July 31, 2006

More Mustin!

Frequent commenter Stan the Gummint Man noted in the first post of the morning that the famous character actor Burt Mustin never seemed to age. As I mentioned in my reply, I could never remember seeing him as a young man--every role he's ever had has seemingly been that of a mild old man.

Obviously, yet another opportunity to not do what I'm supposed to be doing!

As for not ever being young, that might have something to do with the fact that his first movie role came at age 67. Also noticed on IMDb that he'd attended Pennsylvania Military College.

AND, sure enough--the school still exists, although today it's known as Widener University. They have a nice collection of photos, including one of a YOUNG Cadet Mustin. Although, I do have to say he didn't look particularly youthful, even in his youth.

Anyway, quite a listing of information about a fine old gentleman.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:40 PM | Comments (1)

I need a tissue...

Feather shortage vexes badminton players

EL MONTE, Calif. (AP) — Among the unsung victims of recent outbreaks of bird flu is the shuttlecock. Chinese geese have been slaughtered by the millions to prevent the spread of the disease, and that has left a shortage of the fine feathers used to make the badminton projectiles.

Only the thickest, heaviest goose feathers from northern China are used to make premium shuttlecocks and sometimes as few as two feathers per goose make the final cut.

But now, shuttlecock makers are having to settle for substandard feathers, and the sport's devotees in Southern California say the birdies they're buying just aren't the same.

"Everybody complains now, 'What's wrong with the shuttle?'" Dan Chien of El Monte said after a practice session at the San Gabriel Valley Badminton Club. "It was goose feather, but now it feels almost like duck."

O, the humanity!

The sport is popular among some Chinese immigrants in Southern California, and the region is home to many of the best players in the nation.

Now, to my mind that's about like being home to the world's shortest giant, but that's probably just me.

Prices have risen 25 percent in recent months, and top of the line shuttlecocks have been going for $25 a dozen as companies compete for limited feathers and players hoard the best birdies.

"If bird flu becomes pandemic, shuttlecock prices could become twofold or threefold higher," said Ahmad Bakar, director of shuttlecock seller Pacific Sports Private Ltd. [...]

Oh, come on now--look at the bright side--if bird flu becomes pandemic, think of how many fewer players there will be!

Anyway, time to drag out the tiny violin.

tiniest violin.jpg

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:08 PM | Comments (4)

A question for the ages.

"Did you mean giggle?"

Also, a side trip to the psychedelicatessen. Far out, man.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:11 PM | Comments (2)

Do you remember--

--watching Wile E. Coyote assemble that great big Acme electromagnet in a cave, and it started grabbing stuff like cars and satellites and finally a huge missile and then blowed up?

That was pretty cool.

But not nearly as cool as this, via The Straight Dope's Weird Earl's feature: DANGER! Flying Objects!

See, it turns out that the "M" in MRI stands for Magnetic, and when they turn on the juice, you better make sure you're not standing between the doughnut and that unsecured toolbox...

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

I realize it's hard to categorize, but...

...when you think of Possumblog, would you describe it as a "Group blog on current trends in news and politics"? Nah, probably not, BUT I AM NONETHELESS thankful to Eponym.com for thinking enough of Possumblog to name it as their blog of the day.

One of the things that has been consistent about Possumblog over the years is its maddening refusal to be placed in a category, and I kinda like it that way. And I hope you do, too.

UPDATE: The very nice support folks at Eponym made a correction to the listing to note that I am Supreme Possumblog Editor, Chancellor, President, and Exhalted Ruler, but also went to the trouble to ask if I had a description I thought might be more descriptive. I suggested this one: "Blog with a humorous take on current trends in a wide variety of subjects, including news, politics, entertainment, history, work, religion, family, and vicious animals."

Yes, I realize I might get into trouble for lying about the humorous part.

UPDATE: AND I forgot to mention it, but hello to those of you who clicked over here out of curiosity. Please do not be put off by the lack of content--once you get used to it, I hear it's very refreshing. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment (as long as it is nice--I live for constant positive reinforcement), and come back again soon.

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

And another weekend.

Friday--got home and ran outside to cut the grass before it started raining. Grass above ankle high. Made two passes on the side of the house, went to dump the grass catcher, mower started getting bogged down in a pile of pine straw before finally chuffing to a stop. Emptied bag, tried to recrank the mower. Nothing.

For the next thirty minutes tried desperately to get the mower cranked again. No dice.


Gave up.

Later had to go back to in-laws' house to pick up the three littler kids who'd wanted to stay and watch some sort of Disney dreck on cable. Arranged to borrow father-in-law's mower should the need arise.

Saturday morning, more threat of rain. Go out and get mower, cranks right up. HOORAY! Begin running back and forth like a madman trying to cut grass. Get side of house done, go to empty bag. Can't get it cranked, again.

Go inside, call father-in-law, beg for lawnmower. He brings his over in a little while, and boy, is it FAST. Manage to finish front and back just in time to beat the rain.

Take mower back, stop off at carwash place and finally get carpet cleaned. Boy goes with me and points out every single cheap doodad for sale in the waiting area.

Back to home, where I find out that a certain oldest child of mine has wheedled Mom about wanting to go to the Galleria to spend the gift certificate she'd gotten for volunteering at the hospital. No getting out of this one, I'm afraid.

And thus started the clean-up ritual, because I knew if we didn't get them all scrubbed and their hair washed before we left, we'd be too tired to do it when we got home. Wound up not leaving the house until 5:30.

Parked, went in, and left Reba and the two older girls in Belk's, while I did duty with Boy and Cat. First stop, the video game store. Stood around as they played with everything and watched people. A clot of nearly naked teen girls. An older guy with his wife playing NCAA Football. (Tennessee versus Miami--from what I could tell, both teams were getting beat.) Several yutes in do-rags and gigantic baggy basketball jerseys. A large longhaired guy. A lanky slack-faced goober with a neck tattoo and a girlfriend who looked like a model. The video game store truly is a melting pot of society.

Boy found a game he wanted--Cars. He really likes Mater, for some reason. He went to pay for it, the cashier rang it up--"Give him you money, Buddy." He'd brought along his birthday money. I thought. "Mom has it."


Told the clerk to hold on a minute, we went back to Belk's and found the girls, got the cash, and returned. Waited. Waited. Cat went back to playing with a Nintendo DS. Waited. Reba came by and said they were decamping to go to Parisian. I said okay. And noticed they didn't have anything. FINALLY got the game paid for, and once again we were on our way.

CAROUSEL! Boy was much too mature to want to be seen on the carousel, so Catherine and I clambered aboard for a quick ride. She has always loved carousels--her wild side seems to crave that swirly feeling. Soon enough, back off and we gathered up Boy for the next stop.

Seems Mom had promised Catherine a trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop, where large amounts of cash are converted into a small stuffed animal that is indistiguishable from any other stuffed animal except for the fact that you got to see someone ram a metal tube into its guts and give it a big shot of polyester fibers. We decided to go by there and let Cat shop a bit before meeting back up with Mom and girls for supper. It was at this time that Boy decided HE wanted an animal of some sort, too.

I don't know why.

In some ways, it's nice to still have my little boy around, but in other ways, you wonder to yourself if twelve isn't just a bit too old to be quite so enamored of a stuffed animal. Especially when he wouldn't DARE get on the carousel.

Anyway, I err on the expensive side. At least it's HIS money. "Are you SURE you want to spend the rest of your birthday money on a stuffed animal?"

Oh, you betcha.

After they scoped out the available animal options, we went back to the food court to wait on the other half of the family, and upon their arrival, we began the delicate process of deciding what to eat. EVERYTHING! Because to order from one place would simply be too easy, that's why.

But first, a table. Or tables. Found three square ones set together, except one of them had goop on it. Rice, I think. Luckily, there was a girl nearby cleaning up. I walked over as she swept under an adjacent table.


She kept on sweeping. There was a cloth and a bottle of spray stuff on the table, so I know she was cleaning tables, too. Maybe she just couldn't hear me.


I was directly in her field of vision. I was standing on one side of the table she was sweeping under. "EXCUSE ME, MISS."

She just kept right on ignoring me in the most blatant possible way imaginable.

I looked over to the small table to my left. At it sat an ancient old fellow who looked just like Burt Mustin. Who? Oh, you know him--this guy, seen here playing the part of Jud Crowley along with Howard "Floyd" McNear:

jud and floyd.jpg

Looked like him right down to the fedora. I glanced at him with a bemused look and he just sort of smiled and shook his head. I started just to grab the bottle of cleaner and the towel, but thought better of it. Went and got some napkins and wiped off the table leavings, and then we set about to go hunt and gather.

Catherine and I got gyros, Boy got shrimp teriyaki, Ashley got sesame chicken, Reba got chicken teriyaki, and Rebecca, after everyone else had just about gotten through eating, decided she wanted something from Taco Bell.

Which was absolutely the filthiest, slowest place in the entire place. What a dump.

After eating our fill, it was time to go on to the bear place. Catherine picked out a puppy, and Jonathan settled on a monkey. Voice box, little stuffed heart, blow in the filling, pull the strings tight--as the girl who was running the machine alternately coughed and sneezed all over herself and wiped her nose with her hand and left a big wad of ooze on her sleeve. Ick.

Then for the clothes, which apparently was too much for Oldest--jealous, it seems, that stuffed animals were getting clothes while she was being sorely neglected. She and Reba went on to go see if they could find anything for her, while I stayed to finish up the bedecking and the paying. Panties, shoes, skirt and top for Catherine's puppy--now named Moonlight, and boxers, jams, shirt, and shoes for Jonathan's monkey--now named Monkey Boy.

Vast outlay of cash.


On back to the tables at the food court to wait. 9 o'clock, and the maintenance guys descend en masse to clean the place up. Amazing amount of litter, considering the fact that they had such a studious and conscientious girl working in the same area earlier with her little broom and bottle of cleaning solution.

Ashley and Reba finally showed up, with nothing to show for their efforts, which had put Oldest in an even nastier disposition, if such was possible. Home, and to bed.

Sunday, rain.

Got ready for church, which yesterday was one long uninterrupted thing. On fifth Sundays we have a potluck, and then have our evening worship right afterwards. Which means a LOT of very sleepy people. And after that, I had another meeting, so by the time we left, we'd been at the building for six straight hours. Which is kind of a long time.

Home, finish up the laundry, listen to it rain some more, during one dry spell Catherine went outside to play with the kitten, who decided to run to the neighbor's yard and explore their dog, which in a change from usual practice was not in its pen, and thus began to bark and chase said kitten, causing it to run up a tree, causing said Catherine to attempt to get kitten down from tree, causing kitten to go nuts and start flailing away at child, inflicting a variety of wounds upon her upper torso and limbs. One day, she's gonna learn to stay away from his claws when he's upset.

All in all, just another one of your run-of-the-mill weekends.

Now then, I have dumb ol' work to do.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:05 AM | Comments (11)

July 28, 2006

Another week

You know what I need to do? Cut the grass. It's been something like three weeks or more. The first couple were fine, because it was so dry, but then last week we had several good showers and with the fertilizer I'd put down a month ago, the whole place came roaring back to life and so now the front yard looks more like the deep rough than the fairway. Aside from the peculiar alternating stripes of two different colors of green.

Derndest thing I've ever seen. I was careful when I used the fertilizer spreader, and made sure to not skip anything. But now there are strips that are deep green Bermuda, with equally wide strips of lighter green wide-bladed something-or-other. That's gonna look weird after it's cut, I fear.

Eh. Whatever.

It might be easier to get excited about yardwork except I seem preternaturally tired this week. I don't know what it is, but whatever it is, it's been accompanied by a startling array of weirdly vivid (or vividly weird) dreams. And none of them really good, if you know what I mean, but things like hanging around a club of some sort that has a faux tin-roof-biker bar/roadhouse-shack-decor section, and everyone's very excited because Taylor Hicks is going to ride a chopper right through the middle of it! Except the big burly lifestyle-biker guy who owned the bike couldn't get it cranked. Stuff like that. And lots of it. I wake up tired, and go to bed tired.

Add to this the fact that there's a lot of bad junk going on out in the real world--both in the big sense of world events and in the smaller sense of folks I know who are going through their own tribulations. Such things are very frustrating for guys like me--I like to think that given a firm place to stand and a long enough lever, I can move the world--but when it turns out that you've issued a toothpick for a lever, and you have to wear ice skates, it's just off-putting. And then, you find out that you can't actually touch the toothpick except on Tuesday afternoon between 2:33 and 2:35. And you have to loop a rubber band around it. And sing a Conway Twitty song.

I think it is time.

I have held off for a long time, but I think it's finally time.

I'm going to go home and watch my never-opened Blazing Saddles 30th Anniversary Special Edition DVD that I got for Christmas, including every special feature on it.

Laughter make Mongo feel better!

Among other things.

ANYway, all of you have a restful weekend, and we'll see you all again come Monday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:28 PM | Comments (0)

Truer words...

[...] News may be transmitted via e-mail, but not everything transmitted via e-mail is news. And evidently, not everything reported in the news is news, either.

...were never spoken.

I blame global warming.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

Of course not.

Owen Wilson says 'Dupree' is no rip-off

...unless you decide you want to see it bad enough to actually pay to go see it. And you know, still, the popcorn is a bigger rip-off.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)


Dr. Smith (who is a real doctor by the way), mentioned to me that Catherine's registration yesterday must have been uneventful since I've said nothing about it.

And he is correct. Showed my papers, paid my money, picked up my stuff, and was back in the car in less than fifteen minutes.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

AGAIN with the server troubles!

People who send comment spam are evil, and should be beaten with shovels.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:11 PM | Comments (2)

For all those who say the United Nations is anti-Semitic...

...well, maybe so, but I think the following proves that they have a VERY firm grasp of the concept of chutzpah: U.N. panel takes U.S. to task over Katrina

By BRADLEY S. KLAPPER, Associated Press Writer

GENEVA - The United States must better protect poor people and African-Americans in natural disasters to avoid problems like those after Hurricane Katrina, a U.N. human rights panel said Friday.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee said poor and black Americans were "disadvantaged" after Katrina, and the U.S. should work harder to ensure that their rights "are fully taken into consideration in the reconstruction plans with regard to access to housing, education and health care." [...]

Up is down, left is right, Betty is Wilma...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

Ask Dr. Possum

Questions? Oh, sure---people come here all the time for answers to questions. Because they know that I am a highly qualified and skilled doctor of some sort*, and they KNOW they can get the right answer. Such as the person who landed here by wondering Is it okay to eat a tomato that a mouse took a bite out of?

Believe it or not, ALL tomatoes sold in the United States are REQUIRED to have a bite taken out by a mouse to ensure the product is safe!


Oh, okay--so that's not really true. BUT IT COULD BE!

Anyway, from purely a practical standpoint, aside from it being really creepy to find nibble marks, you really have to figure that tomatoes out in the field probably have all sorts of critters a'biting on them before YOU get them in the store. If the bite was big enough to notice, I would probably not eat it, just to keep from getting all weirded out by the thought of a greasy little rodent scampering all over the tomato with his nasty little clawed feet and his hairy little plague infected body. But hey, that's just me. No telling how many things we eat that have been bitten on without even realizing it. Well, until we come down with an inexplicable disease.

In a not quite scientific related vein, we have a young reader who came by recently wanting to know: "what kind" of bracelets should 7th graders wear Judging strictly based upon the 7th graders with whom I have come into personal contact, I would suggest a pair of Smith & Wesson Model 300P Hinged Nickel Handcuffs with Push Pin Double Locking System.

NOW THEN--we open the comment lines for any of the rest of you who have any sorts of problems requiring a doctor's* attention, ask away, and remember--this advice is worth twice what you pay for it!

*Disclaimer--there is very strong circumstantial evidence that Dr. Possum is not actually a doctor, so it is advised that you not heed anything he says unless it's true. And maybe not even then.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:41 AM | Comments (19)

I suppose it's slightly better...

...than our electronic message boards around here, that usually don't have anything useful on them.

Steevil (who is not a sock puppet) sends along this article about getting the most out of what you've been given:

Emergency Signs Used to Promote Fish Fries

NEWPORT, Ind. Jul 27, 2006 (AP)— State homeland security officials have warned Vermillion County to stop using electronic emergency message boards to advertise fish fries, spaghetti dinners and other events.

Homeland Security, which bought the 11 signs for $300,000, said the county could risk losing federal money. The county has stopped using the signs for the community announcements, and commissioners plan discuss the matter next week.

The president of the County Commissioners said Homeland Security is interfering with local governing.

"We run the county," Commissioner Tim Wilson said. "We make decisions to run the county on what's best for us. Did we misuse (the signs)? Or did we just run the county as we saw fit?"

Hmm. Sounds like someone thinks awfully much of himself. But you know, when you feed at the Federal trough, there is a certain protocol, and believe it or not, Federal rules trump those of Vermillion County. Yeah, hard to believe, I know.

Not to say the Feds are all that smart--I'm still trying to come to grips with the idea that Vermillion County (2000 population: 83,919) needs eleven message boards, considering that Jefferson County has just 14, even though it has a population of 662,000, and serves as the state's transportation hub.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)


What better way to forget the woes of the world than by looking at a fluffy kitten!

Of course, it would help if the stinkin' thing would HOLD STILL. I had the camera out yesterday evening and succeeded in getting only two shots where you could actually even tell there was a cat in the photo.

This one is from up under the rose bushes--

--and this is one from later where we caught him after he'd been running full tilt all over the place; so hard, in fact, that he was panting like a dog from the exertion--

Now then, having dispensed with all the cuteness I was able to capture, it's time for something REALLY GROSS!

Just remember, you were warned.

As I was sitting there on the stone bench in my shorts, I thought you whippersnappers might like to see what the world was like before arthroscopic surgery.

SO, in the spirit of LBJ showing off his gall bladder scar, here is my left knee--


It's not quite as prominent as it used to be, but then again, it has been 28 years.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:10 AM | Comments (4)

July 27, 2006

Hey, it's about time...

...to go do the school registration thing!


See all of you tomorrow--or at least the ones of you who aren't imaginary.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

Steevil's Quote O'the Day!

Steevil nominates the last sentence herein:

A man who took a machete into a South Auckland gun shop today is in hospital, after he was shot in the stomach. [...]

Two women who work in nearby buildings said there was no obvious incident.

The first they knew of the shooting was when the police and an ambulance arrived.

"We are right next door and because it is such an industrial area there are big concrete walls between and I didn't hear anything and didn't see anything," said one worker who did not want to be named.

"There wasn't an obvious gunshot or anything like that," she said.

She said going into a gunshop with a machete was not the smartest thing for anyone to do. [...]

Yes, we've said it many times--never bring a knife to a gunfight. Even if it's a great big knife.

(H/T Kim du Toit)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:30 PM | Comments (4)

Well, I suppose everyone has their own tastes.

But, still, you gotta think something might be wrong with the folks at something called Top Gear magazine. What's The Sexiest Car In The World?

