Thursday, December 31, 2009

IRON MAN AND WAR MACHINE



Comics books, technology, blowin' stuff up, crazy laser whips, AC/DC soundtrack in the trailer: How much cooler can IRON MAN 2 get?  And the movie has that guy from SNAKES ON A PLANE and PULP FICTION.

Looks like someone is out for revenge and we should see plenty of crap get blown sky high, and smart alack remarks. Hopefully, our star won't get too cool for his own iron skin.

Iron Man 2 Trailer

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

STOP JUMPING ON ME!



The new Super Mario Bros. Wii is a big old B. Yes indeedy, it is a hard game, at least for us. The wife, daughter and I have been playing it since we got for Christmas. Well, "playing" is a bit of a soft word. A choicer way to describe our interaction is more kin to inspirational hollering.

  • "Go! Go! Go!" (sometimes you have to hurry)
  • "Don't jump on me!" (it's so irritating when you are trying to beat the level)
  • "Wait! Don't go so fast!" (you die if you get left behind)

When the level is over we are all high five-ing and saying how we knew we could do it. But in the middle of the jumping, you'd think we didn't like one another very much. A podcast would be a great idea if it weren't so embarrassing.

We finally beat the level we were on, usurping the monster in the castle. He, of course, flew away to occupy another castle and we must now make our way across the land to fight him again. It's hard but quite satisfying.

The biggest (and nicest) change made over the old school game is that four people can play simultaneously. This is both a boon and a curse as there are times the other players hold you back. Still, it's more of a family affair that way, even if you do yell your inspirations. Santa brought us the wii the first year they came out and I can say that our family plays it together often. It's simply a lot of fun.



And don't get me started on Wii Sports Resort. That game kicks butt. My three favs are frisby golf, archery and table tennis.




Keep in mind that you are required to have a Wii motion adapter for every remote in order to play Sports Resort. That also works on Super Mario Bros. and I am assuming that all the new games will require it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MESSED UP POOH-BAAS

Everyone likes a good New Year's Eve party. Personally, I think mixing Christmas and New Years is a wonderful idea. This is easy to do by drinking several bottles of Evan Williams Egg Nog the last night of the year and then hurling into your date's lap. If you are really dope, then you'll French kiss her afterward. Yeah, I know a story.

Before you do, you might want to check out the 5 Drinking Myths Than Can Kill You from your friends at Cracked.com. Just in case you wondered you absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt cannot eat your underbritches in a dillweeded attempted to beat a breathalyzer.

In case that was not enough comedy to soak your socks, you might try click over to the blogger that rohrs and read his Top Ten Predictions for 2010. Want to know my personal favs? No? Well you can suck it. I'm going to list them anyway. That's how I roll.

  • Jesse Jackson's love child will ghostwrite John Edwards' love child's tell-all memoir
  • Sarah Palin will become the first victim of Barack Obama's first death panel
  • Dick Cheney will preemptively invade a 4:30 buffet
  • George W. Bush-era nostalgia will reign as folks remember the Good Times when you used to could mortgage your house to put gas in your Hummer. Now we are all just living in our cars.

Happy New Year and be sure to take a cab so you don't kill my baby. Jerk.

ON THE RENTAL SHELF

I have every intention of watching a boatload of movies this week. I am managing a movie a day and hope that trend continues.


ALREADY WATCHED

Four Christmases
This didn't get great reviews, but I liked it. Typical Christmas comedy with some drama and character change at the end. It was fun nonetheless and some of the quotes were hysterical.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I've been looking forward to this one since it came out. So much praise for this installment of the series. I was surprised at the pace of the story. It was unusually slow going for a Potter film. It took it's time developing the characters and the plot, not rushing things. I liked that. I was surprised the daughter stuck with it. I stopped often and explained things to her like back story and horcruxes. That helped her a lot. It's been a long time since I read the book, and my memory may be faulty, but I remember a huge battle scene in the end between the students and the Death Eaters at Hogwarts. Am I mistaken or did the movie leave that out? Didn't kids die in that battle? Anyway, I enjoyed it a good deal.


CURRENTLY AT HOME (THANKS TO NETFLIX)
9
I love Tim Burton and cannot wait for this gem to hit the mailbox. I should get it tomorrow.

Terminator: Salvation
Big fan of sci-fi. The wife ... not so much. I'm going to watch this one while the wife and daughter are out shopping and doing girly things. The second in the series was the best for me, followed closely by the first one. I wasn't too impressed with the third one. Who knows what this one will turn out like.

District 9
This is the big dog for me. I wanted so badly to see this in the theaters but never got the chance. I have heard so many good things about this sci-fi flick.



WISH IT WOULD COME
Inglorious Basterds
I've had Quentin Tarantino's WWII film on my Netflix queue since the movie hit screens, but it has a very long wait on it. Dang. Double dang. I am salivating at this one as I am a huge fan of Tarantino. I consider him to be the greatest filmmaker of my generation.

Cloudy with a Change of Meatballs
Oh why not? The kid will love it. I want to see what they are going to do with it. So interesting, this one is.

A THOUGHT ABOUT AVATAR

The wife, 'rents, kids, cousins and siblings all traversed the Branson strip on Christmas day to see James Cameron's AVATAR in 3D. I'm not a fan of 3D and really wanted to see it in 2D, but everyone else was jazzed about the glasses. So I did it anyway, thinking it would give me the headache of a lifetime.

Skinny Kitty gave me three ibuprofen before going in. She's good like that, always carrying the right things in that suitcase-like purse of hers. Here are a few thoughts:

  • Obvious Oscar winner for best special effects, hands down. Dang!
  • 3D was the most righteous 3D I've ever witnessed. Didn't bother me at all. Nadda. 
  • The 2:45 run time went by like greased lightning. 
  • Cross between FERN GULLY and DANCING WITH WOLVES

It's a habit of ours to see a movie after ripping into presents. We look forward to it, planning the best move, time and screen to see it. Sometimes we take kids and sometimes we do not. We've seen all three LORD OF THE RINGS movies on the Imax, which was wicked cool.

Avatar was worth it, and despite my general disgust for 3D, I recommend the glasses. The kind we had were wide so as to fit over my glasses. Much appreci-o for that one. Made the experience much better.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

CIVIC TOXICITY

Andy Cline, a journalism professor at Missouri State and the head dude at Rhetorica dropped his Springfield News-Leader subscription calling the local daily "toxic". He cites the opinions page as a significant factor.

It's one thing when a local yokel like myself chooses not to take the paper. It's another thing when a journalism professor stops his subscription. I don't think it will make any difference to the paper, but I find it all very interesting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

FAT JACK'S FRENCH ONION SOUP – HILLBILLY STYLE

Being the non-traditionalists we are, my wife and I are serving French Onion Soup for Christmas rather than turkey and trimmings that the world expects. The reasoning is two-fold: 1) We are non-conformists and like to do things differently, and 2) it is much healthier.

The fancy way is to make the soup served with toasted French bread in the soup and then broiled with cheese on the top. We are opting for the more hillbilly style of grilled cheese sandwiches that one may just dunk in the soup. The whole idea makes me laugh, but it is great.

Here is my recipe, which is really just an amalgam of two recipes totally ripped off from The Food Network's Paula Dean and Ina Garten:

FAT JACK'S FRENCH ONION SOUP – HILLBILLY STYLE

6 yellow onions, halved and sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup brandy
1 1/4 cup white wine
9 cups of beef stock
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Saute onions and bay leaf in olive oil for 20 minutes on medium-high heat until golden brown. Add flour and continue to brown for another 10 minutes or so. Deglaze the pan with brandy. Add white wine and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add beef stock and thyme and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

I make mine ahead of time and refrigerate over night. I think it tastes better after it chills and is reheated. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches on the side. We choose hearty whole grain bread and shredded cheese, but one could use any bread/cheese combo.

