April 23, 2013
The End of an Era
November 07, 2012
In Re November 6, 2012
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
H. L. Mencken
April 17, 2012
An unfortunate likeness to a real family...
…in that it seems as though nowadays we don’t “see” each other (virtually, at least) except at funerals.
One of my long-time blogfriends, Francesca Watson, sent along some sad information on a fellow blogwriter who passed away suddenly.
It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to just sit down and keep up with online folks, but when I did have the time, I remember every once in a while stopping by to enjoy Pat’s blog, and her occasional pearls of commentary wit on other sites.
I looked back through my stuff, and it looks like we never corresponded. Despite having never met her in person, the fact is that I still appreciate the gift she gave to me and to others of her writing and photography, and I hope her family comes to know just how many people she helped and influenced.
Francesca sent me the following from Pat’s daughter and asked that I post it—if you’re in the Tryon family’s neck of Colorado, I know they would appreciate your stopping by, and I know they will all appreciate your prayers for them.
March 19, 2012
Well, 1) It's science, and 2)...
...It validates one of my preconceived notions: THEREFORE, it must be true.
So, what prompts this sudden return from hibernation?
Finding out there is an actual name for the theory I have long espoused on this blog, namely, "It's not the stupid people who're the problem, it's the people who think they're smart."
Yep, it seems that I'm not the only one who's noticed this, and the someones who did notice are all full of psychological booklearning, therefore what they say must be completely and absolutely true.
As best as I can tell, the stupider people are (and oddly enough, Americans in particular), the more likely they are to think they are the sharpest hammer in the toolbox.
People who actually are smart seem to understand a bit better just how stinkin' little they actually do know in the greater scheme of things, and are more likely to admit they don't know something, shut up when they're out of their element, and not try to tell everyone else how to run their bidness.
Ace's co-blogger rdbrewer notes several corollaries to this idea, and they all pretty much describe the sorts of people who alternately irritate and scare the crap out of me. And who seem, at least if voting preferences are any indication, to make up about half the population.
Which is pretty danged disheartening.
My solution? Not sure, but I'm thinking that I make up a fictional country, and start telling everyone that NO ONE can come in without special permission. All the forward-leaning smartypants types who can't stand being left out of anything will all clamor to get in, or else they'll issue a fatwa or UN resolution or boycott or whatever. Then I'll relent and tell them they can come in after all, and I'll reluctantly point them to a big door that says Stay Out (which will make them even more eager to go in), and on the other side will be a million hungry tigers and crocodiles with chainsaws. I figure about midway through the line, people will start to think it's maybe not the best idea to go in, and so I'll jump up and slam the door and tell them "NO! NO MORE!!" They'll shove me aside, of course, and the rest of them will go charging on in.
The only problem I see is not having enough hungry tigers and crocodiles, and keeping the chainsaws fueled up. I might have some of those nice electric ones--maybe even plug them into one of those big wind turbines or something, just to be ecologically-minded.
[UPDATE 4-17-12--The Return of Dunning-Kruger!]
January 18, 2012
A virtual friendship, but a real loss.
I checked my email before I left for work this morning, and was greatly saddened to receive the following:
I sent Kathie a short response to express my sorrow at the news, but given how I knew Steve, I thought I would do well if I opened up the blog for a little while to reminisce.
Steve first dropped by, I think, because his brother Michael Hendry (aka Dr. Weevil) was one of the early members of the Axis of Weevil. And he just kept dropping by, with a variety of comments, computations, quotes, and quips, tales of rocket surgery and LBCs (little British cars) and Baltimorons, and Yanmar diesel engine repair and the thrilling sporting deeds of the University of Rhode Island. Take a look back through the archives to see some of what made Steve such a popular source of mirth around here.
I enjoyed conversing with Steve, and as Kathie notes, I considered him a good friend, despite the fact that we'd never met. Some folks are just like that, and Steve was one of them.
Which is why this news was all the sadder--since I pretty much closed up around here, I didn't get to talk to Steve nearly as much as in years past--every once in a while he'd send along a ill-written article from the Providence [RI] Journal or some stupid diversity memo from NASA that we could laugh at, but it was sort of hit-or-miss when something would fly over the transom.
The last time I had heard from him was in October, and I hadn't a clue that he was doing so badly. And that's my fault--I need to keep up with my friends, virtual or otherwise.
To Kathie and the Hendry family, thank you for sharing Stephen with us, and may God grant you grace and peace during this time.
December 12, 2011
Well, I got to thinking about it the other day…
…and wondered what might be going on around here. I mean, it’s been a longish time since I investigated the old blogstead, and you never know when rabid coatimundis might move in and take over.
THEN, out of the blue, Larry “Kudzu Acres” Anderson sent me a note saying I should update things just to prove I’m not lying beside the road playing dead or something.
Well, I’m not.
Since I last ventured past here in August, I have done got promoted to head honcho in my division. That was nice, although the pay raise I got was the same percentage I was scheduled to receive last year when I was but a mere peon, but didn’t get. Not that I’m bitter, because I’m not. Much.
And they actually hired two guys for me to boss around, which is nice, because I went ten months trying to keep things going around here, and it made me sorta grumpy. Or bitter. Except I’m not. Much.
Kids? Still have four. Two in college, one about to be in college next year, and one just starting high school. All of the heartwarming baby/toddler/little kid stories are history now—hard to believe that ten years ago when this place first opened up they were 12, 9, 7, and 4. Never quite thought about what they would be like at 22, 19, 17, and 14, but I think if I had I would have been wrong. I do know that I remember hoping they would quit trying to tear the house apart. Didn’t happen. Also that they would quit trying to send us to the poorhouse. Again, didn’t happen.
Animals? Got three now. Patches, the previous object of affection, has been followed by a new kitty to replace Lightning. She was a rescue kitten, and replaced ANOTHER rescue kitty that we’d originally picked out, but one that experienced an untimely demise at the hands of his neuterologist. Never heard of a kitten dying from getting fixed, but I suppose it can happen. Anyway, the new kitty is the sister of the one who took the long nap, and her name is Zoe, and she’s very long and slinky and stays inside because she jumps the fence and runs off when we leave her outside, because of the OTHER animal we got. An American Eskimo dog that we bought back in June. She is now about seven months old, is named Pippa, and I promise that I have never seen an animal with more bounce. And such utter lack of regard of other people's (and animals') personal space. Poor Patches has to suffer her constant desire to play and be right in his face—before he always looked so sad and lonesome when he didn’t have a playmate, now he simply looks miserable WITH a playmate. Maybe she’ll eventually grow out of the puppy stage. And quit chewing on rocks and concrete and the big conch shell we have.
What else is going on in the world? Well, Mr. Perfectly Creased Trousers continues to amaze and astound me. Not in a good way, though. Just remember what I have long said on this blog (look it up, it’s in here a bunch in various wordings)—it’s not the stupid people who are the problem, it’s the people who think they’re smart. And another thing—he’s not even a good liar. He lies with such heavy Nixonian hatefulness that you get the sense he enjoys none of it and performs it merely from rote.
What sort of a politician is that?!
Say what you will about Sheriff Joe, he’s one who’ll sit there and grin like a mule eating briars while he tells you about how carved Mount Rushmore with a pen knife, or how he once performed brain surgery on himself (actually, based on what I’ve seen, read, and heard, that one might be true), or that he ties his own shoes, all told with that same sincere, winsome twinkle in his eye, without a trace of irony, doubt or ambiguity. Until it’s time to make up new true facts. His skill at BS is so widely varied, yet so finely honed, I’ve tried my best to hire him to write for this blog, but to no avail.
Anyway, I look at it like this: if Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush didn’t deserve second terms, no plausible case can be made that the current guy does. Give him his participation trophy and team photo, and send him on his way.
Okay, now that politics is out of the way, what about sports? The best line I’ve heard lately is that everyone who hates the BCS should at least be happy that an SEC school is finally going to lose.
Food? Someone needs to find a way to make synthetic gluten that doesn’t irritate the innards of celiac people. We’ve been trying to find ways to make life reasonably normal for Rebecca, but it’s difficult to live in a wheatless world—especially for normal people who don’t particularly like having to shop at Whole Foods Market, simply because of having to deal with all the semiurban hipsters who need their organic, fair/free-trade, recyclable, reusable, locally-grown, lifestyle choices validated in the most expensive way possible. (Yes, I know—shop Amazon.) And even MORE especially when you start thinking about a big, hot, yeast roll with a thin sheen of butter on top that you can taste every single gooey morsel of flakiness of. (Sorry, I’m drooling.)
Literature? I read The Book Thief a few weeks ago after Cat finished it (it was a school assignment for her). Pretty interesting, even with the depressing topic.
Movies? I haven’t seen anything in a long time—the current crop of crap is just like the popcorn--just not worth paying 8 bucks for.
Tee-vee? I spend most of my telly-watching time tuned to the local NBC station’s secondary digital channel where they have MeTV. Old shows all the time. Some of which hold up surprisingly well. I’d forgotten how good the early Odd Couple shows were. Oddly enough, it used to be that comedy writers could actually write comedy. Yeah, I know! Who’d have thought that!? Of course, there were hacks back then, too (I’m looking at you, Lucy Show) but it says something that even my kids prefer the old stuff to what’s on now. With the exception of Raising Hope which always makes me laugh out loud.
Anyway, my brain hurts now so I’m going to sneak back out into the real world (so-called) and do some stuff. All of you be sure to have a nice [insert proper religious and/or secular holiday] time with your families in the upcoming weeks and be sure that no matter what your belief system, remember that it’s always appropriate to send me large sums of cash.
August 16, 2011
Just like it was yesterday...
A very long yesterday, but yesterday nonetheless.
In any event, I decided that if I must take a break from not blogging, what better day to mark the occasion than my (and my wife's) 20th wedding anniversary!
The secret to our success? There is no alternative. We're both of the belief that marriage is intended to be a forever sort of thing, come what may, hell or high water, between a rock and a hard place, fire, hail, locusts, darkness, &c., &c., &c. Also, that when you add it all up, all that bad stuff is but a thimbleful compared to the simple contentment of having a nice person with whom to share the day (and the night).
1. This stuff about marriage being a 50/50 proposition is garbage--it requires absolute 100% commitment and involvement every single day of your life. Even in your sleep. Just a tip--never tell your wife about this weird dream you had about you and Raquel Welch.
2. Do your job. Each of you have things you're supposed to take care of--if you don't know what they are, you better figure it out. The preacher who married us reminded me that I was supposed to be the man, and do things like kill bugs. Not that Reba couldn't kill them herself, but it was my job to do it. And I have done it as assiduously as I have been able to.
3. All that stuff you do that makes the other one mad? Don't do it. (Much) And don't ever say that all the stuff THEY do makes you mad. Because it doesn't. (Much)
4. Have a lot of children. They're expensive and occasionally dangerous, but then again, so are Ferraris. And you'll never be able to afford a Ferrari if you have kids, so enjoy what you've got. They do have their moments, though, you know--no Ferrari ever climbed up in your lap and gave you a big hug and said "I love you, Daddy." And then puked on you. Also, Ferraris won't take care of you when you get old and you walk out the door with your fly unzipped. Not that children will, either, but they will be sure you know about it by laughing at you.
5. Never lie. But do learn to tell the truth properly, or else you're just making it hard on yourself.
6. Learn to live with imperfections. Not that Reba has any, but if she did, I would overlook them. Constantly.
7. You're not always right. Even if you are, pretend not to be.
8. Every once in a while, do something unexpected. Not including things like emptying the bank account, or committing adultery. I'm talking about maybe doing the dishes or vacuuming or making me a sandwich when I didn't ask.
9. If you're a guy, always remember the important dates. Birthday, anniversary, the date you got engaged, the childrens' birthdays. If you're a girl, when he forgets one of those, try to understand that a guy's brain has only three moving parts--food, football, and procreative activities. Anything he remembers beyond that is a blessing.
10. If you're a girl, always be a girl. Guys like that kind of thing. If you're a guy, and she goes off and does something girly like talking while standing in front of the football game on TV, remember that if you listen, you might learn something very important that you can use later while you're eating or enjoying procreative activities.
11. Be kind.
12. Take a lot of vacation pictures and occasionally share one on your blog because it's just so danged cute:
And that's about it.
July 12, 2011
...if you don't put something up here, the entire shebang blows away! So here's something. But not much.
March 11, 2011
Y'know, it used to be...
...that back a year or two ago, when I was busy, I would think to myself that I couldn't get any busier.
Now I know better.
Which is why it's been nearly two months since I've not blogged. When I gave up doing this, I always figured I'd still hang around in the shadows and post pithiness and junk, just much less regularly. But great gravy! I never thought I'd actually not have the wherewithal to sit down and say something.
But it's true.
The work load here at the ol' salt mine grew exponentially after the early retirement of my boss and my coworker, so before when I was doing my work and half of someone else's, now I'm doing that, and everything else, too.
Luckily, no one has seen fit to pay me more, or else I'd probably go and get all high-n-mighty and stuff and think I was important. (Insert image of small, sad, large-eyed child holding a puppy and crying, while tiny violins play in the background.)
Anyway, life continues around here. Or not, as the case may be. Back in January we lost poor Lighting, the World's Most Expensive Free Kitten. He'd grown up into a beautiful tom, but some sort of respiratory ailment overtook him suddenly, and he died coughing up blood one cold night back in January. He'd been sick the week before, we took him to the vet, they gave him fluids and a blood test that told us nothing, sent him home feeling slightly better, and then he expired with great drama. And I'm still trying to pay off the $300 vet bill.
We buried him out in the yard, under Ashley's tree, close to where Patches puts down his old filthy sheets and sleeps in the sun. It's sorta like they still pal around, in a way.
And yes, Patches is still hale and hearty and full of vitality, and his desire to hump the air at the slightest provocation continues unabated.
Let's see--in other news, we found out Middle Girl has celiac disease, which has been a bummer for everyone because everyone loves crackers and pasta and white bread and we're trying to get rid of all that now. But there is rice, and potatoes, so maybe the desire for salty, fatty, starchy food can be sated other ways than by yummy wheaten products.
Tiny Terror? She's FOURTEEN years old now! How can this be?!
Boy? He's 16, and can drive, but doesn't bug us about it, which is nice, seeing as how I can't afford ANYone to have ANY wrecks right now.
Oldest? Got herself another beau, and one who actually seems mentally stable. That's a good thing, I think.
Miss Reba? She's real pretty, and I still love her very much. She occasionally reciprocates this feeling. And on occasion, she will allow that she thinks I am real pretty, too. Which makes me feel good, until I wonder what else she lies so shamelessly about!
Now then, now that you're slightly caught up, I'm going home now. (The ol' Volvo says hey, by the way.)
OH--almost forgot--got a call one night from my big sis down in Mobile. "Hey, do you know anything about something called 'Possumblog'?" I had to confess I'd never heard of it, and that it was surely some other Terry Oglesby.
I don't think she believed me...
January 10, 2011
Fearless and True
I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.
I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.
I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.
I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.
I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.
I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God."
And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.
-George Petrie (1945)
Way to go, Tigers!
December 25, 2010
Well, whaddya know!
All those years of singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," and the dream finally comes true!
Merry Christmas from Maison d'Possum. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year.
November 03, 2010
Tastes like refudiation! With a side of misunderestimation.
October 26, 2010
Nothing else can explain the inexplicable discovery I just discovered that nearly the entire month of October has disappeared. Why, just the other day it was Friday the First, and then I woke up today and found out it's already the St. Bean's Feast Day!
Well, I want all my days back. Whoever you are, just bring them back, leave them on the doorstep, and there'll be no questions asked.
Oh, speaking of thievery, it's also almost Election Day. All of you be sure and go out and exercise your franchise on the 2nd. And remember, as I always say, it's not the stupid people who're the problem, it's the people who think they're smart.
Related to that, there's this guy who has a blog, and of late he's been noting the difference between being truly elite and merely being credentialed. It's worth keeping that in mind when you go about electing people to represent you.
So, anyway, there you go.Continue reading "Thievery."
September 24, 2010
Okay, well THAT'S a new one...
I realize I'm not the most non-descript person around--the combination of a boulder-like head, pile of Shoney's Big Boy hair on top, and being on the slightly husky side (in the mushy tub-o'-lard sense) all mean that I could pretty easily be picked out in a crowd.
This is me, striking a mock-serious pose that helps hide some of my double-chinned-ness:
So, having that sort of description, you'd think I'd never get that "Hey, you look like [insert name of handsome celebrity]" comment from people, but as a matter of fact, I do occasionally get a few comparisons.
Now, I think I bear a pretty good resemblance to a middle-aged Raymond Burr, but that's neither here nor there. We're talking about what other people say, after all.
A long time ago, I used to go to church with an old fellow who would tell me every Sunday (morning and evening) that I looked just like "Voice of the Crimson Tide" Eli Gold. (Eli used to have big hair, too.) Several other folks have made the comparison, too--especially when I imitate his voice and scream "WHITEKNUCKLEWEEKEND!!" (Which I try not to do very much.)
My kids, of all people, have several times mentioned that they think I look like local veteran Fox news anchor Scott Richards. (Shown here about ten years ago before he started slathering on the hair product.)
So, I have sorta gotten used to those comparisons. However, today I got a new one, and I think I'm insulted.
I was walking into the credit union to get a check cashed, and this happy bald guy (who himself looked like Michael Chiklis--or Don Rickles) comes bopping out and nods hello and brightly (and loudly) says, "HEY, YOU LOOK LIKE STEPHEN KING!!"
I was immediately tang-tongueled and managed to say something like, "Oh, okay, hi? THANKS!?" and walked on in the lobby, but I gotta say, it threw me.
Now I'm just gonna feel all creepy and peculiar the rest of the day.
September 15, 2010
A rare occurrence.
Two (non)posts in one day? Well, I just felt like I had to since I found out one of the commentor/bloggers who used to wander around here regularly, Dave Helton of Red Georgia Clay, suffered a total loss of his house due to fire on Tuesday morning.
Dave reports that he and his wife, their dogs and their horsies are all okay, although two felines are missing and presumed to be only missing and not reduced to kitty briquettes.
Dave says they (he and his wife, not the cats) have good homeowner's insurance, but this sort of incident is never easy, even if it is only stuff and things that are gone. Given the geographic distance between here and north Georgia, I'm not able to do much in the way of physical help, but I did promise him that his family would be in my family's prayers, and I'd like to ask you all to do the same.
We are simple creatures, you know.
Not quite amoebic, but still simple enough an organism to be able to enjoy things that higher beings might find off-putting. Such as, oh—I don’t know, listening to the uncomplicated music of an AC-130 firing its door-mounted howitzer. Or feeling the soft warmth of a rack full of fresh Krispy-Kremes as they disappear down one’s gullet. Or the wry smile brought on by a particularly piquant quip by Moe as he coyly slaps Larry and Curly across their faces with a sledgehammer.
And speaking for myself, there is the overwhelming joy of being able to stand (fully-clothed no less!) whilst conducting emiction. I don’t really know why, but it is satisfying in the extreme to stream satisfyingly into various vitreous porcelain basins, or even upon the random campfire.
Science (SCIENCE!) tells us that Men, being what we are, are biologically driven to produce things, and this is one of those things where we can produce abundantly, and several times a day (depending on bladder capacity and beverage selection), and receive immediate satisfaction. Almost as soon as we can stand and deliver the goods in early childhood, our productive output is met with cooing words and applause from our progenitors. Although this tends to diminish in adulthood, we still have a sense of great satisfaction once we have completed the task at hand.
And not only is this ability oh-so-keen in and of itself, men everywhere will confirm that there is even greater fulfillment when there’s actually something to ‘shoot’ at, as it were. We are overjoyed at the opportunity evinced by the presence of bits of paper or lint in the receptacle and we can pretend to be just like that big AC-130, blasting furious death from above onto the poor unsuspecting objects below. O! and heaven help us all should it be something ANIMATE! A stray fly or ant becomes an imaginary MiG fighter or scurrying grenade-tosser to be dispatched with extreme prejudice!
So then, imagine (after all of that build-up) what it must have been like for me the other day when I sauntered into the men’s room at work, unzipped, and just happened to spy hiding under the rim of the urinal, a small, thin, leaf-green, grasshopper!! “YEE-HAW!,” I thought to myself (since yelling such things in a municipal government men’s room tends to attract the wrong sort of attention) “I am about to have some FUN!”
Over and above the usual fun, that is.
I prepared myself carefully for the upcoming ambuscade, and ever so deftly began the slow dance of liquid annihilation.
It was at about that same moment that my intended target decided it best to act like a grasshopper, and, well, you know—hop.
I'm not sure why this was such a surprise to me, other than the fact that I'm an imbecile, but the sudden counterattack made me let out something of a girly "Eeek!" sound and begin firing in earnest in an attempt to keep the foul beast from rising up and devouring me like a blade of ripe rye grass, all the while doing a set of wild, dance-like gyrations intended to keep myself from being set upon by the monster, but yet keep most of the payload flowing into the receptacle.
I thought I had the upper hand until he managed to get above the rim, and so my freaking-out went into high gear. Unfortunately, my ammo supply was running out. Quickly.
I won’t bore you with the remainder of the details, although obviously, I did survive this run-in. And I think I might have learned something.
Don’t pee on grasshoppers unless you’re loaded up with napalm.
August 11, 2010
I assure you, it was not I...
“That thing had been getting into my garbage for years. May he rest in peace.”
July 23, 2010
What not to do.
Well, it's summertime here in the Heart of Dixie. That means it's hot. A lot of hot.
For those of us who grew up wearing husky-size jeans and graduated into the big-n-tall portion of Wal-Mart in later life, the heat of summer can bring particular miseries. Especially when one's fat little legs work themselves together as we walk, and produce an effect much like a Boy Scout starting a fire with two sticks. (Assuming he's starting a fire with two chubby sacks of meat instead of sticks.)
Anyway, that sort of a heat rash is bothersome, and it's nice to have a little talcum powder to cool things off. I've about finished off all the bits and pieces of baby powder we had left over from when the kids were little, so when I went to the store today, I figured I'd pick up a replacement box.
'Say,' I said to myself, 'I wonder how this Gold Bond Medicated Powder would work?', being that I'd seen it provide instant cooling relief to a variety of low-paid actors on late weekend night television commercials. I compared the name brand to the store brand, and was about to get the cheapo version when I espied the EXTRA STRENGTH version of Gold Bond. Ah, nothing like the nuclear version, right?
So, I finished my shopping, came home, unloaded, made lunch for myself and the kids, went and got some more stuff from the store that I'd forgotten, did a load of clothes, and then remembered my powder purchase--you know, what with all that to-and-fro friction I'd brought onto my limbs from using them to walk.
Upstairs, peeled off the safety seal on top of the powder, dropped my jeans down, pulled out the waistband of my tighty-whities, and dumped a generous helping of talc, acacia, eucalyptol, methyl salicylate, salicylic acid, thymol, zinc stearate, 5.0% zinc oxide, and 0.8% menthol down onto Area 51.
Hmm. I expected...well, something. Oh, well.
Hitched everything back up, put away the powder, sat down to check my email, and was suddenly reminded of the old Richard Pryor routine where one of his characters decided to splash some aftershave onto himself, and decided to splash some everywhere, and was suddenly betaken by an intense burning the like of which he'd never felt, causing him to want to flush certain parts of himself down the toilet.
I was reminded of this routine because after about ten seconds of sitting, I began to feel a distinct tingling sensation, something like when you slam your elbow into the corner of a table while catching your little toe on the corner of your bed while eating a bowl of jalapenos inside of a blast furnace on the Sun, all concentrated into a small area not usually accustomed to such sensations.
Those of you who've ever been victimized by the application of a dollop of Icy-Hot or Atomic Balm to your athletic supporter by your "friends" in the locker room might be familiar with the sensation.
That was about thirty minutes ago now, and I think in the future, I shall not be nearly so free in the application of Gold Bond (Extra Strength) Medicated Powder to my more sensitive locations.
July 14, 2010
Oh, hardly. ::disdainful look of false modesty::
Despite the fact that Possumblog long ago went the way of the passenger pigeon (hunted to extinction by those with a taste for scavenging marsupial flesh, and ill-written silliness), people DO still occasionally find themselves here.
AND on occasion, that particular people-person is someone REALLY FAMOUS. In this instance, one Andrea Lindenberg, local Tee-Vee morning anchor and fellow Auburn alum!
(Quick backstory--Andrea is part of the team who eventually wrested control from the vile usurpers of the original Wendy Garner Show anchor crew--oddly enough, the original person they brought in was just yesterday confirmed to have been made redundant. Anyway, although I always resented Wendy being so unceremoniously dumped, she actually has made her way back to the station for the noontime lifestyle show gig, so that's good. And I like Ms. Lindenberg, so I didn't hate her for being on in the mornings instead of Wendy.)
Anyway, so after Possumblog became deader'n a hammer (due to work constraints and having exhausted the supply of stupid things I could say about things), I figured to stay hip and with-it, I'd at least try this Bookface thing the youngsters are all so wacky about. As was the case when I blogged regularly, I felt duty-bound to try to be the creepy-stalker guy I always was and make sure I loaded up my friend requests with all the local attractive journalism grads (and a few national ones, too), and sure enough, some were just naive enough to click the accept button. Notably, one previously mentioned A. Lindenberg, who this morning sent the following note to me:
I would have answered her back immediately, but such sites are evil and blocked by our computers, so I figured the next best thing would be to cobble together this long-winded essay to say thanks to her for dropping by, reading, and supplying me with the constant positive reinforcement that I cannot do without. And to advise her to get help. Quickly.
ANYway, since you've all read down this far, might as well bring you up to date.
Work is more harried than ever. I've got stacks of papers surrounding me, and no time to file any of it, so I figure at some point it'll just spontaneously combust.
We did get to go on a brief getaway two weeks ago to the lovely DeSoto State Park and stayed in a very nice little cabin. Believe it or not, when I walked in and went to the back door to look out, I saw a danged WOODCHUCK scurrying his fat butt into the woods! 48 years old, and never saw a woodchuck in the wild, and within the past four months have seen TWO of the things. We also saw a fox while we were there.
Speaking of 48 years old, I turned 48. Jonathan got me a Lego Empire State Building, which I put together with his and Catherine's help. I think I could have done it alone, but it would have made them sad. I do enough of that already, though. Reba got me some books, and being completely disinterested in things political, she picked some solely on the basis of price and fancy cover typography. She actually did pretty good, although one howler that sneaked in was a thin Lewis Lapham screed from the dollar bin. I didn't have the heart to fill her in about this poltroon's gift of insensibility, so I'm still trying to figure out a suitable way to make use of it. I think back to all of those old National Geographics my mother painstakingly folded, spray-painted, and glittered to make tabletop Christmas tree decorations--maybe that would be the best and highest use for it.
There's probably other things that might be interesting, but I don't know what they are right now. SO, get back to work! (And thanks for peeking in every once in a while.)
June 21, 2010
No, silly--not that kind of vote--the kind of vote that might get one of my kids some money for college!
Okay, here's the deal. FastWeb (well-known Internets clearing house for college internship and scholarship offers) is running a contest where contestants use the FastWeb logo in creative ways to drum up business for FastWeb.
Winner gets a $15,000 scholarship.
I want MY kid (Rebecca, in this case) to get that scholarship, people!
And you want me to be happy, right?
Of course you do.
SO, here's what you have to do--the onerous, stupid rules of the thing say you have to sign up with FastWeb to vote. They ask for your name, e-mail address, and you have to create a user name and password. And it will only let you vote once per day.
I know, it's a pain. But remember, you're doing this so I at least have the potential of not having to pony up $15,000 for the kid's education, so there.
Now then, her entry can be found here http://fastweb15years.com/entries/667/. She ransom-noted various college logos to create the FastWeb name and tagline, and aside from a sorta poor quality job of photographing her effort, it's an interesting concept, and one that you SHOULD vote for, simply out of your undying devotion to this unliving blog.
SO, if you've got the time, between now and July 2, register and vote at least once per day and let's win something! (And by "let's" I mean "me.")
Well, chalk up another one for Lost Causes! Many thanks to everyone who voted for Rebecca's entry, but sadly, it wasn't quite enough to overcome some actual talent amongst some of the entries, as well as what appeared to be some highly irregular voting shenanigans very near the end of the contest. Still not quite sure what was going on, and the FastWeb folks did recognize something was amiss, but were apparently loathe to do much about it.
Ah, well. Such is life, I suppose.
Also, seeing as how the contest didn't quite turn out as planned, the ponies, ice cream, and Fritos will have to be returned to the store. Sorry--but I gotta save that money for tuition.
June 11, 2010
It HAS been a long time since I cracked open the door here, hasn't it!
Seems sort of a shame that I'd waste one of my irregular appearances on something so banal as politics, but I did feel compelled to note that our President recently had a sit-down with America's Sweetheart Matt Lauer to let it be known that he's in full hunter-gatherer mode searching for an ass to kick.
I must say, it put me in mind of the last great Democrat President, who proclaimed with a proud sign upon his desk, "The Butt Stops Here."
It also put me in mind of that fine old Southerism oft spoken around these parts when we find someone who puts on the air of being quite smart, yet isn't. We say of such a one, "He couldn't find his ass with both hands."
Finally, I also am reminded of that great descriptor of someone's ineptitude and fecklessness, that being, "He's as useless as a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest."
What an odd new world it's turning out to be, eh?
April 26, 2010
Although Possumblog no longer exists…
...there are those occasions that simply must be commemorated in some way, if for no other reason than to let random passers-by hear me brag on my kids. And what better way to do that than by using a marsupially-named defunct blog!
In any event, tomorrow is one such occasion, wherein Boy will be tapped into the National Honor Society, and Middle Girl (who is already a member of the NHS) will also be tapped into the Spanish National Honor Society.
Obviously, they get their incredible brainiousness from me.
April 14, 2010
We were coming home from church Sunday afternoon last, and as we got close to the turn there at Queenstown Road, Rebecca suddenly broke the contentedly quiet ride with an interjectory, "DADDY! What kind of animal! is sort of brownish!, and looks kind of like a beaver!, but with a little short! tail, and it's BIG! And it was in that person's DRIVEWAY!"
Obviously, the stress had gotten to her. Must be seeing things. Probably was a cat or something. "NO! It was some kind of big thing sort of like a BEAVER!"
Uh-huh. Well, we'll just see about this. I turned around in Southside Baptist's parking lot, and after what seemed like an eternity waiting for the huge line of traffic (four cars) to pass, headed back up Chalkville Road to see what it was that was of such interest.
Maybe she really did see something.
We rolled back up the hill, around the curve, and right there where there before you get to the house that has donkeys, right there where there's that little hollow full of dead kudzu, right there in the gravel driveway, there it was.
Well, I'll be! I said gopher, but it was bigger than a gopher. Just sitting there watching the world go by.
I went past and turned around again, this time at the place where they've got the big pasture, across from the place that's got the long pond with the ducks and swans. Surely whatever it was would have run away by the time we got turned around.
It was still sitting there, munching away on something. Rebecca got the camera out and snapped a picture, then the fat thing turned around and waddled off down into the kudzu.
Oddly enough, I've never seen a groundhog in the wild, but by golly, that's what it was. And I thought the armadillos we've been seeing were exotic!
Now then, back to not blogging.
March 24, 2010
In re our Great Leap Forward; that being particularly "Health Care Reform."
It is quite dismaying to me that so many of my fellow Americans display such anti-intellectual buffoonery when comes up the subject of anything remotely resembling Europeanism.
Friends, it is time we embrace the deep, critical thinking of our Continental forebears (and dare I say, our betters) and recognize that sometimes they simply know things in a finer and deeper way than our sad little provincial minds are able to grasp.
I know some of you mouth-breathing, tea-bothered troglodytes may find it unfathomable, but maybe you should listen a bit to what the British, and GASP...the FRENCH (quelle horreur!) have to say about the bright future of our new order:
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville
February 26, 2010
Transcending the Stereotype
Although I'm sure many of you have it in your minds that simply because I did not attend an Ivy League university or descend from old money that I am not capable of appreciating the finer things le monde gastronomique has to offer. True, I do have rather simple tastes, but occasionally I allow my creativity to run free and explore the ideas of 'what can be' when it comes to comestibles.
Just this morning, my thoughts dwelt upon those foods I consider to be essential elements of American cuisine, and a tantalizing potential brought itself to my forebrain--a savory synergistic fusion of all that is good, decent, and utterly delicious about my native foodstuffs.
That invention? Why, a delightful tid-bit, an hors d'oeuvre (a word which I hasten to tell you has nothing to do with either horses or ovaries, but is French and therefore untranslatable) of utter simplicity yet enormous, near cosmological complexity.
My friends, I give you Pork Rinds with Spray Cheese.
Soft, yet crunchy.
Creamy, yet bristling with brio.
The goodness of real pork by-product, with the kick of modern industrial propellant-assisted pasteurized processed cheese food product.
The perfect no-carb, high-protein addition to your favorite yacht club gathering, polo tourney, or monster truck derby.
The endless variety of sizes, shapes, and textures of the pork rinds alternately cuddle and conceal, fling and flirt with the decorative yellow sunburst streamers of the cheesemaker's art.
The photo arrangement above uses Mac's Vinegar and Salt flavored pork rinds, with filling of Aldi's Leland-brand Sharp Cheddar squirt cheese (no refrigeration needed), arranged upon one of our Wedgwood Queen's Shape dinner plates. It was photographed using my Samsung SCH-u550 cell phone, because my Hasselblad is in the shop. (Note: I don't actually have a Hasselblad.)
You are welcome.
February 18, 2010
Maybe you just had to be there.
We were at lunch Sunday after church and somehow (and I’m not sure how, exactly) the subject of popular singers came up, in particular, one Miss B. Knowles.
As the kids chattered, Catherine (who turns 13 today, by the way) suddenly got a perplexed look on her face. “Wait—her last name is Knowles?”
Without missing a beat, Rebecca looked at her and replied, “Well, yeah—what did you think it was, ‘Yoncé’!?”
For some reason, that really struck me as funny, and nearly caused me to snort sesame chicken out of my nose.
February 11, 2010
Well, I give up. UPDATED: IT'S A MIRACLE!!
In the past few months, I have been quite diligent in keeping the Chinese spammerbots off of here. It's been hard--sometimes they hit late at night when I'm sleeping, so I might wake up to 100 or so spam comments, and each one has to be deleted individually. If I was lucky, I could get them right when they started and ban their IP before they got too many posted.
Well, I was off Monday (swapped off days with the other guy in the office), and I had already been off on Friday, so when I got to work Tuesday, I was beyond swamped with work. So, no real time to check and make sure I didn't have lots of spambabies. But, it wouldn't have made a difference, because the new broom at work sent down word that all Internet usage was going to be closely monitored, and anyone using the futuristic 486 computers we're saddled with for anything other than work-work would be in BIG TROUBLE. So when I got home Tuesday night and checked up on things, I had been hit with A THOUSAND spam comments.
I didn't get to do too much--banned a few IPs, deleted probably 250 or so. Still, not even a real dent in things. Last night, we had church, so no time to check, then all day today, then tonight--finally got a chance to check it again. Over TWO THOUSAND spam comments.
It's beyond me--unless Movable Type has some hidden way to delete massive quantities of spam, I've basically lost the battle to keep this crap off of here. It takes at least a couple of minutes to go through the steps to delete a comment, so that's 4000 minutes worth of mindless clicking to get rid of what I've got built up.
So, if you see spam on here, do the obvious thing and don't click on it. And say a little curse on my behalf for the inscrutable little bastages who keep messing up my once pristine little corner of the Web.
UPDATE: 2/12/10 1:18 p.m.
Well, so I gots myself off work early today because of the snow we're having (we've got about an inch or so here at Casa de Possum), so after I got here and got the kids situated outside giving themselves hypothermia and frostbite, I decided to see what the damage was. In addition to seeing I had some comments on this post from some of the ol' regulars, I also noticed that somehow, some way, SOME one has gone through and deleted all of those thousands of spam comments! I don't know if this was done back at Mu.nu Central Control, or somehow the mysterious Pixy Misa heard I was having problems, but I'm back down to where it was, and I'm a happier camper.
Obviously, not happy enough to start blogging again, but happier nonetheless.
January 19, 2010
(But disturbingly close for my tastes.)
Anyway, got Cat from Grandmom’s, got home, unloaded, got some stuff out for supper, and was just about to get out of my work clothes when I noticed the answering machine flashing away. My medicine was ready at the CVS at the foot of the hill, so I got on a pair of jeans and my trusty Auburn sweatshirt, told Cat I’d be right back, and headed back out.
“Hmm,” I thought, which is usually what I think, and then I thought while I was out I would also get us some meat to go in the meatless fettuccine and sauce I’d been contemplating for supper, so I went on past the drug store and parked at the Food World, and strode in with the express purpose of getting some Italian sausage.
After several minutes trying to figure out where the Italian sausage was kept (by the ground beef, silly!) I snagged a pack, decided to get a pack of ground beef since it was conveniently nearby, and headed for the checkout.
Along with everyone else in town.
Must have been a memo about going to the store.
I stood there patiently along with eleventy-dozen other shoppers in three lines, and finally another line opened up, and in a nice turn of events managed to snag the number two spot behind a twenty-something odd couple made of a hyperactive Federlinesque goober and a stunningly well-packed lass, equally devoid of motor control and notions of societal constraints.
And joy of joy! The cashier was the sour old wart of a woman I usually get when I’m in a hurry! She seems stymied by any technology invented after the rotary telephone, and is resistant to logic when it comes to fixing things. I’ve stood there patiently (for some reason) in times past while she nearly destroyed the coupon-thing that spits out coupons for things you don’t want. She’s always somewhere else mentally, and gets perturbed when you point out that you only got two boxes of something, rather than 20. She’ll sigh, and have to figure out how to work the microphone to summon a manager, then fiddle with the key to try to crank up the override, and then go back to mindlessly scanning things with not so much as a grunt of consolation for having made a mistake.
Anywho, she’s gonna be my cashier. Right before I got to the conveyor, I spied a display of hot Italian bread, so I scooted over and got a loaf and put it on the belt with my two packs of meat. She gave the perfunctory greeting “heyhowreyout’night” without even the affect of a question mark at the end, scanned my stuff, gave me my total, and started putting the items in a bag.
I swiped my card, entered my PIN, pressed “yes” for the total, looked around, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but Ye Olde Cashier holding (nay, cradling) my just-purchased loaf of hot Italian bread gently--ever so gently--to her nose, her eyes closed in rapture, deeply quaffing the aroma of the bread into her vacant cranium.
“That smells good.”
Well, yes, I’m sure it does. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I bought it. But after I’ve bought it, I would appreciate it if you’d KEEP YOUR OLFACTORY RECEPTORS OFF OF IT!
Yes, I know--in the greater scheme of things this ranks no higher on the scale of minor indignities than when you take your car in for service and the mechanic feels duty-bound to readjust the seat, the radio, and the A/C controls because he was in the driver’s seat for about five seconds--but still, is there not some level of common sense that would make a person not act that way!? I guess the answer is obvious, but it nonetheless still surprises me when it happens to me.
