Sunday, February 26, 2006

Love, Sex, and the IR$

I'm doing my taxes today. I bought Turbo Tax which is ok to use. If I followed the advice I give to clients, I'd drop off the junk at a CPA, write a check for a few hundred, and be done with it.

But I find that clients expect a modicum of knowledge of tax law and sitting down and doing it is the best way for me to learn what's going on in that world. An article or a class doesn't stick with me.

So I got the first run through done and I owe a few thousand. My income is up. I paid all my quarterlies, so I'm praying there's a mistake somewhere. If not, tonight I'll write a big stickin' check to the feble gubbermint and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, swear, curse, and have a nice tall rum and coke.

Like I tell me clients, the only people who don't complain about taxes are poor people.

Just to top off this mood. Here's a play advance I did for show called Love, Sex, and the IR$.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Pastor's Funeral/Yawn Story

First, here's the yawn story. Not that fun to write. It was a job. But really, two cops are retiring in what we call "out in the county". Campbell County is shaped somewhat like an upside down funnel. We live in the north end. Directly across the river is Cincinnati. As the funnel travels south and broadens it goes from gritty urban to urban quickly to suburban and very quickly to rural. About 15 miles south you are in stereotypical Kentucky setting. Very beautiful, but very country. The county is bit bipolar. There are even two Campbell County Courthouses. One about 20 blocks from me and another about 10 miles south because they're not coming up here and I'll be damned if I'm driving "out to the county". It offers a heck of a contrast. It was difficult to get use to from the vast expanse of suburb that I grew up in.

I really shouldn't call it a yawn story. It's the culmination of two officer's careers. I picture then clipping the article and stowing it away in some scrap book - maybe hanging it up in a paneled den. Who knows? 30 years from now their grown grandkids will flip through it at their funeral and maybe learn something about grandpa that they didn't know.

I won't go to indepth on Pastor Hungler's funeral. I'm too tired to do it justice. It was large. People traveled from around the country. Roman collars everywhere. If you read my second every newspaper article from a couple years ago here, you'd remember he was into ecumenicalism. What's ecumenicalism? So they worked that in.

It followed the traditional liturgy. However, the old testament was read by a redheaded rabbi in Hebrew, a Catholic priest read the gospel, a Lutheran pastor gave the sermon/eulogy, an Iranian accented Bahai priest (?) read a blessing of the dead, and a southern Indiana Lutheran bishop consecrated the sacrement.

The speakers were very good. If it can be said, it wsa the best funeral I'd been to. Meaning that it best reconciled those assembled to an unexpected and premature death. Four year old Daugher #2 asked why he was wearing his glasses in the casket. Good question. They weren't to help him see, but to us to see him as we remembered him.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Just Don't Get It

Americans were attacked and declared a War on Terror.

Peggy Noonan has a piece in today's Opinion Journal regarding TSA inspections at airports. "It's all show." is her conclusion.

The Mexican Border is still porous as ever.

Canadian border guards are unarmed and scardy cats.

Now a UAE wants to purchase the ports - I know they won't do the security - but they are one of those religion of peace countries that keep blowing things up and hacking off heads and burning down danish factories. Bush charges that opposition is based on racism. I don't wilt when Dems/Libs charge that I won't wilt when Bush does. You can't tell me it's not easy getting your wacky cousin Amed a job at one of these ports when you own the ports and for Amed to spread some cash to longshoremen to overlook a certain container.

I don't get why we have these obvious and very public security gaps. I further don't understand why we don't make the UAE and any other Arab/Muslim country do a very public act of contrition and confession before allowing them to cash in further.

I voted for Bush because. 1) the alternative was just silliness, 2) I like a platform of lowering taxes and killing terrorist.

But when the next attack comes - and it will - if the representative of the religion of peace that sets off the bomb came via Juarez or Vancouver or as a stow-a-way, Bush should be reviled by all.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Crunchy Cons

I've been waiting for this book to come out for a while. I don't lightly plunk down money for a new issue hardcover, but I read the original article that Crunchy Cons is derived from and want to know more.

