Friday, September 29, 2006

Dancing Jesus

I'm tapped. So I post pics...or clips.

This one will send you to hell. Wait for it.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

You day could be worse

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Victoria Cross/Congressional Medal of Honor

The Telegraph is serializing the autobiography of Johnson Beharry. He won the Victoria Cross, the highest honor the queen can give to a soldier facing the enemy. It's similar to our Congressional Medal of Honor.

Here's today. It's worth reading all of it but page 5 is the best part for me.

Do you know the name of the most recent Congressional Medal of Honor winner? It was just last year. He's unknown. Didn't make a magazine cover or even a movie of the week. From what I can tell, not even a Wikipedia entry. Shouldn't we know him?

Whether for the war or against it but "support the troops" (whatever), what's it say about us that he's unknown.

But his wife knows. So does his mother. His two kids know. He doesn't. He's dead.

Here he is. Read the citation.


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Monday, September 25, 2006

Guillermo

Thanks for the comments Guillermo. You local?

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Tired of Politics

I'm taking a break from it for a while - at least a week.

On Saturday I'm to attend a bloggers conference with these guys. I'm kind of burnt out on it. My mother-in-law is in the hospital. She's going to be there - or at least recovering - for a good long while. The Divine Mrs. M. drove the 3 hours to help out last weekend and the kids and I went with her this weekend. There's a 30' of 6' privacy fence sitting in what my realtor called a driveway that needs to be installed. Last night, my stomach turned against me because I ate at this place at 7:30 then drank 8 lbs of cola on the drive home to stay awake. So I watched Clinton blow up on Fox news. I saw this silly episode of this show I've been watching.

I guess the think that touched it off was my column for CiN Weekly where this website was published under the article actually lowered my hit traffic. Actually, the traffic isn't what set off my apolitical streak, but the comments of some anonymous commenter. No guts turned a cheeky little rant about bad radio into politics right away. There seems to be too many people acting like 25 year olds (like I was) assuming everything is political. Do these people not associate with people from the other side of the fence? Seems a little scary to me. I

'll admit that I just don't see the other side's point. I read their blogs, I listen to the news. I don't know for sure, but our general circle of friends (acquaintences in my case) are blue collar dems. But I just don't understand their point. It's like they're speaking French.

Oh, here's a tiny story I did on Saturday for Thomas More College's homecoming.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

I Dare You

Touchy, Touchy: On Teachers and Terrorists

Today's Enquirer follows up on a story about a teacher protesting...I'm not sure what. He was dismissed as a coach and he seems to be steamed up because...
Carrigan was unhappy that teachers at the high school are required to electronically sign in and out. In asking members of the teachers union to join him in a protest of that and other issues, Carrigan wrote that teachers were being treated as if they were "part-time uneducated workers."
He doesn't want to punch a clock. Sorry. He's highly educated you see. Maybe he has his masters degree.

This highlights one of the great truths of teachers - they are oh so touchy. One aspect of this that was highlighted to me several years ago and has been proven again and again to me is that the easier the Ph.D. is to get, the more insistent the Ph.D. is that you call them "Doctor".

A physics professor? His students probably call him "Pete". Someone with your master of education? Their business card probably reads: Dr. Joe Smith, Ph.D.

The reason is all about self esteem. The physics prof, the M.D., the theortical mathematician have all derive their self-worth from doing things. When you truly earn something, you don't care who knows about it. If you have doubts about the worth, you over compensate.

It's also the reason the un- or under-employed guy gets into bar fights over imagined slights. Your looking for a way to justify your own worth.

I think that's the root cause of the crazy jihadi's. They come from a culture that hasn't really had anything to brag about in 700 years or so. There's no there there. Until recently, ever time they took the Israel they got whooped. Their wealth comes from paying foreigners to pump out natural resources which is then refined elsewhere. If it wasn't for that, they'd have nothing.

So when an incomprehensible novel is published, you issue a fatwa, when the Pope mumbles something, you shoot a nun. When a filmmaker (still unrecognized at any industry ceremony) makes a movie about the hardships of being a woman in Arabia, you stab him in the chest. When a bunch of dicks crash planes into buildings, you go into the streets and cheer.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Voice Mail Systems

About 4 months ago we got a new voice mail system at the office. It sucks. I mean it really sucks. On last count, I had to press 19 keys to get to my messages. 19!

