August 31, 2005

A bit earlier than scheduled...

...but I'm not sure how busy I will be tomorrow and wanted to go ahead and post something while I had a moment to spare.

If you are interested in donating to a group coordinating aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, I would like to recommend Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort, Inc. out of Nashville, TN. Although they aren't one of the larger or better-known relief agencies, they do good, efficient work, and our congregation and individual members have made contributions in the past to them in the wake of several natural disasters.

Other worthwhile organizations can also be found over at Dr. Reynold's place, and at The Truth Laid Bear.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:04 PM | Comments (4)

Well, you'd better look fast!

This event happens with the frequency of the return of Halley's Comet, but happen it had to.

The stupid exercise in futility into which I have become entrapped has required that I trace a big base map drawing--you know, since we have no quick way of getting computer plots of such things--and in order to trace a big drawing, I needed some layout space. Most logically, this should be my drafting table, but it has been an ever-more-burdened catch-all of papers and books, and the actual drawing surface had shrunk down to the size of an 11 x 17 sheet of paper.

Time to take action and CLEAN HOUSE! Also, this allows me to stall on the more important work of the day. Anyway, I brought the recycling barrel in and started shoving stuff into it. That done, I swept the eraser crumbs away, cleaned out the paper tube at the bottom (what we old-timers call a belly roll), and then brought out the rubber cement thinner to clean the goo off of it.

The result?


You can't quite see that there is still a goodly amount of marker scrawl on the cover, but that's okay. Now, obviously, SOME of that crap on my table I had to keep. So, part of it went here, into the space on the window sill--

And part of it went on top of the file cabinets--

And part of it wound up exactly where it DIDN'T need to go, namely, my desk.

No, I'm really NOT this messy. I blame the hurricane.

Anyway, now on to something productive. ::chortle::

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:40 PM | Comments (5)

August 30, 2005

Dumb ol' work.

Just spent twenty minutes with the boss trying to figure out something that he wants done by Friday morning. Did finally manage to figure out something (maybe), but most certainly it will require every bit of my time between now and Friday.

Well, all of you have fun, then. I'll be here for the next couple of days doing mindless busywork, the lifespan of which (after it has been presented to our bigger boss) is destined to be even shorter than that of toilet paper.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:42 PM | Comments (4)

August 30, 1862

The date marking the end of the Battle of Second Manassas (or Bull Run for you Yankees). From the National Park Service's Manassas Battlefield website:

[...] The Battle of Second Manassas, covering three days, produced far greater carnage-3,300 killed-and brought the Confederacy to the height of its power. Still the battle did not weaken Northern resolve. The war's final outcome was yet unknown, and it would be left to other battles to decide whether the sacrifice at Manassas was part of the high price of Southern independence, or the cost of one country again united under the national standard.

At the time, victory was not the least bit assured. The (horrifyingly bloody) Union victory later in the campaign at Antietam was followed by yet another defeat at Fredericksburg. Although the NPS website notes that the Northern resolve didn't weaken, that's not quite accurate in that it makes it sound like everyone knew victory was certain even if it might be tough, but there was actually not a great well of "resolve" to draw upon--it's difficult to weaken what was already weak to begin with.

The question (however unlikely it might have been in reality) of whether France or England would recognize the Confederacy still hung unanswered. Within the government of the United States itself, there were loud and constant calls from the Peace Democrats to allow the Confederacy its independence, rather than risk more lives in an obviously unfruitful war against a determined foe that the North seemed unable to defeat, and these calls were amplified and broadcast to all via the newspapers of the time.

It's probably unwise to attempt to draw direct correlations between past and present, but it's worth remembering that the easiest victories for your adversaries are the defeats you visit upon yourself. The world would certainly be a much different place had the Confederacy been allowed its will.

Thanks to Dave Helton for pointing out the obvious switcheroo I did with the name of the battles! I believe my trouble started because the NPS calls it Manassas, and I figured it MUST be the opposite to what THEY called it! Thanks again, Dave.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:33 PM | Comments (5)

Well, you better believe I think Donna Reed's HOT!

Via Nate "John Wayne" McCord, I take the test and receive confirmation of what I suspected all along--


You scored 23% Tough, 9% Roguish, 61% Friendly, and 9% Charming!

You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair. Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet girl-next-door types.

And not only that, I just LOVE the accordian!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:05 AM | Comments (12)

Now then...

...I've got work to do!

UPDATE: Just on the off-hand chance that it might work, I brought my flash drive with me today just to see if I could download the photo editing program to it without being interrupted by our security software, and it appears that it has worked like a charm! (And only took five minutes rather than five hours.) I guess the trouble I've had in the past was only if I was trying to download to my machine, rather than to another drive. So, yippee and all!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

My package?

Hooray! It finally got where it was going! I've been waiting on this for nearly three weeks now--the guy I bought it from on Ebay has pretty good feedback, but even his positive comments are peppered with notes about slow shipment. He seems to think that as long as he ships within the guidelines set by Ebay that everything's hunky-dory, which is technically true, but not a great way to do business if you ship EVERYthing slowly. And he was nearly impossible to raise on the e-mail machine, which inspired no small amount of nervousness on my part. But, thankfully, it did ship and only took a week to get here from California, which I suppose isn't so bad.

Further, in what I think would be classified as a minor miracle, the thing got to the house UNDAMAGED! It was in two cobbled-together cardboard lamp boxes, and cushioned with newspaper. Not very confidence-inspiring as I pulled it out, nor was the fact that one of the mounting pins on the front edge had poked a hole through the box. But after getting all the paper off and taking a look at it, the dashboard was in perfect condition--uncracked speaker grill, uncracked defroster vents, and a pristine cover. In fact, it looks almost new. A nice thing, especially when you see the condition of the one that's in there now, which looks something like a relief map of the Grand Canyon. In any event, I'm still astounded that this big long hunk of plastic managed to make it all the way to Alabama in one piece. Now, if I can just get it installed without tearing anything up...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

Maybe if they changed the name...

Google loosing [sic] ground in China

I mean, if I couldn't easily pronounce something, I wouldn't want to use it either. Maybe they could just drop the L or something. (And we don't even need to mention the excessive O use in the headline--I'm sure it was meant to be an eye-rhyme for Google.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

Cool! The stories write themselves before they even happen!

In what seems to have become an increasingly common occurence, yet another reporter transports into the future to tell us what it will be like later on today.

Bush commemorates end of World War II
8/30/2005, 5:01 a.m. CT


The Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — President Bush, facing a public increasingly uncomfortable with his Iraq policies, is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II while likening that 20th-century conflict to current wars.

With a San Diego naval base as a backdrop Tuesday, the president was to praise World War II veterans in a speech two weeks after the anniversary of the Aug. 14, 1945, surrender by Japan that ended World War II. [...]

After a short blurb by Scotty McClellan, the story shifts to past tense (which is fine for the stuff that happened yesterday) and further, it shifts away from the putative point of the story (commemorating the end of WWII) then back again to future tense, then to a complete and full recitation of the various acts in Cirque du Cindy and a litany of other things that serve no purpose except to let us know nothing except the reporter's opinion of President Bush. Which is just fine, but would be better labeled as commentary rather than actual reportage. Y'know, accuracy and all.

And yes, I realize reporters go ahead and write what they want to ahead of time--just all part of the business, eh? But, hey guys and gals--please just go ahead and drop the "disinterested observer of events" schtick, okay? When you get caught like this, it just looks silly. Or, sillier than usual.

I'm just glad these folks have the benefit of editors. Just think how crappy it would be if they didn't.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

Everyone loves circuses!

Sharpton Driver Arrested for Speeding

It just keeps getting more and more ridiculous. Which, obviously, means that it's all actually a plot by evil genius Karl Rove to discredit everyone involved in the protests.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)


Well, we made it through with only a couple of minor hiccups. The worst of it hit us sometime after midnight, but thankfully not much other effect than the power going off. It started flickering about 9:30 or so, and then shut off right in the middle of my effort to download that image editing program I mentioned yesterday. BAH! After about five minutes, everything came back on, so I cranked the computer back up and started again. Which was fine, because I got a quicker line that time. While the program was downloading AGAIN I decided I would go to this website and copy down the information on how to get the dashboard out of the Volvo. Due to the way it was laid out, it didn't print correctly, so I started trying to do a cut and paste in Word and had just about gotten it finished when the power went down again at about 10:45. No, I hadn't thought to save my work--why do you ask?

Well, the power flickered on a couple of more times during the night but never actually came back on full steam, and as of this morning it was still pining for the fjords. And we had just made a giant pot of homemade soup last night and put in the refrigerator. ::sigh::

Right before I climbed into bed, we heard a loud bumping sound downstairs. Reba thought I was about to go see what it was, but I figured whatever it was could wait until this morning. Turns out it was our portable propane grille and the smoker that had both tumped over. And even though the wind was still blowing pretty danged hard and it was still misting rain, I went ahead and righted them both, and looked around outside to see if anything else went astray. Nope. Although the wire trellis we have beside the Not A Storage Shed had fallen over, so I put that back up. Didn't look like too much other damage in the neighborhood--our neighbor across the street lost a limb off his Bradford pear, but what do you expect?! Crappy trees. They also had a few shingle tabs blowing up from the wind, but as far as I could tell, ours were all still holding on.

School closed today, so the kids are spending the day with Grandma, which I'm sure will be great fun for somebody.

We were certainly blessed to have been spared what others have had to endure, and will have to endure in the coming days. As always, if you have a desire to help folks who've been hurt, the best thing to do is send money, either via the Red Cross or through your place of worship. Remember, people need shelter first, so it does them no good to have tons of clothes that they can't store or use. FEMA has a list of other ways to help and tips for making sure your donation of time or money is well spent.

UPDATE: 8:49 a.m.--just got a call-back from the APCo automated response center telling me the power's back on at the house. Maybe the soup will still be okay. As well as all the stuff in the freezer.

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

August 29, 2005

Did I mention it's raining?

Oh, good.

Well, then, it should come as not surprise to you that I just found out from the FedEx tracking service that my eagerly awaited great big box full of Volvo dashboard was delivered to my house at exactly 2:20 this afternoon.

I sure hope it's not completely destroyed by the time I get home.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:23 PM | Comments (7)

Oh, yeah, her.

Jim Smith (not an alias, by the way) sent me a quick note saying that you all had heard about the three older children and their flight from school on the bus, but that it seemed that something, or someone, was missing from the mix.

OH, yeah! CATHerine!

She's fine, I'm sure. Even if she missed the bus, it's only about five miles to Grandmom's house from school, so she should be able to get there without much trouble. Unless she starts walking the wrong way or something.

(IN reality, she got home before the rest of the kids since she rides a different bus, and has already finished her homework.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)


...there it is. The rain. And just as rain follows clouds, so do the local news crews follow rain. They're all parked outside now, with the 'round-the-clock reports from the EMA bunker next door no doubt starting up.

Gonna be a long night.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Okay, that's more like it.

But not in a good way.

The wind has finally started kicking up, and the two gigantic windows that are behind me (which would be the northeast side of the building) are creaking and popping pretty loudly. I sure hope they don't come busting in on me.

Conditions at noon from NWS-BMX

CLOUDY TMP 83 | DP 73 | RH 72 | WIND E14 G22 | PRES 29.74F

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

Well, THAT'S what you want to hear.

Just got a call from Oldest saying they're on the way home.

"To Grandmom's?"


"Have you tried to call her and let her know you're coming?"

"I did, but it was busy."

"Do you have a key to her house?"

"No, sir."

"Well, she should be there, but if she's not, y'all just go around to the back porch. Are Jonathan and Rebecca on the bus with you?"

"Ahhhh, yeah, they're up at the front."

"Okeedoke, well, y'all be careful and I'll see you when I get home. Love you."

"Love you, too, Dad."

It's just precautionary--there's still no rain or wind at the moment, but I tell you what, getting a call like that out of the blue sure does put a kink in your innards.

Just called and made sure Granny was indeed there, and she is, which dekinked a section or two of the old alimentary canal.

I reminded her to make sure the kids get their homework done before turning on the television--because I'm just a control freak, you know.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

Hey, I have a question...

I really miss having the old-timey version of MS Picture Editor that had the posterize and pen-and-ink and watercolor and all those other effects with it. Do any of you know of a similar freeware (and I do mean FREE) program that will do all that? I downloaded AutoImager from Mystic Media last night that is very nice, but it only has a 15 day free trial, and after that you have to give them money. Blah.

I don't need a lot of power or anything like that, but it would be nice to be able to do the simpler manipulations.

Suggestions gladly accepted. Just remember the primary criteria is FREE.

Anyone ever use PhotoPlus? It looks purty. Although trying to pull 19Mb through a weak dialup connection at home might be kinda like sucking ice cream through a coffee stirrer.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:33 AM | Comments (5)

Good morning!

At least for some of you. For the folks down in New Orleans (whom I really doubt will be reading this right now), I do hope you'll manage to make it through the storm without any lives lost. Even without that, it looks like it's going to be a mess for a while. (And CNN just reported that the roof of the Superdome is leaking, so it might be a mess inside, too.) For those of you who made it up this way seeking shelter, I hope your stay is as pleasant as circumstances allow, and I hope you find us hospitable. Just remember, drivers here don't know what a turn signal is.

Well, the weekend was action packed--I got to spend the hours as I had planned, although I had not planned (or had forgotten) that the Mungummy County liberry system won't allow access to in any form or fashion, so the two posts I managed to send this weekend are over on Revolvoblog, should any of you want to read them. Nothing major, just the usual blather.

Upon our return, one bit of very good news--Boy had his audition for the school band Saturday. Grandpa took him in our absence, and he (Boy, not Gramps) managed to score very well on oboe, bassoon, flute, clarinet, and...


He got to choose which one he wanted, and, of course, chose beating on things. He was so very proud and excited--he's wanted to do this for over a year now, and I don't think he would have been prepared to have had to settle for anything you have to blow through. So, to the music store before we even got back to the house to pick up his bell kit of a xylophone, stand, drumsticks and mallets, and a practice pad.

It's only money, it's only money...


He better be good.

Other stuff? Well, sometime Friday night after I went to bed in the hotel, I caught a head cold. So, the rest of the weekend has been spend coughing and sneezing.

My sister came in Saturday with her cats and her frozen food to escape Katrina--she lives in Mobile, which is probably getting blasted about as bad as New Orleans, and after Ivan she pretty much has decided that no matter what else might happen, she's not going to let a freezer full of food ruin again, so, she packs it all up and brings it to my mom's house for storage. I sometimes think my mother might want to put the cats in the deep freeze, too. She's never said that out loud, though. And it was my mom's birthday! A week ago. I am a very bad son. I forgot all about it. Anyway, we all went out to eat yesterday, so it wasn't so terrible.

IN THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER, I was randomly scanning the wedding section as I always do, and you know how in our liberated modern times the groom is now showing up with increased frequency in the announcement picture? Well, Sunday was a new one for me. IN amongst all the brides pictured by themselves, and brides pictured with their grooms, was a bride posing with a horse! Sorry, but that just sends the wrong message. Or not. I just don't know anymore.

Car news? Well, my stupid dashboard didn't get delivered Saturday as I was expecting, so that was perturbing, especially when the tracking note says it's on a truck here in town somewhere awaiting delivery. But I did get a new set of horns to replace the old ones. I just can't stand those insipid, buzzy, foreign eep-eep horns--I want something that sounds like a horn. And something louder, too. So, that got done and now it sounds like a proper car. Or, at least the horn does.

Anything else? Well, I have a boatload of typing to do today, so I'm not going to be very productive herein. Bear with me please.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:19 AM | Comments (4)

August 26, 2005

Must have put in my Mr. Potato Head angry eyes this morning.

I don't know why I'm in such an petulant mood today--there's no real reason for it. Maybe I can blame Wal-Mart. I decided to go there right as I finished fixing supper last night, because Reba and I are going away for our weekend tryst/college busywork trip tomorrow, and the Focus really needed its oil changed, and I had not been able to do anything about it any earlier because of the dental appointment and the fact that Reba didn't get home until about 10 minutes before I finished cooking supper, so I had her call and see when they closed, which was 7:00, and it was right then about 6:00, and they said to hurry up and come on because there was only one other car in the service bay and they could get to it right away.

So, I left my just-cooked food there for the rest of the family to eat while I scooted over the hill to WallyWorld, knowing that I would be back shortly. Got there about 15 minutes later and was told it would be about a 20 minutes wait.

Two hours later, I finally arrived back home.

The first hour and a half was spent waiting on that one car to leave the service bay, and then waiting as the oil was drained and replaced from my own vehicle. I assume they must take the old oil out by holding a soda straw down into the crankcase, placing their thumb over the end of the straw, then taking it out and releasing it into a small cup.

Hey, but it's cheap!

Then to Sam's for some cheap gasoline, then INTO Sam's for some cheap bagels, then a quick phone home as I got to the traffic light to let someone know I was on the way back. "Can you get some dishwasher detergent? And are you still going to take Catherine and Jonathan to the Dollar Tree?"

::sigh:: I sure wish I knew we needed detergent. I had, after all, been to two different (but inextricably related) purveyors of dishwasher detergent. And it had now gotten very, VERY late, and the younger set probably had not been scrubbed down for the night, and would be expecting to be have the promise I had made to them fulfilled.


Got home, asked Reba to fix me a sandwich I could eat when I got back, then took off with Boy and Baby to the Wondrous Land of 100 Pennies. Two more Fairly Odd Parents inside-out plush toys. And two boxes of powdered detergent. I hate powder--leaves too much grit on the dinnerware. But it was cheap!

Home, sent the first of four to the bathtub, ate my sammich, and wondered why I was so very tired.

Then, packing time!

The kids are going to spend the night with the grandparents tonight, so each of them had to get together their essential items such as pajamas and clothes and socks and underwear and books and toys and shoes and toothbrushes and giant anvils and grand pianos and leaden bricks and tiny breakable things. That done, time for the Missus and I to pack. Into the OTHER satchel with the exact same stuff the kids packed, except in adult form. Well, that was just Reba's stuff. Mine consisted of a pair of jeans and a shirt and a pair of comfortable shoes. I like being able to pack using nothing more than a grocery sack.

You never know, you know.

Finally got to bed at about half past Letterman.

BUT TONIGHT! Oh, BOY--tonight is gonna be different. Me, Miss Reba, the stars above, the road below, a motel waiting at the end--and you know what THAT means....

CABLE TEEVEE!! The History Channel! The Weather Channel! The American Movie Classics Channel! AND FREE LITTLE TINY SOAPS! AND ALL THE ICE WE CAN CARRY! And then Saturday, it's up early to get her to class, and then I get to SPEND ALL DAY AT THE VAUGHN BELL ROAD LIBERRY! WHOO-HOO!

What can I tell you? We just lead an overly exciting life.

Anywho, all of you have yourselves a great weekend, I know I will!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:28 PM | Comments (5)

You want fury? Well, try this on for size.

Why would anyone do this?

Astoundingly, shockingly, sickening.

(Hat tip to Michelle Malkin, et al. for the link)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:52 PM | Comments (1)

Maybe it's just me.

But it seems to me that being "furious" is a rather overwrought reaction to have regarding an alleged bit of insensitivity, especially coming from someone who was quite adamant about someone else's perceived insensitivity.

Then again, I've never been refused entry to the Hermes shop in Paris, nor been unable to make a funeral because I was in Hawaii, so how could I possibly be a fair judge?!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)


Well, since I gave up pants completely, I think this probably covers short pants as well, but I noticed Fritz's admission of wearing tiny trousers in response to Ann Althouse's antipantifesto, and, of course, I feel compelled to comment.

As you all know, I am something of a fashion guru, throwing out fashion advice helter skelter, hither and yon, ad infinitum, and ad nauseum. Given that expertise, I will have to say that for going out on the town and engaging in adult activities such as dining or attending the symphony, I must agree with Fritz and say that men wearing culottes is a bad idea. Either wear regular pants, or, like me, eschew them entirely. Be a man, and take no half measures.

As for childish, playtime-type activities, such as golfing or other things designed to make you look ridiculous, shorts are entirely permissible.

Outliers in this advice?

Well, those weirdos in Bermuda, who have taken to wearing "Bermuda shorts" and trying to convince everyone they are sane. Well, whatever. "When in Bermuda, do as the Romans do," I always say.