From Opinion Journal:
Mr. Dreher is also a passionate environmentalist, a devotee of organic farming and a proponent of the New Urbanism, an anti-sprawl movement aimed at making residential neighborhoods more like pre-suburban small towns. He dislikes industrial agriculture, shopping malls, television, McMansions and mass consumerism.
While that's not totally me, I'm closer to that than what most people think Conservatives are. I don't dream of a 55" plasma screen. I don't want the 1/2 acre kitchen, the cathedral ceiling living room, the oversized yard with muddy grass or the 45 minute drive into the city where I never ever go to a museum, art exhibit, or play.

I want to have a nice home. I want well educated and well rounded kids. I don't want stress. I don't want worries. I want to surround myself with nice things - literature, art, music, food, wine. I want the ability to pursue whatever interest whimsically enter my head.

I stand by the fact that this is one of the greatest countries in history. Our freedom is unparrellelled. However, when I look at the suburban dream, I grow a little sick. Compared to any time in history, we have the ability to explore our minds and souls with relatively free access to the wide range of the humanities.

And America watches Fear Factor.

From the Opinion Journal piece:
Mr. Dreher offers no detailed blueprint for cultural renewal, some may dismiss his book as just another lifestyle manifesto. This would be a mistake. Like it or not, Mr. Dreher raises concerns that will not go away. America today is more broadly free and prosperous than any society in human history. We are gloriously "free to choose." But choose what?
Yes, choose what? I've made my choice. I fear the choices of others.

And just to drive Moonbatty nuts, I really can't wait for this book.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Weekend Roundup

Pastor Hungler died on Wednesday. Here's an obituary I did on him. It's the first obit that I've ever written. I asked that in lieu of pay they make sure that it gets printed. They've cut it pretty good, but it's not bad. Here's a bit they cut:

By his own admission, he never did anything in a hurry. On July 28, 2001, he married Diane Beckham at age 53. “I told him, ‘you can’t say you weren’t in a hurry’, you have to say you waited that long for the right woman,’” joked Jim O’Neill of O’Neill’s Barber Shop in Ft. Thomas.

O’Neill cut Pastor Hungler’s hair since 1970 and is a parishioner at Prince of Peace. “He enjoyed being married, but would sometimes ask why women do what they do. I just called him a 53 year old “rookie”,” said O’Neil. “I’ve cut his hair 216 times since I started keeping records in 1980. He was a good friend. He’s has two appointments scheduled still and I’m not canceling either one of them.”
I also did this article on a fatherhood class that the city of Covington is sponsoring for their east side neighborhood. The neighborhood is poor. Really poor. I'm glad they're doing something, but....if you can't get a father be involved in a kids life everyday how are you going to get them to attend a once a week 3 hour class for 8 weeks? I asked this question and they only response I got was that a free meal was offered to get them to come and that they would love it so much that they'll keep coming back. I hope so but am not confident. At least they're trying.

There was some bad news of the writing front. I recently gave up a corporate writing job because it just wasn't paying that much, it was boring work and I'd rather spent time writing for the Enquirer and Challenger. Half my problem is gone. On Saturday night I got this e-mail:

Freelance writers:

It is with sadness that I compose and send this letter, informing you that
the Sunday, February 19 issue of The Sunday Challenger is the final edition
that will be printed. Owners Bill Butler and Donald Then have decided, after
considering the long-term chances of reaching profitability or even breaking
even, that neither is likely to occur in the foreseeable future with the
intensely competitive environment that has resulted from the merger of the
Enquirer and the Community Recorder newspapers.

This announcement will be made in the Sunday morning editions of the
Challenger, some of which will be on the streets in vending boxes late
Saturday evening. This e-mail is timed to go out late Saturday evening in
the hopes that you will receive it and receive this notification before
reading it in the Sunday morning edition and being surprised.

I want to thank all of you with my most sincere and deep gratitude for your
efforts and contributions to the editorial success of the Challenger. And we
were an editorial success without question. If we have an opportunity to
work together again in some other capacity, venue or publication, it would
be my extreme pleasure to do so.

Importantly, Don asked me to let you all know that all outstanding invoices
will be paid in full. I will be here in the Challenger offices for one more
week, performing some clean-up tasks, as will business manager Steve Jung.
Let me or him know about any unpaid invoices so that we can ensure that they
are taken care of.

