May 31, 2006

Welllll, well, well, well, WELL!

Would you look and see who went and moved and got his own domain name!

In high cotton, indeed! (Or, high taters, as the case may be.)

Very spiffy, sir.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:33 PM | Comments (3)

A very bad thing.

A sobering story that started unfolding this morning: Lawyer kidnapped in Birmingham; tag number released

It's unclear what's going on--the police have information about activity on her bank accounts at three different locations, and they have a cell phone call from her, which seems like it would make it slightly easier to track her kidnapper.

Terrible things like this can occur anywhere, even someplace you might feel safe--believe it or not, downtown Birmingham really isn't the worst place for crime, but crime can still happen anywhere, anytime. Also, although I honor and respect our police force, they can't be everywhere. It would be vanishingly unlikely that the police would be in a position to prevent a crime such as this from happening. They might be able to find you later, but later might not be good. Further, this could just as easily been a man as it was a woman--it is essential whenever you are in public that you try to be aware of your surroundings and be ready to react if you must. As usual, I recommend you read local range operator and police officer John Grigsby's excellent handbook on self-defense. Although geared toward those who carry firearms, it is still full of good information for those who don't.

My prayers go out to this young lady and her family, and I hope she is found safe.

UPDATE: 6/1/06 As I was on the way home yesterday, I was listening to the news on the radio when word came that police had located Ms. Gregory and her assailant and rescued her safely.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

Speaking of Science...

...or stupidity, here's something: Scientists say Arctic once was tropical

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have found what might have been the ideal ancient vacation hotspot with a 74-degree Fahrenheit average temperature, alligator ancestors and palm trees. It's smack in the middle of the Arctic.

First-of-its-kind core samples dug up from deep beneath the Arctic Ocean floor show that 55 million years ago an area near the North Pole was practically a subtropical paradise, three new studies show.

The scientists say their findings are a glimpse backward into a much warmer-than-thought polar region heated by run-amok greenhouse gases that came about naturally.

Darn that Karl Rove and his time machine! Going back to the past to screw around with the weather and building pollution spewing industrial wastelands JUST LIKE HE IS NOW!

But wait, I am chastised for my flippancy--

Skeptics of man-made causes of global warming have nothing to rejoice over, however.

Oh, sorry. Didn't mean to rejoice.

The researchers say their studies appearing in Thursday's issue of Nature also offer a peak at just how bad conditions can get.

"It probably was (a tropical paradise) but the mosquitoes were probably the size of your head," said Yale geology professor Mark Pagani, a study co-author.

That loud buzzing you hear is not a football-sized mosquito, but rather my BS Detector.

Mr. Oh-So-Smart Science Guy, are you going to sit there and tell me that it's warm weather that causes giant mosquitos? Y'ever seen a fossil that big, Sparky? Because it seems that about the only ones that people are able to find are ones like this one from the Eocene epoch (around the time period of your core samples), collected in Utah, that would be a giant only when compared to a Polly Pocket doll. All those mosquitos in amber, like they made the dinosaur movie about? All of them pretty much the size of mosquitos.

So what was the point of saying something so outlandishly stupid? Could it be you have a political agenda that can't be allowed to rest for even five seconds, and causes you to pump your hysterical little sissy fists up and down in the air in order to frighten people with visions of bugs straight out of Starship Troopers? (An aside--Denise Richards--Rrrowwll.)

Look, the earth's climate undergoes periodic changes. I might even be willing to believe humans might contribute to a portion of that change. But saying silly crap to scare people isn't the best way to make your point, even if the reporter is more gullible than a dodo bird and hangs on your every word.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:47 PM | Comments (4)

More cuteness than you can shake a cute stick at!

(Belated) Congratulations to Sarah and Larry, who seem to be awfully fond of each other.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:23 PM | Comments (2)


You know, you can't pick up a computer monitor nowadays without seeing news stories about the obesity epidemic, the diabetes epidemic, the bird flu epidemic, the AIDS epidemic, the asthma epidemic, the knife attack epidemic, the cancer epidemic, the allergy epidemic--on and on.

But you know what? No one ever seems concerned about the stupidity epidemic.

I'm just sayin'.

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

Flowers and such.

Almost forgot to mention it in with all the cute things, but the hosta is blooming now, and so are the balloon flowers Reba planted a couple of years back. This is the first year they've really looked nice and full.


Bet you didn't know THAT was coming!

Oh, by the way, for something not the least bit cute, but highly functional nonetheless, here is a picture of the kitty tube playground deal I cobbled together for him to sleep in and run through and claw and gnaw on.

The duct tape on the left end was an accident. I had thought if I added on the other section of tube that was left over it would be better.

It wasn't.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:36 AM | Comments (4)


Moderate Republicans an endangered breed

As opposed to moderate Democrats, who have been hunted to extinction not by what many would presume to be their natural enemies, that is, Republicans, but rather by an invasive subspecies of their own family. This aggressive parasite preys on common sense with particularly intense vigor, as well as with a startling array of ill-rhymed slogans, papier mache effigies, body odor, drum-banging, and loud calls to suspend such things as the rules of supply and demand.

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


Cute Kitty Alert!

Sticks are evil, and must be pounced upon.

Backyard water features are evil, and must be climbed upon.

Finally, what's cuter than a new kitten? A kitten and a little red wagon!

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

Okay, I admit it.

My level of gustatory sophistication is only about three notches above that of a tapeworm. I realize there are all sorts of foods and flavors out there in the world, and all sorts of acquired tastes, but let’s be frank--they are really just too far above my ability to appreciate.



Sorry. I know--anything fried in butter oughta be pretty darned okay, but I’ll let you enjoy them.


Again, I realize some people highly prize them (Mmmm--save me one of those lonnnnng drumsticks!) but I couldn’t eat one.

Which brings us to another thing I just can’t understand--Clamato. Did someone just decide one day as they were cleaning out the refrigerator that they should mix the leftover clam juice together with the last dab of tomato juice, then mistakenly leave it on the counter, then drink it by mistake instead of pouring it down the sink, and decide it was REALLY good? Or was it some kind of college prank that got out of hand? Was it a dare?

Who knows. But I have never found the idea of mixing the drainings of a disgusting-looking bivalve mollusk with tomato juice to be one of those things that I had to try. I actually like clam MEAT but the idea of clam JUICE is repulsive on several levels to me, and the admixture of the noble tomato does nothing to stop me from blanching at the very thought of such an elixir. I suppose there must be someone who likes it, because it never seems to disappear from the grocery shelves, but I can’t think there are THAT many people who like it.

But then today, I saw something in the vending machine downstairs that went off the scale, something so far beyond my ability to comprehend it that I was simply at a loss--

New -- The Original ClamatoTM Flavored Tortilla Chips
clamato chips.jpg

I didn’t realize the humble tortilla really needed additional tomatoiness, or molluskity. Obviously, I had to buy a bag of them just to see what the attraction was.

Upon opening the bag, I noticed the chips were small, shiny, the color of fresh red meat, and had the bracingly revolting smell of clammy seaside tomatoes. The chips were relatively crisp, although I had to chew them as lightly as possible to keep from tasting them so much.

I think I like my chips without integral tomato flavor, and completely devoid of clam, but then again, I am a hopeless food rube. At least the bag was entertaining--

Bring flavor to your life! NEW ClamatoTM Tortilla Chips have the same unique, zesty flavor that you’ve come to know and love from Clamato®. With invigorating taste in every bite, you can liven up your day with new ClamatoTM Tortilla Chips!


At least now I can rest easy knowing I’ll never have to eat any more of them, nor wonder if I was missing something by being left out of the next big food trend.

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

One for the Reality Based Community...

Via Tim Blair, news that your aluminum foil beanie might be a clever ANTI-anti-mind-control-ray (non)barrier. Or something.

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

Which means that somewhere in Mumbai...

...a disgruntled customer will be complaining about not being able to understand the accent of some Alabama tech guy--

India firm set to open office in Magic City

News staff writer

An India-based technology company is planning to open an office in Birmingham, eventually creating 100 jobs in what organizers hope will be the first of many companies coming to the state from that country.

ITC Infotech, a subsidiary of India's ITC Limited, is scouting the Inverness area for office space. The location will serve as the company's Southeast headquarters with 20 jobs initially. The company plans to add 80 more over three years.

ITC handles information technology services for clients, including networking, programming and software testing. [...]

Silliness aside, it's a good article, and if this venture is successful, look for a lot more in the future. Birmingham has a relatively large population of folks who've come here from Southwest Asia and done well for themselves, and the costs of doing business are somewhat lower here, so it should be interesting to see what happens.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:36 AM | Comments (2)

As promised...


Here I am with the newest member of the family--

And here is a shot of his back stripe to show how he got the name Lightning--

The next one has to be placed below in the extended entry because it exceeds the Possumblog Cuteness Quotient.

More unbearable cuteness throughout the day.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:13 AM | Comments (8)

I think--

I'll just stick to roses on our anniversary.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:56 AM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2006

Boy, how I hate--

--answering the phone. Thankfully, it's a day after a holiday, and so there aren't that many calls. Likewise, only one angry citizen who has gotten herself entangled with one of the many mental deficients who populate the main floor of our building. The feeble-minded person who was dealing with her first called upstairs where I tried to tell him the guy he was looking for was gone. Not being able to make Mr. Microbrain [not his real name] understand the concept of "gone," I decided to transfer his phone call so he could hear for himself what "gone" means.

After listening to the intermittent tinkling-buzzy sound of an unanswered telephone, yet completely oblivious and undeterred as to what "not here" was like, some minutes later he showed up to inquire about the person he'd phoned earlier.

"He's gone. Still."

I then had to hear the story (such as it was) of why he couldn't help out the angry citizen downstairs as it was being told to someone else on our floor. Someone who had no idea about what was going on.

So then, Mr. Microbrain hied himself back downstairs. Sometime later, a lady came up asking to speak to the very same Man Who Is Gone.

"Ma'am, he's out of the office in the field, and I'm not sure when he'll return."

"Well, I was just downstairs and they sent me up here to talk to him and" Etc., etc.

I finally understood that this lady was the one whom Mr. Microbrain had been dealing with. "Uh--ma'am? Ma'am? Did Mr. Microbrain send you up here?" "Yes, he did! And I am trying to figure out--" More of her story, etc.

I finally managed to talk to a Muckety-muck, whose only help was in telling me to tell her to go back downstairs and wait to speak to someone else. Who just happens not to be in the office at the moment.

Golly--and people around here wonder why no one likes dealing with us!

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

Now then...

I have to go eat lunch, and then I have to watch the reception desk since our secretary is out today. So, please don't call.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

Speaking of Cats...

I haven't really ever said much about it, but over the years, I have actually had a bunch of cats.

Let's see--there was Trouble, a tiger-striped cat of a fascinatingly wicked disposition that was our first cat. My sister sneaked him into the house and kept him in her room for a day or two before being found out. He hated having his stomach rubbed, which meant he got his stomach rubbed often. I also was chasing him one day in the yard while we were playing, and he stopped dead in front of me and I couldn't stop, which resulted in me stepping on his head. He was very woozy for several days afterwards.

After he went to cat heaven, there was Sylvester, who was black and white like his cartoon namesake. His claim to fame was terrible gas. He was joined at some point in there by a little orange cat we called variously Caesar, Squeezer, and The Baby One. Baby One got squished under my mom's car, breaking his back leg and taking off most of the hide. After many ruinous vet bills, he was as good as new, although he never got any bigger than he was when he was run over. Both of them managed to find out that the highway was much less forgiving than the driveway.

Next was Hildi, a gigantic fluffy black cat that we had after we moved away from the highway. I don't know whatever happened to her, and we later had another big fluffy black cat, but I can't remember his name.

Then there was Fanny, who was my sister's cat. She came from US Steel before my dad got laid off, and we thought she was beige. She was just dirty. Actually snow white. My sister lugged her all over several states, and loved her dearly. Unfortunately, when she moved back to Birmingham, the dogs in her neighborhood loved Fanny, too. A bit too much.

Meanwhile, back at our house, there was the inimitable Booger. So named because when we got him he was such an ugly gray rat-looking thing that it prompted me to say he was an ugly little booger. Booger grew up into one of the finest looking cats I have ever seen, though. He looked a bit like a Russian Gray, and although he was probably the most affectionate cat we ever had, he was also the meanest, toughest, strongest thing I've ever seen. Not an ounce of fat--a solid fifteen pounds of muscle. Our dog Wendy doted on him constantly, and he stayed around the longest of them all, but he wound up running away after Reba and I got married and we all [mom, dad, child, cat, dog] moved to Irondale together.

There are actually a few more in there, I think, but I can't remember them now, and my sister has had a few more as well, and she has two right now--Coco and Rocko, who are big fluffy oddities.

Anyway, I suppose all that was to say that I know how cats can be, and I just hope the kids won't have quite as much heartache as I've had over the years when a favorite friend is no longer around. I suppose that's one of the reasons I've been so hard to convince over the years to get another pet after both Booger and Wendy disappeared--it just hurts to lose them, and I guess I don't want the kids to be upset about such things.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:08 PM | Comments (2)


You know, some people...

Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore party in Iowa

You know, when I read that, I kinda thought it was an odd place for celebrity partying--I mean, as far as I can figure, Iowa doesn't have a New York or a Los Angeles. And I imagine they LIKE it that way, especially if it means not having to hang around with a klatch of incredibly immature boors.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Patrons at a West Des Moines bar were surprised when celebrity couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore showed up unannounced and partied until closing time at 2 a.m.

Kutcher is a native of the eastern Iowa town of Homestead and was visiting family with Moore and her daughter, Scout. They received a text message from Los Angeles-based disc Jockey, DJ AM — Adam Goldstein — who was performing at the nightclub Aura on Sunday evening, the couple told bar patrons.

Moore and Kutcher split their time between an isolated VIP booth and the DJ booth, where Kutcher jumped around enthusiastically.

He's just so kewl. And enthusiastic!

They drank Voss water, Red Bull, Heineken and Corona.

Make that SO kewl! Such unobtainable exotica! Of course, you know what they say, you can't really BUY Voss, et al., you can only RENT it!

And when Moore visited the restroom, the bar cleared it for her.

Heaven help her if she'd actually had to pee with a bunch of sloshed cornfed Iowa barflies! The indignity of it all!

Moore was not friendly to those attempting to take pictures, telling them to get away. Some patrons taking pictures were asked to leave the bar.

My goodness, people--can't she and her manchild mate enjoy the fruits of Bacchus and jump around enthusiastically without being pestered by camera-wielding Hawkeye rubes!?

As the bar was closing at 2 a.m. Kutcher tried unsuccessfully to arrange for a helicopter to take his family home.

"I contacted every pilot I know, and I couldn't get a hold of anyone with a helicopter," bar manager Mike Caudle said.

SHEESH! It just FIGURES, dude!

Kutcher also couldn't find a limo on short notice, so Caudle had his security personnel drive the group the 100 miles home in his Cadillac Escalade.

Poor, poor Demi and Ashton. They try so hard to be rilly kewl playmates to 15 year old Scout, and yet they just can't manage to overcome people's insensitivity to their special celebrity needs.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

And speaking of lightning...

Daphne woman hit by lightning while praying for family in storm

DAPHNE, Ala. (AP) — Worried about the safety of her family during a stormy Memorial Day trip to the beach, Clara Jean Brown stood in her kitchen and prayed for their safe return as a strong thunderstorm raged through Baldwin County.

Suddenly, lightning exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a pockmarked area on the concrete. Brown wound up on the floor, dazed and disoriented by the blast but otherwise uninjured.

"I said, 'Amen,' and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire," she said. "I'm blessed to be alive." [...]

"I was just standing there when a huge ball of fire engulfed this whole room. I don't remember much after that," Brown said hours later as her family helped clean her home. "Concrete was everywhere."

Brown was at home alone when the storm hit, while her husband, James Brown, was at the store and her son and his family were on their way back from the beach.

James Brown said fire officials told him lightning likely struck across the street from the couple's home and traveled into the house through a water line. The lightning continued into the couple's backyard and ripped open a small trench, James Brown said. Pieces of concrete were scattered throughout the family's kitchen — ruining day-old brownies sitting on the stove. [...]

You know, all things considered, I don't think I would be too worried about the day old brownies on the stove.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:16 PM | Comments (5)


Well, we had ribs on Saturday that were cooked by the big guy who works at Winn-Dixie. I gotta say they were pretty darned tasty, which you wouldn't expect to get from some guy standing outside the grocery store. But they had a nice hot flavor--Cajun? dry red pepper?--and not a whole lot of sauce. Also not a great deal of meat, which was something of a letdown. But they were good anyway. Reba also made a gigantic mess of mustard greens. I don't know why, exactly, other than she seemed to have gotten an itch only mustard could scratch. They were REALLY good, although they did need a bit of hot sauce to have been perfect.

Yesterday was incredibly hot, so what better way to have lunch than to fire up the grille! Big hamburgers, some hotdogs, and a big pile of Polish sausage. And for some reason, I didn't bring any of it for lunch today, and I am quite angry with myself. Also part of the mix was a big pot of corn on the cob--yet another craving Miss Reba has been suffering from. "Hey, this is good, sugar--what kind of corn is this?"


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:57 AM | Comments (5)

Oh, and by the way--

For anyone who thinks that little fluffy kitties aren't appropriate for someone of my incredible manliness to have around the house, I warn you that our kitty has been outfitted with a 20mm Gatling gun AND a grenade launcher. And I intend to keep him doped up on catnip all the time. So watch it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

Although it has been said--

"never bring a knife to a gunfight," sometimes, if the guy with the knife happens to have served in the Marines, you might better bring more than a shotgun, a pistol, and four assailants.

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


We watched a lot of movies this weekend, mainly because Rebecca was determined for us to have at least one, but more preferably, fifty-eleven dozen family movie nights.

Friday night (no, you CAN'T bring the kitty in the house) was Hoodwinked. Nicely animated, there's a story somewhere in here of a bad guy who's trying to drive out all the bakery and goody shops in the forest, and the police are called after one particularly COPS-worthy interaction between four of the characters. Each one has a different viewpoint, and we get to go back and follow each one through the course of events and see where the misunderstandings take place before finally figuring out who the REAL bad guy is. Lots of sight gags, which the kids loved, some funny asides, but no real good reason for the story in the first place. Oh, and it's a musical. Great animation, some funny bits, no story. Eh. I liked it because we all watched it together.

Saturday night (no, you CAN'T bring the kitty in the house)--Yours, Mine and Ours, the remake with the handsome Quaid brother. Widowed Coast Guard admiral has eight kids, goes to Connecticut, meets up with former high school sweetheart who is widowed and has ten kids, marries her then they tell the kids. Hijinx ensue, along with lighthouse renovation. Kids hate each other, decide only way to get out of mess is to break up parents, finally manage it, decide they like each other after all, then have to get parents back together. As with all movies in the giant-family dramedy genre, there are ample scenes of small children run amok, things falling, food fights, spilling paint, and adults falling in water. Eh. I liked it because we all watched it together. The original version was somewhat better, in that it didn't resort to quite so much slapstickery, but even the original has never been on my list of "Gotta Watch it a Billion Times" movies. Best bet is to check out Helen Brandmeir Beardsley's 1965 autobiography Who Gets the Drumstick from your local library. Oddly enough, very little in the way of thrown food.

Sunday night (no, you CAN'T bring the kitty in the house)--The Perfect Man, the Duff-Locklear movie of last year in which Locklear is an emotionally disturbed baker of some sort who manages to have enough money to move her entire household around the entire country every few weeks when she decides she's ready to dump the guy she's with. Of the three movies Rebecca picked, my absolute least favorite due to the absolutely inane plotline and the fact that it has scrunch-shouldered Hilary Duff in it. Oldest squealed all the way through it. Figures. Not recommended unless you like being assaulted by stupidity or spending an hour and a half cringing. Heather Locklear looks okay, though.

AND THEN, yesterday we went to the theater and saw Over the Hedge, which includes two possums in the cast, the daddy version being voiced by William Shatner. It was pretty cute--little forest creatures (squirrel, porcupines, possums, skunk, tortoise--none of which actually hibernate) hibernate in a log during the winter and awake to see that they are now hemmed into a suburb that got built while they were asleep. Bruce Willis is trying to find and return a bunch of junk he stole from a bear so he won't get eaten, and enlists the other critters to help him steal stuff from the humans. Hijinx, once again, ensue. Great animation, lots of sight gags, pokes fun at various things liberals poke fun at, but overall worth seeing. And it includes an odd take on the old Pepé Le Pew cartoons. I'd give it 3 1/2 out of 5 curly possum tails.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:53 AM | Comments (5)

Dern it--why didn't I think of that!?

Cordless jump-rope can help the clumsy

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — If you think keeping fit is merely mind over matter, Lester Clancy has an invention for you — a cordless jump-rope.

That's right, a jump-rope minus the rope. All that's left is two handles, so you jump over the pretend rope. Or if you are truly lazy, you can pretend to jump over the pretend rope.

And for that idea kicking around Clancy's head since 1988, the U.S. Patent Office this month awarded the 52-year-old Mansfield, Ohio, man a patent. Its number: 7037243. [...]

::sigh:: I suppose I will have to satisfy myself with my virtual treadmill. It's a video of a guy on treadmill. You can watch it and visualize yourself jogging for several miles, without being the least bit tired after it's over with.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:37 AM | Comments (3)

Yet another sign the Apocalypse is nigh...

Paris Hilton plans reggae, hip hop album

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

Okay, well, first things first.

Yes, we now have a kitty.

Ashley's teacher brought it over Friday afternoon, and Rebecca let her come into the house with it. Thankfully, the lady didn't break her neck falling over the piles of toys in the floor.

We had him already set up with his own giant playpen (i.e., cage) for the back porch, and Rebecca spent the rest of the afternoon until we got home holding onto him. And making her eyes red. I think she's mildly allergic to cats--when the people who used to live next door would let their cat out, Rebecca would play with it and then get all itchy-eyed. I think it would probably help if she'd quit rubbing her eyes with the hand she rubs the cat with, but hey, what do I know?

Anyway, we got home and all took turns holding onto the kitty, and thankfully, none of the kids (i.e., Catherine) were too rough with it, and after a while, it pretty much was part of the family.

Still no name, though. I had suggested Salmon P. Chase, famed Supreme Court Chief Justice, and former Treasury Secretary whose likeness was on the $10,000 bill. I figure any ostensibly free kitten who has so far cost me so much was deserving of a suitably moneybags name. Also, there is the idea that cats like salmon, and chasing things, and peeing. Anyway, I was overruled.

The kids kept coming up with stuff, but it is Ashley's cat, so she was the one to name it.

He's sort of a mottled cafe au lait color on the top and sides, over white. He's got white and light brown rings on its tail, stripes and spots on its sides, and a wide branching white streak on its back. Like lightning. Thus, he has been dubbed Lightning.

UNFORTUNATELY, I left my camera at home this morning, but there'll be plenty of time for kitty pictures, but rest assured, he is as cute as a kitten should be.

The first part of Saturday I spent trying to come up with a suitable scratchy-hidey thing for him. They have all sorts of stuff at the pet store for cats to climb on, but I figured I'd alread spent enough on him. I figured a couple of sections of tubing with some carpet inside would be just the thing, so Boy and I set out for the hardware store and got a short length of cardboard concrete form tubing, then stopped at the carpet store and got a couple of discontinued (i.e., free) carpet samples.

Got the stuff home, cut a couple of segments off, expertly fishmouthed one tube so it would intersect neatly with the other at a right angle, cut a hole in the other tube, and duct-taped them together. I cut one of the carpet samples in half, put one piece in one tube, one in the other, and then wrapped some sisal rope around the outside for something to scratch on. It was a big hit with the cat set.

Sunday and yesterday, he proceded to explore, play with stuff in the flower beds, fuzz his tail up at shadows, fall over and sleep, lick his butt, jump and skitter, sharpen his claws, meow, purr, poop, eat, climb, and pounce, all repeated at two minute intervals. He's been a very good kitty so far, and hasn't seemed to be lonesome, so no late night caterwauling has been heard from him. Yet.