January 14, 2010
Or, adding insult to injury.
In any event, seems as though the media always find a way in any tragedy to compound the misery by making sure to broadcast far and wide anything that will create controversy. Of course, if some people wouldn't find death and destruction such a tempting (if I may use that word) target for their own self-righteous tongue-clucking, maybe it would be slightly harder for the newspapers and teevee reporters to spread it around, but what do I know?
I do know that every time some self-annointed spokesman for God gets on the news to talk about why he wasn't crushed in an earthquake and other people were, invariably no one ever thinks to go to the source for comment.
When people start getting smug about how their goodness has protected them from the bad things that happen to those icky sinners, I remember this particular story from Luke 13:The fellow is mistaken who thinks that he's somehow less of a sinner because he is warm and dry and comfortable and wealthy and fully-fed and palavering in a television studio and not lying dead at the bottom of a rubble pile.
December 28, 2009
Gigantic, SUPER End-of-the-Year Omnibus Catch-All Post for 2009!
Well, it was certainly interesting.
I mean, you know, if you like that kind of thing.
Well, let's see:
1. If Possumblog still existed, it would now be 8 years old, having begun broadcasting on December 20, 2001. But it doesn't, so never mind.
2. I have a job. Still! It has not been slack over the past year for more than about ten minutes at a time, so for that I'm real grateful-like. I think it's something like what they used to call "job security," although sometimes it's more like a big aneurism in my head.
3. I got some very nice shirts for Christmas, and a steam mop, and a combo fax-printer-scanner-copier-hot air popper, and some socks, and candy, and some ties, and other things. They were all very much appreciated.
4. I am a bit concerned that the air travel security system that was noted in the past few days as having worked as designed relies so heavily on hoping for the failure of PETN-laced Nigerian underpants to explode. We should be safe as long as no one other than Wile E. Coyote tries to attack us.
5. The Volvo continues to roll up the mileage. It hit 260,000 miles a couple of weeks ago and kept right on puttering along. However, if anyone would like to give me a nicer car, I would certainly be willing to take it. Thanks!
6. The children are now grown, at least for all practical purposes. A harbinger of the years to come visited itself upon us this weekend, when yesterday we sent the three who still live at home off to Huntsville for some sort of church camp thing. The house is now completely empty of them, which left time for Miss Reba and I to be on our own for a few hours yesterday. We used our new steam mop on the kitchen and bathroom floors.
7. I gained weight this year, even though I tried not to. I'm hoping that next year I will lose weight, even though I will try not to.
9. I have a marimba in my garage. It is a fascinating instrument that I did not fully appreciate until Boy and I had to disassemble it and bring it home. I believe it marks yet another example of extraterrestrial alien contact, because quite frankly I cannot understand how any human could have ever figured out how to make a musical instrument from the remnants of a boiler explosion at a parquet-flooring factory.
10. The dog and the cat seem to have reconciled themselves to each other's presence and get along fine. Aside from the occasional random cat-induced violence.
So there you go. Hope all of you had a good year, and have a better one next year!
November 19, 2009
What’s a Thursday without a Three?
Hmm? What’s that? You don’t understand what I’m saying?!
Well, first of all, that’s because I’m not saying anything, I’m writing it.
And second, actually, I’m not even doing that, since I don’t blog anymore.
But by way of backstory, here at Possumblog back when it was fully funct (and not defunct as it is now), we (the editorial we) and our (again, editorially) vast swarm of readers would take every Thursday and engage in a bit of alliterative memery, namely, the Thursday Three. Three (or more) probing, insightful questions would be proffered by the editorial staff writers, and readers would chime in with their very own answers to said questions. By doing so, we (collectively) could all learn what made each other tick (or how we got ticks) and revel in each others virtual companionship.
Believe it or not, at one time the Thursday Three was the most widely-read and participated-in, weekly day-of-the-week meaningless Internet meme in the entire world. (You shouldn’t believe that.)
Sadly, though, as occasionally happens with such things, the fun came to a screeching halt on August 1, 2007 when I was getting ready to take on my new job and pretty much lost the free time I once had to sit around and piddle and maunder. Since that time, I have completely never blogged ever again--not even a single post. With the exception (maybe) of the last Thursday Three on August 9, 2007.
So, why am I posting something now?
I’m not. Since I don’t blog anymore, this can’t be a blog post.
However, my good friend Jim Smith (his real name) mentioned he’d like to see something like the ol’ T-3 from Possumblog again. You know, it being that his 60th birthday is coming up this Saturday. Not that there’s any pressure.
Geez--nothing like a load of GUILT to make you heave a heavy sigh and grudgingly grab your keyboard and knock together a quick simulacrum of a quiz to give all both of my remaining readers something to do for several minutes. And celebrate Jimbo's SIXTIETH BIRTHDAY! ICE CREAM AND PONIES AND CAKE!
But how to do this, since I no longer do this?
How about the Non-Thursday Non-Three!
Sounds good to me.
SO, take a moment to peruse the following non-three non-questions and either leave your answers in the comment section below, or a link to your blog (although it’s been so long since I’ve done this, the idea of people having a blog is so early-21st Century that I should probably have some accommodation for you not-quite-as-early-21st Century Twitter people. Good thing I don’t care about you like that.)
ANYwho--since we’re coming up on Thanksgiving, answer me these nonqueries:
1. What one person are you most thankful for this year?
2. What one thing are you most thankful for this year?
3. What one event are you most thankful for this year?
AND, as a big fat bonus unquestion:
4. So, how’s it going? How’ve you been lately?
Okay, go off and figure those out. As for my answers...
November 11, 2009
Left to Right: Dale Crabtree; my dad, Alfred Oglesby; Herman Taylor
circa 1944, US Base 3115, Hollandia, New Guinea
October 27, 2009
FINALLY! Something worth posting about!
From down in the comments below, Chef Tony wanders by with a request:
"Hey y'all, my friend Shane is in the 'Stan. He & his troops are in the middle of nowhere and I'd like to make them a bit more comfy. If you can help by sending & asking others you work & know to help in this it's be great. I know I loved getting ANYTHING from home while I was in Viet Nam (68, 72) and I'm going to pay forward on that. Google has good info on how to pack and ship but I can help there too, 612 703 6573. Thanks much & take care."Okay folks--I know I don't have very many visitors anymore, but for those who do drop in on occasion, this sounds like a great way to help out someone who truly is worthy of our gratitude and support. Even if you don't send something to Major Gries, there are hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women around the world who would appreciate something similar. I know in my own church congregation there are at least three of our members--two men on deployment and one young lady who is entering basic training--who look forward to letters and packages from home.
Take just a moment and think of their sacrifice, and please find a way to let Major Gries or someone like him know of your support.
October 13, 2009
I have been having a lot of problems lately with comment spammers, and have tried to take some steps to cut down on the mischief. One of those was to default to closed comments for new posts.
However, I didn't really remember doing that, so no comments were allowed on the last post, and I thought surely there might be some interesting discussion about it. SO, for anyone who'd tried to comment on our Dear Leader's recent award in the previous post, that was the reason for not being able to comment. Well, that, I didn't want to subject him to even the remotest possibility that someone might say something unnice about it all.
I'll close them back up after a few days to forestall anymore comment spam later on. Maybe.
October 09, 2009
Debasing the Currency
I awoke to a supreme suprise this morning (along with millions of people who have seen the potential to live their lives free of tyranny begin to wither away once more in the face of American fecklessness) to see that our President has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Although there seem to be many people who cannot understand how such a thing can happen so soon in his tenure (after all, it took History's Greatest Monster 22 years after he left office to receive his), I believe this seemingly inexplicable award is the result of concept best explained in the words of Mr. Obama's predecessor in the office:
"The soft bigotry of low expectations."Continue reading "Debasing the Currency"
October 01, 2009
Why I love the Internet
In the course of my work, I have to prepare "notices to proceed" for contractors on a regular basis. This is just a simple letter instructing them when a project is supposed to start.
That's the easy part.
The hard part is trying to tell them when to stop.
Every contract has a total calendar day duration, and so you have to add the requisite number of days to your start date, and that gives you your end date. Now, I can usually do a pretty good job of counting days up to around 31 or 32 or so, but since I don't have access on my computer to any of our construction scheduling software (don't ask me why), anything with calendar days past about a month reduces me to trying to add several months together in my head, ticking back or forth with a pen to the start date, and then finally to the end date. Or something. For those of us with severely diminished smartness capacity, a simple task like this amounts to a Saturn V launch. Especially when it's something oddball like 350 days or something. Or the phone rings. Or the guy's standing there waiting on you to add numbers. Or you hit yourself with a hammer.
Anyway, today I had one of those long ones with 350 days.
Being that I don't know anything, but I usually know where to look for the answer, I got to wondering if there was a handy tool on the Web that I could insert the start date, tell it how many days, and then let it do all the ciphering and give me a finish date.
Anyway, it works very well--much better than spending agonizing minutes looking like a monkey with a seizure disorder trying to add up months in my head. Just another one of those tiny things that makes life pleasanter.
In other news--it's a very pretty day outside, and I love bunnies and kitties!
September 15, 2009
Of all the things...
...I decide to break silence for, this would have to rank right down there as the stupidest. With as much as is going on in the world, surely I should be able to come up with something better.
Then again, that’s my critique of the new Jay Leno show.
All that hype, all that talent, all that money (although we have been assured repeatedly that it’s much cheaper than doing a one hour weekly drama—as if I care), all those local television news reporters dragooned into counting down the days until the premier, and that’s all there is to it?
Now part of this is that I’ve never been a huge Leno fan—I like him best when he’s talking about cars. And that’s about it. I liked him when he was young, but his delivery grates on me, and it’s not gotten better with age. But I do sorta chuckle when he does Jaywalking, and stuff like that, and so the premise of the new show—“Jay doing the stuff people actually think is funny, and cutting out all the crap” at least sounded promising.
Hate to tell ‘em, but they’ve got a lot more to cut.
How about the opening monologue? Or, alternately, if you’re going to have one, at least make it funny.
Kevin Eubanks? I have felt, and continue to feel, very sorry for him that he has to do this job, although I’m sure lots of money makes a good salve for the ego. But he’s not Ed McMahon (late or otherwise) or even Andy Richter, and the skit with the Lenolookalike was disturbing and not funny.
Comfy chairs? They looked uncomfortable to me. Then again, that could have been my reaction to special first guest, Jerry Seinfeld. Gee, a guest about nothing! And I like Jerry Seinfeld. But he nailed it—why have him on? He’s been off the TV forever, and doesn’t have anything new to promote, and his interaction with the weird Head of Oprah was painful to watch, and I don’t care about his wife’s cookbook, and his hair is thinning in a disturbing manner, and he wasn’t funny—and not in a good way.
Kanye? Kan ye just say no? Look, I know he’s topical, but again, not in a good way. He’s an insufferable twit, but sure, go ahead and have him on to sing and all that if you really must, but please, don’t feel the need to “interview” him. Or, if you’re going to go through with that, don’t do it on the comfy chairs—put him behind a table in a hard metal chair with a hot spotlight on him and scream at him to confess or something. That’s what they’d do on CSI. And it would at least be entertaining. Sorta.
The singing comic guy was kinda funny, the ads were funny, the musical act wasn’t my kind of music, but whatever—music’s okay to have. So, you’ve got about a thirty minute show. And oddly enough—none of it really relies on Jay. The ads are funny because someone else screwed up, the segment with up and coming comics is funny because they actually have to work at it, and bands are a completely different, non-Jay sort of thing. This means they could save an even BIGGER load of money if they’d just hire someone to emcee the show in a nice, low-key, witty sort of way, and let someone else who’s actually good do the entertaining parts.
But what do I know—I’m just a viewer. I guess I’ll go back to watching the hour of “King of Queens” reruns that comes on then, or the “I Spy” reruns on Retro Television Network.
August 28, 2009
How about that for an August?!
Not that I remember much of it.
That was one of the good things about all those years of obsessive blogging--I had a way of recording all the silly and serious stuff that happened before it left my brain pan. But the now-no-longer-new job leaves not a lot of time for reflection and/or mindless drivel. Actually, the volume of work means I don't really get to do the job very well, either. At the moment, I've got about 40 various construction jobs from a few thousand to a few million dollars worth for which I'm supposed to provide varying degrees of oversight, and even the smallest nickle-and-dime jobs require constant babysitting and butt-covering. I can't get one thing done for having to go and do twelve other things that are suddenly CRITICAL. What time I have left over is devoted to trying to scoop my neurons back into a pile. I get to check in a little with folks online and read a few news feeds occasionally, but it's hard to get into the swing of trying to formulate a pithy comment about anything. You have to get into a groove for that sort of thing, y'know.
You'd think that with my current schedule (four 10 hour days with Fridays off) that I'd be able to maybe take that Friday and have a great big Possumpalooza of stupid junk to read, but alas, Friday is now just as busy as Saturday and Sunday used to be (and, in fact, still are). F'rinstance, this morning I took Cat to school, went to do the Winn-Dixie leg of the grocery bill, went to the bank to pay the mortgage, stopped beside the road briefly to weep uncontrollably for my bank account that has the integrity of a cotton candy fishnet, unloaded groceries, put up the ironing board that Rebecca left out, came upstairs to gather up the laundry, stopped to write this, and afterwards will separate the clothes, put the blue jeans in the wash, go do the Aldi leg of the grocery bill, come unload the groceries, fold jeans and prepare to do the other six loads of laundry to be done this afternoon, go pick Catherine up from school, maybe get Jonathan to take him to the stadium for the football game tonight, go to the game tonight (10,000 STRONG!), come home late and help the kids pack to go white-water rafting with the other kids from church tomorrow morning, and then collapse in the bed to try to get ready for tomorrow. I don't mind doing that stuff, but all that makes it difficult to do much of this here thing. Good thing I quit doing this here thing!
Anyway, if I were still blogging, I would have many uncomplimentary things to say about our current Administration. And for the people who seem shocked and dismayed that it's turned out this way. As Dr. Reynolds is fond of saying, "So, who are the rubes again?" But some people just refuse to pay attention.
Not that it would have been any better with the alternative. I really like Sarah Palin, but she wouldn't have been the President, it would have been Mr. Unpredictable Maverick. And unlike now, he wouldn't have had the press fawning over his every move, and actively supporting his agenda, and proclaiming how wonderful it is to have all these wonderful funemployment opportunities for urban swells, and would probably take more than a little interest had Mrs. Palin said anything about bankrupting the country in order not to bankrupt the country. Hard to tell what would have happened in an alternative universe of a Republican win, but even if the status quo of the Bush days had held on, we'd have never heard the last of how awful it was. And, again, that's assuming it would have still been good--as it is, Senator McCain's one consistent quality is his fundamental inability to be consistent. Add to that the fact that he has just about as much spendiness and government-interventionalism in his genes as a regular old Democrat, and that he would have had to work with a Democrat-dominated Congress. I'm afeared the spending and stupidity would have been just about as reckless as now. But, again, the press wouldn't have been so cautious in squealing about it.
Anyway, I guess America is just fated to occasionally have to be reminded of how awful it is to try to answer every problem by letting a Washington full of bureaucratic nannies handle it.
Just remember--if you thought FEMA's reaction to Katrina was bad, what makes you think that the same people could do any better with universal government-funded and controlled healthcare? Sheriff Joe and The Lightworker, despite their good press and the overwhelming confidence they place in their vast intellectual depth, cannot make this work.
Yeah, I know--I'm just an ignorant racist idiot who can't be compelled to vote or think the right way, even when it's just so obviously in my financial best interest to do so.
But then you all already knew that!
Anyway, I'm gonna go do my laundry.
July 20, 2009
I had lunch...
...with My Friend Jefftm today, and we noted one thing in particular about the young edgy urban hipster demographic of which neither of us are a part.
That being, if you bear a passing physical resemblance to a young Al Pacino as Serpico, a seersucker suit is really not the thing to wear.
Know your limits, my friend. Know your limits.
July 08, 2009
Greatest thing about no longer blogging?
I no longer feel compelled to post that I'm about to have a birthday. I mean, after a while, what else can you say about getting another year older that hasn't already been said, right?
So I'm freed from having to think up wise stuff to say, or worrying about what sort of wonderful, expensive gifts I'm going to get from everyone, and I can just go on about my day tomorrow as if it's any other day.
Oh, and I don't have to think of any clever rejoinders for people when they point out they have underwear older than me, or, for younger readers, that I'm old enough to be their grandpa's Victrola repairman. That's a relief, y'know, being that I've been out of cleverness AND rejoinders for some time now.
I'll just relax and do all that fun work-related stuff that I don't blog about, either.
June 18, 2009
Obviously, they'll appeal, because that's what lawyers do to make more money from their client. But for those who've watched this ridiculous egocircus play out, and for those who were damaged by it, it's still refreshing to see this result.
I bet someone's kicking himself now that they didn't request a jury trial so they could parade around with pancakes and preachers and stuff.Continue reading "Wow!"
June 15, 2009
Well, I don't quite know what to make of that.
Had to stop at Target on the way home from church last night for some stuff. I parked and let Reba and Cat out to go in while Boy and Rebecca stayed with me in the car. Rolled the windows down and sat there for a minute to quietly collect my thoughts.
Been a long week and all.
Sat there vegetating, and ever so steadily, the sound of the shopping center's piped-in music began to register in my mind. The same instrumental, quiet, pervasive, calming tones one hears in elevators and suburban strip malls.
It's...no, surely not.
Then Jonathan piped up, "Hey--you hear that!? It's that song from Guitar Hero!"
Otherwise known as "Paint It, Black" by the Rolling Stones. Shorn of every bit of rollingness or stonitude, dipped in warm goo and made background noise for people walking to and from their car.
It was just all kinds of odd.
June 09, 2009
High and Hot
I enjoy my chosen vocation, aside from two things--having to climb up on top of things, and getting all hot and stinking from performing that task.
I have always been a bit unnerved by heights anyway, and now that I wear bifocals, it's worse. You glance out the bottom of your lenses and the world goes all blurry, and that's very disconcerting when you're on the edge of a roof.
And then there's this whole thing of having to climb that ladder--wobbly aluminum extension ladders, laid up against slick metal copings or fascias, and never with enough sticking out at the top to hang onto as you make that last step onto the roof.
Finally, let's face it--I am not feathery. Even though in my youth I was blessed with the stunning athletic grace of a young Junior Samples, age has slowed my reflexes somewhat, and I must admit I now have the supple elegance of a lard-filled barrel. And once you put a lard-filled barrel atop spindly aluminum spindles, well, it's just not good.
So--going up, bad. Coming down?
An order of magnitude more bad.
You've got that whole "can't see out the bottom of your glasses" thing, and the dizzying feeling you get when you're off the ground, and the shaky slidy ladder part of the equation, and then there's the certain knowledge that the laws of physics are trying their best to kill your blobby self. Maybe if I did this all day, every day, it might be better. I might get used to it, and be like one of those crazy Mohawk ironworkers who build skyscrapers.
Somehow, I doubt it.
Anyway, you get all through, and manage to get back to earth without dying, but you smell like you have.
It's late spring here in the sunny Southland, meaning it's already like Satan's own barbecue outside, and it's even hotter on top of a building, and even sweatier when you're losing fluids due to intense fear. And then you have to come back inside the building and have afternoon meetings with polite folk who don't sweat and stink in public. To top it off, I have to go to church tonight for our vacation Bible school, and be around other people who've gotten to go home and wash off the day's funk. Me? I'll have another five more hours of accretion of stinkbits before then.
Other than that, though, it's all good. And they pay me regularly, too. So file all this under observations, not complaints.Continue reading "High and Hot"
May 14, 2009
Okay, so I admit I'm biased.
Middle Girl has been taking an art elective in school this year, and they have put on an end-of-the-year art show, and she was very excited that she had three of her pieces displayed.
Now, I do pretty well for myself when it comes to such things--I can draw and paint in a variety of media and I know some things about 3D-type artwork, and there's that whole architectural thing, and so I tend to be a little difficult to impress.
I've posted some of the kids' artwork before when it was of obvious merit, because I do like to brag on them and such. But I have to say, even after stripping away the nepotism factor and such, when she sent me this cell-phone picture of her collagraph print, I was amazed.
That's very good work, I don't care who you are.
(And no, I've not started blogging again.)
May 13, 2009
Yet another Gate
I noticed this entry from Dr. Reynolds headlined, "PROFLIGATE BORROWING AND SPENDING," and, as with all other Washington-grade scandals, the first thing that came to mind was that someone must have started labelling the wealth-spreadin'-around grift being conducted on us as "Profli-Gate."
Much as I hate the endless -Gate suffixing of everything, this one fits pretty well.
May 05, 2009
It has been brought to my attention...
...that the last time this page changed, it was an entirely different month.
What’s the old saying? “Time flies when you’re having so much garbage to shovel that after the first hour you’d already gone through the entire gross of flimsy plastic sporks they gave you and so afterwards you had to make do with both hands and a torn Ziploc bag, not that it matters, because the garbage pile grows logarithmically, and to help out, a large array of new garbage spewing machines has been set up in a pleasing pattern about you so that no matter where you look, a cascading rainbow of effluvia splatters all around with an annoying, thrumming, ‘ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa’—” oh—wait, that’s not how it goes, is it?
No matter. Anyway, it’s been busy here, which is good considering the amount of non-business going on in other parts of the economy, but the genial watercooler quip about at least having job security still doesn’t ring quite true. You never really know what could be around the corner, other than it’s probably large and hungry and full of teeth. Something about having parents who grew up during the Depression does that to you.
So, anyway, work continues.
Family? Yep, they still exist. School’s about out, which is weird, because they started in August, and that was just last week. All the kids continue to grow up—Boy’s now nearly a head higher than me. Luckily, I can still take him, since I outweigh him by another him. He just got back from a band cruise that stopped in Cozumel, so he had to go get checked for the flu because of the cough he had. Caused by staying in the pool nearly the entire trip. No flu, no strep. And he didn’t get swept overboard or have his guts liquefied by either Mexican water or a contaminated salad bar or get caught up in the crossfire of a drug cartel gun battle. All of which are things parents imagine happening until said child is back at home. He had a bad sunburn, too.
Tiny Terror got herself an iPod Touch. She’s been saving her money for months and months now, and after all that saving and a robbery of the Great Crayon Bank, she’s now part of the iGeneration. Pretty cool little tool. The iPod, that is.
Middle Girl is still rockin’ right along—just finished up soccer season, still working at the vet’s office, still making good grades (they all do, but she seems a bit more driven to do her work).
Oldest has finished her first year of college. For long-time readers, you can all pretty well imagine how it went. For first-timers, you don’t really want to know.
Miss Reba is still working too much, but it’s not as bad as it was. Or at least it doesn’t seem that way, looking at it from the outside.
As for other stuff, I just don’t have enough excess brain capacity to ponder much more than the fundamental things of remembering to wake up each morning, brushing my teeth, and making sure I have on most of my clothes. Every couple of days I see something that angries up the blood and makes me want to launch a tirade, but then I have to get back to shoveling. Like, right now, for instance.
April 06, 2009
What I did on Saturday.
Caution: Contains Volvo-related content. May not be suitable for anyone with an IQ higher than 12.
March 09, 2009
Words of Wisdom
Axis of Weevil-style! Many of you know (at least in the virtual sense) Larry Anderson of KudzuAcres--noted bass player, developer of the Free Mercedes promotion, occasional patron of Billy Joe Bob's BBQ Emporium--but many others of you still might not realize Larry is an entrepreneur, which is a French word for "smart American."
Despite the economic gloom of late, Larry's company managed to do pretty well last year, and is on track to do even better this year. His business advice is distilled down in this article from The Huntsville Times.
Oddly enough, none of his business advice involves blogging. Then again, none of it involves rebuilding Weber carburetors, either. Or gunfire. Or really attractive women in swimwear.
Maybe being an entrepreneur ain't what it's cracked up to be.
ANYway, congratulations to Larry, his partners, and to their employees on their success!
March 04, 2009
Possumblog Kitchens reminds you nothing helps you celebrate the state's official marine mammal like a big plateful of Cornatees, the cornbread-battered, deep-fried, manatee-on-a-stick treat that EVERYone loves!
March 02, 2009
For children in the middle part of Alabama…
…there is nothing so tantalizing as snow. Just far enough north to know for a certainty that it could snow, if only it would snow. Just far enough south to make it an equal certainty that it will never snow this year, and probably won’t ever snow again EVER, and your life is ruined by the absence of powder stuff from the sky. And to make it worse, you remember the few times it DID snow, and in the deep recesses of your memory from when you were just a little kid (you know, three years ago), it was the bestest snow of all time, and you played outside for five weeks, and the snow was fifty feet high, and you made a snowman that weighed a billion tons.
And then, when you least expect it, after hardening yourself to never ever trust TV weathermen, you wake up one Sunday morning, on the first day of March (!), and the whole world went white.
And then your parents make you get up and go to church.
Because, despite the fact that the trees are white and there’s a good three inches of fat wet flakes on the ground, the roads are clear. So you have to go and sit through class and church, hoping against hope that once you come out of the building, it won’t have all melted away.
And it didn’t!
You can barely wait to get home, and you figure it won’t hurt if you get to go out to eat first, because at least now you can see the snow and you can tell it’s all still there.
BUT THEN—you come out of the restaurant, and the snow packed sidewalk you encountered when you first walked in is now dry and clear—and the snow’s dropping off the power lines! AGGGHHHH!
You get home, throw off your good clothes, get on something else you think will be warm, and run outside before it’s all gone.
Nothing like Southern kids in the snow. Clothes wet through and through, soggy cotton gloves, filthy jeans from flopping down in the melting wet snow which covers a now-sodden mush of red clay and grass, snowballs made of equal parts dirt, pine straw, grass, possibly some frozen dog poop (well, it looked like rocks, sorta), and snow, packed into ice as dense as depleted uranium, ready to make your siblings cry when it comes punching into their frozen noses. You wish it would snow forever--and then you begin to notice you can’t feel your face or fingers. You wonder if you’ve got frostbite like that guy in that TV show whose nose turned black and fell off. So you figure it might be good to go inside and eat popcorn and watch a movie and thaw out.
Maybe it’ll snow again tomorrow!
February 12, 2009
As an update to last month's family history roundup, my kinfolk encouraged me to submit an article to a couple of the smaller papers in the area to see if they might be interested in the family name story.
Nicely enough, both the Centreville Press and the Tannehill Trader decided to run the piece--the former running it yesterday, and the latter to run it next month. I haven't seen the actual print version yet, so just in case there is any editorial editing that got done between submittal and printing, following is the article as it was written. ALSO--an extra great big thanks to my editor, Dr. James Smith, noted professor of management at East Carolina University and a former denizen of Bessemer. Jim looked over the article and made some much-appreciated comments, so he gets full blame if anything goes horribly wrong.So, there you go.
February 09, 2009
The apple does not fall far from the tree.
Or the egg from the hen. Or something.
Anyway, Reba made us all a nice omelet breakfast this weekend, and Rebecca piped up and said she'd made us Momelets.
That's pretty doggone funny, unless, you're like, y'know, an egg or sumthin.
Now, get back to what you were doing.
February 03, 2009
It's SUPER FUN HAPPY JOKEY TUESDAY!
Yes, I know two posts in two days is pushing it as far as non-blogging goes, but sometimes I just crack me up. (And yes, that is an homage to Alf.)
ANYway, Reba just called a few minutes ago.
She had gone with her dad to take her mom to the doctor's office this morning for some non-jokey invasive testing and prior to leaving their house, Mominlaw got all doped up with Darvocet and Valium. Being that she doesn't usually start the morning with a narcotic toddy, she pretty much had to be scooped out of the car with a spatula when they got to the parking deck at the hospital.
They wheeled her upstairs, waited to be called back, and then wheeled her into the procedure room. Now, since she was looser than a handful of BBs, she wasn't going to be much help when it came time to get her prepared, so Reba went back to help the technician get her up on the table and disrobed.
Did I mention it's cold today?
Oh, it's not Yukon cold, or lake-effects Chitown cold, or even Kentucky ice-storm cold, but your normal 30 degree Fahrenheit Alabama February day. But Grandmom, being of always-prepared, better-safe-than-sorry, strong-minded country stock, was apparently set to accompany Admiral Byrd to the South Pole.
Reba recounted (with some mild irritation) about struggling to help the tech ladle Mom up onto the table, then the arduous task of skinning her of layers of clothing, all the while said mama was swaying to and fro in the warm embrace of Lethe.
"...so we had to hoist her on the table and then I started helping her off with her clothes and do you know she had on FIVE! layers of stuff--she had her BIG COAT, and a SWEATER!, and then her BLOUSE!, and then a CAMISOLE!! under that, and THEN her bra! And it got to where the technician had to take off her lab coat because she was getting hot and we didn't think we were EVER going to get her all unwrapped from all those layers and layers of stuff and..."
"Reba--REBA!" I simply had to interrupt.
"It's okay, Reba--I mean, after all, she IS your mummy."
I'm here all week--be sure to tip your server and have a safe drive home!
Anyway, Reba thought it was funny, too.
[And for those who are concerned (as I should be, if I could stop my non-stop comic brain from working for just two seconds) about Reba's mom's condition--right now we don't really know a lot. Today's test was a biopsy, and hopefully what they were sampling will turn out to be benign. Keep her in your prayers, please. UPDATE 2-6-09 All clear!]
NOW THEN--not content to allow your funny bone to rest, ANOTHER story, this time from the wonderful world of construction!
Was at a meeting this morning and before we got started the superintendent got to talking about other jobs he'd done close by, and mentioned that he'd been the superintendent on the construction of a new columbarium for a nearby church.
The construction part apparently wasn't too difficult, but the reason it was being built in the first place was to have a place to put people whose remains had been interred in scattered places all around the church, and so part of his job was to disinter various urns and other ash repositories so they could be properly reinterred in the new place.
He was carefully watched over in his task by the architect, and he recounted that one day near lunchtime he was hand-excavating around the site of an urn, and had encountered a piece of a small concrete vault that held the earthly remains of one of the venerable ladies of the church. As usual, the architect was right at his shoulder as he got down and began delicately chipped away at the concrete to get to the contents.
As he worked, a small piece of concrete broke off and laying there inside was, of all things, a cigarette butt!
He looked over his shoulder at the architect and quietly asked her--with a certain amount of black humor--"I wonder if she smoked?"
Without missing a beat, she solemnly whispered back, "She probably did when they cremated her."
I am a bad person for laughing so hard at that one.
But still, I hope you have enjoyed SUPER FUN HAPPY JOKEY TUESDAY!
February 02, 2009
I did not...
...see my shadow, which means six more weeks of something, but I'm not sure what.
And by the way, how did it get to be February so quickly!?
January 09, 2009
Well, If It's In Print, It Must Be True
To begin at a convenient point, namely the beginning, I'm related to a big chunk of everyone else here in central Alabama with the same last name as me through an early-19th Century immigrant to Bibb County named Sabert Oglesby, who was my great-great-great-(whew)-grandfather.
As most of you know, I've always been an avid history buff, and have a pretty decent handle on our family history, or at least I thought I did, until I heard from one of those many cousins of mine.
But more about that in a bit.
In any event, the original, proto-Sabert was born in Scotland sometime around 1740 and came to South Carolina with a couple of other brothers before the Revolutionary War, which he fought in (on the winning side). In 1790 he married a young lass named Phoebe Lindsay (who was 30 years his junior) with whom he set up housekeeping on land belonging to her father, and then went about farming and having at least nine children.
Industrious sorts, they.
Sometime around 1820, the whole family along with the family of his brother John packed up wagons with their belongings and began a trek that would end up near Green Pond in Bibb County, where they unloaded their baggage and their multitudes of children, all of whom soon enough grew up and began having children of their own, leading all the way to me.
I've been the beneficiary of many relatives who have taken the time over the past decades to compile not only this short biographical sketch, but numerous other stories and photos and newspaper clippings and lists of sons and daughters and such, all which came to me in a big loose-leaf binder that I've had now for over twenty years.
Then came the Internet, and I've had the chance to correspond with hosts of other unknown relatives, each time learning a bit more about our family. It's been quite a boon as a way of collecting and swapping genealogical information, although as I recently found out, just as easy for incorrect information to get out as it is for facts.
A couple of weeks ago one of those many relatives, Cousin Ken, ran across a blog post I’d done several years back about the aforementioned Sabert, and Ken was kind enough to drop me a note and let me know he'd read it and enjoyed it, and that he’d mentioned it to Cousin Charles, who was also kind enough to write a note.
Well, after being instantly reunited with a relatives I've never met, we all exchanged e-mails back and forth about Grampa Sabert and all the various blind alleys and wild geese that come with exploring your family history, until something was brought to my attention that was completely opposite of all that family history I'd read and heard about over the years.
In our conversations, it was brought to my attention that a local history website has cataloged in their master list of Bibb County cemeteries that a cemetery of unmarked graves on Tannehill State Park property is called Oglesby Plantation Cemetery, and that it holds the remains of 400 slaves of one Sabert Oglesby.
Talk about a surprise!
From what I knew of our history, Sabert the II, who was Original Sabert’s son born in 1809, was a Presbyterian minister in Green Pond, and later had two other sons, Sabert (that would be the third one) and Samuel, both of whom were also Presbyterian ministers, and I remember my grandfather (who was Sabert the III’s son and Sabert II’s grandson) often mentioning that the family had never been slaveholders because it was against their religious upbringing. Of all that collected information in my three-ring binder, nothing ever pointed to anything to do with slaves–none of the scrawled notes copied from ancient family Bibles, no carefully transcribed Census records–nothing. Of course, that doesn’t mean it was impossible, but only that it seemed quite implausible
Ken said he’d tried to get the web information corrected, but the site owner noted that the information was from the Historical Atlas of Alabama, and that all the information in it was the result of research done by professors from the University of Alabama. Cousins Ken and Charles were obviously frustrated by the inability to get at least some sort of explanation or changes made to the website.
And thus begins an even more convoluted tale, as I agreed to do some additional research to find out where the Atlas information had come from and see if maybe if I was going to have to add some more pages to that three-ring binder of mine.
First stop, I found a copy of the Atlas in my local library, and sure enough, plain as day, there’s an entry on the Oglesby Cemetery–except it gave the owner of the land specifically as Sabert II, and the footnote said the information came from the book Place Names of Bibb County, written by a noted Huntington College professor and printed in 1993.
Okay, so where did THAT author get her information? Cousin Charles, it turns out, had been a friend of the author when she was alive and knew the source of her information–a quarterly newsletter published by the Park in 1991. And that information in the brochure came from a local amateur historian Charles knew, also since deceased.
Seems it was going to be very difficult to get any easy correction, since the chain of information in all the published accounts was dropping link-by-link into the grave.
But I still had some cause for hope, because in all of these conversations with my cousins, I found out they in turn had had conversations with others involved in the creation and management of the park at Tannehill. Based on what they’d been told, not only the name associated with the cemetery but also the number of graves and who was buried there was less the result of actual archeological and primary source research than it was conjecture. And “conjecture” is being charitable.
From what I knew, 19th Century Oglesby land holdings among all the descendents in the county were relatively small–the idea that one of the relatives had at one time held over 400 slaves seemed to strain common sense. If these were the dead slaves, the live population necessary to support a dead population of 400 would have been enormous. Obviously, not an impossibility, but still improbable.
And how were all those graves identified as slave graves if they were unmarked? If they were unmarked, they could as easily held the remains of anyone too poor to afford a marker, not just slaves. And at least some of those graves could have been marked at one time, with the markers being moved or disturbed sometime in the intervening 140 years since the end of the Civil War.
In any event, it was time to do more research and try to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Next stop, the Linn-Henley research library in downtown Birmingham, where there is about half a yard of Bibb County related documents–Census books, histories, court records, marriage and death information, and what turned out to be the most valuable, a handy listing of early Bibb County homesteads, cross-referenced with land patents granted in the County, including the date when each was granted.
Land patents are the way the United States would sell or grant Federal land to property owners, and they are a good starting point in many cases to find out who was the initial owner of a particular piece of property. Even better, many state land patents are accessible online, but I didn't know that at the time, so I set about looking through the whole stack of books and making copies of maps and lists, and found some interesting things.
First thing, the land containing the graves, a forty acre tract on the Bibb-Jefferson county line on Roupes Creek was first patented in the year 1858, and not to Sabert the I or the II, but to a George Oglesberry.
(As an aside, the Oglesby name has several variant spellings over the years, even in the previously mentioned copies from the family Bible, and I have seen it spelled as Ogilbie, Oglesbee, Oglesberry, Ogelsbe, and Ogilvie. Sort of like the mail that comes to my house. Same thing with the name Sabert–I’ve seen Seabert, Sayburt, Sabret, Sabard–and as best as we can tell, they are generally talking about the same person. Spelling was much less precise in the past and education less formal, and people tended to rely on phonetics. Also, when I refer to Sabert II or III or any other number, that is my method of placeholding--none of Sabert's descendents troubled themselves with such things. Which tends to make for more confusion.)
But back to the story–who was George Oglesb(err)y!?
Not having much other information to go on, the most obvious George would be the four-year-older brother of Sabert II. In addition to the plot of land the cemetery is located in, he was also granted patents to an additional 80 acres across the county line, a total of 120 acres, all abutting much larger parcels of land belonging to Moses Stroup and Ninian Tannehill, partners in beginning the commercial furnace works at Tannehill. Park historians note that large-scale furnace operations did not begin until around 1859, which would agree with when most of the land was initially sold by the United States.
So the land initially belonged to George, probably the same George who was brother of Sabert II, and although it’s possible it could have been sold to Sabert sometime between 1858 and 1865, none of my digging and looking has produced any legal records that would indicate such a sale.
Next stop, the Census records for 1860, which showed Sabert II living in the Green Pond vicinity with his wife and their nine children, with a real and personal property value that was modest, and certainly not the wealth one would indicate vast slaveholdings. In addition, no slaves were listed in the household.
These pieces of information in and of themselves should be enough to at least warrant some caution in assigning ownership of the land, and they also point out some more inconsistencies in the description of the site.
Since we know that the land was not transferred from the government until 1858, that means that there was only a seven year time span–to the end of the Civil War (or at least until Wilson’s Raid) when slaves would have been buried there. If the number of 400 graves seems overly large, consider if that amount of slaves died in only a seven year span! Something didn’t add up.
That’s where Cousin Charles comes back into the conversation, and after I’d mentioned to him what all I’d found out, he recounted a recent conversation with one of the people associated with the administration of the park. It seems that when the park published that quarterly newsletter back in 1991, somehow what was accepted as the possible total number of workers at the furnaces–400–got transferred to how many gravesites there were. And no one knew how Sabert’s name became associated with it, aside from the (now dead) writer of the article.
Recent archeological research conducted by Dr. Jack Bergstresser has uncovered approximately 15 houses that were where slave workers had lived, and that the furnace’s owner, Ninian Tannehill, had brought possibly 60 of his own slaves to the furnace as part of its initial work force.