The humble Fiat 500 has beaten the likes of Lotus and Lamborghini to take the title of the world's sexiest car. According to Top Gear magazine the 500 has "the allure of the wholesome and uncomplicated". "Everyone, from strapping blokes to fainting flowers of womanhood, looks sexually charged behind its wheel," the magazine wrote.

"It works irrespective of age, beauty, wealth and position; even a nun in a 500 seems to telegraph a faint tingle of the procreative urge." [...]

Ick. I'd rather not read a sentence containing both "nun" and "tingle."

As for their choice--the 500 is undeniably cartoony cute, fun, cheeky, etc., but sexy?


Well, I suppose if you think Minnie Mouse is hot, I guess it could be, but if your tastes in sexy run more toward the type defined by the amply-hipped signorina to the right of the Fiat, then seems like it would be awfully difficult to think of the Fiat the same way.

As for the rest of the list, this is it:

2. Aston Martin DB5


Okay, that's a pretty good one, although more of a masculine sexy than feminine sexy. But still a good choice.

3. Maserati Quattroporte

Of all the Maseratis ever built, and they pick the Quattroporte!?

Of course, they might be thinking of the newer model which, in fairness, is attractive, but to me the name has long been associated with this lamentable pile of crap, the Quattroporte III of the 1980s--

quattroporte III.jpg

4. Chevrolet Camaro

Again, with there being four different generations of Camaro, it's hard to tell which one they picked, or even why they'd pick the Camaro over the Corvette, or if they insist on picking the Camaro, why they don't at least throw a bone to its brother the Firebird. Probably because they're a bunch of European gits who were thumbing through a car calendar that had a Camaro in it. ANYway, I like the Camaro and Firebird, but the early second generation cars are my favorites--and oddly enough, they were hammered by the American hot rodder press at their introduction for looking too European.

Here's a 1970 Z/28--


(Stolen from here)

and here's a nice 1970 (1/2) Trans-Am--

trans am.bmp

5. Citroen C6

I repeat my "European git" remark. Although I suppose you could call it attractive, it's not sexy at all. Let's just face facts--Citroens exist only to be weird, not sexy. Sorta like a Goth stripper who works at a nude juice bar and keeps a severed hand in her apartment. If there was every a Citroen that was almost sexy, I think you'd have to give it to the SM (which doesn't stand for what you think it does).


But it was still weird, no matter what. And undependable. Something more along the lines of Sean Young during her James Woods period.

6. Lincoln Continental

::sigh:: WHICH ONE!? There was the original 1940 version which is stately and beautiful, but as sexy as Queen Elizabeth II, and the 1955 Mark II version which is breathtakingly elegant, but sorta not all that sexy-looking per se. And then there was every other thing that came down the pipe afterwards with the name Continental on it. NOT TO BE CONFUSED, however, with the--

7. Bentley Continental S1 Fastback

mulliner bentley.jpg

Now that's a car--but sexy more in the mature, full-figured, Maureen O'Hara kind of way, which is a very good sexy, but admittedly a more grown-up type. (Update--the picture I had up there was a James Young-bodied coupe, which looks slightly different from the Mulliner-bodied fastback.)

8. BMW M1

Eh. Nice car, rare, fast, all that. Eh.

9. Rolls-Royce Phantom

::sigh:: Well, maybe these guys DO think QEII is sexy. Sorry, guys--but there has never been a sexy Roller.

10. Sally the Porsche 911 Carrera (cartoon car)

Y'know, they probably never even figured out that the reason Sally Carrera is sexy is because the voice and mannerisms are those of the earthy, corn-fed Midwestern goddess Bonnie Hunt, who is American, and not some weird German girl who likes body-building and techno music.

My list? In no particular order (and yes, I know there's only eight):

Jaguar E-type
Lamborghini Miura
Ferrari 365 GTB/4, S/4 Daytona
'63-'67 Corvette
Ford GT40
Mercedes-Benz 300SL
Maserati Ghibli
Lotus Elite

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:50 AM | Comments (22)

I was wondering...

...what with all the sock-puppet controversy currently a'raging, do all of my imaginary friends count as sock puppets, or do they get to have their own real-person status since none of them agree with me?

Except for Chet the E-Mail Boy, who KNOWS which side his bread is buttered on. Or, you know, where that box of corn flakes comes from.

ANYWAY, if they all are still considered sock puppets, do I actually HAVE to cover my hand with a button-eyed sock while typing defamatory comments about myself, or is that more for dramatic effect in photos?

Do each one of them have to have to be equally unhinged, or can some of them be a bit more sane than others?

Do I have to withhold FICA and Social Security from their checks, or do they fall under the category of independent contractors?

If one of them tries to strangle me, do I report that to the police, or just take that as an expression of its impotent rage, directed at me only because I am a convenient symbol of oppression, and therefore excuse it as regrettable, but inevitable?

If one of my sock puppet/imaginary friends insults another one of my personalities/dopplegangers, are they supposed to fight that out in the comments, or should they take that offline and and merely exchange threatening e-mails with each other?

I tell you--this blogging stuff has REALLY gotten confusing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:57 AM | Comments (12)

A Nice Idea

Via Snopes.com, a program by the United States Post Office to help you mail things to troops

Since the preponderance of "free merchandise" offers promoted via e-mail turn out to be nothing but hoaxes and pranks targeted at the gullible, we're pleased whenever we can announce that such an offer is genuine, especially so in this case as the ultimate beneficiaries are the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who are stationed overseas.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) will supply for free, to anyone who asks, specially packaged Priority Mail supplies for shipping "care kits" to members of the U.S. military stationed overseas. [...]

It's a very handy service, in that it gives you a nice sampler of boxes and things to use, and they'll deliver it right to you--and again, for free.

I went to the USPS website to see what the deal was, and noted that not only do they have these type of prepackaged items, ANY of the Priority Mail materials can be ordered without charge (aside from the stuff that is prestamped with postage). They have a lot of free stuff, as a matter of fact, and that's pretty neat.

And then, there is the stuff you pay for--would you like a novel about a postal detective? A CD of the Postal Service Band? A Marylin Monroe teddy bear? Or maybe an Elvis bear is more your style? Howzabout a mambo lapel pin?

What a country.

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


Well, well, WELL! Seems that Catherine's registration goes all the way to 6 this evening, so I figure there's no reason to burn up vacation hours during the day, and will go and turn in her papers after work. Meaning I have more time today for...



If everyone's servers aren't blowed up real good today, I should be able to do a bit more frivilous Possumblogging today than yesterday, but I doubt it's gonna be one of those days where I get in fifteen posts full of pith and vinegar.

Just remember--the lower your expectations, the more you'll enjoy it here!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:57 AM | Comments (2)

July 26, 2006

And then...

...not only has today been devoid of content, TOMORROW will be as well, at least for the morning--I have to get Catherine registered for school, and so I have to go do that before doing anything else.

Downside? Yet another reason for my carefully nurtured readership to switch to more entertaining fare, such as listening to Ed Flemder's podcast of him reading from Loomis' Advanced Hydraulic Slurry Metering and Control, (5th Edition).

Upside? Large amounts of exceedingly attractive women.

So, you know, I guess it all evens out.

ANYWAY, thanks for stopping by and listening to me be pitiful today, and maybe tomorrow, if the Internets don't spring a leak, we might actually have some fun!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

We are pleased to announce...

...the thin, tepid flow of increativity that is the hallmark of Possumblog HAS BEEN RESTORED!

This was made much more difficult than usual by the fact that someone here in the building must have tripped over the power cord to the Internet and yanked it out of the socket, resulting in a complete loss of the ability to access the outside world.

Aside, from, you know, actually going outside.

Or picking up the phone.

ANYway, it wasn’t working for many precious hours--from about 10 this morning until now.

And Possumblog was restored despite the fact that several of you chose to defy my warnings, and touched the handwheel of the stupidity valve in an entirely inappropriate way.

You will be dealt with appropriately.

This whole deal with the machinery has really gotten frustrating--if it’s not server problems with Mu.nu, it’s some sort of computer weirdness going on here, or alternately, some wildly stupid exercise in futility assigned to me by my superiors that does nothing but waste massive amounts of time and paper.

It all makes me wonder if it’s not some sort of cosmic e-mail telling me it’s time to just give up.

The whole thing here is based on spur-o’the-moment inanity (with occasional flashes of undisguised lucidity), most of it relying heavily on commenting on stuff I see on the Web. THAT, in turn, requires the ability to quickly grab and link stuff and throw a few mildly comedic gems in for good measure--all on the fly. If I can’t do that, then all I can do is sit here and do my paying work (which makes my head hurt), or sit here and come up with long, deep, lovingly crafted works that require actual thought and reasoning (which makes my head hurt). Oh, sure, I could do what I’m doing right now--whiling away some time between typing up meeting minutes to type up something with all the snap of a wet tissue, but I don’t think that would live up even to the lowest expectations you might have ever harbored toward Possumblog.

Or maybe it would.

In either case, Possumblog has always been my way of running away and joining the circus, made all the more enjoyable by the fact that I could stay inside in the air conditioning, not have to wear sequined tights (usually), eat something other than three-day-old hot dogs, and not have to smell elephant dung (usually). But when the circus train keeps derailing, it makes it very hard to have anything to run away to when the mood strikes. Oh, sure--there’s that rickety carnival set up in the K-Mart parking lot, but the guy who runs the airplane ride who has the tattoo on his chest of his internal organs frightens me. And let’s face it--it’s not really a circus, is it?

I could be a hobo, I suppose, but eating beans out of a can is only fun for about a week, and then it gets old. And let’s face it--hopping rides on rail cars just isn’t as glam as it used to be. And Glenn Reynolds is always stalking you so he can kill you just for kicks. That’s certainly a strike against it.

Cowboy? Well, there’s guns, which is good, but you also have to work hard--even the shiftless ne’er-do-wells have a lot of prep work to do. And there’s all that dust. And cows. And other cowboys. Probably several of whom thought Brokeback Mountain was a thoughtfully-crafted and timeless love story.

I have thought about running away and becoming a steamboat pilot like Mark Twain--that would be cool. Except steamboats are all floating casinos now and don’t actually go anywhere. And further, reports of Mark Twain’s death are greatly unexaggerated.

Maybe I could be an astronaut--I know Steevil, and he’s a rocket scientist and all, so that would give me an in. You get nifty coveralls to wear, and Dippin’ Dots ice cream, and get to hang around smart people, and--hmm. There’s a drawback. I think you’re supposed to be really smart at doing something to be an astronaut, and I don’t mean stuff like folding paper or arranging pencils. Then again, maybe that lack of skill could be my specialty--they could use me as an experiment and see if I get smarter in space. I mean, if they were willing to send up monkeys, surely they’d be willing to try out a blogger! And I DO like bananas!

Hmph. Maybe I just need a walk around the park.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:41 PM | Comments (9)

July 25, 2006


HEY! I can do sound effects! That one was of the big cast iron wheel that controls the valve that controls the spew of drabness flooding out of Possumblog as it was turned to the OFF position. (This is a picture of the valve itself--it is a new one that replaced the old one that broke.) I have my usual every-other-Wednesday meeting tomorrow morning, and thus there will be nothing in the way of regular blather output until sometime later in the day. All of you are free to wander about the grounds, but PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE BIG CAST IRON WHEEL! It is dangerous and should only be touched by those with proper training.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:38 PM | Comments (8)

Not too many years ago...

...all the people who get het up over silly "safety hazard" things such as nuclear tipped lawn darts and chocolate-flavored rat poison were called the "rubber sidewalk brigade," a derisive term used to describe folks who wouldn't be satisfied until the whole world was comfy and safe from even the potential of a scratched knee.

Little did anyone suspect--New rubber sidewalks easier on the joints

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pounding the pavement is getting a little easier on people's knees in many cities around the country. For reasons of safety and ease of maintenance, Washington and dozens of other communities are installing rubber sidewalks made of ground-up tires. [...]

Should've never said anything.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:16 PM | Comments (9)

Me? Oh, nothing bothers me.

From Kitchen (and Volvo) Hand, a recitation of the things that make eating at a restaurant less than ideal.

My peeves? Well, let's see--#1--I surely don't like slow service. I'm one of those people with kids, and although they DO know how to behave in public, they ARE children and after waiting forever do tend to get squirmy and uncouth and bothersome of others. So get the vittles out pronto, Dude.

#2--Dude. I don't like it if you're duller than a rusty butter knife, Dude, so if you don't know what's on the menu, and don't care to find out, maybe it would be better to consider alternative employment.

#3--Lying to me about the service. I have never believed you when you tell me that the kitchen is backed up because one big table came in and ordered stuff. To me, one big table of twenty is not any differenter than five tables of four, ESPECIALLY when the dining room is very nearly empty anyway. So don't say that, just say something like, "I messed up and forgot to put in your order," or "the cook walked out, but first he peed in the soup."

#4--Don't get my order wrong, and then blame me. I know where they keep the knives, so don't make me go get one.

#5--Boy, I hate to say this one, but service that's TOO friendly. Longtime readers will remember Jennifer, the World's Best Waitress, who used to work at a chain restaurant close to where we went to church. She was absolutely fantastic--fast, efficient, friendly, knowledgeable, attractive beyond belief, and one of those nice people who's nice even when you're not the customer.

We were so impressed by her solicitude and all-around appeal that we got to where we would make a point of asking for her. We'd have a nice chat about non-restaurant stuff--kids, school, home repairs. But we did notice that the service began to slip a bit. And no matter how much I enjoyed talking to her (and it was a lot, because, I must mention again, she was REALLY attractive), there was a line that was crossed that I didn't particularly feel good about--when she would greet us and then have a seat with us to chat.

Look, I know it must be some sort of snobby classism or something (you know, because I'm so high falutin' and all), and I'm sure I'm evil for it, but if Kitchen Hand's notion of a restaurant being theater is right (and I think it is), then I'd like it if the traditional roles of staff and patron be respected. It's not that I expect toadying obsequies at every turn, and not that I think I'm too good to eat with the help, but everyone has something to do, and in the food business, that means getting the food orders to the kitchen and the food from the kitchen to the table. Although I enjoyed immensely having the company of not one but TWO attractive women to flirt with, I really just would have preferred getting my food. Add to this the expectation that I would continue to tip as well as I had in the past (when we were less familiar, and got better service deserving of a good tip) and, well, it made for something less enjoyable than it should have been.

#6--Dirty restrooms. Ick.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:31 PM | Comments (3)

Mother of the Year Nominee!

As well as for "Understatement of the Year"...

[...] "She has a flair for the dramatic," her mother told the newspaper for Tuesday's editions. "I have never tried to stop my children from doing whatever they want. As long as they are happy, aren't hurting anyone, and it's keeping them out of the poor house." [...]

You tell 'em, Mom!

As for the rest of the story, it's really more about her daughter rather than her.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:53 AM | Comments (9)

From the Department of Redundancy Department

Police launch death probe after man found dead in swimming pool

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

As you know...

...for the past years since the birth of Possumblog, I have included a weekly quote below the blogroll. I've seen a bunch of them in that time, but Steevil sent me a list this morning of some that I thought were pretty darned funny. As with all these sorts of passed-around lists, there may be some in there that are misattributed, so before you whip one of them out to try to resurrect your political career (like a certain junior senator from Massachusetts and his misquotation of Jefferson) you might want to check them first before they become seared--seared--in your memory. Or not.

Anyway, here goes:

Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, "Lillian, you should have remained a virgin."
-- Lillian Carter (mother of Jimmy Carter)

I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: "No good in a bed, but fine against a wall."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement.
-- Mark Twain

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.
-- George Burns

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.
-- Victor Borge

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
-- Mark Twain

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
-- Socrates

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
-- Groucho Marx

My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.
-- Jimmy Durante

I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.
-- Zsa Gabor

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.
-- Alex Levine

My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.
-- Rodney Dangerfield

Money can't buy you happiness ... but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.
-- Spike Milligan

I am opposed to millionaires...but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.
-- Mark Twain

Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was SHUT UP.
-- Joe Namath

I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.
-- Bob Hope

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

Fun Auburn History!

I got an e-mail from Kenny Smith this morning, who noted that he'd managed to snag a nice bit of Auburniana over at Reed Books--a blue pennant with the Auburn name on it, along with the old Alabama Polytechnic Institute seal.

Kenny wondered when people started calling the college located in Auburn "Auburn" rather than "A.P.I." or "A&M" or whatever, and I got to wondering myself. I told Kenny I figured the usage probably predated the official name change in 1959 by several years, but still, there's nothing like doing some research.

SO, off to the Auburn University Digital Library, where they have all kinds of good stuff available online. First stop was the photos, where I found a couple that seemed to indicate the interchangeability of Auburn and A.P.I was relatively old, such as this one of some guys loitering at the train station. As you can see from the modern caption that quotes a book written in 1901--

[...] A seasoned conductor on the Atlanta & West Point line might have doubted this picture. "I believe they is wuss than Injuns!" such a conductor told Professor James P.C. Southall, who was taking his first ride to Auburn and a teaching job there in 1901. "They don't mean no harm, they's jes' full of life an' up to all kinds of devilment from mornin' to night, and at night too. They never wait for the train to stop, but climbs on board and jumps off again. . . Folks say Auburn's the bes' all-'roun school in these parts, not excep'in the University at Tuscaloosa or even Georgia Tech in Atlanta. . ." (Quotation reprinted from Southall's Memoirs of The Abbots of Old Bellevue with the permission of the University of Virginia.)

--it appears that even by 1901 or so, "Auburn" seemed to be common enough for the train conductor to use it when talking about the school, rather than the town.

But an even better source might be the yearbooks--Auburn has a nice online collection of Glomeratas, including one from 1897.

There are probably many pages where it has similar language, but if you look at this page from the athletic section and read all the way down close to the bottom, you will see this quote:

"In looking back through all these seasons of good and bad luck, it may not be difficult to pick out a team that would well represent Auburn's development in football [...]"

(coached by none other than John Heisman, Ed.), and if you flip through to the following page, it has similar wording about the baseball team.

Another quote of interest can be found on this page, which not only uses the name "Auburn," but also gives us some insight on the students enrolled there:

"The average Auburn cadet is 19 years, 1 month and 10 days old, is 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall, and weighs 144 3/4 pounds. The average co-ed. is 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 109 pounds, and as to their age--well, for fear of trouble, we will leave that to be guessed." [...]

Heh. Indeed.

As I told Kenny, I think it's probably a pretty safe assumption that people have been using Auburn as the name of the school for a long, LONG time.

One place I also decided to look was the collection of old football programs, some dating back to 1938. None of them say anything other than "Auburn," and there's not an A.P.I. seal anywhere amongst them.

To spark a bit of controversy, many people express confusion over the term "War Eagle" and Auburn's official team name, Tigers. Want to make an Auburn fan mad? Say something like, "Boy, those War Eagles suck." They'll ignore the insult part and jump on you to correct you-- "HEY! We're the TIGERS! "War Eagle" is a battle cry!" or somesuch. Not that I have EVER done such a thing...

