Friday, November 28, 2008


It's not just the big corporate fat cats that bow to the almighty dollar – screwing the little man, or the pregnant woman – for a big effing thingamajig or a pretty little whirly-gig. Oh no, the crap rolls downhill, and just as our banks are spending wads of free taxpayer cash on exotic get-a-ways and ball field naming rights the little man will stomp the guts out of his countrymen to get a good deal for Christmas.

The highlights from this year, so far include:
And so it goes every year with mad dashes down the isles. It seems that Wal-mart has been especially bad about crowd control, just opening the doors to throngs of crazed sleep-deprived shoppers hopped up on expensive coffee and the adrenaline from a good deal. How can it be fun, knowing that people are dying? The news this morning mentioned that Best Buy had a crowd-control plan. It's too bad it's come to this. That the people cannot control themselves to the point that the stores must control them. Sometimes people cannot be trusted to manage themselves.

I don't go out on Black Friday, at least not to the stores. I did get milk from the gas station and checked on Grandma. But I stayed away from the madness. I don't know how people can stand to give their children presents knowing that some pregnant lady lost her kid, or some worker lost his life, just so I could save $50 on a freaking thing.


I saw Iron Man back in May and I loved it then. I rented it this weekend so the wife and daughter could see it. Skinny Kitty is not usually a comic book movie fan. She doesn’t care for sci-fi or fantasy either, as a rule, but even she agreed that Iron Man was great. It was a classic story about the transformation of a character, Tony Stark, and it was a good life lesson. There is such a thing as ethical business, and profit at all costs is not a trait to be valued or admired, at least by ethical people. It’s also a story of redemption and the power that loss can have on our worldview.

Comics are known to have social, economic, political or religious overtones – making them relevant in the contemporary community. It’s one of the characteristics that make comics great for children and adults alike. Iron Man is a dandy one.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The Halloween tree is down and the Christmas one is ready to go. It’s the same tree, but with different decorations and lights. Last night the House of Jack watched our first Christmas flick. The daughter chose The Simpsons Christmas on dvd. Nice intro to the season.

It makes plenty of folks mad enough, I know, but Thanksgiving signals the beginning of the season for us. Bear in mind, 80 percent of our gifts are already purchased. We’ve helped Grandma do her shopping too.

It feels good to have so much stress out of the way by this time. It makes the holiday season feel like a holiday rather than a burden. Later this week we will kick on the Elvis Christmas CD – cause it ain’t Christmas without Elvis – and put the decorations on the Christmas tree. Soon, we will need to watch the greatest Christmas movie ever: A Christmas Story. Anyone who disagrees will be shot with a Red Ryder BB gun like the criminal they are.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


A shot of some of the cast.

A revamp of Star Trek with new characters? I never thought I would see the day. I figured they would play the old characters to death or just stick with newer – but established – characters within the universe (New Gen, Deep Space 9 et al.). Perhaps that horse is dead. J.J. Abrams (Mission Impossible III, Lost, Alias) is rekicking the franchise with the old crew, but played with newer, younger and skinnier stars.

Frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t seen more about this in the blogosphere. We have enough sci-fi geeks that this should have hit our locale some time ago. It’s set to hit theaters on May 8, 2009. The official website is some kind of bad ass bit of techy coolness. Here’s hoping the movie is also good. I’ll not hold my breath.

Word on the street is that this movie will focus on the young Kirk and the meeting of he and long time friend, Spock, including their first space mission together.

See the Trailers (compliments of Apple's Quicktime)
Official Movie Site

Monday, November 24, 2008


Lee (left) and Will (right) working on their film Son of Rambow

Who knew that Rambo: First Blood was enough to bring a nearly-orphaned outcast bully and a Mennonite-like boy together? The next logical step, of course, is for Lee and Will to become blood brothers, in the longstanding traditional of boyhood friendship rituals.

Son of Rambow is a wonderful indie film about two English boys from the 1980’s. Lee’s mother remarried and travels the world with her new hubby, while Lee and his older brother stay home, which is conveniently attached to the step-fathers business – a rest home. Lee is left to his own devices as his older brother lives his teen life, leaving Lee in the lurch for love and affection.