Monday, December 14, 2009

ONE DOWN

Today I managed to hold my ground against a beastly buffet of holiday foods. I ate my grocery store sushi and lightly salted almonds while amidst a mouth-watering and crisco-covered holiday delicacies. I rarely have that kind of will power. Rarely. I must admit that my inner fatty was hollering quite loudly that "one little bit of that egg quiche would not hurt anybody."

It would and I refrained. I finally left and went back to my business in another room. Catastrophe avoided ... for now. I do not promise to have such wherewithal to do it again, but I celebrate today.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

THE FAT TRACK

I'm back on the track again. The fat doctor continues to insist that exercise is some kind of important detail in the weight loss journey.

Ooooh, I hate that guy so much.

I pass by a treadmill every day. I finally got tired of looking at it and hid it behind a decorative tri-fold screen. That way I don't hear its taunts so often. Bastard machine.

This week I started getting up a 5:30 a.m. and walking the confounded beast before getting ready for work. Lo and behold it has worked pretty well. I either listen to the iPod or read a book with fairly large print. I even did it on Saturday although I did sleep until 6:30 before I got busy.

Yes, yes. I do feel better. It's still hard to do. Bad habits and all that.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

CHRISTIANS,MUSLIMS HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON: HATRED OF GAYS

Uganda is considering a new law that not only makes the practice of homosexuality illegal (it's already illegal in Uganda anyway) but they are considering a law that will put gays in jail for life or execute them.

Christian and Muslim religious leaders have strongly supported the measure. Check out this bill of sale from CNN:

  • Gays and lesbians convicted of having gay sex would be sentenced, at minimum, to life in prison
  • People who test positive for HIV may be executed
  • Homosexuals who have sex with a minor, or engage in homosexual sex more than once, may also receive the death penalty
  • The bill forbids the "promotion of homosexuality," which in effect bans organizations working in HIV and AIDS prevention
  • Anyone who knows of homosexual activity taking place but does not report it would risk up to three years in prison

"Love the person; hate the sin" say many Christians. I'm not sure what that means and none but one have ever attempted to site specific examples of this mantra being used appropriately. Maybe someday. Until then, the persecution of gays will continue, and all in the name of Jesus and apparently Mohammad.


Friday, December 04, 2009

HAVING LOW EXPECTATIONS CAN WORK OUT

G.I. JOE did not suck. For me, that's a glorious statement for several reasons: 1) Tthis was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. I had the toys (still have some of them) and I played the wheels off them. I relished the war element of the soldiers defending our country. 2) I like mindless action flicks. 3) Snake Eyes was so cool.

The trailers killed any interest in seeing the movie in the theaters. I knew better than to waste good money on it. The review simply secured my belief that the movie was flotsam. As it turned out, that low expectation worked out well for me. Knowing full well it had a 30-some percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes I was prepared for a horrible script and worthless action. What I got was a bad script with decent action. Some of the action was too long and pointless, the characters cardboard cutouts, stupid disability stereotypes (i.e. people with facial scaring always turn out evil and hate the world), and a poorly thought-out script. The good side was that it exceeded my tanking expectation enough that the movie did not suck ... too much.

So I enjoyed it, even if it was a goofy movie. It did occur to me that the current generation might see this movie as I saw PREDATOR. I look back and see quite a bit of stupidity there, but it is a movie that appeals to my childhood fantasies. It had that cool rotary 50 caliber Gatling gun. Perhaps G.I. JOE is the same?

So I watched it. Don't hold that against me. I didn't spend much money on it (thank you Netflix) and I didn't drag my wife and daughter to it. I waited until they had something to do before watching it. I might be inclined to give it 3 stars for entertaining me throughout most of the movie; the ending was too long. Script might get 1 star – maybe 2. It could have been worse. I could have watched  TWILIGHT or some damn romance movie with Hugh Grant. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

SIX MENTAL ILLNESSES MYTHS THAT HOLLYWOOD LOVES

Hollywood is not known for its accurate portrayals of historical, scientific, religious or psychological events or conditions. Can I get an amen? The movie machine can sure butcher a good book. Cracked.com has noticed this revelation as it applies to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV-R) which deals with mental disorders.

For you psychie types out there, you might enjoy reading about the load of BS that Hollywood continues to propagate all for its convenient plot lines. 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

WE ALL HAVE DOUBTS

The daughter had a friend come over this afternoon so Skinny Kitty and I used that time to fit in a grown-up movie. We love the Pixar cartoons, but we miss Mommy-Daddy date night movies, too.

I DOUBT I could have watched a better movie on a Sunday. Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymor Hoffman were f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c. I love the tension between the "did or or didn't he?" dilemma. You never really know for sure and the movie sparks so many questions.

DOUBT is a top notch drama that addresses the issue of institutional and religious molestation from a much different angle. It is calm, pointed fair and unsettling. There is no graphic imagery of any kind. It's all suspicion which is what creates the tension.

Worthy of its Oscar nods.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

WEAKNESS BEGETS BLOOD




A friend and I went out yesterday, not to fight the shoppers, but to watch a movie: NINJA ASSASSIN. When I took him home his wife commented that we were so keyed up that we were shouting as we told her about it. Shouting. It was so loud and violent that we were shouting when we simply retold the plot.

That's becauase it was it was the most hyper-violent blood ballet to date. I'm talking copious amounts of limb lobbing, decapitations, gut slices, blood spurting, skin lacerating flick I've ever seen, and I've seen a ton of them. The music was loud (l.o.u.d) and it took my heart rate up several beats just being exposed. I don't mind admitting that I liked the feeling.

Blood.
Buckets of it.

It was a symphony of violence that is worth screaming about. A veritable veg-o-matic of human flesh. Written by some dude then rewritten by J. Michael Straczynski (comic creator extraordinaire) it was a ninja movie with a decent plot – not great but decent. There are a few holes – it is a ninja movie after all – but it provides its key demographic (males ages 15-35) plenty of what it is supposed to: death. 

The character development was surprisingly good for a film of this type. We saw, in fine detail, why the ninjas in this clan kill so willingly. They were young orphans who were kidnapped, brainwashed, and trained to be heartless killers. Period. As the "father" often said, "weakness begets blood" and he used that mantra to train his boys.

NINJA ASSASSIN is a ramped up speed ball of throwing star action. The blood gushed from the get-go and didn't let up until the end.

Our discussion afterward focused on the rating. Should this movie be rated R or NC-17. Heavy P was solid in his argument that it deserved a no children should ever be allowed. We both agreed that the 8-year-old boy that was watching it with his Dad should not have been there. But could a 16-year-old see it? How about a 15 year-old? 13?

We also talked about our society's hang-up on sex while we simultaneous have no problems with extreme violence. Watch THIS MOVIE IS NOT YET RATED for more information. I really enjoyed this film because it gave me exactly what I wanted it to: ninjas who kill. What else do you expect from a ninja movie?

Oh yeah, the ninja hero doesn't get the girl in the end. We liked that.

I don't recommend this film for children, women, or those with a low tolerance of violence. Those of us who are twisted enough will enjoy it immensely. I highly recommend seeing it in the theater and with a group of your closest male friends. It's a guys-night-out kinda movie.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

BLACK FRIDAY CAN SUCK IT!

Oh yeah, I am bragging – rubbing my success in your face! 

Skinny Kitty and I have completed our Christmas shopping save a couple of items for some kids in the family who are too teen-like to know what they want yet. Our Amazon.com order started coming in yesterday with one box still on the way. We also shopped locally, but the bulk came from Amazon. It's easier.

