July 29, 2005

Hey, it's raining!

Meaning all that dallisgrass [thanks to Dave Helton for correcting me--it's not Dallas grass, but dallis. Dallas grass is what J.R. used to smoke.] in the yard is going to get just that much more raggedier. Not that I care that much--gives the place that nice abandoned look so in favor nowadays.

Well, weekend's a'coming--going after work to pick up my brand new suits (or suets) and dropping off the old one for some reconstruction. Needs to be taken up some, which for a chubby guy is a nice change of pace from the usual need to let things out. Then to home, where it will be pizza night, and then some nice typing tonight, and then tomorrow will be the onerous task of having to go over to my in-laws' house for a function they have for the people who go to their church, and I'd rather not go because I am highly anti-social, and because I'd rather cut the grass. Which tells you the exact level of how much I-don't-wanna-goism I'm having.

Then Sunday we have one of those good fifth Sundays where we have morning services, lunch, and evening services right in a row, then the rest of the afternoon is free for us to do whatever we want and we get to see what it feels like to be a heathen. Or at least the non-evening-churchgoing variety of heathen--we have all the other bases pretty well covered, I suppose.

SO, all of you have a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you back here first thing Monday morning!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

Lunchblogging AND Catblogging!

Boy, aren't YOU thrilled!

Lunch was very okay--we went to Moe's Southwestern Grill over off of HIghway 280 where Rossi's used to be (the mark of a true Southerner being that he gives directions to strangers based upon landmarks that no longer exist). Parking's always like a demolition derby, and I absolutely hate having to order things based on their stupid Seinfeld/Friends/other 20th Century references, and I hate hearing the guy at the register shout "WELCOMETOMOE'S!!" at no one in particular, and I hate the pictures they stuck up on the wall to show what the food looks like, because one of them looks like what the food will look like after it's been put through the miraculous human digestive system.

Overall, okay food, though. I got the Homewrecker with chicken and black beans. Should be quite an experience for anyone within earshot (or noseshot) in about an hour or so.

AS FOR LUNCH, had you been there you would have gotten to hear about Jeep driving, nouveau riche rednecks and their cussed infidelity, tensile structures, real linoleum, interviewing for jobs that you know you'll never get, gristle (Jeff got the steak version of what I got, and it was full of cartilaginous goodness), modern art of a sort, valet parking, Kiwi Black Shoe Dye, wives, women, bosses, lime, pig sphincters, and work avoidance. All in all, quite a list, reading back over it.

After we were through, out to admire the blackness of my lower body molding, counterpointed with the shiny trim rings and rich Estonian plastic taillights. He was quite impressed. Took him down the hill to the nearby office building where he wound up having to park, swapped magazine, told him my trick of using an open tin of wintergreen Altoids to make the car smell nice inside, gave him one of the funk-infused Altoids so he would smell just as fresh, and then wandered back here.


Ouch, my throat hurts from all that shouting.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon, I set to work changing out the taillights after I got supper going on a low heat. In the midst of the changeover, Reba and the Oldest and Youngest girls came home and went inside, and then all of a sudden, I noticed I had a visitor.

"Whatcha dooooin'?"

"I'm changing out the taillights on the old car so they'll be pretty and shiny."

"Can I help?"

What daddy could resist!?

So, here is my little mechanic's helper-Cat, holding the offending passenger side taillight, as she stands beside the newly installed version--

Next, the driver's side, which our youngster points at here with remarkable grace and aplomb:

Out with the nasty old fixture and its barely-repaired lenses, which can be seen in this stunning photograph-

AND, in with the new, which made someone very happy--

And for some reason, she decided to demonstrate this subtle bit of oddness--

All in all, a very productive afternoon and evening, especially after supper, when I typed another five pages or so of Reba's research paper.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:47 PM | Comments (7)

Got there, parked, and...

...had to stand outside. Which wasn't quite so bad since it had gotten cloudy, but still, half an hour outside isn't as nice as being inside. Stood. Waited. The woman in front of me--grandmother of someone, maybe?--looked like Willie Nelson without a beard. She had one of those faces you see in old sepia photos of sodbusters and Oakies--beat and withered and furrowed. But, she did have her nails polished really pretty. I bet she's got lots of good stories.

We finally started moving just as a few drops of rain started to fall. Went inside to the table to verify our residency, the lady looked like she was trying to remember something. "You seem really familiar..."

"Well, Rebecca was here last year in the 6th grade."

"Hmm, well, I, hmm."

She introduced herself as the clinic lady, and immediately it hit me why she remembered my name--"Wait--I bet you're remembering Ashley, right?!"

"YES! That's it! I knew your voice sounded familiar--we've talked on the phone a bunch!"

Indeed so. Quite a impression Oldest made--she's been gone for two years, you know. That's not a good thing in this instance.

ON to the schedule table, got both schedules, then on to the schedule/fee cross-check table, figured out that Boy's band class got left off the schedule, went to the office to fill out an add slip, went back past the cross-check table, checked in with the cashier, paid another lofty sum of money, found out that the moneytaker was going to be Rebecca's homeroom teacher and English teacher ("honors, by the way," he said with no small amount of pride), up the stairs to get PE uniforms, then out the door again. Fifteen minutes.

Hard to beat that for efficiency.

On to home, called to see if Reba was indeed going to pick up the remaining two from her mom's house, went inside and got supper going (homemade soup), THEN, it was time for MORON PROJECT PART II! HOORAY!

See, I still have those new taillights I have been itching to install. I had another bulb go out in the old ones, and I wanted it to look as spiffy as possible today for my lunch date with MFJeff (who let it slip out the other day that he is jealous I have a Moron Project to play with. Why? Well, he's a moron, too.)

BUT, you'll just have to wait--it's time for me to head out and go swap car books, so I'll see you in a bit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:59 AM | Comments (4)


...ran back upstairs and wiped myself down with my nasty shirt after stripping it off, shucked my sweaty jeans, wiped off some more (right now I imagine you're getting the grotesque, but accurate, idea that I didn't have time to shower beforehand, but trust me, I DID wipe off a lot) and then put on a nice heavy shirt and a clean pair of jeans and a pair of shoes, so as not to perpetuate the stereotype of slow-talking shoeless Southerners. Although I must confess, the car detailing was carried out in an unshod state.

Rubbed down my head, and put on my Barber Motorsports cap for a nice bright touch, down the stairs, into the van (didn't want to risk rubbing off any of the blacking before it was completely baked) then off to Grandma's with several minutes to spare!

Got there, got the kid, hit the road to the school.

Wow. I haven't been by since the end of school, and the place is covered up with new portable buildings to handle the influx of students. Ten over on the primary side, four over on the intermediate side. They look terrible, but I have a feeling that they won't be there as long as the modulars were at the old elementary school. Those were pretty much permanent portables. Parked, walked in, followed the handy taped-off route to the gym, and HALLELUJAH! CHAIRS! We got there about twenty minutes before time, and for the first time this year, the staff had put some aluminum folding chairs out in the corridor for people to sit in while they waited. THANK YOU!

Sat there for a while, talked to Catherine, who saw one of her friends but who wanted to see another one. Looked at the artwork on the wall. The school is covered with nice pictures and photos donated by folks in the community. The particular set in front of me were some of those single-word motivational posters. I might decide to donate some of these to the school, just as a way to bring some snarky adult-style fun to the place.

At the appointed hour, we all stood up like paratroopers moving to the jump door and shuffled into the gym to the first table, where they check to make sure you actually do live in the district, then on to the table where they give you your supply list and your teacher, then over to the place where you pay your fees, where I sat down and chatted with the nice lady and SAW THE BRECK GIRL MOM!

Boy, it's been a long time--if you recall, her kids played soccer, which is where I first saw her, and then I found out later she teaches at the elementary school. She has quite possibly the most attractive strawberry blonde hair in the entire world, along with that well-scrubbed All-American look, thus her nickname. What a cutie. Where were women like this when I was in school!? Not that I would have cared then, but surely it would have been better than old hatchet-faced women who dipped snuff!

Paid my money, moved on to the school tee-shirt table (fund raiser, I suppose, but at least with this one, the stuff you get looks good), then to the agenda book table where I got to see ANOTHER one of my favorites, Jonathan and Rebecca's 4th grade teacher. This is the girl whose class I visited to read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel when Jonathan was her student. I love her to pieces, mainly because she never fails to tell me how much she enjoyed teaching my kids. She was disappointed she didn't get Catherine--I think she thought she was going into the 4th grade instead of the 3rd. However, she might be in for a rude awakening should she actually get her next year.

Checked the bus schedule, then out the door. Fifteen minutes.

Cat was worried a bit about her class being in one of the modular buildings, and wasn't quite sure of the whole concept of a building outside the REAL building, so I drove her around the backside of the parking lot so she could see both sets of construction. That seemed to satisfy her, at least at the time, although she did mention it again to Mommy last night. It'll be okay. I hope.

Back toward Grandmom's, with a stop at our house so I could drop the mail off and her registration stuff--I didn't want it left at Granny's. I also wanted her to see the sparkling black molding on the Volvo, with which she was HIGHLY impressed.

THEN, to the in-law's, where I had some time to kill. Went back over Jonathan and Rebecca's paperwork, got them to sign it, watched Kim Possible on the TV (another cute redhead, I might add), and then packed up Boy and Middle Girl and off we were to the OTHER school, this time with plenty of time to spare.

Which turned out not to be such a great idea...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:02 AM | Comments (3)


I had to leave early yesterday to go get the three younger members of the clan enrolled for the new school year. Ashley's was Wednesday and Mom got to take her to that one, which was just fine by me. Although the fees were startlingly huge.

For yesterday, Cat's registration at the elementary school was at 3, then Boy and Middle Girl were to follow up at 5 at the middle school. And I took off at noon, which meant--what else, but, FUNTIME WITH THE MORON PROJECT!


Yes, this was done deliberately. See, I have lunch with My Friend Jeff today to swap magazines (the ones he forgot to bring two weeks ago), and he hasn't seen the new shiny hubcaps. But he HAS seen the ugly chalky-looking lower bodyside moldings--they look terrible, as witnessed by these photos I took yesterday to impress everyone.

This is the area behind the rear wheel--yuck--

and this is the rocker panel molding--also blech--

This is a pretty common problem for a lot of cars. The oils evaporate, and it gets all gray looking after a while, and there's not much you can do to make it look any better. It eventually gets to the point where even brake fluid won't cut the chalky film. So, your alternatives are to paint it with flexible black bumper paint, which is (as I found out with Moby) a rather arduous task, although it does wind up looking pretty okay. Sorta. Or you can get some stuff that's pretty expensive--at least 18 bucks (including shipping) for a couple of 4 ounce bottles of cleaner and black inky stuff you apply to the offensive areas. Heard good things about the product, but being a cheapo and a moron, I figured there surely had to be SOMETHING out there that would also do the job.

I especially got to thinking this when I was at the grocery store the other day, and passed by the shoe polish, and had a sudden brainstorm (actually, more of a light passing shower). There were all these bottles of Kiwi Black Leather Dye sitting there. "Hmm," I said to myself, because as you know, I say that a lot.

"I wonder," I continued, "if this junk would be just as good as the stuff they sell in the IPD catalog? I mean, it's black, and made to be water-resistant, and certainly does a good job on shoe leather. Hmm." At the time, I left it there, because let's face it, it's a silly idea.

That is, until I checked a few places on the lovely Internets, and found that OTHER moron-project holders had done the exact same thing, and found that it worked just as well, IF NOT BETTER, than the product made to do it. Add to this the fact that it's about one-quarter of the cost. THRIFTY MORON MAN into action!

I figured it wouldn't hurt to try a bit and see what happened. Couldn't look any worser. SO, on the way home yesterday, I dropped by Winn-Dixie, picked up a couple of bottles (not knowing how much it would take), and a set of three cheap-o foam paintbrushes, and some aluminum pot pie tins to pour the juice into (not wanting to risk the ire of anyone who might have an emotional attachment to the various plastic butter bowls that pack the kitchen cabinets), and a Diet Coke for fortitude.

Off to home, changed out of my work duds into something suitable for slopping black gunk everywhere, and then hopped back downstairs. I figured it would be a good idea to wipe the plastic down with some degreaser, just in case, so I got my old can of that and a cloth and my brushes and my dye and my pie pans and WHEW, boy, it sure is hot at noon in Alabama!

I sat down on the concrete and started wiping sweat and degreaser off and on with equal rapidity. Moment of truth--popped off the lid, then the tiny foam pad applicator, poured some of the elixer into the pan, dabbed the brush into it, and went to work. WOW! Let me tell you, fellow moron friends, this stuff ROCKS!

Just be sure to smooth it out neatly, and color a panel at a time, and understand that for the worst areas, you might have to go over it twice or more to get full color, and if you sit on the concrete in the middle of the day in Alabama without shade you sweat a lot and it stings your eyes and makes your neck burn up. But, the sun does have the benefit of rapidly drying the liquid, so you can work pretty quickly. And the results are quite worthwhile--

This is the passenger side--nice and inky black now!

The only problem is that now the bumper covers, which heretofore had looked nice and black now look dingy in comparison. BUT, I had no time for those, because it was now rapidly approaching after 2:00, and I had to clean up, run go run get Cat, and get to the school before 3:00.


Tune in for the NEXT exciting episode!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:15 AM | Comments (6)

Well, now, that wasn't so bad at all.

AND, I got some special "I Am A Moron" Project time in there as well!


Give me a while to get all that fixed, and I'll be back with all the school news, INCLUDING the reappearance of BRECK GIRL MOM! (Sadly, no pictures of that event, however.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2005

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

MARTELLO TOWER. A round, low tower, with guns mounted on the flat roof, built for coastal defence in England from 1793 onwards, mainly during the Napoleanic wars but also later and on a wide scale. There are examples in Jersey, Orkney, Ireland, Canada, South Africa and the U.S.A. (Key West, Florida). In form they derive from the traditional Mediterranean watch tower, e.g., that on Cape Mortella, Corsica, hence the name. [Although not truly a satisfactory explanation for the transposed vowels. Ed.]

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition

ANYway, be that as it may, in another one of those instances where I think something is more obscure than it turns out to be in actuality, the Internets is just eat up with information about these things. For the ones in England, it appears one of the best sources is this page--the Martello Towers Homepage.

For the Key West version, this site run by the Key West Arts and Historical Society is pretty good, aside from the icky haunted doll exhibit. The Canucks have this site, the South Africans have this one, and the Irish have this one, and, of course, there's the original prototype, but the page is written is some strange foreign language.

So, there you go.

As for me, I need to work on my work, because I'm hitting the road at noon today to go take the kids for their school registration.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

But would the bartender let him run a tab?

Pastor brings God to Prattville bar

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:31 AM | Comments (2)

I wonder...

...if he also sure plays a mean pinball?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)


...I have dreams just like this.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:22 AM | Comments (3)

July 27, 2005

As I was standing here...

...in my luxurious penthouse office high atop the second floor of the opulent Axis of Weevil World Headquarters, absentmindedly stroking a bronze bust of the poet Burns (George), I noticed Chet the E-Mail Boy out in the yard below, slowly pushing the lawnmower with his usual short, hopping motions.

Poor Chet--at his age, and him out in this hot sun, and in the middle of an ozone alert! I opened the window and yelled out to him, "CHET! Don't forget the part over by the dumpster!" Poor, hard-working, Chet. I really should pay him something. Then I think to myself, "Why? He'd only go waste it on corn flakes and snuff."

I sat back down at my reproduction antique mahogany-grained particle board desk to get back to work, plotting world domination. It would be so much easier if the address list was up-to-date, you know? I mean, is it that hard?

I rifled through the in-box--darned Bilderbergers and their silly tracts! Sale paper from the Illuminati. Hmm, they've got Rockport walking shoes on sale. Vinyl siding offer from the Trilateral Commission. As if! They'd probably only finish three sides of the place before they ran off with the money. Something from Wal-Mart, a coupon booklet from The Black Helicopter Company. Ho-hum.

BUT THEN, what's THIS!?

I took the paper from the box...

I flew to the window again, "CHET! CHET, COME HERE! I NEED YOU!"

This could be the big break I've been plotting for years! Chet finally made it up the stair and into the office, the squeaky wheels of his oxygen canister cart heralding his approach. "CHET! You REALLY need to put some grease on those wheels, old fellow, but more importantly, I need you to take a telegram!"

It seems that a certain woman, who recently became known to us by the cryptic title of "KS'sLF," or "Lauren," had been told by her media-savvy blogging man-friend Kenny Smith that she should apply for membership in the Sacred Order of Cotton State Writers and Ne'er-do-wells.

You see, it turns out that this mystery woman--also known as "Annie" (presumably for Anonymous, and not the red-headed orphan kid with hollow eyes) has her own blog, AND not only that, she works at a well-known local media outlet. THIS was just what I needed--an inside path to gain control of my very own television station!


ANYway, I hurriedly dictated a note to Chet, who furiously scribbled it onto one of his yellowed, leftover Western Union sheets. "Hurry, Chet! And Chet?"

"Yes?" he wheezed.

"Please--change your shirt. You have grass all over you, and you smell like sweat and Old Spice."

He tipped his hat and I tossed him a quarter, and then he wheeled about and squeaked back down the steps to the boiler room, to his telegraph key.

NOT LONG THEREAFTER, I heard dear Chet the E-Mail Boy come clomping back up the steps and down the hall to my office door. I decided not to spring out from behind the door and scare him as I had done last week, because I think we nearly lost him that time. And he still has to fill in the sink hole in the side yard by the storage shed. And help Luther fix the differential in the dump truck.

So, I allowed him to come in with the eagerly-awaited reply without being unduly frightened. He handed me a freshly-inked sheet of paper hot off the Merganthaler linotype, I made my corrections to the spelling, he disappeared and reset the type, reinked the plate, then finally gave me an acceptable final copy. And here now is Annie-Lauren's application answers:

Let's see if I can pass the rigorous test...

1) Born in, or now live in, or once lived in, or would like to live in, Alabama

~Check. I live and work in B'ham

2) Not ashamed to admit to #1

~Check. I used to be, but then I realized the joy of getting people to give me "The Look" when I say where I live. And then I can laugh.

3) Staunchly anti-idiotarian, or can at least pretend pretty good

~"Here's your sign." Best line ever created.

Although "git 'er done" scores well, also. And various R. Lee Ermey lines from Full Metal Jacket. Anyway--

4) Functionally literate

~More so than some!! Hehe!

5) Don't type in ALL CAPS or all e.e. cummings case or MiXeD

~I was a double major in college. One of those majors was English. Hooked on Phonics worked for me.

Hmm, well, I don't suppose it's too much of a problem that she's an English major. After some unlearning, she should be fine. And maybe something sparkly to wear, like a drum majorette uniform. That would be cool!

6) Update your blog more than once a month

~Check. If all else fails, you'll get the "What I learned this week" post on Fridays

7) Willing to be made fun of

~Check. You can read about the fun my co-workers have at my expense in my blog.

8) Willing to make fun of yourself

~Check. Because really, if I couldn't laugh at myself, I'd be a sad individual.

True, but, let's remember, it's really more important in the greater scheme of things that we can laugh at you.

9) Have a framed picture of John Moses Browning

~Nope. But I do know who he is. Remember - I'm slowly being converted to the ways of the South.

Sorry, no excuse. Click here, clip and past on the wall, please.

10) Personal library must contain more books than you will ever read

~Check. And I go to the library and take out even more to read in all my 'spare' time. Ha.

In the words of that great American puppyeater, Glenn Reynolds, "...Indeed."