Will is the oldest of four, living with his widower mother. They belong to an ultra-conservative church known as The Brotherhood, kin to the Amish or Mennonite. It is a closed society where fraternization with the outside world is mostly forbidden. A chance meeting at the public school make for a needed friendship for both boys centered around the making of a movie. The inspiration of which comes from … you guessed it … Rambo: First Blood. The heretofore innocent Will is enamored, blow away, even infatuated with the movie as it is his first exposure to moving pictures of any kind. It takes over his thoughts and he lies to his mother to get to be with Lee and his video camera.

Naturally, it all ends up a mess, especially for poor Will who ends up in Dutch with his mother and the church. Unlike other indie films, this one ends up okay. Skinny Kitty was leary as the movie progressed. With independent films you never really know.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


With a fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, Hellboy II: The Golden Army has done well especially for a sequel. I became a fan of Guillermo del Toro ever since I saw The Devil’s Backbone a few years ago. Del Toro hit the major scene after the filming Red’s first film. Then came Pan’s Labyrinth and he was a sensation.

In case you didn’t already know, he is slated to direct The Hobbit.

So back to Hellboy deuce. Snazzy sets, wonderful creatures, great costumes, and playful dialogue make for a fun comic book adaptation. Some may find the plot to be a bit singularly played, as it is a straight shot from beginning to end. Besides the romantic detour between Red and his flaming love interest, the story is a linear horse race to the end, but it is interesting and fun. The good guys win … duh. You should have known that going in.

The introduction of the good doctor added a nice piece of drama to the already strained interpersonal relationships. We’ve all worked at a place where the new boss is not warmly welcomed by the one employee who thinks he’s the star.

Man, was it ever nice to have time to sit down and actually watch a movie. That’s hard to do in the midst of graduate school. It was a much needed escape from the homelywork of the day.

Friday, November 21, 2008


So what do we do? Do we bail out the auto industry or not? Do we give them their $25B, or tell them to take a hike? I really don't know what I think. I do wonder if there are other alternatives than the two on the table? Is there not a middle ground that we could take? I honestly do not know why anyone would want to be president now or come January. With all this crap, who would want the responsibility? I wonder which industry is the next to ask for a bail out?

Any ideas out there? I feel pretty lost on this issue. I kinda feel we are screwed if we do and screwed if we don't. I had someone tell me the other day that the auto industry has been bailed out before. True or no? I don't remember. It does seem that if we do give them money, then there needs to be accountability, but didn't we get promised that with the bank bail out? Didn't work out too well.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I'm going to share a bit of sarcasm and wit with you, much in the vein of Jon Stewart. Like it or not, it taps into something we have talked about before. This email says it clearer than I did. Thanks to superdog for sending it my way.

NOVEMBER 18, 2008

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS' "Sixty Minutes" on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate - we get it, stop showing off."

The President-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are needing also," she said.

(unfortunately, author unknown)
Why, oh why, do we consider an education as something bad? Our social experiment – the one where we elect a President we could see ourselves sitting down and having a beer with – didn't work too well.


According to KSPR 33, police are unsure if a crime was committed when a family came home to find their Great Dane stripped of half its skin and its heart removed. The mutilation is so bad that the police and animal control are unable to tell if the incident was caused by human or animal. No one took the remains to a veterinarian. The family's other 160-pound dog was in the yard at the time.

Is it the work of satanists? The mob? A sociopathic youngster? Angry neighbors? Alpha dog fight? Seems we will never know as the Springfield police will not be assigning the case to a detective.

There are so many disturbing aspects to this story, I don't know where to begin.

KSPR story 1
KSPR story 2
See KSPR's graphic photos here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I recently cleaned up the blog roll. There were dead links, defunct blogs, and bloggers who haven't posted in a year or more. If that was the case, they were deleted. Everyone on the blog roll (who has an RSS feed) is on my daily read list, assuming they have posted that day. If your blog was mistakenly deleted in a wild button-pushing frenzy, then tell me all about it. I'll be glad to rectify and add you to my RSS feed, too. If you are a local yokel and I haven't added you yet, shoot me a comment or email. I'll fix that, too.


I don't know why I didn't bother before this, but I finally made the transition to an RSS feed for my daily blog readership. I've been resistant to it for some strange reason, but the daily check of all the local blogs has become overwhelming. What's the point, really? It's so much easier to use the RSS feed and only those who have made updates. It's cut my time down significantly, leaving more time for silly things like family and homework.