Mailmen? Yep, go ahead and wear them, guys. And that spiffy pith helmet. And in this instance, I do mean mailman, not woman (or something like the rather more PC term, "letter loser"), because girls can wear shorts just fine. Well, girls with good-looking legs, that is. The rest of you can stop.

Basketball players? Soccer players? Bicyclists? Kid games, kid clothes.

So, there you have it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:07 PM | Comments (2)

One for Skinnydan!

Dr. Smith sent me a link to this story, and wondered if our favorite archivist had ever thought about an alternative occupation...

Skinny Firefighter Slithers to the Rescue

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:44 AM | Comments (4)

Ahhh, the good old days.

"Able Archer 83," eh? Amazing what went on back then. And more than a bit scary.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:07 AM | Comments (8)

And we don't 'need' people, either, apparently.

New exhibit at London Zoo - humans

Point at which I stopped reading? Got all the way to the third sentence, almost--

LONDON (AFP) - London Zoo unveiled a new exhibition -- eight humans prowling around wearing little more than fig leaves to cover their modesty.

The "Human Zoo" is intended to show the basic nature of human beings as they frolick throughout the August bank holiday weekend.

"We have set up this exhibit to highlight the spread of man as a plague species [...]

If you think of yourself as a plague, I'd rather not be around you. Or read what you have to say.

I also found the photo caption amusing--"Scantily-clad volunteers mimic homo sapiens [...]". Well, yes. I would imagine that if this is your idea of a good time, you probably ARE just mimicking other human beings.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:50 AM | Comments (5)


I tell you what, it sure does feel nice not having any of that horrible money weighing me down! ::sob::

I wonder why I though having four kids would be fun? Well, they ARE fun, but good GRIEF it's expensive making sure they don't have hillbilly teeth. $274. PLUS the hundred bucks for the filling I got two weeks ago.

On the plus side, I found a strudy plastic battery tray and a proper-year grab handle, all for the sum of 3 dollars. I'm enjoying my time at the junkyard much too much. It's hot, and I get all sweaty and dirty, but it's just so doggone interesting. And nobody bothers you. Aside from the guy who wanders around yelling to people as they come in, "I PULL PARTS! I PULL PARTS!" Well, I like to pull my own parts, thankyewvermuch. Anyway, it's strangely relaxing. One day I'm going to play hooky and stay there ALLLLL day long.

Speaking of cars, I hear tell of various moonbats and dingleberries who've once again jumped on the EVIL SUV bandwagon. I've been following the story via Insta-Man, and haven't really felt compelled to comment, mainly because the story is so FLIPPING stupid that I just don't feel like it, but I will say this--I have a gut feeling that the people who are most loudly proclaiming that EVIL SUVs help fund terrorism are the EXACT SAME PEOPLE who not long ago were loudly scoffing about those anti-drug public service ads that drew a link between terrorism and drug trafficking. Even though the link to illicit activity and terrorism is MUCH more direct than through legal commodities. Why are the SUVhaters acting like this? Gee, I think it might just be unhinged, reactionary Bush hatred, but what do I know?

Here's the deal--ANY PRODUCT MADE can in some small way be said to drive money to fund illegal activities, because it increases the available world store of money. If you create capital, and you have a way of exchanging it, illegal actors will find a way to use it for the wrong purposes. So, ANYthing is capable of eventually leading back to bad people.

AND ANOTHER THING--some people need SUVs. Some don't. But it's not like the ones who don't are stealing anything from you. They pay for their choice. And although you might feel smug driving to work--alone--in your 25 mpg car, the moment someone in a 15 mpg SUV takes on a passenger, suddenly it's equivalent to them halving their fuel consumption--almost like they're getting 30 mpg. Gee, who's wasteful THEN!? And why exactly are you satisfied with 25 mpg?! There are cars that get 50--why don't you get one? EARTH RAPER! And why do you even have a CAR? You don't need a car. Ride a bus, you fascist! Better yet, walk.

Obviously, I don't believe that junk--you make your own choices. I do think, however, that it's a bad idea to start deciding for other people what we think they "need." People don't "need" publicly funded art projects, you know. People don't "need" PBS, or the NEA, or a host of other letters. People might not "need" SUVs, either, but then again, Hollywood celebrities or Massachusetts senators probably don't "need" a host of expensive mansions or a private jet. So, I would appreciate it if the Self-Righteous Need Nannies would think through their arguments before spouting off.

We now return you to mindless chitterchatter.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:53 AM | Comments (6)

August 25, 2005

Almost time to make like a tree...

...and be torn to shreds to make paper and plywood! No, wait--that's not it. Uhh, "time to make like a rug and...get beaten with old golf clubs!" NO! Not that either. Ummmm, well, who knows?

Anyway, I gots some wrapping-ups to do here, and then it's off for the rest of the day to spend money.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Pointless specificity.

China, Russia Wrap Up Military Exercise

I quit reading after the first sentence--

BEIJING - Thousands of Chinese and Russian troops wrapped up their historic first joint military exercises Thursday with a mock invasion by paratroopers on China's east coast. [...]

China has a west coast?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)


Walter Reed Medical Center to Be Closed

Incredible. The place has such a tremendous history that it's almost like hearing Fort Knox was closing. Which, as far as I know, isn't, but still, it's quite a bombshell.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:46 AM | Comments (7)

Although I don't particularly like traffic jams...

...they are nonetheless rather entertaining from a voyeuristic point of view. People do some weird stuff in their cars, lemme tell you. Or maybe it would be better not to. Just remember, people CAN see in.

It's also interesting to see what all gets thrown, or comes loose and lands, on the side of the road.

ANYway, I'm in late today, and I have to leave early to go take the three older kids to the dentist, and yes, before I get them, I'm going to make another surreptitious trip to the junkyard to get those grab handle bits and a plastic battery tray, and I have GOT to get some meeting minute production done this morning.

Meaning? That the continual slide into nonblogginess continues apace! But at least today I don't have to worry about pants.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:22 AM | Comments (4)

August 24, 2005


Study: Placebos make people feel better

Astonishing! It's almost as if the person who thought up the name did it purposely!

Science is something, ain't it!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:57 PM | Comments (2)

Frustration right up there with the wrong-pants thing...

Well, poop. It appears Miss Sugarmama is going on walkabout for an indeterminate spell.

(Source: SPI--Skillzy Press International SIN - the Skillzy Information Network, a division of Hard Times Media LLC, all rights reserved. [Derned uppity Big Media types. Ed.])

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:33 PM | Comments (6)

That's MISTER Lucky.

Speaking of near misses, which we weren't, it also comes to my attention that Nate McCord has been experimenting with Vento Scooter crashworthiness.

I wonder if they make an SUV version of a scooter?

ANYway, good to hear that Nate still has his posterior and his life. Such things can turn out sorta bad.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

An auspicious day.

Aside from the pants thing.

But it has come to our attention that frequent contributor Steevil, brother of Dr. Weevil, Famous NASA Scientist, boater, and Moron Club Wannabe, has returned to work today!

Steve has been quite ill for a while and has been on the DL, so it was a fine surprise this morning to hear he has been released to go back. Best wishes to you, Steevil!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:55 PM | Comments (3)

Well, if that's going to be the way it is, I'm just not gonna wear pants anymore.

Just got a moment to go eat lunch, and as I was walking down the street, something caught my eye. I looked down, and noticed that in lieu of the nice pair of gray slacks I THOUGHT I had put on this morning, I was wearing the kinda taupey-brownish pair. With my black shoes and socks. And a red tie.

I noticed they felt funny this morning--not that I can feel color, but the taupe pair of pants is a different size. But I didn't really think anything about it. They LOOKED gray. In the dark. While I was half asleep. But let me tell you, outdoors they are noticeably off-kilter-looking with black shoes. The ties not SO bad, seeing as how it has tiny tan circles on it, and it's a dark red that could conceivably coordinate with the pants. But it all would have been much better with gray pants.

So, I have just decided not to every wear pants ever again.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:47 PM | Comments (6)



Despite what you might have heard, I had absolutely nothing to do with the Great Munu Splodey Mess of Two Thousand Ought 5. Not a thing.

ANYway, I have been blogging this morning over on Revolvoblog, which, for future reference, in case there's another Blowed Up Real Good Episode on, will be the Possumblog Backup Site. So, please, all both of you make a bookmark for it, just in case.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:36 PM | Comments (2)

August 22, 2005

How could I have forgotten this?!

I guess the same way I forgot about the meeting I had tonight, but in any event, I won't be in on Tuesday--I have a continuing ed seminar down in Pelham tomorrow. Supposed to be a nice free shindig put on by a brick company--lunch and all that junk, AND looks like My Friends Jeff and John will be there, so we can cut up and be naughty.

SO, I will see you LATE on Wednesday--I've got one of THOSE meetings on Wednesday morning, so blogging will start late.

IN THE INTERVENING TIME, all of you be sure to visit around up there in the blogroll and see what all everyone else has to say!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:45 PM | Comments (1)

"Say, Terry..."

"...surely you did SOMETHING to relax this weekend!"

Oh, silly--of course I did. I typed! Yes, really. You thought maybe I was joking about the moron thing?!

Well, it's like this--I got to thinking the other day it would be nice to have some new designs for the Revolvoblogshop, but maybe something a bit different. I mean, all the other designs are just FLYING out of there (like a dead parrot), so maybe if there were even MORE things no one wanted, it would make a difference.

I like old gas signs and junk like that--what collectors call "petroliana"--and thought it might be nice to see what all I could think up. It's a bit like what Lileks has been doing with his matchbooks, except rather than make up a story to go with a real matchbook, I'd make up a story AND the graphics to go with it.

So, I got to thinking, and I consulted with Luther, our chief mechanic here at the Axis of Weevil World Headquarters, as well as at Revolvoblog Garages. Luther has been in the business a very long time, and thought it might be fun to reminisce with some of the junk he kept from when he ran his own place.

Such as this lovely wall sign, which was professionally done by his boys, Jimmy Neil and Clew. As you can see, Luther was set on being able to fix anything, and chose to experiement with a variety of marques and found them all quite unreasonable. (You should be able to tell this is a fictional sign, because no one actually can fix anything made by Lucas.) He ran his shop in Godly Hollow from 1945 to 1953, 1955 to 1956, 1958 to 1965, 1969 to 1978, March, 1982 to May, 1982, and finally from 1983 to 1996, when he came to work for us. The intervening years he did other things, about which he will not speak.

Some of the stuff he has include several things from the various gasoline companies he sold for over the years. Again, these aren't real companies, but they could be if someone had ever existed to create them. First up, Re-Di-Co, founded in 1908 by three sisters in Gadsden who were tired of the smell of the gasoline of the day (which smells pretty much like it does today) and contracted with a laboratory to produce something for their motorcar that stank less. Work proceded on this until the Great War, when the enterprising scientists of the lab convinced the War Department that an odorless fuel could give them an advantage over the Huns. The government granted the laboratory a stipend of over $3,000, and although the promise never was quite fulfilled, the sisters soon went deaf-of-smell and the Germans were defeated, so it didn't really matter. The company sold just plain old gasoline until 1946.

Dot gas came out in 1940, and was sold in three counties in Alabama and one in Florida. It was inexpensive, and not a very high quality fuel, and sales relied on pleading with customers to buy their gas and on product giveaways, such as Dot dishes with the colorful Dot logo in the center. The company folded in 1950, after being purchased by the Spot Oil Company.

One of the more vigorous of the local oil companies was the Deep South Petroleum Corporation, makers of the Penn-Ala-Tex line of products and boasting of offices in Houston and Birmingham. The offices were both just answering services, and although the products were made of the "finest blended Pennsylvania and Texas crude," it really was nothing more than a mixing and blending operation using other companies' products, located in a warehouse in Huntsville. Something like the way enterprising entrepreneurs take tap water and bottle it, then sell it as something better than plain old tap water, Penn-Ala-Tex prided itself on being able to sell a whole lot of sizzle without much steak. The tagline "It's STA-BIL-ATED!" was meaningless, but the company managed to do quite well for itself with such meaninglessness, until all of the money ran out and the offices moved to Argentina.

Luther also found one of his favorite bits of ephemera, or as he charmingly calls it, "trash," in a booklet from the Cotton State Oil and Gasoline Company, makers of Bama-Lene brand products.

Cotton State's founder and CEO, Wilson L. Peltipuller, was a stickler for modernity and the scientific method, as well as something of a germophobe who valued cleanliness in everything he touched. His insistence on sanitation extended to his products, which he claimed to be so pure as to be potable. The advertising for Bama-Lene touted its healthful benefits for both cars and humans, and to prove the point, he often drank small quantities of his company's gasoline as "a refreshing digestive purgative," would wash his hands in towels dampened with a mixture of naptha and kerosene, and used a mixture of light petrolatum and benzene as a pomade.

Mr. Peltipuller died on April 14, 1956 at the age of 103. His cremation was a five-alarm affair that lasted a week.

We hope you've enjoyed this trip down nonmemory lane, and invite you to think of the "Luther's Garage" Collection when it comes time to buy gifts for your loved ones!

(All graphics copyright Terry Oglesby, obviously.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:29 PM | Comments (4)

And upon the Lord's day... morning drew nigh, I woke up and scraped the ground glass out of my eyes, got my shower, got dressed, got everyone else up, got us to church, managed to stay awake for all parts of the morning, set off for Ashley's granparents' house over on the other side of the county, but then had to make a detour BACK to the house to pick up some more of those stinking coupon books to sell to them, THEN on to their house, ate lunch, visited, then had to come back home because it turns out that the children STILL HAD SOME HOMEWORK to do.


Luckily for me, it included TYPING! YEA, TYPING! Wheee!

Ashley had a single pager about her favorite person, which is Reba's mom, at least for the purpose of the assignment, and then Rebecca had what was supposed to be an two-pager narrative, but was more like a three-quarter pager. Typed those, then on back to church, then got home and then Rebecca edited and extended her paper, which I then corrected.

After they all got into bed and went to sleep, I finished up my weekend by typing the answers to Reba's class assignment for tonight. It only took until midnight.

And now?

Well, I'm here!

And doing what?

Typing, because I am a moron.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:18 AM | Comments (3)

In the kingdom of Ty-Ping...

That's the rest of what I did this weekend. Typed. And typed.

BUT FIRST, after my tiresome trek to the stadium, I was hoping to be able to go home and go to bed, and maybe get some slumber and rest and wake up refreshed Saturday morning.

Well, you know how this is going to go.

Oldest had to meet one of her school clubs up at Wal-Mart Saturday morning to sell school coupon books. Really puts the "fun" in "fundraiser," you know? So, the question of how to get her there--AT SEVEN A.M. That's right, seven o'clock in the morning. ::sigh:: Reba said she'd take her, and I asked her how it was she was going to get up--"Well, you might have to get up, too," she said with a winsome smile. ::sigh:: Why bother? I'll just take her and let everyone else sleep.

Now, unbeknownst to me, sometime during this exchange after we got in Friday night, Oldest had been told by Mom to call the person in charge and make sure of the time. Oldest took this to mean to call everyone she knew. But not their home, their cell phones. But, nobody was answering. And rather than leave a message, she just hung up. Apparently.

I say apparently, because as I was getting ready for bed and the ensuing lack of sleep I was going to get, the telephone rang. I picked it up, and in the background you could hear something, like someone calling from a phone booth. Much "hello"ing, no answer, then I heard Ashley pick up downstairs and say hello, and then hang on while I kept saying hello, so I told her to hang up, and then I hung up.

Five minutes later, the phone rang again--same background noise, but this time a voice after I said hello. Sounded like a teenaged girl. "WHO IS THIS!?"

Lots of attitude. "Well, who are you trying to call?" See, because you don't just call up someone on the phone and demand to know who you've just called. And you especially don't call adults and act like that.


You know, I really wasn't in the mood for such crap. But I can't really blame the kid--I blame her PARENTS, who seem to have never taught her the finer points of ACTING LIKE A HUMAN when you use the telephone.

"Look, sweetie--as far as I know no one has called you from this num--"


"No one called you." ::click::

Ashley came upstairs--"You haven't called anyone have you?"

Turns out she had. Several people, as I mentioned. Then the phone rang again. "WHJUPLAMAFOMENUMBAFO!? HOOBONTHFO!?"

"Pardon me?"


"Someone called you? No--oh--wait, hold on just a minute. ASHLEY!"

I gave her the phone and she nearly broke my hand snatching it away from me, but by the time she answered it, the caller had hung up.

I told her that she knows some very rude little children who shouldn't be allowed to play on the telephone. Which brings us to:

Telephone Tips for Teens Clip and Save!

1) I don't like wasting my time on the telephone. And, unlike you, I'm actually having to pay for it. So don't waste my time playing.

2) If you receive a call from an unfamiliar number, the thing to do is not call that number back and start acting all mouthy and put-out about it. Especially if it's an adult answering. Because you know how big people can act.

3) If you do decide to call back, quietly and politely state that you just received a call on your cell phone from the number, and politely ask if someone called.

4) If you are told no, don't automatically assume the person is lying. Remember that technology is a wonderful thing, and that there exists a method of running more than one set of telephone lines in a house, leading to more than one phone. These are called "extensions" and unlike the things you put in your multi-colored hair, they can be used by persons in remote parts of the house to make telephone calls, and said remote persons might HAVE made the call, and the person who answered YOUR call might not have known about the other caller in the house.

It's best not to argue if the person says they do not know how the number got on your telephone, rather, just excuse yourself and hang up.

5) And if you can't mind your manners, just shut your face and recall that there actually is a good reason for that old saying about children being best when they are seen and not heard.

For my own sweet child--when Mom says to call one person, she really means only call one person. She doesn't mean for you to call everyone you know. Second, learn to leave a message. ::sigh::

Anyway, all of that, and she still wasn't sure that it really was supposed to be at 7:00.

Up exceedingly early on Saturday, dressed, gathered her up and hit the road. Pulled in the parking lot right on time. Waited. Went in. No one. Went to the service desk. Nobody knew anything. Waited. I left her at the front and I went and got detergent and milk and fabric softener and a sandwich. Came back, asked if she was sure she didn't want anything, and waited.

Wound up waiting until 8:00. Nary a sign of any club members. Went the whole rest of the weekend expecting someone to call and ask why she missed out. Nothing.

Luckily, I was able to get up bright and early on a Saturday--all that excessive sleep was narrowly avoided!

Then, time to type.

I typed from 8 to 4:30. Then we went out to eat. I came home, and typed from 7:00 to midnight. I finished her paper. 65 pages. I am very happy.

Things that made it hard: Grammar--especially her subject-verb agreement and possessives. Only a minor difficulty.

Major difficulty? Her seemingly obsessive need to talk to me as I typed. About her textbook. About the kids. About the weather. About the coupon book she was reading. And not just talk, but recitations--she would read lists to me of things, such as the locations of various restaurants in the coupon book. Why? She just has to talk. She talks like I write. Excessively, and with much flourish of hands. Which is fine IF I'M NOT TRYING TO TYPE THINGS!

[Internal monologue] AAAGGGGHHHHH! SHUTUP!SHUTUP!SHUT!UP! Do NOT TALK! I don't need to know about the list you're reading! I don't want to see the stain on the shirt! I don't want to hear about the various iterations of the twelve different forms you use at work! SHUT UP! [/internal monologue]


Thank heavens it's done. Now to take it to be bound during lunchtime. This time, I will be sure to remember to get wire-bound. Maybe.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:38 AM | Comments (6)

Maybe NEXT weekend will be more relaxing.

Let me tell you this right now--if the first words you hear when you come home include the word "Jamboree," it pretty much sets a tone for the whole weekend that is mighty difficult to overcome.

Walked in Friday evening with the hope of just being able to sit down in a chair and allow what was left of my brain to run out of my ears onto my shoulders. Just a nice, quiet, dark room with a television. "Let me ask you a question," said Sweet Wife sweetly, "would you like us to all go to the Jamboree tonight with the kids?"

[Internal monologue] Why, I'd LOVE IT! And for added enjoyment, why don't you repeatedly smash my teeth with an iron bar! A HOT iron bar! And then just hitch me up to a team of weasels and drag me there! THAT would be GREAT! [/internal monologue]

[Out loud] "Uh. Well. ::sigh::--"

"Ashley wants to go see her new boyfriend!"

Oh, well that just puts a wonderfully perverse sort of spin on it, doesn't it. Oh, wait--that was internal.