The progeny asked to spend time with friends last night so wifey and I took that opportunity to finish the holiday shopping on the local level. Yeah, I said "holiday" and not Christmas. That's cause I feel snarky. As strange as it might sound we considered it a date night and we had the best time holding hands and shopping for others. Not really romantic I guess, at least not in the flowers-and-candlelight sense of the word. I'm sure Oprah might counsel us otherwise, but we really enjoyed the time together When you are married with children anytime alone is precious time, even if you are shopping.

We did have dinner together and that was nice. Nothing fancy. Our iced tea came in plastic cups but the grub was good (and cheap). We pride ourselves on the fact that we finish our shopping before Thanksgiving. It's a thing with us. It sure makes the holiday less stressful and more enjoyable.

Now we can sit back, relax and wait for the annual War-on-Christmas idiots to write their typical letters to the editor. It's as if they think no one's heard that old argument before. That's their thing. I like our thing better.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PARDON THE STUFFING

For the budget or waist-line conscience this Thanksgiving the old fat guy suggests you forgo the traditional stuffing-rich dinner and substitute the following:


  • Choose chili and soup instead
  • Small turkey breast
  • Steamed veggies
  • Fresh fruit

When dindin is done, put it all away in the fridge. It's been an annual tradition at Skinny Kitty's house and I have come to really appreciate the celebration. It's low-key and fat friendly. It takes some getting used to. When we are accustomed to our annual food hangover it can be difficult to go without. It gets easier with time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

PA UNIVERSITY: HEY FATTY, ONLY YOU HAVE TO TAKE THIS CLASS

Lincoln University is concerned about the growing rates of obesity among its students. To combat the problem they are requiring all students with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more to take an additional fitness course, according to this AP story. They do not require this class for the skinny people, just the fats ones, to the tune of denying graduation to the BMI-enhanced.

I respect education and the educational process but it appears the university has been very shortsighted in its attempt to address the health of the students. A BMI score is not the only indicator of health and a university should be educated enough to understand that fact. Many  people – fatties and skinnies – use C-pap machines, have diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart attacks.

Again, I reiterate that America needs to view obesity and all the related complications in a comprehensive manner and not simply jerk the knee. A health and exercise class would benefit all students not just those who are currently overweight. To single out one group is discriminatory. To require the class for all students is much better health policy, assuming the class is well designed. 

It boggles my mind why we choose to single out particular groups for special rules or regulations. For some reason Americans love to point fingers at some persons and not everyone. We only want heterosexuals to marry;  only whites can use that water fountain; only fatties have to take this class. I am dumbfounded at the obvious choice of increasing everyone's health by making the class a general requirement for all students.

But that would not garner headlines.


Keystroke to the prodigal son for blogging about this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SIREN'S SMORGASBORD

The holidays have made me think about my health journey. Holidays are hard for the fat guy. Many families center holiday parties around food rather than people, which I find disheartening; it really shouldn't be the food. 

Sayings like "It's not Thanksgiving without [insert favorite fat-laden food]" is prevalent in the South and along border states like Missouri. Yet it puts the overeater in a precarious situation. Many families chose food over family, insisting the fat person stare at, smell and salivate over their drug and still refrain. The reality is that is not a plausible solution. We do not ask alcoholics to go to bars and we do not send meth addicts to a meth lab and expect them to have the wherewithal to not partake. Our society, especially the southern holiday traditions expect and demand that very thing. 

I have been told that I am selfish if I do anything but go to the parties and refuse. I've even had one family member tease me with cookies, going so far as to take me to the corner and ask me to eat her homemade sugar cookies. I've sat among surgical weight loss applicants and heard stories of wives being forced to cook two meals because the rest of the family insisted she make the meal that she cannot eat. 

Fortunately for me, I've decided to be a polite but firm prick. That is to say, I have decided that I will not attend that one family member's holiday event this year. She has purposefully tempted me and called me selfish for not eating her food one too many times. 

My parents, on the other hand, provide a wonderful Christmas brunch with healthy choices. The food is presented, eaten and put away. It is no longer a day-long buffet of cakes and pies and crap. Now, there are desserts, but my mother discretely tucked away. If one is so inclined to overstuff, there is a bounty to do so, but it is not a hog trough of food.

I am as prepared as I can be for the upcoming holiday. I have a plan, support and a desire. I think it will work out well. I'm looking forward to the holiday without as much food. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

THE SIZE OF THE PROBLEM


Obesity, as reported by the CBS Evening News, is the fastest growing public health problem in US history. If you are at least 30 pounds overweight – 30 pounds – then you are considered to be obese. I'd shudder to think what that makes me (morbidly obese is the term used to describe me). The story frames the debate in terms of dollars, most likely to spark debate, which I think is a mistake, at least in part.

Skinny people – who I define as persons who do not struggle with weight issues – think the solution is simple: put down the fork and take the stairs. There is truth in that statement, but it also implies a simplistic mentality toward the complex paradigm that leads people to have excess (and dangerous) levels of cellulite.

Overeating is an addiction.

I say this not to secure monies for the lipid-enhanced and not to create entitlement mentalities or a helpless framework in those that overeat, such as myself. It would be a gross mistake for me to somehow suggest or imply that we the fatties of Ameirca have no control over our situation. We do. We have choices. W make poor eating and exercise choices, which is one reason I weigh over 300 pounds.

However, there is a significant psychological addiction attached to overeating. There are chemical reactions that occur when one overeats and there are euphoric feelings triggered with overstuffing the stomach. Those feelings involve, among other things: happiness, comfort and escape. It allows one to deal with the world.

Teaching about nutrition, health, and exercise are integral parts of the recovery process. However, unless we address the psychological addiction, the problem – I can assure you – will continue to grow.

As for me, I have tried many weight loss programs and diets, yet I have continued to grow to dangerous levels. It took me two years in a comprehensive, physician-monitored weight loss program at a hospital and weight loss surgery in order to gain some control over my weight issues. I have lost 50 pounds so far, give or take, and I am continuing to lose weight. It feels great, but it is very hard. (Even tonight I ate more than I should have. It was drastically less than I used to eat, but it was still too much. What do I need to do? I have a plan to help me during the transition from work to home.)

Keep in mind that it took me two years going to a dietician, exercise physiologist, attending weekly health seminars, and psychological treatment of my overeating addiction in order for me to qualify and be successful after surgery. So far it is the most successful treatment I have ever endured. It's also drastic. It is my opinion, as a over eater currently in recovery, that a comprehensive program addressing all aspects of the person is the only real key to the problem.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SONS OF HEROES

I really couldn't think of a better title than to just combine the titles of the two TV shows I enjoy the most: SONS OF ANARCHY (Tuesdays) and HEROES (Mondays). I enjoy HEROES for the obvious reasons of the comic book connection. SONS OF ANARCHY is just bad to the bone. My wife resisted that show for a while, but she has become hooked. I think it is more of a train wreck show for her. SONS is so intense and bothersome that she simply cannot look away.

I don't why I bothered blogging about these two shows. I really didn't say anything in the post. It does nothing to enlighten anyone. I just felt like it, I guess. So there you go. I love these two shows.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

BLACK BELT THEATER



When I was a kid my friend and I rented every single karate movie known to man. We loved them all, the good ones, the bad ones, even Gymkata and They Call Me Bruce. We were especially enamored with ninjas.

We acted those movies out, bought costumes, shopped for swords in catalogs, and trained in our own ninja dogo. We even bought ninja pajamas if you can believe that. I'm telling you, we loved the whole shebang.

Good or bad, I really don't care. I want to see Ninja Assassin … bad. The fact that J. Michael Straczynski (famed comic book writer) wrote the screen play makes it even better. Actually Straczynski came in six weeks before filming and rewrote the script because the Wachowski brothers (producers) were unhappy with the original script. Straczynski rewrote the whole thing in 53 hours.