I did notice that a couple of bloggers do not have any kind of RSS feed on their blog at all. That sucks for me because it means I will have to remember to check them out and that's a black hole of responsibility. I will likely forget. On the good side, I have added other blogs to the RSS feeds in Safari so I can check up on more bloggers.


Proponents of legal definitions of marriage maintain fervently that their ideas are Bible based and therefore, not discrimination. The issue is about the sanctity of the institution of marriage not civil rights. Others of us speak often about the discrimination that occurs. Springfield’s own Positronics is just one example of how those marriage laws are really about mandating morality and about discriminating against a population.

According to several news reports (including this one) Positronics sent out a memo stating that employees could only bring spouses or those who could legally be spouses to the company’s Christmas party. One man spoke out and seems he’s now out of a job. Curiously, we see that age-old equation occurring again: news reports = change in policy. So now employees can bring the guest of their choice, assuming the person is 18 years old.

No one is so stupid as to believe the policy was to keep employees from bringing a homeless person to the party. It was intended to keep the queers in their place, to keep them down, to keep them from flaunting. I know it, you know it, Positronics knows it, and so do the proponents of the gay marriage ban. The thing is, this kind of discrimination is unethical but perfectly legal.

(AN ADDITIONAL THOUGHT: If some Christians continue on this path of Bible-based discrimination, there will come a point when anger will turn against all Christians. A world where discrimination based on religious beliefs is not out of reason, yet some Christians continue their campaign to oppress others using the law and the Bible. We ought to be careful lest we cut our own nose to spite our face. By the way … I don't think the Bible supports discrimination. That whole love thing kinda prevents it. But we Christians who believe that are a minority lot.)

Monday, November 17, 2008


Enough said, isn't there? It's all their words, their literature, their beliefs and their arguments. Oh yeah, it's also all bull shit. Because try as they might, they can't (and don't) argue with this. Then there's all the stuff that Jesus said, too. But let's not talk about that, either. 

What's that sound? Oh, it's my ass … cracking up. 


For five years, MSU has been the host site for the Native American Heritage Month Powwow. Held in McDonald Arena, there are crafts, food and most importantly tribes from Oklahoma, South Dakota, Kansas and Missouri. We went once, and enjoyed the dancing and the crafts. Marshfield also has a powwow every year, at least it used to. That was also a great event to attend. I don't have any dates on that one, but I do have a date for the MSU powwow.

Native American Heritage Month Powwow
November 22, 1-11 pm
November 23, 1-6 pm
MSU McDonald Arena

Saturday, November 15, 2008


There are some upcoming cons, small little events, where some good deals can be had. When dealers pay less to get in, your ability to get good deals goes up. These one-day events can be fun and less stressful. This site had the info.

Saturday, November 22
Columbia Comic Book Convention (new)
Quality Inn
1612 N. Providence
(I-70 Exit 126)
Columbia, MO
10 am – 4 pm
Free Admission

Sunday, November 23
Springfield Comic Book Convention (new)
Lamplighter Inn
2820 N. Glenstone
10 am – 4 pm
Free Admission

Dec. 6 & Feb 7
Hampton Inn & Suites
5 McBride and Son Center Drive
St. Louis (Chesterfield)
10 am – 4 pm
Free Admission

Dec 7 & Jan 31
10100 College Blvd
Overland Park, KS (Kansas City)
10 am – 4 pm
Free Admission

Friday, November 14, 2008


I had no idea that Barack Obama was a Spidey fan and I had no idea of his geek roots. According to News-a-Rama the President-Elect not only has a Pac Man sticker on his Mac (increasing his geek coolness exponentially) but he’s addicted to his Blackberry, has read Harry Potter and (via Telegraph) he not only collected Conan the Barbarian but Spider-Man comics, too. A true man of the people if ever a President was one.

News-a-Rama wrote this story on the five lessons that Obama can learn from the web slinger. The lessons are complete with citations of which story the lesson was found. Undoubtedly, you can guess the numero uno lesson, can’t you? For the love of all that is holy and good tell me that you can. Just in case you cannot I don’t want you to feel ignorant in front of everyone, so I’ll list the lessons that News-a-rama have outlined. Pay special attention to the first, third and fifth ones. They were especially lost on our current president.