Again, it has been my true pleasure working with all of you. Thank you so
much for the hard work you have done for me and for The Sunday Challenger.

Best always,

Tom Mitsoff
The Sunday Challenger /
No. Kentucky's Fastest Growing Sunday Newspaper*
100 E. RiverCenter Blvd., Suite 1100
Covington, KY 41011
Here's the Enquirer reporting on it. So, that job is done. Kaput. Recently Moonbatty asked me how many articles I written. I've kept a list of them here. The Challenger seemed like my "home paper" in a way, I'm a little sad. Also it did a good job of covering local issues. Sometimes Northern Kentucky gets underserved by the Cincinnati media, but they're no more and luckily I got an in with the Enquirer. Last Wednesday I had lunch with one of my editors and she gave me some good feedback so I think I'll be with them for a while.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Sludgy Week

Slow week of posting.

I had three articles to get out and my normal day job to keep track of. I was off on Tuesday and can't seem to get caught back up. On Tuesday, I helped the Divine Mrs. M sort girl scout cookies for her troop and then went to a prayer vigil for our Pastor that evening - Happy V Day!

Pastor Tim Hungler died on Wednesday. I wrote an obit for the Enquirer. Everybody is down because of it. When the obit runs, I'll post it.

Last night I went to a tournament basketball game Daughter #1 was in. She doesn't get alot of floor time. She's a bit timid and inches shorter than most of the other girls, but she's in there trying. More than I ever did.

There have been two large projects hanging over my head and I'm going to get them done this weekend. I don't care if they are half assed and fouled up. I just want them done and out of my head. They're weighing down my psyche. If they are not completed by Sunday night I will summarily execute them.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lazy Muncie

If you don't think this is funny then you obviously aren't from Ft. Wayne, Indiana (like me) and you obviously didn't go to school in Muncie,Indiana (like me)

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Police Chief Love "Beautiful and Historic Bellevue"

Here's an article I did on two local police chief's attendance at a cop school in Eastern Kentucky. Actually it was a graduate level year long school.

Both were very friendly. I guess I started out writing that because I never expect cops to be friendly. I have a few friends that are cops and there always - at first - seems to be a reticence or hesitation on their part. These guys were downright gregarious.

I spoke with the taller guy (see photo) first. He told me that in conversation Chief Cole of Bellevue would never just say Bellevue as in "In Bellevue we administered that policy...", Chief Cole always says "In historic and beautiful Bellevue we administered that policy..." Apparently he said it so often that it became a running gag at the school.

When I finally spoke with Chief Cole I let him know that "I live in beautiful and historic Bellevue". He laughed hysterically. He said that he didn't use the phrase just at the school, but everywhere he goes.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

NKU Groundbreaking

One of the things I like about doing articles for the paper is that I get to speak and learn about different people and things. I get to dabble in other people's interests and personalities.

Take this example. It's the story about the groundbreaking of a new student center at Northern Kentucky University. I politely asked if the new student center will be as as ugly as the rest of the buildings on campus.

I then learned a new word. Actually, a new architectural style - Brutalism. Here's the wikipedia link. The whole NKU campus is brutalist. Big concrete blocks piled on top of one another. Impossible to know where the doors are. It's not organic. You go around a corner and you're disoriented. Giant angular shadows thrown everywhere and everything feels cold. It's like living on the set of a 1970s Charleton Heston movie. Representative pics are here (with Cincy in the background), here, and here.

There's a building downtown that I think is a Brutalist. It's here. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's cut off from the rest of downtown (see it here in this 1980 photo) by a major highway, but it sits right on the river. Here's the view I get of this behemoth driving home from work.

Just plain ugly. Oh, well, here's an artist rendering of the new Student Union that I wrote about. Thankfully not so Brutalist. But still.....

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Pastor Pisses off Parishioner

The whole family went to church together. First time in a long time. Usually I bail. Work to do. On Sunday mornings my rythms are in work mode and I usually can't abide just sitting.

But on Saturday, I went over all my tax documents to make sure I was ready for that process, fixed a dripping sink that has been bugging me for several weeks, installed a new oxygen sensor in the Divine Mrs. Mrs.'s Car, fixed her dome light also, and worked in a load of dishes.

