Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Regarding the blogger's meeting on Thursday night, I am going to go to Patton Alley closer to 6 p.m. if anyone wants to join me early. That way I can have more time with you crazy typists. I am busting out at 7:45 p.m. so I can see the historic Vice Presidential debate. Come on and admit it. You are more interested in that debate than you are watching Obama and McCain. I know I am.

So don't think me bad for calling a meeting then leaving early. Feel free to do the same. Thusly, I am revising the meeting time to 6 p.m. but you can come and go as you please.

Don't stay home Thursday night. You can come to the blogger's meet up and watch the debate.

Monday, September 29, 2008


I posted an article regarding two statements that were made at the recent presidential debate. It occured to me that there are some deep implications in these statements worth discussion and some introspection.

Along came Jackie Melton, conservative blogger.

She and I had an excellent discussion on the topic. Imagine, a pinko commie and a fundamentalist hater being civil! (I feel it necessary to put a disclaimer in here for the ignorant who seem incapable to distinguish real smears with playful japes. I'm not a pinko commie and she's not a fundy hater.) That's because we didn't fall into the typical attacks and smears of many bloggers who can dish it out but not take it.

Both Jackie and I, on the other hand, can take it and dish it and smile the whole time. We are not the only ones; there are others in blogistan with the same, but not many. Seems like too many bloggers get their panties in a knot over nothing. We talk politics or religion, but they cannot handle being criticized or questioned, putting them on the attack and making all kinds of accusations, rather than discussing the issue. If you have run into folks with knots in their underbritches, have you noticed that theyalso happen to be the ones who love to dish out challenges and criticize others? What's the word? Oh, it's irony.

Here is a perfect example of two opposing people discussion and debating an issue without getting all worked up. Not that we don't take shots. We do. Jackie made a comment about "simple-minded readers." I laughed when she did it, because that was a technique that I use myself. Great jab! That's the key, isn't it? To laugh and have fun with it. I knew Jackie was having fun with me, goading me. I did the same with the intial post. I expected heated reactions. Sure.

Read the post and the comments if you choose and know that we can have fun at one another's expense, be critical and serious, and discuss controversial and emotional topics all at the same time.

Thanks, Jackie. I loved every minute of it.


British actor, Kenneth Branagh, is slated to direct Thor, eventually leading to The Avengers of which Hulk, Iron Man and Thor are all members. Thor is set for 2010. No word on who plays the part of the blond-headed, hammer-wielding god of thunder.

I enjoy mythology. Although Marvel's character is a departure I enjoy Thor's story. That hammer of his is some kind of cool.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Last night’s debate was bang up with no clear winner. In my estimation both Obama and McCain held their ground solidly, each appealing to his or her own side. I don’t think the debate made any difference in anyone’s mind, including those supposedly undecided voters. I seriously doubt most voters who claim such a moniker are actually undecided, but that’s another issue.

One comment that most pundits seemed to miss was Obama’s retort to McCain’s excellent anecdote about the mother who asked him to wear a bracelet and to not let her son’s death be in vain. Obama calmly said, “I have a bracelet, too.” He proceeded to bring forward the host of military families who are not in lock-step with the war in Iraq.

I think these stories illustrate the division of the American public on the issue of Iraq. Besides illustrating that difference, I think there is some serious philosophical issues going on, issues that affect our outlook on life, politics and religion. Try this:

  1. Please do not let my son’s death be in vain.
  2. Please do not any other family go through what our family is enduring.

(Here is a hint. The powerful implications are in bold.)

If the not-so-subtle nuances of these two statements are lost on you, then you likely haven’t given enough though to why you believe what you believe, regardless of which statement you choose to align with.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


If you have a young girl in your house, a little lady ages 6-12 you may want to consider DC's newest girl of steel:

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade #1

This 32-page, full color monthly comic goes on sale December 3 for $2.50 per issue. The DC website has this to say:

Meet Linda Lee! She’s the newest kid on the block – and the planet, too! Find out how an ordinary girl from Krypton became the most extraordinary girl on Earth in the pages of this brand new monthly series. And if you think life is tough as a hero, try being in the eighth grade.

As Larry over at Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind can attest, this comic is exactly why I got into comics in the first place. I wanted to promote reading with my child from an early age, but I also wanted her to enjoy the geeky things I loved. I wanted girl comics. Turns out, they are not terribly easy to find, especially for elementary-aged girls. That is even more true for the superhero genre. There are more and more independent titles with strong female characters, but most of the superhero genre involves titles that are too mature or are team oriented.

My girl needs a girl she can look up to, a girl with strength and intelligence, a girl who knows who she is. My daughter, and most girls out there in my opinion, need an appropriate, female superhero.

I have already placed my order with my local comic book shop. Actually, I am placing three orders for this comic. I have some girls in mind that are getting a subscription to Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade courtesy of Fat Jack and Skinny Kitty because reading (and the enjoyment of reading) is just that important to the success of every child.

You can read an interview of the writer here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Since John Stone died, our blogger's meetings have plumb gone down the toilet and I think it stinks. So much so, that I'm organizing one myself. Larry, over at Simple Thoughts dropped the ball as he was elected chairman of the blogger's meetings at our last meeting, during the Blogaronis. He sucks at the job, but I believe that we should hold him to his conservative values of staying the course and personal responsibility by keeping him at the job. I'm just going to help him out a bit this first time to get things rolling.