  1. With great power there must also come – great responsibility.
  2. Never lost your sense of humor.
  3. Bad things are going to happen. The important thing is how you respond.
  4. The press isn’t your friend.
  5. In order to get things done, sometimes you have to reach across the (super hero) aisle.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Oh, Snap! The Christmas claws are out and it won’t be long until the Warrior of all Things Christmas & Christian, Springfield’s evangelical attorney, writes another rant to the News-Leader claiming the subjugation and oppression of Christ and his devotees all because some people say Happy Holidays.

We followers of Christ here in the US are an awful trodden down lot of folks, are we not? I know I certainly feel that I am utterly unable to practice my religion for fear of reprisals from the ever-growing baby-haters and communists known as liberals, humanists and atheists. My goodness, my very life is in danger just from announcing my religion on this blog. How ever will I survive? Why, I might just get some angry comments or emails. Someone might disagree with me, or worse yet, they might tease me. Heaven forbid!

What’s the deal? The American Humanists Association launched an awareness campaign on humanism. In a nutshell, these folks believe that humans can do good and should do good simply because it is, well, good. The slogan is: “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake.” For some reason some folks see this as an assault on Christmas and Christianity. As you can imagine, Faux News was all over it today. There is something that some folks just need to know: It’s not always about you.

So the humanists want to tell people that they believe in morality and ethics as philosophies that the non-theist can also hold dear. In other words, these folks believe that being good is something that all persons can do regardless if they believe in God or not. Big deal. We need more ethics and morality in the world, regardless of the foundation from which it is born. Seems that Christians and humanists (along with other religious folks) can agree that morality and ethics are important to a harmonious community.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


We cannot be sure the flavor of liberty – what it tastes like were it an ice cream, but we sure are familiar with the sound of liberty, especially when it is accompanied by the sweet melody of machine guns.

Regular readers know we love Cracked, the Internet (and adult) equivalent of MAD Magazine. We just had to post a link to this story about the Six National Anthems That Will Make You Tremble With Fear.

You betcha. I've cherry picked some lyrics, but you really should read the whole article. It'll make you shiver.

  • "We swear by the lightning that destroys, By the streams of generous blood being shed"
  • "When we spoke, none listened to us, So we have taken the noise of gunpowder as our rhythm, And the sound of machine guns as our melody"

  • "No freedom's flowers return, from the spilt blood of the dead, and the tears of slavery burn, which the eyes of orphans shed."

  • "I'm like the roaring flood; powerful and independent, I'll tear apart mountains, exceed the heavens and still gush out!"
  • "Render your chest as armor and your body as trench!"
  • "For only then, shall my fatigued tombstone, if there is one, prostrate a thousand times in ecstasy, and tears of fiery blood shall flow out of my every wound, and my lifeless body shall gush out from the earth like an eternal spirit."

  • "The bloody flag is raised, the bloody flag is raised."
  • "Do you hear in the countryside, the roar of these savage soldiers, they come right into our arms, to cut the throats of your sons!"
  • "May a tainted blood irrigate our furrows!"

I'm all a-flutter with patriotism and, of course, blood lust. Here we thought our political elections were nasty.


Comic company, Bluewater Productions, has started a line of biographical comics focusing on strong female trailblazers. Darren G. Davis, president of the company, offered this as his reasoning for starting the whole gig:

“Because it's something people care about; its something with a historical value in a modern context, and because it's important to highlight strong female figures.”

Davis went on to illustrate his love of comics and his desire to promote them with children:

“I had a hard time reading as a kid and comic books helped me get over that. So I want to take these biographies and be able to have others learn from the non traditional book medium.”

Which contemporary women are in the pipeline? The first will be Sen. Hillary Clinton followed by Gov. Sarah Palin and future First Lady Michelle Obama. Davis would not say who would come after that. It’s a surprise, but he did give a hint.

“The next one will be a television icon who has made a huge name for herself during the era when television was a male driven arena.”

Go, girl power!

Monday, November 10, 2008


I’ve never really understood all the hubbub surrounding the evolution argument. It seems like a duh, a no-brainer, an “is global warming real” kind of argument. My complacency with it all stems from my college revelation that Creation is the why and Evolution is the how of God’s plan. Why can’t they be the same stories? No one has ever been able to explain why that is not a plausible solution and it seems rather reasonable to me.

