Monday, July 31, 2006

Denison in a Dress

There’s been a lot said about District 135, as there are several local bloggers who live in this area, including myself. I have been here eight years. Let me give you my update on the goings-on from my perspective.

In early 2004, my wife wrote Denison a letter asking him not to vote for the cuts to the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) program. He wrote her back with a canned response about how responsible government had to make tough choices.

In April, my wife and I made a trip to Jefferson City to talk with our legislators. She stopped in to see Denison and beg him not to support the cuts. He was quick to say that it just had to be done. She asked him if he had talked with any of the groups who work with people with disabilities to see how this would really affect persons with disabilities. He explained that he was on the committee and didn’t need to ask anyone. At that time he promised her, with a figurative pat to the head, that if the cuts really proved to hurt anyone that he would personally carry the banner to fix it.

Well it wasn’t long until we saw just how people were being hurt. One of which was our friend, Tim, who was featured in several articles in the News-Leader and KY3. My wife wrote a letter, reminding him of his promise and asking him to support reinstating MAWD. Nothing. He sent us no response. Typical partisan politician – if he doesn’t agree with you, then he doesn’t care about you. This lack of response brings me to my next point.

Granny Geek and Chatter have both mentioned Nancy Hagan the Democrat in District 135. Well the last Democrat we had running was a real radical nut who referred to himself as a reverend. I don’t remember his name. What I remember was his far left extreme view points and his yelling during a public legislative forum that my agency hosted.

I was very excited to hear this year that I finally had a viable democratic candidate to vote for. The fact that she was a retired educator was icing on the cake. So I followed the link from Granny and checked her out. Her web page doesn’t offer much as far as real information or details on her views. She does offer her resume including her prestigious listing in the Who’s Who Among American Teachers. But I would some resemblance of a stance on something besides a word list of issues.

So far I have emailed her twice, explaining that I am excited to have a democrat to vote for, especially considering my unhappiness with Denison. I did ask for particulars on her stances, but I don’t think that is out of the ordinary. Nothing. No response. Even Denison bothered to write us back the first time. You would think that if a candidate gets two different correspondences from her base, that she would be on that. It’s been over a week. But no. I’m critical of Denison for doing that and I am critical of her.

I am left very disappointed and dejected. I can’t help but wonder if she doesn’t pay attention to me when she is running (and I lean toward the left) then will she listen to me if she is elected? Maybe she’s just on vacation or just super busy, but it seems that the primary goal of an election is to connect with constituents in your district. My correspondents were by email, but I did send my complete contact information. Maybe she’s nothing more than Denison in a Dress? I really hope not, but what else am I supposed to think?

I know nothing of Dunn, except what I’ve seen on his website. I fired him an email tonight and told him, as I did Hagan, that I want to know more about some issues. You can bet that I will let you know if I hear from him.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: I had an email from David Dunn in my inbox Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 5:30 a.m. This was a one-day turn around. He asked to meet with me to answer my questions, which I plan to do as soon as finals are over. He gave me his cell phone number. First on the firing line will be his view regarding the MAWD program. A person's stance on that tells me a lot about who they really are. He will be reminded that I have a blog and what he says to me now, he will be held accountable for in the future.)

I Just Can't Tolerate the Intolerable Anymore

Tolerance is the buzzword these days and it amazingly gets passed around, slandered, and misused as elections approach. The Snarling Marmot is right, in that it is something worthy of spending a bit of grey matter pondering. I’ve been thinking about it for months, ever since my friend, Larry at Simple Thoughts, brought it up in some comments. He criticized some folks, of a more liberal persuasion, of being intolerant toward the intolerable. I’ve spent some time pondering this thought till my puzzler was sore. The confusion with tolerance lies in how we define the word.

There is a prevalent belief in our society that tolerance is equated with acceptance. To provide your 17-year-old daughter with information on birth control is to give her the green light to engage in sex. To allow your gay son to bring his boyfriend home for Christmas is to tell the world that you approve of homosexuality and have turned your back on God. To vote for a Democratic candidate for Congress is to vote for abortion.

Another misconception about tolerance is that one who is tolerant cannot voice opinions of dissent. If you are a real liberal, then you will tolerate my hatred of Muslims. To protest the Klu-Klux-Klan rally is to abandon your belief in tolerance. To criticize any President of the United States is a loss of tolerance.

Tolerance is not a liberal disease hinging on the approval of the molestation of children and man-dog marriages. Tolerance is not, as many people believe, tied to action. Tolerance is of an ideological or philosophical plane. Tolerance is equated with love and understanding. Not a hippy make-love-not-war peace. Tolerance is simply about the ending of hatred especially against stereotypes. To hate all conservatives for their intolerance is to be intolerant.

Tolerance is about love. Conversely, tolerance is about ending hatred. That is not to say that anger is intolerant. I was angry at Missouri Governor Matt Blunt when he cut the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) two years ago. In fact I attended a Disability Rally in Jefferson City earlier this year in hopes that we could convince the legislature to reinstate MAWD. Neither that rally, nor my participation in it, were intolerant. If I were to own a restaurant and Gov. Blunt and family came to eat, but because of my hatred of him I deny him a seat, then that is hatred and intolerance.

It’s not intolerant to disagree with homosexuality. (Personally, I don’t see why people spend their time and energy on such a silly issue. But they do, and that is okay.) What is intolerant is to protest any soldier’s funeral with “God hates Fags” signage.