Blogger's Meeting
Thursday, October 2
Patton Alley Pub
6:30 p.m.

Notice the night has changed to a Thursday. I have classes on Monday and Tuesday nights. This is open to all bloggers of all political ideologies, religious bents (even the crazy fundamentalists), ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender. You may or may not choose to drink. Some do and some don't. Patton Alley also offers food so you can eat there if you wanna.

It's understood that we do not out anonymous bloggers and we do not blog about what people say at the meetings without consent. That way it is a fun outting for us all.

Springfield School's Super is a Blogger

Norm Ridder, Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools has his own blog called Norm's Notes. It's only been up since August, but I think it is a good thing when school administrators embrace technology in their own offices. That translates to technological advancements in the classroom, something that is necessary for the 21st century student.

With boundary issues and future bonds on the table right now, I think it is important for the community to have access to the school district's head honcho. The direct line to Doc Ridder is an important aspect when you want the support of the community.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cars and Bikes in Lebanon

Taking things too personally, I am going to mount a serious smear campaign against the guy who owned that sparkling 1957 Harley Davidson that beat me out of a well deserved first place at Saturday’s Route 66 Rally in Lebanon. Like restoring a classic bike, from wheel-to-wheel, is any kind of real accomplishment. P-shaw.

An example of a 1957 Harley. The one in the show didn't
have saddle bags and was red and white with lots of chrome.

I suppose a second place to his red beauty is not so bad. It was a beautiful bike after all and he did ride it off the lot. No trailers for him, which I respect. I also respect the fact that he had a suicide shift and a kick start. I just know I’d kill myself with either one of those.

Lebanon was host to two events on Saturday: Ozark Harley-Davidson’s 10 year anniversary and the Route 66 Rally. There were cars and bikes on the lot at the rally, some works in progress and others pristine.

What the heck, I entered my bike in the show. I just got my 16-inch ape hangers, grips and chrome levers put on as well as a chrome nut for the toe shifter. Many of H-D’s bikes come with a heel-toe shifter. I just hate those things; they get in my way. I took the heel shifter off, but that leaves me with an exposed nut. So I bought a little chrome piece for it.

This is a heel-toe shifter. Notice, when you take off the
heel shifter, it exposes the bar. They make a chrome
piece just for that. I installed it in the parking lot of the H-D store.

The Route 66 Rally had an open competition with only two real motorcycle categories: domestic and metric. So there were all kinds of bikes – stock, custom, rat bikes and everything in between – competing against one another. I had 15-20 bikes in my category and felt good about my second place. Truth is, my bike had no business winning against that guy’s 57. It was something to behold. Second place is not bad for a first bike show.

My dad, and both parents-in-law went to Lebanon together. They ride metric bikes – he a slick 1980’s Gold Wing 1500 and she a Yamaha – so they didn’t stick around at the H-D anniversary. Not much there for them. But we caught up with them at the Route 66 Rally, where there were all kinds of bikes and cars. The father-in-law, Roy, used build and racecars back in the day. My dad raced too, but mostly in illegal street races with his daily ride. Teenagers.

(NOTE: I would have included pictures of the actual bikes and the rallies, but I forgot my camera. I am ashamed and disgraced. Pitiful behavior from someone who claims to be a blogger.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mecha Manga Bible Heroes: Retelling the Bible in the 23rd Century

Christian mythology set in the future with robots and whatnot? Why not? Who says the heroes of the Bible must be viewed only within real historical context? Who is to say that same stories, the same political and religious strife, wars and struggles cannot be told within a mechanized futuristic backdrop?

Newsarama published an excellent story on a new comic, Mecha Manga Bible Heroes. So much Christian literature is nothing more than a church service rather than a piece of literature. The morale being the only thing that really matters, which of course turns off many readers. Trite and didactic writing, while good intentioned I suppose, is boring and people tend to put it down.

After reading the interview, I didn’t get that feeling with Mecha Manga Bible Heroes. I think it is meant to relate Christian mythology (please read that word with a positive connotation) and not meant to preach and convert. It's supposed to be fun and offer a Christian worldview.

I am intrigued and wonder what the kids at church would think? I suspect it might make the Bible come alive for them.

Click here for the Newsarama Interview

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A New Blog by an Old Blogger

Blogging is an addictive hobby. It catches on and lights a fire in the bellies of people who have things to say. Sometimes, what we want to say is not appropriate in one venue. So we start others. That's what the manager of the Complaints Department has done. Visit his political blog, Independent Titan.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And Yet They Drink The Kool-Aid

The economy is in the toilet as institution after institution is crumbling. Meanwhile, one of our presidential candidates has been touting the foundations of our economy as strong. He’s been quoted saying it time and time again, but it is not playing well with the American public. Despite the fact that our Republican administration continues to tell us it’s all okay, the people are reeling from empty pocket books, lost homes, and impending bankruptcies.

Granted, he’s “clarified” his position saying now that he was referring to the great American worker. It’s crapola, of course. No one is buying it, including those American workers he is so proud of (all of a sudden). He’s planted his feet on the foundations of the Bush economic plan and its has done nothing but slide downhill, heading right for the cesspool at the end of the property.

And yet they drink the Kool-Aid.

And now his top pick for second in command is refusing to comply with the law. We are supposed to believe, I guess, that she is so innocent in the affair, so squeaky freaking clean, that she is no longer going to cooperate with an investigation. What would a McCain-Palin ticket look like if they were elected, if this is the transparency that they have been talking about in their many speeches?

