September 30, 2005

Almost that time.

The weekend starts early tonight--it's homecoming, and Oldest has a thing to do at halftime with the choir, and so we'll all be turned out in our regalia tonight. Which for me consists of my Huskies stadium chair, but that's enough.

And then tomorrow, Miss Reba completes yet another chapter in her academic career. She will now have two different associate degrees and a BS in Human Resources Management, so I'm hoping she will find a job that pays a couple million dollars a year so I can retire and take up full-time blogging AND open my very own Volvo junkyard. An INDOOR junkyard. That would be cool. Maybe in an old Wal-Mart building. The suburbs are full of them--as they move on to a SuperCenter down the road, the old ones get shuttered and no one ever moves in. But they've got a lot of space, and cashier stands, and so I figure you just stack wounded Volvos up and down where the aisles used to be, give people shopping carts, and let them go shop for what they need in clean, well-lit, indoor accomodations. Maybe even have a deli--Swedish meatballs, you know.

Anyway, she still has to take her final, so I'll go to the library and read, and then that'll be that. For now. And then there'll be church Sunday, and I'll get to find out what all the other people agreed to in my absence, which I'm sure will be interesting, and we start our new quarter, and I found a teacher, which is good, and I'll get to teach Boy and Middle Girl this time--except that will be Wednesday.

Sometime in there, we've also got a stack of laundry to do, and the house to clean. OOOH! And a birthday cake to buy! I just remembered we haven't bought Rebecca a cake yet! She probably enjoyed eating out last night as much as she would enjoy a cake, but there is TRADITION to be invoked, and if you don't get to blow out candles, well, that just ruins everything. So, a cake.

But now?

Time to pack up and get ready. All of you have a great weekend, and I'll see you bright and early Monday!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:20 PM | Comments (2)

Did you say Moron!?

Oh, you betcha!

My Friend Jeff seems to have caught the "I Am A Moron" bug from me. He sent me an e-mail yesterday morning, and over the course of several minutes it devolved--or deVolvoed--into the stupidest pile of crap you could ever read.

And yes, it is my fault.

Anyway, since it is laden with all sorts of hot Volvo action, I won't burden you with it here, but will direct you over to Revolvoblog for the fuller accounting.

That is, assuming you want to read a coversation between two really dumb guys talking about sturdy, if prosaic, Swedish motorcars.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:54 PM | Comments (2)

And speaking of football...

It's once again time to fire up the Possumblog Sports Center and discuss tomorrow's big SEC contest between the ferocious Tigers of Auburn University (3-1 overall, 1-0 SEC) and the Pretty Little Chickens of South Carolina (2-2 overall, 0-2 SEC)!

As you recall, last week Auburn tangled with the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky, and just as the our Football Pickin' Chicken, Nancy Pelosi, predicted, the boys from Kentuck managed to rack up an impressive 14 points against the Plainsmen, and the Orange and Blue countered with a lackluster 37 points in response. Nancy Pelosi had predicted a 48 point score for the Tigers, but I believe even she could not have foreseen starting QB Brandon Cox being laid low with a stomach virus only hours before kickoff. The fact that the API boys were able to march on and score well even with untested backup field general Blake Field is a credit to them, but it's obvious that had this substitution occurred against a less-favorable opponent--such as, oh, let's say, the LSUs, Georgias, or Alabamas of the conference--the results probably would have been much less good.

As it was, though, Field got some good field experience, and the team got to work out some kinks. The Tigers have continued to slowly improve over the past weeks, with continued flashes of gameplay that were MUCH more in evidence last year. The kicking game still needs some work, but the bones are there for the rest of the team to indicate a good run for the rest of the year.

AS FOR THEIR OPPONENTS this week--the other USC sits at the bottom of the SEC East below the perennial powerhouses of Florida, Georgia, and Vanderbilt, and are feared mostly for the fact that Steve Spurrier is their coach. As Coach says, "it's a rebuilding year." Despite his reputation, Spurrier has proven that without a strong team full of thug-life miscreants, it's difficult for him to work his coaching magic as he did at Florida. Or at Washington ::snicker:: Sorry. That was unprofessional of me. ::chortle::

BUT, here's the deal--he IS a good coach, and even the worst team in the SEC is still pretty danged tough to work over. (Mississippi State not withstanding.) Spurrier is going to have to start winning, and nothing could be sweeter than to whup up on the Tigers on their home turf. Look for the Birds to come out hard on defense early with lots of pressure on Brandon Cox--the secondary is going to have to fend for itself against a talented Auburn receiver corps, but if they can get the passing game shut down at the source, they have a chance of pulling off that much-needed win.

HOWEVER, being all impartial and objective and stuff like that, Auburn is simply a better team--I mean, what is more fearsome--this and this, or this?

See what I mean?

I will say this for the Gamecocks--at least in the most important category, that of of cheerleading, they DO have individual photos of their roster, which, even if it does include guys, is something Auburn has yet to do. Still, if you measure by the quality and quantity of game day candids, it's hard to fault the Tigers. Even if the pictures do include too many guys.

ANYWAY, on to the most exciting part of the show--the weekly prognostications! Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi is still with us this week, since Auburn did win last week, and she did predict the opponent's score with remarkable certainty, even if she was off by 11 points on our score, and since Chet the E-Mail Boy made a point of not dumping turnips on her.

Given these circumstances, I believe it still behooves us to allow her one more week of grace without being turned into fricasee. HOWEVER, being that Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi is a chicken just like the mascot of the opposing team, some have called foul, or fowl, and say that Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi cannot be trusted to be fair and impartial as she picks this week's game, and might try to tip the balance toward the Gamecocks.

Rest assured, kind readers, Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi is only interested in the truth and would be hurt by all of this sniping were she actually a sentient being with more than a dropperful of brains.

So, here we go--as we did last week, we have placed Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi in a large Maytag washing machine box with a numeric keypad to use to peck out her prediction--let's see, it's coming in now...


We thank you all for tuning in to this week's Possumblog Sports Center! The Auburn-South Carolina game will be telecast on ESPN 2, with kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium on the lush campus of Auburn University scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Poor lawyers.

Out on the streets, begging for food, scrounging in dumpsters for cans, sleeping in boxes, having to chase ambulances on foot instead of from the safe confines of a Mercedes--SOMETHING MUST BE DONE FOR THE POOR DISPOSSESSED BARRISTERS!

Thank goodness for the good folks in the city of Bessemer, Alabama--Council looks at resolution to appoint indigent lawyers.

Maybe the paper could hire some indigent editors.

(Hat tip to Jimbo for sending that one along.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:59 AM | Comments (11)

The sweetest words ever spoken...

"Primary staff only."

I DON'T HAVE TO GO TO THAT STUPID MEETING THIS MORNING! After the reprieve of yesterday when the supersupervisor (and no one else, for that matter) showed up, I figured there was no way I could get out of this one today. BUT I DID! The big guy only wants the medium-sized guys, and all of the rest of us teensy people get to go off and do teensy people things.

Speaking of meetings, I had a building committee meeting at church last night that started at 6:30. I remembered it right in the middle of eating my salad at Ruby Tuesday about 7:00. Quite embarrassing, especially considering that I'm the one who always hectors people to be at the meetings, and considering that I kept reminding myself all day yesterday that I had a meeting and not to forget it.

But Reba called while I was on the way home yesterday and suggested we take Rebecca out for supper for her birthday, and everything else just slipped my mind. Even took Grandmom with us (Grandpop being out of town on business).

We went to the one in Trussville, which is not the one we've been boycotting in Leeds for the past three years or so. The service is much better--made even betterer this time because our waitress was a girl we go to church with. We didn't even know she worked there, but it was a nice surprise, and she was incredibly attentive. She was so glad to see us she actually stole us from another waiter. Such a sweetheart--she got a big tip.

Of course, we can't go anywhere without drama--Boy didn't want to order off the kid's menu, and decided he just wouldn't eat, and curled up in the booth acting like a baby. After a short tersely whispered lecture about not acting like a baby, he at least sat up straight. Stubborn thing, though--he was going to just not order anything at all and go to bed hungry. Fine.

Remember, never negotiate with terrorists.

After a while, he decided he'd get a salad from the salad bar. I found him up there being pitiful, with a sliver of lettuce leaf and a tomato, and a drop of ranch dressing. Po' baby. ::sotto voce:: "Bud--you can go ahead and get more---you have to pay the same whether you have just a little or a whole lot." After that he made himself a regular salad and ate that. And a pot sticker. And one of Reba's chicken fingers. And a quarter of Rebecca's hamburger. And half a piece of pie with ice cream. I knew he couldn't hold out forever. And doggone it, his kid's salad came off the kid's menu!

Other drama was minor, although Cat was up and down and around and under and through and a thousand other prepositions all night which made me remember the last time we went somewhere relatively nice and I vowed never to go back unless I had a straitjacket and a dart gun full of horse tranquilizers. And no, I'm not sure if that would be for me or for her.

And then there was the sudden remembrance of my missed meeting. I asked at the host's stand if they had a phone book, which took forever for them to not find, so I wound up using precious minutes calling directory information, then wasted a call when the answering machine at church picked up, and then called again and finally got one of the other guys on the committee. Profuse, abject, groveling apology offered, then went back to sit down and wonder why Catherine was making a swan out of her paper napkin. "LOOK, DADDY! A SWAN!"


Rebecca was pleased that I had missed my meeting, of course--"So you can spend time with your FAVORITE 13-year-old girl who is having a birthday TODAY! Right, Daddy?"


All over with, paid, dropped Grandmom at her house, home--and wha?! The garage door would go up a half a foot, then come right back down. What in the world!?

Got out and had to go through the front door and after getting inside set the kids to their homework and baths and went to check out what was wrong. Maybe it was the food-borne stupifying agents or just plain stupificationary genes, but it took me ten minutes to figure out that one of the spring eyes had broken off. I could see the spring and cables dangling there, but couldn't figure out WHY. Until I finally saw the broken piece and had one of those forehead-smacking moments. Well, that'll be inconvenient. And it won't get fixed anytime soon, either.


Going down to Montgomery with Reba again, that's why. She has her comprehensive final tomorrow, and I agreed to accompany her one more time for old-time's sake. It's not the all-day affair her other times have been, so we'll go down during the day, but that pretty much rules out anything as productive as changing out a garage door spring tomorrow.

It won't rule out an oil change for the Volvo, though, dangitall.

Anyway, now it's time to get on with all of my vastly important teensy person busywork. And other things...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:47 AM | Comments (4)

September 29, 2005

Back now, and it's time to work.

A nice diversion in the middle of the day, although almost fraught with terrible tragedy. Seems my newly purchased junkyard mirror on the passenger side almost let go and fell into the middle of I-20. It has an odd little locking ring on the inside of the glass that you're supposed to click onto the backing place by sticking a tiny screwdriver in a slot on the bottom of the mirror housing and ooching the little ring sideways. I thought I had ooched enough, but apparently not.

I had to pull over, roll down the window, and grab the mirror before going on to school. When I got there, I parked and put it back on with a non-tiny screwdriver, and I feel that I once again did not ooch with sufficient brio to make it lock. Something to do when I get home, I suppose.

Oldest was ready to go in a good amount of time, and we got to the center with no problems other than traffic. And bless the woman's heart at the staging area--"Is this car going to be one of the ones in the parade?"

Heh--no, no, 'fraid not. That's a honor they reserve for people with fancy convertibles, Hummers, kit cars, and dune buggies. But it's nice to think someone thought it worthy to be considered in such a group.

ALTHOUGH, she might have been asking, "Is THIS car going to be one of the ones in the PARADE!?"

Anywho, dropped her off, got back on the road, and now I need to be productive.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:24 PM | Comments (6)

And Now?

Why, it's lunchtime!

This late?

Of course! because I'm not really going to lunch--I'm using my lunch hour to drive out to Trussville to pick up Oldest from high school and deposit her at the senior citizen's center so she can get on the DECA club homecoming float for the parade.

It was either that, or let her ride with some person we don't know.

SO, I'll be back in an hour or so.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

Silly Fritz...

...says this picture is of organically-grown marshmallows, but it's obvious he found a Delaware toilet paper farm.

I tell you what--products to help you clean up after doing your business is a big business.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:15 PM | Comments (4)

More Media Hijinx

This photo is on Yahoo! News right now, with this as the first part of the caption: "Yuhui, a young orangutan, practises weightlifting in ChongQing Safari Park in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, September 26, 2005. [...]"

Frankly, I don't believe that barbell is that heavy. And second, I really don't think that's an orangutan, unless young orangutans start out as chimpanzees.

Of course, the photo IS from Reuters, so I suppose facts really shouldn't stand in the way of getting to the truth of the matter--i.e., George Bush's refusal to comply with the Kyoto protocols is causing monkeys in China to gain superhuman strength.

And yes, this is just an excuse to have a monkey picture.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

::sigh:: Don't tell me I have ANOTHER one!

I suppose it was bound to happen, though. And you never know, just because I have suddenly become the owner of ANOTHER teenager today, doesn't necessarily mean that she will grow horns and a pointy tail and walk around with a chip on her shoulder. I hope.

But, yes, exactly 13 years ago on this date, Rebecca made her big red squalling entrance into the world. It's hard to describe that joy in anything other than words that sound cloying and trite and twee and hackneyed, but it was a joy nonetheless. She had a bit of a time getting here--labor took around 6 hours or so, and Reba had to get an epidural, which she didn't have to have when Ashley was born. And Rebecca was a stout little thing--10 pounds, 11 ounces of loud wiggliness. Weirdest thing is that she looked EXACTLY like me--well, minus all the various bodily fluids and junk--but I cannot describe the odd feeling of seeing well, me.

The years since then have been one thing after another--the freak snowstorm of '93, when the four of us had to bundle up in the den with a kerosene heater, Christmases, birthdays, first day of kindergarten, first day of real school, first day of middle school, moving--the time that we stayed in the house of a friend of ours down in Seagrove Beach when she was about six, and when I wasn't watching she managed to climb up on a stool, stick her legs out the back underneath the backrest, and push herself forward. Or rather, backwards. The stool flipped back, and she managed to hit her forehead on the front of the cabinets behind the stool, and since her legs were wedged under the space between the backrest and the seat, it was like getting her legs caught in a guillotine when she hit the floor. She cried and cried, but her robust construction saved her from serious harm, other than a big goose-egg on her noggin and two bruises on her shins.

Then there was the time we went to Chattanooga, and she got too far out into the pool and sucked down a couple of lungsful of water. I had to scramble over and get her out, but water terrified her for years afterwards. She's better now that she knows how to swim, though.

Oh, and all those long nights at the soccer park--all that sweat and grass.

She's grown up so much. She sees a lot, too. Stuff you wouldn't expect a kid to take notice of. She still asks those hard questions--good questions--about life and God and why people act they way they do and how does wind work and things like that.

Of all of them, she's probably the closest one to me not only in looks, but in disposition as well. She tends to lie back and take things in and not say anything until later. Part of it's shyness, part of it seems to be her wanting to try to figure out things in her mind before saying anything.

Such a girl. Such a teenaged girl.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:40 AM | Comments (7)

What if you had a meeting, and no one showed up?

WOO-HOOOO!! that's what.

For some reason, the meeting this morning fell apart--and it wasn't even supposed to be the big fat hairy meeting I thought it was supposed to be, only a PRE-BFH meeting. So, I sat in there at the conference table with two other guys as we mutally pondered where everyone else was. After a while, it became obvious that no one else either a) remembered, b) cared, or c) both A and B.

SO IT'S OVER! Until tomorrow, when the actual BFH occurs, when I will once again go through this whole spiel about not wanting to go to that meeting.

BUT NOW, I can PLAY! Well, sorta. I do have other actual work to do, too. Lots of typing and mindless regulating to be done, you know.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Okay, I have exactly one minute to mock my betters in the journalism game, but this one was a little too funny to let lay: Wind-fueled fire threatens S. Calif. homes

You're saying that wind fueled the fire?! Meaning that if it serves as a fuel, we could run cars by filling up their tanks with blowing air?

Our energy crisis is solved.

Okay, so I realize that wasn't worth wasting a minute on.

UPDATE!! THEY'RE TEACHABLE! I just noticed (11:33 a.m.) that the headline has been edited at 10:41 a.m. to read "Wind-Fanned Fire..." THANK YOU, Headline Writer Guy!

(Although I believe--were I an editor--that I would have stuck with something more common, such as "Windblown.")

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:02 AM | Comments (6)


One for all the aardvark lovers out there!

No, silly, not this one--


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:51 AM | Comments (2)

Remember last week?

And that meeting that I thought I was going to have on Friday? The one where I thought I was going to have to sit in on another two-hour flogging? And I thought I had gotten out of it, because I thought my supervisor was going to just hand over the crap we were doing to the supersupervisor and not drag us all down with him? That meeting?

Well, it's on for today. In thirty minutes. My supervisor is brimming with confidence.

I, however, am not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

Oh, aren’t YOU the lucky one!



Because it’s THURSDAY, and that can mean but one thing! Okay, two. But the one we’re most interested in is that it means that it’s once again time for America’s favorite blogparlor game, The Axis of Weevil Thursday Three! YIPPPEEEE!

Yeah, I know--exciting times, eh?

But just wait until you get a load of these questions--

Today’s topic--SELF IMPROVEMENT!

1) What one language would you most like to learn to speak, or at least understand?

2) What one skill would you most like to learn?

3) What one character flaw would you most like to rid yourself of?

As always, the way to play the game is to either answer the questions down in the comments OR if you have one of those fancy “web logs” (or “blogs,” as the kids call them) write your answers there and leave a link in the comments. Obviously, anyone can play, unless you’re completely perfect. Like me.

As for my answers…

#1--Aside from English, I would really like to know ancient Greek. I know a few words, but aside from that, and knowing the alphabet, it’s like it’s a whole other language or something. Bible study would be more informative, that’s for sure. I have thought about doing some of the online courses, and still might. They do tend to cut into valuable blogging time, however.

#2--I wish I knew more about automotive electrical stuff. I would really like to be able to understand how to wire up radios and accessories and fix electrical stuff. I have a good grasp of mechanical things, because I can intuit by looking at things that if Part A pushes on Part 3, it opens Assembly X. Electricity is just so full of all those slippery electrons, and I can’t watch them do their work in the same way that I can with a throttle linkage. See above about online instruction opportunities.

#3--I’m not a very social person--I don’t like going to parties and such, and don’t like meeting new people, and I don’t try to remember people’s names. Part of it is shyness, I suppose, and then I suppose part of it is I am a little too picky about what I expect from people. Not that I expect them to be perfect or anything, but I really don’t like being around people who are real scattered and illogical. A little is fine, but there are some folks who are just too difficult to be around.

Anyway, so there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:11 AM | Comments (21)

September 28, 2005

Be sure and have your thinking caps tomorrow...'s that time again, you know.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

I declare, it's enough to give me the vapors.

What sort of good Southern children am I rearing?!

Last night on the way up the hill with the brood in the van with us, Reba said something offhand, and said the word "Alabama." Now, Reba has a pretty pronounced Southern accent, although it tends to be more robust when she's not thinking about it, and so this particular "Alabama" came out with several more sing-songy syllables than absolutely required by the dictionary, and I heard Jonathan start snickering in the backseat and mocking his VERY OWN MAMA.


"Sorry, Daddy. But Mama sounds like this kid in my class--heee tawwks ree-ul Suuuhthern."

"Hey, Bud--you have a Southern accent, too, so don't be making fun of other people's."

"I DO!?"

Well, not really--all of the kids have enough to know where they're from, but not nearly so much as the extras in Gone With the Wind. They watch and hear so much television that they are quite painfully aware that anyone with a really broad brogue is automatically stupid--being that Southerners are the only remaining minority group that it's perfectly acceptable to scorn--and even in my most relaxed mood, I still wouldn't be mistaken for Andy Griffith.

"Yes, son, anyone from anywhere else but here would know you're from the South."

He was quite mystified that anyone could have such incredible powers of perception. From there, the conversation quickly devolved into a linguistic free-for-all as they all tried to outdo one another in cornpones-speak.

Where're my Shelby Foote audio tapes?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:50 PM | Comments (13)

Your Portal for All the World's Knowledge

I just took a moment from my chores to check the referrer statistics, and ran across this query from a recent visitor. Please turn your volume down because it was delivered in a shoutey voice: WHAT NATION IS CREDITED WITH THE DISCOVERY OF TOILET PAPER.

Thankfully, there is Possumblog to answer such tough questions.

According to my research, it appears toilet paper was discovered NOT by the Vikings as has been promoted in years past (refer especially to Giardia's 1925 work, Scoperte di carta nei giorni antichi), but actually appears to have been a discovery by Dutch spice traders who found found it growing wild in the South Pacific.

The first live specimens were brought to Amsterdam in 1667, and the population was highly impressed with the curiosity, although no one knew quite what the rolls could be used for. Sensing a use for the product, a clever Dutchman named Keirn Duhuipp stole some seeds and began growing his own rolls in a fallow tulip patch, and upon their maturity, demonstrated their sanitary and cleansing properties to astonished Dutchmen (his wife was tasked with demonstrating for Dutchwomen). Soon, all of Holland erupted into a frenzy of speculative buying of toilet paper plants. Various hybrid types were soon on the market with varying degrees of softness and decorative designs, further fueling the furious bidding, and Duhuipp profited handsomely in the early years.

However, when the inevitable market crash occurred, Dehuipp found himself overextended and creditors confiscated all he owned, including his chamber pot.

Today, toilet paper is grown all over the world, and in many of the same varieties that were popular in Dehuipp's time. Toilet paper is the 3rd most profitable cash crop in Idaho, and 4th in South Dakota, where the rich soil is especially favorable for growing toilet paper.

We hope you have enjoyed this trip through world history! As always, Possumblog's researchers stand ready to answer questions of any sort in our quest to further man's knowledge.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:51 PM | Comments (6)

Well, this can't be good.

I just got one of those handy CNN Breaking News e-mails saying that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been indicted on one count of criminal conspiracy by Texas grand jury.

Obviously, since this is America he is guilty no matter what, so I wonder who the next Majority Leader will be? The Majority Whip, Roy Blount? I betcha he'd like that.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

More tarting up.

