Friday, November 30, 2012


Down to the final stretch on my seminar. Today does nothing but reinforce my decision to exit the tax return business within the next 18 months. My pal Bill will be the stuck-ee of my left-overs.

I'm making 3 and 4 Daughters of the Day for their dress-alike outing last night. This is the pic from Twitter.

I thought that it was a very nice photo of both girls. Hard to tell that they are sisters, eh? Congrats to both on DOTD designation!

So we have the end of November today. Its been a great year...and the final month will be little more than a vapor trail, what with the travel, work and family activities scheduled to take place. Here's my Top Ten high-lights from 2012 thus far:

1. 07282012. Duh!
2. My trip to NYC in May
3. George Strait in DSM.
4. Scottsdale with the boys in January.
5. Maplecrest Fit Club in June, July and August.
6. San Antonio in October.
7. Turkey Trot time.
8. Wining and BBQing on the driveway on Maplecrest.
9. Early morning and DeWitt cycling with my pal Pete. (Mt. Rose not so much!)
10. Every visit with 1.01 and 1.02.

That didn't take long.

One item of unsolicited email on my Yahoo account this AM was from Amazon, stating that they noticed my interest in higer-end cameras, and they just happened to have a Nikon unit on a special sale today. I gotta disable my Cookies. (I don't NEED another camera. I just like the idea of some newer equipment with more whistles and bells.)

Looks like a Friday night at Geneva. I'm betting that my pal Ron will want to play this weekend.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.


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Thursday, November 29, 2012


Day Two of my continuing education seminar. Double the attendance today.

All morning was on Obamacare. Truly, a disaster awaits us. No wonder they have hired thousands of new agents. And those agents will never need to learn tax law. All they'll need to study is Obamacare. And they'll never get a true handle on it. The thing is such a cluster, there'll be annual changes forever.

Probably the most disturbing aspect of the Cloud of Obamacare is the en-charging of the IRS as the enforcement agency for this gargantuan social program. The rules and regulations to oversee the operation of this monstrosity are obscene from my perspective as a veteran tax preparer. Its not even close to a tax program.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Moving on...

To golf.

My pal Ron is now a bit giddy over the governing bodies of golf (US PGA

and the Royal and Ancient folks in Europe), having proposed to ban the long putter by 2016. This point has been a controversial one over the last couple of years as the winners of the last three Majors have used these clubs. The purists think that the "grounding" or "pivoting" of the upper handle against the body creates an advantage. Hmmm. An interesting point. How is that more controversial than a titanium-strontium alloy driver weighing six ounces that will send a ball 400 yards? Whatever.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the long putter. When my stoke was so bad at the end of the season, I told Ron that I was going to the long putter for 2013. Mostly to get under his skin, but also as a change that certainly couldn't hurt my pathetic game. It did get under his skin. He sent me three texts last night in celebration of the proposed rule change.

I might get a long putter to take to Scottsdale in January just to rattle Ron.

Props out to 4 for making it to downtown Manhattan last night to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree. Here's another copy of her Twitter post of the event.

I saw my RCL yesterday as she was finishing-up. She's headed to Italy for five weeks. So I have the Substitute RCL beginning next week through the New Year's week. Irina promises a bottle of good Barbera di Asti from Italy on her return. Still looking for a match from that bottle that 3 and I had with her friends at Limoncello's in Beantown.

Looks like we (1, 1.1, 2 and myself) have put George Strait back on our schedule for February 15th in the TC at the Excel Center in St. Paul.

1.1 conducted the successful hunt for tickets. He had a buddy with the T-Wolves, who had a contact at the concert venue. The normal pipeline for tickets reflected a sellout. This also gives us a scheduled shot to catch up with 1.01 and 1.02. Guess who we have "invited" along for the trip to "spend some time with the kids" while we go to the concert?

May be more here later. I'm looking to apply some more abuse at 1730 spin class.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012


This comes to you from the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois where I am attending a continuing education seminar on tax topics for the upcoming season. I've been to programs at this place before, and it is a bit interesting what this facility may do for (and against) the local convention business.

(We'll see how that pic works on the final entry. I still don't have a handle on posting photos from the iPad.)

The smart phone and iPad (both connected to my desktop Outlook service) make being out of the office so much better than the old days. I was always super-concerned that I'd miss an important call. Now, I might not get the call immediately, but the message recorded on my voice-mail hits Outlook right away, and I can decide if I need to make the return call now, or perhaps just send a short email to indicate a follow-up when I'll be back in the office.

Of course, all of that said...with the same technology that makes you always available, you're ALWAYS available. Hiding below radar becomes less-easily explained.