And yet they drink the Kool-Aid.

That’s okay. We the People are free to believe what we want, in spite of the fact that the Republican-controlled Presidency and Republican-controlled Congress (until recently) has set the agenda, put the policies in place, and deregulated an industry that has taken advantage of the public and sold our strong economy to the god of all things porcelain. But the rich, for the most part, are doing just fine.

They clamor and call, trying to trick the public into believing that the evil Democrats will raise taxes on the middle class, that they will take the last few dollars that people have. It doesn’t matter that such rattletrap has been proven a lie. The election isn’t about issues. I’m not sure any presidential election is ever about issues. If it were, a tanked economy and the failed war would seal the deal.

The mud still flies. The machine cranks out lies. The public grows tired and weary of trying to sift through the garbage. They turn off the news and watch some reality show, waiting out the election.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Register to Vote Online

Registering to vote just became easier thanks to the Internet. If you click here you can:
  1. Register to vote
  2. Request to vote absentee
  3. Find your polling location
There is no reason not to register, vote and participate in democracy. Besides, it then gives you a free license to piss and moan.

Cat in the Fat

What the Hell is that? I came home one night and there was animal vomit all over the new kitchen rug. It was white and there was a lot of it. I should have taken a picture, but I didn’t think of it at the time. The spot was bigger than a pie plate.

After a few minutes I figured out what happened. I cooked chili that day. I drain the beef grease into a bowl and let it cool. I don’t want that in my pipes clogging crap up. After it congeals, I scrape it into the trash. I also rinse my beef to make it healthier.

I left the bowl of fat, from two pounds of beef, on the kitchen counter to harden then left, not giving it a thought. The cat, in his infinite idiocy thought it would be fun to jump up on the kitchen counters – a thing he never does when we are there – and ate half a bowl of fat. It was a significant amount of it, too.

Oh it made his nasty butt sick, which I found funny; he deserved it. The fat mixed with his stomach juices made for one nasty mess. It permeated the rug and got on the floor underneath. I don’t think I can get it out of the rather porous rug. It’s soaked all the way through. It sucks as my parents just bought us that rug.

I just thought I would share my cat’s nasty habits with you. Something different from the political fare of late. Or is it? I report; you decide.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bikers for Obama Speak Their Mind

Rep. Sara Lampe takes a spin on Don Woolsey's
bike after the BIKERS FOR OBAMA rally.

Personal freedoms, health care for American workers, purchasing American products, democracy, and American business investments back into American communities were just some of the issues that BIKERS FOR OBAMA brought up at the rally today. Rep. Sara Lampe, Rep. Charlie Norr, and some local workers all spoke.

Lampe, when asked by KY3’s David Catanese why the American government should be forced to buy American products, as the free market can determine the best products and the best prices, she retorted that we should not purchase products that were made in overseas sweatshops and unknowingly support, through our tax dollars, human trafficking.

David Catanese, KY3, asks questions of Rep. Sara Lampe.

John Cook, Bryan Emory and Don Wooley – local blue collar, Harley-riding workers – also gave speeches talking about the importance of the American worker and American products. It was their speeches, really, that resonated with me. “I care who built that motorcycle,” said Emory about his Harley-Davidson.

Bryan Emory tells the crowd the importance
of his American-made motorcycle.

I think that is true about most, if not all, Harley owners. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle is a part of American iconography. It is as uniquely American as comic books. Harley riders do not ride just to save gas. The experience of the road, that deep sound of horsepower chugging along Route 66, and the pride of Harley ownership is something special, something that we treasure. It’s not a motorcycle; it is a lifestyle.

These regular Joes, if you will, these hard working, blue collar men tapped into their beliefs and pride of the American dream and the American experience. To them America is not about making as much money as possible, it is not about golden CEO parachutes or unregulated banks cashing in on consumerism, it is not about greed at the expense of the community. America is about hard-working Americans living a good life.

For John Cook, American jobs are
integral to a functioning democracy.

The message from these workers was clear and strong: We cannot support policies that ship American jobs overseas. They advocate to end the tax breaks for businesses that engage in such practices, a policy that is supported by Barack Obama and opposed by John McCain.

Rep. Charlie Norr takes pride in American workers.

Lampe pointed out the inconsistency when she asked Catanese how a group can proclaim itself as “Country First” if that same group then supports jobs being shipped overseas? These guys were especially harsh, even angry, that McCain (according to them) opposed buying Harley Davidsons for the Secret Service. They, of course, take pride when they see law enforcement riding the greatest symbol of American motorcycling. To those of us who ride a Harley, the bar and shield symbolizes freedom.

The Harley-Davidson is a lifestyle not a motorcycle.

Church Gets Restraining Order Against 13-Year-Old Autistic Parishioner

Time and again we here at Fat Jack’s Erratic Rants have addressed the issue of church and disability and the conflict that arises in many churches across the nation when it comes to accommodating and accepting persons with disabilities in the faith.

One church obtained a restraining order, prohibiting one family from bringing their 13-year-old son with Autism, Adam, to church. The issue is complicated and is further muddled by the dissimilar claims on both sides. You should read the stories for yourself before chiming in. I will give a quick overview:

  • Adam wet his pants in church.
  • Adam almost knocked down an elderly person.
  • Adam hit a child.
  • Adam got into a parishioner’s car, started it and revved it up.