11) Must be able to recite Monty Python and the Holy Grail and give an episode synopsis of all Andy Griffith shows from memory

~Check on the Monty Python...not so check on Andy

The Axis of Weevil Campus Outreach Program will be having a Mayberry Refresher Course on August 19, 2005. Spaces are limited, sign up today.

12) Your pickup truck must be in good working order--use of ether to get it started is not recommended, but will be allowed on a case-by-case basis

~I don't have a pickup truck, but if you know of one for sale that I could buy for $100 or so to use 2x a year to haul crap, let me know...

And by the way...I do know someone else that doesn't own a pick up truck. But said he would let me drive his riding mower.

Well, as you all know, even I no longer possess a factory-built pickup truck, although I have been the proud past owner of three, all of which worked. However, as I have counseled applicants in the past, it is quite easy to convert any sedan into a pickup truck through the use of a Sawzall. Just start behind the back of the doors and start cutting the roof off, and pretty soon you can have your own custom El Camino-like vehicle. Like this lovely Volvo... THAT'S what mine's gonna look like! Anywho, the riding lawnmower thing is a good idea, too. (Be sure to get the newest one, made right here in Alabama.)

Can't wait to see how I fare...

WELL, all in all, I think very well, Laurannie! I mean, aside from being a Yankee and all that.

SO THEN, by the powers bestowed upon me by Rhonda at the Shell station, who complimented my haircut, BE IT KNOWN TO ALL that Annie (or Laurel Ann, or whoever she really is), writer of the superlative A Yank Gone South blog (and not to be confused with Miss Janis' Gone South blog, which has many more birds), is HEREWITH inducted into the Yellowhammer Quilting and Conversation Guild, better known to most as the fearsome and mighty Axis of Weevil, with all of the rights and obligations devolving thereto, including, but not limited to, occasional use of the company's Mercury Tracer.

WELCOME, Annie, and as is customary with all new persons shanghaied into the AoW, you can expect to receive your very own World Famous Axis of Weevil Gift Basket, containing a rack of Dreamland ribs, a gallon jug of Milo’s sweet tea; a G-Lox Wedgee gun rack from Mark’s Outdoor Sports for your lawnmower, a package of Bubba’s Beef Jerky (according to Dr. Weevil, this is homemade and is available only at the gas station at the end of Highway 82 in Bibb County); a three piece, 24 ounce box of Priester’s Pecan Logs; a box of Jim Dandy grits; a 16 ounce bottle of Dale’s Steak Sauce; AND a six pack of Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Jimmy from next door (who has a condition) has asked that he be allowed to let his artistic talents spring forth (recognizing that the last time that happened, his aunt caught him and grounded him for a month) by creating for you a special sculpture of the venerable local television personality Joe Langston, created entirely from Vienna sausage cans! Jimmy avers that the medium is very difficult to work with, but promises an unprecedented level of detail. And a rather delicious aroma.

SO, then, all of you say hello to our newest Weevil! Although you might have to do so in the comments here, since she doesn't seem to have a way to leave comments at her site.

IN RELATED NEWS, it's time the refrigerator in the break room was cleaned out. Anything left in there by Friday and Miss Nadine is going to throw it out, bowl and all. Also, staff are requested to quit taking home the yellow notepads. Those are mine. Further, the Employee of the Month sign has been taken from the parking spot by the back door. Please return this as soon as possible, because the restroom key was attached to it.

Thank you.

OH, and I need the keys to the television station for just a few hours, Annie. Thanks again.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:05 PM | Comments (7)

Yes, I'm here now!

But busy.

BUT, not so busy that I can't fill you in on my exciting excursion throughout the exciting Eastern suburbs in my exciting European car with my exciting wife!

As planned, we piled into the Volvo (and I am getting closer to calling him "Järn," as I mentioned the other day--it sounds Swedish, since it is, and it's the word "iron." The other possibility is the word for brick, which is tegel. Or we might just go ahead and give him a given name and a surname and call him Järn Tegel. Or I might rub him and pat him and call him George. Anyway---) and headed over to the haircutting place, where I got my uneven follicles trimmed and evened-up. I look presentable again! Okay, not really. From there, it was time for some SUPPER!

[The late Dennis Washburn] "I carefully adjusted the mirrors in the sleek Swedish sedan and we eased out onto the highway, its powerful overhead cam four cylinder engine thrumming happily along." [/late Dennis Washburn]

Ever since we went out to the western part of town a couple of weeks back, I've been having a peculiar craving. Where I grew up in Forestdale, there was a Pasquale's Pizza (much loved, it seems, if the Internet is to be believed). Small and dim inside, with the "red naugahyde/skinny black wrought iron/dark tortured wood/red-and-white checkered formica" motif that said Old Italia. When I was a teenager, I always loved their stromboli steak sandwich.

When we passed by the place the other day, Reba mentioned it, and those stromboli steak sandwiches, and I've been thinking about having one of those ever since. It's probably been thirty years since the last time I had one, but the urge had become nearly overwhelming. Lucky for me, Reba knew of a Pasquale's over close to the Publix in Pinson, so I drove us over there.

We got there during the supper rush, which consisted of one other person. Reba got the buffet, and I ordered the sammich. O! Such anticipation. O! Such a letdown.

It was a very good sandwich. Blazing hot, on nice crispy garlic bread, but something either in the strom or the boli or the steak just wasn't what it was supposed to be. I remember it being gooshier, and saltier, and mushroomier, and, something. Again, it was a wonderful sandwich, as long as you had no distinctly-remembered frame of reference. ::sigh::

Oh well, at least the drive was fun, and Reba seemed to enjoy getting actually ride in my toy rather than look in dismay at the dull paint from the outside. Even BETTER, when we got home, the UPS guy had been by, and delivered...

NEW TAILLIGHTS!! I ordered a pair of brand new, made in Estonia taillights from Ebay to replace the cracked and tired existing units. Didn't think they were EVER going to get here, even though I only ordered them last week. BUT, arrive they did! With a gigantic triangular puncture wound in the dead center of the box. Looked like they got dropped onto the corner of something deadly.

I shook the box and didn't hear any tinkling plastic sound, so I got them inside and unwrapped them. The hole was punched clean through the outside box and the inside box that had one of the lamp units taped inside, and managed to miss the precious cargo by about an inch. Whew.

The rest of the evening was uneventful. More or less.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:19 AM | Comments (13)

July 26, 2005

Items of Late Afternoon Interest

Well, it's thundering, for one thing, guaranteeing that the ride home will be full of slippery thrills.

Second, I have my biweekly Great Big Pile of Fun Meeting tomorrow morning at A Very Early Time, so expect intermittent Possumbloggery.

Third, could it be an unexpected, midweek Date Night!? I have no idea. But tonight the children get to spend the night at Grand-mahmah's and Grand-pahpah's villa! Reba ALSO has an early morning meeting tomorrow, and didn't want to have to get up any earlier than necessary in order to get the kids to her mom's house, so she asked if they could spend the night tonight so they'll already be there in the morning. And now we're left with no children in the house TONIGHT. No telling WHAT we might do! I need a haircut (the skint side now having grown back lush and full, although still lopsided when compared to the other side) and she hasn't gotten to ride in the Volvo yet, so we MIGHT just take it out for a spin to the Head Start place. WOO-HOO! LIVIN' LA VIDA DÓCIL, baby! Or, we might spend a romantic evening at home, with me typing her paper, and she writing the parts that haven't been done yet. All in all, it promises to be quite the wild night in Trussvegas.

Anyway, see you all tomorrow sometime--maybe.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

Items of Lunchtime Interest

You know, for there only to be a half-block walk to Sneaky Pete's, you sure do wind up seeing a lot.

Let's see (so to speak)--first, just as I walked down the steps, I noted one of the (increasingly prevalent) members of the Society of Park Bench Somnolence who urgently skulked behind some shrubbery and a bench alongside the sidewalk. A bench, it turns out, that was occupied by two women having a conversation and a smoke. One suddenly shot up and looked behind her as if she'd been goosed, and the fellow, who by then was on his knees directly behind the bench, stood up proudly and brandished a cigarette butt.

On then to my destination, passing by a squad car parked at the curb, which had a portion of bird soilage upon the roof that without reservation I can say looked as though it could have been dropped by a bewinged Great Dane. I say it's high time we started cutting down some trees to keep such beasts from killing us all under a hail of golfball-sized guano.

Next, on to the eating place, and as I walked up the sidewalk, I noticed three over-30 women walking ahead of me--two were wearing slight variations of the exact same mode of dress--short hair; light blue, short-sleeved knit tops; khaki clam digger pants; and leather flip-flops. Was there a memo distributed for "Beach Day Tuesday!" in their office? Sorry, but I just can't get past the idea that some women think this is appropriate office attire.

Anyway, on to the food joint, where I was pleased to see that the Lauren Hutton Lookalike Woman was at the register. As I stood there, I noticed a sign handwritten in pen taped to the cash register:

99 Cents

What? Was it not really bottled? Wink, wink, nudge nudge! "Bottled," eh!? Like to put your water in a "bottle," eh!? SAY NO MORE!

Ordered some food, paid, waited my turn. Lots of jury duty folks today. Mondays and Tuesdays are usually the biggest days, then it tapers off as folks either get excused or seated. I've never really understood why people walk around with their jury duty badges on, though. I have always taken mine off to go to lunch--don't really want people to know why I'm wandering around, you know. Anyway, one avuncular-looking fellow showed up with his badge on, and was wearing a backpack.

It wasn't until he paid and stood over beside me, though, that I got to study his satchel more closely. Clear plastic, and well-used--probably belonged to one of his school-age kids, and he brought it to hold all of his books to read while he waited. All two of them. All two thin ones of them.

Now, maybe I'm just not "with it" (as the kids say) when it comes to easily transporting two books back and forth the extreme distance between the courthouse parking deck to the jury room, or from the jury room across the park to Sneaky Pete's, but it does seem like the slightest bit of overkill to use a backpack to carry two small, thin (although admittedly hardbound) books. Then again, I never really understand the lure of fanny packs just to carry a set of keys, either.

Got my food, and now it's all eaten up, and it was very tasty.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:32 PM | Comments (10)

And most amazing of all...

...the article doesn't quote anyone asking if Alabama even HAS roads!

Highway signs in Easthampton [MA] bear the outline of Alabama

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:54 AM | Comments (3)

Redneck Engineering

From Dave Helton, an interesting tale of improvisational expertise.

Just as an aside, an ubobtrusive corner of rubber floor mat could have also been used. Maybe next time. ALSO, Dave mentions a sage bit of wisdom--"Nothing ever breaks down when the parts stores are open."

Words to live by, my friends.

(It also goes well with, "Everything I have is either too short, or broken.")

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:14 AM | Comments (5)

Hey! Fritz is back!

And has a good post on speed limits.

I am one of those folks who occasionally travel at a more rapid clip than is strictly legal, but I agree wholeheartedly with Fritz on the issue of folks who not only speed, but do so in a reckless manner. There is a difference between driving fast, and driving quickly. It is quite possible to drive faster than the statutory limits (recognizing that doing so is illegal) but without undue danger to your fellow motorists.

First of all, understand your surroundings--look at the overall flow of traffic, not just that right in front of you. If it's 5:15 p.m., it's a pretty good bet the traffic's going to be heavy, and your constant weaving in and out of the rolling chicanes isn't going to get you anywhere any quicker.

Second, look ahead. WAY ahead. I get so tired of people who whip out to pass as soon as they can get by, and then boil down the road and slam on their brakes because they got blocked by someone I could plainly see was moving over. It's very difficult to calmly drive past those types of drivers without pointing and laughing.

Third, sit down, shut up, and drive. Or, pay attention to the task at hand, namely, guiding a large, fast-moving heavy metal object whose only anchorage to terra firma is by a square foot of rubber friction material. Cars are so incredibly capable nowadays that people think they can handle any situation, regardless of what they might be doing at the time. Reading the paper, putting on makeup, sleeping--folks, if you HAVE to do that stuff, take the bus or hire someone to haul your distracted butt around. But don't think that because you have ABS and traction control and air bags that you're invulnerable.

Fourth--I'm in a hurry, too. I promise you, I really am not just out for a Sunday drive. But, be patient and allow the traffic rules to work. Again, look around and way ahead--when you can see that the left lane is indeed working as designed, that is, as a passing lane or through lane--DON'T CUT ME OFF WHEN I TRY TO MOVE TO THE RIGHT AND LET YOU PASS. Just give me a second or two to make sure it's safe for me to move over AND I WILL LET YOU GO PAST. I cannot STAND people who do this--do you really think you're such a hotshot driver, Bub? This AIN'T MARTINSVILLE! Let the traffic flow, and let me get over and out of your way, and THEN you can pass.

Fifth--back off. That whole two second rule deal is pretty good. Leave some space between me and you, so that you don't have to buy yourself a new front bumper, and you don't have to spend several thousand dollars repairing the back end of an old Volvo that's not worth several hundred dollars. I usually have pretty good luck, at least in the evenings, of getting folks to back off by turning on my lights. The sudden appearance of taillights occasionally gets morons to back off, and when they realize you're not trying to jerk them around by tapping the brakes, they don't get quite so inflamed. And it also means you don't have to slow down by putting on the brakes. One trick I intend to use when I get the chance is my car's rear fog lamps. Didn't realize it had them until here lately, but basically it's an auxiliary set of red taillamps controlled by a dashboard switch. Supposed to make the rear end of your car more visible in fog, but also probably pretty good for baiting tailgaters.

Anyway, if you have someplace to go, don't drive too fast--drive quickly.

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

See what I miss by not having cable!?

I was just browsing through Amazon for interesting things, and came across this--a video of an A&E special from 2000 on VOLVOS!

Good GRIEF! Can you IMAGINE the excitement and thrilling scenery that must contain! Well, even though I don't have cable, I can at least watch the tape.

Of course, for entertainment value, it's still hard to beat a book, such as this one, or better still, this one. Nothing like curling up with one and a nice cold glass of Diet Coke.

But before all that, I really need some of this. Nothing like hiding the gray to make things look younger, you know!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

"Pinkie, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

Rare island birds threatened by 'super mice'

"I think so, Brain, but where are we going to find a duck and a hose at this hour?"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

Morning Teevee

::sigh:: More than a week now without Wendy.

One of our regular visitors around here, Lauren R., aka Kenny Smith's Lady FriendTM, wrote in last week to see how I was doing, and if my withdrawal symptoms were manageable.

Well, I guess they are, but it's a pain trying to find something else to watch in the mornings. I did decide I would watch the new, revamped anchor team just to say I wasn't being overly prejudiced, and I have to say the show is...well, pretty much the same, except with different people. Which makes the decision to make the changeover that much more inscrutable from a viewer's perspective. I mean, if you're trying to draw folks away from the competition over at the FOX station (where Lauren, aka KS'sLF, works), it seems odd to think that a huge number of people had been just itching to switch away to NBC, except for those two awful former anchors they had.

As I told Lauren, it seems no one at the NBC station has recognized that one of the reasons the morning show on Channel 6 might be doing better is the fact that the station's audio signal can be heard on the FM dial--87.7--way down on the extreme left end. It's mono, and sometimes weak, and some cars' radios only go down to 87.9, but in the end, it's basically a free way to get people to tune into the television. If you can hear it, you might just leave it there so you can listen to the news on the way to or from work in the car, then be able to pick right up on it when you come in the house. I know I do that a lot in the evenings.

Anyway, that one little extra bit of viewership, and that one little extra way to make the decision to watch one station over another, and the way in which people begin to make convenience something of a rote experience, might be the thing that keeps Channel 13 running behind their morning competition. Obviously, the bosses have to show some effort to make it look like they're doing all they can to boost the ratings--especially when the parent company keeps touting the Today show as having been #1 for 500 weeks in a row. But it seems like it might be better to put a bit more thought into it and the reasons why the competition keeps winning.

ANYWAY, since I no longer have any personal reason to keep watching the show, I figured I might branch out and see what else is on the airwaves in the morning.

This whole task would be much simpler if I had cable--we'd pretty much stay on the History Channel or AMC all the time. But, being that I--Ned Ludd's Favorite Son--make due with signals pulled from the ether down through a set of rabbit ears, I am forced to make do with the local broadcast stations.

Channel 6, the FOX affiliate--as I've mentioned ad infinitum, their morning show has the pacing of frozen molasses. I like Janice Rogers and Rick Journey a whole bunch--they're good kids--but it's also necessary to put up with Bill Bolen and Sarah Verser. Also two very nice people, but who seem to have no small difficulty with English.

Channel 10, the PBS station--in the wee earlies, all they have on are those shows that come on for adult education classes. "Today, we're going to show you how to respond to situations in the workplace that might require you to read..." No news, and no hot babes.

Channel 13, NBC--well, I USED to watch the morning newser, but now there's no reason.

Channel 21, WB. I have never checked on the Dubba-Dubba station in the mornings (since I didn't have a reason), and now I know I'll NEVER be back. The very early shows are the paid promos for worthless junk, then at 6:00 is when the Viewpoint show with Dick and Les Scrushy comes on, a paid promo for Dick and Les Scrushy. This morning I flipped by and Tricky Dick was slathering great and unctuous praise upon that incredible man of "God," Benny Hinn. Well, two peas in a pod, I suppose. Not going to watch that, even for the high entertainment value.

Channel 33/40, the ABC affiliate, has it's own little brother knock-off to its network's perennial ratings loser Good Morning, America, with the local version (called, oddly enough, Good Morning, Alabama) hosted by former Channel 13 anchor Pam Huff, and the really cute Maggie Poteau. Well, I suppose there IS an alternative to Channel 6 and 13, but I have to say the whole thing looks more or less like something done in a college television studio. Huff has a lot of experience in this market (the uproar when she left NBC 13 was tremendous), but the program needs some work to look like a credible effort. And, as I mentioned, Maggie's cute. Oh, and it has some Doppler-besotted weather guy, too. Best of all, I was able to get the antennas in the EXACT right position to see the screen--this is a big problem with any of the UHF stations--none of them come in worth a hoot.

NEXT in the Great UHF Cavalcade of Faded Craptacularity, Channel 42, the CBS affiliate in town. A station with a long, tattered history. Morning programs consist of marvelous paid promos for worthless junk.

Finally, there's WABM68, the UPN affiliate. Weak signal, which is fine if you want to see what a television show would look like if filmed in a blizzard. Early morning shows include a fine variety of paid promos for worthless junk.

Not much in the way of choices, is there? I think it's time to dust off my idea for PossumblogTV, and get a station worth watching in town.

Oh, by the way, Ms. Garner says she's doing fine, and is enjoying not having to get up at 3:00 a.m.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:30 AM | Comments (5)


Discovery ready for launch, Bama grad at controls

How many Bama grads does it take to fly a shuttle?

Only one, but everyone else sits around and talks about how much better Bear could have done it.

BADUMP-bump-tsheeh! Thank you! I'll be here all week.

In fairness, one of my favorite jokes of this nature is the one about two Auburn aerospace grads who had seats in Mission Control and were responsible for pushing the ignition buttons for a new rocket. The countdown reached the crucial moment, and with great excitement, the command came over the intercom: "LAUNCH!"

At which, both grabbed brown paper bags and thermoses from under their chairs, unwrapped some sandwiches, and began eating.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:07 AM | Comments (1)

July 25, 2005

You know what we need around here?!

A CONTEST, that's what!

Or maybe a nap.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:34 PM | Comments (7)

Which, praise be, also went just fine.

Church, that is.