The kids seem to be doing okay with making sure his litter box is kept relatively free of noxious clumps, his water is nice and cold and clean, he has enough food, and that he has adequate social interaction, all of which hopefully will translate into him being well taken care of and happy even after he grows out of the kitten stage.

We shall see.

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

Well, good morning!

Managed to make it through yet another weekend trial by ordeal with only the thinnest veneer of teenage torment to contend with! Hooray! Further details of the weekend to come, which included a trip to the hardware store, grass cutting, grilling, and kitty wrestling!

Exclamation point!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:04 AM | Comments (2)

May 26, 2006

My hope--

--is that I can have one weekend this month that is not filled with some kind of teenage melodrama. That's all I want. I'd like some rain so I don't have to cut the grass, but I'd take blazing hot sun if it meant the house could be quiet for once. All that garbage sucks all the fun out of me, and makes for very poor end-of-weekend blogging wrapups come Monday morning. I suppose if I wanted to, I could unload on all of you about it, but if I did that, what would I scream about when I'm by myself in the car on the way home?!

ANYway, all of YOU have a quiet and restful weekend, and I'll see you back around these parts on Tuesday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:22 PM | Comments (2)

Would it hurt... take just a little extra time to write stuff? Just got this CNN news alert:

"Capitol Police say the apparent gunshots that sparked a Capitol shutdown were likely caused by workers using tools."

Could we not have said: "Capitol Police say noises that sounded like gunshots that sparked Capitol shutdown were likely caused by workers using tools."

Unless, of course, somehow the workers managed to use tools to create apparent gunshots.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:05 PM | Comments (1)

Mmm. Squirrel!


Sorry. It's a slow afternoon.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:56 PM | Comments (4)

It was probably a Harley rider.

Stan the Gummint Man sends along this link to a story about a man, his motorcycle, and a squirrel, and Stan says, "In a way it makes me wonder now about Jimmuh Carter's 'killer rabbit.'"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:27 AM | Comments (2)

Speaking of moral relativists.

And idiots-- Galloway: Blair's death would be justified

The Associated Press

Galloway was quoted as saying an attack on Blair that caused no other casualties would be a justifiable response to Britain's support for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

"It would be entirely logical and explicable — and morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq as Blair did," the monthly GQ magazine quoted Galloway as saying. [...]

I take it the term "maverick" has now come to mean "unhinged."

Noting that Mr. Galloway was contacted for verification of his quote and was reached while travelling in Cuba, you may recall it was this same Mr. Galloway who was rather cozy with yet another megalomaniacal dictator.

One is reminded of a prime minister's words from an earlier era (who exulted in the euphoria of having been shot at without result) who chastised those who wished to remain neutral to the rising threat of German National Socialism: "Each one of them hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, it will eat him last."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:05 AM | Comments (2)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

I don't think that came out the way you wanted it to: Troopers to enforce seat belt laws, 17 traffic deaths estimated.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:12 AM | Comments (2)

Well, that's pretty darned cool.

Via famous Rhode Island Red breeder and NASA rocket scientist Steevil, this story from his alma mater: RIMAP, URI discover four more Revolutionary War shipwrecks in Newport Harbor

Nifty article about the discovery of part of a squadron of British ships that were scuttled to block entry to Newport. Items of interest (at least to me):

[...] “As is the case with many eighteenth century shipwrecks, the newly discovered vessels were pinned to the bottom of Newport Harbor with their own ballast stones,” Mather said. “Over time, a complex series of biological, chemical and physical processes broke down the shipwrecks, leaving ballast piles onto which artifacts including cannons fell and below which there is almost certainly well—preserved sections of the ships’ lower hulls.”

According to the historical detective work conducted by Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project Director Kathy Abbass, the British sunk the transports to protect their stronghold in Newport against a French fleet that sailed into Narragansett Bay in July and August of 1778. The ships were sunk so they would act as a barrier against a French bombardment and amphibious landing in Newport.

Abbass said that one of the sunken ships was the Lord Sandwich, which had originally been called Endeavour and which was the ship that the famous explorer Capt. James Cook used on his first voyage of discovery to the South Pacific in 1768.

Previous to this discovery, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project had found two other shipwrecks in Newport Harbor. The six ships together means that Rhode Island can now boast that it is home to the largest fleet of Revolutionary War shipwrecks in the world. [...]

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

I had to--

--sneak away a bit early yesterday afternoon to get home so I could take Oldest over to the high school. It was graduation night, and she and the rest of the choir had a song to perform during the festivities.

Got there a bit earlier than we were supposed to, so I got to do some people watching. As usual, I continue to be mystified by mamas (or worse, mee-maws) who want to look like their daughters (or granddaughters). It's not quite so bad if you can actually pull it off, but when your skin looks like baked turkey wattle, there's not much that hair dye and collagen can help with. Oh, and if your upper torso looks like you have a pair of panty hose slung around your neck with two tangerines stuffed down in the toes, I think it's probably best not to wear a halter top.

ANYway, Oldest went on in and I waited around the gate to let the early crowd of people inside, then went and asked the young fellow at the gate if I needed a ticket just to go stand over to the side, explaining that my daughter was a choir person and I hadn't been told I actually needed a ticket in the first place. He got one of the teachers, who apologetically told me I needed a ticket to get in the gate, no matter if I was sitting or standing. Which was fine. I thanked him and told him I understood, and started figuring out how I could sneak in, when suddenly I heard a shout behind me. Some nice lady had gotten in and found out that they didn't need one of their tickets--whoever was going to use it wasn't going to show up--so she let me use it. How nice of her! I thanked her and the fellows at the gate, and then went and found a seat in the stands behind where the choir was sitting.

Waited, sweated, squinted. Finally, it all started and it was a nice ceremony, and about as dignified as these things can be expected to be nowadays. It was interesting, too, in that this was the first graduating class since we became our own school system. So, a bit of history I was a part of. The choir sung their song, and I thought maybe that would be it and we could head on home.


I had gotten up and walked down to the ground level but they all went back and sat in their chairs. Hmm. Well, I could go BACK up and sit down, but that would look goofy, so I just stood and leaned, hoping maybe Oldest would get tired and come on.


Stayed until the recessional, but we did manage to exit before all the cars started trying to get out of the Mall area.

Oddest part?

Well, I was standing down there on the ground minding my own business, absent-mindedly looking around, and over to the side I saw some girl who I thought looked almost exactly like fellow blogger Megabeth, whom I've had lunch with on several occasions and have even hugged at least twice, but what could she be doing at Hewitt's graduation?!

And it didn't quite look like her, but then again, it did. Same color hair, but she seemed more wispy. Megabeth is very thin, but it's muscular thin, and this girl seemed less muscular, but maybe it was just because she was thirty feet away. Or not. Well, surely it's not her.

Then I noticed she was waving in my general direction, but maybe she was just waving at at someone else--I mean, there's a couple thousand people there. But, what if it IS Megabeth!? And now I've just snubbed her!? Does she think I am deliberately ignoring her? BUT--what if it's just some girl who only looks like Megabeth, and if I go over there and say to her, "Hey, Beth! I couldn't tell if that was you or not," and then she screamed at me to go away because her name was Miranda or Kellie or even Beverly, I would feel like an even bigger idiot in front of a stadium full of people who, in actuality, didn't even know I was there.

And then, she came over and stood RIGHT NEXT TO ME, almost. She had started talking to a very young girl who was actually beside me, and even when she was a yard away from me, I STILL couldn't tell if I was seeing a stranger or a friend, and I couldn't just stand there and stare at her, but then if it WAS Beth, I couldn't just stand there and continue to ignore her as if I'd never seen her before, and in either case I had gotten so befuddled I wouldn't have known what to say if I could have managed to talk. I contented myself with trying to act nonchalant and looking repeatedly over to my left to see if I could look at her long enough to either eliminate her as a possible acquaintance, or confirm that I needed to strike up a conversation.

Isn't Beth taller? Well, uhh, maybe. Or not. Does she have a tiny mole on the right of her top lip? I--uhh, I don't kn--or maybe she does. But Beth has bigger muscles, right? Well, I don't know.


So I spent the entire time just standing there like a dimwit, and never did come to any sort of conclusion. I wrote Megabeth this morning alternately apologizing for either being a heel for not saying hello, or for being a gigantic lunatic, but have not heard back yet on exactly what I am.

ANYway, it was over soon enough, and we made our exit and headed home.

No kitty.

The teacher we were supposed to be getting it from had said she would maybe drop it off yesterday afternoon, but she didn't. Maybe this morning. Or not.

It's all very confusing.

UPDATE: Only seconds after I posted this, I found that I had a message in my inbox from Megabeth herself: "I think I am frequently mistaken for other people. Last night, I was in the car riding back from Florida, so I couldn't have been at the H-T graduation at the same time. :)"

Whew. And welcome back!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:55 AM | Comments (7)

May 25, 2006

How do you say "schadenfreude" in French?

Via Instapundit, this corker from Jonah Golberg at the Corner about my dear friend Al. Or, as I used to call him, Ahl-berr.

Cannes it, Mr. Gore.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:35 PM | Comments (7)

Kids today.

From Cracker Barrel Philosopher, yet another instance of kids being too clever by half.

Not to worry, teachers--just wait until some resourceful lawyers on this side of the pond get ahold of it and start a class action against the maker for damaging everyone's hearing in ADDITION to giving everyone great big brain tumors, and they'll disappear pretty quickly. (Alas, the phones, not the lawyers.)

Alternatively, one could always start a rumor that this technology is how Karl Rove controls all of his evil minions.

Which we know is bogus--he just passes notes to us, cleverly disguised as paper footballs.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:58 PM | Comments (5)

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Hastert lashes out at Justice Dept.

Cry me a river, Denny.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:11 PM | Comments (4)

Adventures in Headline Writing!

13 in U.S. illegally arrested at Coast Guard base in Mobile

It took me more than a moment to figure out the 13 weren't arrested illegally, but were in the U.S. illegally.

How about next time try "13 illegal aliens arrested at Coast Guard base in Mobile."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

Apparently, they never understood the need to become televangelists...

Lay, Skilling convicted in Enron collapse

Meanwhile, in a Montgomery, Alabama courthouse, a disgraced but proudly unconvicted former HealthSouth founder and CEO receives a text message of the result on his Blackberry, and can barely stifle a cackle.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

State Visitor Day!

Continuing with our longstanding tradition of paying homage to Possumblog visitors from around the United States, we take this opportunity today to go to the next state in our alphabetic listing and salute the great state of



Jordana Adams (who seems to know whereof she speaks) suggested that maybe we should make sure to pick a state with persons who could be reliably counted on to stop and leave a comment, unlike all those stuck-up Montanarians. THAT'S THE VOLUNTEER SPIRIT!

So, today we invite anyone visiting from Tennessee to take a minute and say hello in the comments section, and tell us a bit about yourself and your exotic and exciting homeland.

For the rest of you, some interesting facts about Tennessee:

1. Tennessee was built by Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone using a small hatchet and a wagonload of logs.

2. The Volunteer State has a greater variety of birds than any other state in the Union.

3. The name "Tennessee" is a transliteration of the Indian word "Tana-si," which means "Go Big Arnge."

4. Tennessee's population of 5,689,283 includes Alison Krauss.

alison krauss 2.jpg
(photo credit Russ Harrington)

5. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the "Lost Sea" in Sweetwater as the largest underground lake in the U.S.

6. Andrew Johnson held every elective office at the local, state, and federal level, including President of the United States. He was elected alderman, mayor, state representative, and state senator from Greeneville. He served as governor and military governor of Tennessee and United States congressman, senator, and vice president, becoming President of the United States following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

7. Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1899 at a plant on Patten Parkway in downtown Chattanooga after two local attorneys purchased the bottling rights to the drink for $1.00.

SO, all of you Tennesseenians, say "Howdy!"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:17 AM | Comments (12)

May I invite you to come inside and see my etchings?

Many thanks to Skillzy who yesterday sent notice of an incredibly cool website composed of over 1,000 scanned images from old books, featuring "Remains of Ruined Castles, Deserted Abbeys, Old Manor Houses, mansions and stately homes; also engravings, woodcuts and pictures of Old England and Wales." Just incredible, and the scans are public-domain and royalty-free, which means I can put one up right here for you to look at!

cats singing.jpg

This will have to do until I can get a picture of a real cat to post tomorrow.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:15 AM | Comments (8)


Mop-topped Hicks crowned 'American Idol'


Now, I've heard a lot of talk this season about his gray hair, but it would be very difficult to think of his neatly trimmed hair as moppish. THIS is mop-topped--

clay mop.jpg

Good googly-woogly, Gus, what on EARTH has Clay done to himself!?

Anyway, THAT is quite the mop, or if you prefer, there is also available a handy sponge you can use to clean bottles--

sideshow bob.jpg


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:21 AM | Comments (2)

Stupidity on Parade

Judge: Man is too short for prison

SIDNEY, Neb. (AP) — A judge said a 5-foot-1 man convicted of sexually assaulting a child was too small to survive in prison, and gave him 10 years of probation instead.

His crimes deserved a long sentence, District Judge Kristine Cecava said, but she worried that Richard W. Thompson, 50, would be especially imperiled by prison dangers.

I have never believed that the barbarity of prison life is acceptable, and have never believed it should be the source of additional punishment for convicts. But to refuse to send a man deserving of prison time to prison due to concerns about his safety are ludicrous. ANYone (if prisons are allowed to be nothing but unsupervised dens of depravity) would be endangered if sent there, regardless of his size or level of aggression. Why not just let everyone bypass jail?

[...] "I want control of you until I know you have integrated change into your life," the judge told Thompson. "I truly hope that my bet on you being OK out in society is not misplaced."

Hey, thanks for wagering with the currency of your community's children, Judge!

Lock him up.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:07 AM | Comments (3)


In a break from the usual frivolity of our Thursday Three offerings, Miss Diane suggested that we ask some questions this week in honor of the upcoming Memorial Day.

1. Have you or any of your immediate family members ever served in the armed forces, and if so, what branch(es)?

2. Were you or you family member ever on active duty during wartime?

3. If your family member died in service, how do you honor them on Memorial Day (or throughout the year)?

As always, we welcome anyone who wishes to participate--leave your comments below, or a link to your blog with your answers.

And to those families whose loved ones have given their lives in service to this country throughout its history, a very profoundly felt thank-you for their sacrifice.

They will not be forgotten.

As for my answers--

1. Yes, my dad was in the Navy from 1944-46, and was stationed in New Guinea not long after the Hollandia landing. I started a small webpage about him a while back and have gotten sidetracked on other stuff since then. I really need to get those photos scanned.

2. Well, I answered this one in #1, but yes, he was in amongst the fighting in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, although I never recall him ever saying he was under fire, even though the Japanese were never very far away.

3. Thankfully, my dad did make it through, but we always fly the flag on Memorial Day (and other military-related holidays) as a show of respect for those who now are at ease.

So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:29 AM | Comments (19)

May 24, 2006


I forgot about a 2 1/2 hour continuing ed seminar I had today that followed hard on the heels of my morning off-campus work session, so I had to go to that, which left little time for fun stuff like blogging. Or gouging out my eyeballs with squid beaks.

Actually, not a bad set of presentations at all--one on moisture management in steel stud assemblies, one on hot applied rubberized asphalt roof and plaza waterproofing membranes, and one on direct-to-deck polystyrene insulation installation.


Also got nice box lunch and a Barlow multi-tool out of the deal as well. Not that those multitool things are all that wonderful--I've never been fond of all-in-one universal tool things, because like a spork, they offer only the promise of the utility of actual tools. But, hey, it was free. Ish.

Anyway, my head hurts really bad now, and I still have the junk I was supposed to do this morning to do, and there probably should be some effort given to coming up with a Thursday Three.

(Topic suggestions gratefully accepted.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:01 PM | Comments (3)

May 23, 2006

Get ready.

No rich meaty possumy lumps of gristle tomorrow, since I have yet another in my never-ending loop of biweekly meetings to attend.

There is some Ramen noodle soup in the pantry if you get hungry. OH, and some beans. But the can is sorta bulging, so you might not want to eat them.

Anyway, see you all sometime tomorrow, but I just don't know when.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

Well, now--that's a new one.

When you have a last name like mine, you tend to get some pretty creative spellings and pronunciations. Unlike some people, I really don't mind all the O'Glesby, Oglby, Odlesby, Grigsby, Ogelsby, Ogleberry (Hi, Tracy!), etc., variants. I've seen them all, or at least I thought I had. Just got an invitation to a local architect's office open house with my last name spelled "Oglysby," which I have to admit is something unique.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:54 PM | Comments (7)

And all was thus then right in the great state of Alabama.

From the Birmingham Business Journal: Alabama's official state whiskey will return to shelves this week, new owner says

Alabama's official state spirit, as designated by the Legislature in 2004, is returning to shelves here soon, according to a Georgia company that now owns a majority stake in the whiskey maker. "Conecuh Ridge Alabama Style Whiskey," which is now known simply as Conecuh Ridge, has been unavailable here since then-owner Kenny May's arrest on charges of selling alcohol to a minor.

May, son of the legendary Alabama bootlegger Clyde May, pleaded guilty and his license to sell whiskey in Alabama was revoked by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. He later moved out of state.

Abker Douglas & Associates, based in LaGrange, Ga., acquired a majority interest the whiskey maker in November 2005. The firm's president, Tom Abker, said Tuesday that May is no longer associated with the company and owns no stock in it.

After Kenny May pleaded guilty to several violations of the state's liquor laws, the state House of Representatives moved to undo the declaration of Conecuh Ridge as Alabama's "Official State Spirit." The state Senate never took up the reversal legislation, however, and Alabama remains the only state with an official whiskey.

Conecuh Ridge whiskey is made in Kentucky.

Only in Alabama, mind you, do you have an official state whiskey (that was unavailable for a time due to liquor law violations by its previous owner), produced in Kentucky, by a company based in Georgia.

Makes you wonder what the FBI would find if it did some freezer searches down in Mungummy.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:11 PM | Comments (4)

Remind me not to eat spicy stuff for supper.

Because it makes me dream that I've grown a luxuriously flowing mullet.

I don't really know why it manifested itself last night, although such things have been on my mind. It's been past time for me to get a haircut, and I keep seeing those annoying bristly neck hairs when I brush my hair in the back, and they look really nasty, and then Saturday we made a trip to Wal-Mart, and if you can believe such a thing, we saw a guy with a mullet walking out to his car. After we got past him, Reba said, "Now that was a mullet." And it was. And then sometime either last night or Sunday, Rebecca popped up and asked if I knew the words to Achy Breaky Heart .

"Uh, well, no--I know the song, but I can't remember the words except 'achy,' 'breaky,' and 'heart.'"

She went on to tell me one of her teachers had mentioned that it was sung by "the guy who invented the mo-uhhhm--mohawk?"

"'Mullet,' sugar--and it was Billy Ray Cyrus, and he didn't invent it, he just wears his that way to--to--well, I don't know why."

"Have YOU ever had a mo--a mullet haircut, Daddy?"


At least not until sometime in the tiny hours of the night, when the effects of a highly seasoned chicken fajita kicked in.

I think it's time for a haircut.

And for Mr. Anderson's benefit, Sarah G. beat everyone to it a while ago. But I can say for certain my dream mullet looked NOTHING like this:


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:44 PM | Comments (1)

Paint them white and plant ivy.

Doctors bury their mistakes; architects--[see above]

Via Dr. Weevil's (who's playing with his templates again) brother Steevil, an interesting post by Phi Beta Con Anthony Dick over at NRO discussing the campus buildings at Tommy Jefferson's old digs at the University of Virginia. It's a quick and succinct read, especially the concluding paragraphs:

[...] A friend and fellow alumnus recently pointed out the tragic peculiarity at work in the case of the architecture faculty: Like all professors, they operate in an insular environment whose norms and ideals are quite different from the rest of society. The unfortunate distinction is that, whereas the batty scribblings of the super-deconstructionistic-racial-gender theorist of the week can always be safely locked away in some library basement vault, the twisted images that spring from the wayward minds of the architecture professoriate cannot so readily be hidden.

Some of these wayward minds contend that any present-day efforts by UVA to imitate Jefferson’s red-brick-and-white-column neoclassicism can only result in “mediocre buildings decked out in pseudo-Jeffersonian cladding”—“the form without the soul,” as one says. But Jefferson himself imitated and adapted the Classical architectural style of the ancient Greeks and Romans. He proved that, through brilliant design and careful execution, it is indeed possible to embrace an artistic heritage, without being slavishly devoted to it.

It helps things if you consider architecture as a language, with all the various trappings thereof.

Just as it is possible to learn Latin (which has lost some of its reach, to put it mildly), it is also possible to take that very old language and write an everyday blog using it. And it's equally possible that someone well-versed in the language of Classical architecture could take it and design a perfectly acceptable modern-day building using it.

The only difference is that those who might come across one or the other would be much more conversant with the building than the blog. Architecture is a more durable language than spoken or written words, and one of the most durable of its dialects has been that of Classicism. Now, we might not understand all of it--all the metopes and triglyphs and astragals and entasis, or why one thing means something different from another, but in the end we tend to see something familiar enough to the common human experience that we can still use and enjoy it.

Sorta like good opera, we can tell what's going on even if we can't figure out the words, because we have other things to help guide us--the tempo, the expression of the actor's faces, and their interaction with each other.

On the other hand Modernism (in all of its various dialects) really doesn't play well with others. It's at its best when given a blank slate, or, as at UVA or most other places, when it's given other architecture as a counterpoint, either to mock or to genuflect toward. For many of its heartiest proponents, it is the language of reaction rather than action; redefinition rather than definition. As a language, it says less about who or what we are or want to be, and much more about what we simply dislike about other stuff. Not so much listening to a three hour Italian opera, but much more like a three hour Castro speech.

Obviously, in the case of any language, there are exceptions--some Classical work is boring and overly slavish--writing down a copy of Homer is not the same thing as being Homer, after all. And likewise, there is some work by Modernist architects that is genuinely fresh and inviting.

Unfortunately, being that so much of academia has grown crusty with people who'd rather sit through a three hour Castro speech than sit on a hill and fly a kite, you are much more likely to find the harder-edged dystopian Modernist sorts clamoring for overthrow of the old social order and all of its associated evils. The long view--either forward toward building a better future, or backward garnering inspiration from past genius--just isn't very much appreciated anymore. Too many of our professors in the building arts and sciences have reduced themselves to a never-ending present of self-aggrandizing self-loathing, sprinkled with dissatisfaction and dissolution.

In the end, the university will have to figure out who it's trying to talk to and what it's trying to say, whether it's the shop jargon of the professional pedagogue intended to be understood by them alone, or something that speaks the language of those in the world outside the classroom.

Thank goodness ivy grows quickly.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:44 AM | Comments (8)

That's nice.

Charles Gibson Named New ABC Anchor

Given that the relevance of being a network evening news anchor nowadays is about on par with being a saber-toothed tiger lookout, you sorta have to wonder why Mr. Gibson would take this gig. But, he's nice enough, I suppose, and I guess they'll give him bunches of money.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

I admit...

...I have very little (read "no") knowledge of how the Dutch legal system works, but after seeing so many stories over the past year like the one associated with this headline: Suspect in Natalee Holloway Case Released, I really would not be surprised to see a headline tomorrow reading, "Every Person on Island of Aruba Arrested, Released--Prosecutors Expect to Arrest, Release Everyone In Netherlands Within Hour."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)



And it's NORWEGIAN!!

(Many thanks to The Queen of Vidalia, Louisiana's own Janis Gore for the link.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:08 AM | Comments (5)

A couple of things--

Madonna blasted for concert crucifixion

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Less than 12 hours after Madonna crucified herself on a mirrored cross, the Catholic League expressed its discontent with the concert stunt. [...]

Oddly enough, not by going on murderous rampages through the streets, burning down concert halls, or record shops.

Though [Catholic League president Bill] Donohue said that Madonna "has been spicing up her act with misappropriated Christian imagery for a long time," he thought that her faith in Kabbalah might inspire new respect for religion.

