April 30, 2005

You gotta know when to hold ‘em,

Know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run…

Well, it started off auspiciously enough--a line of thunderstorms and tornadoes running the length of the state. But, it did move through early, so by the time we pulled out on our great safari at 8 this morning, the rain was already several hours ahead of us.

Put the old mattress outside to be picked up, with a big piece of paper pinned to it with the name of the charity to keep someone from thinking they could just walk off with it, and we were on our way. Stopped and got some breakfast, topped off the gas tank, and headed off toward the Eastern Time Zone.

Good drive, and missed all the eastbound race traffic, which I thought was awfully slick of me and my sense of timing. Made the exit toward Carrollton, stopped and called the seller of the object of my obsession to let him know we were close, and settled in for the last leg. This part of Georgia is very pretty--lots of rolling hills and thick woods, and Carrollton itself is a pretty little town. Blew through there and on to Newnan, and after coming all that way, managed to miss the very last turn. Oops. Turned back and into the leafy subdivision, and at the very end of the cul-de-sac…there is was! [cue chorus of angels]

We pulled on down in the driveway and I got out.


Now, I realize I had built this up pretty good in my mind (and to all of you good readers) and looking at the pictures and talking to the owner, I thought I had an adequate sense of what was wrong and right with the car. Car guys tend to think in terms of “footers.” If you say you bought a “20 footer,” it means it looks good from 20 feet away--but no closer. Well, I had this one figured for a 10 footer, which is pretty good for what I was intending. I knew there would be a little rust, and some rips, and some odd stray bits that were just barely tacked in place.

But. Hmm.

I got out of the van and the first thing I saw (from about 30 feet away) was a dark angry red strip right above the chrome trunk lid trim strip. Not a spot. A line. The owner came out and we exchanged pleasantries, but that cancer was on my mind. There’s always some rust, but there’s rust, and then there’s the sign of fatal lack of attention to upkeep. Body--straight, no waves. Doors--no sags, gaps even, close solid. Chrome--all there, but weak. Interior--not nearly so clean as in the picture. Driver’s seat--giant gouge all the way through the padding on the left bolster. Looked like whoever had it before had carried a grinder in his pocket.

And then, the kicker.

You bibliophiles know how it is to go into the library and sit there in a pile of old books. That wonderful smell of age and experience. And then, that smell of a box of books out of someone’s basement at a yard sale.

House hunters? The smell in an old house of years of love and cookies and endless hours cleaning and laughter and sadness and generations of homeyness. And then, that smell of neglect and despair and trashiness left by someone who only occupied a house, and never made it a home.

Well, cars are similar to that. There’s the old car smell of trips to the mountains, and that time the window got left down at the beach, and the trip with your first real date and you can smell the popcorn and her perfume, and the time that you helped your friend move and his stereo scuffed the back of the seat. And then there’s the smell of disuse and disinterest and disgust and almost a hatred left by successive owners who seem to have felt they’d been cursed in life to have been stuck with such a stupid piece of iron.

And that’s what this one had. The smell of sad abandonment. Once, it had been new and now it was just an old car. It had long ago ceased to be anything anyone cared about, and the fact that it survived this long was a testament to the car, not the previous owners.

This guy who was selling it had only had it about a year and a half. I have a feeling it had been his moron project back then--full of promise that he could fix it and make it nice again and cared for the way it should be. But, it just didn’t pan out for him. Best to take what you can get and don’t look back.

He hadn’t been the least bit underdescriptive of it at all--and I had asked question upon question about the condition of the car before making the trek. But there are some things you can only sense when you meet a car. I asked him to start it, and it cranked right up with a nice oily clatter. The mechanicals were working, but again only because it was built like a tank to begin with. But the rot had set in--hoses were crumbling, heater valve leaking, bits and pieces not just unhooked, but long gone.

I looked and listened and walked around it and looked, and felt that knot of sensibility growing in my gut.

This isn’t it.

Too much, too far gone.

He went and got some of the parts that went with the car and popped the trunk. The rain gutter around the opening was filled with pods of stuff from the trees, and again, the ever present grainy red stains that said someone quit caring about fifteen years previously. I walked back toward the open driver’s door and saw another bit of ruddy cancer--right where the door swing-limiting strap attached to the jamb. A neat red rectangular line marked where the sheetmetal had begun to separate--23 years of the door being swung open hard against the limit until it began to fatigue and give way, and then give way even faster when the water began to get to it. The door seals had long ago given up any softness they might have had, and were now like licorice, hard and dry.

“You want to take it around the block?”

I had a cashier’s check for $2,250 in my pocket. I had come all this way with my whole brood to see this thing. And you couldn’t pay me to take it. I tried. I wanted to like it. But it had gone unloved and uncared for just too long.

I looked at him and sort of shook my head no. “I, uh, well, I tell you--I think there might be more to do to it than I want to do. Just too big of a project, you know? More than I need to get involved with.” He knew. “I hate to have taken up all your time and all, but I think I’m just going to have to pass on it.”

Which was okay by him--from what I can tell, there’s a fellow down in Clearwater, Florida who’s more inflamed than me, and I get the sense that he was willing to pay the full price for it, and not really be too concerned about rust and smell and such.

We shook hands again, and I turned toward the van. Reba was looking at me with a puzzled look, and I just gave a short shake of my head.

Got in and closed the door--“Well, kids, say ‘bye to the car!”

“We’re not getting it!?”

“‘Fraid not. Let’s get home, now.”

And so, back up through Newnan and Carrollton, an odd feeling of disappointment and relief. I filled Reba in on the drawbacks, and told her I just couldn’t do it. I don’t think she quite understands the whole deal with something so silly as smell--after all, one smelly old car is pretty much like another, right?

Well, no.

It’s kind of like the clock we have in our kitchen--made around 1850, it’s a walnut-cased British fusee movement clock. Wind it every seven days, and it keeps time almost as well as my watch does. 155 years, and still doing the exact same thing it was meant to do. But you can tell that it was handed down through the generations always wrapped in a soft quilt, and carried on a soft lap, put in a place of honor in someone’s home, and dusted and cleaned and kept. It has scratches, and some of the paint has worn off, and it obviously isn’t a quartz clock when it comes to accuracy, but it keeps ticking calmly away, and seems to be content with a few scratches and nicks. It’s just bits of metal and wood, but it’s more than that, too.

A stop for lunch, and a drive back home, somewhat dampened by another line of rain that dogged us, and then a ten mile backup caused by a wreck near Munford. Home, found that the mattress was still dry, hung around outside and waited for the charity truck guys to come by while Cat rode her new scooter. The guys finally came by, and then I remembered a detail I needed to take care of. Went inside and called the insurance man and left him a message that the car deal I’d told him about on Friday was off.

Am I sad? Kinda. But I think I would have been much sadder if I had gone ahead and been pigheaded and bought the thing. There’ll be another one come along to play with, one that has been loved. And that’ll be the one I get.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:15 PM | Comments (9)

April 29, 2005


School Mistakes Huge Burrito for a Weapon

CLOVIS, N.M. - A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito.

Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped into Marshall Junior High.

The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos and wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt.

"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," school Principal Diana Russell said.

Yeah. Me too.

State police, Clovis police and the Curry County Sheriff's Department arrived at the school shortly after 8:30 a.m. They searched the premises and determined there was no immediate danger.

Immediate danger is right. But I'd say that they'd be prudent to douse any open flames a couple of hours after the kid finishes his burrito, or you'll have a conflagration to rival that of Rome burning.

In the meantime, more than 30 parents, alerted by a radio report, descended on the school. Visibly shaken, they gathered around in a semi-circle, straining their necks, awaiting news.

"There needs to be security before the kids walk through the door," said Heather Black, whose son attends the school.

Yeah. Me too.

After the lockdown was lifted but before the burrito was identified as the culprit, parents pulled 75 students out of school, Russell said.

Russell said the mystery was solved after she brought everyone in the school together in the auditorium to explain what was going on.

"The kid was sitting there as I'm describing this (report of a student with a suspicious package) and he's thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, they're talking about my burrito.'"

Dude, you ever have one of those dreams, where there's like, the whole school, and like, they're all talking about your burrito? Well, it was like that!

Afterward, eighth-grader Michael Morrissey approached her.

Exciting, ain't it!

"He said, 'I think I'm the person they saw,'" Russell said.

The burrito was part of Morrissey's extra-credit assignment to create commercial advertising for a product.

"We had to make up a product and it could have been anything. I made up a restaurant that specialized in oddly large burritos," Morrissey said.

I'd say he needs an A for that one. As long as there are not oddly plastic-headed corporate shills to go along with it.

After students heard the description of what police were looking for, he and his friends began to make the connection. He then took the burrito to the office.

"The police saw it and everyone just started laughing. It was a laughter of relief," Morrissey said.

Again, this whole idea of relief better be matched with some sense of fire safety...

"Oh, and I have a new nickname now. It's Burrito Boy."

Me and Mama is so proud!

ANYway--that's all for today, I promise. All of you be careful with your oddly large burritos, 'kay?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:53 PM | Comments (1)

Almost that time of day!

And yes, aside from all the fun with the "I'm a Moron" Project, there is still plenty other stuff to do this weekend. Our neighborhood is having the annual (and much despised by me) community yard sale, which means that the streets will be clogged with all sorts of people looking for their OWN seed for their own moron projects. And I have to set out our old mattress, because one of the local charities comes around afterwards and picks up everything that doesn't get sold.

So, there's that.

And I have to get the oil changed and the tires rotated on the Honda tonight AND take Cat back up there with me. Seems she has some birthday money and is just beside herself wanting to get a scooter with it. Yes, she'll have to wear all the protective padding and helmet and such, and yes, I've heard all the stories. But, you know, she comes by this desire for wheeled conveyances honestly, so it's hard to deny her. Although, I did set my foot down in opposition to her getting the Bratz version. Yes, just as Lileks opined against yesterday, the Bratz have invaded all avenues of pop-culture, and so now we have Hoochies on Wheels (or Scooter Hoochies). Sorry, Cat. I realize it's all purple and pink and stuff, but I think the plain old shiny aluminum is just gonna have to do. So, she gets to go with me tonight to do that.

And there's laundry. And cleaning. And a baby shower/tea thing that Reba will go to on Sunday. And church, where I will have to ask absolution for being a moron.

And then, the biggie, that whole trip to lovely Newnan tomorrow! Maybe the traffic won't be so bad. The big race isn't until Sunday, and we will be leaving pretty early. Of course, if I say that, it'll be a sure-fire recipe for it being a 50-mile-long rolling roadblock between Leeds and Talladega, so I won't express any optimism about that.

ANYWAY, lots to do, and maybe even something worth hearing about when you come by on Monday. So, all of you have a wonderful weekend, and wish my long-suffering family luck as they deal with their demented pater familias.

See you Monday!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:17 PM | Comments (3)

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

I nearly forgot this! Anyway, this week's entry is:

LYCH GATE. A covered wooden gateway with open sides at the entrance to a churchyard, providing a resting place for a coffin (the word lych is Saxon for corpse). Part of the burial service is sometimes read there.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

If you search on "lych gate," you get a raft of interesting photos of places and verbal descriptions. Apparently, the term is much more obscure to me than to others.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

Well, everybody thinks it's fun until someone gets hurt...

Explosive found by sheriff in Decatur

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — A pound of homemade explosive found at Funland Self Storage in Decatur could have caused considerable damage and possible death if detonated, authorities said. [...]

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

Well, now, that was an hour I'll never get back.

We're shorthanded of secretarial staff today, so I got short straw on minding the phone while our remaining Administrative Professional went to lunch. I spent the time staring at the lobby, reading two old issues of Time magazine, and perusing a guidebook about all the world's animals. And as for my lunch? Well, I'm sitting here eating it at my desk. Wouldn't want to miss an important call from a citizen, you know.

Anyway, it also gave me time to ponder the fact that the newest addition to the family will require a name. I've been thinking it needs to be something male, because it's not the least bit sleek or sexy in any conceivable feminine sense, unless your ideal of feminine sleek- and sexiness is East German female shot-putters. It obviously needs to be Teutonic (or, depending upon my lunch fare, Tootonic. Oh, I'm sorry--juvenile poot humor brought on by too much exposure to pooting juveniles.) Something direct and monosyllabic and krauty. Maybe something that relates to its mechanical nature. And to its dull, yet oddly compelling, slowness.

I'm think something along the lines of Karl. After Karl Benz, obviously...

...as well as the famously slow Karl Childers, who did have a savant-like ability with small engines. Mm-hm.

You know, I also just got to thinking that back when my new old car was built, there still was such a thing as East and West Germany.

Anyway, back to my food.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:23 PM | Comments (25)

Now, today...

I've GOT to get some of the paying work done. In addition to calling the insurance guy, and going by the bank and getting a check, and all that other junk that's got to get done.

The kids are all excited about getting to go to Georgia tomorrow--not for the car, but just to pretend they're on vacation. We had to make a Wal-Mart run last night (baby shower gift for a couple at church, plus make eye appointments, plus get some shoes for Rebecca) and in order to fully bring the entire family in on my dementia, we made a quick side trip to the Mercedes shop at the foot of the hill. Yep, sure enough--an electric blue 240 was in the back lot awaiting attention, so I drove around there to let them know what my new pet was going to look like. Except not electric blue. They were suitably unimpressed, although Reba quite liked it. "It can be our date car!"

Heh. My evil plan continues to bear fruit.

Anyway, let me get some stuff done, and I'll try to come out and play in a bit. IN THE MEAN TIME--all of you go see what all's to be seen up in the blogroll!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:08 AM | Comments (8)

April 28, 2005

The die has been cast.

The deal is done. The Rubicon has been crossed. The piper must be paid.

I am a moron.

BUT, that's okay! For now I will once again have an old slow smelly vehicle of my very own! Here's the tour--

Passenger side front 3/4 Driver side Driver interior

Rear seat Dashboard

Special thanks to Uncle Sam for holding a portion of my tax money in a special non-interest-bearing savings account, and then for returning it to me so I can go spend it on something odd. (And I was able to get it for less than the one I had bid on.)

I just hope this doesn't mean I'm going to have to start wearing lederhosen. They do ride up so.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:52 PM | Comments (24)

Governor Moonblog.

Jerry Brown enters world of blogging.

Yes, that Jerry Brown. The article is one of those that is entirely self-parodying, both for the subject of the article and for the inane pretentiousness of the author, leaving me not much else to say except..

...who cares?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:53 PM | Comments (4)



Not really. I'm just working on my guerilla theater project. But, you know, those darned little peppers in the kung pao CAN work a number on you.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

Fortune Cookie Wisdom of the Day!

Mmmmm. Kung pao chicken, hot and sweaty soup, and FORTUNE COOKIES!

First up--

Your emotional nature is strong and sensitive.

You know, that is just so true.

And next, the REAL kicker!--

You are contemplating some action which will bring credit upon you.

It's an omen! My only hope is that it does mean "credit," and not "creditors."

Today's daily numbers: 6 4 1 and 8 4 7

Your Lotto Six #s are: 38 22 44 9 20 41 and 41 38 9 25 8 17

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:25 PM | Comments (2)


Just saw this one--Guerrilla Art Group Mocks Exclusive L.A. Enclaves.

Hey, maybe it's just me being an old fart, but if they really wanted to be edgy and philosophical, why not have a guerilla art group that mocks the entire idea of there being such a thing as guerilla art groups?


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:27 AM | Comments (2)


No, not that kind. The prissy Euro-type. Prompted by this headline: Alonso saving F1 from Schumacher dominance.

An article describing the talent this season demonstrated by Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who's shut Mike out of the running so far. But the headline is a bit frustrating--now, I don't really follow F1, but it's a far stretch to say Schumacher has somehow damaged the series, or made it in need of having to be saved. He's done a lot to make it interesting, in a time when the whole thing looked much less like a sport and much more like something to make money for Bernie Ecclestone. In a way, it's the same thing as what Tiger Woods has done for golf, or Lance Armstrong for biking. It's nice every once in a while to have a star, and to have someone up at the top to inspire people to come gunning. And to have someone who actually seems like an okay guy, who's just phenomenal at what he does.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:55 AM | Comments (4)

San Antone Bound!

Congrats to the Yorkie Family (not their real name) on the acquisition of property in the Republic of Texas, which I know is going to be a nice change for them from living in the wilds of the Beltway.

Best wishes on the new home, and since you're going to be right in the neighborhood, I would truly love a snapshot of the basement of the Alamo.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:40 AM | Comments (2)

Successful Moron Project Tips

Often, the difference between a successful moron project and and a failed one is determined by the level of familial involvement. It is very important to at least make the attempt to drag the rest of your family down with you.

Misery, after all, loves to have others to blame.

So, as I mentioned, over the weekend I managed to "let it slip" to Miss Reba about my nefarious scheme to procure an outlet for my dementia. The first step in this, obviously, is to not let on that it's a moron project, but to pretend that it's A Good Idea. This requires lots of gibberish. Which I am good at.

The next tip is to give only small doses of moronium at a time--too much may cause sudden lucidity and bring everything to a halt. So, I mentioned the vehicle I was chasing on Ebay, and before we drifted off to sleep Tuesday night, I mentioned that I had been outbid for it.

Administering the dosage while the subject is near sleep is another fine way of making sure the ideas are planted, yet be able to have plausible deniability should anything untoward happen. Like rational thinking. "Gee, you must have dreamt that!"

Another good thing to do is to take every effort to point out meaningless coincidences and treat them as omens. When I came home yesterday, the kids were already eating supper (church night--eat and run) and I sat down and noticed the cup Catherine was drinking out of. Red, plastic, giveaway from one of the high school football games. On the front, the Hewitt-Trussville Husky logo. On the back, the sponsor who paid for the cup. Who was it?

Why, the Mercedes Doctor!

"Cat, turn your cup around and show Mama! Look, Reba! The STAR!" When said with a slight smile and good-natured jocularity, the underlying madness of your quest is disguised as simple-minded banter. But it is yet another dose of moronium.

You can tell when the moronium has begun to take hold when the subject begins to ask YOU, unprompted, about the moron project, or even better, begins trying to "help" you in your long slide into idiocy.

For some reason, Reba has her own obsessive side, although it operates at a monetarily unattainable level. "Did you see the piece of want ad I had yesterday? There was a BMW in there that sounded REALLY nice, and they only wanted $38,000 for it, and it was here in Trussville!"

"Why no! I did not see it! But...," I said with much seriousness, "we could never afford anything like that. I'm just trying to find something small and humble to match my personality."

She did get the humor in the statement, but I indulged her by looking at what she was pointing out, and let her look through my copy of the Autotrader so she could get an idea of the differences between a '05 750iL and an '84 323. And the difference between those and what I wanted to get.

Then Reba asked yesterday evening if I had heard any more from the Ebay car, and I reminded her that before we went to bed the night before I told her I had been outbid. "Oh." Then I mentioned that I had found ANOTHER interesting thing. "Is it the one you were talking about at the shop that's kind of a light yellow color?"

I nearly forgot--one of the best ways to allow your moron project to gain traction is to sow confusion by pointing out many different versions of the object of your desire. There was a customer car in the lot at the mechanic's place that was really lovely, and I had mentioned it to Miss Reba the other day in passing. (And yes, I called to see if it was for sale. No.) But that's the one she thought I was talking about.

Back to the newest object at hand--"No, it's not the same one, but it's the same color. I'll pull it up and let you look at the pictures when the kids are in bed tonight when we get home."

Forbidden fruit--the idea that it's some sort of secret fun surprise to be kept from the children, at least for a little while--yet another catalyst making the moronium work better.

Back from church, kids bathed and in bed, and crank up the old Internets. The newest bit of bait dangling before me lives with its owner over in Newnan, Georgia--moronitude has no sense of territorial limits--and the fellow has been very nice to answer a raft of questions about the car. It's good, but not quite a pristine showcar. A survivor, and all in one piece with nothing missing or falling off. Yet. High miles--ridiculously so. But as is common with these cars, they tend to keep on going long after other cars have disintigrated. But it's still going to need a little engine attention, and probably before it reaches 500,000 kilometers. And it's right there in the right price range. (Although it never hurts to dicker a bit.)

The final part of the puzzle dropped into place last night as we were looking at the pictures of it. Boy had been in the bed and got up to go to the bathroom and came through our room to hug Mommy some more before going back to bed. He looked over my shoulder and I asked him, "Hey, Buddy--how do you like THIS car?"

"I don't."

"You don't!? Well, why not?!"

"It's too OLD!"


I laughed and told him that's why it was perfect. Reba, who up until now has been spared my lament about having everything I own converted to girlie/kiddie use, asked, "Why? So you won't have to worry about them taking it away from you?"

"Exactly! I'm tired of not having nothing but my underwear that I can say belongs to me and me alone!"

Boy (who along with Reba is not privy to this OTHER continuing whine of mine, since neither one even knows Possumblog exists) burst out into a gale of laughter at the mere mention of my underwear. So, obviously the moronium is having a good effect on the whole household. But again, use small doses, spread over time.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:06 AM | Comments (10)

Thursday, Thursday, Bo-Bursday

Banana-fana Fo-Fursday

Three three Bo-Bee--Oh, forget it.

Inspired by my razor-like insight the other day about the occasional folly of researching the meaning of one’s surname, frequent inquisitor Jim Smith wants to use the following for The Axis of Weevil Thursday Three “Name Game” Edition. Anyone who has a name may play along, and no, this has nothing to do with naming baby animals like the question from last week.


1. What does your name mean—any connection to what you do or who you are?

2. Any problems with your name? Do you wish it (either your surname or given name) was changed ?

3. Were you named for someone? If so, whom?

AND, in order to satisfy Jim’s insatiable need to supply MORE than three questions--

4. Do you go by your first name, middle name, shortened form--(ex. Jim for James)--or by some made-up nickname?

All of you think hard and leave your answers in the comments below, or leave a link to your blog. And if your name is Chuck or Mitch, please don’t do the Name Game song.

My answer follows--

1. As I have already done this one earlier in the week, I'll just say that it's not anything that relates in any way to anything substantive about me or about what I do for a living.

2. It's uncommon, and so I do get some odd pronunciations, but never enough to want to change it. And thankfully, there haven't been any mass murderers or child-molesting pop-stars named Oglesby.

3. Actually, my first name is based somewhat on my dad's name--he was Alfred, and I am Alan. He didn't like Alfred though, and wouldn't let my mother use it for me. Terry came about because my SISTER was nicknamed Terry (short for Teresa) and I guess since they were already using it, they figured why bother making up a new one.

SPECIAL BONUS! Yes, I go by my middle name. It's a fairly common practice in the South, as is naming someone with the diminuitive form of a name, rather than the full name--for example, I'm not Terence, I'm just Terry. I had some doof in college swear that was wrong because no one is named that way.

He was a BIG stupid doof. Read a lot of Heidegger.

Anyway, I had (and still have) a friend from college named Sammy (not Samuel) and his wife's name is Becky (not Rebecca). Go figure.

ANYWAY, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:15 AM | Comments (28)

April 27, 2005

Finally, some validation.

Dave Helton just e-mailed me with the following:

Did you know you're the #1 Google hit for Moron Project?

Sure enough, I am. Sadly, only number 4 on Yahoo. Unless it's in quote marks, in which case, I'm number one there, too.

I feel so...special.