Never-the-less, I rented Ben Stein’s “documentary” about the evolution/creationism debate, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. My putting the word documentary in quotes is not to demean the title or call it names. I’m just not sure it fits the definition of documentary any more than Micahel Moore’s films do. I've watched several of Moore's films, but have decided that he skews things to the point that I cannot trust him.

I was disappointed with the film and not for the reason you suspect. Seeing how I see evolution as being wholly God’s, then the idea of Intelligent Design is fine with me. That is, depending on how you define Intelligent Design, and that is where my disappointment with the film begins.

The first half of the film was dedicated to showcasing a cavalcade of scientists who have been fired, berated and run out of the scientific field for thinking that God created it all. Furthermore, the crux of the argument was that scientific inquiry should be open to all investigations and not closed around one central idea.

Well, duh. Any credible scientist and educator should be down with that idea. We should allow people to challenge contemporary thought. After all, that’s how we came to know that the Earth traveled around the sun, right?

Stein and the excommunicated scientists hit the issue home when they stated that Intelligent Design was not Creationism and that linking the two is a red herring. That would be fine. I could fly with that. Except …

They never once defined the difference between the two. They didn’t give detailed explanations of Intelligent Design. They simply claimed, over and over, that they were different. Not one shred of scientific evidence, not one journal, not one news report, not one website did they flash in front of us to help clear the issue up. It gets better, or worse depending on your point of view.

The rest of the film centered around the pseudo-science that is evolution, and we are talking macro evolution here and not change within a species. They did make that point, at least. For the next 30 or 45 minutes I sat and listened to scientist after scientist claim that the scientific basis for evolution was on shaky ground to begin with. Isn't that a red herring, too?

I sat, waiting, for the evidence to be discussed, for the claims to be supported, for a freaking website or journal article. Something. Nope. Again, they made claims, but never once cited how evolution believes x but the research done by the Intelligent Design folks demonstrates another truth. Nothing. Just claims and rhetoric.

In the end, I walked away from the film with no more information on the definition of Intelligent Design or the scientific research they have to support their views that I did going in. So, what’s the point of the movie? I still don’t know unless it is to preach to the choir. It makes me wonder if they actually have real scientific research to support any of their claims?

If they are going to claim the red herring argument, then using the same technique to attack the evolutionists seems rather counterproductive and unscientific. I wanted to know what Intelligent Design really is because after watching it, I’m not convinced it’s not just a end-road to teach Creationism as science. Since they say it is not, then I have to say the movie was a failure.

From my perspective, it's a ridiculous argument anyhow. I've resolved the issue a long time ago and have no problem believing in both science and God. Seems to me that both can be right and both can tell two sides of the same story.


This is pretty funny, even if it does make fun of us Obama supporters. You gotta have a sense of humor and not take yourself too seriously. Thanks to Chris Brewer for posting it first.


If you are an educator, then you have undoubtedly heard of Dale’s Cone of Experience. It’s been around since the 1960’s as a way to describe our learning experiences. The Cone takes on many forms, one of the most common is this one:

Consider this: It’s all crap. Not very researchy verbiage is it? Be that as it may, it is still the most succinct way to describe the already debunked Cone. The fact of the matter is that Dale’s Cone is not based in research at all, has been debunked, and it is still used on college campuses including good old MSU. I was introduced to the facts of “remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear” in my ELE 302 class. Click here and here to read more about the debunking and crap-disseminatingness of the Cone.

So what do we do? Does our educational philosophy crumble at the base of the Cone? Should we then go back to the old school lecture? I know those have always been the most interesting and most effective classes I’ve ever taken, right? Perhaps not. Just because the Cone and it’s accompanying percentages, which all happen to be 10 percentage points apart, does not mean that real world, authentic experiences are to be abandoned or set aside, kicked to the curb. We have plenty of real research on which to build our philosophies. There’s no need to use a made up diagram.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Thousands, perhaps millions, prayed earlier this week that God's will be done during this election cycle. Can I suppose and assume that these same people who believed God's hand put Bush in place in the White House also elected Barack Obama? Did our willful prayers work much to the chagrin of the evangelicals?

Is it possible that God chose Barack Obama as our president? Or does he only do that with conservatives?

