Tuesday, April 28, 2009


You would think this story would come from The Onion or Fair City News, but no dear readers, it is the real deal. A North Dakota mother was arrested when officers responded to her home for a domestic disturbance call. Allegedly, she was "extremely intoxicated" when she breast fed her baby leading officers to arrest her for child neglect. Alcohol can pass from mother to baby in the milk.

Anyone wonder what kind of picture Busplunge or the late John Stone would have posted with this picture?


I never thought I would live to see the day such an interview. Metallica drummer, Lars Ulrich, appeared on her show the other night. Thanks to YouTube you can see the video yourself. Maddow details the impact of the band on her early teenage years, which is interesting to see.


Oh the digital age. In some ways I am on top of it, but in others I am behind. I've lusted after the coup de grace of phones – the iPhone – but I cannot afford the data plan. So I've spent my college years with the basic of phones and services.

Now I have a job. So I went out and got a text phone. Cheaper than a Smart Phone by a long shot, but still more than what I've had. I've never had texting on my phone because it cost extra money. I headed to Alltel and purchased an LG Banter – a slider phone with a querty keyboard and phone. Dang, I've never had those kinds of features before.

I've texted two people and the daughter texted two cousins with my phone. Good stuff to be in the digital age.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Last night I was awakened to a soft shake and whispers of "10 more have died of that flu." I experienced a similar arousal when the wife got me up early to give me the latest death toll. That's a terrible thing to wake up to, kids.

It is scary, I know, but I am trying hard not to buy into the panic just yet. Common sense measures – washing hands often, cleaning public keyboards, using Germ-X after bathroom breaks and before eating – seems appropriate. Wearing a mask, hoarding food, and barricading myself inside are things I'm saving for a certified pandemic.

Speaking of, the World Health Organization has raised the pandemic threat level from 3 to 4, which means "likelihood of a pandemic has increased, but not that a pandemic is inevitable."

Let's relate this to religion. Why? Why not. I love talking God. My grandmother, a devout Church of Christ follower for her entire life, has many old school views of God (which is fine). Her church continues to use one cup during communion from which all members drink. She says something about the juice in a silver cup kills all germs. I don't think that's true, but that's another blog post. My church uses individual plastic cups, which I prefer. For the record, I don't think God gives a pittly-damn if we use one cup or gobs of cups, but that's just me. She believes God sees it as a matter of salvation.

I wonder if such pandemics will change her church's mind or if they will continue to practice one cup in spite of the dangers. Perhaps they see it like the snake handling churches see things: If God wants me to die of [snake bite or pig flu] then that's how it is? I don't know. If they did change, would they someone be compromising and questioning God? At least, would they see it that way? Does the church body have a responsibility to practice safe Christianity? What if these safe religious practices are not in line with their views of God? Big questions for them.

I haven't asked her yet. She's 92 and gets upset easily. I am curious, though.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


The high school cousin is in a metal band (shown above). No surprise. Long time feeders of the FJ buffet have seen photos of the metal concerts the boy and I have gone too. Our first concert was to see Gwar at the Juke Joint near the square. He was 14. Since then we've been to OzzFest and RockFest (and there were others, too). It's been a hoot.

He's in a band now (Quest for Fire) and they play gigs in and around Missouri and Arkansas. Very cool I must say, especially for a senior in high school, but I've been unable to attend one heretofore because of school. Dang. I was hoping to see him in concert in Tulsa, but that fell through. It appears he will play at a weekend concert in Kansas City this summer. That one falls on my daughter's birthday, so I cannot go. Double dang. I can't catch a break to see him play.

Anyway, I'm listening to a metal album (Priestess) he gave me and I'm thinking of him and how he's grown into his own. He's still a kid, don't you know, but he's heading off to college next year and then who knows. He's good people and I adore him.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I cannot seem to grow plants. I've tried, but it is a seemingly fruitless effort every time. We stumbled onto the Earthbox gardening system on HSN. It is highly recommended there and on Amazon, so the wife and I decided to give it a try. It uses less fertilizer, less water and doubles the yield and it is perfectly suited for organic gardening.

Enjoy the comic detailing our adventure.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Long time customer of the Fat Jack buffet offered a simple solution to my weather dilemma. I prefer supporting local endeavors if possible, and so I continue to watch my local TV stations for news and especially weather. Unfortunately, none of them provide me the with the weather information that I need or desire.