"I guess you really can't teach an old pop star new tricks," he said. "Poor Madonna keeps trying to shock. But all she succeeds in doing is coming across as a boring bigot." [...]

I don't think anyone expected anything more, did they?

It's sad that Madonna, who I think probably does have creative talent on some level, can't come up with anything more hard-hitting than this to demonstrate her various hatreds. And make no mistake--for all her talk about spirituality and open-mindedness, she is full of vituperation and venom. And, strange as it may seem, for the very nation that has allowed her the unbridled freedom to become a multimillionairess able to say and do anything she pleases. Madonna is able to mock Christianisty (and Judaism, with her embrace of the Kabbalah) and America for the very reason that she knows there aren't goverment agents who will throw her in jail, and that her mansions and possessions will be right where she left them. Something like the flea who thinks he makes the lion roar, or the rooster who thinks his crow makes the sun come up, Madonna's inflated sense of self isn't particularly impressive when you look at the bigger picture.


And then, there was this--Maines stages apology recall

The Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines apologized for disrespecting President Bush during a London concert in 2003. But now, she's taking it back.

"I don't feel that way anymore," she told Time magazine for its issue hitting newsstands today. "I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever." [...]

Uhmm--was there ANYone who believed her initial "apology" was sincere? And is there anyone outside of an elementary school playground sandbox who acts this way? (Well, I mean, outside of the entertainment industry.)

Here, Natalie--here's a buck. Go get yourself an ice cream and you'll feel all better.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:48 AM | Comments (10)

Jack Bauer Update!


And how, exactly, did the Chicomms get him out of the airport abandoned printing press warehouse (a sly knock against the dead tree media, perhaps?), beat him up, and have him on a slow boat to China in only five minutes?

I really, really wish they'd have gone with the alternate ending I wrote for them, where Jack gets to go to the bathroom, take a shower and shave, take a nap, eat a sandwich, and THEN goes and deals with the Chinese.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:01 AM | Comments (5)

May 22, 2006

Why, yes, by all means!

Urine ruins W.Va. courthouse shrubbery

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — Shrubbery next to the Raleigh County Courthouse has been ruined by homeless people who urinate there and must be replaced, the county commission president says. [...]

I say those homeless people should be replaced right away!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:29 PM | Comments (8)

Everything you need to know about the dangers of vegetarianism--

Prince voted sexiest vegetarian

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

Well, thanks for the thought, but...

Pills Rendering Menstrual Period Optional

...personally, I really have to say that I'd rather not have the option.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

You don't say.

Bush not likely to see Gore's film

And the winner of the Palm D'Or for Best Implementation of Unintended Self-Parody--

Speaking Saturday in France at the Cannes Film Festival about global warming, [failed Presidential aspirant Albert Arnold, Jr.] Gore said, "I even believe there is a chance that within the next two years, even (President) Bush and (Vice President) Dick Cheney will be forced to change their position on this crisis," he said. "One can only attempt to create one's own reality for so long. Reality proper has a way of insisting itself upon you."

Spoken like a true alpha male.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:38 PM | Comments (6)


7-year-old swims from Alcatraz to S.F.

Big deal--I mean, it's not like he had to escape first.

In a more serious vein, I really have to wonder a bit about anyone who'd willingly let their kid do something like this. I know he was being watched and they had people in the water with him and all of that, and obviously he was strong enough to make the swim.

But it does seem to be a bit on the pointless side.

As opposed to writing a blog, which provides a valuable service for millions of people who would otherwise lead lives which are much less fulfilling without being able to read about channel swimmers.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:29 PM | Comments (6)

You want to know exactly how bad I need a vacation?

I seem to have been struck--however momentarily--with a case of blinding moronicity. WAY over and above anything I've ever even thought of. I have no idea why, other than my brain is so squishy I can't keep my chronic moron disease in check.

Last week sometime, I had checked eBay for any interesting junk for the Volvo, and somehow I got sidetracked and completely by accident found someone selling an old Sears/Puch motorcycle. HEY! I remember those from the catalog!

I always thought they were cool, but you know, parents and all--they put their footses down about any glimmer of hope I might have ever had for a motorcycle, or even a minibike. Which, by the way, were also in the catalog.

Anyway, after I got on up and got my driver's license and started fooling around with cars, I never really got the bug for anything else. I have been a passenger on a friend's motorcycle exactly once, and it was rather unpleasant.

But I think what stirred the moron fever most was when I got to reading about the little Sears bike, and noted the peculiar description of the engine. Quite possibly the most absolutely ridiculous engine you could ever cobble together, it was a twin cylinder two-stroke, with a shared combustion chamber, designed back in the Internal Combustion Paleolithic era. I did some more looking around and trying to figure out this bizarre "Twingle" configuration, and after reading a bit was completely baffled and mystified as to why anyone would spend so much effort on such an odd thing.

Which, of course, seems to the be the thing that triggers so many of my flaming moron episodes. You see, I seem to be becoming something more than a mere moron--I fear I am quickly getting to the point of being a crank, fascinated by weird things simply because of the weirdness of them.

I think I need to just go sit on log for a while and not think about anything.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:06 PM | Comments (10)

Or maybe...

...I just need a vacation.

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

Maybe it's the bird flu.

Or cholera.

Or dengue fever.

But making my head feel even more wooly and leaden than usual is the fact that it and my lungs are full of some sort of very tenacious semisolid epoxy of some sort. I made it worse Friday afternoon by cutting the grass. For some reason it was very dusty again, and I got a faceful of fine powdery soil and pollen and ground up bugs whenever I emptied the bag. Anyway, add in my usual lack of weekend rest, and I have precious little in the way of mental friskiness this morning.

What better time then to throw open the doors for a rousing round of Ask Dr. Possum! If you have any questions that have created a burning or itching sensation, now's the time to have that seen about. Just leave your question in the comments below, and Dr. Possum will scurry hither and yon and research and pick and probe until he has determined the correct answer, which he will then dispense to you free of charge.

Obligatory Disclaimer: Dr. Possum is a real doctor, in much the same way that Ward Churchill is a real Indian.

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


Of a sort.

Finally got the garage cleaned out enough to get another vehicle in there. The only downside? Well, we intended to keep the van in there, and with the row of shelving on one wall, and the assorted heavy articles such as the air compressor and stationary bike in the narrow bit between the spaces, there's really not a whole lot of room to open doors and get in an out. No big deal for the sliding doors, but that passenger door in the front is pretty much inaccessible.


Couldn't throw my little worktable away, though. I figured I could put it in the far back of the yard behind the sweet gum tree, and I could use it for those times when I'm in the backyard behind the sweet gum tree and I need to put something down on a table.

I did a bunch of other stuff, too. At least I think I did. I'll see if I can remember any of it. I tell you what, this middle-age crap is awfully hard on the brain...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:19 AM | Comments (2)

May 19, 2006

On then, to the weekend.

I realize it's a bit early to be closing up shop, but I'm sleepy and that's never good for blogging, so I'll go ahead and turn off the lights and turn the Closed sign over.

Fun stuff this weekend? Grass cutting, more garage cleaning, church barbecue, and looking around at the hardware story to see if if I can figure out a way to rig up a small pen on the back porch to contain...

a kitty.

Heaven help me.

One of Ashley's teachers at school has a mama cat who had babies, and ever since then Ashley has been badgering us to let her get one. All in all, a terrible idea, especially given her inability to take care of her own room, much less an animal. "I promise I'll take care of it," she whines. And my internal monologue asks, "How!? Are you gonna throw it in the floor and kick it under your bed like you do all the stuff in your room!?"

So far, that hasn't blurted out of me, but it's gotten close.

Anyway, at least with a cat, I wouldn't have to fence in the whole backyard like I would if we got a dog, and since Oldest is going to be home some during the summer (even though she did manage to find a summer volunteer post at a local hospital, which was completely unexpected) it's not like she wouldn't be around, at least some. Of course, once the novelty wears off, and she realizes that cats are much more particular about whom they call friends, and once she's through trying to pretend to take care of it, well, hopefully it will be old enough by then to be able to fend well enough for itself.

It's still not a done deal at this time--we still have to see if the teacher has any toms available. Why? Because I'm a tightwad. It's just a whole lot easier (read "cheaper") to fix a tom than it is to open up a female.

And then there is the issue of just exactly what will be expected of the kitty's nominal owner--I am of a mind to make her sign a contract spelling out all the things she'll be expected to do to take care of it. Not that I expect compliance. It's basically one of those quixotic UN diplomacy-type deals where at least one of us goes in knowing it will get broken. There are other parties involved, though, who would actually be much better at fulfilling the terms and obligations and would dearly love to have a kitty of their own, so I figure that should give her some added incentive to uphold her part of the deal. Or not. Who knows.

Anyway, we'll just see what happens. All of you have a good weekend, and Lord willing I'll see you all back here again bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Monday morning.

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

Steevil News Network

This afternoon's news tip updates from Steevil, famed NASA rocket scientist and quahogger--

From Arkansas--someone must have gotten an advance copy of Bill Clinton's book on public service. And yes, there must be something in the water.

From Afghanistan--Steevil notes it might be best for Satari not to laugh, in that if mama's not happy, ain't nobody happy.

From Florida--THEY'RE KILLING THE ARCHITECTS! By way of Bldg Blog, by way of Ann Althouse, the fascinating story of a novel pest control scheme.

From Missouri--will it be good-bye to the enigmatic #33? Devotees of fermented hops and malt (i.e., Steevil and Jimbo) say probably so.

Finally, from Italy--Steevil points us to this cruel japery from the Brothers Judd blog, delivered at the expense of the nation that gave us Sophia Loren. Please, can't we encourage them to do what it is they do best, and leave things like using explodey stuff and firearms to us?

We would like to express our thanks to Steevil for this roundup. Thanks, Steevil!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:09 PM | Comments (3)

I'm full--

--of a very hefty club sandwich, yet lighter by a bit-too-hefty tab of eleven bucks.

Nice lunch, though, in spite of the price. Today's stop was V. Richard's over on Clairmont Avenue, a newly-renovated building that now houses one of those boutique food markets with baffling comestibles from around the globe, as well as a nice little cafe.

Nice variety of pasta and green salads, as well as a pretty complete offering of sandwiches all prepared as you order them. I got the V. Club, which is a club sandwich, which is a sandwich you order when you can't decide on one meat or cheese, so you order them all. Jeff got the tuna melt, which I know a lot of people like, but the idea of tuna salad and melted cheese is one of those things that just doesn't go well together in my way of thinking, and the more I think about it the more nauseated it makes me. So, I'll think of it no more.

We sat outside on the breezy patio close to the Wall O' Water and watched with much perplexation as a sparrow flew in and took a few bites off the plate of a diner who'd left the table. I am pretty sure the person was through with his meal, which is good, because I know if I'd left for a minute to go get something, I'd be pretty weirded out if I ever suspected a bird had been picking through my food. It might be a sign that maybe the busboy needs to be a bit more energetic, though.

AS FOR OUR FOOD, it came out with relative speed, although I must say to the ownership that it's probably going to be a good idea to do away with asking people their names as a way to identify their orders. Just give customers a number--much better than having a barely understandable food-taker-outer wandering around butchering the name they think they see on the paper, and then still delivering it to the wrong table. And, believe it or not, there actually might be two people with the same name. I know, I know--numbers might seem so impersonal, and not at all in keeping with the self-consciously precious ideal of a neighborhood eatery where everyone knows everyone. But I have to say, I'd rather not have another guy be given my food to breathe all over before it finally manages to land on my table. So, numbers--look into them.

AS FOR CONVERSATION, well, there was the recitation of the past month's garage cleaning chore, which pretty much took up the entire time allotted for lunch, as well as any enthusiasm that might have been floating around.

LUCKILY, there were car magazines to swap!

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


And, to make lunch slightly less boring, today's repast will be conducted in the company of My Friend Jefftm and there will be the traditional exchange of car magazines. A special surprise is that this time I will be handing over a slighly tattered AutoWeek from July 7, 1998. Quite a time capsule, there!

Anyway, I'll be back after while with a bunch of stuff to talk about. Or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)


Via Skillzy (who is trying to get a butt-kicking not only from Kentuckians but also from Soul Patrollers), this really neat and cool and handy set of silly image tools from Flickr. What's even better is that you don't have to have a Flickr account to use them--nothing wrong with having an account, obviously, but you know how some people are about not letting you play with their toys.

I sense much wasted time coming up in the near future...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:44 AM | Comments (5)

If you simply MUST hug a tree...

...there are none better to love than American chestnuts, so this is a welcome story--Rare American chestnut trees discovered

The Associated Press

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — A stand of American chestnut trees that somehow escaped a blight that killed off nearly all their kind in the early 1900s has been discovered along a hiking trail not far from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Little White House at Warm Springs.

The find has stirred excitement among those working to restore the American chestnut, and raised hopes that scientists might be able to use the pollen to breed hardier chestnut trees.

"There's something about this place that has allowed them to endure the blight," said Nathan Klaus, a biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources who spotted the trees. "It's either that these trees are able to resist the blight, which is unlikely, or Pine Mountain has something unique that is giving these trees resistance." [...]

Well, whatever it is, I hope they are able to help it spread. The article talks about the once-pervasive chestnut and the blight that nearly drove it to extinction (which I'm sure must have been George Bush's fault), as well as the current efforts to preserve the species with the introduction of genes from Chinese chestnuts that are blight-resistant.

It sure would be nice to repopulate with non-crossbred species, and I wish the Georgia folks much success in their efforts, because the chestnut is such a useful and beautiful tree.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:53 AM | Comments (3)

Hmm--he'd be better off with a basketball...

Jordan Plays Hardball With Hamas

I mean, I love Michael and all, but when he was trying to play baseball with the Barons, he was just okay-ish, and it was obvious he was WAY out of his element. And this was without a bunch of bloodthirsty goobers trying to blow him up.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)

We is SAVED!!

Gore in movie campaign to protect Earth

[...] Gore has been hailed as an articulate innovator and mocked as a boring exaggerator. His movie blends the story of his life with a downright scary assessment of global warming. [...]

I, on the other hand, hail him as an innovative exaggerator, and mock him as articulately boring, and look forward to not seeing the downright scary assessment of his life blended with a story of warming globes.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:27 AM | Comments (2)

Boy, that's the thing you want to see first thing in the morning.

Was just checking through the ol' referrer logs to see what all brought people to Possumblog, and saw this one: how to get possum blood out of carpet.

One shudders to think how that particular turn of events came about...

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

May 18, 2006

You know--

I think President Bush's choice for CIA director will be fine--I'm neither incensed, alarmed, nor comforted by his military background as such a background, like ANY background, means that he will bring different strengths and weaknesses with him to the job. But I have to say, he really needs to work on his camera presence. This is not the image you want floating around in people's minds when they think of you--

mike hayden.jpg

News photographers seem to go out of their way to take such pictures. Luckily, he doesn't have the voice to go along with the look--


Photo credit AP via Yahoo News. Caption: AP - Thu May 18, 12:12 PM ET President Bush's CIA nominee, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, listens to a question during his Senate confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, May 18, 2006. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Elmer Fudd sketch c. Warner Brothers, lifted from here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:50 PM | Comments (8)

Nice thing about living to the east of where you work?

Well, if it rains about 5:15 every afternoon when you go home, you actually get a nice show with the sun low in the sky behind you as you drive toward the rain clouds--rainbows!

Saw one Tuesday afternoon around the East Lake area that went from one side of the Interstate to the other. It was dramatically bright, I suppose because of the darkness of the clouds behind it, and the colors were quite distinctly refracted. And then, another one yesterday which landed squarely upon my hometown, the Gateway to Happy Living. Same nice contrast and sharp colors, and then, in an even better show due to my change of view as I rounded the curve in the exit ramp, it became a double rainbow. Which I think is pretty cool.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:39 PM | Comments (6)

Well, that's a load off.

Just delivered our contract to the builder for the long-anticipated fellowship hall addition at church. Of course, now there are going to be delays from THEIR side, because we just had to make some changes. They're minor, and hopefully won't cause them to be all balky about it, but you never know. At least now no one's waiting for ME to get something done.

As they say in the business world, that ball is over my dam.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

Via Lileks--

Do not click here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:37 AM | Comments (5)

For those who believe--

--that Supreme Court decisions are inviolable and should never be overturned, from the Library of Congress website, the anniversary of a case that at the time a sizable portion of the electorate thought was just fine and dandy, and not just the ones south of the Mason-Dixon.

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

Hey, good luck with that, too.

Bill Clinton to write book on public service

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — After writing an autobiography that sold millions of copies and earned him a hefty advance, former President Clinton has struck a deal to write another book.

Alfred A. Knopf will publish the new work, in which Clinton will focus on public service and individual citizen activism, telling a story that he hopes will "lift spirits" and "touch hearts," the former president said in a statement Wednesday. [...]

Lifting spirits and touching hearts by teaching us about lifting skirts and touching parts.

It's GOLD, baby!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:57 AM | Comments (4)

Hey, good luck with that.

Spears unveils new perfume, In Control, for `empowered girls'

The Associated Press
NEW YORK - Britney Spears went from Curious to Fantasy, and now she's In Control.

Those are the names of the pop star's fragrances with Elizabeth Arden. The company says more than 10 million bottles of the three scents have been sold since the launch of Curious in September 2004.

The names are not a coincidence. "As I get older, the names go with my age," said Spears, 24. [...]

Hmm--one per year seems a bit on the quickish side, but I suppose when the clock's at 13 minutes, 50 seconds, you do what you can to get in as much as you can.

I do kinda wonder why they haven't done the obvious--Liz Taylor has White Diamonds, Oleda has White Orchid, you have to wonder why there's no White Trash.

Anyway, does anyone have any suggestions for upcoming fragrance names that "go with her age."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:24 AM | Comments (3)

Oh, that's not so bad at all.

McCartney may lose quarter of fortune in divorce

I mean, surely he can spare two bits.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

Kids today!

And parents!

Today's Harmonic Convergence Issue of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three is devoted to both of those species, and specifically to the certain likes or dislikes that they share.

This particular set of questions was inspired by one of Mr. Skinnydan’s (not his real name) answers to last week’s T-3 regarding sounds he remembered from childhood. His?

Music. My dad at the piano in the house, playing stuff I liked, stuff he liked. I remember especially a time when his likes and mine coincided far more than they do now.

Hmm--interesting. AND SO, this week we would like to know the following:

1) What sort of music did your parents listen to when you were young that you liked?

2) If you have kids, is there anything you listen to that THEY like? (If you don’t have kids, you are free to make up anything to go here.)

3) What was the first recorded music (of whatever medium--wax cylinder, 78 or 45 discs, vinyl LP, RTR, 8-track, cassette, CD, downloaded MP3) you ever bought with your own money?

As always, everyone is encouraged to play along by either leaving your comments below, or a link to your blog.

As for my answers--

1) Well, my dad (and mom, to a lesser extent) loved big band music. The Dorseys, Mitch Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Vaughn Monroe--and he was also fond of Hawaiian-themed music, as well as composers such as Henry Mancini and Montovani. And I thought they were okay, too. Not quite an undying passion for them, but even as a kid during the disco/Southern boogie rock era, they still had a nice spot in my heart. And I still have all the albums. Even if I don’t ever play them, I still like having them.

2) Being that aging baby boomers have such a stranglehold on pop culture, a lot of the stuff that was new when I was growing up is still being stolen and recycled today (sorry--I believe the polite term is “sampled”), so the sounds and rhythms of the stuff my kids listen to has a familiar feel. For the most part, we can listen to just about any station (short of gangster rap or some genres of country) and no one is really upset.

3) Let’s Get Small by Steve Martin.

So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:50 AM | Comments (10)

May 17, 2006

Uhmm, aren't we taking this "Wildcat Pride" thing just a bit too far?

Kentucky family fights to keep pet lion

MELVIN, Ky. (AP) — Amid a backdrop of colorful swingsets, clunky cars and giggling kids, a beast with a thick mane and daunting eyes paces in his cage.

To some around this small Appalachian town, he's a frightening menace. To others, he's the local mascot, a novelty.
But to the Collins family, he's "Kitty," their beloved pet lion.

"That's my kid," said 22-year-old Melissa Collins, a married mother of three, as she pet [sic] Kitty through his 300-square-foot chain-link cage. [...]

No word if any of the parties involved are related to Skillzy's friend, "The Kentuckian." Or to "Mother of The Kentuckian."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

O tempore! O mores!

Models strike in Italy's fashion capital

You people have no idea how hard we pretty people have it!

The Associated Press

MILAN, Italy (AP) — Models refused to pose, photographers stilled their flashes and stylists laid down their brushes for three hours Wednesday to protest the lack of rules governing their industry, which they complain is taking the gloss off Italy's fashion capital. [...]

Internationally known photographer Antonio Guccione participated in the action in a show of solidarity.

"In the 1980s, everyone was here, all of the most famous models and photographers. Everybody worked in Milan." said Guccione, whose photographs have appeared in Vanity Fair, among other magazines, and whose subjects have included Umberto Eco, Federico Fellini and Giorgio Armani. "Now the situation is different. Everyone shoots abroad and our economy has fallen."

Dolci told some 100 participants who gathered during the action that the crisis striking the fashion industry — which he estimated has an annual turnover of euro1 billion ($1.2 billion) a year — also hit other areas, such as hotels, restaurants, museums and taxi drivers.

"The damages are huge," he said. [...]

I go now to weep the hot, hot tears of remorse for this tragedy which unfolds before our very eyes.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:53 PM | Comments (11)

Hmm. I suppose this means she WON'T still feed him...

...when he's sixty-four: Paul McCartney, Wife Blame Media for Split

You know, it's a bit hypocritical to seek constant media attention, then complain that it's ruined your life.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

American Idol!

Missed it.

We had an awards ceremony last night at the high school and Oldest was being recognized for being on the A-B honor roll during her previous semester. It was nice, especially given her constant struggle with honors geometry this semester. I don't think she's going to be able to maintain that A-B grade position, although there is some good in it. We believe she has finally realized that thinking you know how to do everything and actually being able to do everything are possibly, maybe, two different things.

Yeah, I know--that's just CRAZY TALK! Obviously, the trouble must lay with her teacher, and everyone else in class, and everyone else in school, rather than in not studying.

Anyway, it was a nice event, even if it did run a bit long--started at 6:30, ended past 8:00, and the seating surface was the gym bleachers. My heavily padded buttocks began to hurt about five minutes into the feature. The school's jazz band provided pre-show entertainment. Those kids are really, really good--and an especial acknowledgement to the young lady in the trumpet section.

The kids managed to behave pretty well, considering they were all missing American Idol. Well, that is, the 50% of honorees who decided to attend, the other half apparently wanting to do something else.

Since we mentioned helicopter parenting this morning, I do have to say I found myself wishing for a bit more of that, or at least some parental input to the niceties of polite society such as suggesting that receiving an award by slouching to the presenter whilst wearing cutoff camo pants, Birks, and a ratty tee-shirt probably isn't the way it should be done. Please folks--no gum smacking, no hands rammed into pants pockets, no flip-flops, no hulking hairy legs (this only pertained to guys last night--thank heavens), no nervous hair flipping, no mouth-breathing, and none of that odd, "I'm too cool to be ashamed of how cool I think I'm being," manner of movement most on display by the boys, but also by some of the girls. Oh, and girls--or your parents, at least--believe it or not, there are some social situations where a skirt can actually be too short. Yep, believe it or not! Although our little burg has grown by leaps and bounds (Trussvegas!), it is still not Hollywood, and you are still not Paris Hilton. At least not until the grainy, night-vision video is available online.

Anywho, congratulations to all the kids and keep working hard. Dude.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:28 PM | Comments (2)

Hmm--I guess it depends on the person...

Crude flirting with 70 dollars

I mean, some girls might not think it crude at all if you've got $70 you can use to flirt with.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

HEY KIDS! What time is it!?

Steevil (who is awfully busy at the keyboard today) ALSO wants to know how many of you regular Possumblog readers remember Howdy Doody, prompted by news of the passing of bandleader and musician Lew Anderson, who played Clarabell the Clown.