I also have a voicemal systems that I buy from the phone company. My cell phone has one too.

The one thing these all have in common is that they are all different.

Why can't someone in the telecommunication industry come up with an industry standard? On two of the systems I have to press 3 to delete calls; another requires a 7. One allows me to skip messages, but another doesn't.

Because I'm afraid of pressing the wrong thing, I have to listen to the entire passionless voice tell me what to do. Sometimes it takes 30 seconds. Oftentimes I get distracted and have to wait for the roundrobin to come back again.

We must demand standardized voicemail button functionality...and don't tell me the slow talking long-ass messages from t-mobile isn't there to burn up my minutes.

This rant does even consider other people voicemails. If I have to press more than 5 buttons to get to you - you won't hear from me.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Welcome CiN Weekly Readers

Welcome to CiN Weekly readers! Browse around, have a drink, stay awhile.

I try to blog every day. I try to keep it light. Here's my vitals. I wrote a book. Here's a review. I work on the west side and live in Bellevue. You can email me at hlmcewen - @ - juno . com

To my regular readers:

Cincinnati has a weekly events magazine unfortunately named CiN Weekly - sounds like a Las Vegas hooker catalog to me. It's reviews of restaurants, movies, art shows, concerts. Very apolitcal.

Each week, they print on the back page The Last Word - a rant from folks about nothing in particular. Two weeks ago was a bit from a curvy TV news producer, last week was a local news anchor going back to work after materinty leave. This week, they ran a piece I wrote (blogified version) about the closing of WOXY.com.

Hope you enjoy.

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Pope V. Mooslims

In the newly evolving grudge match between his popishness and a bunch of highly animated Mooslims, I feel like using that old Kissinger quote about the 80's Iran/Iraq war - "To bad they both can't lose."

My nascent anti-Catholism is growing I guess. However, no matter what they've done, I look around the world and see great art, hospitals, and schools that wouldn't exist except for the Roman church. I also look at places like India and Africa where the church discourages poor people from using condoms and think - well, that is a negative. A catastrophic negative! And then there's that other negative - the rampant pedophila that's been alternately encouraged and covered up by the boys in stolls. That's a negative too.

But then again, what have the Mooslims done for anyone since the fall of Constantinople?

And what's wrong with these Mooslims? They get so irate about some fruity old kraut in Rome that not many people listen to mumbling something or other and they take the day off work and burn effigies and shot nuns in the back. Come on? Do you really care what the guys thinks? Sound like a bunch of cry babies.

They're broadcasting TV versions of the Protocols of Zion and cheering when we get attacked and our leaders start blathering "religion of peace, religion of peace."

And where do they get all those American flags to burn?

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Look, Up in the Sky, It's a Feeling in Inconsequence

Here's a story I did for the Enquirer that ran today. A Thomas More College physics professor named Terry Flesch is giving monthly astronomy lectures to the public. The Enquirer ran it with the head line of Subject: The Universe; Audience: Everyman. The photo - seen here - was nice. Some thought was put into it. I don't think Meggan has taken photos for many of my stories but the ones she has are pretty good.

A final paragraph the editors cut:
“I ask my students to think about what, scientifically, makes us humans unique. "Immortal souls" does not count. Not scientifically provable,” said Flesch. “When I was a kid, the answer to that question was sometimes "Humans use tools" or "Humans have language". We now know that neither of those statements apply only to Homo Sapiens. Today, we answer that question with the statement that, as far as we are aware, humans are the only bits of cosmic matter that contemplate how they themselves fit into the context of the Universe. Astronomy certainly provides us with an avenue for this journey of self-discovery.”
I had never thought of it that way and I'm sure it could lead to a great pot filled dorm room discussion. Man, where's all nothing. We're made up of nothing. We're talking billions of years man. It just doesn't matter if my grades suck or if I don't get some corporate job or if I (gulp) ask out your sister. It just doesn't matter.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

A Quick Calculation

Here's how a guy like me reads the newspaper and does math.

