Monday, March 30, 2009


Rootin' Tootin' Radio Randy (I added the Rootin' Tootin' party, but I mean it in a nice way) is on his way to the Springfield area and already he is checking out the blogosphere. How cool is that? His blog touts a dandy saying: "True wisdom only comes from pain."

I like him already and cannot wait his official arrival. I'll go ahead and add him to the blogroll.

Be sure and say "hi" once you enter Springburg, RR.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


The blogging community in and around the Ozarks has really developed, grown, and mutated over the years. It's like watching a kid grow up. We now have our very own place for all things bloggy and I love it.

Be sure to submit your local (Springfield + 50 mile radius) blog to SGF Blog. It's so hard to keep my own blog roll updated with all the newcomers. Patton Alley is still our local hang, and our next meet-up is Tuesday, April 14, 7 p.m. Please keep in mind that bloggers of all persuasions are welcome. It's really more of a social face-to-name thing.

Just so happens that date is already taken for me. It is Skinny Kitty's birthday and she takes precedence, but I promise to get back into the swing. This summer is looking good because I will not have any college classes (at least I hope not).

Anonymous bloggers fret not. The code of ethics is that we do not out anonymous bloggers and we do not quote folks without consent. The embibing of alcohol is not required or even encouraged. Some chose to, others have an iced tea. No pressure. No whammies.

We owe a great debt to the Sarah Jo Austin, new member and cool SGF Blog creator. You go girl!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


My church’s Sunday School class is discussing the new trend among the brethren to abandon the label of “Christian” for a new term, one with less baggage attached. “Follower of Jesus” have taken off on social sites like Facebook and in foreign countries where strained relations between religious groups can end up violent.

It has happened before:
  • Born-again
  • Evangelical
  • Fundamentalist
What does it all mean? Who knows. Maybe it means nothing substantial except for the ones who use the label. One look at the Religion page of my local newspaper (they insist on calling it the Opinions page) demonstrates that there is a wide swath of persons who fall into the category of "Christian". So much so, that the term defines nothing but a belief that Christ is the Messiah. Other than that, "Christian" can no more label a religious belief system than "doctor" define a person's chosen profession.

Newsweek carries the story with explanations.


Perhaps our dilemma with the influx of immigrants resides in a new, and frightfully disturbing, study on education.

You should sit down for this one, kids.

Natalia Palacios has conducted a study on immigrants and education and her findings apparently are consistent with other studies: welcome to what is now called the “Immigrant Paradox”.

The Bare Bones
The Immigrant Paradox describes what happens to educational attitudes with first generation immigrants compared to subsequent generations. The findings suggest that while first-gen immigrants are high achievers, the proceeding generations are not so lucky.

Academic success, health, substance abuse and violent behavior increase substantially between first-generation and third-generation immigrants.

I Have a Bad Feeling About This
I’ve said it before and I will say it again. There is a growing sub-group of our population that completely devalues education, to the point of ridiculing academic success and encouraging their own children to continue in the glorious family tradition of remaining uneducated and unskilled. While I sometimes feel like Quixote ranting at the windmills, the research is bearing witness to the problem. The pervasive nature of a subversive educational counter culture permeates some religious and political groups.

Celebrating ignorance is not the way, the truth or the life. To think otherwise is delusional and poisonous to our culture and our country. Seems that coming to American is good for the first group but increasingly bad for the others. Ignorance is not, and should not be, the American Dream.

Hat tip to Open Education for this riveting yet discombobulating article.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I went to a comic book convention in Tulsa, OK early last fall and saw a strange movie promotion: Hamlet 2. It was billed as a cross between Napoleon Dynamite and South Park and actually that's right on.

It's about a former actor (and a terrible one at that) turned high school drama teacher (and he's bad at that, too). When the school cuts drama at the end of the year as part of an economic problem, he decides to go with a bang. Then the administrators find out about the musical, Hamlet 2, and the controversy explodes. He gets fired, banned, beat up and divorced, but still he plods ahead. Eventually the ACLU gets involved.

Jesus, gay Laertes, Hamlet saving everyone, time travel, "Rock me sexy Jesus", and much more make for an interesting time. Oh, and all of this is funnier than a dancing mule (sweatier, too). You have to appreciate quirky films with demented humor to get this little gem at all. If you do, then give it a look-see. Let me know what you think.