"::sigh:: I really don't feel like going, Reba."

"We could get some hamburgers for the kids and not have to cook anything."

"::sigh::heavy sigh:: Come on."

I had hoped that since Oldest had dropped out of Band that things like this wouldn't come up this year. I mean, I like the ambience and all that, but I was hoping that it wouldn't be a mandatory thing like it was last year. Compunction tends to take some of the fun out of things. Especially when you have had your gray matter pressed into a fine thin sheet of goo by an interminable meeting full of bureaucrats.

And there's this whole deal with seeing a Boy. Beau #4, I think this makes. Why must I participate in this?! Oh, yeah. I am a moron--and reliably, pliantly so.

SO, everyone in the van. Off to the store to get some money. OFF to the stadium to park, except we had to park at the library and walk. Pay to get in--now remember, this is what they call a Jamboree around here. A pre-season scrimmage game. Most have four or six teams, and they play only a quarter or two apiece, but this was just a two team game--us versus the Decatur Red Raiders. (EEK!! POLITICAL INCORRECTNESS!) But, still, it was not a real game. Still had to pay full freight to get in, though. Five bucks a head. Thirty bucks total. Just like that. Sure, it's less expensive than a movie, and there are cheerleaders and such, but you know, my mood on Friday didn't seem to be able to consider those mitigating circumstances.

Oh, did I mention that it was hot? It was. Not that I'm complaining. It's August, it's supposed to be hot. But humans are supposed to huddle indoors by the air conditioner. That's what civilization is. Not out in a bleacher full of large sweaty persons when the temperature, even when the sun goes down, is still 90 degrees, and the humidity never dips below 80%. Why, that's just INSANE!

Must explain why I was along for the ride.

Anyway, we sat down and the kids immediately began starving to death right before our eyes, so Reba went and got food and drinks and I sat there and tried to be sociable.

Pretty good game--we threw the ball a lot, and the score was 28-7 at the half. Bodes well for the regular season, I hope. Halftime, time for the band performance. Whoa. Last year's band was about twice as big. I won't say much about why, but suffice it to say that adults who enjoy berating children in order to make themselves seem superior is probably not a good way to draw interest in an extracurricular program that is purely voluntary. Although I assume it's better to have a small group who are completely dedicated, it really can't make up for the volume and depth of a big band. And they NEEDED some more people. Good show, but just not in the same league as they were last year.

Second half, more of the same on our part, although they did let up a bit and didn't run the score up. Oh, and I got to see Beau #4--he didn't dress out because his foot was hurt. Good-looking kid, I suppose. But it was hard to tell from up in the bleachers.

Finally, the final play, and time to head home. I had actually gotten into a slightly better disposition, but, you know, the weekend is a long thing.

Thankfully, the staff meeting I'm about to go into won't be quite so long. I hope.

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

August 19, 2005

Maybe the weekend will be more relaxing.

I intend to spend it nearly in its entirety typing more on Reba's paper. That's always quite enjoyable.

Anyway, as long as I don't run away and join the circus or become a cowboy, I suppose I'll see you all bright and early on Monday morning, hopefully in a slightly better disposition.

Or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:17 PM | Comments (1)

Four hours.

From 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., with a couple of unscheduled pit stops to rid myself of the Diet Coke I should have known better than to drink. Then again, at least I had an excuse for being able to get up, if only for a moment. And a much better one than just wanting to go absolutely insane and start screaming for everyone just to shut up if they didn't have anything substantive to say.

Overall, there was probably about twenty minutes of actual value, the rest was just people restating the same thing in a multitude of ways, spouting jargon, or confusing identifying a problem with solving a problem.

Another source of blabberosity (and irritation) is the coworker I have who thinks she is a complete and utter authority on computers, and if she's having a problem tends to think everyone else must be having the same problem, leading to much ranting as she goes on and on about how she can't find files, or can't e-mail something, or how sometimes the document margins go all the way out to the edge of the screen and sometimes don't, or how opening an image file with MS Word just fills up the screen with random letters and numbers. It would be much easier if she could just bring herself to admit she's a neophyte and might need some training, instead of trying to lecture everyone else about how to do things.

That prison guard gig keeps looking better and better.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:38 PM | Comments (5)

Less painful than repeatedly being jabbed in your nether regions with an ice pick.

But not by much.

A meeting! A meeting! I've missed several already, so I have to go to this one and get loaded up with more exercises in futility. Because exercise is important.

Anyway, back after while. Maybe.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005

Pre- & Postprandial Perambulations

I decided to do something different for lunch today for a change. Since Reba no longer works downtown, I don't wander very far down the sidewalk anymore, but today I got in the mood to walk down to 1st Avenue and go visit one of our old haunts, the Mexican place (variously styled as the Tower Cafe, Sabor Mazatlan, or Sabor Latino) over in the Brown-Marx building. (Old postcard versus the current look.)

I don't particularly know why I decided to pick today to do this--although it's not that hot--only about 93 degrees with 55% humidity--it's still hot enough to make the trek uncomfortably sweaty.

Tips to cope?

1. Always walk on the shady side of the street. If there's no shady side, walk in some large person's shadow.

2. Walk slowly. Going fast is just a recipe for disaster. It reminds me of a guy I saw when I was walking back. He works here in the building and goes out and "jogs," bless his stout little thighs, during lunch. He was staggering around like he'd just got through running a marathon, shuffling his feet and swinging his arms in a cartoon-like simulacrum of actual running. He was only two blocks from the office. Don't run. It's bad for you.

3. Don't look at ugly people. It's uncomfortable enough as it is without having to put up with that.

4. Don't slowly walk eight blocks on the shady side of the street looking only at attractive people, eat a large Mexican lunch, then walk back eight blocks to work. By the time you do that, all that rich creamy queso and flavorfully spiced meat will have started doing the flamenco in your gizzard.

The walk itself was actually fine, and entertaining. First up were two women crossing the street at 6th Avenue. Against the light. With traffic coming. One lost her sandal as she was ambling across, causing her companion to stop and look incredulously at the now single-shod woman. With traffic coming. The woman mosied back and put her shoe on and commented to her friend that those sure weren't the shoes to be wearing to cross the street in. Call me crazy, but it might help if you weren't walking out into oncoming traffic. Dolt.

After I passed by them, one of the computer guys caught up with me. Turns out he was going the same place, so we walked together. He's one of the good guys, and it has nothing to do with the fact that he's a competitive centerfire rifle shooter or drives a Volvo. He's just a good egg. And knows his computery stuff. Big controversy today was dealing with a particularly buffoonish, brought-collards-to-the-Xmas-party fellow on our floor. Seems this goober was upset that the system administrators have access to his computer. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!? He got to ranting and raving about what if someone got into his files and sent something out under his name.

As. If. Mister.

For people who see a conspiracy behind every vapor trail and a black helicopter under every rock, there seems to be some kind of rule says you must believe that everything you do is so stinkin' important to the ChiCom or the Rethuglicans that people are constantly trying to get into your computer files and see what you're doing. Even if you're a low-level bureaucrat with absolutely no tasks of any importance. It's like these people who fancy themselves as enemies of the state and just KNOW the FBI has a file on them. Adds to their sense of self, I suppose.

Computer Guy was just beside himself trying to get a grip on the situation. He finally wound up telling the guy that if it didn't bother the Chief Executive and his chief of staff to have admin control over their computers, there was derned well nothing on HIS computer that was any more important.

Nothing like a nice cup of shut up.

Got to the restaurant and he went on and joined his party and I sat down at a booth. Ordered, ate my chips, drank my Diet Coke, looked out the window at the hot pavement, wondered when they would FINALLY get around to moving in at the old McDonald's location, and ate my food. Boy, it was good. Much better than I remember. And much more perspiration-inducing. Paid the cute cashier girl (who no longer remembers me ::sniff::) and walked back up 20th.

And now I am very sleepy. I sure wish we could get that siesta thing started in this country.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:36 PM | Comments (8)

Just what the doctor ordered.

New med school proposed for city

News staff writer

The presidents of the Jefferson County Commission and Miles College are trying to drum up support to start an osteopathic medical school, hoping to address doctor shortages in rural and low-income urban areas and to boost the number of minority physicians.

Doctors of osteopathy, or DOs, are licensed physicians but have different training programs from MDs. [...]

Well, there might be a reason for the difference--from the Skeptic's Dictionary:

[...] Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917), a Civil War surgeon in the Union army, is credited with discovering osteopathy as an alternative to the medical practices common in his day, practices which failed to save his three children from spinal meningitis. Still became convinced that he could cure diseases by shaking the body or manipulating the spine. In his autobiography, he says he could "shake a child and stop scarlet fever, croup, diphtheria, and cure whooping cough in three days by a wring of its neck" (Barrett). He also advocated clean living, including abstinence from alcohol and medically prescribed drugs. Surgery was to be avoided, if possible. [...]

Well, bless his heart.

As for me, I'd rather not have any of my tax dollars going to support such an endeavor, ESPECIALLY when there are so many other worthy projects that require funding, such as my perpetual motion machine factory.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:00 PM | Comments (11)

Who knew!?

UAB campus encouraged to read, discuss one book

That's a really smart bunch of buildings if they know how to read! Of course, you figure the library would probably be best at it.

(And since we're poking fun at usage, I would ask the editor to use the word "Lao" or "Laotian.")

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

It's very hard being a know-it-all.

Mainly because you keep finding out you're wrong.

Last night Ashley was talking about one of her classes. She's not afraid to state anything she believes, and state it unequivocally, and loudly, even if it's so dead-wrong that it's become an un-idea and singing with the chorus eternal.

I keep wanting to tell her--not to be mean, but to keep her from engendering the sort of eye-rolling disdain that high schoolers are so good at dishing out--that it would help if you're going to be a know-it-all, to remember that you actually have to know it all.

And if you do know it all, you don't have to go around blabbing about it all the time. People will figure it out. And when you occasionally find out you're wrong, don't get all defensive and angry and put-out and shrill and vicious and ugly. (Although I'm sure is always looking for new members.)

ANYway, she was talking about one of her classes yesterday, and the teacher was asking questions about various social-interest type things (I think it's social studies, which would make some sense) and the topic of myths and stories and such came up, and about how some stories and songs had hidden meanings (i.e. Gulliver's Travels), and some myths were based on actual places (such as Hamelin). Then, the conversation turned to nursery rhymes, and a discussion got going on "Ring Around the Rosie."

Now, in the past, I'd heard the same charming things about it most of you have--Black Death, posies to cover the smell, everyone falling down dead. But several years back when I first got to looking around on the Internets for interesting things, I found, and, as you can probably guess by now, I found out then that the whole story is much less luridly gruesome than popular culture might dictate.

As you can read here, the whole bubonic plague angle is pretty much an urban legend.

Now, I COULD have said something last night about it, especially when Reba started trying to correct her and say that it wasn't bubonic plague but smallpox, but I wasn't really in the mood for a disputation with two girls at that particular moment, and I also figured that such things require documentation to keep it from seeming as though I was being mean and picking on anyone. Heaven forbid.

So, I printed out the article and will pass it along to them tonight as an FYI sort of thing.

And in my mind I will do the Mr. Knowitall Jig.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:20 AM | Comments (10)

Less than zero?!

Exchange Rate Lessens Value of Nobels

Funny, but I would think giving them to the likes of Jimmy Carter and Yasser Arafat would make them pretty much worthless to begin with.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

I have an even better idea.

National Geographic goes without photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — National Geographic magazine, known for its breathtaking photography, decided this time a picture wasn't worth a thousand words — or even six.

The single-topic September issue, on the complex problems and promise of Africa, is the magazine's first cover without a photograph since 1959 — and only the second since it began using cover photos in 1943.

The white cover is dominated by a bold, brown word — "Africa" — and below that, "Whatever you thought, think again." [...]

How about this--ditch the "Letters to National Geographic" feature. It has become a cesspool of rhetorical insipidness and astonishing fallaciousness. It never matters what the story might be, there is going to be SOMEONE who writes in with such a tenuous grasp of reason and reality that they just HAVE to disagree. And to disagree in the most cloying, crass ways.

Why can't you people just read the danged magazine and shut up?! Or more to the point, WHY DO YOU EVEN READ IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!? Do you not have anything better to do than to review monthly periodicals trying to find things that offend your sensibilities so you can dash off a half-witted tirade to show your supposed moral superiority?! GET A FRIGGIN' LIFE!

Or, you know, start a blog.

Anyway, get rid of the letters. If that happened, I wouldn't allow my subscription (held since 1973) to run out.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

OW! It's leaking on my leg! And it's HOT!

Obviously, you're concerned that you child--no, wait--make that children--might have suffered harm, but since you're also a rather insensitive soul, you also wonder just how much has gotten on the seat.

YESTERDAY afternoon, running later than necessary and having to get to Grandmom's to pick up the kids, throw some food down them, then get us all to church, and THEN come home to finish homework. Bless Grandmom's heart--she fixed us some baked chicken! "Be careful--it's full of juice, so I put it down in this box lid with a towel under it." And aluminum foil over the top.

Well, no big deal--I mean, what could happen?

Finally got the kids kicked into high gear and trudging toward the car. Backpacks in trunk, Oldest in the front holding a plastic grocery bag with eggs and tomatoes, me holding a cardboard lid with really good-smelling roasted chicken in it.


Hard to drive like that.

"Catherine, can you hold this on the way home?" (She was sitting in the seat by the door.) Head shake no. ::sigh:: "Jonathan! Here, hold this! Be careful, it's hot and it'll leak."

I shut Cat's door, walked around and opened my door, sat down, turned the key, "OW! It's leaking on my leg! And it's HOT!"


Rebecca was giggling--"It's LEAKING! Jonathan moved it and it leaked into the box and he gave it to ME and it's still leaking! And it's HOT!"

Then Catherine--"::snicker:: ME TOO!"


I didn't suppose it was that hot considering they were giggling instead of writhing in agony, so I had to ask the obvious question.

"Did y'all get any of that on the seat?"

"Uh, I don't know--it's on my leg--I don't know."


Got out of the car, opened Rebecca's door, took the now sopping wet box lid and Corningware bowl of chicken from her and tried to figure out what to do with it. Trunk? No. Way. Backpacks and chicken schmaltz do not mix. Well, the Volvo does have those handy hard plastic floor trays that will hold several barrels of liquid. I knew it wouldn't fit in the back, so I walked around and got Ashley to move her feet and I stuck it in the front floorboard.

Home, got everyone out. The three youngest children stood before me on the driveway, each one's legs covered with large wet aromatic stains. Rebecca's went all the way around her leg. Which, obviously, could only mean one thing.

"DAD! Daddy! It DID get on your seat. But just right here. Oh, and there. And some there."

"Y'all go change--we have to go to church tonight."

The biggest spot was on the front edge of the seat. About the size of my outstretched hand, with an auxiliary bit further down. And then a smaller one over underneath where Catherine was sitting. At least I'm pretty confident by this point in her life that it was chicken drainings and not Catherine drainings.


Oh well. Went and got a towel and tried to squeegee up the majority of the liquid, and then went back and got the big box of dry Arm and Hammer carpet cleaner/pet deodorizer powder. Dumped a bunch on there, closed the doors, and locked up.

Supper (which was really good, by the way--the chicken had some kind of Southwestern seasoning on it), church, home, and time to see how much of a mess I had left.

Got the Dustbuster, vacuumed out the loose powder, and was left with 2 1/2 large white areas that looked like the polar ice caps on a sea of blue. And blue corduroy velour, at that. Boy, I sure hope that comes out.

Went and grabbed the stiff brush I use to clean everything and gave a couple of quick strokes, then vacuumed the rest. The result?

NO STAIN! Hooray. Although now it smells like someone dumped a load of perfumed chicken back there. But at least you can't see where.

Afterwards, set the kids to the task of their homework and STARTED TYPING A PAPER FOR OLDEST. Grr. "How long have you known about this!?"

"Since last week, but I was working on my other stuff."

"Which is due....?"


::sigh::Ralph Kramden slow burn::

"Lemme see it."

"Well, this is just the first page--it's got to be two pages and I don't know what else to write."

[kind and gentle Robert Young voice] "Okay, well, you need to go on to your room and get to work and finish it if you want it typed up tonight."

Obviously, my internal monologue was much more like a cross between Yosemite Sam and the Tasmanian Devil. Good thing I'm in such great physical condition, or such annoyances would probably turn me into one giant bulging aneurism.

Thankfully, it was only two pages. More or less. Less. She really needs to learn how to type. Although that doesn't really seem to matter--because I also have to get someone else's paper finished. I typed on that as well. And got in the bed very early. This morning. At about 12:30. Luckily, I got to sleep all the way to 5:30.

Yet, for some reason, I still feel a bit sleepy. Eh, go figure.

In any event, GOOD MORNING!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:45 AM | Comments (5)

August 17, 2005

Perpetuating the Stereotype!

An interesting little blurb:

Jacksonville [Alabama] Police are still searching for Jennifer Sue Hollis who they say broke into a woman's house and beat her with a high heeled shoe.

That other woman has been identified as Heather Jones McCrath.

The victim told police she was still sleeping when the women arrived at 5:30 a.m. and that McCrath probably thinks she was interested in her boyfriend.

Boy, it's a good thing those professional guys have editors. What you might miss in this online version is that two women broke into the house and hit the inhabitant with the shoe. Another bit of information that's missing is something I heard this morning as I was flipping around the various news shows, that being that one of the assailants is missing an arm.

That really just adds a whole 'nother layer of interest to the story, eh?

UPDATE: Here's a companion piece from the local NBC station that is just as comical in its poor composition. (It also says the woman's name is McGrath instead of McCrath--who knows what's really right!?) Anyway, I especially like this sentence--"The victim suffered minor injuries though one of the assailents [sic] had only one arm."

I'm still trying to parse that one--the "though" and "only" are making problems. Maybe it should be "Although the assailant had only one arm, the victim still suffered minor injuries," or maybe, "The victim suffered minor injuries at the hand--and we DO mean hand since the assailant only had one--of her attacker."

Anyway, thank goodness the professional media employ editors.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:54 PM | Comments (6)


I am very nearly through shoveling out the stable! It wouldn't be quite so bad except that the stables are full of a hundred Percherons and someone seems to have been dosing their oats with Ex-Lax, and my shovel keeps breaking because it's actually not a shovel but rather a leftover spork from Taco Bell.

ASIDE FROM THAT, things are going swimmingly. Enough so that I thought it would be good to draw up a bucket of English out of the well. It's been a while, so it seems a fitting time for another selection from The Churchill Wit. From Page 40, we have:

I have always been very much struck by the advantage enjoyed by people who lived in an earlier period of the world than one's own.

They had the first opportunity of saying the right thing. Over and over again, it has happened to me to think of something which I thought was worth saying, only to find that it had already been exploited and very often spoiled before I had the opportunity of saying it.

House of Commons
May, 1927

Don't I know it, bruvah.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:06 PM | Comments (4)

Yes...'s another one of those days. I seem to be much busier lately, but no more productive. I don't know why. I'm usually so good at mindless busywork, you know.

Maybe some lunch will clear my head.

Or clog it up.

One way or another, something's gotta give.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

A Romantic Interlude

As you recall (since I keep reminding you) yesterday marked the 14th year of marriage betwixt the lovely Miss Reba and me. I wasn't able to find exactly what I was looking for, but she enjoyed the roses and the card, and I still have a small grace period here where I can see if I can find what I was looking for. She got me some cards as well, and a couple of small sweet gifts, one of which I imagine Tiny Terror will try to sneak away with (it was a teeny little stuffed toy puppy--but Catherine willl have a fight on her hands if she tries to get it!)

It has certainly been a very interesting several years. You know, I'm sure I must have recognized it before, but it really didn't hit me until yesterday that our anniversary is also the date in which Elvis left the building forever. I asked Reba last night how it is we managed to pick that date out of all the other days in August, and she didn't know. But, no matter. It provided a convenient excuse to sing "Wise Men Say" in my best Elvis Impersonator voice to her last night as we climbed into bed.

It probably would have been more effective if she had gotten away from work on time instead of having to follow the psychiatrist on rounds, and if I had not had to go to a "meet the teacher" night at school, and if we had not eaten supper with her mom and dad instead of at home where the kids could have gotten cleaned up and in their pajamas at a decent hour, and if we weren't both dead tired. But, if nothing else, at least it made her giggle.