All teachers present and accounted for, and I actually got to sit in class with Reba for once without interruptions, and then Oldest sat with the teen group during worship, so I didn't have to keep tapping her arm to make her stay awake, and the sermon was good and I stayed awake all through it, and then we went home for lunch and had sandwiches, and I actually got to read the paper, AND I got to watch Guys and Dolls, which I've never seen before all the way through, but found most fascinating, especially those parts involving the sublime Jean Simmons. A testament to the ability of the movie to captivate is that it caused Boy to pay more attention to IT than to his GameBoy! Especially interesting to him was the scene in the sewer, when everyone was jumping and leaping and pretending to throw dice and all that junk. "What are they doing, Dad?"

SO, I had to explain that they were supposed to be throwing dice, which is a gambling game called craps, and everyone puts down money on the ground and bets on whether the shooter will or won't roll a particular number on the dice. Not that I know anything about it. Because I don't. "Well, it's a good thing they're just pretending, because if they really had anything on the ground, they'd have already kicked it all over the place." Ahhh, musicals. (I just hope he doesn't find out about this.)

On back for evening worship, which AGAIN was free of any troublesomeness, then home, supper, and to bed. Quite an uneventful weekend, and that's a good thing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:33 PM | Comments (4)


I’ve been on the other side of these before, and it’s never pleasant. If you know ahead of time who your competition is, you might be able to do a bit of homework and find out where they’re weak, but most of the time, you just take your best shot. If you’re on a short list with two other folks, you know that with all things being equal, you only have a 1:3 chance of getting picked, so you try to come up with some way to make yourself stand out.

From an owner’s point of view, it’s nice to have people vying to work for you--until you realize they want to be paid for that privilege. I’ve never been on this side before, but I did want it to be as up-front and rational as possible for our invitees. And it seemed to have been appreciated--everyone was complimentary of our efforts to get information together ahead of time, and poll the congregation, and come up with a program. Pays to do your homework, I suppose.

We did have one firm drop out from the short list, so our interviews got started a bit later than originally intended. My Friend John showed up WAY early and started setting his stuff up and chatting with folks, and at the appointed hour of 2:10 p.m., we got underway. For the next two hours and 40 minutes, we listened to and questioned three firms, and then after the last group left, we already had a consensus for whom to hire. I had started out telling our committee members to think about what they’d heard and read, if they wanted to, to go and see some of the projects of the various folks, and I told them I wasn’t about to vote on anyone. I figured they’d be better served by making up their own minds about people, although I did give my opinion.

But, as I said, after it was over, the choice was clear, and that’s about as good an outcome of a committee decision as could ever be hoped for. No rancor, no disagreements, just a desire to move forward to the next step. I don’t want to take credit for the smoothness of the process, but I will say that having some experience and understanding of the problems that can crop up makes it a LOT easier to avoid them, if you want to. I’ve had to deal with contentious committees before, with folks who have their own agendas separate from those of the group, and it’s never a good working environment.

Anyway, we had an impromptu discussion session as a group for ANOTHER hour, then after that broke up, ANOTHER hour of general gossip and foolishness. Home, with a stop for gas (22 mpg) and a wash (oooo--SHINY! Kinda) and then to the house, where the children had already gotten bath’d and hair-washed after staying outside for THREE HOURS! Jonathan was burnt to a crisp--his little back and shoulders looked like a lobster’s. We slathered him down with Ocean Potion, which has always worked well for us to prevent sunburns from blistering and peeling. The rest of them managed to not get so overdone--Cat was probably the next worst, but she just turned brown instead of red.

But, the bestest thing was that they FINALLY got to play in that stinkin’ pool. They had a good time, and that’s hard to beat when you’re a kid. After all the excitement died down, I took the thin plastic cover outside to cover it up, and was amazed to see that the middle of the dumbbell shape had squished outward, with its gunwales just about to be swamped by the water. Apparently, the children spend a lot of time pressing the sides down, in direct contravention of my instructions to them. ::sigh:: Oh well. I got the pump back out and blew some more air into the chambers to try to get it to plump up a bit and hold all that water, then got Reba to help me stretch the cover around the lip.

Goodnight, blow-up pool!

More laundry, some supper, some television, and then to bed.

And then, SUNDAY!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:18 PM | Comments (4)

Oh--but wait.

Monday Morning Staff Meeting beckons. Stupid old work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)


First thing Saturday--I wasn't really even awake--small children came into the room and asked if I was going to blow the pool up. "::grumble::GIMME SOME DYNAMITE!::grouch::"

"Kids, let Daddy get up so I can go to the bathroom and put on some clothes--and remember, I need to get Mom's paper done, and we have laundry. Now GIT!"

Which they did. Reba fixed breakfast, I gathered clothes, started the jeans, ate, then sat down to fix the paper. This isn't her giant directed study paper I have only just started typing on, it's her research paper that gets produced throughout the year of classes. What I was doing was correcting the corrections from the last submittal, then typing up a three-page addition. Knocked it out with relative dispatch, although I did a bad thing.

See, this paper is supposed to be about determining ways to reduce anxiety amongst elderly folks being admitted to a nursing home. Reba has a rather odd hypothesis and methodology (no, I'm not about to say anything about THAT to her--let her professor tell her) but her data does rely on some observations she's made of folks she sees in her work. "Reba, let me ask you something--don't you think you might need a release from these people if you're going to use their information?"

The look of stone-cold terror on her face was awful--it was obvious she hadn't even thought about it. I KNEW right then I had just made my life infinitely more difficult. Couldn't just keep my trap shut. Couldn't just close my eyes and sigh. NooooOOOOOO! Had to act like this was some sort of a bigger deal than it was.

She paused and then became very agitated and defensive and upset and worried and agitated and defensive and concerned and worried and upset. "Whoa--just ask your professor Monday night what he thinks--don't start worrying now about it." Of course, the time to have thought about this was way at the start, and even if she does need permission, it should be relatively simple to obtain, but she might not, but I knew that now that I'd ruined everything, MY life was going to be a mess of trying to control her emotions.

"Look, don't worry about it until you find out--there's nothing you can do either way about it right now, so don't get all anxious until it's absolutely necessary!"

Thankfully, after several more minutes of high angst and sudden intestinal floppsiness, she had calmed back down and was thinking about rational solutions to the situation. Thank goodness. Maybe my edgy, hard-nosed life philosophy of, "What, me worry!?" is starting to have a positive effect on her. (Actually, I worry a lot, but only about things over which I have some control--everything else? Eh, whatever. I might gripe and complain about such inconsequential junk, but it doesn't keep me awake at night.)

Finished up the corrections and addition, pressed the Print button, sat for a moment to watch the sheets feed into the printer--"DADDY! Are you going to blow up the pool now!?"

"In a bit."

Did some more laundry, got the paper out of the tray, and then, to the garage.



Got the box out from under the pile of stuff I kept putting on top of it in a vain effort to obscure it from the view of curious children. Nice--it has its own battery-operated pump. And I even had four D-cell batt'ries! Of course, my flashlight doesn't work now, but hey.

Took the pile of smelly plaskit outside to the backyard and rolled it out. Moved it here and there to what I could best discern was the most level spot in the yard, which, again, isn't really level. Stuck the blower in the big convenient blow holes and in NO TIME AT ALL, I had a GENUINE 144 INCH LONG dumbbell-shaped swimming hole before me! (Comely blonde on box not included.)

The kids were nearly about to wet their pants with glee. Time enough for that once they get in the pool, though.

Time to fill it up with water. This took nearly thirty minutes. ::sigh:: That sure is a lot of water.

In the intervening time, the kids all ran and got on their swimsuits and sunscreen, while I did more laundry and got my stuff ready for our architect interviews at church. Water finally up to the middle--"KIDS! Come on and--"

"EEEEKKKKKKK! AAAAGHHH! COLD! COLD! AAIIIEEEEEEEEEE!" And that was just Jonathan, whose voice and demeaner changed to a three-year-old girl once he took that first dip into the two feet of ice water. Cat plunged in after him and they shrieked and tumbled and more than likely peed all in the thing. Rebecca and Ashley soon followed, and after some initial squabbles about turf, they all settled down to playing and splashing.

I kissed Reba and went upstairs and showered and got ready to go, came back downstairs, ate some lunch, grabbed all my papers and hit the road. Saturday marked the end of the first week in which I drove the Volvo to work every day. You know, for a 20 year old car with a bunch of miles on it, it's actually a pretty pleasant way to get around. A nice, comfortable, economical cruiser, with operable A/C and well-made controls that still feel nice and tight and new. And with those spiffy new old shiny bits on the wheels, I no longer feel quite so weird driving it. Little bit o' spiff goes a long ways. (And just WAIT until I get the new taillights installed!)

And to church then, parked, and went inside to get ready for our guests.

NEXT: That went well!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:56 AM | Comments (2)


Not only managed to make it through another weekend safe and sound, but also managed to keep from melting into a gooey paste!

Well, that went pretty well--one of the better weekends, I'd say. No violent mayhem, no acrimony, and there was the addition of an INFLATABLE WADING POOL! So, all in all, pretty much okay.

Friday, went and got my new suits chalked up so they'll fit right. Or rightish. I still think there's a bit too much cloth in the pant legs--it feels sorta like I'm wearing a set of spinnakers. At least it was pleasant--I made Reba and the kids sit outside in the mall in the overstuffed leather sofas. The kids enjoyed it, although I think I would prefer a seating appliance much less conducive to holding and cultivating everyone's butt germs. But that's just me.

The manager guy carefully eyed the suits and made the necessary adjustments--no break at the top of the shoe, no cuff, 3/4 of an inch of shirt at the wrist. Everything together took about ten minutes. OH! And he like my shoes! I got them back Friday, and they were nice and shiny (for a change) and he was quite impressed with the sheen they possessed. I tell you, it makes all of that uncomfortable male physical closeness much more tolerable. "They'll be ready this next Friday, Mr. Oglesby." Good enough for me.

Off then with the crew for some supper in the food court, then Reba took the older two to shop for some more school clothes, while I kept the littler two with me for fun and games. First fun, Cat had to ride the merry-go-round again. I let Jonathan stay at the table this time, though. He'd hated it the last time, having to stand there and ride like some little kid. I hated it because I paid a dollar for him to ride, and he wouldn't. But I didn't want to just have him wandering around. At least this time, I knew where he should be, and gave him strict instructions to stay put. Which he did.

Cat clambered up onto a brown horse that she promptly named Chocolate (yes, I was amazed as you that it wasn't KeeKee or KoKo or Katie or anything else with a hard-K sound at the beginning) and she had a wonderful time as the music played and the horse bobbed along. We waved at Jonathan each time we went past, which embarrassed him to no end. And made Catherine just that much more gleeful. I'm not sure what in the human brain makes merry-go-rounds such a pleasure for kids--the odd dizziness, the music, the rolling motion, the animals, the lights--but by-golly she enjoys all of it with wonderful, two-fisted, full-blown abandonment. Full of giggles and sparkly eyes.

That done, it was time to hop off and collect Brother and go see what there was to see. They wanted to go to the toy store again, so, off we went. Spent the rest of our allotted hour in there. They were like two kids in a toy store. Which meant it was a bit difficult to keep up with them both--once you're outnumbered, you have to play zone defense instead of man-to-man, and it can be tough. That's why I have so much gray hair.

Along close to nine, Reba called and said the stores were closing, so we went and joined them, and for once they had managed to go to a store and not buy anything. Leading to much rude sullenness on the part of one 15 year old. On back to the house, and then to bed. But not before--"Daddy, are you going to blow up the pool tomorrow?"

A couple of years ago, Reba got a BIG inflatable pool for the kids to play in, and I have done all in my power to keep from getting it out in the intervening time. They leak, they take a tremendous amount of water to fill, and there's not a really level place in our yard--they always moosh over to one side, which isn't really very fun, especially when they moosh so far that all the water comes gushing over the side.

But, it has gotten to the point where it is increasingly difficult to tell them no, and it would be fun to have a place with some nice cool water they could splash in, and so what if it killed the grass--I don't like having to cut it anyway.

"Well, we'll see--I have to finish typing Mama's paper, and we're going to have laundry to do in the morning. We'll see."

"Ooooo-kaaaaay." They're used to "we'll see" meaning "no," or a "yes, but with interminable delay," after all.

SO, off to bed with them all, and then up again on Saturday!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

Wow, it's gettin' late!

Time to start packing up for the weekend. My suit pants are in (the guy called yesterday) so sometime I have to go in and get everything trimmed and stitched so that it all neatly fits my sleek, yet ruggedly masculine, physique. And then tomorrow we have our architect interviews at church, and sometime between now and Sunday night I have to type one of Reba's papers for class.

And, of course, there is the obligatory pile of laundry. Oh, and did I mention that summertime finally got here? It's supposed to be 1,379 degrees tomorrow. And that ain't no dry heat, neither.

So, as we begin the rapid advance through The Weekend, I bid you all have a good one, and we'll get together again on Monday and see what all happened.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:13 PM | Comments (2)

Well, there's probably rust in the spring attachment points in the rear floor pan.

Nanjing Automotive Buys Collapsed MG Rover

Once they get the rust fixed, they probably also need to be very careful about trying to drive it after dark. Or in the rain. Might also need to invest in a good fire extinguisher, too.

What a sorry end for Morris Garages.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

Okay, some politics.

RE the recent nomination by President Bush of John Roberts for the SCOTUS, I have to say that his resemblance to Captain Tony Nelson gives me pause, because I know if I were an astronaut and found a bottle on a beach and rubbed it and a hyper-subservient yet incredibly powerful Barbara Eden popped out, I sure wouldn't stay in the Air Force, OR be a Supreme Court justice, for that matter. I wouldn't have married Sue Ellen, either.

But I think that should have no bearing on his ability to properly interpret and apply the Constitution, and although many conservatives don't think he's conservative enough, I believe he's a sound enough choice and more likely to cast more logically consistent and reliable votes than was O'Connor.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

And now?

PowerPoint Time, baby!! YEAH!

Got six different ones to do for six different dog and pony shows*. And a FLOW CHART to do! And then, I have to go get my shoes back from the Goodyear Shoe Hospital!

*Management reminds all patrons that actual dogs and/or ponies may or may not be employed in the dog and pony show at the sole discretion of the show's producers and agents; further, that should dogs and/or ponies NOT be used, no warranty claims or cause for action shall arise from their absence.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:41 AM | Comments (3)

Oblique Reference to an Obscure Minor Controversy

You know, you would think that someone who acts as the elected representative of approximately 20% of Jefferson County's population, and who has the responsibility for drafting and passing legislation, would have a better idea about the way in which laws in that person's home town work. Especially when those laws are more or less uniform throughout the entire state, since they deal with zoning issues.

Further, one would think that you (if you are such a person) should--rather than intimating that somehow these laws are unintelligble, or even that they are the result of some sort of nefarious scheme to lower property values, and then going on to declare huffily that you were learning some unpleasant things about your hometown--be ashamed for your total lack of understanding and basic reasoning skills.

Mark Twain once quipped that it's better to hold your tongue and people think you a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. There is at least one local politico who might consider that as very sage advice, and before spouting off about a legal matter, this person might want to take a moment or two to read the law (again, being a legislator would seem to make this rather simple, although I might be assuming too much).

Further, it might be good (if you are such a person) that before you start testily mouthing-off that the neighborhood president will be made aware of what's going on, to know enough about the neighborhood to recognize that the gentleman seated directly in front of you IS the neighborhood president.

Ignorance is not pretty, and deliberate ignorance is downright ugly.

Frankly, I couldn't care less who you are, or who you think you are--just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's illegal; and if you don't know the law, it's not your fellow citizens' fault, it's your own. Unlike some municipalities who might charge you fifty bucks a copy, the whole zoning ordinance is online (although, in fairness, it IS a big .pdf file)--so you don't have to pay a penny for it.

Finally, I do not appreciate being lectured to by an empty-pate.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

Been a while, hasn't it? OFF MY BACK--I'VE BEEN BUSY! Sorta.

Anyway, today's entry is:

SQUINT. An obliquely cut opening in a wall or through a pier to allow a view of the main altar of a church from places whence it could not otherwise be seen; also called a hagioscope.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

I think we all know this better as a peephole.

Well now, let's see if we can find some pictures of one of those--although the Internet being what it is, I think I might better search for hagioscope--I'm not prepared this morning for anything of a non-ecclesiastical nature, such as might be found in various tanning salons or Interstate rest stop bathrooms.

If you go HERE, and scroll all the way down the page, you can see the squint in the Upton church in Nottinghamshire, and here's a picture of one at the St. Botolph's church in the edge of Kettering in the village of Barton Seagrave, Northamptonshire 'the rose of the shires,' that gives you a better look at what you'd be expected to see should you decide to squint through a squint.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:38 AM | Comments (1)

You would figure...

...that one of them would want to be Beavis.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)


...there are several Sasquatches who live in Auburn.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

What this country needs is...


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:52 AM | Comments (2)

What this country DOESN'T need is...

Naked Ticklers.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:50 AM | Comments (4)

July 21, 2005

New Doc

Got to the swanky suburban location of the new doctor (next door to the SportsFirst, and just up the road from the portable building/spa/carport place) and emptied all the heavy junk out of my pockets so I wouldn't weigh so much and locked it all in the glovebox, then went on in.

Nice place--still smelled new. Signed in, filled out all the forms, insurance card, driver's license, sat back down, waited, five minutes later they called me back. I shall not say exactly what I thought of the nurse who took my vitals and weight and the recitation of all the stuff I had already written down on the patient information sheet, other than to say she was a bit brusque. And not in a good way.

Into the exam room, wait. Doctor came in--big beefy fellow, I noticed, with hands like HAMS! Giant, sausage-shaped fingers, and on his lapel, a 101st Airborne pin. Great. I sure hope he's careful when he enters my dropzone.

Anyway, yet another recitation of what all ails me (why do I have to keep filling out forms if no one will read them!?) and chatted a bit about medication, and future invasive checkups, and bloodwork to be done, and such like. He wrote me out new prescription for all my chemicals, and then he handed me off to the vital-essence-removing girl so she could get FOUR TUBES of blood out of me, and a jigger of pee.

Checkout, then back here, with a brief stop at McDonald's because I hadn't had anything to eat since about 4:00 yesterday afternoon. I was feeling a bit on the ravenous side, which explains my ability to ingest something that had been sitting under a heat lamp since about 4:00 yesterday afternoon.

So, now, a new doctor, and a new place to go, and that's that. For now.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:12 PM | Comments (2)


Now then, time to go see the doc, and see exactly how healthy I am. Be back later...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 1861

From the Library of Congress, an entry marking not only the birth of Earnest Hemingway in 1899, but also the First Battle of Manassas (what the Yankees term Bull Run.)

As always, it can be misleading to try to project onto the present the goings on of the past, but it's probably still instructive to consider that after the Federal defeat at Bull Run, many were further convinced that Confederate victory would soon come, and that it was best to sue for peace and allow the country to be divided up.

The battle stories in Harper's Weekly of the second week in August are quite a read (as is Edward Bulwer Lytton's new serialized novel), with tales of incompetent leadership, superior enemy resources, cowardice up and down the line, and a continual patter of defeatism.

We all know how it turned out. But the inevitability of the South's defeat looks certain only in retrospect, and things could have turned out much differently had the Copperheads (and many in the press) gotten their way, or if a few crucial battles had tilted differently.

Worth remembering today when we keep hearing about how we should be more open in trying to find "root causes" for the reasons radical Islamists hate us so much, or the odd necessity some of our fellow Americans feel in contradicting even the most common sense methods of fighting our current conflict, merely for political gain, and even if it strengthens the hand of our enemies.

Difference between then and now? Well, the Confederacy would more than likely have been satisfied with the territory it held, an uncomfortable thorn in the side of the United States, but generally not a further threat to the Northern border. The enemy we fight today will not be satisfied until everyone either bows to Mecca, or is dead.

It's best to make sure we win this one, possibly more than any other war we've fought.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

It's been a while, but...