Howdy Doody was a bit before my time, but the local television imitators of the format, such as "Cousin Cliff" Holman , Bozo, and Neal "Sergeant Jack" Miller are a strong part of my childhood memories.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:06 AM | Comments (2)

Okay, here we go with the house question.

Okay, Jordana sends in a two-parter this morning:

Assuming you weren't an architect and were considering putting an addition on your house -- how much would you spend on an architect to make sure you got a useful and attractive addition that didn't look really stupid?

Well, that one's hard to say without knowing your overall budget, and without knowing how involved you want to get. I do know Jordana and Justin have a pretty well-defined sense of composition, so what I would suggest is first doing some homework of your own--but before you sketch ANYthing, first settle right now on the very most you would be willing to spend. From this, you will have to back out fees for whoever you get to draw it up, and things like furnishings and such that are necessary parts, but not things that are done by either the contractor or the designer. After you take out the fees and extras for filling the room up, you're left with the construction budget--what the cost will be that you pay the contractor. Then do yourself a favor and reduce that amount by another 10-15% to cover contingencies you haven't thought of. That budget number will give you some guidance as to just how much you might be able to afford.

A house is very personal, and so you have to have thought about what you want beforehand. This also makes it easier if you do decide to hire an architect, because he or she won't have to review and research all this stuff, and you won't have to pay them to do it. Think about what you like and dislike about the way your house works now, and why you think an addition would solve your problems, and write all those things down. Think to yourself of some neat ideas that you've seen and think might work for what you're trying to do. Think about what furnishings you intend to place in the rooms, and if they will require any special wiring or accomodations. All of these things have an impact on cost and on whether or not what you want to do actually CAN be done for the budget you have in mind.

Thankfully, a house is not so complex that it's beyond the reach of non-architecty types, so you might want to take your list of ideas and see if they might work in reality by making a scale drawing of your house on graph paper--if you want, you could even get one of those home-planning booklets from the bookstore. Lay out where you think you want the addition, how you might want to access it, where you want to put stuff. You'll probably have to work on it a bit at first, since people aren't used to working in scale, so that you don't wind up making doors or windows too big or too small. But, you'll eventually get to a point where you think you like it.

At this point, you have several options, depending on where you live and the legal requirements of your jurisdiction. Some localities require any such addition to be sealed by a registered architect, and some don't. Call your local city hall and ask. Be prepared to get lost in bureaucratic limbo at least once. If you don't necessarily require an architect, it is possible you might be able to find a competent home builder who can take your sketches and ideas and come up with a perfectly satisfactory addition that does everything you want. Or, maybe not. You might be able to find a home designer or intern-architect (one who is working toward registration but has not completed his licensing exam) who might offer you a better quality of product and level of service. Or, you might hire an architect who (hopefully) brings with him some level of professional competence and experience that could be lacking in the other alternatives. In any case, you will not get out of having to ask around.

Word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to find out who's good at what they do, and who should be avoided at all costs. Talk to your friends and neighbors and see who they like. Get several names, and talk to all of them and see if they think they can help you with your project--some people who are good may be too busy at any given time to help, so they might offer suggestions of other people you could consider.

But as for whether an architect is essential (unless required by law) is really up to you--if you have a good idea of what you want and can express that clearly to the person who does the drawings, you are in effect your own architect, and the person you hire is your draftsman. And sometimes a clever and knowledgeable draftsman is much more useful to you than someone with big ideas of his own which might not really gibe with your own. Sort of like a caddy who knows the lay of the course, the draftsman might be able to offer you some advice he came to through observation and experience that even a pro might not have thought about.

Design can be a very subjective thing, and like anything else, there are some people who are hacks, yet have big reputations, and there are geniuses who scrape by in obscurity. Do your homework, and you'll have a better idea of which is which.

Now then, the second part:

And/or what do you do when you and your spouse disagree about what looks stupid?

Hey, what does she know about stupid-looking things!? She married me, right?

In actuality, our tastes are very similar, so we rarely disagree on design-related questions. If we do, I go into full-pedant mode and detail ad nauseum exactly why one thing is better than another until she relents to the superior heft and density of my arguments. And then I tell her I'm very sorry, because it's obvious I am wrong and was mistaken in my characterizations. This is done in an attempt to arrest any further diminishment of my prospects for nocturnal connubial activities. Hey, sorry, but some things are more important than being right about artsy-fartsy stuff.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:56 AM | Comments (8)

You know what's worse than a filmstrip about gingivitis?

Finding out that danged-fool Chet the E-Mail Boy fell and broke the projector, and so now we'll have to sit here and not have ANYthing to talk about! And he has the nerve to complain about his hip hurting! SHEESH!

Anyway, I only had one suggestion sent to me yesterday for a topic of discussion, from Tex who suggested: "Teen Angst! We still haven't heard about teen angst and how it associates with Mother's Day. Those are always informative for those of us beginning to rear our own Teens. :)"

Uhm. No. As I told her in a much longer and more detailed fashion, this past weekend's frivolities have not yet reached that ripeness that you wish for when you say, "you know, some day we'll look back on this and laugh." I can't review them without a great deal of bafflement and anger, so it's best not to put them to pixels. Other than to say that she's been taught better.

So, no gingivitis, and no tips on dealing with hormone-driven psychopathy.

GOOD THING THERE'S STEEVIL, famous NASA rocket scientist and trepanning aficianado, who sends along several news stories this morning.

First, from this Washington Post article about Bill Cosby's speaking tour, what Steevil describes as the "best quote by person with best name":

[...] "The coroner, Marie-Lydie Y. Pierre-Louis, issued a warning to teenagers who don't get their diploma: "There's one waiting for you at the office of the medical examiner. It's a death certificate." [...]

I wonder what the Y stands for?

Steevil also sends along this item from a Livejournalist by the handle of "holyoffice," who was so taken aback by a mainstream journalist's inability to grasp basic differences in history and theology that he wrote a very handy (although highly irreverent and sure to cause him to have to do much explaining at the gates of pearl) guide to Christianity for those in the media and the society at large who don't want to have to go to all the trouble to read large books. We wish holyoffice great success in his stated desire of using the guide as a springboard to obtaining a position as a terrible theologian at Harvard Divinity School. It is a crowded field, I have heard.

Finally, Steevil sends along this link to Dr. Helen's discussion on helicopter parents, in which he found this jewel of a quote from one of her commentors:

[…] jaycurrie said...

At the playgroup my wife takes our 2 and 5 year old to there are a lot of sub Gen-X mums wandering about in capris who go nuts if one of our boys goes outside to the fenced playground unattended. They also go nuts if one little boy points a stick at another.

One dear heart, watching her boy playing with ours in a pretty rough and tumble way, remarked to Susan, "I don't know where he gets this energy. We're against the Iraq war."

These are helos on the pad. […]

Heh. Indeed.

I think of myself more as a black helicopter parent--I think everything is a conspiracy by elements of the government to undermine my parental authority.

DING-DING-DING!! LATE BREAKING TOPIC SUGGESTION!! Thank goodness for Jordana, who is not only pregnant with a baby, but with ideas:

Assuming you weren't an architect and were considering putting an addition on your house -- how much would you spend on an architect to make sure you got a useful and attractive addition that didn't look really stupid?

And/or what do you do when you and your spouse disagree about what looks stupid?

OOOoooo--good question, which deserves its own entry. Give me a minute and I'll be right back. I also have to get a heating pad for Chet so he'll stop moaning.

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

May 16, 2006

Well, now.

About that time, and in one of those twists that just makes me shiver with disdain, I have to come in early tomorrow for an orientation session with some new members of the regulatory board I help staff. YAY! FUN!

Anyway, blogging will necessarily be delayed because of it.

IN THE MEAN TIME--you are welcome to submit suggestions for topics you'd like to see covered on Possumblog tomorrow. Because, you know, I have no topics left in my brain at the moment. So, it's either make some suggestions, or we'll be stuck with watching that educational filmstrip on gingivitis.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:07 PM | Comments (1)


At the recommendation of the hip, savvy, and actively-lifestyled Megabeth, we shopped among the Fossil brand goods Friday night, and this is the watch we wound up getting for the lovely Miss Reba for Mother's Day.

Except hers has a blue dial.

And the date.

Okay, so it's not the exact one, but it's close.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:34 PM | Comments (8)

Well, bless their hearts.

Have you ever gone to an establishment, and been slightly backed up for time, and you'd really like just to get in, find what you need, buy it, and get out again in about five minutes?

And then, when you get to that establishment, you find that the staff is incredibly solicitous, and helpful to a fault, and thoughtful, and dutiful. And not particularly concerned about time per se, except in the concept of time as determined by something such as, oh, maybe a well-crafted sundial, made from a carefully whittled birch twig, but the carving of which first requires a lengthy explanation of the sun, and the earth, and the safety required of whittling, and of finding true north by using a compass and a set of small pebbles and a matchstick (matchsticks which are also made of wood, by the way), and then taking all those constituent parts, and building a device to accurately determine the time of day (within a tolerance of plus or minus two, or possibly two and a half, hours), and by which time as you've built your sundial, you find that the light of the sun is now so low that your sundial can no longer can be read, so you decide to build a cozy campfire and await the dawn to try it out, and in building that fire you must learn about combustion, and wood (of course) and safety with fire (of course) so that it is a good fire, and hot, and not one to cause a roaring forest fire, which would be terrible because it would probably mean not being able to test the sundial the next day because of having to flee the fire.

But, how could anyone be so mean and brusque as to remark about this deliberateness to someone? There's no use pointing out that the shirts are right there, and they have sizes conveniently printed on the label. And on the hanger. And the rack has those little size wheels around the bar. And that the shirts are all neatly arranged, unlike those you might find in a department store. Likewise the shorts. And the socks. And the caps. Why, that would just be crass to even think that possibly you could make your choices more quickly without such helpfully helpful help.

It's best to just allow nature to take its course. Like a mighty glacier rushing headlong down a crevasse at a blinding millimeter per decade, it is best to stand aside and not worry about being a half-hour or hour late back to work.

And just pray that the stuff doesn't have to be returned.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:46 PM | Comments (3)

Now then...

...a return trip to the Scout Store--this time, with measurements in hand and written down on a piece of paper. Of course, it would be easier if I had the actual Boy to try this stuff onto, but we measured him last night and I think we might be able to figure it out this time.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:35 AM | Comments (2)

Pretty Shiny Shelves!

Noted university professor Dr. James Smith comments: "Will you please tell us more about the shelves? I’ll be in the market soon."

Indeed so!

Knowing that I needed something sturdy and of high quality, I nonetheless opted to purchase something flimsy and of a quality so low it could have been manufactured in a Chinese factory making DVD players.

They came from (where else) Wal-Mart. I needed something similar to the ancient set of shelves we already have, so I got a couple 12 inch deep by 58 inch high, five-shelf bolt-together jobs that are to thinness what Jabba the Hut is to fatness. Were I to guess, I'd say they were probably 32 gauge. BUT, due to physics and strength of materials, once they got all bolted together (with help from Jonathan and Catherine) they were more than sturdy enough for what I needed them for. The only bad thing was that they leaned away from the wall, because the garage floor slopes away from the wall at the exact angle at which they were leaning, causing me to have to run to the hardware store for some wood wedge shims. Which really also need to be put under the old set of shelves, too.

SO, there you are!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:15 AM | Comments (2)


I'm not a big grammar and usage pedant. As you might notice, I occasionally take liberties with English, and don't apologize, or even call back later to talk it over. But spelling errors do catch my attention, especially when I make them, and even more especially when they are of the homophonic variety. "They're, there, their," you might say, "don't feel bad. Or badly. Or whatever." But I do, and I do try to fix stuff when I find it.

Anyway, I understand that I don't have a lot of room to talk about other people'ses mistakes, but there is one that keeps gouging at my eyes every time I see it.


I cannot STAND to see that good old Southern contraction for you all rendered as if the first word is "ya." And the second is, well, something ending in two ells.

It's y'all. Y(ou) all.

So stop spelling it wrong right now.

Y'all have been warned.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:49 AM | Comments (20)

In other exciting news....

...I assembled shelves Saturday!

Shiny new shelves, and they have STUFF on them now! The other side of the garage is ALmost cleaned out. Stuff left to do something with include my little homemade workbench constructed of half of a door and the legs from our old picnic table that my mom and dad had at our old OLD house back about 1970 or so. It also has a small bench vise on it, and you know, the legs have great sentimental value, so it's difficult to get rid of it. But it doesn't really fit in the garage. Might have to figure out a different legging strategy.

The other things include my folding drafting table, my portable drafting table, my big tank-style air compressor, a bunch of old pictures, two big ice chests, and two wrought iron mailbox posts my father made by hand. The rest of the heavy iron stuff has once again been squirreled away for safekeeping lest anyone try to steal it, give themselves a hernia, and sue me for damages.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:19 AM | Comments (3)

Jack Bauer Update!

I have no idea AGAIN!

In amongst the defective-electronic strife, there was also the issue of trying to get my work finished that I got called away from yesterday afternoon, and then there was a constant ebb and flow of children running into the bedroom to ask questions about an infinite variety of non-Jack Bauer-related topics, all asked while standing between me and the teevee. So I have no idea what's really going on.

BUT, we DID get to see Crazy First Lady Jean Smart silence a bad Secret Service guy who was beating up on her most favorite man in the world, Aaron the Impassive Bald Secret Service Guy, who is more manly than even Jack Bauer, but is too modest to have ever said it. And before all that, Aaron told President Machiavelli that he was bad and evil and a traitor, and not worthy of his respect. Which really frosted the Twerpresident.

In other things, Jack got to slap around the Weaselly DHS guy for erasing the tape, but not nearly enough, in that he didn't snap him in half and feed him to a tank full of sharks.

Brokenose Girl is looking hale and hearty again after having been suggested to chemical torture and nearly bleeding to death.

Chloe looks like she smells something REALLY stinky, probably related to a poison pill firewall.

There's more nerve gas and the Russian Bad Guy got loose and found his henchmen and took over a Russky sub in the harbor (and why it wasn't docked at the Van Nuys Airport I have NO idea) and they're a'gonna blast the whole city (of Van Nuys) with Roosian meesiles.

So, they're tracking everyone down, and copying that, and rogering, and NEXT WEEK IS THE FINAL EPISODE and Jack finally gets to point a pistol at the President and MEAN it, which means he'll probably wind up doing the decent thing and arresting him, rather than solving things The Cowboy Way, which should have been done about 10 episodes ago.

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

The President's Speech on Immigration

Well, I missed it. First I had to get Boy's application turned in at the Scout's clubhouse (he missed the meeting because he didn't finish his homework), then had to choke down supper and then run to Wal-Mart to return a cheapo DVD player we'd gotten for Oldest on Saturday to replace the Magnavox DVD player we got her at Christmas that was either A.) defective and gave up after a five month fight, or B.) was the victim of abuse and/or stupidity. The SECOND DVD player (of some Chinese extraction) that we got Saturday quit working Sunday because it was either A.) defective and gave up after a five hour fight, or B.) was the victim of abuse and/or stupidity.

So, I ran up to Wally World last night during a very important presidential address and exchanged the second DVD player for a third one of the same inexpensive Chinesiness.

Got it home, made sure it worked, settled in to watch the Jack Bauer Show, annnnd



Not even five minutes of use. I would hate to suppose this was the result of abuse, being that it would be hard to abuse anything that much in only five minutes, so I'm praying it's just bad luck with junky Sinoelectronical machinery.

As for immigration, you have to wonder what sort of cesspool Latin America must be if this many of its citizens find their only alternative is to leave their homes and risk imprisonment, injury or even death to find a menial job hundreds or thousands of miles away to support themselves.

For all the illegal immigrant advocacy groups, have you ever thought about advocating for freedom and prosperity in your constituent's home countries, rather than complaining about the treatment they receive on our shores? Or, maybe, start encouraging your brothers and sisters to emigrate to the new workers' paradises of Venezuela and Bolivia, where they would be welcomed with open arms. Right?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:46 AM | Comments (3)


OH! Hello--didn't realize there was anyone left around here. Sorry about yesterday, but it was wall-to-wall and treetop-tall junky junk and it went on all day, and included a system-wide computer outage that kept me from doing what I was supposed to, and I had to make a trip to the Scout Store for Boy's uniform parts (parts of which wound up not fitting, meaning I have to go back today during lunch) and to top it off, I had to leave early to go pick up Oldest from school, because she stayed late to finish up a dissection in her anatomy class and missed the bus. By five minutes. ::sigh::

AND THIS DOESN'T EVEN INCLUDE the past weekend's flare-up of YET MORE teen angst, which is just what you want surrounding Mother's Day. ::sigh::

SO, yet another week has now started off with my thought process divoted up like a muddy polo field, which is either very good for you, in that I might say something really incredibly bizarre and slighly humorous, or, very bad for you, in that I might just sit here and drool. Which is not incredibly bizarre, nor even the slightest bit humorous.

Well, let's see what happens.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:29 AM | Comments (4)

May 15, 2006

And now, Monday.

And I walk in to a bunch of dumb stuff I have to do. IMMEDIATELY!

So, your update of all the weekend happenings at the House of Possum is just going to have to wait a while.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2006

To the weekend.

As I noted, Boy has a birthday Sunday, and it is Mother's Day as well, so we will have all sorts of stuff going on for those two occasions, as well as spending part of the day Saturday doing the annual Festival on the Cahaba. Oldest has to work part of the day at that, and Reba wanted to go to it. So, we will.

And then, we also have some very sad business to attend to tomorrow morning--a funeral for one of our fellow church members. I've not mentioned anything about this earlier, out of respect for the family's privacy and because I can scarcely even think about it without tears welling up in my eyes. She was a beautiful, sweet, vivacious, and faithful woman of only 28 years, and she leaves behind a husband, a three year old, and set of twins only a few weeks old.

Such an unimaginable, profound, loss.

Our sojourn here is short. On this weekend when we take time to honor our mothers, be sure to tell your mother how much you care for her, and tell everyone else as well.

Come now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Until Monday, then.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

Cool Breeze

--and now my wife knows why she was suffering from lethealgia this past Saturday.

So, I was sitting here doing actual work stuff when I got a telephone call from Miss Reba.

Okay now, this next part might be a bit, errr, offputting to read, so skip it if you must. Although, if you do, you sorta miss out on some valuable information.

ANYway, sometimes, when you sit, and you're a guy, certain adjustments are occasionally called for in order to rearrange your seating position, as well as the position of various appurtenances and equipment, so that you can have optimal seating comfort while you talk. No one wants to be uncomfortable, right!?


So, as I leaned back a bit and felt that uncomfortable pain that told me that some of my troops were out of formation, I ordered SSGT R. Hand to go have a talking to and see if he could get everyone back the way they should be. Things seemed to be going well enough, when suddenly Sergeant Hand indicated SOMEthing wasn't right. NOT right at ALL!


Wha!? I had him reconnoiter some more, and he reported back that there seemed to be a giant gap in protection that went from just below Fort Zipper, across the summit of Hill 2-1, and very nearly all the way through the Thunder Valley!

In other words, while rearranging myself, I found that have a GIANT split in the seat of my pants. Pants that I have had on all day long. And that I have walked around in all day long. In front of people. People with eyes.

And at that moment when this realization occurred to me, I was still on the phone with Miss Reba.

"REBA! I JUST--I--I put my hand down to move the chair back some and MY PANTS HAVE A GIANT SPLIT IN THEM!"

"Uh, were they your black ones?"


"Well, I had put those on the bed Saturday to show them to you, and I got sidetracked, and you know how I kept saying there was something I was trying to remember to tell you?"

"Uh, yeah..."

"Well, THAT'S what it was! Your pants have a big split in them! I bet you wondered what that cool breeze was!"

Yes, now that you mention it.

Oh well. At least she finally remembered.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:53 PM | Comments (5)

The Final Update!

There are a lot more pictures in this set, so I'm going to put them in the extended entry.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah!


Hooray for sun!

Here's the crowd right before he got here--he had a parade from the tracks all the way up 20th Street, so the parade route had several bunches of people along it, too, which is why it looks a bit sparse at the moment.

Here comes ANOTHER band!

Annnnd, all the hordes from along the parade route--

--annnnd, the FOX6 Mobile Doppler Weather Chaser VIPIR Hummer Truck of WHIRLING DEATH!


Now then, all the speeches and gladhanding from our local elected officials--

Here's the gift of the key to the city

--and the presentation of an OFFICIAL proclamation--

--and the presentation of the record, which to me doesn't look quite gold. I think what they meant was it was a regular record upon which is recorded the gold-record-winning song, "In the Ghetto." Or whatever.

Taylor graciously says thanks--

--and works the crowd--

--before SINGING! WHOOO!!

--and performing a dazzling array of physical movements with his arms, legs, torso, and head which we think is DANCING! WHOOO!!

--and playing the HARMONICA! WHOOO!!

--and saying WHOOO! WHOOO!!


As we know, all good things must eventually come to an end, so the tugboats pulled up the aircraft carrier to take him on to his next stop at the Galleria.

He says good-bye and thanks once more--

--and then rides away out of sight.

All in all, a very fun day, and as these events seem to do, it attracted some rather interesting folks.

Such as, Vulcan, Roman God of the Forge and largest cast iron statue in the world, who Taylor got to meet and shake hands with--

That was neat, and something you'd only see in Birmingham.

AND, what was even more cool, the entire membership of the Greater Birmingham Segway Club showed up en masse to support Taylor, as well as make their case for alternative transportation!

AND THUS, we now conclude our continuing coverage of banal, popular culture. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming of popular, banal culture.

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



1:09 p.m. Well, they just left a few minutes ago, and it was quite exciting all the way around. Taylor arrived and the crowd went crazy and he got a key to the city and somehow the City Council managed to get a gold record of Elvis's for "In the Ghetto" and gave it to him and he sang with the Little Memphis Blues Orchestra "Go Round in Circles" and then he left in a gigantic Ford Excursion stretch limo/aircraft carrier.

PHOTOS--Starting from slightly before update seven was posted to a bit after noon, the first set of ten. The next set will come along in just a bit.

The Hayes High band was there to welcome him--

Here are the TV folks setting up--

and these are the folks who call themselves the Sweet Ts. There's an amazing amount of symbolism in there--'T' for Taylor, 'Tee it up'; 'Sweet T' for sweet tea, the drink of the South; 'sweety'; "'P' that rhymes with 'T' and that means TROUBLE, TROUBLE with a capital 'T'!"; all that stuff. I would not suggest you go up to them and ask if it means 'tard.'

Fan behavior is an interesting study.

Here one young lady proclaims her, uhh, I'm not sure what.

For those who didn't bring a sign, a PR person went around handing some out. Bill Engvall would be so proud of this picture--

As it got closer to start, the local show folks got up on stage--here are Rick Journey, Janice Rogers, and Mickey Ferguson standing around.

A wider shot to show what a gorgeous day we had today--

--which, as I noted earlier, made for a lovely crop of nekkid arms!


Now, off to edit some more photos. Back in a bit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:36 PM | Comments (7)

Speaking of music...

the band concert last evening was quite nice. Those kids have really worked hard and played quite well.

However, I am about to go red on their jackass parents who can't seem to SHUT UP DURING THE MUSIC! Great Caesar's ghost, people--you made the effort to get there to the auditorium after work, and all you talk to everyone else about is how marvelous your precious child is and how well he plays--SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO THE MUSIC AND SHUT YOUR COLLECTIVE PIEHOLES AND SHUT UP AND DON'T TALK OR SNORT OR RATTLE YOUR PAPERS.


ANYway, kids--good job. The program was "School Spirit" arranged by John Higgins (which sounded like the Wisconsin fight song to me), the theme from Ice Castles called "Ice Castles" arranged by Lester Harris, "Star Wars" also by Mr. Harris, and "Power Rock" arranged by Michael Sweeney.

There was one particular Boy, who will be turning 12 on Mother's Day, who was extraordinarily talented in playing both the snare drum and the bells. Little stinker.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

Man, talk about your moron projects!