Sugar Britches, a relatively new local blogger, keeps tabs on the sign outside The Pony (a gentlemen's cabaret at the corner of Sunshine and Battlefield). The fine establishment boasts all kinds of lady wrestling:

cherry pie
ramen noodle
biscuits and gravy

I'm thinking our next blogger's meeting should be held here, just to see what this is all about. Larry could do a podcast. No? Too much? Probably so, besides I'd hate to get all involved in some kind of sordid corn oil and Tabasco wrestling match with Jason. I think it would play Hell with those earbuds he's always wearing and it would make my motorcycle seat smell.


The daughter had a friend spend the night. This morning after breakfast we all watched Bolt together. Good stuff. The kids liked it and I thought it was very entertaining. The hero realized that what he knew as his life was a sham, a charade, a big fat lie.

The emotional toil of such a discovery can deliver havoc in one's life, and so it does with Bolt as well. He recovers, with help from his friends and finds his true self.

A good time was had by all, I can assure you.


Our marathon of movies (thank you Spring Break) continues, and so far it has been ever-so entertaining. I love James Bond and the found renewed strengh in the series with Casino Royale. Daniel Craig is superb as our beloved double-aught spy.

Quantum of Confusion left me feeling kinda "meh". I was tired when I watched it and that might be the problem, but I found it a bit too jumbled up and discombobulated. The chase scenes – and there were plenty of those – were cool, but I must confess that I missed the gadgets.


I've often said that comic books are powerful, but never considered this possibility. In a far away time I also worked with persons who had disabilities, including Autism. For many folks who have that disability, running away from home/school/church/anywhere is a serious and dangerous threat. Compound that with the fearless nature that many children with disabilities have and we have a cocktail for danger.

Here's the lowdown which comes to you from the BBC:

  • Boy with Austism climbs onto a third floor balcony
  • Teachers are unable to get him back in
  • Fire fighters cannot convince him either

Then, a teacher recalls the boy's mother commenting about his love of … comic book superheroes. Firefighter and super geek, Somchai Yoosabai, went back to the fire station where he kept a (can you believe this?) Spider-Man costume in his locker. Apparently, he uses the costume to spice up the local schools' fire drills.

That's all it took. The child threw himself into Spidey's arms and all was well.

Tip of the pen to EN/SANE.

In related news:
Project Lifesaver, which I helped bring to a rural county sheriff's department, offers a tracking device for those who wander or run. Good for children and adults, those with disabilities and those with dementia or Alzheimers, Project Lifesaver allows your loved one to stay in his or her home safely.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


There simply are not enough crime scene investigator dramas on television these days: CSI, CSI Miami, CSI Paraguay, NCIS, NCLB, SNL, LGBTQ….

I wonder what kind of pressure those shows put on officers? There ain't a police department in the country that has the resources or time to do that kind of detailed science. An office I knows takes all kinds of crap for not brushing a car for prints when a radio is stolen. That's what they do on TV, but it sure isn't real life.

Personally, I am a fan of Law & Order: SVU. There are plenty of incantations of the L&O series as well and I suspect the crime scene investigations are overblown there, too. Then again, how much accuracy is found in the award-winning TV show, House?


Tis the season for standardized tests and I get it. I mean, I know that is how schools receive funding and it is the only way that the state assesses student performance and learning. For decades now we have coddled a system (thanks to liberal and conservative presidents) that has culminated with the Every Child Left Behind act.

Do elementary children actually cry? Yep. They freak out and sometimes have to be removed from the room. This happens to the entire pectrum of achievers. Lots of stress is placed on the Missouri's standardized test (MAP). Teachers and kids alike are on battleship alert. Nationwide, the tests get harder and harder. More rigor – everyone wants more rigor.

Click here to read this story about the kids crying at home over Indiana's standardized test. Yikes. What do we do? That depends on who you talk to. Teachers do their jobs as best they can. Students study the skills to be assessed on the test. Administrators try to encourage the best results they can. Parents try to keep their kids from freaking out.

Who is working toward changing the system? Who should be working to change the way we do things? How do we enact a full frontal educational lobotomy? Most teacher's unions are fighting to change standardized testing. We've heard rumors that politicians are unhappy with Every Child Left Behind, but can we really count on them?