This story about a 22-year old who overdosed on heroin. The headline is "Mom Sounding heroin alarm".

Heroin on the rise; a particular nasty bit of heroin is on the rise.

I feel bad for the mom. Then I look at the picture and dismiss the entire story. Mom has four kids with a minimum of 3 different last names. She shares the last name with only the eldest. There's no photo or mention of a dad...any dad.

I don't know the situation. But my mind jumps to some quick conclusions. Yours should to.

Why am I the jerk for questioning this? To me, that's the obvious unasked question in the article. That and what makes him comfortable enough to snort heroin in mom's foyer with little kids running around? Don't get me wrong, I'd never have the guts to ask it, but that's why I do mostly soft pieces.

A regular nuclear (sorry, nucular) family with a mom, dad, and 2.4 kids can be a hellish cesspool, but at least there's a struggle for normality and security and comfort that a child needs and yearns for. But with 3+ dads and however many other boyfriends, do kids have a chance?

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Friday, September 15, 2006

When I'm 84

The Divine Mrs. M's mother is in the hospital so last night she drove up to help out and will be gone all weekend. That means I had to drop off the kids at school, make sure they got breakfast, and then pick up them up with two other girls - one from the old school - and one frim this school and deliver them to their respective grandparents homes before I could head home with my two girls. I had to leave the office at 2 instead of my at the earliest departure time of 5:30.

I came away from the experience depressed.

In all honesty, they were a bit annoying - the four of them talking a mile a minute, squeeling, whining, and complaining - gets a bit grating after 20 minutes. However, walking into school, it's nice to see what the kids see and to be seen. It was nice to see them interact with friends and how they appear after school (manic and ready for some vegitative TV time), and it was nice to just talk with them in a relaxed way - not right after work when I'm tired and grumpy and in the mood for quiet - but that's not gonna happen.

The reason I got depressed is I thought about what I'm missing. the Divine Mrs. M. justifiably talks about the problems of having to stay at home. I'll leave it to her to describe because I'm probably walking on egg shells, and I can see them. It would drive me batty and insane and I wouldn't be good at it and the girls psyche would be warped.

However, I am still missing something. When I'm 84 and Alzheimer's sets in, what am I going to remember? They say alot of people with the big A can remember the their 30's but not their 60s and 70s. What am I going to remember? Dagny's goofy smile? Harper's belly laugh? Their giggling with friends after school? Or this ViewSonic monitor I've sat in front of for 10 hours a day for the last 7 years. Or this Panasonic phone whose ring is like a dagger? Or the ACCO 20 stapler that's just plain ugly?

What am I doing with my life?

Update: Just like me, eh? Out of work early on a nice sunny day spending time with my daughters and I dive headfirst into the shallow black waters of depression. I knocked my noggin on the bottom and floated up ass up like William Holden.

Update 2: If you haven't seen Sunset Blvd, you really must. And pick up Gilda while you're at it. My God, they are the best art this country has ever produced.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Hometown

Bellevue's not really my hometown, but it's the place I've chosen to live and raise my kids.

The town's jumping tonight because of a very well planned out homecoming celebration. I did a story on it here (I especially liked talking to the guy from the class of '39).

The public school is a bit foreign to me. I grew up in a nice suburban area. My high school class was a little more than 600. If I remember right, we were smallish, so the entire school was about 2,500.

My kids school is urban - with the benefits and problems inherent. From the playground you can see the Cincinnati skyline. You can take sidewalks from the school, across a bring, to downtown easily. However, Bellevue is a city carved out of a larger urban area. It's 1 mile square, however, unless you notice the small differences that took me a few years to notice you don't know when you leave Bellevue and enter Newport, or Dayton, KY, or Ft. Thomas. So the kids are growing up in a much larger city, urban area. However the high school has graduating classes of 50-55 students.

That seems claustraphobic (sp?) to me. At times I like disappearing in high school. Every once in a while I'd have a class where I didn't really know anyone except from seeing them in the hall or by reputation. I then went to a university with about 25,000 students.

