Thursday, November 30, 2006

For the Love of God, It's Sleeting Outside!

The price of coolness has finally paid it’s due and it was a comic scene, I tell you what. I am one big polar bear, with lots of blubber to keep me warm, but even I have enough common sense to bundle up when the forecast calls for sleet and 12 inches of snow. Not so with some college students. While I was bundled in a flannel shirt, Navy pea coat, boots, gloves and stocking hat trucking my big butt across the ice covered sidewalks of Missouri State University today, I saw it. So help me, I actually saw someone in a T-shirt and flip-freaking-flops. No coat, no hat, no gloves. He was cool, to say the least and I’m sure he was impressing the ladies.

I’m sure his parents are paying for his college, fraternity experience. I’m equally sure that his rich Daddy buys him books just to have them half eaten during some ravenous, drunken, fraternity dare. Dumb ass. If he was really cool he wouldn’t have been hunkered and turning blue while he walked. If he were really cool he would have walked tall, proudly displaying his family’s waste of a college fund on his stupid self. He was just a dumb ass who didn’t have enough sense to put on a pair of shoes and socks. I love being around the scholarly and erudite.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Elvis and Stars Make Christmas

Our Christmas tree is up and we are listening to Christmas music. Yes, yes, it’s too early for many of you out there. That old argument is as annoying as all that War on Christmas business. People go to boo-hooing about the stores putting up Christmas d├ęcor in November. Not me. I like it and I am going on record. I love Christmas. I love what it stands for and I think peace is something we should remember as often as possible. Our presents are already purchased and being shipped, except for two people. Their gifts are a bit harder. Thanksgiving Day we put up my wife’s family’s tree and then the next day we put up both of our Christmas trees, with stars on top, of course.

If you know me, then you know that there are two things that signify Christmas to me, beyond the reason for the season of course:

  1. The only Christmas tree is one with a star on the top. I don’t really know why that is, but it’s just a weird thing of mine. Anything else is a holiday tree, including some cardboard angel. Nothing against angels, I am down with them, but they don’t belong on the top of a Christmas tree. I have two trees up this year: a Christmas tree with a star on top and a smaller holiday movie-themed tree.
  2. It ain’t Christmas unless Elvis is singing. Growing up my parents always put on their vinyl Elvin Christmas album while we decorated the tree (complete with star on top). That is locked in my mind, for good or bad, and there it stays. To this day, I play my Elvis Christmas CD while decorating. It just makes it Christmas for me. Now I play other Christmas music throughout the season and even during decoration, but it always starts with Elvis. Always.

One year my Mother decided to replace the burned out star on our tree with an angel. She had no idea that would cause any kind of raucous, but it did. I would not have it and pitched a fit, a fine Fat Jack fit, until we went out and bought a star to put on the tree. Silly, true, but it’s just one of those quirks. I have no intention of changing my opinion. In fact I plan on handing down that tradition to my daughter who so far is quite agreeable to the idea. It’s her job to put on the star and she is relentless in the occupation, reminding me from dawn till dusk that it’s her job. I can’t even pick the star up, move it, touch it or even look at it without her running over to make sure that she is the one to place it in its rightful place atop the Christmas tree. I love it. We have so much fun putting all that up.

Saturday was so nice that I decided to put the outdoor lights up too. I got lazy and didn’t do it last year, but this year my little bit helped me out. That is, until she got bored and ran off to play in the tree house. Nothing too elaborate or extensive. Just a few net lights on the bushes and nine strings on the big oak out front – red and white candy cane stripped.

That’s our tradition and I’m sticking to it. November or December, we are excited about Christmas and the season, the celebration and the happiness, the peace and the giving that it represents. The crazy Black Friday shoppers can punch their way into the season to save a few dollars if they want to. I will be home with my family putting our star on the Christmas tree and listening to Elvis. Most of my shopping is done by Thanksgiving anyway. What isn’t I try to buy online anyway. That leaves very little that must be purchased from stores. I just sit back and enjoy the season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Strep Throat

No blogger's meeting for me tonight. Daughter has strep throat and just in case I have it and don't know, I will stay away. Don't want to infect anyone over the holiday. Have fun.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Light Blogging

The semester end is drawing near and projects galore are coming due. Blog posts tend to suffer toward the end of the semester. More posts to come after the semester.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Precious Commodity

I should have paid attention to him, but I was busy getting ready for bed. I know better than to ignore him. He has needs too and he has no playmate, no one with whom to romp and play and wrestle. I learned my lesson quick enough and finally carved some time out for our kitty.