Oh sure, they speak at length about ridges of high pressure and all kinds of other meteorological happenings. Unfortunately, none of that means anything to me. All of that extra information is irrelevant to me and merely bothersome. I have a wife and child who need breakfast, so I cannot sit patiently in the mornings, waiting and hoping for the information I need, if they even provide the information that I really need. What I need that is mentioned on TV is non-existent on the website.

My faithful reader offered me the perfect solution: AccuWeather. This site provides me with the exact information I need in the mornings. I need to know the temperature predictions and precipitation predictions hour-by-hour through the day so I know how my daughter should dress, and if I can ride the motorcycle. No one else provides that information.

That's okay, they don't have to. I only speak for myself. There may be hundreds or thousands of viewers who love to hear all the meteorological goings-on in the world, ridges of this and pressures of that. More power to them, but my needs are not being met ... until now. I don't even bother with the local TV online weather forecast anymore.

Now I know if it is supposed to be sunny at 8 am but rainy at 3 pm, and I can predict the temps at 1 pm or 3 pm. It's perfect.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'm in the mood for something good and happy. I've had my fill of ignorant letter writers published in the "newspaper", politically-filled blog posts, and media-supported tea bag parties. It's just too much for me right now.

I'm not sure how much we need the majority of letter writers at the S N-L or the intense media coverage of media-sponsored political rallies. As for the local political coverage ... well we need those blogs and they serve their pupose well. I just can't read them right now. No offense guys and gals. Keep plugging away even if I am too tired to absorb it all.

I guess that's why I watch American Idol, Big Bang Theory, and Two and a Half Men. Besides the Sunday night Animation Domination, these are the only things I watch during the week. I just need a nice, uplifting, tickle of my funny bone.

Here's hoping that AI does not go over its allotted time (although live sports coverage does it all the time) and aggravate this blogger. So I make no apologies for blogging about American Idol, but now you know why.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I've noticed something ever since our local channels made the switch to digital TV, but I really noticed it tonight during American Idol. The signal stalled and pixelated at least two dozen times during the hour-long broadcast. Why is that?

When I turned to watch Family Guy on TBS the picture did not pixelate or freeze one single time. Is the problem with my cable box/cable provider or with the local stations? I thought digital was supposed to be so much better, but the interruptions became distracting and annoying after 15 minutes. It's not just FOX. I've noticed it on other channels, too.

Monday, April 20, 2009


The media has gone on and on about Susan Boyle, the ugly singer from Scotland. I take a bit of umbrage at the fact that everyone is making such an issue out of her voice, as if we are surprised when someone who is not young, beautiful and skinny can actually carry a tune.

I made a comment about this on JackeHammer's blog, but didn't get a chance to comment since. Then my pastor made a comment at church about our world's perception of people and our quickness to judge her voice based on her looks. "Right on, pastor-man," thought I. So I decided to say more on my blog.

My point is not that she does not deserve the accolades. She is amazing. I am just frustrated at the media's insistence that this woman's singing ability is truly rare and worth of such fanfare simply because she is ugly. Uglies and fatties can be just as successful, brilliant and talented as the young, skinny and beautiful. I think our society has a tendency to look down upon and judge the homely and pudgy.

I am happy for Susan Boyle and I hope she wins, but I don't see her as an exceptional singer because of her looks. I view her as a good singer because of her voice. I've heard rumors that she is refusing to update or change her image for the show. I hope it is true because it makes me like her all the more. I hope she kicks butt, takes names, and does it all on her own terms and in her original skin. I hope she stands up for the uglies and fatties and all the others that are judged on their looks rather than their capabilities.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


As a father and elementary teacher, I play close attention to children's literature and film. For once a Pixar trailer left me quite deflated and uninterested. However, after reading this powerful and detailed review of UP, I feel I might have judged the trailer too harshly.

Looks like UP will be one of our first summer movies of the season. There is plenty more good stuff coming out this year, especially this May.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


The 6-pound Yorkie-Bichon hybrid took to the hunt on Saturday, capturing himself a young squirrel. We were not around at the time, but my grandmother delighted in telling the story. She was as proud as he.

Someone he managed to catch the fury rodent and killed it. He then devoured it, head first, chomping and knowing until all was gone even the bones. He buried what was left of the carcass, then came back a few minutes later to finish the job. Blood tastes good, apparently.

Grandma said he was quite pleased with himself, carrying the dead thing around the yard, head and tail dragging the ground behind him. He is only 6 pounds after all. Thankfully, she gave his whiskers a wipe-down before we came to pick him up. Dried, clotted blood is not too easy to clean.

Ah, the animal world is cruel but balanced. God save me if PETA gets wind of this story. I’m sure the natural state of things – the life cycle and all – will upset them greatly.