The Treasury just announced the newest upgrades to the $10 bill--more color, more incongruous graphic devices, more "user friendliness." I don't know about you, but I sure did like it better when they just printed money and didn't try to act like the Post Office. With the State Quarters, and the Lewis and Clark nickles, and the new Buffalo-Jefferson nickles, and the updates to the 50 and 20, it's getting to be a little too much like those ads you see in the back of the Parade magazine for coins with the likeness of Ronald Reagan or Debbie Gibson from various Caribbean islands--"GENUINE LEGAL TENDER!"

And call me crazy, but it seem like a bad idea to put a high quality scan on your website. I realize counterfeiting is illegal, but still, it seems like a pretty good way to encourage people just to print the things out.

Then again, the Post Office has that deal where you can make your own stamps with your own photos on them, so maybe the Mint could come up with a way for you to have currency with your own picture on it. The government already makes money on seignorage, why not tack on an extra dollar and let people buy personalized $10 bills for $11?

If I only knew how to use Photoshop...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:14 AM | Comments (4)

Quite Possibly, the only place you are likely to EVER see--

--the proper nouns "Hollywood," "National Lampoon," and "Trussville" in the same place:

Area natives co-producing latest National Lampoon movie

Two Birmingham producers are doing their part to bring Tinsel Town to the Magic City.

Jonathan Barbee and Steven Gurley, natives of Trussville and Mountain Brook, respectively, are currently in Hollywood and serving as co-executive producers for National Lampoon's next box office release, "Cattle Call." The romantic comedy wrapped production Sept. 3.

Barbee and Gurley, of Media Works Communications in Birmingham, produced local and regional television programs, films, and commercials before seeking big-screen opportunities.

"It's a whole different world of filmmaking here in Hollywood, and we are excited to have National Lampoon behind this film," Barbee says. "This is a great opportunity for us, but it's an even bigger one for Birmingham and the state of Alabama." [...]

"A lot of filmmakers try to make movies in Alabama and bring the film industry here. We've learned that you have to first prove yourselves in Hollywood with a successful film, and then Hollywood will follow you back to Alabama," Gurley says. [...]

Makes sense to me. I suppose that's why the movie treatment for Possumblog: Silver Screen Hijinx is still languishing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:23 AM | Comments (6)

It's nice when people don't show up.

Makes things move much more expeditiously. ANYway, I'm back in the orifice, and have all sorts of marvelous notes to type up! WHEEEE!

More to follow shortly. Really. No, honest!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2005

Okay, so today was probably about the least productive Possumblog day in a very long time.

Except for tomorrow, when you will be left to your own devices for a few hours while I got scribble notes and try to stay awake. The agenda is short for tomorrow, but this has gotten to where it means nothing. The short agenda only leaves more time for mindless blabbermouthing. And I don't mean that in a good way.

ANYwho, feel free to wander around here aimlessly like I do, and if you have any Photoshop suggestions, send them on. All help is greatly appreciated.

Until late tomorrow morning, then.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:54 PM | Comments (5)


--they must have gotten it fixed. I wonder what keeps messing up with it?

No matter. SO, as I was saying, I've gotten to play with the Photoshop toy for a bit this afternoon. I found one site called Planet Photoshop (it's actually here on Earth) that has some fairly good tutorials (although they all seem to presuppose a relatively high level of competence). I found one that sort of intrigued me, a somewhat goofy one on how to color black-and-white photos. I know how much the artsy sorts hate such things, but I think it's kinda neat, and I've done some colored pencil tinting that turned out looking pretty cool. SO, I figured I'd give it a try, using one of my favorite B&W photos, this one of Loretta Young--

Rrrowl. Anyway, that's that, and this was a first pass at putting some colors on there--

This took about an hour--mainly trying to figure out what buttons and stuff you're supposed to click on. The actual process of putting the color in wasn't so difficult. The thing that's a bit off, at least to my eye, are that the shadows and highlights only read as lighter or darker hues of the same color, which winds up looking awfully dull. In actual light, reflections can have a touch of complementary color in them, which tends to make the colors appear more vibrant. Another thing that I mentioned down in the coments below is that I have a bad eye for just picking the right color. I've always relied on the name on the pencil or marker to get me in the ballpark, and trying to figure out skin tones and stuff based on those multi-million hue grids is difficult for me.

Anyway, learning about such things is rather entertaining.

Oops--well, my comments won't allow photos, so here we go:

Here's sepia toned Loretta:

Annd here's colorized sepia toned Loretta:

The biggest problem was figuring out how to turn the photo into sepia. And I finally figured out that the bathing suit is a one-piece--the top and bottom are made together, but I thought until I was reworking it again that it was a top and a pair of pants. Anyway...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:26 PM | Comments (8)

Well, twenty minutes into it...

...after I had nodded off, and before the meeting had ever even started, it came about that we were having technical difficulties with the laptop. So, that was a nice waste of time. Supposedly, this will be fixed in the coming few minutes, but I don't believe it.

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

I wish I would quit forgetting stuff like that.

Makes for all kinds of busywork. BUT, I do have my PowerPoint presentation corrected (that I had also fallen behind in) and got all my materials ready for tomorrow, and even had time to experiment a bit with the Photoshop toy.

Biggest problem is that I have a hard time distinguishing between colors. I'm not really color-blind, but I do have trouble with some of the muddier colors like olive, or the various purple-blue-violet-indigo-fuscia stuff. I have always relied on a box of colored pencils or markers that had the name of the color right on the label, so trying to do things that involve moving a dot around to find the right color tint is a bit of a chore.

ANYway, for right now, I have a meeting to attend to discuss the things we're going to talk about in our real meeting tomorrow. MEET MEET MEET!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:57 PM | Comments (2)


I just remembered we have our biweekly pretty police meeting tomorrow. I got some crap to get done, and will have to come out and play later.

Dumb ol' employment.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)


I just got PHOTOSHOP installed on my work computer!! HOORAY!!

Now I can--uhhh, do...things! With--wiiiith...uhhhhmmm. STUFF! Yeah! I can do things with stuff!

Does anyone know how to use this?

The reason I ask, is that in the infinite wisdom that you find only in a bureaucracy, I now have a spiffy powerful new software on my computer with which I am unfamiliar--and there is no one who can train me to use it. I asked the MIS guy who put it on, "Hey, when will there be a training class?" He shrugged his shoulders and said there are probably some online, and that he's still trying to figure it out by himself as well.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:07 AM | Comments (10)

Upside of Carpooling With Your Wife?

Uhh, hm. Well, gimme a little while to think about that one.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:21 AM | Comments (8)

September 26, 2005

The Cone of Silence

Well, I suppose it was inevitable, but Agent 86 is gone.

I always enjoyed the show--of course, it was on back when I was just a little kid and this was back before I realized what a cutie Barbara Feldon was--but even after I got all growed up, I never really knew that much about Adams, other than he was pretty funny. This was a real eye-opener:

[...] In 1941, he dropped out of school to join the Marines. In Guadalcanal he survived the deadly blackwater fever and was returned to the States to become a drill instructor, acquiring the clipped delivery that served him well as a comedian. [...]

Any man that can be a D.I. is one tough hombre--and apparently a deft sense of comic timing works well in many fields.

Anyway, rest easy, Marine.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

My kids, bless their hearts...

...are still in the 'begging for pets' mode. No matter how much I tell them we need to wait, no matter how little they understand what a big responsibility it is to have a pet, they still want one. They are aided and abetted in this irrational behavior by a certain mother of theirs, who will occasionally break down and take them to the pet store. Thus beginning yet another round of whinyness from them, along with demands that if they can't have a pet, well, could they at least go look at the pet store.

I have tried and tried to make it clear to Reba my disdain for commercial pet stores, and why it breaks my heart to go into those places and see those cute little animals. I haven't been in a pet store in years, and I am really getting put out by the fact that I can't seem to break the kids from wanting to go, nor that I'm able to get Reba to quit taking them.

I think I have finally found a post that makes the point more clearly than I have ever have been able to--I'm going to print this out and take it home.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:40 PM | Comments (5)

Oh, that was fun!

Pam's one of the few who appreciate that it's all about me, and gives me free rein to talk about myself and my troubles incessantly. Oh, of course, I ask about her hubby and sons, but only as a jumping off point to talk more about ME! I'm so tired of being invisible, you know.

Anyway, it was a fun lunch--both had the chicken taco salad which was tremendously good, and I really did jabber about my trials to excess. Which, for some reason, Pam encourages. I'm grateful for it, for one, because there's a LOT you don't get to hear because there's a LOT that goes on that you don't need to hear, and two, because she had a trial with her Oldest, too, similar in many ways to mine. She offers hope that it is indeed just a phase. Her son is now in his mid-20s, and seems to have become almost human.

Other topics include one of her students whom she helped find a summer job. Seems the chap most closely resembles Dwight Schrute from The Office. And not in a good way.

Also talked about inappropriate office behavior--not hers, though. Can't say too much, but guys, here's a tip--if your comments make other GUYS uncomfortable, you need to shut up. Second, you're bad behavior is just making it more difficult for the rest of us.

The walk back prompted a discussion of the future of newspapers. Pam wonders if they'll survive. I say so, mainly because there is always a need for information, such as who is having a sale on soap, or, you know, other stuff. Like cartoons!

Anyway, it was a very nice lunch.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

Hey, it's lunchtime!

How'd that happen!? No matter--today will be fun because I'm meeting My Friend Pam the Liberal, and we're having Mexican food from Sabor Latino! Ole!

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

Weekend in Revue

Friday--home, stop off for some food, pick up kids, Oldest starts acting like a two-year old. Home, Oldest starts acting like a two-year old, with extreme prejudice. ::heavy sigh:: Mom and Dad leave food in kitchen and other children to their own devices and have two hour talk with Oldest. Oldest tired of being "invisible," translation--"not the most popular girl in school and the constant center of attention by all human beings on the planet." Thankfully, for once Mom did most of the talking, and said the things that needed to be said, rather than glossing over them. I think she was tired of all the crap she's put up with at work, and was too put-out to try to be nice. Basically, if Oldest goes to school and acts the way Oldest does at home, there's a REASON no one wants to be around her. Best quote from Mom--"Shoot--I don't want to be around you when you act this way, either!"

Oldest finally quieted down and continued her self-pity and parental loathing at a much quieter and more moderate level, although never quite seeming to get the idea that no one likes unlikeable people, and the best thing to do is quit being unlikeable while it's still easy to change. Second thing is that it's hard to feel sorry for someone who gets treated badly by others, when that person turns around and treats everyone else--and most especially her parents and siblings--like crap.

This wouldn't really be so stressful except that we seem to have this exact same two-hour exercise about every six weeks or so, and have for the past four years. The way I calculate it, that's about 35 of them. ::sigh:: It'sonlyaphase, it'sonlyaphase, it'sonlyaphase....

Eat supper, then off to bed, then up LATE on Saturday! I couldn't believe it. The kids must have been exhausted, because NONE of them were up banging around the house until after NINE! It sure was nice to get some sleep. And I had the most peculiar dream...

NOW, for those who cannot stand to wade through the recitation of someone else's stupid dreams, please scroll down, or hum the National Anthem or something.

FOR THE REST OF YOU--it was a lovely crisp morning, and I was driving my lovely crisp Volvo somewhere. I wasn't quite sure where, but I did make sure I had my pillow laid up beside my head so I could sleep and drive. I drove along and it occurred to me that I was supposed to be meeting a man at a small restaurant, and it was located over close to East Lake Park here in Birmingham. East Lake is a pretty older neighborhood that has fallen on some hard times of late, but the lake is still nice. (This is what it looked like back around the turn of the 20th century.) But the place in my dream wasn't that--it was like driving beside Lake Como in Italy--beautiful mountains surrounding it, with a crystaline blue lake, and just as I came around a bend in the road, there were huge stands of tall trees with their leaves full of golden fall colors. I thought to myself, "Wow--East Lake really looks NICE this time of year!" I drove on down the road beside the lake and laid down on the passenger seat while the car kept going and I just looked up through the windshield at all the pretty trees. When I got to the restaurant, I pulled up in the gravel parking lot and put my pillows in the backseat so the guy could get in. We drove around for just a bit and then I took him back to his car and that was it. I never really knew why I was there, or why I was meeting him, and we didn't really talk about too much, although I did show him my 200,000 mile badge on the grille. And the restaurant was a real dump, by the way. Didn't even have a paved parking lot.

ANYway, that got the morning off to a nice start, and after breakfast, I set to work finishing up Reba's research paper. It's been typed in small parts over the past year, and so there was really not that much left to do except type the final chapter, get the charts inserted, format the thing, and go have it bound. To make it even easier, Reba took various children with her on shopping trips to find birthday presents for Rebecca (who will turn 13 on Thursday), so that got a lot of noise- and interruption-potential out of the house. I got to type, watch the Alabama game and listen to the Auburn game, all at once. And do some laundry.

Wrapped up around 4 in the afternoon, hopped in the Volvo and took Boy and Rebecca with me to Staples to have it bound. The counter person was a young round cute dark-haired girl who seemed to be very much put out by having to be at work. Not rude, but certainly not very attentive. Just distracted. I asked for black plastic spiral wire binding.

"Umm. Hold on."

She walked over to the work counter and looked around, and Jonathan wandered off across the store to go find the supply of Easy Buttons.

Round Cute Girl came back with a black plastic comb strip. "This is all we got."

::sigh:: "You don't have the wire?"


"Well, okay--I need these three copies bound, clear cover, black back."


She walked back to the counter and turned back around, "You said you want a clear cover?"

"Yes, clear cover, black back."


I stood there and Rebecca peppered me with questions about everything that fell within her visual field, including the types of binding that Staples supposedly offers--including the ultra-ritzy and hard-to-do spiral wire binding--and as we were standing there I absent-mindedly looked over at the work counter Round Cute Girl was using, and the little bins of supplies.


Wait! I strained and sure enough, there was a whole row of wire binding slots, with little wire binding strips sticking out. I ran over to the part of the cashier stand closest to her and said, "Excuse me! Before you get going on that, I just noticed that you've got a set of wire binding strips over there--I saw 1 inch ones--do you not have any in a size that would work?"

She looked at me, then over to the side, then back at me, "No sir, we don't have the machine to do that type."


"You don't?"


::sigh:: You know, you would think that if Staples has a big sign on their copy center portion of the store that says they do spiral wire binding, and they go to all the trouble of stocking spiral wire binding strips, that they would at least have the machine to poke the little round holes and thread the spiral on there. OR, failing that, maybe post a sign that says--"Spiral Binding Machine Not Available." OR MAYBE GO GET SEVERAL OF THOSE STUPID EASY BUTTONS AND START MASHING THEM!

Anyway, that was done, and I paid, and Cute Round Girl went on to "help" a customer for whom she'd just laminated seven pages of something, but only gave back six things to the customer. My bet is that one page stuck to another and both got laminated. Oops. Where's that darned button!?

Home, supper, baths and hair washing and ear cleaning and nail trimming all around, bed, then up again Sunday.

Got there and found out that my curriculum order had come in, so I separated all that out, then found out my 1st Grade teacher for Wednesdays doesn't want to teach, meaning I have one week to find someone. Again, where's that button when I need it? Class done, went to the auditorium for worship, settled in, and Oldest started in again. She was acting like she was taking notes, but mostly just angrily scribbling and punching Catherine in the side for touching her personal space.

I guarantee such behavior does not lead to invisibility. Quite the opposite, actually.

She seems to not understand the concept that how you act in public is, in fact, HIGHLY VISIBLE. Turns out someone said something to her of absolutely no consequence, leading to yet another episode of that heartwarming family comedy-drama, "Acting Like a Great Big Turd!"

Home, lecture, lunch, read paper, and go off with Boy to see about getting the oil changed in the Honda. Nobody open except Wally-World, and there was a line of six cars. At ten minutes per car, multiplied by the Wal-Mart Moron Factor, that would mean we wouldn't be able to get out of there until around midnight, so we just went on back home. With a stop off at Advance. I have decided that while I don't mind letting others change the oil in the Odyssey and the Focus (being that the filter is inaccessible), I will be changing the oil in good old lovable Järn myself. The filter is right there in the open the way it should be, and since I have my own supply of factory filters, I don't like the idea of paying someone else to change it but not getting a discount for having my own filter. They charge you the same no matter what, which offends my parsimonious nature.

Back when I used to work on cars, there was no such thing as recycling oil, but nowadays I think I would feel bad if I dumped it in my neighbor's backyard, so Boy and I got one of those nifty jugs you use to drain the old oil into, and a case of oil, and an air filter. "You wanna help me change the oil? You can learn about cars that way!"

"Uhh, no, Dad."

At least he was helpful in carrying stuff.

Home, unloaded, and decided to wait about changing the oil until next weekend so as not to get all sweaty and greasy right before church. Back for evening worship, then back home, supper, then to bed.

And now, HERE IT AM!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:29 AM | Comments (10)

Well, now...

...looks like I made it through another weekend, relatively unscathed. And somewhat rested. AND THROUGH WITH TYPING PAPERS FOR MY WIFE! It was actually a pretty quiet weekend high atop Talladega Hill, overlooking the broad tranquil waters of Pinchgut Creek, and you'll get to hear all about it in a little while. I have to compose my thoughts, after all. And that takes a lot of doing.

UNTIL THEN, I would like to say something to friendly commentor "Lenny," who took the time this weekend to visit Possumblog and found our highly scientific post about giraffe beetles, and who left this comment: "OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!This was really doning a research on a real giraffe weevil and u give me stupid is this...wat a waste of time [redacted series of approximately 50 exclamation points because they were messing up the formatting. Ed.]

Lenny, you are quite correct. It is beyond belief that anyone with more than a teaspoon of gray matter would think that something called "Possumblog" would be an appropriate place to find out information about giraffe weevils. No one but a complete ignoramus could read the silliness I wrote--in its entirety--and then stop to complain that it was a waste of time by wasting more time to write a barely literate comment about the post. I realize you probably thought that while you were doning a research that u could just click anywhere on the Internet and find something someone would give u and u could just cut and paste it into yur research paper, but you really would have been much better off going to a library and looking at a book. That's wat smart people do.

Anyway, off now to grouch about other things.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:00 AM | Comments (18)

September 23, 2005

And the weekend?

Glad you asked!

I think I'm going to have some fun for once and TYPE all weekend! Only a little bit left to go before I get my--I mean, before REBA gets HER degree. This paper has been typed in bits and pieces over the course of the year, and so only has probably ten or so pages to be finished. And then it has to be bound, which will require a trip to Staples sometime this weekend, probably when I am sleepy and punch-drunk.

And there's the usual washing and drying and dusting and vacuuming and mowing and stuff that I intend to ignore. So there!

ANYway, all of you have a good weekend, and those of you who're about to have Rita for a houseguest, be sure to stay safe. See you all next week.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

And that's not all!

IN an effort to cram as much in today's edition as possible, it's time to trot out the ever popular Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

Today's gleaning is--

PIANO NOBILE. The main floor of a house, containing the reception rooms. It is usually higher than the other floors, with a basement or ground floor below and one or more shallower storeys above.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

The raised up main floor was a feature that was pretty common in Italian Renaissance palazzi for a couple of reasons--it got the decent people up higher above the noise and smell of the nasty fetid street, and it provided security for the decent people up and away from the noise and smell of the nasty fetid street people. Renaissance Italy, after all, was a rather dangerous place, with all sorts of swordplay and intrigue. It was also nice to have in places such as Venice that flooded often, and the form can also be found in the raised cottages you find along the Gulf Coast.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

Boy, I tell you what--

--you learn something new every day.

Whether you really wanted to or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:10 PM | Comments (1)

A Prophet Amongst Us...

Daschle re-enters political arena

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's interest in public office isn't necessarily latent: he has set up a new political action committee and plans a Jefferson-Jackson Day speech in the politically pivotal state of Iowa.

Daschle, who was considered a possible candidate for president in 2004, has quietly eschewed most publicity since his defeat to Republican John Thune last November. But Steve Hildebrand, director of the new committee and Daschle's former campaign manager, said the well-known Democrat from South Dakota "is not going to rule out opportunities to play important roles in public service."

"It could be president, it could be vice president, it could be something else," Hildebrand said. "It could be nothing." [...]

Given the material you have to work with, Mr. Hildebrand, I'd say you're onto something with that last possibility.

And what politician (or in this case, his mouthpiece) in his right mind publicly comes out and says he'd want to be VICE president?! It's so unseemly and degrading--almost like the unpopular kid who agrees to do the jock's homework for him just so he'll get to hang around the cool kids.

Poor former senator Tom.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:20 PM | Comments (2)


It is once again that time for the sports portion of our show, and as always, the most important game of the week, that played by the Not Undefeated, But Still Relatively Good, Auburn Tigers!

This week's game pits Alabama Polytechnical Institute (2-1 overall, 1-0 SEC) against the undefeated and Number 1 (Div I-AA) ranked powerhouse of the Gateway Conference, Western Kentucky.

The last time the two teams met in 2003, Auburn walked away with a 48-3 win, but the Hilltoppers return The Plains for the Tiger homecoming game full of the angry bitter angryness that only can come from a long bus ride and the knowledge that the team was chosen for its suitability as a safe sacrificial offering.

Auburn didn't sweat much in last week's practice/scrimmage/game, and everyone stayed healthy and the entire team got a much-needed workout, so it's hard to think that this week's game will be very difficult. EXCEPT, well, as the old saying goes, "on any given Saturday, when the chips are down, there's no place like home when the cows come there, which is like letting them out of the barn and then trying to close the door." Which just proves what a genius that John Madden guy is, you know? Anyway, I look for Auburn to be a bit sloppier than they were last week, and I look for WKU to be out for an upset.

Still, despite how much the football team might want to win, the true measure of their abilities appears to be pretty woeful. For shame, Hilltoppers--such a miserly use of pixels for your cheerleaders. Probably just as well, though--there does seem to be way too many guys. The Topperettes do have a few more photos (although still quite small). As has been the case in past such instances, I think we're going to have to go trolling for diversions within the other sports departments to find properly presented participant pics.