As if we needed more proof that Walt Disney was the world's greatest philosopher, we find out once more just exactly what a small world it is.

Well, see, I have this blog, and I know Miss Janis down in Vidalia, Louisiana. Then, one day in the recent past, I asked if anyone could give me advice to pass along to my sister about adopting a greyhound. Miss Janis suggested I solicit one of her friends for advice, a fellow from way down yonder in Australia (the greatest nation in the world, aside from Alabama) who goes by the name Kitchen Hand. I had not read Kitchen Hand's writings before, and was quite taken with his obvious love for the important thing in life, food.

Anyway, I added him onto my blogroll, then wrote a note to introduce myself and ask him about dogs, and he wrote me back with a very nice response that touched on all the necessary topics. Better yet, it appears he has been drawn into the wooly vortex that is Possumblog, and we welcome his comments and antipodean viewpoints.

AND NOT ONLY THAT, it seems we share a similar mental affliction. To make it worse, his whole FAMILY is all eat up with this dread disease, too.

As it happened, Kitchen Hand (not his real name, by the way) stumbled over to Revolvoblog, my other blog devoted to my undeniably sexy '86 Volvo 240, and left this comment:

So I wander around and check out your blog and find this.

Well, what a coincidence. Actually, probably not. Maybe just an odd conjunction or a fluke.

I have Volvos.

My Volvos:

1977 245DL. Pale blue. 417,000 kilometres. Owned since 1999. One prior owner.

1986 240 wagon. Gold. 445,000 kilometres. Owned since 2004 (I traded a 1978 245DL, red, upwards of 500,000 kilometres, odometer broken). One previous owner who was so eccentrically stickly, he wrote little notes all over the service records - which are six inches thick - querying everything the Volvo dealer did. Everything appears to have been replaced several times - grandpa's axe comes to mind. Runs like a dream.

1975 244DL. 260,000 kilometres, so barely run in. Pensioned off to my sister - she btootles around the countryside in it.

My son's Volvos:

1984 240DL. Silver. 300,000 kilometres plus.

1981 264GL. Blue. About to go to the Rainbow Bridge, or whatever it is for Volvos.

1991 240GLE. Gunmetal. 240,000 kilometres.

My brother's Volvo ... no, I'd better stop there.

I'll finish by saying that whenever there's a family dinner, the street looks like the Volvo Rescue Society.

Let us now all join hands and sing--

It's a Volvo after all,
It's a Volvo after all,
It's a Volvo after all,
It's a Vol, Ol, Vo!

Now if we can only get him to give us his recipe for Manifold Squirrel Stew...

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


updates thruout the day

Well, today's the day, and as promised, I brought my camera to show you what all's going on down in the park in preparation for the arrival of Taylor Hicks.

It's a beautiful Chamber of Commerce day today--bright clear sky, and temperatures in the "warm enough for naked girl arms, but not so hot as to cause fat guys to sweat."

First up, the guys setting up the stage out below my window-

And a bit longer shot that picks up the area around the park-


Amazing progress in only an hour!


9:35 a.m. Oh, lordy me goodness--they're doing sound checks outside my window, and it's louder than anything I've ever heard, even City Stages. Why? Because the speakers are facing the building instead of out toward the park. I might have to go down there and tell them to hush.


10:49 a.m. The band has set up and they sound very good, and a crowd (of sorts) is starting to gather. They've got the volume adjusted and the band is playing something that sounds very much like what it sounds like when the Saturday Night Live band plays. Picture coming in just a minute. Here we go.


11:14 a.m. Bigger crowd out there in just the few minutes since the last update.

Hmm. What's that on the stage? Why, it's a BANNER!

They're having some trouble with it blowing in the breeze. Here's what it says:

Awww. Sorta gets you right here, don't it?


Okay, I realize there are some who REALLY love Taylor, but this is ridiculous--


11:39 a.m. Well, as I mentioned yesterday about the influence of the local FOX affiliate, here's a shot of FOX 6 weather dude Mickey Ferguson taking the stage to warm up the crowd--

--with a tune from his mouth harp.


12:00 noon--waiting for the noonday FOX 6 teevee show to start, and THERE THEY GO! Lots of noise folks! Photos will come later. I'm just going to go to the window to watch for now.

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

May 11, 2006

Band Concert Night!

Last of the year. Where'd all that year go!?

Anyway, Boy is quite excited. He's really enjoyed band this year, and as opposed to Oldest, hasn't really had to be dinged about not practicing.

And even more interesting, at least to Dad-Who-Can't-Do-Music, over the past year I have noticed that he will occasionally set up his bell kit in his room and just play. Sometimes he plays his sheet music, and sometimes he just likes to improvise, and sometimes he tries to recreate something he's heard somewhere else. Doing something because you enjoy it is always preferable to the alternatives. Ars gratia artis and all.

So, anyway, it'll be interesting to hear how he does tonight.

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

Hmmm--a bold gambit, sir.

You know how you get those daily GREETING TO YOU FROM IVOYR COASTE e-mails every day, with offers to transfer to your banks accountings lavish sums of money, usually in the tens of millions of UNITED STATES DOLLAR FUNDS?

Well, there's never anything really good in them anymore--same old stuff, and all of them seeing to have taken the political ward-boss's advice of, "if you're going to lie, might as well lie big."

But just now I received something VERY clever--rather than sounding alarm bells by promising millions upon millions of dollars, this chap has another trick up his sleeve:

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to introduce a business opportunity that will be beneficial to both you and me. It involves transferring to your overseas account the sum of ($7.5;US Dollars) Seven Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars, from one of the Fidelity Finance & Security Company here in Dakar-Senegal. [Etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. Etc.]

Say--he's not promising outragous amounts, so IT MUST BE REAL!! Although I do admit to being troubled by the discrepancy between the numerical figure of $7.50, and the text description of "Seven Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars."

But darn the luck--I don't HAVE an overseas account.

Oh, well.

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

Well, lucky that I'm also an art curator.

We just had a visitor who was wondering: is my dali sketch genuine?.

Well, it's a bit difficult to say for certain without actually examining the sketch, but based upon what I know, I would have to say...


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

Information YOU can use!

As you know, visitors sometimes stumble upon Possumblog to find out things. Especially people who are interested in possums. I don't know why they come here, of all places, but they do. Like this person, who wants to know: what to do when you see a possum.

Do what I do--point, and say, "Look, a possum." When everyone looks, you steal their wallets.

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

Perpetuating the Stereotype, Version 29,491

Well, as an Alabamian, all I can say is thank goodness for North Carolina: Bomb described as 'little boom thing'

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to lobbing a homemade bomb at his girlfriend said he was actually aiming for a beaver dam. In the end, he was the only person injured, and he now faces 10 months in prison as well.

In the words of Carl Spackler--

carl spackler.jpg

"Varmint Cong."

Otis Cecil Wilkins, 45, pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 300 days in jail. He had been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Odds of being named "Otis"? Probably better than even, I'd say.

According to sheriff's deputies, Wilkins had threatened the ex-girlfriend, then threw the bottle bomb at her car as she drove into her yard in Rougemont, about 30 miles north of Raleigh. Witnesses said the bomb exploded in "a large fireball," and then rolled back toward Wilkins, igniting his shorts.

And thus we find the rustic backwoodsy analog of the Shakespeare quote, "hoist by his own petard."

You have to feel sorry for him--I mean, he either couldn't throw very far, or couldn't run very fast to get away from a rolling bottle ball of flame. That could set your shorts on fire.

Public Defender Lawrence Campbell said Wilkins' target was a beaver dam that blocked a waterway, and that the bomb was ignited by ash from his cigarette that fell onto the fuse.

Gosh, it just keeps getting better and better, don't it?

Wilkins spent more than a week at a hospital burn center.

"I ain't no terrorist," he was quoted as saying in a law enforcement report from the incident last year. "It was just a little bit of black powder. It was just a little boom thing."

That's what she said!

Sorry. I realize that was very juvenile. This is nothing to make light of. Or to light off.

Wilkins pleaded guilty to three assault counts, one for his ex-girlfriend and two for other people nearby, including the woman's 3-year-old granddaughter. Prosecutor Mitchell Garrell said he pursued a plea-bargain because the ex-girlfriend was uncooperative.

Imagine that.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:24 AM | Comments (8)

Well, I just can't not say something.

I mean, here we are again, with yet another Birminghamster in the final rounds of American Idol.

I haven't posted a lot about the show, because I find it frustrating; although, oddly enough, not so frustrating that I won't watch it. I was encouraged at the first of the season when it appeared Randy had done away with his incessant use of the term "dog" for EVERYthing. However, it returned full force. He's a smart guy, so it's not like he can't come up with something else. But I have to believe that if "Randy Says Dog" was a drinking game, everyone would be just like Paula and sloppy drunk within five minutes.

Paula. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the, "it's only the medication I have to take to function that makes me act this way" story. She needs help.

Simon. I'm tired of everyone booing him. Of the three, he's probably the most objective, although he does have his obvious favorites. But the audience reaction and, more pointedly, the reaction from Randy and Paula, is just too stupid. It's embarrassing to everyone and makes me uncomfortable in the same way I get when I watch the Democratic National Convention.

Ryan. Twit. Without this show, he'd be sharing a spot on the too-echo-headed-to-have-a-real-job list along with Kato Kaelin. He has his funny moments during the auditions, but the scripted banter with Simon is achingly unfunny and makes me uncomfortable in the same way I get when I think about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid necking in the backseat of Patrick Kennedy's Mustang.

ANYway, as for the final three--I was about as shocked as anyone else that Chris is gone. I detested his stupid topiary facial hair, and the extremely self-conscious "I am a ROCKER, dude!" persona, but he really could sing pretty well.

Elliot? Well, he's an okay singer. But as an unattractive man, I can safely say that's ONE UGLY GUY. I think "Goat Boy" every time I see him, and as you can guess, this makes me uncomfortable, and in the same way as seeing Mr. Tumnus on Narnia. But I will say this, he has gotten better every week, and he doesn't seem so full of himself like some of the other has-beens have been. I think he's a good kid, and I just hope if he does somehow manage to win that the first thing he uses his big recording contract for is some dental work.

Katharine? Well, ever since Becky O'Donohue got booted early, I've been hoping she'd continue on, based simply on looks. As an unattractive man, I can safely say she is incredibly attractive in that "pretty girl with some real good squishiness in all the right places" sort of way. Voice? She's got one, but frankly, there's little in the way of feeling to it--she has yet to make the hairs on my neck stand up the way that Kelly Clarkson could, or even Mandissa from this year. Technically, good but lacking that oomph that says you understand the lyrics you're singing. She might stay in until the final two, but I can't see her winning, especially if she keep screwing up like she has the past couple of times.

Which leaves Taylor. And the question of just how it is that Birmingham keeps managing to get people into the finals of this program. As this Birmingham News article from today notes:

[...] During interviews this week, "Idol" judge Simon Cowell predicted Hicks would make it into the finals, which will be May 23 and 24 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

If so, Hicks will be the fourth contestant with Birmingham ties to battle for the "Idol" title, following Ruben Studdard, Diana DeGarmo and Harold "Bo" Bice. Studdard, a Birmingham resident, won the competition in 2003. DeGarmo, a Birmingham native, and Bice, a former Helena resident, were runners-up in 2004 and 2005, respectively. [...]

So, just how is that happening? Well, I think it's because if anyone from Birmingham manages to make it through to the voting rounds, the tremendous marketing power of our local FOX affiliate brings in a huge amount of potential voters that other contestants just can't get. In past years (as in this year), if any tie can be found to Birmingham or to Alabama, WBRC goes into near full-time "news" coverage, with all sorts of cross-promotions and coverage of viewing parties (which are given huge amounts of exposure during the local news segments) and a host of other goodwill. This wouldn't be that much of a deal in some markets where the FOX affiliate is small, but WBRC is the ratings 600-pound gorilla in this market, and has a very broad signal coverage in a relatively large (around #40) television market.

Not that the Birmingham performers aren't good--they are--but when you can effectively co-opt a local broadcast company (or when a local broadcast company allows itself to be co-opted) to provide free public relations (such as Taylor's appearance tomorrow morning on their morning show Good Day Alabama) well, it sure can't hurt your chances.

As for Taylor himself, I like him. I've always like guys who sound like guys--I can't stand these boy band types who sound like Britney Spears at a slightly lower pitch. And I just like his goofy good humor, and he can sing pretty well, if it's in his comfort zone. I have a feeling though, that Simon and his company wouldn't know what in the world to do with him. Taylor's gotten this far because of things that aren't typical in the poppish, sugar-coated, zippity-doo-dah music genre, and I have a feeling that Taylor would actually do better for himself if he came in second. That way he could write his own ticket and not be beholden to trying to please the various handlers and goobs who are more comfortable with someone like K-Fed.

Anyway, they're going to have a big parade for him tomorrow outside my window, so I'll try to remember to bring my camera. I am, after all, not above allowing myself to be co-opted.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:40 AM | Comments (6)

Speaking of bears...

...Steevil, famous sailor and NASA scientist, sends along this story: Police Shoot Bear Wandering in City Yard

IRVINGTON, N.J. - A 300-pound black bear that had been wandering urban New Jersey for two days was shot and killed by police Wednesday in a backyard on the edge of Newark after it reared up on his hind legs and appeared ready to charge, authorities said.

Seven shotgun blasts rang out and the bear slumped to the ground in the small yard where it had been cornered.

The animal had apparently come from the countryside to the west, and its rambles had included the cities of Newark and Irvington - some of the most urban and densely populated areas of the state.

Before the bear was killed, nervous police officers chased three or four youngsters from nearby yards, and were becoming increasingly worried that more than 1,000 neighborhood children would soon be walking home from school.

"Good God almighty!" said Wanda Williams, upon learning that a bear had been spotted on her street. "Why would a bear want to be in Newark? [...]

Steevil expressed surprise and asks the question so many others ask: "So, do people want to live in Newark?"

It is a mystery.

(By the way, defenders of Newark should contact Steevil at

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:08 AM | Comments (5)


DNA tests confirm bear was a hybrid

40 mpg forest, 45 mpg tundra

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:50 AM | Comments (3)

From the Abstract Expressionists School of Protest

Protesters pour spaghetti on Dane offices

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Seven young activists were detained Thursday after pouring some 440 pounds of cooked spaghetti and sprinkling tomato sauce on the stairs leading up to the Finance Ministry in the Danish capital, police said.

So, what do you think they were protesting? Imports of Italian pasta damaging domestic pasta growing operations? The lack of oregano in the Danish diet? No tomato sauce for olive oil? Not quite.

The protest was staged against a government proposal to cut state-financed student grants, allegedly to encourage Danish students to finish their education more quickly, the activists said.

"The government's planned reduction ... forces young people to live below subsistence level," they claimed in a statement, mocking the government to set up a "youth buffet on the stairs" of the ministry. [...]

Sorry, maybe I'm just missing the subtle mocking jab at the state here, but if this is the best prank a bunch of college kids can come up with, I think there are some problems in Denmark that go FAR beyond some plan to reduce the amount of money they pay a bunch of worthless commie slackers to go to school.

Similar to my plan for eliminating illegal aliens in the United States, I recommend the Danes declare all universities as state prisons, and then the students will be clamoring to be let out. Once they're gone, close the gates.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)

A rose by any other name…

Would still probably not smell like a paper mill. Or something. I was trying to come up with a good introduction for today’s “Smells Like Home” Version of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three, and, well, that’s about the best I could do.

ANYWAY, prompted by Monday’s reminiscence about the comforting smells of childhood, Jim Smith (an alias, I’m certain of it) suggested that this week’s T3 deal with not only the smells, but also with the sights and sounds that you remember from your youth.

SO, take a moment and open up your memory vault, then answer these three questions:

1. What smells do you most closely associate with your childhood home or hometown?

2. What landmark do you remember about your hometown that no longer exists?

3. What sounds do you recall distinctly from your childhood?

Take a moment to think about those and either leave a comment below, or a link to your blog.

As for my answers--

1. Well, Monday I noted that the smell of coke plants is one I really remember from growing up, but I also remember the smell of the cedar chest we donated to charity a couple of weeks ago. When I was little, that chest stayed out in the utility room behind the house, where we also had our washer and dryer. I remember going in there and always being slightly afraid that if I opened the chest up, I’d find a dead body in there. It was just old clothes, though.

I also have a very strong remembrance of a particular smell that was in the closet of my second grade teacher’s classroom. I have mentioned it on here before--it was an odd vegetative smell, something like old pumpkin vines. Every once in a while, I will catch a whiff of that smell driving through the country in the fall, and it never fails to take me back to the time when I was 7 years old and just about to open that closet door, and Mrs. Bryant told me to stop doing that.

2. Oh, I have to say the old ice house on Arkadelphia Road. At the Highway 78 exit off of I-59/20, where the road went underneath a couple of concrete train trestles before looping up over the railroad tracks at the Frisco yards in East Thomas, there used to be an old ice house there. It probably got torn down sometime before 1970, but for some reason it really made an impression on me, and to this day I still think of that spot as where the ice house used to be.

The two old trestles got torn down a few years ago, and it’s still disconcerting to drive by and expect to see them and they not be there, but the icehouse is still a stronger memory.

3. Sounds. Well, I remember back when I was little, Air National Guard jets could go supersonic pretty much with no restrictions, so it was cool to hear a house-shaking sonic boom every once in a while. Of course, with the Cold War and stuff going on, that odd Emergency Broadcast System warning tone was always pretty much the way I figured the Earth would end. In my mind, I figured something like the Three Stooges would be on, and then they would run the warning tone, and there would be one of those NBC Special Report cards, and David Brinkley would announce World War III. Lileks had a post on that sound and on tornado (that is, air raid) sirens (or “sireens” as we used to call them) the other day (sorry can’t find which day) and he recounted the exact same weird feeling I still get when I hear stuff like this nowadays. I mean, it’s bad if you’re a kid and you hear stuff like this now--it means REALLY bad weather, but when I was young, it meant the end of everything.

Or not.

I mean, I AM still here, after all.

So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:00 AM | Comments (12)

May 10, 2006

“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!”

I gotta be careful what I wish for! I just now came back from lunch, and was nearly swept up from the sidewalk by southeasterly winds that are just about right up there at hurricane strength!

Or so it seemed.

Anyway, in lieu of the dull boringness of the simple, across-the-street jaunt, I decided to head down a few blocks further and drink in the exciting urban ambiance of the AmSouth-Harbert food court, with all of its ethnic food delights. And, of course, to peoplewatch.

First stop, ethnic food delights, today satisfied by comestibles from a small quaint Mexican place that the locals call “Taco Bell.” Got myself a chicken grilled and stuft into a mush of beans and rice and goo, along with “nachos,” which are small triangular pieces of flavored cardboard which are intended to be taken and dipped into something resembling hot imitation pasteurized process cheese food substitute (yellow). MMMmmmm! I’m FULLLLLLLLLL!

My table beside the escalator atrium gave me a wonderful view of my fellow-diners, and as is my wont, caused me to lapse into my usual Mr. Blackwell mode.

I can’t seem to help it, but it irks me that people make such bad choices in their non-birthday-suit suits. Now, I know I have no business talking about other folks, given my own lack of sartorial competence, but allow me to use an analogy to justify my snark. Back before my Dad went and joined the Navy to fight the Yellow Menace during WWII, he played football at West Jefferson. Now, being that most of the able-bodied men had been drafted or volunteered, the school had to make due with who they could find. Which manifested itself in the hiring of a football coach who was confined to a wheelchair.

Now, you have to remember, this was back before the politically-correct crowd existed, so this guy wasn’t handi-CAPABLE, or differently-abled, or wheel-enhanced--he was crippled, and that was that. HOWever, my father never spoke in anything but the most respectful way about his coach, noting that although his coach couldn’t get down into a stance, or run, or any of the other things football coaches usually do, he DID know how to coach, and to coach well. He might not be able to kick the ball, or throw downfield, but he sure could teach other people how.

SO, when it comes to coaching people on what to wear, I might not be able to do very much with myself, but I promise I can help YOU!

First up--MEN, please don’t wear wigs. If you’re bald, be bald. This is especially true if you look like one of those photos of old 1880s prospectors with a face like a shriveled up potato. Wearing a groovy Bobby Sherman-style wig doesn’t make you look young. Especially if there’s a big gap all around the backside where you can see up your wrinkly nape. If you persist in doing this, I beg you not to come around while I’m eating.

Next, well, sorry, but it’s all advice for women. And trust me, this is difficult, because it’s difficult to look anywhere higher than the floor without it being really REALLY obvious that you’re not just staring off into space, but rather, AT that region you’re not supposed to look at for longer than you can look at the sun. So, the majority of this next stuff is ONCE MORE about shoes.

Saw one tall attractive brunette come walking along and it appeared before she got to me that she was nursing a running injury of some sort, but when she got into shoe-viewing range, I saw that it was nothing more than not being able to walk in the GIGANTIC BLACK PLATFORM OPEN-TOED CLOGS she had on. She looked like she had on Herman Munster shoes. I’m sorry, but this simply is not attractive. And painting your toenails bright red doesn’t help, and that’s saying a LOT, because bright red toenails can cover a multitude of sins. But not Herman Munster shoes.

Second, walking. Another girl came by, and she was in a hurry, but it looked like she was doing the huckabuck as she quick-stomped across the floor because of her inability to walk in high heels. We won’t even go into the fact that they didn’t go with her outfit, but if you don’t know how to walk in high heels, DON’T WEAR HIGH HEELS. They’re bad for your feet, anyway. And they hurt ME if you insist on walking around looking like you’re having a fashion seizure because of them.

Hair. You know, I never really was a fan of the Glenn Close Fatal Attraction mop of ratty blonde curls, but that’s just me. Still, it seems like twenty years on, it would be a good time to go ahead and decide that it would be better not to keep trying to look that way. It never looks good, and looks worse when the blonde color and the curly form are both obviously not the product of nature.

Big girl clothes. Okay, let me say right now, I prefer women with some chunk to them, so this isn’t about having chunk. But there is good chunk, and icky chunk, and wearing clothes that are too tight in the wrong places isn’t good. I realize it probably looked cute on the rack or in the catalog, but if you got your stuff hanging out in a bad way (i.e., you look like the Michelin man), it would be best to cut your losses and not wear that particular outfit anymore.

Now then, I feel better--go out there and win one for the old home team!

Stopped off by Parisian to look at watches for Reba, and I have come to the conclusion that I’m just going to have to take her shopping, because there are simply too many choices. Then I swung by Norton’s Florist on the way out to take advantage of the credit I had due to their delivery mixup on Valentine’s Day, and used it to send some flowers to my Mama. (Don’t worry, I’ll get some for Reba, too, but I’m going to bring them to her instead of having them delivered.) Speaking of fashion, the lady who runs that place is always a joy to look at, as well as to deal with. I have no idea how old she is--at least old enough to where there would be all sorts of gossip where she to take up with a man my age--but she is always nice to see.

So, there you go. And for some reason, I STILL have a bunch of work to do that I don’t want to do.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:26 PM | Comments (2)

You ever made meatloaf?

And I mean the real way, not with a food processor or blender or mixer, but by digging in with both hands and letting the meat and eggs and bread crumbs and ketchup squish between your fingers? That way?

Well, my head feels like that. I blame having to get up and go to an early meeting, combined with it being one of those gulag-gray days here where the threat of rain is worse than the actual rain. And it's not even a good threat, more like someone nagging you not to go swimming until it's been exactly 30 minutes since you last ate, and they start tut-tutting you if you move toward the pool at 29 minutes and 15 seconds. Really, I would kinda LIKE some rain. Check that--some BIG rain. Lots of lightning and thunder and wind. King Lear and cliffs of Dover sorta stuff.

As it is, I have crap to do I don't want to do, and there's the aforementioned mushiness in my brain that makes even random websurfing less fulfilling than it should be.

Maybe a riddle--this was on Scrubs last night, so if you saw the show (or you already know the answer), don't give it away. Reba missed the show so I drove her nuts with it right as we went to bed last night.

There are two coins, and they add up to 30 cents. One is not a nickle. What are the two coins?