All in all, I really like her a whole lot. I mean, you know, I do love her, too--but there's an awful lot to be said for liking the person you share your life with. Sure makes the normal grind of life a lot more pleasant.

And aside from either of those things, I still enjoy sneaking a peek at her. The little tease.

Anyway, on to the next 14.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:22 AM | Comments (15)

Fun With Referrer Logs!

Good morning, science fans! As you all know, Possumblog continues to set itself apart as your most valued source of information regarding all matters scientific, and thus it is no surprise that we recently had a Filipino visitor to our sleek, high-tech headquarters to ask about: Trivia about Giraffe weevil

Well, my friend, you've come to the right place. If there's ONE thing we can claim the most knowledge about, it's insect trivia!

1) The giraffe weevil is the world's largest weevil, weighing close to 140 pounds when fully grown.

2) The giraffe weevil is usually found in cool, damp areas around the house, or in Africa.

3) The most common male giraffe weevil name is Blake, and the most common female name is Tiffany.

4) Giraffe weevils have only one natural predator, the giraffe weevil weevil.

5) The giraffe weevil was first described by famed entomologist Sir Dentley North-Wodely during his expedition up the Zambezi River in 1857. In his journal, his first sighting of the giraffe weevil is noted thusly: "April 14th, tea time: A deucedly great INSECT has just dropped onto one of our native porters, and it appears to be quite mad, with great snapping pinc--"

Sadly, this was also Sir Dentley's last sighting.

6) The largest private collection of giraffe weevil specimens is held at Lloyd Selby's International House of Curiosities, Rt. 4, Brooklyn, Kansas.

7) In 1903, a giraffe weevil infestation wiped out Alabama's entire giraffe crop. Although many farmers faced ruin, the devastation forced them to consider alternative crops such as the duckbilled platypus and penguins. The results of this change were dramatic and contributed to an overall boost in farm productivity and profits. Grateful citizens of Godly Hollow, Alabama erected a monument to the pest, in appreciation for the positive change wrought by the beast, and the diversification of Alabama's farm life.

Well, there you have just a sample of the fascinating information about this insect. As always, we are happy to be of assistance as you endeavor to make yourselves real smart.

UPDATE: In an effort to give you nightmares for the rest of your life, the lovely and talented Jordana Adams sends along a picture of this beast.

Actually, it's really not much worse than this.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:39 AM | Comments (13)

August 16, 2005


Thanks to Dave Helton for this link to the ever inventive Iowahawk, and his treatment for a worthy successor to the original Dukes of Hazzard show.

WARNING: Contains Volvos.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:31 PM | Comments (2)


Some folks don't need to be any more awake than necessary.

Just had a visit from a fellow (I won't say what level of the organizational chart he's at, merely that he's on there, and the fact that I won't say where exactly should give you a clue about his position relative to mine) but every once in a while he rouses from his daily grind and starts thinking.

All sorts of flights of fancy about marvelous technological doohickies and ways of doing things, which is great, except it's usually stuff that's already been around a while. It's like he's just heard about this stuff called "fire" and you can do EVERYTHING with it--heat water! Cook food! Burn down Rome! AMAZING! And then there's this thing called a "wheel"--ooWEE! Now THAT thing is SLICK!

So, he goes through all that, and then jumps to the conspiracy theories that he usually keeps tamped down into his mental sock drawer--"You know--the sled people had a lock on moving things, and they bought the wheel from those guys and now NO ONE can use wheels!" Oh, and don't get him started on Big Ice and how they managed to squelch that whole thing about the machine where you could carry a source of fire around WITH YOU in your POCKET! From there, on to how they taught us all this in school and as soon as we got out we forgot it--and I'm thinking, "What this 'we' business, Kemosabe?!", but he keeps on his Junior Einstein riff about all this stuff and trying to get out on the cutting edge and all those ideas just keep roiling around and shooting out like popcorn and you get the idea that in his mind, he's very close to developing a unified field theory, the only holdback to which is finding a secure source of unobtanium and a Green Hornet PEZ dispenser.

He finally went on to his office, bless his heart.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:23 PM | Comments (2)

It's Lunchalicious!

Long-time reader Stan the G-Man threw a paper airplane out of his window a few minutes ago and it just now landed on my desk. (Chet being gone to the Merganthaler Linotype Convention in Las Vegas.) I unfolded Stan's note and this is what he had to say:

This is an interesting food blog I found by accident (I was looking for the Bright Star's website)--

I gather he or she has been posting for a while, but there is only one link per Technorati to the blog. But you might find it of interest!


Well, it IS a fun place to visit, and I believe it was started by Robert McCrary, at least if the first few posts are an indication, and it also has a few of his friends along for the ride, and some nice posts from Greeks in Birmingham as well.

It gives you an overview of Birmingham-area good old down-home food places (both bygone and those still kicking), with an especial emphasis on the restaurants that serve burgers, hot dogs, and barbecue. As he says in his introductory post "[...] If you think that when someone orders “three jumbo pork sandwiches, 2 inside and 1 outside,” they plan on eating a third al fresco, there is likely to be writing here you won’t understand. [...]"

Not a whole huge amount of posts, but some that will make you very hungry when you read them.

AND, if you want to get an additional bit of lunchy goodness, how about a website of old Birmingham restaurant postcards! Compiled by a fellow named Warren Reed (and there's an index for all the rest of the cards here)--the restaurant selection does for the Magic City what Lileks has done for the open road. Except without as much gleeful snark.

Oh, and by the way, here's Bright Star's website.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:40 PM | Comments (2)

Moron Project AND Heat Exhaustion!

Such fun! Anyway, the full recounting of the hot HOT backseat Volvo action can be read here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:39 AM | Comments (6)

Your Tax Dollars At Work.

Babies caught up in 'no-fly' confusion

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list." [...]

Not surprising, given that the whole air security enterprise's primary purpose is not to stop terrorists, but rather to prevent certain high-profile groups from getting their feelings hurt--made worse by idiotic work rules that make it impossible for workers to differentiate between a baby and a swarthy guy with ACME explosive sneakers.

El Al seems not to have such problems.

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


Man hopes to help hunters can walrus meat

Nothing like a hot pinneped and cheese sandwich and a frosty Diet Coke, and now you can have it year round!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:31 AM | Comments (2)

Remember this, monkeys...

--Just say no.

U. of Wis. records show high monkey deaths

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

Where was I?!

Not that it matters.

Oh, yeah--weekend stuff. I fixed the leaky Focus first thing Saturday, for one thing. As I mentioned the other day, it's amazing how much information there is out there on the Internet--I typed in focus water floorboard and got back a ton of hits and quickly figured out the problem was more than likely the area around the pollen filter/fresh air intake on the passenger side.

I found several sets of instructions as well as a copy of the TSB addressing the problem, but until I popped off the cover, I wasn't quite sure why it was doing what it was doing--namely, every hard rain would cause a bucket of water to collect in the passenger side floor. I had already dried the carpet once, and ran water all down into the open cover on the driver's side, but never found the problem. Which is, the fresh air intake points straight up and the only thing that keeps (or is supposed to keep) water from running down the windshield straight into it is a small gutter molded into the underside of the cover. Too much water, and it overflows and pours right in.

So, I popped the cover off (and broke the tab next to the cover on the driver's side--oops) and taped off the windshield to keep goo off of it, and ran a bead of Permatex Ultra Black gasket juice all around the windshield side and the airbox groove. Very nice stuff--it comes out smooth and easy, although it is messy if it gets on your hands.

Wiggled it into place, popped it in, squished the bead of gunk down and put some weights along the edge to make sure it sealed good. Then, once more pull up the carpet and put towels under the pad to soak up some nice musty rainwater and left it all pulled apart so it would dry out.

Verdict? Worked like a charm. We had two big thunderstorms roll in Saturday afternoon and neither one caused any liquidy intrusion.

Overall, I have been very pleased with our Focus, but I think I would be much less so if I was having to rely on the dealership to fix the things I've had to fix on it. Again, thank goodness for the Internet.

Then, pears, then mowing, THEN the rear headrest installation on the Volvo--this will be posted over on Revolvoblog later on today, so I won't bore you with the technical details here, but suffice it to say that after spending about five hours in various other strenuous outdoor activities during the morning, and another hour spent inside of a very hot car, that the effort required to reinstall the lower seat cushion at the end of the project was very nearly enough to bring an end to ME! But, I did get it finished, and it looks nice and neat as a factory job.

(They ARE blue, by the way--they just look dark due to the shadow. But they match like they're supposed to.)

Anyway, everything fit right except for the rear speaker grilles, which were too big to fit in the space allotted, and now will have to be replaced with something smaller. MORE MORON FUN!

Went in and drank a lot of fluids and managed not to pass out, then got my shower and cooled off. It was a very long day.

Sunday was very nice, mainly because there were no meetings or anything else I had to go do between church services, so I got to 1) actually read the entire newspaper, and 2) take an actual nap in which I actually took off my actual suit and actually went to actual sleep in my actual bed. Which was probably not a good idea, because I was supposed to lead singing that night, and my throat was scratchy and then my vocal cords felt all constricted and everything, so every single song came out squeaky and coughy. It would help if I would relax a bit beforehand--I'm thinking maybe drinking a big bottle of Nyquil would help. It IS medicine, after all.

Ashley stayed to go to the teenage devotional/meal/gossipfest afterwards, which meant we had to go back and get her later. "We" meaning "me". ::sigh::

And that's pretty much the high points, although it doesn't sound nearly so tiring in retrospect as it felt like in real time.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:16 AM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2005

Let's see...

I managed to get all the super-dee-dooper emergency stuff done, and now am just left with the normal task of rolling this large boulder up the hill. Funny, but every time I do that, it rolls back down again. But hey, at least I don't have it as bad as that Prometheus guy. Real bummer, you know?

Anyway, I am left with not enough time to go over the entire weekend wrapup as I had intended, so I figure I'll just show the Boy Farmer for now, and maybe pick up the rest tomorrow.

The pear crop this year was quite abundant. I'm not sure when you're actually supposed to pick them, but they had gotten to the size of softballs, so I figured it wouldn't hurt anything to go get them.

I rousted Boy and told him to come help me, and after a minute or two he came charging out of the house, full of Boy Energy.

And his mother's white beach sandals.


"Son, you know those are Mama's shoes, don't you? And that Catherine has been wearing them?"

"Yes, sir, but they were right by the door and I didn't want to have to go get mine."

Hard to argue with that. Especially for a man who's had to put on his wife's bathrobe to go downstairs and get toilet paper out of the utility closet.

ANYway, he got to work right off.

Here he is looking for any windfalls--

and here he is trying not to get poked with pear tree thorns--

Pear trees are weird. Or maybe it's just this one, but it had lots of spikes on it, and then a whole bunch of little hard round berries that I assume are pear babies, but they don't ever grow. Strange fruit.

Here is Boy with an armload of his crop and a big cheesy grin--

After he put those down, I, being very smart and bright and clever, decided to grab a branch and give it a little shake to get the high ones down. They did come down. Hard. On top of my head. Ouch.

ANYway, after it was all said and done, Boy had grown more than EIGHTY pears from his tree. We had some that got eaten by the birds and that fell off in storms, but still, the eighty there on the stone bench are a pretty good haul.

He took some next door to both the young couple on one side and to the retired lady on the other. He wanted to know if he could keep the biggest ones to eat, and I said there wasn't anything wrong with that. (I think he was afraid he'd have to give those away.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:22 PM | Comments (8)

Ooooh, pretty!

Yet another task by the wayside--this one might be interesting to you. Or not. But it does involve more pictures, so there is that.

Well, now, let's say you're a non-profit environmental group, and you're located in a midsized Southern city named after Great Britain's second largest city, and let's say you run a downtown dropoff center for people to bring their recyclables, and the place looks pretty dumpy, and you want to spiff things up a bit. You think things will be fine, because you want it to be nicer than it was, but there are those ding-derned bureaucrats and citizen busybodies you have to satisfy, and they aren't quite thrilled with your first attempt at picking a color, and not only that, they want you to make a drawing showing what it's going to look like.

YOU, not having such expertise, are at a loss--until it is suggested that there exists yet another bureaucrat who might be able to help you out.

SO, you send him the only picture you have, and drop off some color chips for him--

Now then, if I was a real person, and this was a real proposal, and not something completely made-up, whose only similarity to actual locations, persons, or events was only coincidental, and if I had my way, I would have Photoshop on my computer, and this would get kicked out in about five minutes. As it is, I don't have that, nor do I have much of anything else other than all that old-timey stuff of tracing paper and pencils and pens. Thankfully, I do have a copier I can use.

Anyway, first step is to get the picture somewhat bigger, and then do an ink outline on tracing paper of the major parts of the building. With raggedy digital photo enlargement, it sometimes helps to go over the printed photo with a Sharpie around the edges so you don't lose them in the background.

You wind up with something like this--

Next, colors.

For this one, I decided to use colored pencils. If I'm doing a sketch of something conceptual, I usually use markers, because they're fast and bold and loose-looking and disguise a lot of "and a miracle happens here" type stuff.

Colored pencils are better when you're trying to match an exact color, and are much more controlled in their application to the surface. The only problem is that they're slow. Obviously, there isn't a colored pencil in the exact shade you need, so you have to use several and build up a reasonable match to what you're looking at on the paint chip. The advantage to this is the color has a nice layered look and it's easy to differentiate materials more easily than with markers. One minor thing to remember, too, is that you can't go lighter. Once something is too dark, it's too dark forever. So you have to gradually build up shades starting with overlapping levels of light colors, then move to darker ones. Oh, and you have to apply each layer in the same direction, or it starts looking like a little kid did it.

The first thing to do was the big sidewall where the old nappy-looking mural was. They had originally wanted this to be a buff color (along with the rest of the building in the foreground) but the suggestion was made that it would be better to paint this wall a dark color to match the color of the brick facade (not shown in the photo, it's to your right). It took the six pencils shown, and about forty-five minutes of careful scribbling. The foreground building has just had a first application of a cream color as a base.

Much later, after more layers of color, and after coming back in with some final strokes with a fine point Sharpie to put in reflections and texture and scribbly things that look like background, you wind up with something like this (the color chips I was trying to match are there on the left)--

And that's pretty much it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:51 PM | Comments (9)

AGGHHHH! (With special Update!)

As is becoming increasing common, I have walked into a giant flaming radioactive hornet's nest of busywork that must be accomplished this morning, so the full accounting of the past weekend's festivities in Paradise along the Pinchgut must wait a bit.

The short version--it was time for the annual pear harvest with Boy

I cut the grass

I worked on deleaking the Focus and headresting the Volvo

And I did churchy stuff for which I have no photos, so I decided instead to show you a picture of what I walked into early one morning a couple of Fridays ago--

Everyone together now--"Awwwwww."

Details to follow some time later in the day--in the intervening time, be sure to go read about what everyone else did this weekend!

UPDATE: 10:45 CT, I have reduced the size of the flaming nuclear hornet hive by half, made slightly more difficult by the discovery inside the hive of a pack of howler monkeys. Now then, on to the next task, which requires a sure and steady hand as I draw with pretty colors!

I wish I had a mule team to help me out.

OH! WAIT! What have I here!? Why, my good friend Dave Helton decided to show me what that would look like!

Everyone together now--"Awwwww."

Or, "Waaaaaaaa."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:24 AM | Comments (20)

August 12, 2005


Well, okay, if you insist.

Chores planned include fixing Reba's car--it seems that there is a problem common to Foci in which great floods of water can enter the cabin through a badly sealed bit of plastic at the windshield/cowl area, the resulting flood then collecting down in the passenger side floorboard.

And, ours is one of the ones that is doing this. ::sigh::

I believe when we had the windshield replaced a while back that the guy didn't seal the plastic cover correctly, because I can see right down into a big gap that I'm not supposed to see right down into. Where ever I can see is where water gets in.

Thank heavens for the Internet, I say. I'd never even know where to start if I was just trying to fix it, but after about ten minutes worth of sleuthing, I think I know exactly how to fix it.

Obviously, when I tear it up, it might require a bit more Googling. But nonetheless, it is quite a resource for people who work on their own junk.

Other things? Well, I have some shopping to do. Our 14th anniversary is Tuesday--the traditional gifts are ivory, and the suggested flower is dahlias. I went today to the florist over in the AmSouth-Harbert building and my favorite flower lady said that they didn't have any dahlias at the moment, meaning I had to substitute some roses. Ivory-colored, to stay with the theme, but I still have to get an actual gift.

I'm hoping to bag an elephant, or maybe a walrus, if one comes wandering through the yard, and then fix something up.

Or maybe not.

Let's see--laundry, grass-cutting, church, and probably something where I hurt myself.

Let's just hope all of you have a nice safe weekend! Lord willing, I'll see you all on Monday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:12 PM | Comments (8)

Well, it's bad, but not historically so.

Everyone's talking about the high price of gasoline, and it is indeed higher in raw dollars than ever. But there's always a couple of different ways of looking at things. One of the most intriguing is a chart I've linked to on several other occasions that was put together by a fellow named Stuart over in Texas.

He's kept up with his gasoline receipts for 992 fill-ups, from April 1979 to July 26 of this year. Here's the graph, and as you can see, although gasoline prices have been trending upward since 1998, the actual cost as adjusted for inflation would be about the same as a gallon purchased in 1979 before the big spike in 1980, or about the same as the spike during 1990. Not to say that it won't go higher, obviously it can. But while it sounds horrible, it's not quite the worst shape we've ever been in.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:14 PM | Comments (4)

Wanna hear something humorously peculiar?

I’ve mentioned before the brother of the girl who lives next door to us. Girl Neighbor gave Brother her old car (the poor Mazda 323 sedan that he has “customized” to pieces), and now that he's free to roam, no matter what time of the day or night we leave to go somewhere, we see him burning up the roads. EVERYwhere. ANYtime. You know that’s pretty much all he does, or else you wouldn’t see him so much.

Well, I’ve also mentioned before that there’s a guy who “works” here who I will see out walking when I go to lunch. Or if I have to go do some research at the library. Or get something from the county courthouse. Or if I’m driving back from a meeting. He’s always out walking, all times of the day, every day. Obviously, the odds of a chance meeting every once in a while are pretty good, but when you see someone like that ANY time you go out, you pretty much figure all he does during the day is walk around downtown, doing some serious work avoidance.

I call him Walking Guy.

Anyway, as I walking back out of the junkyard yesterday, guess who I saw coming in.


There was Walking Guy, dirty clothes, hat on head, pushing a wheelbarrow with the same intense, expressionless, dead look on his face as when he’s out walking.

I wonder if I’ll have to start calling him Driving Man?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

Fill in the blank.

"I am a _____."


DING! Give that visitor a prize!

You notice that I bailed yesterday to go to my dentist appointment around 2:00. However, what I did not mention is that my appointment wasn't until 4:00. Why would I leave so much time in between?

Oh, surely by now you can guess. I mean, you already got the fill-in-the-blank part right.



Now then, the rest of this is silly Volvo talk (and will also be crossposted on Revolvoblog), and you can skip out and go read something else now if you want. This might be entertaining nonetheless, for it does contain fleeting thoughts of dire peril. Oh, and then there's all sorts of heartwarming family comedy/drama activity at the end of the entry, so you might not want to hear about that, either.

Now then--still there?

Okay, here we go...

Anyway, I just had to go back and get those lovely blue rear seat headrests I had seen on my last visit. BUT FIRST, I had to figure out ahead of time how they come out, because I didn't want to get there and not have the right tool.

So, off first to my shop manuals.

Nothing. Not a blessed thing.

The factory manuals I have don't have the section about interiors, and the cheapo Haynes book says nothing about them. ON TO THE INTERNETS, where I found out that headrest removal is absolutely no different from any other topic of a technical nature, in that it seems the guys who are most willing to share their expertise are also the ones in most dire need of basic writing skills. Or skylz. It would be nice to just have a simple set of clear instructions.

I did find one obscure post that kinda had the information I was looking for, and it mentioned that there were 10mm nuts holding things together (somewhere) and that it needed two people--one inside to pull the rests upward, and someone in the trunk to release some sorts of clips. Hmm. Obviously, I am only one person. (Despite all the voices in my head.) This might take some ingenuity. Or stupidity.