But I can't help myself--they're just out there, taunting me.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:11 PM | Comments (8)


I don't really like it when I don't get to come out and play.

But there is still a stack of stuff here, and I'm only making the slowest of headway against it. Maybe I need to find myself an intern.

I did get to run next door and get some lunch (sorry Dr. Smith--lotsa bad stuff), and was once again stymied by the presence on the curbside of another odd bit of cast-off stuff. You remember when there was a wheelchair sitting out there? Well, today there was a tiny tricycle. A little kid's tricycle, the cheap Chinese kind, with a bent set of front forks, just sitting there on top of a tree grate. Why would anyone put that there?

It is a mystery.

BUT LUCKILY, there is NO mystery that there's going to be a Thursday Three! On Thursday!

As for anything else fun here today, well, maybe or maybe not. In amongst all my paying work, the "I'm A Moron" Project has suddenly received new life. We'll see how that goes...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:18 PM | Comments (2)


Good grief--another one of THOSE meetings. Long, ill-tempered, and the repercussions continuing long after it's over. Lotta crap to process today, so forgive the dearth of posting.

In other news, the "I'm A Moron" Project was dealt a setback by someone willing to pay more than me for something they'd never seen before. Which I have to say was rather brave of him. Wound up losing it by $76.99, but I was already a couple hundred over where I wanted to be. Too many vague answers, followed by a repetition of the mantra, "Well, you know, I'm not a mechanic or anything, so..." There are other moron baits in the sea, though, so I don't feel bad about it at all. Which I guess proves I'm still not quite as deranged as I could be.


Anyway, let me get some junk hauled here, and I'll be back after while to play some.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2005

Happy Fun!

Tomorrow's dose of Possumblog will be reduced somewhat due to it being the fourth Wednesday of the month, meaning that I will not be here, but elsewhere, doing all kinds of really, REALLY fun stuff like taking notes! I'm sorry you can't be there, because I am a WHIZ at note-taking. And paper throwing-away.

SO, tune in a bit later than usual for the new stuff, or, as always, go check out the folks in the blogroll and see what they're plotting.

OH, and if my so-called bidding "strategy" is successful, I might be able to report tomorrow that I have become a full-fledged moron!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)

MORE Questions!

This one is actually something I might be able to shed some light on. Or not.

Anyway, just had someone swing through wondering: I want to know what the last name Oglesby means.

Okay then, but you probably won't after you find out.

ANYway, as an amateur genealogist, this is one of those things (for some reason) you think is good to know, and so first thing, you go searching around for it and wind up somewhat disappointed. Supposedly (and this comes from various self-pubished books and junk that can be INCREDIBLY off track), the name Oglesby is derived from Ogilvie, one of the fine old families of Scotland. "Ogilvie," in turn, is supposed to be derived from an Olde Englishe word meaning "high place," although I have also seen other places say it means "son of the blond man." But, basically, it only has the littlest to do with Oglesby. People get all excited thinking they're descended from nobility, but the more likely thing is that your genes were passed down from one of the yeomen or varlets or villeins or knaves on the pastureland of some landholder named Owhatever.

Another problem is that names were notoriously unstandardized and phoneticized until into the early 19th Century--my own great-g-g-g-g-granpappy Sabert is listed in Rev War lists, later census rolls, and even the old family bible not only as Sabert, but as Seabert and Sabred, with the last name variously being Oglesbee, Oglesbey, Oglespey, Oglesberry, and Oglesby. His kids seemed to have stuck with Oglesby, however.

My advice? Let it mean whatever you want it to.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:30 PM | Comments (2)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Review: Computerized shoe adjusts on fly

Call me crazy, but I think it would be kinda uncomfortable to wear a shoe on your fly.

Then again, if the shoe fits...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:05 PM | Comments (1)

It is wrong to laugh at people.

But I just noticed another jewel in the referrer log--oil pan on an eagle magdalen

Uhmmm, I think you might be thinking of the Medallion, a wonderfully craptacular vehicle combining the talents of the American Motors Corporation, its successor the Pre-Daimlerized Chrysler Corporation, and the wacky Gauls of Renault.

Come to think of it, Magdalen might have been a better name...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

Science Information YOU Can Use!

Often, the medical staff here at Possumblog is called upon to answer questions about various dread maladies affecting the general population of this area, due in large part to the incredible reputation we have built for ourselves as being accurate and responsive.

It is then no surprise that we just had a visitor searching for how many cases of athlete's foot in Calhoun county, nor is it surprising that Possumblog is the number one returned search result.

It is a validation of all our hard work.

IN ANY EVENT, there are two cases--Bobby Lundertrell who works at the Citgo, and his brother Lell, who does not work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:01 PM | Comments (6)

Moron Project Update!

Well, obviously with all the junk I had to do yesterday, there would have been no time to go peruse my potential money pit, and add to that the fact that the guy couldn't bring it with him Monday due to some goings-on at work that required he take his company car. But, no matter. Based on my conversations with him, and after running a Carfax report on the car, I felt okay enough about it to bid on it. I'm not the high bidder anymore, but I'm going to wait a bit longer before offering any more than what's already out there. Hubcaps can be expensive, as Miss Janis reminds us, so I have to leave myself a bit of cushion for necessary repairs and such like.

And there's also a 300D right close by in my hometown that I just noticed in the paper, and that might be an even better buy. Of course, with double the horsepower of the 240, it would have all that blinding fast acceleration and stuff that's just so show-offy.

Oh, and when you're looking for a car, it's really a pretty good idea to sign up for one of the various services such as Carfax. They might not tell you everything, but they get pretty darned close.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)


Grabbed the new box spring and edged toward the stairs. Up, up, WHOA!

Plastic is very slick.

I think the protective sacks on these things must have Teflon in them. Up to the first landing, turrrrrrn, move, turn, twist, then up to the hall landing. YEA FOR ME! Into the room, took out my trusty pocketknive and sliced off the hateful plastic anddd...


I wonder again if I should put those three flimsy crossboards back in.


Grabbed the foundation and after knocking off various bits of ephemera and effluvia from Reba's nightstand, it snugged down into the wood framerails just perfect! Ahhhhhh.

Back on with the bed skirt, and then downstairs for the final prize.

I grabbed up big fat Juliet and directed her towards the stairs. HUUUMMMMMMPH! ERRRRRRPHFFF. Whew. She's a spirited Veronese signorina alright! First landing--umph, push, twist, umph, move, ouch my finger, FLOP, then up again to the hall landing. Turn, into the bedroom, gently remove her delicate see-through cover, and then proceed to try and get the fool thing onto the top of the box spring. Oops. Probably didn't need that lamp. Or my clock. Or that stack of receipts that I just knocked off.

BUT! There is it! FINALLY! IN all of its incredibly thick glory! My--it sure it BIG. And thick. I'm not a tall man, but only because I have tiny short stumpy legs. And this thing comes up to above my waist. That's tall. I think I'm going to have to have a ladder. Or maybe a rope swing, which you have to admit would be pretty cool.

No matter--it's new and pretty and comfortable and it's nice to have after so many years of Mr. Mushy.

Now then, the matter of sheets. The set we had just put on the other mattress was just a slight bit bigger than necessary--on the old mattress--so I figured they wouldn't work at all on this new one. Sure enough, it needed another four inches or so to have actually wrapped around the bottom edge. Well, I had figured on a new set of sheets to christen it anyway and to make it all special-looking for when Reba got home from class, so the next step was to go see to that.

AFTER a trip to the oil change place.

I figured since I had some free time, and since I'm preparing to bid the Plymouth a warm farewell, that it would be good to go ahead and recharge the air conditioning. It's probably an unnecessary extravagance, but I will be driving it around with a For Sale sign on it, and I would like to comfortable and cool this summer until is does get sold.

SO, down to Express Oil, where they also do air conditioning. Sorta. The guys who work on this side always seem very hesitant and unsure of what they're doing. I liken it to when the kid at the grocery store can't make change in his head when you give him a $10 bill for something that cost $6.93, and he has to rely on continually looking at the cash register or he can't figure it out. The A/C guys have a machine they hook to the system, and while they can read the dials, I'm not convinced they really understand the refrigerant cycle.

I don't suppose it's absolutely required, but it would be nice.

Anyway, waited there for 40 minutes while the system was recharged. Went over to Winn Dixie and got a Diet Coke and a snack. Read Home Handyman magazine. Stared at a lovely Monet print hanging on the wall.

Finally he got through, and after wading through some kind of worker misunderstanding, in which the guy who did it refused to write the ticket and instead asked some kid from the oil change side to do it, I was on my way in icy cold comfort. Which I had to stop, because it was already cold outside.

Next, I figured I'd see about getting the carpets cleaned in it. They are pretty nasty, the result of ten hard years and four nasty children. Down to the car wash place, where there were a bunch of rowdy guys hanging around waiting for the shop to close so they could go home (it now being nearly 5 o'clock). Made an appointment to come back Saturday, but I'm going to cancel it because it's supposed to rain.

Now then, sheets! Oh, and I needed gas. And at some point in here I have to go back and get the bedframe and take it to the in-laws, and have to go back and get the Honda and pick up the kids, who'd stayed with Grandma all day because school was out yesterday. Whew.

Off to K-Mart. Found some nice eggshell-colored sheets that match the comforter and which I was assured by the nice lady in the store would fit over a ridiculously tall mattress. They were, after all, Martha Stewart sheets. Lah-dee-dah.

On up the hill to Sam's, where I passed by a horrible-looking accident at the exit from the shopping center--a late model Cougar flipped over onto its roof and resting in the landscaped median of the exit drive. Wow. All sorts of ambulances and fire trucks and police.

On up and gassed up, then back down the hill, stopped at the library to check my email (no time to wait for the dial-up at the house) and then back to the house.

Upstairs to get the unneeded trundle bed frame, down the stairs, out the door, into the van. HOORAY! Off to the inlaw's, let Grandmama do her deal with the broom to get the dust off, into the den, under the daybed with it. Done. Finally.

Told the kids to wait a bit while I went and got the other van, did that, then got them home and told them to start getting ready for school tomorrow (today). Nearly SEVEN O'CLOCK. Good grief, where does the time go?!

While they started that, I started supper and ran upstairs to dress the bed. Broke open the fitted sheet annnnnd. Hmm. It went to the bottom edge of the mattress and rolled under about an eighth of an inch. ::sigh:: Good enough.

Top sheet, comforter, pillows, folded up the stuff I'd just taken off the other mattress, and DONE! Very pretty. And tall.

Supper, baths, and then the arrival of Miss Reba! Yay!

I led her upstairs and presented her present--"Wow. It's tall!"

Yes, I know.

We finally got the kids into bed and it was time to finally test it out. Ahhhh. Nice. I had sprawled onto it the way I normally do, with a magazine to read and the television news on, and Reba clambered up with me and then decided to go get her shower. SPRONGTHUMP!


I didn't know--a funny odd noise with a bit of a shift in the bed. "Hmm. I guess it was just the box spring seating itself down onto the frame rails. I guess it wasn't all the way down."

She went on and gathered her stuff and went in the bathroom and I kept reading and SPRONGTHUMPCRASH--SLUMP! Oh crap.

I got off the bed and saw that the box spring had managed to work itself off the narrow ledge on the frame rails and FALL THROUGH! GRR!

I got under the bed and tried mightily to push it back up. No go. The frame of the box spring wouldn't go past the ledge. GRR GRR GRR!

So, yes. Those boards I'd so cavalierly disregarded earlier? I needed them. And in order to fix everything, I was going to have to take off the pillows, and the comforter, and the top sheet, AND THE MATTRESS and the BOX SPRING and put them back in place.


All that work. All that careful effort that left no mark on any wall. And now this. So, I went back downstairs and got the boards, came back up and took everything apart, put the boards back in place, dropped the foundation back down, slud the mattress back on, and remade the bed.

Yes, it sleeps just fine.

I woke up with no aches or pains or anything else except a rather long story to post. And more importantly, Reba woke up without any pains, which is really the point of this whole exercise.

Now then--time to Be A Moron!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)

First things first, you know.

Okay, so I've got a bed in, and on, the van, and I also have another one upstairs in the bedroom. Obviously, the logistics of this will require some thought.

So, I went to the reading room with a magazine for a while.

That done, the plan had formed in my mind. Strip the bedding, take the mattress downstairs, take the foundation downstairs, and FINALLY get out the little twin-size trundle bed frame we had stored under our bed back when we first moved. Then, I would unstrap the box springs, take them inside, pull the mattress out and take it in, then take the springs upstairs, then the mattress, then be done with it.

When we moved, I watched how the movers negotiated the switchback landing at the stairs. Very cleverly--by bringing the mattresses up, then doing a rotation over the handrail, then on up the other set of steps. Of course, it helps to have two people. Two strong people.

But, at least the first part of the ordeal was downhill.

Off with the bed sheets and comforter and pillows and junk, HUGGHHHHN pick up the now floppy and flaccid mattress. It was a Restonic, the one with the Marvelous Middle. Much like me, after so many years it now had a mooshy middle. Anyway, it was still heavy and floppy and cumbersome (again, like me), but off the bed with it, out to the hallway, down the first set of steps, twist, flip, down the second set of steps, nearly took out the kitchen table, made the turn, and DONE. Leaned it up against the countertop and went back for round two.

Took off the bedskirt, UMMPHHHed the box spring up. This is harder because unlike mattresses, box springs are rigid. Unlike me. Up out of the frame, drop it on my toe (lightly), out into the hall, down the first set OF WHOA! steps, flip, rotaAAAAATE! AAAH! Whew. Turn, sliIIIIIIIIIDE! and nearly took out the kitchen table AND the window. Made the turn and SUCCESS! Leaned it up against the mattress.


The underside of the bed was a lovely forest of fuzziness, so I determined I would get the Dustbuster and the regular vacuum and...oh, wait. That stupid trundle bed frame. ::sigh:: Heavy, unbending, and full of razor-blade sharp edges and needle-like wire.

That I managed to carry it from the bedroom to the upstairs landing (and later on, downstairs, and even later on, out to the van, and then still later over to my in-law's house, and EVEN MORE LATERER into their downstairs den) without doing myself an injury is truly evidence of the hand of God protecting idiots and innocents.

Anyway, took out the three wood slat and laid them aside, then got the surplus bedframe out and out of the way, and then decided I might better get the new stuff inside before it did something bad like start raining.

Downstairs to the van. Sliced off the strapping tape and gently eased the box springs off the top and laid it on the ground and HUMMMPHHHH picked it up by the plastic bag around it and ooched it into the garage and into the kitchen and leaned it up against the other old bedding. Back out and finished clipping off the other bits of strapping, then popped the lid on the rear hatch.

ERRRGGHHHHUUUH! Boy, that's one big heavy hunk of a mattress. "Juliet" it said on the end. I tell you what, that Romeo musta been one stout kid to have been able to deal with a heifer like Juliet. URFFUHHHGHH! It must have looked for all the world to the neighbors like I was midwifing a whale birth.


Closed the hatch and picked up the baby and took it inside, once more relying on the handy slick plastic wrapper to move it around through the garage and into the kitchen. Which was now jam-packed with beds.

Next--rather than start right in with moving more stuff, I thought I would rest a bit and clean some, so I went back upstairs and grabbed the Dustbuster and made a move toward the dustbunnies. It must have looked overwhelming, because I promise you the Dustbuster looked up at me and said, "You're kidding, right!?"

Then the big mama, and after some determined effort, the underside of the bed was cleaner than the surrounding floor, which if you follow along with any regularity means you know that ain't saying much. But at least I felt better about it.

Now then. New stuff. Hmm. I wonder if I should put those slats back in? The bed frame has a foundation ledge, and since the whole assembly was now so ginormously tall, I figured it wouldn't hurt anything to leave them out. Save a half inch or so, you know.

Whatever. Time to get the new stuff upstairs!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:26 AM | Comments (5)

Of weak mind and strong back.

Well, now, that went just fine.

Despite my own misgivings, last night was spent high atop a pile o' gigantic heavy stuff.

Left and went over to the warehouse located over by the seedy edge of the UAB campus, confident that my weekend removal of the rear seats from the van would leave plenty of room for both mattress and box springs.

That's because a size comparison based on memory or upon estimation is generally trumped by reality. After waiting an inordinate amount of time by the loading dock and carefully keeping a watch on the screaming guy who kept wandering around across the street, the men came out of the warehouse with the goods. These were actual men--one was carrying the mattress by himself and talking on his cell phone.

They stopped at the edge of the dock and sized up the situation. "You gonna tie it on top?"

Hmm. I was kinda thinking they'd both fit. "Are you sure they both won't fit in the back?"

"Nah--the mattress too thick for 'em both to fit."

What else could I do?

They first shoved the mattress into the back, and sure enough, BOY that thing was thick! Then the delicate procedure of tieing down the box springs. Luckily, there is a roof rack up there, although this was the first time in ten years we'd ever used it. I was kinda worried it might just unfasten itself and I'd be left with a very expensive pile of junk in the road and a roof peeled back like a sardine can.

After about fifteen minutes of careful strapping with nylon strapping and tieing and pulling and wiggling and grunting, I was pronounced ready to go. I wasn't really so sure. The roof rack bars are bowed slightly upward, which meant the box springs could teeter-totter back and forth, even after it was tied down tight. Oh well.


I did have sense enough not to even think about attempting the Interstate. I didn't want to be one of Those People. You know, the ones who are buzzing along at 80 when their mattress comes flying off and starts a 20 car chain reaction pile up. That would be bad.

So, the long slow drive down 1st Avenue North (aka US Highway 11), which is what people used to use before the Interstate was even a gleam in Papa Ike's eye. North Avondale, Woodlawn, East Lake, Roebuck, Huffman, Roebuck Plaza, and home. Not a bad drive, even at a blazing maximum speed of 30 mph. And since it was the middle of the afternoon, it didn't take too long, maybe 45 minutes or so. But then, there was the getting-it-in-the-house chore.

That took longer...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:08 AM | Comments (9)

April 25, 2005

Okay--that's it.

Gone for the day--see you tomorrow!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)


Upon seeing the mention of my recent purchase of a mattress, Dr. Smith asks:

Please tell me what you learned about buying a mattress. We have not bought a new one in years and it is confusing since every store sells the same brands but not the same models.

I’m serious about this as I need advice but don’t think I need a sleep number bed.

Serious advice from Possumblog, eh? Well, you get what you pay for, I suppose.

Which isn't necessarily what you get in a mattress.

First of all, everything wears out, so if you've been sleeping on the same mattress for more than ten years, it's probably about time to change it. We've had ours for fifteen, and it was a pretty good one and has served us well. But it's got about a 3 inch droop in the middle, and the top edge of the box springs has a big bend in it. I'm not sure if this came about when we moved, or just the effect of sitting on the edge of the bed. Which, according to the lady at the store, really isn't a good thing to do to your mattress.

So, anyway, after you've figured out you need a new one, what to do? As Jim mentioned, it's very confusing, because they all pretty much look alike. Sorta like computers. And many times the closeouts are cheaper only due to a style change in the exterior covering for the next year's model, kinda like clothes. And off-brands are sometimes made by the same people who make the big names, like tires. And despite the fact that they seem pretty simple straightforward, there actually is some science and research that goes into them, like Possumblog. Or not.

Anyway, there are all different price ranges, and all different construction types. The biggest surprise for me from when we bought ours 15 years ago is that hardly anyone builds a two-sided mattress anymore, except for the very cheapest types. From what I can tell, no one was turning them properly, and the manufacturers decided they could make a better product if they just went ahead and designed them to be used only on one side. Another thing is that it's not necessarily a good idea if you have back problems to sleep on an ultrafirm mattress. The fancy foam mattresses that conform to your body and give it support are better for what ails you in that regard.

Anyway, what I did was to first go and look at the different consumer websites such as Consumer Reports and Consumer Guide, and even Yahoo! Shopping, and get familiar with the terminology, construction, price ranges, etc.

I first looked at the foam mattresses, just because of the idea of being able to sleep without all the movement and bounce from my bedmate's wallowing about, but that quickly went out the door when I saw how much they cost. Another industry they remind me of is the diamond trade, where you're supposed to be convinced that the only true measure of your love is how much of your salary you put down on a hunk of carbon. Yes, I realize I spend a third of my life in bed, and I realize that my sleepy-time health is important, and no, you shouldn't scrimp on things that are NECESSARY and PRUDENT and all that, but 2 or 3 thou for a hunk of foam is asking a bit much. I'm sure NASA swears by them, but you know, NASA has all of my money already.

SO, a more conventional mattress. The second thing I looked for after price was price. I got an idea about how much the various manufacturers sell for, and watched the sales papers, and took a look at Sam's Club when I was in there buying a hundred pound box of laundry detergent, and came up with a range of around $500 to $600 as an appropriate amount to spend for something with a tolerable warranty, an attractive appearance, acceptable quality, and a comfortable feel. I don't know how good of an idea that is, because, again, it's rather confusing, but this seemed to be a good midrange of price for a nice quality, good-wearing mattress set.

The next step was going and looking, which I did by myself because I knew getting the kids in the mattress store was a recipe for my hair to turn even grayer. SO, Saturday, I took off on my rounds of places--first stop, K-Mart to get some zipper vinyl mattress covers for the kid's beds (always do this, or whatever money you spend will be pee saturated almost immediately), then up to Sam's to see what they had. Spent twenty minutes thinking I was going to get a super closeout deal on a Sealy Posturpedic (model changeover) only to find out only had a mismatched set--different foundation, different mattress. ::sigh::

Then I went to one of the small mattress stores close to where we live who advertise in the Sunday paper with an annoying tag attached to the edge of the comics section. I HATE that! It's a wonder I even decided to go there, but they're close. And have good prices.

Mattress dealers are just like car dealers--they will put a tremendously expensive price on something, then be your buddy and pal and boon companion and let you in on the insider deal and act like they're knocking a bunch of bucks off. It's just silly, but they all do it.

Anyway, the thing to do is walk in with a ridiculously low price that you know already is wrong. This gets them to show you their cheap stuff, and you can then work up to the type of quality you really want. The only difference is that usually they don't have to run back and "ask the sales manager" like a car salesman will do, although I'm sure there are some that operate like that.

The girl I spoke with is real good, though--I've bought stuff from her when she was with another company, although she didn't remember me. But she's honest about the products, and is willing to admit that a lot of the expense of the expensive brands is made up of marketing costs, just like green beans or potato chips in the grocery store. It's not really necessary to get the premier name to get the same quality.

While I was there, I did try out one of the Tempurpedics, and I wasn't too taken with it just on the first lay-down. I'm sure they are great to sleep on, but I was put off a bit by the squishiness and then the feeling you were locked in place. I then went on and looked at the regular mattresses, starting at the cheapo flimsy stuff and worked my way up to the one I linked to earlier. It's one of those with the one-sided construction, and had foam blocking on the sides that helps keep the sides from squishing down like a pancake. It has a nice pillowtop, which is an attempt (I think) to give it some of the conforming ability of the foam stuff--you sink down in the sink-down spots and it's supposed to fill in the rest. Or not. But it looks nice, and is in the right price range.

BUT, I still had to get Reba to look at it.

SO, after eating at the Golden Feed Trough (which actually wasn't nearly as busy as it has been) with my mom and sister after church on Sunday, we went back to the store so she could look and so I could fuss at the kids to quit making us look so much like uncouth white trash who've never seen a real mattress before. Walked in and the girl asked if she could help us find something. "Yes, I came in yesterday? I told you I was going to bring my wife back today?" Still no recognition. "I looked at that Southerland over in the corner?"