  • The church’s claims are exaggerated.
  • Adam has never urinated on anyone.
  • Adam has never spit on anyone.
  • Adam has never knocked anyone down.
  • Adam has not injured anyone.

Mom Fights Church Ban on her Autistic Son
Autistic Kid’s Outbursts Stir Furor and Guilt
Court Sides with Church on it’s Ban of Autistic Teen
Mother of Autistic Teen Gets Symbolic Support as She Prepares for Court

Previously, we ran an agency for persons with disabilities. More often than not, we encountered discrimination, intolerance, and disgust toward persons with disabilities. I have related before many stories from many parents who were asked by their churches to leave because of a child with Autism or another disability. People who are ignorant of Autism and other disabilities, simply assume that the child is not being disciplined properly.

There are churches who have made changes, developed accommodations, and educated the congregations so that people are more accepting and understanding. In most cases, this education fixes the problem so that everyone is welcome in worship.

More contemporary services can be especially good, as the services tend not to be so quite, but more celebatory, which creates an environment where a persons who has Austim and has verbal outbursts is not distracting. My friend, Clay, runs a church in the area. He has several persons with Autism and other disabilities. He has related to me several times that he and his congregation understand that those outbursts are this persons’ way of communicating with God and the service.

Having worked in the field, we do know that some persons can be very difficult. Some families do not seek out the required training needed to raise a child with Autism. There is not enough information in the stories to determine if that is the case with Adam. He is over 6-feet all and 225 pounds. That makes for a monstrous 13-year-old boy. Puberty does crazy things to children with disabilities, and violent tendencies can and do occur.

However, a loving church, in most circumstances, can create an environment where the issues are minimized. For instance, the elderly persons may choose to wait until Adam has left his pew, before getting up. If families do not leave their keys in the ignition, then neither he nor any other child will be able to start an automobile. The parents may need to remember that they must keep a closer watch on their son at all times.

Perhaps an organization like Springfield’s Judevine could intervene and assist both the church and the family so that everyone’s needs can be met. The congregation can learn about the brain disorder and the family can learn how to work with the church and empathize with the church’s concerns.

Education, acceptance and understanding takes time, patience and love. Churches can, in almost all instances, learn to adapt to the growing needs of the diverse community and be more accepting of all persons who need to worship. It seems to me that the churches need to accept the challenge of meeting the needs of the less fortunate. I seriously doubt that Christ would advocate for a restraining order against a child, banning him from church. Churches can begin that process now by talking about this issue.

My pastor sent me the links in this story. It came to him through our participation in The Wired Word, a weekly Sunday School curriclum that uses contemporary culture to discuss Christ in the 21st Century. The very issue of Adam and the push-pull of accommodating challenging populations is the subject of this week’s discussion. How do we as a church handle such a situation if it were to arise. What does the Bible say? It is this proactive approach that makes churches accessible to the people it serves.

Circuit Clerk Candidate, Jim Lee, Answers Questions About His Candidacy

With Obama-McCain et al. getting all of the attention lately, the local candidates get lost in the piles of bull biscuits. Yet these folks are the ones who make our local government function, and they have a lot to do with our everyday lives. They deserve our attention, our thoughtful reflections, our consideration. With that …

I sat down with Jim Lee, candidate for Circuit Clerk, for a quick interview. With he on one side of the Internets and me on the other, he offered his thoughts on the job, his reasons for running, and the changes he has planned.

The Circuit Clerk is responsible for maintaining complete and accurate records of the court, collecting, accounting for, and disbursing all monies paid into the court; and performing other duties, as necessary to assist the court in performing its duties. Some of the duties of a court clerk are:
  • Receive, process, and maintain the judgments, rules, orders, and all other proceedings of the court.
  • Issue and process: summons, subpoenas, executions, garnishments, sequestrations, judgments, orders, and commitments.
  • Collect and disburse all fines and costs.
  • Collect and disburse other monies paid into court as ordered by the court.
  • Select and summon jurors.
  • Preserve the court seal and other property of the office.
  • Provide uniform case reporting.
  • Assist with genealogical searches including: criminal records (excluding traffic and misdemeanors), civil (excluding orders of protection, small claims, landlord-tenant issues, and judgments less than $25,000), dissolutions, name changes, juvenile, adoptions, financial, paternity, child support, and immigration records
  • Process passport application.

I was approached by several attorneys last March and asked if I was interested in running for Greene County Circuit Clerk. These attorneys indicated to me that there were significant shortfalls in the current operation of the office that went beyond the JIS software. These shortfalls have not been resolved.

  • More mistakes are being made now than ever before.
  • The files contain errors or, even worse, get lost.
  • There is a large turnover in staff.
  • There is evidence of a lack of attention to detail and a cavalier attitude towards the circuit clerk position by the current Clerk (“It’s not rocket science”).
  • The ‘file by fax’ program is cumbersome and inefficient.
  • Hand filed paper work is misfiled, misplaced or lost.
  • The Circuit Clerk’s position is a full time position and should be treated as such.
These attorneys knew of me from my previous involvement in the political process. They believe I possess the skills, judgment and experience to restore the public’s confidence in the Circuit Clerk’s office.