It’s not the action, but the motive behind the action that defines tolerance. Anger can be tolerant. Hatred cannot.

Meet and Greet

Thank goodness for Ms. Marmot, our friendly neighborhood rodent with the dandy set of teeth, for reminder of the Springfield Blogger’s meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, August 1) at the Patton Alley Pub at 7 p.m. Much to the Curbstone Critic’s chargrin, I shant be riding my bicycle sans clothes. The rest of you may wallow in delight.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Who's Your Crawdaddy?

Our friend, Brian, was in town this week visiting from Madrid, Spain. He is a former Springfieldian and now teaches high school overseas. We decided to throw a get-together in his honor. Kimmie boiled us up a fine batch of crawdaddys and shrimp, along with the usual fare of taters and corn.

The boys drank ourselves right out of beer and Hornsby hard apple cider. So we had to make another trip to the market for some spirits. Once the sun dropped, we headed inside to help the kids settle down, and in came the Disney flick Fantasia 2000. There we sat, this big bunch of lumps, celebrating a friend’s return with Disney and hard apple cider.

That would have never flown back in the fraternity days. We might as well have had a cookies-and-milk party. But then again, my kidneys, they ain’t what they used to be. Funny thing is, no one seemed to care that Fantasia was on. Truth be told we were just as mesmerized as the kids. (click here to see more pictures.)

Photo Site is Live

I’ve been running a website for family for sometime now. I started it specifically to share my photos with my loved ones, especially those that live in other states or countries. I recently expanded the site to include photos with my group of friends. The next incarnation is here as I am taking the site live to my blog audience. (Click here to go to Fat Jack’s Photo Site)

Friday, July 28, 2006

WANTED: Blog Editor

With the proliferation of new technology comes the introduction of new jobs. So it should come as no surprise that large companies will engage the blogosphere looking for a Blog Editor. Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer says this is just one of seven trendy new jobs:

"Blog editor: I blog, you blog, we all blog apparently, judging from the proliferation of blogs in the past two years. The success of influential ones like has companies wanting in on the perceived edginess of the blogosphere.

'Blogging' is not only starting to creep into people's job descriptions, but recruiters are starting to see blog-related job listings. One on seeks a blog editor "to manage and moderate blogs for clients and to write for the company blog on PR and new media topics."

The Springfield Bloggers are already up on this new trend. Our own Larry Litle has graciously tried to recruit 417 Pedant for this very job, without much luck I might add.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Snarl for the Camera Boys and Girls

The Snarling Marmot is interviewing her fellow bloggers and posting those profiles on her site. A dandy idea if you ask me, and a nice way to support the Springfield Bloggers and promote goodness among the group of diverse bloggers.

So far she has interviewed:
Granny Geek
Chatter by Ron Davis
Thinking Things
Fat Jack

(BLOG NOTE: Our snarling rodent has announced another round of blogophiles.)

Coming soon:
Curbstone Critic
The Turner Report
Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind
Minutia: Thoughts of Duane Keyes

By the sounds of it, there are others in the works. If you are interested in joining the fun and have not yet received a questionaire contact The Snarling Marmot. By the sounds of it, she has her work cut out for her.

Monday, July 24, 2006

JUDAS PRIEST! Shut the Hell Up!

What is wrong with people? Have they absolutely no sense of respect?

I am taking three classes this summer semester: Intro to Teaching, Public Speaking and Geography. Now I understand that the typical college student does not value his or her education the same way I do. I slogged my way through my bachelor’s degree and only studied between binge drinking, naps and fraternity rituals. I get the fact that the kids think they have better things to do.

What I do not understand is the fact that students are so brazen. In my geography class, there are two girls that sit in the back of the room and talk the entire hour-and-a-half. They don’t whisper and they don’t pass notes. They have full tilt conversations, honking and clucking, all the while the instructor tries hard to make world geography interesting. This gaggle of hooters doesn’t give a piddley-Hell whether I can hear him or not. They coo and moo so damn loud that I can’t hear him and he’s right in front of me.

If you read my posts, you know I sit in the front of the class so I don’t become distracted by the lovely, jewel-encrusted g-strings and nippy tit bibs. Don’t misunderstand; I don’t mind looking at hookers. But when it comes time to learn I sit up front.

As my grandma says: “I’m so mad, I could beat you in the face with a dead rabbit.” Accosting folks with dead, bloody fur balls (while humorous) is highly discouraged on campus. I’m sure PETA would not find that amusing, but then again there aren’t that many PETA folks in the Ozarks. Worry not dear marmot. I shan’t do such a vile thing, but I do understand grandma’s little idiom.

Judas Priest! I wish they just shut the Hell up.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Dose of Homo

My wife and I have two different sets of married friends, completed unconnected with each other, who have both announced that they are getting a divorce. It seems that in each relationship one of the spouses has decided they are gay. In one case it is the husband and in the other case it is the wife. One is a long-standing relationship and the other is fairly young. Both have children involved.

I was relating the story to a friend of mine, explaining my frustrations and sadness at the whole event. To which he responds: “Did somebody put a dose of homo in the water?”

A dose of homo.

Well how about that? That would seem to explain the sudden decision from both parties, but that doesn’t really fit into my paradigm as I don’t particularly believe that homosexuality is as much a choice as it is a genetic disposition.

