April 28, 2006

The plan for tonight.

Go home, probably order some pizza, eat it, finish reading my Road & Track, nod off while reading it and wake up to find I've been drooling again, then decide to turn around and go to sleep.

The plan for tomorrow.

Once more back up the vehicles on the driveway, and this time start cleaning out the other side of the garage. This will take all day, mainly because I found out last week that if I stay out of the house, I manage to avoid doing any laundry. Of course, cleaning out the garage makes me hurt all over, and laundry never does, but at least with the garage cleaned out I could possibly have room to put stuff.

Speaking of which, you remember those two sets of super rare alloy Volvo wheels I snagged a couple of months back for dirt cheap off of Ebay? The ones I drove around with for a while then had to sneak into the garage so as not to arouse suspicion? Last weekend in the midst of The Big 1st Round of Cleaning, I managed to get every single one of them--all eight--around into the Giant Plastic Not-a-Storage-Shed, But a Plastic Playhouse full of Lawn Implements, WITHOUT BEING CAUGHT!

I stacked them up in one corner by the door like a stack of quarters, put a burlap bag on top and a pair of boots, and it looks like they've been there forever. Proof of this came when Miss Reba came around while I was wrestling to get something else crammed in there that had been in the garage, and she didn't even notice them! I'm not sure I dare to put anything else in there, though. I'm pretty sure a 2-times-life-size poster of Jane Russell wouldn't do at all.

At least right now.

The plan for the day after tomorrow.

Wake up early and be very sore, then go to church, then come home and sleep the rest of the afternoon. Somehow, I think this particular plan will not survive past the first shot fired.

The plan for the day after the day after tomorrow.

Wake up and go to work, silly!

Now then, all of you go have a great weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday, okay?


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:00 PM | Comments (2)


Well, some, at least. I had intended to snap a few more than I did, but when I went to take a photo of one lady's extraordinary display of quilts, she scolded me severely and asked me not to take pictures of her quilts, so I got all nervous about taking ANY pictures of anything specific. But, maybe you'll get the general feel of the event.

First up, the view from my office--a more southeasterly view:

and then one in a more northeasterly direction:

I have a nice view.

This was a steel drum band from UAB they had set up to play--

right in front of the gyro trailers.

The band was really quite good. The food I can't vouch for because I was too impatient to stand in a line that did not move.

On around--here is one guy's metal stuff that I thought was quite good--

I took this before getting scolded, so let me just say to anyone who sees this photo NOT to rip off this man's designs! EVER! You will also note the woman in the foreground is in high-water pants, which I generally can't tolerate, but ONLY when worn as business attire. On a day like today, they were perfectly appropriate. Which is why I decided to walk around the rest of the time with my slacks rolled up to my knees. (Sorry, no picture of that.)

The nice thing about the park is that there's ample shade--nice big trees, and a gazebo that usually houses an assortment of urban campers. Today it was taken up with the event organizers. They seem to have showered. Also, you will notice that the mama over on the right of the picture is also seen wearing a gaucho-inspired variation of the high water pants; but again, in a much more appropriate setting for them. (And she was cute, too, so she would have gotten a pass no matter what.)

Another purty-type shot just for effect--

--along with one of the entrance to the old main library that now serves as the archive building--

Rounding the corner, I disturbed this couple's lunch for no good reason.

One of my favorite things about the park is one that I should have mentioned the other day when I did the post on the anniversary of the Spanish-American War--there is a very impressive statue in the park commemorating local soldiers who served.
Here's one view:

--and another:

I like it for a couple of reasons--the pose is natural, and is at once alert and relaxed, and distinctively masculine. We also have one of Viquesney's mass produced "Spirit of the American Doughboy" WWI statues, but it just isn't as good, mainly because it looks too posed. No one runs with a grenade like that unless they want to get killed. But the proto-Rough Rider gets it right, and the details are quite nicely done, right down to the well-rendered Krag-Jorgensen rifle and sling--

and the Mills pattern cartridge belt--

The dedication reads like this:


APRIL 21, 1898 -- JULY 4, 1902

There is a companion inscription on the back, but I couldn't get around to it to photograph it. There are two other mottos on each side. This simple one:

and this one, which at one time was equally well-known:

"Gridley" refers to Captain Charles Gridley, skipper of Dewey's flagship, USS Olympia.

In all, a nice perambulation, and some stunningly beautiful artwork. However. (Always one of those, isn't there?) Although some of the work was beautiful, there was an equal amount that was just crap. Silly, pretentious, self-referential, self-absorbed, talentless dreck. Which to me is one of the problems with art nowadays--basically, anything can be art, if an artist says "this is my art."

Take this famous image, for example:

I mean, what in the world is so great and wonderful about that!? Well, an artist decided it was art, and therefore, it is art. And since it's managed to become famous by being famous, there are bound to be some who'd accept it as art.

Even though it's nothing more than a plaza drainage grate I took a picture of myself and diddled about with.

I suppose if people want to produce crap for a crapophilic market, that's fine, but it's still crap.

ANYway, that was my lunch hour in the park!

NOW THEN, back to work.

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

The plan for today.

Work, go to lunch and take pictures of the artsy people in the park, show the pictures to you, then work some more.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:57 AM | Comments (8)

April 27, 2006

Correction: Goat Soap story

NOTASULGA, Ala. (AP) — In an April 24 story about a Notasulga farm that produces goat soap and other goat products, The Associated Press reported erroneously that it is the only licensed goat dairy farm in Alabama. Boyd Brady, a dairy industry official with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, said there are several licensed dairy farms in the state that produce dairy products from goats.Whew. Sure glad that got fixed.

By the way, in my earlier post about this story, I neglected to mention how weirded out I am by goats. I might like them better if they all fainted when I wanted them to, but as it is, they always look like they're planning something bad and it makes me very uneasy. They're a lot like monkeys in that regard. I'm just happy to know that monkey dairies are exceedingly rare.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:20 PM | Comments (4)

Fortune Cookie Wisdom of the Day!

Well, now, it's been a while, hasn't it!

But it is such a beautiful day today that I felt I simply had to treat myself to a nice walk around the park and some of that nice Chinese food over at the AmSouth Harbert building. And to make it even more enjoyable, the bums in park have been given the bum's rush by a bunch of artist-types who are in town for the Magic City Art Connection event. This is nice for a couple of reasons--the interesting artwork, and the fact that the percentage of artists who are lucid and bathed is slightly higher than the usual park population.

ANYway, they're still setting up tents and the requisite funnel cake trailers today. If I remember to bring my camera tomorrow, I'll take some photos.

AS TO MY MEAL, it was quite possibly the hottest kung pao chicken I have ever eaten, despite the fact that it only had one pepper in it. I think they must have had a batch of gravy percolating with peppers in it all morning, but it was very fiery. (Which makes me wonder why we can't spell "fire" as "fier.")

It was a nice day in the food court, too--at least from where I was sitting, which provided an umimpeded view into the hair salon. Spring means tank tops, it seems. Which is a good thing.


Today's selection of Oriental wisdom:

Trying to outsmart everybody is the greatest folly.

You know, that is just so true. It's really much more efficient just to outsmart the stupid people--they still make up a big percentage of the population, but you don't have to try nearly so hard to fool them as you do that last two or three percent who are smarter than you. By the way, if you want, I have a list of 300 people who are stupider than you, and will be happy to send you a copy for only $14.95.

[Shhhh--don't tell anyone, but this is a big scam. See, people rarely send in the exact $14.95, and instead send a $15 bill and expect YOU to send THEM a nickel in change! Suckers!]

Next up, this:

Appreciate the caring people who surround you.

You mean the guys with the white coats and big nets? Oh, okay then.


5 12 23 36 39. 18


7 14 19 36 41. 22

OOOoooooh! As you notice, the number 36 showed up TWICE! I think this is a sign that Tim Sauter of Necedah, WI, will win the Aaron's 312 Busch race this weekend, driving the #36 Lester Buildings Chevrolet!

Or, you know, not. I mean, what do these Chinese fortune-cookie-writing people know about NASCAR!?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:08 PM | Comments (5)

If they would only...

...be so diligent in calling for the elimination of all the other government alphabet bureaus--Senate Panel Recommends Abolishing FEMA [Headline changed later to "Senate Panel Says FEMA Is Beyond Repair "]

Reading the story, we find that in the end, they only want to eliminate the name FEMA, not the actual agency. The old FEMA, in the grand tradition of things-Washington, will be remade into a new agency, the National Preparedness and Response Authority, which I assume will be called NPRA, and be pronounced "Nipra," and will have a really cool mid-'90s logo, and an official seal with an eagle on it, and a website with a nifty page for kids featuring Nipper, the NPRA Disaster Dog, and their budget will increase in order to hire more people who will sit around various field offices watching the weather radar and ordering expensive office furniture.

Sorry, but as a bureaucrat myself, this kind of political posturing and braying for rearranging the Titanic's deck chairs rings hollow. Yes, FEMA wasn't prepared, because FEMA's plans never seem to have considered how ill-advised it was to rely upon state and local governments to be first responders, especially if the elected officials of those states and cities were incompetent.

Further, the agency was designed to provide aid and assistance in a set, methodical, policy-wonk-approved manner, without the realization that responding in the plodding, red-tape-bound way as it always had in the past would suddenly be seen not in the usual way most people view government involvement--that of a slow-moving bureaucracy creaking along--but as a vicious conspiracy intent of killing poor people and thus perpetuating a secret neo-con plutocracy in the White House.

Sure, Brownie was something of a git, but the top level in any kind of government setup like that is full of people who got there out of political connectedness, not competence. The people in the field were the ones who were trying, as best they could given what they thought their job was, to keep the paperwork flowing properly and get all the right signatures so their butts would be covered. Because in the end, that's what these sorts of Congressional-level inquiries and calls for rolling heads produce--an organization less intent on actually DOING something, and much more on making sure an infinite number of procedures are followed EXACTLY as our betters in the House and Senate tell us they should be followed.

People get upset when some G-10 tells them they have to pay back an overpayment or get out of their temporary shelter, and chalk it up to whoever they tend to hate most at that particular time. There will always be a steady stream of Congresspeople out there talking about how horrid the Administration is because of this, but the folks who came up with all the rules in the first place--i.e., the same Congresspeople who are complaining the loudest, never seem to remember anything about that particular set of rules.

All the talk you hear now by the Beltway crowd of the unconscionable waste of money that has happened? Well, that's because of all the screaming they did starting five minutes after Katrina hit about how slow the response was, and why can't we fly in and airdrop several billions of dollars on the Coast, even though we don't have a good way of keeping up with it.

What did they expect!?

More to the point, why would ANYone expect the National Preparedness and Response Authority to do any better?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:08 PM | Comments (13)

Whoa, Nellie!

Keith Jackson says he's done broadcasting

According to the story, this time for good.

Although he has always seemed to toe the same line that other sports media guys do when it comes to giving SEC teams short shrift when compared to Big 10 or Pac 10 teams (or anyone else, for that matter), he truly does have a terrific voice that is both evocative and knowledgeable.

I will miss hearing him.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

You better get it while you can.

The desk, that is.

Last Saturday, Reba set up a pickup time for today with the folks from the thrift store to come out and pick up the mouse-pee-and-teeny-turd-filled sofa, the one that I eventually carried over to the thrift store myself.

But, the pickup call was not cancelled, and this morning she asked me if I was going to put the desk out on the driveway instead, so the truck will have something to get when it comes by.

Being that I was in my nice tie and polyester slacks, I would really have been satisfied just to frustrate the truck with a lack of pickup material, but in the end, I figured it would be easier to move it out the couple of feet required to get it onto the driveway than to try on the upcoming Saturday to load it into the van and take it off myself.

SO, I got out there this morning and exerted myself and got all mussed, but I did get it ready for being sent away, including a nicely hand-scrawled sign with the name of the charity on it, so they wouldn't by mistake take away the van or the house.

Now, if you really were wanting that desk but were just too shy to say it, you need to run over to my house right now before the truck gets there and load it up.

Remember to leave your check for $50,795 under the front door mat.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

A revolution in Internet communication.

Has your tongue ever gotten wrapped around your eyeteeth so you couldn't see what you were saying? Well, the same thing can sometimes happen when you're writing an e-mail or a blog entry. BUT, you can now rest easy with a new software product called Untent Chectm.

And believe it or not, it was developed by a burrowing, nocturnal ant-eating mammal.

Science is truly amazeing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:43 AM | Comments (4)

Well, I should hope SO!

Dead starfish are discovered in B.C.

I mean, if they were still alive, they'd be over two thousand years old! That's just silly! Of course, not as silly as Mel Brooks, but, hey.

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

HEY! What's going on here?!

This morning with the posting of the T3, I had a couple of other entries and noticed they were posted at the wrong time. I don't know how long it's been going on, but it seems that although Possumblog is configured to post using Central Time, it seems that for whatever reason, it doesn't pick up Daylight Savings Time. I guess ever since the time changed it's been doing this, but I hadn't noticed. So, for everything from yesterday back to that date, please add one hour to the time stamp.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

Baby Birdies!

Here's one just for Miss Janis--Eagle triplets attract admirers online

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A new set of bald eagle triplets whose nest is perched 70 feet up a white pine in coastal Hancock County is attracting plenty of admirers on the Internet.

A live Web cam is providing viewers with glimpses of the fuzzy little chicks as they stick their heads up over the edge of their nest at feeding times. Even seasoned scientists are thrilled by the up-close and detailed view of an eagle family.

"What is incredibly valuable here is the level of detail," said Wing Goodale, research biologist for the BioDiversity Research Institute in Gorham. "To have this kind of view is truly unique."

The BioDiversity Research Institute mounted the camera in a tree about 40 feet away, and there's no indication that the eagles have caught onto the fact that they're being watched by so many people.

Visits to the Web cam — at http://www.briloon.org — [the actual eagle cam is at http://www.briloon.org/ed/eagle/index.htm Ed.] surged to 20,000 a day when the chicks first hatched during the week of April 10, prompting the company hosting the site to add an additional server to handle the traffic, Goodale said.

The site provides a new still photo of the nest every 30 seconds. Because the tiny eaglets spend most of their time in the bottom of the nest huddled beneath their mother or father, viewers may have to exercise patience until they emerge. [...]

Cute little fuzzballs...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:50 AM | Comments (2)

Ready, aim...

Montgomery Mauler team fired by owner

That's right--not a player--the whole team.

Montgomery's indoor football team has been fired.

They had a football team!?

Amid complaints for back wages, the owner of the Montgomery Maulers has fired the players.

But that doesn't mean Montgomery will be without a National Indoor Football League team.


Owner Jamie LaMunyon says an entirely new team will play in Montgomery next week.

She says the new team will have players who played on other teams or didn't make the Maulers during try outs. [...]

Not to be unkind, but exactly what does it say about the level of play in your league if you can afford to fire an entire team, hire an entirely new team, and play a game within a week?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:42 AM | Comments (4)


Sorry for the delay. I had today’s Axis of Weevil Thursday Three all completed and ready to go, but the more I thought about it the more I disliked the entire concept. Thankfully, I was able to rely upon our crack team of university scholars, one of whom had sent along a set of questions late yesterday afternoon. Since I had at first thought I liked my (now-superseded) set of questions, I informed the good professor that I would use his set next week, but upon further consideration, I think his were much superior.

THEREFORE, let’s get right to the FINAL EXAM EDITION of the Thursday Three!

Dr. Smith (soon to be deep in the grading of final exams himself) sends along the following for your consideration:

1. What was your luckiest experience with finals?
2. What was your worst experience?
3. Finally, do you have any recurring finals nightmares?

SO, there you are. Remember, keep your eyes on your own paper. You may not use your notes or your book. Leave an open seat between you and other commentors. You may not go to the restroom until after you finish your test. Use of a calculator is not necessary. All cell phones and pagers must be turned off. You will be given partial credit for partial answers. Proper grammar and spelling does count. Please leave your comments below, or a link to your own blog. You now have only fifteen seconds left to complete your exam, and you must do it while standing naked upon your table and singing “Rule Britannia.” (That last part you don’t really have to do.)

Now then, you may open your test booklets and commence.

AS for my answers…

I hate to be a spoilsport on this one, but honestly, I have never had test anxiety. I have wracked my brain (which obviously didn’t take long) to see if I could remember any really good horror stories about tests gone awry, or even if I ever got really lucky on a test. Nope. I can’t recall ever forgetting I was having a final, never recall blowing one horribly, never recall acing one I shouldn’t have, never recall having my calculator blow up, or anything like that. I’d go, take the test, and leave. Sometimes I did well, other times not. In any case, I was never really surprised by my grade, good or bad.

WHICH, I SUPPOSE, is why I never have nightmares about final exams. As I’ve mentioned before, I DO have recurring dreams of wandering around an unfamiliar campus looking for a lecture room, but never because I’m having a test.

So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:20 AM | Comments (26)

April 26, 2006


Wait--I don't think I'm supposed to do that unless I'm commenting.

Oh well.

Anyway, I am back now after an invigorating early morning spent furiously scribbling notes. Seeing as how I have a lot to do today, and seeing as how a picture is worth a thousand words, I figured at least for this morning I could substitute some nice photos taken yesterday for my usual stream of bilge.

I had gotten home and gotten all comfortable in my shorts when I found out from my lovely wife that she wasn't certain of our supper choices. When she is uncertain, it usually means I have to go make a grocery run. "Do you want me to go to the store?"

"Oh, no, that's okay--we have hot dogs. But..."

Here it comes.

"...I do need gas in my car."

"Would you like me to go to the store AFTER I go get gas in your car?"

That worked just fine. But it meant I had to get re-dressed again, seeing as how my shorts were of the cotton jersey workout variety that look more like pajama bottoms than wearing-to-go-to-the-store attire. ::sigh::

And my jeans were in the hamper and filthy from cutting grass and moving the garage. I used to have two pair, but the other pair finally wore through in the seat, and I really don't think the public is clamoring to see my nether regions.

I didn't want to put on my office clothes, and I didn't want to wear my wrinkled pair of khakis, nor my big baggy swim trunks that sometimes double as wearing-to-go-to-the-store attire when I'm at the beach.

Which left my overhalls.

So, I put those on, but while I was doing THAT, I looked out the window into the back yard and saw Rebecca and Catherine sitting together deep in conversation in the middle of the yard. Awwww--how SWEET! So, one thing led to another, and I got my camera to take their picture, and I decided you haven't had a picture of me to commit Photoshop abuse on in a while, and then when I looked around I saw there were all sorts of pretty stuff blooming, so you've got something to look at today in lieu of silly Possumblogginess.

First up, the picture that got this all started of the girls sitting in the yard.

Catherine has taken the opportunity of a camera being present to fall over onto Rebecca. Next, I figured I'd wander around the yard and show you what's growing. These are the irises in the middle of the yard. The sundial got placed in the birdbath when it kept blowing off the pedestal we had for it. I don't really like it because it's not a REAL sundial with the gnomon adjusted to the proper angle, and it's made of really light aluminum, but I didn't have a choice--it showed up one day after one of Miss Reba's excursions to Target, and I figured it best to keep my opinion of it to myself. So, anyway, Irises--

Next is the big patch of jasmine we have back behind the wisteria arbor. For some reason, our wisteria blooms very late. Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that I keep cutting it back so severely every year so that it doesn't take over the entire yard.

Yes, I know I need to pull up that pine weed that's in the middle of it.

As for the girls, they still seemed deep in concentration about something. What was it? The autograph section of Rebecca's yearbook from last school year.

Next, over on the side of the yard is the stone planter bed I built several years ago when I still had a truck to haul rocks in. It's got irises, too, and some Mexican heather, and some things that grow big and bloom, and occasionally some pokesalad, and some poison ivy, and some honeysuckle, and a water oak that we thought was going to die when we moved in because the top had been torn off of it, and there's also the big green blooming thing you see in the middle. I don't remember what that is, but it grows like a weed.

Now then, over to the house, where we have this lovely azalea that has been moved all over the place before being dumped here beside the stone bench and the froggy fountain. Yes, this is the same frog I found myself sucking and blowing on several weeks back. The blooms have gotten a bit bedraggled--they were at their peak about a week back. The frog, however, is quite satisfied.

The flower bed at the house is home to about a billion lizards, including this one trying to figure out a way to sneak into our house by squeezing through the siding boards.

Lotsa luck, dude. As I was busily snapping away, I did manage to get a quick photo of the lovely Miss Reba, who was really not in the mood to be photographed. Don't let her slight smile fool you--she's about ready to wallop me for taking her picture. Of course, I was bothering her by also trying to photograph other portions of her in addition to her winsome face. Those would have been for my private collection, however, and would not have been shared with YOU people. However, she was very mean to me and told me to stop it and slapped me on the arm, so I quit. Or so she thinks. ANYway, here's Miss Reba--

AND FINALLY, what you've all been waiting for, my impression of a Shoney's Big Boy statue. And yes, I just now realized that one of my galluses was twisted around. I figure it just adds to the effect.

So there you go. An afternoon at Maisson d'Possum.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:56 AM | Comments (13)

April 25, 2006




My usual excursion to the off-campus venue, where I will be forced to sit and take notes and stuff such as that for several hours.

Meaning, there will be NO Possumblog for you tomorrow morning. You can, however, get the same effect by eating a big spoonful of butterbeans and then spinning around and around until you tump over.

SO, all of you have fun, and I'll see you sometime on the morrow.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:49 PM | Comments (2)

You know what we haven't done in a while?

We haven't had our resident medical expert* Dr. Possum come for a visit!

And it has nothing to do with any lawsuits that may or may not have been filed!

SO, if you have a question related to medical matters, or a question related to non-medical matters, and you would like them answered by a semi-arboreal omnivorous marsupial with a prehensile tail and opposable toe thumbs, well, then, YOU'VE come to the RIGHT PLACE!

Just leave your question (if it's a serious question, he will even answer those, and do so in a serious manner) in the comments below and Dr. Possum will be happy to dispense advice and wisdom to you!

*Disclaimer: Dr. Possum does not actually live in your computer, nor is he an expert on anything, medical or otherwise. Therefore, you should use caution in asking Dr. Possum anything, especially if his answers involve pouring gasoline on a fire, or on that peculiar rash you have.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:40 PM | Comments (9)

A Matter of Degree

Steevil, famous NASA rocket scientist and observer of culture both low and high, sends along this MSNBC article in which the authoress deigns to explain the "allure" of the so-called "white-trash" culture we seem to be immersed in at the moment.

Steevil says, "The author claims to be white trash herself, but seems as clueless as any MSM chick."

Well, bless her heart.

In any event, as I have said before there is a distinction that must be made between the good ol' boy, the redneck, and po' white trash; that being, that one must never be given firearms, one must never be given liquor, and one must never be given either.

The trick, of course, is in knowing which is which.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:27 PM | Comments (14)

Remember the Maine?

On April 25,1898--

the United States formally declared war against Spain. The Monroe Doctrine, which since 1823 had viewed any European intervention in the Americas as a threat to U.S. security, coupled with the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor precipitated U.S. engagement. Coverage by both the Hearst newspapers and the nascent film industry solidified public support for involvement in Cuba's struggle for independence.

Within months Spain's overseas empire, which had begun with Columbus' voyages of discovery and been long in the unraveling, finally collapsed under the U.S.'s two-pronged war strategy. Commodore George Dewey sailed to the Pacific the day war was declared and on May 1st defeated the Spanish fleet in the Philippines. In Cuba and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Marines and other troops, including Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, helped defeat Spanish forces in the Americas. [...]

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:54 AM | Comments (2)

Oh, good grief.

Moussaoui jury can't have dictionary

The Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui asked for but were denied a dictionary Tuesday for use during their deliberations on whether the Sept. 11 conspirator should receive a death sentence or life in prison.

Before their lunch break, the jurors — and Moussaoui — filed into the courtroom to hear the response of Judge Leonie Brinkema to the request to have a dictionary in the jury room.

Brinkema told them that sending a dictionary in would be like adding additional evidence in the case, but she invited them to come back if they had questions about specific definitions. And she warned them against doing their own research, including looking up definitions. [...]

I feel for these folks because they do have a tough job to do. But this is stupid. I have a feeling there must be one or two people holding out (for either decision--life in prison or execution) and my guess is that it all probably boils down to what the definition of martyr is. In any case, the judge's instructions seem sound, and to me basically boil down to telling them to go on the evidence they have in front of them, not on their feeling that they might look around at something else long enough to find an 'out' to justify one particular decision or another.

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


A funny bit of misquotationalism from some guy who I think is a politician. I suppose since this story is on Tim Blair's site, he must be an Australian pol of some sort.