Anyway, what caught my eye was this program from the 1938 game against Birmingham-Southern. Look down there at the bottom--"The War Eagles."


I think this was supposed to be the name of the program--The War Eagle--because it was corrected in subsequent programs, such as this cute one from the Mississippi State game. After the '38 season, it looks like they dropped that name for the more prosaic "Official Program" moniker.

To leave you with a final mystery, did Marilyn Monroe ever visit Auburn?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:13 AM | Comments (4)

From The "I am shocked, SHOCKED!" File

Winner of Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo stripped of title

How could this happen!?

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The winner of the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo has been stripped of his title after taking a lie detector test that gave "unfavorable" results.

It is the second time in four years the rodeo's winner has been stripped of his title after taking a polygraph test. [...]


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:26 AM | Comments (5)

Yet again--

--more technical difficulties late yesterday afternoon. I do apologize for this, even though it's beyond my control. It's very frustrating to have a link or something smart-alecky to say and then have the whole works shut down. Mu.nu is in the process of migrating to new servers and new software--not that I understand what that means, other than it's supposed to be more stable and less likely to be brought down by comment spammers.

The move to Minx editing software has me a bit befuddled--I barely know how to use what I've got here with MovableType, and I'm not sure if I'm going to have to go back through and reformat everything or not. I sure hope not.

IN ANY EVENT, hopefully today we won't have anything untoward happen, and the usual stream-of-consciousness "style" of blather you're used to around here will continue unabated.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2006

Well, yes, I'm sure.

Via OTB, this: Dems Promise “Bruising Fight” Over Bolton.

But it might be worth at least considering the bruising could be your own, and that the moral victory inherent in having your butt handed to you in a brown paper bag isn't particularly fulfilling when you get right down to it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

It's that whole "clash of the worlds" scenario.

Estrogen-testosterone combo could up risk

For some reason, a particular song from the Kinks comes to mind...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:24 PM | Comments (5)

In which I am once again called upon...

...to play "Mr. Owl" to the Internet's "little kid who wants to know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop."

Prompted by this query from a Googler who wants to know: percentage of people who finish home study courses after quitting and restarting them for a second time

One, two-HOOO, three...


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

I have a question.

It seems that Hollywood can't quit falling all over itself to make big-screen version remakes of old television shows--next one out is apparently going to be Miami Vice.

I just want to know exactly when someone's gonna get out of his chair and make a movie version of Hee-Haw? I mean, if you're gonna keep doing rip-offs, at least rip-off something good.

And no, this doesn't mean I'm plumping for the Roy Clark role, or even the Junior Samples part. I'm just saying, is all.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

To the young lady...

...driving the ambulance which made a left-hand turn from 3rd Avenue, North onto 23rd Street at approximately 11:50 this forenoon, I have a tip.

Despite what you might believe, if you are not on a call and do not have your lights and siren turned on, you're pretty much no different from any other vehicle.

So, when I am attempting to get into the turn lane on 23rd Street to execute a left-hand turn onto 3rd Avenue, North, and have had to come to a complete stop because you are crowding over into my lane--admittedly, with good cause, since someone in a parking space on the curb was pulling out and not watching--it is NOT the preferred method of dealing with the errant parker by stopping dead in my lane, then reaching up and turning on your SIREN to make him stop so YOU could go on your merry way. This is very loud, and frightens me, and makes me think that you INDEED are possibly on a hot run, rather than just trying to get back to the garage so you can show your bepierced, inked, and pock-marked nether regions to your mouth-breathing lummox of a partner. (Of course, there could have been another reason.)

Next time, please be aware that sometimes drivers do not pay attention, and take it upon yourself to drive defensively. If you see a driver pulling away from a curbside parking space, do NOT attempt to squeeze your way past him, then become hostile when you find you do not have the room to make such a maneuver. Simply stop behind him and allow him to exit the space, and possibly chasten him with a very slight sounding of your vehicle's service horn, and nothing more.

Thank you.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:17 PM | Comments (1)

Well, so--

Went straight to the in-laws' house Friday afternoon after work, and surprisingly, Reba managed to get there before me. Supper, then more food prep for the party, and I got to help hoist folding tables and chairs us from the basement, and for the most part managed not to do much of anything else. I have found it best--even though I am an excellent cook and a good all-around kitchen assistant--that it is MUCH BETTER not to get anywhere in betwixt Reba, her mother, and the food.

They just have a totally different way of working, and it just doesn’t suit me, what with all of its wasted motion and deliberate loud clattering of cookware and obsessive mess-making-then-cleaning. It’s not that they can’t cook--they could go toe-to-toe with anyone, but they’d take twice as long and be twice as loud and twice as messy. (Not that you heard ANY of that from me.) When I cook, I figure out ahead of time what I’ll need and when I’ll need it and where I’m going to put it while I’m working, and do my best not to make a mess that has to be cleaned up later.

So in the end, it’s best I just pretend to be a real man and just go sit in the den, watch TV, grunt, and doze.

Home around 9:30, and the first of many surprises for the weekend to come.

Pulled up in the driveway behind Reba, who’s in the van, Jonathan and I having stopped to put some gas in her Focus. There is much heated discussion going on in the van. I park, go get a package off the front porch, go inside, get the kids putting away the food we brought with us, Oldest comes by and wants paper towels, comes back in five minutes and wants the big 6 volt lantern. “Why do you need that!?”

Mom wants it.” As if to say, ‘and may you drop dead eternally for having the gall to ask ME such a question.’

Go outside to see what the hold-up is. Reba’s bent over the passenger side front seat--“I suppose I shouldn’t ask what’s going on?”

“Well, Ashley accidentally dropped a whole bowl of pork broth into the floor and I’m trying to get it up--it really was an accident and she really was sorry about it.”

“Hmm. Well, she’s recovered quite nicely now and seems back to her old uncontriteness.”

I helped get the front floor mat out and sent her on back inside to finish getting the food put away and wrangle with the children while I cleaned up. Nothing quite like cold greasy pig broth in the floorboard to make you appreciate life, you know? Must have been a gallon down there. Two whole rolls of paper towels, and I still didn’t actually get it all soaked up. The plan was to go take it to the carwash place over the weekend and let them shampoo it.

That never happened.

After getting through with my schmaltz slopping, I pulled the van back inside the garage and rolled down the windows to help it finish drying (I don’t think this worked) and went on inside and upstairs.

My package arrived from Penney’s. Yea! Four pairs of my usual unpleated and uncuffed Haggar pants, and a pair of my usual Florsheim black wing-tips. (The other pair has done well, but the uppers are coming apart, and I did already have them resoled once, so I figure I got my money’s worth out of them.)

Opened up the plastic bag--shoes, okay. Black, navy blue, gray pants--check. Heather blue pants? Uhhh, no. A yellow curtain of the ruffley-lace sort instead. And I have NOTHING to wear that goes with yellow! ::sigh:: A call to customer service, who said she’d send the right pair of pants, and I could take the curtain back to the nearest store for a credit.

Because I didn’t have enough stuff to do, you know.

Then, the phone messages. Wal-Mart, calling to remind us of our eye-exam appointments on Saturday morning. 9, 9:30, 10, 10:30, and 11. Next message, Wal-Mart, calling to tell us that our new fancy-schmancy Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance doesn’t pay for routine eye exams.


I got out my piece of paper--well, it says HERE they do!

Not much else to do but wait until the morning and figure it out.

SATURDAY MORNING--up early to get everyone ELSE up early. Find out the vision center doesn’t open until 9. Call at 9, get a girl who says that someone else called and talked to someone else who said we don’t have coverage. “But you see, I’m looking at our summary of benefits, and it says right here, ‘Routine eye exam--covered at 100% of the allowed amount, subject to $15 co-pay,’ which to me sounds like I have routine eye exam coverage.”


“Uhm, sir, can I call you back?”

But of course.

Wait for fifteen more minutes, and she called back properly humble-ized and apologetic, “I ran off your schedule of coverage and it does say you have routine eye exam coverage.” Well, GEE, whaddya know about THAT! “100%, with a $20 co-pay.”

::sound of me slapping myself::

“Uh, well, no--it should be 15--that’s what our summary says.”

More apologies, but they can only go by what the insurance company tells them, meaning I have to call the insurance company today and find out what’s going on. IN THE MEAN TIME--off to Wally World!

Load the van, head out.

Show the girl my piece of paper saying it’s a $15 co-pay, she shows me the one from Blue Cross that says $20. I throw down my cards and she starts raking the chips toward her side of the table.

Set to work filling out papers on everyone and start shuttling folks into the exam room. Catherine has been complaining of not being able to see the board, yet when she was reading the pretend eye chart out in the lobby, she could read all the way down to 20/15. Which she was ALSO able to do for the doctor. He said she had just about perfect eyes. I don’t know who she got them from. But I’m glad--no glasses for her.

Boy--about the same, no new glasses needed for him.

Rebecca--about the same, no new glasses needed for her.

Ashley--despite much drama (repeated quietly later to mom and dad by the doctor with a wry wink) about being legally blind, only a slight change--no new glasses, but a slight change in the contacts.

Reba--about to the point of having to give up on contacts. She’s decided to try a pair of reading glasses for now, for although her spirit is still that of a winsomely randy bride, her eyes, alas, bear fully her full calendar of years. In other words, her arms are getting too short to read the newspaper. Bifocal time.

Me? I didn’t get an exam. I can still see fine from the last time, and I’m tighter than Scrooge McDuck when it comes to stuff like this. But you know what? It’s time for bifocals for me, too. It finally hit me a while back when I was trying to read one of those silly prize coupons off of a McDonald’s soft drink cup, and couldn’t see it. No matter where I held it. Stupid blurry printing! And then, the other day I was sorting through fuses for the Volvo--they’re little plastic things with barely perceptible amp ratings molded into the body. “Um, hey Catherine--does this say 10 or 15?”

“Daaaad, that says ‘8’!”

“Heh--oh, yeah, ummm--I was just seeing if you could see it!”

::sigh:: Already have terrible myopia, and crazy-go-mad astigmatism, so what’s a little presbyopia thrown into the mix?

So, next year, I figure I take the plunge and ask for some lens help. I figure bifocals (or maybe even some of those progressive lenses) won’t be so detrimental to my hip, swingin’ image if I get me some of those cool Elvis-like frames like Kim Jong Il wears. Of course, I might not be able to wear progressive lenses, since I hear they make things like sawed-off little megalomaniacal dictators look rational.


On over to the in-laws’ place again to help get ready for the big 2:30 shindig, and I wisely absented myself in order to run over to the Penney’s at Century Plaza to take back my curtain pants. HEY! RAIN! We got several good downpours over the weekend. Which made the grass grow and the car wash place close. Which meant there was no going to the carwash place to get the rest of the broth fumes shampooed out of the carpet.

Got my return done with blessedly no problems, then shopped a bit in the store. It’s closing (it’s moving to Trussville--yay!) so they had a sale going on. I bought towels. Not just regular towels but four big giant soft fluffy huge white towels that will ONLY be used in OUR bathroom and will not be sullied by child germs!

Back to the in-laws’, where, after I got in from the rain, I got tasked with warming up the hot wings. (But not hotting up the warm wings.) Fine by me--I got to use the kitchen downstairs (they had a kitchen installed with the idea of having an apartment for themselves downstairs in their golden years, presumably with Reba and me and the children upstairs--I have a feeling I’ll need it before them). Anyway, I did that and it gave me an excuse to hide out in the basement with the kids the entire time. I’m just not good with tightly packed people, even if I do know them all. Makes me all itchy. Much better to be able to sit and watch Fairly Odd Parents and get the kids to run upstairs and get me a plate of food.

Stayed to help clean up, finally got home around 7 or so, and got the kids started on their bathing chores. “Daddy, can I use one of these new towels in--”

“NO! Those are Mommy and Daddy towels and I will eat you if you touch them!”

Finally in bed much too late.

Sunday--up early, get ready for church, go to church, become preoccupied with worldly things such as the building addition, go home for lunch, do piles of laundry, go back to church for a 3:00 o’clock meeting, come BACK home, do more laundry, get everyone in the van and back on the road for evening services, go home, do more laundry and write letters to everyone about the building addition AND manage to buy a rare factory accessory oil filter relocation kit on Ebay for the Volvo. (It’s much easier to change the filter when it’s up high and not down underneath the hot sharp things, you know), AND iron Boy's shirt for his Scout meeting tonight.

Anyway, it was a very non-inactive weekend.

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

My head feels like mush!

With the great flavor of paste!

AS HAS BEEN BECOMING ALL TOO FREQUENT, yet another weekend spent in the middle of a whirlwind, which is obviously my reward for all that sowing of wind in earlier times.

ANYway, I have nothing interesting to report, all of which you will hear about shortly.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2006

English Usage Question

Alright, now.

Or, more particularly, the word alright.

I know it's not "standard," and that you're supposed to use all right, but doggone it, if it's not all right to use alright, why do almighty and already and although and always and albeit and almost and also get a pass!?

I like alright just fine, and it's not right to make one rule for it and not apply the same rule to the other eight I listed. I'm going to keep on using it, but out of curiosity, which version do YOU use?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:44 PM | Comments (6)


Since when did we decide to go and pay for a subscription to the New York Times for Saddam!?

Saddam pins war on Bush, pro-Israel lobby

It's like he's gone and done a cut-and-paste of the editorial page or something. I tell you what--if he starts asking for water and flour and glue, watch out--he's obviously about to make himself a big papier mache head and go on protest march!

Anyway, his apologia reminds me of a trip I took in my senior year of high scho--oh, wait. I've already used that example earlier today.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

Well, now. Meetings DO serve a purpose!

"Keep up the good work," indeed.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

I suspect pirates.

Letter Rs stolen from Ind. signs returned

GREENCASTLE, Ind. (AP) — Dozens of letter Rs swiped last weekend from several businesses' signs were returned in an R-filled box left outside the Greencastle Police Department.

An officer found the box Thursday on the department's front step, said Police Chief Tom Sutherland.

Sutherland said officers don't know why the letters were taken from the signs of several businesses and the marquee of a National Guard post. Officers plan to dust the box and the letters for fingerprints before returning the Rs to their owners.

The weekend caper targeted signs at gas stations, restaurants, repair shops and medical offices in the city of 10,000 people about 40 miles west of Indianapolis.
br>"It's very strange," said Greencastle resident Jessi Boller.

Yep, sure is.

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

Well, because--

Siegelman proclaims his innocence on TV

--everyone KNOWS you can believe it if it's on TV!

I am reminded of a trip our senior class took in high school. We went to Mt. Meigs State Prison in Montgomery, and spent nearly all day there. Not really so much one of those "Scared Straight" programs, but just your general sort of informational field trip things, with murderers instead of museum docents.

Anyway, what was interesting to us all was that every single man there, all the way up to "Dynamite Bob" Chambliss, proclaimed his absolute, unwavering innocence. Not a single man there had ever done anything wrong, much less anything worthy of being in jail. They were all completely not guilty.

"What are you here for?"

"They say I robbed a convenience store and killed a man."

Yes, innocent people are sometimes mistakenly convicted. But not all convicts are innocent, no matter how much they proclaim to the contrary. Or how expensive their suit and shoes might be.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:37 AM | Comments (4)

At last, the secret Crabby Patty formula is safe!

Spanish firm claims it can make oil from plankton



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


Well, now that Lightning has a reputation as a vicious attack cat, let's perpetuate that image, shall we?

First, a photo of him as he sits in his solitary confinement cell, where he spends his days working out with weights and plotting the destruction of those who incarcerated him--

In the next shot, he has been released into the exercise yard, where he brazenly displays a zip gun he has been constructing from contraband.

Finally, a frightening image of him flexing his muscles and staring at an imaginary object as he screams "ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME!?"

Shocking, simply shocking.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:20 AM | Comments (2)

Okay, let's go to the tape and see how we did!

Going back to the first post of yesterday regarding my proposed schedule for yesterday afternoon, let us look and see how close I got.

1. Pick up Ashley at Cooper Green at noon.

Close--it wound up being about 12:10, but the big problem was that I seem to have walked out yesterday morning without the checkbook, necessitating a jaunt in the opposite direction to go get it from Reba at her office.

2. Drive to Grandmom's house, drop off Ashley, pick up Rebecca and Jonathan at around 12:30.

Actually a bit more like 12:45. Oh, and they hadn't had lunch.

3. Drive to middle school to register Rebecca and Jonathan--starts at 1:00, and I have no idea when it's over. Could be quick, could be slow.

Got there at 12:55, sat in the car until the door was opened and we could go in, because it was about 786 degrees outside. The whole thing, even with two kids, only took an hour.

First stop was the table where you show them the raft of documentation required now to enroll: Alabama Power bill, another utility bill, parent's drivers license, residence verification form, stool specimen, copy of deed, immunization form, birth certificate, travel permission, acknowledgement of school rules, and general information sheet. This whole list is accurate, except for one item.

And it might not be the one you think.

Having been cleared for both the 7th and the 8th grader in the family, the next stop was the schedule table, where we picked up their schedules and I got to look at Rebecca and Jonathan's math teacher. One of the primary reasons I never really complain about registration. Unfortunately, there was no one else in front of us in line, and so there was no real reason to stand there and gawk at her beyond the time necessary to exchange the usual pleasantries.

Of all times for something to be run efficiently! Sheesh!

Next stop, paying fees. Out the door, across the courtyard, back inside, and pay for two agenda books, two sets of gym clothes, two hall lockers, two gym lockers, two art fees, a band fee, and a partridge in a pair fee. $169.00. Tears ensue.

Next, an attempt to change the schedule of the Middle Girl, who had really REALLY wanted to take a foreign language as an elective--something fruity and disdainful. I.e., French. However, the only language class is Latin. And she didn't get it anyway--she got her third choice of Art. (First was Yearbook, which she DID get.) "Do you want to take Latin?!" Shoulder shrug. "It's hard." Shoulder shrug, slight nod of the head indicating a lack of concern. "Well, okay--Latin it is. Maybe. If they'll change it." We'll see.

Final stop, gym clothes, where we also turned in one (two) MORE piece(s) of paper, the scoliosis testing form(s). And then...

4. Drop Rebecca and Jonathan back over at Grandmom's and pick up Catherine.

NO! Change in plans! Decided to stop by the vet's office to see if they could change our appointment from 6:00 to 2:ish. YES! Ran up the hill (figuratively), scooped up the kitten, put him in his carrier, and proceeded to skip ahead to Step #6, AND I decided there was going to be NO WAY I could do Step #8. Called the lady at City Hall and said I wouldn't be able to make it.

6. Go home, get Lightning, The World's Most Expensive Free Kitten, stuffed in his carrier, and take him back down the hill for his 6:00 2:20 booster shot appointment.