For my part, I'm not convinced that God meddles in our democratic affairs. Not that I know conclusively, of course, but I tend to believe that God watches and allows us to do what we will. (I've not always thought that.) That whole free will thing, I guess. You might believe differently, and that's cool. But if you do, and you are evangelical, then how do you justify the fact that Barack Obama won? I'm just curious. Feel free to leave comments. I won't argue with you or debate your views. I've put out my thought and give you your chance to do likewise. Just an informational post, really.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


The American political and civil landscape has changed. It has changed significantly for minorities – for persons of color – but also for all young boys and girls of all races in classrooms across the country. Philosophically, things are different, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Our society gives off muddled messages for all children – a complex mixture of class, race and culture that can send multiple signals to children obfuscating their vision of the future. The idea that Education is Elitism is permeating our national consciousness stamping its sigil on our foreheads, trickling down to the youngest of these, telling them that school is not for them, that education is for the aristocrats, that book learning leads to elitism and ultimately separation from their family and heritage. Some parents systematically indoctrinate their babies with the ideology that to go beyond them, to be better than them, to succeed at a level higher than their own achievements is to abandon them and their core values.

It is a trend that I have observed even in my limited teaching experiences and it is significant in all of society, Black and White. Even our politicians have celebrated a limited and poor educational experience while simultaneously labeling the hard work and educational endeavors of aspiring students as elitism – aristocratic cake-eating – something to be shunned and degraded.

Our universities, including Missouri State University, have an entire department dedicated to first-generation college students and the unique conditions that define their family dynamics. As sad as it seems, many families’ actions work toward failure in their student, based on a fear that the student will think he is better than they, or that he will leave them, or both. They do not understand the need for study or for homework, and place unreasonable family responsibilities on the student. The push and pull of college life versus family expectations often lead first-generation students to drop out. The universities have identified the trend and have services in place to assist these first-generation college students and help them succeed.

There is hope. The origin story of our president-elect is one that defies this growing anti-educational counter culture. While his overwhelming support is incredible, his election itself was not a referendum of the education is elitism sentiment. With that said, Barack Obama’s story is one that inspires minority youth, impoverished youth, and apathetic youth that hard work and perseverance can lead to greatness and success, even for a Black man.

Young Black boys especially, but all children in general, now have a reason to break those familial traditions that may intentionally or unintentionally restrict a youth from meeting his or her greatest potential. Young Black youth have a mentor and hero to look to when they are struggling to succeed in school or in life. They can achieve what he has achieved. Girls, too, should be excited with the rise in strong female figures. Our history tells us that women’s rights usually come at the heels of Black civil rights. Their time is here.

The message from Barack Obama is one that promotes education as a foundation from which success is born and bred. Being born of a goat herder and raised by his grandparents is inspiration enough that anyone, no matter how impoverished, oppressed, or neglected can get an education, endure and succeed in this thing we call life. That is the American dream and the front of that bus is now open to all. All they have to do is buy the ticket, sit up front, and take the ride. As a teacher, it is my job to give all of my students the bus schedule, teach them how to read the map, and encourage them to hop on. But the students cannot get on unless their parents let them and in some cases, make them.

Like Barack Obama says, he cannot parent our children. He can create important legislation and stand as an icon of inspiration, but it’s up to us to turn off the television and encourage our students to read, learn, succeed and surpass us. Our children look to us for guidance and perspective. My message must be clear if I want my daughter to be able to do more than I. We must read to our children, read with our children, and impress upon them the value and importance of education. We can look to our president-elect and find reasons to promote learning and instill those values into our culture once again. To be smart and successful is not a thing to be looked down upon, it is a trait to be cherished and encouraged. Education is not elitism.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


McCain gave a great concession speech last night. One of the blogger's mentioned that it sounded like the first speech that he wrote himself in a long time. He sounded like his old self. The crowd let out a boo when he congratulated President-Elect Barack Obama. He was calm and cool about, it and set them straight in a respectful manner. Just like he should have. He showed great restraint and class. Had he done that during the election, I think he would have won. Had he not gone so negative, had he repudiated all the hate and anger, and had he constructed a consistent narrative, then he would likely have won. His negative campaigned worked for us, but I can't bring myself to be happy about it.

I said during the primary that Barack Obama was the only candidate that had a chance to beat McCain. The Republicans wanted Hillary because they knew they could beat her. She's her own worst enemy. I like her a lot, but I'm glad she lost. Besides, I think Obama was the better candidate anyway. Had it been Clinton-McCain fighting this out, we would have seen more red on that map.