UPDATE: I have been informed by reliable sources that the guy who supplied the misquote is, in fact, an AMERICAN politician, and apparently once ran for President! My apologies for the oversight.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

Don't forget...

...your pants.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)


Luther clambers out from under the truck where he was napping to hold forth on the best way to save money on your gasoline bill.

Likewise, Larry Anderson has some tips as well for extending your range--if you have a manual gearbox. Whenever I have driven a stick shift vehicle, I have always short-shifted, mainly out of sheer laziness. Even better is if you can gauge your speed just right and shift without using the clutch. That one takes some practice, and a relatively level road if you don't want to make all sorts of uncomforting transmission noise.

But as Larry notes, engines work most efficiently at wide open throttle with a heavy load, as when you're in a gear too high and it feels like the engine is about to die. You don't want to lug the engine to the point of detonation, but you do get the best mileage when it's about that close to stalling. The second trick is trying to drive as constant a speed as possible--cars only use a few horsepower to maintain their velocity once they're up to cruising speed--it's the accelleration up to that speed that is inefficient. So anticipate stops ahead of time and try to modulate the speed so it's more regular. No blazing starts or front-bumper-grinding stops.

In the end, this is information that's been around for years and years, but we tend to forget about it.

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

International Visitor Day!

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to last week's shout-out to our good friends in the UK (which resulted in a total of ZERO Britannic commentors willing to leave a comment--although it did garner two comments from citizens of the Axis of Weevil), we have decided to once again salute Possumblog visitors from outside the borders of the United States.

Today we ask that if you hail from the country that flies THIS flag:


that you leave a comment below so that we can extend a hearty bon jour to you. Be sure to tell us a bit about yourself, and how you came to visit my little corner of the blogosphere.

You might not realize this (I know I didn't until I checked the referrer logs) but at 5%, vistors from France comprise the highest number of international visits to Possumblog, ahead of both Canada and the UK which both come in at 4%. This is in spite of the fact that Possumblog is even less intelligible in French than it is in English, and despite the fact that I tend to make sport of certain members of French society.

However, when I visited France way back twenty years ago, I do have to say that it was very pleasant, even with the layer of dog poop on the sidewalks of Paris, and the maddening insistence on the part of the citizenry to pretend they did not speak English.

They also had an odd way of banking--my friend Dirk and I needed to cash some travelers checks (or as the French say, cheques) and went to a Crédit Lyonnaise branch close to our hotel (or, as the French say, hôtel). We walked in like big goobers and as our turn was called, went to the teller, who looked pretty much like your stereotypical image of a French bank teller--well-dressed, thinning slick hair, thin mustache, flower on his lapel--and using our massive amount of French language skills, asked politely, "Parlez vous Anglais?" (We did this even though we don't actually speak English, but rather speak Redneck-American.) He smiled politely and said, No, which means the same no matter where you're from. So we fell back to making big sweeping arm movements and various signs to indicate we wanted to exchange our American Expresses for some of those fruity French francs. He understood, and handed us what looked like an ATM card and said Merci. Which does not mean mercy, but is the same thing as thank you.

"Hmm. Well."

Dirk and I stood there for a second, and I suggested that maybe we were supposed to take this ATM card we'd been given outside to the ATM that was conveniently mounted to the wall of the bank.


So we walked outside, stuck the card in, and as you can guess, all this weird foreign gibberish showed up on the screen.

"Dirk, this is all in French. I don't know what we're supposed to do. Maybe we should go back inside."

SO, we did, and upon our entrance, the teller came from behind the counter and greeted us as if we'd been kidnapped and just been found alive. "Je vous bleh moi su morei l'ver mon loouiss com nal fla blag mwoah mwuah lettrous vew blahclumno afblhwoe countre fwippy lomo cou pepi le peu v'play wikn interieur banc frew tuendu woflkasvlzx! Blah blah blah! Oui!?"

We had no idea what he said, but the general gist of it was that we were supposed to have taken the faux ATM card from him and gone down to the end of the counter and handed it to a lady who would give us francs, rather than remove it to the outer side of the building of the bank. We all laughed just like they do in those old movies, and Dirk and I bid them all boocoo mercy. Which we thought was the polite thing to do.

Anyway, if you are a French visitor to Possumblog, please do stay a minute or two longer and drop us a comment.

And yes, this is merely an opportunity to gratuitously post a photo of Sophie Marceau.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:04 AM | Comments (9)

Oh, okay--Jack Bauer Update.

I have to say that I wasn't in top form for watching last night because I'd come home and immediately gotten out and started cutting the grass, and didn't get done until 7:30. It was a nice evening for it, though, mainly because the grass still had enough dampness to it that it packed into the grass catcher nice and thick and didn't release a big cloud of dust when I emptied it, yet the yard wasn't so soggy that it made ugly wheel marks from the lawnmower.

AS FOR JACK--well, he patched up Brokenose Girl's gushing artery and got on the phone with her daddy and told him off for betraying him, and her daddy's all apologetic, kinda, and then Jack gets a call from Stinkyface Chloe that she's working out of Gray Haired Boss's den on breaking into the CTU computers using a Commodore 64 and a toaster. Jack gets her to find the satellite that takes pictures of fleeing felons, and goes after the Former CTU Agent/Nerve Gas Guy/President Machiavelli Henchman guy who'd sliced open Brokenose Girl.

They take off in the stolen police car, catch up with him, run him off the road into a barn, and Jack captures him after the bad guy's pistol runs out of ammo and he gets all huffy like a little girl, even though he has a spare magazine that he's fumbling around with. Jack gets him and is mean to him, but, as is the case with all such things, refuses to fill him full of bullet holes, and leaves him alive so he can later do all sorts of ninja mind games with Brokenose Girl.

In the mean time, the Former CTU Bad Guy tells Jack that his Black Helicopter Crew is tracking Brokenose Girl's daddy and it gonna off him unless Jack gives up and lets him go, and Jack, who seems to have become much too susceptible to threats directed at either Brokenose Girl OR her conniving daddy, is about to let him go when Daddy does the right thing and drives off a cliff into the conveniently placed ocean, thus negating Former CTU Bad Guy's bargaining power.

"Well, crap," he says, and Jack pistol whips him instead of filling his knees full of lead, and ties him up and in a fit of stupidity, leaves Brokenose Girl to guard him.

IN THE INTERVENING TIME, the folks at Homeland Security finally figure out that Chloe's been gone for a long time, and they interrogate the Redheaded High School Intern, who says Chloe intimidated her real bad like. The Homeland Security Boss Lady is all put out, and then learns that the President might be evil, and so she starts thinking of things to do, but her slobbery little Quisling second in command is all over himself trying to find Chloe and make a name for himself--apparently the "Participant" ribbon in the sack race at the annual Homeland Security company picnic just isn't enough for him.

Jack goes off to try to find the tape recording of Nixon Machiavelli, who has placed poor Crazy First Lady Jean Smart under arrest to get her to shut up and "reassigned" Impassive Bald Secret Service Guy to get him out of the picture and keep CFLJS from knowing what a real man is like. CFLJS is a'hollering and a'screaming to be let out, and Evil President tells her to drink a big cup of STFU and quit trying to ruin everything his evil little pea brain has come up with. She says she hates him, but in order to spare the American people, she won't say just how much. Gee THANKS, CFLJS!

Evil President checks in with his handlers, who praise him and promise him he'll get a nice present--maybe even a pony!--for all of his fine unflinching loyalty to a secret cabal of nervous-looking guys.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE BARN, Former CTU Bad Guy wakes up from his cold-cocking administered by Jack and starts in on Brokenose Girl and tells her she needs to call all the bad guys who're trying to kill her so they can go save her poor drowning daddy, who's drowning, in the water, because of HER, so it's like she's KILLING HER OWN DADDY, who just happens to be DROWNING, in the OCEAN, like a DROWNING DADDY, and finally Brokenose Girl draws down on him and starts yelling "I'M NOT LISTENING! BLAHBLAHBLAH I'M NOT LISTENING and if you don't STOP, I'MA GONNA BUS' A CAP IN YOU!" Then Jack calls her on her phone and tells her to run away, because Smellyface Chloe has told him that more Black Helicopters are on the way.

INSTEAD OF DROPPING FORMER CTU BAD GUY IN A HAIL OF BULLETS, she runs away into the barn to await the inevitable. BUT, hooray for Cowboy Curtis! He shows up with his tactical team right as Brokenose Girl is about to whack Former CTU Bad Guy, and his boys dispatch all the bad guys EXCEPT for Former CTU Bad Guy, who has got to be the luckiest guy in the world.

SO, as it ends, Jack is back at the airport looking for the guy that has the tape recorder, that the Former CTU Bad Guy handed off way back up in the early part of the episode, and Cowboy Curtis saves the day, and the Homeland Security Boss Lady calls Gray Haired Boss and warns him to get Pinchfaced Chloe out of the hizzouse before her stupid underling twit gets there to arrest her.

NEXT WEEK--Jack takes over an airplane full of people who look like they just boarded a regular old commercial flight, even though they got on the plane at 1:00 in the morning and nothing is supposed to be flying, all for the sake of finding that tape recorder. Chloe tries to wait as long as possible before leaving so there will be suspenseful music. Machiavelli does something evil.

If I left something out, it's because I got distracted by something shiny.

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

Jack Bauer Update? FORGET THAT!

Listen to THIS!

74-year-old woman chokes intruder, sends him running

4/25/2006, 7:49 a.m. CT
The Associated Press

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — A 74-year-old woman thwarted a home invasion by choking the intruder until he ran away.
Thelma Carter said when the man she allowed to use her phone Sunday suddenly barged into her Decatur home, she grabbed his throat and - quote -- "strangled the living daylights out of him" -- end quote.
Carter said the man, who appeared to be in his twenties, looked scared. When she began calling for her grandson, who wasn't in the house at the time, the intruder turned and ran.
Carter said the man was running down the street the last time she saw him.
The retired motel clerk, who took a self-defense course a few years ago and works as a school crossing guard, says she's keeping an eye out for the man in her neighborhood.

I don't know--I think once I'd had the living daylights strangled out of me by a 74 year old retiree, I'd just move on to less dangerous work like being a javelin catcher or something.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2006

Fun With Referrer Logs!

Oftentimes, I am called upon by the masses of Possumblog readers to clear up misconceptions or dispense small dollops of my prodigious scientifical knowledge. Just such an opportunities has arisen, due to a querist who has found himself at the World's Greatest Storehouse of Information, and asks this: Can a Possum cut a hole in your house?

Oh, absolutely. Give me a saw of some sort, and I can make quick work of cutting holes all in your house. The real question is why you'd want me to. I mean, I can use a door. Or even a window. So I really don't HAVE to cut a hole for myself. Unless you just need a hole in your house, which, as I've said, I can do quite well if given a power tool of some sort.

ANYway, glad to be of service to you in your quest for information.

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

Well, if anyone knows a thing or two about obscene amounts of money being paid for precious little in the way of substantive work...

...Senators raise idea of taxing 'obscene' oil profits

Well, that would be fine, if there was no such thing as supply and demand. Because oil is a commodity, and the only way we can get oil is from people who have oil wells, and you can't just switch to something else to run your car on, any taxes pretty quickly are passed right along to consumers. Second, if you want incentives to get oil companies to explore and drill for more oil, profits are a pretty good way of doing that. What might not be profitable to exploit at $50 a barrel suddenly becomes much more attractive at $70. Third, unlike Senators, it's not like oil companies have a big room full of dollar bills that they go and wallow in--profits are useless unless they are either returned to the economy either as dividends for stockholders (which would include smart retirees who put some of their 401K money in energy stocks) or to the economy as new construction and exploration, or as raises and bonuses for employees--all of which will be taxed in some way. Finally, it has long been a staple argument from the environmentalists that the government should be RAISING gas prices through burdensome taxation to make people drive more fuel efficiently, or alternately, to fill up all the empty mass transit boondoggles. So, it's not that they really dislike high gas prices--they just want the government to control all that extra cash, rather than private individuals.

No, I don't like paying more for gasoline. But adding on a tax that will only get passed along to me ISN'T HELPING ME! You want to reduce long-term reliance on petroleum? Open up more public land for drilling, and quit blocking the construction of new nuclear plants.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

So as not to miss out on anyone else who might want something from my garage...

...I have a desk you might want. Nate mentioned this morning that if he'd known I had acetylene welding hose and regulators, he might would have been interested in adding them to his own collection of junk, so I thought I might see if anyone would be willing to take away something else of mine.

Namely, an office desk. This was purchased about eight years ago, used for two, and has since been stored in our garage. Reba had it when she was running the daycare office--the school wouldn't buy her any furniture, so we had to buy it ourselves. I don't want to get rid of it, and tried to give it to my in-laws and to my mom, and I can't get anyone of them to consider it. I also don't want to have to load it in the van and carry it off, because it's so incredibly huge and heavy. At least for one guy.

ANYway, it's a Sauder Fruitwood Executive Desk from their Mission Collection. (See a bigger picture of it here.) It has a few small dings on the edges, but for the most part looks brand new. And is remarkably free of mouse droppings, since there was nothing stored in it that mice like.

Now, here's the thing--if you want it, you have to come get it yourself. The whole idea of this thing is to save myself some backbreaking labor to haul it off. I will help you put it on your truck or trailer or lash it to the top of your Jetta, but that's about it.

Cost? Well, as we have all been made aware by Mr. Anderson's fruitless efforts to GIVE AWAY a Mercedes-Benz, people seem to think free things are worthless and therefore refuse to take them when offered. Therefore, the cost for this lovely bit of medium density fiberboard with melamine overlay is $50,795. Yes, that's exactly 100 times the manufacturer's suggested retail price. But you're not just buying a desk, you're buying a small chunk of Possumiana, and surely that's worth a whole lot.

I am, however, open to reasonable offers, as long as they do not require me to take in something else in trade. I AM trying to clean out, after all, not collect more stuff. Even if it's a free Mercedes.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:21 PM | Comments (8)

Sudden Horrifying Realization #3987

I just now opened a pack of Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard to put on my hamburger. I don't know if I've been actively NOT noticing this for so many years, but by golly, that stuff sure does look like something out of a baby diaper!

Still tastes good, though.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:31 PM | Comments (7)

For all your goat washing needs.

Notasulga farm, a licensed goat dairy, makes goat soap

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:53 AM | Comments (2)

Maybe it's just me...

but this--Vatican to issue document on condom use--sounds as though it might be as useful as a book on French military strategy.

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

You're welcome, Chitown.

Mai Martinez leaves FOX 6 for Chicago

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bye-bye, Mai.

FOX 6 reporter Mai Martinez has left the station to go to work at a station in Chicago, the third-biggest TV market in the country.

Martinez did not return requests for an interview before leaving FOX 6 this past week.

However, she told other reporters around town that she was going to Chicago but could not say which station because of a confidentiality agreement. She also told them she would make about $500,000 over four years. [...]

125K a year. As they say, nice gig if you can get it.

I'm still holding out hope that one day all of these media types will give up on hiring shockingly beautiful young single women, and realize that grouchy, chubby old guys who are unwilling to relocate are just as valuable to their organizations. I'm not sure exactly how we are just as valuable, but I am certainly willing to accept $125,000 a year and let someone runs some experiments on it and see what they can come up with.

Anyway, good luck to Ms. Martinez in her new assignment.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:10 AM | Comments (6)

And thus they continue to dig their own grave

Democrats say Lieberman too close to Bush

It's pretty bad when someone who is as liberal as Lieberman is denounced because of his stand on Iraq, which just happens to be similar to that of President Bush. Kneejerk contrarianism might be great as a substitute for ideas as long as your party isn't the one in power, but it also tends to make it that much harder to ever GET to be in power. Although the Democratic Party might not want to admit it, there actually are reasoned, principled, loyal members of their party who have come to the conclusion that aligning with the "anti-war" Left isn't in the long-term interest of the United States.

That's not to say that war is good, but to note that the enemies of our nation have actively used the cloak of the anti-war movement not as a way of making peace, but of doing us harm by weakening our will to resist. War's bad, but it's not the worst thing, to paraphrase a pretty smart old guy--

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. --John Stewart Mill

Democrats might do well to listen a bit to Mr. Lieberman's reasoning, rather than be so dismissive of what he has to say because it sounds too close to what the Republicans say.

It also might be good for them to remember that the true enemies of our nation aren't their ballot opponents.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

A terrible story, made all the worse by this clumsy headline: Phoenix police shoot dead hostage taker.

Why would police shoot someone who's already dead? Or, alternatively, someone who takes dead hostages?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)

Good news, bad news sort of things.

Good news? I can park the Focus in the garage!

Bad news? As predicted, I feel as though I have been beaten with a shovel!

My big plan of pulling everything out of the garage onto the driveway was a bit overambitious, but we did manage to get the side closest to the kitchen door cleaned out, and the other side, although still pretty packed, at least has the advantage of having been neatened up a bit.

Final tally--twelve cardboard boxes of articles taken to the thrift store, along with a circa 1989 fax machine, an inoperative plastic laminator, a wooden hutch, and a small sleeper loveseat that had at one time been in a dorm at UAB, was then sold for a dollar as surplus, wound up in Reba's office when she was working at the daycare, then has sat for the past six years in our garage, where it became home to (from all appearances) a huge gang of filthy mice, thus completing the circle of repulsiveness. In addition to the things that can be deducted from the tax bill, there were also three garbage cans full of stuff.

The time involved? Well, first I had to run to the store for some groceries, and after that, we got started in earnest around 10:30. I finally ate supper at 8:00 that evening. In between was constant motion, including the necessity of toting massive amounts of heavy iron objects. My father was a welder, and quite a craftsman--he made mailbox posts, and sets of andirons, and jack stands for cars, and wood splitting wedges. Literally tons of stuff. And a lot of it is stored all around our garage. I can't bear to part with it, since the things he made remind me of him, and they give me some comfort as I look at them and remember back. But, I do sort of wish he'd been a craftsman in lightweight foam, because these solid steel things sure are cumbersome. Then there are the various tools of the ironsmith's trade that I've moved around to three different houses, including one bench vise that probably weighs close to eighty pounds. Just can't bear to part with that, either.

One thing I finally did let go of were the old set of hoses and regulators I had kept that were his. I really don't know why those held so much import to me--he taught me to weld, both gas and electric, but only in the most basic sense, so it's not like I would ever have been able to make a living doing it, or actually even be able to make any kind of repairs for which I would be willing to stake my life. But, I still kept the nasty old hose and junk around in a big box in the floor. I hauled those off Saturday as well. I had a pang of doubt, and thought maybe I should have at least tried to sell them, but in the end, I was just tired enough not to worry about it. Into the van they went, and to the thrift store with the other collected bricabrac.

I will say that a garage cleaning does tend to be quite a draw to the curious. I was deep in the middle of hauling stuff out when a car pulled up at the curb. Reba had come into the garage and I asked if she knew who it was, and she didn't. The car door opened, and some dark-haired woman got out and started walking up the driveway, slowly perusing our junk. "Can I help you ma'am?"

"I'm just looking."

"Uh, well, we're not having a garage sale--I'm just trying to get my garage cleaned out."

"Oh. Sorry."

I could tell she was disappointed.

Anyway, after a long hard day of lifting barges and toting bales, we finally did get anough jetsam cleared out to be able to park Reba's car inside. This is a rare occurence--we've lived there about eight years now, and for the vast majority of that time, the garage has been too filled up to get a vehicle in. When we moved from the last house, we did it in such a rushed manner that we never really did move in, we just moved. The stuff that got put in the garage never did get put away properly, and it's been accumulating ever since. So, it was nice to finally be able to use the space as intended, rather than as a ministorage unit. I might even get energetic and clean out the other side next weekend.

If I can get over being sore.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:44 AM | Comments (17)

April 21, 2006

Some people wish for a sunny weekend.

Then again, some people don't have a wife who has decided that the garage must be cleaned out. ::sigh::

Yes, it needs to be done. It's the biggest pile of messiness I've ever seen, and there's that issue of rodent invaders that keeps coming up, and it would be nice to get rid of some of the junk so I could have room to put more junk, but I don't look forward to having to do this. Mainly because although the idea of cleaning originated with one party, the actual task of cleaning will fall almost entirely to another party. Namely, me.

I imagine I will feel as though I've been beaten with a shovel come Sunday morning.

Oh, well. That's the way things go.

So, until I see you again on Monday (assuming I am not crushed under a pile of stuff too valuable to part with, but too crappy to keep in the house) all of you have a fun weekend.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

The Yearling

Well, everyone's been wanting to see ponies, so courtesy of Dave "Bog Harrow" Helton, here you go.

That's a fine looking specimen.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

Of all occupations...

...this is probably the worst one to have if you dislike clothing: Carpenter who works naked is arrested

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A carpenter who keeps his clothes clean by working in the nude was arrested after a client returned home early and found him building bookcases in the buff.

Percy Honniball, 50, was charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure this week for the October incident.

He told officers he stripped before crawling under the client's house to do electrical work because he didn't want to soil his clothes, police said.

Honniball said Thursday that working au naturel gave him a better range of motion and that a skilled craftsman can work clothing — and injury — free.

"In certain situations such as demolitions where you are smashing rock you want to be clothed and protected because this rock can harm you," he said.

True, but I kinda think you might would want some protection from flying splinters and whirling sawblades, too. But maybe that's just me.

Honniball was caught working naked in Berkeley three times in the last six years and put on probation for violating a city ordinance.

Honniball says he doesn't plan to do work in his birthday suit again.

Well, I'm sure this is one of those things people just don't plan. I'm sure it's purely one of those unpredictable moods that hits you as you're swinging your hammer. So to speak.

Police said he apologized to the startled homeowner, but was fired. The homeowner paid Honniball for the finished work, but deducted $200.

"He kept out that amount to change his locks," Oakland Police Officer Jesse Grant said.

Let's just hope Honniball doesn't know any nekkid locksmiths.

(And for what it's worth, I think "Honniball" is probably not the best name if you're going to be in the news with a story like this.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:07 PM | Comments (4)


If you've been trying to leave comments here (or at other mu.nu blogs lately), you will sometimes notice this message popping up:

Due to high levels of comment spam, commenting at mu.nu has been suspended for a brief period. You will be able to comment again as soon as the flood of spam abates somewhat. Please try again in a minute or two.

We apologise for this, and believe us, we hate spammers even more than you do.

Will there ever be a day when these people give up?

I doubt it. It's like the people who deface buildings and utility poles with signs advertising for tattoos, tax prep, and back waxing. Human nature, I guess, but it sure is aggravating.

I do have to thank the folks at mu.nu for taking down the comments when a spamalanche hits, because even more aggravating than not being able to comment is having to go in and delete spam that gets through.


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


Hu wraps up U.S. tour with visit to Yale

I wonder if he's going to pick up an enrollment package while he's there. Nothing like the ringing endorsement of a totalitarianist:

[...] He opened his speech by quipping "if time could go back several decades I would really like to be a student of Yale, just like you." [...]

Hey, if there's room for a former Taliban member, surely there's room for a Chicomm quipster.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:53 AM | Comments (2)

A bit belated...

...however I did want to congratulate Mr. SchranCk on getting a nice mention in the Dover, DE newspaper for his work on Sneaking Suspicions.

I especially agree with this part of the write-up he received: Moderate, reasonable tone throughout that betrays the age of the author.

Indeed, until I actually corresponded with Fritz, I had no idea he was only 23.

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

I think...

...that this might be funny. Or not. I can't really remember one way or another.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:13 AM | Comments (2)


A nice article in today's Birmingham News about a little place that I used to drive through and marvel at whenever I went from Birmingham to Auburn or back.

It sounds as though they have found themselves with quite a population of characters, straight out of some Gothic Southern Lit clearinghouse.

My own recollection of the place, however, is one of intense melancholy. The old homes I would see as I rolled through were for the most part well-tended, with a few that weren't. It was the few old commercial buildings, though, that had long ago given up the ghost, and driving through on Old 280--especially on days that weren't particularly sunny--frankly gave me the shivers.

And it gave me that odd sad feeling you get, when you go to a place where the signs of the vitality of the past still cling. I get that feeling whenever I go visit the small towns in Walker County where my folks grew up. People still live there, and some quite well, but you still see the imprint of a much headier time, when promise spread out large.

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

Time for a nap.

It's been a very long morning already--Reba had a doctor's appointment, so I had to get the kids to school, including one rather recalcitrant young lady who doesn't mind making everyone else late. Managed to get out of the driveway by 7:00, then dropped Middle Girl at Middle School, then Oldest at the high school, then Youngest at elementary school, and then it was over to Clay to take Boy for his orthodontist checkup.