The question is, can I con the wife to let me go out and watch it on Thanksgiving Day? Maybe the day after would be a better choice.

THE PARK, A DOG, AND A GOOD BOOK

The daughter asked that we go to the park – what she calls "her park" – today. So we loaded her bicycle, the dog and two books and headed down the way. Mind you, it was a picture perfect day for a motorcycle ride. Sometimes family comes first. I didn't move as much as I should have. I sat under a tree, held the dog's leash and read two books. I probably should have used that time to do a few laps with the dog in the warm sun, but it's been so long since I had time to read. I couldn't resist. It was nice.

The daughter met up with some other kids and they played for a long time. The dog finally convinced us that he was thirsty so we packed up and left for home. He was thankful for the fresh, cool water in his dish, thanks to mommy.

THE HEART ATTACK SPECIAL


Twinkie Casserole:  24 Twinkies topped with caramel, mini marshmallows 
and brown sugar topped with caramel icing.

Sweet bejeebers! I am a fat man, but I  wouldn't eat most of the food items on this site. Even I have my limits of fat and calories. Twinkie casserole? Are you kidding me? Powerdered Pancake Donut Surprise? How about the Adjaruli Khachapuri, which consists of eggs, cheese and what looks like a stick of butter baked in a bread boat. You really have to see these concoctions to believe them.

[Keystroke to Jason Rohrblogger.]

A COLD GLASS OF MILK

Skinny Kitty has been bugging me about putting MILK at the top of our Netflix movie queue. We got it a week ago, but only got to it this evening. We weren't about to watch a movie during the afternoon, not with such nice weather in November.

The wife and I are unapologetic supporters of civil rights for all persons, including those who are homosexual. We believe that our grandchildren will look back on the gay rights movement and will link the knuckle-dragging views of the black rights opponents with those who fight to prevent gays from being fully realized citizens. These grandchildren will be ashamed and rightly so.

Sean Penn's portrayal of Harvey Milk was astonishing. I have rarely seen such extraordinary acting. I simply cannot say enough. It is no surprise that MILK garnered a 93 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

A fantastic and tragic film about America's first openly gay public official.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

FROM CNN: CROSS-DRESSING STUDENT SENT HOME

A male high school student was sent home the other day. He was wearing women's clothing because the teen is transgendered. He stated he had worn girl's clothes to school before, but this time he wore a wig and stiletto heels and was sent home for violating dress code policy. The policy does, in fact, have a regulation prohibiting wigs, but it is very specific referring only to wigs worn just to cover up a hair style that does not conform to dress code policy. 

Source: CNN (Enjoy the video)

Monday, November 02, 2009

WEBSITES FOR THE PROPOSED POLICE/FIRE PENSION FUND

The city released three hyperlinks to local bloggers the other day to provide information on the pension fund tax. I'll gladly provide them here.


I'd gladly provide links to the opposition as well, but I don't know of any. From what I've seen of their argument, the message is straightforward "oppose all taxes because they come from the gov'ment". That is not good enough reason.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

POLICE AND FIRE PENSION FUND

KY 3 ran a story on the police and fire pension fun, unfortunately (according to the Catanese blog this morning) it ran at 7 a.m. Too early for me, but they put them on their web page good for them). I watched them at 8:35 p.m. tonight. I'm offering the links below.


Parts one, two and four showcase city leaders and union members supporting the tax. Part three offers an opposing view. 

Personally, I don't understand the argument behind the opposition. It seems to me the nay-sayers offer nothing more than a blanket opposition to all taxes. Something about chickens and roosting and other nonsensical answers.

It seems to me that if Springfield residents do not support a tax, then we will end up being sued by the police and fire employees. I can only imagine that a court case would only cost the city more with legal fees and we will still end up paying for the entire pension fund anyway. Again, it leads me to believe that the opposition is merely opposing the tax because it is a tax and cannot let themselves think beyond "it's a gov'ment tax" mentality.

I don't want to pay for court costs that will inevitably tell me to do what I know to be right in the first place, and then cost me more to tell me that. It just isn't logical. We have to support this tax, despite the fact that me might not like taxes at this point in time, in order to save ourselves money later on. It's time to be practical and economical.

I do echo the Busplunge belief that it is time for us to move away from a volunteer city government.

STAR WARS CHOP STICKS



What more could a Star Wars fan and sushi lover enjoy more than a pair of lightsaber chopsticks? How cool are these? They are sold in pairs of Yoda and Luke (green and blue) or Yoda and Darth Vader (green and red) and retail for $22.99 per set. I'm telling you right now that somebody better get me these for Christmas.

They are available for order now from your local comic book store (November issue of Previews page 344).

B-MOVIE MADNESS

I told you the cousins were coming to Jackland for Trick-or-Treating. As always we went to a haunted corn maze, rode on a haunted hay ride and watched movies.

My Name is Bruce
It is required for the viewer to be a Bruce Campbell fan to enjoy this film. If you are a fan of the Evil Dead or Army of Darkness, then My Name is Bruce will certainly appeal. I loved it. Hokey, funny B-movie fun. It was rated worse than Quarantine (below) but I don't care. I thought it was a dang hoot.

Quarantine
We streamed this movie from Netflix through the Blu-Ray player. It was pretty good although the reviews were not too hot. That happens with horror sometimes.

Haunted Goings-On
The corn maze we went to was 2.5 miles west of Bass Pro. It was much smaller than the corn maze in Verona that we traditionally go to. But this one had a haunted hay ride, which we loved. The truck got stuck in a 12-inch mud pit in the rode and we had to get off and let them pull it out, but that only added to the fun if you ask me. They had a crane there that they dangled overhead, which was a nice touch. Well worth the money. 

It was a great Halloween here at the House of Jack. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The decorations are already put away and it will soon be time to decorate the Christmas tree. I know; I know. It's too early to talk about Christmas, but I have to admit I am thinking about it and what Santa will bring this year for my little girl.

NIGHT OF THE DEAD

Costumed kids and adults were roaming the streets in flocks and hoards where my family and I went trick-or-treating last night. My neighborhood gets little attendance probably because of larger gatherings at the mall and in certain neighborhoods. For the past few years we have transplanted our Halloween happenings to one of those neighborhoods as well.

Throngs of ghouls and Star Wars characters cluttered the streets making it hard to drive. We stood in lines at most houses. It was the kind of Halloween you see in the movies, the old school kind of fright night. One house even had a graveyard set up and you had to trek through the spooky fog and tomb stones to get your candy. Another had a dead zombie in the front yard. And yeah, the person inside would jump out and scare you.

I estimate at least 500 people spanned the two block section in Springfield. It was incredible. I am simply surprised the media does not cover the event. I have no idea how the families can afford all the candy.

I know it is an experience my daughter will remember her entire life.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

MEAT HAND



The cousins are coming up for Halloween for our annual spookfest. One is a freshman in college and the other is in 8th grade. I remember when I was taking the older one to see Gwar and Rob Zombie. He wasn't even driving yet.

We are going to watch horror movies (yet to be determined, but I'm hoping to find some classics on Netflix streaming) and go to the haunted corn maze/hay ride/haunted house. I doubt I will have time to blog for a few days.