Well, let's see--there's the women's basketball team, which features players such as Cammie Campbell, a 5'-7" guard majoring in broadcasting, and statuesque forward Taylor Kopple. Moving to volleyball, there's statuesque middle hitter Megan Argabright, as well as statuesque middle hitter Whitney McCory. The women's tennis team sadly has no statuesque players, but at least they DO have someone from Floyds Knobs, Indiana. That's a plus! Moving on then to softball--lot's of statuesquery there! Especial notice is paid to Shelby Smith, the freshman 5'-10" catcher, who's just cute as a button. Still, despite all that talent, they just have no way of matching the power of the Tigers, who have yet another page of hard-hitting power to look at. Rah! Rah! Rah! And for good measure, Rah!

Mascots? Oh, please--Big Red!? I made fun of Ball State's cardinal last week, but that silly jaybird cardinal could wipe the floor with Big Red!

Mainly because Big Red looks like nothing less than a large sponge. Or maybe Jabba the Tuffet. Aubie, on the other hand, is a TIGER. Tigers are mean. And prone to groping.

I suppose it would be hard to have a mascot that looks like the top of a hill, but still, if Big Red is going to be your choice, why not work a tie-in with the Wrigley's folks and their fine brand of chewing gum?! Or, you know, maybe Clifford, the Big Red Dog. Or hire Red Sonja.

Anyway, enough of that stuff--let's get on to the most important part of the program, where we pick the score!

As you all no doubt recall from last week, Possumblog Sport Center's Official Football Pickin' Chicken, Lil' Joe Biden, predicted the final score between Auburn and Ball State to be 38-3 in favor of our beloved Tigers. As it turned out, the score was even more lopsided, 63-3, which meant that Lil' Joe Biden was safe for another week from being turned into fajitas.

HOWEVER, Chet the E-Mail Boy (who had provided Lil' Joe Biden certain inducements in the form of cornflakes placed on the bingo card to help him pick the scores) was terrified that since Lil' Joe Biden had not accurately predicted the outcome, he was doomed.

Well, despite being a cruel heartless megalomaniac, I'm not so picky that I can't just let it go, especially since the mistake was all to Auburn's favor. And he actually DID get the 3 point part of Ball State's score right. So, I was willing to let it slide.

Chet, though--well, he's an overprotective old coot, and as you also recall, had somewhat adopted Lil' Joe Biden. It was actually touching to watch as Chet would gently hold him and stroke his fluffy feathers and talk to him almost as if he were human. SO fearful was Chet of the certain demise of his pet at my hands that he took the unforeseeable step of hiding Lil' Joe Biden. Which would have not been nearly so bad had Lil' Joe Biden not been placed in the bottom of a turnip basket, which Chet then proceeded to fill with turnips.

Poor Lil' Joe Biden was found on Wednesday of this week, smooshed underneath a pile of the bulbous bitter roots. Chet is obviously heartbroken, but everyone was highly complimentary of the flavor Lil' Joe Biden added to the mess of turnip greens we had in the cafeteria today. He might have been an ugly stupid bird, but Lil' Joe Biden was tender and flavorful.

OBVIOUSLY, this means that for the third week in a row, we will find it necessary to obtain a brand new Official Football Pickin' Chicken. We got this one from a fellow who had several for sale, and he assures us that it has a proven track record of accuracy unmatched by any other barnyard fowl. To help assuage Chet's dismal mood, we allowed him the chance to name the new team member, so he thought long and hard, and decided upon someone he's been sweet on for many years. So, we present to you Nancy Pelosi.

In order to keep Chet from rigging the proceedings as he did the last time, we have separated them into separate boxes. In Chet's box, we have a stack of American Telegrapher magazines, and in Nancy Pelosi's box, we have a numeric keypad into which she can peck her prediction.

And the result?


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

Bulworth Speaks!

Beatty Rips Schwarzenegger for Policies

By BETH FOUHY, AP Political Writer
Fri Sep 23, 6:29 AM ET

OAKLAND, Calif. - Actor Warren Beatty leveled a blistering political assault on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday night, accusing him of governing "by show, by spin, by cosmetics and photos ops." [...]

Which, I suppose, would be pretty bad for Arnie, were it not for the record of his immediate predecessor in the office. That, and you know, it's Warren Beatty saying it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

Yes, I'm more talkative today.

Lileks got released from jury duty, and described it like being the last day of school for the year--there's a sense of giddiness there. Well, I found out that all the futile beating-my-head-against-the-wall, running-in-circles, wool-gathering, wild-goose-chase, needle-in-a-needlestack work I've done the past week will NOT require me to sit in on a big meeting with the übermeister and our staff and have to hear a point by point vivisection all the underlings!

I turned in my stuff, and that's that.

For now, at least. Because, you know, school always does have a habit of starting back up.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:35 AM | Comments (3)

It ain't just a river in Egypt...

Adams 'confident' IRA will disarm fully


The Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) — Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said Friday he was "quite confident and satisfied" that the outlawed Irish Republican Army will get rid of its stockpiled weapons, but he declined to comment on when the historic move would happen. [...]

Thanks for that, Gerry. For once, the use of Reuteresque quote marks in a headline seems quite appropriate.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:08 AM | Comments (1)


Saudi Foreign Minister Chides U.S. Policy

By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer
Fri Sep 23, 5:57 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says the Bush administration did not heed some Saudi warnings on occupying Iraq and that he doesn't believe a new constitution and elections will solve the emerging nation's problems. [...]

Yes, obviously the solution is to have the sort of societal stability only an entrenched totalitarian hereditary monarchy can provide. Well, you know, that, and working to eliminate the Jews.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:59 AM | Comments (2)

Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Scientists implant human chromosome in mice

I think so, Brain, but "Tuesday Weld" isn't a complete sentence.

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

Downside of Carpooling with Your Wife?

--being late.

::sigh:: It doesn't help that I had a two hour building committee meeting last night at church, nor that when I got home I found out that Boy had not completed--in fact, had not started--his family tree project for class, which caused me to have to stay up VERY late scanning old photos and creating an org chart style family tree. Grr.

Of course, that does give me the opportunity to share some photos with you, the highly interested public!

First up, my mom's dad. This picture is scanned from one of our family history books, and is actually an image cropped from a larger one that has my grandfather (whom we all called Papa Gilbert) with his three other brothers from circa 1914. My mom has the photo, but obviously on such short notice I couldn't make a better scan. Anyway, this is the guy who gave me my looks--all of his brothers have that long, lank, vacant-eyed farmer look, but Papa Gilbert, who was probably around 20 or so in the picture, is the only one who's stocky, and he has a certain set to his wide jawbone and a look in his eye that looks like he's got something on his mind. I share that square face and big jaw, and the thick shock of hair, and the heavy-lidded eyes, and the pug nose. I have remarkably little on my mind, though.

Here he is--

Next are my dad's mom and dad. This picture was taken when he was probably about two or three, which would have made it around 1930. He's the little one there in the middle with my Aunt Margaret and Uncle David, and my grandfather (whom we called Big Daddy--and please, it's not Big DADDY, it's pronounced BIG Daddy) and my grandmother (obviously, who would later become Big Mama). My granddad was quite a handsome and dapper chap in his younger days, which led to some torment later. Which is about as close to the dirty laundry as you're allowed. This picture is one I have in a small frame on the old sewing machine in the foyer.

Strangest thing was that I didn't realize my dad had an older brother, born in 1917, who died as an infant. He never mentioned it, and I never knew it until I was rereading some of the old family history information we have.

The final one didn't turn out very well--it's a picture of my mom and dad when they got married around 1952. The photo is double matted under glass, along with separate pictures of them from high school, and so the scan turned out to be pretty muddy-looking since I had to put the whole thing up on the scanner.

Anyway, this is Mama and Papa, which is what I called them. Oddly enough, my sister always called them Mother and Daddy. My dad was quite the handsome and dapper chap in his younger days, and quite a bit too much like his father. And that's all I'll say about that. My mom is quite a looker, that's for sure. I was struck last night as I was looking at the photo arrangement just how much Rebecca looks like her.

Here it is--

Anyway, I stayed up late doing these and several other pictures for him to take with him today, and Reba stayed up late working on her final paper for her class, and Oldest stayed up because she thinks going to bed early means she's a little kid, and so this morning both Mom and Oldest were dragging around like sodden sullen draggy things as I tried to get everyone to get up and let's get going. And so, of course, I was nearly 20 minutes late for work--not helped by the fact that we left so late that we got stuck behind EVERY SCHOOL BUS in Trussville, each one crawling along picking up kids. Grr.

But now I'm here, where I can get some rest.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:24 AM | Comments (4)

September 22, 2005

If a dead tree falls... the media forest, does anyone really care?

Well, I don't know, but probably they should, if nothing else than for nostalgia's sake. It's taken a while, but the Birmingham Post-Herald has finally decided to throw in the towel. Of course, the news reached the wire before they had even updated their webpage (As of 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, it is still Wednesday in P-H-land.)

Here's a version of the story from Editor & Publisher--being part of the legacy media, it seems even in death the Po'-Herald can't help but blame someone else:

NEW YORK The afternoon daily in Birmingham, Ala., will be no more after this Friday, The E. W. Scripps Company, owner of the newspaper, announced today.

The closing of The Post-Herald, a five-day afternoon newspaper, also marks the end of a joint operating agreement between Scripps and Advance Publications Inc., owner of the seven-day morning paper, The Birmingham News, which manages the printing, marketing, and distribution of both Birmingham newspapers. The JOA was scheduled to run until 2015.

According to a Scripps statement, "the economics of publishing The Post-Herald were no longer favorable."

The latest FAS-FAX in April showed the p.m. daily with an average circulation of just 7,544, down from 8,948 the previous year.

“The Post-Herald has a long tradition of journalistic excellence and community service, but Scripps was left with no choice but to face economic realities,” Richard A. Boehne, The E. W. Scripps Company's executive vice president and head of the company's newspaper division, said in his statement. “The Post-Herald's talented and dedicated staff produces an excellent newspaper, but unfortunately the Birmingham market has made it clear that it will no longer support an afternoon edition.” [...]

Oh, cry me a river, boys. The Birmingham market--like markets anywhere else--will respond if you give them something worth buying. The Post-Herald has been struggling valiantly the past couple of years since it swapped its long-running morning news spot with the Birmingham News, and the most noticeable sign of this late struggle was their insistence on publishing EVERY SINGLE ISSUE WITH GIANT 72 POINT HEADLINES!! The quality--such as it is--was no better nor worse than anything else on the market. There was no compelling reason to read it, and thus you have the sad end to a paper that wraps up with only 7600 readers in a metro area with a population of over a million people. The old Scripps-Howard tagline--"Give the people light and they will find their own way"--well, there never really was much light there.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:59 PM | Comments (6)


Famed NASA Scientist and brother of Dr. Weevil, the always vigilant Steevil sends along this link to some wonderful lunchtime fare--scroll down to the third picture for something that relates back to my panda post of yesterday.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:03 PM | Comments (5)


I don't think I have EVER seen a Thursday Three with such an astounding level of indifference from the audience! I have outdone myself. And, of course, it IS all about me.

ANYway, I am about to go to lunch with My Friend Jeff so we can swap magazines and I can show him the newest Volvo toys I have installed, and then when I get back, it's back to the old grind of producing something that has no basis in logic or reason! Such fun!

BUT, before I go, Fritz Schranck e-mailed me this morning regarding his post about a way to rebuild New Orleans' poorer neighborhoods--it's a good idea, and something we have explored here in our town as a way to revitalize older neighborhoods which have lost continuity and sense of community through the removal of housing units by demolition. Modular houses can be built to accomodate a variety of arrangements and features--porches, steeper roof pitches, trimwork, finishes, foundation walls, etc.--that help them blend in quite nicely with older houses, but it does take some initiative to see that such design elements are actually incorporated. Anyway, go see what Fritz has to say.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:05 AM | Comments (1)

Despite my ongoing struggle dealing with the choices I have made in my life (i.e., deciding to be a productive citizen by acquiring an education and gainful employment) that continue to interrupt the Happy Fun SparklyZone of Fun that comprises this fascinating world of blogging, I COULD NOT REST EASY knowing that if I continued to do my paying work, YOU, the vast warm mass of Possumblog readers, would not be able to participate in the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

THEREFORE, dropping all things that could possibly interfere with the production of this feature, we set off to find out some things about you through the device of a carefully selected set of three questions. Each question is lovingly hand crafted out of genuine mahogany by villagers on a small island in the Indonesian archipelago, and includes a certificate of authenticity signed by their village chief. Not really. The questions are really just thought up by me, thus explaining the reason why they don’t have a rich, pleasing hue and don’t take polish very well.

I’m rambling, aren’t I? I KNEW it! I do that sometimes when I’m trying to deflect attention from the fact that I haven’t made up any questions. Hmmm. Let me see…


OH! Hey, I have an idea--let’s talk about life! Remember, this exercise is open to anyone who wants to participate--just leave your answers in the comments if you don’t have a blog, or a link to your blog if you have a blog. Blogblogblog. I hate that name. ANYway, LIFE. The Big L.

You ever wondered how your life might be different? Good, it’ll make the game a lot easier--

1) Name three events that occurred in your life that you look back on occasionally and wonder how things might have turned out if you had done something different.

2) If you could have lived in another time, what would it be? One stipulation--you have to be pretty much what you are right now--no going back in time and being Alexander the Great, no being Einstein or Moses or Casanova. If you’re a teacher, you’ll still be a teacher; a doctor, still a doctor; a car mechanic--well figure that one out on your own. You wouldn’t know the future, either--so no going back and betting on horse races and stuff. You would just be you, only in another time and place.

3) What one aspect of your life, such as your family, job, social life, spiritual life, creative ability, etc., do you find most rewarding?

Now then, that should keep you all occupied for a while!

As for my answers…

1) Oddly, these three events occurred when I was very young. The first one especially gives me the willies, even after 30 years or so.

From the time I was born until I was 14 years old, my family and I lived alongside the very busy U.S. Highway 78. Sometime when I was around 10 or 12 years old, when I was left home by myself during the summer break (yes, people used to do that), I got it in my head to go out and explore the surrounding area on my bicycle. Unbeknownst to my parents, this didn’t mean just the few house on either side of us, but a long, roundabout trek to the new subdivisions that had sprouted up miles from our home. This entailed riding my bicycle alongside said busy (dangerous) highway, as well as on all sorts of small winding (dangerous) roads that led to those other forbidden neighborhoods.

I did this a couple of times and got rather brave (stupid) about it and one day was out riding happily alongside busy (dangerous) Roberta Road. I thought I was being very safe by riding on the gravel shoulder, a full 12 inches away from the speeding traffic on my left side, and as I struggled along with my single speed bike, I was passed by a TRACTOR TRAILER. It must have been hauling stuff to one of those home sites or something, but it wasn’t something I was really expecting on a winding two-lane (dangerous) road. I felt it whoosh by, and kept pedaling, then watched the flatbed trailer whoosh by, and just as I thought everything was clear and it was past me, I tried to pull back over onto the road to avoid an upcoming culvert. I struggled a bit in the gravel and had to maneuver away from the edge of the road to the right for a split second before moving leftward. Just as I managed to get up on the road, the right rear edge of the trailer whizzed past my face. I hadn’t realized it, but the trailer was a lot longer than I had judged, and if I had pulled over that split-second earlier, I probably would have had my (stupid) skull crushed.

THAT put some fear into me, and I was always much more careful after that, but I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t hesitated that split-second. And, being a person of faith, if God was maybe looking out for me. I don’t know. But it still kinda nags at me.

--Another event was when I was in high school and got my knee torn up. I had always fancied that I might be able to go on to college on a scholarship (not a big school, but someplace where they could use a 190 pound guard--I was young and naïve that way), but that one sudden change really threw me for a loop. I really was in something of a drift for the next four years--the last two years of high school and the first two years of college when I was at UAB, before I finally buckled down and did something productive. Anyway, I wonder what would have happened sometimes if that big dumb lummox hadn’t tried to be a fumble-recovering hero and simply fell on the ball, instead of falling on it and rolling up the side of my leg.

--I think the last one would be the fact that not too long ago, it occurred to me that when I was in junior high, there was this girl who liked me.

I was so oblivious to her blatantly obvious (in the clarity that 20-some-odd years of life can bring) come-ons that it just makes me shake my head. But at the time, I was interested (obsessed) with someone else, and all of the attention the girl who liked me bestowed on me was really more annoying than anything else, even though she was really quite a cutie.

I wonder sometimes what would have happened if I had woken up back then and figured out that when you run into a girl and one of her friends, and they’ve just been to the store, and they loudly giggle and open their shopping bags to show you the new panties they bought, that it might be a sign of something. To make matters worse, that this might have some significance really didn’t hit me until sometime after I was already old and married. Just popped in my head one day, and I just had to sit there and give myself a dope-slap and say “duh.”

2) Going back to the past, eh? I don’t know--I mean, we’ve really got it pretty good nowadays, you know? But I do have a fascination with the latter quarter of the 19th Century up to about World War I. Yes, I realize there were many pernicious social evils of the time, but it was also a time of tremendous artistic and scientific progress. One of the things that kept me from getting better grades in architecture school was that I wouldn’t copy stuff out of the newest Architectural Record like all the 'A' students, but kept poring over ancient issues of The Craftsman instead. Incredible stuff. Anyway, it was a very good time to be an architect, no matter where you were.

3) Well, I guess it’s my family. Even since I was young, I always wanted a family more or less like the one I have now, which I suppose is pretty strange for a kid to have thought about. But I suppose it’s just one of those things. I was really almost like an only child--my sister is seven years older than I am, so I was either a minor or major annoyance to her as we were growing up, and we were never any sort of a playmates or anything. And we lived so far from anyone else that I rarely got to play with kids my own age except at school. I think that’s why I wanted to have more than one or two children, and ones that were relatively close in ages. It is also why I have such a low tolerance for when they fight with each other, because it reminds me of how mean my sister was.

And I suppose the fact that my dad wasn’t around a great deal is one of the reasons why I try to do so much at home. I would like to have a bit more me-time (which explains the I Am A Moron Project), but I don’t ever want to get to the point where my kids think of me as “that old guy who changes clothes here.” Not that I thought that about my own dad, but he more involved than committed to being a parent, until very late in his life. I know he regretted the time he squandered, and I never want to have to feel that way.

Anyway, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:37 AM | Comments (19)

September 21, 2005

I tell you what...

...those new Tupperware bowls really keep your lunch fresh!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:58 PM | Comments (6)

You know... sure is a nice day outside. Shamefully, I have to spend it sitting either here or over at my drafting table, doing my best to figure out yet another one of those imponderable sets of instructions given to me by my supervisor.

I know what the supersupervisor wants, sorta, and I know we are incapable of producing it. My supervisor is intent on giving the supersupervisor the exact same thing as last time (that caused such agony) but with much more content. Wrong, and more of it.

My part of this is even more odd, in that it really has nothing to do with the regulatory questions at hand--it's almost as though I've been added to the mix just to say we have maximum involvement of all personnel. Wrong, and more of it.

At least my supervisor had the wherewithal when he gave us our orders (such as they were, and such as could be deciphered), to understand that what we're doing--as hard and as fast as possible--is absolutely useless. Not that he thinks that we're doing the wrong thing--he still firmly believes that whatever he thinks he's told us to do is the absolute right thing, he just thinks that the supersupervisor just won't appreciate the rightness of it out of some deep-seated disrespect for our obvious talents. Wrong, and more of it.

It is very frustrating.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:16 PM | Comments (2)

I sure wish... job entailed something other than mindless busywork. You know, maybe if it was, say, mindless blogging--that would be nice. But, as it is, I have some garbage to do today that I really do not want to do, but have to anyway. ::sigh::

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2005

3:00 O'Clock Tomorrow?

Well, yes, that's what the e-mail said. The one about trying to get the PowerPoint ready. I didn't realize in reading it, however, that something sent on a Monday referring to "tomorrow" actually means Tuesday, i.e., today, rather than the day after I decide to read said e-mail.

Meaning, I thought I had about 24 more hours than I thought to screw around with this thing. Luckily, because of my super human possum brain, I was able to complete my assignment on time. How did I find out I had misread the memo? When the guy came around about 3:15 and asked if I needed some help setting up the laptop and projector. As it was, the meeting started at 3:25, but I deftly maneuvered around the blame. For once, I was grateful the MIS fellow downstairs was late in burning the CD, or else it would have looked worse on me--my own tardiness was diguised by the even-more-tardierness on his part.

And really, isn't making myself look better at the expense of others all that's important?

Sure it is.

Now, time to fix the crap the Supreme Leader didn't like.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

Sign of the End Times?

I report, you decide--

University of Tennessee: 1-1 overall, 0-1 in SEC play
Vanderbilt University: 3-0 overall, 2-0 in SEC play

I'd says it's definitely suspicious. I'm just glad Auburn was able to beat Ball State. (Of course, so is Lil' Joe Biden.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:12 PM | Comments (6)

Ahh. Lunchtime.

Of course, I'm having to sit here and eat it at my desk, and continue typing so that it looks like I'm working on my newest fun project--the ongoing PowerPoint presentation that now has fully one hundred slides! To make matters less comfortable, the guy who's feeding me the text to put in hasn't really gotten the idea about bullet points, and so each point is more like a dissertation. Thank heaven for cut-n-paste.

ANYWAY, the weekend--the rest of Saturday was uneventful, although I did take several opportunities to walk around in the decluttered areas of the house and look at the stuff I hadn't seen in so long. It was very exciting, almost like finding the Northwest Passage or something. Saturday night was spent...typing. Something for Rebecca, who now knows all of her keyboard keys except for the T and the O. Started on my meeting minutes. Decided I'd had enough and went to bed.

Sunday was unremarkable as well, so I won't, other than to say I spent the evening...typing. Something for Reba for her class last night--it's almost over with, because her last day of class is October 3. That's very good. Almost as good as when all the kids simultaneously stopped playing soccer.

UP EARLY yesterday, got the kids ready and took them to school, and then took Oldest for her fitting of wildly expensive bits of wire and rubber bands. About twice what Boy's cost. No, I have no idea why. Just is. Took her on to school and checked her in, then it was across town to go deposit a check. Oddest thing--we actually got a refund check from our doctor. Overpaid for the kids' flu shots. LAST YEAR. But at least we did get some cash back from that--and I hope they (the doctors, not the kids) enjoyed the interest-free use of our money in the mean time.