...it's time for FUN WITH REFERRAL LOGS!

How do I get these? Well, no use to quibble--let's just be entertained!

First up: kevin july 2005 xanga OR blogspot OR blogger OR weblog "he called me" -brittany -feferline. The oddest thing is Possumblog isn't even one of the returned results. Oh, and by the way, that should be 'Briduny Phepherlyne.'

Next up: recommendations for a viable business plan for Cracker Jacks. You college kids and your willingness to plagiarize from the Web! Anyway, I AM here to help, so here goes--

1) Start putting better prizes in the boxes.
2) One good prize would be a million dollars in each box. Or, maybe just one box. But please do away with the crappy tattoos.

There. Hope you get an A on your assignment!

I tend to get a lot of the next one, for some reason: mad possum. I'm not mad at all.

I recall receiving a similar request to this one a while back--"radio shack business hours"--my answer at the time is the same as today. Use the phone and call them.

NOW, for some super icky grossness, which I know you've all been craving. For some strange reason, we had a visitor here who wanted to know about sexual grandma medicin. All I can tell you is that Chet the E-Mail Boy's 100+ year-old Hmong ladyfriend Miss Butch swears by betel nuts. Then again, Chet swears by corn flakes, so who knows what the real deal is?

Now then, down in the extended entry is a long, boring list of search phrases that I pulled from the Movable Type stat counter. They don't have the referrer link, but they are nonetheless rather interesting....

jodi applegate wardrobe malfunction--Still looking for the pictures for this one.

white eyeliner--Please, don't.

ugly animals--This shows up a LOT. I don't know why anyone would come to Possumblog looking for ugly animals, though.

how to pronounce the word lopper--That would be "lopper." Glad to help.

nicest man of the world--No one around here fits the bill.

how to arrest someone--Best way is to start shouting "CITIZEN'S ARRE-UST! CITIZEN'S ARRE-UST!" like Gomer did when he was trying to arrest Barney.

ways to hurt yourself at home--I need to write a book about this one.

dutchess of cornwall--What a HOTTIE!

interesting stuff to talk about--Okay, folks, move along--nothing to see here.

Got several permutations of this one--mutual of omaha wild kingdom theme song. It went something like "BuhhBUHHbuhbuhBUHHbuh--WHOOOHEEEEE--buhmbuhm-bah-WHEE".

volvo high mileage--Not anything at all like the Mile High Club, I guarantee you.

reptile eating man--Hmm. Wonder if that would be news?

what name would you find on elton john’s birth certificate? Actually, several. His name, his mum and dad's names, and the doctor's name.

how to get a box spring downstairs--Actually, the problem is not getting it down, the problem is getting it down without killing yourself in the process.

is the price for teddy ruxpin too high? 2005--No! Buy several! They're sure to be collector's items!

get a bed frame upstairs--Actually, the problem is not getting it up, the problem is getting it up without killing yourself in the process. And yes, I realize that could sound rather risque.

architectural term for straight--According to my Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, that would be "straight." Alternatively, "uncurved."

how to make a rat puppet--Take one rat, insert hand. Alternatively, take one rat. Attach strings to its little limbs and tail and attach to a piece of wood.

dead possum deodorizer product--Nothing works.

why did the girls in the office put the man in skirt and heels--To get to the other side?

how to move adjustable bed to second floor--Actually, the problem is not moving it, the problem is moving it without killing yourself in the process.

the world with erors--Yep, it seems so.

i am childlike--HEY! MICHAEL JACKSON CAME BY! Or he will in a few minutes.

what s so hard about being me?--It's actually not at all difficult, as long as you don't mind the dementia.

inappropriate office attire--I suppose it depends on the office, but I think a suit made of rat puppets would be out of place just about anywhere.

ANYway, there you have it, at least for now.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:54 AM | Comments (5)


Yes, I'm here earlier than normal today--it's time to mail out the minutes and agenda for the next meeting, which I usually have all neatly prepared by Wednesday afternoon. With all of my galavanting around and sloughing off and meeting attending, however, I still had several more entries to make by quitting time yesterday. Which meant that after getting home, going back to Bible study, going back home, getting the kids bathed and bedded, and listening to Reba's exciting news--I had to finish typing my notes on the computer at home, then rush in here this morning to get them printed and copied and stapled and stuffed into envelopes.

Right now, we're in the copying/stapling mode, which allows me a few minutes to rush in here and tell you about what I have just got through doing. EXCITEMENT!? YOU BETCHA!

Other excitement? Well, Reba and several of her cohorts went down to the corporate office yesterday for some sort of training something-or-other, and it looks like after she finishes up her degree in October, the company wants her to enroll in their administrator training program. Don't know much about it at the moment, but basically it's an in-house OJT deal where you learn the nursing home biz and at the end you get a position as a head administrator of an entire facility. Sorta like The Apprentice, except real, and without the giant, orangutan-colored combover. So that's pretty cool, I say. And it's paid training, which is nice. I hope she'll make a lot of money and I can become a kept man.

AND? Well, finally got myself a new doctor. Three months after I was supposed to go back for a checkup. Oops. Sorta let that sneak up on me. I'VE BEEN BUSY, OKAY!? Anyway, last week I noticed I was starting to run low on all my many pretty pills, and had no refills left, meaning I needed to find someone to be able to renew the prescriptions pretty quickly or I'd be in trouble. Decided to go to a clinic out near home for convenience's sake, so I got a form from them (which they sent and it arrived the next day) to transfer my records from my old office. Mailed it to the old office, and as of yesterday still had not heard anything. Yesterday being the penultimate day before my medicine ran out.

Called my old office, asked about the record transfer. "That should be done in two to three weeks, sir."

WHA!? They'd had the request for over a week! "Well, here's my problem, Amy..." and I explained that I was out of medicine, and they were either going to have to call in a refill, or they were going to have to get me another someone who could. I kinda figured they didn't want to do anything since my doctor has left the practice, so she said she'd call the other place and see if they would possibly accept just my medication form and be able to renew the prescriptions.

"And if that doesn't work?"

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it--let's see what happens with this other first."

Wow--really confidence inspiring, eh? That was always the biggest drawback to my former doctor's office--the office staff seemed incapable of providing the same level of concern about such things that the doctors provided in caring for the patients. I loved the old curmudgeon guy I started with, and his nurse, and then I loved the girl doc who replaced him (although not so much her nurses) but in both cases, I felt like I was really getting good care. Until I went to check out, or needed some information that was in my record. The office staff always seemed harried and misinformed and bumfuzzled by everything.

ANYway, Amy called back to let me know they'd sent the records already. "They have them now?"

"Yes, they've all been sent to them and they should have them."

Hmm. Wonder what happened to that two or three week thing?

Called the new office and they said the old place had faxed the records over earlier in the day. Why they thought it would take so long is beyond me. SO, time to set up an appointment with one of their guys. "Who did you want to see?"

I had no idea--I was going for convenience, so it was hard to say what sort of person I wanted--"Uh, I don't--well, I guess whoever is taking patients and can see me immediately."

Again, quite confidence inspiring. She fixed me up with some guy whose name made me think of the old movie title Prisoner of Zenda, and told me to be there today at 2:00. Should be very interesting. I told Reba I had a new doc, and how I had been flummoxed by not knowing who I wanted.

She said I should have asked who had the skinniest fingers.

I sure wish I'd thought of that.

OKAY--the copier's finished, so it's time for some HOT ENVELOPE STUFFING ACTION!

Be back in a bit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:49 AM | Comments (8)

July 20, 2005

Odds and Ends

Went yesterday at (late) lunch to see about how much it would cost to get the Volvo painted. Even at the cheapo mass-production paint slopper, it would cost more than it’s worth. Walked in to the shop over in Fairfield, and was surprised to see the exact same badly bewigged dude who used to work at a different shop out in Roebuck. You know, some guys can look pretty good with a hairpiece. But there are just some hairpieces that look bad, period, and the guy under it would be a LOT better off to just let the wind blow through his scalp. Such as this guy. The fur pile, something of a late ’70 groovy swooper, was daintily perched atop his pate, with a nice broad gap between the edge of the piece and the skin, all around the perimeter.

Anyway, these type of paint places work on volume, and they don’t really do a great job of painting, but what they CAN do is an incredible job of coming up with all kinds of pictures to show you what all can go wrong with paint. But not theirs, of course.

NO, never.

Theirs is the best in the business. See? A warranty, and for a whole YEAR! That means QUALITY!

But, I knew that going in, and wanted to at least see what their price would be.

Hair Patty Guy had another customer in the shop, whom he coddled and joshed with and fed him a continual line of soft-soap patter about how great his car looked, and how nice his daddy was, and how pretty that flip-flop paint was and how it made something like a purplish aura around the car--or something like a violet-blue color, but more in the purple range, especially out in the sun. Really pretty.

Finally, he got through blowing smoke up that guy’s skirt and got to me. “HEY! You know what--you look just like Stephen King! You know, the author---Stephen King!”

Folks, I have been told I look like country singer Roy Clark, and like “Voice of the Crimson Tide” Eli Gold (in fact, the moronic color copier guy just came in to give us a chat, and the first thing he said when he walked in the room was, “Hey, you look like Eli Gold!”), and even like genial local television anchor Scott Richards. But I have NEVER IN MY LIFE ever been compared to Stephen King. As you can imagine, I was speechless. “No one ever told you that!? You look just like him! Guy that wrote all them books.”

“Ah, well, no, no one’s ever said I look like Stephen King.”

“Well, you do! Let’s go look and see what you got out there.” We walked to the door, “Bet you wish you had his money, huh?”


He and his clipboard walked around the car, and he went into full, feeding-frenzied-shark mode, tapping on various body panels and sighing and whistling and figuring with his tiny little pencil. “What sort of paint job did you want--I mean, I can paint it and send you away, but it wouldn’t look like the factory paint, or I can give you a full job--strip the roof, the trunk, the hood, fix the dents, make it look real pretty and new and shiny--whew! Boy, that acid coming out of the building into the sewer pipe smells BAD!”

“I don’t want the cheapest job, but I need to know a general price for painting it so it looks like factory paint.”

“Okay, come on back inside where it’s cool. It’s hot out here.”

We went back inside where it’s cool, and he started scratching with his pencil and humming to himself and figuring and ciphering and carrying the 1 and such, then got agitated and said, “Well, if we do the prep package--and look--look here at this picture I got here--this here’s what’s happening to your paint on there now, it’s got these here cracks--” He had jumped up and was patting a poster on the wall that detailed the horrors of paint badness--like one of those gingivitis posters in the dentist’s office, except with sheetmetal.

“Look, I just need a price for painting the car--I’m in a hurry, I’m on my lunch hour, and I need to get back.”

I think I hurt his feeling.

He sat back down and started more figuring and finally arrived at a figure of $902. I asked him if they gave written estimates. He wrote it on the back of his business card.

Thanks, mister.

Out the door, and then decided to go by my first choice, but one I knew was going to be tremendously expensive. Don Lenoir Auto Paint and Body, out in Ensley, has been in the business forever, and do some of the best paintwork in town, and more to the point, are scrupulously honest and forthright about what they’re going to do, and how, and how long it’s going to take. Super nice folks, but what I figured was right--more than the price of the car. But they do it right, and I know it would be better to pay more and have it right the first time than to keep screwing around with the paint slingers and have them mess it up. Time to start saving up. I figure by next year I’ll have enough in the Moron Project Fund to make it look brand new again.

AS IT IS, it looks better with the new hubcaps--even Reba thought so, and she’s notoriously unpicky about such things.

Here’s the before, with the pizza pan wheel covers--

And here is what the wheels themselves looked like underneath the wheel covers--

And, finally, here is the hot sexy Swede NOW!--

The photos look a bit hazy because the camera had been inside the house in the cold air conditioning, and the moment it hit the tropical air outside, everything fogged up. And then, yesterday when I drove home, it came another one of those late afternoon monsoons, and it messed up my nicely polished trim rings! ::shakes fist at Mother Nature::

IN other odds and ends, after we got home last night, we went back to the Galleria so I could get myself a couple of suits. Same store I visited the weekend before last, except THIS time the sales manager was working. Now, THIS guy knows how to move material! Completely efficient, called me back first thing this morning to let me know he’d ordered my plain, uncuffed pants, and said he’d let me know when they were in and I could come back for the fitting. He was so nice I bought two suits--one a charcoal with faint multi-colored pinstripes something like I have now, and a navy blue pinstripe like the kind I used to have that I wore slap out. In all, I was in and out in about 15 minutes.

I will be so danged purty, people are going to start mistaking me for that George Clooney feller!

THEN we went shopping for Rebecca and Catherine some pants. It took two hours, and they got four pairs of pants. ::sigh::

Now then, off to go get my black shoes reheeled and get some lunch, and then back here to finish some more stupid typing work.

OH, HEY--another odd end--CNN/Money Magazine voted my little ville of Truss to be the 56th best place to live in America this year! WOO-HOO! WE'RE NUMBER 56!! Watch out, Madison, Mississippee--next year we're gunning for 55th!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:14 AM | Comments (14)

In what has become an increasingly regular occurence...

...more stupid work to do, and no time to play. I do apologize for the spotty output quantity lately. At one time, I could compensate for the overall poor quality of Possumblog through the employment of incredibly high volume, but now it seems it's both lackluster AND meager.

BUT, I do have pictures for later! Surely that counts for something! Or not.

Anyway, back to my toil and travail.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:28 AM | Comments (4)

July 19, 2005

Pimp my Volvo!

Left the seminar with a happy heart, having knocked out all my mandatory requirements for the year, and decided to make the fun happy jaunt back to Pull-A-Part for some spiffy things for the Volvo. As I mentioned is some post in the past, the last time I was there, I noticed there were several cars with the economy hubcaps and trim rings. The year mine was built, the big deal was the “aero-look,” so you tended to see lots of cars with big flat hubcaps to cheat the wind. Mine was no exception, and had the oh-so-cool big flat plastic covers over the wheels. At the time, the shiny trim ring and small hubcaps with the V centers were too old-fashioned to even be considered on something so sleek and aerodynamic as a Volvo 240, so they were mostly found on wagons. Or on older sedans.

BUT, time is a cruel taskmistress for all plastics. The covers on my car were faded and ugly and the centers were cracked, and they just looked terribly tired and worn and dated. Baby needs some flash! And since I don’t want to spend any money right now on anything nicer, I though it might be worth going back to the yard and seeing if I could find some of those older, cheaper wheel jewelry that would be worth snagging.

One of the best things about these old sparkly things is that they aren’t made out of plastic. They’re high quality Swedish stainless steel, like a set of fine Scandinavian cutlery, and no matter how dirty they are, they CAN be polished and cleaned up and be all sparkly. SO, back to the junkyard, where I walked in with my little boy blue checkered shirt and jeans and went straight to work finding some appropriate rings and hubcaps. Wound up with seven sets of rings and caps, so I culled the best ones and gently placed the rest in the trunk of a sedan, which I might go back later and get, just in case. The ones I got were mostly in good shape, aside from the dirt and spider eggs. With my prizes clutched in my chubby, brake dust-begrimed hands, I headed back up to the main building to pay.

Now, you have to remember, on Ebay and such places, things like what I was carrying might bring a price of around 20 to 40 bucks a set. My total price? $18.18. Hard to beat. Although, I still had some work to do on them.

From there, I drove all the way to Leeds. It seems that my tablemate throughout my continuing education seminar was one of the engineers at the firm our church is supposed to interview for the fellowship hall, and was one of the guys who came to the building last Friday to look around. They were supposed to send us some stuff by yesterday, but they hadn’t, so he was going to have it delivered to the building. He told me his wife was going to drop it off, so I drove out there to pick it up so I could study on it. Got there, and it was nowhere to be found. Not in the mailbox, not in the secretary’s office, not in either of the preachers’ offices, not in my mail slot. Nowhere. Grr. Peeve number nine. Making it worse was all the time I wasted that could otherwise have been spent scrubbing wheels.

Turned around and headed back toward home, with a stop at Wal-Mart to pick up some wheel cleaner that promised to be so easy to use that brake dust would simply pack up and leave once it saw the bottle. Also got some metal polish. And a brush.

Went and picked up the kids from Granny’s house, went and got them some food and some gas in the van (250 bleedin’ miles on the thing since Saturday!) then to home, where they were instructed to fend for themselves whilst Daddy played with his toys.

Popped off all the nasty old plastic hubcaps, and started cleaning the wheels. 20 years of brake dust build up. Four wheels. Four sets of trim rings and flat hub caps that needed to be cleaned and polished. Four tires to be Armor-All’ed. I started about 6:00 p.m. I finished at 8:30. Worn slap out, and drenched with sweat. BUT, I did take some pictures! BUT, they are still in the camera. I promise you, too, will get to see the new old crap on the car, as soon as I can download them and post them. I will say it looks a THOUSAND times better, though. The shiny stuff sort of makes up for the lack of paint on the upper surfaces of the body.

After that was over, I went inside and started typing on Reba’s final paper, just so she wouldn’t think I was shirking my actual duties.

And that’s about it for the weekend.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

Back to home then on Saturday--

--did some laundry, got at least 3/4 of the kids to go ahead and take their baths and wash their hairs, and got ready to hit the road again, this time with a stop at Target for a small gift for the birthday gal we were going to visit. This took a very long time, which I spent in the van with Cat and Rebecca, who were nice and quiet and occupied with the mobile child de-stimulation unit, i.e., the DVD player.

Reba came back out with several other things, which explains (partially) why it took so long, then we were off again to mine and Reba’s old stomping grounds. Bought some chicken at the KFC--seemingly one of the few eating joints that had not been converted in the past few years to either a car title pawnshop or a video bingo arcade or just a regular pawnshop or simply been shuttered and left to rot. It used to be much nicer. Lunch, etc., then home. And that’s all I will say about that. Although, as I mentioned this morning, I was very polite. I’m just that way, you know.

Made a stop by the hospital on the way back to visit for a bit with Reba’s aunt, then on to home where there was some more laundry to wash, ate some supper in there sometime, went to beddie-bye, then up early Sunday for church. Both of Catherine’s teachers were out of town (and gave a week’s notice! Hooray!) so I plugged myself in as the substitute. This was the first time I’ve ever taught Catherine before, but she was actually very good. Cute, and attentive, and following along pretty well as we went over the story of Joshua and Jericho. Had a lot of visitors this time, for some reason. Two were the boys I’ve had in there before who in the past have been quite a handful with their yalping and inability to be human. Another two were a brother and sister team.

Quite a couple, they were.

Not sure of their exact ages--somewhere between 8 and 11 or so. But just OH so bored by this whole ordeal. The boy was worse--too much time spent watching television, where all 10 year olds have the glib wit and wisdom of 50 year old Hollywood sitcom writers. This ain’t Hollywood, Junior. And maybe I’m just an old fart, but don’t you think wearing that stupid ball cap to class is just a bit too much? (I’m actually asking this of your parents, sonny--you people let him act like this!?) His sister was of a similar demeanor, at least at the beginning. Really a very pretty little girl, and full of ennuiful attitude, just like her favorite episode of whatever teen crap is on The WB this week. But, as the class went on, she actually started paying attention, because she would ask and answer questions and was looking at me when I talked.

After my stunning and insightful declamation regarding the military exigencies of the Israelite conquest of Canaan vis-a-vis the fall of Jericho (as well a very deft bit of misdirection on my part to keep from having to explain what sort of job Rahab did as a harlot), we all did our fill-in-the-blank worksheets together, and that was pretty fun as well. Then, the bell rang, and as the kids all filed out, Smart Aleck Hat Boy said, “Dude, do we have to KEEP these papers?!” “DUDE! First of all, my name isn’t “dude,” and second of all, you sure DO have to keep them! Thanks for being one of our visitors today!” His sister was much nicer.