Which had extra-special urgency this morning, of all mornings, because today is Earth Day. (Well, Earth Day, Observed. The people entrusted with wasting my money tell me that tomorrow is actually Earth Day.) Shiny Pretty Sparkly Earth Day! And it seems he and his cadre are wrapped up in some Commie feel-good envirowacko deal where they journey over to the elementary school (in school buses, of course, since it's too far to walk) to discuss with the littler children the virtues of environmentalistism. He even got a tee-shirt with the words "Green Team" emblazoned on the front, and "Staff" on the back. They're supposed to do demonstrations about pollution, and recycling, and reducing resource usage, and conservation, and all that there stuff. And give away plastic bags full of plastic gimcracks and geegaws to remind the littler kids to love the Earth.

Which is all well and good--I think people should reduce, reuse, and recycle. Saves more for me to use.

ANYway, he was very worried that he wouldn't make it before everyone left school, seeing as how his appointment was at 8:15. We did get to the office early, though, and sat around listening to the radio and waving at ourselves in the reflection on the window of the office. His wire doctor also got there early, so thankfully we were in and out by 8:00. I also found out it's time for Boy to have his real REAL braces put on--tops and bottoms. ::sigh:: Goodbye, money.

ON back to the middle school then, spewing a lovely trail of hydrocarbons all the way, ran in, checked him in, and saw that he had indeed made it back in time to leave with his class. Which is good, otherwise I would have had to make a special trip to take him over to the elementary school. Hooty the Owl would not have approved.

That done, I stopped and got some grease and carbohydrates at Sonic and headed off toward downtown, happily throwing wrappers out my window as I went so the prisoners would have something to do. (Not really.)

BUT, before work, a side trip over to the county hospital to drop off a volunteer application for Oldest. She's decided she wants to get some experience doing that, since she still thinks that she can make Cs in her science classes and go to med school. I do hope she finds something that suits her--she really wanted to work at Children's, but their program for the summer closed out taking applications in January, so she's now having to just see if there's anything else available. Or, rather, we're having to HELP her see if there's anything else available, because she's rather put-out that her first choice was so cruelly taken from her by others. SO, I picked her up a volunteer application from Cooper Green, and she did fill it out, and I did drop it off for her. (After getting severely turned around in the parking deck and wasting yet more gas and pumping yet more CO into the air.) Cooper Green is a rough place to work, even if you're getting paid. I know she won't like it, but she seems to think service means helping someone when and where YOU want to, rather than helping them in the way THEY need it. If she does get it, it might be a good eye-opener for her as to exactly how good she has it in life.

Or not.

Back out to the parking deck, then back across town to my lovely office, where the oceanlike tide of paperwork has finally ebbed.


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

April 20, 2006

"Mr. Skillzy to the bridge."

Dr. Smith sent me an interesting article detailing the story behind recent hoohah about Iran's "top secret" advances in naval science, most particularly their claim of having supercavitating torpedoes.

I never gave the stories much credence, mainly because all of the jibberjabbering from the Persians sounded pretty much like ululating crazy talk, and second, the media was pretty much ready to wet its collective pants in fear. I have come to gauge my response to anything based upon the level of hysteria exhibited by the media--the greater the shrillness, the more likely I am to not really care that much about it.

IN ANY EVENT, the article details some of the history of this type of weapon, noting that it's not particularly new, having been around since the Cold War, and that it has some rather noticeable drawbacks that limit its tactical utility.

BUT SINCE WE HAVE OUR OWN run silent-run deep sort on the crew, I'd like to ask Mr. Skillzy to give the points made in the article a once-over, and pronounce in his expert opinion if it holds water.

So to speak.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:43 PM | Comments (5)

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

AZULEJOS. Glazed pottery tiles, usually painted in bright colors with floral and other patterns, much used on the outsides and insides of Spanish, Portuguese, and Central and South American buildings, such work being called alicatado.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition

Well now--you get a two-fer on that one.

Here's a great site created by Tennessee Tech prof Dr. Carol Ventura that shows the tiles and explains a bit about their history and how they are made.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

And lest you think I believe the only place raving loons hang out is over on the left...

Moore accuses Bush of trying to stop him from winning primary

News staff writer

MONTGOMERY - Former state Chief Justice Roy Moore said President Bush visited Alabama Wednesday to try to stop Moore from winning the Republican primary election for governor. The presidential visit was a "political payback" for Gov. Bob Riley's blind support and an attempt to interfere in the upcoming election, a statement issued by Moore's campaign read. [...]

This comes on the heels of the revelation from his camp that the recent bill signed into law in Alabama to track mad cow disease is some sort of gummint plot.

Whatever. It's become an increasingly common ploy amongst certain folks who don't get enough attention; that being the delusion that they're so important that the REALLY important people are trying to shut them up.

Hey, rooster--just because you think you make the sun come up when you crow doesn't mean it's so.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:26 PM | Comments (9)

Somehow, someway...

U.S. records drastic decline in death rate

...there will crop up a news report that sees this as a failure, and in it George Bush will be blamed. Probably for the loss of income in the funeral business.

I also imagine somehow it will be figured out how to add the subhead, "Women, Minorities, Children Hardest Hit."

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

How nice.

DNC meeting set to begin in New Orleans

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Wielding hammers, crowbars and shovels, Democrats plan to clean out hurricane-ravaged homes in this slowly recovering city, a project designed to highlight the party's criticism of the Bush administration. [...]

You know, I realize politics is politics, but it sure would make it much harder for people like me to question the sincerity of Democrats if they would just get out and clean up hurricane-ravaged homes simply because it's the right thing to do, rather than it being a crass "project designed to highlight the party's criticism of the Bush administration."

I used to joke about Bill Clinton being popular because of the old saying about 'once you can fake sincerity, you've got it made.' I guess they can't even bother faking it anymore.

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

When Creepy Meets Stupid

Phony doctor gives free breast exams

MIAMI (Reuters) - A 76-year-old man claiming to be a doctor went door-to-door in a Florida neighborhood offering free breast exams, and was charged with sexually assaulting two women who accepted the offer, police said on Thursday.

One woman became suspicious after the man asked her to remove all her clothes and began conducting a purported genital exam without donning rubber gloves, investigators said.

Only THEN did she get suspicious!? LOOK AT THIS GUY!! I think I would have been a tad bit suspicious sometime BEFORE he started exploring my naughty regions.

The woman then phoned the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the suspect fled. He was arrested at another woman's apartment in the same Lauderdale Lakes neighborhood on Wednesday, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Nothing like perversionary perserverence.

The white-haired suspect, Philip Winikoff, carried a black bag and claimed to be visiting on behalf of a local hospital.

"He told the woman that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams," sheriff's spokesman Hugh Graf said in a statement.

At least two women, both in their 30s, let him into their homes and he fondled and sexually assaulted them, the investigators said.

Emphasis mine. In their 30s!? I could almost see this if they were confused little old ladies, but just exactly how oblivious do you have to be if THIS GUY shows up at your door and offers to polish your knockers!?

Or, could it be that these were some of those voters who couldn't figure out how to punch a hole in a piece of paper?

Winikoff was not a doctor, Graf said. He worked as a shuttle driver for an auto dealership.

If the shuttle van's a rockin'...

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

Did I mention...

...that today is Mailout Thursday? And that unlike other Mailout Thursdays when I have only to finish stuffing envelopes, today I just now got finished with all that foolish typing gunk I've been working on since last Wednesday and am only now able to make copies? And have I mentioned that all I have left to do before I can come out and play is to put all the copies into envelopes and leave them in the mailbox?

Well, consider it mentioned.

By the way, I want to thank the folks who invented the digital copier. It's one of the most amazing things in the world. I was at a meeting in another building a few months back and had to make copies on their machines--one of the older style copiers with the big rotating drum. Even though it was probably the state of the art in 2000, all I could do was stand there hopping from one foot to the other screaming at it to HURRY UP!

Since it's been a while since I offered any overt political commentary, I think the world would be a much nicer place if those Peaceful Religionists who spend so much time thinking up ways to blow themselves up could maybe set that aside, and work on cool inventions like digital copiers. Or, you know, if creativity really isn't that high on the list, maybe take up farming. The Amish seem to like it, and you hardly ever hear of the need for an Amish Jihad.

Just a thought.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

"Annd we are ready in three, two, -- "


The Possum Broadcasting Company is experiencing technical difficulties. Instead of our regular programming, the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three Newsreader Popularity Contest will be aired. We will return to our regular programming as soon as possible.

We wish to thank our East Carolina affiliate WJIM for providing the content for this program, and we encourage our viewers to comment with your thoughts on this opinion survey. Those who wish to complain about the question choice should take that up with WJIM.

1. Who is your favorite local television anchor?

2. Who is your least favorite local television anchor?

3. Have you ever known of anyone in your local market who made it to The Big Show with a national network gig?

Audience members are encouraged to leave your answers in the handy comment area, or to leave a link to your own station.

As a programming reminder, "Luther's Garage" will air from 1:23 a.m. to 1:29 a.m. on April 21. "Mincemeat Party with Miss Rozelle" will follow at 1:35 a.m., and will be rebroadcast on Sunday, April 30, immediately after the "Dr. Wayne G. Spraddle Gospel Miracles with Signs and Wonders Outdoorsman's Show."

Now then, the station manager takes this opportunity to offer his own commentary on the survey questionnaire--

1. Favorite local anchor? I sure wish the question was reporters, and then I would pick Mai Martinez. RRrroowwwlllll. And how. AAARRGHHHHHHH!! I just tried to go find her bio page from the WBRC website, but she's been ERASED! Surely to GOODNESS they haven't let her get away! Thank goodness, I had the foresight to copy her photo while it was still available.



But, since we're dealing with anchors, I think I my favorite is probably a toss-up between NBC 13's Fran Curry or FOX 6's Scott Richards.

2. Least favorite? Can there be any doubt? I really like him as a person--he does incredible work in the community and is universally loved and respected and is one of the pioneers in Birmingham television. I just cannot tolerate listening to him "read" the news. Running a close second would be my Ron Burgundy Award winner, who would probably rank higher (lower) if I ever actually took the time to watch the ABC 33/40 newscast.

3. Gone on to greater glories? No one I can think of as an anchor, although I can recall a few who've gone on to being network reporters.

So there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:24 AM | Comments (17)

April 19, 2006

Well, I tried.

Tried my best to let by-gones be by-gones and make nice with all our British visitors, but none of them (as of yet) have stayed long enough to leave a comment.

Therefore, although I don't mean to taunt and such, I must make note that today marks a fateful anniversary--On April 19, 1775,

British and American soldiers exchanged fire in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord. On the night of April 18, the royal governor of Massachusetts, General Thomas Gage, commanded by King George III to suppress the rebellious Americans, had ordered 700 British soldiers, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith and Marine Major John Pitcairn, to seize the colonists' military stores in Concord, some 20 miles west of Boston.

A system of signals and word-of-mouth communication set up by the colonists was effective in forewarning American volunteer militia men of the approach of the British troops. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride" tells how a lantern was displayed in the steeple of Christ Church on the night of April 18, 1775 as a signal to Paul Revere and others.

At Lexington Green, the British were met by 77 American Minute Men led by John Parker. At the North Bridge in Concord, the British were confronted again, this time by 300 to 400 armed colonists, and were forced to march back to Boston with the Americans firing on them all the way. By the end of the day, the colonists were singing "Yankee Doodle" and the American Revolution had begun. [...]


I do still like Great Britain, though.

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

Not since the Clinton Administration

No, really.

I couldn't believe it either.

Seems we had a server outage earlier this morning. I could occasionally get online, but couldn't even begin to access my worky-worky stuff--particularly hard was that there was no Word and no Outlook.

What to do?

Well, I looked to my left and saw the giant pile of garbage that I've been accumulating over the years. Old vacation leave slips, business cards, Dillon Blue Press catalogs. Honestly, I measured it and it was as stack of junk over 11 inches high.


So, I cleaned that off, and culled all the junk and kept the few essential things needed to do business. Still no intranet connection, though.

I looked just to the right of the previous stack at the OTHER stack of stuff that sat right in front of my monitor between it and my phone and mouse. Dangitall, might as well get that, too. I got it all the way down to the actual faux woodgrain plastic laminate on the top of the desk.


The papers on the very bottom of both stacks dated to 1998.

EIGHT YEARS of JUNK! Where's Sandy Berger and his Magical Pants when you need him!?

I wish that was all of it--there's a in-out box full of the same kind of junk, and the vast area over on the right hand side of my desk, and then there's that previously mentioned pile of stuff on my window sills. But, now that I've finished lunch and the server's back up, I have to see if I can finish my work now.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:43 PM | Comments (16)

International Visitor Day!

Since I still have a great honking wad of work to do today, and since I still feel compelled to provide exciting and innovative entertainment for all both of my remaining readers, I thought it might be fun to play a little game with those of you who come to Possumblog from other places. This allows all of YOU to provide lively content down in the comments, while I go off and do paying work.

SO, here we go--IF YOU, Kind Visitor, hail from the nation that has this flag:

Union Jack.jpg

leave a note below to let us know you've been by so we can all say hello. And feel free to tell us a bit about yourself (although please, nothing prurient or discomforting).

Hard to believe, but it has now been twenty years ago, when I, a bright-eyed third year architecture student was blessed with the opportunity to spend a spring quarter studying in Europe. Our first stop was London, where we spend the first day at a near-sprint trying to see as much as possible. The first night produced a severe bout of constipation, for some reason. Just as well--our hotel was furnished with the fine quality Izal Medicated Toilet Paper. Fine breakfasts, though.

From there, there was a trip to Cambridge, then a couple of days later a long train ride to Edinburgh for a few days, with a side trip to Glasgow. Highlight of Scotland was the discovery of something called Spud-U-Like, a take-away placed devoted to the humble potato. One of the girls in the group bought a baked potato that supposedly came with sour cream. Upon returning to our eating area, she opened up the foil-covered lump she'd been given and found a large mass of what looked to be an exploded cow udder.

The second best highlight of the trip was when we were near the coast and heard the sudden roar overhead of two FB-111 "Aardvarks," flying low and hot. We had no idea at the time that they were rehearsing for Operation El Dorado Canyon, the eventual bombing of Libya and of Moammar Gaddafi's compound.

Anyway, my trip to the UK was quite pleasant, aside from the intestinal knotting, so if you're from there, thanks for not kicking me out and for being marvelous hosts.

So, let's hear from you!

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


are highly underrated.

There was a water line break at the corner of Park and 19th this morning, which meant we lost part of our water supply that feeds the building's air conditioning chillers. Meaning we don't have working A/C right now. Meaning it's getting a bit warmish already.

But, in a nice bit of forward thinking, our old building constructed in 1950 still has nice tall operable windows. Now, some of the ones in the various public lobbies and places people congregate have been fixed shut so there won't be any incidences of defenestration (unintentional or with malice aforethought), but most of the ones in the office still work, more or less.

Of course, mine are hampered by the tons of books and drawings I had on the window sills, and for some reason the upper sashes only lower by about 4 inches, but there's still enough opening through the bottom sash that I have a nice enough breeze moving through, and I get to hear the sounds of spring in the city--birds, the Street and San guy with a leaf blower, fire trucks and their bouncing jangling tire chains, airplanes headed in to the airport--and it's even nicer because The Screaming Guy hasn't made his way to the park yet.

Anyway, it's a nice change.

Now, to work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:02 AM | Comments (7)

April 18, 2006

Well, now--lunchtime, and I’m almost halfway done.

Which is pretty good, considering EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN BIRMINGHAM has called me this morning. Some of them twice. And one of them came by instead of calling. And people keep putting stuff on my desk, despite the fact that I hiss at them. Silly persons.

Anyway, I’m going to eat lunch and type this, so please excuse the grease stains and crumbs. Since this is so long, I'll put it in the extended entry for your ease of reading or to make it easier to ignore, or something.

So, the weekend? It actually started Thursday night. Seems that Jonathan needed a suit. He had a little blazer, but when we tried it on him, the sleeves hit him halfway up his forearms. Sometime in there the little stinker grew. Anyway, since he was going to be participating in a competition on Saturday, our congregation’s rule is that you need to dress up for it. I can kinda see this when it’s something like song leading or speech, but his event was going to be Bible Bowl, and it would seem there would be less need to put on a dressy appearance for that. I suppose it’s best to not have any exceptions--such things lead to time wasted trying to explain why one is one thing and not another thing. Or something.

In addition to a boysuit, Reba said that Catherine and Rebecca needed some shoes. I don’t know about that--they seem to have plenty of them scattered all over the house, but I am not one to quibble. In any event, we decided to make a run Thursday separately. We usually all go together, but there was so much to get done that I didn’t want to have to stand there shoe shopping with a bunch of girls and wind up with no time to get anything done.

So, Boy with me, Girls with Mom.


We’d go to JC Penney’s and find him something, mainly because Penney’s is just about the only place that sells suits for kids anymore. Apparently there’s a big demand for looking like a street urchin no matter the social setting. Whatever.

SO, on to Penney’s…but, wait. Hmm--what about… Say, down at the foot of the hill in the big shopping center, there’s an Old Navy. Maybe they have little kid blazers! So we stopped there first. Nope. Just thin cheap crap. Everything--all thin, all cheap, all crap. Next best thing to disposable. Well, poop. BUT WAIT--say, there’s a TJ Maxx nearby, too! (Twice the Quality Because We Have Twice the X!) Try that! Nope, not there, either. At least not in anything larger than a 4 Toddler. Wait just a minute--there’s an S&K Menswear right down from TJ Maxx! GO THERE! “Do you have anything in his [pointing at Boy as if a prize beef] size?” The saleslady shook her head and said sadly that they did not. “Well, is there any place close that might have something his size?”

“You should try Penney’s. That’s where we tell everyone to go when it’s for young men.”


What a great idea.

AFTER WASTING ONLY THIRTY MINUTES, we set out for the moribund Century Plaza over on the eastern edge of Birmingham. The place was once one of the grand malls in the area and always seemed packed, but now, not so much so. Even less on a Thursday night.

BUT, they did have suits.

Tried on one, but it was a double-breasted one. Boy like it, but I explained that a double-breasted suit was supposed to stay buttoned all the time. You don’t let it hang open DESPITE THE SLOB DAVID LETTERMAN’S CURIOUS AFFECTATION TO THE CONTRARY.

I think Letterman always wears some wonderful suits, and double-breasted suits really complement the frame of a tall thin man. But his stupid insistence on leaving them gapping open just makes him look like a goober, especially with that gap-toothed grin. Wear a single-breasted suit, ya big goof! And quit wearing those #$@^ light colored socks with loafers! You look like you’re channeling Cliff Claven!

ANYway, I guided Boy to something else, and we happened to find ONE nice dark charcoal suit with the stylish three-button coat and pleated pants. He looked very sharp--and then it was time for the shirt--white, button-down--of course! And finally, the tie. “Awww, Daddy, do I HAVE to wear a TIE!?”

“Oh, no, son--you don’t HAVE to, but if you don’t, Satan will rise up from the underworld and smite you and drag you kicking and screaming down into the uttermost pits of Sheol.”

I didn’t really say that. Although I think he probably thought that would have been a worthy alternative to actually wearing a tie. IN ANY EVENT, he found one he liked--a nice geometric pattern of grays and blacks and other colors, and one that you actually have to tie! What a man!

Flew home, and as I predicted, the girls were still not back. And, in fact, would not be back for hours. They got four pairs of shoes. In the interim, I packed. One undershirt, one pair of grippies, one shirt, one pair of socks. I don’t know why I only pack one change of clothes--even though we’re only being gone one day, everyone else seems to pack as though their moving away from home.

Next day, I got to be a home body!

Which meant that I didn’t get to stay at home at all, but rather spent the entire day running back and forth to the stores assembling junk food for the long, long road to Atlanta, because, as we all know, in the space of slightly over two hours, minivanloads of children have been known to starve completely to death.

And then there was the matter of Easter baskets.

Obviously, Rebecca and Ashley are getting too old for such things, but I knew I couldn’t exclude them or else they’d get their feelings hurt, so I bought four baskets, some small egg-motifed candy stuff that would be the same for all of them, and set about trying to find small presents that each one of them would like, and likewise would be small enough for an Easter Bunny to actually be able to carry, seeing as how the Easter Bunny does not have a magical sleigh or eight caribou to help him carry junk. So, Cat got a floppy stuffed duck and a travel checker set and some books; Jonathan got some Hot Wheels and a stuffed blue Peep (he’s too old for stuffed toys, too, but hasn’t quite figured it out) and some books; Rebecca got a stuffed bunny (although sadly it did not come with sauce piquant) and some books and a nice little manicure set; and Ashley got a small cute stuffed rabbit in an egg and a DVD (the Liz and Dick version of Cleopatra) and some books and a slightly different manicure set. Then I had to hide all this stuff in the closet until Saturday night when we got back.

Did all that, finished packing the van, and then set about to go get the children from school. The plan was to pick them up and then get Reba from the house (she was supposed to get off from work a few hours early) and then head out. First, check out Oldest, then run to the elementary school for Cat, then to the middle school for the Middle Two. Got them all, got them home, then we waited for Mom, who didn’t quite get off from work when she wanted. Left home about 4:15. Which, all things considered, was pretty darned good. And we didn’t leave anything behind, AND we didn’t leave the garage door standing open.


Made it by 7:30, and was promptly highly annoyed that there was no parking space in the hotel parking deck. And hadn’t been since Thursday. Went around to the lobby, dropped off the personnel and their impedimenta, and went looking for the parking deck I’d been assigned. Thankfully, it was not far away, and doubly thankfully, was not staffed by attendants intent on ripping me off. There were several folks who’d been forced to park in lots where the keepers demanded a 20 or 30 dollar ransom BEFORE letting them in the lot, despite postings of a $17 per day maximum charge. Thanks, friendly Atlanta!

Back to the lobby, got our keys, got upstairs, and unpacked. We’d missed two different award ceremonies, so the kids were a bit disappointed that they didn’t get to go pick up their medals for Good Samaritan (they all got the highest level on that), and Rebecca got a trophy for achieving the highest rating for oral Bible reading, and one of the biggest surprises, Ashley got a second place trophy for her scrapbook. Surprising, mainly because of the amount of time that was actually put into it, which, as you recall, was tiny, and done all at the last minute. No prize for the banner I worked so hard on, alas.

Anyway, I was sorta glad we'd missed it, because it allowed me to immediately go to the room, take off my clothes, turn the A/C down to “meatlocker” and watch cable television. The downside? Well, Jonathan was rooming with me, so cable television was light on news and information, and heavy on Disney Channel.

To bed at a decent hour, and due to the fact that our rooms did not interconnect with Reba and the girls’, we actually got some peace and quiet without having to deal with people traipsing through unannounced.

Up early, got our stuff repacked--since we have to check out, there’s no keeping the room as a base of operations after 12 noon, so all the effort expended to get everyone’s junk upstairs and unpacked has to be undone the very next morning and all the stuff put back into the van so we’ll be ready to go after the last award ceremony that night.


Dressed in our nice clothes--again, with no way to come back and change, if the kids had to be in something requiring nice clothes, it was just easier to wear them all day long. I had to give Boy a couple of pointers on suit-wearing: “You leave it unbuttoned when you sit down so it doesn’t bunch up, and then when you stand up, you button the middle button. On a two-button, you button the top one. And this is the way you tie your tie…”

Followed by one of those passing-of-the-torch moments that fathers and sons share, in which the man-lore of strangling one’s self with a brightly colored fabric garrote is passed down from one generation to the next. I don’t know if he could do it again without some help, but after he was all dressed and neat looking, I actually think he enjoyed wearing his suit and tie, protestations to the contrary. I noticed him several time throughout the day, making sure to properly unbutton and button his coat as he sat or stood.

Anyway, all of us grabbed a load of stuff and headed for the lobby, and after we got there, I proceeded on and walked to the van, stuffed in one of the rolling cases I’d brought with me, drove back around to the lobby, reloaded everything, then went and reparked, then walked back to the hotel. Which seemed to be uphill both ways, for some reason.

Breakfast, then. Or brunch. Tried to decide: food court, or lavishly overpriced breakfast buffet in the lobby? Since it was almost 11 and Oldest had her song leading competition at noon, it was decided to eat the buffet. The children made sure we got our money’s worth. You’d think we never feed them. I’d just about finished my big plate of scrambled eggs and sausage when Reba suddenly turned and asked Ashley if she had her sheet music. “Uh, no--it’s in my Bible Bowl book.” Which just happened to be one of those things that got packed away in the van when I brought it around. Which wouldn’t have been quite so galling had she not told the location in that way that indicates it was not her responsibility to keep up with such things. Grr.