And then? TO THE JUNKYARD! One of the reasons I took a whole day of vacation was to be able to have some uninterrupted time just to myself when I could go and wander around in the hot sun and explore stinky old Volvos. I had made out a list a few weeks ago of stuff I thought I might see if I could find, but since I'd left that list at work, I just plundered around. Found a license plate bracket for the front of the car--I don't know what I'll put on there, but it might give me an excuse for purchasing one of my own silly Revolvoblog license plate frames from CafePress. Or not. Also decided in an odd moment of stupidity to purchase some tiny bits of shiny things--the little triangular shaped pieces that Volvos have to cover up the roof seam on the rear pillar. The new(er) ones are painted body color and are plain, but the older ones are sparkly, and have a nifty little black detail in the center. As near as I can tell, the cashier threw them in for free.

Anyway, that took up nearly two hours worth of looking and plundering, then I went home and put my prizes onto the car, then went upstairs and typed a bit (on my minutes) and in no time at all, it was time to go get the kids. The in-laws are on a trip, so someone has to be at the house to gather up the kids--another ostensible reason why I had to take time off yesterday.

Got there and watered the plants and got the mail and brought in the trash can, greeted Cat as she came in, then the other three when their bus came by, and then it was to home with all of them, where they were shackled to the table and forced to do their homework while I started supper.


Kinda. I cut up some steak in thin bits and skilleted it, but it wasn't the same as what they give you at the various white-hot-iron places. It was still really good, though.

Funniest thing?

I was deep in concentration trying to get things done, and I had gotten the cheese grater out to, well, to grate some cheese. Catherine came up to me to ask a question about her homework, paused and watched me for a moment and then said, "HEY, Daddy! You know, you could be one of those people who grate cheese!"

Best I can tell, she was thinking of someone like Mr. Kraft or Mr. Sargento or Mr. Land o' Lakes who not only grate it up, but also package it in handy plastic bags and sell it at the grocery store. No matter, though, because it struck me as highly comical and I had to stop what I was doing and laugh for a bit. To her immense credit, she recognized why what she had said was funny, and DIDN'T CONTINUALLY KEEP REPEATING IT! It's one of those comedy pointers that I try to stress to the children--something's usually lost its comedic effect after about the third or fourth time. Unless it's something like Congress.

ANYwho, it's been a long weekend, and now lunchtime is over.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)


Insanely so. But never too busy to help someone who has stumbled into Possumblog searching for answers to the riddles of life. Or, something such as--What does it mean when you have a burning sensation in your toes.

Our researchers have been poring over all the available data, and it appears that this is a symptom brought on by standing in the campfire. Our staff physician, Newly Fourdreaux, PhrD., states that he counsels patients not to stand in fire.

If you want advice from someone other than a doctor of phrenology, you might want to look at this page from the Mayo Clinic (mmm--love their creamy sandwich spread!) that describes the symptoms of Morton's neuroma, metatarsalgia, and peripheral neuropathy.

Or, you know, go see a doctor.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:58 AM | Comments (2)

There may be little Possumblog today...

...but there's always Oktoberfest!

Were I ever to take up drinking and carousing, I would blame this photo.

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

Mission Accomplished?

Well, who knows?

I was so whupped Friday by the time I got home, there was precious little in the way of cleaning done on the house. Instead, I just vegetated and wondered how it was exactly that I had gotten myself so very, very tired. Still, I couldn’t really do a good job of vegetating with all the stuff to do, so I finally got motivated enough later in the evening to begin shifting the huge stacks of dust-covered books and junk over on the distaff side of the bedroom to someplace unnoticeable. I got the area in front of the dresser cleaned out. HEY! FLOOR!!

Luckily, with the rain, I was able to effectively avoid having to cut the grass Saturday.

Couldn’t avoid Saturday itself, though.

Up early, and the first chore was that I had to go haul Oldest over to the Express Oil Change down at the foot of the hill. Seems one of her school clubs was having a car wash to raise money, so she dolled herself up in a tropical getup of some sort (floweredy capri pants were the main eye-catching element) and we were about to walk out the door when I noticed she had on sandals. Dress sandals, with a heel. “Uh, you really need to wear sneakers.”


It was still cloudy and messy looking outside, but I figured it would probably clear out later in the day. It did, but not before it rained again. Hard.

BUT, before all that, I dropped her off at the shop. Pulled up in front, waited. “Uh, I doesn’t look like anyone is here yet, Ashley.” “WELL! They SAID they were going to PARK in the BACK!”

If only THEY would be a bit more forthcoming when telling me these things! “You know, that would have been something good to know before I pulled up and parked here.” Drove around to the back and sure enough, buncha kids with buckets. Which made me wonder why I was required to go to the Dollar Tree and purchase four buckets the previous evening. Dumped Oldest out--“Hey, do you have any money with you?”

Silly Dad.

I gave her eight bucks and went on back home, flung some breakfast at the kids, and the phone rang. It was Oldest on her cell phone. “I’M STANDING OUT HERE HOLDING A SIGN AND I’M HUNGRY!” Resisting the urge to ask her if she had written “Will work for food” on the sign, I gently informed her that she could take the eight dollars I had given her about fifteen minutes prior, walk over to Winn-Dixie, and BUY SOME FOOD.

Why, the very idea!

Such gall on my part!

Expecting her to actually walk somewhere!


I could tell she was quite incensed with my suggestion--I'm certain she thought I would drop everything and come bring her some food--so she hung up with extreme prejudice. I bet she wished it was something she could slam down like a regular phone. Hey, whatever.

Time to start the final push to make the house ready for our impending guests. The kids were dispatched to their rooms to finish picking up their toys, and I went to ours to pick up more junk.

FAST FORWARD TWO HOURS--in which time I also had to take leave to go pick up Oldest around 11, because she was now standing in the rain with all of the other dim wet teenagers in her group. I didn’t say anything other than to tell her to go ahead and take her shower when she got home, but there is a fine old Southern expression about people without sense enough to get in out of the rain.

I kept that to myself.

Noontime finally arrived, and after hours of sucking up dust with both the vacuum cleaner and my nose, our bedroom finally looked clean. In fact, cleaner than it has ever been. It’s been covered up either with boxes or with Reba’s paperwork and junk ever since we moved in. Seven years ago. It’s very spacious. Now.

I hopped downstairs and mopped the kitchen--three times--and by two p.m., our house was clean. More or less. Reba’s method of putting things away rendered her closet impassable. ::sigh::

Shower, fix and do on a few more minor things, and then time to just sit and wait for our guests. Right on time they were there, the lady who first drove into our driveway (and who kinda reminds me of Michele Lee) along with her nephew and his wife. Young, clean-cut couple, they were. I brought them in and we looked around, and they seemed to be quite taken with the whole place. Their aunt told me she had purchased the house at the end of the street two doors down from us, and the young guy said that his life-long friend had a house just across the way. And his parents live in the neighborhood, too. Gonna have a regular commune going on.

I told them the various stories you all have heard over the years--the leaky bathroom toilet and floor replacement project (repair ongoing), the leaky control knob on the upstairs bathtub that caused the garage ceiling to get all watery (repair ongoing), the destruction and rebuilding of the chimney and my battles with Contractor Boy (blessedly complete), the Giant Plastic Not-a-Shed but-a-Playhouse, the Painters.

They all seemed to love it. I suppose it helped that the kids were around to distract them from the marks and gouges on the walls, which is only fair, I suppose, since they were the ones who marked and gouged things in the first place. The young man especially seemed taken with all of our books, and our old fusee clock in the kitchen, and the big engraving of New York harbor, and my armoire--gotta good eye, there, Kid. They liked the level backyard, and the flower bed, and the bench, and the pond. And the concrete curbing in the front flower beds.

Of course, after they’d left and we were recovering from the visit, it came about that Reba doesn’t really like the idea of selling. Despite the fact that for the past seven years all she’s talked about is having a place where the kids could each have their own bedrooms. ::sigh:: Figures, don’t it?

Anyway, after more discussions, she’s gradually warming up to the idea that has been hers all along, but it’ll still require that these folks actually make a reasonable offer, and if we can find something that we can purchase for that much. So, we might stay there no matter what. At which point she will probably be all disappointed.

Woman’s prerogative, and all.

ANYWAY, who knows what all is going to go on between now and then?! Not I. What I do know is that I have a crushing deadline I have to deal with at the moment, and I must be about it.

SO, when I get that all wrapped up, I’ll be back to dispense more free ice cream cones!

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

Tuesday already!?

That'll teach ME to take a day off. I have part of the usual Weekend in Review post finished, but also found out that when I walked in this morning, in my absence I was assigned to finish something by tomorrow that mere humans would require at least a week to complete. Meaning, that I have a lot of work to get done today, meaning that the free ice cream cones will be limited, consisting of neither ice cream, nor cones. But, they are still free.

Anyway, the other post is coming in just a minute.

OH--and lest I forget--my Volvo battery dilemma solved itself! I only THOUGHT my battery was the wrong size. In amongst all the efforts of Saturday, I sneaked out for a moment and in the daylight found that it was just not pushed all the way into position in the battery tray, and after I shoved it the right way, the little clippy deal on the side of the tray popped on with absolutely no trouble at all, negating the need to resort to an ugly strap or downright dangerous zip ties to hold it in place. I was quite happy! But not nearly so much as getting to spend two uninterrupted hours in the junkyard yesterday. But that is a tale for another time.

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

September 16, 2005


Weekend, that is.

As you recall, this is now the end of the second full week of trying to finish cleaning house. It is no more cleaneder than it was before I gave up two weeks ago. Still have to get the bedrooms done, and the kitchen, especially the floor. To make matters worse, the house is occupied by five people other than myself who seem little inclined to keep things picked up and put away, so now we have a degredation in the once-cleaned areas of the house--the dining room, the usual place the kids go to do their homework, is now brimming again with castoff papers and junk and stuff and things and jetsam. The countertop I spent so much time on before in mine and Mrs. Oglesby's bathroom has now started to get crusty with makeup again (on her side). The neatly folded cotton throws in the den have been dragged back out and artfully arranged in piles on the floor. And DANGITALL, the VOLVO STILL NEEDS TO HAVE THE NEW HEADLIGHTS AND DASHBOARD INSTALLED!

Tonight will probably be a mad rush to reclean the main areas, and to try to find a hiding place for all the junk over on the other side of the bedroom, and SOMEone is going to sacrifice his poor knees and back and get down and scrub the kitchen floor of its accumulated grime before tomorrow. At this point, I don't care if that lady brings her nephew and niece-in-law or not. I'm not going to put them off anymore, no matter if the place looks like, well, like it does right now.

Hmmm. Which means if I don't really care, I could save myself a lot of effort by just leaving it a mess...


Well, shoot--I suppose I'll clean it anyway.

And it might even go over into MONDAY! Because I won't be here then. I have to take Ashley in for the fitting of her wires on her braces first thing Monday morning, and then I have to be back at the in-laws' house to pick up the kids because the in-laws will be out of town, so I took the bold step of taking an entire day of vacation.

Which means that between the time I drop Oldest back at school, and about 3:30 or so that afternoon, I will have some time just for me. I predict a trip to the junkyard, and possibly the library. WOOHOO!

Anyway, I'll see you all on Tuesday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:50 PM | Comments (2)


Reuters "news" service comes at us with this jewel: Power-dressing man leaves trail of destruction

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.

Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet.

"It sounded almost like a firecracker," Clewer told Australian radio Friday.

"Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt."

Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building.

"There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we could hear a cracking noise -- a bit like a whip -- both inside and outside the building," said fire official Henry Barton.

Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the burns might have been caused by a power surge.
Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned to seek help from the firefighters.

"We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said.

"I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this," he said.

Firefighters took possession of Clewer's jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.

David Gosden, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Sydney University, told Reuters that for a static electricity charge to ignite a carpet, conditions had to be perfect.

"Static electricity is a similar mechanism to lightning, where you have clouds rubbing together and then a spark generated by very dry air above them," said Gosden.

Geez--and people wonder why no one trusts the media.

A. It says when he walked in the building, he sparked and the carpet caught fire, yet the employees weren't able to determine where the smell was coming from?

B. If he touched a door handle on the way in, it would have dissipated the charge before he even entered the building. Or, you know, if he was walking on the ground or something.

C. A cracking noise inside and OUTSIDE the building? You could hear it in BOTH places? Really!?

D. Scorched a piece of plastic in the floor of his car? Even though the car is grounded?

E. The firefighters tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter? Is this something they carry with them on the truck? And they tested his clothes--after touching them, which would cause any lingering charge to dissipate, and there was still 40,000 volts showing?!

F. And somehow 40,000 volts is somehow equivalent to heat? More volts and cloth catches on fire!? So, like, the rubber insulation on high tension wires that carry hundreds of thousands of volts doesn't catch on fire because....? Maybe it's just me, but I sure thought amperage would come into play here.

G. The jacket was taken and stored in a courtyard, and it somehow managed to CONTINUE to give off current, without any rubbing or other way of inducting a charge, and with no place for current to flow? It switched from a source of static electricity to producing measurable CURRENT!? And this current is measured using volts and not amps?

Ladies and gentlemen, that's one magic jacket.

Thanks, Reuters, for bringing us this amazing story before Weekly World News got ahold of it.

LUCKILY FOR US, The Standard has an alternative version, that is just as illogical, but less fun because it points out that there was no danger from Mr. Clewer's clothing because the amperage level was so low--yet they still managed to burn plastic?

Buncha crazy antipodes.

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

And then, there's this...

...a person who trips in here based upon this search string: Received my tetanus booster today OW!

In the immortal words of famed Tennessean Glenn Harlan Reynolds, "Heh-- indeed."

In the immortal words of famed Arkansan William Jefferson Clinton, "I feel your pain."

In the immortal words of famed English antihero The Black Knight, "'Tis but a scratch!"

In the immortal words of famed Californian Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger, "You think a shot hurts?! Try to being named Alois. All the guys in school calling out, "'Ey! Lois!" I tell you this, such things as that make a tiny shot seem like nothing at all! At least I am not like Johnny Cash, who was named by his father 'Sue.'"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

Directions Given for Free. Results Worth Twice the Price.

Just had a person come by who was pondering deep, ponderful things, and so went and asked that friendly Jeeves fellow: were is the original consution kept at?

Well, My Annoyingly Pedantic Friend JeffTM would say, "Between the A and the T," but let's not let linguistics hinder us in our quest to dispense knowledge.

The Consution is kept at Consution Hall in Phadepha, Pevania.

You're very welcome. If the Possumblog Research Facility can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:19 PM | Comments (8)


A little bit of rain. For those of you still dealing with Ophelia and Katrina, that might not sound all that great, but it's been more dry than usual the couple of weeks. After Katrina blew through, we had a high pressure area parked over us that provided some nice sunny skies and low humidity, but it was about to the point of being too much of a good thing. The yard went from mush to dust in mere days.

Anyway, it's started raining now. Didn't realize it until I got downstairs and then had to come back up here for my umbrella. Since it's been several days, it wasn't the smell of a pleasant rain--there's a lot of crud that builds up, and those first few minutes of rain don't make things smell very refreshing. It's still hot, so you've got that warm musty odor from the concrete and then there's the normal effluvia that starts loosening up and washing toward the gutters that has its own peculiar air. About thirty minutes into it, things start smelling better.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:04 PM | Comments (23)

And speaking of birds...

...there comes this: Scrushy movie in negotiations, his lawyers say

Dickie Bird Fills the Silver Screen! I can hardly wait. But on to the "story"--

Friday, September 16, 2005


News staff writer

Lights, camera - Scrushy!

Reminds me of the "Just JACK!" line from Will and Grace, but whatever.

Richard Scrushy lawyers Donald Watkins and Jim Parkman say they are in talks with Hollywood screenwriters and movie producers interested in turning their story into a feature-length film.

"We have met with directors and actors well known to the American public," Watkins said. "It is a David vs. Goliath story, and a tale of seemingly divergent personalities coming together to win the battle nobody said could be won."

Using millions of dollars paid by the defendant; dollars gained in what even the defense acknowledges was a massive fraud scheme. Meaning that the proceeds paid to the defendant for his salary, and stock options, and loans, and various other honoraria and love offerings wasn't actually fairly gotten, and, in fact belong to the people who were defrauded. But hey, WHO CARES! GREAT PICTURE IDEA, right!?

About two weeks ago, the pair met in Hollywood with star actor James Woods and Todd Slater, executive producer of the 2004 film biography of musician Ray Charles, Watkins said. Also at the table were Rodney Stone, who produced the 1991 biography of basketball star "Pistol Pete" Maravich, and Harry Thomasson, a Bill Clinton confidante and co-creator of the 1980s television hit "Designing Women."

Meetings with potential screenwriters are scheduled later this month.

"Hollywood figures are gripped by this story that played out in Birmingham," Watkins said. [...]

I've no doubt Hollywood figures are gripped, which says a lot about Hollywood, doesn't it?

I will say this, though--James Woods? If he's in it for the Dick role, that's GOLD, BABY! No one plays oily megalomaniacal psychopaths quite so well! Except for maybe Chris Walken. AND you got some Clinton pie in there, too?! Pure, solid, 24k GOLD!

"Anything dramatic is of potential interest to audiences," said Richard Walter, chairman of the screenwriting program at the UCLA school of theater, film and television. "Great dramatic art always has memorable characters."

The Scrushy tale might qualify.

I sense a very large contribution going to the UCLA school of theater, film, and television. It is something of a leap, however, to go from memorable character straight to great dramatic art. Using them together in the same sentence doesn't guarantee results. I mean, just look at Weekend at Bernie's Two.

The former CEO flew airplanes, played in bar bands and said he wanted to be the highest-paid executive in corporate America while running HealthSouth. Lawyers Watkins and Parkman also put their ample personalities on display during the trial.

To put it mildly.

Walter, whose students include the screenwriters of "Sideways" and "War of The Worlds," said the corporate/courtroom thriller hasn't lost steam with film studios.

`A nice-lookin' fellow':

"It's tried and true, a perennial," he said. "That genre will never go away."

Translation? "I'm telling you it hasn't lost steam so you won't believe what you're seeing from box office receipts. Because you know that, and I know that, but HE doesn't know that, and if there's that much walking around cash to spread around, why shouldn't it go to a few deserving members of the creative community, right? Right!"

Scrushy has also had feelers about movies, the former CEO said.

You know, I have always thought of him as having feelers, and now it has been confirmed. OOOOH!! I know--another creapy greasy guy like maybe Jeff Goldblum! You know, that fly movie he made!? You could have him be like, a hospital CEO, and he's like, rich, and does experiments, and a fly lands in some test tube, then on him, and he starts turning into a fly, and the FBI arrests him for insider trading and stuff, and he hires a lawyer, and in court, the CEO starts turning into a fly and Tom Cruise is there and he starts screaming and OOOOH! Catherine Zeta-Jones! Her and Tom Cruise are a legal team, and they've got to defend him because the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are trying to railroad him because they want to steal the secret fly formula so they can find Osama Bin Laden, so they want him in jail or a box or something, and Catherine Zeta-Jones starts falling in love with him, but he looks at her and says something about even though he's rich, he'll still be turning into a fly all the time, and she is conflicted, because Tom Cruise tells her that they have a duty to defend him but he thinks he might just be misleading them about the fly experiments and so then they have Joe Peschi come in and he plays like the guy who was the lawyer in My Cousin Vinny, and they manage to all get the fly CEO off, and the FBI gives him his own private island in exchange for the formula. GOLD, BABY!

"We've had people call us," he said. "We've been approached by various agents and people who have a relationship with that."

Scrushy added that he doesn't know who should portray him, but that it should "probably be a nice-lookin' fellow."

Well, that's just so true. And let's hope they find someone who looks good no matter if he's wearing a cowboy hat, mullet and cheesy mustache, or nice slick Pat Riley hair.

As for Watkins and Parkman, they plan to retain significant editorial control over any project they assent to, possibly as co-producers. That's because they want to tell the story of the relationships between the lawyers and their winning strategies, as well as the more oft-heard tales of corporate excess and greed the former finance chiefs described on the witness stand.

"The interesting thing is how we all came together from different legal backgrounds and won the case," Parkman said. [...]

Ummmyeah. Anyway, there probably needs to be a car chase, too. Like having the fly driving really fast through town to get away from the Feds. 'Cause that's really important to the story, too, you know. Oh, and we probably need to find a way to get some cleavage in here, too.

[...] Neither Parkman nor Watkins plan to appear in the film, although Watkins said Denzel Washington "would be about the right fit" to play him.

Or possibly the mechanical shark from Jaws.

Anyway, it should be quite the thriller. OOOOH!! MICHAEL JACKSON COMEBACK VEHICLE! He could play Watkins! GOLD, BABY!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

Bird bird bird, bird is the word...

That's right, "bird," as in the perky cardinal, as in the rough and ready ::chuckle:: Cardinals of Ball State University (0-2), who will be fluttering down from their perches in beautiful Muncie, Indiana (a city justly famed for its contribution to automobiledom as the birthplace of General Motors' famed Muncie M-22 "Rockcrusher" four-speed tranny) to take on the still-not-firing-on-all-cylinders, (1-1, 1-0 SEC) Tigers of Auburn University.

The Plainsmen did score a solid win last week against one of those Mississippi teams, a methodical game with no points scored against them, but they still seem to be having trouble maintaining that consistency throughout an entire game. When they're on, they look like the boys from last year--when they're not on, well, it's a mess. Hewitt-Trussville alum Brandon Cox is still trying to settle down at quarterback, and his occasional (and understandable) lack of judgement and poise led to several turnovers in the GaTech game. He did much better last week, but he's still not quite at that point where he can react well to heavy defensive pressure.

Not that he should have to worry this week. Ball State, bless their hearts, are like so many schools trying to build their program, and have to play above their weight in order to improve. They don't really have a great chance of pulling an upset, but they come on and play anyway because to be able to play a better team makes your players better themselves. Of course, nobody seems to have told Vanderbilt this, but that's a story for another day.

Then we get into the truest test--one must give a great deal of respect to Ball State for having individual cheerleader pictures, something that Auburn has been sadly lacking for years, but Auburn DOES have the advantage of having full-squad photos, and the cheerleading website has had continual improvements in the past two years, and has a very good selection of high-resolution game-day candid photos. They still need to work some on cropping out the guys, though, although I guess you girls want to look at them. Hmm? No, I am NOT jealous of the guys! You just shut up! I mean, just because they're all full of biceps and have the best view of the game doesn't mean I'm jealous. 'Cause I'm not.