We have a good cat. He doesn’t cause problems or tear things up, with the exception of the one time that he got out of the house and was gone for a week. He sleeps most of the time, but he is a cat and he does have times of high energy. Since he is the only pet and his is by himself all day I’m sure he gets lonely. We try to pay a lot of attention to him. He loves to lie on our laps in the evening. He especially misses me as I am doing homework all the time. Before I started back to school he really enjoyed our nighttime routine where I would sit in my chair and he would curl up on my chest.

Now I sit in my chair at the computer and complete my homework. He lets me know he needs attention by scratching the back of my office chair. He is de-clawed in the front so he doesn’t hurt any of the furniture. If that doesn’t work, then he will typically bit my legs. He doesn’t bit hard, but just tries to get my attention. He loves doing that to my wife in the mornings to remind her to feed him or clean out his box.

I was getting ready for bed last night and Buddy was trying to get my attention. I was trying to ignore him. That’s never a good idea because he won’t let me sleep if I don’t pay attention, but I was stubborn. He threw me a curve ball and changed his game plan. I was standing in the living room brushing my teeth, standing only in my underwear. He was walking through my legs and desperately trying to get me to pay him some mind.

Then the sharp pain hit me. No blood of course, just a light nip and the tip. He stood up on his back legs and bit me in my flanderdoodle. He wanted to play and fight and I was not being cooperative. He knew I was going to bed and that this was his last chance. He took it. I inspected the affected area and no damage was done so I capitulated, and got his sock. We have a sock that we use for him. It covers the length of the arm, up to the bicep, and allows him to play-fight – bite and scratch with his back claws. He really gets after it, panting and huffing. We fought until he was satisfied and then I went to bed. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Decider Has Some Things to Decide

Kitty Kat, wife of Jack, asks something pertinent this morning: “What’s going through President Bush’s mind this morning?” A good question. Horn tooting aside, it’s obvious by last night’s election that the President has lost the support of the majority of people. I think the community at large voted against this president’s war policy last night. That’s nothing prophetic, as the pundits have been talking about this for several days, but it makes sense.

I suspect, with a grin, that he will do what McCarthy did in the days of yore. McCarthy was after the communists and blamed everyone, including Army generals of being pinkos. Got him in a lot of hot water, especially when the discovered that his documentation was fraudulent, thanks to the Tydings Committee’s investigation. McCarthy’s response: The Tydings Committee were communists. The same thing will happen here. By the end of today we will find out that this wasn’t a referendum of the President or his war policy. It was nothing more than the evil liberal media (a.k.a pinko commies) attempt to distort the truth about the war in Iraq. Wait and see.

For the Decider to change his mind and change course would mean that he was wrong all along, and he isn’t about to do that. So we will stay the course and just push harder for those “benchmarks”, but you can bet the farm that those won’t be “timetables”. It’s a hard job being the Decider.

Election Results as of 6 a.m.

I thought us Bloggers might make the election night fun with an Academy Awards game during the election. No such luck. No one would make any predictions or have any fun at all – a fool’s game they cried, the big weenies.

So I bought my wife a coffee and a shot instead. That’s money better spent anyway. She went to her first bloggers meeting last night. I’ll let her tell you what she thought, if she chooses. I think she had a good time.

I went to bed around 11:45 a.m. (much past my usual bed time) and most races were still too late to tell. She, however, stayed up until 2 a.m. watching the results trickle in.

Please realize that of the total 3,734 total precincts 3,570 of them have reported, according to the Secretary of State’s web site. So here are the results as they stand at 6 a.m.

Amendment 2 (stem cell research)
Yes: 50.7% (1,024,2136)
No: 49.3% (996,584)

Amendment 3 (smoking tax)
Yes: 48.3% (976,076)
No: 51.7% (1,043,685)

Amendment 6 (vets non-profit exemption)
Yes: 61.4%
No: 38.6%

Amendment 7 (convicted politicians forfeit state pensions)
Yes: 84.4%
No: 15.6%

Minimum wage increase
Yes: 75.6%
No: 24.4%

Springfield Bar Ban
Yes: 62% (33,088)
No: 38% (20,625)

U.S. Senate: Talent-McCaskill
Talent: 47.4% (986,007)
McCaskill: 49.5% (1,028,375)