SO, time for me to hoof it BACK over to the parking deck at the lovely SunTrust Plaza--“Soon as I get back, y’all leave and I’ll finish up breakfast with the rest of the kids.”

Out the door, with a big pile of sausage and eggs agitating in my gullet, at a near run to get to the deck and back in time. To the van, up with the door, find music, head back up the hill. Got there nearly purple with apoplexy, handed music to Oldest, who barely even acknowledged the stupid old sweaty fat man cluttering up the area with his presence. “You’re WELCOME, Ashley.” “Uh, thanks.”


She and Reba went on off and took Catherine with them, while I stayed behind with Bec and Boy. After allowing my churning stomach and pounding heart to regularize themselves, we finished up our food before going downstairs to wait.

Waited. They studied some of their Bible Bowl stuff and I watched people. Not too closely, though. Reba and Oldest and Youngest finally got out of their session and came and we waited for the next thing. “Do you want to go with us to do some shopping?”

That was probably on my list right above being pressed to death by anvils.

I told them to go on and Boy and Bec stayed behind with me. We waited.

Finally got time for the Q & A session, so we migrated back to the big ballroom, which, in a break from years past, held ALL the contestants, from 3rd grade to high school. Each team had its own judge, and the questions were called out an shown on two big screens at the front of the room. Still seems like it would be easy for the more mischief-prone team members to get a case of wandering eyes, but it went remarkably well except for one glitch when the question-caller forgot to ask everyone for their answers before revealing the answer on the screen. Boos seemed to be something of an inappropriate response to such a thing, but he handled it with aplomb.

As for parents, this setup meant that we were all pushed over to the sides of the room, but apparently this still didn’t stop people from playing along with the game. Unfortunately, instead of holding up a card with the letter of the answer, this seemed to make people want to call out the answers like they were on the Price is Right. That got an admonition from the emcee. Of course, that didn’t stop the COMPLETE IGNORAMUS who sat a few chairs down from me, who was either brain damaged or never completely grew up. The very first question, this stupid git started stamping his feet like a little kid and raising his hand like he knew the answer. AND CONTINUED DOING IT for the next sixty questions. Doof, it wasn’t funny the first time, and it got progressively less funny THE MORE YOU DID IT. To make matters even worse, I think he was with the same group that had the Angelina Jolie lookalike mom in it. She needs to watch who she hangs out with, or people will think she’s as weird as the real one.

Anyway, that got over with, and then it was time to wait. And eat supper. Then go back and attend the final award ceremony. Say, whaddya know! Oldest got another award--second place in girls song leading! So, overall, it was a pretty good convention, even with the parking situation. I had to pay to get out and come get the luggage, so I figured after the final ceremony was over, I’d have to pay again. Just the way things are. So, imagine my surprise after I sneaked out a bit early to go make the final trek to the deck that when I got to the exit, the attendant was on break, and the guard was there to let people out, and I DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY! YIPPEE!

To make matters even better, I finally had a map to look at of the surrounding area, and we were able to make it to the Interstate in about five minutes. For some reason, for all of the past years, it seems like we’ve had different directions on how to get out, but none so simple as taking one left and going straight. Go figure.

Home, pulled into Casa de Possum around 11 pm, unloaded, sent the children to bed, then went to bed myself. The Easter Bunny was just going to have to wait until in the morning--I felt like I had rocks in my eyesockets.

SUNDAY, the Easter Possum arose early and set about his task of leaving surprises for all the good little boys and girls, as well as my children. They all were awakened, and seemed quite taken with their gifts, even if Boy broached the subject that some kids at school believed parents were behind the treasure trove, which brought out a rabid and forceful denial from Catherine, who took the presence of baskets of goodies as prima fascia evidence of a gift-bearing mammal having been in the house.

On to church, then to Reba’s mom and dad’s house, where we had lunch, and afterwards I collapsed on the couch. Home, where I really REALLY wanted to collapse on the couch, but instead decided to have fun by doing laundry and disposing of another mouse I’d caught in the garage. Strange, but this time not only was there a mouse (making the total an even dozen now) but there was also a blue-tailed skink stuck on the trap with it. Boy, I bet they had a story to tell, if I could speak either mouse or skink.

Back to church that night, led singing, coughed through half of the songs, then on back home, more laundry, then to bed.

MONDAY, and yet another OFF-DAY! For some reason, the kids were out of school, and so I took off as well, with the intention of doing work, as I mentioned in the first post of this morning. Didn’t do any paying work, although I did manage to actually finish the laundry.

Which I think is pretty good.

Now then, time to get back to that paying work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:19 PM | Comments (4)

NEVER take a four day weekend.

It just makes you tired, and even further behind in all your work. I had good intentions--I thought maybe I could get some work done Friday in between running around getting last minute stuff for our jaunt. No. From the time I woke up, until we got to the hotel in Atlanta at 7:30 pm, I did not stop. Then, of course, Saturday was filled up with convention stuff and Sunday with church stuff, and then Monday--oh, Monday. "Finally," I thought, "some time to catch up on work stuff." I thought this because I am a moron.

From sunup to the late local news last night, a continual process of laundry, refereeing brawls, cooking food, yardwork, and not doing my paying work. Well, okay, not exactly--I actually did manage to get one paragraph written. ::sigh::

Meaning, for the next two days I have to do nothing else but type in order to get this mess finished, meaning further that you'll have to wait a bit before you hear all about our trip (which thankfully was much less eventful than in years past, and was once again marked by the appearance of the Angelina Jolie lookalike mom) and about all my other various gaddings-about (which were full of moronitude).

SO, as has become all too regular an occurence around here, I beg your patience and ask you to check back in sometime later to see if I manage to burrow my way out of this pile of garbage.

IN THE MEAN TIME, I got an e-mail from Kenny Smith this past weekend in he sent along a link to a highly entertaining website that is great fun for all of you obscuro-facto-philes.

Have a fun day, and pass the gasoline and matches and let's get this paperwork cleared up.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:26 AM | Comments (8)

April 13, 2006

A four-day weekend!?

You better believe it! We get tomorrow off as a holiday, although the kids are in school. They get Monday off since it wasn't used as an inclement weather day. I have to take a day of vacation that day to stay home with them, because frankly, I am very tired right now, and after this weekend, I can guarantee you I will be even more tirededer.

As usual, and as forewarned, we have our annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Atlanta this weekend for our convention and award ceremony stuff that our congregation participates in, and we won't be getting there until late Friday since the kids have school, and then we're driving back Saturday night because I'm too cheap to stay an extra night, and I also have to teach a class Sunday morning, and between Friday night and Saturday night is a constant running around to various meeting rooms and tending to whiney, ravenous children. Along with several thousands of our closest friends.

So, Monday will come as a relief. Although I bet I wind up having to do laundry all day.

ANYway, no possum for you tomorrow or the day after Sunday, so as usual you will have to entertain yourselves, or play the Home Version of Possumblog.

All of you have a blessed weekend, and I'll see you on Tuesday.

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

How very odd.

Investigators: Booster death was accident

The Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A University of Alabama football booster died when he hit his head in an accidental fall at home, rather than being slain as first thought, the police director said Thursday.

Police initially described the death of 65-year-old Logan Young as a bloody slaying after a fierce struggle but quit calling it a homicide a day later.

"He fell in his house, hit his head on a metal stair railing and died from that injury," Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said at a news conference. [...]

Crime scene crews spent most of two days in Young's house, where police said blood or traces of blood were found in several rooms.

Lt. Joe Scott said Thursday that investigators determined that after Young fell, he lay on the floor awhile before getting up and walking into several rooms and then upstairs to his bedroom. [...]

Given the hyperventilating media coverage on Tuesday--fed in no small part by the police with their talk of a "mystery homicide"--this does seem to be an odd epilogue to the whole sad story. Given his notoriety, there will doubtless be folks who think there's yet more to the story than that of a simple fall and a dazed and dying man stumbling through his own house.

It was still an awful way to leave this life, but if there's any comfort to be found in it, at least it's not nearly so bad had it been done intentionally.

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

Remember a couple of weeks back...

...when The Guy Who Always Burns His Toast nearly burned up the toaster with a piece of parchment paper?

Just now, I came in from lunch and saw him standing at the toaster oven again, waiting.

I came in my office, sat down, returned a call, and then began to smell the tell-tale odor of Fahrenheit 451. I ran out the door, and AS USUAL, he'd wandered off somewhere, and the oven was releasing a nice cloud of smoke. ::ding:: Yep, it's DONE, all right! Just then he came shuffling back up, and, because I'm nice, I chuckled and said I thought his paper was finished cooking.

"Hm, well, hm--that's...that's parchment paper--it's not supposed to burn."


Now, look. If it does it the first time you put it in there, that ought to tell you that yes, in fact, IT WILL BURN! It's PAPER, not ASBESTOS. If you put it in a cake pan and pour batter on top of it, why, yes, it probably won't burn then, because CAKE doesn't cook at 500 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT! UNLIKE THE TOASTER OVEN, that has a white hot heating element only ONE AND A HALF INCHES AWAY FROM YOUR PRECIOUS PARCHMENT PAPER!

What's the old Einstein quote--"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think it applies in this case.


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

Another Late Night

Seems Oldest had a paper due today for her anatomy class. And a brochure describing a dread disease.

I went to bed, only to be awakened at 12:39 a.m. by a whiney person complaining that a part of the paragraph was on the wrong part of the brochure.


"Ugghhhhh! Dad!?"


"UHhhhhgghh! DAD!"

"Mrrljhs? Mphephelplmc."

"::SIGGGGGHHHHHH:: Awoougghhh! DAD!"


I do not react well to be awakened from a sound slumber.

::whines:: "I TRIED to put THIS (pointing at bit of text) on HERE (points in general direction of screen) and it was over HERE (points to the first panel of the second page of the brochure) and now it's back up HERE!" (points to the last panel of the first page)

Resisting the nearly-overwhelming urge to tell her, 'Hey, I thought you knew so much about computers that you didn't need to take any computer classes,' I instructed her to click to the left of the line of text she wanted moved, then I hit the return key three times. Amazing! It moved down to the second page.

Then I went and peed and went back to bed.

I understand that she went to bed around 1:30, probably blaming everyone in the world--other than herself, of course--for making her stay up so late.

Mom and I had a big sturm-und-drang session with her a couple of weeks ago when she was signing up for her classes for next year--I've been trying for three years to get her to take a basic computing class to learn at least a little bit about it. She finally relented and put it down, but not before many tears were shed by her over this indignity--after all, she already KNOWS all she will EVER need to know about computers. And that's a direct quote.

Add to this the incredible hostility she radiates whenever I make a suggestion of how to do something, and doggone it, I just didn't feel like telling her that the photos she printed out of her assigned dread disease could much more easily have been simply inserted into her document, rather than actually cut out with scissors and taped in. Likewise, I figured since she was so up on her computing that she'd know how to get everything printed off. I came downstairs this morning to leave, and she was at the kitchen table busily taping two sheets of paper back-to-back. "Whatcha doing?"


"Mm, well, yeah--the printer only prints on one side." I reckon I'll let her figure out the way to get it to print on the front and back, seeing as how she already knows it all.

I guess I'm a mean daddy for not wanting to engage such behavior on her part in a more constructive manner. My hope is that if she won't listen now, she might at least realize later she might should have. Possibly, she will turn out to be like Mark Twain (or at least the apocryphal version of Twain): 'When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.'

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:44 AM | Comments (9)


Mark of the Beast x 333.6667?

Nah--I just thought you'd like to know that yesterday afternoon on the way home, my homely Swedish box rolled past that magical number on its odometer. 11,111.1 miles per year is not too bad of an average, I don't suppose.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

Two Headlines--

--that look just that much worse when they appear one right after the other on the news page:

Few states likely to reach new teacher quality mandates on time

South Alabama teacher accused of student sex, murder plot

And some people wonder why the home schooling movement keeps growing.

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


The Axis of Weevil Thursday Three, “Slapdash, Thrown Together, Mish-Mash of Leftover Junk” Edition!

::golf applause::

Being that such a thing as delivering three probing and exciting questions each week to you, our wonderful reading audience, requires such a tremendous degree of discernment and taste, of necessity it means it that there will be on occasion some questions that simply do not meet our high standards.

These questions may be illogical, or mere sentence fragments that do not even rise to the level of actual interrogatories, or they even might have been produced with inferior grades of vowels and consonants. Each of these sub-normal constructions are swiftly pulled from the production process before they ever litter your computational device, insuring you of the highest quality and enjoyment.

Unless, of course, we don’t have any questions, in which case we send a staff member to the basement and grab some of the ones that didn’t quite work.

BUT, to keep you from believing you are being given short shrift, we lovingly apply a content label specifying that they are of the category “Entertaining and Diverse Potpourri of Miscellany,” and ask you to be just as satisfied with them as if they were indeed the finest quality inquiries to which you are accustomed.

SO, for today’s episode, each of you answer the following by leaving a comment below, or by leaving a link to your personal online journal (what some persons call a “Weblog” or “blog”).

1. What is your favorite computer time-waster: Solitaire, Minesweeper, Online Question-Answering Memes, Mahjong, or other. Please specify why.

2. What is the stupidest thing you have ever done with lumber?

3. If you awoke one day and realized your dream of becoming a famous author had come true, what would the title of your second novel be?

4. BONUS QUESTION! How many previous Thursday Threes have been published on Possumblog?

Now then, go off to the luxury of your easy chair and answer those and let everyone see what you have to say.

As for my answers…

1. Well, I hate Minesweeper, even though I have a relatively good idea of how to play it. I take mahjong in spells--some days I can play a good while, others, not. I suppose Solitaire would be the one I play most often, although I really like Spider Solitaire that I have on my home machine, because it’s nearly impossible to lose.

2. Such a wide open category.

But probably the stupidest is when I was probably about nine or ten, and I got the bright idea of trying to scoot down my slide on the swing set while sitting on a short length of 2x6.

Well, it wasn’t that fun of a ride since it wouldn’t go. What to do? Hmmm. Since I knew oil made things slippery, I found my dad’s oil can and squirted some on the slide. However, I did not realize that sometimes oil could be slippery, and sometimes it could gum things up pretty well, especially when you’re talking about a lumber-metal interface. With the slide all greased up, I got on the board and started down, only to hit a very unslick portion. The board stuck fast, while my chubby little body continued its downward motion unabated, causing my chubby little butt to slide along the 2x6. This sliding did not stop until my chubby little butt came in contact with a small wedge of protruding wood on the side of the 2x6, which neatly entered my chubby right butt cheek and, having come to a secure resting place, broke off.


I ran crying into the kitchen with a rather alarming-sized splinter in my hiney, which my mom proceeded to remove from me with the aid of a pair of needle-nose pliers. Afterwards, I had to go to Dr. Brand’s office and get a tetanus shot. Which hurt just about as bad as the splinter.

3. “I Am A Famous Author, and THIS is My Second Novel.” Actually, the second book in my series will be entitled “Cornelius.”

4. I really don’t know--a whole bunch, I wager. Probably at least six or seven, or maybe even two hundred, or something like that. I don't know.

SO, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:00 AM | Comments (14)

April 12, 2006

Brainy Guy Update

Just got a note from our good friend and commentor Steevil the NASA Scientist Guy, who says he has now been released from the hospital. I assume this means he's at home, and not just wandering around the grounds of the campus with a big bandage on his head.

In any event, good to hear things are progressing as planned.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:27 PM | Comments (10)

Pizza Delivery Guy!

Subtitled, The Law of Unintended Consequences

Remember the first part of the week when I recounted the story about having to give the Papa John's delivery girl directions to the house? NO!? Hmph!

Well, I DID write about it, and I got to thinking about it afterwards. "I wonder," I said to myself, using the little quiet voice in my head, "if there's a way to suggest to them that they print out some maps to the customer's house along with each order?" Of course, all the other voices had a BIG uproarious laff at my quiet voice's expense, but the quiet voice got together behind their backs with my fingers, and they went off and found that there is indeed a customer feedback section to Papa John's website.

Of course, there is the obligatory dash of cold water, i.e., reality, before you get there:

Unsolicited Ideas

Thank you for your interest to share an idea for a product or service that you believe would be beneficial to Papa John's. Please know, however, that it is Papa John's company policy not to consider unsolicited ideas from anyone other than our corporate employees, franchise owners/employees, and our supply partners.

It’s not that great ideas cannot come from our valued customers. Each year, however, Papa John's receives thousands of unsolicited ideas for products and services. Due to the mass volume of these unsolicited ideas and the business challenge of determining what is truly a “new” idea versus a concept that we already have in development, being tested, or previously considered, we must adhere to our strict policy not to accept or review any unsolicited ideas that come from outside our system.

As a result, we must decline your invitation to review your idea, and hope you can understand and appreciate our business reasons for making this company decision. We do, however, greatly appreciate your interest in Papa John's.

Not being one to take "no" for an answer, nor, for that matter, being all that great at understanding plain English, I figured it couldn't hurt to go ahead and make my suggestion anyway.

So, I wrote and told the highly condensed version of the story--I ordered online, liked it, but found it odd that the driver had to call for directions, and suggested they might like to explore some way of printing out maps to go with the order so it's easier on the driver. Punched the Send button, and promptly forgot about it.

Nothing quite like short term memory loss!

IMAGINE MY SURPRISE, when Chet the E-Mail Boy checked my inbox this afternoon, and found that I had been sent a response to my suggestion!

From: [Name redacted ]@papajohns.com
To: terryoglesby@gmail.com
Date: Apr 12, 2006 1:11 PM

Subject: Re: Feedback acknowledgment

Dear Terry,
I apologize for the inconvenience as you shouldn't have been called for directions. I am forwarding your comments on to the appropriate personnel for their review. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience.
[name and title redacted, although he's pretty high on the food chain if you go by titles ]

DANG! Although I REALLY was impressed someone from the company wrote back, I wasn't angry about what happened, and didn't want to get anyone gigged for calling me. Especially since she was cute.

IN HASTE, I sped a reply back to him trying to keep the home town team from getting mad at ME and spitting on any future pizzas I might order from them:

No problem at all--it wasn't really an inconvenience for me and I
found it rather humorous, and the driver was very apologetic for the perceived trouble to me.

On the other hand, it does seem like there's an opportunity to better integrate online mapping with your ordering system. Maybe even something you could exploit in ads--hapless Domino's driver blundering around looking for an address, while the Papa John's crews happily scoot straight to the house using handy customized maps that are generated when you order online.

ANYway, I wasn't upset, and hope that the local folks don't get too much of a thrashing.

Yours, etc.

ANNnnnd promptly forgot about it.

Nothing quite like short term memory loss!

BUT, not two minutes later, that electronic pizza guy was BACK, and this time with this:

From: Same Guy
To: Terry Oglesby
Date: Apr 12, 2006 1:43 PM
Subject: Re: Feedback acknowledgment

I like the idea with the Dominos driver and think I'll pass that on. It would make for a good ad.

Name Redacted
Title Redacted
Phone: redacted
Fax: redacted

WOW! Got an actual phone number!? Now I'll call him when my pizza's late!

Now then--this is obviously kinda neat, especially if this takes off and becomes a big hit and makes all the other pizza joints look bad. Just as obvious, I needed to be sure I looked after my own interests in this matter. It is, after all, all about me. So, just to show what a shrewd negotiator I am, I sent this along to my new buddy:

Just remember--if the powers that be like the idea, I want free pizza FOREVER!
(Only joking--sorta.)

And promptly forgot about it.

Anyway, it would be cool if they did do something with my idea. I've even got the slogan for them: "Papa John's--Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, and BETTER DIRECTIONS!"

Now then, if I can just figure out a way to get Cornatees into their delivery menu...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:19 PM | Comments (6)

Whew-ee, some morning.

Made all the more difficult by having to stay up until midnight-thirty last evening helping certain children of mine get some photos together for scrapbooks that they have to turn in this evening at church, as well as my own funtime activity of poking holes in a black sheet of foamcore board and threading fiber optic filaments through them.

I will say this--my stuff looks super pretty fantastic.

Then again, I didn't have it nearly so bad as Reba, who stayed up with Oldest doing stuff until 3 this morning. Yes, that's right, 3:00 ante meridian. I'm sure they'll both be fresh as daisies today at work and at school.

But, hey--it's all about me, so as long as I was able to get up at 5:30 and head off for my early morning meeting and function at my usual high mental level, then that's really all that matters, right!? Of course.

The meeting itself actually went quite well--we had 18 cases on the agenda, and STILL managed to wrap things up before 9:00, which is really good considering we've had half as many in past meetings and ran nearly an hour longer.

BUT, as usual, I now have much transcribing and typing to do, so in the interest of giving you something to ponder while I'm off doing work, allow me to note that although some dates in history are rather slim when it comes to interesting stuff, April 12 seems to be quite the opposite. From the AP, this is an excerpt of a listing of things that happened today, and it's pretty amazing to me what all happened on this date:

4/12/2006, 8:46 a.m. CT
The Associated Press
(AP) — Today is Wednesday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2006. There are 263 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Passover begins at sunset.

To all my Hebrew blogmates (Skinnydan, Sarah, Meryl, Jeff, and more than likely a whole bunch more that I don't know about), I bid you Gut Yomtov, Chag Same'ach, and A Zeisen Pesach. Please be sure to send all of your leavened products to me as quickly as possible. And remember, I don't fall for that deal where your rabbi says he's selling it to a gentile, and the gentile never gets it, and you keep it locked up in YOUR house.

If I'm a'paying for it, I WANT it. Especially if baked into some nice babke.

Today's Highlight in History:

Four hundred years ago, on April 12, 1606, England's King James I decreed the design of the original Union Flag (also referred to as the Union Jack), which combined the flags of England and Scotland.

If I do say so myself, I think the Union Jack is the second-best-looking flag in all the world. Good job, Jimmy the One--and thanks for making sure Jesus and the rest of them guys spoke proper English.

In 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

Immediately thereafter, the Union press began to blame George Bush for his reckless cowboy intransigence and for forcing a confrontation with the kind-hearted Jefferson Davis, thus leading to the destabilization and destruction of what was once a peaceful, harmonious, prosperous society.

In 1862, Union volunteers led by James J. Andrews stole a Confederate train near Marietta, Ga., but were later caught. (This episode inspired the Buster Keaton comedy "The General.")

Those wicked, wicked Yankees!

In 1934, "Tender Is the Night," by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published.

Much liquor was then consumed.

In 1945, President Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.

Afterwards, the American press vilified George Bush for his flagrant violation of international law for using nuclear weapons against Japan.

In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.

This really is a milestone of incredible proportion, especially considering what a battle had been fought against childhood polio and between the competing vaccine teams.

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing.

Yeah, well--second into space, FIRST TO THE MOON, BABY!

Five years ago: The 24 crew members of a U.S. spy plane arrived in Hawaii after being held for 11 days in China.

How many of you remember this? I do, and keep remembering then that I hoped that was the worst we could expect on the international front.

Anyway, now back to work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:16 AM | Comments (5)

April 11, 2006


Not really. The regular ol' bimonthly meeting beckons, so tomorrow morning the usual fare of stupid possum-flavored things will be interrupted so I can sit around and take notes for half the morning. And then come back and type them up.


See you all tomorrow sometime.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

I realize now what a sheltered life I have led--

--seeing as how there is a dog who's peed on more states than I could ever hope to visit.

It does remind me, however, of the book Go, Dog, Go!

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

Perpetuating the Stereotype, Volume MCXIII

Via Dave Helton at Red Georgia Clay, what happens when you have cats, dogs, firearms, and rednecks around your house:

Dispute over dog and cat ends in shooting

A dispute between two Catoosa County neighbors Sunday night ended in a shootout with one man suffering gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

According to Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers, Terry Dewitt McDaniel of 48 Mark Lane, shot his neighbor’s dog. He claimed the dog, which belonged to William Beyer of 93 Campbell Circle, was chasing his cat.

Summers said Beyer’s wife told him the dog had been shot and he got a handgun and went to McDaniel’s residence to confront him.

“During the altercation, Mr. McDaniel and Mr. Beyer exchanged gunfire,” Summers said. “Mr. McDaniel was not injured. Mr. Beyer suffered from gunshot wounds to the head and chest area from Mr. McDaniel’s shotgun.”

Beyer was transported to Erlanger Medical Center by ambulance around 8 p.m. for treatment and authorities arrested McDaniel and charged him with a misdemeanor for cruelty to animals, Summers said.

Beyer’s condition is not life threatening, according to the sheriff, although he may have suffered an eye injury from one of the shots.

