Steve, I think the OM and I would love to meet you and yours. I prefer tea to coffee but I'm sure I can find a place that is very good at both if you are ever in the area. In case it isn't extremely obvious I respect your knowledge and opinions greatly. I think our disagreements have more to do with having different goals and interests within a hobby we both love.
Oh, I do SSB at 10W as well
A modern rig would be nice. It's been a rough couple of years for us (medical issues, each of us having periods of unemployment for the first times in our lives) and I have cut back the shack and am "making do" more than ever. I currently run an old Kenwood TS-780 for my 2m/70cm SSB/CW base rig (and for 2m FM as well) and my Mizuho portables for, well... portable
One more point on 2m CW: on those wonderful occasions when the band is wide open some CW will appear just below 144.100 if the band is pretty filled up with voice ops above that for a ways. It never hurts to tune down there.
Most of my CW contacts on 2m started out as voice contacts during an opening when it was just plain difficult to get through. I switch to CW. Sometimes the station on the other end can copy me. Sadly, sometimes the station on the other end can't copy CW at all. CW is an essential skill to pull out the longest of the long distance QSOs on VHF/UHF. I would have never worked Albuquerque, NM on 2m without it.
During contests if conditions are marginal or poor the CW ops come out of the woodwork on 6m, 2m, and even 70cm. That's when CW QSOs actually start out as CW QSOs
There also used to be a local group that got on 2m CW as a sched, but that seems to have died out
Anyway, even if there is no local 2m CW on a daily basis it will be there during band openings and contests. When I had my Icom IC-275A I actually installed the CW filter. It even turned out to be useful more than a few times