Things went about like the first time. Sat in the exam room for a minute or two, let him out of his carrier so he could plunder a bit. He jumped on the walls, found the floor-mounted door stop again and began pouncing and arching and swatting at it. Doc stuck his head in, said he'd be with us in a minute. Several minutes passed, Lightning growing more "playful" as the time wore on. Finally, the assistant came in (it would be not be integral to the story to remark that she was young, cute, and blonde, but I will mention it anyway, because she was) and it was as if the kitten had seen a LION. Riding on an ELEPHANT. Holding a SHARK in his mouth!

The cat just went nuts--he bowed up, fuzzed his tail up to the size of a baseball bat when she bent down to get him, hissed like a broken gas main, and grew a fur ridge on his back that looked like a Mohawk, and proceeded to whirl around and latch onto her hand with all his might. He let go for an instant and she tried again to grab him, and he once again repeated all the attacking and this time hit home. The vet came in and got him onto the table, and tried to explain that Lightning might have smelled something like another dog or cat and it set him off. An explanation, however, that did nothing to make up for the damage he'd done--the assistant excused herself to go fix her hand, and as she left, I saw four bright red gouts of blood across the back of her hand as well as one long lurid dripping red gash. Looked like she'd been attacked by a MUCH larger cat. The next assistant--who for some reason was equally young, cute, and blonde came in to take over.

Shot time--rabies and the FeLV booster. And once again, the kitten reacted differently than he did the first time he got a shot, when he sat there quietly and purred. This time he howled like a banshee for both shots, and very nearly broke free from the replacement young cute blonde assistant and clawed her.

We're going to have to have a talk with him, I think.

Paid my $69.60, took kit and kinder back up the hill to the house, unloaded, left instructions not to allow murderers into the house (lest they sue us when they get ripped to pieces by our kitten), and returned to a revised Step #5.

5 (revised). Drive back to Grandmom's, pick up Catherine, and head over to dentist for 4:00 checkup.

3:20 arrival, and we STILL didn't manage to get through until 5:00. No cavities for either of us, although now it seems that CATHERINE needs to consult with the orthodontist. Not enough room for some incisors to come in, it seems. I'm telling you, straight teeth are vastly overrated.

And overpriced. ::sigh::

7. Take him back home, then take Catherine back to Grandmom's house.

Superseded by Step #6 and Step #5 (revised).

8. Drive over to City Hall for my 7:00 zoning board meeting.

Deleted in Step 3.

9. (revised) Drive back to Grandmom's and pick up all four Oldest children and go home to KFC for some supper, seeing as how I was very hungry and had not found time in all of my steps to eat lunch and sure didn't want to go home and try to fix something.


10. Hope against hope that Reba has managed to get away from work and get home.

Nope. Ate, and then waited. And waited. She didn't get home until 9:00.

And today? More of the same on her part. And then when she gets home tonight, it's over to her mom's house to help with preparations for the church get-together her parents have at their house every year. For some reason, I don't think Reba's going to feel much like helping out, but she will anyway.

Finally, 11. Sleep.


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

July 20, 2006

Alrighty, now.

Time for the BUSY part of the day. See you all tomorrow.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

One is reminded...

Annan criticizes both sides in conflict

...of an old joke: Two Jews, sentenced to death by the czar, are before the firing squad. They are offered blindfolds. One says to the officer in charge, "You can stuff your blindfold!" The second Jew responds, "Shh! Don't make trouble!"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:47 AM | Comments (1)


Hyundai says strike has forced it to suspend vehicle exports

In related news, hoopty futures skyrocketed to levels not seen since the exit from the American market of the Renault Alliance.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

I imagine...

Woodpecker halts Ark. irrigation project

...that it's probably a pair of woodpeckers.

You also have to kinda wonder why Noah would be considering an irrigation system, and if gopher wood is just too tough for woodpeckers to peck through.

I say hire the beavers to do it and be done with it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

From Snopes...

...what not to do when you go shopping.

It's pretty funny, even if not strictly true. I will say this--if you ever find yourself late on a Saturday evening in the women's clothing department at the Parisian store at the Summit, it is best if you do not get puckish and sneak up behind a mannequin wearing a slinky red jersey knit halter dress, reach up and quickly snatch loose the knot around her neck. Because if you do this, and if your kids are around, when the stretchy taut fabric slingshots off of the mannequin's nape and leaves her with her tiny smooth hard white plastic breasts exposed, it WILL cause said children to behave in a loud and entirely inappropriate manner with, much laughing and pointing and screeching "DAAAAAADDDEEEEEEEE!"

Forewarned is forearmed.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:26 AM | Comments (2)

Thursday Three Summer Vacation!

As noted many weeks ago, America's Most Popular Party Game, the Thursday Three Question Show, is on vacation for the summer. At least, we hope so. It could actually have wandered off and gotten lost. You know how it is. ANYway, in its absence, we have been previewing some of the exciting new shows that YOU will be able to watch on the upcoming fall season of PossumblogTV!

As has already been disclosed, showing video previews is somewhat of a technical difficulty, in that we have no video production capabilities. As with our previous previews, then, we must rely upon reproducing herein the show scripts, and rely on YOU, the viewer/reader to use YOUR active imaginations and fill in all the minor details such as people and things moving around!

SO, without delay, our FOURTH NEW EXCITING PILOT PREVIEW--ASCII Kitty Drawings, Hosted by Bill Gates!

BILL: Thank you, everyone! Let's look at some kitties, shall we? (applause) Our first guest is Jon Prengle of Redmond, Washington. Jon's 42 and a software security code writer. He loves cats, AND he loves ASCII cats! Jon? (applause)

JON: Hi, Bill!

BILL: Call me Mr. Gates. (laughter)

JON: Okay.

BILL: Okay, Jon, let's see what you have for us today!

JON: Okay.

(BILL types on keyboard at host's desk, and image appears on large LCD flat panel plasma screen)


BILL: Ohh, that's SUPER! (applause)

BILL: Let's see--it has a right arrow, or "greater than" mark, a caret mark, a period, another caret mark, and a left arrow, or "less than" mark--Jon, let me say that is just SUPERB artistry. I mean, it's very, very abstract, yet still I know it represents a cat. What inspired you?

JON: I don't really know.

BILL: Amazing. (applause) And now a word from our sponsor, and when we return, Kathy Lee Gifford with her son, Cody! (applause)


I know YOU are looking forward to this exciting new show just as much as we are! And to FURTHER whet your appetite for the type of season that lies ahead, a BONUS SNEAK PREVIEW OF--Alan Thicke's Celebrity Smell THIS!

We pick up in the middle of the exciting LIGHTNING ROUND, as Rosie O'Donnell and Jenna Jameson attempt to figure out the mystery smell...

ROSIE: ASPARAGUS! It's asparagus! Beets? No, ASPARAGUS!
JENNA: Carrots?
ROSIE: NAH! I'm telling you, it's GREEN BEANS!
ALAN: Seven seconds, ladies...
JENNA: Carrots? Is it salsa? With basil?
ALAN: Oh, sorry, ladies--it was methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE, a gasoline additive.

I'm telling you--with a lineup like this, PossumblogTV can go nowhere but UP! Stay tuned next week for more entertaining and EXCITING show previews!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:50 AM | Comments (4)


Mix in a 'Grr,' too. Stupid computer is acting up again, not loading images. Which means lots of the page I'm trying to see won't load, either. Which makes it QUITE difficult to find suitable news fodder for mockery.

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

Reached for comment...

Burning brush likely ignited several trailers in salvage yard

...Moses had no comment, other than to note that "burning brush" is not the same as a burning bush, and that God's wrath is generally visited upon groups of trailers by tornados, not fire.

(Hat tip to Dr. Smith)

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

For some reason...

...when I read this story: Boston commuters get pleasant surprise

By LING LIU, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jul 19, 5:53 PM ET

BOSTON - After part of a Big Dig tunnel collapsed last week, killing a motorist and forcing the closure of two connector tunnels, commuter Bob Jacobson was prepared for big-time traffic jams.

But Jacobson, who travels 60 miles each day into the city's downtown from his home in Westport, near the Rhode Island line, has been pleasantly surprised.

"It's gotten easier," Jacobson said. "It was bad the first day, but it's been progressively smooth since then."

Despite some detours and delays, many traveling through Boston via car, subway, train, bus and boat say it's not as bad as it could be. [...]

--I couldn't help but sing (and whistle!) Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

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

Okay, now--get ready!

We have a LOT to cram in today because it's short--I have to leave at noon to accomplish the following tasks:

1. Pick up Ashley at Cooper Green at noon.
2. Drive to Grandmom's house, drop off Ashley, pick up Rebecca and Jonathan at around 12:30.
3. Drive to middle school to register Rebecca and Jonathan--starts at 1:00, and I have no idea when it's over. Could be quick, could be slow.
4. Drop Rebecca and Jonathan back over at Grandmom's and pick up Catherine.
5. Drive to dentist for 4:00 checkup for Catherine and me.
6. Go home, get Lightning, The World's Most Expensive Free Kitten, stuffed in his carrier, and take him back down the hill for his 6:00 booster shot appointment.
7. Take him back home, then take Catherine back to Grandmom's house.
8. Drive over to City Hall for my 7:00 zoning board meeting.
9. Drive back to Grandmom's and pick up all four children and go home.
10. Hope against hope that Reba has managed to get away from work and get home--the state inspection team showed up for their annual review yesterday morning at 6:00 a.m., and Reba didn't get home until 8:00 last night. She left to go in early this morning so she could be there when the inspectors got there today. If she could get home early, it would make it much easier because the kids could stay at home, rather than being shuttled through Grandmom's house. Of course, they're old enough to stay by themselves without much worry, except for Oldest, who is less mature than Youngest, and goes out of her way to create turmoil. If she's not around, the younger three are fine, but when she's added to the mix it's like building a campfire out of dynamite. Adult supervision, therefore, is a requirement.

ANYWAY, we have MUCH to do today!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2006

Just exactly who am I?

Why, obviously, I am a young Internet user--a novice storyteller who enjoys relating my own experiences, and I have a growing audience in the online world! At least according to Pew.

I feel so very, very, hip.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:34 PM | Comments (10)

Postprandial Musings

There are few things I enjoy better than a nice lunch with Pam the Liberal! We ate at V. Richards (I had the open-face reuben--nice, warm roast beast with cheese and sauce and kraut, and Pam had some kind of combination vegetable plate), but as always, the fun was the conversation rather than the food. Topics today tended more toward dealing with teenagers. She has two boys, one two years past college, the other graduating in a couple of weeks, so she has some war stories to tell. Makes me feel not quite crazy to hear them, and of course there is that oddly perverted sense of pride that no matter what stories she has, I have some that impress her.

We also talked about work stuff--although she's moved on, we still know the same movers and shakers around here. Not that the movers and shakers are any big deal, this being The World's Largest Small Town, after all, but it's still nice to gossip about their failings while studiously ignoring our own.

Found out it's been longer than I remembered--she'd been in and out of the hospital, her husband has gone into business for himself, and they bought a new Mazda3 four-door, which was quite nifty. If we ever replace the Focus, I think I'd like one of these.

It was over much too soon--although just at the right time, too. We're having a thunderstorm of Hollywood special effects production values right now, but luckily, she dropped me back off just in time to hit the door as the rain began to fall.

Good conversation + roast beef + rain = a very sleepy possum.

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


Or pretty close, anyway, and to make it even better, Pam the Liberal's gonna pick me up in her vehicle and take me somewhere! Yay!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

Well, it IS all about me. UPDATED!

Miss Janis discusses terrycloth (or Turkish, if you prefer) rags (or cloths, if you prefer).

When the topic of this type of cloth comes up, having the name I have can be mildly amusing--I recall one of my coworkers at The Bad Place once cutting out a picture of a really cute blonde from a catalog and sticking it up on my drawing board She was wearing some kind of nubby shorty outfit--


and this garment was duly noted in the caption as a "Terry Romper."


Get it!?

Get it!?

Someone to romp with Terry?

Well, they thought it was pretty funny.

(Personally, however, I think the general appearance of that particular item of apparel would qualify as the strongest sort of ANTIromp this side of a cold shower.)

Speaking of which...

...Skinnydan read Marc's comment below about wishing for someone to prove his or her insanity by ruining that poor girl's photo by Photoshopping mine into the picture.

Skinnydan must not have a lot to do today, as witnessed by the link below.

Do not click here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:39 AM | Comments (10)


Miss Francesca with an overheard conversation--sometimes, you really have to wonder about people.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

So that's what happened...

The recent discomfort you all suffered by not being able to access this lumpy, lukewarm gruel of pixels now has an explanation. From Pixy Misa, the chief of the land of Munu, we find out this:

I don't think it was an attack this time, though I'm checking the logs to see if I can find anything.

Twice, roughly a week apart, the Apache server on Yuri (that is, the software, not the hardware) locked up and stopped serving web pages.

There's an automated system in place that restarts Apache when this happens.

It didn't work.

Manually restarting the web server didn't work either.

I had to reboot the machine to get it back again.

Right now I don't know why this is happening. It might be some sort of attack, but I have no specific reason to think so.

Unfortunately, this time it waited until just after I went to bed to screw everything up.

Pixy Misa commented on July 18, 2006 at 10:19 PM

Well, that was fun. I got the server fixed, then the entire network went down.

Pixy Misa commented on July 19, 2006 at 02:54 AM

Obviously, it's the result of global warming.

And transfats.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

You know what this blog needs!?

That's EXACTLY right! I mean, we've been sort of talking around it all along, but I think the time has come to do just what you said. Oh, sure--it could get involved, and there probably will be some expense to it, but I think unless I get on it right now, the opportunity may be lost.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:09 AM | Comments (4)

Strange, Indeed.

Strange defeats Wallace

The lieutenant governor's race will probably be one of those dirty, piddly little affairs that would be best contested through the use of fists. "Big Luther Versus Little Jim" has a nice ring to it.

Anyway, in Strange's victory speech last night, he showed a remarkable talent for finding the non sequitur and for milking it completely dry, noting that when he wins in November, he will be the tallest candidate ever to hold office in Alabama.

At 6 foot 9.

Which is a whole inch taller than the previous person.

Who was Jim Folsom.

Big Jim Folsom.

Who was 6 foot 8.

Which is shorter.

It could have been a funny little throw-away line, but I have a feeling the inaptness of the way it was delivered might come back to haunt him the way Kedward's "we have better hair" line was used to make them look vacuous and concerned only with appearances. Also, he might as well not make too much out of wanting to be the first Republican lieutenant governor to serve under a Republican governor in state history--it's another issue that is little more than an answer to a trivia quiz. The traditional power of the lieutenant governor was stripped away by the Legislature when Don Siegelman vacated the office and Republican Steve Windom took over, and it is unlikely that power, once removed, would be returned for a Republican--OR a Democrat, for that matter.

Anyway, it should be interesting.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:04 AM | Comments (2)

I'm no scientist...

New earthquake sways buildings in Jakarta

...but wouldn't it be terribly difficult for an old earthquake to do anything?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2006

Okay, so it wasn't a good day for blogging.

Maybe tomorrow?


As for tonight, I think I'll go to bed early. I've been very tired today, and my head's been feeling a bit sideways. I'm thinking it was because I didn't get a good night's sleep last night due to someone in the room who feels a need to stay up very late reading with the light on (and I don't mean one of the three small clip-on book lights that I have purchased for her over the past few years, seeing as how all of those have mysteriously turned up missing).

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

Speaking of driving...

Two items, actually--Mich. boy, 5, takes off in grandma's SUV

YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 5-year-old boy hopped behind the wheel of a sport utility vehicle and drove it several blocks looking for his mother following an argument with his grandmother, authorities said.

The child was not injured in his short drive last Wednesday, and his grandmother's 2004 Cadillac Escalade was stopped without incident.

The boy, whose full name wasn't released, started the truck, cranked up the stereo and stood on the driver's seat to see over the steering wheel, Washtenaw County Sheriff's Cmdr. Dave Egeler told The Ann Arbor News. [...]

I've said it before and I'll say it again--young drivers should resist the urge to turn up the volume on the stereo in order to keep from becoming distracted.

Next, this one from Lileksland: Minivan crashes during drivers' switch

FULDA, Minn. (AP) — It's probably not a good idea to switch drivers while the vehicle is moving.

The State Patrol said three young people were in a Chrysler Town and Country minivan on U.S. Highway 59 on Monday when they tried to switch drivers while the cruise control was set.

During the exchange, the van went out of control and overturned, sliding into a ditch. The van was totaled.

The driver, 19, was airlifted to a hospital with possible internal injuries. Two passengers were sent to another hospital with head injuries.

"WARNING: Cape does not allow user to fly."

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

Speaking of architecture...

Esther Williams.

esther williams.jpg


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

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

Well, it’s not really THAT obscure, but it’s still interesting nonetheless:

BUNGALOW. A single-storey house. The term is a corruption of a Hindustani word [bangla, Ed.] , and was originally given to the light dwellings with verandas erected mainly for the British administrators in India. So many of these were later built in England by unqualified designers that certain areas have been opprobriously called ‘bungaloid growths’.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

One thing to remember is that my little yellowing paperback dictionary was printed in Olde Sodde--thus, no mention that although England might have found itself scabbed over with bungalows, no place fell in love with this type of house more than America.

With the advent of the balloon-frame concept (i.e., stick-built, the way you think of American houses normally being built, rather than with stone or half-timber like European houses) and standardized lumber sizes, the simple and pleasant and inexpensive bungalow gave many Americans the ability to own a house, and gave America the ability to house so many of its citizens during a time of explosive growth at the turn of the 20th Century. Birmingham is chock full of these nice little dwellings, although they often experience the fate of so many such things--destruction due to owners seeing them as nothing more than just a old pile of junk.

A great website is this one called, aptly enough, American Bungalow, and one of my favorite books is Bungalows, Camps and Mountain Houses, a 1990 reprint bungalow designs from 1908-1915 that was published by the AIA Press. It’s out of print now, but is still available through various used book stores, and, of course, through your local library. Libraries are also a great place to look for old bound copies of Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman magazine, which was one of the leading proponents of the Arts and Crafts/Craftsman style of architecture and of bungalows.

Here is a particularly nice example of the breed from St. Louis, Missouri.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:56 PM | Comments (4)

Worty Dirds

Well, the delicate sensibilities of the press corps and the closely allied pundit corps have been smitten, and the collected Fourth Estate has gotten their skirts all up in a bunch about evil President Hitler McShruburton launching forth with a vile stream of letters that when strung together form the word s***. Or, at least that’s what I read--they can’t seem to bring themselves to write it out fully, for fear of causing even MORE terrorists to suffer loss of self-esteem.