So what does all this mean?
Well, to me a few things are clear–there are some unmarked graves on the Tannehill Park property, on land that was sold to George Oglesby (Oglesberry) in 1858. In 1991, a mistake was made by the author of a newsletter article in assigning the number of graves at the site when, in fact, no one had actually counted the gravesites, and no one had excavated them to determine exactly who could be buried in them. Although archaeologists have determined that slaves were part of the work force at the furnaces, Tannehill is the only owner definitely identified by name as supplying slaves to the work. Other slave owners obviously did, but there is no primary source information that has come to light to date that indicates that Sabert Oglesby II was a slave owner, nor that the land in question was ever his, and the only known source for this misidentification was also the source of the wrongly attributed number of graves on the property.
Could I be wrong about all this? Of course!
But the way historical research works is that you have to rely upon what is known, and work toward what is unknown. Conjecture is valid only so far as when it doesn’t contradict facts, and when it is necessary to supply an educated guess, it should be noted as such.
It may very well be I am completely wrong, but the things I know right now point to a different conclusion, and one I’m not willing to set aside without better evidence than I’ve seen so far.
And what do I hope to gain from all this research? Nothing more than to ask that more research be done by those associated with the Park, and to respectfully dispute a notion that seems to have sprung up many years ago from nothing more than the imagination of one poorly informed person and has continued to be passed along as established fact.
In the interest of scholarship and truth, especially in a time when it has become so very easy for misinformation to spread quickly and perniciously around the world in seconds, it is important that we are diligent in making sure the record of our past is as accurate as possible.
UPDATE 1-10-09--Results! A few days ago, before I posted the above, I'd sent a recap of the information in an email to the Bibb County website administrator, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank her very much for taking the time to post all of the information as a separate page that will be linked back to the cemetery list. It's a welcome first step in setting the record straight!
January 01, 2009
Happy New Year!
Today's dinner menu:
Pork shoulder roast, a mess of greens and black eyed peas, cornbread. It doesn't get much better than that, folks.
Hope you all have a wonderful day and a similarly wonderful year.
December 23, 2008
Two posts in one week!?
Well, I can't help myself--I got home yesterday to an excited bunch of kids who informed me I had a package on the doorstep, all the way from Utah! (The package, not the doorstep.)
Obviously, my first thought was that it was a package of lovely collectible Marie Osmond dolls as well as a torrid love note and several naughty pictures (like I get from her every year). However, when I saw the return address, I knew it must be something even better--and it was! It was from the Axis of Weevil's own Ambassador to the Beehive State, Nate McCord!
I busted open the box and was attacked by one of these little cuties. After prying its vicious snarling teeth off of my arm, I noticed the enclosed note:Many thanks to Nate, although since the children saw this, I might not get to play with it as much as I'd like. Still, it is much appreciated and gets a special place of honor alongside the silver Johnny Lightning Corvette Sting Ray.
Also of interest was the little hangtag that came with the animal, full of intriguing facts about opossums. Did you know:Okay, well, I do like the garage. It's really difficult to keep a rolling toolbox and do any kind of engine work in a hollow tree. First I've heard of that. I guess I should quit walking around my house marking my property line with pee. Yeah, right. You just keep thinking that, m'kay? That frothing at the mouth? Just root beer foam. Lemme tell you, it's not easy bein' green. I credit my remarkable resistance to snakebite to be the result of being scared of them enough to not get bitten. That's why you see so many possums at all-night raves.
ANYway, that's your possum fix for the year. Thanks once more to Nate for making this all possible!
December 22, 2008
Okay, so I'm probably not supposed to just let the whole world know this, but...
...some things sound so good it would be a worse transgression not to share.
1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups raisins
1/4 cup dark rum
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 quart whipping cream
2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons cane syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 (16 ounce) loaf French bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
Arrange sweet potatoes in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 10 minutes or until tender. Set aside.
Combine raisins and rum. Set aside.
Combine eggs and next 5 ingredients in a bowl; add bread pieces, sweet potato, and raisin mixture. Spoon mixture evenly into 2 lightly greased 11 x 7-inch baking dishes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until set, covering with foil to prevent over browning, if necessary.
Serve warm with Rum Sauce and whipped cream. Serves 16.
1 1/2 cups butter
1/4 cup dark rum
3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 egg yolk
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; stir in rum. Add confectioners' sugar; stir with a whisk until smooth. Stir in egg yolk; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture reaches 160 degrees F.
Makes 2 1/2 cups.
That, my friends, is some good food.
Now then, in other matters, since I've got a short week this week and won't be here next week, I want to wish all of you Hebrew folks a Happy Hanukkah, all you pagans Lo Saturnalia, all you Christians a Merry Christmas, all you Constanzans a Happy Festivus, all you African Studies majors a Joyous Kwanzaa, and you atheists a cordial end of December/beginning of January.
Best wishes to all who still come by Possumblog every so often, despite the fact that we're closed and retired and all that stuff, and may the upcoming year be a good one for you all.
December 08, 2008
Well, I'll be!
On the way in to work this morning, and decided to pull in at McDonald's for one of their nutritious McSkillet breakfast burritos, as I on occasion am prompted to do by the combined effects of hunger and hip McGen-X advertising Mciconography I see on the tee-vee.
Ordered, heard my order mumbled back to me, and drove around to the window. Watched the driver in front of me pay, wondered when he'd get through with his chat with the cashier. He drove on, I rumbled up. Stuck my hand and my money out the window, and the girl said, "He pay for it for you."
I had one of those rare, genuine, flummoxed double-takes that you have when someone says something that simply doesn't compute.
"Do what?" said me, with an accent heavy with wtf.
"That man, he pay for your order. Is free!"
Well, I'll be doggone.
I didn't know what to do, so for some odd reason I smiled and thanked the cashier (who graciously accepted it), then rolled forward and did a double-tap on the horn and waved as the fellow in the Nissan Pathfinder drove off.
He waved back.
Just one of those nice little things that make you think nice little thoughts all day long. And to think--the guy was a Georgia Bulldog fan!!
Maybe there's hope for mankind yet!
December 03, 2008
Yet another one of life's little milestones... UPDATED
...if you are a moron.
My lumpy old gray hunk of Swedish iron just turned over the quarter-million-mile mark!
A testament to the basic solidity of the thing, as well as the maniacal devotion to scheduled maintenance by the previous owner.
In any event, I believe I deserve a Federal bailout totalling $1,245,010,000.12.
UPDATE 12/9/08--OH, GREAT--now EVERYbody's getting in on the act!
November 26, 2008
You try to make a list…
…but eventually you exhaust yourself with the possibilities. So, I have decided to condense all that down to two things for which I am thankful.
Life—all of it. From the worst despairs (which, given what I see in the world around me is about the equivalent of a flea-bite on an elephant) to the greatest joys (again, in comparison to others, I have been blessed beyond what is my right and due).
Love. That I am able to give it, and that I receive it far in excess of expectation.
May your day of Thanksgiving be full and rich.
November 18, 2008
“...I'm sorry for absolutely ruining your life by passing along to you a genetic predisposition for myopia and astigmah-tizzzzz-um..."
Yeah, doesn’t quite trip off the tongue, does it?
But, it was bound to happen, and the warning signs have been present for a while now—squinting, confusing one letter for another on the chalkboard, difficulty reading. Tiny Terror has now joined the rest of her family in the need for ocular assistance.
And it wasn’t pleasant.
Because when you’re a kid, you tend to say stuff like, “I want glasses like you and Mom and Rebecca and Jonathan and Ashley,” without really considering what you’re saying. And you complain about the aforementioned inability to see the board and stuff, and wonder why your parents won’t take you and get a cool set of glasses right THEN! And then you show up at the Walmart vision center and the doctor tells you you need glasses, and all of that theoretical ‘wouldn’t it be cool to have glasses’ make-believe stuff is suddenly very real, and you start trying on frames, and you think that your friends are going to make fun of you, and you’re a young girl at that age when any criticism of your appearance sends you into fits of despair, and you can’t find anything that you like, and everything you do kinda-sorta like your dad won’t buy because it costs too much, and then everyone’s trying to tell you to hurry up because the store is going to close, and you HATE EVERYONE and HATE YOUR EYES and finally decide you shouldn’t have been saying you wanted glasses, and you wish you could go back in time and say that you want perfect eyes FOREVER, and you close your eyes and wish hard and all you get are tears.
So, you know, lots of fun at the Walmart vision center last night.
She finally settled on a pair that was reasonably-priced and fit her face and looked very cute to me (but less so to her, of course). This angst was on top of the fact that we almost had to reschedule again, after having been called last Tuesday (when our appointment was) and being told the doctor was ill, so we’d have to pick another day. Couldn’t do it Wednesday (church), couldn’t do it Thursday (the other doc doesn’t take Blue Cross), couldn’t do it Friday (football game), or Saturday (youth trip to Atlanta), not Sunday (church), so yesterday was pretty much it.
And so then when Reba got there, they said none of us were on the schedule.
Seems whoever called us didn’t actually write it down on the calendar. I heard all this second hand through the cell phone:
REBA: “They say we’re not on the schedule, and we’ll have to come back another day.”
ME: “No, they’re going to see you, because they already called us and changed it once, and I don’t care how many other people they’ve got to see, they’ll have to see you, too.”
R: “But they’ve got other people already scheduled.”
M: “Not our problem—tell them to make the other people wait.”
M: [thinking angry thoughts]
R: “They’re asking who called you.”
M: “How should I know!? They called, we rescheduled because they called, and you’re not leaving until they see you! It was some woman, and I don’t know who it was. I didn’t ask for her name, she said she was with the Walmart vision center!”
R: [relaying information] “Okay, well, they said they don’t know who it was…”
M: “It. Does. Not. MATTER. WHO. CALLED. US. Look, ask them if the doctor was sick last week on Tuesday.”
R: [asking] “Yeah, they said he was out sick.”
M: “Okay, ask if they had someone calling to reschedule people.”
R: [asking] “Yes, they said someone called to reschedule people…”
M: “THEN THAT’S WHO CALLED ME! [thinking loudly to myself 'THIS AIN’T FRIGGIN’ ROCKET SCIENCE!!'] Now, TELL THEM THEY’RE GOING TO SEE YOU RIGHT NOW…”
R: “WAIT! Hold on and calm down--she’s talking to the manager—they said something about giving us a gift card to make up for it—”
M: “It danged well better cover the whole cost of whatever the insurance doesn’t cover, because we’re not going to go through this again.”
R: [asking] “Oh, okay—the manager just came out and said she was sorry and they’d stay here later and make sure we all got seen. Now calm down.”
In my snit, I failed to figure it probably would have been worth waiting another day or two, but once I get my dander up and think I know what’s acceptable and what’s not, there’s little to talk me down off that limb that I’m sawing so hard on.
But, it still rankles, you know?
I mean, do they have a problem with their staff prank-calling patients to tell them to come another day, and then not write it down? Is their staff so huge (with its five or six people) that they can’t figure out who screwed up? Is it really good policy to interrogate customers and expect them to anticipate being screwed over by whoever it was that called, enough to know it would be good to get the person’s name so when it came time to come to the store it would be readily available? Is it good to poke people with sticks and inconvenience them instead of the silly cow who messed up in the first place? And why is it they said they had four other customers scheduled at the same times as us, yet only one of which actually showed up? And why is my Blue Cross eye coverage so awful—it only pays for a portion of the exams, and nothing for glasses.
Anyway, I got off work and drove on over there (having a fine time all the way, venting and raging and Walter Mittying as I heard the staccato pocketa-pocketa sound as I crushed every single lens in the store under my feet), and everyone was nice and solicitous, aside from Miss Prickly Pants and her quandary about choosing a set of frames.
She was made to feel better with the purchase of a pink plaid patterned case that will hold her new glasses.
I wish I were so easily unburdened.
November 03, 2008
I am not one to make predictions...
...but I feel pretty safe in making this one.
Should it happen that Americans elect a Democrat as President tomorrow, I can guarantee that when the new Administration moves in to the White House and various executive-branch offices, all of the computer keyboards will have their full complement of 'O' keys, and there won't be trash strewn all around, and things that belong to The People won't mysteriously disappear into staff briefcases as souvenirs, and in general the transition from R to D will be businesslike.
Businesslike, although not quite as efficient as the coordinated efforts made this year has been at encouraging the registration of fraudulent voters and assisting them in casting ballots, collecting fraudulent donations from all corners of the globe, and the effort by the press to bury its carcass in a steaming pile of irrelevance.
Gosh, I'm sure it'll all be worth it in the long run, right guys?
As for what will happen should the opposite situation occur, I can't quite say. Given the obstacles, it certainly would be quite a repudiation of the aforementioned influence of the ballot-box-stuffing/untraceable walking-around-money/yellow "journalism" troika, and I do certainly hope that it would come to pass. But when cheats lose, it's a bit much to expect them do so gracefully.
In any event, go and exercise your franchise tomorrow, and whether your choice wins or loses, please don't be an idjit. (And yes, I realize this is more difficult for a certain group of you.)Continue reading "I am not one to make predictions..."
October 21, 2008
I which I rejoice at having my nomination selected for today's Ball of the Day!
My thanks to the editorial staff of Bolus, and to Modern Mechanix, from which the item was shamelessly stolen.
October 14, 2008
Well, let's just say I require a pretty substantial level of proof.
But you know, if I was an intergalactic star traveling type dude, I know I would like nothing better than to make a layover over Alabama. But I don't recommend stopping at the rest area north of Montgomery. I'll just leave it at that.
Best response? From one Leada Gore, publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and contributor to The Clanton Advertiser, who took some flak for her earlier story regarding our putative visitation:As a very wise alien once said, "Heh. Indeed."
October 13, 2008
...the intent is not to become All Bugs, All the Time, but what can I do!?
This weekend, Rebecca came running in the house asking in near-terror what sort of bug is huge and has wings and is ugly and is big. And huge. And HUGE. And ugly.
"Does it look like a big cigar butt?"
Not being a cigar aficionado nor a keeper of company with those of that ilk, the best she could muster was "I dunno. BUT IT'S HUGE! And PATCHES IS EATING IT!!"
I told her it sounded like he'd gotten a cicada (and no, I didn't wet my pants at the mere thought of it) and followed her outside to go look.
Sure enough, he'd found a big ugly buzzy play toy, rich in natural bug proteins and evil. According to Middle Girl, he was romping in the yard, then suddenly ran over to one of the trees and started snapping and pawing and chewing and rolling and tossing the thing up in the air.
Let me tell you--these things are apparently indestructable. Even after several minutes of abuse at his paws and jaws, the thing was still kicking. That's saying something, considering this dog could eat a wrecking ball.
Anyway, Rebecca took his toy away and hid it under something in the garden, and I was once again reminded of just how much I can't stand large ugly bugs.
I am heartened, however, that Patches will viciously protect me from them. It's almost enough to forgive him waking me up in the middle of the night last night with his infernal barking.
In other news, it's now been over a week since we had the kids from church over, and the downstairs of the house is STILL clean!
Second, Rebecca has now driven herself to work TWICE. All the way down to the foot of the hill. Without incident. That I know of.
Third, the upcoming election (or as I like to call it, "BOHICA--Carter's Revenge") got me to thinking the other day about what good things I remember from the years 1977-1981.
Eh. It was okay. Really. I know everyone likes to dump on the late 1970s, but aside from the awful clothes and awful hair and awful television shows and awful cars and general level of awfulness, it was survivable. I mean, I lived in a house, both my parents had more or less stable, moderately well-paid jobs, I went to school, ate three meals a day, had clothes to wear (and yes, I had several REALLY cool Quiana shirts, and a brown leisure suit, and a pair of patent-leather platform wingtips that were navy and burgundy, and I had many pairs of tight cutoff blue jean shorts that were entirely too short that I would cut grass in), had a car to drive around in (triple-black '72 Monte Carlo) and despite all the national and world turmoil, I don't recall being miserable and mopey and full of fear and dread and junk like that. Of course, that's filtered through 32 years of trying to forget everything bad that happened, and not having to live through it with the responsibilities of adulthood.
Things might have seemed a bit more awful in that case.
At least this time around, we've got really cool computers, and cars work darned well, and there are more than three television stations, and they all broadcast in digital, and there is some distinction in clothing worn by office workers and that worn by circus clowns.
So hey, how bad could the next four years be!?Continue reading "Well, no..."
September 29, 2008
Someone just turned Sweet 16 today, and her name's Rebecca!
I recall the late-night trip to the hospital mainly because I had an Aretha Franklin greatest hits cassette playing. The labor and delivery were generally unremarkable, aside from the obvious miracle of birth itself, which, being my first experience with the human variety of such things, struck me not quite so much as miraculous, but more like something out of the movie Alien. Except with better special effects.
In any event, she's a good girl, and I'm awfully proud of all she's done over the years, and what a fine, beautiful young lady she's turning out to be. (And I say that not just because I know she checks in here every so often.)
So Happy Birthday, my little jelly bean.
September 16, 2008
Oh, that's just crazy.
Or maybe it's just a matter of consolidation.
Anyway, as you know, I gave up blogging over a year ago.
Now some of you might snicker and point to such things as this post for evidence to the contrary, but you have to admit, compared to those times in the distant past when I might post ten or twelve multi-hundred-word, thoughtily-involved, occasionally mildly humorous posts a day, the current version is about as close to moribund as Possumblog could be, short of actually, you know, being really for real, gone-on-to-my-reward dead.
Why do I mention this?
Because I noticed something peculiar the other day--over in the sidebar at the very bottom, I was ranked as a "Marauding Marsupial" on the The Truth Laid Bear's Ecosystem. And today? A "Large Mammal."
Now friends, that's just bizarre. In its prime when I was writing thousands of words a day, with traffic on the order of a couple thousand unique hits per day, it was exceedingly rare for Possumblog to ever even get past the Slimy Mollusc stage. Oh, there were the times when it might even get Adorable Rodent status, but Large Mammal!? I don't think that ever happened.
So why now? I don't post regularly, the content of what I do wind up posting is weaker than the roots of Joe Biden's hair plugs (and not even half as funny) and yet, at least for today, I'm ranked as number 838.
Well, for one, all the junk I wrote in the past is still up and available for Googleering, so I reckon even if I did actually die, the site would still be reasonably well-trafficked by people searching for "all the "dumb guys" are running a race but the good guys will give up and come over to the concession stand where you'll be waiting with a towel and a h".
Quite a comfort, there, eh?
But I think there's probably something else happening (and I'm sure someone else has probably already noticed it and commented on it, and I just haven't seen it), but I think the huge number of Citizen Journalists-type blogs are being replaced by a fewer, larger, groupier blogs.
Let's face it, writing full-time is difficult if you actually have a full-time job. It's also difficult to keep things fresh and topical and entertaining with a one-member staff (even if you're a comedic and intellectual giant such as myself). Over the years, my guess is people have developed an affinity for a more select number of sites, ones that they trust to deliver whatever counterbalance they might seek from the traditional media sources and that do so with a certain level of expected quality or competence. With those expection also come one forced by the available technology, namely that there's going to be a LOT of content, and near constant coverage of any story, and the general result of all that means more than one person is going to have to be writing the thing.
Sorta like those things people called "newspapers."
So, anyway, I say the number of working, useful, usable blogs is shrinking (although obviously the potential readership isn't), and I suppose Possumblog happens to be the accidental beneficiary of that shakeout. It's not quite dead enough, and apparently that's good enough to get some traffic these days.
WEIRDNESS UPDATE: Maybe yesterday's spike was just a fluke--today your humble marsupial is once again nothing higher than a Marauding Marsupial, ranked in the mid-2000s. (Which is still a good bit higher than I remember it being for most of the time I was doing a lot of blogging.)
September 10, 2008
Bugs, Yet Again
Okay, I was sorta joking the other day about being freaked out by flying bugs. But only sorta. Because there really ARE some bugs that send me into fear-soaked spasms. I mentioned the last time about the giant cockroaches we have. Absolutely squeal-inducing.
But nothing beats cicadas for maximum fear.
Most of this comes from my childhood. When I was little, during the day I stayed with a babysitter who seemed ancient to me at the time, but who was probably not all that old, seeing as how she had a couple of high school-aged kids, Sharon and Don.
Don was the problem. He was the sort of vacant-eyed, lank-jawed sociopath you find in various Flannery O’Connor stories. His main joy in life seems connected primarily to tormenting small children, namely me.
One such time occurred when he found either a live or a molted skin of a cicada on a pine tree in their back yard. He plucked it off and proceeded to chase me around as I screamed in terror as he hooted and cackled and threatened to put this bug on me and watch it eat me. And obviously, to a small child, a giant bug like a cicada is entirely capable of eating you completely gone.
His mother finally made him stop. Of course, as with all bad things that have ever happened to me, I had to have another run-in with these awful insects. Sometime back in those dim fearsome days of childhood, my babysitter had loaded me up and we went to town for something. Being that this was back in the mid-1960s, no one really thought much of the fact that when she got to her destination, she left me in the car. I was sitting in the back, and it was getting really hot, and was thinking about getting in the front seat so I could get a little air, when I was suddenly transfixed by the appearance on the little center console of—yep, a giant cicada, with its big bulgy eyes and razor sharp fangs and crushing vise-like clawed forelimbs, all ready to devour me in one gulp. I shoved myself into the far corner of the backseat and froze, staring at the awful creature for what seemed like 5 or 10 hours until my keeper returned. She opened the door and flicked it out, and I just knew when she did that it was going to fly at me and suck my eyeballs out of my skull.
It didn’t, though.
Anyway, I eventually grew up, and over the course of time learned about cicadas, and was even in D.C. many years ago when they had a big swarm emerge, and for the most part wasn’t all that freaked out by it. Because I am a grown-up and all.
So anyway, last night after supper I had to go get Rebecca from work, and stopped down at the foot of the hill to get gas in the van. I stood there and began filling up, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a cicada on the pavement, the size of a Presidente cigar butt. Of course, being an adult and all, I was not the least bit scared, and saw it only as an object of curiosity. And it also looked dead, and dead bugs can’t fly into your nose and eat your tonsils. And I thought if it was deceased, maybe I could take it to Catherine, because the other day we found a small dry-fly husk on the fence, and I showed it to her and explained all about the life cycle of such critters and how they make that loud buzzing sound in the trees and she was fascinated and not the least bit afraid of such things. Which is good.
I finished up emptying my bank account into the gas tank and hung up the hose and took a closer look at the dead bug. Just to make sure, I leaned over a bit and nudged it with my shoe and BZZZZZZTTTT!!! EEEEEEEKKK!! That danged thing was still kickin’!
The sudden loud raspy joy-buzzer sound gave me a jolt (although since I’m an adult, I tried to cover and just made a little skip to the right) and brought back quite a sudden flood of childhood memories. None pleasant. Although I guess I should be glad it didn’t bring a sudden flood of pee down my leg.
Anyway, I think the world would be just fine without cicadas.
September 05, 2008
A Guide To Hockey
Given that there has been much talk in the news media of late about something called “hockey,” and given that there are probably some of you who are unfamiliar with the aspects of this activity because it’s not football or, umm, well…football, I have taken it upon myself to offer some pointers and tips and such about this sport. My qualifications include the fact that Birmingham has had many, many hockey games played here. No, I don’t know why. But that doesn’t matter, I’m still an expert on the subject.
1. Object of the game: As with all real sports, such as football, the object is to win by scoring more points than the other team through an intricate set of tactical and strategic movements on the playing field while simultaneously beating the fool out of each other.
2. Field of play: Due to the fact that the contestants wear ice skates instead of football cleats, as a matter of convenience, the field of play is a great big sheet of ice about 2/3 the size of a football field. Although it may seem odd that the players wear ice skates, one must remember that this game originated in the frozen Yankeelands, where it is common for everyone to wear ice skates all the time anyway. The sheet of ice has many pretty colored lines and circles and dots and such painted on it for decoration.
3. Equipment: Long curvy wood clubs are used to beat opposing players and chase around a frozen Moon Pie on the ice. On each end of the sheet of ice, there’s a big square crab net sort of deal and a score is recorded if you manage to get the Moon Pie in the net.
4. Rules of Play: Each team is composed of the same amount of players as in a six-man football squad, with one guy trained to guard the crab net and beat people, and the other ones trained to swat the Moon Pie fiercely toward each other and toward the other team’s crab net, and also to beat people. You cannot pick up the Moon Pie and run with it, nor heave it to one of your teammates, nor kick it through the goal, although if the Moon Pie hits you and bounces in the crab trap, that’s okay. Touchdowns only count one point, and there are no such things as field goals or safeties. Unlike football, there is no snap for each play, and all the players skate around in each others backfields and hit each other with their sticks the whole time.
5. Penalties: As with football, there are referees, and as is common in all sports the officiating squad is assembled from a seemingly endless supply of blind, mentally-deficient nincompoops who have no idea about the rules of the game nor who their real fathers are. They can, however, operate a whistle. And apparently, despite all the walloping that goes on, there are some things that are bad, and so the stripes get to blow their whistles and stop the play. Sometimes if they get really mad, they’ll send a player out to what’s called a “penalty box” although it’s not much of a penalty because they get to sit there and rest and drink alcoholic beverages the whole time. There are several other penalties that can be called, such as “icing,” which has nothing to do with the chocolate stuff on the outside of the Moon Pie, and “offsides,” which is pretty meaningless, since again, there is no snap count and no one lines up against each other and everyone’s just whooshing around beating each other. Sometimes the whole bunch will start wrestling for the Moon Pie and it gets locked up so the refs will stop things and get the Moon Pie and drop it betwixt a couple of players and let them fight for it fair and square. Although it is acceptable to beat on each other, sometimes everyone gets carried away in the moment and they forget all about whacking the Moon Pie into the crab net and all just start grappling and wrestling and beating each other to the exclusion of all else. Although this provides most of the entertainment value of the sport, the black hats look askance at it and after ten or fifteen minutes they break things up and send everyone out for a smoke and alcohol break, and then start over.
6. Hockey Mom: Each player is required to have a mother. The mother is responsible for seeing to it that the player is at the field on time, the player’s skates are tied correctly, and that he has his mouthguard, helmet, pads, wooden club, and a selection of snacks, juice boxes, and smokes and alcohol for sharing after the contest is complete. Each mother is required to be able to field strip a referee into its main components within 20 seconds. Should there be an altercation upon the field of play that continues after regulation time, players are sent to go shower and have a drink, and then each player’s mother completes the altercation in his stead in the parking lot, with points deducted for smudged makeup or broken fingernails. The losing mother in such altercations is required to host the next team hot dish supper, with the winning mother hosting the supper after that.
It really is a very exotic and interesting sport, despite the lack of marching bands or kickoff returns. We hope you have enjoyed this primer on the sport of hockey.
September 03, 2008
Lunch With Pam the Liberal
Fun as usual, and with the added spark of Politics to enliven the conversation. As one of the increasingly small cadre of old-school sane liberals, she’s actually quite entertaining to talk to about politics and despite being an Obiden supporter, was willing to actually give the governor of Alaska her due. And not the sort of grudging respect a few on the Left are willing to dispense along with a pat on the head and an ironic smirk, but actual respect for having convictions and being willing to stand there and be unapologetic about them. Not that she would agree with the Governor on everything, but she does at least see her accomplishments and see that they are more than the result of just being hot. I reckon there’s some empathy there since Pam’s had to put up with a lot of that kind of crap herself over the years.
ANYway, it was quite a nice break in the day, and if you get a chance, drop by Sol’s over on the ground floor of 2 North 20th. Pam had the chicken salad with pita wedges and something that I think was tabouli, and I had the Philly cheesesteak and it was quite good. Even had real Velveeta on there!
August 29, 2008
All I need to know in re the new GOP Veeptress:
(Image stolen from the highly prescient Beldar)
Although in my limited research, I find that she's never shot a lawyer in the face.
But she's still young, though, so she's got time to work on that.
August 18, 2008
The Strange and Icky World of Bugs
Yes, I'm still not blogging. As evidenced by this awful post.
But there was this gigantic derned moth banging its head against my window and those things (moths, not windows) just freak me out. I hate just about any of your large, airborne insects, because they don't have anything on their minds except procreating and flying into your mouth, or both. And moths try to cover by acting like fuzzy butterflies, but that's just as bad, because even butterflies freak me out, but at least they're slow enough to run away from, and they rarely get into the house, and bang their stupid heads against the window trying to get out. And don't even get me started on the giant palmetto cockroach bugs around here.
Anyway, the stupid huge moth was buzzering against the window when all of a sudden, it came down with a bad case of spider web. And so now I get to watch nature in all of her icky grotesque majesty as a giant flying insect does battle with a terrifying tiny spider that's probably a black widow or brown recluse (were I of a sufficiently fearless makeup to determine). About the only thing worse than giant flying insects are tiny creeping merchants of venom who spend their whole day trying to figure out how to build a nest in your ear. At night.
So, the moth gets further and further tangled up, and the spider waits for just the right time to tiptoes over the web to look at what she's caught, and she's as surprised as I am about how this big honking moth got caught, so she deedles around a bit and then runs back to the edge and licks her chops, and the moth just keeps on flopping around uselessly. Then it falls onto the top of the lower window sash, exhausted.
As this plays out, I have to kinda figure out who to root for. I mean, I don't like big flying bugs, but dying by spider bite is a heck of a bad way to go. Then again, I hate big flying bugs, and spiders gotta eat, right? And spiders are very industrious, even if they use their webs to entrap you and make you scream like a little girl. In the end, I figure I'll just let nature take its own solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short course.
I'm just that way, y'know.
So Mothra plays dead for a bit, and the spider gets almost to its underside, creeping along the threads of the web. You can see her playing out a few more strands to tangle up the legs of the moth some more, and then the moth starts wiggling madly again, and this time manages to actually break free of the web.
You could tell the spider was disappointed, but the moth was quite pleased with itself. It just better be glad it fell behind the books on my window sill and I'm lazy (and frightened), otherwise I'd get up and squash it.
As for the weekend past, it was okay. Grocery shopping, laundry, and I took Miss Reba a bunch of roses at work on Friday, because we had been married for 17 years on Saturday. I like her a whole lot, you know.
So that's about all there is to that.
August 12, 2008
And that was that.
Quite a long trip since that late August day in 1995 when I dropped her off in the front of the elementary school and watched her toddle in for her first day of kindergarten—that being, the trip down to Montgomery this weekend past to deliver Oldest to college.
I suppose everyone has his or her own set of emotions when you do stuff like this, but I’m not certain most folks’ emotions include a sigh of relief. Time to let others grapple with the melodrama for at least a little while, and hope that the distance and new surroundings will do her some good and maybe squeeze a little of that melodrama out of her. Or at least give it some direction and constructive purpose. Despite all that has transpired in the past few years, I suppose I’m still an optimist and think better things must surely be on the way. Just like Charlie Brown when Lucy’s holding the football.
Anyway, it’s a nice place, and not too big, and very supportive (astonishingly so to this old man who simply loaded his junk in a travel trailer and went to school with nary an advisor/minder/ mentor/hand-holder/butt-wiper in sight), and pretty strict, and the dorm is new and neat and clean (astonishingly so to this old man who remembers the concrete block rat holes run by Northcutt Realty in Auburn that were so reminiscent of a Turkish prison that he decided it would be better to live in a travel trailer for five years), and at least for the time being she’s not complaining. To us.
So, you know, hunky-dory and all.
In other news, the rest of the kids start back to school Thursday, which is going to be good for them, too. They’ve done well this summer, with Rebecca working her vet job and enjoying the benefits that come from gainful employment, and Catherine working with the little old people at Reba’s work and enjoying the benefits that come from volunteering, and Jonathan going to band camp and enjoying the benefits of being surrounded by lanky leggy young women and being in the percussion pit (no marching!), but I think they’re ready to get back to school.
As for what’s going on in the rest of the world, who in the world came up with synchronized diving? And why? I mean, the synchronized swimming stuff is odd enough, but if you’re going to do diving, too, why not have synchronized every-other-thing, like gymnastics and trampoline and fencing?
Then again, fencing would actually be pretty cool if you had a whole heap of people going at it like in a pirate movie. Wrestling would be a lot better if they had tag teams, too. And maybe a steel cage division.
But synchronized diving is just silly. Unless we give them swords or guns or something.
There’s probably other things going on in the world, too, but I don’t know if I have an opinion about those or not.
August 04, 2008
Told you not to get used to it. I was off both Thursday and Friday of last week, and still managed to not find time to notblog. Just too much to do, or rather, too much to do interspersed with several minutes wherein I have to just sort of sit and stare off into space, trying to remember what I was supposed to do next.
None of which makes for anything interesting to say. Or at least anything that I can remember. I sure could use a new brain.
And a pile of cash.
July 25, 2008
Okay, don't get used to this.
Anyway, we'll see how this works out, but if it even for a moment starts to interfere with doing laundry or watching my shows, well, that'll be it! And no, this does not constitute a return to blogging. I quit, and I meant it. Mostly. Or not.
SO, Reba was out at 6 this morning. The state inspection folks walked in yesterday, and so she's having to go in early and stay late, which is tiresome. And it meant that even if I did have a day off, I still couldn't sleep late.
Dozed back off, then got up and got Jonathan up so he could go to band camp. This week is 8-noon, next week is all day. Heh.
Next thing on the agenda for later on in the day is taking the pets to the vet--AGGGHHHHH!! Rebecca had made the appointment (so we could get the employee discount) and made it for noon, and I didn't think about it until this morning, so after I got back from delivering Boy to the high school, had to call and reschedule the visit. So, 40 minutes from now, it'll be time to wrangle the pooch and kitty into the Volvo and go see if anything ails them.
Random thoughts: 1. Has anyone else noticed that the newest trend in men's hairstyles (that being the sort of product-laden short spiky-do that is gathered up in the center of the head liken unto Ed Grimley), has now made the jump to old guys? Several of the local teevee reporters/meteorologists/anchors have taken on this silly-looking new style. Or the alternative one, that looks like when Goober decided to become a swinging bachelor on the Andy Griffith Show and got some sort of weird Julius Caesar hair-do. Sorry, but it just looks stupid. And not just stupid on old guys, either.
2. I don't really give a fat rat's patootie if Europe would overwhelmingly vote for Obama. There is a reason we declared independence, and Europe has done nothing in intervening years to convince me that we made a bad decision. I have a deep and abiding mistrust of any American politician who craves the adulation of foreigners more than that of their fellow citizens.
Okay, I'm going to the animal doctor.
Not bad at all--both Lightning and Patches were pronounced to be in excellent health, got their shots, and thanks to Rebecca being on staff, we got a healthy 50% discount. Which is nice, seeing as how this past Monday the Focus suffered yet another broken brake line, causing it to spew brake fluid from here to yonder, and necessitating the scheduling of yet another trip to the shop for a wallet extraction. ::sigh:: I sure wish I was independently wealthy.
Now, to get the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded, then to the bank so Rebecca can deposit her paycheck (she's so danged flush that she just bought herself a new LG Dare and agreed to pay the extra part of the phone bill for it) and then we'll go get Boy from band, and then we'll start on getting the clothes downstairs and separated.
1. I cannot tolerate the Rachael Ray show unless the sound is off.
2. Bob Barker was apparently not a very nice person in real life if the Internet is to be believed, but good grief, I cannot stand The Price is Right with Drew Carey as the host. Is there any way to reanimate Bob and wheel him around on stage? Or maybe get Bill Clinton to do it. Now THAT would be a show!
3. I am very tired of the local news media promoting their websites as a place where you can "start your own blog," or "blog your thoughts on our story." Most of these sites are nothing more than message boards. And leaving a single comment on a story someone else wrote about is not writing a blog. Then again, there's probably not a better way of illustrating how inept and out of touch traditional media is than to watch them continue to grapple with the phenomenon of independent citizen-journalists. It's not like it's new now, and yet it still seems like a mystery to most of the old-style print and broadcast folks. Then again, the difference between reporting your own opinion and reporting the facts seems to have eluded them, as well.
Anyway. Time to
separate the clothes. Go to the bank.
Bank, school, home, lunch (ham and cheese quesadillas!), clothes taken to the laundry room and picked apart, first load started (unmentionables!), Judge Joe Brown on the teevee, and boy would I like to have a nap right about now.
1. I wonder why none of the judge shows on the teevee have bleeding heart liberals? Probably for the same reason that liberal talk radio has such a tiny audience.
2. Speaking of TV judge shows, The Hon. Lynn Toler is really hot.
Annnnnd, 6:25 p.m.
Still no sign of Reba, although I did get a call saying that it's going to be a while longer still before she's home. Supper's on, clothes being washed and folded, second load of dishes being washed, the hummingbirds are hitting the feeder, and stuff such as that. And thus ends the blogging portion of my off-day. Well, that is, if I still blogged. Which I don't.
July 21, 2008
Advice for Young Ladies
Some of you might know this, but for those who don’t, my employer has switched my schedule to four-10 hour days per week, meaning I now have Fridays off. Which means I now have a day where I can go and do things, such as get my hair cut. Which is exactly what I did first thing Friday morning past, (with Boy in tow, since he needed shearing as well).
We hied ourselves to the foot of Talladega Hill, across the tracks and over the mighty Pinchgut Creek, to the HeadStart over close to Target. Being that it was 10:00 a.m., there was no one but the three staff members awaiting there.
We were ushered back immediately, and I took my place in the chair operated by an attractive young woman of decidedly Rubenesque proportions, and removed my spectacles so she could have unhindered access to my noggin.
Being thus blind, at first I could not be sure of what flashed before my eyes as she drew the drape around my neck, but after several more such preparatory tonsorial flourishes, I could no longer deny that the dewy plumpness of her upper right arm contained quite an extensive bit of tattoo ink.
Now, I am of a certain age, and I still associate such markings with convicts, sailors, and women of the camp. However, I am also quite aware that fashion has overtaken my staid blue-nosed preconceptions, and have come to know that even respectable people such as rap singers and hair care professionals now deem permanent epidermal artwork to be quite desirable. Yet, after my haircut was done and I’d retrieved my glasses and had a moment at the cash register to carefully examine her choice of embellishment, I still find myself compelled to offer some unsolicited advice, most especially for the young ladies in the reading audience who wish to delve into this sort of everlasting identification.
First, I know you all want to project the carefree, stylish, devil-may-care attitude of a certain late-1960s Dunaway-Beatty pairing, but let’s face it—Bonnie and Clyde aren’t choice role-models. So, you know, actually taking the time to etch their names into your upper arm is probably not really a good idea if you have aspirations in life for a job that has stuff like a retirement plan and health insurance.
Second, if you’re dead set on the glamorization of the lifestyle of those who wind up lead-perforated, at least try to find yourself a really, really good tattooist. Nothing ruins a perfectly good countercultural jab at The Man than to get a tat that looks as if it was done by a fourth-grader who forgot to take his Ritalin. Although I realize no one teaches good penmanship and handwriting in school anymore, it would really be a good idea to find someone who has had some classes in such things before letting him practice on you.
