Dayton (see map, the divinding line between Bellevue and Dayton is Van Voast Ave. Bellevue is German Catholic; Dayton is Appalachian and the difference is jarring when you cross that street). Some places there scare the living hell out of me and it's all-white, all-hillbilly.

Speaking of race relations: I took the girls and dog for a walk around the block last night about 8. I was impressed with our little multicutural neighborhood. This is Kentucky remember, but I spoke with the neighbor who also goes to our church while she weeded her sidewalk. She has a heavy German accent that sounds so cool. Kinda like Cloris Leachman in Young Frankenstein - I mean, Frankenstein. I then invited the Rodrigeuz's two doors down to a party on Labor day weekend. They were sitting on their doorstep. They kids were happy, I'm not sure if Dad truly understands my English. Maybe he's just quiet. Then I had to stop and invite the other neighbors who just moved in. They were sitting on their doorstep also. They are from the aforementioned Dayton. She's tall and blonde (everyone is blonde around here). That's my street. Not bad. All nice people.

Brain empty now.

Stay You.
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Monday, July 11, 2005


I'm not a people person. I don't go out looking for people to hang out with. I work in a small office and don't socialize with anyone I work with. I already spend 10-hours a day with these people!

So it was nice to have friends from out-of-town come by during the July 4th weekend. We also had some in-town visitors on the 4th that we hadn't seen in a while.

Max Weber
wrote about (somewhere, don't ask me) people constantly checking themselves according to social rank. We all have a mechanism that implicitly puts us in some kind of social order. I guess I've been doing this. Alot of thoughts have shot through my head over the last few months about what the hell am I doing.

Shouldn't I be further along?
Shouldn't I have accomplished more?
Or more generally, what are we doing wrong?

I know as a financial advisor that when I see people with overbuild houses or the giganteous SUV that they are most likely swiming in debt. I've seen it too many times. I've met the guy making over a $100k and unable to pay his electric bill. I've vistited the couple living in the $500k house, but never have guests because they can't afford the furniture - more than once!

Truth be told, we're doing pretty good. Kids have a stay-at-home mom, private schools, two cars, 3 tvs, directv, air conditioning, and heat, and, well, the list goes on. We're doing pretty good, but I tend to focus too much on the bad.

So when friends come to visit - relatively same age as us - almost all with post-graduate degrees and they voice the same complaints, it's nice to know we're not alone.

We aren't the only ones to think that a trip to the movies feels like a major expense?
We aren't the only ones who feel totally screwed by the local amusement park?
I'm not the only one who thinks $20+ for pizza and cokes is crazy?
We aren't the only ones who think student loans will never end?

Little things. But they accumulate.

The list goes on, but I'd rather hear yours.

It was nice to have friends over. We weren't whining, just talking. But when we're left to our own devices and don't talk to anyone, it's easy to get lost in our own neurosis and moods. My friends anchor me. They set my mind straight. They let me know that there are people out there with the same problems I have and that God isn't singling me out.

Friendship is nice.

Stay You.
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Thursday, July 07, 2005

They Landed a Punch

A man going to work with the everyday worries of an everyday can I afford college...did I leave the cooker that promotion coming...what will I watch my daughter pregnant....can my son get into school...why is his hair green...gets blown to hell in a train station in London.

Nobody is asking who did this. It wasn't disgruntled Lutherans from Minnesota. It wasn't Baptist bible thumpers in Texas or Hindus from Cashmere. It wasn't a wild Calvinist from Switzerland.

We know who did this. There's no doubt. I know we all saw the images and thought: some Muslims finally pulled it off.

Islamofacist have landed punches in NY, Madrid, Bali, and Beslan, and a variety of other places. It's time to stop this. It's time to hold the structure of the Islamofacist accountable. It's time for fat SUV owners to pay $5/gallon after the Saudi's are undercut by our government. It's time for Syrian facism to be destroyed. It's time for the mullahs of Iran to be dead.

Let's muster the will. Let's do the job.

I've been off the internet and away from tv and radio today. I just checked out drudge and cnn and fox. Lot's of images. Lot's of stories. I haven't found the one where the head of the Sunni community in London has condemned these actions. I've said it before but it can't be hard for an English speaking Muslim cleric to get on tv. In fact, I know when I do see a Muslim speak later today, he will be scolding us not to engage in any anti-Muslim thoughts.

Well, I didn't have any anti-Muslim thoughts until I heard the silence of the Muslim community since 9/11. Now I don't really want anything to do with them. I'm done.

God Bless and Keep England.

Stay You.
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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Spin's 100 Greatest

I tell my clients that you're getting old when you paid more for your last car than your first house, but your also not young when your music buying slows considerably. I think itunes, iPods, Napster, in general may reverse that. When kids and mortgage start to eat up discretionary income, dropping $15 on Gwen Stephani stings a little, however 99 cents on Hollaback Girl seems ok. Plus the importance of pop music drops like a stone compared to the importance of that combo tap/ballet class the girls want.

Riding the elyptical at the gym last night, I thumbed through Spin Magazine's 100 greatest albums of the Spin era (1885 - 2005) issue. I'm afraid to say, I have not heard of many of the albums and/or artists. But here's my comments on the countdown with my own collection as reference. The ones I own are in bold.