"OH! I am SO sorry--I didn't recognize you!"

I her defense, I had on my white trash shopping clothes when I came by on Saturday--gimme hat from some company that makes icemakers, faded Auburn tee shirt, ratty jeans, no socks--another of my ways of getting better prices. Anyway, after I admitted that I do clean up pretty well, I steered Reba over to what I had picked out, and proudly pointed it out for her and told her to try it on.

She was completely noncommittal. "It's a mattress."

She finally warmed up a bit and eventually got on it and lay down, then Catherine got on there and started wiggling and bouncing. Apparently, it passed the test.

SO, I paid the lady as Reba and the rest of the kids started looking at all the incredibly expensive stuff and playing on the adjustable bed. ::sigh:: AND now I get to go in a bit and go get it from the warehouse, because I saved $50 doing that. Probably not the wisest way to save fifty bucks. It's a chore to get a mattress up a set of stairs, especially ones that switch back. Oh well.

ANYway, that's how I went about buying a mattress. It requires some effort to get out there and see what's available, and what you feel comfortable on, and I can't really give you much advice beyond that--meaning, this whole exercise was rather a waste of your time.

But great for adding blog content!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:56 AM | Comments (4)


--For Direct Deposit! I checked the bank account over the weekend, and found that our ever-efficient federal revenue agents had given me back my money!


So, in a manner similar to Slim Pickens riding down his atom bomb--wild-eyed and full of vim--I managed to find us a new mattress (which I am going to have to go pick up from the warehouse today, so Possumblog will only be broadcasting for another three hours or so) AND managed to FINALLY, SUBTLY, drop the hint to Miss Reba about my "I'm A Moron" Project, which she thought was OKAY! (Of course, I couched it in terms of it being the "I'm A Genius" Project--no use taking any chances.)

SO, not only do I have to go pick up a mattress set, I ALSO have to swing by Tallapoosa Street today and go look at this. It was more or less a fluke find--I have been keeping an eye on E-bay just to know how much these are going for, and then this one popped up and coincidentally the guy works here in town, so I can go look before I bid. I may be a moron, but I'm not stupid, you know. Well, not a lot, anyway.

Other stuff? Let's see...yep. There's more alright. I'll get to what I can, and then we might have to get the rest of it tomorrow.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:18 AM | Comments (10)

April 22, 2005


How'd it get so late? No matter--that just means it's closer to going-home time.

My sister's up from Mobile this weekend, so we're going to take Mama out to the Golden Corral (the one out toward where my mom lives) after church on Sunday. I love my mother, and I love my sister, but the Golden Corral isn't my idea of fun on a Sunday afternoon. Too many people, too many people picking their noses and then grabbing a serving fork, too many people with loose children. It's probably as close to an open food air market in Timbuktu as I'll ever get, though, so I suppose I can always pretend I'm on an exotic adventure. I might need to make sure my immunizations are up to date.

And before that, our meeting I called for Saturday. I've got me something on paper now, which seems to help everyone. They're all still getting lost a bit--the old trees/forest thing. But, a few scratches with a pen and maybe things will make better sense.

It finally did rain this afternoon, but nothing really bad. Although bad enough to where I don't have to worry about outside chores this weekend, other than maybe some sprucing up of Moby (the van, not he singer) and taking his picture.

AAGH! 4:27!? Where DOES the time go?!

Anyway, all of you have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday, and we'll sit around and talk about uninteresting things in an interesting way!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:28 PM | Comments (4)

From the Department of Redundancy Department

Sharp-eyed Steevil checks in with a two-fer today, this time pointing us to the latest write-up on MSN Autos of the Mercedes-Benz M-Klasse, where freelance auto writer Ann Job informs us:

[...] Traction and Safety Items
The new M-Class is lighter than its earlier-generation model. The primary reason is the new unibody construction, which is less heavy than the predecessor's body-on-frame. [...]

::smacks forehead:: OF COURSE!

It should be noted that the new Merc is also 1 inch lower than the outgoing model, which was accomplished through the addition of less tallness, and faster than the previous model by being less slow.

Thank you, Steevil!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:16 PM | Comments (2)

Annnd, speaking of getting fired...

The PowerPoint presentation that Grandpa Nate McCord sent me yesterday that I managed to not be able to find a hole for has been sent to our Nucular Submarine Expert Skillzy, who found a nice home for it. Go! Enjoy!

Personal favorites? 5, 11, 16, 19, and 22.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:36 PM | Comments (2)

Speaking of lawyers and air freshener...

From Possumblog Scientifical Correspondent and Famous NASA Scientist Steevil, an entry for the "Jobs I'd Rather Not Have" File, via the Balmer Sun (reg. req'd. to read the whole thing):

Old food, not rodents, is possible odor source

Bad smell permeates parts of city courthouse

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff

Originally published April 22, 2005

Turns out that ages-old, greasy potato chip stains and soda spills - not decaying rats - may be the source of a bad smell wafting through Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse in downtown Baltimore, public works officials say.

Blaine Lipski, the city's chief of building maintenance, spent hours inhaling deeply inside the building yesterday and reached this conclusion: Dead rodents have much more of a gag-inducing stink than whatever is lurking there. [...]

Lipski characterized the odor emanating from Courtroom 203 and the grand jury section and wafting down adjoining hallways as a musty or "bad perfume" smell.

"It doesn't cause a gag reflex the way dead rats do," he said.

Department of Public Works officials surmised that the dingy old carpet near the grand jury vending machines could be to blame. Kurt L. Kocher, the department spokesman, said spillage from drinks and crumbs from snacks can evolve into a stench if left uncleaned for a long time.

And there's one other theory...

- the joke of the day circulating among courthouse employees: "Perhaps it's the lawyers that we smell."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

Fixing to come a cloud.

We're having our big Magic City Art Connection deal outside my window in the park. Always a fun time for local artists, including a guy I work with. But it seems to never fail that it rains at least one day. And I just now looked out the window (because I was greatly annoyed by some sort of hippie noseflute worldbeat music) and it's as black as night and looks like its about to come quite a storm. They have tents set up for the artists to sell out of, but they don't offer much cover.

At least the hippie music quit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:43 AM | Comments (4)



Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

Prepare to be jealous.

I just talked to Miss Janis! On the TELEPHONE!

She's been sorely neglected by Lyman, who has been burning up the phone lines talking to little old ladies enthralled with his rich Southern accent, and in order to receive some justice (however misplaced her notion of it might be) she accessed the super secret hotline to Possum Central and we had a wonderful conversation.

As always, talking to a fellow blogger for the first time is always a keenly interesting experience--you get an idea about people from the way they write in public and in their e-mails, and then when you hear them it's always at first odd, then not so much so, and then it just gets all odd again.

Anyway, for those who want to know, Miss Janis sounded almost as I expected, although a bit throatier--she seemed to be battling a cough and losing--but it was something along the lines of Suzanne Pleshette with a touch of Dixie Carter. And, of course, Mamzelle Hepzibah.

Topics included blogging, which has gone to pot the last year or so as all the trolls and flamers have migrated from the message boards; flamers; trolls; peregrine falcons; politicians; Hillary '08; soft hands; air freshener; Lucy the Parrot, who is now learning to say Possumdaddy; lawyers; journalists; condos; Southern Women--in particular Miss Reba, who has been known to talk a bit; Fritz Schranck, who is a nice man; and planning for the day when Lyman and Janis show up at my house and I have to explain to Reba my secret blogging life.

All in all, one of those good conversations.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:12 AM | Comments (3)

Oh, that wasn't so bad.

The evening mee(a)ting I had last night went quickly enough--I spent more time at the grocery store afterwards looking for something else to fragrantize the interior of Moby. Those two solid discs of whew I bought a few weeks back had been stewing in the van and so when I decided to drive it last night, I had to roll the window down to keep from getting choked. Just a little too intense, and a little too unlike any known naturally occurring odor.

So, I stopped at Food World on the way back and looked over my options. Of which, there are about 48 billion--stuff that's waxy, stuff that's oily, stuff that's solid, stuff that will play you a soothing song as it stinks up the place, stuff that makes a cute cloud, stuff that clips onto the car A/C vent blades, deodorizer, ionizer, deionizer, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antisocial. And little cutout cardboard pine trees.

I finally settled on a bottle of Febreze (hey, did anyone know it's Couch Appreciation Month!?), even though I absolutely hate the name Febreze. Sounds too much like Feeble Breeze. They didn't have the car version, so I just got a bottle of the plain stuff. Although I hate the name, I really do like the product--it doesn't smell like perfume, but it does smell clean. Interesting, too, is that after I finally got out of the store and doused the interior, the overwhelming odor of the first smelly things seemed to evaporate much quicker. I figure it should smell even better once the carpet and seats are actually cleaned. I took it several months back and had the car wash halfway clean it out, and then took it home and did even more myself, but the rugs really need a good steam.

ANYway--I have some OTHER stuff to get done this morning for our church building committee meeting (that I stupidly set for 4 tomorrow afternoon), so I'm going to mess with that for a bit.

IN THE INTERVENING TIME, go wish Skillzy a Happy Birthday!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:48 AM | Comments (4)

April 21, 2005

It's almost that time of day.

You know, when I go to the restroom. And then come back and shuffle more papers, and then go home. Long night again tonight--after missing a meeting last month, it's time to show up at the Hall of the People in lovely downtown T'ville and take my place on the dais to hear some more variance requests. And then there's other stuff to do, although I'm not really sure what. I'm sure I will be informed.

And yes, the "I'm A Moron" Project continues with all deliberate speed. There's a particularly nice piece of moron bait on E-bay being listed by a guy who lives up the road a piece in Pell City. Sure do wish Uncle Sugardaddy would give me my refund check!

BUT BEFORE I GO--a word of admiration to those of you who filled in your Thursday Three today--you people sure do like to read!

I think I might take that up someday.

Or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

If you ever get to thinking you're having a bad day...

Nate "Scooter" McCord sent me this a PowerPoint photoessay entitled "Why I Got Fired," which was big and took up so much bandwidth that Yahoo! went home for the day. Trust me--it was pretty derned funny.

Oh, and this incident that happened this morning probably would rate inclusion as well if anyone got any pictures of it.

Poor chickens...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:14 PM | Comments (6)

You know what I want?

Well, I'll tell you!


A cold, refreshing 20 ounce Diet Coke!

So there.

UPDATE! And best of all, I went at the exact right time, because petite perky local reporter Charnel Wright was coming in the building! She's usually the reporter covering the local Bo Bice cheering match--last night she certainly had her hands full with some kid who was standing right under her elbow. At one point she had to push him out of the way so she could do her report.

Anyway, she didn't have to do that to me.

Then again, I couldn't get out of the elevator because of the guy standing in front of me.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

The Perils of Dickie-Bird, Volume MMLXVI

Judge refuses early end to Scrushy trial

The past couple of weeks, the local airwaves have been full of throaty denunciations of the government's case by the defense team; with the assurances by various mouthpieces that the state has miserably failed to show guilt of the prime player. Always it has been delivered with puffed-chest braggadocio, I suppose to set the stage amongst potential future jurors for an appeal should the defendant be convicted.

But, it's rare to get a directed verdict at this stage, even if the government is unable to show the jury a signed letter of intent to commit fraud. "There is NO paper trail!" I believe I heard one of the nicely-suited legalists say yesterday.

Juries are funny things, and maybe this one will free Dickie-Bird to fly away and enjoy the spoils of his efforts on a nice island in the Bahamas. But lack of a paper trail seems a risky sort of ploy to rely on--you don't often have people who know something is illegal commit that recognition to paper.

Again, it'll be interesting to see what happens during the rest of the afternoon, and how many charges will be retained.

UPDATE: Judge drops some charges, Scrushy trial continues

U.S. District Court Judge Karon Bowdre this morning dismissed five counts against HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy and reserved ruling on 12 others. She determined that the bulk of charges in the $2.6 billion will remain intact and the defense can begin presenting its case this afternoon. [...]

From the 58-count indictment Scrushy faced at the start of the trial, he still faces 50. Charges include conspiracy, securities fraud and money laundering. He has pleaded not guilty.

But the whittling of the charges is a good thing even before the formal phase of the defense begins, Lewis Gillis, a Scrushy attorney, said after this morning’s hearing.

“Any count that gets dismissed is a big victory,” he said.

Maybe so--as Churchill said, "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." But it's probably not yet safe enough to prance about while wearing a big target. That guy with the gun still has a belt full of ammo.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:01 PM | Comments (5)


What is the thrill, exactly?

Dropped by to check the Haloscan comments, as I do occasionally to see if I've missed anything, and sure enough, some odd person took it upon him or herself to show me their exact level of illiteracy in a running series of comments on a set of posts a year old. Why? What purpose does it serve?

I realize that for children (or young adults who have moved out on their own to their mom's basement) there probably is some sort of thrill about spewing anonymous gibberish, but I promise you, there really are better things to do with your time. Maybe take a walk. Ride your bike. Ask your teacher if you can help her clean the classroom.

Just remember, no one will ever take you seriously if you type in all caps, if you are unable to spell, if you have the reading comprehension of a banana, and if you are unwilling to engage in a conversation without hiding. Such naughtiness gets you banned from commenting, and gets your silly yammering deleted.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:45 AM | Comments (7)

OH! And Space Camp!

I did misspeak about the amount of money brought back by our intrepid explorer--according to him, it was a nickel, two dimes, and six pennies. I told him he could keep it, and he was quite happy.

He said he had a very good time--he got to sleep in a bunk bed, and his hot air balloon that he made with his partner got the prize for going the highest AND staying aloft the longest, and one of the kids got homesick the first day and his dad had to come get him, and they got to eat astronaut ice cream, and he got to be a mission scientist on some sort of mock exercise.

"What kind of science officer stuff did you do, buddy?"

"Uhmm, I talked. And I had to do some other stuff."

"What'd you talk about?"

"I don't know."

Fascinating, Captain.

As was the fact that although they did have little shower cubicles for the kids, there was apparently no place to hang up street clothes, so he decided to put them in the floor outside the shower. Which, as you can imagine, was wet. Good thing he was only gone for two days or else he would have been growing mildew as his science officer job.

The only glitch in the otherwise successful mission was the little matter of homework. He'd brought some home with him last Friday, and then took his backpack with him to school Monday. Came back last night, and come to find out, all of his makeup homework was left undone. Because they didn't get to take their school backpacks. Because the homework was SUPPOSED to have been done over the weekend. Which he conveniently forgot to do. MEANING, he had to stay home from church last night with Mommy and get it all done. And it was a lot. And took a long time.

The main reason it took so long is that while Reba was downstairs washing his wet clothes and cleaning up after supper and such, Boy kept quietly showing up at her elbow. "I sure did miss you, Mommy."

I think he might have even missed me.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:06 AM | Comments (6)

You can't spell "meeting" without "me."

Or without "tin," for that matter.

ANYway, I have been in a meeting for nearly the last two hours, which is why there has been little in the way of anything fresh and funny here on Possumblog for the last two hours--well, okay--years.

But it was a good meeting, if there can be such a thing. Interesting project about which I can say nothing, other than BOY, it sure takes a LOT of electrical power to run a hundred thousand square foot room full of computers. And more than a couple of D-cell batteries. I can also say it sure is nice to run into the occasional smart guy who knows the technical side as well as the arty side of stuff, even if it's just plants. Because that type of guy makes you kind of ashamed to say something so crass as "just plants," and you come away saying to yourself, "that guy knows his business." It's a good thing to work around smart people. Would that there were more of them.

SO, now, on to more inanity.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:45 AM | Comments (7)

A very wise man once said--

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.”

You know, that is just so true.

In any event, speaking of books (as we just were), and being that it’s Thursday, and being that something needs to be done to break us out of our respective springtime reveries, one Jim Smith (not an alias, by the way) sends in a suggestion for the our weekly bit of snoopiness, which he dubs:

The Spring Reading Edition of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

1. Do you like to read one book at a time until you’re finished, or multiple things at once?
2. Do you do your browsing at the library, or do you prefer going to retailers such as Barnes and Noble and glomming up free samples of the publishing arts, pretending you’re actually going to buy something?
3. Which do you prefer--hard cover, paperback, or online?

And a special bonus question (or else Jim has lost the ability to count):

4. What do you read most often?

As is always the case, anyone who cares to may play along--and even if you don’t know how to read, just make something up--we’ll never know the difference. Leave your answers in the comments below, or leave a link to your blog and we’ll come over and slouch in all your guest chairs and make ourselves at home while we read your answers at our leisure.

So, go answer!

As for my answers--

1) I could never read just one thing at a time--at any given time, I have about three book-books in various stages of being read, and five or six magazines.

2) A little of both. I suppose I spend more time at the library, because if I spent more time at the bookstore I’d wind up buying stuff that I would put on the groaning shelves full of other things I bought with intent to read and haven’t gotten to yet.

3) Depends, I suppose. I love old hardbound books, but then again, I love old books of any sort. For general reading, flimsy covers are fine. Online books have never really caught my fancy--I like being able to get up and walk around and go and sit in the reading room that has the porcelain chair and then be able to get up and go outside, and then be able to just put a piece of paper where I stop and not have to worry about turning the thing off. Also, online books are online, which means there’s the temptation to wander around and go check e-mails and E-bay auctions.

BONUS QUESTION 4) Magazines. Lots and lots of magazines. And just about any kind, too--technical journals, cars, decorating, crafts, guns, cars, art, science, history, cars, guns. I don’t really read that much of the news journals, health and fitness, or travel, or anything with thrusting bosoms on the cover--which is about 90% of the stuff on the magazine racks now. It’s gotten to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jennifer Love Hewitt on the cover of Highlights spilling out of handkerchief.

Hmm? Oh--sorry. Mind wandered there for a minute. ANYway, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:14 AM | Comments (23)

April 20, 2005

The Eagle Has Landed!

Didn't think the little stinker was ever going to get home!

I called home just now and Boy has made a triumphant return from Space Camp with a bag full of wet clothes, a Space Shuttle pin, a pair of Pathfinder wings, a group picture, a certificate, a raft of stories about all the rides and activities, and two nickels out of the $27 worth of spending money he took.

A full debriefing to follow tomorrow. Along with something we always do on Thursday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:57 PM | Comments (2)

More Baby Animals!

Dave Helton's place is getting just a wee bit more cramped.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:01 PM | Comments (3)

"One of these days, Alice...BANG ZOOM!"

Panhandle man who `mooned' jurors competent for retrial

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — A defendant who dropped his pants to "moon" a jury has been ruled mentally competent for retrial on charges he beat his girlfriend.

Cornell Jackson, 31, tried to persuade Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet that he was crazy and not faking mental illness at a hearing Tuesday but to no avail.

"I ain't in my right mind," Jackson insisted. He also told the judge: "I am going to the moon. The spirits are gonna take me to the moon."

Jackson, accused of attacking a former girlfriend on consecutive days in 2000, was convicted of armed burglary, aggravated battery and aggravated assault at two trials although he missed the first one and part of the second. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison.

He declined to attend the first trial and was removed from the second in July 2003 after shouting "cuckoo" and displaying his bare buttocks to jurors. [...]

Probably best to drop the act rather than the pants once you get in the stir, Cornell. Just sayin'.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

Say...that's pretty nice!

Just did my daily scan of the Library of Congress website, and they've spiffed up the front page slightly. Very nicely done--not too busy, easy to read, easy to get around.

Color me impressed.

OH--and don't miss the Shop--all sorts of cool stuff to waste time looking at, including photos of aviatrixes posed rather wickedly with their stockinged ankles exposed for the whole world to see. SHOCKING!

You can also get a tee-shirt with the Library of Congress' initials on it so everyone will know what a big geek you are. Unfortunately, it costs $16, which is a bit much for me, considering everyone already knows how big of a geek I am. Why advertise the obvious?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)


All these years, that whole thing about "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound" have driven me up the wall--but now, I know!

Sen. Jeffords Won't Seek Re-Election


UPDATE: Or rather, who cares.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:41 AM | Comments (6)

A Clarification.

From Fritz Schranck, who is a Democrat, but certainly not THAT Democrat.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

Speaking of Adam Sandler...

This is rather more on the bizarre side--Sandler named Grand Marshal of May NASCAR race at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Actor-comedian Alan Sandler will visit Alabama in early May. He'll serve as Grand Marshal of the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Nextel race at Talladega Superspeedway. Track officials said Sandler will participate in pre-race events and will utter the well-known racing phrase -- "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines." [...]

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

Hey, Catherine!

"Hey, Daddy."

"Guess who I saw this afternoon before you got home!"


"Your little rabbit friend! Remember? The one that you tried to catch last year? When you walked out here at night?"

"Casey? Katie--YES, Katie the Bunny! Where was she, Daddy?"

"She ran out from under the grass over there at the back of the yard when I came by with the lawnmower."

"Can I go catch her!?"


As if she could--she makes WAY too much noise. But it was good to see Katie the Bunny back again. Although it might be Katie the II, or Bob. It looked a lot smaller than the rabbit we saw last year.

ANYway--it was grass-cutting time yesterday. Since I missed the weekend, and since the weeds didn't, and since I had yet to cut the backyard, it was definitely time to crank up the Murray and get after it.

After first being mauled by the neighbor's big slobbery golden retriever. Dern thing's as big as a horse now. He and his owners were out yesterday doing some yardwork as well, when for some reason Guy Neighbor decided to unhitch Dog from his mooring as I was getting the mower out of the Not A Utility Shed.


Gal Neighbor fussed at Guy Neighbor for letting Dog loose, and as they gently bickered back and forth in the tentative way that young marrieds have, Dog crawled all over me and nearly knocked me down in his irrational exhuberance. I love dogs, although I don't really enjoy dog slobber spewing everywhere and the uncomfortable feeling you get when said dog is so happy that he mistakes you for a girl dog. Guy Neighbor FINALLY came over to pull Dog off of me, and after he was sitting down, I gave him a friendly pat (Dog, not Guy Neighbor) and Guy Neighbor finally got the hint that I needed to be about my mowing, so he sadly wandered back over to his yard.

Crank, putter, drone, mind wander. I thought some more about the "I'm A Moron" Project; clicked over some of the things I need to do to get Moby ready for a new home--paint the bumpers, steam clean the carpets, some fog light lenses; saw that the last application of week WEED killer didn't; ran over two fire ant beds and decided I needed some fire ant killer, too; marvelled at the weather--sunny, warm, breezy, unhumid, blue sky; wondered how Boy was doing up there in Huntsville; admired how beautiful our azaleas look this year; thought the whole papal election process would be much more interesting if the College of Cardinals had a football team and cheerleaders like Notre Dame does; startled Katie the Rabbit and reminded myself that I had to be SURE and tell Catherine when she got home. Something about weekday mowing isn't conducive to getting all worked up about life's little indignities, I suppose.

After Reba and the girls got home, I had gotten around to the back yard where I had the conversation with Cat about the rabbit, and then decided she needed something to do if she was going to be outside with me. So, I got her to fill the bird feeders. She enjoyed that. And we looked at the wrens up in the tangle of wisteria on the arbor. She liked that, too.