Reba went through the exact same set of answers as the janitor guys on the show, and then walloped me on the arm when I finally gave her the answer.

Thank goodness she didn't have a crowbar.

The answer is in the extended entry, so don't peek until you're ready to know the answer.

Now then, all this talk of meatloaf has me hungry. Maybe there's something interesting at Sneaky Pete's.

It's a quarter and a nickle. "But you said one of them wasn't a nickle!" That's right--one's a nickle, and one of them is not a nickle. It's a quarter.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:15 AM | Comments (14)

May 09, 2006

The trouble is...

...not in finding a watch, but in finding ONE watch. I've been doing a little looking, and it is truly stunning just exactly how many different styles of women's wristwatches there are out there. Oh, well. Something to do.

ANYway, I will be out tomorrow morning at our twice-monthly regulatory shindig, so all of you will be on your own and will have to make up your own fun for a while. As usual, there is plenty of leftovers in the refrigerator, although I would stay away from anything that looks like it's growing fur.

See you late tomorrow morning sometime.

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

More Advice Sought

Yesterday's quest for canine advice produced such a wonderful stream of comments that I'd like to ask yet another opinion from you, the finest reading audience the world has ever known.

This time, ladies watches.

You see, I have this wife--we'll call her Miss Reba. And she came home yesterday and showed me that her watch stem had been somehow forcefully removed from the case of her relatively nice Seiko.

She needs a new watch--the price to fix this one would be as much as it is to get a new one, but I don't want to get ANYthing as fragile anymore. Why the need for robustness?

Well, you see, my dear wife has a condition.

Several, actually, but the one that causes me to wince most often is her propensity to talk with her hands. [And in yet another fit of neologistism, I have dubbed this condition chiroglossia.] So she's always waving her hands around as she talks, and with great energy, and with the inevitable collision between her hands and anything nearby. Because not only does she have chiroglossia, she also is a very poor judge of spacial distance, and is contantly whacking things with her hands or stubbing her fingers on stuff.

Such is hard on watches.

I told her I was going to give her my plastic Timex sport watch I use while I'm working on the car or cutting grass, but I don't think she appreciated my thoughtful, giving nature or my desire for her to have a sturdy watch.

So, maybe you could help me with something and the children will be able to give it to her for Mother's Day.

It needs to be tough. It probably could be self-winding, but a battery movement would probably be better. It would be better if it had a second hand, but it's not required. It needs to have some sort of protection for the stem crown so it doesn't get hung on everything. I think it would be better if it had a linked metal bracelet, as a leather strap would be too susceptible to getting hooked on something and breaking. It needs to be real pretty, because she it. And cheap, because I am.

So there, what do you think?

[moved to top of page]

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:00 PM | Comments (14)

Speaking of journalists...

On May 9, 1754,

Join, or Die, considered the first American political cartoon, was printed in The Pennsylvania Gazette. The impetus for the cartoon, which is believed to have been devised by Benjamin Franklin, was concern about increasing French pressure along the western frontier of the colonies. [...]


Mr. Franklin was a clever fellow, in a time that seemed particularly full of that sort. I have a feeling were he alive today, he would be delighted to no end to see that this particular work is online.

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

From Steevil...

Who asks if you know who in the following paragraph is being spoken of?

"[...] Not for nothing had [Mr. X] been mentioned in a dispatch, when he was on the British side during the Mau-Mau uprising, as "virtually bone from the neck up, and needs things explained in words of one letter." [...]"

The full story is here, and it's a good one.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:03 PM | Comments (2)

Fun With Referrer Logs!

Well, you know, I've been doing this for a while now, and thought that I had seen just about everything. Then, I see this search request floating by, and I have to say it is a new one on me:


Class? Anyone?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:53 PM | Comments (6)

Why I have come to detest so much of what the media produces.

This little gem from Sacramento’s NBC affiliate KCRA--Pain At The Pump: Government Gas Secrets

I am so sick and tired of every two-bit news outlet in the United States trying to come up with “secret government conspiracy” crap. It’s stupid, and demeaning, and does nothing but expose the superciliousness and rank stupidity of the people who deign to tell us they should be trusted to find information for us.

This whole story has precious little to do with anything other than someone trying to make themselves look like the next Woodward and Bernstein, but the net effect makes the reporter and the station look like a bunch of Ted Baxters and Les Nessmans.

To begin:

The government has been keeping a secret about automobiles under wraps for the past 30 years.

Okay, I have to give them props--if you’re gonna lie, start lying right out of the gate. The government has NOT been keeping a secret about gas mileage ratings. Just because people don’t LOOK for the information--EVEN THOUGH IT’S PRINTED ON EVERY CAR STICKER MADE, doesn’t mean it’s a COVERUP. You could just as easily say that the government has been keeping a secret about income tax filing. Did you know that if you aren’t going to be able to file on time, that you STILL HAVE TO SEND IN ANY MONEY YOU MIGHT OWE!? Why, it’s a COVERUP! WHO KNEW ABOUT THIS!? Hmm? What’s that? Everyone who can READ knows this? Oh, well--it’s STILL A COVERUP, because I’M TOO BLOODY STUPID TO READ IT FOR MYSELF! LIES! ALL LIES!

Reporter Michelle Meredith teamed up with Consumer Reports to explain why your car probably does not get the mileage advertised.

How about an expose about how the hair coloring picture on the box doesn’t ever look like the hair color on your hair. LIES! ALL LIES!

The Consumer Reports' auto test track in Connecticut looks like it could be a new theme park in Orlando.

OOOOhhhh--exotic ORLANDO! Where there are no lies.

And when it comes to testing cars, Consumer Reports leaves no stone unturned, no lug nut loose. And here's the question Consumer Reports set out to answer -- does your car get the gas mileage promised on the showroom sticker.

What stone-overturning has to do with car testing is left unanswered. IT MUST BE A COVERUP! But one point to make--the sticker with the mileage ratings IS NOT A FRIGGIN’ PROMISE, YOU PEA-BRAINED TWIT! It is a standardized rating based upon laboratory tests, intended to give some semblance for a basis of comparison across a variety of makes and models. But it is NOT a guarantee, warranty, promise, agreement, covenant, assurance or any other synonym MS Word can come up with.

It's the mileage you probably used to decide if the car fit your monthly budget.

Doubtful, since most people budget for car purchases primarily on how much their monthly lease or loan payment will be. Some may look at mileage to the exclusion of all else, but if anyone does, it’s not in evidence in this particular news story. BECAUSE OF THE LIES!

First, Meredith took a look at how carmakers come up with these numbers because you could be in for a big surprise. The guidelines for the tests were set by the federal government decades ago, in the late 1970s. Gerald Ford was president and disco was king.

And local television news reporters were still seen as objective gatherers of information. You know, like Ron Burgundy.

Anyway, the implication is (since all we have to go on is the implied fault of the government, not any actual evidence of a coverup) that since this was done when Quiana shirts were big news, the testing is somehow not to be trusted. Or that somehow our intrepid gal reporter stumbled upon something akin to the Dead Sea scrolls, heretofore unseen since the Fashion Dark Ages, due to a secret cabal of GOVERNMENT COVERERS-UP OF THE TRUTH! LEAD US ON, NOBLE REPORTER!--

And under these guidelines by the Environmental Protection Agency, carmakers are allowed to test miles per gallon by running the vehicle not on the road, but on what's essentially a treadmill for cars.

Yes, it’s called a chassis dynamometer. It’s a big set of steel cylinders that the car's driven wheels sit on and the car is held stationary, so that it can be hooked up to all the test equipment in the lab to--now, get ready for it--TO ELIMINATE POSSIBLE VARIABLES RELATED TO ROAD SURFACE, such as temperature, friction coefficient, and moisture. In other words, it’s SCIENTIFIC. I know it must hurt your pretty little brain to think about all those big machineries and such, but there’s a REASON for all of that, and it’s not to cover up LIES! Oh, and by the way--carmakers aren’t “allowed” to run them on a chassis dyno--they are REQUIRED TO BY LAW. Which, in fairness, does require READING, and therefore is prima fascia evidence of a COVERUP OF MASSIVE PROPORTION! HOW DARE THE GOVERNMENT REQUIRE THAT WE READ ANYTHING! THEY DON’T TEACH THAT IN J-SCHOOL!

Ahem. Sorry.

During an EPA spot check, the car ran with no air conditioning, no inclines or hills, no wind resistance and at speeds no greater than 60 mph.

Can you guess why? Because not every air conditioner is the same; to turn on the compressor and allow it to cycle would introduce another variable into the test. Hills (or inclines, which are somehow different from hills, but still somehow uppy or downy sorta, and allow us to express shock that not only are hills excluded, BUT INCLINES, TOO!!) can be taken into account through variable resistance on the dynamometer rollers, but in the end, when you’re simply trying to come up with a standardized test, you don’t have to introduce every possible scenario, including things like aerodynamic drag, or high road speed, only a sufficient number of criteria to give a repeatable, verifiable basis of comparison across a range of vehicles.

There's hardly anything real world about it, but it gives carmakers what they want -- the highest possible miles per gallon to put on that sticker.

It’s not intended to be “real world.” It’s intended to be a lab test for broad comparison, AND NOTHING MORE. That’s why it says your mileage will vary. And the test was hardly the result of nothing but carmaker input--the EPA developed it and monitors the administration of it. Now, there ARE carmakers who develop their cars to excel on the EPA test--Chevy in particular has been good at this, with a small solenoid-activated shifter mechanism on manual transmission Corvettes (and it used to be on Camaros) that will, under certain exacting specifications matching the EPA test, cause the shifter to bypass 2nd and 3rd gear on the upshift from 1st, and go into 4th. This is intended to give a better mileage number, and indeed it does--but here’s the deal--IT WORKS IN REAL WORLD DRIVING, TOO! Corvettes get excellent fuel mileage even outside the laboratory, and part of it is the built-in device to short-shift when you’re not hard on the throttle.

"People are going into showrooms, they're looking at that sticker that says miles per gallon and they're saying, 'Oh it get goods [sic] miles per gallon,'" said Consumer Reports' David Champion. "In reality, they're being cheated."

No, if this is what’s happening, in reality they are just not being informed consumers. They see a number, and refuse to do any more research. I guarantee you, consumers are being cheated MUCH more by predatory lending practices and shady lease agreements than are being “cheated” because their car doesn’t get the mileage that’s on the sticker. And once more--the sticker is NOT A GUARANTEE!

Consumer Reports conducts their test on a track and in the real world.

And it has been since the 1930s. Which is a good and noble thing, and if you have ever once picked up a copy, you could see their mileage ratings for the cars they test, and get a better idea of how your car might perform IF YOU DRIVE IT LIKE THEY DO.

First, they put them through a simulated city course. Next the highway -- a real highway. For the third test, they take the car out on a 150-mile day trip throughout Connecticut.

All the while, a special miles per gallon meter is ticking away. Their results? Many numbers you see on those stickers are off way off -- one as much as 50 percent..

None of which take into account temperature, humidity, wind, engine tune, gasoline quality, rate of acceleration or deceleration--if the AIR CONDITIONING IS ON--hundreds of other little things that add up when you actually do operate a vehicle outside of a laboratory. If their testing is so thorough, and you buy a car based upon THEIR ratings, and you STILL don’t get as good economy as they do, do you think THEY are keeping a secret from you!? Do you think you could SUE them because their test didn’t reflect the mileage YOU get? Of course not. Even if they do have a “special miles per gallon meter.”

For example, Chrysler says the four-wheel drive diesel version of the Jeep Liberty gets 22 mpg in the city. Consumer Reports tested it and found it got more like 11 mpg.

Honda claims its hybrid Civic sedan gets 48 mpg in the city. Consumer Reports found it only gets 26 mpg -- a 46 percent difference.

Chevy's Trailblazer EXT four-wheel drive is supposed to get 15 mpg in the city. For Consumer Reports, it was 9 mpg.

You mileage will vary. If I do happen to get 19 in the “city” with my Liberty, does that mean that Consumer Reports was WRONG, and LYING about it? Maybe. More than likely it’s because they came up with a different number because they used DIFFERENT TESTING METHODOLOGIES! Look, give me any of those cars they tested, and let me drive it, and I can get even WORSE mileage, or if I’m careful, I can get the EPA mileage. IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW YOU DRIVE, PEOPLE.

"It's an unrealistic sales and marketing tool that they are actually using. They are saying you're going to get 35 mpg, and you're really only going to get 21," Champion said.

Okay, then let’s do away with EPA testing. That would be the simplest thing--we did fine without it for years.

But the urge to regulate is simply overwhelming in Washington, and amongst a certain subset of the population who hate cars and everything they stand for. Somehow we can't let the free market, i.e., Consumer Reports, be a good enough standard for measuring economy. Its only usefulness and good is in being used to try to make the government look bad.

Anyway, don't like carmakers gaming the system? Elimate the opportunity.

Why is this allowed? Meredith asked the EPA's director of transportation.


"We cannot have a perfect test," said Margo Oge.

Oge said for so long, nobody really complained. Meanwhile, everything has changed.

"All the cars today have air conditioning, which was not the case in the mid-80s, and we drive at higher speeds because we are allowed to drive a higher speeds. And technology has changed," Oge said.

Spoken like a true political appointee. None of this means anything, and some of it is downright stupid. Maybe she was trying to speak on Meredith’s level of comprehension, or maybe Meredith broke a nail while trying to write down all the big hard words the director actually said, I don’t know.

Anyway, how about this for "real world" testing--how about loading down a car with the stuff we usually carry--several hundred pounds of junk in the trunk, a bunch of kids, some car seats, a stroller. What about hauling a boat, or an ATV trailer? Or bikes on the roof? --WHY DON’T THEY INCLUDE THAT!?

Because it’s a CONSPIRACY!

Look, everyone is going to get different mileage, and although you can jigger the test mechanism to deliver lower mileage, in the end, it STILL won’t cover everything.

Carmakers know their number is up. Several have been to Consumer Reports' test track to see how they test real world conditions.

Which means they’ll just start using Consumer Reports data as a marketing tool instead of EPA ratings. But you still won’t get what THEY get unless you drive exactly like they do. Any variation, and you’re result will vary.

"I think it's desperately time for a change," Champion said.

The EPA has said a change is coming in time for the 2008 models, but is that soon enough? Consumers need real world tests with real world numbers now because with the price of gas constantly climbing, the real world has become a very ugly place.


As it is, consumers CAN get real world results NOW. Go buy a car. Drive it. Keep up with your mileage. That’s your real world mileage. If you want to, go read some magazines--including Consumer Reports--and see which cars consistently come out on top in OBSERVED mpg. Then go buy one and keep up with the mileage. If you get the same, great. If not, it’s NOT BECAUSE OF A SECRET GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY.

As for the real world becoming a very ugly place, well, once we start mocking idiotic local television reporters, we can always hope they’ll stop clogging up the airwaves with such meaningless chaff and start doing something important--like not driving gigantic gas-guzzling satellite trucks and SUVs to every cat-stuck-in-a-tree story.

The EPA said even though the new test will reflect more real-world conditions, there is no perfect test.

Yes, they did say that--just a few paragraphs earlier. Must be some kind of secret government SECRET REDUNDANCY RAY.

For more information and for a list of the most fuel efficient cars and SUVs, check out Consumer Reports' special report A Guide To Stretching Your Fuel Dollars.

Hey, finally! Some useful information!

And yes, this did strike a nerve, because it's silly, fatuous, and useless. I would really like to believe I could expect more, although I don't know why I should.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:21 AM | Comments (11)

Jack Bauer Update!

Well, I seemed to have gotten the meeting time wrong. Instead of it being 6:30 to 8:00, it was 7:00 to 8:30. And we didn't get home until 9:00. From what I heard from the girls, Jack landed the plane, President Machiavelli doesn't have the guts to do the right thing, the Homeland Security Weasel Guy is in on the whole scheme, and someone erased something Chloe was working on.

BUT, in the greater scheme of things, I am not upset because Boy had an enjoyable time.

I thought at first he wasn't going to get to go because we'd told him to make sure he had all his homework done, and when I got to Grandmom's to pick up Ashley, he popped up and said he'd forgotten part of his assignment and left it at school, and that he was going to have to type it up to hand in today.

Which meant we had to take him with us, make a detour to swing by the middle school, let him run in to his locker and get his paper, then make the jaunt to Clay, wait there for a long time, then come BACK to Grandmom's to pick up the other kids since Mom wasn't home from work yet, then go home and start typing up his paper for him, since he doesn't know how to type (and yes, he WILL learn how). I got through about 15 minutes before time to go, and Reba still was not home, so I wound up taking him down to the meeting house along with Catherine, who by this time had already bathed and gotten her pajamas on. I would have left her with the two older girls, but past experience has shown that's about like suspending a plastic jug of gasoline above a fire.

We made it to the meeting about 10 minutes late, but at least we weren't the latest to arrive, and luckily Reba got there not too much later to take Wild Child off my hands and to give me some sugar.

The boys are a raucous bunch, but they will get quiet if the Scout leader raises three fingers. Which he had to do a lot. They played some games, talked about lightning safety, and basically jabbered like a roomful of macaques. And as I said, Boy seemed to have a good time, and already has a couple of friends in the troop, so I guess it's time to go hit the Scout Store and start stocking up on stuff again.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:30 AM | Comments (7)

May 08, 2006

Okay, talk among yourselves.

I have a meeting to attend, and then have to take off early to go take Oldest to the orthodontist, and then as I mentioned, try not to miss the Jack Bauer Show tonight while doing the Scout thing with Jonathan. Details on the morrow, but in my absense, feel free to entertain yourselves. Politely. No eye gouging, no rabbit punches, no hitting below the belt. Oh, okay--eye gouging is okay, but not a lot.

See you all tomorrow.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:54 PM | Comments (9)

Informed opinions, please.

Need some dog advice.

WHOA! Slow down, now--not for me, for my sister.

Here's the deal. She's been a cat person for years, although when she was at home we had dogs, and after she moved out on her own, she had a couple of others. Neither of which turned out to be good choices--one, a bichon frise, was incredibly high maintenance and eventually contracted a kidney disease of some sort and had to be put down, and then later on she got herself a Siberian husky. YET ANOTHER high maintenance dog, with the added complication of being strong as an ox, and dumb as a stump. She eventually had to give it away to a family who had a farm so it would have room to run and play and be stupid. Since then (good grief--twenty years!) she has been dogless, meeting her companionship needs with a variety of felines.

But, some sort of bug has taken hold of her again, and she's in the market for a pooch.

Now then, here's the deal--she doesn't have a big yard, and what yard she has isn't fenced. Unlike me, she does have money, so that's not the biggest hurdle--she CAN afford a fence. The next thing is the hard part--she works twelve hour shifts, and never in any kind of regular pattern. The cats don't care because they're cats, but it would seem to be a particularly difficult thing to deal with when you have a dog, because they're much more needful of interaction.

The dog she wants? A retired greyhound. "But they have such big soulful eyes!"

To me, this seemed like a bad idea. I like greyhounds, and I think they're pretty dogs, too, but it seems like to me that when you take on ANY animal that is bred to do one thing (unless it's to lay about sleeping), you open yourself to some unforeseen difficulties. As I told her, with as much time as she's away from home and as irregular as her hours are, a dog that has its own owner support group seems to be possibly not the best idea.

"But they don't shed, and they're quiet, and docile!" Sure, but they still need a good bit of attention that I don't think she would be able to provide. BUT WHAT DO I KNOW!?

So, here's my question--have any of you ever had a greyhound, and if so, do they tolerate being left alone for long stretches of time, and being confined to a small suburban backyard? She gets very emotionally attached to her animals, and I would hate for her to have to go through something that she's unprepared for in dealing with this particular breed.

What about it?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:39 PM | Comments (12)

International STATE Visitor Day!

OH, I tried. Tried to give all the worldly visitors who happen upon Possumblog a chance to be honored and lauded and praised--first the Brits, then the Franks, then the Canucks. But would anyone say hello? NOOOOOOO! SO, as promised, the International Visitor Day feature is now officially STRICKEN from the list of things about which we will spend time.

IN ITS PLACE, as suggested by the lovely and fecund Jordana Adams, will be U.S. State Visitor Day! Hooray for America! I asked Jordana how she thought I should pick which state should be first to be honored--date of admission to the Union, size, weight? She suggested alphabetical, which seems quite straightforward, so to kick things off, we begin our salute with the great state of



I've never been to Montana, but I've always like the idea of it. Montana, that is. I'm not sure how many visitors we receive each day from this grand state, but if you are one of them, please be sure to stop and leave a comment below so we can properly salute you and your fine state.

Now, for the rest of us, a bit of information about Montana.

The name of the state, Montana is French, and means "My Tana." The meaning of the word tana is losts to the mists of time.

The flag of Montana is designed to look like a porthole, which is the first view that was seen of it when Columbus discovered it by looking out the window of his boat.

Montana has a population of 452,715 females, and every single one of them can kick your butt.

Famous Montanavians include Gary Cooper, Chet Huntley, Evel Knievel, and Myrna Loy.

Fields of grain cover much of Montana's plains. It ranks high among the states in wheat and barley, with rye, oats, flaxseed, sugar beets, and potatoes as other important crops. Sheep and cattle raising make significant contributions to the economy.

If Montana invaded Canada, Montana would win, but it has never done it because it would mean having to figure out something to do with Quebec.

The state motto of Montana is Oro y Plata, derived from Montanarians favorite snack food, a plate full of Oreos.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Montana is 117 degrees, set on July 5, 1937 at Medicine Lake. The lowest recorded temperature is –70 degrees, set on January 20, 1954 at Rogers Pass, which is, let's be honest, just ridiculous.

There are several universities in Montana, notably the eponymous University of Montana.

Montana truly is a marvelous state, and so we salute you and again, if you are a visitor to Possumblog from Montana, spend a minute or two to let us know a bit about you.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:19 AM | Comments (12)

Oh, good--nothing like having something to do in my spare time.

It seems that not too many days past, while Boy was at school signing up for the things boys as school sign up for, such as classes, he took the opportunity to sign a sheet of paper for a particular group activity. He's decided he wants to do Scouting again.

Now, if you've been reading Possumblog for long enough, you know back several years ago he was in Cub Scouts. His pack sorta petered out, and we never got a call saying he'd been reassigned, and frankly, at the time, I wasn't really in the biggest hurry to find out, because that was when he and Catherine and Rebecca were all playing soccer, too, and we were constantly on the go.

But, now that he's been out of soccer and Scouting for a while, he's gotten the hankering to start doing something again, and it would probably do him some good to get away from his sisters a bit--I swear to goodness, there are times when he gets mad about something and I have a hard time telling if it's him or Catherine making all the shrill squeals of indignation.

Anyway, I'm glad he wants to get involved in something again--EXCEPT--the meeting is TONIGHT. And tonight is MONDAY. And on Mondays is when Jack Bauer saves the world. All I got to say is that meeting tonight better not go past about 7:50, or SOMEone is going to be upset.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:59 AM | Comments (4)

"I love the smell of Delaware in the morning afternoon..."

" smells like--victory!" Or something.

Funny what you remember as the smell of home, but long ago when Birmingham was still the Pittsburgh of the South and the steel industry was in full, unthrottled, full emissions fury, I recall not being able to go much of anywhere without smelling the acrid, pungent smell of coke ovens. The air's clean now (aside from ground level ozone) so you don't smell all that stuff anymore, except when you drive out to Tarrant. (Or as we old hands call it, Tarrant City.) Despite the smell, there is still something sorta comforting about once again getting a whiff of your childhood. For a little while.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:31 AM | Comments (4)

Well, as I said Saturday night...

...Saturday was spent--from early Saturmorning to late Saturnight--with a continuation of the Garage Cleaning Project. The only nice thing is that this week I had on different shoes, so my feet don't hurt so bad. Well, that's not exactly true. There is more than only one nice thing. I did actually get more stuff thrown away, and another load of things taken to the thrift store and did get more stuff organized. I am very close to having room to put another car in there. I think I need some more shelves to put the rest of the junk, and I'll be set.

