November 30, 2005

A joy and relief comparable only to that of no longer having to buy baby diapers.

Last night, I found out that both Rebecca and Ashley had papers that needed to be typed. Obviously, they had to be typed and turned in today. Up until now, this would have meant that I was typing this entry with possibly only four hours of sleep the previous night. HOWEVER, such is not the case.

I made them do their own stinkin' papers.

Now for Middle Girl, this isn't that big of a deal now, since she had the good sense to sign up for typing at the middle school. She's comfortable working on a computer now, and has tolerable speed and accuracy, and knows how to format and all that stuff. Hers took a while, even though it was only a few pages, but I'm pretty confident she did okay. The only problem she had was understanding that she DID have to type it last night, because it's due tomorrow, and we have church tonight, and there's no time left to type. She finally figured that out, though.

For Oldest, a somewhat different story, in that she refuses to believe that she cannot type, even though she's never had a class. She also seems to think she knows everything about computers. Fine. Fair enough. Go type it yourself.

Approximately 30 seconds later, "DAAAAAAD!!"



She'd typed her name and the title of the paper, and was trying to use the down arrow key to make it go down the page. I showed her the enter key. "BUT IT WON'T GO DOWN THE PAGE!" Yes, it will. Look. See? Down the page. See?

Obviously she couldn't admit she didn't know how to work the thing, so she switched to complaining that the print preview view of things didn't look right. "It is, sugar. Just type. And remember to save it every few minutes. You don't want to have to type it all over again." (See--I preach a good sermon on salvation! Just because I won't heed my own advice, well...)

Five minutes later--"DAAAAAAD!!"

::sigh:: All this time, I am trying to simultaneously a) get Cat in the tub, b) read her a story while she bathes, c) help fix supper, d) help Rebecca with a math problem, and e) answer Boy's unceasing list of questions about items of concern only to him.



"Okay, hold on." At this point I was mostly involved with items a) and b), so I had to make sure Cat wasn't going to go wandering off around the house nekkid and dripping bathwater, so after I had her suitably tasked, I went downstairs to find that Mom and Rebecca had made the mistake of trying to help Oldest, which only resulted in turmoil.

"Okay. Paragraph. Bullets and Numbering. Hmm."

She was on the downstairs computer, which only has an old version of Works. No quick way to Romanumeralize lists. "Okay, well, just type in an I. and tab over. Simple."

After that, she was on her own.

Took her forever, but she finally did finish up around 11:30 last night and brought it upstairs to print on my printer. She went on off to take her shower before bed and I opened up her file.


::sigh:: Apparently the idea that her spelling might be wrong never occurred to her, thus negating the need for running spell check. Did that. Then, the outline--what a mess. Fixed that, and used tabs as I has originally shown her, rather than her use of four, five, six, or seven space bar hits. And this was for each heading--none of them had the same number of spaces. Then on to the body--all single space, which I thought was odd, considering every other paper she seems obsessed with making sure I double spaced it. "Hey, did you need this double spaced?"

"Uhh--I guess. I suppose so."

Double space. Then fixed the citation page, again a mess of untabbed indents. Save, print. The only thing I didn't correct was syntax and grammar, or her specious reasoning--I figure her teacher should bear some of this burden along with me.

All in all, though, much more pleasant than it would have been had I been called upon to do all the typing.

Two down, two to go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:33 PM | Comments (2)

November 29, 2005

What's worse than a Possumblog filled with meaningless tripe?

A Possumblog with NO meaningless tripe, or anything else, for that matter! Although some might breathe a sigh of relief at the sudden stoppage of fooferall around here, there are probably some hearty souls who will no doubt be in great anguish that the paying gig will take up a goodly portion of tomorrow morning's prime blogging time.

I would like to thank all both of you for your votes of confidence in the vapidity and irrelevance of Possumblog, and I intend to reward your patronage with photos of my recent trip to Lester Ferguson's Museum of Nostril-Hair Paintbrushes!

But, only after I get back into work tomorrow, so stay tuned!

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

How very odd.

Tenn. school principal recants on beating

Pitiful. Here's the story of the "attack" itself from back on November 9--he managed to put himself in intensive care!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:49 PM | Comments (4)

Well, not quite.

From the Birmingham Business Journal--State of Alabama's official Web site ranks in top 10 again

The state of Alabama's official government Web site,, has been ranked among the top 10 state Web sites for the second year in a row.

Now in its tenth year, the Best of the Web competition evaluates government Web sites based on their innovation, Web-based delivery of public service, efficiency, economy and functionality. The 2005 Best of the Web competition was conducted by the Center for Digital Government, an international research and advisory institute. [...]

Well, I suppose it's one of those things where people are wont to say "it's just an honor to be nominated," but after finding the Center for Digital Government's website (when will BBJ be more conscientious about links!?) I noted that only the first five places actually get awards--the rest are just finalists, and as with football and beauty contests, no one ever remembers the losers.

Nice to see Fritz Schranck's home state pick up the heavy 1st Place hardware, although I must say I think it would have been even better if they'd have a little animated blue hen pecking around.

As for the sites themselves, I'm at a bit of a loss to see what separates one from another--they all look okay, though a bit pixel-happy with all the links and places and news and pictures and colors and stuff. But in the end, they all look like official state websites--like license plates, it seems no one is willing to be creative anymore. And Texas! It's not any bigger than any of the other websites! How disappointing.

I suppose it's a bit like cars--they all tend to start looking alike after a while, until someone comes up with something fresh to set the new fashion trend.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:15 PM | Comments (3)

The line between fan--

--and fanatic can sometimes be rather faint.

However, I kinda have to say the person who came here looking for auburn tigers gelatin mold is probably on over the line a good ways.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:32 PM | Comments (1)

Don't Call.

I was just informed that I am going to have to sit at the front desk and answer the phone for the next two hours, since both of our secretaries are off today, and there seems to be no one in charge of making sure we have a secretary on duty. So we have to take turns doing it. Not really a hard job, but you'd think that people tasked with city planning would, well, you know, do a bit more planning.

Anyway, no new Possumblog for a while. And as I said, please don't call and make me have to answer the phone.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:37 AM | Comments (3)


I'm not sure what triggered it, but in a fit of redecoration, this morning I removed the old site plan of the Thomas neighborhood I've had hanging on the wall beside my desk since June 14, 1996 and rolled it up and put it in the drawing bin. And then, with all that huge swath of corkboard opened up for settlement, I removed all of the kids' artwork they've done for me over the years and relocated it to the new place. Before it had been behind me, so people who came in could see it, but I didn't get to enjoy it as much. Now I can.

And best of all? The old hunk of corkboard on the wall behind me is gone. Well, reduced, really. In some past renovation, some bright person thought it would be a good idea to stick corkboard on all the office walls to give us something to pin drawings on, but the execution of said installation left much to be desired. Also left much of the corkboard with only the thinnest of layers of stickum, meaning that over time, with changes in heat and humidity, the cork waved and buckled and began peeling off the wall. It was kinda funny ten years ago when I first laid eyes on it, but it has increasingly curled over and fallen down, so that it has become something like a big ugly cloud hanging over the back of my head. Or like the wall was sticking its tongue out at me behind my back.

Well, no more, doggone it. After I moved all my precious little pictures, out came the pocket knife and with two swift slices, the offending pieces of cork were removed and thrown into the ashcan. Mostly. There is still one small divot in the middle of the area that has clung with a bitter attraction to the wall, and I left the lower right quadrant on the wall, mainly because it seems to be actually stuck down sufficiently. But the rest of it? Gone! No more dark cloud, no more brown bumpy wall tongue!

AND, in honor of this great change in the whole feng shui of the place, NEW ARTWORK!

When we were cleaning up the den Saturday to put up the Christmas tree, I found two drawings sitting under a pile of video games and DVDs on the drum table. I pulled them out and was quite frankly shocked at how good they were. This is not one of those 'proud papa' things I so often engage in, but once again one of my kids has impressed me with her innate talent.

Seems Catherine had done some pictures in art, brought them home, put them on the table, and never told us about them. I guess to her they were just class assignments, but they really are quite something.

SO, bear with me for a bit of art appreciation.

First up, a simple apple, done in pastels on Strathmore paper--

I guess what struck me about this one is the gradation in shade--she did a quite passable job highlighting the dark and light sides of the fruit, even if the leaf is rendered a bit more formulaically. Also interesting was the composition in the frame that creates some sense of weight to the apple--the center of the apple is below the horizon created by the table. This is a shift from her earlier work, when objects would be drawn hovering above the edges of the surface plane. In this instance, the point of view is shown correctly from the artist's vantage, looking down onto the table top and apple.

Next up, the one that really got my eye. A cityscape, rendered in watercolor wash on cold press watercolor paper--

I was shocked--obviously, she spends most of her time in the suburbs, and she's not really downtown with me much at all. And no matter if she were, Birmingham is really not the most vibrantly colored city in the world. But here is a place she carefully modelled and colored in a way that is both realistic and a flight of fancy. The buildings have both fronts and backs, street fronts and alleys, with obvious differences in purpose between the ground floors and upper floors. They have rooftops with penthouses and antennas, and each building is unique, with changes in scale, shape, color, and type, all things you would expect in an urban scene. But the buildings that face us have faces themselves--the people--of which there are many--are too small to be seen and are drawn in almost in a perfunctory manner. The buildings, though, especially the two end ones, have great personality in their faces, and seem to be amused by the ants ticking their feet.

I tell you what, those kids are something.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:17 AM | Comments (8)

When you read things like this...

Sen. Specter Defends Terrell Owens

You pretty much figure Mr. Specter needs something else to do. Preferably, somewhere other than "serving" in Congress.

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

Yet more Adventures in Headline Writing

Japan space probe has thruster problem

Maybe it's just me, but if Viagra can sponsor Mark Martin's NASCAR ride, this seems like the perfect opportunity for Cialis to step up the competition and see if the Japanese would be willing to sign them up as a space probe sponsor.

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

November 28, 2005

I hope--

Official says hurricane areas need more

--he doesn't mean more hurricanes. Or officials.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

I will say this...

...buddy, when it rains, it POURS! It's like a monsoon out there. Which will make for quite an enjoyable ride home this afternoon.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

You know what I hate?

Air raid sirens. Well, obviously, now they're called civil defense sirens, or tornado sirens. The ones around here just fired off, meaning that the big line of thunderstorms headed our way has touched off a tornado warning.

No matter what you call them, though, I just hate the sound. It's not a happy sound, and it reminds me of when I was a kid, and the television would go black and then they'd say there was a Special Report. I always just knew the Russians had decided to lob a few our way.

Yep--sure enough--here's the deal:


152 PM CST MON NOV 28 2005




AT 65 MPH.


This isn't close by anyplace my family is, thank goodness. If it's near you, you probably don't need to be reading Possumblog for the next few minutes or so.

UPDATE: 2:35 pm--the blasted things just went off again, and there's no corresponding tornado warning from the NWS. I am about ready to think that someone just likes listening to them.

UPDATE: 2:59 pm--apparently someone was just psychic. The weather service just issued another warning at 2:54. Of course, no sirens this time, I guess since they already sounded them earlier.

UPDATE: 3:15 pm--well, a little closer this time--the warning was reissued at 3:05, and the sirens just now went off. Well--hold on--there was one at 3:14, so this one was right on the money.

Disconcerting part in all this? We're supposed to go to the ground floor when our building coordinator tells us to, but I just found out someone turned off our emergency use only walkie-talkie. ::sigh::

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:56 PM | Comments (5)

And how could a discussion of cars be complete without--

--The First American Automobile Race

At 8:55 a.m. on November 28, 1895, six "motocycles" left Chicago's Jackson Park for a 54 mile race to Evanston, Illinois and back through the snow. Number 5, piloted by inventor J. Frank Duryea, won the race in just over 10 hours at an average speed of about 7.3 miles per hour! The winner earned $2,000, the enthusiast who named the horseless vehicles "motocycles" won $500, and the Chicago Times-Herald, sponsor of the race, declared:

Persons who are inclined…to decry the development of the horseless carriage…will be forced…to recognize it as an admitted mechanical achievement, highly adapted to some of the most urgent needs of our civilization.

"The Future of the Motocycle", The Chicago Times-Herald, November 29, 1895.

No argument from me on that score. Yes, all that CO and NOx is bad, but the car guys have managed to get it down so low that in some places emissions are cleaner than the ambient air quality--but no matter what, you're never going to be able to reduce the amount of poop and pee a horse leaves behind. And it's a lot.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:04 PM | Comments (4)

And speaking of paper and the pleasurable waste of time...

Also over the weekend I finally fulfilled my promise to Jonathan to find him some cars made out of paper. We found this site, and printed out one of each, (with two of the Datsun roadsters, and two trailers.)

My favorite is the Datsun 510 in the BRE livery. I did one of those, and a VW microbus in blue and orange (one of the trailers will go with that), and an old-style Mini Cooper for Boy, and a light blue Datsun 1800 for Catherine, who was quite proud of it. Oddest comment concerned the Lincoln Continental, which two of the kids (at separate times) said looked like my Volvo. Then again, they didn't see this one.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:35 AM | Comments (6)

Well, it was bound to happen.

Rebecca brought home some sudoku games last week she'd gotten in math class. She seems to have become quite the whiz at them, meaning over the weekend I had to print some out for her that I found at Websudoku, and meaning that on a couple of them she got stuck and wound up having to ask me to help.

I had resisted the urge up until then, because you know how obsessive I get about stuff like that, but doggone it, she lured me into playing along by using the "sweet child" ploy, and so I had to see if I could do it, and I can, and I found it oddly fun and relaxing, and so now I'll probably spend way too much time doing that instead of substantive things like searching Ebay for old Volvo parts.

I wound up getting her three books of puzzles for Christmas--at least that way I won't use up all my printer ink.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:26 AM | Comments (2)

Downside of holidays?

There is something important I am supposed to do, or was supposed to remember to do, when I got to work today, and I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

Well, it's pointless to try.

Then again, I've never been fond of being forced to make a point, so here is the entire list of things I did this past weekend.

Went to Reba's mom and dad's for Thanksgiving with all of Reba's mom's relatives. There were close to 60 people there. I spend most of the time hiding in the basement watching Cartoon Network. Good food, though--all these folks can cook, and they all brought enough to choke a mastadon. And Reba has some fine-looking cousins, too. Probably best I stayed in the basement with the kids.

Friday, Reba had to go back to work, and I stayed home with the kids. We didn't do a thing except vegetate. I do wish they'd allowed me to sleep a bit later.

Saturday, the traditional assembly of the lifelike plastic and metal Yule tree. Cat helped this year, and was actually helpful. She seemed to like bending all the little branch tips out. Then there were the lights. We've had several strands for years that were nothing more than glorified bulb storage strings, being that they had one or another electrical maladies that prevented them from working. I finally pulled the bulbs and discarded the wires. Then it was time to shop. Took Boy and Cat with me to get them some new shoes, then went by myself to get some presents for the other kids (Reba being at home wrapping presents and not really in a mood to shop. Thankfully.)

Oddest thing? As I was leaving Target, I saw a Toyota Sienna minivan with Hawai'i license plates.

That's one long drive just to shop at the Trussville Target.

Anyway, still have some other things to get for Reba from the kids and me.

Sunday, church, then lunch, then to Party City to buy an elf costume. Do not ask why, because I promise you I cannot answer without ranting. And no, it won't be fun. Unlike the drive back to the house, which was quite fun because I saw the biggest flock of turkey vultures I have ever seen!

Must have been over twenty of them--which might not sound like a lot, but when you get twenty of something together that are the size of a cow flying around, it's pretty danged impressive! I don't know what they'd found out in the woods, but whatever it was, it must have been one big ol' dead thing to draw a crowd like that. Maybe it was a mastadon that had choked. (By the way, this article is how I know what kind they were.)

Back to church early so the girls could have a teen get-together with ice cream, during which time I went and took Boy and Cat to Wal-mart so we could do some more shopping for Mommy. They both decided she needed more stuffed animals. ::sigh::

Then back to church, then back home, then some supper, and then to bed, and now I'm here, and I'd like nothing better than to take a nice, long nap.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:12 AM | Comments (6)

Well, now--

THAT was a long weekend! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving--I know I did. At least, I think I did. It's really all one big blur of intense activity and equally intense torpor. About which, more, as the day goes on.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2005

Thank you.

May you all have a joyful time of reflection and giving of thanks, and may you all be kept safe until we speak again.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:06 PM | Comments (3)

The South?

A very long AP article about the nature of Southernness.

As with most articles of this type, there are the inevitable sets of surveys and polls and "scientific" analysis and commentary and hand-wringing and the substitution of one stereotype for another.

Do I consider myself Southern? Well, of course. But, of all the supposed traits that somehow make us distinctive, I've got as many of them as I don't, and I suppose the most defining thing about my association is simply geographic. I'm a Southerner because I live in the South.

All the hoo-hah about it all, though, reminds me of nothing so much as the ridiculous ongoing French debate about keeping non-French words from contaminating their language. Once there is a concerted effort to stop something from changing, rather than keeping it alive, it kills it. There's good and bad to everything--the trick is finding the good things, and letting go of the bad.

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

Okay, I know no one likes to hear about someone else's dreams.

BUT, I had the most disturbing one early this morning.

I had a poster with some kind of landscape scene on it, and for some reason occasional lunch companion Sugarmama had gotten one of the local ABC affiliate's weather guys, John Oldshue, to autograph it for me. And then I went and ruined it by writing on it, "Thank you for getting John Oldshue to autograph this for me, Sugarmama!" and it was all scrawly and ugly, because I was writing it while I was sleepy and propped up in an old iron cot in a tuberculosis sanitarium.

I really must quit eating supper so late.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:40 AM | Comments (4)

More unappetizing holiday food

Wall Street extends rally on oil dip

I suppose if it's olive oil for bread, it's okay, but just the very sound of "oil dip" sounds a bit nauseating. Then again, guacamole sounds pretty gross, too. And, well, I guess if you get right down to it, "ranch dip" sounds like something you'd use to keep parasites off of livestock.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:33 AM | Comments (3)

"Reporting for..."

John Kerry elected ... jury foreman

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:58 AM | Comments (2)

Fun With Referrer Logs!

A busy overnight, it seems, of people with hard questions and a burning desire to know--so deep that they came to something called "Possumblog" thinking their problems could be solved. WELL, WHO AM I TO DENY THEM!?

So, first up, this querist who wonders: how do i get rid of mice chat room

Well, this might be difficult to do unless the mice have a chat server residing within your own home. If there is content you find objectionable in a mouse's chat room, if it's within the bounds of the law and the rules of the chat room, you might have no recourse. If it does appear the mice have overstepped the limits of their rights of free speech (such as engaging in libel or defamation), it's best to first contact the chat room moderator and ask that that particular mouse be banned from posting, rather than trying to shut down the entire chat room. If this is a problem with your mice operating their own chat room out of your house, you most certainly are within your rights to restrict access to their computers or even remove them if they are unwilling to abide by your wishes. If they persist in engaging in unwanted behavior, a small dab of peanut butter on the bait pedal of a Victor mousetrap generally will solve the problem within a few days.

Now then, this person wants to know: what are the best plants to obscure a neighbor's driveway?

As much as I hate to intervene into what appears to be an interpersonal squabble, it's hard to beat an evergreen tree-form holly such as a Nellie Stevens. They get big, and they're quite dense, and they don't drop their leaves, and they're pretty, and hardy, and even if you don't trim them, they look okay. Second choice would be osage orange, which has the added benefit of razor sharp thorns all over it, discouraging to potential visitors.

And finally, then there's this nice person who wants to find: full figured hooker clothing

Well, these are nice and come in sizes up to 3XL.