We talked last night about Missouri's continuing status as bellwether state. We certainly voted differently than the election went, but not by much. The presidential race was tighter than a mouse's rectum. According to the Secretary of State's website:

McCain (Rep) – 1,444,613 (49.4%)
Obama (Dem) – 1,436,745 (49.2%)
Bob Barr (Lib) – 11,355 (.4%)
Chuck Baldwin (Cst) – 8,181 (.3%)
Ralph Nader (Ind) – 17,769 (.6%)
Cynthia McKinney (Write In)0 – 958 (.0%)

It will be interesting to see how Missouri fits into the next presidential election. It does look like Obama's campaigning here made a significant difference.


The local bloggers did meet up last night, albeit with a small turnout. Little did we know that Patton Alley was the unofficial Obama watch party central. When CNN called it for Obama the crowd went nuts. Nuts I tell you. Wow. It was quite an ordeal.

But there were more on the ballot than the presidential candidates. (Have you heard? Barack Obama is our president. Man, I never get tired of hearing that.)

With all the Democratic sweeps, not all of my candidates won. Jim Lee lost to Steve Helms and Lauro Fabro also lost. It's too bad. They were both better candidates. I suspect Lee lost because of Helms' little Decalogue and ethics trickery. Nasty politics does work, as sad as that is.


Who would have thunk it? Springfield bloggers, Jason and Fat Jack actually agree on a political subject. Neither of us supported the casino and gambling proposition. We were both losers as far as that vote goes. That's poetic.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I don't know if I can express my excitement that my candidate won the election. He is the first presidential candidate I've ever felt strongly for, the first nominee I've ever attended a rally for. Life is good.

We have come a long way, haven't we?


We ran onto a blogger at Patton Alley tonight. Daniel's a new blogger that just moved to the area. His blog is Give him a look-see. 


What a fun election so far. I got out of class and made my way to the Patton Alley Pub. We've been watching the results. 

Some election links for you:
(9:40 pm) Holy crap, Virginia is a tight race. McCain's gotta win VA if he wants to win anything. Missouri is pretty close, but there are still lots of counties to go.

(9:50) So far the statewide amendments and propositions are all passing. 

(10:03) Holy Hell almighty. CNN just called the election for Barack Obama, giving him California, Oregon and Washington.

(10:09) ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and FOX have all called the election. It's over, my friends. But what about the local races. 

(10:19) I'm packing up and heading home. 


Don't be a sour puss. Have some fun and enjoy the poking and prodding of JibJab.


Skinny Kitty and I headed to the polls this morning – 6:30 a.m. – with daughter in hand, to cast our vote for Barack Obama. My vote, at least, also consisted of a vote for four Republicans. (They were unopposed.) I would have voted for Roseanne Bentley (R) for County Commission regardless. She has been a great advocate for persons with disabilities and won our respect years ago. Oh, you thought we were dyed-in-the-wool Democrats? That we only vote for Democrats? You thought wrong, despite the comments you’ve read on various blogs. That’s how we roll.

We stood in line for 30 minutes. That leaves me wondering why other states have day-long lines at their voting sites. It makes no sense. And it was a record turnout. I have never seen that many people voting at my polling place before. Typically, our line, if there is a line, is 80 percent seniors and 20 percent 30-somethings. Not this year. If my polling place was any indication, the youth vote may very well hit the pavement this election. I counted at least a dozen or more 18- to 25-years-olds. College-aged kids don’t get up before 10 a.m. It was a good sign.

My daughter filled out Skinny Kitty’s ballot. For many of the races she knew who to vote for: Barack Obama, Nancy Hagan, Jim Lee, and Jay Nixon. She filled in the arrows and made it through the ballot – her first presidential ballot – and she was happy and hyper about it.

One elementary school at which I volunteer is holding a school-wide vote. In order to participate, students must register to vote in the office. Then they vote today with the rest of the country. Man, that is exciting. I wish I were teaching right now. I would make use of this election to hammer home the idea of democracy and freedom. We would read about the Constitution, develop a classroom Constitution, and compare/contrast our school data with the state and national data. How did our students vote compared to the rest of the US? We would study the biographies of the candidates and even have our own classroom election for class president and other elected officials. Students could create advertising campaigns, write speeches, slogans, and create posters. We could incorporate the curriculum into our studies and learn about the foundations of a good civilization.