Therefore, I leave you with this disgusting looking but edible Halloween concoction. It's meatloaf with ketchup and cheese on top and onions for fingernails.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

FAT JACK'S PRIVATE PROTEST

Every morning I walk into my yard with the soft glow of orange plastic softly pulsating in my yard. For months now the Springfield News-Leader has been giving me their newspaper for free every single day. I don't subscribe and have no plans to start. Most of the time, I pick it up and throw it away. There's just nothing there I'm interested in. I don't even enjoy the opinions page anymore. It's all the same:

  • Everyone should submit to the power of mainstream views of Christ (and the rebuttals)
  • Gays are evil and deserve no rights (and the rebuttal)
  • All must claim "Merry Christmas" or face the wrath of God (and the rebuttal)
  • Muslims are all evil, bloodthirsty troglodytes (and the rebuttal)

It was interesting at first, but then the same old arguments from the same old people got too mundane for me. I want more. Forget the trolls who post there.

Right now I have an entire week's worth of newspapers cluttering my yard and I have no idea why. I get my news from the Internet and TV and no longer mess with the local newspaper. Sadly, it seems disconnected from me. And I don't think the editors and publishers care one bit what I think. I'm going to put on my shoes, pick up all those papers before some criminal thinks I'm on vacation, and throw them in the trash unread.

I guess I look at it as my own personal protest against an antiquated, disconnected community newspaper that no longer meets my needs as a community member. I'll just get my news elsewhere.To be honest, it makes me sad that I feel this way.

MORE HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES OF LATE

Over the last decade, it seems to me that Halloween has been in a sharp decline. in Springfield. We used to have several haunted houses, while only one still thankfully remains. This year haunted corn mazes, haunted hay rides and other attractions have found their way back into our community.

Oh I know, there is a whole host of prudes out there that think dressing up in a costume is somehow a secret love affair with Beelzebub. They can have their view; I have mine. For my part, I enjoy dressing up and having fun, and I see no harm in costumes or candy or people scaring me in a field of corn.

I'm glad to see the haunted popped back up. It's all good, clean fun.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MAYBE I'M A BLOGGING SNOB

Call me elitist or a purist. Label me a blogging snob if you like. I'm not crazy about all the business-related blogs on the Springfield Blogger's site. Since the group got a site and started aggregating all the local blogs, my SGFBlog RSS Feed is full of advertisements passed off as authentic blog posts.

I enjoy reading blogs of local people sharing their insights, interests and opinions (even when I disagree with them). I hate having to sift through all the muck of the business posts to get to a post by a real person. More and more it seems people-blogs are being replaced by business-blogs.

EVEN SATAN HAS TO CUT BACK DURING THIS ECONOMY

I knew it would not be long until the famous Internet comedian, Jason Rohrblogger, carved out a sharply pointed Halloween top ten list. How is Satan cutting back this Halloween? In ten ways, of course (with four alternatives just to add some spice). My favs:

  • Not going down to Georgia
  • Handbasket will not depart until full
  • Salem witch rituals outsourced to China
  • Pitchfork downgraded to salad fork

Feel free to comment about your favorites. Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 16, 2009

REPUBLICAN JUSTICE REFUSES TO MARRY INTERRACIAL COUPLES

NEW ORLEANS – Republican Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell has for years refused to marry interracial couples. He says he's concerned for the children. I think Bill Quigley, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice had a succinct point to make about the whole affair:

"Perhaps he's worried the kids will grow up and be president."

Hatred of African Americans continues to be a disgusting little wart on the rear of the United States, as is our hatred and fear of homosexuals. We continue to have people who will participate in discrimination.

Why this was allowed to go on for years is beyond me. The fact that it did is no defacto support for the action. Fortunately, Beth Humphrey (white) and Terence McKay (black) didn't just take his racism. They fought back. First, they found another justice to marry them. Secondly, they outed Bardwell for his discriminatory actions against interracial couples.

Source: AP via Yahoo News

Thursday, October 15, 2009

OCEAN ZEN NOT THE BEST CHOICE FOR SUSHI

The family and I ate at Ocean Zen tonight. We haven't eaten out in several weeks, mostly for my own health (and our pocket book). I've heard great things about the restaurant, so we thought we would give another sushi restaurant a try.

The Hawaii Five O and the Zen Dragon sushi rolls sounded unexpected and interesting. I suppose they were, but not for the right reasons. They looked nice. Everything we ordered looked fantastic, actually. And the atmosphere was tranquil and elegant. Primo.

What I found, though, was that the Ahi Tuna on the Hawaii Five O Roll was so encrusted in peppercorns that I could not taste the tuna. When I eat sushi, I expect – nay, I demand – to taste the seafood. That is part of the enjoyment for me. The same was true for the Zen Dragon Roll. The accompanying Sweet Kabayaki sauce was so indulging and overpowering that it was all I could taste, to the point of being sickening sweet (and I like my sweet things, thus the fatness).

I determined that while the atmosphere was wonderful, the food was over-prepared. I mean, Judas Priest. They offer a sushi roll covered in a butter sauce. Butter sauce!

No, I prefer my sushi to be a refined, elegant, yet not complicated or drenched in sauce or seasoning. I want to taste the intricacies of the food I am eating. When I pay $15 for one sushi roll, I expect to taste the fish.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CELLULOID WITHDRAWL

(That's celluloid not cellulose).

In other words I am missing my movie watching. The job keeps this fat guy busy, busy, busy and I just don't have the time, energy or money to go to the movies. I am lamenting the fact that I am letting all these cool movies pass me by.

What movies you ask. Let me count the frames:

  1. Zombieland
  2. District 9
  3. 9
  4. Inglorious Basterds
  5. Where the Wild Things Are
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Thank the Lord Jesus on High that I have a subscription to Netflix, without which I would probably be a throbbing blob of miserable crybabiness. (Note: I don't think Jesus cares about the weather, if I get a parking space or not, and certainly not a piddly-fart about my Netflix subscription.)

If you have seen any of these movies and have found them worthwhile, please drop by and leave a comment harassing me about the fact that I haven't seen them. Go ahead; I don't mind.

ALL APOLOGIES

It's been a while since I posted anything funny, interesting, or frankly anything at all. But then one of my super hero friends, The Might and Sardonic Jason Rohrblogger, posted this apologetic top ten list and saved me from my blogging woes.

My favorite was number 4:

I'm sorry my actions have been perceived by others to be egregious. I'm not sorry for my actions, just the perception that they were bad.


Seems we've heard several statements like that from politicians lately. I make no apologies for harping on our politicians, celebrities, bloggers or idiotic taxpayers who spout hateful crap in the name of God.



Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A LOVELY LITTLE RANT ABOUT LIFE

When you love your job work doesn't feel so much like work. I'm one of the lucky ones to be in a place where I love – really love – my career. It is hard work, exhausting work, hysterical at times and often sad work, but I wouldn't trade what I do.

Today was an especially great day mostly because things went well and I felt like I accomplished a goal I had been working toward for several weeks. Tomorrow is a new day and that goal may slip through my grasp, but I am looking forward to hitting that mark again ... and again.

The wife pointed out the other day that I have had some incredible, life changing, extraordinary, positive experiences over the past 2 years. She's right and I am thankful for the growth it has given me. I don't know that I would go so far as to call it wisdom because I'm not sure I am mature enough to claim that great prize, but I am better off and exceedingly happy.

I am lucky and thankful, as plenty of people out there are not so lucky as to be so elated with their career, spouse, progeny, spirituality or life. It not a cake walk, mind you. I come home some days and nearly fall asleep while eating supper. It is hard work, but I like hard work because I find it rewarding and fulfilling (as long as it does not kill me). Honestly, I feel more healthy now than I have in years. Years. I am most happy about that.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A DYSTOPIAN FUTURE

CHILDREN OF MEN is a bleak film in which civilization has erupted into paranoia, war and infertility. The youngest human has died and the violence against the enemy (be they immigrants, the government, or the milititant uprising) has destroyed what was left of an already dystopian society.

A former activist turned government agent gets caught up in an attempt to save the only woman on the plant still physically able to bear a child. They seek out The Human Project, an underground (possibly mythical) group that helps refugees.