This admonition to seek a professional also goes for Piece of Advice #3, namely, if you believe your Bonnie and Clyde calligraphy must contain an emblem of crossed submachine guns, for the love of all that is holy, PLEASE get someone who actually knows what one looks like. The use of a crudely drawn something-or-other that looks like it was traced from a Beetle Bailey comic strip simply ruins the entire effect you’re going for.
Remember, young ladies, not all of your fellow citizens will squeal with delight in your choice of body decoration and may, in fact, look askance at it. But if you simply cannot resist the lure, never ever scrimp on quality. Either that, or practice with Sharpies first.
And by the way, the haircut looks just fine.
July 10, 2008
Yeah, hard to believe—two posts in two days! Not that I’ve taken up blogging again, because I haven’t, but sometimes events warrant an update of an almost bloggish sort.
Got home from church last night (through a blinding thunderstorm, I might add), got the kids unloaded, got myself dressed in work clothes (at 9:00 p.m., I might add) and set to work fixing MY STUPID TIRE.
The other day I came out of the parking deck here at work and rolled over a high curb with the side of the tire and BANG-wheeeeeessssssshhhhhhhhhh. Big gash in the sidewall. The sidewall of a tire that I’d just bought a few months back after the “old” tire had suffered similar sidewall damaged by the hand of a certain wife of mine.
And this newest tire, only about a week old?
Seems it had gotten a nail in it while Reba was driving home.
At least not in the sidewall.
So, I got my pliers and my rubber cement and my rasp and my hook and my plug strips and my spotlight and backed the van into the garage (because it was still pouring rain outside) and set to work. The nail didn’t actually seem too deep. Probably could have left it alone, but because I’m a moron, I went ahead and pulled it and set to work making the tiny hole bigger with the rasp and had a heck of a time since it’s a BRAND NEW TIRE but finally got a hole big enough for the hook to go in and managed to tear up one of the sticky strips without actually plugging the giant new leak I’d made. Second time was the charm, though. Cleaned up the tools, pulled the van back outside and got the compressor out and proceeded to replace the air I’d let out (while standing in the rain, I might add.)
Got the pressure up to normal, unplugged, pulled the van in the right way into the garage, got out and went inside the house, got my work clothes back off, noticed Reba in Rebecca’s room on her bed talking, thought everyone should be in the bed, told Boy to get in the bed, and then Catherine, got my sleeping clothes on, decided to check my e-mail, sat there and vegetated and watched the news.
Reba finally came through the bedroom, and pointed to my left arm, “You’ve got black stuff on you.” Sure enough, I’d not been nearly as fastidious as I’d thought and had a smear of black road grime all over my left arm. Well, crap.
And then, “Rebecca wants to get baptized.”
WHOA—that came outta nowhere! But explains the confab there in Middle Girl’s room. Rebecca has been thinking about this for a while now, and she’d finally gotten to the point where she felt compelled to make that decision.
SO, we asked her if she wanted anyone to be there, and she figured it would be okay if the preacher and the youth minister were there, but that was it. Those calls were made, got Jonathan and Catherine out of bed and redressed, and it was back out into the rain and back across the county to the church building.
I had the same rush of emotion and found myself thinking the same thoughts as the time (almost exactly three years ago) that I’d had when I baptized Oldest, and found myself expressing similar sentiments to Rebecca once we were both down in the water (which we’ve now gotten hooked up to a filter system, I might add).
It is still quite a powerful thing to me—the idea of the new birth; not physical, but spiritual. I remember when she came squalling into the world, and what a fine big red baby she was and thinking how there could be no greater feeling. But there is, and it is the idea that when I lifted her back up out of that water, sputtering and snorting, the parent-child relationship had been supplemented by a greater one of being brother and sister in service together to our Creator.
She got her wet clothes off and changed, and we all had a short prayer together, headed back home, and got into bed sometime after 11:30.
And slept well.
July 09, 2008
Cake and Ice Cream for ALL!
What do Fred Savage, Courtney Love, Kelly McGillis, Tom Hanks, Jimmy Smits, John Tesh, O.J. Simpson, Brian Dennehy, Donald Rumsfeld and I all have in common? (I mean, aside from our almost fanatical devotion to the Pope and nice red uniforms?) That's right, it's our birthday! YAY! So all of you are welcome to grab a big bowl of ice cream and a nice slice of cake (just be careful when O.J. is cutting his) and join us for a big celebration!
Other interesting things that happened today:
1540--England's King Henry VIII had his 6-month-old marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, annulled. She got to keep the vacation house, the Mercedes, and her head.
1776--The Declaration of Independence was read aloud to Gen. George Washington's troops in New York. Afterwards they all went to see Mamma Mia at the Winter Garden Theater, and pronounced it "really FABULOUS!"
1816--Argentina declared independence from Spain. Spain was like, all, "yeah, whatEVer."
1850--Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States, died in Washington, D.C., after serving only 16 months in office. Conspiracy theorists speculated an evil genius named Karl R. Ove who arrived from the future in a time machine was responsible for his death.
1896--William Jennings Bryan caused a sensation at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago with his "cross of gold" speech denouncing supporters of the gold standard. There were reports of mass harrumphing, and no small amount of men in bowler hats clamoring in the streets.
1947--The engagement of Britain's Princess Elizabeth to Lt. Philip Mountbatten was announced. The lovesick couple exchanged a restrained, yet heartfelt handshake and thenceforth were often photographed standing not far from each other.
1962--Terry Oglesby, inventor of the Cornatee (cornbread-battered and deep fried manatee on a stick), born in Birmingham, Alabama.
1992--Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton tapped Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee to be his running mate. Make up your own quip for this one--there are so many possibilities I can't choose one.
1995--The Grateful Dead played their last concert, at Soldier Field in Chicago. There are reports of mass mellow harshage, and no small amount of dudes being all bummed out.
1997--Boxer Mike Tyson was banned from the ring and fined $3 million for biting opponent Evander Holyfield's ear. George Foreman attempts to capitalize on the phenomenon with his Tender Ear Grill, with less than satisfactory results.
2000--Pete Sampras won his seventh Wimbledon singles title, tying the record for men at the All England Club. "Who cares," right? Right.
2001--A court in Chile ruled that Gen. Augusto Pinochet could not be tried on human rights charges because of his deteriorating physical and mental health. Reached for comment, Satan said, "Awww, how pitiful. I'll make sure when he gets here to have a nice quiet room for him with pretty flowers and a comfy bed."
2007--Sen. David Vitter, R-La., whose telephone number was disclosed by the so-called "D.C. Madam," accused of running a prostitution ring, said in a statement he was sorry for a "serious sin" and that he had already made peace with his wife. Wives of every other guy in America warn their husbands they'd best not think they can get away with anything like this without winding up seriously deceased.
2008--American press continues to report everything seemingly is spinning out of control. But you know, who believes anything you read in the paper, so I decide not to worry about anything and have a happy birthday.
June 24, 2008
Ask Dr. Possum!
Although this humble blog long ago was shuttered by its proprietor and no longer offers sustenance and solace to the poor lost and weary travelers of the virtual backroads of the electronic ether, we are quite happy to report that Dr. Possum apparently never got the closure memo.
Having swung by whilst on his way to a conference on mid-16th Century bawdy Dutch poetry, Dr. Possum was obviously quite stunned by the presence of a padlock on the front door of the Axis of Weevil World Headquarters Building. However, after some investigation of the side yard (and much subsequent beating and banging upon the wall of the travel trailer which serves now as my office/domicile/caretaker’s shed) he was able to rouse me from my usual midday torpor.
Overjoyed by his unexpected visit, I quickly prepared for him a wholesome repast of crackers and potted meat, and asked if he would be willing to stay for a while to answer all of the stacks of questions that have piled up since he last graced us with his presence.
Despite the urgency of his travel needs, he did agree to sit with us for a spell and dispense some of his wisdom and knowledge. To those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Possum’s oeuvre, he is a real doctor* and has oft-times been called upon to settle disputes and interrogatories of the most profound nature, and he stands ready now to answer similar inquiries on topics medical, philosophical, political, mathematical, and otherwise.**
SO THEN, to our first inquiry!
A “Mr. Larry Anderson” of the Northern Alabama District (whom some of you know as Mr. Larry Anderson), asks the following:
Dr. Possum Responds: Far be it from me to tread where others have already done exquisite work of explaining the details of this recent kerfuffle. My compatriots Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Weevil have both ably “put this to bed,” so to speak, and little remains left to say about it.
Other than the fact that Latin being what it is, translations are malleable things, and given the candidate in question, could possibly have multiple hidden intentions. Vero possumus could very well be intended to communicate the message “Yes, I can be George Jones,” indicating a president who is signaling his intent to embark on driving the SUV of state aimlessly around the winding backroads of international diplomacy while downing fifth after fifth of demon rum, only to wind up hammered to the gills and careening into a bridge abutment.
And then write a song about it.
Likewise, vero possumus could mean, “Truly, I can be a stupid possum.” Able to be trapped after being baited with only a few kernels of sweet corn, playing dead in the face of possible aggression by its enemies, and a lingering musky odor are but a few of the valuable things possums are known for, and similar characteristics are sure to strike fear into the minds of America’s foes. Not for nothing was President William Howard Taft—“Uncle Billy Possum”—known as The Scourge of Malignant Evildoers.
Or it could simply be akin to Cockney rhyming slang—vero possumus being the rhyming derivative of “throw ‘im under the bus,” which I’ve been told is quite a commonplace activity within the Obama camp.
[A note from the Editor, in re Mr. Anderson’s putative “expectation” of a post: We remind all readers that Possumblog has been failing to live up to expectations since its founding, and we continue to strive to uphold that standard.]
Next up, YOUR question! Please leave your submission in the comments section below, and Dr. Possum will astound you with his genius!Continue reading "Ask Dr. Possum!"
June 11, 2008
I promise, I had nothing to do with this. Not that I disapprove, of course.
And no, I don't know what 'andcuffs' are, although I imagine they're probably something the grammar police use when someone uses conjunctions poorly.That's all!? WHY, back in my day, they'd throw you under the jail, and make you pay a billion dollars, and you'd have to be chained to a post and break rocks for 100 years!! No wonder this has grown into such a large problem. Complete breakdown of law and order, obviously. Obviously, it's time to start having the event recorded with no students or family present, and a copy sent home with each student so they can enjoy it in the privacy of their own home. Unless they start making too much noise there, too, in which case we can send the SWAT team out to quiet 'em down a bit. They have diplomas at funerals? I THINK NOT! Oh, and I suppose if everyone was jumping off a bridge you'd go do that too, eh? This is just the way that crack dealers and hookers and used car salesmen and politicians get started, you know. Be glad the intervention of John Law has given you the wake-up call you so desperately needed. Of course, not so glad that you'll applaud or shout or anything like that. In seriousness, I believe the world is a fair place, and small people who seem to get satisfaction from screwing around with everyone else will get their due.
As for me, my thoughts are the same as what I posted below--I don't think it's necessary to scream and whoop, especially if what you're screaming is just stupid, but really, arresting someone is a bit much.
ANYway, Marc says hey to you all and that I need to post something once a week, just to let everyone mingle and comment and stuff. Well, it would be nice, but since this blog has been closed up and retired for nigh onto a year now, it just wouldn't do to come out and post something anymore. Nope--just have to quit cold-turkey, as I already have done, and not post anything at all. Not even a humorous news story.
Not even to talk about the mundane things such as how hot it's been here the past two days, and the fact that Rebecca went and got herself a summer job at the vet's office down at the foot of the hill from where we live (and where we take our animals, thus securing us the coveted employee discount), and how very, very busy I've been at work, and junk like that. None of that anymore, alas.
So, anyway, until the next time I don't have anything to say...
May 23, 2008
I can't help it if I get distracted.
I suppose I should be ashamed of myself, but as I sat there yesterday, I had an unexpected reaction to the surroundings. Oh, I had the normal set of bittersweet thoughts you have at graduations, but as I sat there on those hard aluminum bleachers my mind wandered a bit.
I’m not sure how to explain it. Scrunched in too-tightly together with a few thousand other sweaty parents and grandparents and siblings and friends in the old football stadium. The whiff of outdoor-grade perfume mixed in with the occasional taint of a beer sloshed down and a smoke burnt to the filter in the car on the way over. The dimming light of a May afternoon that made the surrounding trees and low hills seem close and dense, and softened the clash of the red gowns on the green field. The sound of the speakers echoing through the neighborhood. Maybe it was the combination of all of that, but after we watched them all come in, and after we’d said the Pledge, and all sat back down, and I sat there listening to the valedictory, I was overcome by a peculiar sense of how uniquely American it all seemed.
I probably should have been at least as moved by the more personal aspect of watching my daughter receive her diploma, but at that particular moment, all I could think of was how the same ceremonies were being played out at similar venues in other small towns across the United States. And it made me so very proud to be part of that type of place.
No, we still don’t quite have down the proper way to wear a mortarboard (hint—pinned vertically to the back of your big hair-do isn’t it), but we still figure it’s important to have one. History, and all.
No, even though we make the announcement to hold applause so everyone can be recognized and one kid doesn’t get the silent treatment while another gets whoops and cheers, that lasts only about twenty people in, and then there’s that first guy, the one who had hurried down the Miller Lite and the Camel on the way over, who has to unsteadily give a big Rebel yell when his niece’s name gets read. And so, from then on out, the chorus of hollers and screeching ululations starts in earnest. (Well, except for those left-out kids with shy relatives or no friends, who wish at least one of their kin would lighten up for once in their lives and give him a little yell.) (And no, I’m not speaking personally, since my mother-in-law gave a long loud whistle worthy of a hog farmer at slop time when Oldest’s name was called.) Why? Because Americans love to cheer, even if under certain circumstances it might veer toward the uncouth.
No, there might not be anyone in the class who grows up to be President, but unlike some places in this world, you can’t say for sure someone won’t.
We’ve got a good thing here. Might not quite be doing everything exactly right, or in the exact right way, but I doubt you’ll find anyone working harder at—well, I don’t know—working hard at doing something. I don’t know, maybe it’s like that everywhere else in the world kids are graduating from high school. But I don’t think so.
Anyway, Oldest did graduate, and will be going off to Montgomery in the fall, and maybe that bit of distance and responsibility will make thoughts in the future lean more to the sweet side of the bittersweet equation. Or not. Hard to tell about such things.
May 08, 2008
By Popular Demand
As warned in the previous post, if enough people asked for it, I agreed to post the tale of my recent struggle with the downstairs toilet room. In this case, "popular demand" consists of Miss Jordana asking to read it. I am nothing if not a sucker for pretty brunettes.
SO THEN, here it is.
PARENTAL ADVISORY: The following posts details events that occurred 13-14 APR 2008. This account contains graphic depictions of plumbing, excessive use of fossil fuels, deliberate concentration and inhalation of petroleum distillate vapors, and conspicuous consumption, yet is entirely devoid of entertainment value, as well as that patented Possumblog combination of mirth and despair. It is simply despair.
PLOT SETUP: I started in November of 2004 to repair the rotted floor of my downstairs powder room, the result of a small leak in the toilet flange. At the time, I could not find an appropriate selection of hardwood flooring to patch the pieces I'd torn out, and ever since then, the toilet room has been in a state of disrepair. Other stories here, and here, and here, and here.Continue reading "By Popular Demand"
May 05, 2008
Look, just 'cause there's a...
title, and words following it down here in this part, it DOESN'T mean that I'm blogging. Sure, most of your mainstream daily newspapers and local television stations seem to think that's what constitutes a blog entry, but not me. I know better. So don't go getting all snarky and start asking why I'm blogging again when I said I'd quit, because I really did quit, and nothing you see here changes that in any substantive way.
Not even if I tell heart-warming stories of familial enjoyment or terrifying stories of suburban horrors. Which is good, because I don't have any of either.
All I have is about five minutes of less-than-full-throttle time from my paying work, and rather than do the prudent thing and go to the restroom or get up and move my legs, I thought I would exercise my fingers some.
It's springtime in Paradise By The Pinchgut, and as has been the case in the past, I have a lovely and verdant lawn full of various flora and fauna, generally in the form of weeds and fire ants. ::shakes fist:: I will offer my endorsement of Amdro--that stuff works very effectively. And it makes a great ice cream topping!*
The weeds, though--I leave them alone. If I killed all the weeds, I wouldn't have much of a lawn left. Then again, I would have less to cut. Hmm.
Yep, still got one of those. And she's still really hot.** And she still seems determined to see to it that I stay out of trouble. Did I tell you I finally fixed the downstairs toilet and floor? I did. Very nearly killed me. Took two days of intensive labor, including being shot at by Bosnian snipers.# I told the whole sordid tale in a long-winded email to Doc Smith, and I'll reproduce it here later if enough people cry out to read about my idiocy. (And no, that won't be considered a blog entry, either.)
Kids? Yep. Still got those, too. Oldest graduates from high school in a couple more weeks, if you can believe that. Oh, by the way--remember when I used to say, "It's only a phase...it's only a phase...it's only a phase"? Well, it's not. It does remind me a bit of a Kafka short story I read when I was younger. And that's enough about that.
Boy just got back from Atlanta this weekend. He and his bandmates went to a competition over in Marietta, and then went and did the Atlanta tourist thing with stops at Cokeworld and Six Flags and some sort of medieval dinner theater deal. Sounded like he had fun, although he spent all day yesterday trying to keep his pants up. He packed the wrong pair of pants and forgot to take a belt. Thank goodness he had the decency to at least try to keep them up and not let them bag up around his butt cheeks. Anyway, given his frenetic schedule and adolescent desire to horse around and not sleep when given the opportunity at a nice hotel, he probably slept through all of his classes today.
Middle Girl is through with soccer for the school year. Managed to do quite well, although they did mess up their overall record by losing three tournament games mid-season. Otherwise, they did respectably well. And MG managed to keep up her grades to an extraordinarily high level. She's real smart-like. Overall, freshman year was a good one for her, which bodes well for the next three years. Although she did manage to miss last week due to a terrible stomach/intestinal bug. Blech.
Tiny Terror is still her same old ball-of-energy self. She's eleven, and at the very cusp of adolescence. Whiney, mouthy, loud, boisterous, but oddly lacking in guile. I guess that's good.
Patches? Lightning? About 1 and 2 years old, respectively. Still can't quite let Lightning out unattended without Patches going all puppy-silly and wanting to simulateously eat/play with the cat, who is baffled that anyone would want to tangle with him. Animals are weird.
Job? Still got one, and it looks like the decision to give up blogging was a good one. Not one spare minute in the day.*** But that's good. I've actually remembered stuff I shouldn't have forgotten, and have managed to avoid several instances where my ample buttocks could have been put into a sling. So, you know.
The world? I have no idea about anything, other than I really have very little other than contempt for whomever will be the eventual Democratic nominee, and little hope that the Republican nominee will manage to be able to win. I sense that 2008-2012 is going to be about like 1976-1980. Thank goodness I kept my leisure suits and two-tone platform shoes!****
Anyway, what's on your mind lately?Continue reading "Look, just 'cause there's a..."
April 11, 2008
Okay, now THIS is worth breaking silence for!
Accompanying story here, from McCalla's and The Birmingham News' own MAJ Mike Tomberlin.
April 01, 2008
Based solely upon the large number of comments from the previous post...
I have decided to start blogging all the time again!Continue reading "Based solely upon the large number of comments from the previous post..."
March 27, 2008
And sorta frightening.
Oldest turns 18 today.
I remember when she was much younger--maybe 5 turning 6--and I went in to wake her up one morning. She opened her eyes and looked around, then sat up and started looking quizzically at her arms and legs. "What's the matter, sugar?"
"I though you said I was going to be a big girl on my birthday!"
Seems as though all of Mom and Dad's talk back then about turning the magical age of six and being a big girl was translated in her mind as meaning she'd wake up on her birthday and be full grown.
Having now lived with her through all of the less-than-pleasant turmoil of the intervening 12 or so years since that time, I have a feeling that having now reached the age of majority, she has the firm belief she is finally an actual grown up.
And, well, you know, good luck with that.
I don't wish for any of my kids to have to endure bad times and bad things, but I know that being human, those things do come to us all. But I also know that despite my best efforts and intentions, she will meet the adult world woefully unprepared.
We've tried to show her, tell her, make her, cajole her into seeing and understanding and learning, and I know a few scraps of that made it through to her consciousness, but I also know most of what we've tried to make plain simply went into the mental shred file.
And that's a failure on my part.
But at least I can take some comfort in knowing that it wasn't failure by simple inaction. Somewhat like Wile E. Coyote (Genius), of whom it can never be said that his high rate of disaster was due to his being lazy and innattentive, I am perversely gratified in some small way that although my big box of ACME Parenting Skills blowed up real good, it was nonetheless spectacular and noticeable, and occasionally entertaining to viewers.
If only real life were like the cartoons, I'd be a bit less concerned for the fate of my own little roadrunner.
But, there she is, in the eyes of the law and in her mind's eye, an adult.
Like I said, good luck with that.
March 13, 2008
Random Fleeting Political Comment of the Day
Regarding the recent dustup and handwringing over whether one candidate or another would be where he or she is in the Presidential race were it not for various physical characteristics, one thing is exceedingly clear: the number of elected officials who have attained their positions based solely upon their own brilliance or competence is vanishingly small, almost to the point of being non-existent.
February 29, 2008
All Quiet on the Moron Front
Rear, too. I thought there might be some disturbance the other day, but it was only gas. Okay, well, not only gas, but we shan’t waste valuable daylight discussing it.
ANYWAY, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Oddly enough, people still come around every once in a while, or on Leap Day, either by accident, or in the oddly misplaced, yet still charming delusion that they’ll find that I have come out of my forced retirement and begun blogging again.
Alas, I still am quite quit of blogging.
But it’s not really about me—I am haunted by those whom we’ve had to let go from the Axis of Weevil World Headquarters, who shuffled out the door holding their last paychecks and various stolen office supplies, going off into a cruel world where imaginary employees of imaginary enterprises are a dime-a-dozen.
And then alas, there is poor Chet the E-Mail Boy. Once so full of boyish charm (approximately 90 years ago) and now—now doomed to his new life of self-employment.
“Chet,” I said to him as kindly as I could on Layoff Day, “Chet, I hate to let you go, but it’s time—“
He raised his withered and liver-spotted hand, and in his high, thin, reedy, trembling, whispy, raspy, consumptively phlegmy voice told me that he had an idea for a new business venture. “Oh, but Chet, you’re old, and dim, and stupid, and infirm, and have to be told everything to do—and what will Miss Butch say?”
He bade me no mind, being the upstart, blackguard, and rogue that he turned out to be, and walked out without so much as a tear or sniffle.
Seems he’d saved up some money (how, I’m not sure, since I never paid him) and bought one of those little ‘Hawaiian shaved ice’ vending shacks that open in the summer and then shutter up in the wintertime. I laughed at the thought of him trying to sell overpriced snowcones in the winter, but then to make it even more laughable, he repainted the building and started selling bowls of cornflakes. Called it CHET’S FLAKE-SHAK. Silly old man.
Anyway, I suppose it pays to do something you know about, and if there’s anything Chet knows, it’s cornflakes. He started out selling just your plain basic bowl of flakes with milk, then as it caught on with the morning commuter traffic, he started offering a variety of milks—whole, 2%, 1%, skim, chocolate, strawberry. Then there were the sweeteners—sugar, Splenda, NutraSweet, honey, maple syrup, molasses, Karo. Seems people liked the variety, and his weird tales of telegraphy and Linotypistry, and I guess the convenience of not having to go to the danged pantry for a stupid box of cereal and the cupboard for a bowl and the refrigerator for milk and the drawer for a spoon.
After a while, it got more than he could handle, so he put Miss Butch to work in there and people got an even more entertaining floor show with her in her exotic Hmong dress, screeching curses at him in French. The idea continued to grow in popularity, especially when she created a new taste sensation when she “accidentally” “dropped” some betel nut juice into someone’s flakes. After that, EVERYone wanted some. Got to be that the traffic was so bad in the mornings that they’d have the cops come out and direct traffic. Chet decided to buy up all the defunct Hawaiian shaved ice stands in town and open a whole chain of CHET’S FLAKE-SHAKs. I tried to urge caution on him because he’s old and senile, but he acted as though he knew what he was doing. Idiot.
He hired a bunch of other stupid old people to man the new shacks, and sure enough, you’d think customers were sprouting up out of the ground. People were all over themselves to pick up a stupid bowl of cornflakes and milk sold by his wrinkly old geezer friends from the VFW. He started coming up with cutesy names for stuff—like his CUPOFLAKS for people who wanted their cornflakes and milk in a cup instead of a bowl so they could eat it while driving and talking on their stupid cell phones about their stupid jobs.
It continued to be a local phenomenon of some mild amusement, until some weirdo made Chet a MySpace page and put up a video of Miss Butch on YouTube, and then everyone under the sun jumped in. The Daily Show came and nearly got shot (Miss Butch thought they were Viet Cong), then Chet somehow managed to get on Fox and Friends and prattled on and on about meeting Mark Twain and Buffalo Bill Cody as a boy and how he loved cornflakes and being a businessman, and not ONE word about me or my influence on his life. Ungrateful old coot.
After that, he somehow managed to swing a deal with some crazy dumb hippydippy chick from California (who is NOT that attractive, by the way, because anyone can look tall and beautiful in California with enough money and plastic surgery and a degree from Stanford) to develop a line of organic “Worldcornflakes” using his name and confused likeness, and then the lawyers got involved, which I told him was a very bad idea, and they talked him into a cross-country franchise agreement for his stupid cornflakeshaks, and I’m sure he’ll wind up losing his new big fancy McMansion and his Maybach 62 sedan (which I thought was a dumb choice for him, seeing as how he used to jibber on and on about the “Hun menace.” Apparently now that he can go out and pay cash for some lumpy Kraut rolling symbol of self-indulgence, Fritz isn’t such a big threat anymore. Hmph. Figures.)
Anyway, here I am—my blogging empire reduced to nothingness, and I’ve got to stay late tonight to close up, which I hate, because we can’t throw out any of the day’s batch of cornflakes and I have to eat them all, and although my intestines have become preternaturally regular, the last thing I really want to have to do late at night is eat ten pounds of cornflakes. That, and wash out the milk machines. And scrub the dumpster. And call Chet “sir.”
So, you know, other than that, things are just fine.
February 25, 2008
Aztec Hot Chocolate Pudding
I emerge from my warm, fur-lined hollow tree for just a moment to post this where everyone can see it, as opposed to it being in the comments in the last post. Via Chef Tony and the Chocolate Advisory Council:Tony, you'll have to get your fun and money from someone else. I ain't got no money, and I ain't kissin' you. But the recipe sounds darned good, nonetheless.
Now then, back to slee- WORK! Back to work! Yes! Workworkwork!
January 29, 2008
What better way to not blog than by posting pictures! (Aside from not posting pictures.)
A few shots from this year:Continue reading "Pictures!"
January 16, 2008
Happy, New Year?
Oh, and you just thought that because I'd quit blogging that I'd quit blogging. It's just that I've just been busier than a bee on a beaver attacking a one-armed paper-hanger who's watching a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest on teevee. Yes, THAT busy.
After I got back from the holidays, all my jobs have gotten going and everyone's running around like their hair's on fire, so there's been precious little opportunity to not blog. But I had some lunch minutes, and I did feel compelled to thank you all again for the advice about computers, and to apologize for ignoring it all and helping Middle Girl purchase a Toshiba A215 from Circuit City. It's super spiffy, with several orders of magnitude more hard drive space than my only-a-few-years-old HP Pavilion desktop, and we got ourselves a wireless router so she can hide in many places in the house and surreptitiously read trashy blogs about slow-moving, semi-arboreal pouched North American marsupials. Or do her homework, without being pestered by someone. SO that's nice.
Christmas was very nice, and I got some books and some ties and some shirts and a nice yardwork coat that will go nicely with my overalls and straw hat and perpetual dark stain of tobacky juice running out the corner of my mouth. Christmas is actually STILL nice, seeing as how the tree is still in place and automatically clicking on every evening and rotating and glimmering with its little sparkly lights. Seems a certain wife of mine (I won't name names) decided to start a new scrapbook project during the off-days, and spread huge amounts of paper and books and stickers and scissors and photos right out there in the middle of the floor of the den, which makes disassembling a lovely pre-lit genuine Chinese-made Martha Stewart Christmas tree awfully difficult. It would be easier had she (the unnamed wife) simply cleaned up her leavings once finished for the afternoon, but she has a tendency to create various exclusionary zones of craftwork that MUST NOT BE DISTURBED until she's good and ready to disturb them.
So, the tree's still up. Sorta festive, I must say. As is all the confetti on the floor.
Let's see, what else? I have a cold! It's really not that bad, unless it's really tuberculosis or SARS or bird flu or something and I just don't know how bad it really is. I figure Mucinex and Sucrets and a chaser of Lysol will fix it up pretty well, no matter what it is.
I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but that leaves me something to not blog about sometime later.
December 21, 2007
It’s been an odd year in Paradise by the Pinchgut…
And not just because 2007 isn’t 2006 or 2008.
Although I think that’s still probably part of the problem. That, and monkeys.
But back to the point. Which is itself a first, seeing as how I’ve never felt constrained by the boundaries imposed by “polite society” to “make a point.” ::shakes fist at polite society:: Take that!
Anyway, it’s just been all sorts of topsy turvy—my new, bold, edgy blogging strategy at the beginning of the year—which I termed “NEW, BOLD, EDGY!!”—was quickly beaten to death by all of the usual old, timid, dull suspects. But at least there was still a vast quantity of old timid dull crap to look at, that is, until I quit blogging completely when I got my new job back in August.
That right there has itself been such an experience, one full of interesting stories and insights and catastrophes, all of which would have made such great new blog fodder if I still had time to write it all down. Which I haven’t.
And not only that, there was all the junk that’s been going on in the world that I had no way of commenting on, no matter how much I wanted to. All of the various celebrity shenanigans, the foibles of those quaint souls in the media, the vituperations of the vicious vivisectionists of the legal profession, the always bountiful stupidity of the criminal class and Congress (but I repeat myself), all the various heartwarming marsupial stories, the beauty pageants, the pie-eating contests, the World Series, the Piece of Wood That Looks Like Jesus Which Was Found In A Vacant Lot by a Poor Homeless Man Who Sold It On eBay for 5 Million Dollars But Who Had to Go To Jail When It Was Found Out He Was Really an Escaped Convict and the Wood Was Really Just a Hunk of Wood He’d Carved To Look Like Sorta Like Jesus and so He Didn’t Get Any Money Out of the Deal But Nonetheless Created an Even Bigger Stink When He Said He Found a Bar of Soap in Prison That Looked Like Muhammed And The Entire World Exploded in a Fit of Swarthy-Faced Wild-Eyed Rage By Militant Unitarians—that sort of stuff was just begging for someone like me to comment, but it was simply not to be.
But at least I am getting paid more now, and actually get to do productive-type stuff instead of acting as a bureaucratic anchor to progress, so hey, it ain’t all bad.
Back at the house, there’s been all sorts of stuff going on as well. It’s a constant blur, which was one of the nice things about having a blog, back when I had one, that being that I could write stuff down and have some way of not forgetting it all. That’s really the thing that hurts most. All those little stories and incidents with the kids or Miss Reba, none really earth-shattering or anything, just little bits of life, but they were bits of MY life, and there was some comfort in knowing that as they grew up and as I grew older and more forgetful, I’d have some way to look back and be able to relive a little of the fun. You didn’t get to hear about the dog eating the bike helmet, or Catherine walloping Jonathan with the broom handle, or the Christmas parade. Not that you really wanted to hear about them, but they had a nice touch of humor in them. Makes the day go by a bit faster, y’know?
SO, anyway, enough of all that. Here we are near to the end of the year. If I still had a blog, I’d note that yesterday was its 6th (!) birthday, and I’d tell you all that I’ll be at home all next week enjoying the holidays with my kiddos and the stuff they mooched off of Santa.
Oh, what the heck—I think, for just this once, I’ll act like this place is still in business, and wish all of you a lovely holiday (no matter which day[s] you holify) and a Happy New Year! All of you be nice to each other, and be nice to yourselves, too.
See you next year.
December 17, 2007
Y'know, I really messed up on my timetable for getting out of the blogging biz. Because if I were still at it, it would be SO MUCH EASIER to ask the following question:
Supposing you had a kid who'd saved up a couple of hundred dollars toward a laptop, and said child was in anticipation of a few hundred grickles more from Santa in a few days, exactly what sort of laptop should said child buy? And from whom?
Despite my aura of technological sophistication and incredible knowledge about things computery, I must confess I have absolutely no idea of the best way of going about choosing what sort of equipment to buy.
Basics are this: said child (who is a highly responsible 15 year old girl, not to give anything away) needs to be able to do your basic MS Office type applications--Word, PowerPoint, Excel--as well as be able to use the Internet, run her iPod, play games, maybe watch a video or two. She's not deep into video editing or online role playing games or anything that requires heavy-duty processing power. She needs to be able to seamlessly synch back and forth to our home computer (which is an HP running XP Home) or the computer at Grandmom and grandad's house (which is some kind of Dell running a full blown version of XP), and needs something that will not be obsolete when she takes it out of the box, will serve her needs through the rest of high school and be easily (within reason) upgraded when she decides she needs more horsepower. I would really rather NOT have anything with Vista, since it seems a step backwards from XP, although this might not be as big a problem with an OE install rather than an upgrade to an existing machine. Still, the word on the screet is that it's still got way too many entomology students working overtime.
I've seen specials at Staples and such like for a whole laptop package for around five bills, including a printer and a case and sparkly moonbeam stickers and coupons for fabulous savings on things you don't need. This one in particular seems pretty spiff, although, again, I don't know nuthin' but that it seems like an awfully fine price, even if it's not one of the ones with a free printer.
ANYway, it's all very confusing and everyone has something slightly different on sale right now, and that makes it very difficult to compare apples to lobsters.
So, for all two of you who've remained loyal to Possumblog even though it's no longer in operation, what say you when it comes to the best bet?
December 14, 2007
End of Week Brain Dump
Okay, okay--I know. A huge buildup like that, and nothing to back it up.
The shame of having not even a teaspoonful of inanity to offer. And it's not like there's not plenty of fodder out there!
Oh well, let's give it a try anyway. As long as you harbor no expectations of quality, you'll not be disappointed.
Politics: Oh, please. They ("they" being the candidates) all stink, in varying degrees and levels of venality. And even the crazy people are a bunch of pikers. Lyndon LaRouche craps bigger crazy than Kucinich. Anyway, best I can tell the choices right now on the pinko/hippy side come down to purest distilled evil, some goofy kid, a smug foppish twit (with a twist of evil), weird dude, three old guys, and some chubby guy. On the unworthy-to-be-the-successors-to-Ronald Reagan side we've got another bunch of old guys, some guy I've never heard of, a couple of guys with enough baggage to keep a team of fifty bellhops busy for a year, and a former fat guy, and that guy with the hot wife and stack of residual checks. Both sides seem to have a base of vocal supporters made up of enough cranks and loose screws to assemble a fleet of Model Ts. Take THAT, rest of the world!
Weather: The high temperature was close to 80 degrees here on Tuesday. It's going to be barely above freezing on Sunday. ::shakes fist at thermometer::
Sports: Steroids? Baseball?! Eh, whatever. I say any sport where you get to wear jewelry while you play needs as much help as it can get.
Entertainment: Writer's strike? I've not been so disturbed about a labor action since the Amalgamated Brotherhood of Buggy Whip Craftsmen staged their walk-out in 1913.
Family: I have four children and a wife. Each seem to be trying to outdo the others in driving me to an early grave. I love them all dearly nonetheless.
Work: Between the previous category and this one, I have no time nor ability to form anything more than a variety of whale-like squeaks, whistle, clicks, and grunts in lieu of actual substantive conversation.
It's a darned good thing I gave up blogging.
December 07, 2007
I hate school.
It’s good to learn things, even if it’s just for the sake of knowing something you didn’t know before.
I suppose what I object to is that schools nowadays take great pride in assigning gigantic enriching multiculturally-engaging, multimedia-focused research assignments to kids who probably don’t get all that much out of it other than a sort of glossy simulacrum of a facsimile of understanding about the topic at hand.
Seeing as how such assignments invariably wind up requiring a huge wad of parental involvement and supervision and assistance.
Because it’s important for parents to be involved.
Despite the fact that my parents never assisted me in doing silly crapwork school projects.
And despite the fact that I have not the socially-desirable overly-stimulated and pampered single child to dote upon, but the near-to-being-white-trash FOUR children, ALL of whom are also given similar gigantic enriching multiculturally-engaging multimedia-focused research assignments.
What brings on this sudden fit of pique?
Boy, and his assignment this nine weeks. Seems they’re studying Asia in social studies. Or possibly language. Or maybe math. You know how schools are nowadays with all this cross-training stuff. Anyway, I think it’s social studies. So, their teacher gives them this big laundry list of activities to choose from in categories such as Culture, Geography, Art, Inscrutability, &c., &c., with each activity worth a varying amount of points, the idea being to allow each student the freedom to pick and choose enough activities from each category to add up to a theoretical maximum total of 200 points.
I’m not sure how much time they were given, although I figure it’s probably been over a month. And you know how good 8th graders are at time management.
So it comes closer to time to start fixing and doing, and Boy had actually begun working on some of his stuff as long as a couple of weeks ago. Me, not knowing exactly how much was involved in the overall scheme of things, was kinda gratified that he hadn’t waited around until the last minute to do his colored picture of the Silk Road, and a clever origami scorpion, and a picture of a samurai.
Little did I know that this wasn’t all there was to it. And that it was all supposed to be turned in today.
It began to dawn on me last weekend, though.
“I’m gonna make paper!”
Great, yeah, whatever, Son.
“And so I need to save the Sunday paper, because I’m going to take that, and put it in the blender, and put water in it, and some glue…”
WHOA UP, THERE, BOY!
“No. Jonathan, we’re NOT going to put paper and glue in the blender.”
Hurt little puppy dog eyes. “But—but I have to make paper for my class assignment.”
“WHAT class, Son?”
“That stuff I’m working on for my Asia project—you know, like that map I was doing.”
“Oh. Well, no blender. I’ll help you out on that.”
Because, I am a moron.
SO, thus began an ever deepening hole of paternal, and ultimately, maternal interference.
Because not only did I get to make paper, in the last four days I also wound up making an Ivory soap carving of a fu dog, a large model of a segment of the Great Wall of China, a printed itinerary for a imaginary 14 day tour of Japan (including travel distances and times for each leg of the trip), and a box lunch of three separate dishes, along with the recipe for each item. Mom got involved last night, doing a poster collage of a variety of images of China and Japan gleaned from a stack of National Geographics.
Boy was ever helpful—cutting and pasting and fixing and doing and mixing and assembling and such like, but frankly, there would be no way for any kid really to do all this junk without a big hand from their parents, mainly in the all-important task of project management. Given infinite time and resources, I know the young feller could have figured it all out himself, but something of this magnitude requires a ready-to-go set of skills in production means and methods that is beyond your garden-variety middle schooler.