Anyway, I began planning my raid on Wednesday night, when I got out my trusty 10mm combination wrench and a couple of pairs of Vise Grips. My plan being to use those as my extra set of hands to hold the clips in, while I was inside the junker pulling up on the headrests. I laid the tools in an inconspicuous place (i.e.--in plain sight, being that the garage is a mess) so that I could retrieve them yesterday morning without raising the suspicions of a certain wife of mine, who is not too keen on my ever-increasing forays to the wrecking yard.

Oh, and clothes. This one would require I have better clothes to wear, so before bed I bundled together my jeans and a tee shirt and my shoes, the reasoning being that I could bring them with me to work and change in the restroom before I left. After I got through, I would go home and drop my stuff off, clean up, then change back into my regular clothes for the dental visit.

You know, it's very complicated being a moron. Made more complicated just by the fact that I'm a moron.

ANYway, bailed out yesterday, grabbed my jeans from the office chair--I figured I could put on the tee-shirt and shoes later--changed in the restroom and headed off for the bad part of town.

Stuck my tools in my pocket, walked in, paid my buck, and sprinted to the lovely foreign car ghetto to see what I was in for. Remember, I had only briefly looked at the mounting beforehand the last time I was there, and had no pictures or anything else to study before I got there, so this was going to be an on-the-fly learning experience.

Okay, there it is. An '87, blue, hit hard on the front, and there are my headrests.


There they are.

Yep, that's them.

I looked at the mounting brackets in the trunk. Hmm. Hard to see what sorts of release clips they were talking about. And hard to reach, too. Seeing as how they have everything up high on stacked rims, I couldn't reach the brackets at all. Gee, I wonder if I'll have to get IN there!? It was like a swamp, with both spare tire wells full of water. Eww. The thought also flashed through my mind of me, in the trunk, and a sudden gust of wind slamming it, trapping me forever. ::shudder::

Surely there's a better way to do this.

I hope.

And I still hadn't seen any sorts of 10mm nuts anywhere. Back around to the back seat. Maybe if I took the seatback off? The bottom cushion had already been undone and rolled forward, so I looked for something to undo the back cushion.

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTION NUMBER ONE--There are two sheetmetal tabs that form hooks down at the bottom corners of the back cushion. These hold two loops attached to the cushion itself that keep the seatback in place. Bend the sheetmetal tabs up, pull the bottom cushion forward until the loops clear the tabs, and then pull the seatback up hard. It might take a couple of bumps with your hand, but what happens is when you lift up, you are unhooking the clips at the top of the seat cushion from the sheetmetal. After you do that, the seatback will come right out.

It's surpisingly light. And bulky. I leaned it up against the fender and AH-HAH!

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTION NUMBER TWO--Those 10mm nuts? They hide behind the rear seatback. There is no other way to get the brackets off without taking the seatback out and getting to those nuts. Thankfully, they ARE 10mm. I would have been in bad shape if they were 11s or 12s.

I spun them off easily and both headrests were soon flopping on the package shelf. Now then--how do they come out?! Each one is supported by two metal rods that go down into the mounting brackets, and the mounting brackets were still attached and the mounting brackets were too big to come up through the holds where the metal rods went through. If I could just reach through to the trunk, but there was a piece of hardboard material (like the stuff they used to put on the back of TVs) blocking it off. Gee, if that was just out of the way...

WHAT AM I THINKING!? It's a junk car--I can just break that stuff out of the way! So I did. It snapped and buckled and pretty soon I had a nice big area to work with. I reached through and grabbed one of the mounting brackets, still attached to the metal headrest rod, and sorta pulled on it. Pop. Right into my hand.


I finally got to study it up close to see what the deal was with the clip.

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTION NUMBER THREE--these are NOT the kind of clips that PUSH IN. The Vise Grips I had still banging around in my pockets would have been useless, because the clips, which look a bit like the shirt clip of a pen and are made of white nylon (that can break off, by the way), have to be pulled out slightly to clear the notch in the metal rod. If needed, I would have had to put a flat piece of metal like a screwdriver under them to hold them up to remove the rests.

AS IT WAS, they all just came right off. With the brackets loose from the car, they would rotate around the headrest rod, so I just turned the brackets to the side of the rod without the notch, and they slid off with no problem. Two of the clips had already had the little lift tabs broken (again, the nylon they're made out of is fragile) but the clip action itself is unharmed.


I proudly gathered up my toys and started to leave. But--but--I wonder if there's anything ELSE I could find?

So, more plundering. I went down the rows and found a few of the round plastic discs that hold the carpet in place, and some instrument panel light bulbs, and two tiny windshield washer valves from a couple of different 740s (these keep the washer fluid from draining back to the jug), and HEY! LOOK!


I found a nice (relatively speaking--it was nice when it was new) wagon that had the elusive factory accessory armrest in it! Of course, I didn't have the right sized wrench to get it out (I suppose I could have used the Vise Grips if I had remembered they were clanking in my pocket). No matter--I hadn't brought my screwdriver, either. Next trip.

Paid the princely sum of ten entire dollars for my goods and hurried out to the car, because it was now nearly 3:15, and I had to get home, unload, clean up, get re-dressed, and get to the Money-Sucking Pain-Inflictor.

Home, unload, race upstairs, wipe down with a giant glob of cool, refreshing hand sanitizer, dry off, new underwear, office shirt and pants, nice shoes, ready to go, get to dentist's at EXACTLY almost five minutes late.

Swab of numb-juice, try to relax, continue to sweat, needle in the jaw, try to relax, continue to sweat, DRILL! Actually, not bad at all. All done in about twenty minutes. AND, I found out her husband does powder coating and wheel refinishing as a hobby! Just the thing I'll need when I find that elusive set of wheels from a 240 Turbo!

Home, pandemonium of the sort only excited children fresh from their first day of school can produce. They were all jabbering at top volume, all at once. It seems they all had a very nice first day, although Jonathan's schedule is still not exactly right--he needs to swap band and PE so he'll be in the correct age groups for each. So many more papers to be signed! Bus forms, more acknowledgement-of-receipt-of-the-rules forms, lunch menus, show and tell items for Catherine, on and on. And more supply stuff needed.

Looks like with all the confusion, it'll be pizza night. Which is fine, because after all of that, I STILL had a building committee meeting to go to at church at 7:00. Trying to get the contract prepared.

Order pizza, I surreptitiously run to the garage to play with the headrest and massage some gooey vinyl treatment onto them, get busted by Miss Reba, whose exasperation I cannot tell whether it is feigned or real, PIZZA'S HERE!, go get that, pay, get the stuff inside and set it on the kitchen counter, go put stuff away in the garage, and hear Reba say the pizza's missing a piece.

WHA!? Sure enough--a tiny square hunk was gone from an edge. Surely the driver...NAH! Surely not. SURELY they just dropped a bit when they were moving it from the oven to the box. I mean, it was back at the back of the box, not the front, where a guy might be able to just snag a piece. Unless he cleverly rotated it around after he got it. BUT, that COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED. That is my hope, anyway.

We called and they told us they'd either send another one or give us half off on our next order. I took the half-off deal, just to keep the driver from having to come back again and possibly not take anything, but LEAVE something awful in the box.

I ate a single slice on the run, and headed out to my meeting.

Meet, meet, meet. Good one, lasting about an hour, and seems like we've got the ball rolling up the flagpole at both ends. Thankfully, these meetings really are pretty good, with none of that silly garbage. Although there is a bit more chit-chat than necessary. Anyway, got everything together to forward on to our lawyer to review. Funny thing--I could have sworn that in some of our earlier committee meetings that someone said we had a lawyer on retainer who did stuff like this for us. I asked last night after the architect guys had left--"Hey, what's the name of our lawyer so I can send him this?" Everyone looked at me like I'd grown another head.

Turns out we don't have anyone on retainer. And all the time, I've been chatting with no sense of irony or guile that "we'll have our lawyer look it over," thinking I was going to have someone to send it to. Luckily, we do have a former member who will more than likely be willing to look it over for us.

Another funny thing was as the meeting was breaking up, the architect was chatting about how prices are going up on materials, and how some subcontractor had submitted a bid on something recently and had it marked as being a price valid for only ten days. "... Ten days! And I just said 'daammmmn'."

He said it almost under his breath, and I'm not sure if the other guys on the committee even understood it (he has a pretty thick Arabic accent), but inside I was just about to bust out laughing. I might have to tell him later to be careful with the damnations and such, it being a church project and all.

Back home around 9:00, told Cat and Boy to go to bed since it was a school night, got upstairs and was met by Miss Reba, who asked, "Did you go to the store?"

"Uhhh, was I supposed to?"

"Well, Jonathan needs a three-subject notebook--"

"I thought we had one!"

"--no--he needs that for tomorrow, and--"

"AND I STILL NEED CONTACT SOLUTION," said Oldest. ::sigh::

Turned around and headed back to the store. At the stairs, Boy told me the PE teacher said they needed to bring spray on deodorant instead of dry. On the list

Store, grabbed items, noted that Thursday evenings are apparently THE time to go to the grocery store if you're shopping for tall tanned blonde girls, paid, home.

What a long day.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2005

Just what I need...

...another hole in my head.

See you kids tomorrow--it's time to go get my tooth fixed.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

Hmmm--I wonder...

Review: New blank keyboard for geeks only

The Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — Typing on a Das Keyboard is a lot like typing on any other computer keyboard — except the keys are blank. Most people, especially those who rely on the slow but steady hunt-and-peck technique, might consider that a problem.

Not Daniel Guermeur, chief executive of Austin-based Metadot Corp. The self-proclaimed "uber geek" says he first came up with the idea for a blank keyboard while attending Stanford University in 1989. It was there that the French native noticed others typing much faster than he was. [...]

Two years ago, he built a prototype to test his hypothesis that a blank keyboard would force him to become a better typist. After many people asked him where he bought it, he decided to start making them commercially.

And recently, Guermeur began selling the keyboards for $80 with a new marketing spin: "Das Keyboard. Uber Geeks only." [...]

I see a potentially huge untapped market for

--Numberless calculators
--Blank elevator buttons
--Unmarked speedometers
--VCR displays that blink invisible time
--Conversely, analog clocks with no hands


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:31 PM | Comments (2)

Brush with Near-Greatness!

I just now went downstairs to purchase a refreshing Diet Crack from the vending machine, and standing there in the elevator as I entered was a woman who looked EXACTLY like puckish, rotund, mop-topped songster and special-guest-star-go-to-guy for numerous crappy 1970s TV shows, Paul Williams!

Well, except her hair was brown, but otherwise, EXACTLY.

Obviously, I thought it best not to mention the similarity.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)

Remember this...

...if you're a couple of psychopathic murders who just shot up a courthouse, it would probably be better to keep acting like that if your getaway cover story is that you're on your way to an Amway convention.

Cabbie: Amway Tale Didn't Wash

(CBS) When taxi driver Mike Wagers picked up a couple outside Cincinnati Wednesday, he had no idea authorities considered them armed and extremely dangerous.

He had no clue they were wanted in Tuesday's escape from, and fatal shooting of a guard at, a courthouse in Kingston, Tenn. And he had no way of knowing he was about to become a key player in their capture. [...]

"The cover story they gave me didn't really seem to wash too much," Wagers told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Thursday. "I mean, I could kinda see through that. But I had no indication that these guys were really dangerous or they were on the run."

They claimed they were heading to a sales conference of Amway, the household goods manufacturer. But, says Wagers, "They didn't strike me as the Amway type, because, to be honest, they weren't very pushy about their product. And I've dealt with (Amway salespeople) before. So that was my only real suspicion. [...]

Somehow, I don't think the Amway people are going to like this.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:20 AM | Comments (2)

I feel so much better now!

U.N. agency has 'concern' on Iran nukes


The Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency's 35-nation board adopted a resolution Thursday aimed at defusing its standoff with Iran, which alarmed the West this week by resuming uranium conversion.

The text of the statement was not immediately released. But a Western diplomat said the message was similar to a draft that expressed "serious concern" over Tehran's resumption of nuclear activities. The draft did not mention reporting the regime to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose crippling sanctions.

THAT'LL SHOW 'EM! Why, the very threat of having a rather strong U.N. resolution expressing serious concern aimed at you, well, that should just make those mullah guys quake in their little curly-toed pointy Persian shoes!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

Do not click here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:03 AM | Comments (8)

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

PORTE COCHÈRE. A porch large enough for wheeled vehicles to pass through.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

Here in America, this became the carport, which Frank Lloyd Wright, in one of his usual bursts of self-promotion, claimed to have invented. I think we can give him credit for naming the feature a carport, using a transliteration of the French term, and for accepting the automobile as an integral part of design. Up until that time, a car was seen much as a horse was, and was kept in a stable (detached garage) away from the main house. Wright realized the inconvenience of having to go out so far to reach your newfangledy mode of transportation. Since motorcars rarely left large piles of poop in the driveway, he recognized that there was no need to keep the car segregated.

Although, I don't think he would have approved of this.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:55 AM | Comments (4)

Another year begins.

Back to school this morning.

The meet'n'greet yesterday wasn't fun for Miss Reba--Catherine was full of "p. and v."* as my mother says and apparently became quite a handful. Not only that, Reba's back is hurting again. Not only that, both Rebecca and Jonathan's schedules got changed and she had to go track all that down. So she was not a happy camper last night. The kids are still in high spirits, though.

They do have their jitters--Cat is concerned that the portable classroom she's in won't have a bathroom in it, Rebecca states that her stomach felt all crawly, Jonathan wondered where he was supposed to pick up his revised schedule this morning, and Ashley is her usual self.

On top of all this, for some reason Reba volunteered to take everyone to school. For years we've split up so we would be able to get everyone to school and both still manage to get to work on time, but she seems to think it would be better for her to take them. First, drop Boy and Middle Girl at the middle school, then Oldest to the high school, then back around to the elementary school with Tiny Terror.

It's a do-able loop of travel--I've done it several times before and never been late, but I am a bit on edge myself and not really wanting to pick up the phone and call and ask how it went. Because if it went bad, it means it's hard on EVERYone--the old thing about "if Mama ain't happy," you know.

Maybe it's time to start shopping for something antique and ivory, and for a bouquet of dahlias (at least according to this site--it being almost that time again).

As for today, a short one--I have to go get my head drilled this afternoon to replace a filling. I look forward to it immensely, much as I would if I were about to hit my finger with a hammer.

UPDATE: Whew. Everyone got where they were suppose to go with no problems.

*My mother, not known for a lack of saltiness, tends to use this more mild formulation in lieu of "piss and vinegar."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:55 AM | Comments (2)

August 10, 2005

Farewell, Miss Ellie

Film, stage star Barbara Bel Geddes dies

She passed away Monday, according to the article. I never knew about her until Dallas, but she was always my favorite of the bunch, on- or off-camera. And besides all that, she was a striking-looking woman, both in her youth and in her maturity.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:23 PM | Comments (2)


A thunderstorm just began (or in the vernacular, "it come a cloud") and it's all I can do to keep from closing the door to my office, climbing under my drafting table, and taking a nice long nap.

Of course, those middle-'o-the-day naps are really bad--you wake up all disoriented, and with a headache, and your hair messed up, and your coworkers shrieking at you to put your clothes back...--uh, never mind.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)


Dr. Smith is celebrating both a Thirty-one and a Two today!

Being most familiar with the Two, I can say it has been great fun to have gotten to know Jim and he serves as a constant source of both mirth and good advice.

As for the Thirty-one, I hope there will be much sparking, carrying-on, and tickle-n-slapping in the Smith household this evening.

Congratulations all around!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:23 PM | Comments (1)

Poor little thing.

Good morning! I’ve been here a while, but have been covered up with a blizzard of paperwork, which is what always happens after these meetings. And, as usual, I have to start the minute-typing process all over again.

BUT, at least I got to have fun last night.

Yesterday morning, Catherine asked me if she won the Clothes-Putting-On race if I would take her to the Dollar Tree. Being a sucker, I agreed to the deal and LO AND BEHOLD, she WON! So she was very proud. I was just glad she was completely dressed for once.

Anyway, on toward home yesterday with a stop to pick everyone up. When I got to Grandma’s house, I also remembered that over the weekend I had also promised Boy that I would take him to get his hair cut. Interesting thing about that little stinker--he’s never seemed to want his hair to get all long and shaggy like so many of the ‘70s wannabe kids whose parents let them grow their hair down into their eyes. He’s very particular about it, and we’ve never said anything to him about it. I just hope he keeps that attitude. Which means he probably won’t. ANYway, I promised I would take him to the hair-cutting place, too, so I figured I would combine the Dollar Tree with the HeadStart trip and satisfy everyone.

Got them home, started supper, greeted Reba when she got home, passed the spatula to her and hit the door with the littler two kids.

First stop, hair. The place was full, but thankfully it was mostly just lots of people who came with the object of the hair cutting. Boy got called back quickly and just as quickly reappeared with a nice slick Conservative Young Gentleman cut.


We got there and Cat was immediately drawn to a box full of big foam gliders on the sidewalk. She looked them over very carefully, and I think she wanted one. But she also wanted to see all the junk inside as well, so we went in and they went to work looking at every single thing that the industrious peoples of Asia can make that can profitably sold for a dollar. Boy quickly found a “Fairly Odd Parents” Cosmo (the one on the left in this picture) reversible plush toy he liked, so he snagged that and was satisfied. Catherine, on the other hand, seemed to be having difficulty. She didn’t really seem to be interested in anything. She wandered and shopped and looked and still couldn’t figure out what she wanted. Mainly because she really wanted the toy airplane. I think she was concerned that it was a “boy” toy.

I didn’t say it out loud, but I really didn’t think she had much to worry about seeing as how her brother had just picked up a doll of a bewinged cartoon male fairy that transforms into a pretty crescent moon.

“Can I get that airplane?”

“Sure, sugar! It’ll be fun!”

She lit up like Times Square and ran across the store and out onto the sidewalk to retrieve her airplane. We walked over to the cashier and I gave them each their dollar so they could pay for their respective items, which they promptly turned around and gave the kid at the register, and I gave him a fiver for the four packs of spaghetti I bought--2 packs for a buck!--and then we were on the way home again. Late, too--nearly 7:30 when we got there.

BUT, not so late that a test flight couldn’t be made!

The moment she got out of the car, Cat already had the plastic wrapper off the plane and had slammed the wings onto the fuselage and was ready to fly it. First flight, and it nosed right into the ground.

“Here, let me see, Captain--” Oh, good--a way to trim it out a bit. I bent the elevators up slightly then turned around and flew it, inexplicably, straight toward the street. Because I am a moron. But boy-howdy did it fly! Landed right in the street after a long straight glide. Thankfully, no cars were coming, especially since Catherine bolted after it when she saw where it was going and it was all I could do to whoa her up before she plundered on out beyond the curbline. “STOP! Look both ways!” Good.

She brought it back and flew it a couple more times, then Reba came out to see what we were doing. I grabbed it and flung it up high, it turned gracefully and sailed back the way it had come, striking the poor Miss Reba right upon her right hip. “YOU HIT ME WITH AN AIRPLANE!”

“You saw it coming--you should have moved.” So THERE! Catherine just laughed and laughed.

We went in and had supper--the rest of them had already eaten--and as I sat there studying the aircraft that was now hangared beside Catherine’s plate, I thought it needed some work. It came with cool stickers for decoration, but it also had circular indentations on the fuselage to indicate porthole windows. It actually looks a bit like a Gulfstream II (except with a conventional empennage instead of a tee-tail), and I thought a little bit of verisimilitude might make it the most coolest thing EVER. “Hey, Catherine--after we get through eating, would you like me to color in the windows on the side so it looks more like a real airplane?”

She was somewhat leery of the idea but agreed anyway. Got out the Sharpie and went to work after putting away the dishes--eight neat round dots, and then a quick set of trapezoids on the front windows. WAY cool. I helped her put the stickers on and it looked pretty darned nice, if I do say so myself.

Of course, she was about to bust a seam to fly it some more. In the house. I told her to wait until today so she could fly it outside.

Alas, it was not to be.

I just got a call from Miss Reba, who has left work early today to got get the three youngest kids to take them and their stuff up to school and meet the teachers, and it seems that when she dropped them off this morning, there was massive damage done to the wing of the craft. Poor Cat had taken it apart when she got to Grandmom’s house, laid a wing on the couch, forgot about it, and inadvertently turned around and broke it when she put her hand on the cushion to get up. CRACK!