That spin class last night was about as much fun as pulling out your fingernails. It was my first time on a bike since the trip up Mt. Rose with @bcbison on Monday, July 29th. I hadn't missed the experience. Either on Mt. Rose or the spin room. It was a well-attended class with only a hand full of bikes open. Could it be that New Year's resolutions have already started?

As I am wont to do, I did some math while I was taking the spin-abuse. It had been 121 days since my last ride. When I measured that number of days on the other side of the wedding, I got into the latter part of March of this year. Which seems like a life-time ago! And if I add that number of days to the current date, we're back into March 2013, which is equally eye-opening. For me. Not so much for anyone who actually has a life.

The political posturing on the "fiscal cliff" seems to have extended the campaign. I've said since the election that it would be interesting to see what The Big O did with himself, now that there was no elective office to pursue. Obviously, the lure of the campaign trail was too hard to resist. As though his constituency needs further encouragement to tax the rich.

(Keep in mind, my business keeps this political/economic/finance debate in my daily life. Its almost impossible to separate these aspects in the discussion. There is no report on the business news that doesn't consider the political forces in play. I'd much rather spend this time of year worrying about the SI swimsuit cover than the Alternative Minimum Tax...or Buffet's secretary's tax rate.)

My long-time-ago pal Wally and I would schedule three-day weekend in Vegas this time of year (after Thanksgiving and before Christmas) to argue over the college football bowl games. Of course, the number of games in those days was no more than 10 or so, so the interest in each game was considerably more so than today. I remember sitting at the bars with the "tout" sheets from the casinos and putting $5 per game with Wally (not the sportsbook). In most years, Wally and I never made much money off of each other.

Speaking of bowl games, the first one I attended (and only one now that I think about it) would have been the 1970 or 1971 Cotton Bowl when ND played Texas. I really can't remember which year, or the result of the game. ND lost the '70 game and won the '71 game. Some ND friends and I drove Phil and Margaret's car from Iowa, straight to Dallas, and slept on the floor of a player's room whom we knew. Details are sketchy. There was a huge snow storm on the way down (that did little to slow us down). There were some coeds from Baylor involved on New Year's Eve, and a private club in the middle of "dry" Oklahoma on the way home. All very foggy.

(I saw Joe Theismann in a TV shot of the sidelines at the LA Colesium last Saturday night shaking hands with Teo and some of the other players. He was a classmate of mine and the QB of those '70 and '71 teams. He's had several network TV jobs over the years after a reasonably successful pro
career, but not sure where he is now. His shtick wears thin after a while with most viewers. He was never what you would call a shy guy.)

So I may try to dress this entry up once I get to my laptop at home.

Thanks for reading.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2012


UPDATE...I should have remembered this earlier.  I'm making 1.1 Son-in-Law of the Day.  He's a birthday boy today!  Happy Birthday, Dad!  In the archives of this computer, I don't have many pics of 1.1 to choose from that don't include his whole crew.  So this is one from earlier this year.  Make it a great day!

It was 14 degrees here when I drove to early coffee.  I'd say that that was getting into the season.

If you took 1) the fiscal cliff, 2) cyber Monday, and 3) the BCS out of the daily news, would there be any?

And Powerball is getting to be even bigger. That means that the split on my winnings within the fam is thus also getting bigger.  Life would be pretty nice if we had to worry about that allocation!

I finished a book last night that was certainly as close to a waste of time as any reading exercise could be so described.  In The Moon of Red Ponies by James Lee Burke.  Really not sure how or when I had acquired the paperback, but it had been sitting around my house and I decided to get through it over the Thanksgiving weekend.  Torture.  By the time I was done, I had forgotten the original premise from the beginning of the book.  The reader was left with poor resolutions for all of the various conflicts that the author presented among the book's characters, none of whom were particularly sympathetic.

The primary reason that I stuck it out to finish the book was my conscious attempt to balance my literary leisure time away from crosswords.  I think that it is fair to state that I enjoy the mental gymnastics required of the Friday/Saturday NYT puzzle much more than processing the story presented in most novels.  From an educational standpoint, I think that reading is much more beneficial to the life-learning curve.  Getting better with crossword solving pretty much means that you get better at crossword solving.  Period.

It looks like the progression in my out-sourcing efforts will extend to my (non?) Christmas lights on Maplecrest.  My Perfect Neighbor and spouse (Judy) were finishing the hanging of their own display on Thursday and there was a little repartee back-and-forth about maybe I needed some help with my lights.  My response was that I would welcome their participation.  I strung the extension cord from the garage outlet to the front of my house and left the four boxes of lights that I had in my basement on the steps to my side door.