For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t use *h*t (or its closely related cousin, **it) in a regular conversation with anyone, because the need doesn’t usually come up unless we’re talking about what’s best to use as fertilizer, the cow variety or the bat variety. Oh, and of course, there was the time I nearly cut my finger off. But I also am aware that there are some people really would be offended by the more vulgar (i.e., common) s-term, so in a social setting I might rather use something more presentable, such as ordure, or manure, or dross, or dreck, or poo, or scat, or droppings, or dung, or compost, or feces, or poop, or muck, or doo-doo, or crap, or poopy, or number two, or turd, or caca, or tedkennedy. ‘A rose is a rose,’ and all.

Anyway, given the nature of the remark and its clarity of intent, I think it wasn’t that big of a deal. So, I would like to ask everyone in the press who have nearly suffered apoplexy from this indelicacy to please climb down off of your stools (so to speak) and try--even though I know you can’t really do it--to cover the news.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:55 PM | Comments (2)

HEY! Who broke the Internets!?

If you’re reading this, I count that as progress. Sometime earlier in the morning, Mu.nu had some kind of outage and shut down a swath of blogs, including this one. Which just figures--not that I have anything good to add to the ether, but no matter--I couldn’t do it if I WANTED to.

Dumb stupid computer things.

Anyway, as of 4 in the afternoon, it seems to have fixed itself.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:54 PM | Comments (2)

The Exciting World of High Performance Tires!

The Flower of Vidalia, Janis Gore, sent me an e-mail last night, which Chet the E-Mail Boy was so kind as to leave upon my desk this morning:

Subject: Infiniti G35 - sport model


That's what your mother has, isn't it?

I just got off the phone with my brother. He had a blowout on Hwy 28 between Jonesville and Alexandria Friday on his way to see a friend in Shreveport.

He couldn't find a tire at any outlet in Alexandria. He had to wait until Monday for service at the Infiniti dealership in Shreveport. They only had three tires on hand. They order from Dallas.

Replacement cost was $310 for the tire (not the rim, hon, the tire) plus the $30 an hour for mounting, etc.

Just to let you know.


First of all, what a MEMORY! I can barely remember from day to day what my mom's got, and I was WITH HER when she bought the derned thing! So kudos to Miss Janis for remembering. And also, thanks to her for the red flag, although as I noted in my reply to her, my mom is somewhat hardened to high tire prices since the Caddy she had before the Infiniti wore some pricey Goodyear shoes.

Her Infiniti has the base tire package with P215/55VR-17 tires, but Janis' brother's car might have the optional 235/45WR18 that would be a bit harder to come by. For those shopping Infinitis, it's worth remembering that they can be ordered with a full-size spare on an alloy wheel to match the others--if you DO have a flat, it's nice to be able to have a usable spare like that in order to allow you time to shop around for a better deal.

Local tire shops are usually always a better deal than buying through the dealership, although you do have to be careful and find someone reputable. At the Infiniti store, they've got a vested interest in making sure you're happy, but you do tend to pay more for that happiness. Thirty bucks an hour for tire mounting is a bit steep.

Another thing to consider is buying online, if you have a couple of days to wait. I pointed Miss Janis to Tire Rack's website (and there are other online stores, this isn't an endorsement of one over the other) and they have a range of tires priced from around $175 to $280 per tire, plus shipping. The nice thing about them in Brother of Janis' case is that they have a warehouse right there in Shreveport. You still have to pay for mounting and balancing and stuff, so it would still be a hefty tab no matter what, but it's still worth shopping around if you have the time to do it.

Which leads into the second part of the post, tire sticker shock. A lot of folks like the appearance of the big, wide, low-profile tires, but those tires are more expensive than something a bit more plain or smaller, and for the vast majority of people, you would never drive hard enough or fast enough to ever feel the difference. It's a lot like people who buy SUVs, but would never think of driving them off-road. You're paying an awful lot for capability you would never use. And when it comes right down to it, there's much more to enjoyable handling than go-kart-like transitions--cars like the older BMW 320i, the original Mazda Miata, and even the original Mini, that looked like it rolled on shopping cart wheels--all provide fun, safe, predictable, and good handling characteristics, even on what appear to today's drivers as tiny tires. An added benefit is those smaller tires are much less expensive than the outsized 17, 18, or bigger sizes common today.

Buy what you like, but just remember you might be paying for something you really can't use.

(And by way of full disclosure, when my mom bought her car, I pressed her hard to get the sport suspension package with the bigger wheel/tire combo, because, you know, it looks WAY cool. It also has a limited slip differential, which is a nice way to get an even set of burnout marks as you turn your expensive tires to dust. But in the end, I was overruled.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:33 AM | Comments (4)

July 17, 2006


I let another day sneak by without fulfilling my quota of meaningless drivel. I am ashamed, but hope to correct the deficiency in the near future.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:36 PM | Comments (2)

For some reason...

...Nate's rather frightening story reminds me of the old Far Side cartoon--

bummer of a birthmark.jpg
"Bummer of a birthmark, Hal."

Glad to hear no one was injured, other than Nate's billfold.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:27 PM | Comments (2)

Now then...

...I got some bidness to attend to!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

And yesterday?

Blessedly quiet, and we even got some rain!

Up early, church, lunch at the Chinese buffet, and a brief side-trip to the Hallmark store. Seems Boy had one more gift he wanted to get for me for my birthday last week.

Some time ago, while Pam the Liberal still worked here, we got an interdepartmental memo about proper work attire, which, as these things do, attempted to correct the bad behavior of one particular person by casting blame on everyone, rather than taking the more direct approach of reprimanding the guilty party. Whatever. I took it as an opportunity to make wild claims to Pam that one day I was going to show up for work wearing nothing but a kilt and bright yellow rubber garden clogs, and dare them to do anything about it.

As happens in these cases, the little martinet who promulgated the original memo went on to a much more lucrative position elsewhere, but somehow the idea of my wearing of bright yellow garden clogs never really died away. She still mentions it to me every once in a while, and sometimes I think it would be nice to have something like that when I'm doing yardwork and stuff. But it never has gone any further than that.

Until a couple of months ago, when Jonathan started wanting a pair of Crocs. As with most of his other cravings of this sort, he wanted to have what all the kids at school had--large ugly rubber footwear now having become de rigueur amongst the middle school set.

We looked around at Hallmark for some to fit him for his birthday, and somewhere in there I mentioned--only half-jokingly--that I wanted a pair in yellow. We didn't find any in his size, and wound up getting some moc-Crocs from Target for him. But he apparently didn't forget ol' Dad.

So, he got it in his mind he'd get me a pair of yellow Crocs for my birthday, and had finally talked Mom into taking him. Reba, not ever having been brought into the loop on the whole yellow shoe thing couldn't understand why he kept wanting to get me yellow shoes. Luckily for her, the Hallmark store didn't have yellow, so I wound up with a pair of black ones.

XXL, size 11-12.


She ought to know by now that ol' bit of vulgar information about the interrelationship of shoe size to other personal equipage is TRUE, and therefore I could have gotten by quite well with a size 9-10 shoe. But they got them anyway.

Got home, and Boy, bless his heart, said, "It's okay, Daddy--you'll grow into them." Not hardly. They looked like clown shoes. SO, off to the OTHER Hallmark store in town to see if they had something I could swap for them.

Nope. Nor did Academy, or Target, or even the hardware store.

But, let's face it--it's the thought that counts, and he was quite proud of his gift for Dad. And I am, too. Or I will be, once I find me some in yellow.

The rest of the time before church was spent swapping out little screws and bolts into a new set of storage bins I got--the old one was all wobbly and wouldn't work right, and I simply MUST have a place to put all of my bits of string too short to save.

On to church, coughed through all the songs, and then on to home again for supper. I had put on a Honeysuckle Farms turkey breast to cook in the oven while we were gone--little bit of cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. It was the best turkey I've ever had--I could have eaten the whole thing by myself.

Supper done, cleaned up, got the kids into their pajamas, and settled in with the Sunday paper. Which just pretty much ruined the whole day. I used to long for Sunday, just to get the big color comics. But, nowadays we can't just have comics, we have to Send a Message, and do so in the most self-absorbed and self-congratulatory way possible. Berke Breathed--let's face it, fellow--you aren't Walt Kelly. Get over yourself, and quit being so twee and clever. Or rather, trying to be. Anyway, I give up. The comics were the only reason I had for wading through week-old information trying to pass itself off as "news" (and commentary trying to pass as objective reporting), so if I'm no longer going to be allowed at least one nice good jolly bit of escapism in the funny papers to make up for all the other garbage, well then, I no longer see a need to buy the paper anymore.

So I won't.

I'll just sit here in my kilt and big yellow rubber shoes and entertain myself.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:19 AM | Comments (6)


In one of those things that makes weekends so fun that they creat guilt, I took off early Saturday morning on a junkyard jaunt, ostensibly to find a new (heh) timing belt cover. The old one I put back on the car had a spot worn through by the water pump pulley, and I wanted something uncracked.

I don't know why.

Anyway, I got there and after exploring around a bunch, found several likely candidates, and finally one that looked quite nice--for something out of a junkyard. Got it, paid, and was on my way back home, where it was time to take a shower and get ready to take us all over to celebrate Ashley's great grandmother's 95th birthday.

Of course, since I had been away for all of two hours, none of the kids had gotten ready when I got home, mainly because a certain mother of theirs seems to think they should know to go get ready without being told, much like she believes they should have shame enough to clean up their rooms or be nice to each other without being told. Needless to say, they needed telling, so having done that and gotten them scrubbing, I got my shower and ready to go.

Time to go, and a certain mother of theirs was not ready, nor was the oldest child.


Managed to make it and only be five minutes late, which was nothing short of miraculous. Ate lunch, came home, and it was time for Round Two of fun with the car. Had to put that cover on, you know, and I had decided before putting back on the new splash pan on the underside that I wanted to clean more of the dirt and oil off.

First things first though--that cover.

I found out it can be much more easily removed than installed.

After close to an hour, I wound up having to take the stinkin' fan and pulleys off to put it on. But it sure does look nice now!

Next, the degreasing of the underside, using some Gunk brand engine cleaner that promised to be a nice clingy gel. It wasn't. Looked like the same old stuff they've always sold. Nice thing it was "lo-odor," because if the "hi-odor" stuff had been used, I think it would have caused the whole neighborhood to get high or blow up. Anyway, sprayed that on and got a goodly amount of goo off the underside. It's almost clean. Ish.

Next, the plastic pan underneath, which went well, aside from having to use my old creeper that has plastic wheels that don't turn very well, and the fact that two of the bolts wouldn't work. Which required more up and down and bad words directed at both the bolts and at the creeper.

Finally got everything squared away much later than I thought I would, ate supper, and took my second shower of the day.

Saturday is, after all, my bath day.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)


As noted Friday, we did indeed go see Pirates of the Caribbean--The Empire Strikes Back this weekend.


Well, a nasty turn of events--our lovebirds (Legolas and Princess Leia) have been ordered to be arrested by some mincing ponce from the East India Company who comes in to take over the island's governership from Leia's daddy, who, although he wears a big wig, is not a ponce. The usurper's actually after something else, though--Edward Scissorhands, and not just Edward Scissorhands, but actually his compass, which points to something even MORE specialler, a box that contains something VERY valuable--the beating heart of Davy Jones, and NOT the one from the Monkees! Once Nancy Boy has this, he figures he can rule the world's ocean trade, and crush the Rebel Alliance. So he gives Legolas some get-out-of-jail-free cards for him and his new almost-wife IF he goes and finds the right combination of playing pieces from McDonald's.

Then, all sorts of things happen.

In the end, Han Solo winds up frozen in carbonite, but in this version, the Ewoks are cannibals, and not cute and furry.

Did I like the movie? Yes I did--it's exciting and visually impressive, and full of swordplay and buckling of swashes and all that junk. But it left me somewhat miffed, which is why I keep going back to the Star Wars allusions. It doesn't stand on its own. The first movie would work just as well if another one was never made, but the second one's only purpose seems to be to set up the third movie. I understand why, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

It's still exciting, though. As for scary stuff, there is some, so it's not for little kids. Catherine made it through fine, but she's generally pretty fearless. Stuff I could have done without? The pipe organ scene by Davy Jones--a little too Captain Nemo-ish hokey, and not in a good way. He's better on the maracas, anyway. The giant squid, however, is MUCH better and more frightening than the one Kirk Douglas fought. The undersea rogues and monsters--when they manage to find themselves ashore, they look like something from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. And again, not in a good way.

Puzzling things? One scene has Captain Jack looking through a telescope at Will being captured by Davy Jones. Jones turns, sees Jack, and suddenly is standing right in front of him with a bunch of other of his sea critter crew. Now, I have to ask--if he can magically teleport, why on earth does he need a ship to sail around in? Why not just teleport to wherever he wants to go? Second, in another one of those 20,000 Leagues deals--the ship he DOES have can also work like a submarine. But why would you want to do that, since pushing a sailboat UNDERwater would be awfully difficult, given all those sails holding you back. Seems like it would be better anyway if he had one that could fly, like Captain Hook's. (Not to be confused with Dr. Hook.) Anyway, none of that really matters that much, nor does it when Elizabeth threatens the Poncey One with a pistol that is cocked in the beginning of the scene, and then after he tries something shifty, they insert the sound of the pistol being cocked, even though she doesn't move her fingers. It's a single shot black powder pistol folks--if it ain't cocked, he wouldn't have been nervous in the first place, he would have just grabbed it from her.

Is it worth seeing? I think if you liked the first one, you'll like this one, but if you're like me, you might be disappointed that it's quickly become a franchise-type event. It's still expensively well done, but it seems less about making a good story and more about perpetuating the brand image. Let's give it 8 out of 10 curly possum tails and be done with it until the third episode.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:32 AM | Comments (11)


Ow--quit shouting!

Well, hello to you all, and welcome to yet another week filled with exciting and disturbing tales of outer suburbia! As weekends go, the one immediately past was more than tolerable, full as it was of goings and comings and playing with machinery and entertainment--portions of which you will get to hear about directly, as soon as I can remember exactly what it is that happened and write it all down.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2006


How'd it get so late!?

Nearly time to head out for the weekend. Looks like a long one, as usual. Tonight, though, some mindless escapism as we go take in Market Juggernaut of the Caribbean, featuring the non-anorexic Keira Knightley. She very well might not have an eating disorder, but dadgummit, I do wish she'd eat a couple of cheeseburgers and a big chocolate shake every once in a while. Eh--what am I thinking? If every woman looked like Jane Russell, life would just be so very boring.


ANYway, there's that, and it looks very possible that I might get to go have fun in the JUNKYARD again this weekend! YIPPEE! I love the junkyard. As usual, there will also be the laundry and housework to help with, too, but those couple of hours wandering around in a smelly, hot, and rather depressing place never fail to provide a nice pick-me-up!

Sunday, lots of churching up, as well as some meetings, and I imagine all sorts of other stuff on both days that will provide a full load of blogfodder come Monday.

All of you have a great weekend and come back then and we'll see what went on.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:35 PM | Comments (2)

And here I thought...

...that it must have had something to do with Rumpole of the Bailey.

Little did I know...

Rumpology for Dummies

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

Of Backpatting and Beechcrafts

Tim Blair with a story that makes me wish I was wealthy enough to be as deeply empathetic as Mr. Brokaw.

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

Do you know what this means!?

Scientists Concoct Chocolate That Won't Melt

We get to replace all the Space Shuttle tiles with unmeltable chocolate! We can build nuclear containment vessels out of unmeltable chocolate! M&Ms won't melt in your hand OR in your mouth!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

"Look! It's moving. It's alive. It's ALIIIIIVVE!"

Yes, Järn LIVES!

Got home yesterday and got on my greasemonkey duds and went outside to hopefully finish up my month-long subproject (submoronproject?) of the "I Am A Moron" Project.

Wedged in the new fan shroud, bolted on the fan blade, tightened up the alternator and the A/C compressor, fixed a secondary problem with the fuel injection fuse, hooked up the battery, filled up the crankcase with oil, and got ready for the fateful moment.

I put the key in the ignition switch and took a deep breath. Turned the key--bzzutt-zut-buruhhh-pudda-pudda-pudda-pudda-pudda-pudda.... IT WORKS! IT WORKS IT WORKS IT WORKS!!

There is very little in the world that gives you that nice warm feeling all over as when you've torn something up and put it back together again and it works right the first time. Especially when it's a car. Seemingly so simple--fuel, air, spark--but so fiendishly full of hidden evils that can come up and ruin everything. All that jimmying I had to do, all that moving and tightening and loosening and turning and twisting--for such a little bitty engine, there was a lot I could have messed up on. But didn't. It's like Churchill's quip about there being nothing in life as exhilarating as being shot at without result.

The only nervous moment was right after I cranked it and nearly a quart of water started spewing out the tailpipe. My first inclination was to have a heart attack and think I'd developed a cracked engine block, but apparently it was just water that had accumulated in the muffler as it sat. I took it for a slow drive around the neighborhood to see if anything cropped up. Not a thing, other than him feeling a bit more arthritic in his suspension than usual. Back home to the driveway, and clambered underneath to check for leaks.

Not a drop.

And not a drop this morning, either!

Before, he could be reliably counted upon to soil his parking spot with a nice circle of oil every time he was parked for any length of time, but it seems we've conquered that bit of ill manners, too.

It sure is good to have it running right again--I even stopped and bought him a bath this morning at the gas station.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:05 AM | Comments (6)

Nothing to see here, just move along.

Dothan 10-year-old found on voter rolls in Ohio

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The elections board in Akron, Ohio says the name of a 10-year-old Alabama boy has been found on the voter registration rolls.

The problem was discovered when a jury summons was issued for Quardaris Reading of Dothan, Alabama. Voter rolls are used to draw names for juries.

The boy's mother thinks a relative registered the boy three years ago when they were traveling back to Akron on a regular basis during a family emergency.

Well, you know, what better way to deal with a family emergency than to register 10 year olds? I mean, it IS Ohio, after all.

The Summit County elections board checked and says the boy never voted. The board ordered his name stricken from the registration rolls. [...]


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)


Well, he's only about 10 weeks old, but seems like he's already picked up all my bad habits.

Kit the wonder cat.jpg

Yes, that's actually Kit, The Wonder Cat, not little Lightning. But see, I forgot to take some pictures of him for Friday Kittyblogging, so I had to make do with what I had.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)

Well, now--there may be two sides to every story, but...

...if you're the Paper of Record, no use to worry about anything that contradicts your predetermined agenda.

Obviously, this one can't be let go without comment--Report: Cadillac Williams, other Auburn athletes draw academic scrutiny. This is a second hand report from USA Today, since the Times requires registration [update--here is the Times' story via Auburn's press center], but the gist of it is an evil antiacademic academic has been throwing grades around to the athletes at Auburn.

NEW YORK (AP) — Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and other Auburn athletes received high grades from the same professor for sociology and criminology courses that didn't require them to attend classes or do much work, The New York Times reported.

Williams, the former star running back who now plays for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told the newspaper the only two classes he took the spring semester of his senior year were one-on-one courses with Professor Thomas Petee, the sociology department's highest-ranking member.