Thank your lucky stars I didn't post a picture. It's just like me to do something like that. Remember when I posted the picture of my gallbladder when I had it removed?


The daughter and I read the highly acclaimed children's book, The Tale of Despereaux, last summer, and we agreed: It was a wonderful tale. We might just re-read the story this summer as well. It was that good, well worth a second read.

The movie, on the other hand, did not live up to the book. The cast was good enough what with Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Tracy Ullman, Kevin Kline and William H. Macy voicing the main characters. Dear readers, a good cast does little for a poor script adaptation. My biggest complaint, and there are many, was that they took so many liberties with the characters, to the point that some were changed into someone else entirely.

Baa Humbug!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Yep, I caught tonight's episode of American Idol. I'm a sucker, but I don't care. They picked the right guy to kick off and then the judges, to bolster drama I'm sure, saved him. The Justin Timberlake (who cares what his real name is?) look-alike, is not good enough. He's boring. Got a good voice, but he's lame in comparison with the trinity and merely an ant compared to Adam Lambert.

So next week we have two going home. It's disco. Good Lord! What shall Anoop (who I like but who isn't good enough to win) do with disco? It'll either be a home run or a strike out for him. I cannot wait to see what Lambert comes up with. Coolness and lots of falsetto, no doubt.


Is our economic plight a contributing factor to my sudden interest in AI? Am I a victim to the recession equivalent to beer-goggles?


Every morning I get up at 6 am and check the weather at 6:30 pm as that is the time our local TV stations update their web page. I turn the news on, but I don't always have time to actually watch it. I'm busy getting the progeny ready for school, making breakfast for the family, taking care of our little wild animals, and getting ready for the day. I leave the house at 7:30 a.m.

I get the daily highs and lows and I get a lot of information about a ridge of high pressure or some such information, which is great, but doesn't really help me make decisions about how my child should dress for the upcoming school day or how I should dress if I, perhaps, want to ride the motorcycle, bicycle or walk to work. (Please forgive my meteorological ignorance.)

I would like very much to see the following information on the local TV weather website:

  • A breakdown of the daily temp predictions at different intervals (8 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm).
  • A breakdown of the daily precipitation predictions at different intervals (8 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm).

Most of the meteorologists read the barometer reading on the news and provide the pollen count online. Some even provide the above information on the news, but not on the website. For those of us with children, or those who are looking to ride their bicycle to work as a part of being green, or those of us who want to ride our motorcycles, this information would be ever so handy.

On behalf of the staff at Fat Jack's Erratic Rants, I thank the local weather personalities for their kind consideration of this request.


I saw a 14-minute documentary today about clowns. White Face wasn't really about clowns; rather, it was a humourous metaphor for the discrimination of minority persons (ethnic, cultural, gender, religious, political, sexual orientation, or disability).

I was quite intrigued with how Brian McDonald took the issue of discrimination out of the black/white issue and brought the viewer a fresh perspective on how we treat people who look, act, feel or believe differently than "we" do (whoever that "we" might be.) I interpreted the "we" as all of humanity, as I believe categorization and discrimination a natural component of the human condition. It is the easy way and it is what homosapiens do. It takes work and will, brain power and commitment to act otherwise.

I highly recommend the short film, if for no other reason that to spark friendly discussion between yourself and your friends or family.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com.


It's crazy. I cannot believe I've taken such interest in … in … American Idol, but I have. One particular contestant, Adam Lambert, is so full of talent, that the AI stage can barely contain him. His rendition of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" was outstanding. (It is available for download from iTunes.)

There are two other stand-out singers as well, Danny and Allison, but they cannot compete with Lambert. That is, Allison has not reached Adam's level yet, but she's only 16. I've been watching and rooting for the trio to make it into the final three.

Last night the contestants sang songs from film. One of the world's greatest contemporary film makers, Quentin Tarantino, was the guest celebrity. His knowledge of music and movies made him a perfect choice. He's squirrely as all get-out, but the man is a genius filmmaker, one who is ahead of his time and often misunderstood.

There it is: my American Idol confession. I am a fan this year.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Don't read the title metaphorically; I spent time today fixing the fence on the back 40. Those darn holes near the bottom were just enough that the 6-pound Rip-Skippy was getting through and I cannot have that.

So I took some chicken wire and mended the fence on the north and east side of the farm. Oh, he can still run all he wants – and poop and chase birds and squirrels, rabbits and whatnot – but he cannot escape. At least he better not. A dog ain't meant to be cooped up indoors all day, even the little ones.