Judy stopped over Sunday to ask for some direction on a tax question for her retired father, and asked about the lights when she was leaving.  I told her that I was not going to be offended if she elected to finish the task.  I'm thinking that the warmer weather in the next couple of days may produce that result.

The advertising airtime freed-up by the end of the election season seems to have been taken over by the car companies touting their Christmas "deals".  (Maybe my earlier suggestion to short media companies was premature.  A better post-Christmas idea?)  The higher end cars are always promoted as the perfect gift for a spouse or girlfriend.  Really?  What's wrong with a coffee-maker?

I'm scheduled for continuing education at the iWireless Center in Moline tomorrow through Friday.  As a reminder, CPA's have an annual requirement of 40 hours of continuing education, which essentially translates to five days per year.  We all need an update course for new tax rules each year.  I've reached the point where I try to limit my travel for these programs, and the University of Illinois has this three-day deal that is both local and relatively inexpensive.  Plus, it tends to be well put together.

So the blog will probably come to you from the middle of those classes the rest of the week.

Happy Birthday to @srh4.


Sunday, November 25, 2012


I'm adding a few pics from the weekend.  The kids are at an age where posing tends to be problematic.  Other than the trip over to the John Deere Pavilion yesterday, the number of Kodak Moments was in the low, single-digits.

We missed the NYC girls (and 3.1) a lot.  Facetiming last night was a great idea, and it worked out really well.  I had never done much of it previously, or Skype, and was impressed with the Star Trek nature of it all. 

Sounds like the fam stayed up to see the Irish complete the victory against USC.  That goal-line stand was a statement-maker.  Although I have to say, the USC coach is hugely over-rated.  With the talent clearly visible on that team, to come out of the season with five losses is hard to understand.
Is there another sport that is set up for the "championship" game to take place six weeks after the qualifying game?  I understand that this is one of the vestiges of the "old" bowl system, when the four big New Year's Day games marked the end of the college football season.  And all those other "Who Cares?" bowl games that now exist do mean something to the host communities.  But the idea that the team that ND brings to the BCS game in January will be the same one that played last night in LA is a bit debatable, even if it will be the same players.
May add some more later.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Really not much to add from here today.  The crew is largely in nap-mode as I write this entry.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Watching Oklahoma - Oklahoma State at the moment in deference to 2.

1 gets a little recognition for her effort in the Trot.  She finished in the top fifteen among all women.  And 1.1 wasn't too bad either.  It was fortunate that the race was Thursday, from a weather stand point.  It was around 30 degrees cooler Friday and today than it was for the race.

Sports Illustrated elected to preview the ND-USC showdown with a cover story to try to debunk some of the waking of the echoes of this year's team's success.  SI likes these expose-oriented pieces to validate its position in the media hierarchy.  Let's use the spot light to drag up some dirt on the Catholic boys.  Kind of like the national media on the Big O right before the election.  Well, maybe more like their views on Lance, The Rocket, Big Mac and other lesser souls into chemical enhancements.

I was successful in competing both the Friday and the Saturday NYT crosswords.  Non an every-weekend result by a long shot.  My skill-set is definitely at a lower level than Expert, but I can solve things with a certain back-door methodology.  (But if the puzzle author insists on several names of people, places or cultural events, I can be toast regardless of my intuition.)  Usually, I don't have the time that it takes to logic my way through Friday and Saturday puzzles, but when I'm on holiday or traveling, I can stay on point long enough to get'r done.  This has been the case this weekend.  Its always a good feeling.

The end of TT training brings me back to re-upping my Gold's membership.  Looks like spin class torture starts next week.  Sad that my favorite instructor is now in Milwaukee.  I may try some body-works classes over the next few weeks to get ready for Scottsdale.

We miss the NYC limb of the family tree.  Glad to know that the Christmas gathering in the TC will include everyone.

Maybe more later. Go Irish!


Thursday, November 22, 2012



Under pays again!!!!

Before and after pics from the Trot.  Notice 1.1's David Letterman moment.
The Winniferous did her Rosie Ruiz imitation this year.  A bit of an abbreviated tour of Vanderveer Park for parts of miles two and three.  That trip up the Main Street hill took something out of her. But she rallied on the last 1.5 to finish strong.
@srh did outstanding duty in the kitchen and our meal was Top Ten worthy.
Maybe more here later after I head back to Maplecrest.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Just a few lines this AM in anticipation of a busy day.  The fog rolled in last night and its a little dicey out on the road this morning.