I don’t know—maybe it’s all this blizzard of information we live in, where there’s so much access to so much stuff, that we seem to have come to think the past got there by a combination of magic and CGI. The fact you can pull up a billion images of every square inch of the Great Wall with nothing but a click of the mouse makes it seem less of a feat of engineering. Building a cardboard model of it (or helping Dad build one) is fun, but I dare say he still has little appreciation for just how massive such an undertaking was.
I think he’d have been better served to do fewer things, but actually do them himself, and not just the simple thing like origami. How about the teacher getting some stones, and some mortar, and a corner of the schoolyard, and letting the kids work and see just how stinkin’ hard it is to lay a straight wall on crooked ground, and then maybe get an appreciation for how long and hard it would be to do the same thing all across 4,000 miles of mountaintop.
Yeah, I know. Lawyers would love that.
Anyway, I am happy to say it all got done and transported to school without incident this morning, so who am I to grouse?
I just hope I get an A.Continue reading "I hate school."
November 26, 2007
Trying to hang on to one tired fad just a bit longer...
lol iron bowl!1!Continue reading "Trying to hang on to one tired fad just a bit longer..."
November 21, 2007
Never let it be said...
...that I'm too busy to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving! So, all of you have a very happy Thanksgiving, okay?
November 19, 2007
In the Mail...
Was minding my own bidness last week when I got a nice e-mail from a young lady named Rachel Patton with Turner Publishing asking if I'd like a complimentary copy of the book Historic Photos of Birmingham, by James Baggett, the head of the Archives Department at the Birmingham Public Library.
Apparently Ms. Patton hasn't heard that I shut this place down many years ago, since she wrote that she was sending the book for possible review consideration hereon. But hey, I'm a sucker for free stuff, especially picture books. So, I got Chet to come in from rewiring the transformer and let her know I'd be happy to receive the book and to offer my opinion.
A couple of days later, a big package was sitting at my place at the kitchen table, although I do wish I'd been looking for the shipment, because it apparently arrived a day earlier and sat on the front porch and got wet in the recent rains we had. Luckily, the book wasn't ruined, although it was a bit wavy around the edges.
The promotional blurb sent by Ms. Patton said, "This 10 x 10 book tell [sic] the pictorial narrative of Birmingham through culled-from-the-archives photography and informative text and captions."
Now most of you know I have a great affection for history and Birmingham and photos and historical photos of Birmingham, so I've got to tell you I'm already predisposed to give this thing a good review.
I have to say that unless you are already well-steeped in Birmingham lore, you will probably be less than satisfied, unless you just like looking at old pictures for the sake of looking at old pictures. The captions are very short, and assume that the reader appreciates the history associated with place names such as East Lake, Avondale, Woodlawn, Ensley, or Lakeview, or Highland Avenue, or 1st Avenue and 20th Street, or with the names of the people such as Tutwiler and Jemison.
Each chapter is devoted to a different time period beginning from the City's founding in 1871 (although the earliest known photo is from 1873), and begins with a short introduction by Mr. Baggett. Now, again, these names and places are already familiar to me, and I dearly loved looking at the wealth of detail in these photos. But even if a picture IS worth a thousand words, photos this old, of people or places you might not know, means that a great deal of those words could just as well be in a foreign language.
I found myself longing for more exposition, even though I realize this isn't the point of the book. But in not providing a greater amount of textual clarification, it means that this book (or one of the 60 other similar titles offered by Turner) is destined to be limited in its appeal to the hometown crowd.
Second, although I appreciated the chapter breakdown by time period, within each chapter it seems as though more thought could have been directed at obvious groups of subjects. There are several photos of old motorcycles, for instance, that really begged to be more closely associated with each other. In another example, there are more than a few photos of the old St. Vincent's hospital and its staff. It seems a shame they weren't less randomly distributed--again, reading this as if I were a complete stranger to Birmingham, I might not have immediately understood they were related.
Another possible way of breaking down the subject was geographically. What was known in the old days as "The Birmingham District" was, and still is, a big, BIG area, and the randomness of the display of the pictures makes it difficult to grasp just how large of expanse of land is covered. I know it and appreciate it, but only because I'm already very familiar with where the locations are.
Having said all that, I still thoroughly enjoyed perusing the book. It really is amazing to see how quickly this old place sprung up from farmland to a real city. Another thing that's odd to me is just how big it looked. I don't know if it was the type of equipment used or what, but it's odd to look at photos from then and companion contemporary photos. The old grainy black and whites always look like they were taken in a huge metropolis, and the modern photos always make the place seem much smaller. And again, I just love looking at the details--the way a man wears his watch fob, the signs in the background, the piles of manure in the streets, the barely visible lettering on the fourth floor window, the old Studebakers and Nashes. Good stuff.
Another caveat, though. If you like old photos of Birmingham, it's really hard to go wrong by spending an afternoon browsing through the online digital collection of the BPL Archives. Many of the photos from the book are from this resource, and they are grouped and arranged and categorized in a way that makes gleaning the history and context of the photos much easier and more rewarding. The late (and perpetually mourned) Terminal Station gets its own section, even though I only recall seeing a glimpse of it once in the book. The book does present a short peek at Birmingham's once extensive network of public streetcar lines, but the website does it much more justice. And the Archives also maintains a blog site where they post recent updates to the collection.
All that's missing is that wonderful smell and portability of a book. Although it's worth remembering that these photos also exist in actual, real, holdable form. As someone who's made several treks across the park, I can attest that the Archives are a super place to spend time. The staff is helpful and friendly, and you can look through the old photos and clippings till your heart's content, and you can even order reproductions of just about anything for a nominal fee. One of my favorites is a reprint of O.V. Hunt's "Heaviest Corner on Earth" that I keep over in my history bookcase in the bedroom.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Historic Photos of Birmingham would be a good gift for anyone with a soft spot for Birmingham's photographic past, or anyone on your list who enjoys historic architecture. Just be aware that it's far from the whole story of this place, and that there are some companion resources that make reading it much more informative.
ISBN: 1596522542 / Publisher: Turner Publishing Company (KY) / Date: June 2006 / Page Count: 197
So there you go.
November 08, 2007
Confirmation and recognition of my overwhelming genius.
Via several people who are even MORE overwhelmingly erudite and sophisticated than I am.
Not that I'm bitter.
November 06, 2007
Chet's In Heaven!
No, not like that.
I mean he's just really happy because we got an actual e-mail today, and that meant that Chet the E-Mail Boy got to swing into a flurry of activity (as flurrisome as he gets, at least) as he got busy transcribing it from Morse code to Linotype to a printed sheet for me to edit then back to the Linotype and then back to me with the final copy.
Gosh, this better be good:Hey Marc! Sorry, Marc. But I just can't anymore. In the immortal words of Chief Joseph, "I will blog no more forever." Or something like that. So you'll never ever have a need to ever come back by here, because there won't be any more new material.
Then again, most of it was leftovers anyway...I've seen the commercials, but have not observed them in their natural habitat. Actually, this idea is one of Possumblog Kitchen's rejects.
As you know, we believe it's important to have a sharpened stick inserted into our foods, and we believe in large quantities. Ever tried to stick a wooden stick into a big bowl of mac and cheese and pick it up? Doesn't work very well. We wound up using that wagonwheel pasta stuff that has an axle hole in the middle, which worked pretty well, but then someone pointed out that there was no meat.
We tried working on a chili mac version, and that didn't work, either. Then we went back to the drawing board and decided to take some of our tender, farm-raised manatees and feed them a strict diet of macaroni and cheese, and as a result, we now have a new product--Mac'n'Cheesatees! All the rich, blubbery goodness of genuine Florida manatee, sprinkled thru'n'thru with tasty bits of pasta and wholesome American cheese, all wrapped up in a warm, crunchy cornbread-batter coating, and then deep fried in TRANS-FAT FREE OIL, and of course, served on a genuine hardwood dowel, precisely sharpened for your eating enjoyment!
So, you know, if Sonic wants to stick (so to speak) with their puny little puffs of macaroni and cheese, eh, whatever. I'd rather that they'd invest in more fresh-faced, tightly-packed leggy blonde corn-fed carhops, and find some way to do away with all the slack-jawed pimply doofus dudes. But that could just be me.
Or not.Since when did it take talent to write for Hollywood?
These people are supposed to be the cream of the creative crop, yet all I hear on the news are these goomers walking around and chanting the EXACT SAME "Two-four-six-eight-insert your insufferably twee demand here and attempt to make it rhyme with 'eight'" commie protester chant that's been around FOREVER! Buncha crappy hacks can't come up with something better than THAT!? And they want more money for it!? Please. I say it's time for studios to start outsourcing some of that work to Mumbai or Jakarta or Singapore. If you're gonna get rusty retreaded crap anyway, why not economize a bit?
Good thing I don't blog anymore or I'd have to say something about it.Speaking of Oglesby clan. Odd how Marc segues right from asking about us to talking about eating stolen candy.
HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY PATRIOTISM!! I blame global warming!
But yes, we're all doing just fine, thank you for asking. And NONE of us are in jail!
As for Hallothanksgivchristmannukwanzyear'sday, I'm not tired of it yet. Marc, however...I know how irritating it can be, but REALLY, Marc--you mustn't insist on calling the little old church ladies "*$#% stupid bags." At least not to their faces. Not gonna happen, what with only two games left in the season. And Bama is probably pretty desperate for Tommy Tuberville not to start on another hand's worth of fingers. One prediction? Should Alabama win the Iron Bowl, I guarantee you someone will have tee-shirts on sale five minutes afterward with a cartoon Big Al holding up his middle finger (toe? What do elephants have?) and saying "I got your finger right here, Auburn!"
It's called "class," you know.
Anyway, Auburn won't get any sort of BCS recognition this year.The LSUsers do seem to take his departure from Miami awfully hard. It would probably not be quite so bad except they wound up with Les "I am Certifiably Insane" Miles. I congratulate them for winning all these so far, but he's not coaching Notre Dame and shouldn't rely on sheer blind luck to continue to win games for him. Fourth and half a foot and some of the toughest linemen and backs around, and you CALL A TRICK PLAY!? Moron.
And I know moron...AND there's another coach who's not screwed together right. That stupid display against Florida was weapons-grade, Howard Dean, outhouse rat crazy. Anyway, should be a pretty good game... Thanks!
Wow. Makes me wish I still blogged.
November 01, 2007
It sure is...
...pretty outside today.
Although I'd rather not have to have spent the last two hours looking at rubber and rocks.
October 31, 2007
Nope, still not blogging.
Although in fairness, there are things I do even less of than blogging, such as logging, flogging, clogging, bogging, hogging, jogging, slogging, and playing the home version of “Jeopardy” in my birthday suit. Okay, so that last one might be higher on the list, but not by much. Really.
ANYway, I had a few spare moments, so I thought I’d wander in and tell you ALL the interesting stories I’ve gathered up!
Sure wish I could remember some of them.
If only I’d had a way to write them down in an easily accessible manner, possibly using an electronic input/output data storage device. Or even a pencil and paper.
Well, let’s try it anyway.
I have a new clock. The old one—my pushpin clock that I’d made way back while I was in school—had to be stuck into a cork square (because my office walls are plaster over depleted uranium and can’t be pushpinned into) and then the cork in turn had to be stuck to the wall. The adhesive was such in name only, however, causing both clock and cork to come adrift and fall to the floor during the times I was absent of my office. Stupid “adhesive” squares. Anyway, the new one is from one of Martha Stewart’s very own Third World sweatshops, which I’m sure is tastefully decorated with found objects arranged in clever patterns that cause the workers to have calm healing energy and be at one with their simple and obviously superior low-carbon-footprint lifestyle. Or something. Anyway, I guess it’s been discontinued since I can’t find it on the Kmart (pronounced “kmart”) website. It has a satin aluminum frame with a convex lens and a black face with silver numberations, and thankfully it DOES keep time and DOESN’T fall off the wall.
That pushpin clock sure does have some good memories attached to it, though.
Let’s see—well, what about politics? Yet another election cycle seems destined to be frittered away with no one stepping up and challenging his or her competitors to a Texas steel cage death match. Why is this? Back in the olden days, this is what the Constitution called for in determining who’s fit to run the country, and yet here we are, acting like it doesn’t say that at all.
Science? Look, if those clamdigging scientist guys were really all that smart, instead of just killing Old Nasty for sport and telling a bunch of reporters, they would have gotten some hot blonde to crack it open with her high heels and made people pay to see it. As it is, they’ve just got an old dead clam.
Entertainment? Emily Deschanel in a Wonder Woman costume. I have heard that Bones is loosely based upon the life of a real forensic anthropologist, but no matter how loosely, I still find it highly unlikely that said anthropologist ever dressed up in such an outfit whilst simultaneously tracking down some deranged clown guy. And frankly, I do not care.
Local interest? Rush Propst. Of all that I’ve seen and heard the past few months, I can say one of the saddest things in this whole mess is that unlike Bear Bryant’s mother, Rush’s mother never seems to have told her son, “never wear your hat inside the house.” And he calls himself a role model.
Weather? Sure is nice outside. I think I’m going to go for a walk.
See y’all later!
October 22, 2007
Where have I been?
Why, in that bastion of red in one of the reddest states around, the University of Alabama! I had an asbestos inspector/project manager class that lasted all of last week, so I was even LESS in touch than usual. Good class, though. They do a very nice job and it was as enjoyable as anything about fibrous carcinogenic rocks can be.
Everything else is a blur, including several of the times I got home after a long day of coursework and took Middle Daughter out for driving lessons. She's actually not bad at it. We took an even longer jaunt yesterday, and she seems pretty settled. She makes mistakes, but doesn't freak out and get all flustered by them. At least not outwardly...
Let's see--Pup's doing fine, Kitty needs more exercise, Oldest continues to be overly melodramatic, Boy needs to shave, and Tiny Terror is working on being co-queen of the overly melodramatic. What I get to see of Miss Reba is pleasurable, but right now it's ONLY seeing, as her whole body hurts after taking a hard sit-down stair tumble last week while I was in class. Seems she missed the top step at the house and hit the first seven steps with her bottom and back before coming to rest on the landing. She's got bruises, and does NOT take kindly to my repeated suggestions that she needs me to massage the affected area. Go figure.
Anywho, I got a week's worth of work to catch up on.
October 09, 2007
Well, bless their hearts.
I signed up a while back for e-mail updates from some of our local television stations, and for the most part these have been less than satisfying from an information point of view, but, hey, they're free and you never know when something good might show up.
Such as the one I just got, which proclaimed with much shouty-all-caps--
I replied back with thanks, and with the hope that one of the imporvements will be the use of a spell check device of some sort.
October 05, 2007
Everyone hates hearing about dreams…
But I had somehow wound up in the gymnasium, and for some reason I couldn’t find the stairs to get up to the upper level. A lady told me there was a set of steps around the corner in the locker, so I went around the corner, but the locker was empty. I asked the person next to me where the steps were, and I was shown something like a vertical drawer that had a padded front. This pulled out from underneath the upper level, and it contained a giant extendable ladder. I figured out that you raised the ladder, and then climbed up it to get to the seats. Odd, but what the heck, right? Right.
I raised the ladder and clambered up the rungs, which were also padded and upholstered like the front of the drawer had been, with a soft squishy sort of beige Naugahyde attached to polished metal bars. It didn’t add much to the feeling of security, but I went on up anyway, rickety thing swaying back and forth.
I got to the level of the seats, and toyed with the idea of going all the way up to the top of the ladder, which by now stretched all the way up into the rafters of the gymnasium. It was already so wobbly, though, that I decided I’d gone far enough and carefully edged off the step onto one of the bleacher seats, where I stretched out to watch the game and sleep.
Remind me never to eat grilled chicken ravioli before bed.
ANYway, still not much in the way of enough free time to blog, but enough to stay abreast of the events of the day.
More or less.
The little pup Patches finally decided he’d try out his barking. He’s got a nice bark. Loud enough, but not too loud. Big enough to sound like a real dog, but not so loud that it’s disturbing. Small, but not yippy or yappy. And he only barks when there’s actually something to bark at, not just when everyone else in the neighborhood barks. I hope he doesn’t grow out of that.
Nearly killed myself yesterday. Or more precisely, was nearly the victim of patricide. We (the three younger kids and I) were outside playing keepaway with Patches’ glow-in-the-dark mini football. (He wasn’t playing, just watching us.) Anyway, I’d managed to get in the middle, and in a ploy to appear disinterested, would not try much to catch the ball as the kids tossed it back and forth, and didn’t make a lunge for it when it landed on the ground. When I saw that none of the kids were going to make a run for the ball, which had landed only a yard or so in front of me, I leapt after it and scooped it up in triumph and started trotting away when I was suddenly and without warning WHALLOPED in the back by Rebecca, who’d (too late) seen me grab the ball and decided to get it back by running after me and trying to grab me. The whallop threw me off balance, and since I was already trotting down a very slight downward slope, and what with the momentum of my doughy, formerly-athletically-gracefully mass now hurtling increasingly out of control toward the ground, it was pretty apparent terra firma was going to win a round.
I tried mightily to react appropriately. Back in the old days, my feet would have caught up with my now forward-plummeting torso. Or I would have deftly dropped a hand to the ground to arrest my top-heavy bulk. As it was, my little legs tried to run, but were hampered by the combination of age, and slick-soled wingtip dress shoes on slick grass. My upper body was firmly in the grasp of the earth’s gravitational field and the laws of motion, and despite my most valiant efforts, I crashed heavily onto the yard, digging a big ditch with my right shoulder and arm, and a smaller one a few milliseconds later with my knee. The overall effect was something like what happens when you have a runaway wheelbarrow full of wet cement. It was at this time that the puppy decided this looked like a very fun game indeed, and rushed over to snuffle and cold-nose me in uncomfortable places.
At least I did retain possession of the ball.
Alas, dignity took a beating.
I was able to have a nice supper of grilled chicken ravioli afterwards, so there is that.
October 03, 2007
What a woman.
Our prayers go up for you and the rest of your family, Fritz.
September 26, 2007
Well, that's about the oddest looking Eskimo spitz I've ever seen.
But how could I refuse the little girl who was going to have to pay for it? Rebecca's been doing volunteer work for the animal shelter that sets up shop at PetSmart, and this little pup came in a couple of weeks ago with a couple of littermates. It took up with her almost immediately and she wound up spending most of last Saturday and the Saturday before that sitting around holding it while it slept in her arms. And thankfully, her association with the shelter meant that she was able to pick up a new Dogloo for it free. It had been returned to PetSmart because it was cracked, so they were going to donate it to the shelter, but they don't use them, so the shelter's volunteer coordinator said Bec could have it for free. Which was nice, because it was one of the $150 models. So that was nice. Aside from it having a crack, which Daddy will have to fix.
ANYway, as for the puppy, it's some sort of beagleterrier, and it's relatively calm as such dogs go, and last night (its first night at Casa de Possum) it was quiet and didn't whine too much. And definitely didn't bark any. About the only thing that remains is for Rebecca to give it a name. Nothing has quite struck her yet, but I suppose it will come.
So there you go.
September 17, 2007
I have five minutes.
We have a fence, but no puppy.
I have new glasses, but find it difficult to see.
Alabama is 3-0, and Auburn is 1-2, and I blame global warming.
I remember now why it was nice to blog regularly, that being that it forced me to remember stuff. As it is now, I find it difficult to remember interesting tales of suburban bliss to share with you.
My yard has a fungus infection, which is worse than weeds, because if nothing else, weeds ARE green. The fungus just makes the grass turn black and die.
My car radio has given up. It's not the original one, and I'd think about replacing it except none of the car stereo places act like they make anything that will fit in a stupid twenty-year-old lump of iron. I have been reduced to riding around with a little transistor radio sitting in the pencil tray on the dashboard.
I'm not drinking nearly enough Diet Coke these days.
I finally got the paycheck with my raise included on it, and that is a very good thing indeed.
I have run out of my five minute allotment.
September 05, 2007
Nope, nothing to see here.
No pictures or anything!Continue reading "Nope, nothing to see here."
August 29, 2007
My, aren't YOU a hardy soul!
Coming in here, with the full knowledge that I've quit posting anything.
Well, anything except stuff like this--Continue reading "My, aren't YOU a hardy soul!"
August 21, 2007
Well, let's see.
I had myself a meeting this morning, and I've somehow wound up tethered to a two-way radio, and I still haven't managed to make any further progress on putting up all my homey photos and pictures, nor with degreasing the office furnishings. I don't really care much for other people's skin-leavings, but especially not if they're of the enduringly sticky kind. I've got to remember to bring in some 409 tomorrow.
As for what I'm doing, some differences include no more Monday staff meetings, and the wearing of a tie is optional, and not at all encouraged. I like the first one, but twenty years of tie-wearing is a bit more of a hard habit to break. I don't particularly like wearing a tie, but one of my Rules of Polite Society is that people who wear ties get to do bad things normal people wouldn't be able to get away with. Like ending a sentence with a preposition, or using "like" instead of "such as." It's unfair, yes, but it does have its advantages. Anyway, I'm wearing the tie for a while until I decide what I can and can't get away with. Or with what I can get away.
ANYway, soup of the day is Cajun 15 bean soup with bits of smoked sausage and ham.
That is all.
August 20, 2007
The NEW Secret Possum Lair!
I finally got to use the computer at home, so now you can be impressed with the new digs. Or not.Continue reading "The NEW Secret Possum Lair!"
Taking valuable time away from getting MORE paper thrown away that belonged to the office's previous occupant, I did manage to get some photos today of my new digs. Problem? They came and took away my old computer I brought with me on Friday, and replaced it with the one that was here. And it's acting up and won't accept file uploads of any sort without locking up. SO, you'll just have to wait a bit longer for spy photos of the new secret possum lair.
Otherwise, things are hunky-dory.
Maybe some pictures later, but don't say anything about it.
August 17, 2007
I was gone for exactly ONE FRIGGIN' HOUR, and I got back and they already had someone moving her stuff in my office! I SIGNED OUT TO LUNCH, YA FREAKS! Just because I've cleaned the office out does NOT MEAN I DON'T STILL HAVE JUNK TO GET DONE!
I mean besides this.
I actually still have work work to do.
Anyway, I was all set to come back and get that out of the way and do some other junk and do this final post, and the whole mood is just RUINED.
SO, I suppose I should finish up my work and get the heck out of here.
See you all after while.
It echoes in here.
Well, all the books and files and drawings and toys and photos and everything else has been moved downstairs to the new office. The desk has only a fine layer of dust on it, and the walls are bare, and I've gotten the old crappy phone out of the file cabinet to hook up when I leave.
It's very weird in here. Every little noise echoes like a gunshot, and even though my stuff is just downstairs, I miss it. Especially that wall full of kid artwork. There is a great melancholy associated with that empty expanse of corkboard, almost as if the kids themselves have been taken away. I don't like that feeling, so I'll be glad when Monday comes and clutter up the new place with all sorts of cheerful fish and flowers and houses.
Now then, I'm gonna go take Miss Reba to lunch, and then come back and maybe even write one more post.
A Blast From the Past!
Our old friend LittleA (not his real name), late of the less-that-regularly-updated blog A Little Aardvark Never Hurt Anyone, sent along a personal missive to me yesterday afternoon, but I thought all of you would like to see it and have a chance to give him a shout-out since it's been a while since he's unburrowed.
SO, without further delay:LittleA gets a little extra in his pay packet this week for the flattery, understanding as he does that I live for constant positive reinforcement.
BE THAT AS IT MAY, it is awfully nice to hear from him and to hear how it goes with all the rest of the Aardvark family. Good folks.
NOW, I have some moving to do.
August 16, 2007
Well, HELLO THERE!
See, I do still exist! Sorta.
Anyway, I didn't exist yesterday because I was at home all day with a recovering sick child, and I haven't existed so far today because I had to catch up with an early morning meeting and then a host of other crap that seems to happen when I'm not in the office.
But, I'm here now, and it's just about lunchtime, SO, to catch up, on Tuesday previous, Catherine got up complaining of a headache, and being the cruel, heartless ogre I am, I dosed her up with a couple of Children's Chewable Tylenol, which had the analgesic capacity of a marshmallow. She's a big kid, and could tolerate some serious dope in her system, but I figured she didn't need it.
Turns out, she did.
She went on to school, then to the office around lunchtime with a severe headache, they tried to call Mommy (who was in Tuscaloosa for the morning, unbeknownst to anyone), then Cat went back to class, got worse, went outside and threw up on the ramp to her classroom, went back to the office crying, they tried to call Mommy again (who was still in Tuscaloosa for the morning, unbeknownst to anyone), then finally decided to call me.
Me, a cruel, heartless ogre who was by then in a meeting and couldn't leave, who called Grandma to go get the sick child, and who I still didn't think could possibly be all that sick.
Went on with the rest of the day, got off from work, stopped at Head Start on the way home to get my John Edwards-quality coif adjusted, went home to meet up with Mommy, who had finally gotten back to work from Tuscaloosa sometime after lunch to find a host of phone messages about a sick child, and then called her husband who said everything had been taken care of and Grandmom had her and not to worry.
Walked in, and Catherine was crying the big round hot tears that signal something is actually wrong. Turns out after she got to Grandmom's she threw up several more times, had been feverish with chills, had an ultra severe headache (which for some reason did not prompt Grandmom to give her anything other than crackers and Sprite and a CHICKEN SANDWICH), and the kicker, it hurt when she moved her neck.
Which can be Not Good.
Called the doctor's office, got the after-hours service, described the symptoms, waited for them to call back. Dosed her up with a big cup of liquid Motrin and waited. Got a call back from the nurse, described the symptoms, asked Cat to move her head, cry. "Can she hold her head down?"
"IT HURRRRRRTS! ::sob::"
Hmm. The nurse said to bring her in right now, and NOT to the after-hours clinic over off of Alton Road, but the actual Children's Hospital emergency room. Because she might have a case of meningitis.
Nothing quite like that bracing bit of reality to turn your blood to icy goo, y'know? Mainly because you can't freak out and start running around the kitchen flailing your arms and screaming, because that sets a very bad example. You have to be calm and jocular and in charge of your bladder.
SO, off we went to the ER. I left Reba at home with the other three kids, because I'm evil and stupid, but also knew they needed to do their homework, and eat supper, and get in the bed, and we didn't need to waste time getting them packed up and taken to Grandmom's house, where they would only eat, and not do their homework, or bathe, or get ready for school the next day.
Logic is quite the two-edged sword, huh. Because every time I called to let Reba know what was going on, I got the exact same disaffected, flat, atonal, monosyllabic answers to every question, which is wifespeak for "I can't BELIEVE you couldn't wait long enough for ME to go with you because it's MY BABY who's sick and you left me HERE." Of course, since I was already full of that dank wet fear that parents get when they have a child who might have just contracted something dire and deadly, I wasn't really in the mood to press her to get her to actually come out and SAY that's why she seemed angry.
The fact is, if she was really sick, we had no time to spare, and one of us needed to get her to the hospital, right then. Deal with the matrimonial drama later. Which is the way of cruel, heartless ogres, you know.
Anyway, loaded sick crying achy-headed child in the van, made the mad dash to Children's, cursing the current "Take Back our Highways" campaign the State Troopers are running right now that caused me to have to drive exactly the speed limit lest I get detained and waste time explaining myself to a sunglasses-wearing man in a Smokey the Bear hat.
Uh-oh. She's asleep. "CAT? Are you okay!?"
""Mmhm. I'm okay, Daddy," she said, not opening her eyes. Which meant she was either okay, or delirious.
Pulled into the drive at the hospital, opened the door, left the key with the valet, and walked her inside. She seemed to be doing much better. Tired, and bleary-eyed, but not really complaining.
First stop, security. Empty pockets of everything, still made the alarm go off, and as is the case with these things, the guy let me come on through. Talked to the triage nurse at the end of the desk who looked like Robin Williams dipped in a vat of hair growth serum.
Look, I know it's wrong of me, but I prefer nurses who are round and soft and squishy and smell pretty and don't look like they've been covered with epoxy and rolled around on the floor of a barbershop. And yes, even if it's a guy.
ANYWAY, told him our tale of woe, told him with as much anxiousness as I dared exhibit that our doctor was supposed to have called ahead because they thought it might be meningitis, all of which he dutifully took down with the same level of concern as the parking valet.
"Here. Fill this out, and bring it back to me."
Went and sat down, quickly filled it out and marked the Number 4 Face of Pain on the sheet to let him know she hurt lots, and gave it back to him.
For two hours. In this time, Catherine perked up, her fever let up, she watched TV and talked to me about everything under the sun, and said she was hungry. Methinks she's better.
9:00 p.m. I called to let Reba know we still hadn't been seen and hadn't even gotten registered yet (where they take your insurance info and give you an armband) and got the first flash of anger when she misunderstood what I meant by "registered." Yes, I came in and filled out the triage form; no, we still haven't gone into the little booth to give them our insurance card. Yes, she's better now, and ate a bag of chips and had a Diet Mountain Dew, but I don't have any idea how much longer it will be.
All of these were answered with variations of "M-hm." Time to hang up.
Waited some more.
Decided I felt somewhat naked since I was the only adult in the area without a tattoo. Patients came and went, even the big batch who came in after us. All I have to say is that I'm glad she didn't have anything severe, or she'd be dead by now.
Around 10 we finally got called to the triage desk, where they weighed her, took her temperature and blood pressure, gave her a wristband, and sent us back to sit down.
Finally got called to the registration booth. Gave cards, filled out forms, went back out and sat down to wait.
The room was nearly empty by now. 10:45 we finally got past the door into the actual emergency department to be seen by a doctor. By this time, Catherine was back to her normal chirpy, chattery, indefatigable self, so she was quite excited by all the activity. They gave us a room and a blanket and a gown, she changed, and we set in to watch Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel.
Doctor came in, saw a happy, healthy little girl, got a low down on the symptoms, noted that her neck and head seemed as mobile as an owl's, and we finally got the explanation of the hurtiness. Seems that she had no actual trouble earlier moving her head, it's just that when she did it, it made her head hurt worse. No meningitis. In fact, nothing left to find. They took a throat swab to check for strep, but he said he was almost certain it wasn't that, and could only guess that she'd gotten a virus of some sort that has since unvirused itself.
BUT, best to wait for the strep test before we left.
Called home around 11 to let everyone know she was okay, got a slightly less confrontational version of "Mm-hm," and then waited some more.
Catherine got comfortable and dozed off a couple of times.
Ask how much longer the strep test will take to read.
"Several more minutes."
We finally left at fifteen after midnight.
I had originally planned to stop for some food, but I was tireder than I was hungry, and so was she, so we went straight home, gave her another dose of Motrin to keep her from waking up with a headache during the night, and hit the pillow at nearly 1:00 a.m.
UP EARLY WEDNESDAY, got the kids up and dressed, took the middle two to school, came back home and sent Reba on to work, and set in to watch Youngest for the day.
Breakfast, email work to let them know I would be off, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, and collapsed on the bed again for an hour or two nap. Catherine plopped herself down on the bed and interrupted my beauty sleep several times to ask how to spell various words, and after she was done, I awoke to see that she'd made Reba and me an anniversary card. Today is our anniversary, you know.
I usually send flowers, but being at home put a crimp in being able to go to the florist over where I work, so I hatched the idea that we'd get Mommy some flowers and take them to her at work, along with Catherine's card. UP, get us dressed, went to the grocery store and picked up a vase of a dozen roses, a card from me, and a couple of sandwiches for us for lunch (which I was looking forward to, seeing as how I hadn't eaten since breakfast on Tuesday).
Stopped and got gas, and got a phone call. A very perturbed-sounding woman on the other end demanded to know where I was and what I was doing. I told her we were about to come see her at work. This seemed to finally undo whatever miffedness she'd had built up. We set out and got to her work and surprised her with the flowers and the card, and whatever had been bugging her finally seemed to have lifted. She showed Catherine around and introduced us to folks, who thought it quite charming that her husband would think enough of her to bring her flowers and a cute little girl.
Back home, answered work emails (explaining that I was OFF FROM WORK), got stuff ready for supper, tried to take another nap and failed, started supper, went and picked up middle two kids from Grandma's, finished cooking supper when we got home, ate, then sent Rebecca outside to play with Lightning, had to corral Lightning after he went down inside the storm drain in our neighbor's backyard which involved having to pull the iron lid off the thing, got back inside and found out Reba was going to have to work late, went to church, came home, made sure everyone had their homework done, answered ANOTHER work email around 9:30, and climbed into bed.
THIS MORNING, got up, showered, got the kids up, dressed, hopped onto bed and quietly sang "Happy Anniversary To You (and Me)" to Miss Reba to wake her up, got the kids their breakfast, got them loaded into the mighty Volvo, took them to school, got to work, turned around and drove over to the Birmingham News building for a meeting, stood outside in the early morning nasty wet heat for an hour, came back to work and attempted to swat away clouds of giant angry hornets, had another meeting on my going away stuff, and then decided to post this to let you all know that I am sorta on the sleepy side today.
Now I think I'll eat a bit and pack some things.
August 14, 2007
Nothing like spending three hours explaining to someone various basic word-processing tasks such as cutting and pasting and indenting and printing!
"Okay, click out of that and open..."
"WAIT--[writing on steno pad] 'Close box by clicking on X' --Am I supposed to save that first?"
"Okay. [writing on steno pad] '...do not have to save first.'"
Look, I admit to being a technological igmo, but dagnabbit, at some point in there you've got to be able to have some sort of basic functioning knowledge of such things as this just to be able to move around in a modern society.
Especially if you're one of those people who like to run around and get into meetings and act like you know all about computers.
And then I remembered that the very nature of most bureaucracies is akin to the odd society where there is little reward for being clever, and the occasional incentive for being willfully ignorant.
So, I was happy again and came to eat my lunch! Homemade ham salad on a pita! Yumcious!
More instruction on the Rudiments of the Magic Talking Box.
August 13, 2007
...the grapevine was right.
This is the last week. Next Monday, I'll be down one floor, over three offices, and a world away.
Went down just now to scope out the new digs. The office is smaller, but not in a bad way. What I have right now is a lot of wasted floor space that makes everyone jealous, but the new place has the stuff I need--a desk, a computer, file space, and a nice drafting table. And it's on a corner, so I still get a view of the park AND a view toward the parking deck.
SO, this week, gotta get my boss squared away on how to use a computer and where all the magic paper is kept and stuff like that, and I really suppose I need to start boxing things up.
That's what he wants you to think. Thankfully, he'll be around a lot longer, if this story is accurate.
I figure I might as well go ahead and say this since we're winding down and about to go into some sort of limbo for a while (or longer). I realize this has been a rather closely held secret of mine, but as I said, I think I owe it to you, my loyal readership, to move aside the curtain and reveal...Continue reading "A confession."
Thank goodness for the morning.
It's nice to get a little relief. I got up this morning and looked at my handy bedside clock/weather station and it was only 138 degrees outside.
GOOD MORNING! Yep, still here for a few more days. Or not. Nothing like surfing along on the waves of indefiniteness. As for the weekend, it was on the warmish side, I didn't get a haircut, I did do grocery shopping, and I think I have finally managed to trick one of the children into thinking vacuuming is fun! This could be life-changing. I have long told you how I hate using the vacuum cleaner, extending back to the time I was a child. But this weekend I was upstairs and sweating away and Catherine happened by and I asked if she'd like to play.
She wound up doing her entire room, including using the brush attachment on the picture frames, the hallway, the stairs, and most of our room.
Rebecca was jealous she got to use the vacuum, and wanted to know if she could do all the vacuuming next weekend.
Oh, gee, I don't know YES YOU CAN!
I have no idea how this came about, but I'll not question why.
Not much else happened. It has been a quiet, more or less relaxing weekend, and I'll take every one of those I can get.
Now then, on to staff meeting.
August 10, 2007
And another week goes rumbling down the trash chute.
Not sure what the weekend holds this time. Rebecca won't be doing the PetSmart thing since they're having it on Sunday this week (or, technically on the first day of next week), and I really don't want to disturb the lawn with any sort of mechanized agitation, seeing as how it's somehow green and not crunchy, yet not overly long. That really is unheard of, at least on my little shovelful of dirt, when the lawn's usually displaying some grassy version of feast or famine--either jungle thick, or doormat dry.
Maybe I'll get myself a haircut, instead. But not with the lawn mower.
As for other items, the kids seem to have done quite well with the first day of school yesterday, with all of them professing an undying love for all things educational. I am hoping--because I have a naive Charlie Brown-like innocence
--that Oldest will also use this final year of high school to figure out that not everyone hates her and wishes her harm, and that she'll have a good, productive year with no irrational outbursts. Of course, the school year is only two days old now. And Lucy is holding the football for me to kick.
Maybe this year...
ANYway, still haven't heard anything official on the job change that is supposedly coming in only a week now, but I assume someone's taking care of all the arrangements right now, even as we speak. Or as I type and you read.
Looks like it's gonna be a great year for kicking those footballs!
SO, all of you have a great weekend, and we'll play for a little while longer next week.
It's just one of those pop-up thunderstorms so I doubt there'll be a whole lot of water with it. At least not a lot spread out over time. Maybe it'll drop several tons of big gobby fat drops in about five minutes, which will then dissipate in a big cloud of steam.
Whatever--I'm sure glad to get it, no matter how it falls.
From our good friend and money-making-idea-man Marc Velazquez:Folks, I don't know how this could miss!
The Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwest Florida Gulf Coast might have a lot of other entertainment-type things going for it, but I know this sort of venture would be a sure-fire hit! Further suggestions gladly accepted in the comments, as well as congratulations to Marc for being so forward-thinking and pop-culture savvy!
Speaking of Global Warming.
Just saw this highly alarming article--Arctic sea ice 'lowest in recorded history': scientistsIn all of recorded history!?
I found their data, and by golly, they're RIGHT! Of course, it tends to be less than satisfying when you realize recorded history extends only to 1979.
Gosh--not quite sure why this part of the data isn't mentioned in any of the articles, nor why there's no link to the actual study.
Anyway, it sure would be nice to know something from a few years earlier than 1979, though. Just for kicks, you know.
Thing I will miss.
Miss Sarah and her ability to make me look so very pretty.
Warning: Depending on where you work, the following could be highly inappropriate...Continue reading "Thing I will miss."
And speaking of anniversaries...
I mentioned the other day I'd gotten my desk cleaned off, then yesterday noted the occasion of having finished cleaning out the corner behind my chair and the window sill.
Before, a nasty burrow fit for a pack rat:
After, much less fuel load:
Still lots of things left, but it's stuff to be packed, not discarded. The search and destroy mission did lead to one discovery, one too (unintentionally) hilarious not to share. I think I had intended to post this when it was first in the newspaper, but it got covered up and I forgot about it.
So many comments come to mind...
Thing I will not miss.
Militantly, stridently, ignorant coworker. My boss was having a conversation with me about a continuing ed seminar he went to yesterday on "green" building, and apparently half of it was devoted to a presentation about global warming.