McDaniel was released after posting a $2,500 bond Monday morning. The case is still under investigation and the Sheriff’s Department is consulting with the Catoosa District Attorney’s office to determine if additional charges will be filed, Summers said.

See?! This is why I don't need a cat or a dog--nobody'll get mad and come gunning for me when I shoot up a bunch of stupid mice.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:05 PM | Comments (2)


Alabama booster convicted in recruiting scandal found dead

The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Logan Young, the booster convicted of bribing a high school coach to get a top recruit for Alabama, was found dead Tuesday in his Memphis home, his defense attorney said.

Memphis police were on the scene of Young's home investigating the case as a homicide, Sgt. Vince Higgins said in a telephone interview. He said officials assume the victim was Young but needed to use fingerprints and dental records to confirm the identity.

"We're treating it as a mystery homicide," Higgins said.

Nashville defense attorney Jim Neal said he had been told the body was found by a housekeeper.

"I've had two or three calls about it, all to the same end, found killed in his home. ... I heard that there was blood everywhere. That is all I know," Neal said.

Young was 64 when he was sentenced last June to six months in prison and six months home confinement then two years supervised release. But he had been allowed to remain free pending his appeal in the case involving the peddling of defensive lineman Albert Means.

A "mystery homicide"? What on earth is that?

Anyway, an awful and terrible fate for Mr. Young. Given the nature of his life, you would probably be safe in saying he had far more enemies than friends, especially when you consider the way in which he exited life.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:06 AM | Comments (4)

One for former bubblehead, Mr. Skillzy

April 11, 1900--

the U.S. Navy acquired its first submarine, a 53-foot craft designed by Irish immigrant John P. Holland. Propelled by gasoline while on the surface and by electricity when submerged, the Holland served as a blueprint for modern submarine design. By the eve of World War I, Holland and Holland-inspired vessels were a part of large naval fleets throughout the world. [...]

Here's a good website from the Naval Historical Center with photos and history of the boat, along with another from the Silent but Deadly crowd with information about its inventor and promoter.

As an aside, those of you who are all enamored with the current (no pun intended) fad of hybrid cars and think the technology is so new might want to consider that Holland's boat had something kinda sorta similar. It powered itself along underwater using electric motors connected to a big honking stack of batteries, which could then be recharged on the surface while using its gasoline engine. The next version (the "A" boats) were even better in that they could recharge their batteries while underway, rather than while idling.

And while we're at it, how about a shout-out to the crew of SSBN 731!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:38 AM | Comments (2)

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Boy, I sure love listening to Emmylou Harris.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:51 AM | Comments (4)

A cautionary tale.

For those who think we should be able to just knock on the door to a cave and arrest Osama bin Ladin, this story out of Italy:

The Associated Press

PALERMO, Sicily (AP) — Italy's reputed No. 1 Mafia boss was arrested Tuesday at a farmhouse in the Sicilian countryside after frustrating investigators' efforts to catch him during more than 40 years on the run, the Interior Ministry said. [...]

Provenzano, on the run since 1963, has proven an elusive target.

Turncoats have told investigators in recent years that he avoided capture for so long by sleeping in different farmhouses across the island every few nights and by giving orders with handwritten notes, not trusting cell phone conversations for fear they are monitored by police.

Authorities were also hampered in their hunt for him because their last photo of Provenzano dated back nearly 50 years. However, personnel at a clinic in southern France where Provenzano is believed to have been treated for prostate problems under a false name a few years ago helped police to create a new composite sketch. [...]

FORTY years. On an ISLAND. Sure, Sicily's not the smallest place in the world (at 9,925 square miles, it's just a bit bigger than Maryland) but dadgummit, it's still an ISLAND. And it's not like there isn't a governmental presence on Sicily--it has police and military, and a population of 5,000,000 people. And it still took forty years to catch the guy.

So, the next time you hear someone say they guarantee if you vote for them that they'll make sure to catch Osama, it might be best to take that with a grain of salt.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:21 AM | Comments (2)

I am reminded of a certain line from Dire Straits--

Clinton-Gore era returns at fundraiser

"...money for nuthin' and your chicks for free..."

Good times; gooood times.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:00 AM | Comments (4)

In a related story...

[...] "It's like watching mole-rat TV. Just watch them run around and do all the things they do." [...]

Why anyone would rather do that than read Possumblog, I have no idea.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

Mouse Count


Three on Saturday, none on Sunday, and then I got home yesterday evening and found four of the vicious little beasts stuck to various traps, including one trap that had two on it. And found that they'd gotten into some of our old tax papers, as well as an old kid's seat cushion I had on the countertop. Filthy little squeaking things were all in it, but I didn't want to move the cushion for fear that they'd come skittering out and run all over my arms and freak me out.

Time for more traps, so I went back out to the store before supper and got more. Set them out, and had four more this morning, including one trap that had three stuck to it.

Catherine's comment? "Awwww, they look so cuuuuute! Except when they're dead."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:05 AM | Comments (15)

Jack Bauer Update!

ONCE AGAIN, I was stymied in my efforts to fully engage myself with the program due to having to clean up the kitchen after supper and constantly shush loud little children! GAAH!

BUT, as best I can tell, President Nixon isn't Nixon at all, but a cleverly diguised Rasputin Machiavelli, and he's just be acting like a weak, vacillating idiot for the past several month (hours). Everyone else pretty much seems to be the same--Jack is Jack, Chloe still smells something stinky, Brokenose Girl is acting like she's bad but we know it's just a deviated septum, Impassive Bald Secret Service Guy Aaron is still manlier than Jack, Crazy First Lady Jean Smart is crazy--she actually kissed Machiavelli this week, and my stomach contents very nearly came flying out onto the television.


Unless it's someone like an attractive Russian strumpet. Who, by the way, was not on this week. But the sight of the President and First Lady swapping spit was horrid, and the disclaimer at the start of the show should have mentioned something about "extreme graphic violence and public displays of affection by saggy-jowled people." Ick.

ANYWAY, I have no idea what's going on, other than now Machiavelli is trying to get Jack all killed, and Jack's trying to find the recording that the Hot Brunette Lady in Waiting took to the bank before she got all shot up, so Jack and the Dead Ex-President's Brother go kidnap the bank manager and make him go open the vault, and they all three listen to the recording and it's all about how Machiavelli was behind it all, in his own words.

Then they have to shoot their way out of the bank, because the Former CTU Nerve Gas Guy found Hot Brunette when they somehow intercepted the little girl's 911 call about her mommy hitting her head on the table, and so he went and found them, and kidnapped everyone again, and had his henchmen surround the bank where Jack, Bank Manager, and Dead Ex-President's Brother were. BUT, thinking quickly, Jack decides they DO want the cops to show up as a diversion now, so Bank Manager trips the silent alarm and the police come and the henchmen start blasting away at them, so THEN the ARMY GUYS come on the scene with a pile of Humvees and Ma Deuces and take out the henchman as Jack, et al., escape in a squad car.

Bank Manager, however, is no longer part of the show.

WHILE ALL THIS IS GOING ON, the good folks at Homeland Security have now turned their efforts to finding Jack into the primary goal of the organization because they got a call from Machiavelli to do it, and they're all in thrall to his Rasputinlike powers. So, Brokenose Girl decides to go for a drive, and she's really going to meet Jack and her daddy, who's William Devane, and Some Blonde Agent and a Dork bug her SUV with a tracking device. She stops to pretend to get gas, and Stinkyface Chloe tells her how to find the bug using Channel 17 on her walkie-talkie.

BUT WAIT--despite the fact that the show takes a great deal of liberties with reality, one thing I could not abide was the way in which the tracking device was ditched. She found it in the wheelwell of her car--stupid people who put it there should be thumped for not breaking in and planting it somewhere so deep she couldn't find it--but be that as it may, she ditched it by attaching it to a public works bucket truck. ON THE INSIDE OF THE FRONT FENDER! The big- cab versions of those trucks are based on regular pickup truck cabs, with the exception that their big wide front fenders are made out of FIBERGLASS. Which, last time I checked, is non-magnetic. SUCH A CAVALIER ATTITUDE TOWARD REALITY I WILL NOT BROOK! I mean, it's one thing for everyone to be able to run around and talk on cell phones and the only ones who ever get intercepted are the guys supposedly on secure lines, but there MUST BE A LINE DRAWN SOMEWHERE!

Anyway, they lose her, and then find her again by using a satellite, which Sourfaced Chloe sneaks into the basement and disables then runs to ladies room to freshen up, and the DHS guy is like, "What were you doing!?", and Chloe's like, "PShyeah, I'll write you a report on my pee habits."

SO, the President's bad, Laura Palmer's Dad from Twin Peaks is probably not all good, but he didn't have the Dead Ex-President shot, Jack's on the way to meet Brokenose Girl and William Devane at the Van Nuys airport, Chloe will finally get caught because of something the Redheaded High-School Intern did, and there'll be a big synchronized swimming event. Or at least, I think that's what happens.

(SarahK has a more thorough version, as usual.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:37 AM | Comments (0)

First things first.

As you recall from Friday Steevil (aka "Steve"), one of the Friends of Possumblog as well as a famed NASA rocket scientist and brother of Dr. Weevil, was going into Johns-Hopkins for some brain surgery. I got a message last night from his wife--

To all,

Steve's surgery went very well today. He was awake, alert, and grouchy by the time they let me in to see him (about 4:00 p.m.). He was complaining to the doctors and nurses about all the things he was hooked up to. So, I guess it's a good sign that he's on his way to being his old self again.

The doctor said that he removed a cyst, but he doesn't know what caused it. He also found and removed a new tumor, and removed what was left of the first one. Everything has been sent out to pathology for biopsy, but he was pretty sure that the new tumor was also a benign meningioma.

Of course, even the doctor is somewhat concerned that Steve had a recurrence in only 3 years. But I guess that sometimes just happens.

Steve is hoping to get back to sailing soon, but hasn't had the nerve to ask the doctor how long it will be before he can go out. As the mean, dutiful wife, I expect that it will be my job to ask the hard questions.

AND, not only that, they just found out that they're going to be grandparents, too!

Anyway, I know Steve and Kathie (Spousil of Steevil) appreciate your kind thoughts during his recovery.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:00 AM | Comments (2)

April 10, 2006

An interesting battle.

Alabama black GOP group launches effort for black primary votes

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — There's none of the eerie music, but it feels like the Twilight Zone just the same to Minister Herman E. Wesley whenever he mentions to people — black or white — that he's a Republican.

"When you say you're a black Republican, it causes eyebrows to go up in the air," said Wesley, who recently joined the Alabama Black Republican Council. "But I think as more blacks begin to understand the Republican Party, we will begin to see that we truly have more in common there than with the Democrats."

Wesley, who leads the North Pointe Church of Christ in Montgomery, joined about 20 other council members last week in announcing plans for an intense grass roots effort to touch off a small exodus of blacks from the Democratic primary to the Republican primary on June 6.

If they meet their goal of getting 75,000 registered black voters to vote in the primary headlined by incumbent Gov. Bob Riley and former Chief Justice Roy Moore, the group says a significant message will be sent.

To Democrats: Don't take the black vote for granted. To Republicans: Don't ignore it.

"What we want to do is to get the black vote re-engaged in Alabama," council chairman Richard H. Finley said. "Presently everybody knows what the black vote is going to do — they've allotted a certain amount of money for that and that keeps black people poor and on the plantation and under control."

Finley said 20,000 to 25,000 blacks voted in Riley's last election and getting 50,000 more seems possible based on the response the group has gotten around the state.

Joe Reed, chairman of the black Alabama Democratic Conference, says he doubts how successful the campaign will be, especially in a state with a race-relations history like Alabama's.

"If they want to try that, they're Republicans and they're welcome to," he said. "If they can get 75,000 black folks to support George Bush in Alabama, we're going to have to build some more insane asylums in Alabama for that many people." [...]

Nice, Mr. Reed--offensive not only to the families of those who are in mental health institutions, but also to black people who in good faith might have a legitimate reason for not voting Democrat.

Believe it or not, there are people, of all ethnic backgrounds, who believe their religious sensitivities are subject to less hostility and denigration by the Republicans than by Democrats, and who see no need to suppress their faith in order to have a voice in politics. For some people, that's more important to them than voting for who they're "supposed" to vote for. Mr. Reed touts his own conservatism as proof of the Democrat's open door policy, but he'd never get elected to a national Democratic office with those qualifications, at least as long as the party is arranged as it is right now. He might be satisfied where he is, but others aren't.

Call 'em crazy if you want, but it's probably not smart thing in the long run.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

One to make sure--

--that Ed Flinn keeps dropping by: Unappealing sooty mangabeys at heart of research battle

The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — As monkeys go, sooty mangabeys aren't cute.

Big-fanged, gray and hairy, they simply stare when threatened. Few zoos stock them.

Sounds like my kind of people.

Some animal rights advocates can't even spell the species' name. [...]

Well, there's a shock...

Anyway, for all of your curiosity regarding unappealing sooty mangabeys...

(And yes, I have done this before, when I noted the similarity between mangabeys and the curious affectation some teen girls exhibit in wearing white eyeliner.)

UPDATE! Lest we neglect to mention it--Happy Birthday, Cheeta!

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

So, anyway.

Up early Sunday, sore, dressed, tried to get everyone else up and out of bed and dressed. Aww. Poor family is so tired! Daddy Drill Instructor keeps disturbing their sleep!

Finally got everyone up, dressed, fed, and to the church building. Taught my class, were the youngsters learned that Simon should have quit while he was ahead. On to worship, where we were once again blessed with an invigorating sermon, as well as constantly being kicked in the back of the pew by the children behind us. I think it’s time to change seats.

Afterwards, time to stay.


Seems Reba had a meeting, although her fellow worker on the project was not going to be back in town for it. And by now, the whole project consists of our kids and one other set of kids, and they weren’t there. So, basically, we were having a meeting with ourselves.

Why? Well, see, we’ve got this big church-related convention coming up this weekend that we go to every year (the thing where the kids compete at various things such as Bible Bowl and stuff), and Reba somehow got saddled with helping to coordinate the making of what is quaintly called a “banner,” and is used to identify each congregation participating. For some reason, there is an “eclectic” class, which is intended to encompass every other single thing that can be used to identify a group of persons OTHER than by using a swatch of fabric with their name on it, and every year, we enter this category. These things can get to be quite elaborate. On the other hand, we only have until Wednesday to finish it, and on Sunday, nothing had been done to it. So we had a lot of work to do. By ourselves.

After several minutes of arguing about which purveyor of fast food I was going to go to in order to get lunch, I took off and bought it and brought it back to the building. We ate, and then there was the time to figure things out with the “banner.”

Now, up until this point, I had assiduously avoided having anything whatsoever to do with any of this process. I have enough to do without having to get wrung in with something like this. No sirreebob. “Well, we’re supposed to have a piece of black plywood she said she found somewhere," ("she" being the other person who was running the show) "but I don’t know where it is.”

::sigh:: A signal for me to start looking.

I looked, but they found it without me.

“And we’re supposed to have some little white lights somewhere.”

The idea, as I understood it, was that there would be lights around the perimeter, or something, since the theme of the convention has to do with letting your light shine, and then there'd be pictures of the kids from church on there, and then a mirror in the middle, with the idea that you’d look into it and see YOUR light shining, too!

Or something. I was baffled.

Anyway, they managed to find the white twinkly lights. Only half the string worked. And there was the issue of how to get the lights attached to the board. Drills were mentioned. “Don’t we have a drill?”

Yes, of course we do.


I know I’m going to get roped into this.

They finished up printing off some photos of various folks, and we figured we’d swing by Michael’s and see what sort of crafty stuff we could find, and see if we could find a mirror to stick on the small piece of black plywood. OFF TO MICHAEL’S!

Found a rectangular mirror, then found another one that was round. Hmm. Round better--because it has to have the theme statement somehow written on it, and if it’s round, I--who have now been volunteered to write the slogan in some medium--will find it easier because I won’t have to figure out where all the lettering should stop and start.

But, what to write with?

Reba kept saying paint, which is a bad thing to do on a mirror, especially if done by a large, impatient, angry man. Rub on letters. Bingo! Found some, in a girly-looking script. Stick those babies on the glass and yer done.

Need to affix the mirror. Reba kept saying hot glue. Bad idea--doesn’t do well with non-porous stuff--need something quick and easy. Double-sided foam tape. Got it.

Now then--those lights aren’t gonna cut it. Too bulky, to much drilling, too many lights. Need dollhouse lights. They don’t have any, but they DO have the coolest thing in the world--a fiber optic decoration that goes in flower arrangements! I figure you drill some small holes, and poke the fibers through, and it begins to look less like a theater marquee and more like a constellation of twinkly stars! CLEVER ME!

Me not moron!

Well, me am a moron, but let’s just keep that between us, okay?

Anyway, an added benefit is that it’s battery powered, meaning no troublesome electrical cord. Which is just as well, seeing as how late Sunday I finally decided if I was going to do this, I probably needed to read the rules. No plugs allowed. Whew. Glad I found out.

Got the kids together, who’d been strung out all over the store touching things they oughtn’t, paid, and headed toward home. I got to the top of the hill, and despite knowing better, I said, “You know what would be better than that hunk of plywood?”

“Foam core board?”

“BLACK foam core board--that way, I could just stick a pin through it to feed the fiber optics through and we wouldn’t have to drill anything, and it’d be a lot lighter.”

Thus guaranteeing I’d have to run back to the craft store after I dropped everyone out at the house.


Dropped the family off, ran back, got a nice flat, slick, black-through-and-through sheet of foam core and ran home again--thankfully, it’s not that far of a run.

NOW THEN--running out of time, because I had to be back at church for a 4:30 meeting. Get mirror, get letters, start applying. I might not be good at anything else, but by doggies I can do press-on letters! Back in the olden days before you whippersnappers with your computers came along, that’s the way we professionals would do presentation boards--one sticky letter at a time. Too fast for you? Try doing rub-on letters! And those were extra-hatefilled when it came time to fix the inevitable spelling errors. Nothing like trying to use a bit of Scotch tape to gently take up the word “Elevevation” to make the word “Elevation.”

This with the glass was pretty hard, in that the only guideline I had was the bevel on the edge of the mirror, and I was working in a circle. But, it turned out looking very spiffy. Probably will wind up being TOO spiffy, since they seem to like stuff that was obviously done by kids. Whatever. Pressed the letters down for good, then flipped the mirror over to apply the foam tape. Done. “FOAM CORE!” Foam core on the table. Centered the mirror by eyeball method and held it mere millimeters above the surface. “YARDSTICK!” Eyeball precision still working at high level--no adjustment needed. Drop mirror final fraction, and SUCCESS!

All that’s left are to attach the pictures, and run the little twinkly fibers. Somehow, I sense impending disaster…

On back to the building, had my meeting, had our evening service, then on back toward home. We still had laundry to do, after all. LOTS of laundry. And there was this matter of supper the children kept bugging me about.

I suggested pizza.

I am a hero.

Call Domino’s after we get home. Two large, one meat lover, one supreme, one order of cheese bread. “That’ll be $42.”


Which is exactly what I nearly shouted into the phone.


“Well, sir, you ordered one large Extravaganza, which is what we call our supreme, and it’s $21, but if you hold on a moment I’m sure we can offer you a lower price on that…”

That’s still nearly twenty bucks for just a plain old NON-supreme pizza and some pizza dough--who’s this guy kidding!?

“No, that’s okay, I think we can just cancel the order right now and-”

“Okay, thank you, sir.”



I think whoever answered the telephone at the Domino’s on Main Street in Trussville at approximately 7:45 last evening must ENJOY KNOWING HE CAN PULL DOWN A PAYCHECK even if he ACTIVELY ALIENATES CUSTOMERS!

Way to go, dude!

Well, fart.

Even though I had gotten all my church clothes off and was in my usual lounge attire of ratty shorts and tee-shirt, I was about ready just to go to the grocery store and get some pizza. “What about Pizza Hut?”

Well. Eh. They’re slow, and the usual delivery guy makes me highly uncomfortable. I really didn’t want to wait another hour for a pizza.

“What about Papa John’s?”

Hmm. For some reason, we never call them. Could be because their number’s not in our little crappy CenturyTel phone book. What about if I...

SAY--them there Internets can look up phone numbers for you!

Not only that, I found out you can order online, too. AND I DID!

How is this happening? How have I gone from being so backward to ordering pizza online? I don’t know. Thankfully, lest I become too enamored of technology for the sake of technology, although my pizza arrived in thirty minutes, the delivery driver had to call me twice for directions.

If they can get pizza orders from the Internet, it seems like a logical solution for their software to spit out a map to the person’s house attached to the order. Slap it on top of the box with tape and away with ye! I guess not. I might suggest that to them.

Anyway, two big pizzas, an order of garlic bread, $22. And the driver got a $3 tip because she was cute.

Mmm. That’s good pizza. It’s funny, too, because Domino’s is right down at the foot of the hill, and it always takes them at least 45 minutes to deliver, and Papa John’s is way over by the Interstate, and even with a bad sense of direction, they still got the food there in 30 minutes. Goodbye, Domino’s.

So, more laundry, and other junk, then the kids into bed, then us into bed. It took me a long time to finally get to sleep, though, what with all the events of the weekend still fresh on my mind. I probably tossed and turned for a whole five seconds before dropping off.

AND NOW, here we all are again! I may take a nap.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:41 PM | Comments (14)

"Water, water every where..."

Water. Ceiling of the garage.

Well, this has happened before. Our big swirlpool tub in our bathroom has a peculiar thing--the knob that controls the amount of aeration leaks. It's up high, but if water ever does get there, it seeps underneath and through the knob, and spills out onto the floor inside the tub enclosure, and from there leaks though into the garage below. I found this out the hard way not long after we moved in. Big hunks of drywall material still litter hard-to-reach portions of the garage, and there are still two lines where said material fell from the ceiling joists and has not yet been repaired.

And now, for some reason, it's doing it again.

I couldn't come inside. I stayed near toward the back of the yard, and I made up every reason not to leave that spot. I knew pretty much what had happened, and it would make me blood pressure spike to dangerous levels if I were to witness this myself.

"Is someone in the tub!?

"No, but there's water everwhere on the floor, and it's leaking though the ceiling!"

"Is there water running!?"

"There's just water all over the floor!"

"Get some towels and sop it up--once it's picked up, the leak should stop if there's no water running!"

Pause. I don't know what she wanted me to do--there were four people in the house--surely they could get the water up.

She went inside, and then a minute later came back out.

"Catherine is in the shower!"


Why is this so danged hard for everyone to figure out!?

"She did! She had put the washcloth over the drain of the shower, and now there's water everywhere!"


Why did she put the washcloth down there? Why won't they just get the water up? Why does this require me to leave my happy warm fun zone? It is a mystery.

Reba went back in a second time, and I wondered exactly how big of a mess Catherine had just made with her incredible, maddening, insouciance. I didn't wonder enough to actually go inside, but I did wonder some.

Oh well.

Time enough to see after the grass is cut.

As it turned out, Boy did just about all the backyard, and by the time he got to the last strip of grass, he'd gotten to the point where only a few blades had escaped him. Lawnmower up in the shed, and then time for the last bit of yardwork--cleaning out the bird feeders and filling them with seed.

I was lax about this during the winter--it's been several months since they were properly filled and the poor little fat birdies and squirrelies had anything to eat at our house, so time to fix that.

The feeders were taken down and washed, and when Rebecca popped outside to see what was going on, I asked her to go in the garage, where she'd been busily blotting up water, and get me one of the bags of birdseed from the top shelf beside the deep freeze.

Waited. Put the feeders back together. Looked up and saw Catherine standing there. "NEAT! You fixed the frog fountain, Daddy!"

"Yes, I did, Catherine. Why did you put the washcloth over the drain and flood the house?"

"I don't know."

"Did it just fall down there and you didn't know about it!?"

"No, sir."

"So you did put it there?"

"Yes, sir."

"And you don't know why?"

"No, sir. Why are you washing the bird feeder?"


Told her to go back inside and help Mommy clean up some more, and went to go find out what was taking Rebecca so long. She brought the big cardboard box outside--"Mom says she thinks mice got into it."

Grr. I hate those meeces to pieces! (For all you Pixie and Dixie fans.)

I pulled out the top bag, and sure enough, a mouse-sized hole in the side of the bag, and a bag full of empty seed kernels. I took it out to the compost pile to pour it out, just in case any of the filthy vermin were in there. Nope. That's good. Opened the other bag, that had not yet been gnawed upon and finished filling the bird feeders, then locked everything up outside and came in.

Went out to the garage to survey the water damage--looked about the same. Still a few drips, but not nearly so bad as it had been before, and by this time I had calmed down again, so no big deal.