The boys' golf trip to Scottsdale has been booked for January 9th.  We'll play three days in the desert, staying in the same condo development that we've called home the last couple of years.  The odds of us making it to PHX with no travel delays should be decent this year as we have encountered problems in both of our last two trips through DEN.  I tried to do American through ORD or DFW, but couldn't make their departure times work on the outbound leg.  Already looking forward to the trip.

The local golf course pro shops get together and have a "Big Golf Sale" each year about this time to try to get rid of this year's clothing and equipment that didn't sell in the regular course of business.  They've had it the last several years at the meeting/reception building just up the street from our office.  Roy and I stopped in on Monday and bought a few things.  Boy, was there ever a lot of stuff!

The dynamics of pro shop sales for local courses everywhere has evolved in the age of the Internet.  Maybe de-volved is a better term.  Clothing and equipment sold at a course has always been on the more expensive side of the ledger, and even their "sales" prices have not been that enticing.  I've made it a point to buy a few things every year from the Geneva shop as it helps the pro, but I know that I could get similar items online for less dinero.  But I always buy any new clubs from him as I know nothing about getting the right shaft for flex and length, club-head angle, and any other new-technology features.

The pro shops have a captive audience, particularly the private clubs, but everyone looks at price these days.  Another factor in private clubs like Geneva is that there is an on-going turnover in membership, and younger members tend to be less-golf oriented, and more family-activities oriented.  Not a bad thing for society generally, but not the best thing for the golf shop.

Is there another state university (like Rutgers) that does not include the name of the home state?

Safe travels to all.  Pics from fff (can't be true FFF...missing the NYC girls and 3.1) to be posted later today.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I forgot to give proper recognition to 2 for her new job, which she started yesterday.  She is the new Director of Annual Giving at Augustana College  in Rock Island, Illinois!  This is the D-III school with an enrollment of around 2500 that we have followed in basketball over the last several years.  A really first class operation.  So knock 'em dead, Kiddo!  You are Daughter of the Day!  (My guess is that you can find out more on this move on Facebook.)

With the gun for the Turkey Trot set to fire in just 50 hours, I'd say it is safe to say that the count-down clock has been engaged.

The Beater is headed to the shop.  No power when I went to run an errand late yesterday afternoon.  Jumper cables were not the answer.  I'm saying that its the starter.  Tow truck to be called shortly to take the car down to the place in Davenport that I have used for this kind of thing over the last several years.  Over/Under on the repair is $450.  Taking the Over.

UPDATE...The Under pays!  Just a battery and the tow.  Bonus.

My across-the-street neighbor has got his house fully-decked-out for Christmas already.  Regular lights, reindeer, maybe a Santa and other figures.  And music!  He could be a living ad for Walmart.

I'm reserving judgement on the Maryland and Rutgers moves to the Big 10.  It looks like Maryland's decision was heavily-weighted on finances.  (As though any of the conference-realignment changes have been for anything but the money!)  Looking beyond the press releases could reveal that Maryland had tried to stay up with the Jones's in the ACC (North Carolina and Duke), spent a bunch of money, and ended up with lousy returns on that investment.  Conventional wisdom would suggest that there may be a lesson in that math.

If the goal is to eventually get to a 16-team league with two divisions of eight, it will be a deal where the Iowa's and the Minnesota's will drift toward positions of lesser note.  The traditional rivalries will be hard to maintain.  Then again, if the western-most schools are aligned together for their regular season conference games, it wouldn't be such a bad thing.  Let the sportswriters hypothicate!

The other side of the Maryland move is the implications for the ACC (where ND just cast it's lot a month or two ago).  They'll need to pull in another team or two to shore up their ranks.  The Big East and Conference USA will lose on that exchange. 

Interesting that this all looks like it is driven by football.  I mean, the basketball tradition and history of the ACC is arguably stronger than the Big 10.  They've had better results in soccer and baseball.  Probably others.  But none of those sports draw big money.

I read the term "Olympic sports" in some of the stories on this deal to describe the sports activities that make no headlines.  They used to be called "non-revenue sports".  As in the seven sports programs that Maryland has had to cancel to make their numbers work.  So does "Olympic sports" sound less-reliant, more inclusive than "non-revenue producing sports"?

If this were politics, somebody would be calling somebody else a racist on that little case of word-play.

Lots to do today. 


Sunday, November 18, 2012


Looks like a super day ahead of us here in Iowa. Global warming, for sure.

Let me get this off my chest at the start: Given the results of the recent election, I've decided to take the advice of many of the op-ed writers and become, 1) pro-choice, 2) pro-open borders, 3) pro-Bigger Government, and 4) not support any proposal to change Social Security as we know it.

Well, not really.