Reports from sources at the scene indicate there was a large gush of tears and no small amount of wailing. “BWAAAAHHHH--::sniff:: I knew I should have gotten somethin’ else!” All that effort, all that anticipation about getting to fly it today, and it all went away in one moment’s inattention. Poor little pilot.

I told Reba to be sure and let her know that it would be okay, because Daddy would stop by the store on the way home tonight and get her a replacement. That made her very much happier.

And now? Well, it’s lunchtime! Be back after while.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:12 PM | Comments (6)

August 09, 2005

Okay, that's a wrap!

At least for today. And, unfortunately, for most of tomorrow, it being the second Wednesday of the month and all, and our usual meeting date for our off-campus regulatory jamboree. I'm beginning to not like these particular meetings very much--not that I have ever actually liked them at all to begin with. They just make too much trouble afterwards, which really gets in the way of my goal to have a completely trouble-free life.

Maybe I could become a snake venom milker instead.

ANYway, that to do for the morrow--in the mean time until my return, be sure to go visit Charles Austin's site--he's still trying to raise enough bail for his Muscular Dystrophy Association gig so that he doesn't have to stay in there for several years. He's got $303 at the moment, and has to get $1,702 to be able to walk out. Also, be aware that he's planning to commit blogicide if he doesn't get all the required dough.

Until later, then...

Oh, hey--I forgot, but I also have a couple of VERY boring posts up at Revolvoblog--my current to-do list, and a media-criticism post--not really taking up for Volvo so much as wondering why it seems EVERY journalist comes from the Innuendo, Insinuation, and Unsubstantiated-Thesis School of Writing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:52 PM | Comments (1)

Stupid Looking Teevee Shows That I Promise I Will Not Watch, Based Entirely On Their Promos

E-Ring. (NBC) How about Bo-ring. I know I'll be Sno-ring. Quite possibly the stupidest, most vile promos of the whole bunch, the only thing that could make it plausible is if Hopper grabbed an oxygen mask and fondled a scrap of blue velvet.

Invasion. (ABC) Creepy alien things in Florida? NO! WAY! DUDE!

Ghost Whisperer. (CBS) Jennifer Love Hewitt talks to ghosts. One might even be her career.

Thankfully, there will always be Andy Griffith reruns.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:07 PM | Comments (2)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Female magazines evolve to feature flabby

Who knew there were boy magazines and girl magazines!? I suppose all those loose blow-in subscription cards are their way of reproducing.

(Aside from the humor, it is a bit interesting in our incredibly sensitive age where Reuters can't seem to bring itself to call a terrorist a terrorist, that we have someone who throws out the F-bomb with such a cavalier attitude. Especially considering that the article merely states that magazine ads and articles are featuring more naturally-proportioned women, which is frankly not the same thing as being flabby.)

UPDATE: The current headline in the linked story (as of 3:41 CT) now reads: "Fashion magazines showing more body types." Apparently someone else noticed. (ABC is still carrying the older version, at least until it's sanitized.)

No matter the headline, though, the first sentence is still the same catty one as originally printed: "NEW YORK (AP) — Mixed among the pages of dazzling celebrities and rail-thin models that dominate fashion and teen magazines is a surprising sight: young women with thick thighs and flabby abs. [...]"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

"A three hour tour--a three hour tour..."

Congressional aide Skipper enters race for auditor

Being that the state's books have more holes than the Minnow, this should be right up his alley.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Dean Says Democrats Must Take Offensive

I believe the operative word here is "take," not "be."

For years, the party has seemed to take great joy in being as off-putting and obnoxious toward certain people as it could, hang the consequences. Now that they've augured themselves down into a pit as the Party of Perpetual Inconsequence, it would probably be best not to continue to antagonize the few who might be still willing to throw down a rope.

Such a strategy might include dumping Howard Dean, who seems incapable of saying anything that might convince the people who grudgingly pulled the lever for Bush to pull it in the next election for a Democrat. I was watching something on television the other night--a retrospective of Harry Truman's words about the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. His clear-eyed, no-nonsense talk is not something we've heard from the mainstream party since, well, since Truman passed on. I cannot conceive of any of the current party leadership ever feeling comfortable saying something like this:

[…] On July 16, 1945, before the demand for Japan’s surrender was made, a successful demonstration of the greatest explosive force in the history of the world had been accomplished.

After a long conference with the Cabinet, the military commanders and Prime Minister Churchill, it was decided to drop the atomic bomb on two Japanese cities devoted to war and work for Japan. The two cities selected were Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

When Japan surrendered a few days after the bomb was ordered dropped, on August 6, 1945, the military estimated that at least a quarter of a million of the invasion forces against Japan and a quarter of a million Japanese had been spared complete destruction and that twice that many on each side would, otherwise, have been maimed for life.

As the executive who ordered the dropping of the bomb, I think the sacrifice of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was urgent and necessary for the prospective welfare of both Japan and the Allies.

The need for such a fateful decision, of course, never would have arisen, had we not been shot in the back by Japan at Pearl Harbor in December, 1941.

And in spite of that shot in the back, this country of ours, the United States of America, has been willing to help in every way the restoration of Japan as a great and prosperous nation.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ Harry S. Truman […]

Until the party is able to find people who won't argue the definition of "is," or who see the folly in voting for something before voting against it, it will always be down there at the bottom of the well.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)

August 9, 1814

From the Library of Congress--

On August 9, 1814, Major General Andrew Jackson signed the Treaty of Fort Jackson ending the Creek War. The agreement provided for the surrender of twenty-three million acres of Creek land to the United States. This vast territory encompassed more than half of present-day Alabama and part of southern Georgia.

The war began on August 30, 1813, when a faction of Creeks known as the Red Sticks attacked a contingent of 553 American settlers at Lake Tensaw, Alabama, north of Mobile. In response, Jackson led 5,000 militiamen in the destruction of two Creek villages, Tallasahatchee and Talladega.

On March 27, 1814, Jackson's forces destroyed the Creek defenses at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Eight hundred Creek warriors were killed and 500 women and children captured. [...]

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)


Dave Helton just couldn't get the image out of his head. I mentioned I was gifted over the weekend with two packages of the same type of undergarment the erstwhile President of Iraq wears.

And so he (Dave, not Saddam) sent me this.

Trust me--I look much better.

Okay, maybe not better than Saddam, but better than Peter Griffin. Somewhat.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:49 AM | Comments (4)

Here I was...

...just the other day noting a shift in Russian military policy in the recent rescue of the trapped AS-28 submarine, and then this story comes along.

It seems that the willingness to ask for assistance wasn't quite so easily reached, and might not have come at all had it not been for the story getting out. For the sake of the crew, it's a darned good thing word got out.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:44 AM | Comments (3)

Don't Break the Ice.

Last night as I was typing Reba's paper and watching the Miss Teen Fake Smile Scholarship Contest with Bouncy Bikini Action, I told Catherine it was time for bed. "Can I play a game with you? ::sadly:: But no, you'll probably say I have to go to bed."

Oh, goody--time to hit the road for a guilt trip! Of course, being an wizened and experienced parent, such shameless faux-emotional ploys to stall for time have absolutely no effect on me. Unless I want them to.

"Oh, fer heaven's sakes, Cat--yes, we can play a game, but it needs to be a short one that doesn't take a long time."

"Nooo. That's okay. I'll just go to bed and not play anything at all."

Good grief.

"You want to play dominos?"


"Go Fish?"


Having exhausted my known choices for rapidly played games, I suggested dominos again.

"No, and anyway, you just said that. Hmm--could we play "Life"? It don't lastes long..."

"Oh yes it does, too! Go find something else."

She rummaged and crashed around in the game closet and came back with one--"Can we play this?!"

Don't Break the Ice--hmmm--a fine choice! Quick, slightly loud, destructive, imagined peril and bodily harm for the little guy on the ice--just the thing for a quiet wind-down of the day! (I note that the newer versions have a prancing bear instead of the guy sitting on a chair. I guess someone thought having a person plunge below the icy surface was just too terrifying for small children. Much better a vicious bear.)

"Okeedoke--that'll be fun."

We sat down and fixed the blocks and started tapping. She lost the first one and the second one, but on the third pulled off a stunning upset, causing me to be the icebreaker. Lots of fun, and along about the middle of the second game when she was figuring out which blocks were safe to knock out, I had one of those runaway imagination things in which I envisioned a heavy, bespectacled Russian man scurrying along between tables full of opponents, playing each one simultaneously, and with each tap and fall of a block, he would triumphantly smack a timer button, just like a chess master.

For some reason, it just struck me as funny, although I confess it might have been the effects of another night spent typing a paper completely free of possessive-indicating apostrophes, which has made me have to stop at every pronoun to determine its plurality or singularity, and then have to go back and determine if it agrees in number with the verb.

"Okay, we've played three games now--we'll put it back in the box for tomorrow night, okay Daddy?"

Fine by me, and I look forward to tonight's rematch.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:31 AM | Comments (6)

Krystal restaurants offer Wi-Fi Internet access


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:33 AM | Comments (6)


A story just released about housing costs--Housing Prices High for Low Income Workers

Well, aside from the obvious stupidity of the title--"Expensive Things Harder for Poor People to Afford"--there's the whole angle of the story that suggests that housing prices are somehow unrelated to anything else in the economy.

One reason house prices have continued to stay so high is that there has been ever-increasing pressure from loudmouth busybodies who already HAVE a place to live that we need to stop "suburban sprawl." At one time this was limited to the usual places, but the idea has begun to take root in places much less constrained by geography or politics.

Folks, you can't have it both ways--if your population is increasing, and you place increasingly stringent limits on land development (and that's not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself), it IS going to have an effect by making a commodity more scarce. Scarceness equates to higher prices. That's just the way it works. You can do two things--allow the market to meet the demand, or take some more money away from taxpayers and give it away to guarantee people the right to own spiffy townhomes in trendy neighborhoods.

Just remember in the words of that great American economist P.J. O'Rourke, "You can't get rid of poverty by giving people money."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

Later than normal, but for a pretty good reason.

Had to leave the house a bit later than usual today so I could watch the Shuttle landing. Congratulations to the folks at NASA, and here's hoping that the ongoing problems with the external fuel tank insulation are solved once and for all.

(Of course, my way of solving this would be to accelerate development of a replacement vehicle, but I'll let the rocket scientists figure all that out.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2005

And Sunday?

Nice. Aside from once more leaving the house later than I wanted to. You know, in the future, when people say “the late Terry Oglesby,” whoever they say it to will shrug and say, “Was he ever on time?!” Well, friends, yes, at one time he used to not only be on time, but early for every appointment. Then he married a woman whose sense of time is God-like--in that with her a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day. Or more to the point--if you have to be somewhere at 9:00, said wife seems to think a person can walk out the door at 8:59:36 and be considered on time.

Which is fine if stuff like that doesn’t bother you, but it does drive your loving husband absolutely insane. But, only on the inside--he wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying such things out loud. He just sighs loudly, and often.

ANYway, we got to church with seconds to spare, went to class, went to preaching, went to lunch, went to home, didn’t do too much other than type on someone’s research paper, went back to church for an early meeting, went to preaching, went home, and then furiously dialed up Ebay to bid on a primo, uncracked dashboard assembly for the Volvo!

I got a quote the other day for one of these from a dealer--six and a quarter. I don’t love my Volvo that much. Maybe a couple hundred dollars worth, at most. But it sure will be nice to have something that doesn’t look like a relief map of Charles Bronson’s face in front of me while I drive.

Supper, reading, and then to bed.

And that, my friends, is just about that.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:44 PM | Comments (2)

Where was I?

Oh, yeah--eating lunch. But that’s all done for now, so let’s get back to the exciting story of Saturday! WHEEEEEE!

Got up early (of course) and after getting dressed I rousted Oldest from bed so she could get dressed and we could go. My only instruction to this point had been that she was supposed to be at the Mall (the broad grassy park area that stretches out from in front of the middle school, like the Mall in Washington, except much smaller, and without the Smithsonian) at 8:00, and I thought I recalled being told she was supposed to be set up near the tennis courts in front of the middle school.


And then some.

Got her ready and asked if she wanted to go get some breakfast from McDonald’s, which she did, so we took off for there, leaving everyone else at home in the bed. Got to the McD’s, ordered the Crappy Meal for Two, drove around, and…

Yes, you guessed it--I looked to see if I could see the old late-‘70s 242 driven by one of the kids who works there. It’s a mess--broken taillights, big ugly Wal-Mart hubcaps, body as unevenly full of dents and ripples as Janet Reno, duct tape window molding--a rolling junker. Oddly enough, driven by a girl, who for the most part looks about as normal as any other girl. Very odd. Anyway, anytime I go by there, I look to see if the old heap is there. (Because I’m a moron.) Got our food, on to the festival!

Got there and the yard was full of vendors setting up and people wandering around lost. Parked right by the hole in the orange plastic construction barrier, and we got out and started inside. “Take your drink with you.”

“I don’t need it.”

“I know you don’t need it now, just go ahead and take it.”


::sigh:: “Look, just take the drink so it’s not left in the van--if you want some, you can drink it. If you don’t, you can throw it away.”

I still have no idea why she didn’t want to take the cup with her. Apparently cool-kid-wannabees think it’s bad to hold cups.

We walked around and down and over and back up, and never really saw anything or anyone who looked like they might be part of the Leo Club group.

“Did they say where--“


“--like a general area you were supposed to be at, because I remember Mom saying something about the middle sch--”

“I. DON’T. KNOW--they NEVER said ANYTHING about WHERE we weresupposedtomeetoranything!”

::sigh:: I’m telling you, there’s a gold crown somewhere for me…

We walked on up the side back toward the middle school and the tennis courts. We got to the bleacher area, and I just parked my still-sore rear on the edge of one of the bleachers so we could just wait until someone showed up. It was still a bit early--around 7:50 or so.

“Mom said something about it being near the middle school,” she said, after getting fidgety.

“Uh-huh.” I wasn’t about to say anything else than that, seeing as how I had already been told NO ONE had told HER anything.

“She said the sheet said to meet in the big open area nearest the middle school.”

::silently screaming whilst grinding teeth::

“Well, you know, that’s what I thought--that’s why I was trying to ask you earlier because I thought I remembered her saying that.”

Waiting some more. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to go see if there was a marshal who could possibly direct us, so I went over to the Chamber of Commerce tent, which was occupied by an elderly lady who herself was there to find out where she was supposed to be. She had a sheet of paper that had all the booths listed, and I asked her if I could look at it. Hmm. Nothing. “THERE’S ZACH!” Nice kid came ambling over and they chattered back and forth. You could tell he likes her (Ashley, not the elderly lady), and from what I’ve heard, he’s an okay kid. He wandered on back to his booth and I was finally able to grab a guy driving a cart. He said that he thought they weren’t at a booth, but were supposed to be one of the volunteers to man one of the four entrance gates.

Hmm. We sat back down for a while, it got to be past 8, and then I saw some girl a ways off who had on what looked like the same shirt as Ashley. “Do you know her?”

“Uh, I don’t know.”

We walked back down the mall and sure enough, it was someone from her group, and was even more uninformed about where to meet than we were. We walked around together some, went back to the bleacher area, then saw another girl out on the street walking toward the other end of the mall, talking self-importantly on her cell phone. We walked back to the corner and FINALLY found where they were supposed to be--the exact other end of the park from what we’d been led to believe. To make matters worse, there was no way to get out of the orange plastic fencing to the table and tent at the street corner. “I really don’t think you girls want me to pick you up and put you over the fence, do you?” No. Time to walk back to the opening where I’d parked.

Got back there and I drove them back to the corner, dropped them off, and was ON MY WAY! Called Reba to let her know I had been successful in my dropping-offery and woke her up. Oops. Asked if she wanted breakfast, she said she did, I said I needed to stop by the store and get some cash, she said okay.

Walked into the Food World and was going to just get a Coke, when I got the bright idea I should check and see if they had school supplies--they usually have a pretty good selection, and VOILA! Or, VIOLA! Big display full of stuff. And I actually remembered what all I was supposed to get! Ran back and got a shopping cart, and started grabbing--loose leaf paper, folders with brads, four wire-bound notebooks in green, red, blue, purple, chalk, crayons (again)--got just about everything we needed. Mostly. Almostly.

Got that done, started to go get food, then had to make another stop at Academy to get a couple of backpacks and some small black zip ties to fix the one Ashley had that had a hole in it. I figure there’s no use to throw away a backpack that in all other aspects was nearly as good as new, when it would be so simple to fix it. Of course, I would NEVER be allowed to send one of my CHILDREN to school with such a thing… ::sigh:: I figure I’ll use it as an emergency pack in the trunk of the car.

Then on to breakfast, then home, then more laundry, THEN Reba took Catherine for THEIR special trip to find school clothes.

While they were gone, I waited for it to rain. It had been glowering all morning, and I just knew that if I started the grass, it would come a downpour, or else I would start cutting and Ashley would call and want to come home. So, I compromised by working on the driver’s seat of the Volvo.

For some reason, the driver’s seat had always felt very flopsy--you could grab a corner and the whole seatback would wobble. It was very disconcerting while driving--almost like trying to sit on a basketball, with the seat shifting every time the brakes were applied or the wheel was turned. It really wasn’t a lot, but enough to be dizzying. I figured there was a couple of bolts down there that needed tightening, so I got my wrenches and went to work.

Busy pulling ancient honey-roasted peanuts out from between the seat and the driveshaft tunnel.

Seems the previous owner had a sweet tooth. And poor grip. But when I moved the seat forward all the way, there was a whole pile of nuts and pretzel pieces. After recovering from my swoon, I went and got a paint paddle and tried to get as much of the offending foodstuff scraped out, then brushed and vacuumed the area as best I could. Eyech.

NOW then, the wobblesome seat--I fidgeted around under there and tightened the only bolts I saw, which helped none at all. I decided to monkey with the seatback height adjuster and BINGO, that was it! Just sorta stumbled on that one, but there’s a lever underneath that you can squeeze, and then raise or lower the seatback. There are two tiny metal rods that pull on two metal locking pins, and ONE of those rods had fallen out of place, leaving the locking pin retracted, and allowing the seatback to jiggle freely. Once I got the rod back in and locked, I moved the seat a bit and both pins slammed home, securely locking the seatback once again. Hooray!

Then I cleaned it some more. Lots of stuff in there I thought I had gotten before. Also brushed the faded fuzz from the rear parcel shelf--what a mess that was. But at least it looks mostly blue again, now.

Back inside to cool off, folded some clothes, and decided now that it was noon:30, I should really have already received a call to go pick someone up. Called her cell phone, no answer. Called several more times, no answer.

FINALLY got her to pick up (I know it was probably hard to hear it, because the ticket table was right near all the carnival rides) and asked if she was ready to come home. No.

“Well, I’m coming to get you, then--where will you be?”

I don’t know.

Got Bec and Jonathan and we set out in the Focus this time, because Reba (who had taken the van) needed gas. That will be done after the pickup, which took an inordinate amount of time because a) all of the traffic jammed up on Chalkville Road, and b) the fact that I went to the wrong end of the mall and had to hang a U-turn and maneuver back down a side street that was exactly 2.9 lanes wide, and had cars parked on both sides.

The children were very frightened. But you know, that’s what they get for being my kids.

Found Oldest at the corner, pulled over, got her, then to the gas station, then home. More laundry, and then lunch.

Mom home now with Tiny Terror, they’d found all kinds of cute clothes, and they brought home the remains of THEIR lunch, and I ate Reba’s because in fixing lunch for the other kids, I hadn’t fixed any for myself, in the off-handed hope that Reba would indeed bring me part of her lunch, which came from Gyro Planet.

Which really isn’t a planet at all, but rather a hole-in-the-strip-mall joint. Good food, though.

THEN, it was time for Reba to make her excursion with Boy to get HIM some stuff. As you can see, the idea was that every child would get his or her own special Mommy time, which they all look forward to. Not that I’m jealous--the kids like spending time with Daddy, too, you know. In much the same way that they enjoy getting shots at the doctor’s office.

Anyway, off she went with Jonathan, I did some more clothing, then hopped outside one more time to see what all I could bother on the Volvo. Because I am a moron.