I tend to adopt the theory that sexual orientation (gayness and straightness) is a scale rather than a static, fix point. While I feel pretty assured that it is something that one is born with, I do think that life experiences can affect that scale to a degree or two. I don’t think one just wakes up and decides to be gay.

I am struggling with all of this. Now you might assume that my struggle is largely based upon my Christian faith and on that assumption you would be wrong. My faith is stable and unwavering in its foundation on love and peace. My friendships with individuals are not based on their religion or personal flaws. The way I figure it, I am just about as screwed up as the next feller, and I’d just assume they not throw rocks at me. Friends are friends.

My concerns are based more on the relationships themselves: the children, the couples, the group friendship dynamics. I am concerned that in each case, the gay individual having discovered their previously repressed selves, may run from the pain of the past life of hiding. Living a lie is a known cause of disaster. It has lead to depression, self-loathing, promiscuity, drug use, fight-or-flight, and suicide.

I can’t really speak for both friends as I am closer to one than the other and it is from that friendship. But for the one that is closer, I know that the group of friends, male and female, are supportive and just want both the husband and wife to be happy. The levels of mourning are in full force.

It is interesting to see how the decision of one person can affect so many. True, the married couple is experiencing pain that I do not wish to know, and the children are affected in ways that are not surfacing. The surrounding group of friends is also affected. We are, as a collective group, forced to choose sides even if they don’t ask us to. There are secrets to be kept. We end up keeping wifely secrets from the husband, and conversely husbandly secrets from the wife. After all, friends are the ones you lean on when your life crumbles. We told them we are keeping secrets from both and for them to let that go.

Our group, our traditional dynamic, is eroding as I watch this tragedy unfold. It is the group’s first divorce and so it is new territory for us. But it has already started taking a toll. While I don’t think it is necessarily purposeful, there is an interplay, a chess match of sorts, to align the most number of friends on one side or the other. It is self-preservation and stems from pain. It’s understandable. To my knowledge, neither side has an attorney yet, but it is coming eventually. It is then that the price will be paid and no one will be the same afterward.

Interestingly enough, the family as a unit are still coming and hosting group events. For the time being, we all pretend that everything is as it has been for many years. Good or bad, that is where we all are, but there is a wink and nod beneath the smiles and pretense. I can’t keep from thinking about it. It affects me and I don’t like it. I am now forced to shatter a bit of my daughter’s innocence and explain divorce. I have to explain about falling out of love and then try to reassure her that Mom and I are still madly in love. But as precocious as she is, she will think about it.

I’m not worried about explaining the gay issue to her. She already knows about that. We have a cousin that has a life partner. Sophie loves them and their little girl-dog. She knows that dog has two mommies and that’s the end of it for her. The divorce issue is much harder because it announces to her that sometimes Mommies and Daddies don’t love each other any longer. The loss of love is a terrible thing to learn.

It’s too bad. I wish were as easy as a dose of homo in the water because then we could just give people a dose of straight or a dose of skinny and then everything would be fixed. That begs the question: Would you take a dose of whatever to make it all go away? All depends on what we view as being broken.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Well-Marbled Messenger

I was a bit disappointed at the blogger’s meeting last night. I was in hopes that Tony Messenger would show up sans our fancy dancy beverage containers. My wife and daughter are out of town and ole Fat Jack is getting tired of sandwiches and chips. The way I figured it, that Messenger looks to be a rather well-marbled piece of steak. I imagine those filets would be juicy-juicy. Alas my plans were foiled as he presented our long lost mugs into which I am enjoying a cool beverage. I guess it’s more bologna and cheese for me.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Sun is a Big Hot Object

Two mice screwing in a wool sock.
A hooker on nickle day.
A two-peckered billy goat in heat.
A freshly screwed fox in a forest fire.
A popcorn fart.
A billy goat’s butt in a pepper patch.
A Southern bride in a feather bed.
A firecracker lit at both ends.

A dancing mule.
A whore in church.
A raped ape.

I saw two trees fighting over a dog.
It would make you return things you never stole.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Jesus: The War Hammer

So much about religion is criticized, especially Christianity, and rightfully so as the Christians have had their violent crusades and share of corruption. There are plenty of people out there who have been damaged by the church.

In these days we have a President whose foreign policy is guided by his faith. During the last presidential election, we saw television evangelists that made suggestions as to the equation: Christian = Bush. Even more so, they pronounced the converse equation: No Bush Vote = Non-Christian. When viewed in the context of the invasion of Iraq, this idea of faith and politics becomes problematic for many Christians, anti-Christians, and those in between.

However the world’s view of Christianity -- of Christian doctrine -- is skewed by television evangelists seeking power and notoriety. As is with any stereotype this is not always true. My Sunday School class subscribes to The Wired Word which uses current topics to discuss Biblical doctrine. Interestingly enough, the article never offers answers. It does, however, offer scriptures to study while looking at the different questions being posed. This week’s Wired Word was about the conflict in Israel and it offered questions about the bigger picture of war as a means to find peace. The Wired Word offered these questions for the class to discuss:

  1. Under what circumstances are defensive battles an acceptable response?
  2. Under what circumstances, if any, are first-strike attacks acceptable?
  3. Is there such a thing as a “just war”?
  4. Christians, by definition, are followers of the Prince of Peace. What obligation does that lay upon us in times of national threat?
  5. What tools or methods for peacemaking are available through the Christian faith?
  6. Are peacemakers who are unable to end conflicts despite their best efforts therefore fools or failures?