So my rythms were in a contemplative mode on Sunday. To make it even nicer, the Divine Mrs. M. didn't have anything else to do this Sunday. No kid's church or alter set up or anything like that. We sat their together. Nice, quiet church. Kind of nice.

Then the pastor gave a sermon which at another time would have really pissed me off. It was all about the demonization of the "other". How using phrases like "evil empire" and "axis of evil" or even "Islamic terrorist" serve no purpose but to further distance ourselves from others. Christianity is an inclusive religion, blah, blah, blah. Really? Have your read John 14, verse 6? Anyway. But what do you do about people who want to kill you. Also with, Reagan with the Soviets, Bush with the terrorists, or Churchhill with the Nazis, they weren't talking about the people but the governments. I think there's something in the liberal mindset that can't seperate the two.

We called the nazi's evil because they were, but once they were beaten the US funnelled billions into rebuilding Europe then decades protecting it from the Soviets. When the Soviet Union collapsed we didn't seize the opportunity and march into Moscow or seize the Siberian oil fields. And not matter the crazy moonbat types, the war for oil claim is simple silly on the face of it.

But I was in a good mood and let it all roll off my back. He's a nice guy and my daughters like him. 4-year old Harper runs up and hugs him - she has from the first day. 8-year old Dagny actually speaks to him - which is strange for her to do with a man other than me. Maybe it's because he looks alot like my father. He's also done nothing but good for our church. I'll give him a pass on his politics from the pulpit.

Then last night at 9:30 the head of church council called Alicia to say that Pastor has had a massive heart attack. He's 58. He walks mini marathons for fun. Married for the first time about 5 years ago. He's spent most of his life in the clergy specializing in helping small marginal churches turn themselves around or close up shop. Rough work.

He's in this pic I did for my second newpaper story. He's the guy in the Roman collar. If you're the praying type - please do so.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Multimillion Dollar Hilltop Homes

Here's my latest story for the Enquirer. These homes (see pic on link) are perched on Wiedemann Hill which is a large hill in Newport Kentucky overlooking the surrounding area. You can look down into Great American Ballpark and the city or look down onto a bunch of non-$1MM+ homes like mine.

A lot of people don't like them. I love them. They raise the tax base. My taxes stay low. I like them.

The three guys listed are designers. They do a nationwide business. If you're looking to build, here's their website. I spoke with Mike Studer who was very willing to share credit with the builders and interior designers, etc. Also, he was emphatic that they were not architects. They are residential designers. he must have repeated the point 4 times. The architect association must have one hell of a goon squad.

Next time your in Lowe's or one of those stores. Pic up a copy. The photospread starts around page 84.

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But Where Is There?

Here's my latest story for the Enquirer. These homes (see pic on link) are perched on Wiedemann Hill which is a large hill in Newport Kentucky overlooking the surrounding area. You can look down into Great American Ballpark and the city or look down onto a bunch of non-$1MM+ homes like mine.

A lot of people don't like them. I love them. They raise the tax base. My taxes stay low. I like them.

The three guys listed are designers. They do a nationwide business. If you're looking to build, here's their website. I spoke with Mike Studer who was very willing to share credit with the builders and interior designers, etc. Also, he was emphatic that they were not architects. They are residential designers. he must have repeated the point 4 times. The architect association must have one hell of a goon squad.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Almost There

Here's another article I did for the Enquirer.

The Newport/Bellevue area seems to really be taking off. This article is just another example. I'm sure this reno will be on HGTV, too. Alot of renovations around here are. Scripps, who owns Fine Living and HGTV is HQ'd in Cincinnati so I guess it's real easy for them. The resurgence is just like I imagined when I moved in in 1999. I could feel it then. I'm sure that what I felt was the positive attitude of the people and the 10 years of groundwork community leaders laid down. Now, instead of people thinking strip joints, hookers, and crack houses when I tell them where I live, people are starting to think of us as lucky that we moved here before prices started to climb. Kinda cool.