The reality that people currently live in such conditions is scary enough. The fact that such stories could occur to people in the US even more so. CHILDREN OF MEN is distressing in its probability, but a quality film nonetheless.

I highly recommend for those with enough of a backbone to stand a sad Orwellian-inspired film. Neither the paranoid nor militant should watch as it will only feed their neuroses.

THE NATIONAL SCENE

Plenty of people are chiming in on the Olympic committee's snub of Chicago and I have thoughts of my own. I think the snub was intentional but is more of a reaction against the United States than it is President Obama. That is to say, I think there is still a lingering anger worldwide against former President George Bush. Add to that, the fact that Obama still has not closed down Gitmo etc. and we have a world that is experiencing frustration at the US and our continued cowboy policies.

I think Obama has a lot of work to do – too much work, really – to rebuild our standing on the world stage and bring back credibility to the White House and to America. I don't know if he can do it, but I remain hopeful. I think a lot of things will have to change in order to achieve that goal. It will be interesting to see how he handles the Iran nuclear issue and Afghanistan.

It's his to do, sink or swim.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

JACK & KITTY WATCH A MOVIE

Boy howdy did ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A [MOVIE]: a righteously funny, irreverent, curse-filled comedy. Kevin Smith directed another smashing good flick, which is categorized as a romantic comedy although I'm not sure ZACH AND MIRI ... qualify as a romantic comedy, at least not in the traditional sense.

This ain't the typical chick flick fare, but it is well worth the rental if you don't mind lots of curse words and a bit of nudity.

If you loved such movies as
  • CLERKS
  • JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK
  • DOGMA
  • JERSEY GIRL
  • CHASING AMY or
  • MALLRATS
then you will likely love ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A [MOVIE].

IT'S HALLOWEEN IN THE HOUSE OF JACK

You know us – Halloween junkies that can't get enough of the macabre. It's all fun for us, dressing up ourselves and our house. The Halloween tree went up yesterday with its metal purple witches hat with lights on top, orange and black ribbon, eyeball novelty lights, orange-purple-green LED lights, Halloween ornaments, and foam bones. It's a dadgum hoot.

That's actually late for us; we usually put up the Halloween decorations by the third week. As you can see by my movie reviews of late, we have even watched some Halloween-inspired horrors. I'm loving it.

THIS DOG AIN'T NO ROLE MODEL

We continued our movie watching over the weekend with MARLEY & ME and ROLE MODELS. The dog movie was cute and cuddly and then sorrowful. That's the story; now you know what I know. It was nice and reflected the life of this GQ couple with dog (and eventually kids). Pets do become part of our lives and this movie celebrated that to the nth. A bit too much so if you ask me, but that's a Disney tearjerk for you.

I enjoyed ROLE MODELS if not for the mentor-mentee relationship certainly for the hyper geek, fantasy role playing angle. I suppose it is "geeks unite!" film where I could understand the one poor geeky boy and his struggle to be who he is. Besides, I really dig an irreverent film.

Friday, September 25, 2009

SEE SHORT FILMS; SEND A KID TO COLLEGE

This Saturday night the Missouri State University department of Media, Journalism and Film will host a short film screening. From the 438 submissions from around the globe, only 10 were chosen.

This is a fundraiser for the department's scholarship program and all proceeds go to that fund.

Manhattan Short Film Festival
MSU Plaster Student Union
Saturday @ 7 p.m.
Students: $8
General Public: $10

More information is available at the Missouri Film Alliance website.

TIP TOE THROUGH THE HAUNTED TULIPS

I love myself a good horror/thriller/campy cult favorite/B-movie slasher flick. I think they are fun and I love being scared. The more authentic, the more realistic, the more "holy crap, that could really happen" my response, the better I feel afterward.

THE EXORCIST is the queen mother of all horror films, if you ask me (although you didn't). But there are plenty of other good ones, great ones, that are top horror must-sees.

I didn't see anything of that caliber today, but did see a horror movie. And it did make me jump a few times, but that's about it. I didn't really connect with the movie because – and I think this is at the heart of the problem with the movie – I didn't really understand what motivated the funeral home director to carve up all those folks in the first place. Why was he stealing bodies, carving some words (who knows what those words were or what purpose they served) into their bodies, and them storing them in the walls of the funeral home-turned-rental home?

In order to be really scared, the viewer must understand the religious/spiritual/voodoo/ceremony in the first place. That just didn't happen with THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT. He did crazy things to already-dead bodies and held a seance. Why, exactly, would that make all Hell tear loose?

Who knows? Who cares?

So I jumped and was mildly entertained at the macabre. I should have been given more in the vein of plot and character development. It's fine as a movie rental so long as you don't pay extra money to see movies in blu-ray.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

KNOWING MORE ABOUT DEATH THAN LIFE: THE STORY OF WALT KOWALSKI

What can a priest – an over-educated, 27-year-old virgin who holds the hands of superstitious old women promising them eternity – have to tell an 80-year-old Korean War veteran about life and death?

Not much if you ask Walk Kowalski: a widower who is completely disconnected from the lives of his two sons; a man who really doesn't like anyone, regardless of race; a man who is alone and miserable and who knows plenty about death but little about life.

That is, until he finds a Hmong teen trying to boost his precious Gran Torino (which is the title of the film.) What Walt finds out, sadly, is that he has more in common with this immigrant family than he does his own boys. But he makes the best of it and finds value in life when he befriends the teen and helps his stay away from the Hmong gang trying to initiate him. The boy becomes a friend and Walt tells him so, just as he walks away from the boy forever.

Clint Eastwood can put a movie together and he is not afraid to take his time developing a character, a story, a robust narrative that the movie-goer can reflect upon and find common ground with. It was a beautiful but sad film.

My only complaint is that Eastwood, for some unknown reason, chose to sing the ending song himself. There ain't no way Walt would have ever done that and it really spoiled the ending for me.

GRAN TORINO is highly recommended. Note, that is uses all kinds of curse words and racial slurs.

CASHEW CHICKEN HITS THE BIG TIME

The New York Times has this story about Leong's famous cashew chicken which started right here – our claim to fame. I would venture to say that Mr. Yen's (owned by a Leong family friend) is the closest to Leong's famed dish as any in Springfield can get. Mr. Yen's makes the best in town, as far as I am concerned. It's all about the sauce, kids, and you don't get any more authentic than Mr. Yen's.

Blog nod to Welcome to the Middle of Everywhere for the link.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

GAYS AND MUTANTS

The wife and I watched two very different movies lately, and we hope to watch more. One was a little known flick, the other a blockbuster.

BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER!
This funny little film is all about a naive all American high school cheerleader (she doesn't know she's a lesbian, but everyone else does) whose family and friends hold a gay intervention and send her off to a Christian re-straight camp.

The re-education is all about God's intended roles; boys are taught to chop wood, fix cars and play sports while girls are taught to cook, clean and mend. Those who do not comply are kicked out, left in the cold without families who often forsake them, you know, out of Christian duty, love ... but mostly embarrassment. No wonder many of today's youth view Christianity as "hypocritical, insensitive and judgmental".

This comedy had us laughing, but also brought to mind the hypocritical, insensitive, judgmental (and ridiculous) nature of these ex-gay movements. I recommend it if you don't hate homosexuals.


X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

It was panned by critics and by comic fans and I see why. The script is loose and not at all as interesting as it could have been. The storyline is outside of continuity, which always makes comic fans crazy, as well it should.

I recommend seeing the film as a new universe, rather than comparing it to the established Wolverine mythos. In that context, the film is more enjoyable as an action film. It had nice parts. I liked little boy Wolverine, but I wanted much more deep character development (within continuity) and more believability. Can I say I want more believability in a movie about super human mutants? Sure I can.