These questions were followed by discussion and scriptures and our class had an open dialogue. Open dialogue, of course, means that differing view points are acceptable and encouraged. My church is funny about that, always wanting folks to make their own decisions rather than blindly following dogma. Interestingly enough, most of the folks in my Sunday School class were not supporters of the War in Iraq or of Bush’s foreign policy. In fact, most of them were supporters of peace. I suspect the United States and the world see Christians as warmongers and haters of other cultures. That is not true nor should it be.

The Wired Word offered, among several others, Matthew 5:9, where Jesus gives his Sermon on the Mount. This scripture is part of the Beatitudes. Whenever I am thinking about world events and trying to define how a member of the Christian faith should react, I look to the Beatitudes as they seem to me to be a litmus test of how to live, think and believe.

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11) are as follows:

Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn:
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek:
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful:
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart:
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

It is number seven (Matthew 5:9) that I find most interesting when looking at the Middle East and terrorism. It seems to me that those seeking peace are labeled as hippies or weak-minded liberals who are trying to air condition Hell and destroy all things Christlike. Take note that there is no mentioning of war, security, or attainment power in the Beatitudes.

Are our country’s foreign policies indeed based on faith? Can we find where the Beatitudes play a role in how our country is governed and how we respond to global incidents? I cannot help but wonder if our presence in the Middle East, a part of the world fraught with war for centuries, is really based in faith or if it is part of a bigger plan to achieve and retain power?

As for me, I do practice Christianity, although one could argue I don’t do it well enough. That’s a road that one travels for life. I can say that I believe in peace and I am upset when religion, any religion, is used to start or continue a war. I do not believe that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, would be satisfied with our efforts to make war. With all the wars and strife and discrimination applied in his name, you would think that he was known as:

Jesus, the War Hammer; or perhaps
Jesus, The Meat Cleaver

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Big Bad Bar Ban

Springfield has been toying with banning people under 21 from bars and clubs. Michael Brothers has written a niece piece on this issue, posted on his News-Leader blog. I’m also linking Brother’s blog to my blog roll.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Set It and Forget It: President Bush Outlines His Initiative to Fix America’s Woes

(I am taking a speech class and for our first speech I opted to act as a representative of an agency. Specifically, I choose to be a correspondent for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” I just had to share with others. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed crafting and presenting it.)

I’m Fat Jack, Daily Show Senior Correspondent of All Things Right, and I am on the scene at Jim Bob’s School of Welding and Taxidermy, Crawford, Texas.

An hour ago President Bush, being touted by the locals as the “Common Man’s President” announced his new “Set It And Forget It Initiative” for America. In an attempt to unite Americans and develop a comprehensive plan to fix what ails us, Mr. Bush has gone back to his only refuge – Texas.

Hosting several “fence post” meetings, the President has met with the people in order to devise a real plan to repair America’s woes. Meeting only with folks with a high school education, he and his team have worked hours over the past day carving out this simple plan. For the first time in Presidential history, common sense from common people is driving American policy. Finally, some did ask the regular folk and they spoke – loud and clear.

So what did the common man suggest that the President and his compatriots have promised to pass?

  1. The US must liberate the starving, impoverished people of Mexico from the clutches of a corrupt government Hell bent on squandering the country’s natural resources and exploiting the people.
  2. Require all immigrants to join the United States military for six years, after which they will be at the top of the list for citizenship.
  3. In order to be free, we must give up freedom and persecute the treasonous liberal press for unveiling anything that may be considered a matter of national security.

The Mexican Liberation Movement
The US must liberate the starving, impoverished people of Mexico from the clutches of a corrupt government Hell bent on squandering the country’s natural resources and exploiting the people. These liberal tree-hugging vegan God-haters want us to believe that we can power our SUVs and pick-ups with grass and cardboard.

The common man’s President plans to offer Mexico the services of our great democracy by sending large numbers of troops south to set the Mexican people free from their evil government-controlled, poverty-stricken lives. Not to be confused with an invasion or occupation, this is a philanthropic move akin to Mexico hiring an expensive consultant.

Kind, American oil companies will no doubt be on hand to work in Mexico to help out our friends from the South. With America’s help, Mexico can benefit from this oil with profits being stronger as there are no corrupt unions trying to put them out of business. The oilrigs can work day and night, as those people love working long hours.

As soon as Mexico is ready for independence, it can take over control of the oil wells and America will leave willingly. With jobs-a-plenty, there will be no reason for Mexicans to illegally invade our country.

Illegal Immigration
Immigration … oh I’m sorry I have to say illegal immigration … is a problem in the United States and this President is responding. You can’t fault the hard working American companies for hiring illegal immigrants. They are just trying to put food on their own table and make a fair living.

Isn’t that what we all want? The problem is with the evil immigrants migrating here and taking jobs away from hard working American’s who are chomping at the bit for the opportunity to put in 16-hour days for minimum wage. These American’s don’t need fancy east coast perks like as health insurance; they just need jobs.

America will continue to build the Wall of Terror Protection along the US-Mexican border. All illegal immigrants will then be given 60 days to report to INS. Each illegal will be given two choices: Go back to newly prosperous and economic homeland, or enlist for a six-year term in the US military. If choosing the homeland, then illegals will be luxuriously flown back care of the United States Army.