How in the world did I collect so much stuff? I blame my parents, obviously. They both grew up in the Depression, and their families were pretty much left destitute.

They were so dumb--they didn't realize they were supposed to riot and burn down all they little bit they had left to protest their lot in life, or alternatively, turn to crime as a way of making ends meet. Silly people. They just worked hard and saved everything they could. Which translated into saving EVERYTHING they could, even after they'd gotten past the point of having to save leftover screws and bent nails out of economic necessity.

So, I grew up watching them carefully put away any little thing that still had some use, and so I absorbed that, as well as the idea that I should save stuff for which there would be NO possible use, on the off chance that I could FIND a use for it, or that a use would miraculously be invented for it, and then I would have it an not need to buy it.

SO, you must realize how very, VERY difficult it was for me to let go of all those small loops of old baling wire. I must have had twenty or thirty small rolls that I have accumulated over the years. I think I can remember using a piece to fix something exactly one time. So, into the can with all of it.

Well, all except for two short rolls.

I figure one more week, and a couple of sets of inexpensive shelves, and it'll be ready for its intended use.

I hope.

As for everything else that happened this weekend, there actually was quite a bit, including the always entertaining teen angst. But I'm so tired I just can't get up the necessary head of steam to jabber about all that. Maybe another time.

ANYway, time for work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:24 AM | Comments (3)

May 06, 2006

Well now. Musta done blowed up real good, again.

As you know, I usually don't just stop for the weekend without bidding you all goodbye, but Friday afternoon seemed to have had a downage for several hours, which severely impinged upon my ability to post meaningless drivel. The boss of things on the lovely island of Niue, Pixy Misa, had this to say about the difficulties:

Yuri (one of the three servers that runs on - and the one that hosts most of the blogs) has decided to take a little nap. I've logged a support ticket, and she will get rebooted shortly.

This is the second time this has happened, so I'll have to see if I can identify what's causing it.

Update: Back online now. Currently no clue as to what happened. The server was running, but not responding to requests. Log files don't show anything unusual, except that performance stats collection was delayed, which might indicate a runaway workload. Still investigating.
Well, obviously it's back up and running, but I am so tired right now, as my dear late father used to say, I couldn't fart above a whisper. The garage has had some more cleaning and such, and I am once [this should have said "...once more sore and tired and dirty and..." before going on--apparently I was too tired to catch what I'd written. Ed.] dirty ready to hit the hay.

ANYwho, all of you have a good rest of the weekend, and I'll see you all on Monday.

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

May 05, 2006

Who knew!?

NASA's being run by VAMPIRES!

NASA needs new blood, report recommends

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:16 PM | Comments (6)

Some have asked...

...and rightly so, I might add, why Possumblog is the way it is.

I blame an adverse reaction to the consumption of prescribed amounts of Phenergen and Ambien.

And, of course, the overweening sense of entitlement that goes with being a nocturnal semiarboreal non-placental mammal.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:25 AM | Comments (2)


As you ALL no doubt recall (since all of you have good memories), I had a peculiar nagging feeling I had forgotten something important yesterday. Rather than spend time trying to figure out what it was, I spent time trying to come up with a word to describe the feeling.

Which I think turned out quite nicely--lethealgia is a neologism I coined, derived from the Greek Lethe, the River of Oblivion in Hades, which is sometimes used to indicate forgetfulness, and algia from the Greek word algos, pain. (And not to be confused with algore, a painfully dull human simulacrum.) Therefore (at least according to me) we now have lethealgia, the unpleasant feeling associated with having forgotten something.

The only cure for lethealgia?

Remembering either what it was you had forgotten, or figuring out you hadn't actually forgotten anything in the first place.

In my case, I DID forget something yesterday. It was Mailout Thursday, and I usually also send out an e-mail version of the same stuff I put in the mailbox to a smaller list of people. And I forgot all about it until THIS MORNING.

The relief from that feeling is hard to describe, but it is a relief. And now, I go to do my forgotten task.

UPDATE: 11:32 a.m. I HAVE HIT A HOMER, BABY! So self-satisfied was I in my too-clever-by-halfness, I thought I would send along my invention to Astoria, New York's own Grant Barrett, editor of the always entertaining Double-Tongued Word Wrester.


Well, it's your lucky day. I usually don't record nonce submissions like this for fear of being deluged with words that will never last, but I like this one. So I've recorded it as a cite:

Grant Barrett

Happiness all around! And, obviously, thanks greatly to Mr. Barrett.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:52 AM | Comments (6)

Perpetuating the Stereotype, Episode 5,340

Alabama man charged with attempted murder over dent in car

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A man is charged with attempted murder for apparently firing a gun at a Pensacola man over a dent in the alleged shooter's car.

Authorities say 48-year-old Michael Gay pulled into a Pensacola convenience store Wednesday. When Gay's brother got out of the pickup, the passenger side door hit the fender of a car.

Gay says he apologized to the driver of the car, 23-year-old Andre Frye of Citronelle, Alabama.

Escambia County Sheriff's office says Frye then punched Gay in the mouth.

Reports say Frye went to his car, got an automatic pistol and fired two rounds at Gay.

The bullets broke the window on the truck's passenger side. No one was injured.

Frye told investigators he got his gun because he thought Gay getting one.

Frye is being held at Escambia County jail on $250,000 bond.

Now, I have to say, I do feel a similar sense of anger when someone wallops the side of my car. However, I can't recall getting quite so angry as to resort to wasting ammunition on the problem.

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

Catsup, Ketchup

Oddly enough, the Chinese and the Dutch are to blame.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

Probably because I am a moron.

Despite the fact that is was raining yesterday afternoon, and despite the fact that I still had on my tie and nice shoes, for some reason I felt compelled to get out and change out the broken taillight on the van.

As for cost, I bought an aftermarket one off of eBay that totalled around $50, which is about half the price of a factory one. Knowing how these things usually work, I figured the replacement would be a hunk of crap, but I was very pleasantly surprised at the good quality, and the seller was quick and courteous.

SO, maybe I'm not as big a moron as I claim!


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

May 04, 2006

Okay, word-people.

Is there a word for that peculiar feeling you get when you think you might be forgetting something important that you were supposed to do, but you're not really sure if you really ARE forgetting something, or just feeling weird?

All morning I've had that feeling that I was supposed to do something, but I have no idea what it might be. Or even if there really IS something I'm forgetting.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:34 PM | Comments (11)

Look, I realize that it's hard--

--to fill up an hour and a half of a local news broadcast, but I think it might be better to at least do a LITTLE journalistic groundwork.

Last night our local FOX affiliate had yet another segment designed to play upon the gas price hysteria with an interview of some woman in Washington state who has a miracle product--a pill you drop in your tank that "changes the molecular structure" of gasoline and you can then get a 25% increase in your fuel mileage. The woman was driving around in an Explorer, I believe, and noted that although she was not a chemical engineer, her experience with her own gas mileage proved that the additive worked just fine.

In the interest of journalistic integrity, the reporter also interviewed some dude from AAA who said it might not work, or might void the warranty. Then they gave the woman's web address at the end of the segment.



Okay, here's the deal. It's nothing but a scam, pure and simple. I'm not going to give the website, because these jokers don't need any business, but the whole operation is set up as a multilevel marketing scheme. The website given belongs to one of the "sponsors," i.e., sales person, but the content is provided by a company that is well-known amongst those people who frequent bulletin boards trying to beat the automaker/oil company/EPA/FTC/Trilateral Commission conspiracy.

The company's website offers a wildly unintelligble explanation of how the pills work ("The gas pills have the property of modifying the fuel’s molecular structure and liberating the energy contained within"), along with detailed instructions about how many pills must be put in the tank each time. And lots of testimonials. Lots and lots. Including those from people who have achieved financial independence by selling the pills to other people.

But, here's the deal--testimonials (about fuel mileage, at least) aren't the same thing as instrumented testing in a laboratory. The idea of laboratory testing is NOT to keep everything all secret and hush-hush, but to eliminate variables that can effect the results. Such things as engine temperature, ambient temperature, load, atmospheric pressure, humidity, gasoline quality--all have something to do with how efficiently the engine operates, and unless you can say for certain those things are being accounted for, that 4 mpg increase you see might just be that you're trying to drive more efficiently, or a host of other factors. That's why EPA mileage ratings are lab derived using standardized criteria--and it's why the tag "YMMV" had become part of the lexicon--although testing can be made better, there is still no way to look in a crystal ball and determine what your exact mileage will be. But you CAN do lab testing and say if one change or another actually has some effect.

The EPA has tested hundreds of things that purport to boost mileage, and found that very few actually work. Of course, this doesn't stop people from making claims, but from a purely economic standpoint, you are MUCH better off doing the simple things everyone has always talked about: make sure your tires are properly inflated and your alignment is accurate, make sure you aren't carrying around any extra weight, and drive slower. You will increase your mileage for free. I guarantee it.

A more thorough discussion of this product (as well as a bunch of other fuel saving tips and topics by a U.K.-based automotive engineer) can be found here. (Be sure to read the conspiracy theory page--it's a corker.)

And if you're a local television station, and you want to maintain a shred of journalistic integrity, DON'T throw your incredulity out the window and run stories like this and then have the absolute unmitigated gall to promote your investigative reporter/ombudsman/scam finder segments and blabber about how you're out to protect people from scams.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:40 AM | Comments (6)

You may have seen this before...

...but regular reader and commentor and rocket scientist Steevil sent me an e-mail this morning with some photographs of a church building made out of Lego blocks, and it was absolutely stunning, both in form and in the details.

I did a quick bit of Googling, and in about a minute found that although many people build similar impressive structures, the particular one Steevil had sent to me was created by a lady named Amy Hughes.

I came across my Lego blocks last Saturday when I was cleaning out the garage. I never realized that the old metal lunchbox full of pieces I had back when I was a kid could have ever been used to build something so spectacular. I also like the fact that for the vast majority of the structure, it uses just the plain old regular blocks. Retail store Lego today is all about constructing things from a kit to look exactly like what's on the cover of the box, which seems to diminish the inherent fun in being able to create something entirely from your own mind. I mean, the old sets had guides to help you build stuff, but you could still build all sorts of other things since there no real kit-specific pieces. Oh, well. I guess the new ones sell better.

Anyway, it's a pretty cool site to marvel at, and no, I don't think anyone who does this stuff is whacko. Ms. Amy seems to have gotten a lot of commentary to that effect, but it seems like a perfectly enjoyable and entertaining hobby.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:08 AM | Comments (4)

With the regularity of Ol' Faithful...

...we were blessed here in town YET AGAIN with a tractor-trailer dumping a load of steel on a section of the downtown Interstate 59S/20W, YET AGAIN punching several holes in the roadway, and YET AGAIN tying up traffic for the whole area. Making it worse is that the local television stations all gave conflicting reports of exactly where traffic was being diverted off of the inbound portions of the Interstate, and if and when some lanes were going to be open, or not.

I got here with plenty of time to spare, though, even with taking the two middle kids to the middle school, because Birmingham does have the benefit of an extensive grid of surface streets, including some major thoroughfares that were in place before the Interstate came through.

It also really helps to know your way around.

The big problem for people coming from my part of town is that everyone gets on Highway 11/Roebuck Parkway/1st Avenue and it creates a tremendous traffic jam on that roadway. When it gets like that, you might as well just stay on the Interstate if it's moving even the slightest bit.

But this morning, I figured I'd try a different tack--I-459 to I-20, exit on Montevallo Road/Highway 78, then take Montclair Road all the way into town. This was something of a gamble, because Montclair necks down to a simple two-lane street when it gets to Mountain Brook, and continues like that as it changes to Pawnee then to Niazuma then to 26th Street, South then to 10th Avenue, South then finally to 24th Street, South (all of these are nothing more than changes in designation, and they occur within the span of no more than about a mile and a half--confusion for the sake of confusion). The final designation, 24th Street, is then a straight shot across to the north side of town, and then you hang a left on 8th Avenue, North and then you're home. Or to the office. The whole jaunt got me here in about 40 minutes, which is about 10 minutes longer than the usual route via the Interstate.

It's kinda frustrating to me that so many people don't see what a useful layout we have--Birmingham is, and just about always has been, laid out for getting around with relative ease. Back around the turn of the previous century, before "suburban sprawl" was a four letter word, Birmingham had an extensive web of streetcar suburbs spread out all over Jones Valley, but instead of making the suburbs function like some of our New Urbanist social-planners' fervid dreams by doing away with private transportation, the original layout also made provision for automobiles, too. The streetcars are gone, but the wide-laned grid remains as useful as ever for bypassing the occasional indigestion on the limited access parts of the system. Yes, it's a bit slower, and the capacity is lower, but it beats not moving at all.

Anyway, I'd like to encourage all of you to do a bit of exploring and find out how to get around town, even if it means getting out and burning up a bit of precious hydrocarbons.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:40 AM | Comments (12)

Something simple this week.

We’ve explored every possible topic known to humankind here on the Thursday Three, so sometimes it’s nice just to relax and ask some simple things.

So, here’s the AoW Model of Simplicity Version of the Thursday Three.

Please leave your answer in the comments below, or leave a link to your blog.

1. Who, beside your spouse, is your favorite person to go hang around with?

2. If you could only have one, would you pick a dog or a cat as a pet?

3. What part of your appearance would you most like to change?

There now!

As for my answers:

1. I would say probably My Friend Jeff, although we really don’t hang around together much at all. Then again, I don’t hang around much of anyone, being that I’m very antisocial.

2. I think right now, a cat would be better, mainly because they’re lower in upkeep. If you forget to feed one, they’ll go kill something. Forget to bathe it? No way--they’re self-cleaning, and not like the oven, because you don’t have to twist any of their knobs or lock their door.

But this is not to say I wouldn’t want a dog. The cat would get lonely without a friend, and dogs make good friends to all animals, even cats. So, first, a cat, then a dog.

Then a wildebeest.

3. I wish I had longer legs. I would be around 6-1 or so if my 29 inch inseamed legs weren’t so blamed much shorter in proportion to my torso. I look like a barrel set on tree stumps. With a huge watermelon atop the end of the barrel. (My giant head would probably be the second thing I would like to change a bit.)

So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:49 AM | Comments (10)

May 03, 2006

Oh, I suppose because I'm a moron.

How else to explain yet another one of those sudden pangs of longing I occasionally suffer from?

After we got home last night, I got a chance to read my newest issue of AutoWeek. It was doubly good, in that it had a column by my favorite car woman, Denise McCluggage, that was at once melancholy, poignant, exciting, and uplifting. Man alive, she sure can write. And then, there was the weekly feature I really love--what used to be called "Escape Road," and now is simply "Vintage Cars." I enjoy seeing all the cool old stuff that's not quite on the collector market's radar.

This week's article was about the Lotus Elite. Now, I've always like Lotusesesses, but never really paid much attention to the Elite. But my goodness, that one in the picture, with the dark blue body and silver roof, and those spidery chromed wire wheels, well, in just the short read of the article it has replaced my other, long-term, wistfully dreamt-after, someday-maybe-before-I croak car, a Tuxedo Black '67 small block Sting Ray roadster.

Oh, I know--you don't have to tell me about the wispiness of Lotuses. The 'Vette is much more robustly built, and there's a huge cottage industry of spare parts and you can still get it worked on at the Chevy place.

But that Elite--my goodness. That sure is one nice bit of plastic. In white, it reminds me of a pretty girl in a tennis dress.

1960 Lotus Elite.jpg

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:54 PM | Comments (14)

Why the other one was so devastating.

Tsunami Warning After Tonga Quake Lifted

By PESI FONUA, Associated Press Writer

23 minutes ago

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga - A magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck early Thursday near the South Pacific nation of Tonga, prompting tsunami warnings for as far away as Fiji and New Zealand. The warning was lifted after a tsunami of less than 2 feet was recorded. [...]

There is a natural tendency to discount future warnings when present warnings turn out to be inconsequential.

You do have to enjoy the scientist/press interaction, though--

[...] The warning center's instruments detected there could be small tsunamis with waves of less than 2 feet in areas close to the earthquake, geophysicist Barry Hirshorn said.

"We're not observing much of a tsunami," he said. "Strictly speaking, it's not very devastating." [...]

Well, yes, strictly speaking, whenever there is no damage due to something, that would tend to be not very devastating. Thankfully, we can all rest assured that this thing about speaking in strict terms will in no way deflect criticism of this devastating event away from George Bush.

Or Canadians.

(A two foot high tsunami!? I've had tsunamis that big in my bathtub.)

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


Skillzy gets in trouble with the KY.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:25 PM | Comments (7)

My newest invention.

Well, see, I just found out that the insides of a digital copier are very hot. Yes, I know there's all those yellow warning labels that say that, but until you've tried to pull out a paper jam by gingerly (or maryannerly) poking your index fingers into the steaming bowels of one of these machines, you don't really get an idea of exactly HOW hot they are. But then, you hear your finger sizzle, and you think to yourself, "Ouch. That is hot." And the paper? Well, it won't burn until it hits 451 degrees, which means that when it's in the machine, it might be 449.3 degrees, which will also make your finger sizzle.

Add to this the fact that it's lunchtime and I'm having to tend to the copier queue at the moment, and it makes one's mind start working on some ways where this confluence of hot machinery and hunger could come together.

And so I thought up this: Edible Reports.

I figure you could saturate paper with flavor, sorta like the way McDonalds does with its breakfast burrito, and if you're hungry, you just go copy a report and eat it, hot out of the copier. And people you send reports to can heat theirs back up in the microwave! It would be tasty, and do away with all those big bins of recycled paper that clutter up the office. And just think what a boon this would be for poor countries--all those billions of sheets of paper the UN produces in reports on how to reduce world hunger could just be shipped over to hungry places and everyone could eat for months!

I am now casting about for partners in this venture--call now!

UPDATE: Well, dangitall--here I thought I was just being silly trying to pass the time while the copier was churning, but by gum(bo), there actually IS such a thing.

My finger still hurts, though.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:54 PM | Comments (9)

Batten down the hatches.

Just got a CNN breaking news alert-- "Tsunami warnings issued for Fiji and New Zealand after earthquake measuring a magnitude of about 8.0 shakes southern Pacific Ocean."

I blame George Bush.

And, of course, Canadians.

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

What's worse?

Photographer says 'Dame Edna' punched him

A 72 year old comic transvestite punching a photographer, or being the photographer and complaining that you were punched by a 72 year old comic transvestite?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)


Had a thing to attend last night with Jonathan and Rebecca--an orientation meeting of sorts in the middle school gym, intended to inform parents about the elective class choices for 7th and 8th graders in the upcoming year.

Jonathan already had his filled out--he wants to take band for sure, and then either art, or piano/guitar. I'm not sure how you play a piano/guitar, but it still amazes me that anyone can play any sort of musical instrument, period, and even more amazing that I have kids who can do it. I just never could figure all that stuff out--I like to sing and all, and actually can figure out (if given enough time to look at it) how to read music. I guess the kids get it from their mama.

Rebecca didn't quite know what to take, until we were driving over and she started going down the list of stuff she DIDN'T want to take. After she'd eliminated those, she only had three choices left. Made the decision easier, to say the least. She finally decided to put down art as her second choice, yearbook as her third choice. First choice, foreign language.

Which is going to be interesting, in that they haven't hired the teacher for the class yet, and therefore no one knows what language will be taught.

Could be Spanish. Or French.

Or Urdu.

Although the former is more likely.

What will be funny is if it turns out to be a Latin teacher, and if that teacher also teaches it at the high school. Oldest is about to split a seam to take Latin, mainly because she already knows all about Latin from reading all the Harry Potter books. I, on the other hand, having watched Life of Brian, know that Latin is fiendishly convoluted. However, far be it from me to dissuade her from her obsessive delusion, because I really would like it if she learned Latin. I also have this selfish desire to witnessing the total shock that will overcome her when she realizes that there's more to it than "expecto patronum." But the funniest thing will be if Rebecca is taking it as well--the sibling competitiveness should make for quite the combustible household.

Good grief, what am I wishing for!?

Anyway, we pulled up to the gym and a herd of tanned, willowy, coltish, and incredibly attractive young maidens came pouring out of the building after cheerleading practice. Jonathan piped up, "Hey, that's X!" [Not her real name.] "And there's A! And B over by the door! And there's C and D and E and F and F' and X's cousin L!" He knew every one of them. I pulled in to a parking spot on the curb behind someone in a hulking Expedition, and one of the girls broke from the pack and got in the truck. "Hey, that's M!"

I couldn't help myself--"Good night, Son--she's pretty! How do you know all these girls!?" (Left unasked was how is it that 13 year old girls look like this [i.e., 20 year old supermodels] nowadays!?)

"Aw, I don't know--most of them I have class with."

"They're in your grade!?"

"Mmhm, yes sir."


ON into the building, which was nice and breezy with the giant wall fans on. Unfortunately, these make more racket than a B-52, so when the program started, they were shut off. And thus the gym became like every other middle school gym you can imagine--hot, stuffy, and smelling of hormonal teenagers, floor wax, and dirty mop water.

And in the end, it really didn't help us any, because my kids had already made out their forms. This was really just to help those people who were undecided about what they wanted.


And it lasted an hour and a half. And included a herky-jerky PowerPoint presentation. And the microphone worked only 42.3% of the time. And despite the fact that I have ample padding, within three minutes of sitting down, my butt ached with an unimaginable intensity due to the shape and material of the hard bleacher seating. And to top it off, it meant that we missed going to hear Oldest in her last choir concert for the year.

Mom said they all did really well.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:47 AM | Comments (8)

International Visitor Day!

Okay, we've had TWO of these so far, and by Jiminy, if we don't get someone today to stand up and say hello from beyond the borders, I will call an indefinite halt to this feature, and then where will we all be?!

SO, here's the deal--if you are a citizen of the fair nation which flies this flag:

Maple leaf.gif

--you are invited to please give a shout to everyone and to tell us a bit about yourself.

And remember, if you don't, the rest of the world will be denied EVER being saluted in this way again. Yes, I realize you shouldn't be pressured like this since is was the previous weeks' stunning lack of responsiveness by the Limeys and the Frogs, who just couldn't be put upon to even give a simple nod of the head or wave of the hand, that has brought us to this crucial day.

HOWEVER, when you think about it, who better to salvage their soiled reputations than you hardy Canucks, who share genetic material with both of those countries!

One thing I am sad about (I mean besides that thing about not ever being able to make our invasions during the Revolution and during the War of 1812 stick) is that I've never gotten to visit up that way. Then again, I've never been to any of our states north of New York, either--I don't get out much, you know.

I HAVE, however, had a lot of contact with you good folks as you come through on your way to the Gulf and after you've arrived. I must say that every Canadian I've come across has been unfailingly nice, and the ones on the road drive very well. Even those from Quebec. Oh, and how could I forget!? Back during my study abroad tour of Europe in '86, I had dinner with a very nice Canadian girl we came across in Athens.

About the only bad experience I've ever had with a Canadian was that reporter girl who had some guy send me an e-mail threatening to sue me for quoting one of her newspaper articles in a blog post. I know Canadians are wary of being overly influenced by the culture of the big hulk south of the border, and I would have to say this woman's fascination with litigation is one of those peculiarly American pastimes you folks would do well to disregard.

ANYway, if you are a Canadarian (and I know some of you are, because I see your .ca domain names, so don't try to act like I'm not talking about YOU), today is your day! Please drop us a note, say "hullo, eh!" and tell us how you came to Possumblog.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:16 AM | Comments (19)

May 02, 2006

Strange Bedfellows

Justice sues state for lack of voters’ database

WASHINGTON — The state of Alabama is in violation of federal voting rights law because it has not yet created a statewide computerized database of registered voters, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The federal government argues that Alabama officials missed the Jan. 1 deadline set by the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

“HAVA’s database requirements are designed to ensure the accuracy of the voter rolls and the integrity of the electoral process in elections for federal office,” said Wan Kim, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the Department of Justice. “This lawsuit is intended to vindicate the rights of the voters of Alabama, who do not, at present, enjoy all of the protections that HAVA affords.”

Alabama now joins New York as the two states sued over the database issue.