I liked the old couple who took in Logan. I thought that scene was nice, but the whole time I was really curious about what motivated Sabertooth to go against his brother. Did he feel that abandoned by his brother? Rather than tell me that, the writers should have done what my college creative writing instructor drilled into us: Show me, don't tell me. It's a fine rental, but I'm glad I didn't spend my hard-earned money watching it in theaters.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

AIN'T NO WAY IN HELL

I do enjoy a theological discussion, especially when those dialogues challenge my preconceived notions about God or the Bible. I think it is fair to say that most people have an idea of Hell being a place of eternal damnation with the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. I know I grew up with a near-weekly dose of Baptist-conjuring of eternal torment for those of us saved who even thought about the sinful gyrations of the woman's bosom. It was a constant barrage of how full of sin, sin, sin we are. And we were going to pay unless we were in a state of constant repentance.

I grew up believing that Hell was not only a real place, but one where the Devil was the cause of all our ills, problems, misgivings, and shortcomings.

My life journey has taken beyond the confounds of that mission church and given me opportunities to see how others view and love God, which I find to be a cool thing. I have also come to a place which my childhood pastor called "air-conditional Hell". That is to say, I am now very open to the idea that Hell may not be what so many of the world's Christians think it is.

This week I read a local blogger talking about this very thing and I found it so interesting. Write From Karen makes a compelling and well thought out argument why Hell is not the place that mainstream Christians think it is. She makes her point better than I could, so I'll just point you her way; however, I will say I agree with much of what she sees on this point. Karen manages to leave out how fictional literature (Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno) have managed to unduly infiltrate mainstream views of Hell. I do think While Write From Karen assigns entirely too much power to the Devil.

I enjoyed her article and have struck up conversations about Hell with some trusted friends. Have fun and feel free to talk about your beliefs here, just be nice about it. If you are in a mind to read more about different views, you might try reading this article, too.

Just for clarification, my views in this area are still developing and I don't have a firm grasp on what I believe, but I'm definitely moving away from my childhood teachings.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

EDUCATIONAL TIDBITS I THOUGHT I'D SEND YOUR WAY

JUDGE: OK FOR SCHOOL TO BAN CONFEDERATE GARB
South Carolina school banned Confederate clothing. A student sued and had her case dismissed because her attorneys did not provide sufficient evidence for her claim. The district deemed the clothing as disruptive.

CURSIVE WRITING MAY BE FADING SKILL, BUT SO WHAT?
In classrooms across the country, cursive writing is taking a back seat to reading, writing, math and other curricular needs. Texting, email and other 21st century skills have taken over the need for cursive writing. Students just don't use it any longer and many cannot read it. Studies show that most adults use a print-cursive hybrid. I either print exclusively or use a print-cursive hybrid. I never use cursive only except in my signature and it is stylized and doesn't follow cursive convention anyway.

Who hand writes letters, college entrance essays, research papers and the like anymore? I still write thank you notes, but I print them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BLOWIN' IN THE WIND

I am an avid fan of Peter, Paul and Mary. My father had one of their vinyl albums when I was a kids, which surprises me as they are serious liberals who protested the Vietnam War and he is a veteran. Anyway, I listened to their music from time to time, especially that dragon song.

As I've grown up, I have continued to enjoy their music going so far as to take my wife and daughter to one of their concerts when they came to Springfield a few years ago. I enjoyed the experience so much. I'm so glad I saw them in concert. I listen to them daily as I have their songs on multiple play lists on the iPod. In fact, I am listening to one now. The song is And When I Die. Mary opens the song and her voice is so beautiful and soothing.

I am so sad.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A COMEDIC BREATHER

I decided to take a break and showcase a Cracked.com article entitled "8 Insane Ways Parents Are Politically Brainwashing Children". I sent this to some friends, one of which responded that s/he was not amused.

I am, at the same time, amused and disturbed at the amount of crazy located within. Crazy, which I know is present on the left and right. Remember, there were people who claimed that Ronald Reagan was the Antichrist because he had six letters in each of his three names (666). Stupid without a doubt.

This article pokes fun at the crazies on both sides and I thought I would share. You will likely laugh, but I also hope you ponder for just a moment, the serious irrational mentalities behind many of these t-shirts, books or beliefs.

Just for the record, I think PETA is as crazy as the left can get.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

BAPTIST PREACHER: 'I PRAY [OBAMA] DIES AND GOES TO HELL"

I've been talking a lot about hatred and irrational behavior lately. Then I found this news story from CNN and even I was stunned at the amount of crazy out there these days. Steven Anderson, a Baptist pastor, preached a sermon explaining why he "hates" Barack Obama.

"Here is my sermon, why I hate Barack Obama. That's my sermon tonight, because Barack Obama is coming to town tomorrow morning. … I hate Barack Obama. You say, well, you just mean you don't like what he stands for. No, I hate the person. Oh, you mean you just don't like his policies. No, I hate him."


His hatred runs so deep and so wide that the pastor actively prays that Obama dies and is sent straight to hell. Here's his quote:

"No. I am not going to pray for his good. I am going to pray that he (Obama) dies and goes to hell."


Like I've said before, the crazy is permeating our social structure to the point that our religious leaders are losing their senses. How can a religious leader actually pray for the death of others?

In light of irrational thoughts such as this, it should not surprise you that the Secret Service has seen an increase in presidential threats of ... wait for it ... 400 percent! The report states this increase has gone far and beyond anything the Secret Service has ever seen.

Ever.

Even folks who don't like the man's politics don't need to pray for his death. Where have our values and ethics gone?

You really need to watch the video or read the transcript. Click here and then consider your own thoughts and feelings. You can stop the madness in your own little way by being logical, rational, calm, and using your brain to think.

YOU ARE SMARTER THAN THAT

On this morning's news KY3 did a story on Obama's upcoming speech (which aired later today). The interviewed one man who objected to the speech. His problem: Nazis.

Yep.

His grandmother lived through the war and he was concerned about all this Nazi business. Then ... THEN ... he actually read the speech given to him by the news reporter. Seems it wasn't so bad after all. All this hoopla over a president telling the nation's children to take responsibility for their own education and work hard. (I tried to look for the KY3 video link, but couldn't find it on the website. After the site kept crashing, I finally gave up trying.)

KOLR 10 also had a story on a third grade class at Roundtree elementary. Taught by John Walstrand, the students watched the speech and were instructed to use their Com Art skills to write effectively with a specific topic telling us what they understood, an idea which is strongly supported by state guidelines. What did the kids get out of the Nazi propoganda?

  • Never give up and always be respectful to your teachers.
  • Get a job; don't skip school.
  • Be responsible.
  • If you fail, it doesn't mean you are stupid.

Keep in mind that other presidents have addressed the nations children. George HW Bush did it in 1991 and Ronald Reagan did it in 1988. Conservative blogger, Larry, at Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind (who has been MIA for a while due to a new baby boy) posted on all the silliness yesterday. He must have felt strongly to join us again. [Good to read you again, buddy.]

He concludes, rightly so, that we need to act better than our politicians. (I found that to be a funny line.) Good people can disagree on religion and politics, but to call the leader of the free world a Nazi (Musolini, Hitler, Stalin, Antichrist, or whatever) is just plain irrational.

Yes, Jeremy, it is irrational. [wink]

If folks actually care to read the speech before they call it Nazi propaganda, they could go here, here or here. But people have not been doing that. They have fallen prey to the nasty tactics of hardcore right-wing politicos (Rush, Coulter, etc) believing that somehow our president is a Nazi and our local paper is too full of pictures of Black people.