As I've said ad nauseum, I am unconvinced that anthropogenic forces are the sole cause of any observed rise in global temperatures, or if they are even a significant influence. Yes, we obviously can have some effect on climate, and probably do to some extent, but that link is much less strong than I believe many proponents would have us believe, and there are many other natural factors that contribute to the global climate and any changes it undergoes.
Second, the Earth has always experienced great shifts in climate, even absent industrialized societies. This doesn't mean (again, obviously) that we don't, or can't, have an effect, but that it's worth remembering that extrapolating from a tiny set of data to explain something that operates on a geological timescale is not good science.
Having said that, as my boss continued, he noted the presenter's program included that thing about the drowning polar bears. And my militantly strident coworker had to chime in.
All the ice has melted, and they're all drowning!
Yes, that's a broad brush, but some people are unwilling to even brook any evidence to the contrary, or even to discuss if this could possibly be an anomolous condition. But those are Stridently Militant Coworker's exact sentiments. All melted, all drowned. ALL! And any that lived were probably hunted down by Halliburton and served raw to Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. Because that's just the way they are.
Yes, I'm sure some bears have drowned while searching for food. How many? I don't know. How many over the past forty years? I imagine that data is even harder to find--not that it's not there--but it doesn't seem to get published when we talk about all the poor cute bears a'dying. What I want to know is if there's been a statistically significant increase. I am willing to wager not. But that doesn't make compelling storytelling the way a pitiful bear on a chunk of ice does.
After that topic was shouted down, my boss talked about how building technology is going to have to adapt to a more sustainable model that incorporates all the neat things we can do in managing such things as water run-off, heat gain, energy consumption, etc.
Well, that's NOT gonna happen! No one is about to do anything any differently!
You know, I've gotten pretty sick and damned tired over the years of self-identified "progressive" people who do not hesitate to tell me how enlightened and intelligent and nuanced and rational they are, who turn right around and exhibit the sort of narrow-minded, stereotypical, petty, childish, ignorant, uninventive, and cynical mindset they constantly pin on others.
Yes, we will get better, because it makes sense. The free market works, and if there is a way to raise profit levels or household income through the introduction of improved building technologies, it will be done. Although there are always going to be individual businesses or players who will act irrationally or ignorantly, if there is free-flowing information and a lack of disincentives to progress, progress will occur, and the presence of some people who "don't get it" doesn't mean everyone is stupid. One big problem has been that mushy-headed government-as-savior sorts believe we must bail out the stupid people.
If there's any one reason for lack of substantial progress on any issue, you can usually rest assured it's because there is a government agent standing there trying to make things better by rewarding incompetence in the name of charity.
Let the market work, and it will.
Yes, as a society we do tend to be more wasteful, because there are few incentives to not be, and yes, it usually costs nothing (and in some cases, is financially beneficial) to be more frugal with natural resources. It does, however (at least on an industrial scale), require proof other than simply believing it so.
Yes, we do pump out a lot of pollution and garbage--more than any other country per capita. What seems to always go unsaid is that our economy is almost inconceivably large. We produce more things for more people than our own population, and yes that means we also produce more waste. Although our good progressives never want to miss an opportunity for the US to take more than its share of blame, the fact remains that China and India pump out far greater percentages of waste and pollution per unit produced than anyone else, the United States included, and they are much less able to effectively deal with the waste they produce. Which is why they have no interest in Kyoto except as a strategic way of hobbling US productivity.
Back to Militantly Strident Coworker. Lighten up, Francis. That world-weary cynicsm act reads as hopelessly fatuous when you live in the most wealthy, prosperous, powerful nation in the history of the world, of which you are just as much a beneficiary of that largesse as any other citizen.
Onward, as the "conversation" evolved from problems to "solutions," the name of The Lord High Al Gore was invoked, along with his fantabulously well-researched Book of Wisdom.
It's great--he has all these simple charts in the back, and he says if every house would change just one lightbulb to a fluorescent, we'd save just hundreds of billions of ozone.
Yes, that is almost an exact quote. Remember--smart, progressive.
Glenn Reynolds says it all the time--I'll believe there's a crisis when the people who keep saying there's a crisis act like there's a crisis.
If Al Gore lived like the rest of us have to, we'd save hundreds of billions of ozone, too. Whatever that means. But let me tell you, this thing where we let the environmental priestly caste lead us around preaching pious asceticsm for us while they loll around building bonfires to combat air pollution is going to have to stop.
Hypocrites give religion a bad name, no matter the type of religion it is. The bad thing is, such hypocrisy hides the fact that some of the basic ideas DO make sense, and SHOULD be encouraged. I intend to replace incandescents whenever I can, not because of Al or my Militantly Strident Coworker (who only has one bulb, in her foyer, and she doesn't like it, because it doesn't put out enough light), but because they last longer, use less energy to provide a given level of light, and less energy to dispense with waste heat. They don't work for everything, but for the things they DO work at, there's no reason not to change them out.
Then on to the next favored hobby-horse of Militantly Stridently Militant Coworker, evil SUVs. It might come as a surprise to you that all Republicans drive them. All. Every single brown-person-hating, baby-seal-killing, vote-stealing, one of them. ALL!
Love that nuance, and that precious unwillingness to deal in stereotypes that unfairly denigrate another person or group.
ANYway, it seems that all these perfect little Republican Trophy-Breeders are loading their perfect little Future Haters Club Members (i.e., spawn of Satan) in their SUVs and go spewing pollution everywhere to the point she can't even go outside to have a smoke break! Yes, seems that she suffers from some respiratory ailment, and one obviously caused not by her thirty year pack-a-day habit, but those filthy ozone killing Rethugs.
People can get away from my second-hand smoke, but that crap out there NO ONE can get away from!
Denial, river, Egypt, etc.
Anyway, seems we have a whole system to tell people when it's unsafe to go outside, and this bothers her, and the ambient air is obviously killing her lungs the way no cigarette ever could.
Makes no difference that Birmingham's air quality is infinitely better than when the steel mills were operating 24 hours a day. I remember--I live here and have all my life. Yes, we do have a ground-level ozone problem, but I dare say it's no worse now than it was before, it's just that we now know it's a problem, and that it needs to be monitored, and we don't need to do anything to produce more of it. (Of course, one reason is that we have more sunlight, because there's less particulate matter in the air from the now-shuttered mills, and more sunlight helps makes more ozone, but whatever.)
Also, it makes no difference that pollution from stationary sources is the predominant source of air pollution in this area, and not mobile sources. Or that an SUV-load of people puts out less pollution per person per mile than a single militant coworker in a Toyota Avalon. Or that a city with a higher proportion of lower income people tend to drive older, less efficient and more polluting vehicles (even if they aren't SUVs). Or that there are plenty of housing opportunities much closer to our workplace that would require much less fuel (and less pollution) to get here than her house in the suburban sprawl of northern Shelby County. Why, it's just the principal of the thing! ALL THOSE REPUBLICAN SUVs ARE KILLING HER LUNGS!
Anyway, I get tired of this garbage, and I'll not miss it.
August 09, 2007
The final corner is clean.
Okay, not really clean-clean, just all the extraneous rolls of drawings thrown out. There's still plenty of books around and kid doodles on the wall and all that, but it's looking much less lived-in around here. Pictures tomorrow.
Maybe even some of the office!
And as promised...A PARAGRAPH DONE OUT OF SHEER MEANNESS AND DISRESPECT FOR READERSHIP OPINIONS!
A frequent reader who doesn't like the amount of automotive content on Possumblog (and who shall go unnamed) asks via e-mail:NEW!? Perish the thought!
Terry's Car Care Tip of the Day?
There are several different companies that make plastic polish that works very well, or you could do what I've done and use some toothpaste. Really. It works pretty well and it's cheap, and leaves your headlights feeling minty fresh. If the lenses have gone yellow, there's not much to do except change them out. If you think it could just be dirt on the lenses, you could try some sudsy ammonia before you use the toothpaste. If it's just grime, that usually gets them clean when nothing else will, and if they're still dingy and yellow, it would give you a clue that you actually do need to replace them instead of bothering with polish.
Our reader asked about the particular type of toothpaste to use, particularly if the ones with baking soda would be appropriate.
I think baking soda toothpaste would work, but I prefer something with a bit less grit to it, regular cheap Crest or Colgate works fine.
As of 1:30 p.m.:
Visibility-- Sorta melty-looking
As easy as...
(Another tip of the hat to Steevil, who should take up blogging himself so we don't miss out on stories like this. Or like this. Or this. Also, I would just like to say that I'm glad all those Olde English royal colonial types had regular names like "Mary," because it would be sorta crappy to have to live in a placed called Britneyland or N'keeshialand. "Maryland" has a nice ring to it.)
Well, they obviously aren't Cornatees.
Via NASA rocketologist and noted boat skipper Steevil, this opinion from a sailboater about proper sailing foodstuffs.
Personally, I think the guy was being sorta unkind to Inscrutables in their role as seagoing food. He goes on and on about preferring such things as "energy bars" (whatever THOSE are), but let's face it--if he were a REAL sailor, he'd go at it the right way with pickled beef, ship's biscuit, and grog. It certainly would go a long way toward helping better define what "vile" really means.
Best wishes to the birthd'y boy.
Oh, and by the way...
...you know it's hot when the Nigerian guy in the office is complaining about it.
...was walking out yesterday evening when my future co-worker haled me down. "Have you heard anything?" I asked him, seeing as how our little operation works like a mushroom farm. "They're saying it'll be a week from Monday."
Still haven't actually heard from anyone in charge, but the grapevine is usually pretty accurate. So looks like I've got a week to go.
On the bright side, first day of school today, and I managed to get the younger three all dropped off at their respective schools and had time to stop by Publix for some stamps and soft drinks, stop by the post office to mail the letters I'd bought stamps for (yes, I know I could have gotten them at the post office, but the post office doesn't sell sodas, so why waste time?), went and paid the power bill, stopped by the restroom, and got settled in behind the desk at only a few minutes past 8. I credit there being no traffic to speak of this morning.
ANYway, I have minutes to type and a final corner of the office to clean out.
"The Von Trapp Family Singing 'So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night'" Version of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!
Except without the Nazis. Or singing. Or nuns. Okay, it's not at all like anything in the movie. SO SUE ME!! (Not really.)
Anyway, as you all know, The Axis of Weevil Thursday Three has been one of the more popular recurring features of Possumblog over the years, dating back to April 8, 2004. It has been on summer hiatus to allow it to be properly aired-out and disinfected, but when we sent it out, we had no idea that we'd be making our big exit before resuming production for the Exciting New Fall Season.
SO, in the spirit of the times, and to cap off the most drawn-out, insufferably melodramatic blogdeath sequences ever recorded, we herewith assault you one last time with The Completely Self-Centered Good-bye Edition of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three! Since the original idea was posited by none other than Jim Smith, PhD, he has graciously written out the final question set for us.
As has always been both rule and custom, anyone may play along by either leaving a comment below, or by leaving a link to the answers on your own blog. Answer us now these things:
1. What was your favorite Possumblog post over the years? (With archive link, please, if you can find it.)
2. What will you miss most about Possumblog?
3. Do you have any final words? (And it better not be "Rosebud"!)
And, the exciting bonus question!
4. What will you not miss at all about Possumblog?
So, there you go.
As for my answers...
August 08, 2007
Midday Mundane Maunderings!
Long stupid meeting this morning, and to make matters worse, after it was over I zipped over to McDonald's and they were out of breakfast burritos! My little biweekly ritual RUINED!
Anyway, flurry of paperwork upon my return, and in just a minute or so, I have to head back home so I can take Jonathan to the middle school so he can get his final schedule and see where his classes are going to be. School starts tomorrow, you know. And yes, this mad jaunt across town is just all SORTS of convenient for me. And to make it even more frustrating, he can't go ahead and take his pile of stuff, because they aren't assigning lockers until tomorrow, which, if you've been paying attention, is the first day of class. Why they couldn't do it during registration, I have no idea.
Anyway, run to do that, then run back here to do more work, and try to get some more clean-up done. And no, I still haven't heard any more than I did last week. I'll be moving, sometime, when they get the paperwork done, sometime. So the long slow goodbye continues.
BUT! At least it gives us an opportunity for one final Thursday Three tomorrow morning! SO, all of you get your reminiscing caps on, because our good Dr. Smith has already given me the questions, and they are all about your favorite marsupial-themed Alabama-based weblog, that also has a gray on gray on white color scheme and is composed in Garamond typeface and written by a real live moron!
So get ready and all that.
Anyway, now then, off to glamorous Truss Vegas, and I'll see you all on the morrow.
August 07, 2007
And the afternoon?
Well, much of today was spent digging through the desktop accretion. Base strata had a date of 2001. That's a long time for something to sit on your desk, no? Yes.
But no more. Yet another great big recycle barrel full of combustibles, and I'm now down to the pristine layer of woodgrain plastic laminate that hasn't been seen in years, except for the tiny patches under my keyboard and telephone. And as Skillzy predicted, some nice stuff under there--old pictures of the kids (or rather, pictures of the kids when they were younger), more neat old drawings from back when I did neat old drawings (which were new at the time), a postcard from Prague from a very sweet girl with whom I had worked at The Bad Place, various thank-you notes, some newsletter-style conference reports.
Boy, I've been here a long time.
Tomorrow, I've got one of those fun early-morning biweekly meetings to attend, and hopefully it will be the last, and this will be the last set of minutes I have to type. Then again, this is a bureaucracy, so it could be several more weeks before everyone wakes up and the process lurches forward again. In the mean time, I still have cleaning to do. I think tomorrow will also be at least partially spent on the window sill matter and the rolled drawing file next to my desk. Time for another paper barrel!
ANYway, posting tomorrow will be slapdash and spotty at best. Or worst. I guess it depends on your point of view.
As I was saying...
...Saturday got up way too early and got Rebecca over to PetSmart and then began the morning's hunting and gathering for school supplies. Had to do it this past weekend to take advantage of the sales tax holiday, which is good, because I wound up saving around fifty bucks or so. First stop, Sam's, to stock up on staple items (oddly enough, not including actual staples), then on to Wal-Mart for the meat of the selections--papers, notebooks, markers, colored pencils, folders, and wound up spending nearly three hours there. They're redoing the store layout, and so school supplies were spread over three different time zones, and I'd get one thing, then go wandering off for something else, then spent nearly twenty minutes looking for wide-ruled filler paper. And they were having some sort of back-to-school fashion show with a live band, and the live band was VERY live, and loud, and I was getting a headache, and then I got that bad feeling that one occasionally gets, but usually only at home, where you don't mind sitting on your own toilet, but that causes you to walk around Wal-Mart all clenched up, hoping the urge will pass long enough for you to finish shopping and get home, but at some point you realize you MUST call a time-out and find yourself a loo.
I had a basket full of junk, and didn't want to park it up front, and add to this that I was at the back of the store and didn't think I could MAKE it to the front of the store. SO, back to layaway, parked my cart by the counter and asked the lady behind the counter if I could leave it there. She looked at me blankly and said yes.
Off to the restroom across from the counter, and I looked carefully at the signs and opened up the door on the right. There were several girls standing there, changing into clothes. Danged fashion show kids--and they're making them change in the men's room! And then I looked at the signs again as I held the door open. W-O-M-E-N. And a little skirt-wearing icon.
"OH! I AM SO SORRY!"
What an idiot. And I'm talking about the architect. Men's on the right, women's on the left! REMEMBER THAT! Anyway, what was weird was that I thought I had read the sign before going in. Scampered across the vestibule to the men's room, checked the sign (M-E-N, straight stick figure) and went in, only to be met with a bunch of OTHER kids changing into their spiffy Wal-Mart duds. Thankfully, it was guys.
They left very quickly after I'd begun my necessary internal adjustments.
Finished, quickly gathered up my cart and thanked the lady for keeping an eye on it, she just looked at me blankly, as if I were speaking Urdu or something, and then I skulked off to go finish shopping.
Found everything except composition books. ::sigh::
Next stop, Books-a-Million over close to home to look for a book about forensics, and then the final stop at Target for the few food items I was supposed to get. For some reason, I parked at Target, which meant the bookstore was way over there. I thought about moving the car, but I had gotten such a good parking spot. So I walked to the bookstore, and it was very, very hot. Like the inside of a blast furnace on the Sun.
"Do you have the book Forensic Science of CSI by Katherine Ramsland?"
I repeated it and the helpfully clueless staff person looked it up on the computer and directed me to the True Crime section with the admonition that it would be shelved alphabetically by author's name. If that's true, it would be the ONLY book shelved alphabetically by author's name.
I like Books-a-Million, if only because it is a home-grown company and they have as good deals as the bigger folks like Barnes and Noble, but dang it all, they've GOT to make it easier to find stuff in the store.
1) Put some computer terminals on the floor so customers can check for themselves if books are in stock. It's frustrating to stand there in a line to ask someone if they've got something, only to find out they don't. Or that the counter help is illiterate. Or unable to use a computer.
2) When you find out if there's a book in stock, have a little map of the store showing where it is. It would help if the books had an RFID chip so they'd know for sure if it's actually in the store.
3) Counter computers should be tied in to the cash register. There's no reason why there has to be a separate computer for the book database, why not just make them do double duty?
4) Shelve the books correctly--I know this is labor intensive, but if you aren't going to do any better, there's no use trying to do it at all.
Anyway, they showed the book in stock, and after a good ten minutes of searching a short section of books, it either was out of stock or so badly misplaced that looking further for it would have been futile. Grr.
On back to Target, found composition books and iced tea, went home, suffered the wrath of a wife who'd been left at home to fend for herself with the laundry.
Put up the supplies, took over the laundry, worked on supper, then later went back and got Rebecca from the pet store, supper, baths, bedtime.
Sunday, up early, church (and yes, I stayed awake this time), home, lunch, divided up the school supplies into the various respective backpacks, back for evening services, then dropped the kids off at the grandparents' house. We did this because Reba's doctor's visit was going to be at 5:30 a.m. yesterday, meaning we'd have to be out of the house by 5, meaning we'd have to get up at 4. I can barely get the kids woken up at 6, so this was going to be out of the question, so we let them be farmed out to Reba's parents. Which is getting to be less and less attractive, since Catherine always acts like a butt.
Anyway, after we'd dropped them off, Reba and I had a romantic meal together at Arby's, then went home and hit the hay so we could get up early.
MONDAY, boy, 4 o'clock in the a of m is early! So we slept until 4:30, which meant we left a bit late, but did manage to get to the hospital on time, AND got a parking space right by the door! Yay, earliness!
Checked in, went upstairs, got checked in again, went back to a room, got her personal effects, went back out to the waiting room, waited for a few minutes, and in what seemed an impossibly short amount of time, was called back to talk to the doctor about what he'd done.
I don't want to go into details about the procedure, since it involves Miss Reba's internal system of womanocological pipes and tubing and reservoirs and stuff. I will say that the doctor had no problems and said everything looked healthy up in there, and the procedure should help her feel a lot better in the coming months.
The doc was quite upbeat and chipper in that happy-go-lucky manner of someone who knows what he's doing, and went over the post-operative restrictions.
"Okay, Mr. Oglesby, she did just fine, but let me tell you the restrictions in case the anesthesia makes her a bit loopy--no lifting for a few days, I've left you a prescription if there's any pain or cramping," and with a raised eyebrow he said, "no douching and none of that 'gettin' freaky' stuff for at least 24 hours."
I took it all in with my serious face on, and in my most sincerely concerned voice asked him, "Okay, so I'm not supposed to douche...?"
I don't think he'd heard that one before. The look on his face when he thought I wasn't joking made it all worthwhile.
Went back and waited in the waiting room, then got called back to the recovery room, fed her some crackers and Sprite, and after a while she was awake enough to take home. Out the door by 8:45.
Home, got her to bed, went to the bank, went and got the kids, back to home, started ironing my shirts. Got that done while watching The Price is Right, while the kids went outside and cleaned up the cat's pen and his food and water bowls. After the Chinese laundry routine, decided to pick up the den and get it halfway cleaned up. Even got the vacuum cleaner out! Vacuumed, vacuumed, vacuumed, got a big canister of ick.
Pulled the canister off, and the bottom of it swung open, spilling ick all over the carpet I'd just vacuumed. "Why, confound it all!" I said in my mind, although I'll admit it probably was a bit more earthy than that. Went and emptied the thing in the garbage can and came back inside to see what was wrong.
Cheap Chinese plastic, that's what. The little orange clip had a spring inside to hold it closed. The spring was held by a little pocket molded into the clip, and sometime in there it broke free, allowing the spring to become unsprung, and not hold the clip down. Epoxied the spring back into the broken clip, and stuffed a paper towel under the lip of the clip so it would be SURE to stay closed, even if the glue failed. Nothing quite like expedient engineering.
Cleaned up my mess and vacuumed some more and got another big can full of ick, and finally decided I'd worried the carpet enough.
Made lunch, made a couple of batches of cookies, and about three p.m., suffered a complete shutdown of systems that required a nap. Which is why the kids decided to get loud. Got back up after an hour and a half of not sleeping any, got Catherine ready to go to cheerleading practice, went and got my medicine from the drugstore and picked up some stuff for supper. Got back and found that Oldest had been summoned to Grandma's house to pick up supper, and I should've been grateful, but I really wanted to fix supper. I'm that way, sometimes.
Decided to use the waiting time to set a little electric fan up outside for Lightning, who's been slowly baking for the past few days. He seemed to enjoy it to no end. Ate supper, dropped Cat at practice, went home, turned around and went BACK to the gym, got Cat, went and got gas in the Volvo, went home, told her to go bathe, and then sometime in there got all sleepy again and went to bed for good.
Today, everything's back to normal.
But I'm not dead yet!
Still plugging along, as you see, which means that sometime today (after I get it written and before I start throwing away more paper) you'll get your weekend update of all the goings on at Casa de Possum, including such heartwarming tales as walking into the women's bathroom at Wal-Mart, and dumping dirt all over the carpet in the den! Wheeeeee!
Anyway, let me go check in with the boss and then I'll be back directly.
August 03, 2007
And the weekend.
And the usual round of laundry and scurrying hither and yon. OH, and I won't be in on Monday. I'll be tending to Miss Reba, who is going to the doctor's office early to have some minor work done on her innerds (nothing related to the recent upper bosomal region issues!) so I'll be with her, and then will see you again come Tuesday.
Have yourselves a great weekend!
When you get to the bottom of the hole...
...quit digging. I think I've made enough headway for today. Just got finished a bit ago with the file cabinet tops, which if you recall, looked like this.
Now then, as for found treasure, it was a pretty productive dig. I apologize for the quality of these and the other photos, but the camera batteries are low, and the light's not good. I messed around with them on the computer, but they still aren't all that clear. The following pictures are bigger than the others, so you will have to expand the browser window and use the scrollbars to see all of the image.
ANYway, here's a proposal I did for a couple of buildings over on 18th Street. You can't really see the photo, but the buildings are in pretty bad shape. The owner never decided to do anything about them.
This was a drawing of a building over in Lakeview View that I did as a cover for a report I wrote. The sketch got in the sun and the right part sepia'd out some. Anyway, it's a lovely old Tudor style, late-'20s commercial block that's still standing and in use today. Looks very nice in person.
The next ones are a couple of houses by Wallace Rayfield over in Smithfield, and I believe this one was his own personal house. Rayfield's story is really interesting and he left a big mark on Birmingham--I urge you to go to the Bham Wiki page for a bit more information.
The next few are from several years back when we were doing some revitalization proposals over in Arlington-West End and in Ensley.
Here's a proposal for brightening up the State Fairgrounds, including (as you see) a cheerful yellow trolley. Sometime after I'd made a copy of this, some bright person who should have known better thought I'd left the wheels off the trolley and smudged in some great big black circles on the sides to approximate bus wheels. Thankfully, I kept the original. Anyway, it's supposed to be an actual rail car, not a trolley-like bus. Idjits.
Okay, the rest--here are some Ensley commercial blocks. Right now both of the blocks look pretty run down, and no, nothing has been done to fix them up. Here's the first, and the here's the second, which contains both a Gap and a Starbucks and no small amount of wishful thinking.
So, there you go, at least until I start cleaning off my desk and the other window sill.
In case you're wondering, the colors look lurid for a reason--most of the time you're trying to have something that will be shown in a meeting and you need for it to be able to be seen from the back of the room, or alternately, you need something that won't wash out when you make a copy of it. And another thing, the slapdash color is intended to be abstract enough to keep anyone from getting too distinct of an idea in their mind of a particular place, and then be disappointed or shocked when it doesn't turn out like that in real life. It's almost like a cartoon--enough to give the idea, but not enough for it to be something you'd be called down for later if it's not exactly like the picture.
Lunch With My Friend Jeff™!
But before that, the start of the big dig. If you recall, this is the before shot of one corner of the office. This is the empty recycling barrel. This is the recycling barrel AFTER spending nearly an hour on discarding. And here's the shiny clean [sic] corner after I'd neatened it up! Only three more corners to go! And four non-corners.
As I went through stuff, just as Skillzy predicted, I did manage to find some interesting stuff I'd forgotten about.
Those of you who live in Birmingham have probably heard all the hoo-ha about the new Railroad Reservation Park. We were working on that ages ago--here's an early sketch in plan, and a couple of quick perspectives. Looks nothing like what's going to get built, but it's rare that anything does.
This is a quicky sketch I did for a local building owner who was trying to fix up his place, and in a similar vein, another sorta neat thing I uncovered were the following sketches we did back when Pam the Liberal was here. We held a couple of annual conferences on historic preservation as a means to stabilize deteriorating inner city neighborhoods. Great fun. These boards were intended to show people what some of the old dilapidated buildings could look like if they were spruced up and repaired. We wound up making close to 40 of these drawings. These are some of the ones I did, but I also had some extremely good help from our intern at the time, Cara Graham. She was a peach, and a workhorse of immense productivity, and I was sorry when she left.
Anyway, this is the old (and now demolished) Minor School which used to be over off of Pike Road in Ensley. It's now a parking lot for a car dealer.
This is a unique old mansion over in Norwood that I think is still standing, although still unrestored.
And finally, this is a tiny, mid-30s gas station over in the Smithfield part of town that I thought could make a neat little corner cafe. It's still there, and still looks just like it does in the photo. I.e., a mess.
ANYway, that's what I've gotten done so far. Next is the top of the filing cabinets.
AS FOR MFJ™, we talked about the usual stuff over a plate full of sandwiches over at Sam's Deli in Homewood. Sure was hot outside. They really need some fans or something. But it was the usual kvetching about stupid people, cars, work (although I did get to brag about my new job), kids, relatives, cars, swarthy men of Middle Eastern descent, Chicago, car repairs, and stuff like that. Did our magazine swap, and as usual, he left with a much greater load of treasure than I did, not that I'm complaining. Much. Okay I am. Anyway, great fun as usual.
AS FOR THE NOT GREAT FUN--when I got back in I noticed someone with an IP of 184.108.40.206 (Qwest Communications in Denver) had left a few comments using my name. Nothing bad or dirty or anything, but it's just poor etiquette. They've been deleted, not out of malice or anything like that, but just to say that I'd rather you just pick another alias if you don't want to use your own name. Thanks.
Now then, more trash duty.
Well, let's see what I've gotten accomplished so far.
Not much. Got all my personal stuff off the C:\ drive and sent it to myself via e-mail. Yes, I've already copied it once and transferred it to my home computer, but I can't stand the thought of having only one copy. So, all my docs went to the inbox, and all the photos went to Picasa. And there was an embarrassingly large amount of both. As I said, I am a pack rat of the first order.
Per Marc's request, I showed you some of the flotsam, jetsam, and ligan in the office yesterday that I'm either going to have to pack up or throw away, but here are some shots of the other side of the room--my bookcase, filled with books pointing the wrong way, Design markers, and a row of Sweet's catalogs to act as ballast.
That chair is where you all sit when I'm talking to you. Unless you're hovering over my shoulder, which I really don't like. Unless you smell nice and have great big sof--never mind.
Next, the real nerve center of all that goes on, the battle bridge:
Those are reference books on the window sill, slathered with a crispy layer of useless paper that at one time I had believed needed to be kept, just in case. All that paper on the desk? Absolutely vital to my mission. Or not. Lots of rolled up drawings, some of them possibly even still of use. Or not.
And finally, a wide shot so you can see my display of Oglesby child artworks:
I sure hope I'll have room to keep some of those up. Makes the day go by a lot faster. SO, anyway, today will be spent throwing away garbage.
And something else I need to do is give my boss something. I've never had a better one, and I wrote him a note to let him know of my thoughts. It's private, so I won't post it here, but I want him to know how much I think of him as a person and as a leader.
He's a thoroughly interesting man and has seen more than most. He's faced down Bull Connor's police dogs in his youth, then went on to take a guided tour of Southeast Asia with Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. He came back, became an architect, dabbled in real estate, went on to work on the state's largest office building, came to work here, and in among all that, married and had four beautiful daughters who've done nothing but excel in everything they've attempted. He is one of the most honest men I've ever met, and an exemplar of integrity and good leadership. I will miss working for him.
Now then. Time to get to work.
Well, that was peculiar.
Went to the grocery store yesterday evening to get some stuff for supper, and as I was going down the aisle toward the checkout, there was a young guy coming the other way, pushing a dust mop and talking on his cell phone.
As we passed, I realized he was speaking Russian.
I'm sorry, but any way you slice that, it was just really, really odd.
August 02, 2007
Oh, and speaking of Thursday?
For old time's sake, next week we are going to have A Very Special Axis of Weevil Thursday Three, which has already been written up by our favorite college professor, ham radio operator (MMMmmm--ham!), and small engine repairman, Jim Smith.
Despite feeling a bit queasy when it comes to soliciting opinions about Possumblog superlatives, I figure it won't hurt this once. So, stay tuned next week to give this old barge a sendoff.
Be sure and bring plenty of finger foods for the party--you know, like collard greens.
Okay, now that the surprise has worn off...
...some catching up to do.
FIRST: Many thanks to all of you for your recent prayers and good wishes for Miss Reba. She had her re-do mammogram on Monday, and the knot level in my stomach ratcheted up to 11 when they told her that there was definitely something there. Sweet relief Tuesday evening when she told me they'd called her back during work to report it was a benign inflammation that will not require any treatment. Obviously, I thought it would be good to get a second opinion and follow-up examination, but she was resistant to the idea, even though I offered to do it for free.
SECOND: Mailout Thursday today, which is why this is a bit late getting going. This will hopefully be my last Mailout Thursday. Downstairs where I'm going, they have one secretary for three (soon to be four) people. Up here, we have one secretary for 23 people. Thus why I seem to always be doing so much typing, folding, spindling, and mutilating. However, I do know how to fix any of the printers or copiers on the floor. (Hint: It's called "RTFM.")
THIRD: Clean up. Lileks wrote about his recent office move, and bragged about having reduced down his personal accumulation of things to something that could fit in a shoebox. Me? I've got twelve years worth of detritus piled up around me. Mugs, toys, books, my "Department of Redundancy Department" sign on the wall. All my kids' artwork on the other wall, all my photos on the other part of the other wall, all the junk in my desk drawers, all the junk on my desk, all the junk on my drafting table, all the junk stashed in file cabinets, all the junk on the window sills, and THEN all the forgotten paperwork that has been layered and compacted into rock-like strata on various horizontal surfaces since 1995. It will be a combination of archaeology dig and canal excavation to get it all cleaned out. When I decide to actually make the effort to get after it.
FOURTH: It's like moving to a new house. I've got to see if I can keep my phone number, I've got to get new business cards, I've got to see what from my old place can be moved to the new, and I've got to dump all those pictures of Maureen O'Hara and Raquel Welch and Sophia Loren off the hard drive on this computer. (Actually, I've already copied everything and transferred it to my home computer, but I still haven't deleted anything, because I'm a pack rat, and that includes computer files.) And obviously, I'm going to have to physically move this stuff.
SIXTH: The Axis of Weevil, although appearing to be an anarcho-syndicalist commune, in which we each take in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week; but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs, but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more major affairs, is, in fact, not. It is purely dictatorial, and shall continue on apace, striving to achieve world hegemony through fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to Sheriff Taylor. There's no use being part of an Axis if the whole thing quits working just because the dictator guy decides to go prancing off to do something else instead of blogging. Look, there are supposed to be benefits to being a dictator, and one of them is getting to dictate. SO, even if I'm NOT blogging, I'm still going to be pacing my luxuriously furnished office in the Axis of Weevil World Headquarters Building, maybe even absent-mindedly stroking my bronze bust of Twain (Shania), and if I don't blog, that doesn't mean the REST of you get to slag about! GET OUT THERE AND DO SOME WORLD DOMINATIN', or there WON'T BE A COMPANY PICNIC! Also, everyone please remember to turn in your timesheets tomorrow, because Anita is going on vacation next week and needs to get payroll finished before she goes.
SEVENTH: Chet the E-Mail Boy. He's fine, everyone. Please quit asking about him. As I said, the AoW continues on, and so he's not going to be fired or anything else, at least not until I get him to finish washing out the dumpster and filling in that hole in the parking lot. And anyway, it's not like he's getting paid, so being fired isn't that big of a deal. And best I can tell, he's something like 109 or 110 years old, so he can't be around much longer anyway.
EIGHTH: If you make "sixth" out of six plus th, and "seventh" out of seven plus th, why don't you spell 8th as "eightth"? It is a mystery.
NINTH: Don't get me started on this one--obviously it should be nineth. ANYWAY, advice for anyone who wants to start a blog. Dedicate yourself to using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You'll obviously mess up every once in a while, but be quick to correct it and thank people profusely for pointing it out. Don't be a putz. Don't argue for the sake of hearing yourself talk (or reading yourself write). Treat everyone as kindly as possible, even trolls and idiots. In their case, treating them kindly means not having any discussion at all with them before deleting their stupidity and banning them and acting as though they never existed. Write about what you know. Write about what you don't know, but tell everyone up front you're an idiot and you don't know what you're writing about. (People can tell when you're faking it.) Write stuff you enjoy reading. If you're an idiot or a troll, this may mean no one else likes it, but you just will have to realize that's because you are unlikable as a person. But you can change if you want to. But don't expect people to change to suit you. Don't mock the dead (unless it's a really, REALLY bad person, and no, lefty-retards, I'm not talking about people who don't think exactly like you). Don't use a blog layout with text and background that is dark on dark or light on light or in colors that clash. No one can see it, and if you can't see it, it doesn't exist. (GOOGLE IT!) Never rely on Google. Learn about logic, and learn the various fallacies of argumentation. Learning to successfully repudiate a fallacious argument in a calm, rational manner goes a long way toward promoting peace and understanding, as does learning how to employ fallacious arguments against dimwits. Do not taunt the insane. Try to be smart, but realize your limitations. Humor only works if something is humorous, and believe it or not, some things just aren't funny. So don't force it. Never blog in your underwear, because you never know when your boss might walk in and tell you you're supposed to be in an important meeting across town in five minutes. Be nice and thank people who read what you write.
TENTH: Questions? Write about personal stuff for long enough, and eventually questions do come up that demand answers. Got one? I'll try to answer it, or at least deflect it genially and act like I didn't hear it.
August 01, 2007
Well, now. There's you a surprise.
I'll be closing up shop.
It is a surprise! Although in fairness, not to me.
Several months ago, a position opened up within my department and I applied for it, and have been in limbo ever since, not knowing if they'd hire me or make me stay where I am. I realized when I applied that if I did get it, there would never be any way I could continue sitting around and writing in between work assignments, because the work assignments in this new gig are constant.
Anyway, I finally got the confirmation call this morning, and so in a couple of weeks (or so, things move slowly around here, in case you've never noticed), I'll be going downstairs to the 4th floor. One floor might not seem very far, but compared to what it's been like, it's way yonder far off.
The new job is directly related to my training--basically, I'll be practicing architecture again. The past twelve years (TWELVE!?), I've been doing a sideline-sorta-related function of urban designer. It was fun at first (after leaving the hell of The Bad Place), but for whatever reason, our little corner of the org chart was continually marginalized and there got to be a lot less fun designy-type work with pencils and crayons and junk, and a whole lot more of mindless bureaucratic paper-shuffling. And no chance to advance to senior paper-shuffler. When you're marginalized, folks in charge don't really care about such things.
So, you know, laboring on in obscurity, waiting for citizen complaints or various interdepartmental wild goose chases, filling out forms, and typing lots of passive-voiced meeting minutes, all without much in the way of pay raises or hope, tends to give you some free time. And a lot of things you wish you could talk about if you could find someone who wasn't even more insane than you are.
Thus entered the exciting blogging pastime.
Which is about the only way I think I've been able to continue doing this job for so long. Some people around here just close their door and read books, some simply ride the elevator all day, some feign consciousness, a few never even show up. At least this way, I've been able to make a bunch of new friends, blissfully blather on in a separate virtual-type world, and still actually do the various plebian activities that now constitute this position. Thankfully, even with blogging, no citizen ever had his need go unmet and no assignment was ever dropped. I'm not sure how well that reflects on me, or how badly it does on the position. Eh. Whatever.
ANYway, the new position requires attention. It's real life, health/safety/welfare architect things that are actually what I'm trained and registered to do, and since there's only three staffers, and I've got to learn how they do things, it's going to be busy. And busy means no time to play. And no time to play means, obviously, no time for Possumblog.
It has been an extraordinarily enjoyable thing, what I do here. Writing things down has helped me make some sense of events, and has allowed me to meet some of the most intriguing, enjoyable, erudite, silly, warm, brave, maddening, thoughtful, clever, intelligent, helpful, astonishing, wry, fragile, honest, and finest people in the world. As I've always said, I've imagined this blog as nothing more than the sort of random conversation you have when friends drop by and sit a spell over in the chair by the door. So, thanks to all of you who've stopped by to sit in that chair.
As for this enterprise itself, I never saw it as a way to get attention, or at least not the attention of the sort we've come to associate with fame (i.e., fleeting attention from the news media), but if there was any attention I did want, it was that anyone who came by would leave with something enjoyable or informative, and would be able to say to himself that even a gun-toting, Bible-thumping, openly-straight, Alabama redneck could still do pretty well for himself explaining his views, and further, do so in a way that was serious but not self-important. I've tried to save my vitriol and derision for the people who deserve it, that being, those who don't think they deserve it. I've never sought out other bloggers to disagree and argue with, mainly because it serves no purpose other than to give me a headache, and because it's quite difficult to find someone with whom I disagree who also seems to value logic and good humor.
I've written a lot over the past few years, and much about myself. Probably too much. In some cases, not enough. There are still some opinions I have that are too inflammatory to ever utter except during those nagging internal monologues, and some of them I realize are wrong and it would be wrong to say them. Some are just so convoluted I don't want to have to explain them. So, despite what you might think if you read everything in the archives, there's still some corners of thought that I haven't felt good about sharing. Especially in this highly non-anonymous format.
But, what I've said, I've said.
I hope it's been worth hearing.