I thought I would see about dyeing the bumpers, and got all my stuff out, but the bumper material is different from the lower bodyside molding, and didn’t take well at all to the Kiwi treatment. It might have been too humid or too dry or too hot or something, but it was very streaky. I wound up taking the little bit back off that I had applied, and going over the entire bumper cover on the front and back with brake fluid. Which is really some evil stuff. I never have quite understood what’s in there to make it so very harmful to paint and everything else in nature, but it’s got some kick to it, whatever it is. I doused a cloth with it and carefully put it on, and the bumpers look a lot better. Not quite as dark as the bodyside, but pretty good nonetheless.

While I was doing that, and pouring buckets of sweat out of me (it now having turned off hot and sunny and nonconducive to grass-cutting) Cat came out and wanted to ride her bicycle. “But it’s a thousand degrees out here, Cat!”

“Daaaad. It’s NOT a thousand degrees!”

I said okay and went back to work trying to kill myself on the driveway when she came back and wanted me to put her up on the seat. ::sigh:: “Catherine, are you SURE you wouldn’t like to do this later when it’s cooler out here? It really is terribly hot, and I’m burning up, and it would be so much nicer after the sun goes down.”

Oh, poor baby. She hung her head and pouted and shuffled her feet along and took her helmet off and acted like she’d lost her onlyest friend. “We can come out later and ride, okay?”

“I don’t want to,” she said, in her tiny, “I’m very hurt emotionally and I may never recover” voice. She’s very accomplished in playing upon the heartstrings. Of course, with my green Vulcan blood, it’s all very much wasted effort. Well, somewhat.

Anywho, she went back inside and I followed her, because it was just too hot to do anything outdoors. More clothes folding, some dishwasher loading, some teevee watching, then upstairs for some graphic designs for items no one in their right mind would ever buy, then it was home with Mommy and Boy, who got some super macho clothing, and believe it or not, I got something, too!


I think Reba might be tired of the old ones. What there was left of them. (I can be a bit rough on drawers.)

Rest of the evening was uneventful--I typed on Reba’s paper and did more graphics work, watching first the reruns of the Lawrence Welk Show, and then COPS (how’s that for an pair!?), and helped various children with their bathtaking, hairwashing, and nail-clipping before putting them to bed.

Long day, it was.

AND THEN, it was Sunday…

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:18 PM | Comments (4)

Panic? HAH! I laugh in the face of panic!

It helps when it appears as though I know what I'm doing. Learning how to feign competence is a very handy skill to have.

Anyway, I had enough done to be satisfactory, and I'm at that point where I'm waiting for the other guy to give me text and which slides to delete or to move, so the bridge is in his court now. Yep, he's another one of those metaphor mixers. He said something in passing about "waxing elegant." I suppose it beats waxing elephants, but I digress.

THE WEEKEND! Started Friday by swinging by the junkyard place. I'm beginning to like it a lot there--I wonder if they would mind if I set up a little tent in the corner? Anyway, as I mentioned over on the other blog, one of the things that has annoyed me has been a slight misalignment between the fenders and the hood. It (the hood) sits down a bit too low, and I see it whenever I drive and it has begun to grate on me. Moreso when I saw that the little spiral-grooved rubber thumbtips (just like on the trunklid) that hold the hood at the proper gap were smushed to smithereens. They had been let all the way out, and were crushed beyond all usefulness, which is much like working for the government. ANYway, I wanted to see about stea--finding some of those to make the hood all nice and level again.

And, there's that whole thing about the hubcaps I mentioned. As you recall, when I got my öld skül style hubcaps, I had gotten some extras so I could choose the bestest ones. The discards I discarded in the trunk of a white 242 there on the end of a row, but ever since then, I have worried incessantly about the possibility of some miscreant making off with my precious "V"-centers or otherwise losing them. I really needed some spares, you know. Just in case.

Just in case I forget what a moron I am.

Got to the yard in my spiffy clothes, got my hand stamped and walked on out. In an odd coincidence, I thought it would be neat to show you some pictures of the place, and at the very moment I thought it, I saw a big sign "NO PHOTOGRAPHS." Junk is a highly sensitive subject, you know.

Found the Pining for the Fjords section of Volvos and started unscrewing likely bits of rubber from under several hoods. Wound up with four sets of rubbery things, and THEN found something else I've been wanting--some rear headrests. In blue. In good shape. If only I'd brought my tools with me! Another excuse to return, I suppose.

Wound my way back around to the repository bin for my hubcaps and thankfully, they were all still there. Someone got two of the trim rings, though, but at least the important pieces were still where I'd left them. Hooray!

Back to the counter, paid my six dollars and my thirty-four cents, and set out for home.

HOME, where Reba had some supper cooking, and had decided to take Rebecca shopping for her back to school stuff. And then for some reason, after supper, she started going through their supply lists and grabbing stuff out of the pantry. Why? I don't know. She'll do that sometimes--say she's going to do something, then get sidetracked onto something else, and wind up not doing what she was supposed to.

We spread out the various used notebooks, pencils, crayons, paper, cards, pens, highlighters, folders, binders, scissors, rulers, erasers, glue, plutonium (not really) and other junk we had left over. Another thing she tends to do is go buy new things when we have things that are still new, but not "new from the store new." I figure if they've only written in three sheets of a notebook, they can use it again with no problem. Aside from the obvious one of a certain child who puts much more stock in external appearances than is necessary.

Anyway, we categorized and sorted for a while until it became obvious that Miss Reba was going to keep doing it until all the stores closed if I didn't make her leave, so after several subtle then overt efforts to get her to get Rebecca and leave (the final one being "Get Rebecca and y'all leave NOW or else the stores are going to be closed and she won't get anything and she'll be mopey for days and so go on NOW and I will do this stuff") she finally went out the door with Middle Girl in tow for their girls' night out.

Me? Well, I started a load of laundry then went back to trying to reassemble items from the various piles to satisfy the various supply lists for each child and each child's teacher. It was almost like playing Twister--Blue folder with brads! Yellow highlighter! Green pen! There! HERE! Ughhg--over around over there by the shelf--nope--that's not it--ON THE COUNTER! It sounds very fun and relaxing. It wasn't. By the time they got back home, I had most of the items put together (with a few additional ones placed on the shopping list) but the time spent sitting on the hard kitchen floor and all the hopping up and down to get things, combined with various laundry basket toting had conspired to make my butt very, very sore, and the rest of me very, very tired.

BUT, Rebecca found some cute clothes, so I suppose that was okay. Next up would be Catherine, but she'd have to wait until Saturday.

And as we all remember--Saturday was Dog Daze! And I have been really wishing I could call it Dog Daze Afternoon, but it was in the morning when I took Oldest over there, and there was no Al Pacino to be found anywhere.

More about that in a bit--it's LUNCHTIME, you know!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

It might be time to panic.

Seeing as how I have precious little done on that PowerPoint thing I've been plugging away at, and I'm supposed to meet with the guy I'm doing it for in about 20 minutes.

I hate staff meetings.

Anyway, now I have to go and try to put together a lot of stuff to make it look more stuff-filled. One of these days, you'll hear about the weekend. It really was nice and quiet and relaxing. I promise.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

Well, poop.

I was just about to sit down and start the ripping tale of the weekend, and they just called a staff meeting. There IS a partial listing of car-related junk that I did this weekend over Revolvoblog, so if you are really desperate for tender, flavorful possumosity with that marvelous oily metallic taste, then there is always that.

Anyway, time to go discuss our calendars.

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

I really must quit visiting the junkyard on the way home from work.

Although I must say that I, in my nice polished shoes, white shirt, and sensible slacks, DO give the place an undeniable veneer of classy sophistication.

Not really.

GOOD MORNING! An eventful weekend just past, although thankfully not TOO eventful, aside from huge amounts of money being spent to outfit children for the new school year. No naps, but then again, no grass-cutting, although both were probably called for.

All about it all in a bit--I do have to get it all typed up, after all. Until then, I wanted to take a second and invite you all over to noted softy Charles Austin's place--he's trying to raise enough money to get out of jail. He says it's for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, but it might have something to do with the burro incident. Or not. IN any event, Charles has been posting like a fiend lately, so please drop by and reward his productivity AND help fight MD with a donation if you're able.

Tune in later for a long-winded discourse on topics of no global importance.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2005


It's Friday, you say!? Unbelievable!

Well, not really, but it's been so boring around here that the simple passage of time becomes a really big event. So, tomorrow being Saturday, there's probably all sorts of junk to get done. The grass won't quit growing, and the laundry won't quit being dirty, and there's this whole Dog Daze Festival thing this weekend that Oldest has to work a booth at, and--hm? Why is it called "daze" instead of "days"?

Well, one hopes that it is an attempt to make it some sort of kutesy kuntry spelling, as opposed to some sort of evil thing where they give dogs sedatives or something.

Anyway, she has to be there to work the Leo Club table, and I have a very bad feeling that I might be expected not only to take her, but to stay out there all day. I really don't want to. You know why? It's August in Alabama, and if I have to get all hot and sweaty, it ought to be for something productive. Which tells you, if I would rather stay home and cut grass, just exactly how little I want to attend. And to top it off, it costs a DOLLAR to get in.

Let's see, what else? Well, we have to do back-to-school shopping for the chillins. ::sigh:: I sure wish they would stop all this growing they do. And there's church stuff on Sunday, but this time there isn't supposed to be anything else between the morning and evening services, so I might get to take a nap! Or type on Reba's paper some more. I'll be glad when she [I] graduate[s].

So, that's about it for now--all of you have yourselves a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:00 PM | Comments (7)


Got there and parked and I have two observations:

BOY, that place was FREEZING! I don't see how they could keep from having a tornado right at the doorway due to the extreme temperature differential.

Second, where in the world do all of these people come from!? I can kinda understand all the high school kids, and moms with kids, but what about all these working-age men and women wandering around shopping in the middle of the day? In any event, the place was packed.

I ran and got my suit and didn't even try it on, because I didn't have time, and then stopped and picked up some gruel for lunch, then back out, down to Highway 31, got gas, then back here. Was listening to the talk radio station, and was astonished to hear that the two college-graduate fellows were stymied by a reference to the word "Kafka" in this news story, and thought that it could possibly be a coarse expletive of some sort.

I think they ought to see about getting a refund on their diploma.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:04 PM | Comments (4)


Time to go pick up my old suit that I was having cinched up a bit. I was actually supposed to go get it Wednesday, but, you know.

Anyway, to keep you occupied in my absence, I give you all the NEW STUFF from American Science & Surplus! How about a pocket volcano? Or a pocket squeegee? Or, from the Must Go pile, something that can make you drown? Or how about four slightly rusty steel bars?

It is truly a wonderland of time wastage.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

I hope it works.

U.S. to help rescue Russian mini-sub

The story says Japan is also being asked to help, but I think the most heartening thing in what could still turn out to be a tragedy is that Russia actually asked for help, and seems to have asked quickly, and is allowing the U.S. to fly closer to Kamchatka than it ever has.

For those of us who remember the Cold War, such a turn of events is something to behold.

Apart from the political side of things, the story is particularly poignant after the sinking of the Kursk, so my thoughts and prayers to the crew and their families for a successful rescue.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

Well, now, that'll be useful! for Scots Gaelic!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

It might be pushing things a bit far...

...but I did decide to go ahead and put together a place for interested folks to get certain objects, in exchange for colorful bits of paper and metal.

Since the beginning of time, Possumblog has been free from any commercial content, since portions of it are done, ahhhh, not from home. But since the "I Am A Moron" Project blogsite has been spun off to its own little corner of the web, and since I intend for it to be done during playtime, I didn't think it would hurt if it had its own way of generating parts-purchasing small change. So, if you ever wanted a shirt with a B230F engine on it, or junk like that, there is a place you can get stuff like that.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:24 AM | Comments (8)

August 04, 2005

Odd, I think...

...that this ad is running in Japan. You know, what with there being all that freshly harpooned whale meat around.

I suppose it's a lot harder to look cute while balancing a cute furry whale chick on your knee.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

Well, not since I deflated it...

Oglesby pool losing thousands of gallons of water per day

(Dateline Oglesby, Illinois (Gateway to Starved Rock), named for one of those Yankee Oglesbys.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

Fortune Cookie Wisdom of the Day!

First up--

You will inherit some money from an unexpected source.


Next up--

When both feet are planted firmly, nothing can shake you.

Makes it awfully hard to get stuff off the top shelf, though.

And, as much as it pains me to disagree with my cultural and intellectual superiors, you CAN be shaken if your feet are firmly planted, and it would probably hurt a lot worse. Say, for instance, something like a big metal shaking machine driven by a bonobo shows up at your house, and you're standing there with your feet planted, and the bonobo makes the machine grab you by the head and then he flips a switch and the machine starts shaking, your planted feet would be still, and the whole upper part of you would be shaking, and I think that would be bad and would hurt. And since your feet are planted, you couldn't run and get a bazooka and gently disable the monkey. All you could do is shout and try to make him stop. But you know how they can be.

AND, this whole thing doesn't take into consideration the idea that if you plant your feet into something that ITSELF can be shaken, you're probably in even bigger trouble. Again, if the Giant Metal Bonobo-Operated Shaking Machine has a switch that says "Earthquake," he might flip that while he's got your head, and then all of you would be shaking and then a big crack might open up between your feet, and that would be super bad.

So, you know, maybe those Chinese people aren't so wise after all.


5 16 28 32 45. 14


5 16 24 39 41. 26

Today's meal: kung pao chicken with rice and egg roll, hot and sour soup, Diet Coke. By the way, is there a dish that's just like kung pao chicken, except all of the hot peppers are removed from it before they give it to you? I live in mortal fear of recreating that incident in the Spring of 1987 at the China Palace (or whichever one had the big copper-spraypainted fu dogs outside) on South College Street in Auburn, when I accidentally ingested one of these peppers and very nearly had to drink an entire gallon of water.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:56 PM | Comments (12)


Land of pickup trucks, alligators, and idjits!

Thanks to the ever vigilant Janis Gore for this one--Police: Man made up murder story

OCALA - A man made up a story about killing a hitchhiker and burying the body in the woods in an effort to persuade his wife to leave him, authorities said.

Teddy Claire Akin, 28, of Ocala was charged Tuesday with making a false report and petty theft. He was being held without bail.

Teddy, you might want to consider doing something like not bathing or finding another woman to make her leave you. Just a thought.

Akin's wife, Felicia, called the Marion County Sheriff's Office on Monday to report that her husband had told her that he killed a hitchhiker, authorities said.

Akin told investigators he had picked up the hitchhiker, who wanted a ride to Tampa. He said he hit the man in the neck, causing him to gasp and make a gurgling sound, when the two got into an argument over how far Akin would drive him, authorities said.

Akin said he dumped the body in a forest near a gun range and kept the man's wallet, which contained the license of Utah resident Dennis Legrande Allen, authorities said.

Well, give him this--when he makes up a story, he adds lots of colorful detail and such like to give it that ring of truth.

Deputies searched the area Akin described with dogs and an air unit but failed to find a body Monday evening, Capt. Thomas Bibb said.

Akin eventually told investigators that he was going through a divorce and had hoped the murder story would make his wife leave him, said Sue Livoti, a sheriff's office spokeswoman.

Akin told investigators he found the wallet on top of a newspaper stand. Investigators reached Allen in Utah by phone; Allen said he did not know Akin. [...]

And that's probably for the best.

Sometimes, you know, it's best just to be patient and listen to some music.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)


Land of Volvos, moose, and fermenting herring!

By Stephen Brown

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - In a rare break in the clouds during a rainy Swedish summer, just when it looks safe to venture out for a breath of fresh air, the smell of rotten herring wafts over.

Sunshine is rare enough in the short Nordic summer and trying to enjoy it outdoors also requires a strong stomach in August when Swedes traditionally tuck into "surstromming"

The dish of fermented herring, rivals South East Asia's durian fruit, Iceland's buried shark or Norway's "lutefisk" as one of the world's most objectionable delicacies.

A peaceable people who otherwise care for the environment, fish-loving Swedes sit outside to open and eat a dish that is only deemed ripe for consumption when the tin containing it is buckled and bulging from the fishy fumes. The smell is so pungent that even neighbours and passers-by get a snootful.

"You can't sit inside and eat it because it smells so much," says a waitress at Sturehof restaurant, where the aroma from the herring served at tables on the pavement mingles with the perfumed ambience of Stockholm's poshest shops. [...]

MMmmmYUMMY! Read it all--if you dare.

Now then, that reminds me, I haven't had lunch yet. Be back in a bit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:42 PM | Comments (5)

Those Wacky Masons

I wonder if back in George's day dozens of fez-crowned clowns would pile out of tiny little carriages drawn by Shetland ponies, instead of a King Midget?

'Cause, y'know, that would be pretty cool.

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

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Humans dying of pig disease a concern

Ya think?

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

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

MEURTRIÈRE. In military architecture, a small loophole, large enough for the barrel of a gun or musket and through which a soldier might fire under cover.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

For all sorts of similar sorts of terms, you might enjoy this glossary, which is written in English as well as in that silly French talk.

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

I'm it?

So it seems--Dr. Smith tagged me last night to participate in a book meme that has been making the rounds. I'll do what I can, but I can never really do these things well, because there's so much I have forgotten. But, we'll give it a shot.

1. How many books have I owned? I don't know. Thousands? Still have stacks and stacks of them. And keep buying them. I'm like those little old ladies who keep cats.

2. The last book I bought was: Well, the last "book" I bought (in quotes, because it's not literature, but a technical manual) was a Haynes Volvo 240-series Repair Manual. Haven't gotten to read it yet, alas. The last literary sort of book I bought (sorta, it being not really a purchase by me, but by Miss Reba for my birthday) was Sun Tzu's Art of War. Still working on it.

3. The last book I finished was: I'm not sure, but I think it was Hampton Sides' Ghost Soldiers. This is supposedly some sort of a basis of an idea of a pitch of a story of an concept of a thought for the screenplay for an upcoming movie called The Great Raid. You can read a pre-release pre-review and commentary from noted moviemakers here.

4. What books made an impression on me? Well, the Bible (Jim posted his favorite version, and mine would have to be the ASV of 1901), and The World Book Encyclopedia (1959 Edition), and then everything else. I wish I could point to several out of all the books I've read over the years and be able to say with certainty that this one or that one had a profound influence on me, but it's hard to distinguish them, and they ALL had, and have, an influence on me. Maybe it would be easier with categories--I love history, especially military history and art history. I love architecture, and science, especially mechanical science. I tend to like straighforward storytelling in literature (no psycho mumbo-jumbo, no whodunnits, no bodice-rippers, just tell me the danged story and keep your plot points straight!), and humor, especially Twain and Thurber.

NOW THEN, who to tag next? I'm gonna tag Skinnydan--he needs something to take his mind off of computers. Heh.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:16 AM | Comments (7)


That was unpleasant. Well, relatively speaking, of course. I actually did get finished with my persnickety minute-typing yesterday right at 5:00 p.m., in spite of the best efforts of my supervisor, who seemed yesterday to be quite in need of someone to have to validate his managerial position. He's a wonderful guy, and a real mensch, but sometimes his brain runs away with him, like one of those old movies when you see a steam engine go out of control. So, yesterday he was in and out of my office all day--looking for things that I don't have, asking about people's whereabouts, chit-chatting--worse was when my pseudo-literate coworker and he BOTH came in my office and started a long blabfest about nothing, loudly. I did my best "I'm IGNORING you so you'll LEAVE" routine, but they kept it up for several minutes. To top it off, Boss came in around 4:56 as I was furiously spell-checking and correcting and trying to get the things copying, and had someone he wanted to put on our next meeting agenda. "Well, it's full, and then some. But I'll put it on there if you want me to." I showed him a copy of the agenda to illustrate my point.

"Well, put him on there, and when we do our review, we'll take him back off and tell him to come to the next meeting."


Which is pretty much what I said. He got a bit impatient with me, I think, although he hides stuff like that pretty well. "We will put him on the agenda, and when we do our staff review, we can go through the list and see who can wait, and call them, and reschedule them, and we can tell him he'll have to wait."

We can't do that. Well, we could, but it wouldn't be fair, because we take people in the order they come in. That's why we don't, and why, in the ten years I've been here, we've never done such a thing.

"But, Boss [not his real name], why not just go ahead and tell him he'll be on the next agenda after this if you already KNOW you're going to bump him to it? And we can't really go bumping people to the next agenda if they've already been assigned a slot--some of these folks have been waiting almost three weeks, and it wouldn't be fair to them."