THEN, moving on to mascots--oh, come on! It's a pretty red bird--who's scared of that!? Auburn's mascot is a ferocious jungle animal who wouldn't even LOOK at a cardinal, even if he was starving to death! And not only that, we have our own bird of prey that we send out before games to rid the stadium of any possible bird-poop-producers. Poor silly cardinals.

I will say that Auburn doesn't have any graduates who have their own late-night talk shows, although when he's not hitting people, Charles Barkley DOES talk a lot.

ANYWAY, down to the most important part of the post, the prediction of the score! Let's bring in Possumblog Sport Center's newest Football Pickin' Chicken, Lil' Joe Biden, and see what he has to say.

Chet the E-Mail boy has just released him--Lil' Joe Biden is walking slowly across the floor to the array of bingo cards in front of him. He's looking, he's looking--there he goes! He just pecked at his choices, and it appears as though it's going to be Auburn 38 - Ball State 3.

Let's hope Lil' Joe Biden is right, because if he's not, well, there's a REASON there's been TWO Football Pickin' Chickens...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:33 AM | Comments (4)

Well, now...

...much to do this morning due to yesterday's notice of impending doom, so with your permission I will have to take a few hours here and go back to my more usual menial tasks, until later on in the day.

But before I do that, it came to my attention last night (as I was typing up YET ANOTHER school project for one of my children) that my older two girls really need to quit thinking quite so much.

Reba came in and related the story to me that Middle Girl and Oldest were talking about an upcoming birthday. Middle Girl's to be exact, which falls on September 29. Now that they both have had some instruction in human physiology, they counted backwards from that date to see exactly WHEN the whole Rebecca-making process started. They arrived at a date late in January, which is, of course, when Reba has her birthday--January 26, to be exact. Which caused Ashley to pipe up and tell Rebecca, "EWWWWW! You were Mom's BIRTHDAY PRESENT!" "EEEEEWWWWWWWW!!"

They were both appropriately scandalized, no matter if that was the exact circumstance of her conception or not. It being so very long ago, I can't say for certain if that had anything to do with it, but I can rest assured that the thought will haunt her now for the rest of her life.


Anyway, to work now.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:23 AM | Comments (6)

September 15, 2005


Yes, the new Chevy "It's NOT a PT Cruiser" Heritage High Roof, aka Cobalt MiniWagon/Dessert Topping AND Floor Wax.

I've written about this one before, back when I was taunting Bob Lutz for getting so defensive about the inevitable comparison to the competitor's product. Anyway, I saw a brand new one for the first time this morning on the way in to work.

Black, with shiny wheels. Not bad, although a lot smaller in person than it looks in pictures. And the roof seems to be chopped a bit--sorta squatty-like. But the real test? Miss Reba, who cannot STAND PT Cruisers. Says they remind her of rolling turds. I kinda like them myself, although more for the inside than the outside, which is a bit mannered, but at least had the benefit of being original(ish. I mean, it does hark back to the '30s.)

Anyway, I pointed the HHR out and explained a bit about it and asked her opinion.

"Well, I hate to say it, but I like the way the PT Cruiser looks better than that thing."

Mr. Lutz, if there's any consolation, you can at least be happy that it's not as bad as the late Pontiac Aztek.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:22 PM | Comments (15)

Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Mice Infected With Bubonic Plague Missing

"I think so, Brain, but I find scratching just makes it worse."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

Remember when I got all put-out...

...a couple of weeks back, because of the meeting I had to attend--the one with the allegorical cookie and ant--and having to be at the meeting was like enduring a brisk, two-hour rogering with a razor blade encrusted salt pillar?

That meeting?

Well, there'll be another one in a week, and I sense that this time it will have the refreshing and bracing addition of hot arsenic toddies and naughty pictures of Nancy Pelosi.

Again, if I have not stressed it enough--do NOT rely on a bureaucracy to save your life. Or your money.

One would think that after the last fiasco, there would be a bit more attention paid to the necessary things. No. And this time, it's not because I stood there and took orders--I really, truly, tried to talk us all off the ledge. Of course, my problem was using those alien concepts of reason and logic. Idiot.

So, nope--the ledge is PERFECTLY safe, just as it is. And to prove it, let's all strap on these anvils. And here's a balloon to blow up and land on if you do fall.

::sigh:: Why does it have to be this way?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:49 PM | Comments (5)

As I mentioned... the extended entry for the Thursday Three, I have been a bit late getting my answers up due to YET ANOTHER stupid work assignment that will cause me more heartache and torment. Wheeeee! So, I had to tend to that to know what sorts of things I need to practice avoiding. And now I have a meeting to attend off campus, and I don't know if our departmental vehicle (a dashing gray '94 Ford Taurus) will even crank.

Back after while, then.

::sigh:: UPDATE 11:50 a.m. Or not.

Apparently the Taurus DOES crank, because I just went to find the keys--someone beat me to it. Which leads us into the next part of our fun series:

Upside of Carpooling with your Wife?

If she has the car, you can't very well be castigated for missing an off-campus meeting.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

In a shift from the usual silliness... which Fun With Referrer Logs is a jumping off point for deriding pointless or stupid search requests, I just had a visitor whom I would DEFINITELY like to help if possible.

The search request came through Ask Jeeves, and was this: find royal marines old pals connection

600 returned results, and I feel bad because stupid Possumblog is first up, simply because of a post I did three years ago when I linked to a picture of a highly attractive Royal Marine of the female version. (And trust me--if I could find the picture I'd post it again.) But that's all it was--and certainly wasn't what this fellow was looking for.

Which I think would probably be a site such as this one: The Royal Marines Reunion Page, which is for active members and those who have left Her Majesty's service. Might also be good to check out the homepage of the Royal Marines, just for fun.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

5, 4, cue music, 2, and---

WELCOME EVERYONE, to America's Best Loved and Most Popular Day-Themed Meme Experience, The AXIS OF WEEVIL THURSDAY THREE!

And here's your genial host Wink Martindale!!

"Thank you, EVVVVVrybuddy!"

"HEY! That's not Wink Martindale!"

Okay, so we couldn't get Wink on such short notice--he's got a Publix opening in Jackson, Tennessee. But let's not let that get in the way of the exciting season premier of the T-3! 'Kay? MMM-kayyyyyyy!

As you all remember, the Thursday Three was developed by a crack research team at East Carolina University, located in lovely Greenville, East Carolina, with the intent of creating an alternative to the burdensome chore of having to answer all five questions in the long-running Friday Five meme showcase, AND moving it to another day when there isn't as much going on, AND giving the hungry blog-reading public something to read and participate in that is completely FREE!

FREE! I said!

That's right--the entertaining Thursday Three is, as it has always been, completely free of fees, charges, admission price, costs, or taxes, all due to the generosity of our sponsors--Roger's Bargain Village on the Highway 5 bypass loop, and Sparkles and Bows Dance Studio in the SandycreekVu Shopping Center, between the Payless Shoes and the Lucky 777 arcade. When you're in town, be sure to patronize the establishments of these fine folks!

Now then, ON TO THE SHOW! Since we've been in summer hiatus (and working out a contract with the writers) it might be a good time to review the rules of the show. Let's send it over to the lovely and talented Kit, the Wonder Cat, for a full explanation.

Kit the wonder cat.jpg

Stupid cat. I knew we shouldn't pay him before the show.

Well, I'll do it then--The Thursday Three is open to everyone who wants to play, even if you can't read or write or anything. It is open to international entrants, even those from such places at Nevada or Rhode Island. You may cut and paste the questions into your own blog and answer them there, and leave a (full and complete) URL in the comments (and yes, this is directed at YOU, Larry) below so we can all find our way to your answers, or if you want, you can just put your answers in the comments if you don't have a blog of your own, or just can't stand the idea of cluttering it up with unnecessary twaddle.

SO, let's find out what we're playing for today--we turn it over to Possumblog Sport Center's newest Football Pickin' Chicken, "Lil' Joe Biden," for an answer!

Today's Grand Prize is....

A BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE COUPON FOR ANY HAIR ACCESSORY AT Sparkles and Bows Dance Studio in the SandycreekVu Shopping Center, between the Payless Shoes and the Lucky 777 arcade!

LET'S GET ON WITH THE GAME! And yes, the questions are actually of a serious nature, quite unlike the setup. Today's questions are about self-reliance.

1. With the recent hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast, it has once again been made obvious that being prepared ahead of time can be the difference between life and death. Do you and your family keep an emergency pack of supplies ready to go at a moment's instant as so many people recommend? What all is in it?

2. If, heaven forbid, anything as destructive as a hurricane or earthquake or fire or flood were to hit your community, and assuming you stayed around or couldn't get out, what are some of the skills you have that you think could be utilized to start the recovery efforts?

3. How safe do you feel in your own community when it comes to disaster preparedness?

SO, there you go. Go off now and fix up your answers and leave them in the comments, or leave a link to your blog. My answers will be up in just a bit.

Okay--sorry about the delay, but I had to go have another meeting with the Exercises in Futility Director.

Now then--#1--We don't keep a big SHTF bag just waiting for, you know, the S to H the F. I do know the things to have in the unlikely event we have to evacuate somewhere, and I do know where they are in the house. Yes, it does waste some time to have to go round all that up in case of Bad Mojo, but knowing what to have on hand does beat just huddling waiting for a government bureaucracy to tell you what to do. And this comes from someone who works for a government bureaucracy. Anyway, we have a sufficient store of batteries, flashlights, travel food, first aid supplies, medicine, clothing, fuel, and yes, firearms and ammunition, to be able to hold out comfortably for three or four days, and uncomfortably for an indefinite period. My wife and I both have had pretty good first aid skills and the general sense to know which situations would be bad to get into. You know, like getting out and playing in flood waters.

#2--Well, more than anything else, I have pretty good organizational skills (no, really, I do--I just hate having to use them), and the ability to keep an even keel. My career choice as an architect would really be rather useless in the first days after something catastrophic, although it would be good to have later on. But if it's a matter of survival, you have to have a clear concept ahead of time about what things are most important to deal with, and rely on that sense of priorities under stress. People get wigged out trying to save items and things and stuff, and neglect personal safety. As for other skills, just a basic willingness to do things seems to be in short supply in such instances. Cleaning up and fixing and doing and scrounging--I'm a whiz at jury-rigging solutions.

3. Pretty good, I'd say. We had a flood two years ago when we had a late afternoon thunderstorm that dropped close to a foot of water in the course of only a few hours, and the Cahaba and everything draining into it went over the banks. It receded pretty quickly, but the whole downtown was out of commission for nearly two weeks, and it was a year before the City Hall and fire station were ready to be occupied again. But city services never really missed a beat--things were done in good time and staff moved all over the place, but it worked out pretty well. But, once again it bears repeating--no one should rely primarily on the ability of others to save you, even if they're good, competent people.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:08 AM | Comments (24)

September 14, 2005

And speaking of jackhammers...

...I got to help make one!

Not a real one. Boy had a class assignment to research various inventors and inventions, and he got short-strawed with finding out about the jackhammer.

You know, for something so ubiquitous, there really isn't a whole lot of good information out there about them. I did find out for him that it was invented back in the early 1890s by a bright fellow named Charles Brady King. Seems Chuck was quite the entrepreneur and inventor, and managed to beat Henry Ford to the honor of having the first automobile operating on the streets of Detroit. After a concerted bit of Googling, I did manage to find the patent number, hoping to be able to find some drawings of what the original looked like. For some reason, the pictures on the USPTO website didn't show up--I don't know if it's a browser issue or they've just got some broken links.

ANYway, the kids in class got to pick a bunch of stuff out of a junk pile, and he came home with a cardboard tube, a plastic 2 liter Sprite bottle, and a family-size Ritz cracker box. And no idea what to do.

So, of course, I had to help. Cut a couple of holes in the sides of the cracker box, slid the cardboard tube through--handles. Cut a big hole in the bottom and secured the drink bottle inside--the bit or chisel end. And the box is the body. We went to the store last night and got some silver paint that dries to look like hammered metal, painted it, and it looks pretty good for painted garbage!

Pictures to follow sometime later--it needs another coat of paint, and maybe a hose of some sort attached to it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:32 PM | Comments (2)

Speaking of college professors...'s one close to where Ophelia is coming to visit.

Dr. Jim's Weather Dog* says it's raining.

*Something like a Trunk Monkey, a Weather Dog is a handy service animal. A Weather Dog is an invaluable aid in determining climatic conditions. The Weather Dog is allowed out of the house, and upon his return, data can be downloaded regarding current conditions.

If the dog is wet, it is raining.

If the dog is panting, it is hot.

If the dog's fur is all ruffled up, it is windy.

If the dog is shivering, it is cold.

If the dog smells like a skunk, there are skunks around.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

I don't know, just perspective, I guess.

I'm not trying to make a point about one or the other, or draw any conclusions, or diminish anyone's sense of loss, but something that happened in the very near past continues to nag at me. I don't know, maybe it's short memories, or an unwillingness to think beyond the present, but two years ago during the summer of 2003, Europe had a heat wave that wound up causing 20 to 35 thousand deaths, with more than 14,000 in France alone.

Sometimes it just seems we lose track of such things, and for the wrong reasons.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:05 PM | Comments (4)

Well, it's about time, darn it!

Federal Judge Declares Pledge Of Allegiance Unconstitutional

NOW, ON TO THE MONEY! We've erased the scourge of "under God" and once we get rid of "In God We Trust," why, then, ol' buddy-boy, we'll FINALLY have a--umm, well, EVERYTHING WILL BE WONDERFUL and, ahhhh, well, THE SUN WILL SHINE AGAIN and, and...FOR THE CHILDREN!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:29 PM | Comments (2)


Just got back from my short walk to Sneaky Pete's. There was a young lady in there waiting along with me, with quite a striking appearance. Petite, yet nice and filled out; lovely medium brown hair done up in a professional-looking do; large, smoldering, deep-set eyes; and finally, a pronounced hump in the bridge of her nose.

It was oddly alluring.

I think it's because you see so little of that nowadays--plastic surgery for such flaws has become so common and inexpensive that you hardly ever see any Pallorous-American girls under thirty with anything but a tiny turned up button of a nose. I think that's one of the reasons (of admittedly several) why I like Gillian Anderson--she has a nice convexity to the bridge of her nose. It also reminds me of a consultant here in town--tall and lean, with a snout like a borzoi. Despite its length and bladelike appearance, it's actually quite elegant and suits her very well.

And for the record--I lucked out in this matter. Miss Reba has a very fine nose. Straight and slim, and although not outsized, still quite easy to play "gotcher nose" with fingers and thumb. It certainly is a happy accident of genetics, because she just as easily could have gotten more of the nasal material from the paternal side of her family, all of whom bear trunks which closely resemble a Russett potato in size and shape.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:03 PM | Comments (6)

HEY! Who left my margarine out on the countertop!?

Dangitall--if someone moved my che--oh, good. Still there.

Funny thing about writing the way you talk and playing on peoples' expectations of what you're going to say based upon their exposure to popular culture--you were all probably thinking I was going to say "cheese," right? Like the name of that book I've never read about cheese-moving. Well, I wasn't--I was going to say "chelioclamsododdlermon whellnord." I just didn't want to write all that. Even though I just did. So, THERE!

Yes, I'm in one of THOSE moods this morning, despite there being absolutely no reason for it. I just figured I'd be grouchily oblique and spout non sequiturs the rest of the day. I figure if the Senate can make a good living out of it, why shouldn't I?

ANYway, I've been in the office for a good while already--the meeting didn't last all that long today, but the stack of regulatory paperwork that required my personal signature afterwards was rather thickish. And the stupid telephone keeps ringing. Oh--there. That's better. I unplugged it.

Middle Daughter has been enjoying school--she has a teacher who seems to have helped bring her out of her shell a bit. She jabbers constantly at home, but in any public setting she is usually mute. And I don't mean she's just politely quiet--I mean actually stone cold, won't-say-a-word mute, even if it would be polite to at least mumble SOMEthing. Anyway, this teacher, a youngish fellow who appears to me to be about 12, likes to start class with a couple of corny jokes, which Rebecca has been so kind as to bring home and share with us. They're mostly the same stuff you've heard for years, but to her they're new, and it does seem to bring out her natural comic abilities. (All the rest of them display similar senses of humor, and I have no idea where that comes from, because, as you all know, I am an ogre at home.)

Anyway, she told a couple last night (including one that I had to gently reminder her was extremely sacreligious) but she finally got to one that made me laugh. Surely I had heard it before, but something about it struck me as funny. Now, the way she told it was with breathless rapidity and little in the way of build-up or backstory, so allow me to embellish a bit. Also, this started out as a brunette, redhead, blonde joke, but seeing as how it's football season, well, I will fix that a bit, too.

Three young ne'er-do-wells (who grew up together and later managed to get football scholarships to the universities of Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia) all got together for a weekend of carousing.

Not being ones to well-hold their spirits, they quickly got lit up and got the bright idea of reliving their old hoodlum habits by robbing the cash register at the bar.

Even with little planning and much drink, they still managed to grab several handsful of cash and dash out the door and down the street. Immediately the alarm went up and two officers of the law set out in hot pursuit. Despite the wondrous speed and agility of the players, being drunk slowed them down a bit, and the cops continued to gain on them.

Ducking down an alleyway, the boys found themselves at the back door of an animal shelter. Seeing that they had no other way out, and knowing the police were on the way, they took stock of their situation. Seeing three burlap sacks lying on the ground, they decided to each crawl into an empty bag and try to outwit the gendermerie.

The young men were safely enclosed with not a moment to spare, just as the cops came running around the corner into the alley and saw the lumpy bags on the ground behind the shelter. One of the policemen nudged the first sack, and the Georgia player let out a sad whine and a bark. "Ah, must be a dog!" said the cop. The second policeman poked the sack containing the Auburn player, who let out a lonesome meow. The policeman nodded his head and said, "It must be a cat!" Finally, they turned to the sack with the Alabama player inside, give it a shove, and from inside comes the shout of, "Potatoes!"

Well, it was funny to hear her tell it.

IN OTHER THINGS, despite the fact that gasoline costs nearly three dollars a gallon, if you do the math you figure a 20 ounce Diet Coke for a buck translates into $6.40 per gallon.

Now, I'm gonna go get some lunch.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:01 PM | Comments (10)

September 13, 2005

Such fun!

Well, not quite yet, but tomorrow for SURE! Our biweekly fun with the public meeting, at which I will get to take notes, and stuff such as that!

So, as usual in such cases, I will leave the door open for you to just come in and sit for a spell. You're welcome to use the blogroll as much as you want, and there's some leftovers in the refrigerator. See you all late tomorrow morning.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:54 PM | Comments (9)

Liberal Media Bias?

Oh, come off it.

It's just a picture of eyes, nothing more. Deeply disturbed, evil whitebread fanatofascist Rovian Chimpy McHitlerburton God-botherer eyes, true, but overall, not the least bit out of place in examining the facts surrounding the confirmation hearings.

I would like to add, however, that Roberts' reaction was probably triggered by seeing Senator Kennedy.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:04 PM | Comments (9)

Fortune Cookie Wisdom of the Day!

A nice walk today--blue skies and cooler temps--yet still warm enough not to need pants.

I was rather disappointed upon my return to my desk, however, when I popped open the fortune cookies--both were as limp and stale as the latest Elton John song. This unfortunate circumstance caused me to discard both cookies (sans fortunes) after only one awful bite.


To whit:

You will have a long and weal-thy [sic] life.

Whew. I was beginning to wonder about that. Now I can rest easier. I bet John Doe comes and gives me a million-dollar job!

Next up--

Ignorance never settles a question.

I don't know--seems to have worked out that way for a certain former FEMA director.

AND, now, your lucky numbers:

Daily Numbers 2 5 8
Lotto Six #'s [sic] 27 38 6 24 1 20


Daily Numbers 8 0 2
Lotto Six #'s [sic] 17 28 44 17 89 29

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:55 PM | Comments (4)

I realize he's just trying to help, but...

I don't think I'd want to eat whatever it is he's serving.

You just never know...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:58 AM | Comments (3)

Of Windows, Football, and Cannons

Peg Britton talks about her ordnance ordeal.

She and her hubby seem to have gone out of their way to be nice about this, and I sure hope the gun crew will be as accomodating. Not knowing what they're shooting, it's hard to say for sure, but it certainly seems as though they could maybe ease back on the charge a bit if it's making that much racket.

At least Peg can take some small comfort that there have been no rounds in the tube. At least not yet.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:52 AM | Comments (2)


Yes, I know everyone gets junk like this--I get hundreds every week. But this one was just too precious not to mock. Added points for it coming to my work e-mail.

From: Coleen Fritz [mailto:gfischervfmz@******.com]

Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 3:03 AM
To: Oglesby, Terry
Subject: Don't miss Your chance! Subscribe now!


My name is John Doe and i'm the head of hiring department of well-known German electronics company.

We are looking for people who can help us in one matter.

Don't waste your chance - become an employee of world-known company and earn good money.

Be hurry,number of positions is limited, if you ask us today tomorrow you will receive answer.

If you are interested contact us by e-mail:

Heh. Well, okay, if you insist--here is my reply:


MY name is John SMITH and i'm am the very president and Cheif Exectutive of a large and well-known city government.

I belive i am the person for YOU to help handling in one matter!

I do not want to waist my chance today! Becauce i want to earn good money! I i'm being in hurry to here back now not tomoorow from you because, both Miss Colon Fritz and Mr. John DOE, because i know number of positins is limiting!

I look forwardly to hereing from you back again to learn what i will be doing for you in your comapines.

Yours very friendly,
John SMITH, Pres. CE

And yes, obviously I sent this back through the way it came, not to the address the person(s) requested. This should be as good as the Mr.s HANJI SAL series.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Fun with Referrer Logs!

Learn something new every day--I was quite baffled by the query that came through a while ago--Rock Shock Reba Race modifications

Having a wife named Reba tends to bring out such odd inquiries, but this was one I'd never gotten before. What in the world IS this!? Pretty quickly I found out that there is a company called SRAM who make who make bicycle parts, and for some reason their RockShox subsidiary chose "Reba" as the name of one of their front fork models. "Reba's combination of light weight and stiffness make it the most versatile option..."