We would make elections engaging, interesting and exciting, all the while learning the skills we need to be productive citizens and meet state curricular requirements.

Monday, November 03, 2008


In case you forgot, the local bloggers are meeting up at our regular stomping grounds to drink beer (or tea or soda or whatever) and blog ourselves into a stupor while pouring over election results. 

Patton Alley Pub
Vote Day
7 p.m.

I have a dadburn night class, but don't fret. Your favorite fatty will be there – eventually – to blog and have fun. So save me a seat by  an power outlet. All the coolies will be there, so you won't want to miss out. 


Here's the man.

Yep, we were one of the 35,000 who stood in line for hours to be a part of history, to say “I was there when …” to see Sen. Barack Obama speak to throngs of Democrats in a Republican stronghold. I was there, but I was not alone.

Our daughter chose to come with us. We tried getting in the first time Obama came to Springfield and we were turned away. The 8-year-old bawled that she missed him and it was not going to happen again.

Armed with my little pocket-sized camera, a digital audio recorder, and a satchel of excitement, the three of us parked in the grass and walked two blocks just for the chance. For the first time in my life, I finally have a candidate that speaks to me, that represents me, someone who excites me. I’m proud of that fact that he is my candidate and I’m convinced he will be the best president for our country. But you already knew that. I thought the more interesting report would be the one from my daughter’s point of view. That expanded once I sat in the bleachers and talked with the other children and teens who were there to experience Obama.

It was no surprise to me that the kids had intelligent and articulate things to say about their candidate.

  • My daughter: “I like that he talks about the disabilities. The (people with disabilities) are safe with Obama. I mean, they will feel loved by Obama because he talks about them. And, uh, he’s a really nice guy. That’s what I have to say.”
  • 6-year-old boy: “Because I like Obama.”
  • 8-year-old boy: “He’s a nice person.”
  • 12-year-old boy: “He wants to end the war, get it over with, and get peace. And have affordable health care for everyone. Because people with medication problems, if they didn’t have health care they couldn’t get treated if something happened to them.

  • My daughter: “I think she is very smart and very good mom. She has two little girls and I think it’s a responsibility to take care of them.”

  • My daughter: “It feels like I’m dreaming. I’m in Heaven. I’m just happy I got to go.”

  • 8-year-old: That means we have a new Black person, like it’s our first Black president. What I think is, if Obama becomes president it won’t really matter. It doesn’t matter if he wins or somebody else wins. It’s just about being a good sport.

As was reported widely, this event was bubbling with diversity. I do not believe I have ever attended an event in Springfield where diversity was so apparent. There were many ethnic minorities, an enormous amount of persons with disabilities, many women, lots of children, and many senior citizens. While there were rows and rows of reserved seats for accessibility, the need was too great. There just were not enough front row seats for the crowd of persons with disabilities that attended. Having worked in the disability field for 8 years, I know the disability voting block is low, but this event gave me comfort knowing that more and more people with disabilities are having their voice heard.

Twice, speakers at the podium mentioned there were 40,000 people at the event. Most news reports estimated between 30,000-35,000. I can tell you this: from the moment they opened the gates at 6 p.m., there was a steady stream of people coming into the stadium until 9:30 p.m.

The crowd before Obama came on stage.

The other end of the field. Standing room only.

My wife noted that the crowd was silent at times, absorbing every word of the Senator. At other times, the noise was so loud I had to cover my ears. For two years, media reports have addressed the excitement of the Obama crowds and the energy his speeches give off. It’s hard to quantify or describe, but I understand, now, what people were feeling. He is truly an orator and an inspiration.

It was my daughter's first political rally, and one that she is interested and engaged in. The fact that she takes democracy and policy seriously, makes me proud to no end. Like Barack Obama says, he cannot turn the TV off for us. We parents have a role in the raising and rearing of our children. The only way they will learn about democracy and freedom is to participate in the process and have a stake in the outcome.

For her, the issue of persons with disabilities is very important. Maybe that's because she has a nephew with disabilities, perhaps it's because her parents are involved in disability rights and advocacy. For her young brain, one issue is enough. She can make sense of the different party platforms regarding disability and make informed decisions on her developmental level. Of course at her age, what Mom and Dad think is what she thinks, but she has been exposed to different viewpoints and different thoughts. Hopefully that will translate into an active citizen who is engaged in voting as an adult.