Worship, then off to the other side of the county one more time. Ashley’s going to spend some more days with her grandparents, so we went and had lunch with them and dropped her off. And that’s about it again. As usual, I was unfailingly polite.

Left there and headed home, did some minor errands, went back to church for the evening service, where I got to lead singing, and managed to do pretty good for once. Well enough to where two people said it sounded pretty good (thankfully leaving out the “for once” part to spare my feelings.) Supper then at the Asian buffet place, then home, to bed, and up early MONDAY for my free day to gambol and play and get continuing education credits! WHEEEEEE!

It was a seminar about Alabama’s Energy Conservation Code, which was developed by one of my Building Science professors down at Auburn, Dr. Bob Aderholdt. He’s a great fellow--if you ever meet him, be sure to get him to tell you the story about when he was an undergrad and a campus policeman “chased” him and his friends all the way to Tuskegee.

Anyway, the code is intended to make sure that any projects in the state that fall under the purview of the State Building Commission (all state-owned or funded buildings; hotels; motels; schools; and movie theaters) are energy efficient. Dr. Bob’s worked on this for a long time--going through a sample building and applying the code was part of one of his courses for us way back when I was at Auburn. The code was recently updated, and this seminar (sponsored by ADECA) was intended to publicize it a bit and go over some of the changes.

Boy, I sure do wish the author had been around to talk about it. He could make anything entertaining. As it was, the entertainment was provided by three engineers, all of whom were dry to the point of complete desiccation. If there was ever such a thing as negative humidity, they had it. In spades. Eight hours of recitation of the ASHRAE HVAC code, which sounds about like this:

“Boilers, as defined in Section blah blah blah blah point three, shall not be blah blah unless they are in unenclosed areas covered under Table 3 point blah point blah, in which case they may be provided blah blah blah blah blah or an equivalent blah, without blah. EXCEPTIONS: No boiler blah blah blah blah blah blah with gas or electric motors blah blah blah blah without first blah blah blah.”

Hey guys, I can read the code myself. A side benefit being that I am much less likely to put myself to sleep.

The second peeve I had was that everyone seemed to think the entire ABECC was new. It’s not. Been around a long time, and if you’ve ever done any of the listed building types I mentioned before, you’ve had to do the submittal for it.

Third peeve, the kludgy teleconference hardware. We had the professors, which was bad enough, but I pity the poor remote-location folks in Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile who had to watch and interact with them over the teevee.

Fourth peeve, the old loud guy whose phone rang in the middle of a particularly exciting part of the lecture, who then proceeded to ANSWER his phone, and TALK on it, then decided the professor was being too loud so he went out into the hallway outside the door and began to SHOUT INTO THE PHONE AS LOUD AS HE COULD WITH HIS WITHERED AND PALSIED LUNGS! I went to the door and motioned for him to go on out the other door because he was disturbing my nap.

Fifth peeve was the old guy I’ve talked about before who shows up at these things, apparently so everyone will know what a clueless jackass he is. Always spouting off about stuff he should know as an architect, and obviously doesn’t. Although now he’s taken to calling himself a construction manager. Which was funny, because I imagine he’s even more incompetent at that, and also because one of the instructors had a question for specifically for CMs, and directed it to him, because the professor thought he might know the answer. HAH! As if. The old moron just sat there like a lump. Teach him for getting all uppity and acting like he’s something he’s not.

SIXTH peeve was the insistence on all three of the presenters to pronounce “vestibule” as if it were the word “vegetable.” Not VEST’abyool, but VEST’ible.

PEEVE No. 7 was the lack of hot chicks.

Peeve Eight was the lack of anything to read. We had the PowerPoint notes, but most of them were so tiny that they were unreadable.

The best part? Over soon enough for me to be able to run by the scrapyard!


Next: Lovely Stainless Steel!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:09 PM | Comments (2)

UP EARLY Saturday morning--

--get the grumpy kids dressed, make sure for the fiftieth time that I have the title and bill of sale and a screwdriver and the keys, finally get on the road, stop almost immediately so as to make a stop by McDonald’s for some scrumptious and nutritious breakfast “burritos,” which I ordered, then drove around and passed through the window of Reba’s van--why she couldn’t go through the drive-through, I do not know. THEN on the way to Cullman! Hooray.

Moby drove just fine, although that worrisome Check Engine light came on again. Been messing with that for ages. Don’t know what it is. But a fine morning for a drive, no matter what. Arrived at our appointed place right on time--something of a miracle, I say.

Got out, and started looking around the parking lot for the truck of the guy who I was supposed to be meeting. Heard a shout from behind me, and some guy was walking across the parking lot in a tee-shirt, shorts, and in long dark socks with black dress shoes. OH, my! ANOTHER of my vehicles being purchased by a YANKEE!

Actually, his voice gave him away as a homegrown fellow, although one who’d apparently affected that peculiar mode of foot fashion sported by so many of our Northern brethren. He quickly looked it over, under the hood, then wanted to go riding. Gave him the keys, got in, rode up the road a bit, chatted, he said he wanted it, and would give me 1800 for it. Which is really what I had been trying to get all along, if only someone would buy it. I half-heartedly protested, but after the whole incident with the fine folks at CarMax, I really couldn’t pass up cold hard cash. But, I still had to make an effort. “Well, let me talk to Mama and see what she says.” It IS in her name, after all. Got back to the restaurant and parked, and found that the crew had gone inside, which might mean that they were in the process of trying to spend all of the van money before we even had it.

I went to get them while the guy went next door to the AmSouth to get the cash. Went in and found Boy standing at the restrooms waiting for the girls, so I told him to stand there while I went and used the restroom, too. Came out, he was gone, got that horrible feeling you get when you come out of the restroom after fifteen seconds and the kid you’d just left outside the door is gone, then found them all on the other side of the store looking at a variety of faux kuntry knick knacks, told Reba the price, which she agreed to, and then it was all over except for the signing of the title and bill of sale and removing the license plate and grabbing the loot.

Actually could have made an extra hundred on the deal--he gave us one bill too many--but it was returned to him unharmed. Shook hands all around, and then it was time to head back.

And, as it always does, all of the memories came flooding back. When we bought it, how I pored over the order form, got JUST the right stuff on it so it wouldn’t look quite so dour and ubiquitous. And why we bought it--we had a nice ’92 Taurus before, but we were about to have our third child, who would turn out to be Little Boy, and all of us and our junk just wasn’t going to fit in a Taurus. We took delivery of the van not too long before we took deliver of Jonathan.

Two car seats back then--Rebecca was only 20 months old. Trips to the beach, and then ANOTHER baby to bring home in it. Still two car seats--Jonathan and Cat, with the two older girls in the back seat. A move to the new house. Those scratches on the back of the rear seat? And the splinters imbedded in the vinyl? That was some plywood I’d bought at Home Depot to put in the attic. There was the replacement transmission at 80,000 miles--Reba got stranded and I had to go get her and the van. The big dinner that Jonathan threw up into the seat. Lots of spilled food, you know--both pre- and post-chewed. The time we had to have it pulled out of the sand at Gulf Shores. Big meaty woman who drove a 4-by and worked on an offshore oil rig. She was rather attractive, in her own way. The time the whole thing crapped out on the way back from the beach one year. THAT episode even got its own blog entry. (Scroll all the way down.) There was the time we visited the Confederate Memorial park and Reba got her finger slammed in the door. Oh, and what about all those soccer trips, and trips to the soccer park. That indented place in the tailgate on the right side? Soccer ball, of course--kicked by some feral kid at the park who was blessed with inattentive parents. All those things, and so much more.

Such memories. Such memories.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Well, first thing Friday--

There was lunch with John and Jeff. Quite the little soiree, I must say. Lots of stinky gas-making vittles, and lots of laughter at each other’s expense. Caught up on what all has happened to The Bad Place since we left, then it was magazine swap time! And Jeff forgot his, because he’s a big igmoranimus. So, I showed off the Volvo for them. Jeff’s already seen it, but not with the super cool new windshield, or my fantabulous High Mileage Club badge. On then to the church building for John and I, except that since he, too, is a great big mo-ron lummox peach-headed alimentary canal with dress shoes and a nice tie, he left out of the parking lot at the Summit ahead of me, not waiting to FOLLOW me to where we were going. Good thing I told him were it was, because he made every light, and I got caught by every light.

John has one of them there high-toned Toyota Tundras with a V8 (since he’s now a wealthy private practitioner), and he thought that SOMEhow I’d managed to escape the parking lot ahead of him, which made him drive even faster to catch up with me. Or, in this case, to pull way ahead of me as I fumed at the traffic lights. I finally caught up with him after we’d gotten to the Wal-Mart in Leeds. Took me twenty miles to reel him in--I suppose I could have driven faster, but I wasn’t quite comfortable going too much faster in the Volvo for fear that it could just dump its guts on the Interstate with a loud death rattle.

Got to the building, walked around, took photos, walked some more, and I got thoroughly sweat-soaked. I had on my good clothes, and the combination of heat, humidity, and a plate full of chicken chimicanga wasn’t really the best way to maintain my usual dapper turnout. We got finished looking around just as the OTHER group of folks pulled in the parking lot, and after I’d been turned into a big sweat-soaked tub of goo. They brought three guys with them, so I introduced everyone to everyone, John left, and we started walking around some more. Outside, of course, thus making me even MORE sweaty and bedraggled-looking. I sorta looked like the late Chris Farley in his role as motivational speaker Matt Foley. (And I had a van, which was very suitable for living in, down by the river!)

Talked to them a good long while (but no longer than John) and finally I got to go home.

Changed out of my watery duds, put on my usual shorts and tee-shirt, and proceeded to start the weekend with a nice cookout.

I lit off the newly refurbished gas grille (FOOM!), let it get blazing hot, put some hamburgers on to cook, closed the lid, walked inside for a second or two, came back out, and the whole shebang had quickly conflagrated with all sorts of smoky, grease-fed fury. That’s what I get for buying cheapo cow meat, I suppose. Anyway, I ran to the door and asked Rebecca to bring me a cup of water, then went back and stood there battling the inferno by shouting at it to stop being so hot and smoky. I really needed a cup of water, though. I was about to go get the hose to damp things down a bit, when Rebecca came to the door holding a cup and said, “Daddy, someone’s on the phone for you.”

“Ah, who is… well, it doesn’t matter--I’m burning the place down at the moment--can they just call back?” She started to walk in--“HEY! GIMME THE WATER!” when Reba appeared at the door, “TERRY! It’s someone about the van!”

OH! Well, that’s different! I got Reba to come out and douse the blubber fire while I went in to palaver. Guy calling from Huntsville, of all places. Wanted to know all about it, without really waiting too long to hear the full answer. Eager fellow, it seems. He wanted to come see it Saturday, so I started trying to see how close I could get him to Trussville. Started out with Gardendale, then he suggested Warrior, but it seemed everything south of Cullman was terra incognito for him, and he seemed also to believe that driving any further south would cause him to drop off the edge of Alabama into some kind of pit of monsters. ::sigh::


Cullman, then. Cracker Barrel on 157. 9:00 a.m. And yes, I allowed that I would be willing to dicker. Which was not he smartest thing to say, but doggone it, I’d already had to pay for insurance and the car tag, and although I can get partial refunds on both, it’s gotten to be something of an albatross. A great big white steel albatross, dripping little pitty-pats of precious fluids onto the driveway.

The only thing was that Saturday we also had another appointment over in the Wild West part of the county--a birthday party for Ashley’s great-grandmother which we were quite obligated to attend. It was at 1:00, though, so we set the vehicle inspection time at 9:00 Saturday morning.

Boy, how I hoped this guy wouldn’t back out. He’d hung up before I even got his name and phone number. All the seeds in place for a jumbogantic fuster cluck.

Eat (and the burgers actually turned out quite will, with lots of nice tasty black stripes) baths, and to bed.

NEXT: Vantastic Voyage!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

::whuf::whuf::tap::tap:: ::ahem:: "HELLO!"

Well, good morning to you all!

I managed to survive an entire weekend, drive to Cullman, sell a van, be polite for an inordinate amount of time, teach Catherine's Bible class, be polite AGAIN for an inordinate amount of time, lead singing without coughing, sit through an interminable lecture in which the main pedagogical technique was to recite passages of the ASHRAE code for hours on end, AND made another trip to the junkyard for some pretty shiny stuff for a certain Volvo! You know what they say, "it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that bling." Even if it does require a huge amount of elbow grease and sweat. Sometimes bling is covered with a fine layer of blech, you know.

ANYway, more in-depth recitation of that mess later on this morning--I have a day and a half worth of stupid work stuff to catch up on, so I need in the most urgent way to get that done and disposed of as soon as possible.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:17 AM | Comments (22)

July 15, 2005

Well, okay, one more.

But it has to be a quick one--I was sitting here typing madly on my minutes when the copier guy came in to move the copier from outside my doorway around the corner to an alcove.

Nice young guy, slim, about twenty five or so.

AND HAS THE FULL ELVIS PRESLEY 1968 COMEBACK HAIRDO! Jet black pompadour, long wooly muttonchops. I expect him, once he has completed his task, to give us all a great big karate kick.

Thank you very much.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

Yet another unfruitful blogging day.

Meeting minutes from Wednesday to work on, then a meeting at 9, and another at 10, then my lunch with J&J, then have to go to Leeds, and then have ANOTHER one of the architects who's coming by to the church building at 2:00, all of which means that THIS pitiful post is going to be pretty much it for the day. And there's so much mindless yammering left to do!

Like, for instance, my Volvo's mysterious electrical ground connection problem corrected itself on the way home yesterday! As you recall, after I installed the new tachometer, when I would turn on the light switch, there was a short somewhere that caused the tach to die. (Now, why such a slow beast, with an automatic transmission needs a tachometer, much less a big 'un, is unknown. But it certainly looks nicer than a big clock. Which is actually more useful for measuring acceleration.)

ANYway, I drove it to work yesterday just to keep it limber, and was hoping to be able to get home without having to use the headlights. But, as is the usual case, our normal afternoon drive-time deluge began when I was almost to home. Wipers on, and lights on, annnnd, yep--the tach died. But, not to be outdone, I started fidgeting with the rheostat that controls the light level of the dashboard (and one of the components I thought might be causing the problems) and after a few twists, suddenly the tach was working again!


Of course, I no longer have any dashboard lights now.

But no matter--it was light enough outside to see them. I just hope I don't have to go anywhere at night. And frankly, even when the dashboard lights WERE working, they put out about as much light as a dead lightning bug, so it's really not a big loss. Of course, I WILL fix the rheostat sometime, but my biggest relief is that I don't have to pull the instrument panel and try to figure out if there's a break in the lines of solder on the printed circuit board. Talk about a quick way to screw things up!

SEE? All kinds of inconsequential blather, just heaped all up in the corner of my brain waiting to be let out! But not today. And actually, not Monday, either. I have a continuing education seminar at UAB on Monday that lasts all day (8 credit hours--WOOHOO!), so you won't see any stupidity then, either. At least not on here.

One of these days, things will hopefully level out a bit and we'll be able to play a bit more. UNTIL THEN, be sure to visit all the folks in the blogroll up top and over to the right, and be nice to each other, and eat your vegetables, and if you have an operable dashboard rheostat for a mid-80s Volvo 240, I need to talk to you, and all of you have a good weekend, and Lord willing, I'll see you first thing on Tuesday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:06 AM | Comments (7)

July 14, 2005

I bet it's cramped in there!

Cameron Diaz testifies in photo case

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)


9-year-olds said better in math, reading.

Maybe a few could be hired to try their hands at headline writing.

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

Apparently, everything makes you fat...

Food makers warned on high-fat snack ads.

Who knew advertising even had fat in it!? I always figured that at least the print ads would have fiber content going for them.

Shows what I know.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:34 PM | Comments (2)

Oh, I can think of a way...

So many koalas, so few palatable ideas for curbing them

I say we find poke 'em on some sticks, dip 'em in a nice cornbread batter coating, have a quick splash in the deep fryer, and MmmmMMM! THAT'S some mighty flavorful (and palatable) KORNALAS!

And I imagine the tangy eucalyptus flavor would be great for when you have a stuffy nose.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:08 PM | Comments (4)

Three Stooges?

I report, you decide.

It seems that one of my friends from The Bad Place, who has his own firm now, and who is also one of my occasional lunch-eating buddies like My Friend JeffTM, is on our short list of folks to interview for our church fellowship hall addition. I’d sent him a note to let him know, and to let him know he was welcome to come look at the building sometime.

He wrote me back yesterday morning and the resultant replying and forwarding that followed devolved into the single most childish and maniacal exchange of electrons I have ever witnessed, much less been a part of.

So, how could I deny you this peek into the depths of moronitude that I have managed to cultivate!?

I’ll put it in the extended entry, because it is long, and involved, and barely readable--once it got started, replies were zipping from the three participants faster than a flaming monkey on crack. If you can follow the chain of the conversation, it’s almost comical. Or not.

Anyway, here goes:

The first note, from John. For your own information, John is married to a lovely young lady, is very tall, is a fan of Jerry Clower, grew up and went to college in Mississippi, is thriftier than a dead Scotsman, and has a peculiar proclivity that causes whatever he eats to be processed and done away with in a most expeditious manner. Much like an earthworm, thus his nickname. Also, he is sometimes called Peach Head Boy, for his large, yet fuzzily haired scalp. He can also imitate one of those yard decoration birds with the whirling wings.

“Fowlboy” in this initial message is his pet name for Our Mutual Friend and Former Co-Worker Jeff,TM also know to you all as My Friend JeffTM

John: Do you think that I could get into your church this Friday around noonish? The time is flexible, but Friday is the best day, if possible. If that works, do you and Fowlboy wanna eat lunch?

Terry: Friday noonish is fine--I don’t know if Jeff would be able to meet us or not. It’s a good ways from where he works.

John: We could meet before for lunch somewhere that is convenient for you both and then I could proceed on to the church. Will you be going with me or just arranging for the building to be open?

If we eat beforehand though I will need to try out your church’s facilities. Earthworm Boy waits for no man.

Terry: You are a sick, sick man. But, yes, it would probably be fine to eat and then go to the building and inspect the plumbing. And if we do eat closer to town, he might be able to meet us. I will forward this to him and we’ll see what he says.

John: We thank you.

The message was duly forwarded, but I got no response back from Jeff, so I sent him ANOTHER e-mail with this message:

Terry: HEY! Are you in the office today or not!?

Which got this response:

Jeff: Yes.

In the intervening time, John sent me another message that was a response to his original e-mail:

John: Were you able to get in touch w/ Jeff about Friday?

SO, I had two e-mails going now, one a forward, one an original, both sent to Jeff and to John for maximum confusability. First, a reply to Jeff’s monosyllabic “Yes.”:

Terry: Well, I am, too! You wanna eat lunch with John and me on Friday?

And to John--

Terry: Yes, but he’s pleading ignorance of what we’re talking about, so this is YET ANOTHER effort to see if we can get him to have lunch with us on Friday. We’ll see what happens.

Now, Jeff answered the original forwarded message to him, asking if he would eat with us:

Jeff: Who, me?

Terry: Yes, dingleberry, YOU! As for time and place, sometime around noon, somewhere like maybe around the 280/459 interchange area--John and I will be leaving from there and going on out to Leeds to look at our church building to which we are doing a fellowship hall addition, the architect selection for which YOUR firm did not see fit to participate.

Jeff: Oh yes, we’re much too good for church work. PUH-LEEEZE!

There’s The Fox and the Hound at the Colonnade or somewhere at The Summit.