There now--I hope this helps everyone!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:38 AM | Comments (9)

Thursday Three!?

Not today, bucko!

Since none of you should be hanging around a computer tomorrow TODAY we're going to have a make-do diversion with a Weevilicious Wednesday One, to whit:

Name ONE traditional Thanksgiving food that you would be satisfied to NEVER EVER eat again!

As is always the case with these competitions, we ask you to either leave your answer in the comments below or a link to your blog, so we can all come over to your place and sit around in a sleepy daze on the couch with our pants unbuttoned.

Everyone can play, even if you're some kinda heathern and don't celebrate Thanksgiving.


Giblet gravy. My mother in law, God love her, makes giblet gravy every year. I cannot tell you how nauseated the sight of lumps of liver and heart and lights and boiled eggs in a rich brown gravy makes me. The sight, the smell--simply overwhelming. I love gravy, don't get me wrong, but I can do without all the sweetbreads. I like meat meat, not organ meat.

It took many years, but now she will set aside for me a little bit of gravy sans offal.

AND, although I didn't ask for TWO choices, if I had a second choice it would be cranberry sauce. I used to love it, but I just don't care for it anymore. I don't know if it's the flavor, which isn't really that bad, or the texture, which isn't really that bad, or if it's the slimy gloppy nature of it when it comes easing out of the can with all of the ridges and rings intact and plops onto a plate that seems to suggest not so much a gelled fruit condiment, but rather a slice from a giant dark earthworm.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:59 AM | Comments (23)

November 22, 2005

Okay, I admit the output has been a bit off.

But doggone it, when I find writing like this, it just makes me lose all hope of ever being able to write anything any better.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:44 PM | Comments (1)

The other day...

...the kids got out the paper trebuchet model we built last year and were messing with it, and I mentioned to Boy that there were several websites that had other paper models you could build.

This might be a bit beyond both of our skills.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:20 PM | Comments (6)

Fortune Cookie Wisdom of the Day!

I was in a festive jolly holiday mood today, and of course, nothing reminds me of the Pilgrims 'n' Indians 'n' the bounty of the harvest quite so much as a big plate of kung pao chicken and a steamy bowl of hot and sour soup!

Actually, I'm just hoping all the pepper will open up my head a bit.

BE THAT AS IT MAY, it is time for that part of my lunch you all so enjoy.

First up, this gem of wisdom: "Take a break from your usual routine and enjoy yourself."

Why, those sneaky ChiComs are trying to damage American productivity by telling me to relax! WELL, IT WON'T WORK! I'm gonna finish lunch and then fold letters and stuff envelopes AND compose a 10,000 word essay on the global geopolitical implications of eraser crumbs! So THERE!

Next up, this: "Remember the past to help you in the future." Well, dangitall, they might be sneaky but they are very wise--I just wish I'd read this before I went to lunch, because I forgot that I brought my lunch today, and it's in the refrigerator feeling lonely and neglected now. Poor lunch.

Oh well, there's always tomorrow, which I consider to be the future.


2 18 25 37 41. 12


3 19 22 34 39. 12

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:37 PM | Comments (5)

Flat Tire Tips

I was walking out to my car in the parking deck last night, and noticed as I got closer that there was a car blocking one of the entrance chutes to the big loopy exit helix. People who aren’t familiar with the deck sometimes think they can do that--just get off the down ramp where they want. Nope. Once you’re on it, you’re SUPPOSED to go all the way down. But some people still try it and wind up getting up on the curb or otherwise making a mess. (Worse is when they realize their mistake and try to BACK up the ramp.)

Anyway, there was a woman on up ahead of me going to her car, and I noticed her talking to the person in the car, and then I got a little closer and saw that the person was OUT of her car. A very bad thing, because I could tell the car was probably blocking the exit and it’s a blind loop coming down and some people drive really fast on the helix because it’s like a roller coaster or something.

The other woman got in her car and left and I finally got up to the end of the aisle where I always park. (Saves me from having to remember a different parking place every day.) Anyway, a young lady on the phone, obviously distraught--a damsel in distress! I can do this!

“Do you need some help?”

See, told you I could!

Seems she’d gotten herself a flat tire. “Can it be pushed?”


Resisting the urge to ask her to quit typing in all caps, I noticed the back end of the car was indeed sticking out into the path of exit traffic, so I told her I’d push it out of the way for her. Because I’m so stinkin’ nice. “WHAT DO I DO!?”

“Put it in Neutral.”


“And release the emergency brake.”


And URRRGGGGFFFFFFFF. Wow. This thing might be small but it’s apparently been glued to the pavement. After much heaving and ho-ing, we started moving, about which time Randy from the comm department came driving up in the department’s van. And she put on the brakes. It was like some kind of slo-mo Roadrunner cartoon with me being Wile E. Coyote, and accordianing myself into the back of the trunk lid. Thankfully, she let off again, and thankfully, Randy parked nearby and got out to assist.

“Whatcha doin’?”

“I’m a’pushing this heeeeeere hmphcar, Randy. She has aarrrrrr-a flat.”

Mr. Smartypants got on the other side and suddenly the car moved a LOT faster. “Dern--you’re STRONG. I’ll let you push it the rest of the way.” And so I quit. Because I’m Mr. Smartypants, too.

After being silly, we both pushed it the rest of the way over to a parking place.

“OOHHHHH, THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANK YOU!” the girl hopped out squealing, and ran back and gave me one of those side-to-side, I-just-won-something hugs. Which was quite awkward, I must say.

“Would you like us to change it?”

“Oh, no--I have a friend coming? And he’s going to change it for me? And like, my dad, OH, he’d be so mad if I drove on it and ruined the rim!? And you guys were so SWEET? I have NO idea what to do! I’ve never had a flat before, you know?”

Well no, but, okeedoke then. Randy walked around to look at the shredded bits of rubber on the rear passenger side, and being curious about the horrible damage, figured I’d look, too.


It was LOW. Going flat, but still with MORE than enough air to have driven the forty feet or so out of the ramp and into a parking spot. I walked on back to my car, and as I drove out of sight, I saw her dragging huge boxes full of junk out of the trunk of her car. I wonder if she was just too embarrassed by the junkiness of her trunkiness to let us in to get the spare tire and jack?

Who knows--ANYWAY--a few tips for anyone with a flat.

1) Move the car out of danger. It does not matter if you ruin the rim. Better that than to be rear-ended by a speeding car. In this case, the girl could have driven safely on down the ramp to the ground floor, but failing that and attempting the exit out the wrong way, at least go ahead and move COMPLETELY out of the way.

2) Learn to change a spare tire. She kept going on and on about not knowing what to do. Just remember, you ain’t Blanche DuBois, and you shouldn’t let yourself get into that situation to where you have to rely upon the kindness of strangers. Because some strangers aren’t avuncular and helpful.

3) Carry a can of spare-tire-in-a-can stuff. Sometimes you might be stuck where you can’t safely change a tire, and just need enough to get back on the road to a place where you can get it fixed or change it. So carry a couple of cans in the trunk along with your other emergency supplies.
4) Carry a cellphone. The one thing she did right was to have a way to contact help.

5) Finally, watch what you’re doing--be aware of where you are and what’s going on and don’t go the wrong way on ramps and stuff. Keep your cool and don’t get your underwear in a wad.

Tips for those HELPING others:

1) Don’t endanger yourself. I could have saved a lot of effort and potential for harm by just going around to the other side of the car BEFORE I started grunting and mooing, and just gotten her to drive it on into a parking spot.

2) If someone has already called for help, it’s probably best to hang around long enough for their help to arrive. I went ahead and left because I felt she was reasonably safe and I did have to get home and pick up the kids from Granny’s house, but it would have been a bit more considerate of me to hang around a while longer.

3) Carry a cellphone. The other person might have forgotten rule number 4 above.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:09 AM | Comments (9)

Yet more from the tiny violin concerto

Woodward explains silence in leak case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward dismissed claims that he should have revealed his role in the CIA leak case when he discussed the investigation on news interview shows.

Woodward said on CNN's "Larry King Live" Monday night: "Every time somebody appears on your show talking about the news or giving some sort of analysis, there are going to be things that they can't talk about." [...]

But what of the public's right to know, there Bobbo?

"Woodward again acknowledged that he should have told his editor at the Post.

I have a great relationship with Len Downie, the editor of the Post, and I was trying to avoid being subpoenaed," Woodward said. "And I should have, as I have many, many times, taken him into my confidence. And I did not."

Oh, well, you know, as long as you had a good reason and all.

The Post's ombudsman, Deborah Howell wrote in Sunday's editions that Woodward erred by publicly commenting on the case on King's show and on National Public Radio without mentioning that a top Bush administration official had told him the name of a covert CIA officer.

Howell wrote that Woodward had committed a "deeply serious sin ... the kind that can get even a very good reporter in the doghouse for a very long time." [...]

Heh. "Sin," huh? Must be using it in the sense of, "It's a sin, but, you know, we don't really BELIEVE in 'sin,' because that's what all those filthy narrow-minded red state Bible-thumpers believe in. But we want to act like we're really angry and mad, and so we'll say he 'sinned' and that he might even get put 'in the doghouse' over it. 'For a very long time.' Stupid bunch o' rubes'll think we actually mean business."

Now you know why they have such high regard for the feckless, dithering United Nations.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

The Quandary of the Three Day Week

I'm off on Thursday and Friday, so the workweek only has three days in it. If yesterday was Monday, and Wednesday will be like a Friday, does that mean today is more like a Wednesday, since it's the middle of the truncated week, or is it more like a Thursday, since it's the day before make-believe Friday?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:21 AM | Comments (7)

November 21, 2005

And to wrap up the day, Fun with Referrer Logs!

Just had a seeker of knowledge drop by wondering--What is a possum {is a part of the cat family or monkey}

Well, my friend, you're right on BOTH counts! Some of you might not realize it, but what we call "marsupials" are actually the offspring of an experiment in animal husbandry begun under the Animal Progress Authority begun during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency. As a way to improve the diversity of animal life during the Depression, the APA undertook a wide variety of efforts to create new animal species, with an eye toward creating jobs for people by either encouraging people to raise the animals for food, or hunt them for government bounty.

The possum was created by carefully intermixing a monkey, a coati mundi, a cat, a badger, a goat, another cat, and a peanut. The APA was disbanded soon afterwards.

And the funniest part of this? The source:

"Domain Name (Barbados)
IP Address 200.50.66.# (UNITED NATIONS SERVICES)"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:48 PM | Comments (2)

I have an idea.

I saw this headline: Sony may lose grip in next game consoles war

And I thought, "Hmm, maybe they need a professional game player as a paid endorser." I have a suggestion.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:31 PM | Comments (8)

Silly old machinery.

I was starting to get myself worked into a lather this afternoon, and all of a sudden the whole works shut down, and it seems the great big pipeline to the outside of the building has had a chair dropped on it or got a hamster in it or something. And now my all I can do is sit here and type this, and wonder when the lifeline will get hooked back up.

Well, maybe not--now it’s back and screaming along as usual. Probably one of those deals like you have with those low-flow toilets that keep backing up. I guess someone found the plunger.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

Okay, so I really enjoy using the word schadenfreude.

Via Best of the Web, this post from Mediabistro about loose lips on the WaPo ship.

It is simultaneously humorous (unintentionally, of course), instructive, and deeply disturbing. I doubt you could find a more myopic, self-centered, fatuous, and hypocritical bunch outside of Congress or a junior high school. It also serves as handy proof of Twain's aphorism about if you hold your tongue some might think you a fool, but once you speak up, it removes all doubt.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:13 PM | Comments (4)

What would you like to wager...

Nike Corporate Jet Makes Safe Landing

...that there's already a television commercial in the works?

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

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

QUADRIGA. A sculptured group of a chariot drawn by four horses, often used to crown a monument or facade.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

Well, you might not have known the term, but everyone knows what it is. Probably the best example (judging by the amount of returned results from Google) would be atop the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:27 PM | Comments (2)

Windy, rainy, chilly.

Icky. Drippy sloppy, sloshy. Nippy cloudy blowy sneezy. Gloppy watery messy? Bloggy.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:48 PM | Comments (4)

The Recap

Friday: Picked up the kids from Grandmom's and took us all over to Wally World to select a gift for the birthday kid for the party on Saturday, and also tried to take my mind off Reba and the girls' northward excursion. Found a TechDeck dude with accessories, and also got a gift bag and card. And milk. And looked both high and low for one of those little tiny handheld televisions, just in case I needed one. Sadly, none to be found--I assume this is because of the upcoming switch to HDTV or something. I don't know. Leaving there, we decided (this being the royal "we") to swing by Kmart to look there for something--of course, they had NOTHING of interest. So, on to Marconi Hut (not the real name, according to certain aardvarks) and they didn't have anything either. Although I will say if you are an attractive single woman feigning trouble with cell phone reception, you get a LOT better customer service than some old portly dude with two kids.

Gave up on that quest and decided I would be fine with my portable radio. On to home, started "supper." I don't know how they manage it, but my kids absolutely LOVE ramen noodle soup. I had so much of that in college I swore I'd never eat another bite of it after I got out, but the kids just can't seem to get enough. So, we had ramen noodle soup. Yes, I did, too. It's actually not too bad. Heard from Reba while I was cooking it up--they'd made it, although her phobia of crossing bridges kicked in with a hearty gusto. Big long George Houston bridge over Lake Guntersville, in the dark, her driving--she had a panic attack and wasn't certain she was going to be able to make it across. Of course, being REQUIRED to make it across tends to make it a bit harder to give up, so they did make it, and made it to the camp with no further drama.

To bed, then, where I tossed and turned all night.

Saturday: Up early. Not because I wanted to be. Despite my inability to sleep well due to the absence of my better half, the children, although I'm sure pining for their siblings and mother, still managed to overcome their misery through the paliative of the television, turned up loud, and through the time-honored implementation of rough-housing.

I tried my best to sleep through all this stuff, but really just couldn't. Besides, the snot fairy had come in the middle of the night and blessed me with sinuses and upper lungal tubes full of the tenaciously sticky stuff they use to glue perfume samples into magazines.

Dressed, then undressed and decided to take a shower, dried off, dressed, shaved, brushed, and started breakfast and a load of laundry. Fed the kids, did a minor repair on the Volvo (dashboard screw-tightening) and got them dressed for the party. BUT FIRST--a trip to Wal-Mart. Why? WHY NOT! Yippee!!

Actually, Reba had gone to the store before she left, and had bought Cat a couple of pairs of jeans. Without taking her along. Meaning, of course, they didn't fit. I didn't know this until Saturday morning, however. SO, back to Wal-Mart to make the exchange. A complete and utter madhouse. I imagine everyone was doing their pre-game shopping, but the place was packed. Got a refund, went and found a couple of pairs of pants that DID fit, and a couple of phone cards. Seems Oldest didn't understand that she runs out of minutes when someone calls HER! Why, the NERVE! She's very close to losing her phone privilege anyway, so it might not matter. And that's all I'll say about that.

Back to the drug store to pick up my medicine, then on back home for a bit, then down to the foot of the hill for the party. I took Rebecca's little slim portable radio with me, mainly because the big yellow Walkman I have is just a little too obtrusive. Hers had great reception, though, until I went into the building, when it went completely dead. THANK GOODNESS, they had a big projection screen set up in one end of the rink. No sound, though, except for the louder-than-a-B-52 music thumping through the place.

Cat brought along her own skates and put them on and then wanted to go play video games. Boy went on to play with his friends, so after explaining to Cat that she could not play the games in her skates, she took them off. Skeeball is her deal, and she did pretty well at it this time, although her aim was a bit off. Then, finally, I was able to pick up the station again after much fidgeting and worry, so as she did her thing, I eased over to the doorway so I could see the action way over on the big television. I only lost her a couple of times.

Then, time for the laser tag session--woo-hoo! I hadn't realized it, but the parents had unlimited access to the place, and I had gotten Catherine a wristband anyway. Oops. But they were very gracious and gave one of the all-access ones to her, so she got to go place tag with the rest of them. While they did that, I walked back out to the main floor to watch the game some more, and became something of a prophet of doom to the poor guy standing beside me who was rooting for Alabama. The CBS feed was on a five second delay--since I was listening to an undelayed radio broadcast, I was reacting to sacks and touchdowns before they took place on screen. Poor guy.

Sometime in there Catherine came and found me and was upset that she'd not known how to play with the new model laser tag guns, so she skated for a minute or two, then we ate pizza and cake and she was fine again. AND THEN IT WAS TIME FOR GO-KARTS!

Out to the track with them all, and Catherine right in the middle. She was determined to drive a go-kart, and I had more important things to do to keep up with the score, so I let them strap her in one and she took off. She had a pretty good time, although she hit the rails a couple of times, and the bouncy surface made her little legs hurt, so she had to whimper about that.

Back inside to spend the rest of their tokens, then cash in the tickets for worthless trinkets, and then to the house again, where I could watch AND listen to the game without interruption. Except for a couple of wrong numbers, which I usually don't mind that much.

Post-game, time for supper, then baths and to bed. Another long night, and another morning yesterday where I woke up being suffocated by tightly-packed sinuses.

SUNDAY: Homecoming day--they were scheduled to arrive at 12:30, didn't get home until 2:30. I was not surprised. Services were lonesome, but at least the two kids I had DID sit with me instead of running off elsewhere. Lunch at the Chinese buffed place, then to home to await the arrival of Mom and Girls. Greeted Mom and Girls when they got home and heard all about their experiences, which from all accounts turned out pretty well.

And I slept much better last night.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:46 AM | Comments (4)

Good Morning!

What a weekend. But, all in all, it turned out about as well as could be expected--got to watch a pretty good game on a big television (even though my head is still ringing from the odd confluence of turned-up-to-11-volume Molly Hatchet and Outkast played from the skating rink speakers), Cat learned to drive, and the girls made it up to Guntersville and back without incident.

Aside from the fact that my head has over the past five days or so become clogged with rubber cement, things are pretty good.

More details later--right now I have something to do...

...I have to find a place to put all of these:


Sorry about that--the Time for Merciless Taunting of the Opponent is supposed to be over with the close of the game, but I just couldn't help myself.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:42 AM | Comments (5)

November 18, 2005

Looking at the clock on the wall...

...I see that I still have an hour to go before I go. BUT, it's probably a good time to take a moment to wish you all a happy weekend and tell you that I look forward to all of you coming by again on Monday morning, no matter whether it's to gloat with me, or at me.

See you then.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)

And where will I be watching the Iron Bowl?

Luxury skybox high above Jordan-Hare, with an endless buffet?


A fifty-yard-line seat on the home bench side?


In the corner behind a column in the Alabama section?


Oh, wait--at someone's house with a nice big television and cable?


Hmm. At home, with your kids, folding clothes in front of your uncabled television?


On the radio, doing yardwork!?


I will be at the skating rink, tending to Boy, who has been invited to a birthday party by one of his classmates, said party being held from 2 to 4 p.m. DURING THE GAME. Obviously, I should be grateful Jonathan has friends, and that they think enough of him to invite him to a party at the skating rink with all the free food and game tokens such things have. But, obviously this family is from some other planet, where the third Saturday in November is, I don't know, the third Saturday in November or something equally bizarre.

"Well, surely," you might ask, "couldn't Reba take him down to the foot of lovely Talladega Hill to the skating rink, and thus relieve you of having to miss out on this spectacle, as well as keep you from having to endure loud, thumping '70s redneck-rock blasting from the speakers and hordes of hormonal squealing teenagers on foot-wheels?"

Oh, yes, one might think things like that--EXCEPT.