Then there is the guy on this morning's news spouting the same stuff before he's even read the speech. Don't forget, people also think that Obama is the Antichrist, he wants to kill senior citizens, and that people who refuse the H1N1 vaccine will go to a concentration camp. The amount of ignorance is mind boggling and it is not relegated to a few. The crazy has gone pandemic and permeated otherwise rational people's minds like mad cow disease.

If you are buying into any of this I offer this advice: Take a breath. Read Larry's post and consider if, perhaps, you have been led a bit astray. There's no shame as it happens to us all. Even this blogger went through his anti-Bush anger for a while, although I never called him a Nazi.

It's healthy to be angry and be a dissenter. Having your own beliefs is the crux of a democracy. If you really believe our president is a Nazi incogneto, wants to kill seniors, is Satan's cabana boy, or will institute death camps for vaccine deniers, then I respectfully suggest you change your news channel and take a deep breath. None of that is true. It's all crazy talk meant to cultivate irrational hatred.

You are smarter than that. You have to be otherwise our society is doomed, and I don't believe we are doomed. I really think that we are smarter than all of this nonsense. And so, I direct you back to Obama's speech as understood by these third graders.

  • Take responsibility for your own knowledge.
  • Be respectful.
  • If you fail, it doesn't mean you are stupid.

Gee. I think Obama's speech was more apropos than we might have known. I'm not sure he was actually talking to our kids. I think he might have been talking to us.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A DISNEY-MARVEL TOP TEN

Who better to lampoon the Disney-Marvel deal than the seedy but funny Jason Rohrblogger?

My favs include:

  • Peter Pan and Captain Hook join Batman and Robin for NAMBLA's "movie of the year"
  • The Muppets take Dr. Manhattan

Saturday, September 05, 2009

HOW MANY BLACK LIBERAL PRESIDENTS DOES IT TAKE TO SCREW IN A LIGHT BULB?

Answer: 13

One to do the right thing and screw in the light bulb so everyone can see.
Twelve to fend off all the crazies who call the light "facism", "Marxism", and "Nazism".

Judas Priest!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

PATRIOTIC CROW: JROTC STUDENT BULLIES MUSLIM KID THEN LIES

SPRING HILL, FL – Last week 16-year-old Heather Lawrence, a JROTC student, walked down the school corridor and discovered a Muslim girl with a head wrap who did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. A few hours later, Lawrence verbally confronted the Muslim student in essence telling her to take off her religious head wrap and to stand for the Pledge.

Lawrence was suspended for bullying and the blogosphere went nuts with patriotic support for the soon-to-be Army recruit. The discipline referral, signed by assistant principal Stephen Crognale, stated:

"She began to rant that she was enlisting and was going to Iraq and that basically because the girl looks Middle Eastern, that makes her an enemy because all Iraqis are Middle Eastern."


She maintains her comments were not intended to be racial in nature. She just wanted the Muslim girl to stand for the Pledge.

Apparently, it's not bullying or harassment to hate someone's skin color if you love your country. Ethics be damned. Hate be praised. Perhaps I am being a bit too hard on the child and should give her the benefit of the doubt that she was not being hateful toward a Muslim?


HERE IS THE KICKER
SPRING HILL, FL. – The part about the Muslim girl not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance? Yeah, the JROTC member and future solider made that part up, according to school officials. Springstead principal Susan Duval said:

"This girl lied. "I have confirmed with the homeroom teacher the young (Muslim) lady stood for the pledge. She's compounded the story as an explanation as to why she felt it was okay to make a very disparaging comment to this young lady."


The strong undercurrent of Muslim hatred is deep. It was seen during the presidential election and it is alive and well today. It does not have to be that way. Minors often see the world in black and whites. It's part of the natural human development.

More than punishing the JROTC student (whose suspension has been reduced) I think it is important to find out where these irrational fears come from and work to educate people. Just because there are some bad Muslim terrorists (just like there are some bad Christian abortion bombers) we should not hate an entire group. It's not rational and I hope the community can help this girl and her family understand their wrong doing and make a change.

Despite the fervent bloggers' beliefs, the JROTC student was not patriotic in her opinion or her actions. Just because someone is a member of the armed forces does not mean they have the right to bully, or on a larger scale, torture.

Monday, August 31, 2009

DISNEY BUYS MARVEL COMICS TO THE TUNE OF $4B

That is "B" as in "billion".

You got it, kids. The comics giant, Marvel Comics, has sold to Disney. You can read all about it at Publisher's Weekly and Hollywood Reporter. What does it all mean? Who knows. We do know that Marvel's stock price increased to $48 (up 25%).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

MANDATORY VACCINES? CONCENTRATION CAMPS?

Skinny Kitty pointed me to an opinion piece in the News-Leader today, the writer claiming that mandatory vaccines are coming, those refusing will be listed as felons and quarantined in concentration camps. It reminds me of the "health care = Nazi" discussion I just had with an elderly family member.

I went on the hunt for validation, legitimate news reports on the subject of mandatory vaccination, something to back up Anne Hartmann-Phipps' claims. I googled "mandatory vaccines" then clicked on "news results". I found plenty of similar claims from bloggers, but nothing from a real news agency. Is this a case of bloggers breaking the story first or of irrational fear mongering run amok?

Apparently, one hospital is requiring flu vaccines for all employees. The story didn't talk about the H1N1 vaccine. It just said a "flu vaccine". That's the closest citation I could find.

I don't know what to make of it all. It seems to me that people are panicking over things that are absolutely baseless. It's disturbing. Why has reason abandoned so many people all of a sudden? Irrational fear is a dangerous thing. It causes people to behave in unethical and erratic ways, making poor decisions they would otherwise not make.

People need to take a deep breath, calm down and practice reason.

I do hope a real news agency will investigate these claims and give us the real news. Is that too much to ask?

Friday, August 28, 2009

THE US IS GOING THE WAY OF NAZI GERMANY – SO I WAS TOLD TONIGHT

I heard it tonight ... from a real person that I know. We are (we being the United States) are heading down the Nazi path to socialism.

Nazis.
No kidding.

I was discussing health care with an elderly family member of mine this evening. She stated she was scared of this health care business because of Nazi Germany. "It could happen," she said. There's no arguing with irrational thoughts so I didn't. But I did get tired of the lengthy tirade and did leave.

She did inform me that she is smart and not easily swayed. If you have to say that ....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WHERE OH WHERE HAS MY BIG BLOGGER GONE?

Life is running at full tilt these days, what with graduation out of the way and a big boy job having started. I'm finding out just how hard it is to work all day then come home and blog. It's not so easy, but I'll try to keep it up.

I've so many thoughts lately and not near enough time to write them down. I'll give you an idea of some of the things I've considered:

  1. I think it is ridiculous for any news agency to harp on the first lady's shorts. Why do we care if she wears shorts. Women can't catch a break. I mean really ... come on.
  2. Health care is a good thing. Health reform is necessary. All the silly misinfo needs to stop in order for us to have healthy debate. We should have healthy debate.
  3. It's okay to disagree with the President. Dissent is good. I just wish it was for reasons that were not entirely made up by a bunch of crazies. I'd rather dissent came from legit facts.
  4. I am really enjoying my job, but it is hard.
  5. I'm tired. I got to bed about 9:30 p.m. and sleep until 6 p.m. I'm at work at 7:15 a.m. and leave at 4:30 p.m. I usually work a half-day on Saturdays. I'm still happy.
  6. My father is retiring as I am entering a new career. Weird, huh?
  7. I wish my garden grew better. It's frustrating.
  8. I didn't realize how many huge pieces of significant legislation that Ted Kennedy had led. Wow! It's staggering. The ADA is a big one in my book.
Sorry for the lack of posts. I make no promises.