[...] "I want to assure everyone associated with Auburn that upon completion of the investigation we will deal with this issue as we have dealt with other challenges — directly and openly," Auburn interim President Ed Richardson said in a statement.

The Times, citing records compiled by professor James Gundlach, the director of the Auburn sociology department who reports to Petee, reported one athlete took seven courses with Petee, three took six, five took five and eight took four.

Former Auburn defensive end Doug Langenfeld told the Times a directed-reading course with Petee required he read one book and write a 10-page paper. "I got a 'B' in the class," Langenfeld told the Times.

The newspaper said Gundlach found that more than a quarter of the students in Petee's directed-reading courses were athletes.

More than a quarter? And the rest?

Several things here--preferential treatment for athletes only is not good--it serves no one's best interest to simply give away grades just to athletes. And although it seems to go on at all institutions of higher education that HAVE sports teams, it would still be wrong for Auburn to engage in it. There is no winner when your defense is simply "everyone else is doing it." IF that is actually what's going on here.

Some other things might need to be remembered--professors, and most especially DEPARTMENT HEADS--have a great deal of leeway in how they structure their coursework, including directed study courses, and how they assign grades. Although there is a certain part of the population who can't stand athletes and would like to see the savagery of football eliminated from campuses, they might also want to remember all those professors who give directed study work in such things as their precious wymyn's studies classes. Because if you don't like preferences for one group, it'll make it a lot harder to get a grade for attending a protest march and writing a paper about it. Get rid of one type? Get rid of them all, then.

Another thing--do all of the folks who take glee in this story really want us to start talking about the overall rigor of higher education? Oh, sure, we might want to beat up on athletes for being too dumb to graduate, but the liberal arts departments in the vast majority of colleges aren't exactly bastions of book-smarts. Should we start demanding that a bit more objectivity be injected into these offerings so that we can rest assured the next fine arts major who graduates can actually balance his checkbook? Well, I think so, but I can guarantee you people would start squealing if we suddenly decided to hold dance majors to the same standard we hold the math team to. Sauce, goose, gander.

Finally, the issue of the department head himself, Dr. Petee. I've been listening to the radio call-ins this morning, and I've heard at least four of his former and current students talk about him as one of the brightest and most gracious teachers they've had, and that he will make every effort to work with ALL students--athlete or not--to develop customized directed studies courses,even if that student winds up being the only student in the class, in order to help them overcome scheduling difficulties with other classes or with work. And, from all accounts and based upon what I have seen in my own academic involvement, just about ALL professors will do things like this for students--it's rare to see one who won't.

Now, given all that, along with the fact that there is no indication that any NCAA rules violations occurred, is there actually a story here? I think probably there is, but it's probably not the one that the complainant or the Times would like to examine, that being the decline of academic rigor across all majors, and across all institutions. One need only look at the recent Jeff Goldstein/Deb Frisch donnybrook and marvel that this unstable and dim woman has managed to carve out for herself a quite comfortable living in higher ed. [Update--related Big Armed thoughts here. 2nd Update--And for the love of all that's holy, is STILL going on.] Maybe that's where we should be looking--just how DO universities fill vacancies, and just how easy IS it for the mentally deficient to obtain a degree in the first place, and just why is it that these types of people invariably wind up being so far to the left philosophically that they would make Lenin sorta jumpy? And maybe we should ask why the Times seems so unwilling to ask these questions.

I am reminded of the press conference back when Joe Namath was at Alabama, and a reporter shouted at him, 'Hey, Joe--what classes are you taking down at Alabama, basket weaving?"

"No, journalism."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:02 AM | Comments (2)

July 13, 2006

Of bushrangers and beetroots.

My Volvo-blessed Aussie pal Kitchen Hand is on holiday, driving all over the place, and delivers a nice round-up of things seen and pondered upon.

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

Uhmm, yeah--good luck with that.

This just in from CNN---- "Ex-CIA operative Valerie Plame sues Vice President Cheney, his former aide, Scooter Libby, and presidential adviser Karl Rove."

Nothing like a circus. EXCEPT A CIRCUS FULL OF CLOWNS!!

YAY CLOWNS! One wonders if Joe Wilson will go with the orange nose/floppy shoes look, or maybe something more Cirque du Soleil. You know, since he's so cosmopolitan and all. I just hope the clown band does a good job playing the "Rove Frog March Rag."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:53 PM | Comments (2)

I can't remember--

--who might have mentioned it a while back, but one of you out there asked if I had ever used a little gizmo from Google called SketchUp.

My boss came in all excited about it the other day, and after doing what I do best--throw cold water on all his great ideas (we have not the computer power or functionality to be truly productive with this tool, and it would in the end wind up being nothing more than a toy)--I nonetheless figured I would download it at home (since we have no authority to download any sorts of programs here--which explains why I still have Flash version 5) and see how it works.

Hey, surprisingly well! I'm not sure what I'll use it for--Reba wanted to know if I was going to plan the addition we've been talking about for years on it. Probably not--I'm still the John Henry of hand drafting, but it still might be useful. It seems to get skittery and unstable when there's a lot of info on the screen, more than likely because all that heaping wad of RAM I bought a while back is still not enough for it to be truly fast and stable, but still, it was free and it is probably a pretty slick gadget, after I learn a bit more about it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:37 PM | Comments (4)

Oh, those pesky bugs!

Well, I have finally managed to resolve my issue with the Revolvoblog template. It took some doing to get an answer, but one finally arrived this afternoon--

Hi Terry,

Thanks for writing in. We're afraid you've fallen victim to a bug in our system which occasionally loses template data. Your posts are still safe, but unfortunately we were not able to recover your template for you. The manner in which you retrieved your (partial) template is preventing new posts from publishing. To use one of our default templates, you can click the Pick New link on the Template tab. This will let you publish your blog again while you recreate your old template. We apologize for the inconvenience and we are working on getting this problem fixed. However, it is always a good idea to save your own copy of a template if you make extensive customizations.

The Blogger Team

OOpsie-daisy! Thank goodness for Google Cache is all I have to say, because again, since I didn't previously see the need for keeping a copy of my template, it was the only thing that kept my information together, even if it did mess up new posting when I pasted it back in. Seems as though it should be simple for Blogger to have a similiar feature as a backup, seeing as how they ARE owned by Google. And I really have to wonder why this particularly loathsome bug can't be eradicated.

IN any event, I have now fixed the thing as detailed above, pasted in my old links and such, copied the template and saved it to a safe place, and given Chet the E-mail Boy the key, and now all is once again right with the world.

More or less. I still have to fix the font. If I dare.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

Perpetuating the Stereotype, Volume MCMXLVI

Stolen construction equipment leads to "junkyard war" in Athens

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — Roaring motors and clanking metal tipped off police to a "junkyard war" involving two roommates who allegedly stole construction equipment and caused thousands of dollars in damages in a battle of forklifts, backhoes and bulldozers.

James Aaron Morris, 22, and Brandon Leigh Langford, 29, both of Athens were found in a track hoe after midnight Tuesday when officers responded to calls alerting them to noises in the woods near an apartment.

"They were playing war with the machines and trying to hit each other," Athens police Lt. Floyd Johnson. "It was like some kind of junkyard war." [...]


As I always tell my younguns, "horseplay leads to heartache."

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

Imagine that!

Diplomacy in tatters as two Koreas spar

I hate to break it to everyone, but diplomacy only works when both parties want it to work. If one party happens to be a poofy-haired, disco eyeglasses and coverall-wearing megalomaniacal dictator intent on having the ability to slling nukes all over the place at will, your chances of getting very far with diplomacy are more scarce than finding good kimchi at the Pyongyang Wal-Mart.

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

If we aren't free to pet our animals, then the terrorists have won!

Is petting zoo a terrorist target? 'This is absurd'


Times Staff Writer patricia.mccarter@htimes.com

WOODVILLE - Not once has Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo gotten a bomb threat.

It's a tranquil place between Gurley and Scottsboro, where children on school field trips feed goats and llamas, where there's no talk of national security or terrorists or explosions.

That's why Wednesday morning, when owner Sherry Lewis was told that her zoo on U.S. 72 was included in a New York Times story about terrorist targets, she was baffled. Baffled, and miffed.

"We've never had a bomb threat or anything that would possibly come close to terrorism," said Lewis, who has owned the zoo in Jackson County with her husband, Jim, for 11 years. "This is absurd. Who on earth would waste their money and time bombing us? Nobody.

"But I'm afraid this is going to have a negative impact on my business. I've already had one phone call today from somebody asking me if it's safe to come here."

Even though The New York Times story mentioned Old MacDonald's as being included on a list of possible terrorist targets by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a state official said that isn't quite true.

In 2004, the zoo was included in an initial needs assessment list - submitted by county Emergency Management Agency managers to Homeland Security - of the state's key infrastructure and resources.

More than 700 sites were on Alabama's list two years ago during the first stages of compiling the National Asset Database. But Tracey Ayres, communications director for the Alabama Department of Homeland Security, said the list has since been winnowed to 28 sites.

As Ayres explained it, each county in the United States submitted its asset list directly to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. When the lists began arriving, Ayres said DHS realized that it hadn't provided enough guidance concerning what should've been put on the list.

For instance, some counties included ice cream shops and Wal-Marts and flea markets. In Tennessee, the annual Mule Days festival in Columbia made the list.

Indiana listed 41 "tall" buildings that could be possible targets; Illinois - home of the world's tallest skyscraper and dozens more in Chicago alone - listed only 28. In fact, Indiana was the state that listed the most possible targets with more than 8,500. New York listed fewer than 6,000. Vermont submitted 70.

Ayres said states were given more exact criteria in 2005 for what to include on their lists, and then the sites were verified. Just 14 percent of the sites on the states' initial lists rose to the level of "significant" for the National Asset Database.

Out of 710 Alabama sites proposed, Ayres said 28 are now on the federally approved critical infrastructure list. Ayres said the identity of those 28 places is classified.

Did Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo make the cut?

"You decide," she said. "The criteria is that it must have an economic impact of $1 million a day or the potential of 300,000 lives lost. I can't give you any other hints."

Ayres referred to the initial arbitrary lists as "old news," saying the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recognized the problem two years ago and corrected it. However, in late June, national DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner released a report outlining the progression of the database, recapping the temporary inclusion of such random places as the Woodville petting zoo.

Emphasis mine above.

So, the "Paper of Record" issues a story in which outdated information is included, making particular care to insert one rather silly item about a petting zoo in Alabama. It's almost as if they have a politically driven agenda to make the current Administration look stupid and out of touch, even if it means using information that is inaccurate. "Hee hee--that George Bush is so stupid. And so are those yokels in Alabama who think their petting zoo is a terror target! Hee hee hee."

Even though a newspaper in Huntsville is able to quickly figure out the problem with the information, and provide a detailed and succinct round-up of how the process was completed, and seeing as how the NYTimes seems to do this (i.e., willfully obfuscate) with great regularity, how can it still seen as reliable? As truthful? As objective?

One would have to strain mightily, it seems.

DHS and everyone else involved in keeping terrorists at bay have in the past done stupid, inexcusable, hamfisted, lame-brained stuff. But what's worse--that they did it and corrected it, or that an organization located in the heart of the place where the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil was conducted would take this opportunity to use outdated, misleading information, seemingly for the sole purpose of weakening, rather than strengthening, our ability to fight terrorism? Add to this the Times' willingness to actively search out ways to inform our enemies of our intentions, and it begins to make one wonder what they put in the water cooler in their offices.

Second, even though the probability of a random attack on a small-town target in Alabama is much lower than a large scale attack on New York, the fact remains that we are a large, open, and free-flowing nation, and unless we realize that not just New York or Los Angeles could be targets, we set ourselves to become complacent. That complacency is what allowed 20 terrorists to take flying lessons at midsized airports across the non-New York/Los Angeles parts of the country, and no one really thought too much about it when none of them really seemed too concerned about being able to learn to land properly.

By the way--don't believe this story has legs? Look at this list of news stories on Google News.

As for the Times' story, the link is here. Any doubt that it might be commentary masquerading as straight news is dispelled by the headline--"Come One, Come All, Join the Terror Target List."

Bunch of jackasses.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:24 AM | Comments (6)

Thursday Three Summer Vacation!

As noted many weeks ago, the Thursday Three Question Show is in summer hiatus as the writers once again enter contract talks (which to this point have gotten about as far as the North Korean missile negotiations), but NOT TO FEAR, AMERICA, because for the next few weeks we will be giving you sneak previews of upcoming shows that YOU will be able to watch on the fall season of PossumblogTV!

As has also been previously discussed, this will be a bit difficult, in that we have no video production capabilities. We must, then, rely on the stack of show pitches on our desks that have a synopsis and some bits of exciting dialogue in them, and rely on YOU, the viewer/reader to use YOUR active imaginations and fill in all the minor details such as people and things moving around!

SO, without delay, our SECOND NEW EXCITING PILOT PREVIEW, Ed Fleen, Pro Bowler.

MONICA: Ed, your hand!


We hope you've enjoyed this sneak peak at the upcoming fall lineup, and hope you'll join us for more excitement.


Surely you didn't think we'd leave you with just that one scene! We also would like to take this opportunity to tempt you with our THIRD NEW PREVIEW, Thrilling Stories of the Old West!

OPENING MONTAGE: Antique photos of Old West subjects, banjo and harmonica music.

VOICEOVER: Hello, I'm your host, Rusty, and today we will be examining a letter written in 1888 by Beulah Sneed, of Hightail, Oklahoma Territory.

PHOTO OF LETTER, WITH VOICEOVER: "Dearest Wilmer, today is hot. I am greatly afeared that Paws prize cow done run off or is got stole. Maw is feeling tolerable well, but Ty and Bitsy still seem down. Mister Gordon repaird his barn door the other day and we all went to wach him paint it. It is red. How are things in St. Louis? I am not abelieving you when you say they have all them tall bildings with five stories in them--how can that be? You should not lie because you know Saten will take you into innermost torments of darkenss and pull your innards out for lieing, and I hear he knows most of St. Leuis like the back of his hand so it aint like you can hide from him. Tell Teeny I said hello, and that he should not be talking to nobody with a umbrela. Ha ha ha! I will go for now. Be sure to send me some green sateen. Your loving sister, Beulah.

P.S. Them weerd looking fellows that said they'd come from out in outer space showed up again, and said they's agoin to take us onto that big shiny metal train car they landed in the cornfield, and Paw shot them all dead. The sherif said they's probably the ones what stole Paws cow, and that's what cattle rustlers get for rustling."

HOST VOICEOVER: It is truly a thrilling story, but ends sadly when we find out from later correspondence that Wilmer forgot to send Beulah any cloth.

TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR: Herschele's Hebrew Hoedown and America's Most Talented Bagpiper!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:53 AM | Comments (8)

Echnicaltay Ifficultiesday

I'm not sure what was going on with Gmail yesterday, but it had to have been some interference with our firewall because after I got home from church last night, I could access it fine from my machine. And, whatever it was, it seems to have cleared up this morning--working just fine like nothing ever happened.

In OTHER matters, for some reason Revolvoblog is still down, but I have a feeling it must have been related to that sudden template disappearance. The other Blogger blogs I have rights to edit don't seem to be having the same problem, but thankfully, I have the crack Blogger debugging team at work on it right now. I expect to be fully functional again somewhere in the next 10 to 15 years.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:06 AM | Comments (4)

July 12, 2006


Appeals court throws out 7-day sentence of former HealthSouth CFO

The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A federal appeals court said the seven-day prison term given an architect of the $2.7 billion fraud at HealthSouth Corp. was "shockingly short" and ordered another sentencing before a new judge.

Ruling in a 32-page decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the sentence of former HealthSouth finance chief Mike Martin and sent the case back to district court for a second time.

U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon first sentenced Martin to probation and house arrest, but prosecutors won an appeal. Clemon then sentenced Martin to a week in prison, prompting another appeal and the 11th Circuit's ruling Tuesday overturning the sentence and removing Clemon from the case.

The 11th Circuit said Martin's case should be reassigned because it was likely Clemon "would have difficulty putting his previous views and findings aside." Prosecutors have also appealed other sentences handed down by Clemon in HealthSouth-related cases and viewed by the government as too light. [...]

Clemons' rulings over the years have strained belief, such as his dismissal of the previous federal charges of Medicaid bid rigging by Don Siegelman. I'm not sure what his deal is, but he seems to have quite a bit of antipathy for any sort of federal investigations of public officials accused of wrongdoing, probably stemming from his own time being the subject of a federal investigation that was ended in 1996.

"Would have difficulty..." would seem to be a more than slight understatement.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:37 PM | Comments (3)

Okay, now THAT'S a new one on me--

Trinity Medical Center creates, fills 'chief culture officer' position

Culture officer? Although I'm sure it's unintentional, it sure does sound like it has shades of the old Red Army's political commissars. As for what it REALLY is:

[...] As Trinity's first culture chief, [Ricky O.] Creech will oversee the hospital's Pastoral Care Program, Pastoral Advisory Council, Mission Integration Committee, Patient Advocates, organizational development, community outreach and governmental relations.

In creating the position, Trinity CEO Vicki Briggs says her focus was set on building relationships that further the hospital's faith-based mission.

"For years, it has bothered me that the one item missing from the balance sheet of a hospital is the equity of human capital. Those relationships are incredibly valuable," Briggs said in a written statement. [...]

Ummm, okay. I'm still kinda shaky on the naming, because to me it sounds more like being the director of public relations. But then again, I don't run a hospital for a living.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:21 PM | Comments (4)

Well, it's not rocket science--

--but it's pretty darned close nonetheless.

Steevil, brother of Dr. Weevil and by day a famed NASA scientist, sent along his recipe for barbecue sauce--

I got the urge to try to make East Carolina style barbecue. I get pretty sick of the stuff that's sold in the stores around here (lots of tomato, and too sweet).

So, here is Steevil's "Carolina" barbecue recipe:

Into crock pot evening previous to dinnertime--
1 bottle (32 oz.) of cider vinegar
handful (tablespoon or so) of black pepper
handful (tablespoon or so) of kosher salt
couple shakes of white pepper [would have used cayenne pepper as well, if I could have found it in the cabinet]
small handful of crushed red pepper
2 tsp sweet mustard


plunk in fresh pork shoulder cook on "low" until next day.

It turned out pretty good. Since I really don't mind tomato in barbecue, if I'd had some plain tomato juice or some V-8, I probably would have used a cup or so.

I find the use of kosher salt to season a pork shoulder humorous.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:34 PM | Comments (8)

More all-over hurtage!

This is pretty much all Volvo content since stupid STUPID Blogger is still down, so you may skip it if you wish.