In the coming few days, I've got some necessary job-related things to get squared away--packing, moving, paperwork--but I will still be around and keeping up with things, and I suppose I'll have one final post for shout-outs and to thank everyone one more time for making this one of their semi-regular Internet stops.
In the mean time, between now and the time I finally turn out the lights, if you've still got some nagging questions you've never gotten an answer to, or a tirade to launch forth on, feel free to drop me a comment or an e-mail.
You've been a great audience, everyone! Be careful driving home!
That's what happens when you are ridiculous.
Sorry, but that's what you get when you try to act like something you're not. Me? I admit I'm a moron right up front, so no one's surprised when I do something stupid, and pleasantly surprised when I manage to do something smart.
Remember--low expectations are your friends.
Now wait just a derned minute!!
I know for a fact there's plenty of Americans willing to do this, and there are probably a few of them who aren't even in Congress.
Mr. Murdoch, FYI--
Just a reminder to you and your board of directors that Possumblog has been a proud, independent, valuable voice in the online world for many years, but you know, I would be willing to talk.
Stories that are impossible to parody.
And one assumes, give them a stern, but compassionate talking-to.
And ask them what America can do to regain their love and respect.
Interesting. He didn't want us to go into Iraq, but is more than willing to invade Pakistan. Seems rather, oh, I don't know, inconsistent. Not that I'm against it. I think it's something that needs doing, although the US and Iraq are going to have to do something to keep Turkey from pursuing the exact same course with incursions into Kurdish northern Iraq. But, still, coming from someone who seems much too willing to elevate and validate various tinpot dictators (then wasn't, then was again) that this is probably nothing more than some sort of focus-grouped bit of pandering to attempt to show he's strong and tough on defense.
Color me unconvinced.
UPDATE: Also, I just now noticed that despite the past-tense language in the article to the contrary, this speech will be delivered later on today. Read far enough down, and you see this--and most other media reports of it--are based on excerpts of the speech released by Obama's campaign organization. Yet, the media still seem incapable of writing the story in future tense; "In a speech to be delivered later today, dreamy cute Senator Obama will say, etc...." Why is that? Why deliberately give the sense that the event and words have already been spoken? And this isn't an aberration; I've noticed it many times over the years (and when reporting on Democrats and Republicans), and I still haven't seen a plausible explanation for why it is allowed to continue. This is especially troublesome given how much scrutiny the media has garnered for itself through transparently slipshod reportage. Apparently, such things as chronology just don't matter.
But it does kind of make you wonder what else they think doesn't matter.
Stupid, stupid science guys.
All that work on a dumb ol' jellyfish, but still no progress on using a computer to create Kelly LeBrock.
July 31, 2007
See you all tomorrow.
Quote of the Day!
Courtesy of Big Arm Woman: "There are no dangerous sharks, just dangerous situations."
When I see things like that, I am reminded of something a very wise man once said:You know, that is just so true.
This should be entertaining.
The Guy Who Always Burns Toast is outside my office right now, slathering some sort of combustible onto his bread before putting it in the toaster oven. Obviously, I didn't even get far enough along in this post to speculate "and I bet he walks away and leaves it" before he did just that.
UPDATE: I crept toward the doorway, cognizant of the danger of getting caught, but determined to keep another senseless toasting incident from happening again. I peered from around the door frame--in, out, down toward the outer office. Bobbed back inside my office, then scoped out the short hall to the right. Clear.
The toaster timer tick-tick-ticked. I could already get a whiff of bread. Cheap. White. I casually stood, then made my move.
Sidled up to the unit--the tick-tick-ticking insistent as only a toaster timer can be. Mocking me. He'd set it to three minutes. What sort of madman was this? The smell of the bread was heady, nearly overpowering. Funny about bread. It smells so good when it's getting warm, and then it all suddenly turns to the stench of fusing carbohydrates, the molecules screaming in agony.
No time for sentiment. Had to keep my mind on the task at hand.
Another quick glance for interlopers. The timer had already ticked down a minute. I reached out and grasped the knob. It was warm, smooth. Hard. Plastic hard. White.
I snatched it counterclockwise, just as they'd taught us back in TSS. Toaster Setting School So long ago. The tick-tick-ticking of the timer suddenly accelerated t-tt--t-t--tick! before settling back into the one tick per second rhythm it had started with. I looked--I'd taken off a whole minute from the timer. Maybe even a minute-ten. Maybe a minute-twelve. No way to know for sure.
But this toast wasn't going to burn. Not today. Not on my watch.
I heard a noise down the short hall. A cough? Paper shuffling? Hard to tell. Time to extract. I turned and made the short leap back to the safety of my office, settled myself in my chair, and awaited the inevitable.
I placed my hands on the keyboard, acting like I was working. Acting like I'd not been in the heat. But even I'm not that good an actor. Nerves. Had I turned it far enough? The knob? Was a minute going to be enough? Even a minute-twelve? What if I had to go back? Would that smell, that awful blackened smell, would I start smelling it again? The doubts about my training, about why I even cared about stupid toast, they began to creep into my mind again. I remembered TSS--the kid that got his finger hung on the edge of a wide two-slot and made a vicious blistered whelp that lasted nearly two days. He was part of my team. I'm the one that had to get that burnt onion bagel out. I'm the one who had to put Neosporin on his finger. And a bandage.
The flat, metal-on-metal striker-actuated bell signalled to The Guy Who Always Burns Toast that his bread was done. As if he were even around to hear it. As if he'd wait for it, standing nearby. But he doesn't. Won't.
The smell was good. Pleasant even. No smoke this time. No char. No carbon. No screams.
As usual, The Guy Who Always Burns Toast was slow getting back to the scene. He rumbled in, talking low to himself the way the insane do, mumbling about the toaster oven, breathing hard, wondering why there was no smoke, or fire, but not enough to actually question what happened. In his mind, what there is of it, it was probably nothing more than the result of that cheap, defective toaster oven.
He walked away, back to his own side of the floor, to his own office, where he would devour his prey in private.
He'll be back again. He always comes back.
I'll be here.
I'm thinking at least a part of it was...
...a heavy diet of ABC Afterschool Specials.
Oh, and speaking of giant dinosaurs and vulnerable youth...
Help us, Sergeant Friday!!
You know, I find it odd that police never use real nets. Nets always work when the bad guys use them on Batman and Robin and on Scooby and Shaggy.
Thank goodness there ain't no potted meat on that list.
Via the mighty muscular Megabeth, this list from the Alabama Department of Public Health (.pdf) of all sorts of canned meat'n'beans-type foods associated with or affected by the recent Castleberry's botulism recall.
I haven't been following this, because I never really thought it was anything more than Castleberry products, but I neglected to remind myself of the advice I keep giving my kids. They always want the stuff advertised on teevee, and I keep trying to tell them that in most cases the store brand is the exact same stuff by the exact same companies, so there's no use paying extra for it. Now I realize some store brand stuff isn't quite the same quality, so, you know, "YMMV" and all, but for the most part, it's cheaper to just have one production line making all the same stuff, rather than a separate one for the cheapo junk.
ANYWAY--back to the point--I thought it was just Castleberry, but the list from the ADPH has a list of brands, including Bryan, Southern Home (Food World/Bruno's store brand), and Thrifty Maid (Winn-Dixie's store brand). We shop at the latter two stores, and to my utter horror, I know for a fact that we have several cans of the Bryan Chili with Beans in the pantry (probably had a coupon for it, since it's several pennies more expensive than the store brands).
I sure hope it's not be affected by the recall--I'll be sure and check it when I get home.
Oh, and by the way--botulism is not a nice, fun disease that you can use to get off from work for a long weekend. (Dangitall). From the CDC:Frankly, I'm not completely comforted that the death rate has fallen from 50% to 8%.
At least I can still enjoy my nice can of potted meat and crackers for lunch.
Talk about your "hostile work environment"!
Being a used car salesman was probably a poor career choice, then.
When in doubt...
Matches his no brains.
You know, I don't even go anywhere far enough away to have to fly, but it would still make me very happy if ol' Mr. No-Regrets was hooked up to a machine that kicks him in the groin every time someone has to take off his shoes at an airport security screen.
July 30, 2007
Oh, that's silly.
Whoever heard of a building named "Dave"?!
Anyway, in the spirit of the event, and with apologies to World Wide Pants® and its agents and assigns, the Top Ten Features of the New Dave Communications Building at Ball State University:
10. Photos of Alan Kalter in every classroom to remind students of the horrors of the entertainment business.
9. Lovely Prancing Fluids fountain.
8. Balconies suitable for dropping bowling balls, watermelons, televisions, etc. onto the quad.
7. Fake windows that have breaking glass sound.
6. Entrance has a gap in it just like Dave's teeth!
5. TVs in the lounge play nothing but Conan.
4. Temperature completely adjustable from 32 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Maintenance crews stay busy rearranging landscaping so ground doesn't look bald.
2. Regis Philbin not allowed within 400 feet of building.
AND the Number One Feature of the New Dave Communications Building at Ball State University...
Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?
A Gentleman and a Genius
I really don't know much about his personal life, but he always came across to me as an honest, sincere man, and that's hard to beat, no matter what field you're in.
His genius was not just the development of the West Coast Offense (variations of which are the hallmark of just about any successful team playing today--including ol' chubby Al Borges' 'Gulf Coast' offense down at Auburn) but, as the linked article points out, the idea of the "coaching tree"--men whom he'd hired and developed and trained who would later go on to be his (successful) competitors. That sort of self-confidence is about as hard to find as honesty. Again, I don't know much about him personally, but I have to think his desire to serve as a mentor and encouragement to his subordinates had to at least partly be a result of how he felt when he got passed over by Paul Brown for the head coaching job with the Bengals. There are two ways to act when you feel like you've been cheated--complain and collapse, or use it as a learning experience.
Would that there were more who'd take the latter course.
Best wishes to his family, and may he rest in peace.
Maybe I've got narcolepsy.
I mean, my boss has it, and so maybe I caught it from him or something. Or it could just be what I ate for lunch. Or that I didn't get any sort of restful sleep last night.
But it sure is weird to be sitting here working, then momentarily zone out and have the vivid sense of having a conversation with someone who's standing in front of you flapping his hands.
Not that this is a unique thing in our office, either in reality or in near-conscious daydreamings, but it is similar to that weird semi-awakeness I sometimes struggle against during church, when I wander off mentally and begin having the most startlingly idiotic semi-lucid thoughts. Wouldn't be so bad if I could do any of this with my eyes open, but it seems I just can't keep them open.
At least I've not started snoring.
That I know of.
Stinkin' work. Be back after while.
ANYway, Winnie's got a book, and it sounds like a good one. We've tried our dead level best to encourage our girls to be smart and never back away from it (since all of them really are quite smart in the first place) just to satisfy some sort of need to fit in with the popular stereotype.
So far, we're batting .667.
Remember the other day?
I posted a comment about an article about some archaeology dig of a bunch of outhouses? And they found something they said was a Bowie knife, but the reporter spelled it "buoy"? That?
Made it through another one!
And not much else to show for it. But that's okay by me.
A weekend of normality for once--no one had anything special to do, nowhere special to go, no one special to see, so I actually got some work done without being completely exhausted.
Well, we went to see Catherine and all of her cheerleader friends rehearse the stuff they've learned in clinic this past week, and that was pretty cute. Cat and her group are old enough to know what's going on and able to keep up with the tempo and remember the words, but the little kindergarten-aged kids are...well--not. But doggone it, they sure are cute.
Saturday, no PetSmart for Rebecca, so she got to stay home and clean her room, and Boy didn't have any pressing social engagements, so he got to help me cut grass. And for once he was excited about it. Seems he got a bright idea to do a design in the front yard. Hey--he's cutting it, I'm not about to tell him not to, as long as he gets it ALL cut and doesn't miss anything.
Thankfully, his idea was to cut a spiral, which is something I've done before just to break the monotony. He was disappointed though, because he started from the outside perimeter, which is more or less rectangular, which meant the spiral was likewise more or less rectangular. Next week, I'm hoping he tries something in the crop-circle genre.
Got cleaned up after I'd mowed the backyard (front to back lines only), sat in the gazebo a while and cooled off afterwards, got a shower, did some grocery shopping, came home and ironed some shirts, made some stuff for lunch at church yesterday.
Sunday, fifth Sunday so we had lunch and the evening service was moved up to 1:00, which I always like because you get the rest of the afternoon to go home and sleep. Which I never get to do. Went home and finished the laundry, and watched Elf, which I still think is an awfully sweet movie, had some supper sometime later on in the evening, watched Miss Marple on PBS, and went on to bed.
July 27, 2007
That wasn't bad at all.
Actually only took about thirty minutes or so, which was a relief. Of course, these things are more fun to me as a people-watching exercise than anything else. I will say this--it says a lot about the devotion you have toward your teenager's school when you have a husky tattoo on your back. However, I would like to say that if you're of the short, squatty sort of female build, wearing a low-backed halter top held up with tiny strings probably isn't the best way to frame that puppy. Second, and this isn't just for Ms. Husky Pride, but for anyone with a back tattoo, it's worth remembering that the human body is (relatively) biaxially symmetrical, and that means that either A) things such as permanent artwork look better centered up on the backbone, or B) things such as permanent artwork look better when it's obvious they are deliberately off-center. When your husky tattoo is very large (to go with your large, sweat-moistened back) it would probably be better if it weren't slightly, but noticeably, off-center to the right, because when it's just barely off it makes it look like the guy didn't take his time, or was still feeling the effects of all those bong hits. I will give it a solid B+ as a realistic depiction. I was almost tempted to see if that furry texture was real or merely the work of a very clever inksman. I thought better of it, though. No use being that familiar.
ANYway, that's done, and it's almost time to head home, and begin the weekend. All of you have a fun time and I'll see you here again on Monday.
Off to do school registration duty again. All both of you be patient for a couple of hours!
Whatever. I just hope no one's trying to recruit Kirstie Alley to reprise the role of Lt. Saavik.
It's Fortified with Minerals!
Wow--a tasty companion to Possumblog Kitchens' Chinese Tiny Morsel Hi-Fiber Buns! Sara Lee recalls bread that may have metal pieces
Mmmm--sounds almost as good as a Spring Surprise.
Thank Goodness for Nick Saban!
Sure, all the other SEC coaches don't get as much attention when the circus comes to town, but just as surely they must know that's not a bad thing.
That's pretty interesting.
Well, it is to ME, although mainly for the purely selfish reason that it's something developed down there at that cow college I went to. But also more for the fact that although I don't understand much of the science involved, it still sounds like a very simple and elegant technical innovation to an old technology.Complete list of Nano 50 winners for this year here, and again, some of the stuff sounds really cool, and it's also heartening to see how many of the awards go to various NASA facilities around the country, which shows that at least a few hearty souls are out there doing some science with all that money instead of acting like a bunch of rowdy ne'er-do-wells with pocket protectors.
And kudos to the vet school AU, too--they do a lot of stuff down there, and it's more than just standing in the pasture elbow-deep in the back end of a cow.
Booze and Saboteurs and Embezzlers
Via famed NASA rocketologist Steevil, this:I'm sorry, but that's just not very a nice thing to have done.
Quote of the Day
Outta the park, Bob!
(It's obvious that the juice did nothing to improve Bonds' temper or wit.)
July 26, 2007
Bad news, good news.
The bad of this is obvious--there was a saboteur on the loose who had access to some very critical equipment. The small bright side is that he (or she--the article doesn't say) was caught and the equipment found before any damage was done. Does make you wonder what sort of employee screening and subsequent supervision is done to prevent this sort of thing. And, obviously, what sort of motivation the person has.
Speaking of Soldiering and Writing
Read enough, and after a while you come to understand that this is the type of person who is much more indicative of the quality of men and women who serve in our military, and he serves as an example of how to honorably fulfill two sometimes competing obligations.
There are few things more disconcerting...
...than getting a call from your wife saying the doctor's office wants her to come back in Monday so they can redo her mammogram because there was an area they couldn't make a definite determination about.
It could be nothing, and odds are, it's not.
But that knowledge doesn't seem to stop a person's heart from pounding on the inside of his chest like a jackhammer.
Crimes and Journalism
I've had nothing to say about the recent furor over the articles in The New Republic by a soldier serving in Iraq--first because it was unclear in the beginning if this person was really who he claimed to be and if what he wrote is true. It appears now that he is actually a soldier, and actually serving in Iraq. The only question now is if the things he describes are true.
If they are, it makes me wonder why any reputable media organization would ever stoop to allowing such a person an outlet for confessing these obscenities without wanting the person brought to justice. Is TNR now to be considered the place where every other sort of disaffected psychopath can tell his story frankly and openly without worry that he'll be subject to justice? If one of the guards at Abu Ghraib had written stories for them, would they have been as energetic to hide the person's identity to keep him or her from suffering official repercussions? Or does TNR just not care about seeking justice, as long as it has a means to wage a wider, political battle with those who do not share its editorial viewpoint? TNR and the author have both asserted that these articles are not intended to be representative of every soldier in Iraq, but given the fact that no dissenting views were sought, and given that an overt effort was made to shield this soldier from military justice, seems to point to a different conclusion. Namely, that it is indeed meant to be seen as representative of the culture of the US Army, and further, to expose this condition, that it is necessary that rightful justice be withheld from one man. When did it become within the purview of ethical journalism to shield self-confessed criminals (criminal within the context of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) from punishment? Who gave TNR that right? And if they have that right, how is it detemined who gets the benefit of their editorial sanctuary, and who does not?
The other alternative is that the stories are not true. Or that they contain only partial truth, woven with a healthy layer of mendaciousness. Or that they are true only in the non-truthful-truthiness way that has now become the preferred method of certain people in determining reality versus fiction, namely whether something is true on some indeterminate "higher level," one that promotes a particular point of view, whether or not the microscopic version of events unfolded as it did. (As when Bluto rallied the Delta House with his stirring and heroic monologue which referenced the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor. "Don't stop him--he's on a roll.")
If this is the case--and again, it's not clear yet that it is or isn't--but if it is, again what does that say about TNR? Were they so willing to believe something that fit their preconceived notion (aided by years of wholesome and uplifting Hollywood depictions of military-grade sociopaths) that they simply could not be bothered to fully check the source and his stories before they were printed? Did they not care whether it was true or not? Did they not learn anything from all the broken Glass on the floor? Or is making a buck just that important? Or is it even about the money? Is it about pridefulness, and hubris, and the desire to be seen as the holder of some special insight others are unable to possess?
I have no idea.
All I know is that no matter what, it's not one of journalism's finer performances.
Good grief--is there not ANYthing that SOMEone won't find "insensitive" or "offensive"!?
When you get this upset about some stupid teevee show that will last approximately eight episodes before being cancelled (because it's based on a mildly entertaining, but entirely one-dimensional, advertising concept) it makes it hard to believe you when something that actually IS bigoted shows up.
One is reminded about that old bromide...
..."never bring a knife to a gunfight."
Other cautionary sayings that come to mind include:
"Do... or do not. There is no try."
"Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball."
"Never scold the tiger when you're wearing your pork chop pants."
"I'm rubber, you're glue, and more to the point, I'm the one that's married to Bill Clinton, so surely you don't think there's anything you can say that I can't use to utterly destroy you and all things you care about. Right? Right."
Let no one doubt their determination to lose.
Get some feck, people.
July 25, 2007
Quote of the Day.
Well, you got me there.
And the second best quote of the day is in the same article: "[...] it's also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person."
Cats? Self-centered!? Please.
Staging a Comeback!!
As you all know, my overall site visits have been effectively cut in half since around April (as have a lot of other bloggers), due to some kind of jiggery-pokery Google has done to suppress hits for blogs in general (and I think non-Blogspot blogs in particular, but that's for another day's conspiracy-mongering).
Anyway, aside from the obvious effect fewer readers has on my rather fragile ego, the side-effect of this work by Google is that I also have been getting many, many fewer odd search requests, nearly drying up an entire Possumblog category, "Fun With Referrer Logs!" There IS no fun when there are no oddballs stumbling in here unawares.
THUS IT WAS WITH GREAT GLADNESS that one such person came crashing in, searching for meteer that's gonna blow earth up. Not JUST odd, but Possumblog is the NUMBER 1 result!
I once more feel that my arduous toil is not in vain! As opposed to, oh, say, our recent guest inquisitor.
ANYway, never being one to allow a visitor to leave without some satisfaction that his or her inquiry was worthwhile, I will say that the Earth-Blowin' Up Meteer IS on the way, and everyone should send me $100 apiece so I can get to work on my Anti Earth-Blowin' Up Meteer Defense Fence.
Thank you for your support.
I am shocked!
Of course, the use of the word "shocked" might drive it all the way over into R territory!
"This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words: knife (7x), kill (2x), shoot (1x)"
Of course, I could also be messing myself up by repeating those exact same words...
Via the ever-wholesome Mrs. Adams (who gets away with talking repeatedly about her nur-nur facilities with impugnity!)
True indeed--they also have co-eds! Which, let's face it, is much more of a draw than books.
"Pinky, Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?"
Who knew there were experts concerned with the population of falling mice!?Continue reading ""Pinky, Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?""
Or possibly that little ditty from Sesame Street, "One of These Things (Is Not Like The Others)."
Britney behaved badly at photo shoot AP - 34 minutes ago
Lohan defends herself after arrest AP - 1 hour, 38 minutes ago
Queen guitarist to complete doctorate AP - Wed Jul 25, 10:09 AM ET
I was really excited when I saw this: Volunteers sought to be stung by jellyfish
...but doggone it all, I'd have to go all the way to Norway. It just doesn't seem quite worth it.
Of course, according to Hugo, Satan's already our President.
First, trouble codes and check engine lights don't come on a lot nowadays. Cars, despite what you might think about your heap, are generally pretty reliable, and spending a goodly sum of dough on a reader that you might use once or twice over the car's life isn't that attractive.
Second, few people, even if they know the trouble code and had step by step instructions, are actually equipped to work on cars. It's not quite like sharpening a pencil or installing a lamp. You have to have specialized tools to fix most of the things that would show up as a fault code, as well as a place to work on it, as well as the time to do it. Even back when cars where akin to Fred Flintstone's in their technical sophistication, it was still a chore to fix them yourself. With the rise of urbanization (and hoity-toity communities where they don't like it when you have your ancient Volvo up on jackstands in the driveway for weeks on end), there are fewer areas where you can actually do mechanical work of this sort.
Third, if you're like me and you DO have tools, and DO have a place to work on your car, and DO have some practical experience with how to work on cars, and DO have several old beaters that you're financially bound to keep driving because you're barely able to keep enough money in the bank, and you've kept them long enough for them to start requiring an increasing amount of diagnostic attention, you'd probably be better served to do what I do, which is a modification of Glenn's suggestion.
Most of the parts stores around town will, as a courtesy, use one of those diagnostic readers to read your code and reset your check engine light, then give you a little readout of the code. Again, not knowing anything, this is useless, but the online part Glenn mentioned can still be done, although you actually have to do a bit of Googlefu to find it.
Every time this has happened with our Focus, I take it down the hill to the Advance (or AutoZone--sorry, never can keep them straight) and they check the code, reset the light, give me the readout, and then I plug in the code and bit of verbiage that comes with it into Google along with something like "ford focus" and after a few minutes you generally will find links to manufacturer's technical service bulletins or other online professional mechanic's websites that will give you some good, useful information on the fix and parts and tools and time required.
Of course, there is an alternative to this, although it does require killing trees.
Simply get a Haynes shop manual for your car. It has all the codes in it, and detailed instructions on fixing it, and it's pretty cheap. Sometimes you can even find copies at the library.
SO, in conclusion, mechanics don't really have to worry about these things cutting into their business, and they are handy if someone you know owns one and doesn't mind you mooching off of them to let you use it, and the link to the way to fix things is not that hard to establish, especially if you know how to read a book, and it sure would be nice if I had enough dough not to worry about having to fix my own cars, but it's nice that I can.
UPDATE: Oh, hey, by the way, if these things DO get to be the in thing for upwardly-mobile sorts to purchase, I would like to remind everyone that Possumblog Medical Devices is your one-stop source for home MRI units. Show those expensive medicos a thing or two!
What a morning. Or as I like to say, "What!? A morning?" Which isn't that funny when you see it written instead of hearing it spoken, but then few things are. Sorta like Yakima, or uvula.
ANYWAY, it's been a long and tedious morning and my head already hurts and I would like nothing better than to have been able to stay at home in the bed and slept all day long. Next best thing? I suppose to post what it sounds like while I'm sleeping all day long.
AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE--AH AHH AHGGHHHHHHHHH!
Yeah, I should have stayed home.
July 24, 2007
Right when I was about to post something good...
...it's time to go. Gotta go get Tiny Terror enrolled for the next school year, and then take her to her practice, and then come back to the house and eat supper, and then go back and get her, and then come back home, and then fiddlefart around doing things I have no business doing, and then go to bed, and then dream weird things, and then get up tomorrow and go to my twice-a-week off-campus bureaucratfest, and then come back here and play with lots of paper, and then maybe post something on here. If I remember to.
Ask Dr. Possum!
Well, look who just waddled into the spacious and inviting lobby of the Axis of Weevil World Headquarters than our old friend and boon companion, Dr. Possum!
As per usual, he has graciously deigned (I before E, except after C. And sometimes D.) to answer questions from YOU, the most inquisitive readership in all of the Blogiverse. Those who are new to Dr. Possum's tremendous braininess might wonder why he, of all people (or marsupials) is more qualified than anyone else to answer questions. Dr. Possum (although by all rights he should thrash you for your impudence) kindly notes that he is the world's leading expert on every topic, real or imagined, including such subjects of math, literature, shopping carts, nucular physics, medicine, and women's foundation garments.
SO FEAR NOT--ask anything you wish in the comments below, and Dr. Possum* will see to it that you are given an expeditious and satisfying answer!*Continue reading "Ask Dr. Possum!"
In other, other celebrity news...
In other celebrity news...
Gosh, it's almost like...
If ever there was a species that needed a better media advisor...
It's almost like the guy who named it had some sort of personal grudge or something.
(I just read the article, and it says the eggs were infertile. That's gonna be one great big omelet!)
Oh, come on, now!
You know, for a smart guy, that Dr. Weevil (brother of famed NASA rocket scientist Steevil) sure is out of touch with history. He says this:Evidence? EVIDENCE!? Come now, Doctor--it was in the newspaper! What more sort of proof do you need!? And you have to admit, the Greeks didn't go and build a giant wooden badger to hide in, now did they? Of course not.
Now, there are some sites, such as this one, that aren't very inventive and creative, and say that the breed can be traced back only to the Norman Conquest, but obviously, the site isn't written by a journalist, and therefore can't be trusted to provide high quality information.
And now, the next thing.
Last night was Catherine's first night of cheerleading clinic. She's decided she wants to cheer for our local youth football squad, just like her sisters before her, and has been looking forward to this for months now. Got her to the gym at the old elementary school, and it was like someone had kicked over a fire ant hill. What looked like several million little girls in red, all scrambling everywhere at once. The various team moms and sponsors and wranglers and the cheerleaders from the high school got them into smaller piles, and we were finally able to find Cat's group and get her situated. I gave her a quick kiss and made my exit, although I probably could have stayed, but it was too hot, too loud, too frenzied, and there were too many firm young high school cheerleaders with long tan legs.
Came back at 8:00, and the chaos and pandemonium had only partially abated. How do they ever get anything done!? But, they seemed to have learned something, and they went through a couple of little routines before dismissing, and aside from not being able to jump very high, Cat did quite well, and was full of the manic glee she does so well when she's doing something she enjoys.
Tonight, same thing again.
July 23, 2007
What liberal media!?
And golly gee--it's not at all what I thought!
For some reason, I imagine the next few hours were like that scene from Airplane, when Lloyd Bridges as Steve McCroskey says, "Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up sniffing glue."
Not that there's anything wrong with that...
Daily Grooming Tip!
Don't bring spinach dip to work if your job requires you to talk to people face-to-face.
Oh, and for you Harry Potter fans...
I've never read more than a few pages of any of the books, and have no real desire to! I'm sorry to have misled any of you with my earlier postings of spoilers from the last book, but as I suspected when I wrote them, I now have confirmation that no characters from The Andy Griffith Show actually appear in this, or any of the other books.
Okay, you asked for it!
Or at least didn't violently object.
SO, here's the wrap-up, one so weak and thin and worthless that I would be embarrassed to publish it were it not so much more robust and hearty than all the other crap I've ever posted.
Time again for the cat's annual checkup. Given his behavior last year, in which he sliced open the vet tech's arms like some sort of crazed vivisectionist, we were much more cautious this year and didn't let him out of his carrier to roam around the exam room and get all agitated.
Got to the office, and there was some doofus guy there with two morbidly obese, yet intensely hyperactive golden retrievers who were all over the place panting and wheezing and whining and slobbering. I turned the door of the cat carrier around toward the wall to keep Lightning from getting too freaked out. Not that he was--he seemed calm for the most part.
Got to a room, sat for a moment and then the young lady came in to start the exam. After a lengthy warning about how last year he'd sliced open the vet tech's arms like some sort of crazed vivisectionist, she cautiously drew him out and petted him and he was as docile as possible under the circumstances. She took him out to another room to get a fecal sample, and brought him right back a minute or two later. Aside from his wide-eyed humiliation, he had remained calm. She placed him on the scale and he sat nice and still--10 pounds, 2 ounces.
The doctor came in and introduced himself to us (it was Middle Girl and I making the trip) and after a lengthy warning about how last year he'd sliced open the vet tech's arms like some sort of crazed vivisectionist, he started feeling of Lightning's head and ears and body and stuff, then gave him two quick needle stabs. Aside from a slight mrAWL!, there was no more drama. Thank goodness.
Took Rebecca on up to PetSmart for her day of animal shelter volunteerism (she's been doing this for several weeks now and had enjoyed it--I think), then dropped by the bank to get monies to pay the vet, then went back toward town.
Up until then, Lightning had been very quiet, but about halfway back, he started a near continous cat-yammering. Not sure why. I kept telling him we'd be home soon enough, but it's like he doesn't understand English or something.
Drove on, listening to the catcophany, parked at the vet, ran in and paid, and came right back out to a silent kitty.
"Hmm, that's odd, Cat. I..."
"I hope you weren't having to go to the litter box!"
He didn't say anything, but when I got in and closed the door, he let me know in his own odiferous way that he had indeed decided to use the carrier as a makeshift toilet. Rolled all the windows down and headed up the hill to the house.
Got home, let him loose, and retrieved the towel we'd put in there at the very last minute before we'd left home. Didn't seem like much of anything, until I figured out he'd buried everything inside the towel. ::sigh::
Time for kitty cleanup. Washed out his carrier, washed down his pen, emptied his litter box, gave him clean food and water, and then spent the next half-hour trying to coax him back out of various neighbor's fenced-in back yards so I could get on with my next task...
Finally decided it was time to cut back the wisteria, since it was about to strangle anything within 20 feet of the plants, including the giant sweet gum it stands closest to. Stuff is scary--there were two big tendrils of the junk growing across the ground toward the neighbor's fence, and long dangly arms reaching out nearly 10 feet to grab onto Rebecca's sycamore tree. It grows up and out and down and across worse than anything I've ever seen, and that includes kudzu.
Pulled and yanked and cut and ripped and finally got most of the long stuff pulled free, and it's still wooly and snaky-looking enough to be almost decorative. Also pulled down some poison oak and poison ivy, which is almost as pernicious, and with the added drama of, well, poison. That done (and again, interspersed with trying to get the cat to come close enough to catch) also got some produce out of the garden--three gigantically round, but oddly short cucumbers. They look almost like baseballs. Also got four green beans, and a pepper and a tomato. We seem to have discovered the secret for cucumbers--nothing else has come close in productivity. Except for maybe Jonathan's pear tree, which has managed to endure both a late freeze AND a drought this year. Not as many this year, but what grew look very fine and plump.
AND NOW, the main event! Mowing the pasture. My next-door neighbor with the barking dog had gotten out early and cut his, and neglected to set his wheels up higher, leaving big piles of grass and scalped places everywhere. Well, not me, not this time. I set mine up a couple of inches, not really enough to cut it as close as it needs, but enough to make it nice and even and still green. Even with that, it still took twice as long to cut the front as it usually does. There were patches that were close to a foot high.
Amazing what a little water can do.
And that was it for the outdoor work. I had really, REALLY wanted to try to work on the Volvo's still-cockeyed rear bumper, but I was too hot and tired to lie on hot concrete and play with that. For Larry "Free Mercedes" Anderson's benefit, the insurance stuff is still up in the air. If I accept their money, I'm responsible for reporting it to the state and go through that whole salvage title thing. I just can't do that. It's too much hassle, and even if there's really no way the state could ever track me down and enforce its own silly law if I decided NOT to report it, I'd still have it on my conscience. We really need the money, but I'd rather not be on the wrong side of the law. So, looks like unless they're willing to work with me on some way to pay me LESS than they think it's worth, I'm going to have to wind up just dropping the claim and being out the money. ::sigh::
They say having a clear conscience like that makes it easier to sleep, but don't believe 'em. Either that, or I've got something else making me have a guilty conscience
Two different nights, two different sets of bizarro dreams, no details of which I wish to recite here, aside from the fact that in both I hanging around with a bunch of college kids (even though in the dream I was the age I am now) and most shockingly bizarre of all, I seemed to attract an inordinate amount of attention from the co-eds, despite my exceedingly advanced years.
I blame global warming, or possibly those cucumbers, which are definitely not the burpless kind.
Well, well, well.
So you came back for more, eh?
ANYway, now that your here, what more do you want? A rousing tale of lawn maintenance? A right ripping yarn about taking the cat to the vet? Recitations of deeply disturbing dreams? Violent gardening imagery?
"ALL" you say!?
Okeedoke. Gimme a few minutes (which will obviously be interrupted by staff meeting) and I'll see what I can make up.
July 20, 2007
Hey! Another Surprise Visit!
And just as short and meaningless as the other two!
Including the extraneous used of exclamation points!
Why, it's almost more than my tiny bureaucrat brain can handle!
Anyway, just in case I'm not able to get another parole before the day's over, all of you have a fun weekend. Me? I'll be cutting grass, and taking Lightning, The World's Most Expensive Free Former Kitten to the doctor for his annual checkup and butt-needling. Let me throw in another exclamation point for that one. "!"
I got an hour reprieve!
Time for lunch, and then afterwards, more mindless sitting and thumb-twiddling while I sit around reading the newpaper and waiting for the phones to ring!
Reporting for Duty!
Desk duty, that is. It's my time in the rotation, and it just so happens that today the secretary will be out pretty much the entire day. Which means no inane chatter and silly blithering for YOU today. Or at least not a whole lot.
July 19, 2007
On the radio at the moment...
Bill Monroe, "Blue Moon of Kentucky."
He sure could sing and play.
On the bright side, none of them had anything to do with spelling.
"I am shocked! SHOCKED..."
Let no one ever doubt their strength and determination.
Yeah, I know--hard to believe. Vandals attack man's Hummer, leave note
I suppose that whole "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" thing has its limits, eh? Sure. Maybe these good, non-violence-espousing citizens of northwest D.C. feel much more comfortable living by that old Japanese proverb, "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down." Because obviously that guy got what he had coming, right? Right.
I just hope when his smart progressive neighbors get their due, they take it without complaint.
I feel queasy.
No, not from the last story, from this little advertising header in my Gmail spam file: "Combine grapes, spam, peapods and onions in large bowl..."
Never fear, MINE aren't!'the narrative was right, but the facts were wrong.' Okay, now this is where they're just flat wrong.
I can safely say that Possumblog Kitchens' New Chinese Tiny Morsel Hi-Fiber Buns have only the tiniest of cardboard fibers, virtually invisible to the naked eye (assuming they are closed) and are so soft and tender that they could be chewed by toothless 100-year-old crones with absolutely no difficulty whatsoever!
Try them today! Now with the great flavors of either brown or white cardboard!
Not to be cruel, but...
Anyway, on a related note, I think after reading some more in the book, I am also shocked about the death of....
Architectural Term of the Day!I had a bad case of the cloisters once.
ANYWAY, here's an image of the elusive slype, this one coming to us from Peterborough, England:
Quote of the Day.
Count me among most people.
It seems The Price Is Right has had a big surge of popularity today and now leads in the polling, with Jeopardy! coming in with only slight more than half as many votes. Somewhat surprising, since to me, TPIR isn't as much fun as it used to be. Bob seems awfully tetchy these days--grumbly and unnecessarily sarcastic, almost like he's auditioning for Happy Gilmore, II. I always make a point of watching it when I'm off from work during the week, but I still don't think much of it as a game show.
More surprising is that no one has picked Wheel of Fortune. Maybe I'm prejudiced because I have actually held in my hand a makeup sponge that was used to apply makeup to Vanna White's person, but even if I hadn't, it still seems as though it would have gotten at least a few votes.
UPDATE: Seems the power of suggestion is still a strong motivator! Just checked and see that WoF now has a vote! Remember, ever time you vote for Wheel, an angel gets a free spin.
Perpetuating the Stereotype, Volume 3,910
This time at the Slap-Happiest Place on Earth!
Biggest surprise? There is no mention of alcohol.
Anyway, the biggest surprise I've found so far in the latest and last Harry Potter book?
SPOILER ALERT--Answer below the jump...Continue reading "You say..."
Dern it all.
Why couldn't I have thought of this!? (Aside from being a moron.)
It's such a clever scheme, although I do have to agree that "food miles" is rather silly. If you're gonna do real units of measure (as opposed to silly made-up French ones) a much better measure would be "food furlongs" simply for the alliterative appeal. If you just MUST have something with a Continental feel about it, maybe something like mangia miglia. If you can't resist metricizing it, Kibble Kilometers would work--it has alliteration, the inherent comedy of SI units, and the hard-K sound favored by krazy komiks from Kalamazoo to Kalgoorlie to Katmandu. (You know, the hard-K sound found in a duck's kwak is one of the reasons that the duck the best animal to use for for elevating a subject's humor quotient.)
ANYway, I've got to come up with some sort of virtue/vice-offset scheme that people will pay me for.
July 18, 2007
The other day, when I was...
...contemplating the myriad ways I could attempt to amass a large sum of cash with as little effort as possible, my mind began to wander. Which is dangerous. In any event, I wondered if the Powers That Be would allow someone to attempt to be on every TV network quiz show. I figured probably not, but it would be fun to try. Then I tried to figure out which one, if I had to limit myself, would I most like to try. Although I love watching Jeopardy!, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is probably better for racking up a sizeable amount of dough in a short period of time, and you're not having to compete against anyone head to head, and you get an unlimited amount of time to agonize. And Meredith Vieira looks a whole lot better in a skirt than Alex Trebeck. (I'm assuming.)
Anyway, which show would YOU most like to be on?
Other things you learn from working on cars.
Gosh, who'd a thunk it?
I'm sure Muqtada al-Sadr and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar al-Assad and various self-detonating Paradise-seeking jihadis appreciated Harry Reid's efforts on their behalf.