It's a good thing that dog is as cute as he is. He gets away with way too much because of those good looks and personality.


Family members can be no-good sons-of-guns. If you cannot handle that information, don't watch Slumdog Millionaire. The older Samir cared for his brother, but he often had strange ways of showing it. The younger and kinder Jamal absorbed his brother's anger and spite. Samir went so far as to rape Jamal's only love.

The story of bad brothers is an ancient one, a tale that's been told throughout the ages and in many cultures. The age of the story offers little comfort for those who receive the brunt of the force. Samir redeemed himself in the end, which was fair. He also paid a high price for his knuckle-dragging.

Slumdog was sad, blinding and barbaric, yet it was worth watching and celebrating.


The rights of we Christians is being stamped out by the government, or so says the National Organization of Marriage in their latest fear-based ad campaign. That is rich. Forget the fact that they never say how their rights are being taken away. They just scare people into believing their rights will be taken away in some abstract and unidentifiable way. You can bet it will whip the followers into a fearful frenzy. The best part is that the ad is supposedly wrapped in Christian love.

I'm a Christian and my rights are not being taken away. This very day, churches have the right NOT to marry gay couples. In fact, religious institutions cannot be forced to marry persons of different faiths, nor should they be.

On the other hand, same-sex couples are prevented from receiving the 1,049 protections, benefits and responsibilities (according to the General Accounting Office) extended to married couples. This includes paying higher taxes and prevention from receiving Social Security survivor benefits. Employer portions of a same-sex partner's health benefits are taxed, but the same is not true for married couples. Gay couples are also denied family leave under the Family Medical and Leave Act. (Thanks to the Human Rights Campaign for the information.)

A gay couples' marriage does not, in any way, effect my marriage, my relationship with Jesus, or threaten me. Gay persons getting more rights does not somehow take mine away.

Tip of the hat to new blogger, Diana.

Update: Click here to read the specific things this ad is obscurely referring to and find out the truth the ad doesn't mention. They may try to be aloof and nonspecific, but I'm not.

Friday, April 10, 2009


One of my favorite writers, George RR Martin, is close to finishing his fifth novel (of a planned nine) in his "Song of Ice and Fire" epic. It has taken the NY Times Bestselling author years – and I stress the word "years" here folks – to finish the series. The first book, A Game of Thrones, came out in 1996.

Fat Jack being the naughty boy he is, introduced several friends and family to the series much to their delight. Then they found out the series was not finished and I find myself on the unhappy side of a list.

Book five, A Dance with Dragons, is slated to come out in September according to Amazon.com. but speculation is that it won't hit until October. So far, every single person I've introduced to this fantasy series has loved it. Loved it.

Martin has won numerous Hugo awards, a couple of Nebula Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, a World Fantasy Award, a Quill Award, and a British Fantasy Award.

His series is well worth your time. The man has more than 1,500 ratings on his first book, the average score being a 4.5 out of 5.

You can read my review of the first book here.


I've been wondering what happened with those women and children removed from the polygamist ranch in Texas. That hit the news in April 2008. A year later ... nothing. The news was all over that link stink, then all of a sudden it was dead news. Where are the kids? Where are the moms? What happened to all of the men who were under investigation?

It seems like the only journalist who actually followed up was Oprah. But hey, I have plenty of AP stories I can read in the local paper.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Good teachers know the power of music in the classroom. Yes, the benefits of a strong musical curriculum are numerous, but the influence of music on the achievement of students is not relegated to the music classroom.

Studies have shown that when classroom teachers use music in the classroom, students are able to focus deeply and for longer periods of time. (Click here to read more about the Alpha State Learning, and all kinds of interesting information on the connection between music and achievement.)

Mozart, Bach, Handel, et al. are perfect examples of music that is well studied on the student brain. It’s good stuff, no doubt about it. As far as focus in concerned, 50- to 80-beats per minute are ideal as is music sans lyrics. However, when we are taking a brain break we seek out music with a higher tempo to help release energy.

I can download enough classical music to fill a 60-gig iPod; it’s not a problem. I am also interested in increasing student appreciation and exposure to music by incorporating some high quality and easily recognizable jazz and blues.

This is where I need the help of my blogging community. Think of my request as a need for the Top 10 of jazz, blues, pop and hip-hop. I am also interested in Celtic instrumental and other genres. The mind is open. Understand that I am looking to help students learn, focus and concentrate. If they are exposed to the same genre all the time … well, that becomes boring.