Now then, the matter of the seed. I went over to the deep freeze, and heard a peculiar noise. Something of a scratching. We had a picnic hamper up on top (in addition to a scattering of other stuff--some craft items, a hunk of carpet, a toolbox, a newspaper I'd saved). I lifted up the basket and EEEEKKKKKKK!! MICE EVERWHERE!! RUN AWAY!!

Filthy things.

I took the hamper outside to make sure it was empty, and it was. Went back to the freezer, and the little beasts were peering out from various hidey holes in all that junk up top.

Well, this means war.

Got my billfold and my hat and told everyone (all of whom by now were eating supper) that I would be back shortly. We gonna kill us some mice. Hardware store--closed. Grr. Grocery store--glue traps. Grotesque, but highly effective. And something I'd never heard about before, a mouse killer that was nontoxic to humans. Active ingredient? Corn oil. I had no idea they could be killed with a vanishingly small dosage of corn oil. HURRAY FOR CORN OIL!

Home, and got to clearing off the top of the freezer. Yuck. Moved the tools over to the tool box, threw away some of the junk, got the newspaper. Hmm. I'd saved the paper from the day Clinton was impeached. I had thought about keeping it, but it had the end gnawed off. Probably not by Hillary, though.

I took it over to the garbage can and read what I could through the plastic sleeve. Hmm. How very interesting--attacks on Iraq, Rep. Livingstone resigning, Clinton vowing to fight. Figured I might as well read the thing a bit more--not like I had anything to do. Started pulling the sleeve off WHAEEEEEEKKKKK! Danged stupid rodent! Apparently there had been one who'd stuffed himself up inside the rolled up paper, and decided to scamper out when I started messing with it. He skittered across my forearm with his sharp little disease-ridden claws, leapt to the floor (not shouting sic semper tyrannus, though), and bounded behind the file cabinet.

"Oh, don't run, Mister Mus Musculus. That just means you'll die tired. I'm gonna git you in just a little while, you stupid dimwitted mouse!"

I can't believe I was talking out loud to a mouse, and to make it worse, talking to him as if I was the bad guy from a James Bond film.

The paper was discarded without further reading, and I went to work finishing the cleaning and trap spreading.

Finished up, washed up to get the stench of mouse off of me, and went to work on some stuff I had intended to send our church contractor that morning, THEN finally took a bath. Kids to bed, got my stuff ready for Sunday, and then decided before bed, I'd got downstairs and see if the stupid mice had decided to play in the glue.


There was a big fat one in the tray on top of the freezer, a tiny one on the floor beside the freezer, and a midsized on in the tray by the back door. I took them outside so they wouldn't stink up the garage any more, and halfway hoping they'd get carried off by all the various cats that roam the neighborhood. No such luck--the next morning I found them where I'd left them and sealed them up in a plastic bag. In the intervening time, I have checked the rest of the traps and not found anything--either they had just stumbled into what they thought was heaven and hadn't had time to settle in good, or the rest of them decided to go somewhere safer. The only disturbing thing is that one trap is gone. Completely. I'm not sure how that happened--that had to have been one BIG mouse.

Anyway, the garage is still set up as a kill zone, so if any mice are reading this, you'd better just go somewhere else.

NEXT: Creativity, despite myself.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:28 AM | Comments (5)




Or not.

Anyway, got home Friday and waited for Reba to get home so we could go out to eat. Since we didn't have any kids with us, it seemed like a good thing. She got there, and we gathered together some clothes for Oldest, who'd decided at the last minute to spend the night with Grandmom and Granddad with the rest of the crew.

At that time, we did not know that earlier in the afternoon (and again, they'd been at Grandmom's house for a while, since they'd gotten out early due to the storms moving through), the children had engaged themselves in a slap-fight-laced imbroglio due to an accidental whack with a rubber ball, delivered by one Boy against the noggin of one Oldest. My mistake? Having the nerve to upbraid Oldest for retaliating purposely against her sibling because of an accidental insult on his part, and doing this in the presence of Reba's mom and dad.

For all their good points, my in-laws are of a peculiar mindset that seems to have been quite common amongst their peers, in which any oldest child is afforded near immunity from any sort of repercussions for bad behavior, with the recriminations falling to other children. They were raised like this, and they raised Reba and her brother that way. Allow me to say, the example of Jacob in the Bible should give any parent pause for treating one child as a favorite.

We've tried not to do that--we do our best to be fair to all of them (which is how my parents treated my sister and I), and to punish or reward them consistently. Sure, we fail, but for the most part, the kids at least understand the direction in which we're trying to go.

In any event, it seems that I committed a major faux pas by daring to cut Oldest down a notch, and the temperature in the room became quite chilly rather quickly.

What a grand start to our date night!

We left, with Grandpop silently standing at the door burning holes through me with his laser eyeball rays, and went over to a new place that's opened in our little burg, John's City Diner. John's is one of those downtown institutions from back when there was no such thing as a suburban shopping mall. It's still around, but the owner decided to branch out by opening a location in a suburban shopping mall. Nice place, though, possibly a little too nice. Lots of black and silver accoutrements, all sorts of weird angles and swoops and curves, a big window into the kitchen, wait staff who were simultaneously ubiquitous and unsolicitous, and WOW--those are some PRICES!

I realize I'm a rube and all that, but I do have some sense to know I'm being played a bit when items on the lunch menu are in some cases almost half what the same thing is priced on the dinner menu. Second, although a rube, I have managed to sneak into some really fancy places, and so I am less impressed than I should be with all the decorations and frills and precious twee details intended to tell me exactly how suave and cool I should feel.

As it was, I got a reuben (which should have been on rye) and Reba got a salad. I have to say the sandwich was quite good, although I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have due to the familial-induced indigestion. Probably not a good idea to have ordered something with sauerkraut and spicy mustard.

Afterwards, we headed back over to the in-laws' place to more calmly talk to all four of the children at once to encourage them to act like humans. As usual, 3/4 of the children were contrite and properly chagrined for having acted up and genuinely apologetic. The remaining 1/4 portion of the children was quite willing to let the other 3/4 apologize, seeing as how she believes that her actions were quite justified and that she is smarter than all people in the world combined and therefore does not have to listen to anything anyone else says to her.

Oh well. One day, reality will knock on the door and sit down and have a talk with her.

After we'd gotten that put away, we bade them goodbye and told them to get some sleep, and we'd be back for them Saturday afternoon.

Home, bed. It appeared we'd been spared all of the horrifying weather that hit Tennessee and Kentucky, until 1:30 a.m. when the tornado siren sounded. I really needed to be woken up anyway. Put on a pair of jeans just in case something bad did happen that would require me to later be in front of a television crew. I really don't want to be interviewed in my underwear and asked to describe the sound of a tornado. Turned on the news and saw the lurid red and yellow swirlies of storms headed our way and the salivating weather guy pronouncing dire direness about to overcome us all.

Went downstairs, made sure there was nothing in the floor of the laundry room in case we had to sleep there, and watched the television some more. The storms were really honking along moving east, which made me feel better since it meant they weren't going to sit and spin on top of us for hours. Reba piled up on the couch, and I did my usual thing of looking out the back and front of the house to make sure I still had a back and a front of the house. The leading edge of the storm arrived, the wind blew, it rained, and then that was it.

Back upstairs, sleep.

Wake up--it's UAB DAY! Hooray!

Now, I had been thinking this was going to be an early morning sit and chat deal and we'd be home by lunch. I believed this because I am a moron.

Started at 10:30--didn't get home until FIVE.

We got dressed and went and picked up Ashley and got to hear about their journey to the basement the night before. Seems Rebecca was the only one to hear the sirens going off and was the one who went and woke up everyone. For her conscientiousness, she was made to sleep in the floor for the rest of the night.

Off then to UAB, parked, walked back to the rec center. Which was to be the first of many walks. Got the schedule of the day's events and WOW--that's a lot of junk to do. The first thing was wandering around the huge gymnasium visiting the booths of the various schools, and then there was a breakout tour for each of them as they took groups of students to various buildings. We followed our tour guide over several blocks away to a meat locker lecture room, where we had a brief speech from one of the physics profs, who apologized that we'd been taken to the wrong building. I thought something was funny when it said we were supposed to be in Room 101 of the Chem building, and we'd been taken, up four flights of stairs, to the top floor of the Math and Science building. It seems all the muckety mucks were over in Room 101. I whispered to Reba that those guys had better get to walking, when in one of those decisions that can only be made at an institude of higher learning, the room full of students and parents--possibly sixty strong--were going to go back downstairs and go to the building where the department heads were.

Which sounded pretty stupid to me, but hey.

We decamped and followed our tour guide back downstairs and out onto the sidewalk (it was a beautiful day, by the way) and had just started down the street when we met the muckety-mucks coming our way. They had figured out it was easier for them to meet us, than for us to come to them. So, we turned around, and went back inside, and back up those four hateful flights of steps. Well, some of them. WE took the elevator.

The presentation--after it got going--was very good. UAB is justly proud of the huge strides they've made in research, and listening to the presentation almost made me wish I was a college freshman again. Almost. All that learning stuff really is neat and even in their presentation, I managed to learn something. Did you know that 8% of the freshwater in the United States flows through the state of Alabama? Did you know that's more than any other state? Pretty cool, eh? Did you know that sea urchins are prized by sushi fans for their scrumptious gonads? I didn't either, and I could have done without knowing any of that. So, there was all that kind of stuff, and then there was all the junk about atoms and molecules and computers and stuff, and then it was time for lunch. Followed our tour guide back over to the rec center, got a tepid shrivelled hot dog and some chips, and then it was time for the NEXT set of stuff--another presentation from the Pre-Health Specialties person.

The room was over in the old part of Volker Hall, and I swear to goodness, getting to the lecture room was EXACTLY like the bad college dream I have on a recurring basis where I am wandering through a basement and there are various lecture rooms off the corridor, and I can never find the right one, so I just go find one and sit down. The room this time wasn't in the basement, but up on one of the upper floors, yet the corridor to get to it was still low, and dim, and full of exposed conduit and concrete block and stained ceiling tile. UAB has some of the finest facilities I have ever seen, but getting to that lecture room could use a little work.

Good presentation--as were all of them. The high morale of the people associated with the university really is infectious. I realize they're trying to recruit students (and parents), but if you've been to enough campuses, you can tell a difference when you're at a place that's actually working at something.

After that, it was time for the walking tour of campus. Now, I work downtown, and am pretty familiar with the campus, and I even attended UAB for a couple of years before I transferred to Auburn, but it's still amazing to me exactly how much there is to it, and how much it has grown since I was there as a student. Luckily, we only covered the high points, because--since I am a moron--I had worn my regular work wing-tip shoes, not knowing I was going to be hoofing it all across blocks and blocks of campus.

Anyway, we finally got back to the parking deck close to 5:00, and I was a scosh on the tired side. AND I STILL HAD TO GO HOME AND CUT GRASS.

Home, picked up the kids, and set in to work on the yard. Nothing like the steady drone of a 6.5 hp Briggs and Stratton to wash away the cares of the world. Did the front yard as Boy and Cat rode their bikes up and down the sidewalks, spread out a little weedkiller, then moved to the backyard. I called them back and sent Cat inside to start getting her bath, and after a few minutes of instruction, got Jonathan hitched up to the lawn mower. He didn't help at all last year, and that's going to change this year!

He was glad to be doing it, though. He's bigger now, and the new lawnmower is easier to use than the old one. Lovely afternoon, cool, breezy, still lots of daylight, and the calming influence of being outside in the lush green of early spring, and now with the added fun of Son. Ahhhhh.

While he gapped up the yard (thankfully, it was the back and not visible from the street), I tended to other things. I got the frog fountain working right again, by putting the frog I had bussed right in the center of the water, sitting on a little pedestal. I figure if it was going to leak all the water out, the best thing to do was to put it so it leaked back into the fountain. Which turned out to be exactly the right thing--this morning it's still merrily splashing along.

Such a nice afternoon. Jonathan was still having a bit of trouble getting some of the strips of grass cut, but that was okay--do it over enough, and you learn not to miss anything. And then, the announcement.

Reba was at the door--"Can you come here and help me?"

"What's wrong?"

"There's water coming through the ceiling of the garage!"


NEXT: Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:15 AM | Comments (4)

That was much more involved than I thought it would be.

I thought this weekend would be more relaxing than some past ones. I thought that because I am a moron. No, really.

As it was, there was teen petulance (displayed for the grandparents!), diffident restaurant service, six hours of campus touring, an overflowing shower that showered into the garage, a plague of mice, and forced creativity.

For some reason, I am very tired.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:06 AM | Comments (2)

April 07, 2006

Well, now.

It has been another week, and it's just about time for another weekend, and one that's going to be filled up with all sorts of running around doing things. We have a deal tomorrow where we get to take Oldest over to UAB to do a campus tour. Maybe it was just me, but I don't ever recall colleges marketing so heavily to high school sophomores; we get a near-constant stream of literature from universities all over the place. Hey, folks--stop sending brochures--SEND MONEY!

And there's this whole storm deal. The three younger kids are supposed to be spending the night with their grandparents tonight, and it's bothersome when I can't be simultaneously a mama hen and St. George and have them there at the house. But, at least right now, it doesn't look like it's going to be as bad as the meaty urologists first were fearing--it's clement and sunny and bright, although a tad on the breezish side. Then again, all that could change, and it might be worse. ::sigh:: It would be so much easier if it were a severe dragon warning.

If it doesn't rain, or alternately there are no sulphurous flaming sneezings from the sky, I might get out and cut the grass this evening and put down the weed killer I was supposed to have put out last week. Exciting times in Paris Along the Pinchgut, eh?

ANYway, all of you have a great weekend, and remember to pray for the folks that need it, and even harder for them that don't think they do, and I'll see you all back here bright and early Monday morning.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

Déjà Vu

I thought this story sounded familiar--Fla. teacher accused of taking bribes

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A second middle school teacher was arrested for allegedly letting students skip gym class if they paid $1 each day.

Tamara B. Tootle, 39, turned herself in Thursday and faces six counts of bribery, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said.

Authorities said she told students at Ernest Ward Middle School during the 2004-05 school year that they didn't have to dress for her physical education class but would still receive a 100 percent for participation for a bribe. [...]

Why, that sounds just like...yep, sure enough:

Escambia County School District spokesman Ronnie Arnold said investigators learned about Tootle's activities from Terence Braxton, a former teacher at the same school who was arrested in February on bribery charges. [...]

As I said about Braxton, I'll say about Tootle--you have to be pretty low to shake down kids.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:54 AM | Comments (9)

Oh, and speaking of Auburn--

--this might have been sort of juvenile, I guess, but I STILL thought it was funny:

Bush greets AU swimmers
Tigers honored along with 11 other NCAA championship teams

Friday, April 07, 2006
News Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON - Auburn University's men's and women's swimming and diving teams were recognized Thursday at a White House ceremony honoring 12 NCAA championship teams from nine schools.

It was the third time the Auburn men and women have won the national title in the same year and the first time they've appeared at the White House together.

"It kind of says that, in a year of swimming, this is the year of War Eagle," President Bush said on the South Lawn.

From the presidential podium, Bush held up a tiny black men's Speedo swimsuit, a gift from Auburn backstroker Jeri Moss, 21.

"Awfully thoughtful of you," Bush said, turning to look at Moss. "I'm not going to wear it."

Moss, from Riverside, Calif., said she gave Bush the briefs inside the White House before the public ceremony. "He had a good attitude about the whole thing," she said. "He was a great sport about it."

After his speech, Bush posed for pictures with a representative of each team and more gifts. This time, Moss gave him a blue sweat jacket with "George W. Bush" embroidered under the AU logo.

"He said, `I heard you have another gift for me.' I said, `This one is a little more appropriate.' He laughed," Moss said. The men's team was represented by Kurt Cady, a senior from Las Vegas who competed in the individual medley and freestyle. He gave Bush a full body Speedo swimsuit. [...]

And hopefully, that will be another one he'll pass on wearing...

I saw the video, and Mr. Bush's reaction was quite well turned. Despite all the folks who think he's dim, he really does have a pretty good sense of comic timing if he's relaxed.

Anyway, congratulations to the team, and to Miss Moss, as well, who I will wager looks much better in a Speedo than the President.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)


I'm a sucker for photo archives. I've mentioned it before, but every so often I like to ramble through Auburn University's library of digital images, especially of the old yearbooks they've copied. All sorts of interesting stuff--here's a bio of John Heisman, Auburn's first football coach, and here's a photo of the first sorority girls. In the Loveliest Village part of the archive, you can see The Bottle, which is still what the turn-off is called even though the bottle is long gone. There's proof that college life has changed little in the last 90 years, and that before the Captain, there were the Knights.

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

Let's hope--

Burger King CEO resigning ahead of IPO

--let's hope he takes the creepy plastic-headed king with him.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:51 AM | Comments (7)

What's the Word?

Thunderbirds to fly at military air show

What's the action?

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will perform their usual spectacular flyovers at tomorrow's (Saturday) River Region Air Show at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. [...]

You know, even though I am a big fan of military aviation, I have never once gotten to see a show by the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels. I wish I could go to this, but even if the price was a dollar twice, I can't because we've got junk to do this weekend, as usual.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:43 AM | Comments (5)

Of course...

...seeing as how we're supposed to be getting hit by a major storm within the next eight hours, we probably won't have a whole lot of electricity later on this afternoon.

I would advise everyone to save as much as you can, put it in a clean bottle or bowl, and put it in a cool dark place in case you need it.

{And if your (danged homphones) kids go to Trussville schools--I have just been informed [9:15 am] that they're being sent home at 1:00 this afternoon.}

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:31 AM | Comments (4)

Dreamy Super 'Lectricity!

Got my new replacement modem yesterday! WOO-HOO! And, actually a bit more than I bargained for--the company had first sent a little kit that had modem, filters, software, and cables with it, but for the replacement I figured they'd just send a modem. Nope--got the same package, so now I have extra filters and cable and a CD. And a new modem.

Hooked it up, turned on the power, power light on. Wait. Wait. DSL SYNCH!!

Hooray for electricity!

After supper, I got back on and figured out quickly that although I had been able to sign on the first night with the old modem before it crapped out, in retrospect (and with the comparison of a new modem) it was obvious even on that first night something was wrong with it. Originally, I kept having problems with staying online, and with accessing the CenturyTel setup page to change my password. Last night, no problems, and I zipped through everything with no problems at all. I even checked my new e-mail (that I won't use--web-based e-mail is a whole lot easier to keep up with) and answered one of the three surveys that they had sent to me asking how my customer service experience had been.

And by the way, as suggested by Mark over at The Conservative Zone, I did a bit of checking yesterday on getting a cable hookup. I had always thought you had to buy cable TV in order to get cable Internet access, but Mark said you didn't, and so I checked out our local provider, Charter, and sure 'nuff, you don't!


Now, I realize the technical superiority of cable when it comes to speed, but for what we use the Internet for at home--simple surfing and occasionally downloading some pictures for class projects and stuff--even the slowest DSL line (I signed up for the 256kbps service) is still way more than we can make fullest use of. We're fortunate to live very close to the switching station (within a half-mile), which I'm sure helps out--if we were further away, I might not be as satisfied.

As for cable, the problem is that although the first three months are $19.99, after that it's 40 bucks a month, and you have to buy your own modem, which, although they are relatively cheap, is still more money out of pocket.

And let's face it--I am a skinflint.

Anyway, it was clicking along nice and quick last night, and so all is bright and fluffy this morning!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:09 AM | Comments (2)

April 06, 2006

I went and got my suit coat back.

From the reweaving place. I went about an hour ago, because they weren't going to be open by the time I left work. Got there, got buzzed in, and gave it the ol' once over. Well, there aren't any more moth holes. And the two patches aren't THAT noticeable. I think the lady sensed I might be less than thrilled with the result--"When you have it dry-cleaned, it'll be much harder to see them. The dry cleaning fluid makes the threads shrink up a bit so that the repair is flatter."

I wasn't quite comforted by that, seeing as how it sounded very similar to the admonition that employees of Grace Brothers give to customers--"Don't worry about the sleeves, sir; they'll ride up with wear."

"Well, okay--and it IS better than having holes in it." Which came out a bit less complimentary than I intended it to, and I think I might have hurt her feelings a bit, because she did allow that she did the best she could. I know.

I don't blame her for it. I blame those stupid moths.

Anyway, at least now I have two suits in the Sunday lineup again. Ol' Blue is ready for a week off now.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:14 PM | Comments (2)

Is it just me, or...

...have I overused the word "rrrowll" today?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:47 PM | Comments (2)

For those of you who know it does some good.

If you've been by here very much, you are probably familiar with a frequent commentor who goes by the name Steevil. Besides being the real-life brother of famed Latinist and pie aficionado Dr. Weevil, Steevil (or "Steve") also does rocket science work for NASA. (As a way of trying to make people more comfortable around the super intelligence required for NASA work, Steevil diguises himself as a moron by actually owning his own boat!)

And you might not know it, but Steve has been soldiering through a particularly bothersome health issue related to a brain tumor he had removed recently, and sends word that he will be undergoing a follow-up surgery at Johns-Hopkins on Monday at 7:45 am.

On his behalf, please keep him, his family, and his medical team in your thoughts and prayers.

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

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

It's been a while--mainly because I've just about run out of all the really obscure stuff. BE THAT AS IT MAY, here's one that sound like fun:

RUNNING DOG. A classical ornament often used in a frieze, similar to the wave ornament. It is sometimes called a Vitruvian scroll.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

Also a staple of Communist propaganda, at least when coupled to the word lackey.

Anyway, Google searches, oddly enough, tend to return lots of photos of dogs running around, but I did find this website has some nice Roman mosaics that prominently feature the motif. And, there is also this always-useful site that uses the architecture of Buffalo, New York as a three-dimensional architectural dictionary.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:04 PM | Comments (2)

"Yeah, THAT'S the ticket!" Redux

Anniston man, used as expert witness in court, exposed as fake

The Associated Press

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) — Robert Madrid had a dream resume. Harvard Medical School graduate. Doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Atlantic Coast Conference scholar-athlete. Member of the high-IQ society, Mensa.

The problem was, it really was a dream resume.

The 42-year-old former resident of Glenwood Terrace in Anniston, who has testified as an expert witness in Talladega and Jefferson county court hearings, pleaded guilty in Talladega County Feb. 22 to charges of first-degree perjury. He had been arrested almost exactly a year earlier, after prosecutors discovered that his long list of credentials were fabricated.

"Fortunately, he was discovered before he testified at a jury trial. He could have done some damage to our criminal justice system," said Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens.

Prosecutors and friends have compared Madrid to Leonardo DeCaprio's character in the movie, "Catch Me If You Can," because almost everything about his life turned out to be fake, down to the antique engagement ring he gave to his second wife, Selina Volz.

Madrid, a Maryland native, who did not graduate from college at all, according to a childhood friend, was charged with five counts of first-degree perjury in connection with five false statements made during one 2005 civil trial in Talladega.

An indictment said he lied about holding a "Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuropsychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology," at a civil case involving the estate of the late Anniston anesthesiologist Dr. John Bryant.

Giddens office plans to recommend a five-year sentence with a year in prison at Madrid's sentencing hearing, set for April 19.

Calhoun-Cleburne Assistant District Attorneys Brian McVeigh and Lynn Hammond discovered that Madrid's purported accomplishments were fabrications as they prepared for an upcoming murder trial.

Something about him, according to McVeigh, "just didn't feel right." They started making phone calls to his claimed alma maters, Harvard and M.I.T. Neither had any record of Madrid even attending. [...]

In high school, Madrid would buy college books and memorize names of professors so that he could approach college women in the nearby bars in the college town where he grew up. He attended the University of Maryland with [childhood friend Edward] Machoskie, but left during their sophomore year. He told friends he was transferring to Georgetown University.

Machoskie and Madrid did not communicate for years at a time, but when they reconnected, Madrid, who lived in Minneapolis and Salt Lake City, claimed to be a millionaire, a conservative radio talk-show host, a convert to Judaism, and president/CEO of Eagle Gate Associates, an auditing firm. [...]

But, apparently, never claimed to be married to Morgan Fairchild.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

And in other news...

Vieira To Replace Couric On 'Today' Show I think I have just figured out why for the past few days my referrer logs have been filled with search requests for pictures of her. Especially this one--



Anyway, as for Katie moving to CBS--eh. All the talk about her being the first solo female anchor of a major network newscast is okay, I suppose, although Elizabeth Vargas (rrowwl) has been doing just that since her partner got wounded in Iraq and no one has been doing backflips about it.