Entertainment Weekly dubbed it the “hottest book since Harry Potter” and I’ve witnessed many a tween and teen reading the hefty-paged book in class and even brining it to church. Twilight is, without a doubt, a sensation among the young. Girls are all giddy over the pale-skinned (but somehow red-lipped?) ice cream sundae known as Edward, dreaming and swooning over the vegetarian vampire. It cracks me up.

That’s good. Young love is a powerful emotion and I celebrate the passion and commitment that kids have to reading such a thick novel (which is actually the first in a series). Connect with the books, kids. That’s what they are for.

My daughter has been dying to see the movie. She has the book, read a few chapters, but the reading level is a bit too high for her, although not for much longer. It is exactly what I expected: a teen romance wrapped in a thin horror-phane covering. Boy is a vampire, hundreds of years old, but he still looks 17 and is cursed to perpetually go through high school. Can you imagine? The horror of it all! His entire family are blood-suckers, but they have committed themselves to a life of restraint: choosing to only drink the blood of animals. They affectionately refer to themselves as vegetarians, which is not entirely true except from a certain point of view.

Nosferatu and human girl (Bella) fall in love, a love worthy of music, a Shakespearean love. It is not forbidden per se except that Edward can barely contain himself – smelling her blood scent and salivating over her life force. Good luck breaking these two up. It sure makes for a tense and sensual first time kiss.

Then everything gets mucked up when another transient triad of the undead show up and start feeding on the townsfolk, eventually honing in on Bella. What can be worse that a vampire and a human girl falling in love?

I have not read the books, but I know they are immensely popular mostly with girls but with boys as well. The movie was, well, aimed for a younger crowd, sparking that first love experience and playing on the push and pull of adolescence. It was fine. The kid loved it and that’s all that matters. I hope she picks the novels back up when she is a tad older. Considering the setting of the movie, today's weather made it all the better: rain, clouds and a cool wind.


Renowned comic writer, Mark Millar (War Heroes, Wanted) and illustrator Peter Gross have produced a comic titled American Jesus Vol. 1: Chosen. Per the online synopsis at Image:

[American Jesus] follows a 12-year-old boy who suddenly discovers he's the returned Jesus Christ. He can turn water into wine, make the crippled walk and perhaps even raise the dead. How will he deal with the destiny to lead the world in a conflict thousands of years in the making?

Crippled? Really? I wish they would choose their words better. Anyway, I thought this was an intriguing idea. Right off the bat, I had several questions/predictions:

  1. Is the boy really Jesus or is he the Antichrist?
  2. Is the boy schizophrenic and experiencing delusions of grandeur?
  3. Is he more like a Dr. Manhattan character, but not really the Jesus?
  4. Will the Jewish people see the boy as their true Messiah?
  5. Is it all some kind of elaborate hoax to extract money from the flock?

Word on the street is that this comic (originally titled Chosen) is repackaged and that there will be a forthcoming movie. Click here for a preview.

7 TERRIFYING CREATURES YOU'LL NEVER SEE COMING is often like the History Channel or Animal Planet mixed with a heavy dose of a Denis Leary stand up act (swears and lots of them). Often reminds me of a Springfield blogger's meeting. Click and read about some really nasty creatures that have it out for you and me.

Monday, March 23, 2009


If Oliver Stone can manage to make me feel bad and take pity upon George W, then I think I can say that the movie is probably worth seeing for folks all over the political spectrum. I was expecting (or was I hoping for?) a scathing expose on the man dubbed King George by many an adoring fan for his disregard for the US Constitution, trampling of American civil rights, and asshole-esque swagger.

His rocky adolescence - which lasted long after puberty mind you - was a warty glass of beer, but Ws conversion was portrayed as authentic and touching, a defining moment in the man's life. His religious devotion was handled with care and compassion, detailing the man who really did, as best he could, love and follow God as he understand Him.

I was surprised at how Stone characterized the yellow cake uranium issue. Contrary to the vast left-wing conspiracy, Stone left us with the impression that W was truly duped into drinking someone's Kool-Aid (Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld?) believing that Hussein really had WMDs.

That is all beside the point, Stone's point anyway. The focus of the film was not on Bush's mistakes in Iraq (although they were presented), instead keeping the lens on the relationship between W and daddy, or as they were called in the movie: Junior and Poppy.