While it is not unique to have a college degree, a distinction between the current Clerk and me is that I have a Bachelor of Science degree in education. I am not only proud of this achievement but it is an indication that I am able to formulate a course of action and see it through to completion. After graduation from MSU, I taught 6th grade in the Nixa school district. In 1992, the Missouri State Teachers Association hired me as their Southwest Regional Coordinator. During my tenure with MSTA, membership increased from fewer than 3,000 members to over 10,000 members in the Southwest Region. I have demonstrated abilities to lead, to manage, to motivate and to achieve goals. I work hard, I work honest, and I don’t try to kid anyone.

The duties of the Circuit Clerk are spelled out quite specifically by Missouri state law and the rules of the Court. So, when I am elected I won’t be making any statutory changes — that is up to the legislature.

What I will do is this: I will see to it that the laws of Missouri and the rules of the Court are followed. I will see to it that the staff of the Circuit Clerk’s office is proficient in serving the citizens of Greene County. I will put into place people who have experience in the business of the Court. I will bring in knowledgeable personnel to train and cross-train the Circuit Clerk staff. (If funding is not available for such training, I will pay for it myself.) I will bring accuracy and efficiency back to the Circuit Clerk’s office.

Most of us will never have any contact with the Circuit Clerk's office. But if we should, our expectations are such that our business will be conducted in a timely manner, that the information contained in our case file will be accurate and up-to-date, and that we will be treated with the dignity, respect and professionalism that we deserve from our public servants.

The issues in the race are accuracy, efficiency, competency, the ability to read and follow directions, and who has the capability to judiciously lead and manage the office. The Clerk’s job is to follow the law, not interpret it.

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these questions with you.

I thought I would have some fun at his opponent's expense by talking a bit about his opponent's Decalogue debacle, but Lee would have none of it, instead keeping his focus on the job at hand. I think that is especially telling of Lee and his professionalism and commitment to the job. The Circuit Clerk is not about religion but about serving the court system efficiently and he takes that seriously.

We have all heard stories about the backed-up court system and if the stories are true that the current office of the Circuit Clerk's is not working properly, then that will only serve to exacerbate the problem.

I know Lee. Certainly, knowing a candidate plays a significant role in the electoral process. It goes a long way when it comes to trusting a candidate. In typical Lee fashion, his down-to-Earth perspective and attitude is exemplified in his quote: "I work hard, I work honest, and I don’t try to kid anyone."

Therefore, the editorial board of Fat Jack Enterprises, Inc. supports Lee for Circuit Clerk.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bikers for Obama

When I say "bikers" I mean it in the real sense, the manly sense, the ground-pounding, throttle-rocking, horse power sense of the word. Those of the peddling variety, who are cool in their own right, are "bicyclists" not "bikers".

Bikers for Obama are riding for change this Friday. The purpose is to support Obama's commitment to "buy American". McCain supports policies that take American jobs overseas. I have both a Honda Shadow and a Harley-Davidson. Did you know that my Honda motorcycle is American made?

Fat Jack is making arrangements to cover the event, both as a biker and a blogger.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who Is T. Boone Pickens and What is His Energy Plan for America?

Have you been watching the political ads lately? Who is this T. Boone Pickens dude? Once the funding behind the Swift Boat Veterans, now he wants to change the environment. I have to admit, I am skeptical, but intrigued at the same time. I just don't know what to make of the guy. I'm a supporter of alternative energy forms.

According to his website, he says he is an old oil guy who states "The simple truth is that cheap and easy oil is gone." He supports wind power, natural gas, and bio-fuels. His site is worth the time to check out.

He sure is spending a lot of money on ads for someone who is not running for office. Does he have a axe? Does he have a hidden agenda or is he altruistic? As far as I've seen he is not being discussed in the media, despite his self-insertion into the political landscape. Why aren't we asking the candidates about the Pickens Plan and how they feel about it? Where is the media when it comes to this guy?

T. Boone Pickens on Wikipedia
T. Boone Pickens website

I’m Only Talking About Local Politics for a Change

I’m taking a break from national politics. It’s making me crazy – infuriating the ever-loving crap out of me. Heck with it. I know who I am voting for. I’m taking an Obama-McCain hiatus to focus on local politics. Oh you know, the people we are also voting for come November, the people on the lower end of the ticket, the folks who run our city and state government – pretty important and less controversial and hateful. The national scene is just getting too nasty for my taste.

In the last election, I supported Nancy Hagan as my local representative in Jefferson City. She was running against incumbent and fibber Charlie Dennison. I accuse him of not telling the truth as I have first hand knowledge. We traveled to Jeff City and talked with him back in the day when the Medicaid cuts were being discussed. He assured us that no one who really needed services would be cut. He promised, in fact, that if anyone who really needed the services was cut, he would fight for them and to get it repealed.

We knew then it was a load of horse-hockey. Sure enough, when real people in wheelchairs with spinal cord injuries were hurt seriously, such as my friend, we contacted old Dennison. He refused to correspond with us in any way.

We interviewed Nancy Hagan back then and she had a great platform. We supported her then and we support her now. She is a retired teacher. You can read the interviews of Hagan during the last election here and here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cancer Sucks!

Took time out from homework on Monday to donate my energy, money, time and gas to caner, or rather the fighting thereof. A big group of bikers, Ride for the Relay, are riding from Chicago to Los Angeles, raising money to fight cancer.

Here is the route.

The in-laws, who each have their own bike, joined the ride this year. Roy, my father-in-law, led the group from Joplin to Springfield. I rode up to Steak-n-Shake, ate lunch and rode with the group for a while. We scooted along Route 66 and stopped at Paris Springs where we hung out at Gay Parita’s old time filling station. We had Route 66 root beer from a bottle, signed his book, and looked at his old trucks. Busplunge would have loved this place.