After that, she took herself over to the swingset and began acting like an orangutan. I looked up one time and she had somehow managed to climb up and hang from the top bar by her arms and legs. I started to make her get down--she's a big chunk of a little girl, and if she'd fallen it could have been very bad. But, you know, I did the same thing when I was little. I just told her to be extra careful and not to fall. Which she didn't, but I think that's more due to Divine Providence than her gymnastic skills.

She eventually wandered into the house and I finished up around 7:30 or so, and unlike the days to come in the choking heat of summer, I actually didn't feel all worn out. I sat and rocked for a bit and talked to Miss Reba, then came in and headed down to the drugstore to get our prescriptions, then drove by the Mercedes Doctor to look at the stuff on their backlot waiting to be repaired, then on to home for a good supper, a part of which will also be lunch today, caught the latest episode of The Office, despite my ban on teevee watching at the supper table (it's good to be the king, you know), then cleaned up the dishes, went upstairs and showered the grime off of me, helped fold the last of the weekend laundry, and turned in for the night.

Quite a productive afternoon.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:24 AM | Comments (2)

I promise I will never do this.

Fla. Gunman Puts Car 'Out of Its Misery'

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, Fla. - A man with car trouble is in trouble after shooting five rounds into the hood of his Chrysler "to put my car out of its misery."

John McGivney, 64, shot his 1994 LeBaron with a .380-caliber semiautomatic, Broward County sheriff's deputies said.

When the property manager at his apartment complex asked what he was doing, McGivney said, "I'm putting my car out of its misery." He tucked his gun in a pocket and went back inside.

He was arrested Friday on a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm in public. He posted $100 bail Saturday.

McGivney said the car has been giving him trouble for years and had "outlived its usefulness." He called the shooting "dumb" and worries he will be evicted. But he doesn't regret it.

"I think every guy in the universe has wanted to do it," McGivney told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "It was worth every damn minute in that jail."

I believe John might need to find other outlets for his frustration.

Either that, or donate the car to a worthy cause.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:51 AM | Comments (1)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Hasidic Reggae Star Not Just a Novelty

No, of course not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:39 AM | Comments (3)

April 19, 2005

Buckle up.

We're taking a trip to Moronland!

It is an odd land where anything can be rationalized entirely without the use of logic or reason.

Those of you who fear to go to such places may safely bypass this entry. The rest of you are welcome to hop in!

SO--some backstory. As you all recall, when it came time in the course of Reba's former employ to start traveling to two different outer office locations--one in the wilds of Oneonta in Blount County 60 miles to the north, and the other to the wilds of Columbiana in Shelby County 60 miles to the south--it became apparent that such a huge amount of miles was going to eat us out of house and home in gasoline if she kept using the Honda. At the time, we had the Odyssey; Moby, the '94 Plymouth minivan; and Franklin.

As longtime readers will remember, Franklin was a 1980 Ford F-100 that was my beloved pet. Purchased from a construction worker in my hometown, Franklin had over 250,000 miles on his wheezing straight-6, never having had a rebuild, and only having had one clutch replacement.

An anvil, he was.

As green as he was slow, the children and I nicknamed him Franklin in honor of Franklin the turtle (also green and slow) as well as the fact that Ben Franklin is on the 100 dollar bill. F-100--get it!?

Well, they didn't either.

Anyway, Franklin was something of a handful--he was thirsty, and horribly smelly, and slow, and had a bad habit of backfiring like a cannon at every upshift. BBbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrRRRRR---BOOM! bbbbBBBBrrrrrRRRRRR---BOOM! But, he was always willing to work, and hauled many loads of rocks and wood and gravel and dirt and barbecue grilles and junk and boxes all over creation.

BUT--we needed something more fuelish for transporting Reba to and fro. We found her a happy little navy blue '01 Ford Focus in our hometown, and it still lives on our driveway till now. Franklin, however, was one vehicle too many. And so, onto the block with him. Finally sold him to a Yankee Bostoner who lives around the block from me. Goodbye, Franklin. Goodbye, last vestige of uncouth manliness I had (aside from my underwear and guns, that is.)

So, Odyssey, Focus (both still unnamed), and Moby, who has now rotated into the backup vehicle/beast of burden slot.

NOW THEN--yet ANOTHER change coming down the road. The arrival of a teenager, who seems to think she's too good to drive a big white minivan, and has her sights set on becoming the owner of a happy navy blue '01 Ford Focus. Which is okay--it's good and reliable and safe and predictable and not a bad looking little car (and Mom has already surreptitiously allowed her to pilot it through a parking lot--::shriek!::).

But then, what for Mom and Dad to drive? Mom likes the smaller car, but she likes the Honda as well. We need one large six passenger car for the whole family to fit in, but two is a bit on the much side, especially when gas is so 'spensive. I had publickly cogitated upon several different scenarios with Reba, some of which just had us keeping Moby, and some that would have allowed him to be sold in lieu of another, smaller car. If it would be for Reba, maybe another nice little Focus. Or, maybe something old and smelly that I could enjoy, and she could drive the Honda.

And thus we speed off into Moronland.

Irrationalization number one--since Reba isn't THAT hung up on cars, and can't tell one from another unless I'm there to tell her, and has already said she likes driving the Honda Odyssey (which is wonderfully reliable and safe and sturdy and safe and pretty, by the way), what would be wrong with allowing her the great good joy of driving it, and consigning myself to something odd and weird and marginally reliable--but, which I could claim as my very own, without fear that anyone else in the family would try to take away from me? (Again, much like my guns and my underwear.)

Irrationalization number two--since I am reasonably handy with the wrench set, and have a much higher regard for my mechanical skills than is warranted by actuality, an older car in reasonably good shape is not the worst thing I could be trapped into owning. I mean, all cars have little odd things to be fixed, right?

Irrationalization number three--what to get? Well, it can't be TOO weird--I do want it to work most of the time, and then when it quits be able to actually find parts for it. And it can't be TOO small--I still need to be able to get at least four other people in there besides me. But it can't be too large, either.

And there's this terrible unrequited fondness I have for small boxiness--I have a peculiar affection for small boxy sedans like late-'60s Falcons and Novas and Ramblers, and Datsun 510s, and 1600 Bimmers, and Volvo 240s. Plain, yet with some sort of odd charm in the architecture, and with no real need to show off with all that flashy squealing of tires.

Now, don't get me wrong--I love speed with a lusty earthy love that is rather unseemly. I think looking at pictures of the Jag E-type is pretty close to sinful, at least the way I do it. I like the slight pitter of dread you get in the pit of your stomach when you barely manage to keep from winding up upside down in a creek. I have a catalog of stories of a misspent youth in the company of crazed boys and cobbled-together machinery that will never be told for fear of the repercussions that could still arise. So, it's not that such things hold no charms for me--they do. But you can't do that ALL the time. Just like the joke about Groucho Marx, "I love my cigar, too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while."

And, doggone it, I'm an adult now. Such showoffery--while undeniably fun--is a bit out of place in public. (And yes, maybe one day I'll feel thus constrained about public flatulence. But that is another discussion for another day.)

ANYway--a screwball admiration for small boxy cars.

A plan begins to take shape, and I start looking through the local AutoTrader publications for likely candidates, and plotting the means by which this can be convincingly (or connivingly) presented to a sure-to-be-skeptical wife.

Hmm, dumdeedum. ::flip::flip::

Amazingly enough, it seems that the current collector car fascination for late-60s, pre-1972 Detroit muscle cars had made even lowly Novas skyrocket in value to the same price they originally sold for. Or more. Who would pay that much for a Maverick, for goodness sakes? WHA? How much for a plain old Malibu!? What are people thinking!? Surely no one pays that much for junk like this.

And then--there, dangling before me, an interesting morsel of moron bait.

Boxy? In spades. Slow? Matched only by glaciers. Reliable? Undeniably so. A certain je ne sais quoi? Possibly, if I only knew what that meant. Smelly? Oh, just like a bus, brother. Cheap? Bingo.

The object of my current ineptitude?

Oh, something like this--

That, my friends, is a 1981 Mercedes 240D.

It, and various others of its Swabian ilk, trade for around 22 to 25 hundred bucks. (The 240/300 Mercedes originally sold for over 20 large back in the early '80s, back when that was a lot of cash.) I saw stupid '81 LTDs in the same AutoTrader selling for the same 2500 grickles as the Merc. In fact, there wasn't much of anything any cheaper. Certainly nothing as old that was as good of a car.

The chassis type--the W123--is one of the best screwed together things on the planet, built at a time when the idea of any Japanese car ever being any good would have evoked gales of Teutonic chortling. It was a car engineered and assembled with a different mindset, and was seen as a testament to the idea of precision craftsmanship and solidity. I recall reading a snippet from an article about the way the door handles on this vintage of Merc were made. The author couldn't understand why they were so heavy and thick and build like a steel ball. The engineer calmly explained that sometimes tow truck drivers had to use the handles to wrap a cable around in order to snatch errant Benzes out of canals. The diesel Mercedes engine is simple and tough and will last hundreds of thousands of miles without a rebuild as long as it's taken care of.

Okay, that's the good stuff.

The bad stuff? Well, they're twenty-plus year old cars. ANYthing mechanical can break down, and especially if it hasn't been properly cared for.

The 123 chassis also had a niggly vacuum-actuated system for the door locks and trunk lock and fuel filler door that relies on the good fortune of tiny bits of rubber sealing nipples to hold in the suction. If one gets a leak, doors either won't unlock, or lock, or both. Not really a hard fix, but a fussy one to get right. Having worked with GM vacuum lines before, it is not something I relish.

Seats--Mercedes-Benzes have wonderfully overbuilt seats, the only weakness of which is a horsehair padding that breaks down over time and with wear and can leave you sitting on uncomfortable springs.

Oh, and slowness. Did I mention slowness? The engine in a 240D has 62 (or so) horsepower. It hauls around a ton and a half of fine German steel.


There are tales that crippled old men--on foot--can match it in a head's up drag race. But, once up to speed, you can go forever. And look awfully jaunty doing so. I saw a burgundy 240 the other morning as I came to work. Such a fine-looking thing--just the right amount of chrome, back when it was okay to have chrome. Staid, stolid. And miserably slow. Might have to see if I can find a 300D--they have a stunning 15 horsepower more.

Anyway, once the tax refund comes in, and a new mattress is safely installed in the bedroom, and some minor fix-up is done to get Moby ready to sell, there will again be an object of illogical interest in the driveway. At least I hope so.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:52 PM | Comments (30)

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

QUOINS. The dressed stones at the corners of buildings, usually laid so that their faces are alternately large and small. From the French coin (corner).

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

Often used in the both the humblest of modular abodes and the grandest of McMansions to symbolize Olde Worlde craftsmanship, even if it's only done up in 1" thick foam.

Here's a picture of the thing in question.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:01 PM | Comments (7)

Testing, once more.

I mentioned yesterday about not realizing I had a bandwidth limit for the free account(s) I have on Photobucket, and fellow Munuvian and all-around helpful person Miss Jordana asked why I didn't just upload the images to the mu.nu servers.


I suppose because I was so beat down by three years of Blogspot servitude, that I didn't realize I could have a blog that would actually work like that.

SO, I asked how to accomplish this amazing feat, and Jordana promptly wrote me back with all the details on how to best satisfy our robot overlords.

Let's see how it works...

Chet says "Hey!"

chet in snappy hat.jpg

Slick--I like this!

UPDATE--Let's try this and see what happens:

Emme says "Hey!"


The only thing is that sometimes I do go back and post older pictures, and I doubt that I will ever remember all the HTML for the popups and such like. Oh well. Still better to be able to have some control over the pictures, and no suddenly defunct ones.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:44 AM | Comments (5)

When the going gets tough...

...the tough get monkeys. Police in Ariz. Seek Monkey for SWAT Team

Wow, this seems like an extraordinarily bad idea.

Unless they can be trained to fling poop at the bad guys. Or keep them entertained with monkeyshines. But a capuchin monkey with a belt full of flash-bangs and an MP-5 is probably not a good thing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:47 AM | Comments (4)

April 19, 1775

And so the battle is joined--from the Library of Congress' American Memory website, a notation marking the beginning of the American Revolution with the battles of Lexington and Concord.

In 1836, only 61 years distant from that first shot (and only 53 since the end of the war), a monument was erected to commemorate the event and the following hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson was sung--

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world,

The foe long since in silence slept,
Alike the Conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone,
That memory may their deed redeem,
When like our sires our sons are gone.

Spirit! who made those freemen dare
To die, or leave their children free,
Bid time and nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and Thee.

The Michael Moores of the world may believe these men are no different from the bloody power-mad murderers the world now calls terrorists. The men who fought to leave their children free were not murderers, not be the context of our time, nor of their own. Even their foes saw them not simply as enemies, but as honorable enemies--weak, upstart, misguided--most certainly. But not men of dishonor.

That they persevered and were victorious made the world a better place, and by that grace allowed even the simpletons and buffoons of our land to show themselves freely for what they are. That such mockers and poltroons are given a place in our midst is not by the hand of their own idiocy, but rather is a gift from their fathers; the same fathers whom they hold in such low regard.

May those who unjustly equate the founding of this country with the deeds of evil men never have to live without the protection of her liberty.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:54 AM | Comments (3)

"Comedy of Errors," Indeed.

As you all know, I enjoy linking to stories about my alma mater. But, every once in a while, something comes along the telegraph that simply makes me shake my head.

From the "Stories That Defy All Attempts at Parody" file--At AU Theatre, Shakespeare Plus Star Trek Equals a Unique 'Comedy of Errors'

::shaking head::

(And no, as far as I know Cay Wooshley has no part in this production.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

Serves 'em right.

From Snopes.com, how not to get a great deal on a laptop.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

It just must be the day for it or something.

Tata Consultancy profit dips on weak dollar

Well, it helps if you fold them in half lengthwise. Or so I've heard.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:45 AM | Comments (3)

Priorities--always the priorities.

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A Mobile woman has been jailed on charges accusing her of driving her vehicle into two cars and a pedestrian before fleeing on foot, bringing along her 6-year-old son while carrying a bottle of wine.

Police Cpl. Marcus Young said Yanique Mauldin, 32, abandoned her vehicle and ran from officers Sunday afternoon.

Mauldin, who is already on probation for an assault conviction in 2004, was held on charges including felony leaving the scene of the accident, resisting arrest and misdemeanor DUI. [...]

::shaking head::

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:41 AM | Comments (2)


Do not click here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:31 AM | Comments (3)

Here's Your Sign

I went to go pick up the kids yesterday evening, and as I pulled onto the main street of the upscale subdivision where Reba's mom and dad live, I noticed the little information sign. It's very discrete and pretty, with a stacked stone base and frame, and a nice illuminated board under glass with changeable letters where the neighborhood announces meetings and such.

Yesterday's note of interest? First line--


They say brevity is the soul of wit, but sometimes a little too much brev can get in the way.

(Maybe next time a couple of punctuation marks would help, or maybe it might be a good thing to go ahead and take the time to spell out "home owner." Then again, maybe I just don't know all there is to know about Tutwiler Farms...)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:17 AM | Comments (4)

April 18, 2005

Never fails.

I get ready to have fun and work happens.


Be back in a bit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

And now?


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)


Since when did Photobucket have a bandwidth limit!?

I've never had any trouble at all until today. Something is amiss.

UPDATE--Hmm. 1500M of bandwidth per month. And I'm over?! Sure would be nice to have some sort of warning. Or, maybe if I would read stuff beforehand.

UPDATE 2--I really doubt they want you to go and start another account to get around the bandwidth restriction.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:47 PM | Comments (3)


The Weekend, Part II. Long, as usual. I'll use the extended entry to keep from taking up so much room...

As I mentioned last week, Reba stopped off on her way home and went to see Miss Alisha at the hair place, who proceeded to do her do up right with a cut and a color and an hour or so of pleasant conversation. She's a good kid--only 21--full of wit but thankfully not silly or flighty, and she does really good work. Reba was quite pleased with the result and the company AND with the fact that it was about a quarter of the cost of the expensiver place. (I like that, too.) Anyway, I just hope she stays around for a while. I hate having to find someone else. (I suppose that goes equally well for both wife and hair stylist.)

First thing to do Friday after I got there was to load our tiny bit of stuff into the Focus along with the kids' stuff, and make a quick run by the grandparents' house to drop it off. That done, with the requisite time spent hugging on various children and telling them to go back inside so we could leave, we went on to Sam's to fill up on some cheap(ish) gas for the trip. Upon going up the hill toward the companion Wallyworld--Sam's retailing district on Chalkville Road, one of the oddest things I had seen in several hours, that being the sight of a perfectly restored postwar Rolls-Royce chugging along up the lane to make the left turn into the Wal-Mart shopping center. There ARE other stores in there, and a movie theater, and the fancy Chinese joint, and it IS prom season, so I'm sure they were going somewhere other than Wal-Mart. Although the whole idea is kinda interesting. Anyway, it was a beautiful car--I'm not sure which model (a Silver Wraith, I suppose), but it had the crisp knife-edged Mulliner coachwork and bustleback trunk that supposedly inspired the 1980 Caddy Seville, the ugliest GM car ever made until the Pontiac Aztek. (And a style that was also ripped off for both the Lincoln Continental and the Chrysler Imperial. I think it is a credit to the sheer horror of the Aztek that no other company has decided it was worth copying.)

We turned up the hill to the right, got our gasoline, and then--well, we had to go to Wal-Mart, too. Reba wanted to get her watch battery changed out, so we went to the jewelry counter where the staff was as helpful and attentive as jellyfish.

"If it didn't come from here, we caint take the back off it."

Thank you!

I wound up having to do all the prying and battery replacing myself. BUT, it works now. For some reason, when the battery went dead a while back, rather than take it and have a new battery put in, Reba inexplicably just bought a cheapo watch. It had quit too. For some reason, cheap, non-waterproof watches don't take well to being immersed in water. Go figure, huh?

ANYway, grabbed some burgers from the in-store Mickey D's and we were FINALLY on our way.

Uneventful drive, and pulled into the nice, relatively new Wingate Inn and carefully signed in under our assumed names of Mr. and Mrs. Doe. It's really a nice place--the room was clean and hadn't been smoked in, and it was still in one piece, and the place was nice and quiet with no one running up and down the hall screaming. Our room was on the second floor at a little mezzanine level that looked right down onto the lobby and desk, which might have something to do with the quietude.

Ironed some clothes, watched some History Channel, set the alarm clock, went to bed, awoke with a start because it was light and the alarm still hadn't gone off. Because it hadn't gone off. I hate hotel alarm clocks. Thankfully, it was only about ten minutes past 6:30, so we upped and showered and repacked and stole the tiny soap and headed downstairs for breakfast, which was also included in the room price.

Lots of German men lounging about eating breakfast with us. I don't know why. There were at least three different small groups of them, with none of them acting like they knew the others. Sneaky Germans.

Check out, load the car, make the quick run over to the school, escort Reba to the bookstore so she could get the rest of her books, while she does that I look through the phone book for the nearest library. They had one on campus, but someone said they didn't think it was open, and I HAD to do something other than just sit all day in the student lounge. Found one I thought was close-ish, but since I don't know anything about Montgomery, it took a while to actually find it.

Walked Reba back to her classroom, and left out heading back down Eastern Boulevard, made the turn onto South Boulevard, stopped at Food World, checked the Yellow Pages map, turned around, headed back up South Boulevard, then back up Eastern Boulevard, turned east onto Troy Highway, stopped at the Chevron on 71, turned around and went back down Troy Highway the way I'd come, turned north onto Bell Road, drove, drove, drove, thought it might have been good had I written down the address, stopped at the Shell on Vaughn Road, looked at the Yellow Pages map, found out I was only about a half-mile short of the library.


It had only taken forty-five minutes to get to a point that I was later to find out was only ten minutes from where I had started out. I had made one gigantic loop.

No matter.

The branch was small, but it was well equipped with some books, which are pretty important for a library to have. I lolled around at the computers (finding myself to be on the naughty list) and read several magazines before it got to be time to head back over to the college and eat lunch with Reba.

They put on quite a spread for them--it's included in their fees, of course, but everyone thinks of it as a free lunch. Which there ain't none of. And yes, even though it was a buffet and even though I probably could have sneaked through without any of the staff being the wiser, I paid my five bucks so I could enjoy my bone-riddled pork chop and limp green beans with a clear conscience.

I felt kinda bad for Reba, because everyone gave us plenty of privacy--I know she probably would have like it better if some of her classmates had sat with us, but I guess I scared them all away. (And no, I did not scream "TREEEE" at any of them. Much.)

After that, it was time for her to head back to class, so I walked her back to the building and gave her a quick smooch and a pinch on the bottom when she turned around, and then drove on back to the library for a few more hours of uninterrupted reading. Absolutely wonderful.

On back again around 3, picked up Miss Reba, and headed toward home again, and once again, an uneventful trip, and a pretty one--Saturday was one of those beautiful Southern spring days. Bright blue sky; warm, but not hot. And none of the humidity that'll be coming on in a month or so.

Got to her parent's house, they were gone with the kids, so we went on to refill the gas tank (32 mpg this time--pretty darned impressive, I think) and got some groceries. Home, unload, get the van, get the kids, eat some supper, back home, into bed with the whole wild lot of them, up early Sunday, and to church.

Class was good, and as usual I asked Rebecca and Jonathan if they learned anything. Jonathan said he learned what that "R-word" was that I had just erased off the board. Whatever it was.



"And that's all?"


For some reason, Rebecca had more questions than usual, and after class we used up nearly the entire 20 minutes of break-time before worship just discussing Bible stuff. That was nice. I wonder sometimes how much gets through, but apparently a lot.

Then on to worship, where we were treated to being pummelled in the back by Tasmanian devilchildren for an hour, as well as treated to being unwilling audience to an hour-long, unquietly-whispered conversation amongst the three people in front of us.

Don't get me wrong--I want people to visit us, and not be made to feel unwelcome or unloved or uncared for. And I realize that some people don't think of worship as being something you do, but rather think of it as something that you watch. But, you know, if I was just coming to watch, I don't think I would sit and talk all the way through the show.

Yes, I know the show's a bit on the boring side--no magicians, no laser lights--but, still. Surely you can tell that NO ONE ELSE IS SITTING THERE ON THEIR SEATS CARRYING ON AN UNINTERRUPTED CONVERSATION AND HAVING A WONDERFUL SILLY LAUGH-FILLED ESCAPADE LIKE YOU'RE HAVING!

Is it so impossible to be reverent for an hour? You have the whole day to yammer about your nails and lunch and every other thing and about how funny you think everything is--could you just please hush for a little while?

And, hey--people behind us--I really don't blame your children for being ill-behaved. I blame you. Please tell your children that constantly hitting the pews with their feet and poking people with songbooks and pulling the girl's hair in front of you and screaming and fighting internecine battles is really not a good thing. Maybe you could take them out to the nursery and tell them.

Obviously, it was difficult to concentrate Sunday morning.

Left, drove over to see Ashley's grandparents and eat lunch, home to get Boy's stuff packed, and I took him to get his hair cut. Miss Alisha wasn't there, but he'd gotten so wooly that there was no way to wait. And now he looks like a perfect little Mercury astronaut. Got gas in the van and got it washed (after several stops to find a carwash with the cloth strips instead of nylon brushes) then home again to finish packing, then back to church where it was MUCH quieter for the evening sermon, then to home, some nice quiet soup for supper, and then, to bed.