The runaway freight train synapses seemed to slow a bit as he digested the idea that the thing he'd just told me was illogical and a pointless busywork task. "Okay, well, put him on for the 24th, then."

Done and done.

After 5:00 now, and time to go get the papers off the printer, copy them so they are on the front and back of the sheet (saves paper and postage costs) and then ran the required 67 copies, halfway through the running of which I had to take a stack to stuff into everyone's inbox (wastes paper and printing costs), then grabbed the rest and headed home.

Home, hurriedly eaten barbecue sandwich, then off to church for all of us. Make sure everone's in class, then study the intricacies of Philippians 1:27, then spend a few minutes explaining to one of our building committee members why it would be foolhardy to start meeting with our architectural firm without the benefit of a signed contract in hand, then on to home.

Where I started in on folding and stuffing the envelopes full of my meeting minutes, THEN set in to type some more on Reba's directed studies paper, AND try to come up with a better quality graphic for Revolvoblog that doesn't look so raggedy and pixellated. Wound up having to use a poster program we have, print out the result, scan it in, and save it as a .png file, whatever that is. Maybe it'll look better. We'll see later on today sometime.

AND, as for today, I still have that stupid PowerPoint presentation hanging out there in the breeze not getting finished, and I have to ONCE MORE fill out a personnel questionnaire so they can determine if they're wasting enough money on me.

But, even with all that, there should be more time today than in previous days for some fine pointless electronic bloviation!

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

August 03, 2005

And just exactly where have I been today?!

Still fighting with meeting minutes tool and nail. I hate doing these things, and it shows--in the form of slagging off and doing other stuff instead of what I'm supposed to be doing. And the stinkin' mailout's tomorrow!

Blech. Well, after tomorrow morning, there'll be more time to play. Or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

My goodness.

That sure is one big ol' tall gal.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:58 PM | Comments (5)

Sideline Blogging

Some reprinted posts for now over on Revolvoblog, of the events leading up the purchase of my current play-purty. Future posts, of course, will be current matter rather than backstory.

Also, as several have asked, no, Revolvoblog won't be a daily sort of place to check, unless you just LIKE that sort of thing. It'll be more sporadic, but just as dull, as what you've grown accustomed to here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:57 AM | Comments (2)

Okay, rocket science dudes...

This story about the unprecedented space walk underneath the nose of the Shuttle has me wondering. It says that astronaut Robinson was able to gently pluck the loose strips from their place between the tiles. Now I always thought that the material was in there to provide a heat barrier as well as cushioning between adjacent tiles. If it's gone, couldn't hot gases penetrate further between the tiles to the underlying layers of stuff? I'm sure the NASA guys figure it's better to take it out than to leave it (or try to jimmy it back into place), but I was just wondering if they can do without it in place now, why was it necessary in the first place?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:53 AM | Comments (5)

Hard to believe.

But summer's almost over. The kids go back to school next Thursday, and it seems like they just got out yesterday. Then again, sometimes it seems like it's been forever, which I blame on the long smear of non-news, at least on the political front, over the past months. As you know, I like reading about politics, but what's there to talk about? Oh, I realize there's been a lot of blabber in the news, but it's a lot like styrofoam--lots of bulk and no weight.

--The Wilson-Plame thing? A most convoluted mess, the best read on it being that the entire brouhaha over Plame's "outing" is more of a cover to deflect criticism of Joe Wilson's inability to admit he's an idiot. The conventional wisdom (as exemplified by cliches) in the papers is that the Democrats "smell blood in the water," and have been yalping to be thrown the body of Karl Rove. This would be frightening if a) Democrats were sharks, or b) well, I can't think of anything. There's no "there," there, folks--if there was, they'd wait and let a grand jury indict people up and down the line and then gravely nod their heads and say, "See, these Republicans are evil." But then they'd have something to back it up, rather than saying it as rote material. As it is, not a lot except a herd of braying asses.

--John Bolton's nomination. Again, the Democrats seem to think anyone cares what they think, and worse, that what they think is actually important. Let's get one thing straight--John Bolton is a pansy compared to Jeane Kirkpatrick. I say let's get her back. For some reason, the Democrats seem determined to make sure the United States pays proper obedience to the UN, despite the fact that an overwhelming number of member states of the organization are antidemocratic. The Democrats seem much more concerned that Mr. Bolton might have spoke crossly to a staffer in the hallway than Sudan being elected to the Human Rights Commission.

--John Roberts' nomination--yet another in a string of unhingments by the Democrats. From his clothing, to his family, to his WILD EYED EXTREMISM, the left has been in a dither. Then again, so has the far right, who say he's not beefy enough in his Reaganesque bona fides. In the end, he's qualified, and all of the hubbub is just posturing. For the left, get over it--he's not going to be Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The President doesn't have to nominate people with whom he has fundamental political disagreements. It's just not the way things work, kids. For the right, get over it--he's not Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He might not be what you think consititutes a "real" conservative, but he's more reflective of the large swaths of red on the last electoral map. Be happy with him, and remember what Mr. Reagan said about not badmouthing members of your own party.

--Iraq in particular, and the war on terror in general. Iraq's a bad place right now, with some bad people. "Bad people," not in the sense of people who double park, or who reuse postage stamps that didn't get cancelled, but indiscriminate killers whose goal is to murder anyone who doesn't buy the idea that Islam is a religion of peace. These bad people need killing, quickly. Until they are all dancing in the Muhammed's Big Cathouse in the Sky, it's best that we not give them quarter. They certainly won't give it to us. But you know what? It's going to take more than a week. Maybe more than two. So the next time I hear "exit strategy," it better have the word "our" before it, and "is victory" afterwards.

--Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Howard Dean. ::sigh:: Howie was in town last night, and had this corker:

[...] They say we didn't win the election last time because of moral values. The opposite is true," said Dean, who lost a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and is now party chairman.

"If the election had been held on moral values last time, the Democrats would have won. Why is that? Because more people agree with our moral values," he said. [...]

Okay, so if it wasn't about moral values, what WAS it about? Foreign policy? Economics? Domestic security? Education? Energy policy? That's like saying, "people say football is a game of inches, but if it really was, WE would have won!" Left unsaid is the idea that they would also have gotten to use their own measuring stick. In the end, they lost, for a variety of reasons, one of which happened to be morality, certainly. But it wasn't the most important reason, despite what their friends at the New York Times keep telling them.

The Democrats seem to have bought the idea that morality is the ONE thing that beat them, and are pinning as many multi-colored moral ribbons to themselves as they can to counter it. But, it goes back to the idea that you can't convince people to vote for you if you say they're not wrong, but evil, if they disagree with you. The fact that I voted for Bush does not mean I want children to starve to death in the streets. It doesn't mean that I think gay people should be rounded up and put in jail. It doesn't mean that I think old people should be kicked to the curb and made to clean dumpsters. To continue to make that insinuation doesn't compel me to vote for you, and it makes you look like the raving lunatic you claim not to be.

--Nazis. You know, this has gone on long enough from our friends over on the left. Because, let's face it--if Bush really was Hitler, he'd be getting a LOT better press. Witness the gentle-handed treatment Robert Mugabe receives in the papers. Or Dear Leader and Hole in One Master Kim Jong-Il. Or the 'now rotating on a spit at Satan's big barbecue' Yasser Arafat.

Anyway, it's been a summer of the typical reruns. Be glad when the new shows come on, but I have a feeling it'll just be the same old stuff in different packaging.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:27 AM | Comments (6)

August 02, 2005

Speaking of Rocket Science...

Steevil, famous NASA Scientist and brother of Dr. Weevil, sends along the following highly educational material:


The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

Makes sense to me.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:31 PM | Comments (2)

I got yer Moron Project RIGHT HERE, bub!

Okay, well, so, I'm a nidiot, but you should already be used to that. As mentioned below, I have been thinking about starting a blog just to post twaddle about my old car stuff, and since no one jumped up and screamed "NO! DON'T DO IT!" or "LOOK! A BADGER!", I went ahead and started yet another blog to clutter up the ether.

Revolvoblog, it is.

I'm certain it will maintain the high standards to which you have become accustomed herein.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:04 PM | Comments (10)

Does the world need another blog?

I don't know. But for some reason I keep thinking that it might be nice to have all my stupid car stuff over in its own little corner of the world. One thing I've noticed is that even with all of the bulletin boards and websites, there aren't any that really suit me and my ever growing list of bookmarks on my browser. It wouldn't be a daily thing like Possumblog is, but it would be a handy place to throw links to suppliers and stuff that are of limited interest here.

Now, I haven't decided for sure whether to do this or not, but if I do, the title might look like this. Or not.

Other titles considered: "Hail, Hail, Moronica!" (Always good to have a Three Stooges reference, you know.)

"The Chronicles of Moronia" (Always good to have a C.S. Lewis reference, you know.)

"Should It Be Making That Noise?"

"Slow, Yet Dull"

"Swedish Girls Think Volvos Are, Like, WAY Cool!"

"It's Not Rust, It's Patina"

"Look, just because Colin Powell collects old Volvos doesn't mean I think his tenure as Secretary of State was one of the high points of American foreign policy. But he does seem like a pretty nice guy, and his wife's a hometown girl. And he collects Volvos." (Always good to have a political reference, you know.)

"Jag Förstår Inte!" ("I do not understand!")

"Possumolvo" (Always good to attempt to draft on the tremendous success of other, more highly evolved and wider-read blogs, you know.)

Anyway, details as they emerge. If they do.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:02 AM | Comments (13)

Birmingham Rewound

Good morning! Just got an e-mail from regular reader and contributor Stan the Gummint Man, who asked if I had ever run across the fine site Birmingham Rewound in my various Internettery.

Ashamedly, I must say I haven't, but it's a peach of a site (maintained by the wry Russell Wells) and includes all kinds of great photos and stories about the Magic City from back when it all seemed a bit more magical. If you like Lileks' rambles around old Minneapolis and Fargo, you'll enjoy Rewound as well.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:24 AM | Comments (5)

August 01, 2005

Well, you see...

...I just felt like we needed to spend more money. So, off I go now to take Oldest to be fitted for orthodontia. We just got Boy out of his, you know, and that extra money each month was just too much to bear, so we thought it best to keep spending it on small bits of metal, wire, and rubber bands for our children and a nice lake house for the mouth guy.

Anyway, be back tomorrow, with more work to do. Blech.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

Lunchy Ramblings and Other Odd Things

Before I went out, I thought it was going to rain because I kept heaing thunder, but it turned out to be a couple of groups of high school (?) drum lines out in the park. Didn't know what it was all about at first, but let me tell you, I LOVE drumlines. Nothing quite like them for that sort of flippy feeling down in your gut. Of course, I might not like it much as the year progresses--Boy has decided he wants to take Band in middle school this year, and he wants to play the drums. Oh boy, Boy.

Walked on across to the park and spotted the first of TWO 240 Volvos. It's very odd, you know--you just don't expect to see them, and then you see two parked within a half-block of each other.

Walked on around, crossed Park Place, nearly got hit by both a car AND a bicycle, walked on down the sidewalk and found that the cover on the sidewalk elevator outside Park Place Tower had been spray-painted a hideous, streaky yellow color. Yes, a much better idea to slap an ugly coat of paint on it than to replace the warped doors that are causing the trip hazard in the first place. ANYway, the odd thing wasn't really the paint, it was the abandoned office chair beside it. As with most secretarial chairs, the back was off, and had been neatly placed onto the seat. I tell you what, if someone could come up with a break-proof secretarial chair back, he'd make a fortune. At least until the new chair market dried up because no one was breaking them. ANYWAY, the most strange thing to me is why they put it out on the sidewalk. Why not just put it in the junk room? Why not call the office furniture place to come get it? Are they trying to give the bums something to get around in? If so, it's not working.

On to the bank to pay the house note, and for once the wait wasn't so long that I started having those weird fantasies (mostly), and after I completed the bank account draining procedure, I went on to get some lunch.

Milo's today--some nice hot chicken. As I was standing in line, I noticed yet another peculiarity. One of the food court cleaning staff, a lady with a small broom and swiveling-dustpan-on-a-stick, threw down a couple of paper napkins she had in her hand onto the floor. "That's odd," I thought. Not nearly so much as her next move, though, which was to put the dustpan on the floor and neatly sweep the paper into it.

All the while, standing right next to a trash receptacle.

It is a mystery.

Got my food, made my way back out to the street, and back to the park, where I finally got a glimpse, between the teevee crews, of a sign that said the drum corps were part of an (apparently un-parade-permitted) SCLC rally of some sort. "Stop the Violence! Increase the Peace!" which is a good sentiment, but still, a message that might bave been better conveyed through something like flutes and triangles and violins. But, you know how I am.

Walked on around on Short 20th, where the police had finally arrived to direct traffic, and fell in behind a lady who works in the building. We got to the front door at the same time and walked into the elevator together, and she mentioned that she wondered what was going on outside in the park. "Oh," said me, "it's an SCLC rally of some sort, and they had some kids with their drumline out there."


She had no idea what I was talking about. Probably ten years older than me, working HERE, in this town, and she'd never heard of them.

"Uh, yeah, the 'SCLC'--Southern Christian Leadership Conference? They're in town this week for a meeting?" She still had no idea who I was talking about.

It's a very strange world. Thankfully, the chicken was quite tasty.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

And you know what else?

I STILL have stupid work to do! I tell you what, it's enough to make me want to pout and demand that a wealthy benefactor hire me to write silly garbage.

But, until that time arrives, I have many words to type, and they don't seem to be getting done with any sort of expeditiousness. Maybe I should actually work instead of complaining...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:47 AM | Comments (4)


Wouldn't you know it, but it held off raining long enough for me to cut the grass Saturday. Twice. Once to get off the upper ranges of the overgrowth, then once more to pick up the big gobby soppy windrows (or, to be more precise, lawnmowerrows) of wet clippings that made long clods across the yard. The normal two-hour meditation session hour lasted three and a half, and my ankles are sore, and my hips, and the bony parts of my elbows (the elbones, for you medical types). BUT, doggone it, the grass (i.e., weeds) is (are) cut and now I can once again rejoin the good graces of my neighbors.

One of whom is new. I didn't realize it, but our rear neighbor Young Phyllis George Lookalike Girl and her husband and kids moved at some time in the near past, and sold their house to someone else. I met the new neighbor guy Saturday when we were trying to shoo away someone's big stupid hound dog that wandered into our yards (and got into his dog's pen). Nice guy, but he sure has a long way to go before looking like a young Phyllis George.

Let's see, what else--OH, I picked up my suits Friday with the reet pleat and drape shape, and I must say I look very acceptable in both. Also dropped off my old suit to be snugged up a bit.

Then I went home to drop things off before meeting up with Reba and the kids over at her mom's house. Seems she allowed herself to be dragged into the preparations for the Saturday shindig, so we had supper over there while she and the kids helped out. BUT, before I got there, there was the Super Terrific Big Gift Box to ME (whom it is all about) that arrived, just as I was getting the trash can in. Mr. UPS stopped outside on the street and delivered a big long box full of BRAND NEW EUROPEAN GLASS HEADLAMP UNITS (made in Taiwan) for a certain spiffy old Volvo. COOOL! I have tried the polish route on the clear plastic lenses, which managed to not do too much. The lenses are still foggy-looking, and by gum, I want to be able to see to drive and not have to put up with a dull and ugly front end.

On the car, at least.

SO, with a portion of the proceeds from Moby, I laid down some dough for some nice(-ish--they aren't quite as wonderful as OEM, but they only cost half as much) E-code lamps and side marker lamps. Only problem is they didn't send the new bulb connectors. I will withhold judgement on the company (FCP Groton) until I see how they handle this small, but crucial, oversight.

But, I am tickled nonetheless.

EVEN MORE SO, my evil plan to corrupt the pure and innocent Miss Reba with my dementia seems to be bearing fruit! BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!

Saturday as I was taking a break from killing myself, I had taken a moment to fix one of my new taillight bulbs. One of the backup lights wasn't coming on, so I had to fix that--it was just not pushed all the way in to the bulb holder--and as I was doing that, Miss Reba came out to see how I was doing and to deliver a cold drink to me.

"Let me ask you something, Terry."

::gulpgulpgulpHUHAHUgulpgulp::glup "Uh?"

"Since you got your little shiny hubcaps from the junkyard, and your new taillights, and you painted--"


"--dyed your plastic stuff on the doors, and since you're going to do the bumpers so they will all look nice, have you ever thought about getting something to make these--"

She was pointing at the headlights! YES!

"YES! They're right inside the garage! They came yesterday. And they're not plastic--they're EUROPEAN style GLASS ones that won't get all dull-looking! AND it comes with new lights for the sides, too!"

The European reference hooked her--"OOooo!" she said.

So, it appears my evil plan is paying off. Of course, any evil plan, or for that matter, any Moron Project, requires maintenance, so I will have to be sure to buy her some chocolate ice cream. And finish typing her paper.

And I was also a good sport and took the two older girls to the cookout our youth minister had yesterday for the teenagers, after we had already worn ourselves out with two worship services and lunch all smacked together right after another that morning at church. I had intended just to drop them off and come back to the house.

And there I was, thinking I might get to sit and rest and read the paper.


But before all that, I had to go get gas in her car, then go by the drugstore to pick up some medicine, then get some vittles (chips, dip) for the girls to take with them to the cookout, and then hauled them over there and HAD TO STAY WITH THEM. Reba was very insistent that I stay, since parental presence was the only thing that would have made Rebecca want to stay. The older kids occasionally act like older kids to the younger ones, and it hurts Rebecca's feelings.

Actually, it turned out to be pretty fun. I kidded the minister about burning up the hamburgers, and then sat down and played about five hands of UNO with Rebecca and her friends, which helped make it fun for her, and then we got to eat and I sat and chatted with a couple of the moms who were there without manly accompaniment (me being a somewhat close approximation thereof), then Rebecca and her friends went and got sweaty playing hide-and-seek. Ashley stayed in the house to hone her flightly laugh-talk jabbering skills. It was all very good, aside from the flies. Time to go about 7:30, so back to home, and pretty much that was that.

Oh, wait--forgot about the soiree at Grandma's on Saturday. I was a model of anti-socialism. I was so beat from the grass-cutting and inflatable pool removal (it deflated and spilled out all that precious water onto the ground, and also managed to rot the ground underneath so that it started breeding flies--really) that about all I wanted to do was sit and vegetate. Tons of people, a lot of whom I hadn't seen in years, but I wasn't able to do much more than say 'hey' and sit on the steps. Time to eat, I got a plate, and since Grandma broke her own rule and allowed the children to go downstairs, I made myself the deputy warden and went down there to keep an eye on them and make sure they didn't tear anything up or spill things. And got treated to a three-hour Fairly Odd Parents marathon. Actually, a pretty funny show--this was the first time I'd been able to see it, and I was in the proper exhausted mode necessary for it to be really, REALLY funny. And I didn't have to make idle chit-chat with adults, so it was all good.

Anyway, an action-packed weekend full of food and confusion. Oh, and I'm sore.

OH, and how could I forget!? I also had to go buy a battery for the Honda Saturday morning. I thought the kids might have left a light on or something, because it was very hard to get going Friday night, but they hadn't left anything on. 75,000 miles? Yep, probably time for a battery. So, FIRST thing Saturday, before I started the grass-cutting, I went down to Advance Auto Parts to get them to put in a new one. Done in about ten minutes, the only problem being that since the battery had been disconnected, the radio was now in anti-theft mode, and in order to play it, I was supposed to put in some sort of five-digit code. Which I had no idea where I could find. We bought the van used, and I never saw any sort of code or other radio information.


Sounded like a trip to the dealer.

Got home and was looking in the passenger door bin to find whatever had been rattling, opened the glovebox to see if the rattle was in there, and saw a small sticker on the side of the box. White, black numerals. Hmm. Five digits, followed by a series of numbers underneath. I wonder....

Turned on the ignition, turned on the radio, punched in the five digits--EUREKA! That was the code! I was very happy. Until, of course, I had to cut the grass.

And yes, the lawnmower blade insisted on coming loose again, so I had to stop and go buy a 22 cent lock washer from the hardware store to finally fix it once and for all. Or until next time.

ANYway, that's it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:49 AM | Comments (11)