If choosing enlistment, after six years the illegal will be eligible to apply for citizenship. On the news program Fox & Friends, Judge Andrew Napolitano talked about the military path to citizenship: “They acknowledge that they’re not citizens and take an oath of loyalty to the United States.” America will no longer have an illegal immigration problem and the need for more military personnel will increase significantly.

Persecute the treasonous liberal press
The Liberal media, like unions and the ACLU, have become too powerful and corrupt and must be held accountable for editorial decisions that endanger America. It is now considered good journalism for the media to report the location of troops on the ground in a war zone. It is also award-winning behavior to report on the classified tactics to define, track and detain known terrorists. The mainstream media are in bed with terrorists. The New York Times reported on the government’s confidential financial tracking program on June 22.

According to a report by Fox News, Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and former newspaperman, demanded more responsible reporting by media outlets. “We cannot continue to operate in a system where the government takes steps to counter terrorism while the media actively works to disclose those operations without any regard for protection of lives, sources and legal methods.”

In response, the President unveiled The “Fair and Balanced Act of 2006.” First the Act will set up the “Committee on a Reasonable and Patriotic Press (CRAPP). President Bush has nominated the following to serve CRAPP for life: Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Pat Roberts, TV Media Evangelist Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter. Tony Snow, Bush’s current press secretary and former member of the media will be the chairman of CRAPP.

All news agencies will be required to submit any and all articles pertaining to issues of National Security to CRAPP for approval before being reported. Any journalist, citizen journalist, editor or publisher responsible for the publication of a story that is found to compromise American national security will be immediately arrested and tried for treason.

In his State of the Union address in 2001 President Bush stated clearly: “We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans … either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” It doesn’t matter that the President, on several occasions, leaked his bank-tapping tactics to the world.

On December 20, 2001 he stated: “We’re running down money trails, the assets of more than 150 known terrorists, their organizations, and their bankers have been frozen by the United States.”

On April 19, 2004 he said: “See, part of the way to make sure that we catch terrorists is, we chase money trails.”

He made similar comments a time or two more:
September 24, 2001
October 10, 2001
November 7, 2001
December 4, 2001
November 25, 2002
And even on March 23, 2004

The fact is that The New York Times and other irresponsible left-wing media outlets are out to aid the terrorists and hurt America’s children. And they should be punished; and tried as traitors. We should Set ‘em and forget ‘em.

The common man’s President, has put his boots on and traveled to the heartland. He has formed his “Set It And Forget It” initiative to fix our overwhelming problems. President Bush outlined his plan to liberate the Mexican people and simultaneously boost its economy. He a citizenship program that helps illegals and helps our military at the same time. Mr. Bush demonstrated his commitment to the Constitution by initiating CRAPP and defending freedom for all Americans.

By supporting his “Set It and Forget It Initiative” we will form a more perfect union by which to live and prosper harmoniously; America will be safe and sound for generations to come.

BATMAN - This Week’s Movie Quote

This week you have a chance to vote on your favorite movie quote from Tim Burton’s film, Batman, from 1989. There are some goodies on there too. Be sure to bounce over to INCONCEIVABLE, our movie blog and vote. The poll is on the side menu.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New Blogs Added

I just realized that there were several local yocals that I have neglected to add to my blog roll. If I've neglected to add your blog, let me know and I will add it. Here's the new adds to my roll added in no particular order:

The Libertarian Guy
The News-Leader Blog
KY 3 Blog
Curbstone Critic
Doc Larry's Lost Chord
417 Pundit

(NOTE: I added "Thinking Things" this afternoon. I also changed the Snarling Marmot's link to reflect her new website.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

An Ethical Blogosphere: A Look at the Responsibilities of Citizen-Journalists

Criticism is an important part of education. Intelligent discourse is a foundation for lifelong learning. The exchange of ideas in order to attain wisdom is at the heart of the learning community. In modern days, however, punditry has replaced entertainment for intelligent discourse. It is this substitution of ranting for wisdom that stands to erode scholarly learning.

The Ozarks community can see this happening locally with the introduction of the blog, 417 Pundit. A governmental body must be held accountable for its policies and impact on the community. The same is true for private industry. Journalists and citizen-journalists are not above such accountability.

A blog devoted wholly to holding Ozarks bloggers accountable for their opinions, editorials and reporting is a fantastic idea. While the blogging community is an independent form of media, the ethical values for any public speaker must still be maintained. It is that sense of blogging independence that begs for some accountability and responsibility.

It is unfortunate that the self-proclaimed scholarly 417 Pundit, is at present nothing more than just another outlet of mediocrity, using pretension to replace intelligent discourse. I find that disturbing and an absolute waste of a perfectly wonderful idea. That is not to say that the web site is a waste of time. I would argue that it is absolutely necessary. However, the purpose of the blog and the execution of the blog are out of alignment. That is where the problem occurs.

One of the most important processes that any business or blog must endure is that of understanding the purpose of the endeavor. A business must decide what service to provide and the clientele to be served. Whether it is called the “mission statement” or simply the “purpose” this determination defines the foundation upon which all else is built. When this purpose does not fit with the execution, then the foundation crumbles. In the case of a blog, the owner must decide the purpose of the blog, and the level of seriousness.