Except there is a Part II to my misery. It seems this is the weekend when Reba, and Ashley, and Rebecca, will be going with a bunch of people from church to a retreat up at Camp Ney-A-Ti in Guntersville. They leave today, and come back Sunday, and Reba will be following along in her car. Meaning A) From the time they leave today until they arrive, I will worry incessantly, B) from the time they leave Sunday until the get home, I will worry incessantly, and C) in between time I will wander around the house and mope.

Reba and I have not spent very much time apart over the course of our fourteen years and three months together, and when we do, I don't really get that wild-eyed, school's-out, cat's-away-mice-will-play, "I'M A BACHELOR!" sort of thing that some guys get, mainly because I remember being a bachelor, which was very boring and mostly spent wishing I had a really hot girlfriend. Now that I've got one, and managed to convince her to marry me, it's not fun when she's not around.

AND DARNED INCONVENIENT, in that I have to go to the skating rink!

OH, and not just go with Boy, but take Catherine with me, too, because she wants to go, and pooched out her bottom lip and acted sad, just in case I said no. As if I could.

So, I'm hoping they have a television around there somewhere that I can catch a glimpse of every now and again. Or, maybe this is some sort of sign, telling me that I've found a good excuse to buy one of those pocket teevees...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:53 PM | Comments (12)

It is time.


(A long post--if your browser cuts off before the end of the post, press your F11 key twice.)

Tomorrow marks the 70th meeting betwixt the Tigers and Tide, and although I don't really care too much one way or the other who wins or loses, there are a few readers of Possumblog who invest in the contest a bit more than the normal amount of enthusiasm. Don't believe me? Take a look at this picture that Kenny Smith just sent me.

As is the tradition here at Possumblog Sports Center, we once more trot out the hoary old family favorite that I wrote a few years back (again apologizing to Clement Clark Moore), just to get us into the spirit of things. There is a slight revision to my original version in order to suit the venue of the game. Oh, and the rhyme and meter sometimes stretch the limits of artistic license--forewarned is forearmed.

'Twas the night before the Iron Bowl, when all through Alabama
Not a critter was stirring, not even a yellowhammer;
The RVs were parked by the stadium with care,
In hopes that some sandwiches from Mama G's soon would be there;

The students were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Jack Daniels danced in their heads;
And mama in her blue jersey, and I with my big orange foam #1 finger,
Had by the teevee started to linger,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sofa to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a golf cart, and some fat redneck in a red suit--
So at him I yelled, "HEY! Get off my yard, or else I will shoot!"

With a little old driver, so sloppy and drunk,
I knew in a moment it must be Bob from down the street who is just about the most rabid Alabama fan I know.
More rapid than War Eagles his curses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, D*&!@! now, D$#?**! now, P&%$$$#@R and V*&^~!
On, C**&$#@@T! on C*&%?! on, D!@#$R and BL*&&^>?N!
To the top of Denny Chimes! to the top of Bear's tower!
Now #$@##%^! away! Feel the Tide's Power!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the moron he climbed,
With a snootful of scotch, and an urge to pee, ill-timed.

And then, he was tinkling, I heard on the roof
The dribbling and dripping of that big goof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down Bob slid and slammed to the ground.

He was dressed all in crimson, from his head to his shoes,
And his clothes were all tarnished with cigar ashes and booze;
A roll of toilet paper, and a box of Tide were flung on his back,
And he smelled like a pig or some kind of macaque.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow (except for the thin brown stream down the side from his dip of Skoal);

The stump of a stogie he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a giant beer belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was dimwitted and slow, a right stupid old cuss,
And I laughed when I thought of him getting hit by a bus;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had more things to dread;

He spoke not a word, but rolled over with a smirk,
And let loose a thundering back burp, the rude old jerk!
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, and striking a pose;

He sprang to his cart, to his team gave a whistle,
And away he drove off, like a low-flying cruise missile.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he weaved out of sight,

"Hey Auburn!
Hey Auburn!
Hey Auburn!

We're gonna beat the hell
out of you!

Rammer Jammer
Yellow Hammer
Give 'em hell Alabama!"

::sniff:: Always brings a tear to my eye, it does.


Yet another old favorite--

Two Auburn players were fishing on one side of a river, and soon were joined by two Alabama players way over on the opposite bank. They began verbally harassing each other across the distance, until one of the Alabama players could stand it no longer and challenged the more vocal of the Auburn players to a fight.

"JUST TELL ME WHO YOU ARE!" hollered the Bama player across the river.

"COME ON AND GET ME, YOU BIG HICK!" yelled the Auburn player, "AND MAH NAME'S CLARENCE!"

The fight was momentarily stopped however, due to the width and current of the river making crossing impossible.

"HOW KIN I GIT OVER THAR TO WHUP YER BUTT, CLARENCE!?" called the Crimson Avenger.


Time passed, and after a while, the Alabama player came back with a worried look on his face to find his friend wondering what had happened. "Where you been!? I never seed you go over and fight Clarence over there!"

The first young man replied, "Well, I was all het up to go, but when I got to that bridge, there was a big yeller sign on there that said 'CLEARANCE 13 FEET HIGH' and I lost mah nerve."

NOW THEN, having done all that, on to the tale of the tape. The Plainsmen come into the game resurgent after putting away the Georgians between the Hedges last week, although a bit battered and bruised. They exhibited a poise under pressure in that last game that is a credit to them and to their coaches. They failed to give up, a situation which would have helped a lot against their first opponent of the year, the Yellow Jackets of GaTech. They have the added benefit of the home turf this year, and this game will mark the naming of the playing surface in honor of my good friend Pat Dye, so it would be quite a letdown to lose this one.

THE TIDE, on the other hand, seems to be taking the LSU loss very hard. It was heartbreaking, yes, and messed up any chance for a national title, but still, this is an excellent team, as much as it pains me to say. They are FINALLY playing like a team this year, even if the nasally-gifted young Brody Croyle does get a lot of press related to his BMOC status. Defensively, they are tough as they come, which might be their downfall. Offensively, they manage, but they don't quite have the offensive-defensive-special teams balance that Auburn has recently shown, and Auburn's defense will press hard on Croyle. Look for some interceptions.

If the Crimson defense can hold on tight, it will be a close, hard-fought game. The Bammers can score enough to win, IF their defense is able to shut down the Kenny Irons/Devin Aromashodu/Ben Obamanu run/pass threats by the Tigers. Look for Alabama to blitz often--this has been about the only thing that has stymied the Tigers this year--pass protection has generally been good for soph QB Brandon Cox, except the line seems less able to pick up the blitz. Plays have seemed to develop too slowly, and Cox has shown a slightly elevated level of confusion at these times. Adjusting to this and maintaining some calm will be crucial.

Then on to the special teams--here I have to say Auburn has an edge, especially in punting and on kick returns.

BUT, what of the most important measure of football prowess!?

Auburn's cheerleading page has managed to stay relatively well updated this season, although the photo quality has been spotty. And there is this continual insistence on having pictures of male cheerleaders. This must end.

However, nothing could have prepared me for the shock of seeing how shamefully, woefully underrepresented Alabama is in this contest, with only one photo of each squad. Such a pity. Thankfully, there is some consolation in that the Crimson Caberet seems to understand their importance to the overall ability of the team, manifested by their display of not only another squad photo, but individual members as well. And no guys. Still, both Auburn and Alabama do a much better job with sports such as oh, say, volleyball, where not only do the participants get a big write-up, they also seem to be really, really tall, and blonde. That's a good thing.

IN ANY EVENT, it is now time to go on to the most exciting part of our show, the WEEKLY SCORE PREDICTION! And this week, being special and all, means CELEBRITY PROGNOSTICATIONS!

You might recall a couple of years ago I managed to con James "The Amazing" Randi into giving me a prediction for the game (which turned out to be exactly right) and so I thought I would give him a chance again this year to use his supernatural psychic powers.

I woke up Chet the E-Mail Boy and had him send out this letter the other day:

From: Terry Oglesby
Date: Nov 15, 2005 10:26 AM
Subject: Once more in need of your Auburn-Alabama prediction!

Good morning, Mr. Randi:

My name is Terry Oglesby, and you might recall that last year [sic--as I said, this was actually two years ago. Ed.] I requested your amazing mental powers to assist me in predicting the score of the Auburn versus Alabama game. I posted your prognostication on the highly stupid blog I write called Possumblog, and obviously, since you have such extreme psychic abilities, your prediction of a crushing Tiger defeat of the hated Crimson Tide was COMPLETELY correct!

After some added clarification on my part.

BE THAT AS IT MAY, it has now become time once again for the annual Festival of Football Madness here in our fair state, and I was wondering if I could once again impose on you for a Special Celebrity Prediction of the score. It would certainly be a thrill for both me, and all both of my readers.

Yours truly,

Terry Oglesby

I waited with extreme anxious waitfulness, until Chet came huffing and blowing into my office with Mr. Amazing's reply:

From: James Randi
To: Terry Oglesby
Date: Nov 15, 2005 10:38 AM
Subject: RE: Once more in need of your Auburn-Alabama prediction!

I’m now in awe of my own powers, and must decline to further exhibit these abilities, for fear of winning my own prize.

Remember, I’m 100% correct, at this point – so I’ll now retire.

James Randi.

Crushed, yet still not defeated, I had Chet send one more message--

Well, poop. Hmm. Could I use your rejection letter instead? It would still go a long way toward giving the place a little celebrity glamour.


And guess what?! SUCCESS!

James Randi.


Now then, counting up the total of words in the message Mr. Randi first wrote, I arrive at the number 36. Counting up the total number of words in his LAST message, I arrive at 3. Therefore, I think it safe to say that Celebrity Score-Guesser James Randi predicts Auburn 36--Alabama 3.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL--I have saved the best for last!

None other than the lovely and fantabulous NBC13 Health Reporter and Auburn alumna WENDY GARNER!!

Say hello, Wendy!


"HELLO!" [not her actual voice]

I also had Chet send her a message begging for her perspicacity--

From: Terry Oglesby
To: "Garner, Wendy (NBC Universal, WVTM)"
Date: Nov 15, 2005 9:59 AM
Subject: The Arn Boll

Hey Wendy--

I am going to do my usual annual celebrity forecast on Friday for the big game. Now I know in years past you were bound to secrecy about your prediction, but since your station's not doing the weekly picks this year, would you consider giving me your official prediction? I would certainly appreciate it!

Hope everything's going well for you, and look forward to receiving your reply.


With quiet anticipation, Chet and I listened for the tell-tale clatter of his telegraph key, and we were richly rewarded yesterday morning:

From: Garner, Wendy (NBC Universal, WVTM)
To: Terry Oglesby
Date: Nov 16, 2005 10:46 AM
Subject: RE: The Arn Boll


alabama- 14

How are you? I hope you're doing well!!


She's so darned cute! (And I say this platonically, given that her husband is a gigantic fellow who played football at Auburn, and who would probably like nothing better than to squish me into a runny paste.)

Anyway, I hold great hope for her accuracy.

Finally, what would the Possumblog Sports Center pregame show be without a pick from our Football Pickin' Chicken?! Pretty darned boring, that's what! Sadly, it seems our LAST Football Pickin' Chicken, Avi, ran off to Barbados with a man claiming to be a matador and expert in C++ and Fortran. So, we've had to get Kit, the Wonder Cat, to stand in today for the FPC. Take it away, Kit!

Kit the wonder cat.jpg

Stupid cat. Well, before he passed out, he expressed concern about the game, and seems to think it will be a low-scoring affair. As best as I can tell, he said Auburn 14--Alabama 13, but it's hard to tell with all the purring and burping up of hairballs.

ANYWAY, that my friends has been the EXTENDED PLAY VERSION of Possumblog Sports Center! Tune into see the big game at 2:30 on See B.S.

Until either the SEC Championship or a bowl game of some sort, we bid you adieu!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:16 AM | Comments (6)

Some things defy parody.

Worm researcher state's top professor

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:29 AM | Comments (3)

November 17, 2005

As always--

--a right pleasant lunch. Went to Sam's Deli again over close to Dawson. Sat in the tent part and was chilly the entire time. It has those long radiant heater strips, but I would really prefer a couple of giant kerosene salamanders right under the table.

Talked about household chores, cars, car repair, former co-workers, food, contractors, The Glories of the English Language, wives, children, and cars.

Got up to leave, and found that I had been sitting in a lump of meat stuck to the seat of the chair. Resisted the urge to hike up my jacket and ask My Friend Jeff to see if it made a stain on my butt.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, sometime in the meal an attractive mom of the upwardly mobile sort who wear incredibly expensive clothing and jewelry up during the day and yet still go eat at seedy Middle Eastern delis had sat down behind me with her adorable child with the oh-so-fashionable bowl-cut hair (which people used to give their kids when they were too poor to afford to pay anyone to cut their kid's hair, but which now costs 50 bucks plus tip). The only reason I really noticed her is because when I got up and turned around, I looked down and continued to look down into the gaping chasm of her butt crack.

Now, let's review a few things. I like women. A lot. I like every single thing about them, with an especial liking for certain parts, including, but not limited to, the gluteal region. I find the lower rear backal area of a female person wonderfully artistic in design and execution, and wish to personally thank the Creator for doing such a fine job on it. I confess that I find the occasional glimpse of backside hide rather alluring, and obviously the sight thereof is met with much self-correction and shame so as not to allow my eyes to lead me into thoughts of a corrupt nature.

HOWEVER, I have to say, when you're rather more grown-up, and are obviously well passed your teenaged years, that even if you are attractive and well-gym'd, it would be best to leave the hip-hugging pants and too-short tops to the high-school kids. See, after a certain age, trying to dress like a teenager isn't really cute, or desirable, and is likely to cause men such as myself to not think lustful thoughts about the maw of your butt cleavage, but rather causes them to snicker, and to think to themselves ridiculous things, such as, "You know what? She's got enough opening there to make a dried flower arrangement."

Obviously, being all codgerly, some of us tend to express our internal monologue verbally, and so if you overheard me say that to My Friend Jeff as we passed by, I do apologize.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:09 PM | Comments (8)

Time once more for More Mean-Spirited Taunting of the Opponent!

And oldie but a goodie.

An Auburn and an Alabama engineering student were working for a road contractor one summer. At lunchtime, they both sat down on the edge of the unfinished bridge they were building and opened their lunchboxes. The Auburn student exclaimed, "Hot dogs AGAIN! If I EVER get hot dogs in my lunch again, I swear I'm gonna jump of this bridge and kill myself!" The Alabama student opened his lunchbox and pulled out a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. "Peanut butter and jelly again! If I EVER get another peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch again, I swear I'm gonna jump off this bridge and kill myself!"

The next day arrived, and as they sat on the bridge about to eat lunch, the Auburn student pulled out his lunchbox. Sure enough, hot dogs. He threw down his box in disgust and flung himself to his death. The Alabama student looked in his lunchbox, and, as you can guess, he had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And, as was his promise, he plunged headlong off the bridge to his demise.

At the funeral, the mothers of the two students tried to console each other. The mother of the Auburn student cried, "If I'd only known how much he hated hot dogs, I would have made him something different!" The mother of the Alabama student wailed, "I just don't understand! My poor son made his own lunch every day!"

Now then, I'm gonna go have lunch with My Friend Jeff and swap magazines. I promise we will not be near any bridges.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

News Stories I Quit Reading After the First 64 Words.

House Democrat Wants Immediate Iraq Pullout

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - An influential House Democrat who voted for the Iraq war called Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, another sign of growing unease in Congress about the conflict.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., called for the United States "to immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces."

"With a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentified [...]

Good idea. And while we're at it, let's pull them out of the quagmire of Western Europe and Japan. They've been there for sixty years now, and it's time to let the incentify the Europeans and Japanese. Same thing with those Koreans. Incentify 'em all.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:50 AM | Comments (4)

Christmas Gifts

...for the child who has ALMOST everything.

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

Thursday?! THREE!

Once more, it’s time to put on your thinking caps and see what there is to find out about you. Today’s set of questions were inspired by Chef Tony, who gave us an insight a couple of days back about the type of house he’d like to build for himself if he suddenly became Croesus, Midas, and Bill Gates all rolled into one.

In that theme, then, answer for us these three questions:

1) If you had an unlimited amount of money, what sort of house would you like to have?

2) If you decided to chunk it and go the full Thoreau route, what sort of hovel would you like to have?

3) What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the house or apartment you live in right now?

There you go! In addition to your thinking caps, strap on that tool belt and get to work coming up with your answers. Remember, though--be safe and please don't forget to wear your safety goggles. As is the usual case, anyone in the entire world may play along--just leave a link to your blog in the comments, or if you’ve not managed to get your blog constructed yet, just leave your answers there.

AS for my answers…

1) I would buy the Gamble House in Pasadena. I find it one of the most intensely beautiful and sublime dwellings ever created.

2) Well, actually, I would really like to have an antique steam tugboat that I would live on and chug up and down the Intracoastal Waterway. Or maybe on Smith Lake.

3) We need another bedroom in order to keep the peace. I think we’ve decided to stay put (maybe) and add on to Boy’s room to give him a bit more space, and the area underneath where the patio is now will be enclosed and made into a fifth bedroom. Sometime in this process, I will go stark raving mad and be sent to the mental hospital.

SO, there you go!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:13 AM | Comments (14)

November 16, 2005

The first freeze...

...after the full moon.

Yep, it appears that hog killing time has gotten here again.

Despite getting to gloat about the warm weather the past few weeks, this pretty much signals the start of the cool season.

In honor of our friend, the noble hog, and in anticipation of the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities, I found a recipe that sounds really good. I think I'm going to suggest to someone that we make some up this year.

Andouille Sausage and Corn Bread Stuffing


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:45 PM | Comments (11)

I blame Beethoven.

Because if he'd never written Für Elise, I would not be subjected to it continually playing in all of its tinkly polyphonic ringtoneyness by the guy who seems to believe his cell phone must be on all day (even when he's sitting right beside a telephone) and who seems to believe that it would be somehow inappropriate to mute the ringer while he's in the office, because doing that wouldn't let people know he has important cell phone calls he simply MUST take, and that the best way to let people know that (in addition to loudly answering said phone and carrying on a conversation that was apparently too confidential for the office phone, but not so confidential that it could not be shouted so that all can hear it) would be to install a ringtone that adequately describes his lovely charm and cultured upbringing.

Stupid Beethoven.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:59 PM | Comments (2)

Context? We don' need no steekin' context!

Wordly fun with Eugene Volokh.

It brings to mind my co-worker who thinks A) that "prolithic" is a word, and B) that it means what "prolific" does.

But, I guess the former could be useful for describing rock promoters.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:44 PM | Comments (4)

Time to hitch those pants up under yer armpits, codger!

Doc Joyner turned 40 today, AND got a lovely gift from the IT folks!

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

Hand it to him.

He's certainly blessed with gall.

Bill Clinton calls Iraq 'big mistake'

Best quote? This one:

[...] Clinton said it would have been better if the United States had left Iraq's "fundamental military and social and police structure intact." [...]

And that way, all of us could ceaseless criticize THAT decision.

Make no mistake--there are myriad ways the current situation in Iraq could have turned out different, and better. But that is only in hindsight, and this drivel is nothing but pure politics. There is no guarantee leaving a brutal, ruthless, Ba'athist bureaucracy in place would have translated into a shiny happy trains-running-on-time Iraq free of mayhem and bloodshed.

When East German finally fell, was there a rush to make sure the Stasi was kept intact? Wasn't it enough just to get rid of Honecker? What about the Confederate States? Would anyone have liked to have just kept all the old things the way they were, and maybe just get rid of ol' Jeff Davis?

It is disingenuous in the extreme for Mr. Clinton to acknowledge that, yes, Saddam was a very very bad man, and that it's good he's gone, but then to turn right back around and say that the repressive regime he constructed from the blood and flesh of his own people was somehow worth keeping. And for what? "Stability"? "Security"?