The Irish are perfectly set up to fail in LA next weekend. Call me a fatalist.

@srh4 and I were over on Highland Avenue yesterday to help with the annual (should be semi-annual!) cleaning of the gutters. 2's house is perfectly situated on a street with mature trees that generate lots of leaves and helicopters. In days of old, my Fall weekends on Scott Street were filled with similar tasks. My Top Ten list of dreaded duties from that era:

1. Leaves. Martian eggs!
2. Storm windows. An awful job...and HARD work! Especially those big/tall double ones on the first floor.
3. Tuck-pointing the chimney. Heights not a favorite place for LtPC.
4. Touch-up painting the outside wood trim.
5. Anything plumbing. And all the facets leaked!
6. Caulking the windows and doors. Especially the upper ones. See 3 above.
7. Fixing broken window panes. No skills at all.
8. Water in the basement when it rained.
9. Maintenance of the decorative, slatted-wood trim over the front door, kitchen nook and sun room. Not sure if I ever got it all done.
10. Anything electrical. It was an old house, and had never been re-wired. There was a science to the fuse circuits.

Now don't get me wrong: it was a great house and has wonderful memories. But property maintenance was never my strong suit. I gave it my best shot. I just wasn't very good at it.

I've got a few more thoughts to add today, but I need to get going for now. It looks like there may be golf in my immediate future with my pal Ron.

More later, fo' sure.

Have a great day.

Now later...
So my pal Ron and I made it through a full 18-hole round at Geneva in less than two and a half hours.  I'd say it was a little below 50 when we started, and probably 55 or so when we finished around 1:30.  I was a bit surprised that there were only a couple of other groups on the course while we played.  It would have been very comfortable if the sun had shone consistently.  Ron is an absolute golf addict.  I was along for the ride.  That extra $7 that I relieved him of on the 18th hole was just a bonus!

Hat tip to the 'Clones for the win last night in Lawrence.  At least they will get to a bowl now.

Back to my comments on the Scott Street house.   I owned a pick-up truck most, if not all, of those years, and it was a very handy piece of equipment.  (I think that I had a Lincoln road car for a couple of years, but returned to the truck when the car's benefits just didn't pan out.)  Lots of transporting of leaves, lumber, "stuff", and kids.  (I'm going to find a pic of the red, extended-cab Ford to add here at a later time.  This one is just an example.  I loved that truck...just not when I had to fill it's two tanks up with petro!)

Now getting set for a training run with 2 and The W.  Thanks for reading.


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Thursday, November 15, 2012


Any entry today will have to come later this evening.  I'm on the road today in DSM for some business meetings.  That drive over this AM was a study in truck traffic.  I had one sixteen-wheeler pass me at least twice when I was going 78 MPH.  The troopers finally caught up with him just East of Des Moines.  He needed to be slowed down.

Struggling with getting Thanksgiving registered as just a week away.

Hope to get back here later.


One thing of interest this week has been the excess data usage on my iPad.  Billing for all of my devices (cell phone, laptop and iPad) runs through the business account (which also contains several other office-based devices).  We received an alert this week that our usage was going to exceed our package allotment at the current rate.  We inquired of our rep on what was happening and she mentioned that not only were were running into a problem for the current period, we had also gone over our allotment the prior a lot!

Long story data usage on this iPad has exceeded the pre-iPad usage for all other devices combined!  Which has come as a huge surprise.  I don't think that my total time on line has changed much, but I definitely have been using the iPad more, and the laptop less.  One theory is that I haven't been properly shutting down applications that continue to run on the iPad in the background.  I hope this is the answer, as otherwise, our rep sold us a bill of goods when I was looking at the iPad as an option earlier this year.

Now back to my meeting...


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I'm pretty sure that I am the only person who has this day marked on the calendar each year. Here's why: from November 14, 2005:

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I couldn't find this online.  I changed blog platforms fairly early in the process and the posts from those first couple of months may be un-retrievable.   I took a pic of this hard-copy version and I think it is readable.

The math of 4000 Days remains in the ballpark.  Seven years translates to 2555 days.  Leaving 1445 on the original calculation.  My 60-month goal espoused earlier this year is now my 53-month goal. Those 53 months translate to 1612 days, more or less.  That means that there's lots of water to run under the bridge as this story plays out.  Stay tuned!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


So rather than go into the troubles of General Petraeus or Jeff Gordon, here's another example of the Political Correctness of our Left-leaning social order.  Limited Brands, owner of Victoria's Secret, has had to issue a mea copa overnight for the outrageous display of a Native American Indian headdress on one of the runway models at their recent fashion show. 