This alignment of purpose and execution is flawed with 417 Pundit, which jeopardizes the credibility of the site and the writer. Consider the incomplete sentence in 417 Pundit’s sub-heading “Commentary without pity. Politics, blogs, ethics, culture. We expose stupidity.” There is an incomplete sentence in the subtitle. “Politics, blogs, ethics, culture” has no subject or predicate. It is merely a string of items separate by commas.
If the person is an expert, which the words “Scholar” and “Pundits” imply, then the author’s credibility is diminished.

When discussing purpose, the blog writer proclaims himself as a scholar in the field of education. The word scholar is a powerful word bringing a particular connotation of respect, wisdom and intelligence. We would assume a scholar would approach every subject with tact, understanding and in depth analysis. The same is true for the word pundit, as it implies the person is an expert in his field.

The language used on 417 Pundit shows more anger than in-depth analysis. Compare local blogger Dr. Andy Cline, owner of Rhetorica with 417 Pundit. Dr. Cline’s purpose is clearly stated: “The Rhetorica Network offers analysis and commentary about the rhetoric, propaganda, and spin of journalism and politics, including analysis of presidential speeches and election campaigns.” With this we have a clear understanding of Dr. Cline’s purpose. This is indeed a scholarly media outline, demonstrated through his critical analysis, use of language, and seriousness with which he approaches the subjects. It takes little time to know that Dr. Cline has passion, insight, formal education and experience regarding his blog subject. His readership is also understood.

417 Pundit, on the other hand, is not a scholarly journal in any sense. The analysis is superficial and at times reverting to personal attacks. The language represents a more lay person vocabulary and not that of an academic or scholar.

Clearly the audience is not considered. Any true educator uses his or her thoughts to help bring insight, clarity and understanding to the subject. Good educators choose to educate his or her audience, rather than degrading them for comic relief or self-gratification.

For one reason or another some bloggers choose a certain level of anonymity. Indeed, some employees have used a personal blog as a way to criticize that person’s employer or agency policies, resulting in the termination of that employee. Some students attending high school or college may be vocal about an instructor’s decisions or the school’s policies. Students, being in an inherently subordinate position, must protect themselves from retribution from unscrupulous educators. Higher Education Instructors have academic freedom in the classroom. Both security and educator retribution are the reasons that Fat Jack chooses partial anonymity. My spouse has a job where she is periodically threatened by clients. Choosing to blog about family, including the occasional picture, warrants partial anonymity by Fat Jack. However, in order to preserve credibility, Jack is known to the local bloggers.

Anonymity for no obvious reason brings into question the blog author’s credibility. Why would an author choose anonymity? Issues of security are not at risk with 417 Pundit, considering the focused purpose. There is no criticism of an agency or employers; the criticism is narrowed to blogs in the Ozarks area. One reason for anonymity is to protect the author from criticism. Another reason for anonymity is to hide the blog author’s real intentions.

According to George Grice and John Skinner, authors of “Mastering Public Speaking,” manipulating people by hiding ones true intentions is unethical behavior. That does not mean that the 417 Pundit blog author is acting unethical. The curious anonymity of the author calls the authors intentions into question.

As I argued earlier, any good, ethical educator will value life long learning above other issues. Scholars, pundits, experts in their field, will use their knowledge to educator others in a responsible, productive environment. Psuedo-scholars and those seekinig attention will use tactics, gimmick and personal attacks to gain popularity. Those unfortunate traits are not the characteristics sought by scholars, academics or ethical educators.

Holding bloggers accountable for their writing – their posts – is a good and proper safeguard. Otherwise, bloggers could rant on and one, mischaracterizing others and acting unethically. To be true, this is already occurring the blogosphere. I’m sure that Dr. Cline could speak more eloquently about this issue than I. Therefore, I make the following suggestions to the author of 417 Pundit.

  1. Align the purpose and execution of the blog.
  2. If the use of proper grammar and logic are your goals, then be sure to use that grammar and logic in your own posts.
  3. I suggest you point out the grammar errors, and then post your revision of how the sentence or paragraph could be written better.
  4. Understand your audience. Decide who you want to read your blog. Think about the purpose for reading the blog.
  5. Use 417 Pundit as a way to educate bloggers on appropriate use of the English language, including grammar and syntax.
  6. Use 417 Pundit toward intelligent discourse, using logic, reason and facts to help bloggers hone their skills and craft. Help create a more ethical and intelligent blogosphere.
  7. Take your blogging responsibility seriously.

I welcome 417 Pundit to our blogosphere and I challenge the author to consider my argument by revamping the site. I offer my blog, Fat Jacks Erratic Rants, to be the next to undergo 417 Pundit’s scrutiny.

I argue, if you make the changes I have suggested you will develop a following. You will also be able to carve out your own special niche and contribute to a better citizen-journalist community. I’m certain you will find grammar mistakes on my blog. I am a life-long learner and look forward to discovering my faux pas.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Turn About Is Fair Play

(Cousin Austin at Rock Fest 2006)

Young cousin Austin doesn’t realize it, but he is being charged a fee, a very painful fee, for future services to be rendered. A teen focused on concerts and musical artists, he begs to go to see metal bands. And who takes him, but Big Jack. After all, who wants to go to see Rob Zombie with their Mom? I am glad to oblige, as I know this will eventually come home to roost and how sweet that shall be.