Paris Springs on Route 66 (now Highway 266).

I could not go on. I had to pick up my daughter from school and then go to night class. But it was worth it to take some time out of the day to contribute to something bigger than myself. Motorcyclists are great about donating money to worthy causes: cancer, MS, MD, Toys for Tots, and the list goes on and on. I can't keep up with all the charity rides in the Ozarks. I'd go broke if I tried to do them all. Toys for Tots is especially interesting as we do it in the first weekend of December. It can be an awful cold ride in December.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Five Nasty Apocalyptic Prophecies from Around the World

The world’s religions are full of all kinds of death, disease and end-world times, but I am really only familiar with the Christian view (of which there are more than one version). Cracked has done it again with a list of apocalyptic doom and gloom. The best part is that Cracked matches the prophecy with an appropriate heavy metal album cover. Consider this your religious reading for the week.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Lies About Obama, This Time by McCain

FactCheck.org has the skinny on McCain’s false claims about Obama and his tax plan. I could go on and on about it, demonstrating how McCain is purposefully putting out lies, but why bother when you can get the information straight from the horses website.

I will say that we have an interesting thing going on here. Obama has a tax plan that touts tax cuts for the middle class, us, the regular folks. The truth is, Obama is only raising taxes on those families who make more than $250,000 or individuals whose income is more than $200,000. We know that these folks are not middle class.

The fact checking goes on and on how McCain continues to hammer away at things that he knows are false, but he does them anyway. The site continues to be updated as McCain churns out more falsehoods about Obama.

I bought into the guy, not so long ago. I believed in John McCain and promoted him on this blog as a Maverick, a go-getter, a different kind of politican, someone above the lies. It makes me mad as thunder to see him take the low road and smear his opponent just to win an election.

The Maverick promised us a clean campaign, one free from this crap, but that was many days ago, before The Maverick died.

The facts stand for themselves and the truth is that the taxes are only going to happen to those wealthy folks who own a bunch of homes.

Friday, September 05, 2008

On Non-Voting

Our friendly manager of the Internet Complaint Department is on a tirade about non-voters, as well he should be. I chimed in over there but thought I should walk a step further and report my thoughts over here.

What is it we celebrate about America? That thing that makes us different and better? Oh yeah, democracy. The cornerstone of which are free elections.

Flag-waving, chest-thumping, and chanting 9/11 do not make one patriotic, regardless how big the flag is, how hard the chest is thumped or how loud the idiot.

Participating in democracy and the voting process is the most significant way that a person can celebrate democracy and be patriotic. That is exactly what I plan on teaching my future children. Not voting is apathy and nothing more than a careless shoulder shrug of what makes America great.

Who says that? I say that. My name is Fat Jack and I freaking approve of this bad-ass message! Now I'm off on my new motorcycle to the Missouri statewide H.O.G rally here in rainy town.

(CDM: Skinny Kitty is still diggin' on the Mr. Pibb and she don't share. She thanks you every time she opens a can.)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Save The House of Steel

The house where Joel Siegel conceived the character, Superman, is in dilapidated. The site, OrdinaryPeopleChangetheWorld.com is stripping off it’s button-down oxford and saving the house of the Man of Steel.

You can donate money, bid on one-of-kind comic art in a comic celebrity auction, or purchase a T-shirt. You can read more at AICN (which turned us on to the story) and here.

Has The World Gone Topsy-Turvey?

Palin did a bang up job last night and proved that this contest is going to get interesting and nasty. I do have one bone to pick: The Republicans are not about equal rights for women, despite their spin suggesting otherwise in this campaign. This was illustrated by the “hot chick” buttons a-plenty at the RNC last night. We saw both:

  • “Hoosiers for the Hot Chick”
  • “Hottest VP”

They want to play that the liberals are mounting a sexist attack against Palin, when it is the media that is asking the fair question regarding balancing home and politics. Forget the fact that Obama and Biden have already answered the question, placing the question fairly on the table, but Palin herself has opened the door about her home life carrying the “hockey mom” banner.

What is infuriating to me is that sexism is undoubtedly strong in this country and it is deeply entrenched within the media outlets. It happened to Hillary during her campaing and it has happened to Palin. And yet, it is panned when it happens to Hillary but is an outrage when it happens to Palin. Again, the media fuels all of this nastiness. The truth is, this campaign should not be about race or gender. It should be about issues.

The truth is, the Republican camp is not about women’s rights. McCain voted against equal pay for equal work, an issue that is the cornerstone of women’s rights. Women doing the same job as men should get the same pay. It happens, even here in Springfield. Beyond the pay equity issue, if we respect women and want to tear down that glass ceiling we do not turn around and objectify them. Talk about belittling Palin’s gubernatorial experience, what about wearing those “hot chick” buttons? Are we to take her gubernatorial experience seriously or simply see her as another attractive trophy pick of John McCain? She simply cannot have it both ways.

It is maddening. The liberals are the only ones who support women’s rights, having championed the cause for many years and yet the media and many women are being spoon-fed a heap of smoke and mirrors about women’s rights. Now that is not to say that conservatives should not be excited about her pick. It is glorious to know that no matter who wins the election, there will be a person of one minority population in the White House. We should all be excited about the prospect that things are changing. Certainly women (and men) who hold Palin’s ultra-conservative views – such as children who are raped must still bear the baby – have every right to be energized and proud that they have a candidate who they can relate to. I know I have a candidate that I really believe in and the feeling is indescribable. I am happy for anyone that finds their candidate, and she proves to be a worth opponent.