It falls in line with my own feelings right now. The last few months have seen a nice increase in income. Debts are being paid down, improvements are being made, big decisions are being finalized. Things seem to be coming together for us. Almost there. Just a few more months of this and I think we'll be there.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Spousal Smackdown/ I Beat Mark Steyn

Sorry about the lack of posts for the last few days, but I was recovering from that spousal smackdown that the Divine Mrs. M gave me on Thursday. Ouch! I walked in the door that night and was greeted with her chanting "Whaju got say now bitch! Whaju got say, uh!" while poking me in the chest until I collapsed to the floor.

Apparently I shouldn't mess with "Will & Grace".

I've written about a lot here - Islamic fascism, taxes, lib v. cons, the death penalty, Rep. v. Dems, blah, blah, blah - and I get a response - one hell of a response - from an off-handed remark relating to another point about Will & Grace. I'm reminded of a George Will column I read once about the state of American politics (I'm paraphrasing). Will said, "I've written 5 books on politics and 1 book on baseball and my royalty checks tell me where the American heart is."

That's all. Let there be peace on Anspaugh Ave tonight.

Regarding that same post, I'd like to note that I beat the great Mark Steyn in making the same point as above. From his Feb. 5 column,

Thus, NBC is celebrating Easter this year with a special edition of the gay sitcom "Will & Grace," in which a Christian conservative cooking-show host, played by the popular singing slattern Britney Spears, offers seasonal recipes -- "Cruci-fixin's." On the other hand, the same network, in its coverage of the global riots over the Danish cartoons, has declined to show any of the offending artwork out of "respect" for the Muslim faith.

Which means out of respect for their ability to locate the executive vice president's home in the suburbs and firebomb his garage.

Steyn really goes off and the piece deserves to be read in full. But here's another tidbit.

Very few societies are genuinely multicultural. Most are bicultural: On the one hand, there are folks who are black, white, gay, straight, pre-op transsexual, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, worshippers of global-warming doom-mongers, and they rub along as best they can. And on the other hand are folks who do not accept the give-and-take, the rough-and-tumble of a "diverse" "tolerant" society, and, when one gently raises the matter of their intolerance, they threaten to kill you, which makes the question somewhat moot.
God save Mark Steyn!

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Those Wacky Mooslims

Apparently this is one of the pictures of the prophet hat are causing all those crazy Mooslims to go nutty. Who knew that the Mooslims had such a tempter? Oh, I forgot.

Like I said before, these dudes need to calm down. Take a smoke.

Be more like us.

Here's a story from something called the Cyber News Service about an episode of The Divine Mrs. M's fav Will and Grace. The frothy gay comedy is going to have a skitch just before Good Friday where guest star Brittany Spears does a cooking show called Cruxi'fixin's.

Offensive. Yes. But only to people that don't matter.

We don't take religion seriously and we're the worlds only hyper power. You're a bunch of sand eating religious fanatics. What have you ever gotten from Allah? Sounds like nuttin'. We've got Brittney Spears. We've got Jessica Simpson. We've got Jennifer Aniston. And their pic are plastered over the ailse of every grocery in America. Who's God love now?

As for Will and Grace: B-list celebrity guests? Offending people who don't watch the show anyway? Releasing gags well in advance of airing to whip up the Jesus freaks? Ratings slipping? Any more and the Divine Mrs. M will hurt me.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Blogexplosion/Howard's Favorite Word

Yes I futz around with blog explosion yesterday. I just had the tab open and clicked it whenever I gave it a though. Maybe 20 times by noon and then I forgot about it. I feel dirty. Real Dirty. I feel like I'm back on the crack house floor. I went home and took a shower - a Karen Silkwood style shower.....asdfffffffffffffffffffffffffff['sdjofd'sfkl;dsfl; - snore - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
........................ ok, this begging for site hits schtick is getting boring. It's done. And good riddance.

Here's a word I like: bifurcate. It means to separate something into two parts. 'No, that's 'bisect',' I hear you say. You're right - almost. Bisect means to separate into two EQUAL parts, whereas bifurcate means just to separate. Bifurcate also has the advantage of those wonderfully contrasting vowel sounds. It almost sings! bi-FUR-cate. Two short short hard vowels and then a long soft one. Nice. Bifurcate is one of my favorite words.

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