99. Afghan Whigs, Gentlemen (Elektra, 1993) - Cincinnati band, but never bought it. Shame.
93. Pearl Jam, Ten (Epic, 1991) - Grunge happened a little too late for me. I needed to be 15 or so, but it still struck a chord with me. Powerful album. 3 tracks are on my iPod.
85. R.E.M, Automatic for the People (Warner Bros., 1992) Yawn. No, it's good. I'm being petulant. However, I'm turned off by the self-importance that drips off of REM. Everyone tells me they are great. They're ok. I don't like having a band forced on to me and that's what people do with REM. You have to like them!!
Whoops! The link above cuts off after 25 entries. Jerks. Here's another.
54 The Breeders - Last Splash (1993) - Dayton band when we lived in Dayton. I like it, but I listened a few weeks ago and it seemed a bit dated. Maybe forced. I think the article said the lead singer joined the Pixies. Don't know them.
51 Nirvana - In Utero (1993) - Call me a child of the early 90's. I was in my early 20s. but I will isten to anything by Nirvana. Except that Incestide crap I paid for. Total garbage.
49 Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998) -- I borrowed this from someone at the office ust to have something to listen to. I blew me away and I didn't get any work done. This album will be around a long time. I haven't listened in a while, it's like books that I've read that I love. I'm afraid to go back and read them again because they might not be as good as I remember. This one is. Plus she does the abc's on a sesame street video Daughter #1 and I watched over and over years ago. What happened to her?
44 Green Day - Dookie (1994) - call me crazy, I've tried to listen a few times to this. I just don't connect with it. See comments on REM. They seem rather forced also. The lead guy always seems to be saying "Look at me - see how cool I am."
19 Hole - Live Through This (1994) - possibly my favorite non-Beatle album. Powerful, raw, rageful. Just what rock should be. I can only listen when The Divine Mrs. M is out of the house and then I play it very loud. Plus I find Ms. Love strangely alurring. Yes, I know I'm sick.
18 Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987) -- I had a dubbed tape. They ended bands with hair spray thank God. However, anytime a Bengals commercial comes on they play "Welcome to the Jungle" (the Jungle being Paul Brown Stadium) so I'm sick of it.
8 Prince - Sign 'o' the Times (1987) - Is there anything that he does that I can't listen to? No.
3 Nirvana - Nevermind (1991) -- See nirvana comments above.

I at least own a few of the 100 greatest albums as decided by poseur editors at spin. Am I still cool. No. I'm a dad who worries about everything. Cool is no longer me. Plus the last album I bought on the list is 7 years old. Nope. I'm now settled into a life of Sting (the Neil Diamond of our generation) and Bare Naked Ladies. Inoffensive, non-challenging, and the kids can listen to.

Ho-hum. Oh, hell, I like BNL. So screw off. I'm embracing my thirties.

Stay You.
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Nice Weekend and Some Mark Steyn

Nice weekend.

Friends came into town for a visit. They saw other friends, but they stopped by for about 6:00 on Saturday. Beers all around, dinner eaten, talked into the wee hours. Nice time.

Sunday was nothing but the tube, a dip in the pool, then the tube again. Brain was turned off pretty much all weekend. Apologies to the founding fathers. I should meditate on their sacrifice and their wisdom and the Republic which they laid the groundwork for, but I really needed a weekend of totally laziness and this one always fits the bill for me.

We walked to the grocery for a couple of things. I let Daughter No. 1 pick what she wanted at the little stand at the corner. Total cost $10. Girls. They don't have the natural ambition to blow things up. To destroy. I miss that.

Yesterday, out-of-town friends dropped by again for a quick visit before their plane left. Other friends came over for dinner and fireworks. Beers again, food. Things going boom. Listened to the noise downtown. Fun.

Now work. Sucks.

Building up to my Beatleobus, a little bit of Mark Steyn column today on the Live8-Onanism-for-Africa concert. To total is found here.
Seven years ago, you'll recall, Sir Paul's wife died of cancer. Linda McCartney had been a resident of the United Kingdom for three decades but her Manhattan tax lawyers, Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts, devoted considerable energy in her final months to establishing her right to have her estate probated in New York state.

That way she could set up a "qualified domestic marital trust" that would... Yeah, yeah, yeah, in the immortal words of Lennon and/or McCartney. Big deal, you say. We're into world peace and saving the planet and feeding Africa. What difference does it make which jurisdiction some squaresville suit files the boring paperwork in?

Okay, I'll cut to the chase. By filing for probate in New York rather than the United Kingdom, Linda McCartney avoided the 40 per cent death duties levied by Her Majesty's Government. That way, her family gets all 100 per cent - and 100 per cent of Linda McCartney's estate isn't to be sneezed at.

For purposes of comparison, Bob Geldof's original Live Aid concert in 1985 raised £50 million. Lady McCartney's estate was estimated at around £150 million. In other words, had she paid her 40 per cent death duties, the British Treasury would have raised more money than Sir Bob did with Bananarama and all the gang at Wembley Stadium that day.

Short week. Have fun.

Stay You.
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Friday, July 01, 2005

Too Much Time

How do they do it?

I'm just a little blogger, I'm an employee and I'm buidling my own business. I have a young family and a few outside committments. But I'm not unusual. Lots of people are busy with their own stuff. Although none of us are really that busy. Are we?

What got me thinking was that I've been a little sparse lately on the blogging and it's because I'm busy. I could do more (last night I watched two movies and fell asleep to another), but I haven't.

But others are very prolific. People like Althouse, and Instapundit and Vodkapundit and the Powerline guys. And lileks, and whoever else. Supposedly these people have day jobs. Don't they? How do they get any work done and do all that they do? Is being a law professor or journo or whatever that easy?

Stay You.
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