OK.  Most everyone knows that under the "new rules", there is no gratuitous use of the any term, name, or cultural tradition of Native Americans.  (Unless you're a candidate for the Senate in the Bay State.  But I digress.)  Ask Florida State, Illinois or North Dakota.

Fortunately, for our Progressive Class, whose members seem to regulate political correctness in our media and societal calculus, there is virtually no insult unacceptable against Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular.  Its almost an exercise of measuring a Christian's true forgiveness-factor by lobbing over a grenade of invective to see where it registers on the tolerance scale.

I grew up believing in guardian angels.  One of our family's few framed pictures in the farm house was this one that hung over the couch in the living room.   That was where Daddy would read the Sunday comics to Aunt Rosie and me after we got home from Mass.  That's a favorite childhood memory of mine.  (Sounds like a country song.  But again, I digress.)

Where was (is) the Political Correctness outrage over the decade-long Victoria's Secret campaign on Angels?  (It took me a while to find a suitable pic of models not in their underwear!)

My point is valid.  It just doesn't matter in a culture where sex sells everything...if it is designed to offend only the WASP's, Catholics and Jews.

On to the day's business.  Don't let triskaidekaphobia get in your way today.


Sunday, November 11, 2012


The visit to the Arsenal today was something less than perfect.  The weather front came in just as the ceremony got under way.  I had brought along an extra jacket, but not my raincoat.  Poor choice.  The featured speaker didn't abbreviate his prepared remarks.  Steady rain throughout.  At least the crowd quickly dispersed once the program was over.  Parking is usually a mess, making egress problematic.  Not today as everyone just wanted to get to shelter.

The commercial world celebrates Veteran's Day tomorrow.  Local government offices are closed.  And the post office.  And IRS, I suppose.  I'm glad that the Arsenal program was today.  Active duty personnel are 365-24-7 folks.  No reason to defer a ceremony for the convenience of Walmart shoppers.

Not much to add here.  I'm working on a couple of things that may be posted here once I get them written.  Working on my inner-Creative Writer.

Hope the Peanut Gallery has a good week.  And 4 a good TGIF tonight.


Saturday, November 10, 2012


The new Home Page pic was snapped this morning from the Dunn Bros parking lot as the sun came out from a cloud-bank.  The actual thing was more dramatic than what I was able to capture on film.  I needed a filter of some sort to trick the lens.  No such thing on the mini-digi.

Could be 70 here this afternoon.   May be a Margret afternoon.  And a BBQ on Maplecrest.  Then a high in the mid-30's on Monday.  Hello, November.

Count me with those who suspect the abrupt resignation of General Petraeus as a deeper story than the marital indescretion being touted as the reasoning.  With the election over, the major media outlets might choose to look at connecting some dots.  Perhaps.  Its a big ask.

ND is giving 19 to Boston College tonight and the Over/Under is 47.  I think the bet is the Over.  BC always plays ND tough.  The game is at Chestnut Hill.  I think the Irish will score 35+ after last week's offensive sketchiness.

Maybe more here later.


Friday, November 09, 2012


A little bit of history...

This used to be the time of year when nerd-ish gluttons-for-punishment would gather at select locations throughout the USA for two and a half days of rigor called the Uniform CPA Examination.  The exam was given just twice a year; early May and early November.  The "pass" rate was not real high, and most people required a systematically presented (months-long too!) review course to adequately prepare for the test.

I took my test in the expansive lower-level of McCormick Place in Chicago in November of 1977, along with several hundred of my closest friends (and my pet rock, Knute.).  I had spent the prior five months attending one of the leading review courses, Becker CPA Review.  The review was structured as a classroom event, three times a week June - September, and a fourth day in October.  Living in C-town at the time, I had the advantage(?) of attending at a location in The Loop or a suburban site in Des Plaines.  I didn't miss many (if any) of the classes as I was very concerned about my ability to successfully pass the examination.

The one benefit of the dreaded train-ride for that period of time in 1977 was that I used my commute to study for the test.  I know that by late Summer I was using old tests and doing practice exams for the multiple-guess elements in 10-20 question segments.  I was always gauging my progress on a minimum 80% correct-answer-rate, as passing the actual exam was at the 70% level.

In the end, I did pass on the first try with a combined score in the low 70's.  (I can't remember the exact percentage.)  Gallows humor at the time was that any score above 70% simply meant that you over-studied.  I've always said that if I could pass the CPA exam, any reasonably intelligent accounting student who applied himself/herself should be able to get through the test.  Since I was not an accounting major in under-grad school, and my MBA accounting electives were not all-inclusive, there was enough on the actual test that my exposure to was only through the review course.  The Becker course and my basic test-taking skills got'er done.