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

Who Knew!?

San Francisco Passes Sweeping Dog Laws

If they have those, I wonder if they have any that can dust and vacuum? Or cut the grass? Surely so--and they're apparently so good at their jobs the mindless bureaucrats believe they have to regulate them. Probably gonna make them get janitorial licenses or something.

Anyway, if I can't have a dog who vacuums, one that will sweep would be a big help.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:38 AM | Comments (3)


Today's joke an old one, shamelessly stolen from

A University of Alabama football player was visiting a Yankee relative in Boston over the holidays. He went to a large party and met a pretty co-ed. He attempted to start up a conversation by asking her, "Where does you go to school?"

The co-ed, of course, was not overly impressed with his grammar or southern drawl, but did answer his question.

"Yale," she replied.

The UA student took a big, deep breath and shouted, "WHERE DOES YOU GO TO SCHOOL?"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:15 AM | Comments (3)

Opening Scene:

EARLY MORNING: It is a chilly and overcast fall morning in a small town. A old silver Volvo sedan putters around the formal square in front of the town's antique middle school building.

DRIVER'S POV: The driver, a father with four children in the car, eases toward the side of the drive, slowing to let two of the children out beside the bandroom--a classroom built underneath the stands of the venerable old stadium. A van is parked perpendicular to the sidewalk, right at the steps the children usually use to mount the sidewalk. In front of the driver, a woman, walking toward him in the street.

DESCRIPTION OF WOMAN: Fiftiesh, approximately spherical, or maybe something of a rounded cube, or possibly the shape 600 pounds of wet sand would be if dropped from a height of 3 feet. Wearing a bright orange jogging suit, and orange visor pulled down low over tiny, piggish eyes. Likewise, has snout and jowls to match eyes. Woman walks with great energy, although without nearly so much forward motion as would be suggested by the energy expended.

DRIVER POV: Driver hesitates slightly as he continues to slow, noticing that the woman in front of him seems to want to continue walking directly into his path. He veers slightly toward the sidewalk and then back out slightly so that the front fender of the car clears the van parked perpendicular to the steps.

WOMAN: Her original pathway, which would have taken her in front of the bumper of the van, is now cut off. She scowls angrily at the Volvo and driver, and seems flummoxed by this intrusion in her path. Shakes head and continues to scowl, as if she is cannot believe anyone would ever use a street to drive upon, nor have the temerity to pull an automobile in front of her. Applying right full rudder, she manages to alter the path of her massive bulk and continues her morning routine of gouging divots in the asphalt as she heaves to and fro. As she passes the side of the Volvo, she studiously maintains her forward gaze, with imperious disdain for the impertinent driver and his beastly vehicle.

DRIVER: Sensing that he might have angered this poor woman, and ever-mindful of various admonitions heard while watching nature programs on television about how dangerous angry water buffalos can be, he maintains careful eye contact with the woman as she walks by, hoping against hope she will turn his way.

At the very last moment, the woman turns her piggish eyes and upturned snout toward the driver to cast one final haughty and hateful glance his way.

Driver smiles broadly, and gives a vigorous, childlike wave of his hand.

Woman quickly turns back forward and gives one more disgusted shake of head before wallowing on toward the corner.

Driver dissolves into peals of laughter.


EPILOGUE: Look, you ugly old battle axe--there's sidewalks all over the flippin' town--USE THEM--and quit walking in the road as if you own it. Yes, I realize you're the size of one of those small Hummers they have out now, but if you insist on pretending to be a truck, AT LEAST GO THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

As you all know--

--I think Alison Krauss is just pretty as a peach, but I don't think this photo is quite so flattering. Nor this one.

Twain (not Mark), on the other hand...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:50 AM | Comments (7)

November 15, 2005

Tonight's Fun?

Well, I can almost guarantee it won't be watching My Name is Earl and The Office. It's audition night for Oldest, who is trying out for another choir competition spot, and for some reason instead of picking her up from Grandmom's and taking her directly to the venue, I have to pick her up from Grandmom's, take her BACK to the high school (where she is right now, rehearsing) and THEN take her to the venue, thus guaranteeing that she will not be on time.

And for once, I can only marvel at the adults who are putatively in charge of these things, who have decided this is the most logical way of handling things.

Oh well. At least my dashboard lights are working now.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Quite Possibly the Worst Headline Ever.

Usually, I find headlines that are unintentional malaprops, but this one about some coins being stolen from Rome's Trevi Fountain is intentionally horrific:

No coins in the fountain....da de da de da de da...

Did someone really think it necessary--or humorous--to add all the da-des? It makes no sense musically, unless this is the shorthand Reuters teaches its editors to write when they deal with music.

I would much prefer it if Reuters stayed away from comedy, and stuck to providing easily parodied imitations of actual news reporting.

Now then, if you need a primer, the preferred styling should be: "Nooooo coins in the fountainnnnnnn..." Draw out the syllables as they would be if you're actually singing it, don't add anything after the ellipsis, and italicize it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

And in other important business of the state...

Riley maintains Alabama tradition by pardoning turkey

The press office of indicted former governor and current candidate for the Democratic nomination for the upcoming gubernatorial race Don Siegelman quickly issued a statement saying that he would not accept the pardon since he was guilty of no crimes, and that the entire process had been clouded by rank partisanship.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

Bottom Story of the Day

Ho ho ho: Men in Mobile taught that Santa is jolly and nice

Apparently the Port City's idea for last year's celebration--Come Meet Satan Claus--didn't go over quite so well as people had thought.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:24 PM | Comments (2)

Time for the Next Installment of Mean-Spirited Taunting!

This was a cute one I picked up over on the WSFA website:

A first grade teacher explained to her class that she was an Alabama fan. She asked her students to raise their hands if they were Alabama fans, too. Not really knowing what an Alabama fan was, but wanting to be liked by their teacher, their hands flew into the air. There was, however, one exception. A little girl named Jane had not raised her hand.

The teacher asked her why she decided to be different. "Because I'm not an Alabama fan," she answered.

Hearing this, the teacher asked, "Well, then, what are you?"

"I'm a proud Auburn fan!" the girl said.

The teacher was more than a little perturbed at this information, and her face grew slightly red. She asked Jane, "Why are you an Auburn fan?"

"Well, my dad and mom are Auburn fans, so I'm an Auburn fan, too," she responded.

The teacher grew even more agitated. "Jane! That's no reason!" she said loudly. "What if your mom was a moron, and your dad was an idiot!? What would you be then?"

Jane smiled and said, "Then I'd be an Alabama fan!"

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

Things I am tired of...

1. Hand held cameras. In EVERY. SINGLE. COMMERCIAL. You know, the black and white indy Super 8 documentary film genre should have long been dead by now. I know the whole idea is to give it that Barton Fink Real Live People Feeling, but, enough. You can buy cheap cameras now that compensate for all that weaving and bobbing, and to sit there and go out of your way to bounce the camera around for stupid commercials for carpet cleaning or life insurance is pretty ridiculous. There are crack addicts who can hold a camera steadier than some of these commercials. It's distracting, and meaningless, and beyond cliched, and I want you all to stop it right now.

2. Animated bugs for various bodily maladies. I am tired of every single drug now being given vaguely anthropomorphic disease avatars to fight--we've got them for toe rot, for fart gas, for boogers, and the most recent one I saw was for migraine headaches. Heaven help us if they start up with little animated bugs for sufferers of the clap.

3. This stupid obsession with car makers trying to make it seem like EVERYONE drives their vehicle. Latest iteration being the stupid commercial with hulking sleeveless wonder Toby Keith, who stops his intro "Built Ford Tough" song after only a few notes to announce that someone driving a Ford truck has left his lights on. The auditorium clears out except for the two gay redneck guys who had been pestering him in an earlier commercial about his "frame." (wink wink).

Anyway, what exactly does this really mean? That Ford truck drivers are so completely idiotic that they ALL leave their lights on? That the person who noticed the lights on couldn't at least narrow things down by noting the color and license plate number? That someone's lights being on is much more important than a Toby Keith concert? (Well, that one I might be able to buy.) It is a mystery. But I wish they'd stop it.

Of course, it's still not as illogical as the Toyota commercial where apparently everyone in the store seems to have parked their Corolla in a no-parking zone. Grr.

4. Finally, whoever is up on the 6th Floor using a hammer drill on the floor, I'm growing weary of that. The noise is highly annoying, and I keep hearing stuff falling on the backside of the ceiling tiles.

Okay, I suppose that's it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)


Just had a reader drop by who found his way here searching for trees thAT BEAR BIG UGLY FRUIT

Why anyone would want to know about that, I have no idea, but it might explain the existence of Michael Moore.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

Condition Red

I was in the van yesterday morning and decided, since it was nearly out of gas, to stop at Sam's Club on the way in after dropping the kids at school and fill up before going on to work.

I pulled in, and the place looked deserted, but the pumps were on, so I knew it was open. I undid the cap, stuck my card in the pump, put the nozzle in the filler tube, locked the handle on, noticed way over on the other side of the parking lot the attendant guy picking up trash, and turned around to relax a bit.

Sam's is up on a hill, and you can see for a long way. It was foggy and cool, and it was very peaceful to look back over toward the hill where I live and see all the trees and the low-slung clouds, and listen to the still quietness. I would like to live up high like this, where you could wake up and look out over a valley of green. So very pretty, even if might be a bit chill and rainy. And it just smelled good--we hadn't had a rain in a while, and so the mist made everything smell alive and fresh agai--"HEY THERE!"

I whirled around in a near panic and standing there right by the door of the van was the chubby little old guy who'd been picking up trash. He'd gotten the drop on me. I stammered and for some reason said "OH, hey, sorry!" and he stood there as impassive as an old heifer, "Looks like we're gonna get some rain today."

I relaxed a bit, and finished out the "conversation" which pretty much went like this: "Yep. But we needed it." "Yeah, it had gotten real dry." "Mmhm. We sure needed some rain." On and on. The pump finally clicked off and I had to make my way over and undo the pump handle and get my receipt, and he continued on chewing his cud and talking about the rain, pretty much seeming to me that he would have continued in this vein the rest of the morning if I'd not had to leave.

The whole thing really spooked me, though. Not the guy--he was just a lonely old guy who has to find someone to talk to or go crazy working at Sam's. But it was the fact that I had been so utterly and completely surprised.

I know some people think it's being paranoid to always have some sense of your surroundings when you're out in public and to be ready to react if necessary, but it's just always the way that I've been. I don't go looking for trouble to get into--I want to stay out of it, and the best way is to know where you are, what's going on around you, how to get away from trouble if you have to, and how to defend yourself if need be. Some defense folks teach a three-color system of awareness--green for when you're totally safe in your home, yellow for anytime you're out in public when you are actively searching for danger, and red, for when the poop hits the blower.

But yesterday, there I was--off wandering in the clouds. I had forgotten my surroundings. I had moved away from safety--out in front of the van instead of beside it. I had turned my back on a wide area behind me. And I had fallen into a deep reverie, ignoring everything.

I was just lucky it was a kindly old gent with a ball cap and a gift of gab--it could just as easily have been someone there to do mischief.

AND ANOTHER THING--don't go sneaking up on folks! You never know who might be packing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:46 AM | Comments (8)

I wonder--

--if he'll start gloating about this over at Frank J.'s place?

High Tide for Aquaman

By Joal Ryan
Mon Nov 14, 7:16 PM ET

Actors with "incredible swimmer's bod[ies]" are encouraged to apply.

So goes a current casting notice for a possible WB series about underwater overachiever Aquaman, according to the fansite

Ideally, the future Arthur Curry--that's Aquaman's alter ego--also should be between "18-24 years old, [have] blond or light brown hair [and, of course, be] drop-dead handsome," the site said, quoting the announcement. [...]

As a reminder, I am still available for the role of superhero Possum-Man.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:38 AM | Comments (11)

November 14, 2005

And to wrap up.

Odds and ends--I forgot one of the things we did Saturday. Looking at houses, again. Always makes for tense conversations. Reba loves to look at house books, and cannot quite seem to understand that we cannot afford anything pricier than what we have. And me, being stupid, had to say that I didn't mind going and looking, but we needed to remember our price range. Again, I am an idiot. Because this statement inevitably leads to pouting. As does my insistence that instead of looking at large expensive house that have fewer bedrooms than what we have now, we should possibly concentrate on the ones that have a greater number.

Yeah, I know, silly me.

While I was busily driving nails in my own coffin, I decided to go on and finish the job by noting that just driving by was pretty worthless, since none of the houses would be open on a Saturday. "BUT WE'RE GOING TO BE AT CHURCH ALL DAY TOMORROW!"

I knew that.

However, after establishing that logic is no longer in residence, I decided that I was up for wasting gas driving around and looking at houses from the outside. Which we did. Finally came to the conclusion that we'd be better off just adding on to the back of our house. Which also takes money. ::sigh::

Let's see, what else? OH, yeah, after we got back, and after lunch sometime, it was time to help Rebecca build a model of DNA for science class. She didn't know what to use, and I suggested using the gummy and otherwise useless Dots candy we had left over from Halloween. These would be the crosswise ladder rungs, and then, hmm. What to use for the long parts? At first, we were going to toothpick some tiny Tootsie-Rolls together, and then toothpick them into the Dots. Then we decided the multi-colored Gummi worms would work better. But we didn't have any of those. ON TO THE STORE, where I had to buy another box of Dots because I ate the only three yellow Dots there were.

BACK TO HOME, where it became increasingly obvious that Gummi worms don't work. I'd gotten the sour kind that have granules on the outside, and after washing all that off of the required colors of worms, they were so sticky they were unusable. So, the phosphate and sugar sides got made out of poster board, colored in alternating blue and white colors. Holes were made with an Xacto blade, opened up a bit with a toothpick, and then the toothpick-conjoined A-T G-C pairs inserted into the holes. After that, the pointy ends of the toothpicks were lopped off with wire cutters, the whole shebang was given the magical twist, and suddenly Watson and Crick appeared in the room to give us a round of polite applause. Not really.

A base was made to hang the thing from, seeing as how DNA is remarkably floppy, and she carefully took it to school today, promising to be careful with it and keep it in her locker.


I remember my locker from school. Somehow, I doubt it will survive for very long. But it was fun. And chewy.

Other things--well, church, and the kids had Bible Bowl, but we sent them on without us. Reba's guts had gotten gutitis and she was feeling poorly all day Sunday, so I stayed home with her and the two younger house demolishers.

OH, and I fixed our home Internet connection--I had an AOL disc and used that to get back online. Yes, I know. But it's better than that People PC crap I was using, and not that much more expensiver. That big ol' cable in the wall sure does look tempting, though...

ANYWAY, that's about it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:29 PM | Comments (3)


Well, I imagine there was stuff to do--I do recall several loads of laundry being done, and other stuff, but the big thing was FOOTBALL!

The Tide couldn't quite pull it out. I'm actually sad--I pulled for them because an LSU loss would have made it mathematically easier for Auburn to be able to have a shot at maybe going to the SEC playoff. Still, in the back of my mind, I kept remembering what Reba related to me about what one of the more obnoxious Bama friends at church said back a few weeks ago, when LSU picked off Auburn in overtime--she sidled up and quietly said to Reba, in the good-natured but still-dead-serious way that the True Believers have--"I am soooo glad LSU won!"

Well, backatcha, woman.

Reba was gracious enough not to say anything to her yesterday. Probably best to wait until after Saturday.

AS FOR AUBURN--what a game. What a game. I can't quite recall one as wild as that, with more lead changes than a NASCAR race, and the sort of high drama that makes you check to make sure you have the ambulance company on speed dial. And poor ol' John Vaughn got that LSU monkey off his back in the best possible way--the winning score in the last six seconds of the game. Hard to beat that.

But they're going to have to, because as we all know, the biggest game of the year comes up in only five more days, meaning this is the kickoff of


Today's cruel jape comes courtesy of Skillzy, who has this gem:

A man showed up at a Bama game with a little dog with a red collar and a little red sweater with an A on the back. The gate guard said “Hey, that’s a cute dog, but you have to have a ticket for him too”. The man replied, “Yes, I know. I take him to all the games. When we beat South Carolina he will run from the top of the stands to the bottom, skipping every other step, when we beat Mississippi State he will walk up and down the aisles on his front paws, and when we beat Ole Miss he will turn little back flips”. The guard smiled and said “well, that’s really something. What does he do when we beat Auburn?” The man looked down and said, “I don’t know, I’ve only had him 3 years”

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

Movie Time.

I had a WHOLE LONG post on here, and it got ate up. Gone. Pif. Grr!

Elizabethtown--didn't want to endure it, so Reba took the older two to that one. Eleven out of ten high-pitched squeally screams.

Chicken Little--I took the younger set to this--critics seem to hate it, I thought it was fine. Cute little animals and all. I'd give it three out of five curly possum tails.


I just sort of write the way I talk, and if I get sidetracked or the post gets disappeared, I just feel stupid re-talking the same thing I just got through saying. It's like having to repeat everything to your hard-of-hearing uncle.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:44 PM | Comments (4)

Oh, yeah--Shopping

Still on Friday--gathered Boy and Tiny Terror with me and left the older girls at home with the idea that if they got hungry, we had plenty of things to make sandwiches out of, and that I would be back pretty soon, and not to answer the door, and to call me if they needed help.

Out the door, and on to Sam's for bulk dry goods, condiments, and canned items, of which, we bought much. And it took forever. Catherine was hungry when we got there and continued to be so, because the sample ladies weren't set up with samples. (Apparently the bit of food she had to begin with didn't count as anything.) Out to the van with everything, loaded, called home, girls had not eaten for some reason. Reminded them that they could. Called Reba, found out I had forgotten something, so had to go back in the store, past the HIGHLY ANNOYING guy shilling newspapers for the band boosters. Grr. Asked me to buy one on the way out, AND on the way back in five minutes later.

Didn't have the forgotten item (that being, Schick Intuition shaver head) so it was off to the actual grocery store for frozen and fresh items. With a stop for breakfast-lunch. Which is nigh unto inexcusable to kids--they could have all the food in the world for lunch, and then whine about having missed breakfast. Or, you can feed them a late "breakfast" with breakfasty foods, and they think they HAVE to eat again at lunch. "You HAD breakfast! Remember? The stuff you got into this morning before we left?!" "No, sir"

"Dad?" said Boy, "I didn't have breakfast."

::sigh:: "Son, I told you to fix yourself something, did you not?"

"No sir."

So, in order for them not to attract Sally Struthers with their withered condition, I stopped at Burger King and got us some lunch. I hadn't had anything, either, so I was hungry, too. Enough to risk getting jumped by the plastic-headed creep who owns the place.

Thus replenished, we went back down the hill, over the interstate, back over another hill, and down it, to Main Street, turned right, and stopped at Winn Dixie, mainly because they have really good NutraSweet sweetened sweet tea already made up in big gallon jugs. MMmm. Shopped, bought stuff, loaded it all up, and to home. Pretty good--back by noon:30.

Unloaded with our usual teamwork, put stuff away, found out that Oldest was intensely jealous that we had stopped to buy lunch, even though she slept until after 11, and had managed to make herself an egg and toast and could have made several varieties of sandwiches. Seems that having to actually MAKE the lunch is almost more than she could tolerate. I very nearly asked her if she's so put-out by ALL THAT EFFORT if next time she'd like one of us to chew her food up for her.

I said "nearly"--you have to pick your battles.

As it was, her being miffed meant that she stayed locked up in her room that much longer, delaying the inevitable time before she would emerge to pick fights with her siblings.


You may have noticed I don't post about these struggles as I used to--I can't help it. It just presses all my angry buttons again, and I'd rather not have them pushed continually. And I can't really say what I'd like to say and still stay within the bounds I have set for this venue. I might have to start an anonymous blog...