My girls are growing up in a dicodomy. An urban Mayberry. I don't know if that's good or bad or null. But it's what we got.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Celebrate Everything

Here's an article I did on Thomas More College's 85th anniversary. Everyone I spoke with about the school love it. It's nice to talk with happy people. Although as a writer whose high school had about 2,100 people and whose college had about 25,000, picturing a college of 1,500 is a bit hard - but that's my job.

One problem I did have with the story was that the college wasn't actually doing anything to celebrate the event. They weren't having a party or a mass so there was no event to peg the story to. I think we did ok anyway.

So the lesson is to celebrate everything - it makes my job easier.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Thomas More Physics Department

Here's a story I did on the physics department of Thomas More College. TMC is a small school with about 1,500 student. That makes it smaller than my high school of about 2,100 - but they do a good job. More BAs go on to earn their physics degree after leaving Thomas More than those who got their bachelors at UK or the U of L - both much largers schools.

Nothing on 9/11 today. Nothing new to say. It's all dreary. A U.S. senator says Iraq would be better under Saddam. That's just too depressing to write about. The fact that there's no outcry from the media or his party is heartbreaking. The sweat land of libery says "F--k off!".

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Censorship of "The Path to 9/11"

Apparently President Clinton and several top Clinton Administration officials have condemned ABC's upcoming program "The Path to 9/11". According to the NY Post, President Clinton has demanded changes.

Am I the only one concerned with the chilling effect this will have on the arts. A former president and close confidant of a powerful U.S. Senator and potential future president of the US is making demands of a free expression. A chilling effect, I say.

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Remember "Merry Fitzmas"

The "dean of the washington press corp." David Broder writes:
These and other publications owe Karl Rove an apology. And all of journalism needs to relearn the lesson: Can the conspiracy theories and stick to the facts.
Remember "Merry Fitzmas"? I do. It seemed like the administrations opponents were hoping that the White House were implicit in the attempted murder of a CIA agent. Isn't that the logical conclusion of the charge of outing a covert agent?

It seemed they wanted proof the president would do this.

Isn't that a bit...unseemly. To what the president to be tarnished like that. Isn't it a bit unpatriotic? Isn't it a bit disgusting?

During Monica gate I don't think I was hoping with glee that the president was a perjurer in the fact that a young woman gave his neather regions a tongue bath.

Now that it's disclosed that the leak was an opponent of the administration, it's "Oh, nevermind." Let's hang this guy like they wanted Cheney hung...oh, but there wasn't a crime was there?

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Peace & Justice/My First Magazine Piece

That's what I called this article I did for the Enquirer today. Thomas More College seems like a nice place. All the people I deal with are professional and seem happy to be there and proud of their work...but.

One thing they do highlight is alot of this social justice stuff. I have no problem with that...but alot of time it's just a nicer way of saying socialism. I have no problem with that...excepting nothing makes people poor like socialism - equally poor (that's where the justice comes in) but still poor. But if they're into promoting it at their 18K a year school that's fine by me.

My real problem isn't with Thomas More at all. It's with their parent organization - the Roman church. There seems to be at least a superficial promotion of "social justice" there also. Before preaching it, how about selling off a couple da Vinci's to fund a hospital or two. Oh, and before you start telling people in Calcutta and Africa to not use birth control, should you berate nice European and US Catholics. Most that I know have only 2-3 kids. I'm sure this isn't the result of abstentian...or the rhythm method.

Today I'm celebrating the publication of my first magazine piece. Here's the link (pdf here). Boomer Market Advisor is a gloss for investment guys like me who want to tap into the Baby Boomer market.

Not much to say, except that it feels nice to merge my investment education /experience/career with my writing sideline. I haven't got a hard copy yet, but I may have to post a pic of that...it should be alot prettier. I see most of my stuff online because I'm too cheap and lazy to buy the papers. When I do see myself in actual print, there is a bit more of a thrill. I guess it's because it's all professionally laid out and prettied up more than what we're use to on the web.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Student Government Types

There's a movie somewhere with a great quote about kids who participant in student government. It's a '80s brat pack movie - of which I've seen few - but I do remember that. Anyone know what it is?

In the meantime, read this. It's a story I did on the NKU SGA and their goals for the coming year. Doesn't sound interesting to me. I was never involved and never participated. I wanted to but being lazy always got in the way. I'm talking mostly high school.