I had to quit reading right there--I was getting all stirred up. Well, okay, I did happen to see there is a "Bossed lower leg option," and a "Motion Control with adjustable Floodgate." Rrrowll.

(And for the more prurient amongst you, here's a shot of two hot young ladies engaged in a bicycle race, although I doubt they are using RockShox forks.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)


Ford, Fiat will team up to make small cars

"Fixed or Repaired Daily" joined with "Fix it Again, Tony"!

A match made in Heaven!

(A longer list of acronyms can be found here.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:04 AM | Comments (12)

Expert Pet Advice!

As you all know, I am often a fount of knowledge on various subjects, due to the fact that I am just so incredibly smart and intelligent and all. Thus, it is no surprise that Possumblog would be the place someone would come to with a question like this: petsmart. how to take care of a crawdad. Despite the fact that Possumblog was only the number 8 result, obviously the person knew that he could find the best, most rightest answer herein.

SO, then, little shaver--you got yourself a pet crawdad. That's sweet! Unlike a cat or a howler monkey, they are friendly and affectionate and can be trained to do many tricks.

But, you also have to remember that crayfish (pronounced crawdads) are very social little animals. They need to have lots and lots of their little friends around so they can be happiest. So get maybe five or six more pounds of them.

Next, crayfish enjoy the water, so you need to have a nice clean place for them to swim. Take a large stainless steel stock pot and fill it up with about two gallons of water. BUT WAIT--don't put your fun friends in just yet. You have to prepare the water properly so they will like it.

Take a few bay leaves and drop them in the water--this will remind them of the greenery found in their natural aquatic homes. Next, add a cup of salt, 3/4 cup cayenne pepper, a touch of allspice, a couple tablespoons of mustard seeds, a tablespoon each of coriander, dill, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns, and whole cloves, a couple of celery stalks, three small onions - chopped, and three heads of garlic - peeled and separated. All these things are intended to give the little crawdads things to play with in their new home--they love to frolic with bits of seeds and spices, you know.

Now then, turn the stove on and heat the water up very hot, until it bubbles and bubbles. You know, like a hot tub! Crayfish are real party animals, you know, and they enjoy warm water and bubbles just as much as anyone does. When your crawdad habitat is nice and hot and bubbly, dump in your five pounds of pretty little water bugs and WHEEEE! Look at them jump and play and wrestle! Let them stay in the hot bubbly steaming water for about five minutes, or until they are all exhausted and still from their happy fun playtime together.

Scoop out some and put them on a stack of newspapers, and then you can play ANOTHER game with them by pulling their little tails off and eating them! YUMMY!

So, there you have it--the wonderful world of crawdad pets!

(Thanks to this site for the recommendations on how to properly set up the aquarium.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:54 AM | Comments (2)

The Churchill Wit

It's been a while since we've had a selection, so here is one from page 13:

I must say that this class of criticism which I read in the newspapers when I arrived on Sunday morning reminds me of the simple tale about the sailor who jumped into a dock, I think it was at Plymouth, to rescue a small boy from drowning.

About a week later, this sailor was accosted by a woman who asked, "Are you the man who picked my son out of the dock the other night?"

The sailor replied modestly, "That is true, ma'am."

"Ah," said the woman, "you are the man I'm looking for. Where is his cap?"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2005

Okay, time for all the frivolity to cease for the day!

Gotta leave now (well in a few minutes) to go pick up the lucky new orthodontic patient. I imagine this will be great fun!

I have a good imagination, you know.

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

And this just in...

Headphone use may worsen hearing loss

In related stories--

Staring at Sun may damage eyesight

Inhaling large quantities of water may promote drowning

Scissors and groin area potentially unsafe mixture

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing, Part Too

Alabama atheltics gets $5.5 million airplane

How's about maybe shedding a buck or two for some spelling books?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Lawmakers begin considering reconstruction ideas

Bring on the carpetbaggers and scalawags!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)


Oh, yeah. Supposed to have the kickoff of Bible Bowl for the year. Forgot all about that. And we were the ones supposed to host it. And none of our (“our” as in mine and Reba’s, as well as anyone else's) kids had studied anything. Supposed to cover the first seven chapters of Genesis.

After morning worship, it was decided that the kids who were going to participate would stick around, eat pizza, and study. So, the question of which of the Oglesby brood were going to participate. First, Boy said no. Then Cat said no. Oldest said maybe. Middle Girl said no. Then Cat said yes. Then Middle Girl said maybe. Then Boy said maybe. Then Cat said no. Then Oldest said yes. Then Boy said no. Then Cat said yes, but next year. Then Middle Girl said yes. Then Boy said yes. Then Cat said yes. Believe it or not, they all agreed to participate.

So, they ordered pizza, while I ran to Wal-Mart. Again. See, we had not prepared to bring any snacks for the kids who would be visiting, because we had been led to believe none of our four kids wanted to do anything. But we needed to pitch in since they had decided to stay, hence my trip to the store. Again. Not only that, yesterday was also the evening when the teenagers would have their usual monthly get-together, so there were snacks to be brought there, too.

Chips, cookies, some soft drinks, back to the building, eat, and then figure out that the room isn’t set up for a big crowd to eat. We have folding tables and chairs, and they weren’t set up right, and one end of the room was full of chairs for the ladies class. And there was no one else around to help. Meaning, it was on me. So after lunch, for the next hour and a half I moved tables and chairs and set up the food tables and garbage cans and covered the tables with paper and generally broke a sweat that would continue the rest of the afternoon. Then the youth minister asked me in the middle of this if I would like to be one of the referees. No. Absolutely not. Moderate the competition? Surely you jest. I finally agreed to be a test grader, which was more than I really wanted to do.

Anyway, by the time 2:00 rolled around, I had the fellowship hall set up and ready, and had helped set up the tables on the stage for the competitors, and had sat down for about five minutes. First step is the written test, which determines the tourney brackets for the oral round, so the kids came back and sat at my freshly taped down paper tablecloths and went to work. I stood around for a while and then got to work grading. We had to wait a bit so someone could find the answer key. Then they went back out, and the buzzer round started. It’s a bit like the old College Bowl thing--a set of buzzer lights and buttons, whoever answers first gets the floor. No discussions, and wrong answers count as a minus point.

The senior teams started off--we had two, and did pretty doggone good for having so little prep time. I think our kids came in 2nd and 3rd. Then the junior teams. We just had one team of four kids, two of them being Cat and Jonathan. He’d done this in the past a couple of years ago, but he never would buzz in then.

Well, something changed, that’s for sure. They got up there and he was answering questions as rapidly as they were asked. He was quite the buzzer hog! They wound up in 2nd place, however, after coming very close to winning. He was tickled with himself, and I was, too, considering he hadn’t wanted to do it only three hours before.

Then refreshments, where I did not get to sample anything, because someone needed to keep the trash cans emptied, and then someone needed to clean up afterwards. I did have some help in that part of it, thank goodness. But I was still very tired. And we couldn’t leave. There was a meeting scheduled for the kids at 5:00, and it was after 4:00, meaning we pretty much had to stay put. No time to go home. Boy, I sure wish I had my newspaper.

Instead, I spent the time in the nursery with Catherine, who brought in her DVD of Two Brothers. Hard to beat baby tigers as a light diversion. Even if there did seem to be an awful lot of mauling and blood. I dozed and nodded off, then figured I needed to see if I still remembered what I was supposed to sing for the evening. Yep, my turn for leading singing, as well for all the other stuff. And I was still clogged up with dust and grass clippings.

Actually didn’t do so bad--only a few coughs, and nothing off-key or out of tempo, for once. It sounded almost human. Then, on to home, after giving Oldest her snacks to take with her to the after-service devo. You know, I think that was probably one that she could have missed. If only for the reason that I had to go back and get her after it was over.

So, all in all, it has been a very tiring, expensive, frustrating, interesting several days.

And this afternoon I have to leave early so Ashley can get her spacers installed for her braces.

It’s only money, you know.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)

But before the rest of the weekend--

This diversion sent to me by famed NASA rocket scientist Steevil--Elephant polo stars just champion--Scotland are celebrating sporting glory after being crowned world champions of elephant polo.

One imagines the Scots merely mistook the great beasts for oversized bagpipes.

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

So, as I was saying…


(By the way, this post is so long it cuts off at the bottom--remember the trick--press F11 twice and it should fix itself.)

Up, put on clothes, rub what feels like boulders out of my eyes, and figure out what to do. Well, obviously, there’s the car battery, and I needed to take back those year-overdue library books. First thought was to jump the Focus off, run down to the foot of the hill and get the battery changed, then go to the library, then come home and cut grass.


Pulled the Volvo over close to the Focus, got out the jumper cables, popped the hoods on both, positive to positive, negative to ground, hop in the Focus and tictictic. TICtictic. Wait. Turn key, tictictictictic. tic.

THAT, dear readers, is one DEAD batt’ry.


Unhooked the cables, rolled them up, pulled the Volvo back over in its normal oily spot, got out the wrenches and unhooked the battery out of the Focus. Grabbed a cardboard box lid and put it in the back of the van, grabbed the books off the kitchen counter, and was told to also hunt-and-gather some breakfast while I was out.

Which meant my first stop actually had to be the grocery store to get some cash back from my purchase. So, that first, then to the library. Which didn’t open until 10. So I went and got the battery, THEN went back to the library. I explained to the nice girl at the counter that I was a complete dolt and had mistakenly not brought back the books because they were lost in my house and I would pay whatever fine she levied upon me. “Well, they were taken out of the system, so there’s no fine due.” “But--well. You’re sure!?” “Yes sir, there’s no fine.”

Which led to A Moment of Unabashed Common Sense From the Mind of an Entitlement-American, in which I jokingly asked myself though the use of my internal dialogue mechanism: “Well, gee--since the books aren’t in the system anymore, it’s almost like I’m DONATING books to the library, so I wonder if I could take that as a deduction on my income tax?”

I profusely thanked the girl and left in a much better mood. Stopped and got some food, home, shared it with the family, then went out to get on with the job of grass-cutting. And mood-damaging.

Dragged out the old reliable, yet falling apart before my eyes Murray, gassed it up, cranked it, and set to work. Boy, that thing is hard to push. I figured it was the grass (weeds) that were brushing up against my armpits, but something just wasn’t right. It’s supposed to be self-propelled, meaning it propels itself, not that I have to propel it MYself. I picked up the rear end and pulled the drive lever. Nothing. Ah. Ah CRAP. Stupid thing.

I had only done the perimeter of the yard, and already felt like I’d gone a round with a sumo wrestler. I rolled it around to the backyard and heaved it over. Ah. I see. No drive belt. That’s what happens when all of the protective sheetmetal coverings have come loose and been chewed to bits by the blade--you leave the fragile drive belt out there to be damaged by all the junk you run over. ::sigh::

Replace the drive belt? Could. Take forever, though. And it’ll just get chewed up again.

The Oracle of Murray is dead! LONG LIVE THE ORACLE OF MURRAY!

It has been a good mower for around ten years or so--not great, but good enough. But I was through wrestling with it. Time for a replacement.

It’s only money, you know.

Cleaned up a bit and wiped all the grass and sweat off of me and changed shirts, then it was off to get something. First thought, Sam’s Club. They sell ‘em, right?

But, you know, being a moron and all entails that there is no such thing as a simple purchase. Can’t just go get something--nooOOOOOoooo. Gotta see what’s out there, you know. So on the way to Sam’s Club, I thought I would stop by K-Mart. It’s right on the way. And they haven’t had lawnmowers in at least two years. It’s barely hanging on. Should have known better. Why did I stop!? Yes, I am a moron. On to Sam’s.

Parked, in, asked where the lawnmowers were. “Uhh, well--if we have any, they’re gonna be there in the middle, but I think we may be out.” How can that be? I don’t know, but it can be. They had every other tool known to bulk wholesalers, but no lawnmowers. Grr.

Wal-Mart, then!

Drove across the road to the shopping center, went in, found about four forlorn mowers. A reel-type, one of which I used to cut the yard of the grandmother of a high-school friend. The yard was St. Augustine grass. I vowed never to use a reel-type mower again. Two cheapo push mowers, and one tremendously expensive electric-start model that looked like it could double as a golf cart. “Do y’all not have any more mowers?”


Double grr.


Oooooh. Lovely shiny black Murrays, and red Hondas, and green Lawn Boys! I found the cheapest self-propelled they had--this one here, as a matter of fact. Not too cheap, not too expensive. Scratch that--yes, it IS too expensive. But I felt better when I perused the “reconditioned” mowers they had.

Why would I want to save fifty bucks and buy a lawnmower that looks WORSE than the one languishing at home on my patio!? The things they were selling as reconditioned looked like utter garbage. If you’re going to sell something as reconditioned, would it hurt so much to WIPE IT DOWN WITH A CLOTH? Maybe EMPTY THE BAG? Why would anyone buy one of those is beyond me. Maybe yardwork contractors, who go through mowers like parents go through baby diapers.

Anyway, I got my shiny new mower and rolled it to the cashier. “Uh, you do take debit cards, right?” “Only the Visa or MasterCard ones.”

Great. Grr. All I have is my bank debit card. “Well, hold this here while I go to the ATM and get some cash.”

More cash.


Drove down to the other end of the shopping center to Target and ran in and emptied out my account and the ATM, then ran back up to the other end of the shopping center to pay for my mower. The woman seemed genuinely stymied about how to make change for such a tremendously ginormous purchase. The difference in price and cash tendered was only seventeen bucks and some change, but she had to keep looking at the display on the register and recounting all the dollars. But, no matter, it was now mine to go play with.

Home, made sure the oil was topped off, and then--gas. Hmm. Well, I had a little left in the other mower, and none in the gas can. Tilted Old Murray over, poured some into the jug, decanted that into New Murray, and well, no way that’s going to be enough.

Time to go get gas. I.e., spend more money.

Down to the foot of the hill, filled up the 5 and the 2.5 gallon cans, back home, and FINALLY, I GET TO CUT GRASS. It is now TWO-THIRTY Pee Em. The only advantage to all this running around is that I was able to listen to most of the Auburn-Mississippi State game, which I neglected to give a run-down for on Friday. My prediction, however, was a final score of 28-0, which is exactly the way it turned out. As my good friend Pat Dye always says, “Hindsight is 50-50.”

Back to the yardwork. Boy, does that new Murray cut good!

Differences betwixt old and new? Well, the new one is a lot easier to maneuver. It has front drive, and just seems lighter to manhandle around. It also looks, well, not retro, but not like they spent a whole lot of time trying to make it look like a Corvette or something. It just looks like a lawnmower. The engine is the engine--the old flathead Briggs and Stratton, which like sharks, cockroaches, and alligators pretty much reached its evolutionary peak back when every child had a pet dinosaur. It does have 6.5 horses, though, the most powerful lawnmower I have ever owned. Oddly enough, though, it has no throttle. I guess they figured that most of us manly men never used them anyway. My old one was perpetually stuck on high (or rather, on Rabbit Pictogram)--I mean, who needs a slow (or Turtle Pictogram) lawnmower, right? Right. The only thing that was worrisome was the bag. Tiny affair. It said it held 2 1/2 bushels, but I believe that those are pixie bushels, because I had to empty the fool thing every two passes. And getting the grass out was HORRIBLE. Tiny little slot in the front where it came out of the mower. You have to reach in and drag it back out the same way, which would be very bad if I had run over dog poop or fire ants. For some reason, there was no other way to empty the ba--



Seems that the whole backend of the bag has a nice elastic hem that fits around the frame. Undo it, and the whole bag opens up so you can quickly dump the clippings. Well, there’s you a good reason to read the owner’s manual, eh? Whata moron.

As for its power as an oracle, it remains to be seen. It didn’t seem to put out near the amount of smoky vapors as Old Murray, and didn’t vibrate nearly as much. Those two things were usually guaranteed to put me into a trancelike state where I could solve all of the ills of the world. Without the vibration through my arms and the rich cloud of carbon monoxide, I might lose some of that perspicacity for which I have become famed. Then again, I did find a bottle of Tylenol 3 in the cabinet when I was cleaning out the other day, so that might work pretty well, too.

The only other bad thing was a freak of the weather that had caused the grass to be moist in places, yet the ground to be parched dusty dry in other places. This, combined with the nearly impenetrable thatch of long-neglected grass made the experience last much longer than I felt necessary, and caused me to later sneeze out great black clouds of vile sinus stuff. That’s probably not good for me.

Oh well. It wasn’t so bad as the smoke that got in my eyes from the grill when I cooked our supper.

But the yard looks very nice now. OH, and while I was doing stupid stuff, I also changed out the battery tray in the Volvo, which was a SMART thing. The old metal tray had corroded through, and I slipped in the new old fiberglass tray I had gotten from the junkyard. Ten minutes and it was gooder than new. Well, aside from the fact that the battery is slightly different, and the little hold-down clip, doesn’t. Hold-down, that is. Meaning I need a battery strap of some sort to make sure it doesn’t go flying around in the engine compartment. A project for another day, though.

ANYwho, time for baths and beddy-bye after supper, and some small amount of school project work avoidance on the part of Boy and Rebecca, who seem to be moving at a snail’s pace. Well, you know, it’s not due until tomorrow.

SUNDAY! The Day Spent Entirely Drenched in Sweat! Coming up next.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:57 AM | Comments (15)

I really think it started in earnest on Thursday.

Thursday morning, every lane I got in on the way to work slowed down. The right would be zipping along, I’d find a break and move over, and then come to a dead stop. That’s the sort of frustration that just about pegs the meter. Then we had that building committee meeting Thursday night, and it too was an exercise in extreme frustration. The architect had brought along a little floor plan diagram (that didn’t actually conform to what we had been telling him for a month now) and then to make matters worse, he handed out three or four copies of it. Once everyone got those, the meeting devolved into three or four different running conversations--quite literally, we weren’t on the same page. Everyone was jabbering back and forth and the architect--who I really thought should be guiding the discussion--didn’t. It wound up with me trying to interpret all the side conversations and distill them into something he could take back to the office and use. I don’t know how successful I was. But I made sure to tell him to be sure and bring ONE large drawing this week, and no more. Second, I may have to have a talk with one of our committee members, who is a wonderful, garrulous, raconteur who enjoys being around people. Leading to many asides, quips, jokes, stories, jests, japes, and general BSery which is fun when WE’RE NOT PAYING SOMEONE TO SIT THERE AND LISTEN TO IT! At this point in the process, we’re paying them an hourly rate, and every wasted moment is money flying out the door.

Then Friday, that funeral to attend. I picked my mom up from her office--early. She didn’t understand why I wanted to leave so early (I picked her up at 1:00 for a 2:00 funeral in Leeds) but for once, I wasn’t going to be late for something. Good thing, too. She got in the van with a wad of paper towels, having developed a nosebleed right before she walked out of her office. This continued all the way from downtown--she went through a stack of towels and cotton balls, despite my efforts to tell her to A) leave her nose alone, and B) stuff some cotton in it and lean her head back. But it kept on coming. And she managed to get it on her white blouse. ::sigh:: So, in the middle of a rather solemn ride to the funeral, we have to make a stop at Wal-Mart so I can get her some peroxide and cotton balls.

“Why peroxide?” she asked.

“Takes out blood stains--pour a bit on there, let it foam, then blot it.”

“All those years ago, I wondered why I had you, and now I know.” That’s her standard running joke whenever I manage to come up with something that she didn’t know about. I came along late in her life, and not quite expectedly, and she often (more often nowadays, it seems) tells me about how she wondered and wondered if she was going to get pregnant again, why did it happen when she was nearly 36. Back then (you know, the Pleistocene) women didn’t usually wait so late. She keeps telling me she’s glad, though, because I turned out to be relatively useful to her. Glad to help.

Anyway, I ran in and made her sit at the restroom bench so she wouldn’t bog me down--she tends to walk too slowly, and get distracted by sales items--and I found the supplies and checked out. Gave them to her and sat myself down on a bench to see who all comes through the Leeds Wal-Mart at 1:30 p.m. on a Friday. Interesting crew, let me tell you. And again, I really must say how objectionable it is to see all these saggy wrinkly mee-maws with tattoos. And leathery hairy old paw-paws, too, for that matter. Y’all please stop doing that.

Anyway, Mom came back out of the restroom, free of nosebleed and free of blouseblood, and we headed on over to the funeral home, conveniently just down the street. Saw the man’s mother and his brothers, paid our respects to the deceased, looked at the flowers, visited a bit with folks my mother knew from back down in Quinton or Twilleytown, then sat down for a short quiet funeral. She didn’t want to stay for the burial, so we said our goodbyes and I took her own back to work, and I came back and really couldn’t do much in the way of productive work.

So much to think of, and so few brain cells to process it all.

Home, where I thought I would be able to get out and cut grass, so we could be all ready for our visitors on Saturday. Oh, but Oldest simply MUST go to the football game. MUST. GO. Which is difficult to imagine that there could even BE a football game, seeing as such a contest requires other people, and she has led me to believe by her behavior that she believes herself to be the only person in the world. ::sigh:: I got on the phone and called the lady who’d come by our house, and asked her if at all possible to allow us to put off her nephew and his family from viewing the house for yet another week, because it simply wasn’t going to be ready for them to see. Mine and Reba’s bedroom is still a wreck--well, ONE side of it is still a wreck. And now, since I was going to have to cut grass Saturday, there wasn’t going to be any time for dewrecking the other side of the room. I didn’t tell the kids until Saturday, though--I wanted them to finish cleaning up as much as possible.

Anyway, on to the game, made even more stressful by the fact that Catherine suddenly decided she wanted to tag along. ::sigh:: Went out to get in the car, put the key in, clunk. Tictictic. TICtictictic. tic tic ti c. tic. Deader’n a hammer. ::heavy sigh:: Have to do that tomorrow, too--go buy ANOTHER car battery. I told the girls to go get in the van and then we were off to the stadium.