ANYWAY, the other part of the afternoon was spent urging the children to clean their rooms--the incentive being that Mom had promised a movie night, contingent upon all the driftjunk being cleaned up.

Which is was, eventually, with no time to spare, but enough to allow MOVIE TIME!

Next: Possumovie Reviews!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:43 PM | Comments (8)

I believe it probably sounded better in Latin--"bucketum kickus"

From Steevil the Sailor Man (and famous rocket scientist), this article from something called AGI Online, which, as he notes, contains a rather adventuresome translation:

(AGI) - Vatican City, Nov 11 - The legacy of Pope John Pail II "includes, among various examples, a shining attitude towards prayer. We now pick up his spiritual heritage under the guidance of his heavenly intercession," said today Pope Benedict XVI during a sermon to celebrate late cardinals and bishops. "Over the last 12 months," said the current Pope, "we have had five revered cardinals who kicked the bucket: Juan Carlos Aramburu, Jan Pieter Schotte, Corrado Bafile, Jaime Sin and, less than a month ago, Giuseppe Caprio. [...]

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

My mother!

Gets me to look all that stuff up for her (even though she could do it from her desk, seeing as how she has that Internet stuff at work just like I do) and in the middle of all this, I find out she's going to be at my SISTER'S house in MOBILE for THANKSGIVING! The NERVE of her running away like that!

We might just have to make the drive down, just to foil her evil plan of avoiding us.

As for roofing, it's hard to do over the phone, but basically, she just needs a nice, basic, 25 year, three-tab 225# fiberglass type. So many different people make them that I told her she needs to just call several roofers, get them to give her a price, and give her the product information on the type of shingle they intend on nailing down, and then we can compare them after we know what they want to use.

And with her trying to skip out on the bill like that, I'm gonna add in a pecan pie. That'll show her.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:49 PM | Comments (3)


A day off? Oh, you! Silly person!

I had the day off, and the kids were out of school, but Reba had to go in. Meaning, I had to wake her up and make sure she got out of bed. But I was tired, you know?

Clock went off at 6:00, I rolled over and smashed it with my pins-and-needles inflamed arm that I had been crushing underneath my body, then flopped back over and told Reba it was time to get up, sweetie.

I think she got up--there was certainly a lot of bounding and slapping of the mattress, and pulling of blankets and noises and other things designed to make the remaining few minutes of near-sleepfulness as unrestful as possible for me. Being that a certain wife of mine seems to think it unthinkable that I would want to go back to sleep.

I did anyway. Until it was time for her to leave, when she loudly woke up the children to tell them goodbye, and then came back in the room to tell me goodbye, which I'm not angry that she did, because it DID mean I got some sugar, but still, it would have been nice for all the kids not to be up and rummaging through things as I drifted back off to sleep. Never know what sort of trouble they could gesnnxxxxxx.

I vaguely remember the garage door going up, and floating back somewhere warm. Until I heard the wakeup call again--"Terry? TERRY!"

"Uhuw? Blan?"

"You're left front tire on the Volvo looks low."


"Thanks--it was running low last night when I went to my meeting, and I guess it's got something in it. I'll fix it when I get up."

I sure would like to have been able to go back to sleep, but she was just trying to be helpful, so it's not nice to have wished for more sleep.

I finally got up when Catherine or Jonathan came in and said they were hungry. Up, dress, shave, brush, downstairs, and--hmm. We need to go grocery shopping. I fixed them what we had left in the way of breakfasty type things, and sat down to make a list whilst watching Regis Lee and Kelli Lee. Ick.

While the kids finished up breakfast, I ran and grabbed my rubber fixing stuff and the car keys.

Yep, it was flat alright.

Thankfully, only on the bottom.

[Cue laff track!]

I cranked it up and rolled it forward--nothing--then backwards--BINGO! Big ol' screw right down into the tread. Actually, a good thing. Nothing worse than trying to track down a hole when the hole-making thing is no longer in place.

Got the rasp, pliers, hook and strip. Put some glue on the rasp and laid it on top of the tire, pulled the screw out, ran the rasp in and out, then jammed the sticky strip in, twisted, and pulled it back out. Aired it up, and done. I may put up a sign at the street advertising my tire-mending skills.

Then, while the kids were still scrounging for Cheerios in the floor of the cupboard, I thought I would go ahead and fix the dashboard lights while I had a moment. I had thought I could snake my hand up behind there and pull the two bulbs that "illuminate" the dashboard. Even under the best of circumstances, these things put out about as much light as a squished lightning bug. I had gotten two higher wattage bulbs on the way home the night before (upon the recommendation of a frequent Volvo bulletin board poster named Volvodad--I mean, how could he be wrong!?) but it looked as though the only way to really get the thing done would be to once more pull the cluster out of the dash.

Practice makes perfect, I suppose. I had it out, the bulbs changed, and it back in and wired up again in about ten minutes. I may put up a sign at the street advertising my Volvo instrument cluster removal skills. Of course, I couldn't SEE if it was working, since it was blazing bright sunshine. So, I went inside and got my jacket and pretended the whole thing was one of those old cameras where the guy hides under the black sheet. HEY! THEY WORK! I think. Still a bit hard to tell, but I think it did work. Later on Friday evening, I went out and checked, and sure enough, the dashboard lit up like brand new! Only, now the clock won't light up. It was working fine, until I fixed the dashboard lights.


Oh well, I guess it's better to know how fast you're going at night than how late you are.

NOW, that's all done, so it's time to go a'shopping!

Next: Going A'shopping!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:33 PM | Comments (4)


I just now tried calling her back, and she'd gotten busy on something at work. SO, Tales of the Building Committee!

It was fine--they'd gotten a contractor to work up a budget price, and other than it being way more than we thought, everything else continues apace. The drawings should be finished by the end of the month, which is, of course, almost here. Yikes. Someone needs to get busy getting stuff together to take bids.

The process has been relatively easy--after settling on a floor plan. That took some doing, mainly because of the occasional lack of focus on what we're trying to get done. I would have liked a bit more forcefulness from the architect to keep the thing going, but he's usually willing to do whatever he's told. Which is good in some ways, but if you're being told eleventy-hundred different things, it makes it a bit harder. The other thing is trying to make people understand how big something is. I know, because I do it all the time, but if you tell someone a room's 600 square feet, and they have no frame of reference, you might as well be telling them it's 600 bleeg flinbs. One fellow in particular seems obsessed with the size of certain rooms, even after having us point out exactly how big something is by marking it off in comparison to an actual room. It'll be bigger than anyone can believe.

We also had a nice meeting with them after church last night. They came and showed a PowerPoint presentation of the site plan and floor plans and talked a bit about it, and either everyone was more or less pleased, or just didn't really care that much, because there were only a few questions. I am hoping this is because we have bent over backwards to get input on this thing all along and have tried to make sure as many of the concerns are met as best we can ahead of time, rather than waiting until the last minute. I hope. (Boy, I hope.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:31 AM | Comments (2)


You're just gonna have to set a spell--my mother just called before I had to go to my staff meeting, and she's needing expert advice on roof replacement for her house. I told her to call an expert, but I suppose she thinks she should get SOMETHING for all that money she spent on me to send me to school. So I have to do some looking for shingles for her.

I also have to get my invoice typed up for her, too.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:44 AM | Comments (4)

Well, now, THAT was a weekend!

Stay tuned throughout the day for scintillating tales of suburban intrigue, with shocking tales from Paradise Along the Pinchgut such as The Building Committee Meeting; Don't Let Me Sleep; Car Repair; Grocerying; AOL Again; Movie Review Time; House Looking; What Is It With LSU and Overtime?; DNA and Candy!; Hunker All You Want, You Hairy Dogs; More Building Committee Fun; and I am Very Sleepy.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2005


To the men and women who have served this nation, may God grant you rest and comfort. To those who continue to serve, may God grant you protection from harm, and courage to fulfill your duty. To you all, my profound thanks.

See you Monday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

Possumblog Sports Center!

Time for our weekly prognostication!

But, being that everyone has gone home early for Veterans Day, including Avi, the Football Pickin' Chicken, I am left here by myself. Also, I have suddenly gotten busy on actual paying work instead of my non-paying, non-blogging, research project.

So, when it comes to The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry (stretching out as it does over the 19th, 20th, and now the 21st Centuries), I will say the final score will be #15 ranked Auburn 24-- #9 ranked Georgia 21.

Kickoff will be at 6:45 CT, and unless you want to make Coach Tommy angry, you'll listen to it on the radio rather than watch it on ESPN.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:12 PM | Comments (3)

What am I doing?

Research. I have an idea for something, and I have to know what I'm talking about before I commit anything to paper. Or pixels, as the case may be. Thus the astounding lack of real content.

But, by way of doing a little added research, are any of you ever curious about the secondary cast of people you read about in history? The ones who were there when an event unfolded, and although they are integral to the story, their names are lost? You ever wonder what sorts of lives they lived, or how their lives might have changed by being so close to history?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:38 AM | Comments (18)

The Assimilation Nears Completion

I was obviously very late today, but due to no fault by anyone in our family. Reba and I have had to take separate cars this past two weeks because she's been tied up with billing at work, so I am unfettered by the potential for errors in judging preparation time.

HOWEVER, I can't control everyone else, and so this morning someone got the bright idea of recreating the recent Parisian carflagration on the side of I-59 inbound to Birmingham. Right there around Roebuck Parkway, meaning the usual delays and backups were exacerbated by flames and emergency vehicles and rubberneckers. I had originally planned to go on and go that way, but it was all at a dead stop, so at the last moment I decided to hop on I-459 and link up with I-20 down the road a ways. Just like everyone else.

Yep, it was jammed, too. But at least it WAS moving.

Now, unbeknownst to me, Miss Reba, who left the house before the kids and I, decided to go straight through. And, obviously, became mired down. In one of those odd coincidences, it seems that even though I had taken the kids to school, and gone a completely different route, when I-20 and I-59 finally merged into one at the airport exit, I had managed to arrive at the on ramp at just the same time as Miss Reba.

Again, I did not realize this until she called a few minutes ago and said I had an AWFULLY intense look on my face when I merged in front of her. I hadn't even realized she was there!

BUT, the most important part of the conversation, and the topic of this post--"Yeah, I was just toodling along, and I saw this old silver Volvo come by, and I thought, 'Hey, that's a pretty good-looking Volvo,' and it was all shiny, and had nice shiny taillights, and then I realized, 'HEY! That's TERRY!"

Surely you see the signs that my "I Am A Moron" Project has finally reached a fatal level on those around me!


A) She sees a car, and can correctly identify it as a Volvo.

B) Despite the poor condition of the paint on top of the car, she still seems to think it looks pretty good for its age.

C) She notices inconsequential items such as the taillights.

and D) She notices all of this without being prompted AND without at first realizing it was her moronic husband's car!


I won't even go into when we went out to eat this past Sunday, and she noticed a late model C70 parked next to us that had headlight wipers, and she asked me if mine had those, and I told her no, but that it had space for them and they could be installed, and she didn't say, "Well, don't get any bright ideas," but rather, "Those look so CUTE!"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:31 AM | Comments (10)

Never being ones to let a mere trifle such as WORK stand in the way of a good time…

We herewith bring forth yet another round of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

And entirely appropriate to the occasion, given the amount of stuff I have to do, it this week's questions are both supplied by our intrepid University Research Cadre AND deal with work! Hard to beat that, my friends.

SO, to get right into it:

1. What is the thing you like best about your job?

2. What one thing--mind you THING (i.e., not people)--that you would like most to change about your job?

3. What do you wish people knew about your job that you think they don’t?

Now, just because you don’t get a paycheck DOESN’T mean you can’t play along--working at home with kids is just as much a job as coming to work in a dead gray civil-service job of never-ending meaninglessness.

Not that I know anyone with a job like that.

Also, don’t get yourself into trouble by being more forthcoming than you should if you think it might get back to Those In Charge. Other than that, feel free to play along by leaving your answers in the comments below, OR by leaving a link to the answer on your blog.


As for my answers--

1. Well, there is good pay and good benefits, and it’s inside work, and the odds of being crushed by a steam roller are relatively small, and I get to leave at 5:00, and it’s not particularly onerous, despite my constant complaints.

2. It would be nice to actually be able to do something creative, since that was the original job description, rather than being relegated to brevet assistant trainee to the acting assistant vice-assistant peon. Then again, there is more free time in such a posting.

3. I would like people to know that just because I work in this job doesn’t mean I am a complete idiot. I get along relatively well with the brain I have, and the fact that I don’t rip a new one for certain fair citizens who come in here full of bluster and protestations about how much they pay in taxes is not an indication of mental incapacity. It is merely that I’m being polite.

So there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:42 AM | Comments (14)

November 09, 2005

Okay, you know I'm not scholar of ancient mythology, but--


I was just reading a blog that talked about Cassandra-like people who keep spouting off predictions that never come true. And twice within the last year, Brock "Cannonball Run" Yates has in the pages of Car and Driver likened Democrats to Cassandra, again for their Chicken Littleness and timidity about this or that, and their general inability to couch the future in any but the most dire terms.

But, doggone it, even a dumb hick like me should know that Cassandra's problem wasn't inaccuracy--it was not being listened to. Everyone thought she was off her nut and refused to believe her, even when she was proven to be right. Seems she got Apollo all hot and bothered and got him to give her a nice gift of prophecy and some jewelry and a gift card to Crete and Barrel, but when she said, "thanks, but I'd really rather just be friends" (because he was all stuck on himself, being a god and all) he got all mad and finagled around with her gift so that it still worked, but no one would give her any heed.

She's the one who told the Trojans to watch out for those Greek guys bringing them stuff (and that Laocoon dude told 'em, too), but they didn't listen, and so when the Greek pledges parked an RV outside their stadium, the Trojans thought they were trying to make nice and be friends and so they drove it on in and during the night after the bonfire and pep rally and the Trojans were all asleep (i.e. too much Long Island tea), the pledges slipped out of the RV and pennied the Trojans in their dorm rooms and did a panty raid on the sororities.

Or so I've been told.

ANYway, Cassandra's problem was not being listened to, not that she was wrong. So stop using her for that.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:25 PM | Comments (12)


People can be SO cruel! All I got was a penny, and I found that myself on the ground!


I wish I could find some initiative to do something to this pile of junk on my desk. Or in the chair. Or on the table.

But, if nothing else, at least gasoline is back down to something approaching reason--filled up last night at Sam's for $2.299 a gallon. Although with my lunch of a leftover-from-last-night homemade chicken burrito with rice and beans, I believe I will be making plenty of gas for free. You probably didn't want to know that, though, did you? Sorry. Forget I said it.

Now then, after wasting several minutes, it's time to get back to staring at the mountain of silly crap on my desk and trying to figure out which of it can be safely ignored.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

What? A morning?

My brain hurts real bad like.

Long meeting, lots of notes, walked in to the office to a sheaf of papers in my real in-box and crowds of pixels in my electronic in-box, and Members of the Public wanting to chat for a while, and I would really just like to take off from work today and go sit on a park bench and accost passers-by for small change.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:00 AM | Comments (4)

November 08, 2005

I wonder if we can get a Mount Prospect City police car as our band car?

Larry Anderson, recovering from arm surgery but gamely typing away as some sort of perverse physical therapy, wonders this:

[...] I see that Nate McCord is learning to play the dulcimer so maybe we can form the Axis of Weevil Band and get famous. Jim Smith could send in some licks and we could get the Possumman to sing a few lines and the next thing you know, we have us a hit.

Oh, and from reading some other Weevilites, I think there are several musicians on the rolls who could contribute.

You know what? That really does sound like fun, although I'm not sure how we could pull it off given the widespread nature of the Redneck Diaspora.

So, who all do we have out there in the Axis of Weevil who are musically inclined? And how could we cut a record and still be all spread out all over the country like this? And could it include storytelling as well as music?

You know, having the first All-Blogger Band would be pretty cool.

As would riding around in the Bluesmobile.

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

Okay, so maybe I might have time to play despite my protestations to the contrary.

But only because the subject is so important.

Before we start: When is a door not a door?

When a door is ajar!


Now then, on to the scientific part of this: Women May Enjoy Humor More, if It's Funny

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
Tue Nov 8,11:11 AM ET

WASHINGTON - The difference between the sexes has long been a rich source of humor. Now it turns out, humor is one of the differences.

Women seem more likely than men to enjoy a good joke, mainly because they don't always expect it to be funny.

"The long trip to Mars or Venus is hardly necessary to see that men and women often perceive the world differently," a research team led by Dr. Allan L. Reiss of the Stanford University School of Medicine reports in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

But they were surprised when their studies of how the male and female brains react to humor showed that women were more analytical in their response, and felt more pleasure when they decided something really was funny.

"Women appeared to have less expectation of a reward, which in this case was the punch line of the cartoon," said Reiss. "So when they got to the joke's punch line, they were more pleased about it."

"Less expectation of a reward"? Sounds sorta what Reba thought about me.

Women were subjecting humor to more analysis with the aim of determining if it was indeed funny, Reiss said in a telephone interview.

Men are using the same network in the brain, but less so, he said, men are less discriminating."It doesn't take a lot of analytical machinery to think someone getting poked in the eye is funny," he commented when asked about humor like the Three Stooges.

While there is a lot of overlap between how men and women process humor, the differences can help account for the fact that men gravitate more to one-liners and slapstick while women tend to use humor more in narrative form and stories, Reiss said.

I wonder if that means women find Possumblog much funnier than men do?

The funnier the cartoon the more the reward center in the women's brain responded, unlike men who seemed to expect the cartoons to be funny from the beginning, the researchers said. [...]

Now I really do have a question about that--what is the purpose of a cartoon OTHER than to be funny? That is, the whole genre of art devoted to comic depictions of real life is at its heart intended to be employed for its ability to produce comic effect. To expect a cartoon to be funny ahead of reading the punchline seems to be a reasonable expectation.

Reiss' team studied the response of 10 women and 10 men to 70 black-and-while cartoons, asking them to rate the jokes for how funny they were. While the volunteers were looking at the cartoons their brains were being studied with an MRI to determine what parts of the brains were responding.

In large part, men and women had similar responses to humor, using parts of the brain responsible for the structure and context of language and for understanding juxtaposition.

In women, however, some areas were more active than in men. These included the left prefrontal cortex, which the researchers said suggests a greater emphasis on language and executive processing, and the nucleus accumbens, or NAcc, which is part of the reward center.

Reiss said he was surprised at the NAcc finding. The researchers theorized that because women were being more analytical they weren't necessarily expecting the cartoons to be as funny as did the men.

Then, when they saw the punch line, the reward center lit up, indicating something pleasant and unexpected. [...]

I wonder if they did any research on the effect of a cartoon that was decidedly UNfunny--if men expect humor up front, and women don't, what would be the effect of showing them something by, say, Ted Rall?

I suppose that's probably in the next research grant proposal.

Oh, and before I forget, one for the rocket scientists amongst you.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:19 PM | Comments (7)

Dern it all!

Every time I start getting ready to play, someone keeps coming in here wanting me to do something. And it's never anything cool, like, "Say, put this million dollars in your bank account," or, or, uhh, "Say, put this TWO million dollars in your bank account!" It's always something stupid and menial, because I have a reputation as being someone who won't mock and curse people when they can't figure out how to COPY A BLEEDIN' DOCUMENT FROM ONE FOLDER TO ANOTHER!

And then, there's the paperwork. Mindless, meaningless, but required so that some other mindless meaningless paperwork doesn't get jammed up and cause everyone to ::piff:: disappear into a cloud of bureaucratic smoke.