I need recommendations of jazz and blues songs or artists. Keep in mind, I cannot have songs about sex, drugs, alcohol or suicide. Please don’t recommend those. My music repertoire is too limited to be able to find the right selections.

Okay audiophiles send those comments my way. I would prefer them in the comments section as your recommendation may spark an idea of someone else. You can consider this part of your community service by helping an elementary teacher.

If anyone has any CDs they are willing to part with for the good of education, please send them my way. I have accepted a position at an elementary school and I am already preparing my classroom. Your support is sincerely appreciated.

I'd prefer comments, but you can also email me at:  fatjacksrants@mac.com


There is hope for anger and hatred. If this man – a Baptist and KKK member who spent his life burning crosses, harassing African Americans and beating people of other races – can find love and change his ways at the age of 72 then there is hope for all humanity.

Sure, he is old and sick and dying. He is faced with his maker and his anger is now haunting him, but that is the beauty of love. It can repair a lifetime of hate and anger.

Read the article here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


With a big fat poke in the eye, Fair City News has emerged as Springfield's blogging version of The Daily Show. The headline that caught my eye: 90% of Greene County Voters Give Finger to Democracy. Hi-Larious and sad all at the same time.

For all the talk these patriotic Americans give democracy, you would think voting percentages would be much higher. You would be wrong. Americans don't give a hoot about democracy. Not really. They are willing to send troops to war, but don't care enough to vote on the mayor of our fair spring.

I say sick'em!

Sunday, April 05, 2009


I went to the grocery store today and bought a bunch of meat. Oh, I bought other things too, but I was sure to stock up on meat: 1-inch thick pork chops, turkey brats, ground chicken, pork tenderloin, and ribs. I unloaded when we got home and helped put it all away. Then I did some prep.

It's a move I am making to help make dinner time easier and therefore less tempting to go out. Eating in is cheaper and healthier. I put marinades and spices on the meats and then put them in heavy duty freezer bags. Now all we have to do is take it out of the freezer a couple of days before we want to eat them. Stick them under the broiler and cook. Done and done.

I also bought some salt-free spice mixes. The wife really wants us to keep sodium intake as low as possible. I've found several good spices sans salt from Mrs. Dash, McCormick, and Cavender's.


This isn't her x-ray, but it is almost identical to hers.
Notice the dark line spiraling around the big bone (tibia).

We spent a nice four hours in the emergency room last night. The daughter went to a roller skating birthday party. A perfect sounding event for an 8-year-old kid. She was unsteady, it being her first time on roller skates, but before long she was making her way around the rink.

On the last song, the very last song, she fell. As near as we can tell, her right shin fell on top of her left skate, with her body crashing down on top. Some twisting occurred causing a spiral fracture. I don't react with too much concern with things like this. Get up, dust off, and walk it off is usually the best solution. Her crying was different this time. She touched one toe to the floor and I wondered. Luckily, the roller rink had a wheelchair so we took her to the car.

When I watched her swing her leg in, I knew something was wrong. By the time I pulled out of the parking lot I called the Mom and headed for the ER. Her cry was different. Good thing I didn't wait.

The tibia is in the correct position, so the ER put on a temporary cast and sent her home with pain meds. We call the bone doc on Monday.

She slept well through the night and is getting around well. Bless her heart. They say 4-6 weeks in a cast. At least it happened before summer.

Friday, April 03, 2009


Spring is here, or at least on it is on its way. The summer time gas hike is not far behind. Warm weather and gas savings go hand-in-hand if you own a motorcycle. It just so happens that Fat Jack has a motorcycle for sale. The reason I am selling it is because my wife bought me a Harley as a present.

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

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Yet another newcomer has entered the SGF Blogging community: GALT BLOG. So far I've read about sports, economics/politics, and religion. Check it.


The Springfield News-Leader and now KY3 are implementing furloughs. One was mandatory and the other was voluntary (for now, anyway). Roger Ray has noticed the impeding decline of the media and wrote about that this week.

Appears Ray may have some contempt for the News-Leader when he calls it "our beloved local rag". I know plenty of righties and lefties and crazy libertarianies and I have not heard one of them talk positively about the News-Leader lately. It's a bad deal, folks.

I love The Daily Show and when I can stay up late enough to catch it, I somehow feel more connected to the world than when I watch the the morning news (local and national) or occasionally read the N-L online. I really should not rely on a comedy show for news. That's sad commentary.

What do the local newsies think? Rhetorica, Chatter anyone else? What do the rest of my fellow whack-a-moles think about Ray's article and the decline of media.