Paid our admission, got a burger for Cat, went and tried to find a seat that was unmolested by yellow jackets. The stands usually get washed down, but for some reason no one had done that, so there was a huge section of seats without people, all due to a thin sticky drink spill that had become Stinging Insect Central. So, we moved on down a ways (actually better seats--almost on the 50) and sat down. Hey! It’s hair cutting Alisha! She was there to see her cousin play. Talked to her a bit. The game itself was a blowout--playing Carver, and it was already lost by the second quarter. They had a couple of amazing catches, including one for a touchdown that the kid managed to pluck out from in between a sea of our red jerseys, but overall they had too many penalties, and just not enough defensive oomph to slow us down. Final score, 56-18. Not that I saw it--we left sometime during the third quarter. Home, and to bed. At least for me. Reba stayed up working on her stuff for school.

BRIGHT AND EARLY SATURDAY MORNING! That’s what’s next, you know--after I get it written.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:04 AM | Comments (5)


You ever have those weeks when everything goes just like clockwork--everyone's on time, everything works right, the food's good, and you just have a nice warm satisfaction glowing from within?

Well, last week wasn't one of those for me.

I am usually the most relentlessly positive person I know, even when I get miffed about something. It (the miff-edness) usually passes quickly, and life rocks on along with a comforting familiarity. But sometimes, you know, I'd like to just take a stick and thwack something, or someone--hard, and with great glee--just to get it out of my system. I suppose what makes it even more frustrating is that all the things that cause the unsynchronization aren't insurmountable by themselves. It's just the combined effect of all of it in a row--hurricane building committee house cleaning gas cap funeral nosebleed September 11 ball game dead car battery house cleaning school projects orthodontist broken lawn mower new lawnmower table moving garbage collecting test grading money spending paper typing car repairing teenaged insanity fatigue--that just wears you down.

It will pass, as it always does, but it reminds me of the Jerry Clower story where great American and accomplished tree-climber John Eubanks found that he had treed a wildcat. After becoming entangled with teeth and claws, John begs the Ledbetter boys on the ground to shoot the wildcat, but they were afraid of hitting John instead, but he screamed back down, "Just shoot up here amongst us! One of us has got to have some relief!"

Anyway, there will be more shortly, and some of it will possibly even be humorous (as things told in retrospect tend to become), but first there's that Super Fun Happy Sparkle Joy Fun Monday Morning Staff Meeting Carnival.

Be back in a bit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2005

For today, for days past, and for days to come.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

Ecclesiastes 3

Until I see you again on Monday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:36 PM | Comments (3)

Why is it so busy today?

Not bad busy, but just "can't settle down and get any blogging done" busy. Had to find something this morning for a guy--I had some old photos of a building downtown (the old Kress store I've mentioned in the past) and even though I had done a PowerPoint presentation on it a long time ago, and had the printouts, I couldn't for the life of me find the picture I was looking for on the computer, nor the CD it came on. Tore apart several small stacks of paper on my desk and had just about given up when I finally found it. Then I had to send it to him, and it didn't go because there was too many bytes or holes or something attached to the email, so I had to send him four separate e-mails, and then someone came to the counter about something I have no control over, then someone from downstairs called me about something I have no control over, then I was posting a comment about license plates and mistakenly hit a link to a .pdf and my computer does what it always does when it's not prepared for an Adobe attack and shut itself off, so I had to redo everything after Mr. Gates' Marvel managed to get itself rebooted, and there was that cloud of locusts, and a plague of frogs.

And did I mention I have a funeral to attend this afternoon? I do--a man who was the son of some friends of my parents. He was already up and grown by the time I came along, so I didn't know him very well, but his parents and mine were great friends. We used to go on vacations with them way back when, and her husband and youngest son (who was only a few years older than me) were always fooling with loud fast cars and boats. My dad and the lady's husband both have long passed now, but she and my mom still keep in touch, and in one of those small-world type coincidences, the church we go to now was where our friend used to attend. My mom said she'd visited again recently, but I missed seeing her.

And so, as is so often the case, I get to see her this afternoon under much less pleasant circumstances. I tell people we've gotten so tied up and busy on other things that it's gotten to the point that we never see any of our family and friends except at funerals.

That's not good.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

The things you see in bumper to bumper traffic.

Before I even get started with this, let me say right now that I love every single person in Ohio--you're all wonderful, even if you are Yankees. You also have a wonderful, beautiful state that is hi in the middle and round on both ends.

Second, this isn't intended to be one of my usual Yankeephobic tweakings.

Third, until this morning, I had always thought Alabama had the ugliest and most insipid normal-issue car license plates in the entire country--nay, the WORLD.

Until that black Corolla cut in front of me. First thought--"Well, bless their heart--they're from out of town, and to make matters worse, they learned to drive by filling out a correspondence course."

Second thought--"Where ARE they from?!"

Even though their butt-end was right in front of my bumper, it was still exceedingly difficult to tell the name of the state on the plate--it was red on the top, and blue on the bottom, and white in the middle, which would be suitable for all U.S. States as well as half of the world who use red, white, and blue in their national flags.

I finally was able to make out a name at the top of the plate, which was written in loopy happy teenaged girl handwriting--and yes,it said Ohio. With a pretty little star over the 'I'. OMG! Sewww KEWL!

Please, Buckeye Staters--if you're proud of your state, make the name easier to read. Especially on something like a license plate, where your fellow drivers might only get a teeny glimpse of it as they flip you off and blow the horn. People want to know who they're mad at, you know? (And no, I didn't do any horn-blowing or finger-waving. It's very rude. But I know how some of you are.)

Second, I was finally able to make out the slogan--"Birthplace of Aviation." All well and good, and I never knew the Montgolfier brothers (or Icarus) grew up in Ohio, but be that as it may--two thoughts. Once again, if it's worth being proud about, make it big enough to READ! And maybe, instead of some little-kid drawing of a pwecious pwetty sunshiney thing that's missing only smiley face eyes and grin to make it complete, put an AIRPLANE on there. Or something. ANYthing.

I understand the perceived need by the tourism folks to slather anything they can on the plates so people will feel all warm and fuzzy, but honestly, I would prefer to see this.

(Or this, for that matter.)

Now then, I feel all better.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:38 AM | Comments (13)

Yet another traffic-induced late start...

Grr. Danged rubberneckers.

And danged comment spammers, too. Came in this morning expecting the usual 4 or 5 overnight comments, and had nearly 40, all spam. Does this really work, spam people? I mean, I understand the volume idea--if only .001% of the 50,000,000 messages you send out get a bite, that's pretty good. But isn't there an easier, more pleasant way to steal from people?

Anyway, in a minute, I am going to say some more bad things, this time about the fair citizens of Ohio. Or rather, their license plates.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:37 AM | Comments (10)

September 08, 2005

It's almost that time.


Just called and found out that my favorite haircutter Miss Alisha will be there this afternoon, so I intend to drop by the swanky Head Start over by Target and berate her mercilessly for the butchery she visited upon my follicles the last time she cut my hair. Of course, I will do this only after she's finished cutting my hair this time. And after I do the requisite bit of groveling about Auburn losing and Alabama winning last weekend. No use making her mad before she comes at me with the shears.

Then, off to home for a bit to pick up the mail, then onward to my building meeting. I sure hope the architect has something for us to look at--we're still waiting on the contract to come back to us, so if he's wanting to talk about that, it will be a REALLY short meeting. Which might not be so bad.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

Best description for members of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body I've heard in a while...

Tainted loons, US senators tackle EPA on mercury

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

Should be self evident, but just in case...

I had a visitor just a bit ago who came by here looking for an answer to a question: What did Booker T. Washington mean by "One man cannot hold another man in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him."

Possumblog comes up twice because I've used that quote twice up in the weekly quote space, but I've never actually commented on it.

I believe Dr. Washington was saying that that you are no better than your prejudices. If you think it's your job to keep someone else down, you'll never rise up yourself. It was directed at the culture of the South that made an industry out of marginalizing and demeaning black people--he realized that no one wins in such a situation. Even passive neglect would have been better than the overt effort to enforce inequality--at least that way, SOMEone could get on with life. As it was though, the South had trapped itself into a continuing morass of unproductiveness. The inscription on the monument to Dr. Washington at Tuskegee reads, "He lifted the veil of ignorance from his people and pointed the way to progress through education and industry," but really, that is a promise that can hold true with all people--learn, and get to work. Understood is that true progress for all requires mutual assistance.

From the book of Ecclesiastes:

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.

10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up.

11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone?

12 And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Washington's collected papers can be viewed here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 8, 1900

The Galveston Storm, from the Library of Congress American Memory website.

On September 8, 1900, hurricane winds of at least 120 miles per hour ripped across the Texas coastline of the Gulf of Mexico, killing over 5000 people and decimating the city of Galveston. During the eighteen hour storm, tidal waves swept through sea-level streets, destroying homes and buildings and wiping out electricity, roads, and communication systems. As news of the disaster spread, supplies, including tents for the nearly 8000 homeless, poured into Galveston from across the nation.

Rebuilding Galveston involved construction of a reinforced concrete seawall and raising the city above sea level. Eight miles long and seventeen feet high, the massive seawall repells Gulf winds and water. Equally impressive, sand from the Gulf of Mexico was used to lift the city far above its previous grade. Ultimately, portions of Galveston lay fifteen feet above former levels. These fortifications continue to help protect the city from hurricane damage.

Galvestonians also transformed the structure of their city government. During reconstruction, a five-man commission replaced the mayor and board of aldermen. Initially viewed as an emergency measure, the commission form of government was so efficient that Galveston permanently adopted the scheme. The "Galveston Plan" was widely imitated by other cities and became a benchmark of early twentieth-century municipal reform. [...]

One hopes that America remains a nation of builders and doers.

Later update--The solution that Galveston undertook was massive, but it has one advantage over coastal Louisiana in that it is an island, and it has a more regular shoreline. New Orleans sits amidst a giant river delta, making it several orders of magnitude more difficult to do something such as installing a wall on a relatively straight beach.

However, there is no reason to believe that New Orleans could not better protect itself in the future. As long as everyone remembers anything man builds can be broken.

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

Well, now.

Changes in the brain may explain teenage troubles

The article says it's mostly over with by the time they turn 18. Thus, I will redouble my efforts at loudly chanting in my head, "IT'S ONLY A PHASE IT'S ONLY A PHASE IT'S ONLY A PHASE."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:15 PM | Comments (10)

Another inevitability?

I'm not sure.

But after we got home last night, we went over the plans for today for transporting everyone hither and yon. Reba had an early morning meeting, and then one after work, and I have a building committee meeting at church tonight, so we were going to take two cars today so we can both get where we need to be. "Have I got any gas in the Focus?"

Now, as you all know, one of my primary tasks as pater familias is to make sure that the various volatile organic compounds required for the fueling and lubricating of the internal combustion engines in our possession are at their proper and recommended levels to ensure flawless operation of said machinery, thus negating the need for anyone else to actually check their own dipsticks or gas gauges. A secondary task is to drop everything and run to the gas station in the dead of night if any of the fluids are about to dwindle to nothingness, required by the need to 1) perform my masculine duty of smelling like gasoline, and 2) give me about ten minutes of quiet contemplative time.

"Uhh, well, seems like the last time I looked, it had about a half a tank."

But I looked again. Hmm. Below a quarter. Well, now that I thought about it, when I took Oldest on her coupon book expedition the other night, it did have about a quarter of a tank then. But I sure thought it had more. Anyway.

I walked into the kitchen and told Miss Reba it had less than a quarter and I'd run go get some, and at the same time told Boy to go finish his homework and Catherine to go bathe. Nor really multitasking so much as multi-order-barking.

Off to the Racetrac (We Remove the K and Pass the Savings On to YOU!) for the inevitable hit to the wallet. 9.9 gallons. $29.50. Ouch.

Got in, cranked it, noted the mileage on the odometer and pressed the reset bu--WAIT a minute!

197.7 miles? And I just put in 10 gallons? Why--WHOA UP, HERE!? That's 19.7 miles per gallon! This is why I always check the odometer--I don't always figure the exact MPG, but I know that for the past two years, the little pup has managed to consistently get 26 to 28.

I detect something amiss, I do.

It was 8:45. Just enough time to swing by the auto parts store at the foot of the hill and purchase a locking gas cap.

Yep. Unless something has gone dramatically, horrendously wrong, a car won't suffer a 33% drop in fuel efficiency over the course of two weeks. About the only explanation is that gas got a LOT cheaper for someone who noticed that the Focus's gas cap was unprotected.

I did the math after I got back and figured that at the usual rate of consumption, I should have only had to buy about 7.6 gallons. Subtract that from what I bought, and it comes out to about 2.3 gallons. You know, almost the exact capacity of one of those small red plastic gasoline jugs.

Well, they got 7 bucks worth of free gas, but not again. What makes it most galling is that I have made a point of putting a locking gas cap on every car I've ever had. Except this one.

Oh well.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:31 AM | Comments (4)

Well, it was bound to happen.

We all piled in the van last night (for once, ahead of schedule) and set out for church. As opposed to the usual dawdling-induced mad dash, this time I could actually drive the posted speed limit without worrying about being ten minutes late, and that's when I noticed it.

It's fall.

Oh, sure--there's the ceremonial post-Labor Day autumn where I have to hang up my seersucker suit and wrap the white bucks in tissue, but that's never really seemed like fall. And now that the kids go back to school in the middle of August, there's not the old back-to-school-fall-feeling anymore. And it's not the calendrical fall, because there are still days when the temperature outside your body is nearly the same as that on the inside. It might say September on the calendar, and that the equinox is coming on the 22nd, but it's still hot as July.

But there is that light. That late afternoon light, angling low down through the trees. The road we take to church is semi-rural, and winds through several hollows and over several ridges, and there's that dapple of light that looks almost like it's cutting up through the trees, then in a moment you pass a clearing and see that deep blue sky--the kind of blue you see when the humidity has finally eased off enough so the sky's not white with haze. Then you are just as suddenly plunged back into a shadow, and you look over to the side and see one golden shaft of light on what would otherwise be nothing more than a house trailer or someone's brush pile, and it looks like light coming through a cathedral window.

The sycamores have begun to give up for the year, and the evergrowing kudzu has finally slowed down and started to turn brown. It's almost sad, but they get lit up in the late afternoon sun, too, and it's difficult to imagine how anything can look any prettier. It provokes an odd sense in me, something like when you have one of those warm vivid dreams you have when you're taking a short nap--a precursor to the long deep sleep to come later when winter finally eases in.

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


Lots and lots of HOT ENVELOPE STUFFING ACTION! Here's just a sample: "I took the soft white sheets in my hand, carefully holding the sides just-so before gently bending them over--the bottom edges ever so slightly touching the last sentence in the first paragraph. [...]"

You just don't GET such things anywhere else but here at Possumblog, my friends! And THAT'S NOT ALL! There will also be RUBBER BANDS! And TAPE!

Tune in later for all the details!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:37 AM | Comments (4)

September 07, 2005

Exit 32

Which is my euphemism for heading home.

It's about that time, or, at least, it's SUPPOSED to be about that time, but I haven't heard from Reba to see if she's going to leave on time today (right now) or will be late. [Editor's note--4:42: Wife expected to leave around 5:00. Ish. Maybe)

At least she does let me drive. Maybe I've just gotten more jumpy, but it seems she's become much more inattentive when she's behind the wheel. When I'm driving, she seems to have the same reaction, but it's because she's never paying attention to what I'm doing until suddenly she decides to look up and sees brake lights or someone swerving or moving over, and since she hadn't seen them before, she apparently thinks I haven't seen them either.

I did, sugar, I promise. Which is why I might seem as though I'm not listening to you. (Obviously, that last comment is said silently to myself.)

She's also very demonstrative when she talks, which is lively and engaging when she's standing on the floor or sitting in a chair, but rather not when in a vehicle under her pilotage. Usually she's talking away happily and both hands are flying around faster than Marlee Matlin's. (And Rrowl, by the way.) Or, if she's not talking with her hands, she has them stuck through the wheel, resting on top of the spokes. AARRRGHHHHHH! I can't stand it when people poke their hands into the inside of the steering wheel! (Obviously, that last comment is said silently to myself.)

But, no matter what, I still think she's cute, and she DOES put up with me, so I really don't have too much to complain about.

ANYway, see you all tomorrow.

(By the way, the website I got that photo link of the Interstate sign from is one of the most oddly fascinating things I've found. It has pictures of every single Interstate directional sign (and most major highways as well) for every state in the Union. Or at least it seems that way.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:51 PM | Comments (4)


I guess since Miss Sarah's kids started back to school today, she is just at a loss for things to do with her free time.

Which explains this horrifying photograph of someone who is not the LEAST BIT FAMILIAR to me!

Down in the comments, Sarah says that they grow raccoons mighty big down here in the South. I believe it safe to add they grow them mighty ugly as well.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:09 PM | Comments (3)

Getting out.

Larry Anderson! Posting?! Well, sure--a short cautionary tale on trusting others, but making sure you also have a backup plan.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

Stupid, STUPID Blogger!

Been a while since you heard that, eh? Well, I was just going to take a minute to update Revolvoblog with, well, with nothing really since I've had no time to work on things, but no matter--I went ahead and wrote my snippet, pressed Publish, and just like old times...


Nothing. Pining for the fjords, it was.

Stupid, STUPID Blogger.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:34 PM | Comments (6)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Rehnquist's Casket on Its Way to Funeral

I sure hope someone doesn't forget to bring the late Mr. Chief Justice, too.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

Carpooling, Part III

I forgot this one this morning, due to trying to put it out of my mind.


Taking all the kids to school, and before you drop any of them off, there's a smallish squirrel placidly walking across Parkway Drive, right there before the stop sign at the library, and he looks at you with his shiny beady black eyes and you, being you, know in your heart that he, being a squirrel, is smart enough to continue walking on up to the curb so that you won't crush him with the solidly porky Honda Odyssey you're driving, and as you pass the spot where he was waiting, you feel a tiny thump in the steering wheel, communicating at once to you that squirrels are pretty danged stupid sometimes, and almost immediately eliciting a squeal from the tiniest passenger of "DAAAAAAADD EEEEEEEEE! Daddy killed a SQUIRREL!"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:58 AM | Comments (13)

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

Hello, culture lovers! Today's dip into the PDoA,3E* produces this:

CARYATID. A sculptured female figure used as a column to support an entablature or other similar member, as on the Erechtheum. The term is also applied loosely to various other columns and pilasters wholle or partly in the form of human figures; ATLANTES (male caryatids), CANEPHORAE (females, carrying baskets on their heads), HERMS (three-quarter length figures on pedestals), TELEMONES (another name for Atlantes), and TERMS (tapering pedestals merging at the top into human, animal, or mythical figures).

*From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition

Well now, lots of stuff to look at. In order then:

The Erechtheum (or Erechtheion) Caryatids, back before they got replaced with copies. (The five remaining original sculptures are kept in a closed case in the Acropolis Museum. And you can read about the Erechtheion here.)

Atlantes, from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.

I can't find any canephorae, telemone, or term pictures right off hand, but here's you some herms from the Pavillon Vendôme. (Caution--that last link might not be working right--it looks like all the text on the page has been replaced with some kind of odd computer gibberish of some sort.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

Every once in a while...

I wonder why I keep writing Possumblog. I mean, it's fun and all, but you know, sometimes fun's just not enough. And then, out of the blue, you get nice letters from people you don't know.

Such as this one, which beside delivering the constant positive reinforcement I so crave, is also darned entertaining to read as well:

Subject: ford focus tumbler problem

Hey Terry,

Thanks for the in depth account of your travails in dealing with this issue. I find that I am both encouraged and worried at the same time. You see, I consider myself a reluctant handyman (handy person). I possess not the greatest level of skill, common sense, or tools to approach any given project. Despite these inadequacies I am pushed forward to attempt certain problems because I don't want to spend the money (not that it's really an option) and because I have this illogical feeling that if I do not at least attempt these things then the very core of my being is in question. Dramatics aside I do have a few questions. Your response will be greatly appreciated and taken with the caveat that no responsibility whatsoever will be directed toward you.

1) Given that there does not seem to be ignition/tumbler assemblies of higher integrity available, the only downside to this solution is the loss of the lock, meaning that the steering column will not lock? But the key sans tumblers works fine with the transponder and turns the switch just fine?

2) Ok, you don't know me or my skills but put into words in a different way the level of difficulty of the procedure.

thanks for any help (and what you've done already)

Bubba Love

This letter was in response to the trouble I was having last year with the ignition lock on Reba's Focus, (detailed in excrutiatingly detailed detail here) but I just have to say that's one of the nicest letters I've gotten in a while. Although I think Bubba Love might just be a pseudonym.

In any event, I replied to Bubba that the job is doable even by a moron like me, and in all is probably only about a forty-five minute job at the outside, and more likely only about thirty. The steering wheel does still "lock" after a fashion, in that there is a locking lug that remains as part of the assembly and still engages the steering wheel. The only way to get the lug to retract is by inserting a key (even though the tumblers aren't there), but it still won't crank unless the exact matching transponder key is used. The only downside is if you live in a locality which has vehicle inspections, and one of the requirements is that you can't operate a vehicle from which the key can be removed while the engine is running.

And yes, a lot of the reason I work on as much of my own stuff myself is partially due to wanting to save money, but also it's the idea that if I think I can do something, and simply refuse to try to fix it myself, it's like I'm just throwing money away.

Anyway, thanks again to Bubba for the nice letter.

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

Carpooling, Con't.


Having to get the kids to school in the mornings, and being preternaturally detained by one particular child who cannot seem to grasp the idea that there are other human beings in the world, or, if able to understand that concept, is unable rather to understand that if other people do exist, they do not exist merely as inconvenient impediments, nor as servants. Because if you have someone like that who's riding with you, it makes you late to work.


If two people ride in a car that gets 18 miles per gallon, that's really like getting 36 miles per gallon. Or so I tell myself.

GOOD MORNING! Yes, I'm late! But at least I've already had a nice refreshing Diet Coke, full of the rich goodness of caffeine and phenylalanine. Mmmmm! Tasty!

Anyway, to work. Or something.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:52 AM | Comments (11)

September 06, 2005

Downside of carpooling with your wife?

It's 5:25 p.m., and I am still here.


It's less expensive than driving two cars to nearly identical locations.


I would REALLY like to be pulling up in the driveway right about now, because my plan was to hop outside this afternoon and cut grass.


It's now too late to cut grass.