In other words, today seems as though it's going to be completely devoted to fulfilling my drone-like job duties rather than getting to play. I have a meeting in fifteen minutes, and then have to get ready for my twice-monthly obstructionists meeting tomorrow, and there's this, and that, and two of those, and some of these.

BUT, just in case I don't get a chance to get back to blogging later on this afternoon, I want to give an extra special thank-you to Jordana Adams for sending me a spiffy Iomega ZipCD 650 USB compatible CD burner. She said a while back that she and Justin have had it forever and never used it much, and that she was terribly tired of my constant harping about not having one. (I'm paraphrasing on that last part--she'd never be so unkind as to say it, but I know it's intended as an electronic "shut-UP!" to get me to stop being such a whiny baby.) I want to thank her and Justin and all the kiddies for the wonderful gift, and I promise to start filling up CDs with all sorts of worthless junk as soon as possible!

Anyway, time to go meet for a while.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:15 PM | Comments (11)

You know, this is pretty darned hard to beat.

Fall, with all its suddenly vibrant colors (as I told you about last week) and to top it off, a record-setting 82 degrees yesterday. And more of the same today.

Certainly beats gray, damp, and cold.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:42 AM | Comments (13)

Silly old work.

I have some stuff to get done this morning, but will be through in a relatively short amount of time so I can come and play.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2005

And lest I forget...


I know they kept saying in the post-game that they hadn't planned on doing anything tricky with the defense--just plain ol' vanilla.

But doggone it all, that's a little TOO plain for my tastes--not vanilla, but more like unsweetened fat-free vanilla-flavored non-dairy frozen dessert.

This upcoming Saturday, I sure hope we give Georgia fifty gallons of double fudge peanut-butter ice cream with whipped cream and caramel, served on a walnut brownie the size of a double bed.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Part II

Danger blah blah Volvo blah DON'T READ blah blah.

So, anyway, to bed Saturday night, where I had a long fitful night wondering how to fix that dumb ol' dashboard, and trying to remind myself NOT to forget to reattach the two tiny rubber teats on each of the defroster vents that hold the vents in place on the metal hangy-downy brace.

Up early Sunday, blech. Found out that Good Morning, America is now broadcasting in high definition. Blah. But I also came to the conclusion that Marysol Castro is very attractive. And to think up until now I'd been watching the early morning huntin' and feeshin' show. No more.

Finally got out of bed and started getting dressed when I had an entire thought cross my mind. After making sure that I had not been harmed by it, I analyzed what I'd just thought--you know when I said it always helps to have a digital camera standing by when you do any sort of destruction? Well, as I was putting on my socks, it occurred to me that I might just have taken a snapshot of the exact thing I was having trouble with. I hurriedly finished dressing then went through and rousted the kids and told them to start getting ready. I went downstairs to "go put the Bibles in the van for church" and after doing that unlocked the car, grabbed the camera and went back through my pictures, and BINGO! Sure enough, big as day, this--

That cable DID run outside and underneath! I loosened the screws again and pulled the cable back out and through to its intended place, shoved the dash back into place, screwed it in, and PRESTO! PERFECT! I also remembered the four rubber nibs and pulled them back into place and then--

Whoa. Wait just a minute. Glovebox light wire. Hanging down. Between the dashboard support and the dashboard. In my haste, I hadn't quite moved it out of the way, and now it was wedged in there without a way out. The wire had a big connector on one end, and the light on the other.


::vows to self to hunt down this Murphy fellow and beat him with a brick::

I looked it over, and loosened the screws again to see if I could get enough space. Nope.

Reached over, got the wire cutters, and snipped it into. I'd splice it later.

Having successfully avoided getting my church clothes dirty, I thought it best to quit while I was ahead and finish getting everyone ready for church.

Off to church, which was very nice, then on to lunch at the Chinese place. "We've really got to hurry, because I want to finish getting the car fixed."

"Is it still not finished?"

::ghost of Ralph Kramden enters my body, is quickly escorted out lest my body become dead as well due to ill-thought-out rash comment::

"Um, no--I still have to get the instrument panel back in and everything fixed back."

Luckily, Reba and Ashley and Rebecca had a trip to the library planned, so as soon as we got home, I jumped out and ran and put on my work clothes as they went and did something else. I had about three hours to work.

Reinstalled the vents, hooked the gauges back up (another tip--always mark the bundle of wires with the appropriate gauge using a piece of tape and a marker)

Put in the instrument panel, carefully hooking everything up again, and got it just about ready to go. Figured I'd drive down to the foot of the hill to pick up a wire nut and some vacuum tubing and check and make sure the odometer was still working correctly.

Backed up, out into the street.


::shakes fist at Murphy AGAIN!::

The speedometer was working, but not the odometer. Meaning, after I got back from the foot of the hill, I was going to have to take the instrument cluster BACK out, and take it apart AGAIN, and see what I messed up the FIRST time, when I really didn't have to take it apart AT ALL!

Got back, pulled the cluster (and believe me, this thing is becoming a great big cluster-) went to the kitchen table, carefully pulled the speedometer out, carefully pulled the odometer motor, carefully pulled the bigger gear out, looked, looked, hmm, WHA! WHOA! @$$#!&^%!*#@$!%!!

I had just dropped the odometer drive gear, which included the tiny white gear I had spoken of earlier. Into the kitchen floor. Full of crumbs and toy beads and hair and other unspeakable things.


It is at this point where I reenact the scene from Wrath of Khan where Mr. Rourke is screaming, except this time I'm screaming "MURPHYYYYYYY!" Yes, I realize it doesn't have the same effect without costuming and special effects.

I carefully began looking--AHA! Here it is!

But, but...


The tinier part of the gear had come loose and was nowhere to be found.

Start sweeping. Sweep, sweep. Under the table. Under the stove. Into the utility closet. Move table and sweep. Establish a pile of sweepings large enough for its own area code. No tiny gear.

I sat down to plot my next move and to figure if it would be appropriate to cry a lot. Figured I was going to have to just order ANOTHER gear, at 20 bucks a pop.

In desperation, I got down onto my stomach and pressed the side of my throbbing head to the cold vinyl floor. I looked and looked and...


Is it?

It IS! I think!

I got up and walked over to the foot of the stairs. ::sigh:: Nope. Sure did look like it, though. WAIT! THERE IT IS!

Like finding a solid gold gold-making machine!

I pounced on it and rubbed it and made sure its little teeth were clean and then went to put it back into its place and...and--hmm. I wonder which side goes up?

Yes, I had forgotten again. Figured it out, though, I did! Buttoned it back up, ran outside, plugged it back in again, screwed everything down, did a test run--PERFECTION! IT WORKS! IT WORKS!

Back to the driveway, fixed the vacuum hose with my new tubing and connector, fixed the glovebox light's severed wire, stuck the box back in, and now--TAA-DAAAA!

This is from my side--

and this is from your side--

So nice and shiny and uncracked. For now.

Only bad thing? My main instrument panel lights don't work--I swapped in a couple of what I thought were new bulbs, and they apparently are burned out.

Meaning? I have to take that instrument panel out again.


Ran upstairs and changed back into my church clothes, off to church for a couple of early meetings, then had worship, where some guy led singing even though he had a smear of sticky black tar on his forearm that he couldn't get cleaned off before he went to church, then back to the house, then to Grandma's house to take her her birthday present, I fell asleep on the couch, then back home, supper, and to bed, and now I'm here today!

I am still very sleepy, for some reason.

UPDATE: Skinnydan, bless his heart, wanted to see what the OLD dashboard looked like. I have some photos on the camera that are better, but this is the one I brought with me today of the thing sitting in the garage.

Remember, crack is whack.

This is a big ol' picture, so don't be alarmed when you click on it to read my stellar prose and scientific explanations.

AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT--here's the topmost wheel in the stack. If you look at the dashboard picture, you'll see a wooden creeper standing behind it. Behind the creeper is my stacked stash of wheels.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:55 PM | Comments (15)

A Fo'cible Function!

Got to Tuscaloosa, pulled over and conferred with the man who works down there every day about where we were supposed to go. He had no idea. So, we went on.

Turned onto University Boulevard and he stopped at a Chevron station and asked some girl, then the guy inside, exactly how to get to the Moody Music Building.

"Up two lights, turn right, then it'll be on your right."

Which actually turns out to have been entirely incorrect. Oldest had told Reba earlier in the day the building was right across the street from Bryce Hospital. There was a sign that said "Bryce" but Grandad went right on past that. Turned around, went back, and I turned that way. Found Bryce, but no music building. Accosted some Southwest Asian kid on a bike, he said it was that way, he thought, maybe. Turned that way, asked some kid in a ball cap climbing into a pickup. He said it was back THAT way, turn right, then left, then right again, and it'll be on the right. Turned BACK around, turned right, then left onto University, then back right. HEY, LOOK! Moody Music Building--great big building, all lit up, right there on the main drag.

Seems that initial instruction was meant to be "go two lights and turn LEFT, etc."

No matter.

Dropped off the passengers, went and parked. Walked back, and noticed that I was the only adult with a suit on. Was greeted by Oldest who'd been working hard all day, went inside, took the kids to the bathroom, and finally went on in and settle down for the concert.

The Concert.

It was very, very nice. The room, however, didn't lend itself to choral work. I'm not sure what the deal was--maybe they didn't have the sound boards above the stage tuned right or something, but unless it was one of the big groups, and unless they were REALLY putting out the power, it all sounded a bit muddy and quiet. On the other hand, the two times they had string accompaniment, a violin and a violincello--the instruments popped out with great clarity.

Despite that, the kids from all the groups did a wonderful job, especially the kids from Lee High School in Huntsville.


Whoever keeps slamming those #@$-%$&^# doors!

YOU! OLD WOMAN with the CELL PHONE who won't turn it off when it rings, but instead clambers up and hits everyone in the back of the head with your big purse as you leave your seat and go outside as the FOOL THING CONTINUES TO RING!




I have never been to anything with so many incredibly rude and noisy audience members. You people ought to be ashamed of yourselves.


Now then, concert over at 8:30, time to head home with a fill-up first with some cheap Tuscaloosa gasoline ($2.389) and something from Arby's, since I was well nigh onto hungry.

Home, to bed.

Now I'm going to go cover the front desk while the secretary eats her lunch. I haven't had mine yet.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

WARNING: Graphic Volvo Content! Do not read extended entry if you are likely to be offended by such content!

Finally, finally, finally!

Did one more read-through of my instruction sheet that I wish to thank Dave Shannon for providing, got my tools, and set to work.

One thing I want to say for sure--although Reba thinks it's weird for me to take pictures of what I'm doing, it turned out to be a lifesaver. So always have a digital camera handy, and take pictures as you go along.

I won't go into all the details here--that Dave guy's site pretty well covers it all. Except for the part about just exactly how hard it is to get the fool thing out of the car. Obviously, it was constructed without the steering wheel in place, and to try to maneuver the thing out with the tiller in the way creates many problems. But not insurmountable. And unlike some things, this would not have been any easier with two people. Basically, it's just not meant to be done. As if that could stop me.

Anyway, I did get it all torn up and after I got down to the guts inside the dash, I tried to figure out what went wrong with my defroster. It puts out about as much warm breath as a corpse. Before I tore into everything, I figured out I wasn't getting any vacuum to the damper controls--I could push the buttons all I wanted to and nothing different would happen.

SO, I played with the vacuum servos for a bit and could tell they had enough seal to work--one would move when I squished the other. Hmm. I wonder if there's a vacuum line loose outside in the engine?

Popped the hood, and started looking for rubber lines coming out of the dashboard. Found a couple of electrical connectors that I have no clue what they do, and then finally, the open end of an old greasy rubber tube with tape on the end. BINGO! I pulled it up from behind the cylinder head and traced it back around to the firewall. Well, that's where it goes TO, I wonder where it hooks into the engine?!

I looked around the intake manifold, and right there in plain view, a nice little copper elbow, begging for a rubber tube to violate. I cut the brittle end of the rubber tube off, stretched it as far as I could and pulled a bit out of the firewall, snugged it onto the the elbow, cranked up the car, and HOORAY! The little vacuum servos went back and forth just like they should, delivering air to the defroster ducts, and the floor vents, and a blast of air out the center when called upon! Yippee! (Yes, I was happy to figure that out.) Shut it off and heard the satisfying ::sighhhhh:: of the vacuum reservoir leaking down. Apparently, I've been driving around without any sort of damper control since I bought it, being that this is the first time I've heard that whoosh when I shut down. Very nice. Sometime after I got things back together, I decided I would get some more tubing to make the engine line a bit longer--it was stretched further than it should, and it needs to have some slack for when the engine rocks back and forth.

OF COURSE, after my successful tracking down of this item, this morning I just found out that the guy whose website has the dashboard replacement ALSO has a tip on fixing the vacuum line. Almost the same thing as what I did. I sure wish I had read that beforehand.

Anywho, while the dash was out, I looked at everything and marvelled at the junk crammed in there, and watched the very entertaining windshield wiper arms and cables and pulleys operate. OH, and I had to work on my odometer, too!

See, it kinda makes a bit of a herky-jerky motion as the numbers on the trip odometer go around, and as you recall, I replaced the tiny white gear inside the guts of the thing when I first started driving the car. Well, I thought that it was possible I had put the tiny gear in upside down on its tiny little spindle, and maybe it was causing things to drag. So, I took the instrument panel inside, pulled the speedometer head, opened up the odometer motor, looked at the gear, and satisfied myself that I had indeed put it in the right way. I buttoned everything back up and went back to work.

It was about lunchtime, but I couldn't eat, because I was running out of time, and I wanted to get the new dash in before we had to leave. And added to this was the fact that while she was at TJ Maxx, Reba had gotten a bottle of some sort of Moroccan marinade that had pomegranate juice in it, along with vinegar. LOTS of vinegar. The whole kitchen smelled horrible--she was cooking some steak strips for the kids to have some fajitas, and the overpowering vinegar smell was more than I could take.


Now then, getting the new dash into place.

As hard as the old dash was to get in, the replacement was even harder to get in.

I didn't care too much if I broke something on the old one, but the new one I had to be extra super special careful. Which was impossible. After much grunting and pushing and pulling and aligning pegs with holes and shoving and grabbing, I finally had it more or less in position. Started screwing in the many screws, found that I had one of the light switches caught between the framework and the dash. Undo, move, rescrew. Then, the cable.

Great huge thing running under the ignition switch. Little did I remember that the cable had originally run OUTSIDE the dash, and I was doing ALL I COULD to ram it back up under the pad. No luck, obviously. GRR! What was I doing wrong!?

"Terry, it's..."


It had gotten to be 4:00, and Reba had come out--fully dressed and ready to go--to remind me. We were supposed to leave at 4:00. And I was still covered in sweat and smears of sticky soundproofing mastic. And my dashboard was still not in right. And I had to get a shower and put on nice clothes, because I thought it was a nice clothes event.

I locked up my stuff and took off upstairs, rather in a put-out mood, I must say.

Showered, washed my hair, shaved, brushed my teeth, deodorized, put on my shirt, pants, socks, shoes, belt, tie, loaded my pockets, grabbed my suit coat--4:15. Quite possible the fasted pit stop I've ever accomplished.

All because Reba's mom wanted to leave at 4:00 so we could get there and find a parking place. Reba called to let them know we were just now leaving. They weren't ready to go.


We went on toward their house--they were going to follow us down, and Reba's dad had told her they'd wait for us at the turnaround at the entrance to the neighborhood. Got to the light, turned, and there they go. Turning out of the subdivision. So much for waiting at the turnaround.

The drive down was very relaxing, which must explain why it was so hard to stay awake. Must have been the soothing rain and the hypnotic windshield wipers.

BUT, we did get to Tuscaloosa!

Next: Where's Moody Music Building?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:02 PM | Comments (4)

Okay, well, Saturday, then.

First task was to get up early--same time as during the week. Blech. But, I had to get Oldest to school so they could go to Tuscaloosa for the honor choir performance. This turned out to be a much bigger deal than I thought.

Anyway, they were going down early because they had two separate three-hour rehearsals at the venue prior to the show, so I had to get her there. Early. Did I mention that? It was very early.

BUT, to her credit, she was ready to go and we weren't late.

Dropped her off, then went Wal-Mart shopping! Hooray! I was looking for car stuff, since the rest of the day was going to be spend playing with the Swede. Got myself a nice collapsible lug wrench--it has one, but it looks to be of dubious utility--some windshield washer fluid, some spray paint for the rear parcel tray that's faded to something of a non-photo blue color, and a visor organizer so my visor will be organized, and some vinyl repair stuff so I can see about fixing that little hole in my armrest.

Then back to home, where Reba and the kids had awoken and had begun eating breakfast.

After greeting everyone, I told Reba that I was going to install my new dashboard.

"You're going to work on the car?"

Hmm. I thought that's what I said.

"I'm going to work on the car."

"Well, if you want to work on something, would you PLEASE do me a favor and check the brakes on the Focus because it sounds like it's dying."


There is no "just check." There is only "tear the thing apart in the driveway and take up the entire bleeding day doing boring work on the Focus when I could be doing exciting things with an old hunk of junk."

"Hmm. Well. Okay. I'm going to have to take it somewhere, because it'll take me forever to do here."


Looked through the phone book--ever since Alignment by Ingram went tango uniform, I haven't been able to find any place I really trust. Figured I'd take it to one of the mid-sized chain places over by Lowe's.


Got almost there, and decided at the last minute to try one of the local shops in the same area. My theory being it's hard to have a nice building if all you do is alienate customers. They either are really good, or have a way of covering up their ineptitude with a satisfactory layer of prevarication.

Two hours to diagnose.


Maybe I can get Reba to come get me, and I can go ahead and get started on my dashboard replacement!

Call, and she's on her way.

One hour later, after I have looked at every single wheel, every single tire, and every single gospel tract in the waiting room, and drank two Diet Cokes, I thought it might be good to call and see if she was any closer to coming and getting me.

Call, she's just gotten out of the shower.


Wait some more. Watched Jack Hannah bother animals. Watched some guy in a short-sleeved jacket and turtleneck bother animals. Looked at all the tires and wheels again. OH, look--they're taking the car around to be looked at!


Finally the guy has the verdict--nothing wrong with the brakes. Huhwha? I describe the sound of the noise--something of a low-pitched groaning, and ending graunch. I was slightly self-conscious of myself, being that there was a very attractive older lady standing beside me who needed to get the key to the restroom, and there I was taking up time with my picayune concerns and making car voices.

No matter--they were able to solve both of our problems. Seems mine wasn't the brakes, but rather the effect of having two tires nearly worn to tatters and a mis-aligned rear end. And the car was in bad shape, too! (Badump-bump-tsheee!) So, replace the tires, right?

"Well, let's see...hmm, well, we just got one in that size."

::shakes fist at Murphy::

"Uh, hmm. Well, I guess I could run up to Sam's and get a couple and then come back."

First rule of business--never let the customer walk.

"We can get one in just a little while, and that way you won't have to take it anywhere else."

Despite the fact that I could have gotten some pretty black tires from Sam's for about the same price as his single tire, I relented. I was tired of tires, and just wanted to go home and work on my Volvo. This dashboard thing, after all, wasn't something I had ever done before, and I knew it was going to take some time, and we were going to have to break things up early anyway so we could get ready and drive down to Tuscaloosa for the concert.

"Well, okay, fine, go ahead and get them."

Still no Reba, by the way. It was now fully two hours since I had called her.

I waited some more, and decided to go out into the shop to see the tires that came off. Sure enough, they were in bad shape. One side was all cupped up, the other sporting a shiny steel strip showing through the tread. The phone in my pocket rang.

"I'm here!"

I looked up through the glass door to see the Odyssey parked out on the other side. Thank heavens. Maybe some time to play.