For complete story, see Wednesday's Birmingham News.
Mary Orndorff

The only thing I can think of that will immediately come of this is a heated debate in Montgomery not about the shame of missing the deadline and how to fix it, but rather the horror that somehow New York and Alabama are being mentioned together.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:46 PM | Comments (4)


I remember a long time back--maybe twenty or even thirty years or so, I'm not sure of the exact year--when there was a sudden rise in the price of coffee. Folks were going crazy about it, and my mother responded by not buying coffee.

Same thing with lettuce a few years back, too--it went up sky high to some weather-related malady, and suddenly it was $5 a head when it had been 50 cents. I seem to recall my mother responding in the exact same fashion she did when coffee got so high--she just quit buying it until it was cheap again.

That's what happens when you have a product that is something you want, but not necessarily need. You either do without, or you find out there are alternatives.

Now, I really think this guy in the picture was a FrankJ ringer sent in as a show of mockery, but just in case he thinks he's serious, he might just want to know that a) not every burrito is made by an illegal immigrant, and b) there are other things to eat besides burritos.

This phenomenon of substitution was also noted by Delaware's own Fritz Schranck, who found that although his favorita Mexican place might have been closed up in solidarity with the protests of yesterday, there was, in fact, ANOTHER restaurant in the area which was all too happy to take Fritz's money.

As Fritz notes, the call for demonstrating political power through idleness was probably not such a great idea, especially in a nation where there are alternatives to illegally hiring illegal immigrants. Yes, taking those alternatives might be more expensive in the short term, but we also have the option of not filling some jobs that could be considered non-essential. And that's not just talking about what you eat in the restaurant.

In the end, there are many jobs at the lower reaches of the pay scale that don't pay much simply because those types of jobs don't require any particular skill-set other than respiration. If immigrants truly want to empower themselves, the way to do that is through acquiring skills and knowledge that the greater society they happen to find themselves in sees as valuable.

In this country, the first step to making that happen means learning to speak English. It is easier to learn English in America than it is to learn any other language in any other country--this nation goes out of its way to offer opportunities to learn, and furthermore, the language is so full of different methods of saying the same thing, it itself lends to being understood functionally even if you don't quite have fluency. It is much more forgiving of grammatical errors and syntactical flubs than any other language I know of.

Of course, English's flexibility does have a downside, in that writing and reading it can be an awful chore due to all the aggregated (or aggravating) spellings brought in from other languages, but a person who comes to this country still has it much easier than other places. Take advantage of that.

Second step--decide you want to be an American. If you just can't stand that idea, then it's best for all concerned that you go on back to your homeland and make your own society as open, free, democratic, wealthy, prosperous, and accommodating of others as you have found America to be.

If you want the majority of Americans to work with you and accept your contribution, you cannot do it by saying you want to take back all the land that your Spanish forebears stole from the Indians and that we defeated you fair and square for; and you can't expect us to pay you good money only to hear how awful and evil and terrible America is. We have the New York Times for that. You want the rewards this country offers? Then accept the method by which those rewards have been brought about--which weren't developed by Che or Castro, by the way--and embrace the free enterprise system, and the idea that you are responsible for making your own way in this world.

True, it seems unfair that we expect you to work and make your own way, when we already have a bunch of ne'er-do-wells who sit around and suck at the public teat, due only to God's grace for them having been born here, but we do at least put them in Congress so they're less apt to hurt people.

Third, after you've decided to learn the language and embrace the idea of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, and have decided you are unwilling to allow yourselves to be used as tool of those who wish to destroy your adopted homeland, make sure your children are told how valuable education is, and how they can go even further than you ever dreamed. Never let them accept that it's okay to fail--teach them to overcome failure. And don't think that educating your children to be good Americans means your kids can never know about where their ancestors came from--this country is made up of a bunch of people from all over, and we all like to get together and have parades and stuff to celebrate that and show off. Remember, if you think your land is so much better, you can return and no one will think less of you.

But never forget this--if you want to succeed in America, you have to be American.

But, if you want to be perpetual second-class residents, in the thrall of identity politicians who will take you for granted and never deliver on their promises, if you never want to be more than a peon with a slightly nicer house--then proceed on with your addle-pated desire for cultural insularity, and the economic suicide of being unwilling to add value to yourselves through education and by embracing a proven system of law and governance that has withstood the test of time.

And don't whine about it when you find out I can buy burritos in the grocery store.

UPDATE: More on the subject from Dr. Joyner.

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

That's not weird, that's cool!

Something I ran across over at the Weird Earl's feature on The Straight Dope, a link to a spot called Urville, a collection of wonderfully detailed architectural drawings by a young French man by the name of Gilles Trehin. M. Trehin states that he has been diagnosed with autism (or with Asperger's syndrome), and has over the years developed a highly detailed, and entirely fictional, place he calls Urville, complete with a description of its geography, people, economy, and as mentioned, its architecture.

It's kind of like running your own Sims game, except completely--and with exceeding talent--hand-drawn.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

Maybe I'm just easily entertained.

But you know what I think's fun? When you've ordered something, and it's been packaged and sent, and through the miracle of the Internets, you can plug in the tracking number and see it go across the country and then right to your door.

I am excited all over because my new taillight is on the truck this morning, meaning I should have it pretty soon, and I'll be able to replace it tonight!



Why have I ordered a new taillight?

Well, you see, two weeks ago when we had a get-together for the little kids over at the house of one of the parents, I was trying to back out of their narrow and multi-angled gravel driveway, and was trying to swing into a small clearing between two trees.

I missed one of the trees.

The other one?


Passenger side, a glancing blow that not only broke the taillight, but left some nice scratches on the sliding door mechanism's cover, and a big goose-egg sized dent in it as well.

And then I had to pull away, which made more scratches.


When it happened, Rebecca, who sits on that side in the back, piped up and said, "I was thinking to myself, 'boy, I sure hope Daddy doesn't hit that tree because it's real close.'"


But, through the other miracle known as eBay, I was able to find a replacement that I hope will fit and work right. Because nothing is LESS entertaining than having to send BACK something that's the wrong part.

UPDATE: 9:55 a.m., the box arrived, and it's the right part and looks like a very nice piece of work! Hooray!

Sometimes you never know what you'll get, but this one looks good. Of course, I just now remembered that we've got a thing at the middle school tonight to get the Middle Girl and Boy ready for next year, so that means I probably won't get to have fun and get the tools out tonight. And doggone it, that means I'll be missing American Idol, too! Hmph.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:34 AM | Comments (4)

Jack Bauer Update!


Okay, so we got home in plenty of time to watch, but supper was late getting started, and Daddy has this rule about not having the TV on while supper is underway.

So I missed the first fifteen minutes. Stupid Daddy.

THEN, when we were finally through with supper, I flipped on the television to see Jack getting out of the cargo hold of the airplane. Hey. I thought the hold wasn't pressurized. Then I find out later it is. This whole flight is weird--a plane full of regular-looking folks, yet it's called a "diplomatic flight," and it takes off from Van Nuys--which is apparently the hub of all West Coast air traffic and terrorist activity during this crisis.

Anyway, that cargo hold hatch gets a lot of workout during the show.



My father-in-law, who was wanting to talk about whether or not he was getting a good deal on selling their old house. Yes. Yes. YES. YES--IT'S A GOOD DEAL!!! TAKE IT!! TAKE IT!! PLEASE TAKE IT!

Let's see--Crazy First Lady Jean Smart is talking to the Pillsbury Doughboy Secret Service Guy (in a wonderfully nuanced performance by former White House spokesman Scott McClellan) to try to get herself some pills, and he says "duh" and then she calls Mike the Chief of Staff to go get her some, and he talks to President Machiavelli, who lies to him about the nature of why everyone is still awake at 2:30 in the morning, and Mike says okay, and then the President says to dope her up anyway.

MEANWHILE, Stinkyface Chloe is in an airport fending off an sloppy drunk by using a stun gun (and for the record, a stun gun will not render an assailant--no matter how stinking drunk and uncouth he may be--unconscious for fifteen minutes at time) and trying to tell Jack which person has the recorder, and so Jack whacks an air marshall and takes his gun and badge, then goes and gets who he thinks is the bad guy and then whacks him and stuffs him down in the much-used cargo hatch.



It was a peaches and cream-voiced coed from the Auburn University College of Architecture, Design, and Construction, who wanted to talk to me about some of the activities that are going on down at the campus. APPARENTLY NONE OF WHICH INVOLVE WATCHING JACK HIGHJACK AN AIRLINER!

As quickly as I could possibly work a word in edgewise, I asked her to PLEASE call back some other time.

NOW, HiJack's doing his gun-point-interrogation, and the guy he's stuffed into the luggage is baffled, and then the air marshall is woken up when the plane hits turbulence, and they finally figure out that HiJack's in the hold, and so the pilot starts depressurizing. HiJack gets Chloe to route a phone call to the captain--and just how is it that they can do this, and I drop out of coverage whenever I go between Heflin and Anniston--and Jack tells the pilot to circle around until he searches everyone, and the pilot says "That's a negatory, good buddy," and says he's gonna land as soon as he can, and he'll personally come down there and thump Jack for messing up the cargo hold.

Sometime the Evil President gets a call from his Evil Handler, who's still wondering what's happening, and Pres says "I'm being good, I promise," and then the Evil Handler goes back to wondering how he can get back on ER.

Jack decides he wants out of the cargo hold, and manages to find the control cables running through the ceiling and starts playing them like a harp and the plane goes all wonky and he tells the pilot to circle, and then HiJack finds the air marshall and stuffs HIM into the hold, and Jack comes upstairs and starts pointing his gun everywhere. EEEEK!

He starts searching everyone, and Lady Boss back at CTU brings in Fired Gray Haired Boss for dramatic effect and tells him to shut up his talking so she can talk, which she does. Her little weasel twerp calls Mike to cry about being out of the loop, and Mike tells him to shut up and quit being such a big baby, or he'll be going the way of Rudy the Hobbit or Dull Chubby Deadgar.

BACK IN THE AIR, Chloe has figured out that the copilot is the bad guy, and Jack ONCE MORE finds a way to call him and tell him to beware, and we think maybe the pilot is a doofus, but we see he's only being cagey and really believes HiJack, because he asks, real polite like, what happened to the OTHER copilot. Bad Copilot says, "Oh, he had to go see a man about a dog or something. Or had to wash his hair. Or something. I don't know--I just show up when evil henchmen tell me t--I mean, I don't know nuthin'."

Suddenly, Cagey Pilot acts like he's got a leg cramp, and he gets up to let Jack into the cabin when Bad Copilot whacks him with a Maglite--BUT NOT BEFORE Cagey Pilot lets Jack in, who slaps the Bad Copilot around, and Bad Copilot is crying because no one else can LAND THIS PLANE, obviously not realizing that Jack Bauer can fly or drive any vehicle ever made on Earth, and probably a few flying saucers, too. ANYway, Jack doesn't let on that he knows a thing or two about airplanes, and tells Bad Copilot he'd better turn over the recorder before they all blow up real good due to sudden intentional deceleration.

And now, Jack has the recorder! Yay! Of course, he trusts Bad Copilot has given him the RIGHT recorder, and doesn't play it back for confirmation. Now then, to get to the airport so he can go implicate Evil President Machiavelli! I imagine they'll go back to Van Nuys.

NEXT WEEK! Uh-uh-uhhh--not going to go to Van Nuys if Machiavelli has anything to do with it, because he orders the plane to be shot down. Everyone is all, "what ARE you doing!" and he tells them to bug off because he's the President, and Jack's trying to dodge missiles and land, and the Bad Copilot is screaming like a little girl and....

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:35 AM | Comments (17)

May 01, 2006


Gotta leave early to go home and take Oldest back over to the school for a rehearsal of some sort. See you all in the morning.

(If this causes me to miss 24, I am going to be mightily peeved at a particular teacher who decided tonight would be a good one for a rehearsal.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:19 PM | Comments (2)

An astounding success.

I've been so busy this morning that I haven't really had time to keep up with news, but I have to say that I just got back from lunch, and must report that today's general strike by undocumented workers has, at least from my point of view, struck a tremendous blow for these workers.

Although some over on the right of the blogsphere are probably trying to say and do everything they can to minimize the effect of these marches across the country, don't be misled. Our "illegal" brothers and sisters have shown us just how powerful a force they can be.

What next?

Well, it's obvious.

If a DAY without "undocumented" immigrants can do such good, it only follows that this country would be absolutely brought to its KNEES if there was a whole YEAR WITHOUT "ILLEGAL" WORKERS!

Just imagine mi amigos y amigas, you will have hateful gringos right where you want them when you decamp en masse and go back to the peaceful and prosperous villages and cities of your homelands for an ENTIRE 365 DAYS! SHOW YOUR POWER! LEAVE LOS AMERICANOS DEL NORTO TO FEND FOR THEMSELVES! VAYA CON DIOS, MIS HERMANOS!

That'll teach us to be so mean and hateful and full of all this legalistic claptrap!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:32 PM | Comments (5)

Most poignant thing gotten rid of?

Well, it was red, and had the number 60 on the side of it.

Worn for three season, and full of the scars of three years of headbutting.

My old football helmet.

When we moved in, I had it in a box over back behind some stuff. One day several years back something fell on it, and the face mask's little plastic clips--having been turned to hard brittle chunks--gave way and the face mask popped off. Oh well.

Finally got to it Saturday, back in behind all that junk. ::sigh:: Full of mouse turds, the cheek and cranium pads gnawed, and all the inside yellowed with murine micturition.

That was the only helmet I ever had, and it was one that my dad had purchased because none of the helmets we had at school were any good. Its red paint and black and white stripes and white numerals had been put on fresh the first year, and then repeatedly bashed off for the next three years. This was back before schools got so high-falutin' as they are nowadays and helmets didn't get painted after every game. Or even after every season. Anyway, I kind of liked the look of the scars. I seem to recall some of the junior high bench warmers (not that we had that many--maybe only five or so) who'd take it upon themselves to knock their helmets around so as not to look like such bench warmers.

I had intended to keep the old thing. It reminded me of a certain time in my life about which I don't have an awful lot of glowing warm memories, and I always imagined myself telling the kids about my time on the field. But I stood there looking at it, full of droppings and dirt, and I just had to throw it away. Stuffed it in the garbage can, dropped a pile of other junk on top, and that was it. Rebecca had been out helping me all morning, and what aghast that I'd thrown it away--"DADDY! That was your FOOTBALL HELMET!"--but I told her it was old and filthy dirty, and there just wasn't much reason to keep it anymore.

Anyway, I do still have my cleats--nice pair of REALLY old-style black hightops made out of kangaroo hide that have managed not to get torn up or mousebitten.

I figure they've still got some stories to tell.

And anyway, I do still have the pictures--


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:13 PM | Comments (6)

Most surprising find?

Also the most disconcerting--even moreso than the dessicated mouse I found with its tail stuck to a glue trap.

On the back and side wall of the garage is a high shelf that was put there by the previous owner. They'd left a bunch of junk up there, but again, I had so much junk of my own blocking that side of the garage that I had never been able to get up there and get that stuff down.

FINALLY did so Saturday.

Some cans of paint. A rubber toilet plunger. A tarp. The little red plastic gas can? I thought it was empty, but it actually had a few ounces of two-stroke gas/oil mix in the bottom of it. Hmm--what's this beside it in the Wal-Mart sack?


Yep--for the past eight years, there has been a plastic bag bulging with fireworks in my garage, right next to a jug of gasoline.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:44 AM | Comments (6)

And just what is the deal with people--

--who want to haggle over crap!?

I don't know how many people came by and would see something out in the yard, ask how much it was (everything was nearly free), act very interested, and then would ask if I would take any less, and when I would say no (seeing as how I was practically giving this stuff away) they'd just leave.

There was one old woman who came up while Catherine was sitting out there selling soccer balls. Catherine also had a computer toy that still looked new and still worked just fine that she wanted to sell, mainly because it was too "little kid" for her. We figured 5 bucks was a fair price. The old lady who came by looked and looked around, and Catherine told her the prices on the stuff we had out there, and the woman spied the computer toy. She looked it over, turned it on, Cat showed her how it worked. I was cleaning out the garage while this was going on, but they must have spent fifteen minutes with the thing.

"Dad?" Cat came padding into the garage. "She wants to know if we'd take any less for the little computer."

"Uh, no, sugar--it's $5."

She went back out and told the lady, and that was it--she up and left. I guess we should have said it was $100, but we'd take $10 for it, then let her beat us down to five. Or something.

Another guy came up while his driver buddy was getting a speeding ticket two doors down. (Thank you VERY much, Trussville PD!) I explained how the stuff on the front was for sale, the stuff by the garage was just my garage cleanings. He spotted my half-ton chain hoist lying there on the ground. "How much is that right there!?"

"Uh, well, I had kinda wanted to keep that," (it was, after all, not in the 'to sell' stack, but since I didn't have a use for it...) "but I suppose I would take twenty for it."

He decided he didn't want that, even though that was practically free, too. Which is fine--I'm glad I still have it, even though I don't need it.

Same thing with my air compressor--it wasn't in the sale, but every guy wanted to know how much it was. "I hadn't intended on selling it, but I suppose a hundred dollars." Which is pretty good, considering it would cost around $600 new. Nope. No one wanted it for that. (Which was fine by me.)

Then there was the cedar chest.

It's probably over 60 years old--it was actually my aunt's, although I think there was some sort of strongarm swapping done with my mother long ago, because we wound up with it, and my aunt wound up with my mother's (which is actually MUCH nicer). It was plain--just a basic cedar box with a diamond-shaped lozenge on the front. It really needed to be refinished, but it was appropriately distressed looking, although in good shape considering how many times it's been moved all over the place. Forty bucks. OH! EVERYone wanted to know how much it was. EVERYone thought that was a STEAL! EVERYone wanted it.

No one would buy it.

But, they'll be able to visit it at the thrift store now, I suppose.

At least the old feller who bought my vise knew he'd gotten a good deal. I just wonder how he's got it out of the back of his pickup once he got home with it...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:43 AM | Comments (8)

Done been beat with a shovel, Part II

Yet another long, long weekend, eleven hours of it spent Saturday cleaning out the other side of the garage. And then packing it back up with all the stuff I couldn’t haul off or find a place to put. Or sell.

Our neighborhood was having our big annual yard sale, which I never participate in. Until Saturday, when I started dragging stuff out of the garage at 9, and people started pulling up, getting out, and wandering around my driveway. After telling the first few folks that I was only cleaning out, I figured I might as well start stacking stuff that I knew I didn’t want out closer to the sidewalk. Believe it or not, I managed to sell close to 50 bucks! I sold the big giant iron vise for $20, and an old wooden school desk for $15, and six Bear Bryant commemorative Coke bottles to my neighbor for 6 bucks, and then Catherine got in on the act and sold five of her old #3 sized soccer balls for $5. (She got to keep that for herself.)

Still, I wound up taking off two vanloads of stuff to the thrift store, and gave one more load to the thrift store truck that came through the neighborhood around 5:00 that evening. And managed to get another huge pile of garbage to take off to the dump next weekend.

As for the job itself, I uncovered all kinds of stuff I’d forgotten I had, and after cleaning off the countertop of mouse poop and pee, I actually had a place to put a lot of it. There’s still a bunch of stuff I need to put away, but at least the volume of crap has been reduced significantly. Not enough to get a car in there, but close. Of course, if I hadn’t have had to start hurriedly putting away things off the driveway when it started RAINING, I might could have gotten more put away. But I was doing all I could to keep the junk from becoming dampened. Oh, well--something to work on next weekend.

Of even greater significance was the fact that the garage door opener on that side FINALLY WORKS AGAIN! About five or six years ago, we had a lightning strike on the house that fried a bunch of stuff, notably one of the garage door openers. We bought a new one with the insurance money, but until this past weekend, that side of the garage was so full of junk, I couldn’t get enough room to work to change it out. Until Saturday. Or, I should say, Saturday night. After I’d gotten everything put back inside, there was still a nice seam of open floor I had left so that I could once and for all change out the silly thing and get it off my list. Despite the fact that I had eaten neither breakfast nor lunch, and despite the fact that supper was about to be a memory, I stayed out there with the near insane desire to get that final bit of work done.

The new unit was slightly different from the old one, but thankfully not in a way that mattered, which meant that all I really had to do was change out the motor unit, not redo everything. I struggled mightily to unbolt it from its mounting, swung it down to the floor, disconnected the rail, and nearly tore my finger off trying to get the old unit out of the way. That done, the new one was put into position, and I heaved and hoed and grunted and finally managed to reconnect the rail and the chain and the necessary bolts to that it was again one unit. Swung it back up into position, bolted it back to its moorings, reconnected the various control wires, plugged it up, and…


Yay me!

That was it for the night--I went in, ate a hot dog, then showered and went to bed.

Next morning, got up and put the lasagna on. We were having dinner at church, and then an early evening service, which meant after it was over, I could come home and have the rest of the afternoon to play.

But it was very IMPORTANT play. Fixing the garage door remote controls.

Our two old ones were just about dead, having been broken and taped together to the point that they were more tape than polystyrene. But the new opener came with new remotes, so I went back and forth on my stepladder reprogramming the various receivers and the buttons. SUCCESS! Each one can control both doors, so that was very nice. Next--the hateful keyless entry pad on the outside. This one has NEVER worked, mainly because the nice couple we bought the house from refused to give the code to us. I thought maybe I could get the thing to work, but alas, it was a button too far. There are, however, people who sell new button pads.


And while I was out, I decided I would take one of the remote controls with me in the van--it has its own HomeLink system in the overhead console, and I’d never been able to get it to work right. While I sat in the parking lot, I reprogrammed THOSE buttons, too, which hopefully meant that when I got home I would be very, VERY happy, with all THREE cars having operable remote controls. But first, the keypad had to be purchased. Time to make selection? About five minutes. Time to check out? About THIRTY minutes. One lane was stopped up with some kind of cash register outage. One was stopped up with someone buying an entire nursery of plants. Mine was stopped up with people who seemed intent on trying to scam the cashier out of a plastic swingset seat. ::sigh::

I have never seen anything that takes so long. (Until later on in the evening.)

Got home, and hooray! The van’s remote control WORKS! Very sweet. Next, the keypad, which for some unknown reason would not work on the old opener, but WOULD work on the newer one. Fine. At least one of them will open, and at least now I know I won’t get locked out of the house. Unless the power goes out.

Then, time to try to work on my stuff for work. Typed for a little while, made minor headway, then got stopped so we could go use our $25 Cracker Barrel gift certificate I’d been given. I have decided I’m not ever going back to Cracker Barrel to eat. We used to occasionally go there, but the service became so terrible and slow that it’s just not worth it. But, the lure of a gift certificate caused us to take the plunge once more. Got there, and although the parking lot was only half full, there was a forty-five minute wait. Fine.

Finally got called back and seated. Waitress began the evening by getting the drink order wrong, and it went downhill from there. The food came out in incomplete dribs and drabs, some of it was stone cold, none of it was particularly good, and it took nearly an HOUR to get it. By the time we finished, the place was closing up, and we’d gotten there around 7:30, and it WASN’T THAT BUSY.

To make it worse, when I went to pay the check, the cashier said it was $25 more than what it actually was. “No, the gift certificate is mine--I’m not buying it, I’m using it to pay for part of the food.”

“THAT NOT WHAT IT IS--your ticket be ringing up wrong.”

Well, fine. She called for a manager, who never showed up.

Even though she never would admit she had done it, she finally did take the gift certificate off of my bill and fixed it to where I was being charged what I was supposed to be charged.


She stood there with her hand out. “Uh, okay--my gift certificate? Over on the counter behind you? I want to use that for $25 of my bill.”



Anyway, Trussville Cracker Barrel--you won’t have to worry about figuring out a check for me ever again.

Home, worked on my typing some more, sent it to myself, and went to bed.

And now? I have a BUNCH of junk to get written up, and to top it all off, my feet and ankles hurt. Feels like they’ve been snapped off and put on backwards. I think I might have overdone it this weekend.

Now then--to work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)