What a weekend it has been. But oddly restful. A few hours alone in a library'll do that, I suppose.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:43 PM | Comments (8)

You know what I REALLY dislike? A lot?

They moved our staff meeting from 8:30 to 9:30, so the big boys could have their meeting first. But their meeting never gets over on time. So you're stuck in some kind of unproductive limbo like when you're waiting on the guy from the phone company.

I'd much rather go ahead and ruin the day right off, than have to wait for it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:44 AM | Comments (2)


Oh, and in amongst all the other turmoil, today marks Boy's departure for Huntsville with the kids in his RLC class to attend a three-day jaunt at Space Camp.

This entailed both the packing of a suitcase and the cutting of apron strings, it being the first time the lad's gone off on his own so far from Mama. He's excited, obviously, but Mama's looking on this as something akin to him actually going to the moon.

And what can I say? I let him and Catherine out this morning, got his big rolling bag out of the car, patted down his cowlick, gave them both a big hug and kiss, and sent them both inside the building, turned around and got back in the van, and felt that terrible thud you feel in the pit of your stomach when you realize one of your children is taking another step away from you.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:09 AM | Comments (11)

"I'm A Moron" Project Update

Y'know, if you're trying to get rid of a hunk of iron, and it's the type of iron that really doesn't sell that well, because it's the type of iron that only morons would be attracted to, and you go to all the trouble of putting your e-mail address in the advertisement for said article, it MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA TO CHECK YOUR E-MAIL.

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:48 AM | Comments (6)

What happens in Montvegas--

--stays in Montvegas.

Well, not really. Otherwise I'd have nothing to talk about!

A nice weekend, mostly. We did have to return home Saturday, though, and that meant coming home to a houseful of children who had been entrusted to the care of their grandparents for a day and a half. Our children, being that they lead a repressed life under the thumb of their autocratic father who stands ready to castigate them for even the slightest transgressions, when loosed from those strictures often take on the personalities of sailors on shore leave after a year at sea. Especially when in the presence of doting grandparents, who seem to think themselves powerless to call them to task.

SO, it was that Miss Reba and I returned Saturday afternoon after the entire lot of them had been to Vulcan Park. Yes, it is still standing.

Grandmom and Granddad were beside themselves with fatigue. The children were tired as well, but only tired in the sense of a momentary plateau in their voltage level. After a brief recharge, they would have been ready to let loose again. However, the SPs arrived in the form of Mom and Dad, and order was restored. At least on the surface.

Anyway, the longer version of events will be up in a bit--actually, not too much to tell, since Friday and Saturday were spent doing nothing productive.

OH, and the deal with being banned in Montgomery? Well, as Reba toiled away in class Saturday, I drove over to the E.L. Lowder branch of the Montomery Library System on Bell Road, and after a few minutes of surfing to check my mail and the news, I thought I would head over here and click around and see what folks on the blogroll were up to. IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when I entered the address and this message popped up on the screen--

The Montgomery City-County Public Library in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), Pub.L.106-554 has chosen to limit viewing of this site (http://possumblog.mu.nu/), due to the rating of its content (digital music,entertainment).

WICKED, WICKED Possumblog!

Such pride I don't think I've ever felt about any other endeavor I have undertaken!

Now, some of you might wonder where the digital music is--I imagine it's kept in the same place as the entertainment. When I find it, I'll let you know.

Anyway, back in a bit with more.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:36 AM | Comments (9)

April 15, 2005


I'm not gone for the day, because I have yet more bilge to pump around here, and if I keep playing I won't get it done.

In a break from the usual, as I noted earlier the weekend promises to be enjoyable, and even more so since Miss Reba has gone to see Miss Alisha to get the roots of her hairs colored up. Nothing like a little color to lift the spirits, you know.

Anyway, all of you have a great weekend, and I'll see you all Monday--although if that library down there has computers, you might hear from me earlier. But I'm not gonna make ANY promises!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

Fun With Referrer Logs!

I realize everyone has their own little peculiarities. (Present company excepted, of course.) But I think some peculiarities are a bit more, how shall I say it, ahhh--peculiar--than others.

Like those of the person who waded through 274 other links before landing on Possumblog, all the while looking for naked/female/golfers.

I'm just asking here, but if that's your deal, why on EARTH would you think there would be stuff like that here--on something called "Possumblog"!?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:05 PM | Comments (8)


Scientific Conference Falls for Gibberish Prank

By Greg Frost

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) - A bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference in a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jeremy Stribling said on Thursday that he and two fellow MIT graduate students questioned the standards of some academic conferences, so they wrote a computer program to generate research papers complete with nonsensical text, charts and diagrams.

The trio submitted two of the randomly assembled papers to the World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI), scheduled to be held July 10-13 in Orlando, Florida.

To their surprise, one of the papers -- "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy" -- was accepted for presentation. [...]

"Rooter" features such mind-bending gems as: "the model for our heuristic consists of four independent components: simulated annealing, active networks, flexible modalities, and the study of reinforcement learning" and "We implemented our scatter/gather I/O server in Simula-67, augmented with opportunistically pipelined extensions."

Stribling said the trio targeted WMSCI because it is notorious within the field of computer science for sending copious e-mails that solicit admissions to the conference.

"We were tired of the spam," Stribling told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding that his team wanted to challenge the standards of the conference's peer review process.

Nagib Callaos, a conference organizer, said the paper was one of a small number accepted on a "non-reviewed" basis -- meaning that reviewers had not yet given their feedback by the acceptance deadline.

"We thought that it might be unfair to refuse a paper that was not refused by any of its three selected reviewers," Callaos wrote in an e-mail. "The author of a non-reviewed paper has complete responsibility of the content of their paper."

However, Callaos said conference organizers were reviewing their acceptance procedures in light of the hoax. Asked whether he would disinvite the MIT students, he replied: "Bogus papers should not be included in the conference program." [...]

I'm gonna have to get me one of those random gibberish spewing computer programs for Possumblog. I've fallen behind by trying to do it the old-fashioned way.

And yes, I believe a review of procedures might be in order for WMSCI.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:57 PM | Comments (5)

Obviously, just because they arrest someone doesn't mean--

that he's guilty.

Man suspected of being I-65 flasher caught naked

EVERGREEN, Ala. (AP) — A man who allegedly has been flashing motorists on Interstate 65 for months was caught in a police chase when a tire blew out on his getaway vehicle. He was wearing only tennis shoes.

Mark D. Estis, 45, of Calvert was arrested after motorists reported seeing a naked man just before 10 a.m. Thursday on the interstate, about 9 miles southwest of Evergreen.

Alabama Bureau of Investigation Agent Doug Darby spotted a suspicious vehicle. Conecuh County Sheriff's Investigator Tyrone Boykin said he arrived to help Darby just as Estis, wearing only tennis shoes, emerged from woods and got into the vehicle.

Estis sped off, Boykin said, but was caught after one of his tires blew out.[...]

"He told us he had been doing this about a year, and said he had problems and wanted help. He didn't say what made him start," Boykin said.

Then again...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:44 PM | Comments (2)

Now then--

Off to the bank for some spending money, and then a little lunch.

Yes, I realize it's been slim pickings around here today, but there's that recurring annoyance of having bosses who keep wanting things done.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

Yes, believe it or not, we DO have electricity.

Alabama taxpayers lead Southeast in filing tax by e-mail

The Internal Revenue Service says Alabama leads the Southeast - and surpasses the national average - in adopting electronic methods for filing and paying income taxes.

Through April 7, Alabamians had e-filed almost 974,000 federal tax returns for 2004, a more than 10 percent increase from 2003 filings, making it one of only three southeastern states to match or exceed the national increase of 7.8 percent.

More than 187,000 tax returns were filed by Alabamians from their personal computers, an increase of 14.7 percent compared to 2003 filings. The increase slightly exceeds the national increase of 14.6 percent. [...]

Pretty impressive, I suppose.

I am still somewhat put off by the fact that the IRS won't come up with an online form to fill in to pay your taxes. Seems like if Amazon can do it, the IRS should be able to as well.

Than again, I'm not sure why we can't just eliminate the IRS.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:10 AM | Comments (5)

Bully for Favorable Coincidences.

It has been a long couple of months at our house. And, tempers have been inversely proportional.

I’ve likened it before to that guy who used to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show and would spin plates on sticks. Start out with one, then work from there up to a whole forest of spinning plates on sticks. Quite a show.

After a while, it gets harder and harder to keep running back and forth from the ones on one end to the ones on the other end. Inevitably, one begins to wobble and then falls off with a big crash. The audience usually gives you a pass for that one, because they see the other hundred plates madly spinning, and you sprinting breathlessly back and forth giving each little stick underneath each spinning plate a quick wiggle to keep it going.

Now, on Ed Sullivan, the guy could just stop and let the plates all wobble and fall and crash and then take a bow. In life the plates have to be kept spinning, you can’t just stop and take a bow. Which is kinda stressful because you can only spin plates for so long before you have to stop and go to the bathroom or something.

Anyway, so, we’re busy. But big deal, you know? Everyone else is, too. But when you’re in the middle of it, and you look at your wife and she says, “You know, we need a date,” and all you can do is sigh and agree and keep plugging along--well, it just gets to be less entertaining than it otherwise might be.

And the plates just keep coming. As part of Reba’s classes, every three months she has to go to the main campus down in Montgomery and spend the whole day for a class. Not the worst thing in the world, but just another layer of stress--I stay at the house with the kids and she’s off on the road alone for several hours, and in an unfamiliar town for the day. She’s a big girl and can handle herself just fine, and I’m not really worried about her. But I am. She’s fully aware she's a full-growed adult, so it's not like she's really apprehensive about it. But she is.

So, with all the lack of one-on-one time, and crush of things going hither and yon, you just put your head down and keep going.

Last week sometime she said, “You know, it sure would be nice if Mom and Dad would keep the kids this weekend. And you could drive down with me. Maybe even go down Friday night.”

A glimmer, that.

“I don’t know what you’d do while I was in class, though…”

“Well, I suppose I could stay in the library and just read all day.”

We both looked at each other, and with the recognition that it was pointless to hope too much for such a silly thing, we both said, “Oh, well,” and let out a sigh. Silly thought. Head down, keep going.

Got home last night and she’d already started getting the clothes into the washing machine so there wouldn’t be so many to do the rest of the weekend. She was sitting with Rebecca in the laundry room floor separating clothes, so I gave them both a ‘hey’ and went upstairs to get out of my work clothes and put on something more comfortable. Kid’s laundry in folded piles all over the bed. Well, not quite the whole bed. I sure would like the laundry not to ALL be on MY side of the bed. ::sigh:: Snotty and selfish thought, quickly brushed aside. I’ll help them put it away after supper sometime.

Back downstairs, start getting plates and napkins ready for supper. “Hey, did you see those clothes on the bed?” How could I miss them? “Mm-hm.” “Well, don’t move them.” As if I was going to. “Come here.” ::sigh:: Not like I wasn’t already doing something else.

“You remember what I said the other day?”

“Uh, no.”

“How it sure would be nice if my mom and dad would watch the kids? I came in to pick them up this afternoon, and she asked what we were doing this weekend, and I told her I had class Saturday, and she said the Dad wanted the kids to spend the night Friday so that he could take them all up to Vulcan Park Saturday. The clothes on the bed are what I'm packing for them to take over there.”


“Which means if we wanted to, we could go down Friday night.--and I wouldn’t have to get up at dawn Saturday to get to class--and…”

SAY NO MORE, SQUIRE! Wink, wink! Nudge, nudge! Ay? Say no more, ay! A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat! Ay?!

I believe is was Homer who said, “WHOOO-HOOO!”

NOW, there are probably some of you who cannot fathom the lure of a night spent in Montgomery, Alabama, it not being, after all, a wild, cosmopolitan, entertainment-laden burg like, say, Valdosta, Georgia, or even like Poughkeepsie, New York.

Well, that’s because you just don’t know.

My friends, there are few things more interesting than being able to get a quiet room with a big bed, in a town where no one knows who you are.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:30 AM | Comments (18)

April 14, 2005

If everyone was jumping off a bridge...

Interesting article from Auburn U. about a study they did about folks' attitudes toward cheating on taxes.

Mine? It's wrong on the face of it--"render unto Caesar," and all, and there is no justification for even thinking about it, much less doing it. I don't like taxes, I don't like paying them, I don't want to pay more than I owe. But if I owe it, I'll pay it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:29 PM | Comments (6)

How do you know the U.N. Oil for Food scandal is real?

Annan: US, UK Also Bear Blame in Oil, Food Scandal

Because Kofi's trying to weasel out of culpability by blaming someone else, of course!

The article is one long series of finger-pointings, with the sort of Annan-whininess that has all the lasting importance of a toddler slapfight.

Okay, big boy--you want the U.S. and Britain to really be in charge? Get out of the way and let us run things. Don't like it when the U.S. and Britain don't do what you think is their job? Stand up and say something.

Kinda like what Lee Iacocca used to say--'lead, follow, or get out of the way.'

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:11 PM | Comments (2)

Glad THAT'S over!

I mailed my state income taxes in yesterday, after going back through and correcting them to get back a few dollars. As you all recall, the instructions via our lovely and talented Department of Revenue seemed to indicate (by using the words, "Taxes you cannot deduct") that our local Birmingham and Jefferson County occupational taxes could not be part of the deductions for taxes you've paid. The occupational tax subtraction has been there for years, and this was the first year I can remember them being ineligible for a deduction.

SO, I had everything all filled out last weekend, said something about it here on Possumblog, and then thanks be to the great help of Stan, the Gummint Man, who pointed out that the state had issued a correction. It seems the instruction booklet was wrong, and you CAN deduct local occupational taxes!

Now, despite the fact that I cannot believe this was a simple "error" in printing the instructions (being that it wasn't just a typo, but a complete revision), I have no proof of rampant bureaucratic malfeasance in the Revenue Department. SO I said 'let it go.' And then I went and redid my return to get back the bit of money I had thought I was going to have to pay.

WELLLLL, let me tell you--it's a darned good thing I went back through and did it again, because not only did I get a reduction of about 30 bucks for the taxes, I also found out that I had based my original tax-owed number on the WRONG INCOME. I had looked at the line $1,000 more than my actual income, so I saved another fifty bucks.

Wound up writing a tiny check, which is the way I like it. Much better to owe a bit at the end than have a big refund. Big refunds are a whole year's interest-free loan to Uncle Sam.

OF COURSE, had I actually been allowed to keep that money, I would have gone and spent it on stuff instead of having it to spend all at once on an extravagant big-ticket item.

This year, I promised Reba that we'd replace our mattress. Fourteen years is a bit on the longish side for mattresses, even good ones, and even ones that get turned regularly. And even one with such good memories.

But it's gotten beyond turning now, and Reba complains of backaches all the time, and we just can't have that. SO, time for a new one.

I had thought about one of those 'spensive Tempur-pedic ones that allow you to jump up and down without rocking the other person (and no, I don't normally need that kind of isolation), but if we spend all the refund money on that, I won't have any left over for funding my latest "I'm a Big Moron" Project.

Yes, it is car-related.

At this time, only Larry Anderson is aware of the actual depth of my dementia. Of course, he is what psychologists call "an enabler," and I think actually enjoys the prospects of the blithering moronitude that will surely follow in a few months.

I'm just hoping a nice mattress will make up for it with Miss Reba.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:26 PM | Comments (16)

John Cheese!?

Well, I suppose if Mencken said it...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

Really, now!

Punters Bet on Old, European, Conservative Pope

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and offer my own prognostication that he will be Catholic, too.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

A mind is a terrible thing.

I just read Eric Rudolph's rambling confession and apologia for his deeds. I had a much longer comment I was going to make, and erased that, and then had a short one, and that went away as well.

It's just that I find it hard to fathom that anyone could be so full of hate and evil. Young, relatively smart, not a bad looking kid--and rotten to the core. Remorseless and arrogant, yet full of self-pity and inferiority. Wanting so badly to be someone, to stand tall; but in the end, nothing but a wretched criminal, and much less than a man.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death.

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; And the end of mirth is heaviness.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

Much Better.

Just printed out another 69 pages of Miss Reba's paper (it grew a bit due to the necessity of making each chapter title start on the top of the page) and took it back across the street to A-1.

Reba and I looked again last night in the requirements, and although the comb binding had at one time been okay, it looked somewhat as if they had tried to mark it out with a black line. But the line wasn't quite covering it up. It wasn't real clear of the intent, but I know that I don't like comb bindings just on general principle, so I figured we might as well do it right.

Explained to Miss Vicki that I had gotten the wrong thing yesterday and today told her I needed the tight little coil with the bunch of little round holes in the side. And this time, I made sure to twirl my index finger out in front of me in tight little coil shaped movements, just to be sure she understood.

She went to the back and I wandered around the place. Smells like ink, you know. And paper. Passed the time chatting with the woman running copies at the big machine. She thought it wasn't supposed to rain today, and suggested that all the weather guys on teevee should be fired. "But as long as the weekend's like it was last week, that'll be okay." Yeah.

I did have one heart skipping moment when I couldn't remember if I had properly oriented the front "I did not plagiarize this paper" cover sheet. It was a separate sheet, and I wondered if I had given it to her upside down or something. The other woman ran back and checked, and everything was okay. And I saw through the window that the edges of the paper were filled with a bunch of tiny round holes.

And, done.

Only one more like it to go. But at least it's not anytime soon.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:24 AM | Comments (4)

A rose by any other name…

What ho! A poetry reference on Possumblog!? Fear not, because it is only a way to introduce the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three, BABY NAME EDITION!

What with it being Spring and all, and all sorts of babies being a’borned, we have a round of questions here destined to make you all put in some serious thought on a very serious subject! The suggestion for the topic comes to us this week from Marc Velazquez, who starts us off with some news-grabbing celebrity-ness:

1. What names would you suggest for the offspring of --Denise Richards and Chuckie (the Wildman) Sheen; Britney Spears and that guy; and Prince Charles and Camilla, Dutchess of Cornwall, formerly styled Mrs. Andrew Parker-Bowles, née Camilla Shand?

2. The inspiration for the next set of names comes to us by way of resident peregrine-watcher Janis Gore from deep in the wilds of the Sportsman’s Paradise--to whit: what should be the names of the 3 (or 4) baby falcons born to San Francisco’s own George and Gracie? (You can click on the main website at UCSC and read all about them, or click here and see the most recent live image.)

3. Now, for the last one, I realize some of you have already made suggestions, but you’re just going to have to do it again. What is your suggestion for Dave Helton’s new baby horsey?

As we always state, anyone who wishes may play along, even if you’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name. Leave a link in the comments below (click the permalink if you want the comments to remember your name and e-mail so you won’t have to put it in a bunch) or just leave your suggestions in the comments if you want. Go forth and be nameful now!

Now then, for my answers:

#1-- I don’t have a good one for Denise and Charlie. On the other hand, I would suggest for Brit and “I need a bath” Kevin something artsy and high-tone. Taking a cue from the tale that Margaux Hemingway was named for the bottle of Chateau Margaux consumed by parents during the conception process, I suggest the upcoming young Federline be named “Colt 45.” Nice, because it’s like, a boy name OR a girl name! As for the last one, I doubt Chas and Cami would be in the market for such things, but should the need arise, I would suggest “Eww.”

#2--Bird names. Hmm. I’m not sure, but I think it’s somewhat pleasantly ironic that these efficient little killing machines are named for comedians. I would suggest keeping up the trend. Particular care should be given to shy away from naming them after foul-mouthed (heh--there’s a pun there) comedians like Lenny Bruce or Richard Pryor, and try to stick with good, old-fashioned wholesome-type folks. I mean, you could pretty much see Lenny Bruce killing a pigeon, whether he was a falcon or not. It’s just so obvious. But not Red Skelton. It’d be even funnier if they snuck up on pigeons by pretending to be Gertrude and Heathcliff the Seagulls.

#3--For the last one, I already suggested Dave name the baby horse “Nancy,” after Nancy “War Woman” Hart, who left quite an impression on backcountry Georgia in the 18th Century. Of course, you don’t usually hear of horses named Nancy, although “Nan” sounds kinda horsish. But, since I’ve already suggested that one, I guess another name might be “Allis.” (What with Dave liking tractors and all the way he does.)

SO, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:05 AM | Comments (13)

April 13, 2005

Now then.

It's almost time to go, and MAYBE this week I won't have to substitute for the Wednesday night teacher for the 3rd to 6th graders at church like I did last week. Sundays are ALWAYS much better--the kids have had some sleep, and are still sleepy, and are generally on their better behavior. But on Wednesdays, they're amped up on an entire day spent confined in state custody amongst all the heathen and barbarians and infidels and such, and they come in ready to rip.

As always, I blame parents.

(Not really so) Long ago, parents cared how their children acted when they were out of arm's reach, but now, parents act about as wild. The kids in our classes are good and have parents that care, but the kids are off running with the bulls during the day, and it rubs off on them. Especially that sarcastic snottiness so common on television, where every adult is a dolt, and kids are impossibly glib and witty. In real life, however, kids don't have writers, and what comes out of their precious little mouths isn't particularly cute. Or funny.

So, they get The Look. The Look is bad to receive, because it says "you are not funny, and you are going to stop that, because if you don't, you and me are gonna go 'round and 'round."

It's not fun, for them or for me. (Well, okay--maybe a little fun for me, but only because I'm a control freak.)

Anyway, last Wednesday they were fit to be tied, and had I had longer shoelaces, I might have done it. Maybe this week their regular teacher will be there. And then I'll be able to rest until Sunday, when it's my turn.

ANYwho--the day's about shot. I'm fixin' to git, but before I go--a reminder that TOMORROW is THURSDAY, and THURSDAY means...SPECIAL SURPRISES!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:18 PM | Comments (10)

Once again, I am proven right.

When I got back from the printer, I went straight downstairs to purchase a cold and refreshing Diet Coke, still clutching my just-punctured copies, neatly concealed within a manila folder.

Coming back to the elevator, I passed one of the executive secretaries in the corridor who works with the big people. Super nice woman, but hasn't been here a real long time. It took her a while after she arrived to be able to remember my name and such, which is just fine--she probably does a better job of it than I do.

Anyway, we nodded and spoke, and just as I got even with her, she stopped and said, "You know, when I first got here, I didn't realize you worked in our department. I thought you worked up in Legal--you're always dressed up nice with a shirt and tie, and you seem like you always have all kinds of papers and things with you, and you always seem to be doing something serious."


Proof once again of my Primary Rule of Work--"If you look busy, you ARE busy."

In order to pretend that you are a busy professional, you must dress like a professional, carry things around with you, and walk with purpose.

Sloppy people obviously need something to do. People who don't have anything to carry can't REALLY be busy. If you wander and dawdle, it means you're goofing off.

Remember, avoiding work requires real effort to pull off successfully.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:19 PM | Comments (6)

That was disappointing.

I took the copies over--two, this time, because Miss Reba said she wanted a copy for herself that was bound. Not in so many words, but when I was asking how the last one she did was fixed, she said, with a rather put-out, sad tone, "I don't know--you only would pay to have one of them bound." ::sniff:: Well, NOT THIS TIME!

I passed them across the counter to Miss Vicki--no, not THE Miss Vicki, the lady who owns the joint--with instructions that the cover should be clear plastic, the back cover black, and the binding to be the black plastic coil-type binding. Thinking to myself that, by holding my fingers closely and moving my hands together and apart rapidly, I would convey the idea of the spring-type coiled wire binding that goes through all the tiny loops. Except, of course, in black plastic.