And the sad fact is that given the precipitous fall from grace that has bedevilled the once vaunted (and once trusted) genre of network newscasts, it's just not the job it once was. Unless something substantive is done to the way in which national television news organizations go about their work, they're going to be about as influential as the world's largest manufacturers of buggy whips and whale oil lamps.

The crap NBC's been trying to pull to provoke news simply won't work anymore.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:55 AM | Comments (3)

Local Media Shakeup

In a follow up to an entry from back in January about the sale of the local NBC affiliate, this seems to be sorta nteresting, at least to me--Media General to buy four NBC television stations

The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Media General Inc. plans to buy four television stations from NBC Universal in an all-cash deal estimated at $600 million, the companies announced Thursday.

Media General, owner of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, will purchase WNCN in Raleigh, N.C.; WCMH in Columbus, Ohio; WVTM in Birmingham, Ala.; and WJAR in Providence, R.I.

Marshall N. Morton, chief executive officer of Richmond-based Media General, said the new stations will build on the company's strengths in the Southeast and will allow the firm to capitalize on growing big markets outside its stronghold.

"The NBC properties we are purchasing are strong stations in cities with attractive growth prospects," Morton said in a statement. [...]

To abide by FCC regulations, Media General must sell its CBS affiliate in Birmingham. To help pay for the acquisitions, the company also plans to sell CBS affiliates WDEF in Chattanooga, Tenn.; KWCH in Wichita, Kan.; and KIMT in Mason City, Iowa.

Those affiliates will likely be sold by the year's end. [...]

Interesting, in that the local CBS affiliate here in town, WIAT, has been a perennial ratings bottom-dweller, especially in the local news market dominated by the NBC and Fox affiliates.

I'm curious to see who might be interested in buying it--you never know, there might be a disgraced former CEO who might decide he needs a bigger signal to reach more lost souls.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

Over There

On April 6, 1917,

the United States formally declared war against Germany and entered the conflict in Europe. Fighting since the summer of 1914, Britain, France, and Russia welcomed news that American troops and supplies would be directed toward the Allied war effort. Under the command of Major General John J. Pershing, over two million U.S. troops fought on battlefields in France. [...]

In the nineteen remaining months of the war, the United States suffered a total of 320,710 casualties; 53,513 died in combat, 63,195 died by other causes, and 204,002 were wounded.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)


Seeing as how the Boys of Summer have once again started playing their games again for this season, and seeing as how I can’t recall us ever doing a set of questions devoted to baseball (because, let’s face it, it’s not football and is therefore completely unimportant), it seems appropriate to use this occasion to the offer to the world the Weevil League Thursday Three!

Each of the following three questions have been painstakingly hand-written in the Dominican Republic, and we ask you to either answer them in the dugout below, or post your results on the scoreboard in your own park.

Now then, let’s play ball! [Yes, I realize the foregoing clichéd baseball talk sounds stupid.]

1. Do you really like baseball, or is it just something baffling that some people do?

2. Who are some of your favorite players?

3. What one thing would you change about baseball?

There now--take a swing at those!

As for my answers…

1. I like baseball, but have never loved it the way nerdy George Will loves it. It’s okay, but any sport where fans can get so bored they fall asleep is just not that high on my list of stuff to watch. And another thing that bugs me is that they let players wear jewelry. I get really tired of seeing all the necklaces and crap.

Women’s softball is a completely different story, however.

2. Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, Bo Jackson, Bob Euker (personality, not gamesmanship), and yes, Charlie Hustle. No, I don’t think he should be eligible for the Hall of Fame (and spare me any of your arguments to the contrary), but he was an extraordinarily talented player.

3. Fewer innings. Seven is more than enough, and four would satisfy me.

So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:43 AM | Comments (12)

April 05, 2006

Dumb Stupid ‘Lectricity


A recap--a couple of weeks ago, a certain wife of mine came home late one evening after shopping and seemed miffed that she’d been unable to reach me because I was on the Internet. She didn’t really need me for anything other than to tell me in minute detail everything that came across her mind as she drove from the store to the house, most of which I wouldn’t have remembered anyway, but that did not matter.

It told me I needed to do some checking around and upgrade my computing life so that I would be constantly available should any wife of mine wish to tell me something that simply could not wait. And there was the chafing irritation that I was paying just as much for AOL as I could be paying for superspeedy DSL service from my local phone company.

SO, it was ordered, and only a few days later my shiny new Netopia modem and shiny new CD arrived, and then a couple of days later--Tuesday, March 28, to be exact--the big day arrived when someone in the main office pulled the giant red switch on the wall that let all of the rich, flavorful DSL electrons come cascading into my home. Prior to this, I’d been very conscientious in making sure each of the four telephone jacks in the house had been duly hooked up to the cheap Chinese-made plastic and wire DSL filters, and I had all the various purple and yellow cables routed just so, so that they were actually visible in amongst all the other host of cables laying on the floor beside my computer desk.

Powered up the modem, watched the twinkly lights twinkle, installed the software, and zipped along on the Information Superhighway unencumbered by the hateful 56.6 molasses of dial-up. So excited was I that I called that very evening and fought with the AOL representative in Mumbai to cancel my service.

All well and good and fine and peachy and keen and nice and with big puffy clouds of joy.

Then, we came in Wednesday night, and I powered up the modem, and nothing happened. OH, the power light came on, meaning I had power. And there was a lot of Ethernet traffic that went back and forth between the computer and the modem that told me that I had no connection to the outside world. Well. Hmm. That’s probably a bad thing.

Called the helpful CenturyTel customer service number, told them I was having trouble, went through about thirty minute’s worth of cable swapping, powering up and down, more cable swapping, chanting, dropping chicken blood around the keyboard--nothing worked. The nice young man on the other end said they were awfully sorry, and said they’d send someone out within the next 24-48 hours.

48 hours passed. Friday evening, still no DSL signal.


Called the helpful CenturyTel customer service number, told another nice young man I was having trouble because no one had come by to check on my junk. He said they were awfully sorry, and said they’d send someone out the next day. Which was, as you recall, Saturday, and the day of Oldest’s birthd’y party, and the day in which I tried to visit every single store in town looking to purchase every single useless thing I could find. (And nearly succeeded.)

Right before the party started, burly Sammy showed up (after going to the house down and across the street) and tore into the box on the outside of the house. “Hmm,” said he. “It don’t work.”

After apologizing for my inconvenience, he said he’d run to the central office and see if someone had tripped and fallen over the giant red switch labeled “Terry’s DSL” that had made it shut off, or if it was something that would require Waiting Until Monday.

Turns out, I was going to have to Wait Until Monday.


In the mean time, a child of mine was desperately in need of plagiarized material from the Internet in order to cut-and-paste it into a report for school, and so I had to swallow a large lump of filthy pride and sign up with AOL again for a few more weeks of temporary service. (Seeing as how I had all those free discs around the house, I figured I might as well use them.)

Come Monday, I got a friendly call from Barry at 10:35, who at that very moment was standing at the little gray box on the side of my house and proudly telling me my DSL service was back in business and everything was working fine now. WOO-HOO!

Got home, and eagerly flew to the Possum Lair to power up my modem and see how well it was working again now.

Power up, no DSL synch light.

Power down.

Power up. Wait. No DSL light.

Power down.

Plug directly into phone jack.

Power up.



Called the helpful CenturyTel customer service number, told them I was having trouble, recapped the recap you’ve read above, and the nice young man said they were awfully sorry, and said they’d send someone out within the next 24-48 hours. I asked what I though was a good question--“Since the phone lines work, and they can get it to work from outside, could this not be something wrong with the modem?” “Uh, I don’t think so, because, uhmm, no.”


Tuesday, a note left on the door that Benny has come by, and guess what? THE DSL WORKS AT THE OUTSIDE BOX!

Upstairs, power up. Nothing.

This will not stand.

After fixing supper and watching American Idol and getting the kids started on their baths, I vowed to prove one thing--that I have a bad modem.

I unplugged the Ethernet cable, pulled the carefully routed purple phone line and the power cord and power supply out, and went downstairs. Still clad in my office attire, I grabbed a flashlight and my socket driver set, modem, transformer, phone line, a 25ft extension cord, and walked out of the garage to the side of the house.

Opened the cover of the box and flipped open the test cover. Plugged in the modem. Plugged in the phone cable. Turned on the switch.

No DSL signal.

I have a bad modem.

It is blindingly obvious. There is no other alternative--at least none that require vast conspiracies or orgone radiation.

Back inside the house with my junk. Called the helpful CenturyTel customer service number, told them I was having trouble, went though all that you’ve just read, and the young man said, “Uhh, hold on, sir.” After about ten minutes, another guy came on the phone. I explained all of this to him, and with no small amount of pride, told him of my simple experiment of hooking up the silly modem to the outside box, and it still not working. “I have a bad modem.”

“Well, sir, do all of your other phone jacks have filters?”

Yes, dunce. It worked once, and then quit, and the guys get a signal outside at the box, and I did the same thing, and don’t get a signal, and so I must have a bad modem. “Yes, I have all the filters installed, but I have already plugged it straight into the wall jack inside, and took it outside and it still doesn’t work, and if it was a bad filter, the service tech would be having the same trouble I am.”

“Well, sir, if you’re having trouble inside, that can be causing the modem not to synch properly.”

Which, duncy-wuncy, is why I TOOK IT OUTSIDE IN THE DARK AND HOOKED IT UP--it DOES NOT WORK. IT IS A DEAD PARROT! “It’s not a problem in the house--all of the phone lines are working, and the modem worked right before, and I hooked up the modem outside in the same test jack the technician did, and I don’t get a signal. If he gets a signal with his modem, and I don’t get one with mine, it means that my modem is bad.” I think he finally figured it out.

“Sir, what happens when you turn the power on to the modem?”

Maybe not. Dunce, all the rest of the power in town goes off and I hear transformers exploding. “The power light comes on, and when the Ethernet cable is hooked up, I get Ethernet traffic, but the DSL synch light does not come on. ”

“What color is the light on the modem?”

IT’S THE COLOR OF A NORWEGIAN BLUE! LOVELY TO LOOK AT!”Um, well, I don’t know--it’s kind of an ambery-greeny-yellowy color.” You ignorant putz.

“OH, well, sir--if you had a bad modem, it really should be having a red light.”


“Sir, what I can do is put in a repair ticket and one of out service technicians can come and do a test on your modem. I’d hate to send you a modem if that’s not the real problem.”

’E’s not dead, gov--‘e’s pinin’ for the fjords!


I ask him to be sure and have the tech call me and I would be sure to be there when they came today.

TODAY--I make a mad dash to the bank this morning first thing, and then get back and am happily working away when I get a note from the Person Who Hallucinates and Who Screeches and Hoots All Day Long Like a Howler She-Monkey In Heat, which says that Benny has been to the house and the DSL is working fine outside.



Luckily, there was a phone number (and thankfully, not in imaginary numbers), and I called Benny back. Seeing as how the message was now over an HOUR old (being that the person who took it was so consumed with spiders and bats and yellow polka-dotted elephants attached to the ceiling, it was impossible to put the message in the e-mail system and send it to me when it came through) Benny was now across town on another call.

“Please call when you leave and I’ll be there within thirty minutes.”

11:15. Benny. He’s on the way.

So am I.

Drive, drive, drive. Fast.

Pull up and he’s already sitting in the driveway. I apologize for having them come out so much to check a line they know is working--“But I think I’ve figured out I’ve got a bad modem--I hooked into the test outlet and it won’t synch. Did they say anything about a possible bad modem?”

There was some mention of it. But not a lot--because obviously, that’s just crazy talk.

I went and grabbed the modem off the top of the garbage can in the garage where I’d left it the night before--“Do you want me to run the extension cord out to the box, or what?”

“Well, I need to go to where you have the computer so I can check it there.”



Why? What conceivable test would need to be run INSIDE, when it’s been established--BY BENNY, that very morning--that I had DSL at the box on the outside of the house. JUST GO PLUG IT IN THERE! But no, we must traipse inside.

Folks, I have four kids and a wife. I do my best to try to be neat, but I am sorely pressed by a family who does not share my obsession with putting things away. And it’s not just in one or two rooms--they live all over the house. There is not a neat corner anywhere, except the small space where my underwear is, and my gun cabinet. The rest is, and usually remains, a wreck. I am sorry I am not a better father, and cannot convince them to pick up their junk. But, that is but one of my many failings.

HOWEVER, must I bring tradesmen into my domestic sty!? Must they be made witnesses also of our slovenliness!? CAN THEY NOT JUST HAVE A SIMPLE MACHINE TO CHECK THE NORWEGIAN BLUE MODEM THERE ON THE DRIVEWAY!?

Apparently, not.

So, after profuse apologies to Benny for the mess he was about to enter, we went upstairs to the Possum Lair. “Please, Benny, close your eyes.”

The modem is once more plugged up to the power strip and to the phone jack.

Power up.

No DSL synch.


Benny gets out his little laptop and the tiny modem. I give him the phone cord. He plugs it in.

Lights flash.

DSL synch.

“Well, looks like you’ve got a bad modem.”

AND THE HEAVENS OPENED, and shouts of joy were heard throughout the land, and angels proclaimed loudly with angelic loudness that the modem was dead, with a sound and thorough deadness.

“Yep, I know.”

And then started the next process--phoning the helpful CenturyTel customer service number to tell them that I was having trouble--BECAUSE MY MODEM WAS DEAD--and they needed to get off their duffs and send me a new one. “Benny, y’all got any supersecret phone number to call to get better service?”

“Nope--we have to call the same one you do. Y’know, I don’t know why we keep sending out these Netopia modems--we’ve had a lot of problems with ‘em lately. I wish they’d just give us a few to keep on the truck so we can swap ‘em out so you don’t have to wait on them.”

I’d like it if they not have so many dunces who don’t understand basic wiring. “Yep, that’d be nic--HELLO, yes, I’ve been having trouble with my DSL service [recap above recited to Allison, the helpful young woman who was on the other end of the line].”

“Is the service tech still at the house?”

Why yes he is! I let them speak to each other, and he gave out his employee number and his actual name (oddly enough, I think they must all have aliases or something), and I heard him say, “And he should have the replacement by tomorrow? Good--thank you, Allison.”

So, now--I still don’t have a way to access my DSL line. I’m still with AOL.

But at least I finally have some satisfaction in knowing I was right, dadgummit.

That, and a buck, will get you a cup of coffee, my friends.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:50 PM | Comments (14)


Much to do today, for some reason, so your allocation of mindless rambling will of a necessity have to be provided by someone else, at least for the next few hours. We hope to restore your service as quickly as possible.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2006

Hmm--that's probably about right.

Via Miss Janis, who got it via Chef Tony--

You Belong in Dublin
Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.
What European City Do You Belong In?

I have to say the Irish would be severely disappointed in my unwillingness to imbibe in alcoholic beverages, as well as my dislike of Lucky Charms cereal. But other than that, I think we'd get along just fine.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:43 PM | Comments (11)

Frankly, they deserve something a bit better than that.

As you are all aware, I am a devotee (some would add the adjective "fanatical" ahead of "devotee," but some people are just that way) of the snack food known as the cheese curl.

I just got a small bag out of the vending machine downstairs, of the variety produced by historic regional producer Golden Flake, and noticed something new on the outside of the package--a poem.

It reads like this:

When It's
Cheddar Cheese
You're After
But Want
A Crunch,
Golden Flake
Cheese Curls
Are Great To Munch!

Grab This Bag
To Start The Fun,
Golden Flake
Cheese Curls
Are #1!

Such an insipid bit of doggerel for such a fine product. I would like to suggest that something better be put on the bag, something BOLD and VISIONARY and LIVELY and, doggone it all, something AMERICAN.


There now. I feel much better.

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

"...a prehistoric creature's struggle..."


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:38 PM | Comments (2)


Springfield to sing at Daytime Emmys

NEW YORK (AP) — Rick Springfield will perform his '80s hit "Jesse's Girl" and other songs at the Daytime Emmy Awards later this month. [...]

Springfield, 56, returned to daytime TV last year to reprise his popular "General Hospital" character, Dr. Noah Drake, which he portrayed from 1981 to 1983.

Brian Frons, president of ABC Daytime, said this year's Daytime Emmys "will be a must-see television experience, and we are thrilled Rick will be opening the show."

"His performance will be sure to create an energy and frenzy that will make for a very entertaining evening," Frons said in a statement.

Energy! Frenzy! SPRINGFIELD!!

It's a shame I'll miss this.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

"Yeah, that's the ticket!"

Judge censured for mocking victim

The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A municipal judge has accepted censure as punishment for mocking an assault victim by comparing him to a lying character on "Saturday Night Live."

The state Commission on Judicial Conduct said Monday that Syracuse City Court Judge Karen Uplinger "demeaned and mocked" assault victim Anthony Nushwat in October 2004.

"Humor has its place, sometimes even in court. But it isn't funny for a judge to mock or belittle an assault victim who is making a statement to the court," said commission administrator Robert Tembeckjian. "A judge is obliged to be patient, dignified and courteous at all times while acting in an official capacity."

The commission said the judge compared Nushwat to Pathological Liars Anonymous member Tommy Flanagan, an SNL character created by Jon Lovitz whose tag line after telling obvious lies was: "Yeah, that's the ticket!"

"I think if you listen to Jon Lovitz, you might get an impression of how I felt when I was listening to this testimony," Uplinger said in court, according to the commission.

As Nushwat was reading a statement during a sentencing hearing, Uplinger told defendant Artis Bey: "You don't have to listen to this if you don't want to." [...]


Anyway, seems kinda weak to me--if the Commission really wanted to see demeaning and mockery, they ought to watch a few episodes of Judge Judy.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:42 PM | Comments (4)

I don't think that came out the way you wanted it to.

So to speak.

A story on Chilton County peach growers and their methods for increasing peach production, headlined thusly: Peach growers prune for harvest.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

Ask Dr. Possum!

So many questions this morning already, and Dr. Possum has been tied up with an emergency of the utmost importance! We are happy to report, however, that he successfully completed the extraction of a 20 ounce Diet Coke from the machine in the snack bar, and was able to remove the cap from the bottle!

NOW--as you are all so very aware, Dr. Possum, whose nut-sized brain is a veritable treasure trove of information about all things in the world, and NOT just those things that relate to the field of medicine, comes every week to answer YOUR questions about that odd rash you have down there, or about the latest celebrity rash. Most of his answers are highly accurate* although people are finally catching on that having a doctorate printed on diploma paper from Staples with the seal of John Frum Polytechnical probably means less than it should.*

SO, if you need medical advice* or just need to know what's what, Ask Dr. Possum--the lines are now open!

BUT, before we get to YOUR questions, there are two questions already in line ahead of you this morning--one from the lovely and fertile weedyanker Jordana Adams, who asks: "Are there any famous Bulgarians born in any year?"

Of course! Looking at the Wikipedia entry for the topic, we can see that there are literally several Bulgarians who could be considered famous! Such as Antoaneta Stefanova , who looks every inch as one would expect a Bulgarian chess grandmaster to look. (Although I think she would prefer the more ladylike title of "grandmistress.") There are a whole bunch more, and I would list more of them, but they have so many consonants in their names that it makes my fingers hurt to type them all. Suffice it to say there are more famous Bulgarians than there are famous possums.

NEXT, fellow doctor Jim Smith wants to know: "I don’t follow this but could you post a link to broken nose girl?" I have no idea who he could be talking about, unless he means Brokenose Girl on the hit Fox show 1440. It seems she actually has a name (Kim Raver), and her character actually has a name, too (Audrey Raines). But for me, it's just a lot easier to keep up with her and her spectacularly asymmetrical nasal protuberance with something simple, like a nickname.

In any event, this is her, and as you can see, her nose is quite simply the most odd thing on television--

--this side of NBC anchorman Brian Williams' nose, of course.

Now then--all of you with questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and the Doctor will answer as soon as possible after he gets back from the restroom.

*Obligatory disclaimer. "Ask Dr. Possum," Possumblog Lobster Traps, Possumblog Ink and Litho Supply, Possumblog Kitchens, Dr. Possum Clinic, and any other related corporate entities make no guarantee regarding the validity or accuracy of any information offered, because Dr. Possum is not an actual medical doctor. But hey, whatever, right?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:17 AM | Comments (13)


Jim Smith sends this to us:

Only once in our life time; an interesting fact:

On Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be

01:02:03 04/05/06

Well, that's just fine, except for those of us who use the Mayan calendar.

In a similar vein, what famous Bulgarian was born on April 4, 1916?


Not only were there no famous ones, no Bulgarians at all were born on April 4, 1916.

In fact, there were no Bulgarians born from April 1-13, 1916.

This was the year that Bulgaria officially adopted the Gregorian calendar, so they went straight from March 31 to April 14, 1916.

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

Jack Bauer Update!

I have no idea what's going on--Reba had to work late last night and I had to make YET ANOTHER call to CenturyTel to tell them that Barry's supposed fix of my DSL service had, in fact, NOT worked (STUPID DSL!), and so that all meant a late start to fixing supper, which meant a late start to eating supper, which meant a late start to finishing supper, which meant that the kids were still polishing off their tasty grilled dead animal flesh as I was trying to watch the show AND clean off the table AND referree amongst the various children.

SO, I have no idea what's going on--Crazy First Lady Jean Smart's really hot brunette lady-in-waiting is in cahoots with the nerve gas guys, and she's trying to get Dead Ex-President's Brother killed, except the Impassive Bald Secret Service Guy saved him and brought him to the ranchhouse. Then there's the thing from last week that I missed where Jack blows up a natural gas facility real good to incinerate the nerve gas, which was cool, and he carried out Some Russian Guy on his shoulder.

Odd, but there's flaming debris all over the ground, yet none of the pretty streetlamps are busted.

Anyway, Jack shouts at the Russian Guy to try to make him live longer, which doesn't work all that great, then he shouts at Cowboy Curtis, who nods, then Jack leaves and talks on his cell phone.

Back at CTU, some weasel from DHS is trying to convince New Lady Boss to crush Gray Haired Boss and take over the whole world, and CTU, so that everything runs just as smoothly as the airport security system that allowed terrorists to dig a giant hole in a hangar floor at the airport and hide a bunch of nerve gas there in the first place. They decide the most vulnerable person is Brokenose Girl, who now is REALLY hot for Jack after he throttled her last week. She really fixed up nice again this hour, though, oddly enough. Last week (hour) she was all sweaty and screaming and tousled, and this week (hour) she apparently rushed to the CTU Powder Room and quickly brushed her hair and trowelled on some foundation and mascara. ANYway, they want her to sign something implicating Gray Haired Boss as an Incompetent Boob, but she says, "No way, weasels!"

Then Jack calls and needs his dry cleaning picked up or something, but Stinkyface Chloe is being fired, and she's the only one who can hack into the computers and find out where his laundry is hidden, and she's leaving, and Brokenose Girl decided to save herself by going ahead and signing the Weasel Paper--with the stipulation that she gets to keep Chloe around so she can help save Jack.

Jack's like all "whatever" and doesn't know what Brokenose Girl has gone and done in order to save him, and so he runs and finds Dead Ex-President's Brother and the Hot Brunette First Lady Assistant clutching each other in a barn, so he sneaks around to the back and surprises them, and then they go to find the Brunette's daughter, who has been kidnapped by bad guys, and Jack becomes part of a sniper team to take out the bad guys, but they wind up killing everyone EXCEPT the Nerve Gas Maker Guy, who gets away from Jack and Cowboy Curtis's guys in a hail of bullets. Jack seems to be able to make impossible shots and kill swarms of bad guys--except for bad guys needed to provide plot continuity.

ANYway, I missed something, and then at the end, we find out that the guy trying to get Jack killed, and who'd told Nerve Gas Guy to kidnap Hot Brunette's Daughter was NOT Laura Palmer's dad from Twin Peaks, but was...


That's right! And that just makes no sense at all--sure, he's a craven, bedwetting lunatic, but up until now he's never been worth ANYthing at creating any kind of believable conspiracy. He blows around like a piece of trash in a windstorm, always simpering and cowering and acting like a weasel. And now you're telling me he's the one behind all of this!? Well, if so, I think it's about time for him to be slapped around--a LOT--by Jack.

Anyway--I have no idea what's going on, so maybe you should check out SarahK's usual excellent recap instead of mine.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:59 AM | Comments (1)

April 03, 2006

Say, wait a minute...

...isn't Skinnydan originally from Brooklyn?

I wonder if that accounts for this search request that just landed on Possumblog: possum meats for sale brooklyn new york.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:13 PM | Comments (3)

Yet another instance of MSM incompetence.