Who knows if George HW Bush actually had the disdain for his son that was portrayed in the movie, but the implication is one that makes sense from a certain view. A man who stood in his father's shadow and was determined to earn that admiration and respect by creating a legacy and finishing daddy's battle. Oh yeah, oil played a part too, as did imperialism. Don't be surprised to hear the word empire uttered once or twice.


Speaking of strong women (see post below), I was graced with a comment from a reader and new blogger. We need more local female bloggers. The fact that Diana (of Diana's Wisdom) is a liberal blogger makes the read a bit more sweet as many of our local liberal lady-bloggers have gone away (Granny, Marmot, Sky Girl).

It should be noted that bloggers of all persuasions are welcome here. I love big, fat questions and challenges, don't you know. I especially love to get into stone-throwing competitions with my favorite conservative female blogger, JackeHammer.

Stop by and welcome Diana to the fold. It looks like she is going to give us all a good dose of female pride, girl power, and civil rights. Our society needs more of it all.

Welcome, Diana. You've been added to the blog roll.


Bill Maher’s documentary (is this a documentary?) is about the ridiculous nature of religion and religious beliefs. So why would a Christian like me want to watch it? I appreciate when someone presents an intelligent argument and challenges my long-held and sometimes dogmatic beliefs. Frankly, I am intrigued with what he has to ask.

Make no mistake about it. Maher rejects the notion of all religions and argues that these religions are the cause of most of our wars and unspeakable acts of human depravity. He is full of contempt for the atrocities that are enacted in the name of (insert your favorite messiah).

It is not necessarily easy to take jabs at your religion, except Maher mocks it all with enough humor that I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and my own beliefs. Not that he changed my mind, but he does make some interesting points about the strange similarities between Christianity/Judaism/Islam/Mormon/Scientology and mythological stories pre-dating all the leaders of all those aforementioned religions. It gives one pause, that’s for sure. (I don’t even count Scientology as a religion, but Maher’s point is that the beliefs in the mainline religions are just as crazy as the beliefs of Scientology.)

Maher spends his time asking religious folks why they believe what they believe. As if there is anything wrong with that. In one scene, he stops at a church for truckers. One driver gets angry, telling Maher he does not like it when people challenge his Jesus. He left. The others, however, stayed and they had a good discussion with Maher, laughing and joking and … talking. They left on good terms. That was true for most of the conversations he had throughout the movie.

Unlike many documentaries that try to present themselves as unbiased or open minded, Maher makes no such case. You know that going into it. He freely talks about his beliefs and the basis for his questions. Thus, there is no fear of some kind of subversive conversion to atheism. The movie-goer is merely subjected to questions.


It is all about girl power, baby, and I love it. Strong women do not appeal to everyone, but they do to me. The subjugated woman is just one component of religious dogma that I rejected a long time ago. Unlike Rush Limbaugh who makes fun of the “feminazis” (as he is so famous for labeling those women who believe in equality), I support those trailblazers who have fought for women to vote, have jobs outside the home if they choose, own land, preach the gospel, and become influential politicians – do anything that boys can do.

This is a huge reason I am such a Wonder Woman fan and her Silver Age mythos is nailed to the church doors, so to speak, in the recent Amazonian animated feature. She got the good treatment on this one, folks. Just like my title mentions, it is she who rescues the big, strong military fighter pilot numerous times. It is she who stops the muggers in the alley.

She questions why women in our culture bow to men and play the damsel in distress, when they are perfectly capable of solving their own problems. Why not, indeed? It can be hard to balance the warrior and the woman, but DC and Warner Bros. did a fabulous job.

There is a reason Wonder Woman is rated PG-13: beheadings, a ritualistic sacrifice (both done with class and without showing all the gore) and a few sexual innuendos. It really is not meant for young children, but as soon as your daughters are old enough, they should see the true measure of a great W.O.M.A.N!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I barely made it to the blogger's meeting last night. School gets in the way sometimes, but I'm glad I got to go. I met so many nice new bloggers. I was glad to put a face to the britches (Sugar B). She was not new to me. The others, however, were blogs I was unaware of. Sorry kids. Now I know and I've added them to the blog roll. 