Shall I bring magazines?

Terry: Fox and Hound, eh? What sort of foods do they have? Since John’s buying lunch for everyone, maybe we should find someplace really nice. And yes, bring magazines. And toilet paper for Earthworm Boy.

Jeff: I thought Earthworm Boy was “self cleaning”.

Anyway, F & H is supposed to be like an English pub. It has a gazillion flat panel TV’s playing just about everything…all at once! I had a hamburger there, but I think they have real food too. It’s pretty nice. There’s always the Summit, you know.

What did you have in mind?

John (reply to me, concurrent with Jeff’s): I resemble that comment….and I ain’t buying squat….not until I get that plumb church job that is.

Terry, intended for Jeff: Anything’s fine with me. John seems to be balking about paying for ours, though.

Jeff to Terry: How ‘bout Ruth’s Chris? I mean since John’s paying and all…the sky’s the limit!

Terry to John: Oh, I see. Maybe McDonald’s, then.

AND THEN, John’s reply to Jeff, regarding paying:


There, that oughta do it.

Jeff, responding to me about McDonald’s: That’s certainly more in my budget!

Jeff, responding to me about John balking about paying: Well, you know what they say about him…

Terry: That he’s Tommy Dale’s favorite son-in-law?

Terry back to Jeff’s earlier suggestion, about Ruth’s Chris: I don’t like that place--too hard to pronounce.

Jeff to Terry, about what “they” say: That’s one, yes. Too bad the new Cracker Barrel ain’t open yet. That seems like a Shovel Butt kinda place.

Jeff to me, about Ruth’s: YEAH! What does that mean anyway? How can Ruth possess something an object called Chris?

John, replying to both of us about the reply way back up at the middle about Fox and Hound and McDonald’s: You guys are killing me. You big-city types sure are a fast talking group, I’m keeping one hand on my wallet. Now where we gonna eat?

Terry to Jeff, about Cracker Barrel: Mmmm-hm. [Imaginarily said in voice of Karl Childers]

Terry to John, about his non-wallet hand: Just watch where you put that other hand, pardner. I still don’t think we’ve decided where to eat.

John to both of us about the Shovel Butt jibe: I can hear you!!!!!

Terry to Jeff, about Ruth’s: I have no idea, but it comes out like “Roofths Crith Thtake Houth.” Say..maybe we could get [name of a much-mocked former coworker who had a pronounced speech impediment] to eat with us!

Terry to both, about eating, a reply to the “I can hear you” message: Then where, oh where, shall we dine!?

Jeff to me, about former coworker: We saw him at the fireworks in downtown Homewood. Some things never change.

Terry to Jeff, about former coworker: Did he enjoy the fireworkth?

Jeff to both of us, regarding dining options: I don’t know, but I sure am glad John told us all his cool nicknames!

Terry: I always liked “Penelope.”

Jeff: Yeah, that [name of John’s wife] and her pet names!

Terry: Mmmm-hm. [Yet again in the style of Karl Childers]

Jeff to Terry, about former coworker: I s’pose. I saw him early on but didn’t say anything to him since he didn’t see me. BUT!!! When we were packing up to leave afterward, he came up to me. He said hello, I stuck my hand out to shake his hand which he awkwardly took a while to realize. I introduced him to my passel of children, he and [name of Jeff’s wife] spoke, and then we stood there in awkward silence until he slowly faded into the crowd.

John to both: I’m starting to remember why I bolted from [Name of The Bad Place]……..can’t we get Howard and Chumley in on this e-mail chain??

John to both, replying to the “where, oh where, shall we dine” comment: I say gimme some Mexican food….I need to clean the ol’ pipes.

Terry to both, re Mexican food: Mexican’s good for me--well, not GOOD good, but acceptable as a choice. Jeff?

Terry to Jeff, about former coworker: Maybe you could fix him up with one of the single girls at [name of Jeff’s church]. ::snicker::

John: On the Border at the Summit??? Anyone? Anyone?

Jeff: Okay with me, how ‘bout the tall dude? I would suggest On the Border at The Summit.

John: An excellent idea, even if I do say so myself…….that’s right, I did! It’s settled, right? Right?......Can I get a witness?

Jeff: Yes.

John, to Jeff, about fixing up the former coworker: That sounds like my prom date. Shiver.

Terry to both, I think: HOORAY! We’ve made a DECISION! On the Border at the Summit, at, shall we say, 11:30?

John: I’ll be the one in the patent leather sombrero.

Terry, to John, regarding the prom date: Probably explains the patent leather sombrero, as well.

Jeff, regarding the choice of eating location: Hey! That was MY idea!

Terry: Let’s not quibble about who should take credit for this stunning turn of events.

Jeff, regarding the time: 11:28 is better for me.

Terry, to both, regarding settlement: I think that settles it! Friday, then--and we all look forward to the patent leather sombrero show!

Jeff, to John, about the hat choice: Boys in patent leather sombreros eat alone.

Terry, to both: Are we not men!?

John, to both: Yes, we are not.

Terry, to both: Well, as long as we have no idea what we’re talking about, everything should be JUSSST fine.

Jeff, to John, about his prom date: You went to the prom with [name of former coworker]!?

Terry, to both, about former coworker, who had a peculiar habit of holding his thumbs out from his hands, which we would also mock, imagining him using them in an untoward fashion on various women he could have dated, but would not ask out: Yes, and he was all thumbs.

John, to both, re his prom date: I’m going to take a nap. You boys have worn me to a nub.

Jeff, to no one in particular: I have a blood blister on my finger.

Terry: POP IT! POP IT!

Terry, to John, about being worn to a nub: I believe that’s why Jeff has a blood blister on his finger.


Terry: Sorry

AND FINALLY, from me, the only way to get this hooliganism to stop--

Terry: Okay--if you guys try to contact me again today, you’ll be out of luck--I have to go to the dentist.

So there.

And that, my friends, was that.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:11 PM | Comments (6)

Dumb ol' squirrels

While I was off last week, I looked out the back door Wednesday to watch the rain, which caused Catherine to come pounding up behind me to look, too. Anytime she thinks I'm going outside, she wants to go, too. But, it was raining, and I was just looking.

"LOOK! There's squirrels, Daddy!"

Sure enough, there were three of the little vermin chasing each other around the backyard in the wet grass. Well, this might be interesting. So, Cat and I eased out onto the patio under the porch and stood there to see what they'd do. Well, you know how squirrels are. They zipped back and forth and then one got the idea he was hungry.

As you all know, I've fought a long battle with these pea-brained beasts to keep them out of the bird feeders, and only in the last few years was I able to finally find something they couldn't get into.

(Yes, I realize if they're so stupid, and it took me so long to find something to thwart them, that it doesn't really say a whole lot about my mental capacity. Well, fine. But they just better understand I only have to be smart enough to load the .22, and they'd all be little goners, so they shouldn't think themselves THAT superior to me.)

Anyway, I thought I'd found the solution, but I noticed one fat tub of nuts climb up on the tree stump, lean waaaaaaay over to the little iron stand that holds one of the feeders, grab hold of the upright, and manage to hang on long enough to clasp one of the metal bird perch/feeder openings with his icky little clawed hands. He seemed quite proud of himself, and for a moment tried to actually get on the feeder, but the perches were too small. HAH! Stupid rodent. BUT THEN, in a most extraordinary turn of events, he managed to REMOVE one of the perches from out of the tube! The plastic tube had a small crack in one of the tiny holes that holds the perch in place, which left the perch just barely friction-fit into the tube. So, the little thief had figured out a way to get the perch loose--luckily, the tube was empty, so he didn't get any food out, but had it been full, the whole thing would have drained out onto the ground, and he and his buddies would have thought they'd died and gone to Stupid Rodent Heaven. As it was, he contented himself with sitting back down on the stump with his shiny hunk of metal and trying to gnaw some of the stuck seeds out of it.

THEN, Squirrel Buddy #2 decided if it was so danged easy, he'd get in on the act as well. We have another feeder that doesn't have a nearby convenient stump, so Sparky decided he'd climb up the post. Except, instead of being a slightly rough and rusty square rod like the other feeder, the one he was attempting was round, and has a nice slick coat of paint, and, as I mentioned, it was raining.

He made several valiant efforts to get up it, and finally managed to get all the way to the top where it rounds over to the hook that holds the feeder. And then slid, head downward, slowly all the way back down to the ground when he couldn't keep his toehold on the rain-slicked pole. I had to laugh. "Take THAT you miserable pile of fur!" and I shook my fist at him like this ::shakes fist::

Catherine thought this was all quite hilarious, as well as when they got startled by all of my fist-shaking and chased each other up the maple tree.

Anyway, I think I need to move one of my feeders over a bit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:49 AM | Comments (8)


This might be good. Or not.

I am nerdier than 34% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

It said this means that I'm "not nerdy, but definitely not hip." I suppose that's the downside of being a marsupial.

(Thanks to Jordana for this.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:29 AM | Comments (20)

Well, that's good enough for me.

'Cooter' Urges Fans to Skip 'Dukes' Movie

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

"Weird Alabama," eh?

Now THAT might be a magazine worth subscribing to! Odd mag's out--Weird Alabama magazine takes a fun look at weird, wacky state of life within our borders.

Of course, it might help a bit for online readers of the article to have a website link or SOME way of figuring out how to contact the publishers. Well, allow me--you can find out all about it right here at http://www.weirdalabama.com/. And HEY, guess what!? They've even got a blog they started back at the end of June! And photos of hot chicks holding a big ugly fish! AND a place that you can make submissions of weirdness!

Might have to send them something...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:43 AM | Comments (4)

"It's made me realize people love me as much as I love them."

Well, I'll be. Regular reader and commentor Stan the Gummint Man sent me a link to this article this morning--Spivey to reopen toy and hobby shop.

This was the toy and model shop that burned up (or down) a couple of months ago, and it looks like Mr. Spivey won't let something like a fire get rid of him.

[...] "I knew the day it happened I wasn't ready to close," Spivey said. "I'm 78, but that doesn't mean my life is over." [...]

The new store will be housed in the building at 1509 Lomb Ave. that once served as his warehouse. Spivey and work crews are trying to get the building ready for a mid-August opening. Spivey said this new store will be even better than the original.

The longtime toy lover, a spark in his eye as he speaks, plans separate showcase rooms in the new store for model airplanes, helicopters, boats, cars and trains.

"I'm going to have the prettiest, most gorgeous hobby and toy store in North America when we're finished," Spivey said, even as work crews tore down walls to remodel the warehouse.

Spivey said he plans to open the store only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

"I'll make up for all those years I worked six days a week," he said. [...]

Fair enough.

Anyway, be sure to read both pages of the article, and best wishes to him on the new venture.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2005

Not just Tuesday…


Whatever do I mean? You might not want to know. But it involves a trip to the junkyard, so it’s bound to be interesting. Or not. (This will be long, so if the screen cuts off before you get to the end, remember to press the F11 key twice to make it display properly. More or less.)

ANYway, quitting time finally arrived yesterday and I had some big moron stuff to do, the main one being that Reba had put some steaks in the refrigerator to marinate overnight so I could cook them on the grille, but I told her I wanted to clean it up and get a new grate and some new rocks before I did any cooking, so this was going to entail a trip to--where else?!--Wal-Mart on the way home to get the requisite items.

BUT! Knowing that this sidetrip on the way home would add some extra time, and knowing that I was already going to be a bit later than usual, I figured that this would provide the PERFECT opportunity for increased moronicity in the form of a trip by the Pull-A-Part. Why?

WELL FRIENDS, you see, the lovely Volvo in my driveway is mostly complete, with the exception of a few niggledy bits of minor consequence. One of these bits happens to be a tiny black rubber cushion/bumper/snubber/spacer deal. Hold up your thumb--no, really--hold up your thumb. Okay, now imagine that from the joint to the tip is constructed of somewhat soft black rubber. That right there is about the size and shape of this elusive part. It also has a narrow but deep spiral groove molded into it, as if it can be screwed into a hole. Which is EXACTLY what it does!

See, under the lip of the trunk lid, there’s supposed to be TWO of these little teats that fit into two small holes, and they serve the purpose of keeping the trunk lid at the proper gap, and I suppose they help soften the closing of the trunk to keep it from being all slammy. There was one on the right side, but not one in the corresponding hole on the left side.

And this bothered me.


Because, I Am A Moron.

After I noticed it was missing, it just stood out like a sore black rubber thumb. Or didn’t, since it wasn’t there.

So, I’ve been keeping an eye on Ebay for these silly things, which are apparently more scarce than discussions of Hegel at Britney Spears’ house. I found a Volvo parts place on the Internet and had some correspondence back and forth with them, but the woman seemed very put out that she kept having to use that dagnabbed computer-thang to talk to me, and it took forever to get an answer from her, and in the end, it just wasn’t worth the hassle. I figured I would eventually find one.

Which made me think I ought to at least call a few junkyards around town, since we have more, and bigger, junkyards than anyone in the world. The first place I thought of was Pull-A-Part, whom I wrote of in the distant past for their stupid (and quickly pulled off the air) television commercial with the comely girl suggestively touting her nice tailpipe and headlights. (It’s the post that prompted one of the Jon Stewart Show producers to e-mail me about doing an interview, which I didn’t do.)

Whatever--the reason I decided to check them out is that they have a handy website where you can check inventory yourself to see what kinds of cars they have on their lot, and when I checked I found they had tons (literally and figuratively and relatively) of wrecked Swede bricks for picking over. Surely to goodness, there must be one little rubber squishy bump in there!


I did a bit of checking, and found out the concept behind this place is that they charge a nominal admission fee of $1 to go in the yard, and they charge one price for each part, regardless of make or model, and they rotate stock regularly. Once a car’s been on the lot for a certain amount of time, it gets sent to the shredder.

Now, the various news blurbs about the place emphasized that the management was intent on making it neat and clean, and with the cars being easily accessible, but having spent countless hours of my youth poring through our regular junkyards looking for AMC parts, I couldn’t see how it would be that much different from any other junkyard.

Little did I know!

I left work and went through the normal bad parts of town and arrived to a nice clean parking lot surrounded by a tall white metal fence, with a tidy building at the back. Hmm. Parked and walked in, and it looked more or less like a car dealer’s service area--bright and clean, with a waiting area and vending machines, and a counter with several computers, one of which was staffed by a desperately haggard-looking woman with her head on her hands. I walked up--wearing my nice shoes and slacks and white oxford cloth shirt and tie--and she continued to eyeball me with a look of unbelief, chin still firmly collapsed onto her hand.

“I can’t BELIEVE you came to a JUNKYARD dressed like THAT!”

“Well, I only need one little part, and I don’t think I’ll get dirty getting it!”

She sighed and sat up--“What kinda car?”

“86 Volvo 240.”

“Got one on row 20--straight out the door and to the right. You have a good afternoon.”

She slid me a receipt that had the car and row printed on it, along with several other years--the same list I’d printed off from their website earlier. “Yes, ma’am!”

I walked up to the next counter, where a guy stamped my hand and I paid my dollar. Well now, let’s see what this junkyard looks like!

Again--quite fascinating. Being used, as I have been, to piles of rust and jumbles of tangled metal, this was quite a departure. The cars were indeed in nice long straight rows, some up on blocks, some on stacked rims, but each one by itself, with sufficient elbow room all around, like a parking lot. No stray parts out in the driveways, no ponds full of mosquitoes, no rats or snakes scampering or slithering about, no cars piled ten high. And the driveways were nice and hard--no sucking pools of oily mud. Niiiiiiice!

Found the Volvo graveyard and started looking--at ALL of them. They had quite a selection of newer and older ones, although I was most shocked to see a rusting hulk of an P1800 in the mix. Walked up and down several rows--some models didn’t have the rubber spuffet I was looking for, but I didn’t know which, so I had to eyeball them all, as well as look and see if I could find some other stuff I might want. Saaaaay--nice rims! OOoooh--a fuse box cover! Hmmmmm--maybe a lighter with the painted cigarette still intact…

FINALLY, found some variant of some year of 240 that had a happy little black dingus sticking down out of the trunk lip--unscrewed it and stuck it in my pocket. From what I can tell from my research on other folks who shop at these places--tiny stuff like this isn’t free, but everyone, including the management, figures that the buck you pay to get in should pretty much cover one or two such small bits.

I kept looking a bit, even though it was getting past time to go, mainly because there’s all sorts of cool stuff in there I might want to go back and look at when I don’t have on dress clothes. Still, despite the fun of exploring, there really are few things sadder than a junkyard. You figure every one of those hunks of metal were at one time someone’s proud possession, and now, they just sit there and molder. Full of their own leavings, and then other junk from other cars that gets thrown in as well--I saw a speedometer in the trunk of one car, even though it still had one in the dash. Someone’d had just decided not to get it, and tossed it in the first available Volvo. They’re just things, but you still wonder about their stories.

Well, no time for philosophy---time to head to the store. Walked back out and stopped to ask how much hubcaps cost--there were a couple of nice ones of the older style in there that were pretty nice--“Three-oh-three, or three-oh-six or so, something like that.” Odd that they wouldn’t round down to even dollars, but I guess they make their money on the pennies.

OFF TO WALLYWORLD! Or, as I like to call it, Moron Project, Part Two.

Got there and went to the grille section and was MIGHTILY disappointed. I guess they’ve started clearing stuff out, but they didn’t have the type of grate I wanted. Got one that has flat bars, which is supposed to leave those tasty wide marks on the meat. The wider the tastier, apparently. Also got one of the little tent-shaped sheetmetal deals that fits over the burner--a Flavorizer or some-such, and a couple of bags of lava rocks. And the grate I didn’t really want.

Paid, and then decided I owed it to myself to check K-Mart, just in case they had something more in tune with what I was looking for. Nope. In fact, they barely had anything at all--a few brushes, some covers, and that was it. I tell you, the place looks doomed. Maybe I could open an indoor Volvo junkyard in it when they finally go out of business.

On toward home, under an increasingly cloudy and--yep--starting to drip--sky. ::sigh::

Maybe I’ll be able to beat the rain.

Parked, opened up the trunk lid of the Volvo, screwed in my little rubber thumbtip, opened and closed trunk and patted myself on the back. Came inside, greeted happy wife and children, changed clothes into something more appropriate for both junkyard and grille-rebuilding duties, came back downstairs and…

RrrrmblermblerbleBOOM! Rain. Buckets of rain.

Reba went ahead and put the steaks in the oven--in a dish, on bake--NO BROILING PAN!--and I stood there and looked out the window like a sad little moron.

WAIT! What’s THIS!? It’s stopping! Hooray!

Ran out after it had quit, and started cleaning out all the old ceramic bricks and scale and char and then grabbed the scraper brush and went to work on the sides of the bottom part. Got the hose out to rinse it out, and….

More rain. ::sigh::

Went back in, waited. HEY! IT’S STOPPING! AND, there was a DOUBLE RAINBOW! Which was nice.

Finished scraping the case out and rinsing it, put in the new Sharp-edged Hunk of Metal, the pumice, and sat the new grate on the--oh, crap. Dingdernit all. The new grate is about three inches shorter than the one it replaced. Well--I have the OLD old set of wires, I COULD put that on there, and…

Nah, the heck with that--I had too much effort into this thing to be defeated. Placed them on there, called for my Giant Lighter of Flaming Death, turned on the gas, struck the spark and POOF! FIRE! By which time, Reba had decided we needed to go ahead and actually finish the meat by using the broiling pan.

I told her I would cook the other two steaks, since I had finally gotten the grille cleaned and hot. She said okay. I was really only doing that to keep her from smoking up the house. Which, of course, she did. I was standing there tending my meat when I heard the telltale EEPEEPEEPEEPEEPEEP of the smoke alarm going off inside the house. Rebecca came to the door to get me. “Mama wants you, Daddy!” Stuck my head in--“The smoke alarm went off!”