I don't like being here after hours, because they lock all the doors and if there's a fire, I want to be able to get out as quickly as possibly, after first retrieving my pictures of Reba and the kids, my autographed Wendy Garner picture, my stuffed possum, my Gregg Reference Manual, my Graphic Standards, and my stapler, which is a Swingline 27.


Well, I get to play on the computer.


Someone downstairs in MIS is probably WATCHING me play on the computer, and I will get a visit from two strangers dressed in dark suits, and wearing pocket protectors.


I get to hold Reba's hand while I drive.


My arm eventually goes numb and then the needle-pricks start, and that stings a lot.


It's very, very quiet up here when no one else is here.


I'm suddenly very hungry. I want supper.


Gimme a while...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 05:33 PM | Comments (2)

It's not just for deboats!

This one is for Miss Janis--"dewater" really is a transitive verb, at least amongst your contruction-type folks.

From my handy NAWIC Construction Dictionary, "dewatering--removing water by pumping, drainage or evaporation."

Obviously, not the least bit like dehydration, which is the process of extracting moisture; or drying, which is to remove the moisture from something; or unwet, which is the opposite of undry.

Aside from me being silly, it really is intended to describe a particular type of civil engineering operation such as what the Corps is doing in New Orleans now to pump water from behind levees, and also to describe things such as when water is pumped out of a cofferdam when constructing bridge pilings or tunnels, or when removing water from a construction site such as when the foundations for the World Trade Center were installed. (Scroll down here to the part titled "Foundation for Tallest Towers: Water Out, Trains In") And beyond all that, it also describes the process of drying out dredged material.

So, it's really delovely. And delightful.

AND--although I know she will protest my noting it, Miss Janis has been working very hard to do her part at the local level to help with relief for those displaced by the storm, and has posted several common-sense ideas that should go a long way to providing comfort to folks. I know they will appreciate it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:27 PM | Comments (7)

And another thing...

Mr. Dershowitz--you began your snotty tirade in the Puffington Host with these words: "My mother always told me that when a person dies, one should not say anything bad about him. My mother was wrong. History requires truth, not puffery or silence, especially about powerful governmental figures. And obituaries are a first draft of history. [...]"

Well, you're right--your mother was wrong. She should have said "only cowards say bad things about someone who just died." You've had several months now to make these points while the guy was still alive, and yet you save them up to tar him when he's not around to give response. You could wait a few months--as far as I know, the teacher hasn't asked for your first draft today. But, you must show yourself for what you are.

You sir, are a poltroon.

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

He who smelt it, dealt it.

I haven't written much about the recent hurricane and the aftermath, mainly because it would do little good at this point. The best thing anyone can do is to donate if you're not in the area, and get to work if you are.

But it has still nagged at me--the almost immediate, and increasingly incessant, caterwauling by certain politicians about whom to blame.

Long ago when I was a kid in school, and farting was quite the social high point of life, it was a well-established fact that the person who first mentioned a particularly odious contribution to the ambient atmosphere was more than likely the perpetrator of the vapor cloud. The way we had of dealing with this was to heap scorn on the person with the taunt of, "He who smelt it, dealt it!" Meaning, the person who spoke up was probably trying to deflect suspicion from himself by acting as though someone else did it.

In the case of this storm, and in New Orleans in particular, it seems clear to me that the first person to start screaming about how everyone else is to blame is probably a lot closer to being the producer of the stink than he dare admit.

In this situation, there truly is enough blame to go around, but the sign of leadership is knowing how and when to accept your portion of it. To date, I have not heard a single local official step forward and forthrightly say, "Yes, there's plenty of blame to go around, including on my part. When this is over, I know I'm going to catch heat, but let's get things working first." To say anything else at this point is counterproductive. Unless your true priority is covering up your own failings.

I don't know Louisiana's local politics, other than the seemingly unquenchable taint of corruption. But that seems to afflict local politics everywhere, not just Louisiana. In this instance, though, there it seems that there is an overabundance of people appointed to positions of authority primarily out of repaying political indebtedness, with little thought given to the tasks they might be called upon to carry out. Too many who see all the various emergency and security directorships merely as a resume-sweetener. Too many people given ostensible authority in times of peril who can do nothing but throw up their hands and cry. Too many people who made careers out of turning vast swaths of the population into essentially wards of the state, whose only purpose was to keep voting their patron into office. Too many people who have decided to cede control of their destinies to the idea that if trouble happens, the President (of whatever party) will come wading in, grunt once, and crap great loads of fresh hot disaster relief into their eager waiting hands.

It was a terrible catastrophe, made worse by inept planning at the local level, made yet worse by bureaucratic misassumptions up and down the chain of command, and topped off by a rich stew of local and national media doing its dead-level best to insure that every story did two things: 1) berate the Administration, and 2) make good copy for submittal to the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Frankly, it's hard to see how it could have turned out any differently.

As for the future, one hopes that the people who do return do so with a far better understanding of the necessity of becoming more self-reliant, and self-sufficient. I love my country, and I think despite its downfalls our government works well. But it cannot, and should not, be expected to do everything. Bad things will continue to happen until God calls a halt to the proceedings. That's just the way things are. I love my state, and my county, and my home town, but they can't do everything, either. At some point in here, people have to make up the difference, and realize that just like the cops can't be everywhere, neither can the guys bringing cots and water, or your FEMA check.

Community is wonderful--on some level I do believe all that "it takes a village" stuff. But when the village is wiped out, you have to be able to carry on without it. And without hopping on the local airwaves to unleash your foul-mouthed tirades at others.

New Orleans, and the rest of the Gulf Coast, will be rebuilt. People will return, and life will return to the street. It will be different, yes, but with work it can be good. Not perfect, not immune to tragedy, but maybe better able to cope with trouble when it comes again.

And by the way, I know you've probably all read it, but just in case, I recommend that you Be Gray, and Wear a White Hat.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:58 PM | Comments (5)

This is news!?

I was eating lunch and just got this CNN breaking news alert on the email: "New Orleans flood waters contaminated with e. coli, official in office of Mayor Ray Nagin tells CNN."

This is a surprise? This is news? Next thing you know, they'll be telling us that not only is the water contaminated, you shouldn't drink it, either.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:39 PM | Comments (6)

And today?

Well, it's lunchtime right now, and then when I get back, something else.

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


Well, I had planned to cut grass yesterday, but after several false starts, I just gave up and stayed inside and directed more cleaning efforts. For some reason, I asked Catherine where her GameBoy was. She didn't know. I asked her to find it. She pulled everything she had put into her closet BACK out into the floor. And left it. So her room is trashed again. And she still didn't find her GameBoy.

We did manage to get the upstairs landing vacuumed and dusted, and Oldest finally cleaned her own room after many tears and sullen pouting. And Boy has actually managed to put some of this stuff up, rather than simply relocating it. Which is progress, of a sort. The final tally at this moment is two clean bathrooms, clean den, clean dining room, clean stairs and landing, and clean kid's bedroom. That leaves three bedrooms and the kitchen to finish. We've got until Saturday afternoon, so I doubt it will get done.

OH! And we found some books! Not just any books, though.

Books that went missing from the Trussville Library in June.

Of 2004!

I had brought a bunch back to the library then and put them in the outside bin, and then later got a dun notice for three of them being overdue. I went in and personally spoke to the cute red-headed girl and swore up and down that I had put them in the bin and knew that we no longer had them. So, she marked them down as being lost in the system, but it still bothered me that these three had managed to get lost when none of the others had. Well, now I know why. They had been neatly placed in a giant stack of books in Jonathan's room.

I wonder how much overdue fines for 15 months would be on three books?

Anyway, as for food, we did get some ribs--Reba's mom and dad invited us over for a Labor Day meal, which I ate with much tiredness, and then afterwards promptly lay down in the floor and went to sleep, interrupted only briefly when Catherine put her head on my stomach and went to sleep, too.

Toward home, with the intent of driving by a house we thought we might like to look at, but this was given up on when it got to be obvious that evening was upon us and it was too dark to see anything, so instead we stopped at the bookstore to see if they had a book for Ashley's class. No.

And then to home. But not so fast, there, Sparky! For some reason fathomable only by the mind of a fifteen year old girl, Oldest had brought home ten more coupon books to sell for the DECA club. She'd already sold a pile of them, and was nearly in tears to go sell more yesterday before she went back to school today. ::sigh::

It being DARK, I drove her over to the next neighborhood over (our next door neighborhood?) where the houses are closer together. She walked and I eased along behind her, and by 9:00, she'd sold 7 of the 8 books she had left. I'm certain the DECA club will reward her with hearty congratulation.

For the final wrap-up of the weekend, I got the kids in bed, left Reba upstairs studying, and I grabbed a movie that one of my coworkers had given me and popped it in the DVD player for a little me-time diversion.

It was My Architect, which chronicles the effort by filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn to unravel some of the riddles about his father Louis Kahn, one of the 20th Century's greatest architects. The younger Kahn was illegitimate (and has two other half-sisters, one of whom was also illegitimate) and the story explores his feelings toward the man who drifted in and out of his life, as well as the influence of Kahn's life and architecture on those around him and upon the world. It's a very, very good movie, told with wonderful warmth that still manages to let us see the son's anger and bitterness about being excluded from so much of Kahn's life, but without mawkishness or self-pity. Although it might have been good to hear more about Kahn's influence on the world of architecture, or spend more time exploring the background on his buildings and his artistic ideals, in the end the story isn't so much about those things, but rather about Nathaniel finding out about himself. Good movie.

And then, to bed.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:02 AM | Comments (5)


Up early, manage to get everyone up and out of the house on time, and manage to find two replacement teachers for the two who called at thirty minutes before time to leave. Nothing like having advance warning.

Church was very good, aside from having to keep poor, tired Oldest awake after her arduous laziness on Saturday. Interesting note was that we had a fellow and his family up from New Orleans who are going to be staying in the area for an indeterminate amount of time. One of our members found jobs for the man and his wife, and we were able to get them and their kids clothed again, so hopefully they will be able to get on their feet soon. Not sure if they'll go back, though. We also are working with three congregations down in Mississippi and one in south Alabama and and will be sending several trucks go down next week with some cash and supplies for them to distribute.

Home, lunch, then back to work cleaning the den and dusting and throwing stuff away. Did that for several hours, then got dressed and went back for evening services, then came home and ate supper and sent everyone to bed so we could make a nice start of it on Monday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)


First task, get everyone up and moving. Second task, those nasty bathrooms. Blech. I hate cleaning the bathrooms. So I assigned the task to Rebecca. At least the kid's bathroom. OUR bathroom was actually worse--the shower needed one of those "douse with CLR and scrape with a razor blade for two hours" type cleanings. We have moderately hard water, and when you mix that with soap, it builds up quickly. "But not if you clean it every week, right?"

Yeah, that's right, Mr. Smarty-pants. But now is not the time to point fingers and try to assign blame, other than the fact that I think the Bush Administration bears full responsibility for the condition of my shower.

Anyway, that really did take a couple of hours to get into shape, and then I moved on to the vanity.

I got Cat to help me with this one--she dusted off the piles of makeup and lotion bottles, and I scrubbed off the topsoil-like aggregation of powdered makeup and foundation and hairspray and toothpaste and soap that had accreted on Reba's side of the countertop. I hate to say this, but she needs work in her tidy skills, and you know (after seeing the photo of my desk) that I do not say this lightly.

In other parts of the house, Jonathan was busily moving one pile of toys from one side of his bed to the other, and Rebecca had moved on to shifting clothes from one part of her dresser to another, and Ashley was concentrating on not doing anything at all, and Reba was clearing out the vast stacks of magazines and paper on her side of the bed.

For the whole day of Saturday, the final tally was two clean bathrooms, a rousing start to cleaning the den and dining room, and some dent made in the amount of bedroom ephemera.

Baths for the kids (even though I hated to mess up the sparkly clean tub) and then it was time to start typing. Yes, typing. My stuff from work. After last week's time-wasting debacle, I decided to bring my notes home and type stuff up there, rather than try to do it any other time during the week. I hated having it hanging over my head, and it allows me to be a bit more flexible for MORE stupid assignments as they come my way. Anyway, I managed to get that done, and climbed into bed about midnight.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

Good Morning!

I hope.

Anyway, it has been a very long weekend, full of intensive housecleaning and not much else, and you will get to hear ALLLLLL about it in a little while. I have a staff meeting first, though.

And obviously, before anything else, I must say that Georgia Tech is the finest football team in the world. That sound? Oh, nothing--just my teeth breaking from clenching them so hard.

Related to this gridiron loss, I did want to say that I am taking applications for new chickens to replace Possumblog Sport Center's Football Pickin' Chicken. I'm not sure if the last one we had was really really even a chicken at all--it sure did taste funny, that's for sure. Stupid chicken.

Anyway, staff meeting now--see you in a moment or so.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:17 AM | Comments (2)

September 02, 2005


Well, that's what they call 'em.

Silly Europeans.

Of course, it's much sillier for someone with a moron project to actually order these things, because they are nothing more than incredibly expensive chrome-plated plastic trim bits on top of the headlights. See, my new, sleek (still sitting in the box) European glass headlights that I bought are slightly different in size from the cloudy US spec plastic lens headlights I have on my car now. Why? Who knows. But the result is that the small bit of chrome-plated plastic trim over the top of my existing headlights could not be reused on my spiffy new lights. And the spiffy new lights can't be installed without the trim pieces in place.

So, I had to order some. From Holland. The parts themselves were 'spensive, but not nearly so much as the shipping. Yet another part that's worth more than the whole car!

Anyway, they FINALLY got here last night, so I want to give a big shout-out to my homie Sjef Spijkers at Scandcar in Moergestel for packing them up nice and securely, but I would like to encourage some bright young plastics artist to start knocking these things off--there are few things made of plastic that are worth quite this many guilders.

Will I get to put them in this weekend? Will I get to install my new old dashboard?

Probably not. We have to clean house. REALLY clean house.

Several weeks ago, just as we were about to leave to go to church on a Wednesday night, a very nice-looking lady pulled up in our driveway. Seems she likes our house, and her sister lives in the neighborhood, and would we like to sell?

WHA!? Obviously not the thing to spring on someone in their driveway, but we have been thinking about getting something where the kids can all have a room of their own. Reba keeps looking at ridiculously-priced things, though, so I pretty much had quit listening until she decided to start being more realistic in our ability to purchase something--preferably something LESS expensive than what we have, which might be hard to find.

Anyway, this surprise visit jumpstarted that whole discussion again, so I off-handedly told the lady if she could find up something with one more bedroom in Trussville, for about the same cash, we might be able to do something.

And then, I forgot about it, because what are the odds of that actually coming to pass? Not good.

Then she called last night, and has now decided her nephew (her sister's son) and family might like our house, and they want to come look at it. Geez. It looks like those scenes from the Gulf--and I had initially said for them to come by on Monday. I thought better of that, though--WAY too much to clean up in such a short amount of time, so they're coming next Saturday afternoon. We MIGHT have it cleaned up by then. But it means not getting to play mechanic with my lump of iron, which I suppose is just as well. Might just be too much excitement, you know?

ANYway, that's to be done, amongst all the other weekenderish types things to be done, and churching, and such like. At least we do have an extra long weekend, although there's something not quite right about actually laboring on Labor Day. Oh well--maybe I'll at least get to sleep just a bit later on Monday than usual.

SO, Lord willing, we'll see you all on Tuesday, full of interesting stuff to discuss.

Y'all stay safe.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

And yet another opportunity offers itself here in the local area

Just got an e-mail from Jett Superior (she of the somewhat recent tractor-bashing incident) who is getting together an effort to help the storm-displaced children of families who are sheltered at the Gadsden Civic Center--which, incidentally, is housing even more refugees than the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Read the whole post (and realize that "assload" is purely figurative) and if you can help, please give her a shout.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Although there are more important things going on...

...I would be remiss in not noting the kickoff of the 2005-2006 Auburn Football Season, in which the Tigers will play host this weekend to the Small, But Agressively Pernicious Social Wasps (or, alternatively, The Hoopties) of the Georgia Institute of Technology!

This will mark the 92nd meeting of the two teams, and it is hoped by everyone (or, at least, by me) that the Tigers will be ready to avenge the 17-3 loss they suffered at the hands of the Engineers in the September 6, 2003 game in Atlanta. Also from the Tiger press material, we find that "[f]rom 1905 to 1987, Auburn and Georgia Tech played every year with the exception of 1943 when Auburn did not field a team because of World War II. The teams have met just once since 1987 (2003 at Georgia Tech)." AND, this nugget, "Georgia Tech's last visit to Jordan-Hare Stadium came in 1986 -- a 31-10 Auburn victory." So, if we are to believe the auguries, this should turn out well. Or not.

After an undefeated season last year, and the resulting host of National Championship awards from media outlets such as Bob's Trader Place Magazine and the Zip City Post-Time Excelsior, the Tigers have had some rebuilding to do for this year after losing several starting players to the dreaded onset of commencement exercises. Auburn starts the year at 16th in the AP poll, which is just fine by me--gives them something to shoot for, even if the coaching staff might think that they deserve to be a bit higher up. At least they're ranked, unlike their opponent.

Ultimately, though, beyond the players and trainers, coaches and assistants, we all know this battle will ultimately be won on the sidelines--this year's squad is looking mighty nice--although, tragically, all the young ladies were born without shins--and there is the issue of my continued annoyance at presence of guys in the ranks. Hopefully, this is being addressed with the addition of an ALL-GIRL squad! (Even though they won't actually be cheering at football games, it is, at least, a start.) And, thank goodness, there is at least ONE organization where there is no intrusion from such lumpy hairy intruders--the Tiger Paws. GrrrRRRoowll!

Over on the other side of the field, the Tech folks have a healthy group of cheersters themselves, with much limberness on display, AND they have an old car, which means a lot to other people with old cars.

In the end, I have to give this one to the Tigers, but don't be surprised to see GaTech give them a very strong run, especially early in the game.

Possumblog Sports Center's Team Pickin' Chicken sez: Auburn 21, Georgia Tech 9.

The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with kickoff at 7:45 in the evening, but since I don't have cable, I will be listening to the Auburn Radio Network. And it will be darned inconvenient because it's so late and we have to get up and go to church the next morning, but I will listen anyway.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:01 PM | Comments (2)

There's a terrible joke...

...that I always bring out with various female acquaintances upon their birthdays. "They say you're only as old as you feel--why don't you let me give you a hug and see if I can guess your age!"

It's a terrible joke, I know, and slightly creepy when delivered properly, but no matter--if Miz Yorkieblogger Woman was here I'd be telling it to her anyway.

Happy birthday, ma'am, and happy blogiversary as well!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:12 PM | Comments (2)

The Medium of Seeds.

And here I was, thinking that folks over on the leftward reaches of the political spectrum needed to get a life. Then it comes about, quite by accident, that I see things like this, and realize that I have been so very wrong all along.

And yes, it would be rude of you to complain that the seeds could have been planted to grow food for a poor family, or the many hours lovingly gluing each one on the board could have been spent serving soup to homeless people. You just don't understand.

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

I was right.

In a series of scenes right out of One Flew Over the Catch 22 Poseidon Adventure Alien, the meeting began and almost immediately burst into flames. And continued thusly for the next two hours.

Puttin' the fun in dysfunctional.

I'm still not sure that knowing the outcome ahead of time made it any easier to deal with--I mean, in my mind I can sit back and muse and say, "I TOLD me so!" but it's rather unsatisfying.

To put it in the form of a convenient allegory, there is an ant walking along the table toward your cookie. How to stop it from getting your cookie? Well, I would mash it with my thumb, or, if feeling merciful, sweep it off the table. Or, if hungry, eat the cookie.

But if the ant were in our conference room, there are some who would need to know the exact weight of the ant, and where it came from. Others MUST know the ant's preferred route to the cookie, and if it will be bringing more ants. There are those who believe it best to legislate some sort of anti-ant barrier around the cookie, or, failing that, an alternative inducement to provide a small crumb of cookie in a different location and direct the ant that way. Still others understand the only way to deal with ants is through the use of more subtle methodologies such as a 12 gauge shotgun, but only after the ant is firmly dug into the cookie. Then someone wants to know how big the table is. Copies are then made of a document produced by the Wetumpka Cookie Preservation Code Council for the purpose of eliciting comments and possibly drafting a similar set of ordinances. Once written, although the new rules ignore ants entirely, they would leave the cookie relatively free from potential harm due to wombats or peccaries. But! Can we sit here and protect the cookie, when there are OBVIOUSLY other things ants will eat!? What about the sugar? What about the bread!? WHAT ABOUT THE JELLY IN THE REFRIGERATOR!? If an ant was able to pull the door open, climb up to the jelly shelf, and open the jar lid, why, THERE'D BE ANTS IN THE JELLY! This CANNOT STAND! After it becomes obvious that there's no way to reach a decision, the idea is then floated that possibly a consultant should be brought in.

It's all rather mind-rattling. One is apt to sit there wonding why no one will just mash the ant, or eat the cookie.

Well, it's lunchtime--I'm gonna go eat, and pay a bill, and then come back and hope for pretty butterflies and warm kitties and sunshine.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:19 PM | Comments (2)

How is rhubarb like a caterpillar?



Yes, I have a feeling it's destined to be one of those non-sequitur days I love so much.

I've spent the last couple of days trying my best to think of that number between one and infinity that I mentioned earlier in the week, and last night around five o'clock when Small Boss came by, I found out the number was not "886.9" as I had guessed, but rather it was "orange feather boa with chocolate cardboard moo-cow lopsy twist car."

I know for a fact, however, it's not that.

I also know that Big Boss, in the meeting we had with him last week when he made the initial request for all this junk, will ALSO be looking for something else. Maybe even something with digits.

So, you do the best you can. You slap a bit more junk on there to add to the level of confusion, and just not worry about it. We'll see how it turns out in about thirty minutes when we go in for our NEXT round of meaningless meetings (lasting until noon, probably), where Important Concepts will be bandied about, and there will be a great deal of pontificating about Form, and Order. And then our little part of the D&P show will start, and there will be further serious talk, this time about Gomly Frellnedly, and Kalk Baloota, and Glimliness, and SPOON! all because Small Boss will be doing the "talking." This will lead to Big Boss to be harshly demeaning to everyone, and we will then adjourn until next week, when we will repeat the process.

Well, that'll teach me to climb through mirrors.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:50 AM | Comments (2)