I take him here and there to see this artist and that. Little does he know that some day my daughter will be a teen and she will want to go see some boy band singing their American Idol drivel, melting her heart and leaving her a puddle of emotion on the floor.

I shan’t be taking her. Oh no dear readers. Who wants to go see X Boy Band with their Dad? Not a 13- or 15-year-old girl, I can assure you of that. No, she will need someone older than she, but not too old, to take her. Someone who has been to concerts. Someone who is responsible enough to take her and not let her drink or throw her top on stage. But someone cool enough to be seen with. Someone like an older teen cousin maybe just out of college.

It won’t be me asking him. It will be her calling up and asking if he will take her to her favorite band ever: Billy-Boy Pretty Eyes and the Five Boy Toys. Who can no to those sweet doe eyes, begging to see her the best band ever? Of course she will want to take her girlfriends.

Best of all, I will be spared the pain of sitting through a gaggle of girls crying, screaming, hair tossing at the mere presence of Billy Boy. She will, undoubtedly, want to be close to stage where she can see the sweat gleaming off Billy Boys hairless chest. Maybe he will reach out and touch her hand? I’m sure he will think to remember the ear plugs this time.

He may debate, saying that he doesn’t like the bands, referring back when I took him to concerts and noting that I did enjoy them. He will discover, as you dear readers already know, that it isn’t about liking the band. It’s about loving the kid and giving them something that is important to them. It’s about carving out an experience, a sharing of something wonderful – a memory of doing something together.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Mr. Zombie Puts On A Fine Concert

(Rob Zombie letting it all bleed out)

Ju-das Priest!

I never went to concerts in high school and college. I don’t really know why; it’s just not something that I did. Now I did go to a Skid Row-Pantera concert once at Swiss Villa in Branson, but it’s not a concert that I planned on. My friend, Jason, had a ticket and asked me to go. He also drug me to a Sawyer Brown concert once too, but again it not a planned event -- extra ticket and all.

In college, I never had time or money enough to go to concerts and I never went out of my way to find out when bands were coming to town. Eleven years later, my cousin, Austin, comes along and wants to go to concerts. Too young to go by himself and too old to go with his Mom, he needs an outlet. By this time, he and I starting to become close. We both love horror and sci-fi, metal and all things. It’s a 15-year-old that makes plans for us to go to concerts.

First I took him to see GWAR, an old monster metal band who uses latex appliances to dress up like monsters and creatures and such. They spend their time shooting fake blood and urine into the audience. If you don’t get it, just keep in mind that he did and we had a great time.

When we found out that Rob Zombie, his favorite metal artist of all time, was coming to Springfield’s Rock Fest then we had to get tickets. Now I spend a lot of my weekends working on homework. I have a test every Monday. Wouldn’t you know it, but I have two tests tomorrow. I spent Friday (I don’t have class on Fridays) making study guides for my tests and freed me up to spend time with him on Saturday.

My childhood friend, Jason, works in Branson. He works at Shepard of the Hills at night with Austin. He decided to come with us. I really haven’t seen Jason in a long time. We reminisced about old times and old friends. I’ve known him since I was really young. Our parents were best friends and we went to church together and as teens we had plenty of illegal and immoral experiences. It was nice to get together with him and corrupt a new generation.

As for the venue itself, once you entered you could not leave unless you wanted to pay another $40. You could not bring in chairs, blankets or coolers. So we didn’t show up until later when Shinedown got on stage. We didn’t really want to stand up for 8 hours. We watched Shinedown, Anthrax and Rob Zombie.

(Austin's favorite guitarist, John 5)

As someone who previous worked with persons with disabilities, I was glad to see the number of people with disabilities at the concert. I love to see friends and family include folks with disabilities in all aspects of life.

We stood near the middle-rear of the concert. The medic station was in clear view and we saw several folks being hauled out, mostly from drinking (or toking) too much. A typical concert, there was a fair amount of hooch, smoke, ganga, weed, pot, dope, grass, weasel, or creeper floating in the air. But that’s typical of any concert. My wife noticed it at the Air Supply concert she went to when she was a kid.

We were a bit apprehensive about going toward the stage. The moshing was nuts at GWAR and that was a tiny venue downtown. I started feeling bad for Austin. It was Rob Zombie after all. During Anthrax, I headed into the crowd near the stage, scoped it out, then went back and told him I would take him down there. It was folks. Even though this was outside, it was really loud. We watched Anthrax and people loved it, but it didn’t get stupid. After Anthrax came Rob Zombie. When Anthrax stopped, Austin started making his way closer to the stage, slippery little devil. I squeezed through the crowd to keep up. Once we got as close to the stage as we could, people started to crowd in. We couldn’t hard move our arms. We figured once Mr. Zombie started that it would get nuts what with all the moshing and pushing and craziness. So we were going to say for the first song. I was given strict instructions, take a least one pic of Mr. Zombie so he could show his friends how close he was to the stage. We never left our spot; we stayed for the entire show, and I took 113 shots. Of which I took 31 keepers.