Ten minutes, and two freshly bound copies. With the clunky comb-type plastic binding that is an ever-lovin' [very naughty word redacted] to handle. I'm not sure the requirements even let you use this type of binding strip--I think it pretty much has to be ANYthing else. ::sigh::

What could I say? There was no way to make the tiny holes and redo it, and Vicki's too nice to fuss at. So, I paid her $6.50, and I figure we'll look at the instructions again tonight to see if this'll do. If not, there's always tomorrow, I suppose.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:58 PM | Comments (2)

How very odd--

It seems that when you tell people you won't be posting anything, the daily hit count drops down to near nothing.

Except for the random people who find their way to Possumblog by searching for such things as homunculi "today Show".

Remember, just because they're tiny on your TV, doesn't mean they are in real life.

NOW THEN, I am going to walk over to A-1 Print and Copy and have Reba's paper bound. (I shudder to think what sorts of people are going to find their way here because of Google's misunderstanding about the whole concept of binding paper, rather than, well...other things.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:17 PM | Comments (2)

Then again, maybe not.

I thought I might get a chance to play some today, but signs are not encouraging. Especially the large sign around my neck that says "Get to Work."

SO, this might be it for today, or there might be a drop of inanity later on toward quitting time.

I did want to mention that Catherine really REALLY enjoyed the planetarium yesterday, and then came home after school and played in the backyard with Rebecca and rolled all in the grass and got eaten up by chiggers.

On the whole, though, she seemed to have thought the day was a good one, despite the bugs.

Now then, to work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:16 AM | Comments (4)

April 12, 2005

Yes, yes. I know.

I said I was through for the day, but I just got the Dilbert Newsletter in my e-mail box and was startled to see this note from Scott Adams buried in the middle someplace:


Alert readers have noticed that Dilbert looks different lately, almost as if someone else is drawing it. Well, it's still me, but here's what's happening: I lost the use of my right hand for drawing, thanks to overuse. Technically, it's called a focal dystonia. It's essentially a brain-mapping problem caused by overusing the hand. The hand is structurally healthy and perfectly fine for every possible use EXCEPT drawing. It's very specific. My brain essentially removed from me the ability to do the thing that was hurting it.

One way I can confirm that it's a brain issue is that when I try to draw with my LEFT hand, my RIGHT hand spasms immediately. Some part of my brain doesn't want me drawing because that's what caused all the discomfort.

For a few weeks I worked left-handed. I'm not quite ambidextrous, but if I work slowly, it looks about the same. Some of the lefty ones have a "L.H." on them to tip you off.

Left-hand drawing was too slow, so I looked for, and found, a technical solution. Wacom has a product that allows you to draw directly onto a special flat computer screen that tilts and turns just like paper on a drawing board. It's called the Cintiq 21UX, and I've been using it for the past several weeks, with much success. It will take a while for my characters to look the same as old, but I'm closing in on it.

The reason I can draw on the computer, but not on paper, is because now I work at a different scale (larger), and the feel of the stylus on the screen is so different from pen-on-paper that my brain doesn't think I'm drawing, so it doesn't trigger the hand spasms.

Brains are funny. [...]

You ain't whistling Dixie, brother.

Best wishes to Mr. Adams, and kudos for the clever work-around.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

Now then...

It's time for me to get ready for my semi-monthly off-site meeting tomorrow, so I must shut down the drivel spigot for awhile and tend to my paying gig.

See you all much later tomorrow!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

The Railsplitter!

Museum Brings Lincoln to Life

Sounds like quite the spectacle, and incredibly informative about little-known aspects of Honest Abe's life. Believe it or not, until I saw this photo, I did not realize The Great Emancipator also had worked as an Abercrombie and Fitch model.

History is truly amazing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

The Worst Blog Topic of All.

Yes, dreams.

I'm sorry--making your dreams a blog post is one of those things that is simultaneously creepy, unentertaining, and boring, like Elton John; but this one is one of those that has stuck with me for more than a day. I can usually figure out what triggers some of these, but this one was a cypher.

Skip it if you wish--it's really dumb.

Or not--here goes:

It started out like most of my dreams do, in a shabby decrepit old building. I'm not sure why--you'd figure an architect would have dreams of glassy shiny new places, but the places where I have my dreams have all seen their better days.

Anyway, I wander into this dimly lit building with someone, and I think it was Reba, or not, but we plunder and explore and finally I come to something like a storeroom full of old books and furniture and junk and piles and piles of junk and cobwebs. There is an upper mezzanine that you can get to by a set of iron steps, and then you can go outside, but I stayed inside and found a small ell-shaped room off the main junk room that had a window looking out onto a small weedy courtyard. A window, I guess, implies it had glass in it, but it's just an opening in the wall, with closely spaced vertical bars on it.

It's a very pretty sunny day outside, and the building I was in--which looked like an old white stuccoed building--wrapped the little patch of green weediness on three sides, and then the open side spread out into a nice park area beyond. It was very nice to look at--something almost like what you would see in old towns along the Gulf Coast. It was nice even in spite of the tangle of junk all around where I was standing.

I was about to go upstairs and go out, then looked back outside to the corner of the building wing that stood over to the right. There was a shrub planted there, and as I watched, it grew like a corkscrew all the way to the top of the building! Quite amazing and amusing. It looked like something out of a cartoon.

Okay, now the weird part.

A lady dressed in very stylish Edwardian clothing walked up to where the tree was, and was about to walk up a small set of steps into the building. She was very pretty, with light-colored hair, a dark green dress, carried a parasol, and looked for all the world like a Gibson girl model. For some reason, at that moment, it was as if the whole scene was something out of an old movie. I hunched down and pressed my face down in the corner of the window between the bars, and started shouting, "TREE! TREEE!" like I was a drooling deranged idiot or something. Apparently in this "movie," this was what I was supposed to portray.

The lady stopped, and I just kept yelling TREE! TREEEEEE! TREEE! and she had a look of pitiful compassion on her face that anyone would mistreat a blithering mental case like me by locking him in a room full of junk. And for some reason, I couldn't break character--I just kept slobbering and yelling TREE with my face pressed to the bars, because me was 'fraid tree gonna get lady!

She finally turned and went inside, and then it was like the scene was done, so I left the room and went someplace else in the building and looked at some more junk, and then I woke up wondering what the heck I had eaten that made me have THAT kind of dream.

Stupid brain.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:26 PM | Comments (9)

Man, I'm just a sucker for baby animals.

Dave Helton's got a new filly, and it already looks half-grown!

I'm terrible at suggesting names for other people's animals, but in the spirit of competition, I would offer "Nancy," after Nancy Hart.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:34 AM | Comments (5)

From the "Adventures in Headline Writing" File II!

Study: Cloned meat, milk nearly the same


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:56 AM | Comments (5)

From the "Adventures in Headline Writing" File!

Restless Leg Syndrome Runs in Families, Study Says

Heh--those Reuters guys just crack me up!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:06 AM | Comments (2)

Is it just me...

Or does NASCAR driver Kurt Busch--

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

...look just like that kid from Malcolm in the Middle?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:02 AM | Comments (4)

Speaking of Cat--

She and her class of second graders have gone here today on a field trip. Probably one of the neatest little out-of-the-way attractions in town, the planetarium has been part of a memorable childhood for just about everyone in town who got to go there on a class trip. I still remember going, although I'm not sure how old I was. Maybe Cat's age or so, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.

I hope she has a good time, too.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)


Miss Jordana notes the robins who have nested on their front porch seem to have had some babies.

I have a feeling we're going to have some pretty soon, as well. This weekend I was outside cooking again (hamburgers--mmmm) and as I was standing there with my usual vacant look and slack jaw, something flitted by just outside my peripheral vision. I looked and couldn't see anything, but for some reason, the pressure sprayer attracted my attention. I don't know why, but I went over to look at it--it's had the bung and pump handle out of the top all winter, and the hose was hanging down off of it--I figured it wouldn't hurt to neaten things up a bit and get it off the table and put it in the Not-the-LEAST BIT-Shedlike Plastic Playhouse. Until I saw something inside--stinkin' little birds had filled it up with straw and made themselves a nice tin can home.

So, I left it alone.

I figure that gives me an excuse for not spraying the weeds in the flower beds. I don't know what kind of birds they are--I haven't actually seen any. And I made the mistake of telling Catherine, so she now feels compelled to go out and peek inside every day after she gets home from school. I keep telling her she's going to make the birds scared and they'll leave, but for some reason she's immune to such reasoning.

Anyway, we might have us some birds. I just hope they don't decide to fly inside like the one did at Christmastime...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:34 AM | Comments (4)

Something to consider.

Sources: Rudolph planted dynamite near building agents used as headquarters during manhunt

The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Eric Rudolph stashed dynamite near a building that government agents used as a headquarters during the huge manhunt for the serial bomber, federal sources close to the case told The Associated Press on Monday.

Agents believe that while he was a fugitive, Rudolph left a large stash of dynamite near a National Guard armory that served as a temporary base for agents during the search for Rudolph near Murphy, N.C., a federal official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The exact proximity of the explosives to the armory is not known, but the official said the cache was close enough to the building to have caused damage had it exploded.

Another federal source said bomb components were found buried near the armory — located near woods about two miles outside of Murphy — but officials weren't sure how long they had been in the ground. The device "wasn't operational," but contained all the pieces of a bomb, the source said, also speaking on condition of anonymity. [...]

For some, the failure to date to apprehend various terrorists, most especially Osama bin Ladin, is held up as some sort of failing of the current Administration. It might be worth considering that Eric Rudolph eluded capture for five years, all the while operating in a small portion of territory in the midst of a relatively well-populated area; and as the article notes above, occasionally within striking distance of his pursuers. Five years to find a guy who was there all along. If bin Ladin is still alive, he will be caught, but it serves no purpose (except to our enemies) to cast his escape to this point as a general failure of policy.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:01 AM | Comments (2)

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

I missed this last week due to the move because it was packed in a box marked "old underwear." Anyway...

PERRON. An exterior platform ascended by steps and leading to the (usually first-floor) entrance to a house, church, etc. The door opens onto it. More loosely, the flight or flights of steps ascending to the platform.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

In this instance, you have to remember that in European parlance, the first floor is the first floor above the ground floor, so this is a pretty tall flight of stairs. Probert's has a pretty good illustration of the idea (as well as a slightly different definition).

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:39 AM | Comments (2)


Reba's paper, that is. 14,348 words, 65 pages. I just wish that was the only one--I think there are one or two more, and I have a feeling that my assistance will be required on those, as well.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:16 AM | Comments (6)

April 11, 2005

More commenty junk.

As you will note below, I have inserted a bit of text to prompt you to click on the permalink to leave a comment so that your information will be remembered--JIM AND SKINNYDAN. (And everyone else, for that matter.) That should make it a bit less onerous for those wishing to make comments.

One day the pop-up box will be fixed, and one day the header on the extended entry/permalink window will match the pop-up, which matches the main page.

Or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:10 PM | Comments (7)


I have been trying my best to get some content posted AND try to work on the remembering-me portion of the comments, but our Internet connection seems to have gone on the blink and it's been nearly impossible to get anything done.

But I'm working on it.

As noted previously, if I have an extended entry, the comments will remember your data. If you post directly from the pop-up, it doesn't. Very interesting.

Or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:58 PM | Comments (3)

Going South...

No, not Miss Janis.

I'm talking about long-time reader, commentor, wooden boat owner, and Official Possumblog Gopher State (for now) Reporter Toni Albani. Toni dropped by the comments section over the weekend to say hey and all, and I noticed that the woman had done gone and started her own blog--BACK IN SEPTEMBER!

Of course, I felt bad for not having known about it until now, and as usual, to hide my culpability in not keeping up with people better, I must blame Chet the E-Mail Boy, the old fool. SO, I have taken the liberty of adding Toni up in the blogroll, and intend to claim her as a blogchild whether she likes it or not.


I note with pleasure that Toni will be leaving the wintry cold climes of Lilekslandia with her belongings and resident spreadsheet expert, and heading for the soft warm embrace of the Deep South. Well, Tennessee, which is pretty close. And you don't have to explain what sweet tea is.

So, welcome to the South, ma'am, and we look forward to your despatches from the Volunteer State!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:32 PM | Comments (4)


Ivan-struck bar on Florida-Alabama line to be bulldozed, rebuilt

Yes, the Flora-Bama--but wait, don't despair!

The Associated Press

PERDIDO KEY, Fla. (AP) — The famed Flora-Bama Lounge will be bulldozed because of damage from Hurricane Ivan, but the owners say it will be "just as low rent" as before when rebuilt on the Florida-Alabama state line.

The ramshackle bar, a beachfront landmark for 43 years, was still standing after the September hurricane, but Ivan's storm surge almost gutted the low-slung building, filling it with sand "bar high," said co-owner Joe Gilchrist.

He and partner Pat McClellan will hold an Irish wake Saturday for the old Flora-Bama. They said the 20th annual Interstate Mullet Toss also will go on as scheduled April 22, giving loyal fans yet another chance to see how far into the next state they can chuck the ubiquitous seafood staple. [...]

Even for those of us who do not imbibe of demon liquor, it was still a landmark.

I really kinda doubt it will be quite so ramshackle and low-rent as it was pre-hurricane, though--building codes and such. Maybe in another 43 years...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

Why, yes--it IS a big deal!

From close by to where I grew up--

Graysville to become Mayberry for a day

News staff writer

Graysville will become Mayberry, N.C., for a day on July 30.

The city will sponsor this year's Mayberry Squad Car Nationals, an Andy Griffith Show-inspired event previously held in Brent.

Graysville took up the sponsorship after Brent decided to drop the event this year.

On July 30, owners of 1960-1967 Ford Customs and Galaxies, disguised as typical police cruisers of the era, will converge on the city to run races and obstacle courses depicting some of the show's episodes.

The Alabama-bred event was conceived by Ken Junkin of Gordo, owner of a 1964 Ford Custom and member of the Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club.

Junkin put together the competition with club friends who also own vintage Fords.

The first nationals were four years ago in Fayette, before Brent stepped in, he said.

Junkin himself plays a sober version of the show's town drunk character, Otis Campbell. And if an event is far enough from home, he will perform a skit as Big Maud, the female escaped bank robber from the episode "Convicts at Large."

Little did you know that watching The Andy Griffith Show could turn you into a crossdresser...

But the highlight remains the timed course, set with the same obstacles that drove the plots of memorable episodes.

After leaving the starting line, competitors will have to stop and hang up a stop sign on a nail, stop again to break up a still, and again to take clothes down from a clothes line, like Barney had to do but didn't think he should have to do as deputy.

"They stop again to pick up a hair ribbon, like Goober's girlfriend lost while riding in the squad car on a triple date, and finally," Junkin said, "arrest Ernest T. Bass before crossing the finish line."

Junkin met Graysville Mayor Doug Brewer at the Mayberry Days annual festival held in Mt. Airy, N.C.

Brewer said he overheard Junkin lamenting the loss of the Brent sponsor, and asked him to come to Graysville.

Brewer did not comment on any similarities that may exist between Mayberry and Graysville. The festival just promises to be a fun, positive event, he said.

Well, knowing Doug the way I do (we went to the same school from 1st through 12th grade, and he graduated a year ahead of me) I imagine the event will be quite a spectacle.

And yes, I do have tons of stuff I could blackmail the good mayor with, so I expect an invite to keep me quiet.

Or I might just tell all I know about the portable sign outside of the Hickory House...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:25 AM | Comments (4)

Hey, Pictures!

As noted previously, I managed to take a minute away from paper typing to get a few photos transferred so that you can drink in the loveliness that marks the lush grounds of Maisson d'Possum.

First of all, the wisteria--

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There's not much of it, which is plenty. Next up, MEAT! (Not for the faint of stomach)

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Yes, I really, REALLY need to get the innards of the grill fixed up. One feature you have often read about is the stone bench--

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I made this myself--I went to the garden shop and landscaping place down by the tracks and found a limestone stair tread--that's the sitting part. It's about 8 inches thick, 15 inches wide, and maybe 4 feet long. Stupid thing probably weighs over five hundred pounds. (The slab, not me.) I also got a natural piece of limestone that had two dressed sides that I split into three pieces with a sledghammer. These serve as the three legs underneath. It was quite an undertaking, and the fact that I managed to do all of this without crushing my hands is a testament to the power of prayer. In the background you can see the little pond I build last year, as well as all the wooly stuff that looks much nicer when it's all greened-out.

This is my rocking chair. As noted in the photo title, it really needs to be painted.

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And this is a picture looking out toward my next-door-neighbor's house. There's a dog in that wooden enclosure named Bear. He barks. A lot.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

There were more, but I figure this is enough for now.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:58 AM | Comments (23)

Good Morning!

No, really; it is!

Because for once you will be spared a 4,000 word dissertation and dissection of my weekend. Why? Because all I did all weekend was type on Reba's paper. Fifty some-odd pages (some more odd than others), and I didn't have to do any laundry, or wrangle any children, or make any supper, or anything else. And boy, are my arms sore. This paper (which I'm still not through with, by the way) is part of a larger effort, and basically it is one of several self-directed studies she has to accomplish, in which she goes through one of her textbooks and answers a series of assigned questions from each chapter. This one was about international business, and it was full of stuff about how businesses can compete better globally, and the various pitfalls of language, culture, yada, etc., blah-blah. Interesting, I suppose. Although there was one non-sequitur that set me off on a snotty, unscripted four-page ramble that she had not anticipated.

All of the talk had been about communication and stuff and objective and subjective judgments in business and things like that, and then one question popped up about how this related to the situation between Iraq and the United Nations. HUH!? Completely out of left-field, probably in more ways than one. There was nothing that would have led one to believe the text had anything to do with non-business-related politics, and nothing in any of the subsequent chapters. It was a completely stupid, thinly-veiled, political jab. Or, that's the way I took it, because I'm very much a reactionary like that, you know.

So, I gave a quick rundown of Saddam's rise to power; the Iran-Iraq war; the invasion of Kuwait; the subsequent peace deal that allowed Saddam et Fils to continue their reign of terror; the perfidious nature of the back-stabbing, double-dealing members of the UN who either openly supported a megalomaniacal sociopath, or who publicly deplored him while simultaneously lining their pockets with Oil For Food funds; the stepped up effort to reinstitute inspections after 9/11 culminating in a final ultimatum to both Iraq to allow inspections; and to the UN to either be serious about all their rhetoric or face further irrelevance; and the final discovery that despite twelve years of international intelligence reports saying Iraq had WMDs, none had been found, with them either having been spirited out of the country to Syria or Iran, or not having existed in any large quantities to begin with.

I suppose it would have been better to examine what shrewd businessmen the French and Russians were and how they managed to create such good working relationships internationally. But, whatever.

I DID get a chance in amongst all that to finally get my photos from last week of the first cookout of the spring transferred, so those will be up a bit later, AND I got a nice surprise from a long-time reader, also to be discussed in just a bit.

RIGHT NOW, I have some busy-ness to get done--all kinds of FAXING! and DISCUSSING! and MEETING! Whee.

Be back in a bit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:52 AM | Comments (4)

April 08, 2005

That was one long night.

It actually started yesterday morning when I was driving the kids to school, and we passed by the library. I asked Oldest if she was through with all of those Shakespeare books she had checked out.

You know, so we could maybe return them early.

“Mm-yeah. I just need to copy the pages I used.”

“Do what?”

“I have to copy the pages from the books that I used. You know, the books on the works cited page?”

“YES, I understand that--but…” grr. GRRGRR. GRR. And then some.

Copies of the pages. And the books were still at home.

“I have to have it tomorrow.”

GRR! And she has to have it tomorrow. I.e., today. And there was no time to go back and get them so I could make copies myself on something like a high-speed digital copier. Since I didn’t know when Reba was going to get home last night, there was no way of knowing if I would be free enough from cooking and kid-tending to be able to take the books someplace with a copier, which meant that I was going to have to use my achingly slow scanner and then print them out.

I just sat there in silence for minute, wondering what next drop of informational water torture she would let fall onto my forehead. I finally calmed down enough to quietly ask her to please in the future allow us some time to make copies, if they are needed, so that we can take the books with us. “M’kay.” Grr.

So, last night, got the call from Miss Reba that the inspection team was finished and she was actually going to get to come home early! HOORAY! And could I put the steaks on to cook?

Well, yes, I suppose I could, but it would mean that I would have to wait longer before starting my scanning and... “Sure, thing sugar! Sounds good!” Well, it was time to start cooking outside again. I needed the break.

Got home, got the kids unloaded, I changed into my grilling clothes, and with sounds of dreamy harp-like music playing on the internal mental soundtrack, I swooshed off the grill cover, laid it aside, and raised the lid.


That’s gonna need some cleaning.

I suppose.

I got the grill brush and started scrubbing off the major rust from the rack and then, in order to REALLY knock the klinker off, I dropped the rack from about waist-high flat down onto the patio.

THAT got the rust off! Of course, it being as old as it is, there’s not much left to the rack except rust. There’s also a little sheetmetal cover that fits over the burners to keep hot grease from falling directly onto them. It’s looking a little eaten of the tinworm itself. Time for some upkeep, methinks.

Got the rest of the loose rust off, and grabbed the lighter. Gas on, gas flowing, wait a minute or two to let it get that garlicky smell build up all over the place, click, FOOOM! (Not really--just turned the knob and lit it. I’m not that foolish.) Then I got the can of PAM no-stick goo and sprayed it onto the rack so the meat wouldn’t stick. (Okay, I AM that foolish. But it was quicker than having to turn the flames back off, spray it, and relight it.)

Went back inside and prepped the meat, which was about the size of something Fred Flintstone would eat. Salt and pepper, then got the knife out and cut them into six so I could share with Wilma and Barney and Betty and Pebbles and Bam-Bam, back out, lid up, singe all my body hair off, and throw the cow on there and listen to it sizzle. Seared it, turned it, seared it, turned it and then cut the heat down low and closed the lid.

Ahhh. Time to finally sit down for a while and take in the atmosphere.

Nice and cool after the rain. I sat down on the stone bench and noticed the wisteria on the arbor has finally gotten started blooming, Rebecca’s sycamore and the big maple tree at the back are leafing out nicely, several birds were making use of the feeders. It sure was nice--summer evenings you have to listen to everyone’s air conditioning condenser running full blast, or screaming kids, or cicadas, or various combinations thereof. This was just about perfect--since it was wet, no kids; cool enough not to need the A/C; and there were no loud bugs.

Of course, it was too quiet and restful, so I decided to jump back into the flower bed behind where I was sitting and break off the old dried up canes from the hosta. I guess you’re supposed to cut these when they drop their blooms, but I just always leave them until the new growth starts coming in. That way, they just pull right up or break right off. They actually look pretty neat--I suppose you could probably make something out of them all artsy-craftsy. I squished out to the compost pile and dropped them on there.

I then decided it would be nice to get a few pictures of the tranquil surroundings to share with you. I took some of the bench, and the fountain, and the trees, and the steaks and the neighbors’ houses. I fully intended to transfer them last night and post them. But, surely you haven’t forgotten the Teenaged Undisclosed-Info Torture, have you?