What's a student body president do anyway?

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Mdm Butterfly Flutters Away

Due to being fed up with people, one of my first blog buddies Mdm Butterfly has fluttered away.

I can't say that I blame her. We're on different paths in life but the same age and the Divine Mrs. M and I are thinking similar thoughts...but I won't speak for her.

I'm sick of people.

There's three types.
1. Grown people who still think like 25 year olds: passionate and serious. Thinking that you are the first person or generation to have the BIG IMPORTANT thoughts you have. Also, that thinking that THIS IS THE WORST OF TIMES or IT'S NEVER BEEN THIS BAD or some such shat. It's ok for 25 year old grad student, but for those in their 30's and beyond it's just boring and trite and immature. This group seems to permeate the blogosphere.

2. Anyone who tells me that they are too business to do anything. Bullshat! I know how American's behave. They watch at least 4 hours to tv a night. I'm not bragging and I'm not bitching but I spend a minimum of 10 hours a day at my day job office. Sometimes I meet clients in the evenings. I work out at least 3 times a week for at least an hour - usually 1 1/2 hours. I write 2-3 articles a week for a major newspaper. I write 3-4 advertorials a month. I usually read the girls a book or two before bed. I help around the house and get to church every 3rd week or so. And I'll still manage to watch the premier of Nip/Tuck tonight.

The Divine Mrs. M. can't get people to help with volunteer projects because they are too busy. I can't get clients to met because they are too busy. I can't get co-workers to do things because they are too busy. Which is just a nice way of saying their time is much more valuable than mine.

You are not too busy. You're really bad at time management and you're lazy. Quit saying you're too busy. You just don't want to do it.

3. Bloodsuckers and victims. Because I don't have a nom de cyber, I can't be too explicit, but there's too many people in my life that add stress and wallow in victimish why me-ism that I'm about the wretch. Friends and family that make demands and don't provide any joy. People demanding entitlement but providing nothing. They're making me contemptuous of mankind.

Maybe I just need a new circle of friends. Maybe it's me. Maybe it's the times. There is either a major increase in crybabism or a decrease in my tolerance for it.

So good bye Mdm Butterfly. Hope a change of lattitude changes your attitude (Is that a Buffet song?) Enjoy.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Churches Just Don't Get It

Or I just don't get them.

The Enquirer ran an article on a St. Bernard's church in Dayton Kentucky asking for $100,000 to replace it's stainglassed windows. It's a beautiful big old church. Until we switched to public schools this year I was in the church a couple times a year. My oldest daughter always had a music presentation there since she went to the school that the church fed.

But my question is: Why in the hell is this church spending $100k on windows? Dayton Kentucky is poor. It's a river city next to my beloved Bellevue and like many river cities, those who could emptied out to the suburbs long ago. Now it's a depressed, run down area full of Appalachians who families moved in during the first 30 years of the last century. I think its on an upward swing. Some of the stately homes are beautiful - but butchered into multiple apartment units.

Also, no one attends the church. The last pastor complained constantly in school board meetings about the lack of parishioners. The blame was usually put on an increasingly secular society. But the evangelicals are booming. I think the Catholic church just has nothing to offer the soul of these people. I'm not blaming the people. I blame the Church - I went from considering converting to Catholism when I first started sending my kid there to now thinking there may be something to all those vatican conspiracies.

The church has no business yanking $100,000 out of it's parishioners. Here's some stats:
The median income for a household in the city was $32,008, and the median income for a family was $38,339. Males had a median income of $28,592 versus $21,048 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,373. About 15.2% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.
The Catholic church is rich. Why ask borderline poor people give money to provide more glory to a rotting, soon-to-be defunct church when maybe a $100k could go to a daycare? or a school (the church in Dayton shut one down a few years ago)? Or just let these people keep their $100k to give to their own families?

A marble tile from a vatican toilet could probably cover the costs. Leave your hands off these people's money. I know some of these people. They are good people doing the best they can with what they've got. They're turning their town around. A bright shiny backlit Jesus staring down at them from a crucifix isn't going to help anyone.

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