We need to talk about the issues, outline the differences between Obama-Biden and McCain Palin. Both sides are now touting change, a funny prospect coming from the party that has been in power for eight years, most of those years controlling both the House, Senate and the White House. How exactly are the same policies going to make real change? How is the economy going to get better when the foundations of this pitiful economy are fine in McCain’s view? If we define victory in Iraq as it was originally defined (The Iraqi government takes over, has free elections and doesn’t need us any more) and yet that deadline for free elections continues to get pushed off over and over (it was scheduled for this fall but is now set for sometime next year) then how can we state we are close to victory? Sure, we’ve had less deaths of American soldiers, which is a beautiful thing, but we’ve still not made headway in the realm of a victorious democracy. How is the environment going to get better when Palin does not believe in global warming? How are we going to get change if, in his own words, McCain proudly states that he voted with Bush 90% of the time? How is that change? How will any of the real issues get solved?

That’s what we need to talk about, flush out, have out.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Brush Up On Your Iraqi War History

In light of the politics of the day and the issue of the War on Terror, it might just behoove us to read up on the subject, rather than just agree with the political party we are most closely aligned. This goes for me, too.

Kevin Hodgson, over at The Graphic Classroom, has written an excellent review of After 9/11: America's War on Terror (2001- ) by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon. The pair's other graphic novel, The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Novel, has been reviewed on this site before.

Sexism & Fairness in American Politics

Is Gov. Sarah Palin ready to assume the job of Chief Executive if the elder John McCain were to pass away suddenly from decrepitude? And how will Palin balance her crowded and congested home life while holding the second highest profile government job in America?

These are two questions that are garnering much discussion on the political landscape. We shall leave the first question until the end, turning our focus on the latter. Is it fair to ask this question of Palin when the media has not done the same of Obama and Biden? Would the American public ask the same if Palin had a penis instead of a vagina?

We would not ask this question of a male vice presidential candidate, and thus far never have. The assumption, of course, would be that his wife would take care of the children. That is a natural assumption, as someone has to manage the home life. For some reason, we are not assuming the same with Palin, that her husband will leave his job to manage the household affairs. He should. If we hold men and women to different standards (the same as if we hold heterosexuals and homosexuals to different standards) then we have discrimination – sexism. Discrimination, in my opinion, is always wrong.

It is true that the media did not ask the same questions of Obama, Biden or McCain. The thing that complicates the issue further is that the media did not have to ask Obama or Biden about how they will balance their home lives. Both Obama and Biden freely offered this information in full during the course of their campaign. Palin has not had the opportunity to do so as her pick was sudden and surprising.

Both Barack and Michelle Obama have detailed exactly how they will balance his presidency with the rearing of their children. In his book. Obama discusses in length balancing his time in the Senate with home, illustrating the point with a humorous story about mice traps. Michelle has also given significant details about her plans on raising her girls. Not only did Michelle quit her job, but her mother has committed to assisting the family with the raising of the girls. Biden discussed his decision to balance his Senate life with home, by committing to living at home and commuting every day so that he could spend more time with his children. I have no knowledge if McCain has offered any information on how he, during his Senate run, ensured the proper raising of his children.

So while holding different genders to different standards is sexism, in this case, we have information about the balance act from both men on the Democratic ticket, rendering the issue, this time, mute.

It is, after all, fair to ask the question about how one will handle both governance and home, assuming that the question is applied fairly. Would the media have asked the question of the Democrats had they not freely offered it? I seriously doubt it, but we will never know as the information was freely given.

So to inquire of Palin what we already know of Obama and Biden is not only fair, but appropriate.. It is important to know how our highest executive officers will conduct themselves and balance family. This issue is very important to many people, including evangelicals, many of whom believe that someone (generally the woman) should stay home and take care of the family.

As to the question about Palin’s readiness to be the President if McCain dies, the typical response we have heard, as illustrated by Rudy Guilliani on the Today Show this morning, was to talk about Obama. Barack has answered the question and outlined why he believes he is ready. For the Republicans to continue deflecting the question about her readiness by talking about his is not an answer at all. The American public simply wants her to outline how and why she is ready. Hopefully, she will do that in her speech tonight and put the issue to rest. This, too, is a fair question.

Barack Obama was classy, gentlemanly and exactly right when he chose the high road, stating that Palin’s daughter is off limits. Shame on the media for making such an issue out of a private matter. We could, however, use this as a reason why even evangelical Christians need sex education, as even they have premarital sex. A condom would have fixed the problem and saved everyone a lot of stress.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Dreams Do Come True

When we were dating, Skinny Kinny got me a miniature Harley Road King. She told me that someday, she would buy me the real deal. We were married in 1995 at Stone Chapel, Drury College.

Earlier this summer we were on our way to Columbia. We stopped off in Camdenton for some shopping. We had extra time, so I suggested we stop at the Harley dealership. Outside, they had the most beautiful Road King I had ever seen.

We had an appointment, so we trotted off, but we stopped again on our way back home. I sat in the salesperson’s office and we talked. I didn’t think it was a good time, so we left it at that. My aunt’s funeral was in Lebanon on Saturday. She was a wonderful woman and a great elementary teacher for many years.