In the new world, times have change in qualifying for and taking the exam.  (It is a national administered test, but the certificate-to-practice is issued by the state(s) where you operate.)  Most state governing bodies for CPA certification have changed the minimum education requirements to 150 hours of college credit (which loosely translates to a fifth year in most cases).  And the exam is now done on a computerized basis at one of the many commercial testing locations throughout the country.  Further, they have gone away from having just the two testing dates in the year and a person can select from a series of time frames.  From what I can gather, the testing topics have been updated slightly, and perhaps the biggest change, a candidate can now take just one of the four (or five?) sections at each sitting.  (Does having to prep for a single topic make it easier?  I would hope so.  But I place that difference right up there with the five miles of snow-covered roads that I had to walk through as a lad just to get to civilization!)

The Old School testing required lots of memorization, not only of formulae, but also of facts, tax rules and a variety of chart-ish protocols in accounting and business law.  Today, all of these things are immediately available with an Internet search, so why make the contemporary student memorize trivia?  There was a time when I could cite Book, Bible and Verse of obscure tax code.  Not only is much of what I once knew off the top of my head no longer applicable under current statute, my iPad can get me a verifiable answer almost as quickly as I can run it through my internal data-processor.  Its a New World, baby!

Did that little thing go on too long?  Sorry.

The new Bond movie apparently opens today, amid generally favorable reviews.  If we were to have a fam movie on December 24th this year, this would be my choice.  Daniel Craig is at least third in line in my preferences among the actors who have played the title role.  Like many of my age, Sean Connery will always be the "real" James Bond...but I liked Pierce Brosnan as well (although not as well as Connery).

Bond movies always created (or embellished) the fame of the actress(es) who played the femme fatale(s) of each flick.  One of my fav's was from one of the original films that kind of set the stage for future renditions, From Russia, with Love.  Daniela Bianchi.  I don't know if this gal ever did any other significant movies, but she was a hit in my book.  (The Bad Guy (the field operative, not the boss) in this movie spent a ton of time on screen, and almost never spoke.  Kinda Terminator-esque.)

Some math now.  From Russia, with Love was released in 1963 when Ms. Bianchi would have been 21 years old.  Sean Connery was then 33 years old.  Fast-forward 36 years to 1999 when a still-active Connery starred in the fluff-but-entertaining movie Entrapment with the very attractive Catherine Zeta-Jones (who was born in 1969).  How many guys without a sheikdom have that record? 

Thanks for reading.  Have a good weekend.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012


I'll leave the deep dissection of the election to the folks who do that kind of thing for a living.  From my angle, "Blame Bush" and the President's higher likability factor trumped in a big way any of the other arguments presented by the opposition.  Say what you want about the changing of our general demographics, other than African Americans voting essentially in unison, the President's success in the Swing States indicates a more general willingness among most cross-sections of the populace to accept government as the senior arbiter on issues that arise in our society.

Having spent most of my professional life in and around government operations (in the USAF and as a tax CPA), my sentiments run counter to "more government".  I guess we'll see, eh?

I regularly provide a somewhat humorous standard response to my pal Roy for the various promoters, contractors and developers who come out of the woodwork to pitch him for capital investments in their projects.  That advice, which I offer whether solicited or not is, "Run, don't walk!"  As in, "Run the other way from guys who want to spend your money".

That's remains my advice to America.

Moving on...and keeping The Glad Game as the theme to the blog...

Ten Things that make this a great day for me:

1.  Today is RCL day on Maplecrest.  Always a good day.
2.  I have a top-shelf Cab for tonight to celebrate the end of the election season.
3.  The IRS may have consented to my penalty-abatement plea on one of my hardest cases.
4.  Lunch date with a friend for Chicago dogs at the Waterfront Deli.
5.  Final inventory reflects no Sometimer's losses from San Antonio.  Very cool.
6.  Pretty confident that my Internet time will go down going forward. 
7.  Hey, Paul Ryan kept his seat in the House!
8.  Composition of the House keeps our 'checks and balances" system alive and well.
9.  The market has one less variable to consider.  We got what we got.
10.I'm making my Hertz reservation for January golf in Scottsdale!  Why wouldn't I?

So to work.  The electorate has spoken.  There are winners and losers.  We need to deal with the results.

My goal is to get back on here later today.



My shot of The Alamo from my iPhone.  Almost like a postcard!

Another shot from the river.  This gives a sense of the size and closeness of things.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Count me as one of the many who are thankful for the election season coming to a close.  I'm writing this entry over my lunch hour, and the two sides are all atwitter (literally!) with their possibilities.  It has been a marathon.