Yes, I know!

“Well, it’s okay--the others are about done now.” Which was true only in the most relative of terms, but it kept me from saying anything about her continued insistence on using the broiler pan and then acting surprised when the smoke alarm goes off.

Eventually, supper really was done, so we ate it and got finished at the highly reasonable time of NINE PEE EM. Which might be fine for all you urbane city dwellers up there in New York or Chicago, but to a rube like me is WAY too late to be eating supper.

But, at least my two Super Moron Projects DID get done, so I suppose that’s something.

Now then--back to work for me. My first meeting lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours, but thankfully I was able to sweet-talk my way out of the second so I could actually do some actual work. Actually. And I still have some to do, and then I have to leave early because today is DENTIST APPOINTMENT DAY! With CATHERINE and me.

It promises to be quite entertaining.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:13 PM | Comments (6)

July 12, 2005

You know the bad thing about being on vacation last week?

THIS week is when I have to get up early tomorrow and be at our fun and exciting off-campus 7:30 a.m. meeting which I have to be at by 7:00 a.m., THAT's what!


Anyway, this also means that Possumblog, which is only just now getting back into the swing of things, will again turn silent tomorrow as I scurry about doing Important Things. To make it worse, when I get back from THAT meeting, I will go directly into ANOTHER meeting with a bunch of planning and zoning type people that is scheduled to last an hour and a half.

I tell you what--rat-catching sure does get to sounding pretty good sometimes...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:16 PM | Comments (2)

Where DOES the time go!?

Work, that's where! Silly buncha stuff, too. I really think I'm past due for a career change for something more stimulating and useful and fun and remunerative, like becoming a rhinocerous boil lancer, or a bat guano sorter, or a service station doorknob licker, or an anvil substitute, or an [redacted Ed.], or a nose hair model, or a scab crustiness assessor, or a rat herder, or a politician--well, okay--not the last one.

Anyway, I suppose even those glamorous professions have their downsides as well.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:53 PM | Comments (7)


Million-dollar sales keep Gulf property out of average buyer's reach

And this just in:

"Solid Gold Toilets Pricey, Out of Reach for Most Consumers"

"Learjet Sales to Poor, Middle Class Families Still Not Taking Off"

"Faced With Grim Choice, Many Choose Buying Food Over Luxury Mansions"

"Wealthy People Found to Have More Money Than Poorer People"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

AGGER. Latin term for the built-up foundation of Roman roads; also sometimes applies to the banks of hill-forts or other earthworks.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

As usual, the Internets brim with information, including this fun and informative site on the servers of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Construction & Makeup of Ancient Roman Roads. (It's part of UNC's site on Roman technology.)

Also, agger is not to be confused with crazykomiks Anton and Agger.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:33 AM | Comments (8)


One of the things I forgot to mention yesterday (having obviously had my memory fogged by seeing one too many old, mullet-wigged, hot-pantsed, exposed-chested men at the mall) was my stop by the suit store on Saturday.

I've been wearing the same suit for a while, and although it's served me well, it really is time for something newer so I can move Ol' Gray onto the injured reserve list. So, I stopped in at the Big'n'Tall place with two kids in tow, which, believe it or not, is not the best way to buy a suit. Nor, it seems, is it a good idea to show up in a pair of jeans and boat shoes.

I was latched onto by a salesman (who himself was neither big, nor tall, which should have been a warning right there) who directed me to the selection of suits in my huskiness quotient.

Tried one on, it fit okay, although a little too far off the shoulders--but they have free alterations, so that's not a big concern--then I looked at a couple of others. I noticed one garish gangster-pinstriped number on another rack and said something offhand about it looking like a garish gangster suit. "Oh, sir--those are VERY popular!"

"Well, I guess it takes all sorts, eh?"

"Oh, no--you see a lot of sportscasters on television and athletes wearing that suit!"

"Good. That means I know who to laugh at." He seemed hurt that I wasn't impressed by the quality of people who wear clown suits.

Went back to looking through the somewhat meager selection and found another nice navy blue with a narrow chalkstripe. Next to it was another one with a slightly different looking stripe. "Those are the same suit--one's cut with an athletic cut, and the other's a regular cut."

"Oh, well, I guess that's why the stripes are different."

"No, they're the same suit, just cut different."

I looked again--nope, junior--one's wider and fainter.

"Hmm. They sure LOOK like different pinstriping..."

"Well, it could have come from two different bolts of cloth."

Yes, indeed. THUS EXPLAINING THE DIFFERENCE. Anyway. Picked out the regular one and tried it on--same sort of upper arm/shoulder bagginess, with a bit of a roll along the top of my back. It sorta fit, but not quite, right off the rack. I stood there in the mirror and mentioned the roll, upon which he grabbed the back and shucked it down a bit to force the roll down, and then smoothed the shoulders out so they drooped more dramatically. "There!"

Okay--look--I KNOW how suits are supposed to fit, even if I happened to have come in looking rather low class in my Wal-Mart denims. I have a nice suit I bought at the same store that fits. It's NOT SUPPOSED TO SAG OFF THE SHOULDER! ::sigh::

Looked at the pants--"Are these plain front?"

"No--we'd have to order those."

"Well, we'll have to do that, then, because that's one thing I can't stand--pleats make fat guys look even fatter."

"Oh, no sir--it's really just the opposite. They make you look slimmer."

He went on and on, but aside from the fact that he is DEAD WRONG, I had to ask myself whatever happened to the idea that "the customer is always right," especially when it comes to a matter of personal opinion about what he thinks looks best on his own body!?

Let's clear something up--I have TRIED ON pants with pleats, and they made me look like Fred Mertz. I have not just stumbled by accident upon the idea that plain front, uncuffed pants look better on me--I KNOW IT FOR A FACT BECAUSE I CAN LOOK IN A MIRROR.

So, the best thing a salesman could do would be to say, "Be glad to order them for you--I have some men who love them, and some who don't--but we want you to be happy with how you look." Is that so hard? Why give a man grief because you have to take a bit of extra effort to pick up the phone and get a pair of plain pants? Why stand there and continue to try to tug the folds out of a coat instead of letting it hang naturally and see where it needs to be altered? It's not like YOU are the one having to do the sewing, is it?

Obviously, I'm still somewhat miffed by the whole exercise. I gathered up the kids and told the guy I'd have to come back later when I could spare the time to get it fitted, and I will go back--I do need a suit, after all, and I did get some cash from the in-laws for my birthday--but I can guarantee you who won't be my salesman.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:45 AM | Comments (2)

The News on the News

So, as I was mentioning yesterday afternoon, The Wendy Garner Show in the mornings on our local NBC affiliate only has four more days before the changeover to the new crew of anchors. I had heard rumblings about a potential change from the show's namesake (and for the record, the actual name of the program is "Today in Alabama") a couple of weeks ago, but for obvious reasons she couldn't let on exactly what was happening, until the station released the story to other media outlets. The first was a story in the Birmingham Post-Herald (motto "We're Not The Birmingham News--No, Really, We're Not!) which is where I first heard of who the replacements would be.

Doing a quick bit of Googling directed me to the stories I linked to yesterday, along with this one about the Pittsburgh Pugilist leaving her former place of employ to spend more time with her kids--certainly a noble thing to do, although coming on the heels of her public indelicacies didn't really sound all that plausible. Particularly of note is this quote from the article:

[...] In October 2002, Redmond was sentenced to community service after pleading no contest to slapping a former WPXI producer, Roberta Petterson, girlfriend of former PCNC "NightTalk" host John McIntire.

"That has nothing to do with her departure," Maday said.

"I figured some people would ask this, but really it is about my family and children," Redmond said. "If this was about last year, it would have happened last year."

Regardless, Redmond's departure is probably a boon to the station's image and a relief to executives. Last year's incident and Channel 11's handling of the situation did not sit well with some viewers. [emphasis added] [...]

Now, in the greater scheme of things, this whole tawdry little exercise really doesn't amount to much, but I do find it fascinating how this bit of factual information gets spun by folks in the local market. Obviously, NBC13 wasn't about to mention it, but people ARE able to Google just as well as I can, and the station was starting to get some rumblings from other members of the Fourth Estate about her history.

Enter the knights on shining steeds at the Birmingham News, where this incident is noted thusly (from the article in Sunday's paper):

[...] Since NBC 13 announced last week that it hired Redmond, a spate of e-mails has made the rounds about an incident that happened in August 2002, while she was the late-night news anchor at WPXI in Pittsburgh.

A former WPXI producer accused Redmond of striking her at a party. Redmond pleaded no-contest - which is not an admission of guilt - and agreed to perform three hours of community service.

The station stuck behind Redmond, and when she left to spend more time with her young children, it was her decision, WPXI general manager Ray Carter says.

"People can speculate, but the incident had happened a full year and a half before we parted company," Carter says. "If we were going to get rid of Gina, we probably would have done it right after the incident." [...]

Clever on several levels--first of all, the insinuation that the whole thing is one of those Internet things--just a "spate of e-mails," that "made the rounds."

You KNOW how those INTERNET people are, right? Always spating the rounds.

Again, doing a bit of searching online, you can see very well that the story was covered by actual newspapers--this wasn't just some whispering campaign. Second, if you read those articles, the incident wasn't just one of those "she said/she said" sorts of things--the incident actually happened. Not allegedly, not rumored. Third, the nolo contendre plea itself was disputed, when the defendant decided she didn't understand what she'd plead to. Which is kinda sad for a reporter, because they certainly do put themselves forward as experts on everything. And despite the continuted protestations to the contrary, the controversy did have a deleterious effect on the station.

Again though, what does it really matter? Not really that much, but it does point out a flaw about our beloved news scribes, in that they seem to be quite willing to cover up their own biases and indescretions, yet can't quite seem to extend that to others. How many thousands of words have been typed about that dastardly John Bolton who once made someone uncomfortable by being short and cross with them?! Grind him up! How DARE he raise his voice!

Yet, you turn around and see something like this, and you wonder why it can't be covered without sycophancy. Not that it's necessary to go out of the way to embarrass the woman, (although if this were a local businesswoman, she'd be pilloried), but it would be nice to not so airily dismiss uncomfortable truths for the sake of a happy little paper story that makes the teevee boys happy. The unwillingness of the old-line media to apply the same standards of ethics to itself that it requires of others, and the insistence that its actions are driven by only the purest of motives, is one of the reasons for the rise of alternative media. Not as a replacement for the media, but as a tool to insure what's being reported is accurate. A free press is vital to a democratic nation, but it sure would be nice to have one whose members didn't seem to think they had been granted some sort of magical superiority and freedom from scrutiny themselves.

Oh well.

ANYway, going back to the whole reason for the change in the first place--poor Channel 13 has struggled mightily for years to make some headway against the local Fox station's morning show, which by dint of its ancient history stretching back to the early 1960s when it was "The Tom York Morning Show", has long been the leader in the market. Everyone has tried to knock it off, but it keeps happily, blithely plodding along. That molasses-like pace is one of the reasons I started watching the NBC show--there's more coverage of a greater variety of stories, and I don't have to endure listening to someone read the news and mispronouncing every other word. Basically just a better quality show, even if not as many people watch it.

But, the ratings are what count (what a shock, eh?) and local managers are always under pressure to get the numbers up. Which is fine--it's their job to try stuff, but this doesn't seem like a particularly well-thought-out move. New faces are nice to have, but when the focus is intended to be locally oriented, it seems strange to bring in someone with absolutely no tie to the area (discounting completely any misgivings one might have about her need to wear padded mittens). Sports guy (and a nice guy as well) Jim Dunaway, the guy counterpart in the new anchor mix, is already part of the local scene and the station, and it just seems odd that if the station could promote him, why not one of the other host of folks they have on payroll? Or, why not hire somebody else from outside for the position--I hear Mike Tyson needs a job.

It all just seems like a very odd change, and not one that was given much thought, or with any concern about what viewers might think. But I suppose that's asking too much, isn't it?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:24 AM | Comments (16)

July 11, 2005

And now?

Well, it's time to go now! And I still haven't told you the most recent sad tale of a certain local morning news program, and of a certain anchorperson who will be demoted to health reporting in order to make room for a replacement with a rather interesting past.

Oh, well--there's always tomorrow.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 05:00 PM | Comments (3)

Vacation Week!

The 4th we went over to Reba's mom and dad's for lunch, and we did laundry, and then Cat and I went outside at dark and watched the freelance pyrotechnics of the neighbors. VERY pretty! Then, the next couple of days were spent with me hauling Oldest over to the church building each day so she and the rest of the teenagers could help paint the house of one of the little old people at church. I wish she was that energetic about doing stuff at home. And yes, she got paint all over herself, because they tend to think such exercises are an excuse to act like a bunch of idiots. On second thought, maybe I'm glad she doesn't want to help around the house.

Tuesday, I got out and cut grass in the very hottest part of the day because I am very stupid and because the grass was bushier than Andy Rooney's eyebrows, and Tuesday afternoon we were due to have Tropical Storm Cindy dumping more buckets of rain on us. So, that had to be done. But not before yet another piece of sheetmetal came unconnected from underneath the lawnmower, and not before I had to ONCE MORE fidget with washer and bolts to make sure the blade would stay bolted on tight. Finally got it going right and the rest of the process was uneventful. Aside from running over a big plastic bag full of dog poop hidden in the high grass of the front yard. I'm not sure if this was a bag that got ingested then deposited in the grass, or a dog-walking neighbor was just being neat by throwing their pickup into my yard instead of carrying it home with them. I tell you, stuff like that just RUINS the grass-cutting experience.

Wednesday evening, the second set of classes for the new quarter at church, and once again, astoundingly, everyone was in place and ready to go. AMAZING!

Thursday evening, building committee meeting, in which several of the members sat around jabbering and asking me the same questions they've been asking all along. Did decide on whom to interview and when.

Friday morning, realized the power bill was due Friday morning, and also needed to get other bills in the mail immediately, so I got the kids together and we drove downtown to pay the power bill and then went by the main post office. It's always fun to take the kids into the city--they don't get to see it enough, and it always makes me think of how it must look to them--all movement and traffic and people and tall buildings. Then back out to the burbs with a stop at the Chinese buffet joint. Just had a hankering, you know? Despite the fact that we were supposed to meet my mom and sister Saturday for Chinese food for my birthday celebration.

And then, in one of those very strange coincidences, it got to be Saturday. And Reba gave my my birthday present. Quite inexplicable, too, but she'd purchased for me Ralph Sawyer's translation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Inexplicable, because although I have read the book before, I'd never mentioned that I'd like to have another copy (I have a small paperback copy), and it's not one of those books that's out there where your average shopper can find it. You have to look for it. Seems she'd seen a reference to it in some of her business classwork, and thought I'd enjoy it.

Indeed I do! Because this Sawyer guy seems to have it going on as far as knowing the background of the book and its various companion works and the history of China. So far, just the introduction is fascinating, and Sawyer's writing ability is very good. Tight, readable, informative, and not jargony or overly pedantic. Very nice. And goes right well with Kung Pao chicken!

Met my mom and sister over at Hunan Garden in Hoover, admired Mama's new hot rod, had lunch, and got more presents in the form of a hat from the Infiniti dealership, four dress shirts, two ties, and two pairs of socks. And a big box of leftover kung pao.

And then, time for some SHOPPING! Not for me, though. Reba needed a dress for church and/or work. Home to drop off the food, then turned around and went RIGHT BACK TO WHERE WE'D BEEN. Making that the most extravagantly expensive half-full styrofoam carton of Chinese food in the entire state of Alabama.

I dropped her and the two older girls at Parisian, and I took the younger two with me on a tour of the Galleria. Stopped at every store, including one that had the very stupid Buck, the Singing Talking Deer Head. Catherine saw it through the window and dragged me and Jonathan into the place, where she stood transfixed with glee as it sang "Sweet Home, Alabama" to us.

I was even more shocked by something else in the store.

As we stood there listening the fake deer head talk, I happened to look over at the counter in the middle of the store, and was met by the sight of a grown "man," who just happened to be wearing a pair of white satin hot pants similar to those worn by various NFL cheerleading squads. He also had on a carefully trimmed bright red tee-shirt that had a lovely scooped back and arm area, and as I was to find out later, tauntingly exposed his man-aries. To top this all off, he had a long, curly mullet. To top THIS off, when he turned his head slightly to the side, I could see that on the top of his head in front was a carefully applied hairpiece. To top THIS off, the fellow was probably pushing sixty, although he had the perpetually-surprised look of the old-guy eye lift. AND, to TOP THIS OFF COMPLETELY, he was with some old peroxide blonde battle-axe.

I quickly shooed the children out of the store before the zany deer head could start singing David Lee Roth's version of "Just a Gigolo."

The rest of the tour of the retail complex was notably free of any additional excitement. Aside from the merry-go-round ride. And visiting the Build A Bear Workshop.

Home (with a dress for Miss Reba that somehow managed to turn into six or seven different oufits and only cost $410--Happy Birthday, Terry!), baths for the kids, then to bed with them all, then up Sunday to go to church and await Hurricane Dennis. Which, although the news says caused $5 billion worth of damage, wasn't nearly so bad as people thought it would be. Including my sister, who had brought all of her cats and all of her frozen food to Birmingham with her.

We didn't have church last night, so we spent a lazy afternoon at home, where I got to read the paper and my AutoWeek and my new copy of The Art of War and watch the local television stations Dopplerate themselves into a furious twist of cyclonic activity as they measured millimeter by millimeter the approach of the storm.

And today, here I am again, having to put up with stupid work. Blech.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:56 PM | Comments (2)

New Quarter?

Yep, time for summer quarter classes at church. It was worrisome this time, because we still didn't have all of our material in, and I was still having teachers coming up to me saying "am I supposed to teach?" and it was a holiday weekend and I didn't know if we were going to be overrun with visitors and underrun with vacationing teachers.

As is usually the case, much worry for no reason. Everyone was in place and ready to go. Except for me, who had to spend the class period in the copy room making copies of the results from the building addition survey I'd handed out back in April. We're about to hire an architect this month, and I had neglected to get out the results of the survey (and the program we developed from it) so people would know what's going on. Several keep asking why it's not built yet, I suppose figuring it should be no different than putting up an aluminum carport. Add to this the insistence from one of our committee members that we give people a picture of the new addition. Which is rather hard to do without having designed anything or hired an architect. Which, in the end, meant that I'd have to sketch something up that will turn out in the end to look NOTHING like what gets built. Oh well.

Made my copies, then class broke up, then we had worship, then we went home, then Reba went somewhere while I tried to whip up a big sketch. I'm not sure where she went--I think the craft store--because she kept talking to me while I was drawing. For those who do this kind of stuff, you know how it is when you get into the zone--hours can pass, disasters can happen, but you're blissfully unaware of what's going on.

Anyway, I cobbled together a sketch with pretty growies and cars and kitties and puppies and balloons and stuff. Turned out looking pretty good, if I do say so myself. Reba got back, then it was time to turn around and head back up to church for a meeting, which was actually an hour later than what she said it would be, but I didn't dare say anything about it for fear that she might have learned all sorts of Hollywood martial arts at the movie. Waited, then my meeting, where I showed of my handiwork and noted that all the teachers had shown up that morning. Hooray!

Then worship, then afterwards I told everyone to pick up the survey results and read them over and see what the building committee had come up with as a program, which will result in a building looking something like....THIS! At which time I whipped out the drawing and did a quick D&PS (dog and pony show), and told them to expect the actual building addition to look nothing like what I'd just shown them.