"You want to go up to the store with Catherine and me? We've got some CHRISTMAS shopping to do, right Cat!"


Me, being a moron, figured this would take about ten minutes, and then we'd go home. I got them to drop me at the bookstore, where I purchased a calendar of drawings of classical architecture for myself for one of the kids to give me for Christmas, then walked down to TJ Maxx.

More than an hour later, we were finally ready to go. I have never been so miserable waiting for something--Cat was wandering all over the store, Reba was buying things that cost money, and all the while, I could have been doing SOMEthing. ANYthing! Even if it was LAUNDRY! As it was, I was just there.

Back to the car place, where the car was all ready. Reba went on back home, I paid more money that I don't have, then went and filled up the gas tank, then ran to the library to check to see if that video I talked about earlier would play, then on to home.

Next: VOLVO TIME! Yay.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

Well, now--first thing, the silent movie project.

I called the mom Friday to find out what the actual story was. As you recall, Boy and his friends in class had done a video Western silent movie project for class to demonstrate something about math and deductive reasoning or some such stuff. They turned it in, but the CD was unreadable, leading to much speculation about grades and reshooting and all sorts of other misinformation.

What happened? Who knows. The nice young lady said their video camera messed up when the started out, so she just used the video function on her digital still camera. Good enough so far.

And then Murphy's Law kicks in.

She told me they couldn't get the file to translate into a DVD compatible format, and after spending nearly a week trying to figure it all out, they finally just copied it onto a CD. Only trouble was that no one's computer would seem to play the CD. Including the teacher's.

Acrimony, recriminations, hurt feelings, potential for an incomplete grade. So, anyway, she said she was going to try again to get something to work, and had taken the extraordinary step of complaining about the teacher to the next higher up, because she seemed so unwilling to work through the technical issues, and wouldn't return any messages. Oh boy.

So, as it stood Friday, no reshoot on Saturday, and we'll just all hang for a while and see if anyone can get the silly thing to play on a computer. After I hung up, I got the bright idea that maybe if it was small enough, she could e-mail it to me and I could see what it looked like--since the CD she gave Jonathan didn't work, either. The computer can't even read it as a disc.

She sent it, and from home, nothing. Just an empty link. And I had to sign up with Kodak Photoshare just to view the thing. Or not view it, as the case may be. Oddly enough, when I snuck by the library on Saturday, I COULD view it--the first ten seconds or so. And that was it.

But at least we didn't have to take up Saturday morning trying to reshoot the thing. Leaving time for me to SWAP MY DASHBOARD! WOO-HOO!

Next: Or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)


In the good time of which I will express to you my renewed appreciation and respect for Mr. Murphy and his Law.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2005


As far as I know, one is scheduled.

What will be done during it?

I have no idea. I had sorta wanted to get my dashboard changed out, but this week we learned that Oldest has a choir deal down at the University of Alabama, and that's going to require travel and various other ordeals. AND, the cool silent movie project that we had to dress Boy up for last week seems to have hit a post-production snag of the most egregious sort. The mom who shot the thing apparently couldn't produce a playable copy, and therefore the entire production must be RESHOT! Tomorrow. So, that will entail yet more ordealing and stuff, and so it looks like there's just going to be absolutly no time to play at all. Because sometime in there we've got to also clean house and do laundry. And sleep.

For some reason, I have been inordinately sleepy the last three nights. I'm fine until about 10:30, and then it's as though I've been pole-axed. It's like being given a shot of anesthesia--I can't NOT go to sleep. And then, to make matters worse, it's not even a particularly restful unconsciousness.

Ah, but at least the trees are pretty.

All of you have a great weekend, and Lord willing I'll see you all bright and early Monday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

I realize I know a lot of folks...

but, still, when someone asks a question like this--where is a snakes favorite place to be rubbed--I mean, come ON!

First of all, do you really think I have Harry Reid's Senate phone number, and second, do you really think he'd share that sort of personal information about himself with a complete stranger?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:33 PM | Comments (1)

Not a Mystery

That is, what should be the result of this weekend's clash between the Wildcats of Kay Why (2-5 OA, 1-3 SEC) versus the Tigers of Alabama Polytechnic Institute (6-2 OA, 4-1 SEC)!

The Tigers (.pdf file) had a weak first half against a tough Ole Miss team last week until they came back with some perkiness and vigor, and hopefully have used the intervening time since then to get everyone settled back down and in a mood to improve. The boys from Lexington have replaced Vandy as the Sick Man of the SEC, but not without reason, in that the ball is an oblate speroid, and the field of competition is not hardwood. However, they're still a great big bunch of fellows, and they will have the home field advantage that worked so well for Arkansas, and it might be possible to catch the Tigers napping and worrying more about NEXT week's contest against the mighty slobbering Georgia Bulldogs.

Not really likely, but possible I suppose.

What DO the 'Cats have?

Well, for one, they have individual photos of their cheer AND pom squads, that's what. And you can find out important things there, too, such as the fact that Jill would love to have a great big plate of baked spaghetti. And the only reason that caught my eye is that when I first read it, I thought it said naked spaghetti. And their coach looks a darn sight better than the football coach, that's for sure.

I am ashamed to say that my beloved Tigers haven't even updated their pictures this week. It is a very sad thing. Thank heavens for the other sports, such as swiming--VIVE LA FRANCE!

Well, enough of that--time now to predict the score with Possumblog Sport Center's very own Avi, the Football Pickin' Chicken!

Avi didn't completely fail in her last outing--she overstated the spread a bit, and gave Auburn's offense a bit too much credit, and the defense not quite enough, but in the end neither of those drawbacks were enough for us to have to deal harshly with her. She has settled in quite nicely in the basement in the closet beside the boiler room, but she has been very annoying in continually asking for Perrier and to talk to her agent. Who ever heard of a chicken with an agent?! Also, she's frightened poor Chet the E-Mail Boy to pieces. He won't go near her, mainly because for some reason his ladyfriend Miss Butch seems to be jealous of Avi, and has been cursing at Chet in both French and what I believe to be the Blue Hmong dialect. Why would anyone be jealous of a chicken?! It is a mystery. I will say that Avi does have the advantage of only eating a lettuce leaf per day, which is far less than plump and juicy Edward M. ever ate. And after I figured out I could decant some Winn-Dixie Chek Club Soda into her empty Perrier bottles, the water cost has gone down considerably.

Anyway, we have spread out some Vogue magazines on the floor and brought the Football Pickin' Chicken in for her prognostication.

She's carefully turning the pages...looking...looking...



Oh! Hello--yes, she's just now making her prediction--

Auburn Tigers--42 Kentucky 'Wild'cats--6

Thank you all for tuning in to Possumblog Sports Center this week, and be sure to listen in on your local Auburn Network radio stations! Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:19 PM | Comments (2)

A Mystery

I went to lunch earlier (after having to take a coworker over to the company garage) and was listening to one of the local talk radio duos. One guy called in with an interesting story.

Seems he does a lot of hiking and stuff, and had been out in an area near Trussville, and out in the middle of nowhere, came upon a lake, but not just any lake, one that had a nicely engineered concrete dam. And then he began stumbling over other stuff--concrete curbs. The place had streets under all the overgrowth. He related that he'd managed to locate the property caretaker, and the man related that the property had belonged to the family of the founder of the old Britling's Cafeteria chain, and somewhere along during the late 1930s, this man had gotten it in his head that he was going to develop a retirement resort for retired Hollywood movie actors. WWII intervened, the story went, and nothing ever came of it. The fellow told the hosts that the property was north of Highway 11, somewhere before the Carrington subdivision.

Now then--I've lived in the Birmingham area all my life, and in Trussville specifially for the last eight years, and had NEVER heard of such a thing, so as soon as I got back to the magic Google machine, I started seeing what I could see.

I typed in britling and trussville, and wouldn't you know, came back with several results, including one post I'd done on Possumblog about how spiffy I thought it was when I was a kid that Britling's had CLOTH NAPKINS! Obviously, not a lot of help to myself on that one.

I continued to type in several variations of the name, figuring that "Britling" was the family name of the owner.

Well, until I stumbled upon this 2001 article from The article, ostensibly about a new old-style cafeteria planned for Kansas City, also included a short history of the cafeteria, including this bit of information:

[...] The cafeteria concept started as early as 1893's Columbia Exhibition in Chicago. It was meant to portray a Swedish-style "smorgasbord," although "cafeteria" is Spanish for coffee shop. But like every great idea, it needed a few years and some savvy entrepreneurs to kick it around. By the end of World War I, A.W.B. Johnson had started the Britling's chain in Alabama (Elvis' mother worked in the Memphis location). [...]

No WONDER I couldn't find anything--I had the family name wrong!

Armed with this, I went a'searching for Mr. A.W.B. Johnson.

I learned that the actual year of his restaurant chain's founding was in 1918.

That his father-in-law was a civil engineer and dam building from Illinois and named John Wilson who died in 1922, and in the same article that there is an A.W.B. Johnson, Jr.

That on December 11, 1914, a fire destroyed one of his buildings in Birmingham.

And that there's some guy in England by the same name who is credited with helping to develop the sport of squash.


That's about it.

Time for a trip to the library. UNLESS, there's someone out there with a bit more information they'd like to share with everyone!

Have any clues? Leave 'em in the comments below.

Oh, and here's a postcard from the original, from back in the '20s.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:50 PM | Comments (2)

Ab-b-b-b-o-o-ou-u-u-t-t-t-t T-t-i-i-m-m-mememe

Bump-smoothing work starts on I-59

News staff writer

State transportation officials say it literally took an act of Congress for work to begin on the bumpy lanes of Interstate 59 for 16½ miles from Trussville to Alabama 23 in St. Clair County.

The resurfacing will include all interstate lanes. The first phase began last week at the Jefferson-St. Clair County line, and will extend for eight miles into St. Clair to Alabama 23. The second phase of the work will be from seven-tenths of a mile south of Chalkville Mountain Road, extending 8½ miles to the county line.

The work, which will cost $21 million, is scheduled to be completed next fall. [...]

Motorists have complained for years about the interstate's condition, especially the right eastbound lane beginning near Trussville. Drivers say they are forced to use the left eastbound lane to avoid the rough surface.

Drivers say the interstate is dangerous because drivers stay in the left lanes eastbound and then cut across right-lane traffic to take exits. [...]

It's not actually the roughness that's the problem--the road is smooth, but has something of a sinusoidal wave surface that can only be driven if you're going 40 or 90. Anything in between and your tires start bouncing out of phase and hammering the car like you've installed four jackhammers on the corners, and pretty soon you're about ready to go airborne.


It was undrivable when we had Moby, and the other day I made the mistake of moving over to the right lane in the Volvo and thought the thing was going to shake to pieces before I was able to get back over in the left lane. It's been a hazard for years, and it goes for miles before the surface goes back to something approaching level.

I know a bunch of happy taxpayers.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:07 AM | Comments (2)

The Churchill Wit

It's been a while, so I thought I would get out the Little Red Book with which Jim gifted me, and dispense a few gems.

From Page 24:

One of Winston Churchill’s arch opponents in the House of Commons was the dynamic Labour Party leader Aneurin Bevan. Sir Winston’s comments on Mr. Bevan frequently came in the most unexpected circumstances, as when he was speaking on the recognition of Communist China:

As we had great interest there and also on general grounds, I thought it would be good to have diplomatic representation.

But if you recognize anyone, it does not mean that you like him. We all, for instance, recognize the right honourable gentleman [Mr. Bevan].

July, 1952

From an earlier time, but on the same page, this zinger:

Toward the closing days of World War II, Aneurin Bevan pressed Prime Minister Churchill for information about the alleged installation of “reactionary governments in the liberated countries.” Mr. Churchill’s reply was to the point:

I should think it hardly possible to state the opposite of the truth with more precision.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

Perpetuating the Stereotype--Northern Edition

Well known sailor and NASA rocket scientist Steevil sends along a link to a story about the Dullard-American community, and proudly notes that there are folks in his area who can act just like the breed we harbor further to the south. So, here from the District of Columbia--

Police: Burrito Sparks 7-Eleven Fight

That must have been one tasty burrito.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:58 AM | Comments (2)


Where did all that come from?

I've been pretty much resigned to one of those dull drab autumns where the leaves just die, turn brown, and drop. We haven't had a whole lot of rain, which I figured would cancel the show for this year. And the leaves haven't seemed too keen on the idea, either.

But this morning!

I guess the head tree sent out a memo last night, but for whatever reason, the whole place was lit up this morning--maples and sweet gums and hickories have all done themselves up with so much yellow and orange the place looked like it was on fire. All across town--down the hill, up past the middle school, on to the high school, back down to the elementary school, the whole place just awash in gold.

Oh, I know it's not like New England--our spring color is what makes up for the lack of fall--but still, considering the way I thought it was going to turn out, I'm pretty pleased.

Thanks, trees.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:34 AM | Comments (7)

November 03, 2005

I wonder if he'll be offering to do free exams?

Bill Clinton starts breast cancer fund

Yes, it's a very worthy cause, but you kinda wonder if there might be another equally worthy cause out there that wouldn't cause quite so much tittering.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:58 PM | Comments (6)

Really now?

US leads way in medical errors: study

Hmmm. Interesting that the study (at least as it is reported in the article) is not based upon a scientific look at misdiagnosis or lab errors using a standardized set of criteria common to all the countries, but rather is based upon patient reporting.

Not to say that patients don't know when they've been done wrong, but it is much more likely for a patient to fill out a survey of this sort when they HAVE had a screw up.

Second, the idea that test results are being delayed--by what time clock? Is it the same clock that told us FEMA should have New Orleans completely rebuilt by now? If your expectation of test result timing are based upon some mistaken belief that they should be done quicker than they turn out to be, you would be much more willing to believe that it's being done slower for you than other people.

Likewise, if you have been led to believe that your system of medical treatment is far superior to others, you might think that your results are just fine, or that the errors made in your case aren't that bad. It's a bit like those surveys of car owner satisfaction--it used to be (it might still be) that the expensive foreign makes all had incredibly high levels of owner satisfaction, despite the fact that objective measures of quality such as time in the repair shop showed them to be less reliable than some of the lower-priced makes. People were willing to overlook such things--sometimes because they might have been afraid to admit buying an expensive lemon.

If your expectations are unreasonably high (or low), your experiences might be a less than reliable indicator of actual performance.

Further, the issue of cost. The study seems to suggest (and many people seem to believe) that tax money comes from the sky in pretty parachuted bundles. Although patients might have lower out of pocket costs in socialized medicine schemes, that's only because their pockets have already been pilfered to pay for the system in the first place.

Anyway, remember what Mark Twain said.

UPDATE 11/4/05--More on the subject from James Joyner.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Top former Auburn RBs coming face-to-face


The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Two of the top runners in Auburn history will come face-to-face for the first time this weekend when Stephen Davis and the Carolina Panthers play Cadillac Williams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [...]

Well, unless one of them has decided to become a defensive player, the ony time they're going to meet each other face to face is either before or after the game. Or they've decided to make the game into a single-player version where no one but Davis and Williams are let onto the field.

That might actually be sorta fun, but I remember when I played like that when I was little, it was very tiring and you never really could pass the ball to yourself very well.

Silly journalist.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

Maybe it's just me, but...

...I think a 38-year-old Cuban-born guy who grew up being a juggler and magician and lives in Alabama and invented a snowmaking machine is just pretty darned cool.

Remember--"Everybody loves the Ring Rocket, and if they don't they're just not regular people."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:58 PM | Comments (2)

It WAS quite interesting!

First of all, a big thank you to the Internet Professionals Society of Alabama for inviting me to participate today, and for feeding me lunch. Big turkey sandwich, with CHEESE and a cookie and fruit salad and a wilted dill pickle spear. (The wilted pickle spear is not a shot at them--just a statement of fact.)

Thankfully for me, there was only ONE person there who could blow my cover--the wife of one of my coworkers. I can't tell you exactly who she's married to, otherwise when she comes to visit (as she promised she would--Hi Lisa!) she might take offense at my characterizations of him as someone less than comfortable with computers. I swore her to secrecy to not tell her husband, either, because then--as we said to each other simultaneously--"He would tell EVERYbody."

I was also gratified to meet frequent commentor Stan the Gummint Man, who came out to hear what there was to hear. Stan looks nothing like I pictured. I sorta had him pegged in the Jim Smith/Nate McCord mold, but he looks much more like automotive writer and raconteur David E. Davis, Jr.

AS FOR THE PANEL ITSELF, it was also good to meet Matt, who looks much younger than I thought, and Dimitri, whom I've never read before and who has an odd accent.

I don't think he's from around here. Maybe from Montgomery or Slapout or someplace.

And then there was Miss Ashley, who is a lawyer and mother of three in real life, and highly distracting in a female sort of way. Although I confess I am being much too familiar, in that we've only just been formally introduced, but I simply must say, "Rrrowll."

Finally, our genial host, Jeremy, who kept things moving right along, and I hope he realized my gruff manner while he was trying to scroll up and down through Possumblog was merely a ruse and a put-on. You did a fine job, and again, many thanks for having me on your panel.

The questions opened up with a quick intro of everyone as we told the stories of our births. I was third in line--

"Okay, time for my Admiral Stockdale moment--'Who am I!? What am I doing here!?'"

::crickets chirping::

Dang--tough crowd.

I went on and on and on and on and on about stupid crap, related my preblog existence, my early Blogspot days, the birth of the Axis of Weevil, my middle Blogspot days, the spin-off of THE PROBOSCIS, the later Munu days, the spin-off of REVOLVOBLOG, and the occasional ghost writing assistance I offer to Luther at the spin-off Cletus' Car Corner, and the fact that I am an idiot.

Everyone seemed to agree wholeheartedly.

The rest of the questions were pretty much as I detailed below, and I have to say I thought the panelists did a pretty fair job of explaining their ideas. Dimitri made what I thought was a good analogy of the current blogworld landscape, noting that it wasn't just a monochrome, level plain of prairie grass, but more like clouds in the sky, with various blog communities sorta clustered around each other based upon interests and likes. I like that image.

About fourty-five minutes into it, Jeremy asked for questions from the audience, and we got a couple, but I had one I wanted to ask--

"How many of you folks have a blog of your own?"

I counted 16 people in the audience--about half raised their hands.

"DERN IT ALL, THEN, WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE UP HERE!?" Really. I mean, my insight is no deeper or better than anyone else's--I say next time, let's just have a round-table with the audience.

Only difficulty of the afternoon was the fact that none of us had a laptop with which we could liveblog ourselves. Jeremy had everyone's sites called up on an overhead and would switch back and forth betwixt us all, but it was a bit hard to be able to explain it all when it's behind your back like that.

Overall, though, it was fun for me, and it's all about me. I even won a door prize! $50 gift certificate, but I felt terrible about winning it when it should have gone to the folks in the audience, so I told them to let the next person have it. Yes, I'm all noble like that.

Anyway, I just hope if you were there, it was helpful to you, and I invite you all to leave a comment or two below about your thoughts, as well as ask you to bookmark Possumblog for a return visit in the future.

Hmm? No, I never get around to making a point about anything.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:23 PM | Comments (10)

Okay, here we go.

Be back after while. And is it just me, or isn't there something odd about a group of Internet professionals who want an amateur to come to their soiree?

Anyway, it should be quite interesting.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:09 AM | Comments (5)

Wow--talk about questions!

I wondered the other day if I could steal a copy of the questions the blogger panel was going to talk about today, and before I could even find my black ski mask and magical aerosol laser-detection spray, I was sent them--BY THE MODERATOR!

For those of you who won't get to go, and in case I act the way I usually do and not say a word, I figure it won't hurt any to go ahead and post them and give my answers ahead of time.