I'll be satisfied with the results, whatever the outcome.  Each side has had plenty of time and spent lots of money to make their respective cases. While I definitely lean Right (maybe a distinct tilt to the Right is a better description), if the President is re-elected, the Congress and he will need to drop their weapons at the door and make some progress on what ills our nation. 

(Hmmm.  Looks like an "up" market today.  I'm saying that that is because traders have money to spend and the uncertainty of the election will most likely be over tonight.  I've said for a while that there will likely be a "Santa Claus" rally yet this year, followed by a down turn in the first half of next year.  Today's results may just be the start of some good days in the short term.)

Last night was our first time doing our TT training run in the dark this year.  Of all of the pluses and minuses of the annual mid-Fall time change, running in the dark is the most mentally depressing aspect for me.  Not that there is much that anyone can do about that matter.  But you can't see as much, you're worried about cars not seeing you, and its usually cooler (requiring more layers). But with Thanksgiving coming as early as possible this year, my running days will come to an early end as well.  (But the option becomes spin class, which I have come to dislike as well!)

Look for a flyer later this week for my annual Turkey Trot fund-raiser.  I'll be on tap to match your $25 contributions with a target of $1000 combined total to Komen for the Cure. 2 needs to get the art-work done and then we'll be in solicitation mode.

The hospitality industry has gone all-in on post-usage surveys.  Hotels have done this for quite a while, but by Monday afternoon, I had received feedback requests from American Airlines, La Quinta Inns, and Hertz on my San Antonio trip.  I'm betting that Starbucks would have been there too if I had used a card for my morning coffee! All of these came from "independent" canvassing companies, but they were all basically the same questionnaires. 

I'm wondering what the providers actually pay to these guys.  It has to be on a per-response basis, I would think.  Normally, I disregard these things as a nuisance, but the timeliness and coverage (air, car and hotel) got my attention this time.  And my reservations were all done on an unconnected basis at different times. Everyone must be trying to keep up with the Jones's.

So I'll jump back on here later this afternoon.


Monday, November 05, 2012


Happy Tax-Election Day!  Just one more day of the candidates and their PAC's insulting our intelligence.

My goal of bringing the additional pics from SAT onto my office computer was a bust.  When I tried to load them on the laptop last night, the initial query from the program was to "Download ALL?" of the shots from the chip.   I just wanted those taken in SAT, so I made an election to Copy just those to a separate file.  That didn't work so well.  I do have copies on the laptop, but I also managed to erase the SAT pics on the chip.  Suite.  I'll pull a couple more for here from the laptop tonight.

The new Home Page pic is from the San Antonio Riverwalk.  This on the newer section that really doesn't offer much from a tourist's perspective, except that it is a boat ride...on the river.  They are working at re-developing the older section of town at this end of the ride, so I'm guessing that there will be more spots for eating and drinking in the future.

The Art Museum is on this stretch and they've done some things on the bridges to bring out art-sy things.  Here is one where they have hung colorful fish.  I actually have this pic on my iPhone, but it doesn't have quite the same clarity.  And the walls of the underpasses have mosaics that have been done by various artists to illustrate some aspect of the area (like the Alamo, the river, etc.).

Travel remains a pain in the backside.  Full planes.  Everyone with carry-on.  Expect delays.  Fortunately, my weekend flights got me in on time and there were few inconveniences.  This time.

The time switch was a bit of a help for the trip home.  That extra hour just made departure from the hotel a non-event as the body-clock was still on DST.  The San Antonio airport has off-site car rentals, so you need to budget a little more time for that exercise.  I had a Nissan Ultima from Hertz that came with a GPS system.  Those GPS systems are pre-programmed with instructions for the Hertz site with the push of a button, so even though I'm a bit af an anti-GPS-give-me-a-map kinda guy, it made the return to the seemingly off-the-grid Hertz location much easier.

My Sometimer's was an on-going worry.  I kept doing mini-inventories of my "stuff" throughout the weekend.  Phone.  iPad.  Sunglasses.  Book.  Murse.  It seems like it all stayed with me, but a final inventory is yet to be done.  Not toting the laptop was a big plus.

My pal Pete and I had a little disconnect on his airport pick-up last night.  He had seen my Tweets, but the text message that I had sent him from DFW on the data for MLI didn't get to him.  Hmmm.  So he had waited fror my call upon landing.  Odd.
My pal Richard and his new BFF.

Sounds like excitement in Brooklyn this AM.

More later.  Make Monday a good one.

Locking through the Riverwalk!!
Leaving SAT.