I don’t know about you, but I would not take my 4- or 6-year-old to RockFest. I don’t know that I would take my 8- to 10-year-old, but I sure as Hell wouldn’t take a kindergartener. We did see a number of children and kids. Considering all the girls dressed like hookers (or Spice Girls, as Austin put it), the amount of beer and liquor being served and the pot in the air, I don’t know that I would bring my real little one. Surprisingly, there weren’t many fights at all. Just a couple. There were plenty of police and security on hand. It was billed as an all-ages venue, but better judgment should prevail, leaving the babies at home. Actually there was one pregnant lady and one nursing there, come to think of it.

I guess Austin and I (and now Jason) have found something that we like to do together. It’s nice to have something to share, as most of my friends don’t like metal and wouldn’t go to a concert like that.

Here’s the Rob Zombie play list, which Austin and Jason believe is in correct order:
  1. Halloween Theme
  2. Sawdust in the blood
  3. American Witch
  4. Demon Speeding
  5. Living Dead Girl
  6. Demonoid Phenomenon
  7. More Human than Human
  8. Never Gonna Stop
  9. House of 1000 Corpses
  10. Let it all Bleed Out
  11. Foxy Foxy
  12. SuperBeast
  13. Dragula
  14. Thunder Kiss 65
  15. Devils Rejects
  16. Lords of Salem

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Nanny's Asian Salad

I’ve had many requests for Nanny’s Asian Salad. It’s my Mom’s recipe. It’s a wonderful summer time salad and is very popular, which is why I take it to most parties. I’m finally breaking down and giving you the recipe. So don’t ask for it anymore. It is an easy recipe, but you don’t want to put the dressing on until you are ready to serve.

1 bag of cole slaw mix (cabbage and carrots mostly.)
2 packages of beef raman noodles (uncooked)
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup cashews
1 cup oil
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar

Open the ramen noodles and place the seasoning packets aside. Now crush up the uncooked ramen noodles and add them to a large bowl. Add the cole slaw mix, green onions and the nuts. That’s right, you don’t cook the ramen noodles.

For the dressing: Mix the oil, vinegar, sugar and the seasoning from the two ramen noodle packages. HINT: I warm up the vinegar and add the sugar to it. This makes the sugar melt. When ready to serve, just add the dressing to the salad and toss. It makes a pretty large amount and typically it is enough for a good sized party.

… You Might Be a Redneck

If you fight an Independence Day fire without a shirt or shoes, you might be a redneck.

In fact you may very well find yourself in a group of drunk hillbillies who, after setting an drought-ridden field a blaze, run through the field with a hose and a garden watering can to fight a fire, never taking heed that they are nearly naked and shoeless. But for my friends, that just adds to the excitement.

Now my friends have more sense than to shoot off fireworks in the middle of an brittle, overgrown field. Well, I guess I should say that it was our party hosts family that beat us to the fireworks idea. Inevitably, us’in dunderheads probably would have done the same we’ve would have waited we had consumed plenty of alcohol. But as it was, my friends were gathered in the pool and Shelby’s family were in the backfield igniting bottle rockets and the grass.

The burn site was probably 30 feet in diameter. I was in the pool with Sophie when the buddies took off toward the smoke. I however clothed my body before heading to the scene. I was stopped by one of the ladies who handed me a garden watering can. Off I trotted, armed with a 2-gallon watering can and a camera, to fight a 30-foot diameter burn.

We burned nothing down and controlled the burn within minutes. We’ve decided that Shelby’s Aurora home is the new party palace. He has a pool, which the kids love, and he owns the movie Princess Movie Theatre in downtown Aurora. Seems whenever we go there, something eventful or embarrassing happens. Either way, it’s always a good time for us’in Rednecks.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Rob Zombie is coming to Springfield next weekend and Fat Jack will be there feasting on the blood of small rodents and basking in the glory of metal. Working to corrupt our next generation of adults, I am taking my 15-year-old cousin. Actually, he is the reason I am going. Mr. Zombie is his all time favorite rocker, big-big. He gets to go if I go. So what’s a Jack to do, but take the boy and have a bloody good time – and we will. He and I get along very well, as we both love movies and comics and good geeky stuff. Besides it’s a nice retreat from my daily grind. It’s a good college student thing to do, don’t you think?

It’s at the Jordan Valley Field. Now you may be incluined to think that is somewhere near the Jordan Valley Park. It is not. It’s down toward the industrial part of downtown at Campbell and Mill Streets (423 N. Campbell). I drove by a few weeks ago and thought to myself, “this can’t be the place.” But I in hopes that the mowed it at least.

Rockfest 2006
Featuring Rob Zombie and
Anthrax, Shinedown, Trapt, Evans Blue and Halestrom.

This Saturday
Jordan Vally Field
423 N. Campbell

Tickets are on sale at Kaleidoscope, Stick it in your Ear, and Vintage Stock. If you spot me, and I am not that hard to see, come and say boo. I will probably be sporting a cap or bandana as I am not keen on burning my lovely head.

Rock on dear readers. Rock on.

Vote On Your Favorite Movie Quote Every Week

Bryan, Larry and I have continued to update and upgrade our movie blog, INCONCEIVABLE. Not only do you get interesting reviews and previews of interesting movies, including blockbusters, mainstream flicks, documentaries, independent and foreign films. Now available for the first time, we offer you to ability to vote on your favorite quote every single week!

So be sure to check out our site often and vote your silly little movie-loving head plumb off. This week you are voting on your favorite quote from “Aliens” a high-quality, classic science fiction flick from my teenage days. After you vote you will see the results of the survey so far. How cool is that?