Then, home, supper, and time to get ready for the 4th, which started one long week of not-quite-clear-in-my-memory fun at home. NEXT: Fun at home.

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

And then we woke up!

No noisy television, no fussing offspring. Ahhhh.

First task was to go sell Moby. I’d taken him about three weeks ago to Carmax, and they’d given me a ridiculously insulting offer of only $1200, which, after about three weeks of no interest, had begun to look pretty good--especially considering that insurance was due on it. I’d talked to the guy I had dealt with before, and he noncommittally said to bring it back, even though it was beyond the seven day, guaranteed price threshold.

I knew they weren’t going to offer as much, but you know, three weeks is only three weeks, so how much less could it be!? I got the title and spare keys together and ran out to remove the tag and off we went, with Reba following along in the Focus. Got there and was told my guy was running late. I said I’d wait, but no sooner had the words left my mouth than a nice young man with gang tattoos running all over his body stopped by to say that he was the buddy of the running-late guy, and he’d be happy to work with me.

Or work me over, as the case may be.

Obviously, the previous price was not good now. “Let’s just throw that one in the garbage.” M’kay.

They did the same thing as before, and came back with a price of SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS! Well, I figured they’d be punitive for my having scorned their original offer, but gee whiz, you’d think I’d said bad things about his tattoos or somethin’! Well, I just said we couldn’t do that and got up to leave, upon which he became very defensive. “Well, it’s been a MONTH and we can’t let YOU come and get the original price or we’d have EVERYONE doing the same thing and…”

“It’s okay. I understand. Don’t worry about it.”

”YOU KNOW, prices change EVERY DAY! And we have to go with what our BUYER says!”

“I know. It’s okay. But if that’s all it’s worth I might as well just keep it.”

He followed us out, being all defensive and everything the entire way. Apparently, they get a lot of people who come by and are dissatisfied with the price they give, and just can’t believe that no matter what their kind and genial public relations department says, deep down they are just a bunch of thieving car salesmen. Imagine!

ANYway, so Moby remains in the family for a while longer. He’s still for sale, but he’s too good to give away. Unless I can take him off on my taxes. In which case he might go to the charity place. The ad’s still running, though, so if anyone can come up with some cash, he’s yours.

Home then to drop him off, and then off to have some lunch (I wish I could remember where, because it was good) and then we stopped back by the antique store in Trussville.

Quite an odd place--it was a nursing home. A couple of ladies bought the place and turned it into an antiques mall with a café. Reba’s been in there before, but I’ve always been resistant to the idea because I figured it would still smell like a nursing home. BUT, since we didn’t have anything to do and since they have a little farmer’s market on Saturdays, we stopped in. First, bought some cukes and squash and 'maters, then went inside.

Well, I was impressed, and that’s hard to do. It didn’t smell bad at all, and was nice and relatively clean, and HUGE. It’s very deceiving from the outside, but this place is big. The wares were okay as well. It’s not the fine antiques sort of place, but it’s not pawed-over junk, either. Mostly. A wide selection of stuff, including several paper ephemera dealers. I love looking at old magazines and ads. Picked up a LOOK from 1972--hey, platform shoes are groovy, man! We stayed there forever looking at stuff, although we didn’t get anything--the house is already full of stuff that belongs in a lower-line suburban antiques mall.

On to get the kids, then back home to get ready for SUNDAY!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:33 PM | Comments (3)

Well, that junk’s STILL not all done.

I’ve got four or five different phone calls out, waiting for people to call me back and let me know what the heck’s going on. And they (not the same they, another they) just now came upstairs and turned off the color copy function on the new copier we got the week before I went on vacation. Grr.

It seems we have a blabbermouth who just couldn’t keep it to herself that the new copier was able to run color copies, even after she’d been told to keep her big, loud, squawking, braying, constantly-running mouth shut about it. So, the smart people who don’t want us to be able to do anything without permission got wind that we had something we shouldn’t have, and dispatched a service guy to turn the pretty-colors part off. We waste millions giving away money to assorted lackeys, hangers-on, swindlers, and well-connected relatives, yet we have to ask permission to use a built-in function of a copier that will increase the cost per page by $.0001. ::sigh:: It’s times like this that I wish I was a lackey, hanger-on, swindler, or a well-connected relative.

ANYway, as I wait for my telephone calls to be returned, let’s have a quick Week In Review!

Friday, July 1: DATE NIGHT! No kids, no responsibilities! And not a whole lot of movies we just really wanted to see. We settled on Mr. and Mrs. Smith, not really expecting much, but it actually turned out to be pretty good. Aside from Reba having a sudden bout of popcorn-induced gastrointestinal distress about ten minutes into it. I waited and waited for her to come back and she never did, so I got up and found her standing on the ramp to the exit. She’d been standing there and running back and forth to the restroom, and had probably seen only about 13 1/2 minutes of the film. After I got there, I assume my calming presence allowed her to endure longer spells of standing and watching, so we stood there and watched.

Movie Review Time! As you know, I don’t like to read reviews beforehand because it always damages my funtime, because I keep waiting for the parts I’d read about. I had heard a little about this one, though, most of which said it was actually pretty good. I concur. It’s a very stylish looking fillum, although a little TOO stylish to be believable, even in the wacky spy genre of films. Lots of secret compartments and stuff that are just too twee and precious to work in real life, not to mention the whole plot of the movie that cast Billy Bob’s and Rachel’s exes as assassin/spies in competing government organizations.

But I have to say, Angelina Jolie was alright. She can do comedy pretty well, in addition to all the kicking and gunplay and junk. And that’s very hard for me to say, because I have long thought that she was quite the lunatic, and I really couldn’t make myself like her. But, I kinda weakened on this one--mainly because she has toned down the offscreen oddball act somewhat, and again, her comic touch was pretty deft. I still couldn’t think of her as her character, though--I just sat there thinking, “Hey, you know, that Angelina Jolie IS rather attractive in leather.”

Lots of shoot-em ups and car chases, the only problem I had with them being that I don’t like it when you can’t tell who the good guys are. I am supposed to believe that two good-guy competing spy agencies are duking it out, which means good guys are shooting at good guys, and frankly, that’s just not The Cowboy Way. True Lies, a similar sort of oddball wacky hidden-identity spy caper, did this much better--the bad guys were swarthy turbaned ululators with a stolen nuke. THEY had it comin’.

Other pet peeves? 1) Can we PLEASE quit climbing through air ducts and sewer pipes!? THEY DON’T WORK LIKE THAT! You can’t just go from one to the other, and by the time a duct gets to a room, it’s only about 10 inches in diameter. Sewer pipes have S-traps on them, and again, your toidy isn’t connected to the street with a 36 inch tube.

2) Infinite bullet supplies. And the idea that highly trained soldiers manage to miss everything but the bulletproof vest.

3) Wire-fu. It just looks weird for people to be able to suspend themselves in air longer than the laws of gravity allow. Unless you’re Wile E. Coyote, and you’ve just run off a cliff, in which case it’s humorous, especially when you have a little sign that says “Help.”

Overall, despite my peevishness, I’d have to give it a 3 out of 5 Curly Possum Tails. The married spy schtick and the rest of the writing was pretty funny, and the scenery and stunts were well done. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be all weepy if I never got to see it.

Afterwards, we went home and went to bed. And then, there was SATURDAY MORNING!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:38 PM | Comments (4)

Hello again, America (and other places, too)--

From the windswept heights of Talladega Hill, to the roiling depths of Pinchgut Creek, I once again come to you with ripping good yarns of excitement and danger! And assorted games of "Go Fish"! And lawnmower repair!

Yes, it's all just as good as it sounds--BUT.

In my absence from work, the ignoramuses nice smart people with whom I work continued to pile things to be processed on my desk and stuff them in my inbox. Why? I don't know. They KNEW I was on vacation, and there IS my pseudointellectual cowoker in the office right next door. BUT NO! Let's just keep cramming rolls of drawings and permit applications in Terry's inbox, because we don't have the capacity to figure out that they still need to be acted upon by SOMEONE, even when he's NOT here.

::sigh:: Yes, I am royally peeved. Not because it makes work for me, but because it's not fair to the people who pay our salaries to have this junk lying around waiting, when it could have been done by another staff member.

ANYWAY, instead of regaling you with tales of gales, I've got a buttload of work to do this morning. When I finally do get free of it, I'll have to give you the Cliff's Notes version of the preceding week, mainly because my brain is all mushy.

SO, check back in later, and you'll hear about Date Night, Angelina Jolie, Van Unselling, Antique Shopping, New Quarter, Voluntary Servitude, Housecleaning, Lawn Mower Repair Redux, Tropical Storm Cindy, Wal-Mart Emergency Run, New Quarter Part II, Room Cleaning, The Building Committee Meeting, Post Office/Alabama Power Bill Paying/Chinese Buffet Day, It's My BIRTHDAY!, The Galleria, and DENNIS!

It was a long week.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:12 AM | Comments (12)

July 01, 2005

It's been some more sort of week, hasn't it?

Yep, I'd say so.

I'm going to go ahead and wrap up the blather for now and bid you all a wonderful weekend, and a super Independence Day. As I will be on vacation next week, there will not be any of the yawn-inducing spectacle that we normally produce around here, but there is still plenty to do out there in the ether. There's always the Time Cube, you know. That could keep you tied up for a while.

Anyway, I will be back on the 11th, and "all signs point to yes" of a story or two at that time.

Have a good week, and stay safe while I'm gone.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:35 PM | Comments (10)

Boy, I tell you what--talk about your disappointments!

Those Adams weren't the LEAST bit creepy or kooky or mysterious or ookie! Well, aside from Justin eating half a dozen raw oysters. Blech. Good thing this is the month of Julry.

ANYway, what a wonderful, sweet, handsome family they are! Justin and Jordana and the kids are just as I expected, and we had a wonderful lunch. I am still in amazement at their Boy, who reads better than I do, and he's not nearly so old as me. Great conversation that covered jobs, and Volvos, and odd place names (they promised me they'd be sure to discover the wonders of Florala), and urban renewal, and kids, and the benefits of having an inside job, and the need to have a nice place in your office to take a nap.

AND THERE WAS GIFTS! These people are way too nice for their own good--for starters, they brought me one of these, which I let Middle Girl hold, because I actually thought it was hers. Only when I tried to leave without it did they insist that it was, in fact, mine. I kinda felt bad taking it, because it was like, well, like taking toys away from kids. But, hey, I do it to mine all the time anyway, so the Adams kids are just going to have to get used to that stuff. It now occupies prime real estate on top of my Wendy Garner coffee mug and to the left of my Hewitt Husky dog.

SECOND, they PAID FOR MY DINNER! Good thing I didn't go the full Mr. Creosote route. I didn't need a bucket or anything. But that was certainly an unexpected and kind gesture.

Over too soon, at least for me. I know they were ready to get back on the road, though, and I did have to get back to work. BUT, apparently they weren't so eager to leave that they couldn't take a moment to record the big event with a couple of commemorative snapshots. I sure hope that my dreadlocks (or mullet, or big, country-singer hair, or whatever else gets Photoshopped in) doesn't overwhelm the image. And poor Justin--he got saddled with taking the photo AND holding Baby, who was quite fascinated by the whole undertaking and kept grabbing the camera strap.

Such a fine bunch of folks.

Well, aside from that raw oyster thing.

Anyway, hope they have a great trip and a safe one, and if any of you are travelling this weekend that you do the same.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:48 PM | Comments (2)

And HEY, guess what ELSE!

I get to have lunch with the famed Adams Family! They are going to be in the neighborhood today, and I'm going to meet them over at Landry's Seafood at Wildwood for some vittles!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:54 AM | Comments (7)

And the rest of the evening?

Well, after getting her changed back into dry clothes, and after a couple of hymns, we chatted a bit and Oldest asked her grandparents if she could go ahead and go home with them, since she'd gone ahead and brought her clothes with her. They happily agreed, and then everyone kept talking. I gently started trying to shoo everyone out of the building by turning off various banks of lights--after all, we also still had to get a certain Boy to his sleepover sometime before everyone went to sleep.

I very nearly had the lights down to the level of a weak birthday candle before everyone got out of the auditorium, but everyone managed to find their way out to the cars. And in some sort of odd coincidence, we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a torrential downpour. Thankfully, no bugs.

On to the sleepover, then. Found the place, even in the dark and in the deluge. It was back up on a road I'd never knew existed, but we managed to find it right off. And by that time, the rain had gone on, so we didn't have to get soaked getting him in the door.

The other boys were glad to see him and they ran off and started whooping and hollering and I told the friend's mom (whom I still couldn't quite place) that I'd be back for him bright and early this morning. Why so early?

Because in a stunningly successful strategic move, Reba got her mom and dad to agree to let the three younger kids spend the night tonight! 1) so we could go ON A DATE!, and 2) so we could go with my mom tomorrow so she could take her old car to be sold, and go pick up her new car. AND, we're going to go ahead and take ol' Moby with us tomorrow as well and let him go, too. I figured we needed to go ahead and sell, or else we'd have to shell out bucks again for insurance.

Got Boy this morning--he was ready to go when I got there at 6:45. Friend's Mom said he was up when she got up. Apparently there wasn't much in the way of sleep last night, at least for the other boys, who were still unconscious in a pile on the den floor. Jonathan, however, seems to not care for such shenanigans, and went to bed and to sleep right off. He's kinda like me--when it's time for bed, it's time for bed.

ANYway--did I mention I get to go on A DATE TONIGHT?!

Well, I do!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:45 AM | Comments (2)

Well, how about that.

Quite a busy night last night, let me tell you.

Boy had been invited to a sleepover/birthday party with one of his friends from school, which has required lots of behind-the-scenes activity. First, trying to remember who this kid is (Jonathan found a picture of him from soccer--"Oh, that kid!"), then the purchase of a gift (MegaMan), the packing of a bag with clothes, digging out the sleeping bag, calling the parents to find out how to get to their house, confirming the time and date (Thursday, after all, is an odd night for a sleepover, but they were going out of town this weekend), and a variety of other small stuff to get prepared.

The gift was gotten after Bible study Wednesday night at Wal-Mart (which is where we ought to start having church since we see everyone there anyway), then he got all of his clothes and stuff together yesterday morning.

Last evening, I came in and did the gift "wrapping" (in quotes, because it consisted of wrapping some tissue around MegaMan and stuffing him in a Happy Birthday bag), and sat to wait for Reba to get there with the kids.

Went ahead and got some chicken out for supper and put it in the microwave so we could start it as soon as they got home.

Read the mail.

Watched the news.

Played with the new gyroscope because I couldn't resist.

Waited some more. They sure are taking a long time.

FINALLY, they got home, Boy ran upstairs to take a bath, I showed everyone how the gyroscope can balance on a pencil, and rotate on a loop of string, and balance on a pencil. COOL! While all this was going on, with all the attendent noise, Reba said she had something to ask, and for some reason she was beyond serious.

"WHAT!? What's wrong!?"--fearing the worst, because of her odd demeanor. Basically, nothing--Ashley was wanting to go ahead and go spend a day or two with her other set of grandparents over the weekend since she probably wouldn't get any more time later on in the summer, and they get a bit tetchy if she doesn't spend some time there, so she wanted to go ahead now since she wasn't going to have to be at the library today or anything. "That's IT!?" I don't know why they thought I might balk, but it was okay by me. Maybe because it's a holiday weekend or something? Who knows!?

Girls, you know.

ANYway, the idea was that she could go over there today--Reba would take her, then go on to work. SO, she set about getting her stuff ready to go for tomorrow, while Boy finished up his bath. In amongst this, Reba decided to remind Oldest of the proper way to act when she went over--sometimes teenagers do have this problem of acting a bit snotty around grandparents, you know. REALLY! I mean, I've never seen such a thing, but I'm SURE it must happen. ::choke::cough:: Reba went upstairs and reminded her to be nice, and be polite, and not be sarcastic and rude, and told her to understand that when they go to church on Sunday, remember that Other Grandmom doesn't understand how uncomfortable it makes her when O.G. starts asking her when she's going to get baptized.

Ashley has been struggling with this for a while--she's wanted to become a Christian, but she knows a couple of things. It would require that she start acting the way she knows she's supposed to, and it would require an admission on her part that she's been wrong. She has always been the type who would argue a redwood into a stump before ever admitting she has ever been wrong about anything.

Then there has been her resistance to submitting to Christ because she sees so many other kids who did it just to fit in, or to satisfy their parents, and who then don't act any better than they did before--mean and spiteful and self-righteous--and who look down on her because she hasn't done things exactly like them. She's never liked that sort of petty hypocrisy, and I don't blame her. But, as we've told her before, you can't let the actions of others condemn you. You have to do right, even if they don't. And you have to do right for the right reasons--it's a conscious decision and not something you just back into.

And then, there's that familial pressure. We've always had good communication about it with her, telling her that it's her decision to make, not ours. It's important, and we wanted it for her, but she has to come to understand the importance of what she was doing on her own terms, and understand that once you've set your hand to the plow, there's no looking back. But, some relatives want 'em dunked as soon as possible, no matter what. That's pressure that's hard to deal with, especially when she's got so much other teenagery stuff going on. But, Reba just told her to understand that they don't mean her any distress, it's just the way they are.

After Reba came back downstairs and filled me in on their chat, Boy bounced down with his sleeping bag and began busily signing his SpongBob foldout card, and Reba, almost jokingly, said she wondered if she mentioned to Oldest that she could go ahead and be baptized before she spent the weekend, she could avoid the lectures. "Well, don't put it like that--that's not the reason she should be doing it--but, ask anyway, you never can tell what she might be thinking."

Indeed not.

Reba came back downstairs and said Ashley didn't want to wait anymore, and that fully understood the reasons behind her decision. And it wasn't just to get out of another lecture.

Well. Well, I'll be.

Looks like the birthday sleepover is going to have to wait just a bit. Called them to let them know we were going to be a bit late, then called Reba's mom and dad to get them to come to the building, then Oldest's grandparents, and my mom (who wasn't able to make it), and then asked if she wanted anyone from church to be there. Just our preacher and his wife--our youth minister was out doing a devotional and couldn't have come.

Got to the building and thanked the preacher for scooping up the bugs out of the water in the baptistery. Well, most of them, anyway. (We really need a pump and a filter to keep it clean.) Everyone had arrived by around 8, so I got Reba to go help Ashley into a robe (something sorta like a hospital gown, except not open in the back) and I got the preacher to help me on with the waders. I have thought a long time about this moment, and what it would be like, and what I would say. Needless to say, I forgot what I was going to say.

I helped her down into the water since she didn't have her glasses on--"What's that?"

"Bugs--they won't hurt you any."

"Eww. It's cold."

"It'll be okay, come on in."

I explained to her to put the towel over her nose, and once more that she didn't have to fall backwards or anything like that--she's terrified of putting her head under water, and we've been telling her if she just squats down she'd be fine--anyway, reminded her to squat, and then I looked at her, "Well, sugar, I know you've thought long and hard about this, and agonized over it. I'm proud of you for making this decision in your life, and it's a big one. I want you to realize, too, when you do this, you won't just be my daughter, you'll be my sister in Christ. That's special, because you know that the body fades, but the spirit lives on forever, and no matter whatever might happen from here on, we'll share that kinship. Now then, I just have one thing to ask you--do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God?"

"Yes, I do."

"Based on that confession, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the remission of your sins."

She placed the towel over her nose, and I pushed her down under the chilly, buggy water and brought her back up.

I don't usually talk a lot about my faith in specific terms on here, mainly because so much of what I write is just silliness, and such silliness is not conducive to serious talk about serious matters. But, every once in a while, I beg your indulgence, and ask you to allow me a moment to rejoice with my daughter, and my new sister.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:15 AM | Comments (16)