Hi everyone.

Jeremy Flint here. I will be moderating the panel tomorrow. I know it may be a little late, but I thought I would shoot y'all a list of questions that sort of gives a sample of where we are wanting the discussion to go tomorrow.

I will try to have printouts for you tomorrow if you need it, but in general, just relax and have a good time. Should be lots of fun.

1. Where do you get your material? How do you determine what topic you will blog about?

Well, hello, Jeremy!

I get stuff from everywhere--online news, various information websites, other blogs, life. I blog on what strikes me at the moment--there is no real theme or intent or goal or point to what I do. One minute it might be about monkeys, then next, it might be about foreign policy. The net effect is to bring substantive discussions down to a level of forgettable farce, and to elevate lower primates to a much higher plain than they deserve.

2. Depending on the critic, blogs are the ultimate, savior media outlet or poorly written, inaccurate and unaccountable wannabe media. Can blogs ever be mainstream, legitimate sources, or should that be their goal?

Yeah, well, you know what they say--everyone's a critic.

Blogs are tools, nothing more. They are a means of distributing information.

They are no more or less legitimate than any other source, being that legitimacy is not something conferred by having a big building and an offset press, but rather it is something bestowed by the readership.

The question is not really whether blog writers can ever be mainstream, legitimate sources, but rather can the people who are information professionals (i.e., mainstream paid journalists) ever again be able to hide behind the supposed authority and impartiality of "The Press," when it is so easy now to quickly, accurately, and dispassionately show their biases and ability to misinform, and their ability to manipulate information so it more readily fits with their preconceived notions. The press would do well to welcome readers who pore through their copy and help correct mistakes and factual errors, not to try to shunt them off as hacks and know-nothings.

3. {For the personal/social bloggers} Blogs are sometimes like confessional poetry—a public sharing of private thoughts, feelings and actions. When is something too personal or private to blog? Have you ever regretted a post for this reason?

I will not write about anything I would not be willing to tell my mother. Therefore, I have never regretted a single post.

4. {For Ashley?} Making a living by blogging is an unreachable goal for most of us, but some pocket change would be nice. What are your tips for getting syndicated and building an audience?

Well, obviously I don't fit into this, but I will say if you are going to be a professional writer, you better know how to write like a professional.

5. {For Matt} Lumping in blogs with traditional media, PR practitioners have begun pitching bloggers to cover stories of all types. How do you respond to pitches in your posts?

Again, another one where I will have to sit and just eat my sammich.

6. Blog tools continue to improve and make getting a web log off the ground nearly effortless. What are your favorite tools? What features do you especially appreciate, or hope are incorporated into the next versions?

Well, I will have to say that Blogger is really much better than when I started. I don't like the toolbar at the top, but you can't complain a lot when something's free. For Revolvoblog, it has been just fine, and you can host images on Blogger now when before you had to have an online photo account of some sort, such as Photobucket. I have been well satisfied with the folks at, which somehow manages to provide ad free blogging for a wide range of Munuvians by some sort of Ponzi scheme, I think. Not being all graphicky and all, either one does fine for what I need--I don't really know what I might be missing or wanting.

7. How do you measure traffic to your blog? Do most of your visitors come by way of search engine? RSS feed? Direct link?

I have several blogs come with a wide variety of site stat applications, and I also have a Sitemeter account, and a Gostats hit counter. Why? They're free. Visitors are pretty evenly split between search engines and bookmarks. Only a very few people have syndicated Possumblog, probably out of embarrassment.

And finally,

8. How do you handle comments? Do you moderate them heavily? Let things go in whatever direction they take? Do you allow comments at all?

Well, this was a big concern of mine when I first added them in--before I put HaloScan comments on the older Blogspot site, I had my e-mail address and if anyone wanted to say something, they could just e-mail me. But there seemed to be a desire for being able to make a quick comment or quip that would be more convenient than sending it to me, and comments were the only way to accomodate that. My big fear were comment trolls, having seen so many comment features rendered unreadable due to the crap.

But, luckily, my biggest worry has gone unfulfilled. The real big problem is comment spammers, who should be forced to listen to Kevin Federline's new CD. I have had about two or three trolls over the past few years, and they were deleted as soon as I found them. That's the policy--my blog, my comments--if you can't act right, you won't get to play.

Comments now are as entertaining as the original post, and often will allow a more full explanation of my (or other's) point, or offer corrections and further information that wasn't in the original. I don't really try to make them go one way or another, other than to insist on no potty mouthing and if the point is one about substantive matters that participants be polite and civil and not engage in fallacious reasoning. Having said that, most times the comments devolve into a pie-throwing Marx Brothers movie.

Now then, I guess I CAN just sit there and not say anything!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:57 AM | Comments (9)

Well, now, if it’s not time once more for The Day-Before-Friday Three!

Today, since I have to get all practiced up for representing the ‘Stupid-Pointless’ branch of bloggerdom in front of a bunch of computer guys, I thought it might be good to do a little introspection to help me get my thoughts together about the topic. In doing so, I figured you could play along as well.

TO THAT END, we now present this week’s Axis of Weevil Thursday Three--Deeply Ponderful Edition!

Now then, answer the following questions either in your own blog and leave a link in the comments below, or use the comments as your substitute blog in case you don’t have one. As usual, anyone is welcome to play along.


1) If you have a blog, why did you start it? If you don’t have one, do you think you might start one? Why or why not?

2) What blogs do you read most often?

3) Finally, what do you consider to be the greatest strength(s) and most profound weakness(es) of blogging?

Okay, folks--go forth and cogitate, and tell us what you think.

As for my answers--

1) I started this blog mainly as a way to have an outlet for my thoughts. Simple as that. I enjoy writing, and it was easy to start, and it gave me a way to keep my thoughts ordered and give some structure to the tremendous emotions I felt after September 11. Like so many blogs, I consider this to be a product of that event, even though it was three months afterwards that I started it.

And I like having people read what I write--I don’t do this just for myself, which explains why it’s a public, rather than a private, journal. Maintaining it in the years since I started has been occasionally laborious, but rewarding nonetheless. And as always, I truly do appreciate everyone who has come by over the years, and especially those who have hung around long enough to become my friends.

2) Probably Instapundit and Outside the Beltway--I read just about everyone in the blogroll on most days, but I check these two several times during the day to see what all’s going on.

3) Strengths--immediacy, and the ability to find SOMEone, SOMEwhere, who is an expert on just about any subject. Those two things, when combined with a wide-ranging network of concerned people, create a very powerful information tool.

Weakness--rampant cretinism. When blogging as a means of information exchange was first coming into its own back in 2001, it was much harder to find the slack-jawed wingnut spit-slingers who tended to populate the LAST big thing, Internet forums. It was certainly nice to step out of the troll heavy, sock-puppet infested, flamewar environment--at least for the few months before they all figured out they could be just as stupid, fatuous, illogical, and fallacious in people’s comment sections, or in their own blogs. And they continue to spread, in direct proportion to their numbers in society at large. The only trouble is, they tend to be able to be much more prolific, in that the general population has to work for a living, and the Idiot Class is hardcore unemployable. Except as members of rent-a-protestor mobs.

But the strength of good information--if it is freely available--tends to drown out the less reliable (although screechier and sometimes more numerous) voices of the tinfoil hat crowd. (And yes, the part about "freely available" is a direct shot at anyone who thinks the UN should have control of the Internet.)

So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:51 AM | Comments (16)

November 02, 2005

And by way of update... four rims are now safely at home in the garage, beside the stacks of other flotsam. And on the way there and back, I listened in on the funeral of Rosa Parks.

I must say, for an event where it is usual to compliment the deceased and strengthen the surviving, I don't believe I have ever heard such a large host of speakers so intent on self-congratulation and talking about what all they have accomplished. Certainly, it does take a remarkable amount of talent to simulataneously pat yourself on the back while blowing your own horn. But I also think that were the personal pronouns I, me, my, and mine stricken from the language, the ceremony would be only about a quarter as long.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:32 PM | Comments (4)

A warning to parents.

'Belligerent Drunk Man' gets into fight

Look, when you give your kid a name like that, things are just bound to turn out bad.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:21 PM | Comments (2)

Okay, NOW I'm going.

Just spent nearly an hour on the phone with Reba trying to walk her through the process of getting a fax journal to print from their fax machine where she works.

They lost the manual.

Through the miracle of the Internets, I looked up the Brother website, opened up the online manual, and walked her through the steps to set up reports. The only thing I couldn't do is tell her how to retrieve faxes from a particular day, which is what they desperately needed in order to prove they actually sent something when they said they did. But I was able to give the customer service number.

I"ll work up an invoice for them when I get back.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

Now then--

Off toward home for a bit, and then back.

Jiggety jig.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

One from the "reality-based" community...

Fireworks Promised on 'West Wing' Debate

You know, when I read stuff like this:

[...] Laurence O'Donnell, who balances work as a political analyst and a "West Wing" executive producer, said the hourlong episode (8 p.m. EDT on NBC) represents "my wish-fulfillment debate."

"We are using the accepted liturgy of presidential debates. It will look the same, it will be moderated by Forrest Sawyer, a real news person, it will have all that real feel to it," O'Donnell said.

"But I think it will be more satisfying in that the candidates end up really going into the issues in a way that they normally would not," he said. "They end up each forcing the other to get more honest as the debate wears on." [...]

I just have to smile. Only in Hollywood could a mock debate in front of a real newsman conducted by two liberal actors pretending to be a liberal and a conservative who have been given license to ad lib their response (more or less), all based upon the heavily filtered sensibilities of the various producers and directors and actors, ever be seen as having "that real feel to it."

"Get me Barton Fink on the phone!"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

Part Two of the Plan Proceeds.

Actually, more like Part 2.2. Part One being the delivery of my new cruddy old wheels, Part Two being getting them out of my office into the van so I could take them home at lunch today. (No, I do not intend to buy them lunch. They're on their own on that score.) However, I was stymied in my effort to proceed with Part Two due to a decided lack of a way to get the box out to the parking deck.

Obviously, being wheels, they should roll just fine, but I thought it might look a little too weird to try to roll four wheels onto the elevator, down the corridor, up the ramp and load them. I needed something to put the box on, such as, oh, the department's set of hand trucks.


First stop, downstairs in the other part of the division. Looked in the plan room, in the back of the plan room, asked the intern kid in the dungeon of the plan room, looked in the computer geek's warren, was told in NO uncertain terms that those things were on MY floor and had BEEN there for months. ::sigh::

On the way out, looked in their supply room (also looked for any cool supplies they might have upon which I could perform a little light-fingered requisition), then stopped in the inspector's hive and their conference room. Nothing.

Back upstairs.

Looked in the junk room, the small junk room, then in the nest of zoning people, and was told that The Guy Who Can't Do Tables in MSWord (and Who Talks To Me at the Urinal While I Pee) knew where they were.


Gee, I wonder if I could maybe just carry them out one-by-one...

Went and asked The Guy where the hand trucks might be.

"OH! Those are downstairs. There in the map room. In the closet. Come on! I'll show you!"

Can't you just tell me?

"Guy, can't you just tell me?"

"Aww, no--come on, I'll show you right where they are!"

Back downstairs, this time with full-time blithering accompaniment.

Into the place I started, walked past the intern kid, Guy opens locked closet door, and THERE, bright shining in the bluish fluorescent glow...

our hand trucks.


I leaned around the corner and told the intern kid where they were in case anyone else needed to know. He said, "Thanks, sir!" Kids.

I left The Guy standing there jabbering to himself and to anyone else he could buttonhole as I went back upstairs. Loaded the box, managed to get back out of my office without killing myself, onto the elevator, back downstairs, down the corridor, up the ramp, to the van, and SUCCESS!

And yes, I returned the hand trucks to their rightful home.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:32 AM | Comments (2)

"It's something called "blog" "spot" or something dot com?"

Oldest came in last night wanting to see the choir's website when I got online to look up something for Rebecca. I figured they must have a page linked off the main high school page, so after supper and the dishes were put away, I went upstairs and fired up the blazing dialup line and went looking.

Well, the high school's site is still under construction. Went to the old site from back when the school was part of the county school system--oddly enough, they still had the page on their server. No choir info, though.

Looks like I'd have to ask. Why the reluctance? She was in rare form last night, and I really didn't want to have to deal with lip nor attitude. But, might as well ask. Probably thinking there might be trouble, Reba went ahead as forward recon. All had quieted down though, and I asked--over the top of Reba's head--what the website address was.

"[redacted] dot blogspot dot com."

Ah. A choir blog.

Now, being all websavvy and all, I knew what she said, but Reba, being less so, wasn't--"What? Log? Blog what? Blogspot? Blogdot spot?"

Oldest--"YA! It's like?, an online journal thing?"

They kept this up for a while--I had already gone back to our bedroom to punch it in, and in a little bit Reba came and told me with great authority, "It's something called '[redacted] dot blogspot(?) dot com'."

'Mm, yeah, I've had it up for several minutes now."

"What is it?"

"Well, it's just a place where the choir director can post notes and quips and thoughts and pictures and stuff."

It was just about that--a few posts, some photos, some words of encouragement...separated not by periods...but by...the constant use of...ellipses...AND LOT'S OF EXCLEMATION POINTS!!!!....and poor apostropheism...and misspelling.

Hey, I realize I have no claim to perfection on stuff like grammar and punctuation, but then again, I don't lay claim to the martyr's mantle of being An Educator. I figure if you're going to put yourself out as Deserving of Society's Fullest Respect, it would help if you could put a bit more effort into your prose. And it might be good not to brag too much about graduating from a certain SEC school.

Anyway, Reba looked at it a bit and said, "Oh."

Yep--palpable disappointment. Now obviously, I wasn't about to take her over here to where disappointment comes in great huge daily chunks--I can stand to hear her dismiss someone ELSE'S magnum opus, but my po' spirit would be crushed like a cigarette butt in the gutter were she to think me no better.

Also, it makes it a lot easier to keep writing this mess as long as she doesn't know about it.

Oldest read a bit, saw what there was to see, and went on off. Eh.

Just out of curiosity, while Reba was still standing there being unimpressed, I clicked on a link from a commentor. I remember back before I started this thing, I had a vague understanding of weblogs, and my impression was that they were mostly the tools of jabbering teenagers to swap maudlin love poetry and stuff. Obviously, there's a much larger world, now, and blogs have increased exponentially in influence and depth.

Still, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy all over to know that my initial stereotype was actually not so far off. I'm not going to give you the link in order to maintain some plausible deniability, but I will give you a snippet of the commentor's blog work:

omg yall!!! today is our last home game!!! im soo sad!!!!!! hehe its gonna rock!! hehe!! but the weenie roast should be fun too!!!! yess!!!!but the only good thing about football season ended is that basketball season is starting! yes!! 2 weeks!!!! im stoked!! totally gonna get a dawgpound** shirt! hehe yes!! im so like ecstatic 4 tonight!! [...]

Thus answering the age-old question, "Is our childrin lerning?"

Anyway, should any of you folks manage to stumble in here by accident, please spit out your gum, sit up straight, and quit passing notes.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:55 AM | Comments (27)

November 01, 2005


My wheels are here! My wheels are here!

The UPS guy just dropped off a big box full of four dirty, scuffed, Draco alloy wheels!


Now, how to get these into the garage without any uncomfortable questions?

They might just have to hang around here in the office as paperweights for a while...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:47 PM | Comments (16)

Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Study: Mice sing in the presence of mates

"Well, I think so, Brain, but I can't memorize a whole opera in Yiddish."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:03 PM | Comments (2)


And here I thought I would run out of "Perpetuating the Stereotype" material...

Woman charged with biting husband's genitals

The Associated Press

Stations: Please note contents before airing. (AP) — ENTERPRISE, Ala. (AP) — A Coffee County woman is charged with domestic violence for allegedly biting her husband's genitals.

According to Sheriff Ben Moates, the victim decided to press charges against his wife after learning from a doctor that the bite mark was infected. Moates said Nyela Stinson was arrested because her husband is a quadriplegic and unable to defend himself.

Stinson, who awaits a preliminary hearing, posted bond and was released from the county jail.

I'm not sure it's relevant, but Enterprise, Alabama is home of the Boll Weevil Monument.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

As if you needed further proof that I am a moron.

I went and agreed to do this.

No, I have no idea why they want me, other than for someone to point at and mock. And I suppose I should apologize for telling everyone I have more traffic than Glenn Reynolds. I wonder if I could steal a copy of the questions beforehand?

Anyway, they agreed to feed me, so how bad can it be? I ordered the turkey sammich because of the four choices, it was the one that came with cheese.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:07 AM | Comments (18)



As promised, I got out the ol' digital last night before heading out to beg candy from folks. First up, the group standing inside the door--

Then outside by the SCAAAAAARY jack o'lantern--

Obviously, poor Boy didn't get his mug on camera, dolled up as he was as Bad Anakin, so I had him take off his helmet for this shot--

You will notice this is another inside shot--the reason I couldn't use the rest was that Oldest had done her best to squirm out the top of her "tavern girl" costume, which, when combined with a powerful flash, meant more of her was visible than anyone but her husband should ever get to see.

And how do you like Catherine's hat? Pretty spiff, no? That's actually mine from back when I was doing Rev War reenacting. I will say she looks cuter in it than I ever did. (That's my buddy Charlie on the left in blue.)

The walkaround went quite well this year. We circled the big loop (probably a bit more than half a mile when you add in the cul de sacs on the backside) where our house sits, and stayed on our side of the street, just to keep things simple. Talked to the lady who stopped us in our driveway to ask about buying our house--she wound up buying the one at the corner. Her nephew and niece-in-law are still interested in ours, though, so maybe once they sell their house we'll be able to talk more.

Walked on around some more, found one of those houses where they go all out with the haunted house theme--boarded up windows, rickety picket fence with cobwebs around the cemetery set up in their front yard, spooky music on crackly speakers, lovable doof dressed up at the door. The kids thought that was the best.

Went on around that circle and started up the street some more, came to a house where the mom dressed up. Or down. Rrrrrowll. They had a couple of yappy dogs and after the kids got through they came running back and Dr. Rebecca, Pet Vet, said, "She's got TWO dogs, Daddy!"

"Yes, I saw! ::mumbled aside to self::got a couple of other things, too.::"



"But what did you say, Daddy? I said she had two dogs and you said something else!"

"LOOK, kids! They've got some really cool bats and stuff at this house! Go on up to the door and remember to say thank you!" Nothing like a diversion.

Obviously, I wound up telling Reba about our bounteously squishy neighbor after we got home, anyway--I always tell on myself.

That way, I can make sure she hears it the right way.

At some point in our jaunt I heard a couple of fire trucks come around the backside of our part of the neighborhood--I figured they must be out throwing candy or something, but we got around to the third corner and they were pulled up outside someone's house. I buttonholed one of the parents coming down the sidewalk and asked if it was a fire or paramedic call, and they said they thought someone was having a heart attact. (I started to write, "What a show-off," but thought it might be misconstrued as Not A Joke.) Walked on a bit, met one of Jonathan's school friends, whose name is Jonathan, and was dressed up like Darth Vader. What are the odds, eh? Probably pretty good.

Turned the corner, and by this time the kids were wearing down--Cat took off her sparkly red bandana, and Jonathan had me carrying his light saber, which, oddly enough, did not light up. Nor could it slice anyone's arms off.

Final corner, down the street, and to home for some nice supper and continual interruption by the doorbell. We had kids all the way until 9:00 last night. I bet they're going to be a handful in school today.

ANYway, ours got fed and bedded at a decent hour, and were quite responsible with their candy intake, as was I. I managed to steal only one candy bar, and it was a small one--the misnamed "fun" size--and that was it.

SO, now--on with the rest of the show for today!

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