I got home yesterday and set in to once and for all get the Volvo stuck back together. After changing out of my good clothes and into my evil ones, the first task was to modify my brand new sprocket-holding tool (in Swedish, kugghjulhållareverktyg) with the wrong thing to use for tool modification. As you may or may not recall, the thing I bought looks like this--


The little pegs on the end fit into small holes on the web of the timing belt gears, so you can hold it still while you struggle mightily to break the bolt loose that holds everything together. One sprocketwheel I had managed to set free, but the other was stuck tight, and I couldn’t find anyplace on the engine to make the thing be still to turn the bolt, thus the need for this supposedly “universal” tool. As I mentioned Tuesday, however, upon receipt of the tool, I found that the little pegs were too big to go into the required holes.

Meaning I would have to somehow make them smaller.

Meaning an opportunity to let my skills in expedient engineering shine brightly!

Best thing to use would have been a small, handheld die grinder (think of a souped-up Dremel tool) of some sort. I don’t have one of those. Next best would have been a bench grinder. I don’t have one of those.

What I DO have is a big industrial handheld grinder that had belonged to my dad that he used for grinding welds. It’s powerful enough to make the whole house go dim whenever it’s turned on, and the torque builds up such a strong gyroscopic force that it’s very difficult to move into another plane (other than the allowing it to precess around its central axis) while you’re holding it. Which means it’s really not the thing for small, more delicate work. But when you have no choice…

I chucked the tool into my giant vise and set to work, and in only minutes of barely-controlled metal grinding and a shower of bright hot sparks, I had succeeded in gnawing the ends off the pegs enough that they would fit into the holes.


Now then, on to the part that matters--I placed my pegs in the holes, held on tightly, got out my big socket wrench, heaved mightily on the bolt, and…

It came free! FREE AT LAST!

Finally, after a month of dawdling and looking at a non-functional automobile on the driveway, I might finally be on the way to getting the thing fixed!

Off with the gear, and in a bit of a surprise, the little seal on the shaft behind it simply fell out. Seals aren’t supposed to do that--you’re supposed to have to pry them out. This might be why it leaked so very much. (Duh.)

I pried out the other seal on the camshaft, cleaned everything with a Q-tip, lubed up the shafts, got my new seals, put some oil on them, and gently tapped them into place. Back on with the gears, and once again employed my marvelously mangled tool to hold them still while I gorilla’d the bolts tight with the torque wrench. Which began the process of making my whole upper body sorta achy today.

Now then--do I remember how the rest of it goes back together?


Let’s see--uhmm, the lower crankshaft gear has a couple of big washers….and they have to line up right on the timing mark. Hmm. That required some fixing and doing before I finally got it back to where it was supposed to be. Now then, to make sure everything ELSE is lined up!

timing belt.gif

The camshaft, the intermediate shaft, and the crankshaft are all supposed to be lined up exactly right, or else the car won’t run right after the timing belt is put on. This alignment is “aided” by a tiny dimple on the camshaft gear and on the intermediate gear that are supposed to be lined up with two invisible marks molded into the plastic camshaft cover. The top one is easy enough to see, but the middle one requires the use of a hand mirror to make absolutely sure it’s lined up right. The bottom cog on the crankshaft has a tiny divot notched into the washer, and THAT is supposed to align with a timing mark imperceptibly molded into the front of the engine. Believe it or not, I actually managed to get them all in line.

Of course, then there’s the issue of the belt itself.

See, it has little teeth on it, and they have to be threaded onto each of the teeth of the gears, WITHOUT MOVING THE GEARS OUT OF POSITION. Made all the more difficult by the fact that it’s not quite loose enough to do this without moving everything the wrong way. But with some great patience and even while being spoken to by my kind wife who’d just gotten home and wanted to fill me in on her day and her plans for supper as I was hunkered over the front of the radiator cutting off the circulation to my lower torso and sweating such copious amounts of sweat that I appeared to be a lawn sprinkler and was covered from fingertip to elbow in that blasted sticky black grime, I still managed to scootch the belt over the three gears successfully! All three gears lined up, marks on the belt lined up with the gears! Let loose the new idler pulley I’d installed earlier, and it was all nice and tight and just like new.


Uhhmmmm. Hmm. Oh, yeah, there’s the lower cover to put on--another grimy bit of black plastic that I had to scrape clean before putting back on. Next, I think would be…yes, it would be the big bottom pulley and dampener that had required the purchase of yet ANOTHER tool before I got it off in the first place.

Put the pulley on, connect the required tool, and with great and mighty exertions and grunts and squeals that sounded like a replay of the recent women’s tennis tournament at the All England Club, I managed to get the crankshaft nut torqued down to something close to the specified foot-poundage.

By golly, this thing is almost put back together!

And for some reason, all the muscles in my chest hurt!

On with the upper timing belt cover (and I’m missing the top screw, which probably rolled away a month ago) and now time for the accessory drive belts. Two for the alternator, and one for the A/C compressor.

Ah, yes--the hateful compressor.

Just as I had nearly not gotten the belt OFF of it when I was tearing things apart, I very nearly couldn’t get the new one ON it. And thus the greatest exhaustion and aches began, as I worked for nearly a half hour, grunting and heaving and pulling and pushing and tugging and jerking and crawling underneath and repeating the grunting-heaving procedure until FINALLY I got it loose enough to slide on the pulleys. The alternator belts came next, and they were a breeze, which is good, because by now I was full of weariness and frustration, and I was completely empty of sweat, having gotten rid of enough to fill a bathtub.

I left the belts loose on the alternator, and the mounting bolts loose on both it and the compressor and put all my tools away for the night. Next step is to finish tightening them up, installing the fan and fan shroud, hooking the battery back up, filling it with oil, and doing a test crank. That’s all for another day, though. By the time I got inside and got the majority of the grime off of my arms, it was nearly 9:00 o’clock, and I was so whupped I couldn’t bring myself to eat supper.

Luckily, lest I become Mr. Lazybones, there were other chores to be done--seems that there was cookies to be baked for something Ashley’s doing, so she and Mom were busily doing that, which left me to go get some laundry from upstairs, because there was a need for an emergency load to be washed and dried RIGHT THEN so it could be worn today by a certain teenager (who, as I mentioned, was quite involved with cookie-making) and then there was the nearly overwhelming chore of getting a certain Tiny Terror in the tub for her bath. Made all the more difficult by her seeming inability to keep from coming downstairs to see if any cookies were ready and to look out the door at the kitten.

By the time I finally got a shower and got in bed, my head was throbbing and my chestal muscles felt like hot cooked lasagna noodles.

As I said, thank goodness this morning’s meeting was short.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:50 AM | Comments (4)

Well, crap.

Now it seems as though Gmail is acting up--if you've been trying to send me something, that's why I haven't answered back this morning.

Until it gets fixed, questions and pithy rejoinders and such may be sent to my Yahoo address, terryoglesby AT yahoo DOT com.

Meeting went well this morning, with only a few cases and no controversies. Right now, I am composing an EXCITING and INTERESTING post on Volvo repair, which I will grace you with shortly! (Since stupid STUPID Blogger is still broken.) I know you simply must be beside yourselves with anticipation, but I beg you to calm down!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:48 AM | Comments (5)

July 11, 2006

As I mentioned...

...it is now time to skeedaddle for the remainder of the day. Remember that you dreary ration of possumy gruel will be late tomorrow as I go about to do the work of the people. To keep you occupied in the intervening time, there is Chutes and Ladders! Whee!

See you all on the morrow.

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

I tell you what...

...all this screwy mess with the computers--from stupid Blogger to my own kludgy desktop machine's maddening refusal to cooperate--really makes it difficult to be creative. Maybe I've just gotten spoiled, but unless I can just type as quickly as I think of something, and then punch "publish" with some sense that it will actually work right, the whole thing just gets thrown off. The first time through always seems much more humorous, but trying to recreate a post like that a second time is just about as anticreative as it can get, at least to me. All the spontaneity is gone, and that just spoils everything.

ADD TO THIS the dread realization that tomorrow is yet another one of those bi-monthly meetings I have to attend, and FURTHER that I've got to take off early today to go get the kids from Grandma's house so they can go to a dinner of some sort, and it just makes me want to just go sit in the park and yalp at random passersby.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:00 PM | Comments (4)

Stupid STUPID Blogger

I just finished my big "workin' on my Volvo" post over on Revolvoblog with pictures and humor and such, clicked publish, and it said I was good to go. Yippee! For once it didn't mess up!

I clicked over to view it, and for some reason, the post didn't show up. Eh--no big deal--sometimes it takes a minute or two.

Jumped back to the edit screen and pulled up my template to add a couple of items to my line-item listing of repairs I've made (which is part of the template), saved, hit republish, and with great anticipation ran over to see what was going on.

Not only was the post not there, there was no more Revolvoblog!

I jumped back to edit--my just posted post was nowhere to be found. Jumped to the template--NOTHING THERE. I had a huge list of stuff on that template that took forever to format, and ALL OF IT WAS GONE!


Now, I KNOW I didn't erase the template, or overwrite everything when I did my template update. But by gum it was now irretrievably screwed up.


I thought maybe, just maybe, I could Google it, get a recent capture (it hasn't changed since June 20), and maybe use the View Source command to pick up the formatting.

Sure enough, the information was all there, so I copied it, pasted it back into the template, saved it, and now it's back in one piece. Sans my most recent post, of course.

Stupid Blogger.

And yes, by now I SHOULD know to save a copy before publishing--every time this happens, I am reminded by several people that I should have done this. Obviously, since I am a moron, you're just wasting your breath.

UPDATE: Apparently there's more to it--for some reason, even when posts are saved, they aren't appearing on the blog page. I managed to cross post this one over there, but it's not showing up at all. Stupid Blogger.

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

Well, whaddya know.

"Idol" coming to Birmingham for auditions

For the first time in its six-year history, “American Idol” will hold auditions in Birmingham.

An Aug. 21 stop at the BJCC Arena is one of seven that “Idol” will make prior to next season.

“Because that’s where so many of our our Idols have come from, that’s a must,” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told USA Today. The reigning Idol, Taylor Hicks, is from Birmingham, as are season 2 winner Ruben Studdard and Season 4 runner-up Bo Bice.

Producers expect up to 100,000 auditioning in each of the cities. Here’s the list: Los Angeles (Aug. 8), San Antonio (Aug. 11), East Rutherford, N.J. (Aug. 14), Birmingham (Aug. 21), Memphis (Sept. 3), Minneapolis (Sept. 8) and Seattle (Sept. 19). [...]

Local viewers will almost certainly be treated to breathless, 24 hour coverage from our local FOX affiliate.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I really have to believe, though, that the producers are going to do their best to weed out anyone with Alabama ties this time around

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:17 AM | Comments (2)


Stupid computers.

One of the things I noticed when I got back to work last week was that one of the MIS guys had been up here messing around with the machinery--no big deal because it IS their equipment, after all--but ever since then, the thing will get bogged down and take forever to go from one webpage to another, and will sometimes quit responding, and other times will just completely shut down the whole works. Freeze, then black screen and the ::skwik:: sound when the speakers go dead.

I can't tell what's been changed, other than the fact that it doesn't work nearly as well anymore.

"Progress," I guess.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

"Waldo," eh?

1-year-old found in Waldo after wandering away from grandmother

WALDO, Ala. (AP) — A 1-year-old baby boy was found and returned to his grandmother yesterday after he wandered off and was lost for three hours.

Chief Deputy Jimmy Kilgore of the Talladega County Sheriff's Department said the boy's grandmother was outside playing with the child when she went into the house to answer the phone.
The boy, who will be 2-years-old in two weeks, was gone when she came back outside. [...]

The boy was about 45 yards off Skyway Motorway across a ravine.

He had walked about a mile from his grandmother's house in the three hours he was missing. [...]

And now to answer the obvious question.

By the way, don't trust babies not to bolt if left unattended.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:54 AM | Comments (14)

I'll take "Potpourri" for 200, Alex...

Good morning--here are some items sent in by loyal readers for your amusement and enjoyment!

First, from the lovely green-thumbed and raven-haired Jordana Adams, a touching way of showing your team spirit. Rest assured that although I have occasional bouts of school boosterism, I have left explicit instructions that money not be wasted on me in such a manner, and that my remains be buried in a small basswood coffin purchased from Michael's, which is to be decorated with a variety of bright and colorful acrylic paints, and possibly with some glitter, and some wiggly-eye stick-ons.

Speaking of the afterlife, Dr. Jim Smith, noted Episcopalian deacon and pratfallist, sends along a link to a handy chart that gives an overview of the various world religions. As Jimbo notes, the chart's not particularly deep, but it does provide a quick and handy comparison, and there are other parts of the site that do provide more detail.

Georgia dirt kicker and graphic technology guru Dave Helton sends a note mocking me for falling to #3 in the Google rankings for "moron project," having been usurped by some sort of garage band of the same name. In order to reestablish my bona fides, I will note that the tool I have been anxiously awaiting in order to hold the sprocket on the front of my engine arrived yesterday! It's a nice piece of work--sturdy, heavy, and well made. Got home with it, and found that the two cylindrical pegs on the end of it that are intended to fit in the holes in the sprocket are too big. Meaning I will have to get out my grinder and attempt to reduce their diameter. ::sigh::

HOWEVER, not to be outdone, I did go ahead and do some other necessary work on the ol' lump of iron yesterday, installing a small plate on the rear of the cylinder head to prevent the rear seal from popping out, and installing a flame trap relocation kit. I am going to do a more detailed post on this over on Revolvoblog (in order to keep you from slashing your wrists in despair from having to read about car repair) but the short version is that the flame trap is a little bit of plastic in the crankcase vent system. In the original version, this is located way down beside the starter, underneath the intake manifold, stuffed between three inaccessible metal objects, turned sideways, and guarded by a dwarf with a battle axe. Meaning it's nearly impossible to get to it, which is bad, because the thing can get plugged up with oil, and if that happens, it can cause the pressure inside the crankcase to get real high, and it can cause the engine seals to pop out and leak oil everywhere. Which is exactly what happened to me.

I wasn't sure it was a plugged up flame trap, though. But I figured I would go ahead and check it, and also install a kit to move the hateful thing up onto the topside of the engine where it will be easier to change out in the future.

After much wrestling and mild oaths, I did manage to get it free, and sure enough, the thing was nearly completely blocked. The photo below shows the old one on the left, and the new one on the right.

flame trap small.JPG

The old one used to be the color of the new one. This shows just how blocked up it was--I have a feeling it hadn't been changed in about 100,000 miles or so. And to be something that only costs about five bucks, it sure has wound up costing me a ton of money.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:33 AM | Comments (9)

July 10, 2006

Well, good.

Judge: FBI raid on lawmaker's office legal

[...] "Congress' capacity to function effectively is not threatened by permitting congressional offices to be searched pursuant to validly issued search warrants," said [Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F.] Hogan, who had approved the FBI's request to conduct the overnight search of Jefferson's office. [...]

Imagine that.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

Well, that's interesting.

At least it is to me, although I have a feeling anyone else who comes by might not think so. Whatever.

IN ANY EVENT, I just got my newsletter from the state registration board for architects, and it included the passage rates of the registration exam from last year, and things are looking pretty good.

In each of the test divisions, the first number is the percentage of Alabama candidates passing the test, and the second number is the national percentage:

Pre-Design 88% 76%

General Structures 78% 75%

Lateral Forces 82% 76%

Mechanical and Electrical Systems 71% 68%

Building Design/Materials and Methods 89% 77%

Construction Documents and Services 90% 77%

Site Planning 79% 73%

Building Planning 60% 63%

Building Technology 65% 66%

As you can see, there are only a couple of categories where our numbers lagged behind the national rate, and those are not by much. I seem to recall the year I took mine (1994), in most categories we were about equal, so it's good to see that there's some progress being made on most fronts.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

Arts and Crafts!

For some reason, Reba and the kids (but most especially Catherine) have become gripped with an odd fever that causes them to rush to Michael's, purchase vast quantities of acrylic paint and small wooden doodads, come home with them, spread out all over the kitchen table, and proceed to slather said paint all over said wooden doodads, and occasionally upon said table.

It all started about a month ago when Reba found some little butterfly cutouts, then some small wooden doll standups, and this madness has now progressed to a variety of birdhouses and other jimcracks. She says she has intentions of doing them up for the folks on our Christmas gift list who like handmade crafts, but as I mention, Cat has caught this crafting mania as well, and has gone off and decorated several things on her own.

Which is the problem.

Not for her--for me.

Being that I am more persnickety about architectural craftsmanship than even famously anal-retentive James Lileks is about arranging the currency in his wallet or the size of juice glasses, the objects Catherine has decorated drive me to distraction with their slapdashery of color. I mean, there's primitive art, and then there's just plain primitive.

She usually does such wonderful work when she colors or paints on paper, but this 3-D stuff seems to bring out an inner savagery in her that causes her to shower these poor bits of basswood with multiple Jackson Pollack-y layers of pigments, but without the intentional nature of someone who thinks she's actually doing abtract art. They are, after all, supposed to look something like actual houses, miniaturized for the birdish set. The prim Gothic church or rustic log cabin or whimsical Norman style conical roof house are abused with great prejudice, with wild colors running all over the place, as well as fingerprints, smudges, smears, dollops, bandicoots, llamas--giving the assemblage the overall aspect of having been created by someone who's lost all fine motor skills.


I just want to take the brushes away from her (and Reba, too, but you didn't her ME say that) and show them what they're doing wrong.


Except, well, they're enjoying themselves to no end, and too, I figure if I ever started messing with the paints myself, I would wind up with yet another out-of-control set of moron projects with no end in sight.

Best just not to say anything.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:02 PM | Comments (4)

Video Camera Review

Alternate title--"I am a moron."

Why? Because despite all the online shopping I've done, in the end, I was hooked not by ease of use, or high quality features, or exciting new technological breakthroughs, but by the fact that the camera I wound up with came with a few accessory items--a tripod (which I already have one of), a carrying bag, five DVDs and a kewl yellow-green plastic case that looks like something a 10-year-old would carry around, and an emergency battery pack. I'd read some of the reviews, and the Hitachi models invariably don't fare well, and I had very nearly talked myself out of it (after going back to Wal-Mart across the highway later on that day and playing with other models), but when it finally came down to it, I got suckered by the extra toys that have nothing to do with camera quality.

BUT, it's still such a leap of technology from the old giant RCA VHS camcorder that had been Reba's before we got married that I don't even care. It's not like I've had anything comparable to, well, to compare it to, so if it does something 18% worse than the one I didn't get, I don't know about it. Ignorance is bliss, you know. It's the creed of the moron!

As for actual use, to me, it seemed intuitive enough. The manual is the size of a phone book, and I suppose if I read it all the way through I would know more, but just opening it up and going through the on-screen menus, I was able to figure out the stuff it would do and was able to make a couple of quick recordings that played back just fine, at least through the LCD. I haven't hooked it up to the television yet, since there's only about five minutes worth of footage (pixelage?) on the DVD, but from all indications, it seems simple enough to use for my moronic purposes.

Which, when you get right down to it, is pretty much okay. AND it came with a TRIPOD! And a BAG!