State Rep: Champion-Harpool
Champion: 57.5% (36,366)
Harpool: 42.5% (26,929)

State Rep: Dennison-Hagan
Dennison: 55.6% (9,864)
Hagan: 44.4% (7,888)

State Rep: Marsh-Owens
Marsh: 56% (7,677)
Owens: 44% (6,040)

State Rep: Viebrock-Brown-Rodgers
Viebrock: 63.4% (10,492)
Brown: 33.5% (5,536)
Rodgers: 3.1% (515)

Presiding Commission: Coonrod-Roark-Jones
Coonrod: 50% (48,946)
Roark: 46% (44,901)
Jones: 5% (4,423)

County Clerk: Struckhoff-Johnson
Struckhoff: 79% (73,127)
Johnson: 21% (19.202)

Prosecuting Attorney: Brown-Moore
Brown: 38% (36,739)
Moore: 62% (61,162)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Back Of The Line

There were long lines at the polls. No real surprise there. What surprised me was one poll worker. They had two lines at my polling place, one for A-K and one for L-Z. There were two little handwritten signs hidden behind the lines of people and a young college student at the door mousily alerting people about the lines. I couldn’t hear her, but I knew what to do anyway.

My line was pretty short. At the front of the line was an elderly lady, with a walker. She was in the wrong line. The poll worker was telling her that she would have to walk her way to the end of the long A-K line. The line curved to the door. He explained that her name just was not listed in his book. It was in the book sitting next to him, but that was someone else’s line.

He was bound and determined to see her shuffle and stand for another 30 minutes, which she clearly was unable to do. The man in the other line sweetly offered her to cut in line, which she did.

The signs were poor and people were confused. The elderly surely were confused about the lines and I’m wondering how important it is to force a senior citizen with a walker to the end of the line. Thank God for good Samaritans who don’t mind line cuts.

Great Election Results Here

If you are looking for great election results check out the Secretary of State's office web site.

Election Night Blogging

Tonight is the night that the Springfield bloggers do our first live blogging election event. Odds are you already knew that, but you may want to know which of the bloggers are actually participating in this first time event?

Check it, peeps. I’ll list the members here. You can click and visit each site throughout the night to see what’s happening. I will update this post with new members if they come in late, so remember to check this article out if you want to know who is pontificating. As of 7:27 p.m. this is who is here:

Branson Missouri
Curbstone Critic
Dad’s On A Rant
Rhetorica (it's all his idea)
Simple Thoughts of a Complext Mind
Tony Messenger – News-Leader
Zach is Here

Predictions Anyone?

Damn that infernal Blogger website for being cantankerous today. It appears to be working for the moment so I will post before it fails again. I really don’t know what good making predictions on electoral races does for us, but to show us now and again that the pundits are wrong. Other than for fun, it seems a bit contrived.

That is, unless you are making a game of it. Now that sounds like fun to me. To the member of the Springfield Bloggers who gets the most predictions correct: A drink of my choice. If you participate, then you will drink what I give you (from Patton Alley Pub) unless of course you qualify for an accommodation, but you best bring documentation. The good news is I’ll have what you’re having, so it won’t be all bad. All predictions must be posted on your own site by 7 p.m. tonight (when polls close). If you post early and want to make changes, then that’s fine as long as your last post is by 7 p.m. If you don’t have your own blog, then you are just out of luck.

Here is the lowdown on how I think the election will roll:

Amendment 2 (stem cell research) – PASSES
Amendment 3 (smoking tax) – FAILS
Amendment 6 (vets non-profit exemption) – PASSES
Amendment 7 (convicted politicians forfeit state pensions) – PASSES
Minimum wage increase – PASSES
Springfield Bar Ban – PASSES

U.S. Senate: Talent-McCaskill – McCASKILL WINS
State Rep: Champion-Harpool – HARPOOL WINS
State Rep: Dennison-Hagan – HAGAN WINS
State Rep: Marsh-Owens – MARSH WINS
State Rep: Viebrock-Brown-Rodgers – BROWN WINS
Presiding Commission: Coonrod-Roard-Jones – COONROD WINS
County Clerk: Struckhoff-Johnson – STRUCKHOFF WINS
Prosecuting Attorney: Brown-Moore – MOORE WINS

Election Thoughts at 6 a.m.