You can't keep a good man down.
Steevil, in conjunction with the post yesterday about the press' fascination with stories of a stinky nature, sent me a link to an article about an archaeology team excavating some 19th century privies in California. Interesting finds, indeed:Ah, yes, the buoy knife, named after famed Alamo fighter and cork-filled channel marker, Jim Buoy.
Now, in fairness to the AP, subsequent versions of the story were updated (without noting the correction) to remove the word "buoy," and then even later versions had gotten around to substituting "bowie." Maybe later follow-up subsequent updated versions will get around to capitalizing Bowie. (Ah--indeed they have! Although, again to be fair, bowie can be something of a generic term.) Anyway, the article above from USATODAY is one of the few versions floating around with the original humorous version of verbiage.
Now if people could only figure out what a Bowie knife actually looks like--one version of the AP story came with pictures, and the knife shown looks nothing like a Bowie knife. Maybe there's another knife they're talking about, but the general level of expertise of the writing team kinda makes me doubt anyone knows much of anything about anything.
Anyway, if you read the whole story, you also get to run across this corker:Uh, not so fast, there Sparky. "Crime scene"? Look, doof, just finding a knife in a privy doesn't mean it was used to kill anything, and moreover, even if it was used for killing two dogs, killing a dog wasn't a crime back then. Second, if someone was up to mischief, why dump the dogs' heads in the privy? What about the bodies? Are you telling me the womenfolk back then would not be so indelicate as to note two headless dogs roaming the streets? If they were going to do anything, they would've just buried the animals and not gone to the trouble of cutting off their heads. What, do you think the "perps" were afraid someone would check dental records!? And why would he assume the dogs belonged to women? And why would he assume it wasn't women who did the killing?
Archaeology can tell you a lot about the way people lived in the past, but it works better if you can resist the urge to play like some cut-rate investigator from CSI-Ventura. People threw all sorts of stuff down the privy, as well as dropped things by accident, as well as disposed of various offal and viscera and every other thing. Best not to read too much into what you find until after you've done a bit more lab work.
I never thought I would say this, but...
...the Sacagawea dollar coin was very nice.
However, this is only because it has been surpassed in crappiness by the new dollar coin.
I had to stop and get stamps this morning, and the machine spit back out two of the new Presidential dollars as part of the change. Now, for all the insipid, new-agey touchifeeliness of the Sacagawea coin (Indian woman with a BABY! Ooooh, fer KUUUUTE!), it did at least look like some form of actual currency.
When these two new coins were retrieved from the chute, I honestly thought that they must be some sort of new Postal Service stamp tokens.
The reverse of the coin, which the Mint breathlessly describes as having a "striking rendition of the Statue of Liberty" simply looks cheap.
Sorry, Guy Who Designed It, but that's my opinion.
The off-center, 3/4 profile Liberty with the $1 bug sniffing her armpit looks slapped together by one of those weird little countries that puts Elvis on their coins. There's too much dead space in the composition, and as I have continually railed against, anything other than a profile or full face on a coin looks absolutely stupid. Low bas-relief does not allow the subtle shading that shows up on the proof-sketch versions of coins. Yes, it works fine on paper currency (and on stamps) because you're able to use engraving to get incredibly fine detail and shading, but it does NOT translate to coins with their variable shininess and the tiny amount of actual relief that can be struck.
Same thing with the front image, in this case of John Adams.
The sketch image looks okay, but in the three-dimensional world, he winds up looking like Porky Pig. Look, if you're going to insist on designing coins as 2-D paintings rather than as 3-D sculptures, it'd be better to come up with some way to apply a painting on the face of the coin. Which is a stupid idea, but no worse than trying to make American currency some sort of silly collectible memento like one of those "railroad penny" machines at the arcade or a Naughty Nellie from the service station restroom.
And again, the same gripe with the back applies to the obverse as well, with the relatively huge amount of "white" space around the image making it look like a bigger picture was out of the budget. Of course, the stuff that usually fills in the white space--date, mint mark, and motto--is now moved to the special incused edge. OOoooohh--edge incusing! Yet another lame idea--it's illegible without a magnifying glass, in circulation it'll get worn off quickly, and it serves absolutely no purpose at all. It's not big enough to be decorative, it doesn't have any "feel" to it like reeding.
And finally, this "golden" color thing must go. In circulation, these coins get ratty-looking quickly, adding to their aura of tokeny cheapness.
I'm tired of this. I don't want my money to have the feel of a souvenir. I have no desire for it to be used as a changing billboard of decorator-inspired kitsch to satisfy some Mint mugwump's desire to emulate the success of the stamp-collecting set. Look, when you decide to commemorate everything, nothing is special anymore. How much longer will it be before the Mint comes up with some way for each person to have his or her own image on a quarter or a nickle? I mean, if it was almost good enough for the Post Office, can the Mint be far behind?
Nothing like a little jolt of humor to set the day going!
He's gonna kill terrorists bare-handed AND keep his hair shiny and manageable!
July 17, 2007
...I was gonna go home this afternoon and cut grass, because it's now 83 feet high from all the nice rain we've had the past couple of weeks.
But it's raining again.
Drat--I might just have to go home and not do anything.
Well, of course...
...it's obvious that it's really only successful when the bear admits he's got a problem.
Y'know, if I was a professional journalist, I think I would get tired of having to write another story about some blooming plant of some sort that smells either like rotting meat or like smelly feet. Every few months it seems like there's another story that hits the news feeds about one of these plants, and I just can't see why anyone would care, or want to read more than one story about a foul-smelling plant.
Oh well--I guess that's why I'm not cut out for such work.
"Yeah, that's the ticket!"
Gotta say that as much as I disagree with those who engage in recreational drinking and fisticuffs, there are some awfully sorry people in this world who deserve the pain and embarrassment of getting whupped up on by Jon Lovitz.
Why I'm glad I have a very large and hard head.
I agree with the commentors.
This is obviously the sort of behavior one must expect when your husband's in and out of jail.
Well, it makes perfect sense to me!
Famed NASA rocket scientist and man about town Steevil sends along a link to an article from one of his local papers, which Steevil says is called by locals the "Crab Wrapper" for printing such phrases as this--"[...] actually based on a real-life 19th-century legend. [...]"
Tsk-tsk--Steevil is obviously not aware of just how important reality is when it comes to legends.
(Oh, and by way of full disclosure, Possumblog is actually based on a real-life 17th century fable.)
My guess is the Teamsters probably have something to do with it.
Should anyone ever doubt their determination to surrender.
Gosh, if the Copperheads had been this energetic, we might still have a Confederacy.
Mean What You Say, Say What You Mean
Boy, that would put politicians out of business. ANYway, a good little article from Ad Age's Eric Webber on the benefits of plain-speaking.Of course, you could also take the Possumblog Path, which is to embrace the liberation that comes from realizing the complete and utter pointlessness of what you have to say.
Saaaay--that's pretty interesting!
If you're down in Auburn tomorrow, you might want to check this out: Estimating Project Volatility using Monte Carlo Simulation in Real Options Analysis
Stuff like this is really interesting to me, because I drove a '72 Monte Carlo in high school.
Things you learn while working on cars.
1. If you're crawling underneath a car, be aware that there are all sorts of little flying bugs that don't get high up off the ground. If one of them flies into your ear, it's best not to try to poke it with your finger if that finger is covered up with dirty black grease.
2. If you crawl out from under a car all sweaty and grease-eared with your mop of hair hanging down and plastered to your forehead, and your son comes up to you and says, "Hey, Dad! Your hair looks cool combed down like that!" don't believe him.
3. If after your labors and travails are completed and you walk into the kitchen looking like this:
...and your daughter comes running up with a big grin on her face and lets you in on the secret that Mommy thinks you look sexy when you've been doing manly mechanicking work and are all hot and sweaty and greasy-eared, don't put much stock in it. Yes, she probably does get a little flutter when in the presence of a goaty-smelling he-man, but this is only in the abstract. Were you to attempt to clutch Mommy's bits and pieces with your besmutted meathooks, she will slap at you and tell you that you're dirty and stinky.
BUT, at least the car is now operational again, with a new center bearing and center bearing bushing, and center bearing support spring, and center bearing support spring cup washer. Downside? Well, there's still a lot of growling noise, which is probably the result of a bad bearing in the end of the transmission.
But that's a task for another day.
July 16, 2007
Well, yes, you did mess up.
Called IPD, got the guy I ordered from last Friday.
"Let me see...uhhmmm, sir, yes, I'm afraid I'm the one to blame for that. Usually we fill in any special instructions to the warehouse, and I didn't put Saturday delivery on there. I apologize for that, and I'll refund the extra charge to you right now."
Which is good customer service. Not truly great customer service--which would have entailed the company trying to find some way of making up for the added inconvenience that their mess-up caused me--but, still, good. And I suppose good enough to not make me swear them off forever.
But next time I'm going to be more careful.
So, who is this Murphy guy, and who let him make the law?
Remember from my suprise Friday post about that extra dough I paid for Saturday delivery for my bearing and rubber donut?
Well, apparently everyone forgot about it. Oh, it got next day air service alright--and it landed at the Birmingham airport at 6:48 Saturday morning. And sat there. And despite my best efforts to let the UPS hub come let me pick it up there, they came up with every excuse under the sun to say no. So all day Saturday, and all day Sunday my car sat up on the stands, its little half driveshaft dangling underneath, while the part to fix it waited ten miles away.
Now I've picked up stuff there before, so it's not like it's impossible. But the guy kept saying, "Well, they're not going to unload a plane for just one package."
No, but they had to unload the plane, right?
They're not going to let a fully loaded plane sit on the apron until today, are they?
No, they unloaded it, and it was routed to the proper delivery rack, where it sat until today. It's on the truck right now, as a matter of fact, speeding its way to my house where I will retrieve it this afternoon. You know, rather than on Saturday. When I could probably have picked it up at the airport, only about 15 minutes away from the house, if the UPS guy had actually been interested in doing a customer a favor, rather than sitting around reading the latest issue of Swank.
Of course, I'm peeved at IPD as well, since I stressed how much I wanted to be able to drive my car today, and told them explicitly I wanted it delivered on Saturday, and I was more than willing to pay extra for that service.
SO, I was left this weekend with not much else to do except run errands. Grass? Oh, you better believe it needed cutting, but the OTHER thing that kept cropping up all weekend was rain. It never got dry enough to mow, but that I'm not going to complain about, seeing as how a drought makes you glad you've got some rain. But still, I would like to have done something that felt like actual progress, rather than busywork. I do, after all, have a job for that type of thing.
ANYWAY, speaking of job, I have a lot to do today, and so I'm not going to get to play much. Boy has YET ANOTHER trip to the orthodontist to replace that stinkin' rubber band on the tooth they're trying to pull down, and since Reba and I are riding together today, I also have to come back and pick her up after work, and there's other sorts of running around I have to do today, and did I mention I'm peeved? Well, I am.
SO, to work with me, and the rest of you get out there and explore the blogroll until I get back!
July 13, 2007
Okay, so there's something to this Friday the 13th stuff.
The plan yesterday was to scoot home and get the car jacked up and the driveshaft pulled and the bearing off and maybe get the new one put back on, or maybe get it done this morning.
See, I was real smart like and looked on the weather radar and saw some rain headed this way out of the west. The weather forecast said it would be here sometime around mid-day today, and I didn't want to have to wait until Saturday to get it finished.
AND EVEN BETTER--the parts had arrived right on time and were waiting on me when I got home!
Got my work clothes on, ran outside, and began earnestly and vigorously jacking up the car. In the front, a set of giant ramps my Dad made from locomotive parts (well, almost--1/8 inch solid steel plate and 3/16 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 angle iron) but since they're so high, I had to jack the front up a bit, then slide them under the tires. Of course, the jack won't go high enough to get the ramps all the way under the tires, so I had to drive the rest of the way up. Which is nerve-wracking, because if you drive off the end, it's A Bad Thing.
But, this time, no problem. Put a wedge behind each of the tires and hammered it in, and set about to raise up the rear end. After much calisthenics, I managed to get the rear axle up high enough to set the iron jack stands my Dad had made, also made from locomotive parts. (The ramps and stands could hold up a dump truck.)
That done, time to get that shaft loose. I skritched underneath with my crappy creeper, and saw for the first time just how bad the center bearing support had worn out. Basically, nothing but rubber crumbs. Marked the driveshaft so I'd put it back right, unbolted the four bolts from the differential flange, and dropped the shaft gently across my Adam's apple, managing not to completely throttle myself. Although I did wind up with a lovely smear of dirty grease as a necklace.
Pulled the shaft gingerly out of the end of the other driveshaft, laid it inside the garage. Pulled loose the bearing support, dropped it down, and at that point began to feel a bad feeling. That hunk of rubber looked awfully biggish. And the new one I'd just gotten seemed awfully smallish in comparison.
Walked into the kitchen covered in black grease and got the new part--sure enough, my driveshaft is of the 2 inch variety, rather than the 1 3/4 inch variety. My new parts? Useless. One tiny little quarter of an inch sure does make a BIG difference.
Kicked myself for not taking the advice of the parts guy out in Portland--"Order both, and then send back the one you don't need." Pish-posh, said I. No need for that.
Because I am a moron.
Well, the quickest thing was to do what I was going to do before I ordered the wrong parts--go to NAPA this morning and get the bigger bearing and bearing support. Also, decided to go to the Volvo dealer to pick up a little rubber bellows that goes around the joint where the shafts connect. This was missing completely and keeps dirt and water out of the connection.
ANYway, I went to the shop down at the foot of the hill this morning, and got the bearing. They didn't have the big rubber donut there, but it was available at the main distribution center in Birmingham. Got in the car, and raced over to the seedy industrial part of town where stray bullets sprinkle down from the sky like cherry blossoms. Got there, finally was able to make the guy understand what I needed, and he said it would be just a minute while they pulled it from the warehouse.
Was accosted by a talkative fellow who works out at the airport and had come in for a starter. Heard all about the fence he had built, the hassle with the neighbors, the NEW fence he had to start building, the above-ground pool he made in the backyard, the fact that it's 8 inches too low on one side, his plans for fixing it, his wife's craft room he had to stop working on to work on the fence and the pool--THIRTY SOLID MINUTES of him talking a blue streak, with me wanly nodding in assent and offering the occasional "Hmm" or "Well" or "I tell you what." The parts guy kept calling back to see what the holdup was, and finally became so exasperated that he went to pull the part himself.
Fence Guy kept right on talking, got his starter, paid, kept talking, and talked his way right out the door.
Parts Guy came back with a rubber donut. Same size as the one that doesn't fit. "No, this one's not the right one."
"Well, we had two back there like this, which is they couldn't find the one I'd called back for, and so they didn't know what to do, but I brought this one out just in case it was the right one. We can order it for you. Be here next week sometime."
I'd only wasted an hour.
Maybe the Volvo dealer has one! I tried to call from there, but couldn't get them. Dang.
ON TO VESTAVIA!!
Got there, walked in, had to make the guy understand what I wanted, finally got the part number. "Uhh, no sir, we don't have that in stock, but we can order it. Be here on Monday." They didn't have the little rubber bellows in stock, either.
Well fart. I need to work on this TODAY (or tomorrow). The only way I could possibly make this work is for the folks in Portland to next-day the parts to me.
I am a moron.
Headed home, saw a flock of four wild turkeys standing alongside the Interstate around Liberty Park, wondered where their car was, got back to Grandma's house to pick up the kids (who'd been over there while I chased parts) and wound up back at NAPA to return the bearing I'd bought first thing this morning.
Got home, and the rain started. Looked outside and saw Sarah the Bunny eating birdseed off the ground. Called the place in Portland, got a return authorization, ordered the other set of parts, paid extra for the next day shipping, and kicked myself for being a moron. Repacked my too-little parts, went to the UPS store in an increasingly heavy rain and sent them back.
Made lunch, got supper started, and began to reconsider my previous decision to not be superstitious about silly things like Friday the 13th. The only bright spot? Even with paying for three different shipping fees, my parts from Portland are still going to be cheaper if I'd bought the stuff here. But I dare not make too big a deal out of that. Never know what sort of bad juju that might unleash.
ANYway, see you all on Monday!
July 12, 2007
Friday the 13th
It frightens me so much that I intend to stay home tomorrow and work on my car!
No, really. Well, not the part about being frightened--the part about staying home and working on the car. I'm taking my annual personal day, and gonna blow it crawling underneath the bottom of a greasy lump of Swedish iron to change out my driveshaft bearing.
No, I don't know why they built it with a two-piece driveshaft like some sort of dump truck or something. No, I don't know why they can't make something that'll last longer than 240,000 miles. No, I don't know if I've actually ordered the right sized bearing or not. No, I'm not sure the kids would ever even know about it if the car falls off the jackstands and crushes me like a big fat possum. No, I've never done this type of repair before.
But despite all that, and despite any lingering triskaidekaphobia I might harbor, it's still nice to play hooky for a day.
SO, all of you have fun tomorrow, and I will try to do the same, and then Lord willing and the car don't fall on me, we'll all get together again on Monday next and chat about things some more.
Okay, that was weird.
And for some reason, I just now decided to notice.
Anyway, I went to my meeting this morning and pulled into a parallel spot on the street, right behind a guy in a Crown Vic with Cobb County, Georgia plates. He was out of his car on the sidewalk, and when I pulled up he raised his hand, almost like he was warning me about something. I didn't think too much about it, since he was bespectacled and wearing a tie and carrying a nice notebook and driving an old man car, so I put the car in park and was about to get out when he came back and said, "I just put money in that meter, and this one's not working--could you back up?"
I didn't think anything about it, and since there was one more space behind me, I just backed up and parked there, and then he backed up from the space he'd been in to the one he wanted me to move out of. We both got out and he thanked me as I put a quarter in the meter, but it just now occurred to me exactly how peculiar the whole thing was.
Why would you pull into a parking space, put money in the meter, then get back in and pull forward one space? And once you got THAT space, why would you worry about a parking meter that's on the fritz? If it's not working, you don't have to plug it.
People are strange.
Beating up on Shallow Hal.
On the way home yesterday, I saw a car with a Ron Paul bumper sticker. Yes, believe it or not.
But something about it seemed...odd. And then it began to dawn on me--first of all, the sticker was on the left side of the bumper. Second, it was applied so that the left side of the sticker was higher than the right. And the color of the car? Red.
Obviously, this means that the entire Ron Paul candidacy is nothing but a shadowy Communist conspiracy! The goal? To take over the MOON! It's no coincidence that the first two of the anagrams of "Ron Paul" are "Plan Our" and "Lunar Op."
Just remember, you've been warned!
Oh, come on--it's just a little cellulose!
Anyway, you know, I think most people would be more repulsed if they knew exactly what sort of "fatty meat' was being used, given the Asian predilection for consuming the flesh of a wide variety of undomesticated animals.
All I can say is you can rest assured our new Chinese Tiny Morsel Hi-Fiber Buns will be made with only the finest manatee.
Gosh, where's Lloyd Bentsen when you need him!?
Anyway, no one (well, no one with any common sense) is begrudging him his days at the beauty parlor, or begrudging him his money. What strikes some folks (including me) the wrong way is that he constantly rails against the rich (of which, he is one) and has constantly tried to misrepresent the amount of wealth he DOES have (by going about preaching his faux-populist, po' millworker's son schtick) without the slightest sense that he understands why anyone would object. If you're going to vilify those with money, don't be surprised when people point out how rich you are.
And back to this thing with the haircuts--if he's suddenly decided to be proud of his Kennedy-esque wealth and a newfound noblesse-oblige, why has he felt it necessary to make his campaign pay for his haircuts? Why not just grab one of his big sacks of gold coins and toss a few ducats to the stylists?
Because his sin is not in being rich, it's in being a venal little twit.
Aside from starting to sweat...
...that wasn't so bad. And if you're predisposed to producing a large volume of sweat, and you're going to have to have an outdoor meeting, it's a whole lot better to be out there in the morning than in the afternoon. So, you know, it all worked out well enough.
NOW THEN--SOMETHING INTERESTING BETTER HAPPEN QUICKLY!
Okay, well, this isn't an auspicious start.
I had my hopes all built up for an interesting day, but it looks like the first few hours are going to be completely work-related. Got to go look at some stuff a few blocks away, and despite the fact that it deals with something I like (old buildings) it's still a meeting, with people (and you know how THEY are), and it's one of those where I'm subbing for my boss, and my only briefing beforehand was that I needed to show up.
Let's just hope something comes out of it worth blogging about!
July 11, 2007
Maybe tomorrow will be more interesting.
By then, all of the huge host of people who visit Possumblog from the other side of the International Date Line (and those odd people who stay up late reading Possumblog) will have left their suggestions for the finale of your bedtime story!
Which seems a bit off, seeing as how those of you on this side of the line will have to wait until tomorrow to see how it ends, and you're probably gonna be up all night worrying about Hoppy and stuff, and then you'll probably get up and come wake me up and tell me you're thirsty, and I'll tell you to go back to bed, and then you'll pout, and then trip over the stuff in the floor, and then start crying, and then I'll have to sing to you, and just to annoy you I'll have to sing like Slim Whitman, and then you'll be even more upset.
Oh well--such is life.
ANYway, see you all tomorrow!
It being so slow today, let's do something that I used to do with my kids--make up a story as we go along!
We'll do it like this: I'll start off with some introductory stuff, and then pause. The first person who comments gets to pick the word or phrase to go in the spot, and then we continue on like that with various stops and starts until we've told a story and you're good and tired and ready to go to sleep!
AND NOW, YOUR BEDTIME STORY.
Once upon a time (as all good stories begin), there was a very large Kangaroo, hopping merrily along his way. As he hopped, he carried with him a very large pair of cymbals. He hopped and banged and crashed and hopped and clanged, making a most fearsome noise!
He had just rounded the corner onto Main Street when he saw--or more accurately--heard the thundering, thumping, window-rattling thud of a bass cannon-equipped hoopty, even though it was allllllll the way down at the other end of Main Street.
It got closer, and closer, and closer, and then pulled up and stopped right in front of the kangaroo! Inside the car were twelve drummers drumming, and they continued to drum away in time with the music booming from the car! SUCH A RACKET THEY MADE!
They drummers saw the kangaroo, and one of them leaned out the window and said to the kangaroo, "What's YOUR name?" The kangaroo looked at them with a very puzzled look, and said "What'd you say?! I can't hear you!"
It was a very odd scene, what with a cymbal-carrying kangaroo conversing with a caboodle of cacophonic kids!
The drummer who asked the kangaroo his name couldn't hear the kangaroo say that he couldn't hear what the drummer said, and so he turned down the radio (since he knew no one else would be able to hear him if he told someone else to do it) and then started swatting everyone to make them quit their drum-banging so he could hear the kangaroo.
"Hi, Kangaroo," the drummer said, "what is your name?" The kangaroo, even though his long ears were still ringing, heard the question. He sat back on his long rubbery haunches, rubbed his furry little chin and said "My name is Lonnie!"
Well, not really, but that's what he tells strangers.
His parents named him "Hoppy" and he just hates it.
But with this load of suspicious noisy drummers, Hoppy, or Lonnie, figured he'd never seen anything quite so strange, and figured now was as good a time as any to use a name he liked. So Lonnie it was.
"Hi, there, Lonnie! Look, Lonnie, we're lost and were wondering if you could tell us how to get to San Jose? That's where they're having the nearest drum and bugle corps contest, you know."
Hoppy wasn't so sure about this--not only were there no towns called San Jose anywhere near, the drummers didn't have a single bugler in the car. Something about the situation made Hoppy's little black nose twitch (which he hated more than being called Hoppy).
It was right then and there that Hoppy decided to [Something good, I hope!]...
WE INTERRUPT THIS BEDTIME STORY FOR SOME ACTUAL NEWS: Giant badgers terrorise Iraqi port city
Friends, that's no badger--IT'S CHUPACABRA!! Or Manbearpig. Or Batboy.
Jim Smith sent me that, because he knows I'm a sucker for stories about giant flesh-eating, monkey-faced badgers.
Anyway, now back to the EXCITING! ENDING! OF! your bedtime story!
It was right then and there that Hoppy decided to take off the kangaroo suit, stop hopping around like a moron and get on with life as Mr Robert H. R. Johansson of 15 Elder Parade, Essendon; a plumbing supplies merchant and aspiring political candidate!
WOW! Didn't see that one coming!
Thanks to all who participated in the Storytime for yesterday/today and I hope it helps you as you sail off to Slumberland. Or someplace similar.
I question the timing.
New dictionary includes 'ginormous' AP - Tue Jul 10, 7:33 PM ET
Rare giant squid washed up in Australia Reuters - Wed Jul 11, 1:59 AM ET
Yes, you can once again get your fresh hot moronic offerings again! Problem is, it's been an awful uninteresting morning, so there's not actually very much to talk about.
That is, unless YOU have something YOU want to talk about!
What's on your mind this morning?
July 10, 2007
Oh, THAT again.
Yep--once more I have to venture forth and have my regular off-campus meeting tomorrow, so you'll all have to wait for a while for your usual ration of stupidity. Unless you want to browse through the archives, which are chock full of it.
Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!
It's been a while, so let's look at...A slightly more detailed definition with a drawing can be found here.
Hello to all of our recent visitors from:
Saint Louis, Missouri
Weehawken, New Jersey
La Mancha, Canarias, Spain
Sioux City, Iowa
Nijmegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
San Antonio, Texas
Sugar Loaf, New York
Greenville, North Carolina
London, Lambeth, UK
Arroyo Grande, California
Greenville, North Carolina
Mountain View, California
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(2:00 in the afternoon isn't really the best time to catch all those international visitors, but rest assured you're being said 'hey' to, also!)
It never fails to unnerve me...
...when people get here by searching on my name.
Thank heavens this is all nothing more than a clever ruse, being that I'm actually someone else, and you don't really know who I am.
Uh-Oh. Gonna be trouble.
THIS JUST IN: Baptists go on rampage, vow to invade Catholic neighborhoods and invite people to Vacation Bible School
Episcopalians call for holy war, leaders say will take local Catholic priests out for game of golf with loser buying drinks
Lutherans outraged, agree to meet with Pope over upcoming hotdish supper
Why They Hate Us, Episode the Next
1) Allowing women to serve on juries; OR
2) Arresting women jurors for wearing earphones under their hajibs when they should have been paying attention to court proceedings (although technically, they aren't able to pay attention anyway since they're only women); OR
3) Holding court in a place called "Blackfriars," which is really pushing that whole Crusader imagery just too far; OR
4) All of the above
Now maybe it's just me...
...but since when is a "heat wave" something that's only been going on for a day?
And since when is a heat wave only two days long? "[...] Cooler weather and storms were forecast by Wednesday. [...]"
Newspapers--struggling mightily to become as useful as spam.
You know how everyone ("everyone" being people in the media) likes to show their intellectual superiority by playing those clips of George Bush stumbling or mangling various vowels and consonants during public appearances? It would be harmless fun if so many non-media-people use it as another way to justify their hatred of the man.
But let me tell you what, if you're going to use that particular way to show how stupid someone is, let's hope you didn't watch the arrival of Senator Obama in town.
Now I like him okay--he's a liberal of the worst pandery sort, but at least he doesn't seem to have the twitchy insanity currently infecting so many of his fellow partymembers. I don't think he'd make a particularly bad President, nor a particularly good one.
But I have to say, watching him on the feed from the local television news show, his first few minutes after being introduced at the Sheraton yesterday evening was painful. He kept grinning and mugging for the camera, and tried to be peppy and humorous to the folks up on the stage with him, but more than anything, he just seemed as lost and uncomfortable as someone who showed up for a job interview on the wrong day, at the wrong place. And this was with an overwhelmingly friendly (including the news media) crowd. Maybe he was just tired--he seems to have that problem--but he just didn't seem to have the easy jocularity of someone like Bill Clinton, or dare I say, George Bush.
Maybe he got better once he started reading from his script, but his preamble would make late-night comedy fodder the full equal of that produced by the current President.
Not that anyone would ever do that.
I blame the chicken stir-fry.
Or possibly global warming. But last night I dreamed I had grown great huge Ambrose Burnside-grade sideburns.
I'm not sure why I would have a dream like that, although I did watch several episodes of the Ken Burns/PBS Civil War series over the weekend, and I was reminded once more that guys back then had some awfully strange ideas about what constituted tonsorial attractiveness.
Anyway, it must be a slow news day, because this has all the hallmarks of a prank announcement from a bunch of not especially witty college students, especially given Reuters' credulity in reporting it.
Hoist by my own petard.
You might remember I made a move a couple of weeks ago to try to limit the amount of comment spam I have coming in by closing the comments as they popped up. Wasn't really a big distraction to most readers since it seemed that there were only about two or five very old posts that got the most spam, so I figured as spam came in, I'd shut off the offending post, which I didn't like doing because the comments are a lot better than the actual posts, but I got tired of having to come in and delete ten or twenty stupid messages every morning.
Making it even easier, Miss Jordana pointed out that our Mu.nu blogs have a handy little bit of code where you can close comments older than a certain date, so I inserted that in my template, and made it to where any post has its comments shut down when it gets over 21 days old.
These efforts seemed to have worked very well. There was an entire week there where I didn't get a single spam comment.
However--it's started back now in earnest, and apparently since the old, rarely ever seen posts are unreachable, it's all coming in on new posts. ::sigh:: And it's not even real spam for fly-by-night p00rn dealers and freelance pharmaceutical salesmen--it's those things with web addresses composed entirely of random letters, and the messages are likewise random letters.
Anyway, the comment spammers are back, and it sure would be nice if the people who do this were crushed by a bulldozer.
UPDATE: Well, well. Seems comment spam is a nice way to make money.
July 09, 2007
Well, THAT was brief!
I have to go take Boy for an orthodontistical visit this afternoon, so all of you have fun and enjoy all your cake and ice cream and pony rides until I get back tomorrow!
Oh, did I mention...
...that today's my birthday?
Well, it is!
Best present so far was yesterday evening, when Rebecca said I didn't look 45. "You look more like you're maybe 38."
I'll take it.
Speaking of stir fry...
...in the microwave--I didn't get the memo about it, but apparently today is "Bring Horrific-Smelling Foods From Home and Cook Them Right Outside Terry's Door" Day. Earlier someone brought in rancid fried fish, then there was a couple of indistinguishable funkfoods that smelled something like feet and sewage mixed together, and now someone just nuked something with the unmistakable topnote of "Chinese Rat Slaughterhouse."
Snide, Rude, and Completely Uncalled-For Remark of the Day
We apologize for this cheap, low humor, and now return you to your normal kind, uplifting, and gracious programming.
As you all know...
...Miss Reba is an excellent cook, but I do think it might have been better to go ahead and take the shells off the tails of the shrimp that she tossed into the stir fry. Because if you leave them on there, they tend to come off in your food, and it can be uncomfortable when you're just a'chewing along minding your own business and bite into a crunchy sharp tail fin.
Quote of the Day
Via Osmondlandia's own Nate McCord: "Clearly there were some other options available."
I'd say so, too.
Rain, Part II
I forgot the other exciting thing--Catherine's cucumbers seem to have gotten the idea to grow, and we found a great big one yesterday.
She was horrified that I ate it for supper last night, though.
She wanted to make a pickle out of it.
We tried to explain to her that it's hard to do a batch of pickles with just one cucumber, but this didn't seem to matter at all to her. She gave me the stink-eye for the rest of the evening.
It started Friday afternoon, and continued sporadically through the night, and then all day Saturday. A good slow rain that didn't come equipped with flash floods or tornadoes or lightning, and I have to tell you, it sure was nice.
Although you've all come to expect a 3,000 word exposition of the weekend past, this time there's really nothing to report. Although, I did finally identify the bird that's been hitting the feeder lately as an Eastern (formerly knowns as the rufous-sided) towhee.
It's good when that's the most exciting thing that happens.
Now then--time for staff meeting.
July 06, 2007
What an odd week this has been.
That midweek off-day was part of it, as was the flurry of busiwork when I got back to work on Monday, as was, or has been, well, just everything this week. Thankfully, if nothing else I CAN use this discombobulation as a handy excuse for poor quality and volume of blogging output. Now if only I could find a way to use it for the other six years' worth of junk...
ANYway, the weekend is almost here, and hopefully it will allow me time to fully come to my senses.
Then again, maybe that's not the best idea in the world, either.
In any case, all of you have a great weekend, and I'll see you all bright and early on Monday.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
SO, it comes to us that our beloved Terra is sick, according to a widely diverse group of celebrities and politicians.
Fear not, though, for as we all know from reading Reader's Digest, "Laughter is the Best Medicine"--although probably not for things such as cancer and gunshot wounds--but be that as it may, I believe that tomorrow's Live Earth concerts are only a portion of the help our sick planet needs.
It also need laughter.
Therefore, I propose than in partnership with Live Earth, we conduct a companion presentation which shall be called Live Mirth, which will consist of people who aren't willing to attend one of the many concerts sitting around and making fun of the people who do.
As Mr. Blair notes, there's no way we can ever overcome the massive amount of (absolutely necessary!) waste and pillage caused by these concerts, so we must do the next best thing and use them and the attendees as valuable sources of renewable humor. Let's not let this valuable opportunity for healing Mother Earth pass us by!
We thank you for your support. Support of Live Mirth of a monetary nature should be sent directly to me.
For those of you who use Gmail..
...or for those who don't, really doesn't matter. Anyway, Google's privacy invaders, in exchange for allowing you to have unlimited storage of emails, will sift through all your communications and glean words and phrases that match words and phrases related to people who advertise on their site, hoping that you will see something that interests you, because you've already been using words like "goat" and "depilatory," and they just signed up Flenster's Goat Depilatory and Udder Wax as a Google Ad Partner, and so they'll throw a link to their website up at the top of the page--discretely--and hope you'll click on it.
ALL THAT, to note that Gmail has a folder for spam, which means that there are a tremendous amount of links related to Spam®, and Spam®-related recipes, and Spam®-themed merchandise.
But I have to say, some of the things are just not pleasant, such as this one that just popped up:
Spam Swiss Pie - Bake 45-55 minutes or until eggs are set
Something about reading that short phrase just makes my guts churn like an industrial washing machine. And I also have to wonder what the Swiss did to deserve something like this.
So, you say your favorite marsupial-themed blogger...
...has a birthday coming up, eh?
Well, I'm certain there are few things he would want more than one (or SEVEN!) of these babies!
Unless it's several of these.
Seven Wonders of the World?
Feh. I read this story, and all I could think of was how lame the choices are. How could they have left out the Coon Dog Cemetery!? What about the World's Largest Office Chair!? What about the Hueytown Hum!?
I tell you what, the people who come up with these lists really need to get out more.
New Measurement: Earth Smaller Than Thought Y'know, I never realized anyone had ever measured the size of thought.
No, I DON'T want to "sit in with you" on your meeting! I don't CARE if you think it helps to have someone else in there to "help you remember" things! Here's a tip--get a legal pad out of the supply cabinet. A hour spent listening to crap-spouting is not my idea of a morning well-spent.
July 05, 2007
My goodness, it HAS been quite a while!
But we cheer the triumphal return of none other than our ol' abyss-staring buddy, Charles Austin, who pleasures us with Throat Warbling Mangrove, amongst many other shiny things!
A New Possumobile?
Dave Helton has been ever so kind to try to assist me in the event that I should have to procure alternative transportation. I'd told him that I was convinced that to avoid unnecessary damage from people running into me that my next car was going to be a dump truck. Ever the resourceful sort, for my next I Am A Moron Project™, Dave suggested...Continue reading "A New Possumobile?"
Yet more evidence for...
...the George Bush/Karl Rove Evil Republican Time and Weather Changing Machine! DNA test indicates very green GreenlandScientists offer the Time/Weather Machine as the only plausible alternative for how Greenland could ever have gotten warm enough for forestation, noting that many famous celebrities and politicians have said the scientific community has reached unanimous consensus that global warmthening can only be done by the influence of evil Republicans.
To further bolster their suspicions of some sort of time-travel device being used, researchers also reported finding a picture of an adorable kitten sitting in snow with the text "im in ur glashurz--makn thm melt!1!", which they seem confident is a sure sign of evil, sarcastic Rovian involvement in the ecosystem.
...that it will be met with the same stunning level of success as other Congressional ventures: Congress looks to boost tourism to US
One also wonders how long it will be before strong suspicions are voiced of the effort being part of a vast conspiracy funded by Big Hospitality.
Hey, guess who else is back from vacation!?
That's right, Dr. Possum!
He's just now entered our hallowed halls, just narrowly missing bumping into the hallowed water cooler and tripping over the hallowed door stop!
As you all know, Dr. Possum is the world's foremost authority on everything, and often stops by to assist us in making Possumblog ever more useful to you by answering any questions you might have. As a doctor*, Dr. Possum is fully and equally knowledgeable on matters medical, biological, geological, tautological, photographical, occipital, occupational, and accidental, and is therefore imminently able to assist you in your seach for information.
Have a question? Just leave it in the comments below, and after he comes to, Dr. Possum will give the all that you need to know!Continue reading "Hey, guess who else is back from vacation!?"
Well, I've heard of citizen's arrests before...
...but never one conducted by a building: Man with knife arrested by Obama's hotel
Now then, FINALLY some time free of the grip of mindless institutional papershuffling and buttonpushing for some good old-fashioned mindless individual buttonpapering and shufflepushing! Such a relief!
Went over to the inlaws' yesterday, and as usual, Reba's mom fixed every possible traditional 4th of July food known to man--burgers, ribs, hot dogs, chilled boiled shrimp (yes, I think it's odd, too, but the kids can't seem to get enough of them, even after I mentioned how much they look like grubworms), baked beans, cole slaw, sliced tomatoes, banana pudding, apple pie, cantaloupe (and for the philosophy fans there was Kantaloupe, too! Sorry--indulge me that one--no one else at the house understands the weak joke), strawberries, grapes, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and our contribution, a pot full of corn on the cob.
For some reason, I wasn't all that hungry. Just had a hot dog, some tomato, and a piece of corn. And then went and slept the rest of the afternoon in their basement while Catherine and Rebecca watched TV.
Went home, changed, went to church, got home, watched the Thunder on the Mountain fireworks show on the television, helped heat up all the leftovers from lunch, ate, went upstairs and read the kids some more of their book, sent them to bed, and proceeded to listen to the stupid dog next door bark. I think the neighbors are gone, because he usually doesn't bark this much. But he's been barking for three days straight, now.
Two barks, every three seconds. For hours on end.
I love animals, and I don't particularly dislike this one, even though he got loose last week and tore up Catherine's garden, but there are few things that rub me the wrong way worse than a barking dog that simply will not shut up, even after doing the exact same bark for hours on end. It makes me have very dark thoughts.
He finally quit around midnight. Because that's when the second round of bootleg neighborhood fireworks started going off. I'm not sure why midnight--I understand it on New Year's, but if they're going to do it at midnight for the 4th, why not have done it the previous midnight? But at least the constant thud and whistle shut the stupid dog up.
Until about three a.m., when he started up again.