Steaks done perfectly, inside, salad, beans, strawberry shortcake (only a little for me, thanks, I’m watching my figure. Expand.) Kids upstairs, clean up, get trash together, take can to curb, and FINALLY get ready to go upstairs and start scanning.

Computer on, sit down. “Dad?” Uh-oh.


“What’s this?”

“That’s the rest of the corrections to the draft by [Some Girl Whose Name I Can’t Remember Now]!”


This is the second person to “proof” her paper. And she apparently has all the verbal and grammar skills of the typical American 15-year-old. She had gone through and marked all kinds of stuff in big swirly teengirl purple-penned handwriting, including several snotty admonitions that dates such as 1492 needed to be spelled out; and that sentences, which had, no commas, needed, commas, where none were, needed. And then there were further twittering comments regarding various passages that needed further exposition. “WHO!?” “WHAT!?” “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!?”

In fairness, they were probably fair questions, and the paper could have used a bit more thought--thought that I was incredibly unwilling to provide, seeing as how I am so stupid and old and out of touch.

“Ashley, what are you going to write where she has these marks? Are you going to write any more to go with this?”




I went back and fixed a couple of things that didn’t need fixing, and was about to print it off when Reba came up behind me and hugged me.

Awww! I love her! And since she was about to take her shower, she had stripped down to her slip. Rrowll!

“Did Ashley tell you she needed a manila envelope to put her paper and copies in?” ::sigh::

I laughed.

I laughed the laugh of various insane men in several Twilight Zone episodes who go stark raving mad about aliens or demons or waitresses or monsters, and they just fall down on their knees and laugh and laugh and laugh. (It’s to keep from screaming, you know.)

“Ah, no, Reba. She did not tell me she needed a manila envelope to place her paper in. And I suppose it HAS to be a manila-colored envelope, and any one of the several thousand white, or pink, or green 10 x 13 envelopes we have would be entirely unacceptable?”

“Probably. When you go to the store, would you get me a Coke? You can go in my car--it’s even got half a tank of gas!” And then she hugged me again.

“Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” I laughed. And LAUGHED AND LAUGHED! Good thing I still had my grilling clothes on. And likewise a good thing that she had just her underwear on.

Off to the foot of the hill, where I walked in to the Food World as the night floor-cleaning crew was going about jabbering and waxing, got a three pack of manila envelopes, then decided we probably needed milk, and frozen waffles, and a Road & Track. DANG IT! They were all out of crack.

Home, print final copy of Shakespeare paper, and then start the process of scanning and printing. Luckily, I had forced Oldest to go through and mark each page I was to copy. It made it approximately three minutes faster. Which means a lot when you don’t get through with things until around midnight:30.

So, I am very sleepy this afternoon.

And the weekend? Well, I have to leave early today to go pick up Boy and take him for his orthodontic checkup, so there’s that. He also wants a haircut, so we’ll have to go see Miss Alisha sometime in the next few days. There’s a stack of laundry, and church, and someone keeps mentioning all the pretty plants at Marvin’s. I just hope I remember to tell the kids before they go to bed tonight not to get up at dawn tomorrow and begin their science experiment in creating the world’s loudest noise.

ANYway, it’s been a long week, but I have a spiffy new blog home, that still doesn’t remember people who have left comments. I thought I might be able to find a fix, but it seems this is somewhere in a set of templates and instructions that I don’t have access to. Jim Smith found a kinda sorta work-around, noting that if I have an extended entry, when that popup box pops up, it somehow remembers you (if you click “yes” to “Remember my Information”) when the other popup screens won’t. I don’t know why. It is a Munuvian mystery. But anyway, in order to help out, I will add just a bit more below in the extended entry section, and let you see if it works.

All of you have a great weekend, and I’ll--

--see you Monday!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:04 PM | Comments (15)


Rudolph pleads guilty

Incredible--all this time and effort, and just as they get ready to start getting a jury pool picked, he pleas. Well, good. Saves us from having to have hordes of reporters all over town, but I sure wish he could get the punishment he truly deserves.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:24 PM | Comments (2)

Guess who I just talked to?!

Spring peeperphile Fritz Schranck! I always enjoy it when Fritz calls--he's all smart and everything. He had called to pick my brain a bit (difficult due to the tiny size and hard covering) about his hometown embarking on building a new high school. I sure hope if he heeds my advice that he finds someone local he can blame when everything goes wrong.

Anyway, good to talk to you, Mr. Schranck!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

Pitiful. Just pitiful.

Woman charged in Girl Scout cookie theft

News staff writer

A Shelby County woman with a history of writing bad checks has been charged with theft of $4,848 in Girl Scout cookies.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Department charged Doris LeAnn Taylor, 33, of the Shelby community with one count of theft by deception, Sheriff Chris Curry said Thursday.

Taylor, a Girl Scout cookie mom, is accused of ordering 3,020 boxes of cookies and then failing to return either money or cookies to the Girl Scouts of Cahaba Council, which serves seven counties. Cookie moms are mothers who take responsibility for supervising sales by a group of Scouts. [...]

Ruby Cox's daughter sold some of the cookies that earned money Taylor is accused of keeping.

"To lie to innocent people is wrong, but to steal from the Girl Scouts is ungodly," Cox said.

Laying it on a bit thick, there--stealing in general being one of the 10 original ungodly things, after all. But anyway, the kicker--

According to court records, Taylor pleaded guilty in more than a dozen cases of writing bad checks in Jefferson County, dating to 2001. She also faces eight bad check charges in Shelby County.

Marjorie Davis-Stephan, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Cahaba Council, said the information Taylor provided on a form required to become a cookie mom didn't raise any red flags. [...]

Well, you figure there's probably not a space on the form there for check-kiting convictions.

I bet there'll be one from now on.

The Shelby County District Attorney's Office plans to prosecute Taylor's case, said Bill Bostick, chief assistant district attorney.

Taylor was released from jail on a $20,000 bond. If convicted, she could face a sentence of two to 20 years in prison. Attempts to locate Taylor for comment were unsuccessful.

I can imagine so.

As a very wise man once said to me, "It takes all sorts, but you wonder why there are so many of that sort."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:10 AM | Comments (11)

From the "Adventures in Headline Writing" File!

Young people find political involvement takes commitment


It reminds me of the old joke about the chicken and the pig who were hungry for breakfast. The pig asks the chicken, "What would you like to eat?"

"I think I would like a great big plate of ham and eggs," says Chicken.

"Whoa," says Pig, "you'd only be involved. I would be committed!"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

Fun With Referrer Logs!

One of the bad things that having something to record visits is that sometimes you get hits based upon something stupid you misspelled. It's always annoying to me, because I like for stuff to be spelled more or less right. So, occasionally, I do get stuff like this: make youself incontinent.

Possumblog was grabbed for this odd request because in a long ago post, I misspelled "yourself," and left out the R. The nice thing is that when stuff like this comes up, I can at least go back and fix the typo. Which I did.

BUT, as for the query at hand. I must say I find this a disturbing thing to want to do. Who would want to be incontinent? Remember, as a very wise man once said, "no man is an island."

So, always try to be a continent.



Oh. OH!

Well, then, that's even more disturbing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

Err, thanks.

Via fellow redneckophile Dave Helton, we give you--

The Redneck Hot Tub.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:15 AM | Comments (3)

And Speaking of the Wendy Garner Show--

This morning after the network NBC coverage ended, Miss Wendy (and other people, I suppose) from the local station was doing the second stop in the station's new Friday feature where they visit towns around the area, and this morning they were in IRONDALE! Right next door to Trussville!

I was all excited, and thought I might be able to swing by and bother her while she was on the air, but she and Ken Lass were inside the theater at Shades Valley High School, and I have a feeling they wouldn't have looked kindly to some big doof showing up on their doorstep screaming, "HEY! I WANNA BE ON TH' TEE-VEE!"


Oh well. One day she'll come to Trussville, I just know it!

(As an interesting aside, the new Shades Valley High was one of the last projects I worked on before I moved on to this job. It was not as much fun as one would expect.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:40 AM | Comments (6)

Up early this morning as usual,

... and turned on the television thinking I would be tuning in to the Wendy Garner Show on our local NBC station, and was somewhat surprised to see the ending portion of John Paul II’s funeral. I knew is was supposed to be on in the wee earlies, but I didn’t realize it would still be going on at 5:00 a.m.

I don’t remember any other papal funerals, even for the relatively recent ones of John Paul I or Paul VI. Since it was early, and since I usually sprawl across the bed and drift in and out until it’s time to get up and get ready, I probably missed a few of the nuances of the ceremony. But still, I was struck by both the solemn dignity of the ritual, as well as the spontaneous joy, for lack of a better word, by the assembled throngs.

Watching the NBC coverage, though, one thought did keep running through my mind--the single biggest reason why I am glad I could never be the pope…

Because when I die, I don’t have to worry about Katie Couric or Brian Williams showing up at my funeral.

Insufferable twits.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:11 AM | Comments (10)

April 07, 2005


Most Dean activists don't back Kerry, Gore

Bless their little hearts. And with the recent time change, they're an hour even MORE irrelevant.

But, of course, there is always hope. I hear Dewey supporters are planning on mounting a strong comeback effort for '08.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

And Yet MORE Referrer Log Wisdom

A bit earlier in the day, we had a young student of Chinese mysticism and lawnwork who tripped on a rake and landed in a pile of Possumblog as he searched vigorously for info on what--confucius says about dandelions.

Knowing how up I am on my Confuciunarianist wisdom, it should come as no surprise that I have an answer readily at hand. In Analects, Confuscius tells us:

"Oh good grief, how I hate dandelions. The best thing to do is just pour the weedkiller to them in the late fall and early spring, and then keep after them with one of those weed-popper things that you can get at the mart by the wall of the village."
A sage for the ages, indeed.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

I KNEW she was grouchy, but I never expected THIS!

I just had a visitor come by here wanting to know: can yorkshire terrier hunt possums?

I don't suppose it was Miss Francesca, but you never know about people who like small dogs.

IN ANY EVENT, I'm not sure what the answer is, but I can guarantee it would be terribly entertaining to find out.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

Truth might be a defense...

...unless it shines a false light, apparently.

We were talking yesterday about the 290 pound sheriff down in Florida who kept crying that he had been "slandered" when a resident noted his girthliness and wrote about it in the paper.

As noted in the comments, truth is generally a defense to defamation, whether libel or slander, and the exception to that came up today in the news. Of course, it's out of Florida, too, which seem to be rushing headlong in its efforts to outdo California in judicial freakishness.

Judge OKs $18 million false light verdict against Pensacola paper

The Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a claim for punitive damages but upheld an $18.28 million jury verdict against the Pensacola News Journal for actual harm to a businessman by casting him in a "false light."

Circuit Judge Michael Jones' decision, dated Wednesday, cleared the way for a final judgment and then the News Journal and its parent, Gannett Co. Inc., will appeal, defense lawyer Dennis Larry said Thursday.

"We'll vigorously debate the various constitutional issues that are involved in this case," Larry said.

A jury in December 2003 ruled for Joe Anderson Jr., founder of the Anderson Columbia road paving company in Lake City.

He alleged the newspaper's use of the term "shot and killed" in a story falsely implied he had murdered his wife although the article two sentences later noted authorities determined it had been a hunting accident.

The News Journal referred to the shooting, that occurred several years earlier, in a series on Anderson and his company that it published in 1998 and 1999.

So, it was quite true that he shot and killed his wife. And the article did not leave out that it occurred as the result of a hunting accident. BUT, it didn't say it close enough, apparently.

I think he ought to just be glad it wasn't Reuters, who would have called it a "hunting accident."

The jury was unable to agree on punitive damages so Jones ordered a second trial on that issue. He dismissed that part of the suit Wednesday to punish Anderson and his lawyers for violating his order to keep the newspaper's pretrial polling data confidential.

"Anderson's violation of the court's order and instructions is both unjustified and inexcusable," Jones wrote. "The court's substantial concern for the privacy of the survey participants was rendered meaningless by Anderson's stubborn disobedience of this court's order and instructions."

A lawyer for Anderson did not immediately return a call seeking comment. One of his attorney's last week admitted the order had been violated but suggested a fine would be sufficient punishment.

Jones had ordered the newspaper to give a list of people polled to Anderson's lawyers only to determine if it included anyone called for jury duty, which it did not. The lawyers never returned the list as required. Anderson then used it to obtain information from poll participants for a second lawsuit, still pending, alleging he was slandered by the questions.

Now, it might just be me, but this fellow certainly does seem to have gotten quite wound up about this. I suppose the lure of 18 million bucks will do that. Probably is meaningless, but I'll mention again that if the questions referred to were written, it would be libel, not slander. Unless Florida's differenter than every other place.

Jones denied newspaper requests to reverse the jury verdict or grant a new trial without explanation. Larry said none was needed because that decision was consistent with Jones' prior rulings on similar newspaper motions and the same issues will be raised on appeal.

This is the first false light case tried in Florida. A similar suit against the CBS program "60 Minutes" was dismissed in Sarasota because the challenged material was true.

Ahhh, the vagaries of the law...

The News Journal's lawyers last week argued Anderson's verdict should be thrown out because no other court ever has let a plaintiff win a false light case without proving the challenged material was itself false.

Bruce Rogow, a lawyer for Anderson, said it was enough to prove the impression left by the article was false even if its content was true.

::sigh:: Just incredible.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:06 PM | Comments (2)


I realize there haven't been any posts since this morning, but surely you've enjoyed hitting reload every five minutes and seeing something new in the arrangement of various pixels!?

Maybe not.

ANYway, after a concerted round of consternation and head-scratching, it looks just like it does right now. Unless it doesn't.

The banner was giving me the most problems, so I copied the code for the popup comment box, and got rid of the banner and description code in favor of something else that I can't remember, and finally messed around with it forever. I was having some trouble with double PossumblogPossumblog titles on the archive headers, and nearly wore out the MT servers trying to fix it before I just figured it out a minute ago.

The list of horizontal links like the old site is back for your viewing pleasure, although they are a different color just to be different (and to match the template I'm using.)

The text is still not going to go all the way across, though, because I kinda like the sidebar, and having the daily calendar of posts over there, and the search box, and the category listing, none of which I had before. And having the sidebar also allows me to have the whole list of other MuNu sites on here without making the entire top portion take over. I'll be posting the quote of the week over there as well, instead of the top, and will probably move the silly saying as well. Or not. Still figuring on that one. And I'm still trying to get it a bit narrower as well so the white space is a bit bigger.

AND, I am still in the middle of a paperstorm here! I got paying work to get done REAL QUICK, or else--or else, uhhhh. I don't know. But I need to get it done.

But, keep checking back every five minutes and see what else changes!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:59 PM | Comments (3)

Ignore the man behind the curtain!

I'll be playing with the template some more throughout the day to try to get the top banner to look the way it does on the old site, so bear with me.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:44 AM | Comments (5)

I'll TELL you what it means!!

It means that today marks the FIRST ANNIVERSARY of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three! In spite of all odds, in spite of an overwhelming lack of interest, this feature has survived the vicissitudes and vagaries of an ENTIRE 365 days, which is, like, a billion years in blog time, and it means that it’s time for something SPECIAL!

IN HONOR OF THE DAY, for today only, the Thursday 3 will be The THURSDAY 31,536,000! That’s right--a question for every second in every minute in every hour in every day of an entire year!

SO, since we have so much work to do, let’s get right to it, shall we? Our theme, given the fact that we have so many questions, will be a mixed grab bag of queries. (Remember, either leave your answers in the comments below, or leave a link to your answers on your blog. As always, anyone may play along, as long as you have the incredible patience necessary to wade through the whole thing.)

#1) If there was one thing you could change about the way you look, what would it be?

#2) In your house, right now, what is your favorite piece of artwork that you have displayed?

#3) Ahhhh, hmm. What…

Supposing the world ended yesterday, and--uhmmm…

Taking a string and a pencil, which--

This might be a bit more difficult than I imagined. Let’s try this again:

#3) through #31,535,998) What person living now would you most like to meet?

There. I suppose three is probably enough for now. ANYway, go answer those and let us know what you think.

As for my answers:

#1--I’d really like to do something with my gut. I’ve gained and lost weight so many times that my soft squishy middle could really use some lifting and pulling and tucking in and sucking out. Even if I got down to my proscribed-by-the-health-nannies perfect weight, there’d still be a roll around me that won’t go away. BUT, it’s a moot point--cosmetic surgery just isn’t one of those things I can ever conceive of having enough dough to indulge in.

#2--We have a gigantic hand-tinted engraving over our fireplace of Lower Manhattan from around 1855. It was published by F. and G.W. Smith at 59 Beekman Street, New York, engraved by C. Mottram and painted by J.W. Hill. It’s been a while since Googled any of this information to find out more about any of these people, but that’s almost beside the point when you see the beauty of the thing. It looks like a morning scene after a rain--low clouds to the north, but some sunlight slanting into the foreground, which is chockablock full of a variety of steam and sailing ships, or having their cargo transferred into smaller lighters. You can see the Hudson and East Rivers and the vast flat plain of New Jersey to the west. Church steeples are the highest things on the island. Wonderfully detailed--I sometimes will stand there and imagine being able to walk down the narrow streets and talking to the people on the ships. It has a lot of stories.

This isn’t a very good photo of it--it’s hard to get a detailed enough picture without getting glare from the flash. Anyway, I think it’s pretty darned cool.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And for Numbers 3 - 31,535,998 -- I have always wanted to meet Denise McCluggage.

So, there you go. Happy Anniversary!

OH! Now I have to go do the mailout for work, so it'll be a while before I get back. Sorry.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:13 AM | Comments (16)

April 06, 2005

Hard to believe...

...but tomorrow will be the 52nd week of the Thursday Three. You know what that means?

Well, neither do I.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Cannabis Compound Slows Artery Disease in Mice

I think so, Brain, but if we had a snowmobile, wouldn't it melt before summer?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

Yet more messing around.

A certain professor says he prefers having the text block over on the left and the sidebar on the right. I kinda like it the other way around, but not being one to wish eye injury on my readership, may I have a show of hands in the comments about which side you prefer to see the sidebar on?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:04 PM | Comments (21)

That was fun!

Although I am a moron.

We'd agreed to eat lunch at the Cameo Cafe place we've eaten at before, and Pam said she thought it was closed, but it was just weeks ago--it seemed like--when sugarmama and I ate there, so I said, "Naaaah, it's open!"

Well, it's not. Been closed since the first of January. ::sigh:: Such a dolt.

Anyway, I sat down on a bench and waited for a little while, and watched some even bigger dolt stop in the far right lane of 5th Avenue, back up into oncoming traffic, stop, and then turn across all three lanes to get into a parking space on the LEFT curb. I don't think I've ever seen anyone want a parking space THAT bad before.

Not long after, Pam drove up and I mentioned that the cafe was closed.

"Yeah, I thought so."

"It's not busy, though!" See, there's a bright side to everything!

She volunteered to drag us somewhere else, so I hopped into her spiffy Mazda Tribute and we wound our way over to the new Sarris' Fish Market location on Southside. Wow. That's some good food, and the new location in the old Harris Transfer Company warehouse is full of that swankily urbane funkiness that makes eating in an old cold storage warehouse really, REALLY cool.

Pam got the shrimp and crabmeat marinated salad, and I got the crabcake po' boy. Excellent food, although even at 2 in the afternoon there was still quite a crowd, which meant the food took a while to fix. Good time to talk though--I always enjoy having lunch with Pam. Topics of conversation included forgetfulness, road rage, stupid people, eyebrow piercing, trying to teach college students the difference between Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. (who was not Lutheran, by the way), teenagers, women, food, forgetfulness, work, rain, her stepgrandbaby who calls her Ama in lieu of Grandma Pama, and then it was time to head back. ::sigh:: I sure wish she still worked here.

Despite the fact, or maybe even BECAUSE she's a liberal Democrat, AND one who's not insane with rage about everything, and doesn't see a conspiracy behind every imagined slight. It's impossible to have any sort of civil discussion up here in my little corner of the world, because it's filled with loons who would like nothing better to have all the bones taken out of their knees to make them easier to jerk.

Before Pam let me out downstairs, she said she had to ask at least one political question to finish off the lunch with, and she asked my thoughts on the Terri Schiavo debacle. Which is pretty much what I said it was--there is little good to go around in this one. Everyone in it had some culpability in the way it played out, and no one has clean hands. Except, I hope, for the young lady herself.

There are so many different views, and I know some of mine would not align with some of Pam's, but as I told her, she and I could sit there in that car all afternoon long and disagree time and time again, and never for once think the other was evil, and we could depart friends after it was over. As I've said before, that's one of the reasons I keep writing this blog--there's no one here sane enough to talk to on a regular basis. And I can't afford to eat lunch with Pam every day.

Still, I'm glad I got to today.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:56 PM | Comments (5)


It's time to go have lunch with My Friend Pam the LiberalTM! Yea!

Be back after while.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

Stupid is as stupid does.

Oh, give me a break.

Fla. sheriff used records to find critic

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Orange County's sheriff used driver's license records to contact a woman who wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper citicizing his staff's use of Taser stun guns and describing him as fat.

Some say Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary violated federal privacy law when he had his aides use the records to get the address of Alice Gawronski. He sent her a letter accusing her of slander.

Well, first off, Chunky--it's not slander. Slander is spoken, libel is written. But that's beside the point--

It is illegal to access a driver's license database to obtain personal information, except for clear law-enforcement purposes, under the U.S. Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994.

"I recently read your slanderous remarks about the Orange County Sheriff's Office in the Orlando Sentinel," Beary wrote Gawronski on March 23. "It is unfortunate that people ridicule others without arming themselves with the facts before they slander a law enforcement agency or individual."

I suppose it's not worth going over the idea of slander again, is it? But as for arming yourself with the facts, why look in the license database?! Aren't there such things as telephone books if you want to harrass someone? Or Google?

Gawronski said, "I thought I was exercising my First Amendment right of free speech — expressing an opinion in an open forum about a paid public official." She considered Beary's letter a form of intimidation.

"If I were her, I'd sue and get him in front of a jury. He'd probably get laughed out of the courtroom," said Chris Hoofnagle, the senior counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

And with a name like Hoofnagle, he's probably heard his share of laughter. But here's where we have to get the chest waders on--

But sheriff's spokesman Jim Solomons said using a database to respond to a resident's concern is well within Beary's official duties.

Surely to goodness, Jim, you don't think this little response is the type of response this resident was seeking, do you? I mean, no one can be that dense.

The issue arose when Gawronski's letter appeared in the Sentinel on March 10, expressing concerns about Taser stun guns.

In her letter, she referred to a news conference when Beary allowed himself to be zapped with one to demonstrate its safety. Seeing Beary "in an obvious state of duress" convinced her the stun guns should not be used, she wrote.

Gawronski also wrote that Beary appeared overweight and suggested that if deputies were more fit, they might not need to resort to zapping suspects.

Okay--now one for the other side. Taser guns probably do have some risk of causing death, but you have to remember they are intended to be used to subdue someone who DOESN'T WANT TO BE SUBDUED. What--would you rather the cops go ahead and start blasting? Yes, it looks bad to watch someone be tasered, but it's a lot less gruesome than having to pick up their innards from off the street.

Hey, it's fine if you don't think they should be used, but there aren't a lot of alternatives that work as well. Which is what She'ff Heavybottom should have dashed off to the newpaper letters to the editor column--NOT to the letter writer.

Beary said he was a victim of slander.