After the funeral, and on our way home, we stopped off at the Lebanon Harley dealership. There it was again. The same bike sat on the showroom floor. The same people own both dealerships. I sat on it, took it for a test ride in my suit, and contemplated, but I left Lebanon empty handed.

That night my wife and I were in bed. She reaches over and taps my arm and says: “I am as excited to get you that bike as you are to get it. I’m going to buy it for you.” That was it. We called the next morning, made our deals, and then drove up while they got it ready for me.

Saturday night I rode my first Harley home. Not just any Harley and not just some stock Harley of which there are hundreds of others exactly like it on the road. I drove home a custom Road King. On my side were my Dad and one of our bike-riding buddies. I called Dad that morning and told him what I was going to do and he and Mike met me in Lebanon and rode home with me.

It has been a wonderful experience and a gift that I am very appreciative of. I’ve always wanted a motorcycle, specifically a Harley. I’ve always dreamed of a bike with flames. There’s just something cool about flames. I love purple and I think it looks stunning on a motorcycle. So to have all of that on a Road King is the perfect storm. We snapped it up, because to buy a bike and do to it what was done to this bike would have cost me thousands of dollars more than I paid for it.

There is history here. You see, when I bought my first bike – the Honda – it didn’t go quite so smoothly. My parents came up for something. I told me wife that my Dad and I were going out to look at bikes. Remember when I told you that I have wanted a motorcycle for years? Keep that in mind for a minute.

What was said:
“Honey, I’m going out with my Dad to look at motorcycles.”

What a Man Means:

I’m shopping for a bike. If I find the right one I’m buying it on the spot. See ya later.”

What a Woman Hears:
“Dear wife, I am window shopping. I shan’t dare do a thing without first talking to you again and again.”

We had been saving up for a refrigerator. That is until I rode up on the bike that evening with my parents behind me in the truck. “What do you think?” we asked.

“That’s a damn fine refrigerator,” says the wife. Then she goes back inside the hosue. Not good.

She wasn’t happy. I had made a serious faux pas and made an ass out of u and me. It wasn’t intentional, but I did it without thinking or considering my wife. I won’t make that mistake again.

For her to buy me a bike – the perfect bike – is a beautiful marital experience. I am in awe of the great lady that I have as my partner. She is great and wants to do things for me, to make me happy. I am happy with her (bike or no bike). She is a great spouse.

I wanted to share my experience with you. Enjoy the photos of my dream bike.

The run-through at the dealership before I rode it home. That's Mike (right) and Dad (left) in the back watching the mechanic and I do a run-through.

The money shot.

A shot from above.

A close up of the saddle bags.

The front forks (and crash bars) are blacked out. That is a newer trend in motorcycles. Most people want all chrome. Painting some of the front forks creates contrast and makes the parts that are chrome really pop.

More of the black forks.

Gas tank detail.

This is a custom paint job from the Harley Davidson factory. It is hand numbered and is #20 out of 100. Not bad. So there are not many bikes out there like mine.

The front fender.

Custom seat detail.

The pipes have these flame-embossed heat shields. It is a great detail. I've never seen them before.

These are the fishtail pipes. It gives the bike a nostalgic, 1950's look. It reminds me of the fins on my first car: a 1956 Chevrolet. I love the pipes.


I have come upon circumstance wherein I need to sell my Honda motorcycle. You see, the wife bought me a Harley on Saturday – something I have wanted since before we got married. An early graduation present. I don't need two bikes. If you want to cut down on your fuel expenses, and enjoy the ride at the same time (with a purchase that will not break your bank) then consider this motorcycle.

1999 Honda Shadow ACE
750 cc
15,600 miles


The Honda was my first bike, and it is a dandy. I hate to get rid of it. I would prefer keeping it for my daughter, but I cannot justify having two motorcycles. She’s only 8-years-old afterall.

I have ridden it to Sturgis, South Dakota for the biker rally; Sturgis, Kentucky several times for that biker rally; and rode it through Yellowstone National Park. It is comfortable, reliable and never given me any trouble. The only things I’ve done are add on lots of extras, and take it in for routine maintenance.

The Extras include:
  • Slash-cut pipes
  • Carburetor rejeted
  • 10-inch rise handlebars
  • (the original beach bars are also included)
  • Floorboards
  • Detachable backrest
  • Windshield (adjustable)
  • Leather saddlebags
  • Grips
  • Highway pegs

For more information contact me at: fatjacksrants@mac.com

This is her. Ain't she a beauty?

Here is a shot from the right side. The backrest comes off easily, as does the back seat. There is a chrome frame under the bags to keep them straight and out of the tires. If one prefers the more mean and lean look, then the frame, the windshield, the back seat, and the backrest can be taken off. It gives the bike a whole new look. All of those things can be done in minutes.

This is a shot of the slash-cut pipes. They look great and sound wonderful. Not too loud, but you can hear them. They are not harsh or metallic sounding, but have a nice, deep roar.

This is a close up of the American Honda logo. This bike was built in America.

Notice the highway bars. I added those a few years ago. They come off easily if you do not care for the look.

The floorboards. The original foot pegs are also included in the purchase, but once you use floorboards, you will never go back. It makes all the difference in a comfortable ride. But if you like the old school look, then you can put the foot pegs back on.

The pipes are clean, with NO blue. That's because when I changed the pipes I had the carb rejetted so it all worked properly.