My linking finger hurts so I didn't put links in the post. Here are the folks that were new to me:

  • A Fool of Myself
  • Daily Adventures
  • The Springfield Foodie
  • Show-Me Opinions

Welcome, all. Please continue to come to the blogger's meetings. We don't take ourselves too seriously. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Dennis Lamkins, in today's News-Leader editorial, feels we should:

Lamkins claims to understand our Constitution, but I think he forgot that pesky part (called the First Amendment) about freedom of religion. Like many crack-pot religious zealots, he only wants the Constitution to protect his religion and his belief system. To Hell with anyone else.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I was gonna say something, but why bother? This guy already said enough about it. Not that a baby, in and of itself, is a mistake, but a young pregnancy is.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


For several years now, perhaps even close to a decade but I cannot be sure, some members of the Missouri legislature have tried to repeal the motorcycle helmet law. It often passes the House and gets smeared in the Senate. This year the Senate attached it to a longer bill and hit as received little debate.

When I ride my bike to Kentucky every summer with my Dad and some friends, as soon as we cross the state line we pull over and everyone takes off their lids. All except me. I've worked around persons with disabilities for years and I've seen what traumatic brain injuries do to people and their families. It ain't pretty.

I keep my helmet on – nice and snug – and ride anyway, amongst throngs of bikers with hair a flowin'. I don't mind a bit, no sir. I take the teasing just fine because I would prefer to give my brain at least some protection against the pavement. That concrete is hard stuff and while I do ride, I try to be safe for my wife and daughter's sake.

You may be wondering if I will I take off my helmet when it's not required? Nope.

Read this short article from the News-Leader.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Who'd a thunk it? That there could be a comic book movie worse that BATMAN & ROBIN is disturbing enough. The knowledge that there exists five of these crappy comic flicks demonstrates Hollywood's desire to cash in on trash. Personally, I think Cracked left out that gobstopper of a cow patty fest known as THE AVENGERS (1998) not to mention the pittiful attempt at GHOST RIDER. For the love of all that is holy and good, Nick Cage is fantastic in quirky roles, but an action star he is not.

Keep all of these "movies" (if you can call them that) in mind when you are watching WATCHMEN this weekend. And you are going to see it in theaters arent' you?

[engage Jedi mind trick]

You will see WATCHMEN.
"I will see WATCHMEN," you reply.

[disengage Jedi mind trick]

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Newsarama offers a neat piece on the proposition that Apple may launch a new large-screen iPod Touch designed for color comic reading (and traditional books, too) and the publishing world is on edge. The rumor is that the compatible books will be available on iTunes.

Leave it to Apple to be at the forefront of innovation and the rest of the lackeys to trail along behind with buggy little knock-offs.


It is listed as one of Time's Top 100 Novels ever and it is coming to a theater near you this Friday, March 6. I know of two people who have seen it. Both reviewers have said it is great, freaking great. As with all adaptations to film there is a big old but a comin'. You can use your Google fingers and figure all of that out on your own.

When Larry @ Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind introduced me to WATCHMEN years ago I took it home, glanced over it, and handed it back. The art was problematic for me and I rebuffed it altogether. Since then, I've opened my mind to all kinds of comic literature, writing styles and art interpretations.

Whether we like it or not, WATCHMEN is a key member in the small cadre known as the comic canon. There's plenty of discussions about whether or not we should accept such an academic exercise as to have a comic canon. I took up the mantle, bought myself my own private copy and agreed to have a more open mind. It was not at all hard to do so this time around. I was mentally ready for an expansion of my comic appreciation and I looked forward to the experience.

I have to tell you that a one-time read is not nearly enough to understand the nuances and depth that WATCHMEN presents. It is at times complex and other times perplexing. It is dark and hard and very slow paced. Slow as molasses. WATCHMEN gets in no hurry to tell its story, but once you get to Rorschach – dear crazy-but-cool Rorschach – the story grabs you by the shorts and keeps a clenched fist. At least that is when it really got good for me. I was invested, interested and ready to finish this modern masterpiece.

I think WATCHMEN (the comic, the movie, the buzz and glory) is worth it. I say that because there is something special about stories that make people want to read. We should celebrate those works and find ways to tap into what makes them great.

Did you know that you can rent the WATCHMEN animated motion comic? It's due out this Tuesday. Also coming is the animated WATCHMEN: Tales of the Black Freighter. For those of you not in the know, WATCHMEN has an allegorical comic interwoven into the storyline called Tale of the Black Freighter, which will not show up in the movie.

Click here for all kinds of analysis, criticism and reviews of all things WATCHMEN.


Don't fart in a warm shower. Dang.