I think we have establishacated that by now.

"During my Taser incident, I was never under any duress," he wrote Gawronski, adding that his heart activity was monitored by a doctor. Before the test, the 5-foot, 10-inch Beary estimated his weight at 290 pounds.

I'd say he was a victim of too much gravy and biscuits, and this is said as someone who has been very close to that level of undertallness.

Anyway, end result--Tasers aren't the worst thing in the world--they are much less deadly than a 230 grain slug in the center of mass.

Using a license database to hassle a citizen who disagrees with you isn't part of a policeman's job.

Slander is not the same as libel.

Fat cops who get offended by being called a fat cop shouldn't be either.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:34 PM | Comments (7)

It's spreading, apparently.

We continue to have more of the creepy, off-putting Burger King commercials with the guy in the plastic head who shows up in very personal settings, but I saw a new one last night for another company.

Quaker Oats.

The Quaker guy's not live, but he's a life size Quaker guy mannequin who stands there holding a serving tray of Quaker Oat snacks of some sort.

It wouldn't be so bad except they keep focusing on his creepy, enigmatically smiling plastic face, just like the Burger King commercials. Standing there in someone's house. On a playground. Sticking up through a car sunroof.

All the time with a look on his face that says, "I live in your pantry, and at night, while you sleep, I come out and quietly stand beside your bed, and have thoughts of renouncing my pacifistic Quaker beliefs, and stabbing you with a fork."

Please--if you are in the ad industry, these commercials DON'T make me want to buy your food. Sure, they create "buzz," which I promise you isn't really that helpful after you've gone bankrupt by alienating potential customers.

No. More. Weird Freakish Plastic Head Guys.

Thank you.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:46 AM | Comments (6)

Details, details...

There's going to be a break in the goings on for a bit while I try to export and import my Blogger archives. This might work, or not. Please stay tuned.



That looks hard. The good folks who let me in here said they were working on a way to transfer files that is easier, and I think I might wait to see what happens with that.

As it stands, the MT manual includes some instructions that must have been based on a much earlier version of Blogger, because some of the stuff mentioned to be changed or jiggered just doesn't exist anymore in the system.

With all of the template changes and futzing around you have to do, I was a bit nervous about how this was going to work, and then, there's the whole thing about not really understanding this thing about computers. I was saved from having to go back in and see if it worked because Blogger had a problem when it tried to republish all the templates and settings I had gone through and tried to change.

For once, I think I was glad Blogger messed up.

So, anyway, go on about your business.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:26 AM | Comments (9)

Speaking of our fine representatives...

Yet another story of the perils of naming an official everything.

Getting rid of Alabama's official whiskey proves difficult

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Getting rid of Alabama's official state whiskey has proven difficult for the Legislature, even though the founder of Conecuh Ridge Whiskey admitted violating liquor laws.

A resolution repealing Conecuh Ridge's designation as the "official state spirit" has been awaiting action by the Senate Rules Committee for two months. While Conecuh Ridge's status is limbo in the Legislature, a picture of the whiskey and information about its official designation remain on a Web site the state archives department maintains for children.

Jim Preuitt, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said other business has kept the resolution from coming up for a vote. But he predicted that legislators who voted to bestow the state designation on Conecuh Ridge last year will repeal it before the current legislative session ends May 16.

"It's sad we had someone from our state who developed the beverage to this point and then acted in the manner he did to cause embarrassment to our state and its people," Preuitt, D-Talladega, said.

Why, it's almost like he's a senator or representative or something!

Sen. Wendell Mitchell, who represents Troy, where Conecuh Ridge is based, also predicted the designation will get repealed.

"Time has proven it was an ill-conceived idea," Mitchell, D-Luverne, said. [...]

We appreciate Sen. Mitchell's firm, unyeilding grasp of the obvious.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

Fruits and Nuts

Well, here we go again.

House votes to make peach official state tree fruit

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama House voted Tuesday to make the peach the official state tree fruit.

If approved by the Senate, the measure would give the state two official state fruits. The Legislature voted last year to make the blackberry the state fruit.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Martin, D-Clanton, who is from Chilton County, which is famous for its peaches.

Several lawmakers came to the microphone to praise the taste of Chilton County peaches.

"Georgia calls itself the peach state, but our peaches are actually a lot better," said Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham.

Rep. James Buskey, D-Mobile suggested that maybe the satsuma, an orange-like fruit grown in south Alabama, would be a better choice.

"We've actually got a town called Satsuma," Buskey said.

The bill comes during a session when the House has already passed bills naming the black bear the official state mammal and the queen honey bee the state insect.

"Is there anything else in Alabama we can name?" Rep. Ken Guin, D-Carbon Hill, asked.

"I think that just about takes care of it," Speaker Seth Hammett answered as the bill passed 91-0. It now goes to the Senate.

Oh, come now Speaker Hammett--surely the Legislature hasn't begun to exhaust the potential for naming official Alabama things. And anyway, it's always much easier to do this kind of crap than actual work.

Tar and feathers, I'm telling you.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:27 AM | Comments (4)


That would be the sound of me when the clock went off this morning.

But, you will all be glad to know that I am no longer in danger of being the neighborhood pariah. Yet, anyway.

Got the kids and went home, and decided I simply had to get the grass cut. It, or rather, the gigantic patches of clover, had just gotten to the point of being ridiculous, even for me.

But there's still other stuff I needed to get done. Which means, I had to organize. Oldest upstairs to study, others outside to play in the backyard, chicken gotten out of the freezer for supper, me upstairs to change into my grass-cutting clothes, back downstairs, swing wide the doors of the Giant Plastic Shed Badly Disguised as a Playhouse and get out the birdseed, fill the feeders, drag out the ol' Murray, check the oil, briefly think about sending Middle Girl to the garage for a quart of oil, think better of it, go get it myself, add some to the nearly dry crankcase, fill up the gas tank, prime the carb, yank the cord and...

IT STARTED! First pull, too. Amazing. SO, off to the front yard to knock down the weeds and zone out and cogitate for about an hour as I'm dragged around by the mower.

Long-time readers will know that lawn-mowing for me is a time to meditate and rage and think and come up with all the solutions to the problems of mankind. Carbon monoxide is very helpful to this task. Anyway, I was just getting back into practice, so there wasn't much to rage about.

The thought did strike me as I was pondering the life and times of John Paul II how much longer it would be that we would have Margaret Thatcher with us. She's not been in good health lately, and since it seems that we have begun an increasingly rapid loss of people who were instrumental in winnning the Cold War, you just have to wonder how much longer she'll be with us. The Left hated her with the same vim and passion as they did Reagan, so I figure she's alright. She and Churchill defined the UK during the 20th Century, much as Roosevelt and Reagan did, and she certainly earned her place in the history books.

Anyway, more mowing. Got finished and noticed the girls had gone inside the house. They'd been all over the swingset, so I figured they'd gotten tired and went in to watch television. Sure enough, when I breezed through they were sitting there with the SpongeBob DVD playing. "Has Mom called?"


It would be a long time before she did.

I got Rebecca to put the chicken in the oven for me while I ran back outside to put down some more weedkiller. The last dose worked pretty good on the dandelions, but they keep growing in other places. AND, it's still supposed to rain today, so I really wanted to get it out so it could get watered into the lawn.

Threw out the rest of the bag, took off my shoes, came inside, asked about the telephone again, got my clothes off in the laundry room and grossed the kids out when I came back out with ONLY MY UNDERWEAR ON! AAGGHHHHH! "EWWWW! DAAAAdeeeeee!"

Hey, my clothes were covered in chemicals and grass clippings, what was I going to do, drag it all over the house?! No. Just walk around in my lumpy hairy glory.

I got Cat to leave the television alone to go take her bath while I jumped in the shower and washed the yard off of me, got out, dressed, and walked in to see her still in the tub. "I have a scratch."

"Well, whatever--just hurry and bathe so Jonathan can."

"It's big, 'cause I fell on that thing, the swings, the thing that goes back and forth, the see-saw, because I fell, and it scratched me and I came inside and Rebecca put ice on it because it hurt."

"Well, JUST BA--"

Then she turned a bit and WHOA! Dang if she DIDN'T have a big angry red welt on the side of her tummy/back/waistline area--must have been 6 inches of scraped hide, about an inch wide.

"CATHERINE! Didn't that hurt!?" Duh.

"Uh-huh, yes sir, that's why I came in. But I didn't cry."

I would have. I went downstairs and turned the chicken in the pan and came back upstairs and got her out and dried off and set Boy to bathing while I looked for the Neosporin. Three drawers of stuff in our bathroom, arranged by someone who Is Not Neat. No luck. So, peroxide. Even after bathing, it still bubbled up smartly on her scrub mark. Ouch. Poor critter.

But, she was fine after that. As they say, though, that'll leave a mark.

On downstairs to finish supper. Salad, green beans, set table, serve food, watch The Office (despite the official ban on watching TV while eating), clean table, send Cat and Boy to bed, unload dishwasher, send Bec to take her bath, reload dishwasher, clean stove and sink and table, finally head upstairs. Turn on computer, start working on Reba's paper. What a mess. Fix what she started, tell Rebecca for the fiftieth time to get out of the tub, type, help Oldest with a math problem, type, Bec to bed, Oldest in tub, type, FINALLY got the call from Reba. At 9:45 p.m., they were just about to wrap up for the night. She said she just had a few more things to do and would be on the way home. Oldest in bed, type, get about eight pages done, quit, get homecoming call at 10:40.

Greet Reba at around 11, hear about the wonders of the nursing home inspection, especially interesting being a happening during the afternoon. It seems one of the residents has a bad habit of grabbing Reba's shirt and tugging on it when she's around, and in this instance, the little old lady grabbed the hem of Reba's top, and PULLED IT UP OVER HER CHEST. "HEY! I WANT THAT SHIRT!" Of course, this happened in a corridor, with the nursing staff, the inspectors, and a clutch of administrators milling around. Reba kindly told her she might want the shirt, but she didn't need to try to take it off of her.

Of course, my question was, "Which bra did you have on?"

Luckily, it was one of the nice newer ones with flowers and that was opaque and provided full coverage of her breastal regions. (Since I got so much done on her paper, she let me look.)

We finally got in bed around midnight, and were back up again this morning at 5:00. She had to be there this morning at 6:00, which meant I had to get all the young'uns to school, so THEY had to all get up early, too.

And now, I'm here!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:07 AM | Comments (7)

April 05, 2005

More of the same!

Now then--for any of you new folks who've never been here before, the following is what I like to call "blather." I do it a lot.

Pointlessness is very liberating, you know.

ANYway, got off the phone with Miss Reba a bit ago. I had big plans this afternoon to go home and cut the grass while she had big plans to come home and cook a regular meal. She was very excited about her part, because she is between classes for a week and has no studying to worry about.


She told me the state inspection team has showed up at her work today, and she can't leave this evening until they leave, and then she has to be there in the morning when they show up, and stay again until they leave, and arrive and stay and arrive, etc., until they get through doing their inspections. So, she doesn't know what time she'll get home today. SO, I have to make sure the children get fed. SO, I don't get to go breathe in some nice lawnmower fumes. Which all means that it's going to be at least Saturday before I get to try again, because we have church tomorrow night, and it's also supposed to come another rainstorm tomorrow, meaning even if I didn't have church, I still couldn't cut the grass. And it has now gotten WAY out of hand, and I fear the snooty folks are going to leave a snooty message on my answering machine or in my mailbox that I'm destroying everyone's property values. More.

Which ALL means that I'm going to have to start typing for Reba.

She started last night doing her second big paper that's due in a couple of weeks, and she reverted right back to her fidgety-fugue state where she freezes up and can't do anything without getting upset. I would have started on it last night, but my arms were hurting from yesterday, and I kinda wanted to rest. But, every five seconds she was complaining about not being able to do it, or not knowing how to get from page 1 to page 2 (really) and I was basically having to hang over her shoulder and tell her every keystroke to make. ::sigh:: I finally just told her we were going to it off and go to bed. Which made her mad. Have I ::sighed:: already? Well, another won't hurt. ::sigh::

At least she was over her angriness this morning.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:25 PM | Comments (3)


Well, it's more or less official now--after our soft opening where we get all the chairs and stuff in the right place, it's time now to swing wide the door of Possumblog to the world!

Yes. This is about it.


I still have some archive toting to do, and some few things to fix, AND MY JOB TO DO, and there's that deal with the comments where it won't remember your information and junk. I'd be quicker, but Chet the E-Mail Boy has gone to the dump with some garbage, and I'm having to do everything by myself.

Well, almost, but Jimmie Neil and Clew are actually more problems than they're worth.

Anyway, welcome to all of you from the old site, and all of you who've made your way over from mu.nu.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:59 PM | Comments (33)

I wonder.

Now that I'm more or less a Munuvian, I wonder if I should start looking for a munuvan to drive?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:44 AM | Comments (6)

And now--

...the blogroll. I suppose I should get with the times and get the Blogrolling service so these things would be in alphabetical order. But there are some things I don't really mind being disordered. Does make it a bit hard to find people, though.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:14 AM | Comments (5)

More fidgeting

Okay, the outer border is now 5 pixels, so I have a bit more width to work with for the main body, and the body is now 69% of the page. Any more, and the stuff on the side still drops down to the bottom--but there might be a fix for that. We'll see, I suppose.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

Small Brain? Lack of Ambition?

Say, around here, that's not a lizard, it's a possum!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:45 AM | Comments (3)

I realize

...the level of frivolity seems to be at a low ebb around here at the moment, but I am busily renovating my little grass shack in Munivia and it's been a slow process, being that I don't know how to use a computer or anything.

For whatever reason, I have very particular tastes about how I think this pile of crap should look--has to be Garamond, has to be big enough for me to read it comfortably at my desk, has to be shades of gray, and I like having all the links up at the top. In the new place, things will look similar, but not, and I have yet to figure out a clean way to get the blogroll in the banner. I know I could--eventually--but that'll probably take way more time than I'm willing to invest. So that might change.

Which means I'm gonna have a lot of niggledy fiddly work to do to copy the links and take out the vertical line spacers and   code between each one. AND I STILL HAVE PAYING WORK I HAVE TO GET DONE! AAAAGGHHHH!!

If you want to see what the new place looks like--REMEMBERING THAT IT WILL CONTINUE TO CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE DAY--you can go to possumblog.mu.nu., and feel free to leave a comment.

(It is interesting to note that now that I am making a move elsewhere, Blogger has been trouble-free. If they were just trying to drive me away, there were certainly easier ways to tell me. Maybe a card or something.)

AND, I do like the extended entry feature. Very spiff. It's like turning it up to 11 or something.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:03 AM | Comments (9)

April 04, 2005

Other Stuff!

After spending most of the day scribbling on tax forms and wandering aimlessly around town, and doing laundry in between, and getting supper ready, and getting the kids to take their baths, I was, at the end of the day, asked to look over the paper the lovely Miss Reba had typed up for her class tonight.

Ten pages, and not quite the easiest read in the world. I did some heavy editing on it, made very difficult by the fact that every time I started typing, SOMEone would rush over and ask me what I was doing. Standard answer: “Oh, just cleaning something up a bit.” I did a lot of cleaning up, but I could have rewritten the entire paper if I had only been that energetic. She’s got a good topic--reducing anxiety among elderly persons being admitted to nursing homes--but her research and conclusions are a bit scattered. And she’s put so much effort into it that it’s very difficult to suggest changes without her getting defensively offended. But, it’s better than it was. AND, I didn’t have to type it.

Bedtime, up an hour earlier Sunday, grr, get everyone else up and ready to go to church, referee disagreement over which DVD to watch by threatening the nuclear option--i.e., the DVD player gets put in the attic, and finally make it to the building with minutes to spare. First day of the new quarter, and I was truly thankful everyone showed up to teach that was supposed to. And I’m teaching Rebecca and Jonathan’s class again--6th graders down to 3rd graders. Not really a good split and not really conducive to deep discussions, but next quarter I’m going to redo all the classes and get them divided up a bit more logically.

Worship, then on to lunch at Ruby Tuesday, which was really a mistake, since Catherine (and later I found out Jonathan) had been invited to a birthday party for a little girl in Catherine’s class, and the party started at 12:45, and we didn’t get through with lunch until 12:30, which meant a mad dash back down the hill and up the other to get home and get Cat and Boy changed into play clothes. BECAUSE, it was not just an ordinary party, but one at Pump it Up. A large new metal building full of all the big bouncy inflatable things you usually see outdoors, with an adjoining room for the cake and stuff. Quite a place--according to their website, there are only three in Alabama, but it seems like a good idea. Renting these things is always a chore, and they ruin your yard, and you have all the liability when someone breaks their dernfooled neck on one. This place, you just show up, bounce, eat, and leave. In that order--no eating before bouncing. Again--going to lunch right beforehand was probably not the best idea, although we didn’t have any sudden explosive gut launches.

And the little girl enjoyed her present from Catherine--I’m surprised she even knew she’d gotten something, with all the horde of screaming 8 year olds crowded around her, but when she pulled out the floppy fluffy curly white Scotty dog, everyone oohed and aahed. Which means I’m going to have to go find another one for someone for her Christmas present.

Finished that up around 3, then back home with two sweaty tired sugar-hyped kids, read a few pieces of the newspaper, then it was time to head back to the building for a meeting. ::sigh::

Did that, then evening worship, then home, then supper, then MORE TYPING! Oldest has a paper she has studiously avoided doing anything on, other than feigning great ignorance about what she should do. Four pages on symbolism in Shakespeare--she managed to scrape and plagiarize about three pages in the past couple weeks, and last night said that her teacher was very serious that it had to be four pages NOT INCLUDING THE BIBLIOGRAPHY! SO! UN! FAIR! Four pages--I could do four pages in half an hour. But then again, that requires work, which Oldest is even more averse to than the inimitable Maynard G. Krebs.

She would go and write a sentence, then give it to me, then a paragraph, then a sentence, then want to know if she’d filled her allotted four pages yet. No. On and on. We finally got about 3 3/4 done, after which I told her to go to bed. Because it was late, and I was tired, and I’m STILL tired.

AND NOW!? Well, now I’m trying to wrangle the new blog location into shape, which means more silly junk to mess with, and I have to fix my tax forms, and I’d REALLY like a Diet Coke about now.

I think I’ll go get one.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)


Sorry about the delay--I got busy on wasting time on the new site trying to make it look like this one (for some unknown reason related to obsessive-compulsive blogging disorder), and then I got all messed up and had to redo a bunch of stuff, and THEN there was WORK! AGAIN! The nerve of some people.

ANYWAY, as noted previously, this was a weekend spent doing several onerous tasks, the primary one being taxes. Up bright and early Saturday, sat down at the dining room table with all my junk and got busy. This year seemed to go a bit smoother than last, and I’m not quite sure why, because we had more stuff to figure out. I had intended earlier, if you recall, to get some of that spiffy tax software to help out, but I guess I’ll do that next year. Maybe.

The only glitch was that when I got ready to do my state return, I couldn’t find the forms. I don’t know whether I mislaid it and it got covered up with kid junk, or if it got stolen from the mailbox by an identity thief. The state has a very bad habit of printing both spouse’s Social Security numbers on the mailing label, and it’s out there for anyone who wants it. Doofuses.

So, I got through with the Feds, (and a tidy refund this year--I think $40,000,000, but I might be off a bit) and then went to the library to pick up a state booklet. (I also hopped on the computers for a minute to see if there was any e-mail that Chet had neglected to tell me about.) Back toward home again, and decided to make a quick pit stop at the AutoZone at the foot of the hill. I had decided to take Moby with me to the library for his monthly exercise, and when I got in, the combined effect of being outside in the weather and a host of icky stuff that I haven’t been able to clean out of the carpet, and just the general smell of machinery and old car had conspired to give the ol’ box the smell of a barrel full of burnt clutches. I drove over and back with the windows down hoping to get rid of the smell, but that can only do so much. So, some deodorant.

Blech. Nothing smells any good--all the coconut vanilla pine berry rain leather orange fresh Passion garbage just smells horrible. And that “new car” junk--no matter WHO it’s made by--does NOT smell like a new car. Unless all new cars are now made in a Tijuana cathouse.

I got two.

Home, and to work again on the state returns. Where I found out that politicians are not nice people. At least ours.

There is a spot on the deduction schedule sheet that allows you to deduct other taxes you’ve paid--mainly stuff like car tags, and I THOUGHT local occupational taxes. Both Birmingham and Jefferson County make you pay to work here, and the tab comes to a sizeable chunk. But this year, after I had gone through and done everything, I noticed that these occupational taxes were now supposed to be put in with other unreimbursed employee expenses. WHAT!? Surely not--those expenses have a 7.5% of adjusted gross income threshold. Of course, the total isn't quite 7.5%, and of course, I couldn’t deduct them. This bothered me, especially after I went looking in the booklet to see if this was a new change for this year. Nope. Not listed anywhere as a change, which can only mean…EEK! I might have done it wrong LAST YEAR!

I went back and looked at the instructions for last year, and sure enough, they CHANGED IT THIS YEAR WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE! Jerks. It cost me thirty extra bucks not to be able to deduct it. Pretty sneaking and conniving, but I’m not surprised. The amount they get from people who are able to make the deduction is probably miniscule, but to those of us who wind up having to fork over more dough in order for them to sit around and debate the merits of the queen honeybee versus the monarch butterfly, well, it’s rather galling.

It’s a shame tarring and feathering has gone out of style.

UPDATE! 3:30 p.m. Regular reader Stan the Government Man just sent me a link to a January 25, 2005 State Department of Revenue news release (.pdf file) that says I might be in luck!

Montgomery—The Alabama Department of Revenue issued an immediate taxpayer advisory today urging Alabama taxpayers who were mailed an Alabama Form 40 (Long Return) or a Form 40 NR (Non-resident Return) Tax Booklet and who have city and county occupational license taxes withheld from their wages or salaries to note errors contained in the booklets’ instructions directing those specific taxpayers to claim the local occupational taxes reported on their W-2s as miscellaneous tax deductions on the Schedule A. This direction is incorrect. Alabama law allows the occupational license tax to be claimed as a full tax deduction and as such, should be claimed on the Schedule A, under the section entitled “Taxes you paid.” The instructions for both the Form 40 and the Form 40 NR advise taxpayers who have city and county occupational taxes withheld from their wages or salaries and reported on their Form W-2s to report the amount on Schedule A, Line 19 or Line 24, respectively. This is incorrect. Taxpayers should report the amount of city or county occupational taxes withheld from their Alabama wages or salaries on Schedule A, Line 8, regardless of which return they are filing. […]

I say it means I might be in luck, because although I haven't mailed in the forms, to fix it would require me to go through and redo EVERYTHING. Again.

I'm thinking a bucket of tar and a pillow would be much less expensive. As well as much more satisfying. I suppose I'll redo it, just on the principle of the thing.

AND NOW, back to the drivel.

In amongst all the tax stuff, I also decided to get around to doing the other government-mandated interference in my life--changing the clocks forward. Going ahead and setting them forward early in the day makes it a bit easier to get used to the new time. Kinda. The clock count was up this year due to each of the kids having a timepiece--by my count, there were 14 to be fidgeted with.

And yet, we are still late all the time.

NEXT--Other stuff!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:50 PM | Comments (6)

Just a test, and nothing more.

Just trying to see what works and what doesn't.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:03 AM | Comments (6)