The news is reporting that there are already huge lines at the polls today. Not surprised as this should have a large voter turnout. Everyone election should have a large voter turnout but we know how that goes. More to say throughout the day and especially tonight starting sometime around 7 p.m. when the mass blogging event begins here in Springfield.

I have no idea what I will be reporting on tonight. Maybe the results, maybe the discussion, maybe my thoughts. There will be others reporting as well and you will want to check out their blogs as well. I've be sure to give you a list later on this eve, once I know who all is live and blogging for your election pleasure.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Harpool Has Something To Say

I've been remiss in my political coverage this election cycle. Early on I wrote about my the Representative race in my district, but that was before school got in the way. College has a tendency to do that. I've been so engrossed in what I have been doing, that I haven't written about the Champion/Harpool race. For that matter, I haven't written about the Talen/McCaskil race either.

Harpool has a lot to say about education, medicaid, taxes, public service, and of course campaign finance reform. Champion doesn't seem to have much to say anymore, relying on her name recognition only.

I am making time for Doug Harpool today. He deserves it. He understands the Medicaid crisis and how people have been damaged by those cuts. Champion does not, as is seen in the video above, but her's is the typical Republican mantra: No one who really needed it, lost any services. Rep. Viebrock from Republic says the same thing.

I am putting my money on the person who supports persons with disabilities who were drastically affected by the medicaid cuts. I support the person who wants to help education – elementary, secondary and higher edcucation. I suppor the person who wants to push for campaign finance reform. Harpool stands for all of those and Champion … well she stands for none of them. It's an easy vote for me. I only wish I had endorsed him earlier, then he could have used it on his campaign materials:

Endorsed by Fat Jack, or maybe
Fat Jack Seal of Approval or possibly
A Rating from Fat Jack

Either way, I owe him an appology. Someone that impresses me as much as he has deserves an blog post early on in the election.

I'm Fat Jack and I approve of this candidate.

Live and Blogging on Election Day

I shall be sporting my polticial boxing bow tie
Beau Ties Ltd on election day.

Tuesday night will be brimming with babbling – blogging – as many of Springfield’s finest citizen journalists will be meeting for a live blog event at our usual hangout at the Patton Alley Pub. With laptops in hand we will be reporting on the election results throughout the night. This mid-term election should prove to be one of the most exciting in a long time.

The idea came from Rhetorica and a dandy idea it was. We will discuss local, state and national politics, but I’m sure other topics will come up. Bloggers and non-bloggers alike are invited to attend and no laptop is necessary. We are a nice bunch and are most willing to share. The members are made up of conservatives, liberals and even a libertarian. If you stop by you can participate, learn how to blog, or just watch the fun.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

JACK’S Annual Halloween Freak Fest

My wife and I have, for several years, entertained the youth in our family with a Halloween Freak Fest. We have taken our young ones out for a spooky night on the town complete with scary movies, haunted houses and the haunted corn maize in Verona, MO.

This year’s party expanded quite a bit with the introduction of some new teens and adults. My teen cousins, Austin and Jessica came, along with Austin’s mom, Dede, and a friend of hers. Kitty Kat, wife of JACK, stayed behind and took our little girly to the annual fall carnival at her school. Proceeds of the corn maize benefit the Verona Boys’ Home.

It’s always a good time. Austin and I have done this for a long time, and as fun as the corn maize is, we’ve decided that the haunted houses are better. Our goal is to someday take a trip to the haunted houses in Kansas City. I’ve been to them once and it was a fantastic time.

After the spookfest, the kids stayed the night and we watched the Stephen King classic, Children of the Corn. By the way, I remember Children of the Corn being much spookier than it really is. The special effects, in light of today, just do not hold up well. I found the movie a bit lacking especially at the end.

The next morning, the younger cousin, Evan, came up and spent the day with us all. He’s still a bit young for the haunted houses. Saturday afternoon we watched the PG children’s horror movie, Something Wicked This Way Comes. It holds up to the test of time better than Children of the Corn. It’s a bit spooky for the very young ones, I think, but it’s still appropriate.

After they left we took a nap and headed to a Halloween party. This too is an annual party with some of our friends from college. Most of us have children now, and so they play together and we hang out and talk about what ails us. This year we had some old friends fly in from Seattle to join the party. It was nice to see them. The kids and the adults dress up at this party. We didn’t this year, which is unusual for us. I just didn’t feel up to it what with just having surgery. Everyone else dressed up and that makes it lots of fun when the grown ups dress up too.

Click here for the kids’ party
Click here for the college friends