From eminent academician Dr. James Smith, a sound thrashing of ABC and Reuters for their (not unsurprising) ineptitude.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:09 PM | Comments (4)

Loose Ends

Stuff I forgot: I locked my keys in the Focus when I got home to pick up the building plans. Luckily, I had a spare key in my old wallet upstairs.

I did finally remember to get a battery for Jonathan's metronome. It works fine now.

I also made a stop at Wal-Mart Sunday evening on the way home from church to get an ink cartridge for the printer and a newspaper. I have no idea why I thought I needed a newspaper--I can't even get through the comics anymore without being assaulted by breathtaking moral cowardice.

The dogwoods are in bloom. There is nothing I enjoy more about spring (botanically speaking, at least) than the ridges and valleys sprinkled with dogwoods.

I still did not get the grass cut, nor the weed killer spread out, which is probably just as well since it rained last night.

Hans Blix = Alfred E. Neuman

Despite all the grousing about having to get ready for the party, I'm still glad that the back porch looks tidy again.

Rebecca got up this morning and said she was sick, but I made her go to school anyway, but then she felt so bad still that after she turned in her class assignment, she called and asked for Grandmom to come pick her up and take her home. Of all of them, she's the one I know isn't faking when she says she's unwell.

Yet another weekend without a trip to the junkyard to explore for old Volvo parts. ::sigh::

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

Gosh, Some People are Stupid!

A bit of backstory is in order--close to a year ago (or more, I can't keep up), we had some martinet in the department who promulgated a series of rules for using this new "e-mail" technology. Part of the new protocol was that if you received one of the "e-mails" from someone, you had to reply to it to make sure the person knew you received it. Even if you had nothing to say in response, even if you were just one part in a long chain of addresses, you must write something.

In the spirit of liberty, it was allowed that this response didn't have to be long-winded, and the person who came up with the rules supplied several words one could use to reply, such as "Understood," or "Received," or "Acknowledged." (And no, it was never fully answered if the person to whom you were responding had to answer back YOUR "Understood" with a "Received" of his own.)

So, then, today--I get a courtesy message of a meeting on Thursday, at which my attendance is usually wholly superfluous. I deleted it, seeing as how I have never answered back any of these things unless it really concerns me.

An hour later, someone else on the distribution list decided to send his acknowledgement, and yes, as you can probably guess, he replied to everyone. He used the simple and pointless, "Ack." He's the type of good bureaucrat who just can't ignore orders, no matter how stupid they might be, but he does understand writing out "Acknowledged" burns up valuable nanoseconds that could better be used to enforce other stuff. So he abbreviates. He's clever that way, you know.

Anyway, I just got back from lunch, and there was another message.

Someone else on the distribution list (who, for the record, is not in public service) who had taken the time to hit the Reply All button, and typed up the following:

Huh? What is this Ack?

However much I'd love to believe this is a joke, I know it's not--he's really that dim.

Just remember what Mark Twain said, "It's better to keep your finger off the Send button and people think you a fool, then to click it and remove all doubt."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:50 PM | Comments (3)

Part Four

Forgot one thing--before bathtime on Saturday night, after we’d gotten all the food put away, I made the dash through the house resetting all the clocks. There’s one thing I like about setting the clocks up early like that--it’s a further inducement to get the kids ready for bed. They were already tired anyway, so it wasn’t that hard, but it was much easier after they saw how VERY LATE it had suddenly gotten.

And then, there was the issue of homework. Seems Middle Girl had an assignment she’d gotten on Monday, and it was due today. And by Saturday, she’d done exactly none of it, because it required Internet access to find information, and we’d been down since Wednesday, and she hasn’t been able to get anything done at school. The project? For Social Studies, she was tasked with coming up with a travel itinerary describing a three-day European trip--locations, travel times, events, information about the countries, finding lodging, all that crap. And now it was bedtime on Saturday. Which meant Sunday was going to be quite fun, trying to get all that done between church services. We thought maybe, possibly, she could use Grandad’s computer.

So, there was that, and then scrubbing off the day’s grime, and then sleep, and then time to get right back up again.

Up, take another quick shower just to wet my hair (it’s at that stage of growth where it’s long enough so that it stands up in all sorts of stupid-looking ways when I get up in the mornings, but too grizzled and short to be forced to lay down without getting it all wet again and starting over). Dress, breakfast, load the van with Bibles and class books, leave almost on time, which seemed to delight Rebecca for some reason. I think she might be coming down my obsession with punctuality.

It’s good for her--the letdown caused by the constant non-punctuality from other members of her family will build deep wells of character in her and make her a stronger person. Just like it’s done for me.

Off to church. New quarter started Sunday, so I had to scurry around and make sure that everyone was in place, which was a bit harder than usual since I had a class to teach as well. Got Reba to watch them for a while until I got back. Thankfully, everyone showed up, including our youth minister, who I was afraid had overslept like he’d done two years ago when the time changed.

Class time. I have Catherine’s class of 3rd to 5th graders again. They’re a pretty good group, although my teaching style might be a bit overwhelming for them--I tend to offer a lot of commentary, and like to draw explanatory drawings on the board, and teach them stuff about some of the hard words they come across. They listen pretty well, though, all things considered. The bell rang, and I wasn’t even close to being through, but unlike some kids who bolt for the door, they hung around for a while and asked questions until I got things wrapped up and stapled their papers together.

On to the auditorium, and a good lesson which was made all the better by the fact that the people who usually sit behind us and allow their three children to constantly kick the back of our pew were sitting elsewhere.

Somewhere close to the end of the sermon, the thought occurred to me--with all that Rebecca had to do on her report, and the fact that Grandad’s computer still doesn’t have a printer hooked up to it, and with all the time that would be wasted going back and forth over there to their house, what we really needed was for me to get our dial-up service working again, at least temporarily, so she could do her work at home and not have to worry about moving around.

Yes, that means what you think it means.

I had another AOL free trial disc around the house, and despite the fact that I had just cancelled it and uninstalled the last program from the computer, I needed it again. ::sigh::

We got home, and I got the new access set up. Again.

We worked on it for the next three hours or so--found train and airline prices and schedules, found hotels, found information. She decided (after I talked her into it) of visiting Milan, Geneva, and Lyon. For some reason, her teacher had asked them to visit a country in three of the five different regions they were discussing in their textbooks, and with only three days, it seemed best to try to find a border area where three different regions came together. Worked out pretty well, although you’d have to be crazy to really try to do it.

Had to stop to go to evening services and an early meeting--during this time, Reba and Ashley and Catherine had gone to the store to return some things, and they weren’t back yet. The phone rang the moment I shut down AOL, and it was them. ::sigh:: Told them to meet us at the church building.

Jumped in the van, headed out, got to the building just in time for our meeting, and about 20 minutes ahead of Mom and the other girls. And then I remembered something--our treasurer is meeting with the bank about a loan for our new addition to the church, and I was supposed to bring the drawings and specs, and I’d left them at home. Grr.

We live 25 minutes from church. If I am a bad person and drive over the speed limit in certain areas, I can make it in 20. It was now exactly 40 minutes before church was supposed to start. I made it back in 40 minutes. I must admit that it constituted a highly sinful 40 minutes, in that a large portion of it was devoted to being a scofflaw. BUT I GOT THOSE DRAWINGS TO THE TREASURER!

Another good sermon that evening, and then, the next event--the teenagers were having a meal and devotional at someone’s house. Rebecca wanted to go to it, but couldn’t because of all the work she still had to do, but Ashley still wanted to go. Which, of course, meant that SOMEone would have to come back and pick her up, since she still does not have her license.

I blame myself.

So, on to the house with us. Everyone else ate supper while I did a bit more information gathering, then got Rebecca upstairs so she could start putting it in order. Then I got the call to come be chauffeur and went back the same way I’d already come three times previously that day.

Home, work some more on the title page and dividers, started printing it out and sent Middle Girl to bed.

Finally got to bed about 11:30. Sometime in there, a storm came through, and I think it hailed, and I know it thundered because one of them sounded like a bomb going off and it actually woke me up. One second later, I was sound asleep again.

And now?

It’s lunchtime!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:59 AM | Comments (4)

Part Three

I still wasn’t quite sure how many people were going to show up to this thing--sixteen had been invited, and we couldn’t get a straight answer out of the birthday girl as to how many had confirmed they’d be coming, and then we kept getting word that others had invited themselves, and so by the time the early arrivals started coming in, I was rather nervous.

Part of it was just the normal desire to be a good host (i.e., a control freak) and make sure everything runs smoothly, and then part of it is I just have a hearty dislike of people invading my space who might not have the same ideas as I do about the proper manner in which one is to comport one's self in someone else’s house.

Especially, it seems, for several of the kids who finally did show up who seemed as though they were being raised by wolves. And not even by nice wolves, but wolves with interpersonal and interfamilial issues that appear to require the intervention of various judicial processes.

It’s hard to blame the kids, really. It just hurts me, because I remember when teenagers would do anything to try act like grownups. It was usually unsuccessful, but at least they tried. Nowadays, they don’t even try, and I think it’s because they have parents who are doing everything THEY can to act like teenagers. There’s a lot to be said for being child-like. Much less so for being childish.

So, there was the one kid in his black long sk8t4 shorts and black toboggan and black socks and black shirt and black shoes who thought it would be real fun to play keep-away with one of Catherine’s videotapes, and there was the kid who threw his trash in the yard, and the kid who thought it would be funny to make off-color remarks while the old fat guy was standing nearby, and then the idea that it would be fun to start messing with the lamps while they’re burning.

Approximately a half-hour into it, I was ready for the lot of them to leave. AND IT WAS ONLY FIVE KIDS WHO EVENTUALLY SHOWED UP! One girl, four guys, and precious little in the way of manners. And yes, this includes Oldest, who HAS been taught better, but prefers not to employ her knowledge in any sort of way that might indicate she has any parental influence in her upbringing.

Or, maybe I just don’t like people.

IN ANY EVENT, they devoured the shrimp and ate varying amounts of the other carefully marinated and grilled meats--well, except for the portions they threw away or left on the ground. They hung around talking in the yard for a long time, got bored, briefly discussed leaving and going and bothering someone else in the neighborhood, decided to stay for cake, got bored again, got a soccer ball and started kicking it all into the neighbors’ yards, and finally started drifting on back home as their parents came and got them. I started the process of shutting down the shindig at a bit before 6:00, because I thought that last kid’s parents were coming for him soon. He called his parents and finally left at close to 7:00.

The oil went back into the jug--only used a little bit, it turns out. Figures. The bikes were brought back around, the shed was locked up, the garbage was picked up, the chairs were folded and stacked back inside the garage, while inside the house, the meat and fruit--so laboriously stuck onto bamboo sticks--was unceremoniously deskewered so we could get it into the refrigerator.

Never have I been so glad anything was over--and that includes last month’s 50th anniversary party for my in-laws.

And never has a shower been so welcome.

And then, Sunday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:08 AM | Comments (2)

Part Two

Frog fixed--what next?

Well, how about this--how’s about I get the long box that had our new tent awning in it and get it assembled! YEA ME!

Got the box, opened her up, and looked for the instructions. Good--it has some. And they weren’t even written in Chinese! Got the bundle of thin tubing out, got the plastic fittings out, got the fabric out. All laid out in front of me as I sat on the stone bench, Boy patiently waiting instructions on how to help his dear old Dad.

The pictogram said I needed (4) Part A. Got it. Those were the corner pieces of plastic into which everything else clicked. Now, I should have (8) Tube 7. One #7, click into Part A; two #7, click into Part A. Get another Part A, click a #7, then click another #7. Third Part A, and…hmm. I need another Tube 7. They all had nice little number stickers on them. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. I should have (8) Tube 7s, right? Uhm, yeah, need 8. But--but I only have FOUR! “Jonathan! Go through that sack full of tubes and all those other ones you’ve pulled out and see if you can find the other four tubes that have a number 7 on them!”

We looked and looked. Nope, no other #7s. BUT, we had four too many #2s! Not that it helped. Well, crap.

All that promise, all that WASTED EFFORT! Bundled everything back up and ran it back over to Winn-Dixie and got my money back, and when I got back sometime after 1:00, I learned that two of Oldest’s invitees had decided to come to the party at 2:00 instead of 3:00. I’m still not sure why. ::sigh:: Like it matters.

AND THEN, as I was scurrying around trying to set up lawn chairs in the yard and fill up the lamps with oil, there was the phone call from the telephone repair guy.

You see, my DSL service I was SOOOO bragging on last week? Well, it worked fine Tuesday, but Wednesday night I tried to use it, and it was MIA. Couldn’t get the modem to synch, and I tried everything, INCLUDING calling customer “service.” Went through the usual routine of turning things off and turning them back on again, plugged the modem directly to the wall without the filter, plugged the phone into the modem, did every conceivable unplugging and plugging thing the guy could think of, and then he gave up and said he’d put in a service request. Thursday, maybe, or more likely, Friday. GRRRR!

Friday came and went, and I called and they said they’d have someone out on Saturday. “Well, can it be the morning? My daughter’s having a party in the afternoon and we need to be able to do that.” “No problem!”

Which brings us back again to Saturday afternoon, 1:00 pm, with party preparations about three hours behind, and two kids showing up an hour early, when Rebecca comes out the door and tells me I need to go around to the front of the house to help the telephone guy find the right wire. Huh!?

I walk around there, and there’s no one there.

What the!?

Walk back inside and Reba is hanging up on him--“Where is he? I thought he was in the front yard!”

“He pulled up to the wrong house--he’s at 3112, and I told him we’re at 3121. He sounded really embarrassed.”

Yeah, well, he should be! Not nearly so much as someone who’d been giving a two-ended liplock to a plastic spitting frog, but still maybe a little bit.

I went back outside and then noticed the big white boom truck up and across the street, with a burly fellow taking up yellow cones and placing them on his truck. He finally got turned around and made it back down the street to the front of Casa de Possum. Took out his yellow cones and put them in the street. He looked a lot like Larry the Cable Guy, except with sleeves.

All kinds of cool equipment, including his lineman’s handset, which I’ve always wanted, and he got hooked up, plugged up a minimodem, annnnd--nothing. “Well, I can’t get it to synch.” Amazing, I couldn’t either! He figured it was something at the main office, which he’d have to go check, but he couldn’t do one part of it, and if the trouble was in that part, I’d have to wait until Monday for them to fix it. ::sigh:: Stupid DSL.

He called after he got back to the office--it was going to be Monday. Grr.

(And, in an odd coincidence, Barry just called at 10:35 and said he was there at the house, and the DSL was working just fine now. It better be when I get home tonight, Barry, or I shall taunt you mercilessly. Of course, Barry didn’t sound nearly as big as Sammy, which is the guy who came out Saturday.)

Oh, well--bigger fish to fry at the moment. The girls had managed to get a lot done in the kitchen--there was a huge pile of fruit they’d put on skewers, and the junk in the den had been mostly cleaned up, and the meat kebobs were just about finished, and the punch bowl had nothing in it except punch.

I went back outside to fill up the torches. And discovered that there might just be a reason that a company is able to make a profit on something even at the ridiculously low price of $2.97. Well, you figure the bamboo is basically free, since it grows like kudzu over there. But you do have to have a little labor added to split it just so, and tie some stuff around it to hold the oil cans. But those oil cans--now THOSE are marvels of ingenuity. They looked like old brake fluid cans, painted yellow. And not good old brake fluid cans, but brake fluid cans that were probably reclaimed from a giant burning trash dump on the outskirts of some Chinese industrial gulag. The yellow paint, it seems, not only was intended to add a festive touch, but also was intended to cover over tiny imperfections in the cans where they had rusted through.

I didn’t realize this until I was filling up one particular lamp and kept getting a tiny stream of lamp oil running down my hand. I though I was missing the spout, but upon closer examination, there was an open rusty seam near the top of the can that was allowing the oil to dribble out. Such wacky pranksters!

Eh. Whatever. I figure they’d fit right in with the blasting caps and the cool set of lawn darts we were going to let the guests play with.

Planted the lamps strategically around the patio and the chairs, and the kids started arriving. Cranked up the grille, and got to cooking.

NEXT: Party, dude!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:50 AM | Comments (3)

Part One

Well, Friday night was Cleanup Night for some, and Go to Sam’s Club and Get Foodstuff for one particular pater familias. For some reason, Reba thought it would be good if we all went to Sam’s. I dissuaded her of that notion as quickly as possible. The kids are generally past the grabby-whiny phase, but they still aren’t up to the point of actually being helpful, either, such that we could give them a couple of carts and expect them to go get stuff. And there’s always the problem of one particular child of ours who thinks it her job to hector the others.

Friday had been long enough without all that, so I finagled a solo trip to the store for the food items, which was nice, even though I didn’t get there until 8:00 pm, which is just about when I would have preferred to be going to sleep.

Let’s see--Simple Green, soft drinks, premade spinach dip (thus eliminating the need to get all the junk that goes in it), shrimp, chicken, pork, watermelon, grapes, cake--did not get ginger ale, did not want to get sherbet for fear of it melting, and forgot to get a battery for Jonathan’s metronome. Got in line sometime past closing time, and every checkout (not like it was that many--there were only three open) was four deep with convenience store owners loaded down with big flatbed carts full of candy. Or it seemed that way. Probably just me being impatient.

Load up, go to the next store to pick up the remaining items--ginger ale, pineapple juice, sherbet, some biscuits for breakfast (not frozen, thank you for asking). Forgot to get the battery again.

Home, unload, see that remarkably little progress has been made by the children in cleaning up the scattering of toys and paper and backpacks and junk they like to wallow in. Let out heavy sigh and decide to not worry about it.

UP EARLY SATURDAY--somewhat. I really wanted to sleep a bit longer, but once Reba gets up and I can hear her brushing her hair, I know she’s not about to get back in bed and wriggle around any, so it’s best just to go ahead and get up.

Went over my mental checklist of things to do for the morning--get tiki torches, citronella oil, clean off the back patio, cut the grass, throw out some weedkiller. Say, and I might fix the pump for the little water fountain outside. It had run dry so many times, the pump motor had given up. Or so I thought. I figured I would be finished up around 1:00 or so, which would give me plenty of time to get the food ready and get it cooked before people started showing up at 3:00.

Dress, head on out to the first stop, found out I was supposed to get something else--a punch bowl. We couldn’t find our other one. And a melon baller. Okay--no problem. Off then to the hardware store--Marvin’s down at the foot of the hill. Found a new pond pump--a bit bigger than what we had, but it had a cool upward spraying spout feature. Just like me! Got some dandelion killer, and it was out the door to the next stop.

Winn-Dixie--they had cheap torches bamboo-and-recycled tin can lamps for $2.97 each. Got four. Oil? Uhhh, hmm. Well, you’d think they’d have citronella oil by the lamps. No. No oil at all. So don’t tell me we’re fighting a war for it! BUT, they did have a nice big tent awning--we’d tried to figure out what to have for people to sit on--originally we’d thought about just having blankets, but it had rained Friday night and the ground was wet, so I thought maybe a nice cover would be good and have everyone sit in lawn chairs. Got one of the boxes that didn’t look particularly crushed or damaged and stuck it in the cart. PUNCH BOWL! They have all kinds of small appliances and cookware and glassware, but for some reason, no punch bowls. Of any sort, nice or otherwise.


Melon baller? It took me a solid ten minutes of searching for one in the rack upon rack of tiny kitchen implements, but I DID find it! YAY ME!

Hmm--we need a new colander, too. Seems some big idiot left the plastic one that we used to drain spaghetti with on top of an empty aluminum pressure cooker, and for some reason had turned the wrong stove element on, which heated up the empty aluminum pressure cooker to the exact melting point of plastic, causing the previous plastic colander to wilt and adhere to the pressure cooker, as well as a goodly portion of spaghetti.

So, I got a colander.

And a meat hammer. Seems some big idiot broke the last one while trying to break apart frozen biscuit dough. So I got a replacement for that.

Now then--punch bowl, and lamp oil.

Hmm--I wonder if the Dollar Tree has that junk? Grab a soft drink out of the machine, waste valuable minutes chatting with the Pepsi delivery guy about his missing the Auburn A-Day game on Saturday, put away my purchases into the car, went next door to 100 Penny Paradise.

No punch bowls. No oil. Plenty of melon ballers, though.


Got back to the car, which by now was overwhelmingly redolent of Scott’s TurfBuilder Plus Dandelion Control, and headed out for the next-most-likely place to have a cheap punchbowl and citronella oil, Target. It’s just down the road, after all.

No punch bowl, no lamp oil. But an absence that was made much more palatable by all the other chic, yet affordable, merchandise, and store clerks all wearing khaki pants and red shirts.


It’s getting way on up in the day, and I’m wasting a LOT of time looking for stuff. The thought occurs to me that if I’d just gone to Wal-Mart in the first place, I could have saved a lot of time and found everything all at once. But I am a moron.

Well, let’s try Bed, Bath, and Beyond. “Beyond” apparently is inclusive of punch bowls, because I DID find one--a bowl of clear plastic bowliness that was shatterproof and able to hold five quarts of icky pineapple juice, pineapple sherbet, and ginger ale punch. Hooray. “Beyond” does NOT, though, extend to the selling of citronella oil. ::sigh::


By now desperate, I raced in, and [cue angelic chorus] FOUND THE OIL FOR THE LAMPS! PRAISE BE! Got two gallons, because I had no idea how long it would last, and because I am stupid.

Got to the checkout. Studiously ignored by the clerk, who’d torn up her register, and was trying her best not to call attention to herself, lest the register be fixed and she’d have to do something. I don’t know what she was thinking, but it would have been nice if she’d just turned around and said, “Sir, I’m sorry, but my register’s not working right now, and I’m trying to get if fixed.” Instead, she just kept her back turned to me, and after it became apparent that the cashiers can’t get any better service than the customers walking around in the store, I moved to another line that had just opened up.

Paid, left, got home. ELEVEN AM!

Two solid hours of chasing around after stupid crap. And I still had to clean the patio off, and cut the grass. Oh, and I forgot Jonathan’s battery again.

Got outside and got Boy to start helping me move bicycles around to the side of the house, sweeping, hosing, moving--good enough. Now then--what next? Say, how about that pump!

Ick. The little pond outside the kitchen window hasn’t been operational for several months, and as I said, I suspected the pump motor had burned out. So, in order for the proper mood to be set for the party, I really wanted the soothing sound of trickling water. Pulled the old pump out, set it aside, got out the new pump. Assembled it, put on the sprayer head, plugged it in. Nothing. Say, wait just a minute! Oh. Seems that some stupid guy had tripped the ground fault breaker on the outlet. Reset it and WHOA! That’s a very energetic pump! (Which probably meant that the old pump was just fine.) Anyway, too much water, so for the next too many minutes, I tried to devise ways of throttling down the flow. I put stuff in the tube, I put stuff in the spray head, I tried putting a piece of plastic with a tiny hole in it over the tube, and nothing I did worked quite right. To make matters worse, the little tube that would have created an umbrella-shaped, gentle shower could not be connected to the pump, because it was missing the unique coupler that was shown in the instructions. GRR! I tried all different kinds of ways of rigging the thing to work without the Magic Coupling, but created nothing but anger. I knew if I only had a bit more time, I could either cobble something workable together or go get the right thing, but I just didn’t have the time.

SO, in frustration, I picked up the old pump, and as expected, it still worked fine. Except the little frog where the water comes out seemed to be stopped up. YET MORE PRECIOUS MOMENTS spent cleaning out accumulated muck from the inside of a polyresin spitting frog. Seems as though it had a giant clot of dirt in it, which had to be cleaned out. For some reason, I thought I could possibly just blow it out, because I am stupid.

But not nearly so stupid, as stupid-looking, as I took the polyresin spitting frog and placed it to my lips and tried to play it like a trumpet. This probably looked comical--me, kissing a frog. I will wager it was not nearly so comical, though, as when I refused to be defeated by not getting a clear passageway by blowing on the front end of the polyresin frog, and so turned it around and tried blowing on the brass fitting on the BACK end of the frog.

That, my friends, takes a special kind of stupid.

IN either case, the stoppage would not come out, so I had to grab a twig and ram it down the polyresin frog’s gullet, until it pushed a disgusting lump of peat moss out of its threaded brass fundament.

After that, the frog worked just fine.

NEXT: More frustration! (Believe It or Not!)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:01 AM | Comments (8)

Well, we have a lot of skewered fruit left over.

But no shrimp.

At least the house is still standing, and so am I. Well, figuratively speaking--I'm sitting down right now.

ANYway, that was a very, very long couple of days--once I get good and woken up, you'll get to hear all about it. Or the parts that I can still recall without affecting my blood pressure.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 06:59 AM | Comments (2)