The only thing I don't like is that it's not one of their standard catalog models--it's one of those specially numbered jobs that big electronics companies will make when they cut deals with gigantic retailers. The same thing happens with computers and still cameras and everything else, but it seems that each retailer is able to swing a deal for a particular set of features and accessories, and it winds up with some weird model number that you can't look for online if you have a problem.

Still, not enough of a nuisance to turn away from my really sweet yellow-green DVD carrying case!

Now then, one day I will figure out how to post my stellar directorial work online, and PossumblogTV will move one step closer to reality.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

Hot Craving

Oddest thing. I woke up Saturday and after making my pre-breakfast run to the grocery store, found that I was craving spicy hot food. A LOT.

Strange because although I like spicy food every once in a while, I can't tolerate it as much as I could in my younger days, when I could sit there and eat whole jalepenos.

This time, though, the craving hit hard, and at the very worst time--never go to the store hungry, but more especially, never go nursing a craving. In addition to the paper towels and toilet paper and salad dressing, I found myself purchasing a jar of Vlasic Tabasco Mini Kosher Dills, a small tub of Mrs. Stratton's jalapeno pimento cheese, some of those Cheezit twisted-together things in the hot wing and bleu cheese flavor, a pound of Jimmy Dean hot sausage, and a bottle of pepper sauce (which we've actually needed for a while, but I had always forgotten about.)

I don't think I've every had a breakfast consisting of a spicy pimento cheese sandwich with spicy dill pickles before. Sure was good, though.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:08 AM | Comments (4)

About those tires...

Reba called me Friday, at work, to drive over to her office because she thought her tire on the back passenger side looked low. Aside from being a tremendously good cautionary tale about making sure your daughters grow up knowing something about cars, the visit didn't tell that much. Possibly because I only did a drive-by, because I was quite busy at the time. But in any case, I drove by, and both the rear tires looked exactly like tires, at least from the driver's seat of the van.

Fast-forward to Saturday morning, where I was called upon to perform a quick visit to the grocery store to pick up something, and when I came back out, the sunlight was hitting the back passenger side tire in just the right way, and WHOA! She's driven the tread off of them! Part of this is that these were the tires that had been on the front before I got those changed out, but still, I sure didn't remember them being in THAT bad of a shape. But they were.

Got home and unloaded and then headed up to Sam's Club, waited an hour and a half, and then lightened my burden of filthy lucre by $108.


At least Sam's on a Saturday morning is a very interesting place...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:20 AM | Comments (4)

Hey, how 'bout that World Cup?

Yeah, me too.

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

One hundred forty dollars in cash,

two ties, a dress shirt, a dress belt, ten pairs of socks, the Steve Martin version of the Pink Panther on DVD, a Celtic Woman CD, a wide assortment of cards (including one from the kitten), and two tires for the back end of Reba's car. And for me, from me, a new video camera!

Yes, that's right--I have once again managed to cheat death for another year and arrived upon the 44th anniversary of my birth yesterday. I have to tell you--although I do enjoy the presents and stuff, 44 just isn't one of those real banner-type celebration milestones. It's more like a quick stop at the highway rest area, and even then, it's not even one of the particularly nice ones. Stop, pee, stretch, look at the old brochures, and get back in and start driving again. All good things, obviously, but not quite like getting to the hotel and turning on the air conditioner.

Maybe it would have helped to have a cake--for some reason, there was no sugary, flaming remembrance of my nativity. I blame myself for not stopping and getting one this weekend. I mean, I had to go by Sam's twice--once for the tires, and again that evening to purchase my camera (and no, I don't know why I didn't get it the first time, other than wanting to shop around and see if I could get a better deal. Which was impossible to determine, seeing as how no one else sells this particular model.) Anyway, I might decide to fix the problem by stopping today on the way home from work and picking one up. And dern it all, I'm going to make sure it has the full complement of candles--none of this one, or three, or two "4" numerals--I want a conflagration!

Eh, or not.

As I said, hard to get particularly worked up about the second 22nd.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:26 AM | Comments (13)

July 07, 2006

Okay, well, maybe next week will be a bit more calm.

Or not. We'll all find out together, I suppose. As for now, I'm going to do some more clean up, then turn out the "Open" sign, lock the door, and head home.

All of you have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)


BOOKS--One of the other loose ends of minutiae with which I feel compelled to burden you with is that I did finish up my David McCullough book 1776 while away. Turned out better than I thought the first chapter would indicate. After that brief bit of barely disguised politicking, the rest of the book was relatively straightforward, although the pains to which McCullough goes to collect sources to represent our current addiction to the concept of "diversity" are sometimes distracting.

But overall, it was a breezy and relatively good overview of a crucial year in our history, at least in the pop-culture history genre of books. It lacks breadth in that it does little to address events or persons not directly related to Washington or his adversaries. International events and intrigue, especially between Congress and the French and Dutch are barely even mentioned, nor are strategic events outside of Washington's theater of operation, including the very important naval war. But a more comprehensive look at these would necessarily create a more dense and less easily read (and sold) book.

Although I realize the book's audience is probably intended as more casual readers, I do have a big quibble with the lack of maps. There are a couple of photos of historic maps, but it would be nice to have accurate maps--something large and clear enough to be of some actual use, rather than merely as pretty pictures. This is especially true given some of the detailed descriptions of troop movements in the seige of Boston and of the Long Island campaign. If the audience is not expected to be history buffs, all that talk of how big and long defensive positions are is meaningless without good maps.

Next up is a book I'm reading about secret weapons in World War II. I can't remember the name of it at all.

MOVIES--I took Jonathan and Catherine to go see Cars Monday, and I have to tell you, if you're a car nut, go see it. The kids enjoyed it immensely--even Catherine, who sat through the whole thing without having to hit the restrooms. The scenery is very nearly photographic, and quite clever in incorporating every possible automotive theme, as well as a host of inside jokes and voice-over cameos by various racing and media types.

It's almost crass to talk about the storyline being a bit contrived--I mean, let's face it, it's a cartoon movie with cars who act like PEOPLE--but still, if they were people, the story would be a bit on the predictably hokey side.

Still, there is a moment when Doc Hudson (a '51 Hudson Hornet, voiced by Paul Newman) is alone out on the edge of town at a big dirt path out in the desert, and he's trying to figure out if he still has some of the old spirit of his youth. After a few wheezing stumbles, the sound of a roaring Twin-H Power flathead six comes booming out of his tailpipe, and I swear to goodness it made the hair on my neck stand up and a tear come to my eye. It's even happening as I'm typing this--there is just something alive and visceral about cars that the animators were able to capture. Aside from the whole idea of "movie" and plotline and the peculiar suspensions of disbelief that must be undertaken to enjoy the picture, THAT one moment in that one scene was worth the whole price of admission. Put it on your gotta see list if you're an adult who loves automobiles. If you don't like cars that much, and don't get the whole racing deal, well, you might as well skip it.

The other movie I saw was one we've had on DVD at the house for a while but I hadn't watched. And the odd thing is, until I actually DID unwrap it and watch it, I could have sworn I'd seen it before--Zorba the Greek. I don't know if I've just seen so many different pieces of it over the years or what, but I truly thought I had seen it before. Well, I hadn't, but now I have, and what an interesting and offbeat movie. Seeing as how I haven't looked, I don't know quite what audiences must have thought about it in 1964, but I can't begin to imagine that anything similar could ever be made in today's movie industry, unless Zorba is played by Johnny Depp, and Alan Bates' part is played by Adam Sandler, and the widow is Reece Witherspoon, and it all happens in SoHo, and the hotel where Sandler stays is owned by a highly flamboyant gay man played by someone who's not really gay, but can gay up the place with great gayness, and Adam Sandler is writing a book about farting, and needs Zorba to help him test out recipes, so they use the hotel's kitchen, which Zorba (Depp) was able to swing by romancing the gay owner, and in a wacky series of events, widow Witherspoon comes into the restaurant, orders something, and gets terrible gas and meets Adam Sandler on the way to the ladies room and they fall over each other and there's a food fight as well as a sudden outbreak of flatulence amongst everyone in the restaurant, and he realizes he loves her but before he can ask her to marry him, she dies, or so he thinks, but she's only doing that to keep from breaking his heart because she's actually in love with a poor Long Island shepherd boy (played by Orlando Bloom), and by faking her death she's only trying to spare herself from deciding between them, until the day of the funeral, when the poor shepherd boy and the author meet, and in an increasingly noisy confrontation begin hurling insults and farts at each other, until Reece Witherspoon has had enough and declares her love for Zorba. Then there's a big wedding on a cruise ship to Greece, and someone falls in a fountain, and everyone laughs genially.

Well, this movie was nothing at all like that, which is why I was so intrigued by it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:57 PM | Comments (4)

Technical Bulletin

Sorry, but Nate McCord reports that it seems Munu is acting up again and comments aren't working properly.

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

Vacation Photos!

HEY! Quit yer groaning!

I'm going to put them down below in the extended entry so you don't have to be thrilled by them unless you absolutely want to be.

SO, here's the route along lovely I-59 going toward Gadsden--

setting out.JPG

--and here is my lovely co-pilot. She sure is cute.

shotgun rider.JPG

There are kids in the back, I guess.

As I mentioned, the cabin was right off the commercial strip in Pigeon Forge, but the view out the back was of nothing but trees. It was very pleasant, and I spent a good many hours out there just sitting and reading.

back porch view.JPG

The picture above was taken on Monday, which was the rainy day. The rainy day that "we" decided would be perfect for shopping.


This is all of us, having fun shopping. Whee.


Tuesday was great--as sunny as the day before had been cloudy.

This is as we entered the park for our daytrip--


--and here's a view overlooking Gatlinburg.

gatlinburg view.JPG

On to Clingmans Dome, and a view of the tree kill on the way up and further on up the summit:

tree kill.JPG

clingmans 2.JPG

And here are the children after we got up to the top, before making the final dash up the spiralling ramp to the observation deck. They seem to have made it fine, although we did stop at every bench on the way up.

clingmans dome.JPG

It's only a half-mile trail, with a 330 foot vertical rise, but, boy, I tell you what, it seemed a LOT longer. But at least I wasn't pushing a guy up it in a wheelchair like one family I saw. A couple of young strong sons managed to push their dad all the way to the top. That takes some doing.

For any of you who've ever been through the Smokies, this scene is nearly ubiquitous. Nothing quite like driving with the windows down and listening to the water rushing by, except possibly having to listen to children complain about being cold or hot or both.

mountain stream.JPG

On to our picnic, then back up over the divide and back down to Cades Cove. Still a beautiful day, and as I mentioned, the place was pretty well eat up with whitetails. Here was one browsing right beside the van--

cades cove deer.JPG

--and here are a couple of more on down the trail a bit.

cove deer 2.JPG

Hard to beat a view like this:

cades cove.JPG

Anyway, that's about it for the slide show, although I did manage to capture one more shot of my bride before we left out on Wednesday morning. I'm not sure she was in much of a mood for it, seeing as how the children were being themselves, but I took it anyway because I think she's cute.


So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:33 AM | Comments (2)

Moron Projects!

Well, mine is moribund at the moment. Remember back before I left, I had been valiantly trying to change out the front crank and camshaft seals and change the timing belt? Well, it seems I am still lacking ONE tool necessary to remove the intermediate sprocket from the shaft. I have tried every combination of cheater, wrench, strap, plier, beaker bar, and incantation to get that one intermediate shaft nut off, and it won't budge. The upper camshaft sprocket bolt I managed to get loose by wedging a breaker bar into one of the holes in the sprocket face and the handle down onto the water pump snout, but there's no way to do that with the intermediate one. Just lots of frustration and damaged knuckles.

Tool? Yep, there's one specifically for this--Volvo camshaft sprocket counterhold 9995034. Of which there is apparently only one in all of Middle Earth. So, I have another supposedly universal-fit tool on order, but in the mean time, the poor old Brick has has to just sit in the driveway, forlorn and hobbled. I just hope I remember how everything goes back together. I did order some other stuff to work on also, but just haven't gotten around to putting on the flame trap relocation kit or the rear camshaft seal retainer kit. Maybe this afternoon. Or not.

LUCKILY FOR ALL OF US, the moron disease infects others so that even if one thing is at a dead stop, other things are continuing to wheeze and bang around for our entertainment. AS IS THE CASE with famous NASA rocket scientist and boat owner Steevil, who undertook while I was away to purchase for himself a brand new (well, for him, at least) white 1973 Triumph Spitfire, which came with a host of spare parts, as well as the ghosts of both Sir Joseph Lucas AND British Leyland! I hope Steve doesn't mind my posting a picture of his new friend herein--

Congrats, Steevil! And condolences in that it seems to have succumbed to an carburetor malady--Steevil reports having to have it flat-towed only days after purchasing it due to some wicked backfiring back up through the induction system. I'm sure it's nothing a little cursing, some Guinness, and a 3 pound brass hammer can't fix.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:31 AM | Comments (5)

Other catch-up items...

Well, one thing I found out about when I got back was that ol' Rob Smith had gone on to his reward. I had corresponded with Rob on several occasions, and despite his blog persona as a person of profanely irreverent vulgarity (or vulgarly irreverent profanity, or irreverently profane vulgarity, or whatever), he actually was a man of principle and more decent than 90% of the people filling church pews on any given Sunday. And even when he was steeping in a kettle full of liquor, he could still write better and funnier than authors who'd sold shelves full of books. He was a complicated fellow, and I can't say that I will ever understand everything about him or why he made some of the decisions he made, but whatever he was, he was with no apologies. Guys like Rob don't come around in this world often, which some of you might find comforting. But when you need help, the Robs of the world are who you want on your side--no greater friend, no worse enemy.

In other items of interest that I missed, there was the conviction in Federal court of one of our former governors, and the founder and former CEO of one of the nation's largest healthcare and rehabilitation providers. From all the various news reports I've read since then, it seems that the jury understood their charge very well and weren't swayed by all the irrelevant grandstanding and preaching by the defendants. I was a bit perplexed that the other two defendants walked free and clear, but again, given what is being reported in the paper, it wasn't an arbitrary decision by the jury but one based on actually trying to get things done. They did their job as well as anyone could, it seems, and should be commended.

I thought it was interesting that the jurors opened each day of deliberations with a prayer--I have to believe that this has at least been talked about on the defense side as a possible issue on appeal--not a good reason, but just something to argue about to say that the jurors were unduly influenced by emotionalism rather than by evidence. Of course, I can't imagine that the defense would actually go forward with such a ploy, given how they portrayed themselves as being some sort of quasireligious civil rights martyrs right up there with Dr. King. But you never know.

I do know that after the verdict, both Siegelman and Scrushy made the rounds of all the local news shows and jabbered to the newspapers in a series of remarkable displays of petty bitterness--the same jury that Siegelman expansively claimed wouldn't even give him a parking ticket was now a group of people who were misled and not able to see through the prosecution's weak case. Make up your mind, there, Sparky.

I thought this Siegelman quote was precious:

[...] "If I'm in trouble for this, every public official who has ever taken money and appointed that person to a board, agency or commission is up the creek without a paddle" [...]

As a taxpayer in the State of Alabama, all I can say is "good." Bring it on, and faster please! I'm not sure if Dandy Don actually thinks Alabamians WANT their elected representatives doing business they way 'it's always been done,' but I know I don't.

ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE--Boy, that Kim Jong-Il is one weird, creepy little dude. Therefore, I figure there is approximately a 98% chance that Cindy Sheehan will be seen at some point in the coming months snuggled up by his side to issue a joint denunciation of that lying King George McHitlerburton.

In immigration, this odd article from the Christian Science Monitor. Being that the media seem to have given up on even pretending to be dispassionate, this little hatchet job is intended to do nothing more than promote knee-jerk opposition to ANYthing President Bush does or says, using the old trick of comparing a predecessor's success to today's seeming lack. BUT, the paper goes to far as to promote something that were it ACTUALLY to be proposed by the Bush Administration NOW, would cause the self-same paper to explode into a cannonade of confetti about how evil and vicious and lying and wicked and lying and evil and racist the whole Bushco gang is. Read the article--is the CSM's writer ACTUALLY advocating that the U.S. embark on Operation Wetback 2?

[...] Influential politicians, including Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson (D) of Texas and Sen. Pat McCarran (D) of Nevada, favored open borders, and were dead set against strong border enforcement, Brownell said. But General Swing's close connections to the president shielded him – and the Border Patrol – from meddling by powerful political and corporate interests.

One of Swing's first decisive acts was to transfer certain entrenched immigration officials out of the border area to other regions of the country where their political connections with people such as Senator Johnson would have no effect.

Then on June 17, 1954, what was called "Operation Wetback" began. Because political resistance was lower in California and Arizona, the roundup of aliens began there. Some 750 agents swept northward through agricultural areas with a goal of 1,000 apprehensions a day. By the end of July, over 50,000 aliens were caught in the two states. Another 488,000, fearing arrest, had fled the country.

By mid-July, the crackdown extended northward into Utah, Nevada, and Idaho, and eastward to Texas.

By September, 80,000 had been taken into custody in Texas, and an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 illegals had left the Lone Star State voluntarily.

Unlike today, Mexicans caught in the roundup were not simply released at the border, where they could easily reenter the US. To discourage their return, Swing arranged for buses and trains to take many aliens deep within Mexico before being set free.

Tens of thousands more were put aboard two hired ships, the Emancipation and the Mercurio. The ships ferried the aliens from Port Isabel, Texas, to Vera Cruz, Mexico, more than 500 miles south.

The sea voyage was "a rough trip, and they did not like it," says Don Coppock, who worked his way up from Border Patrolman in 1941 to eventually head the Border Patrol from 1960 to 1973.

Mr. Coppock says he "cannot understand why [President] Bush let [today's] problem get away from him as it has. I guess it was his compassionate conservatism, and trying to please [Mexican President] Vincente Fox." [...]

General Swing's fast-moving campaign soon secured America's borders – an accomplishment no other president has since equaled. Illegal migration had dropped 95 percent by the late 1950s. [...]

While Congress debates building a fence on the border, these veterans say other actions should have higher priority. [And seemingly so does the author of the piece, seeing as he voices absolutely no counterbalancing arguments. Ed.]

1. End the current practice of taking captured Mexican aliens to the border and releasing them. Instead, deport them deep into Mexico, where return to the US would be more costly.

2. Crack down hard on employers who hire illegals. Without jobs, the aliens won't come.

3. End "catch and release" for non-Mexican aliens. It is common for illegal migrants not from Mexico to be set free after their arrest if they promise to appear later before a judge. Few show up. [...]

Oh, I have no doubt these things would work just as well as they did back then, if the Democrats we had today were the same as Democrats back then, and if Mexico was as open to allowing us just to run buses over their border full of deportees as they were in 1954, and the news media could be convinced that dealing strongly with illegal immigration is more important than trying to make the sitting President look like some sort of idiot-savant evil genius, and if the United Nations was composed of something other than masses of tinpot dictators intent on destroying America. But today's Democrats are different. Mexico is not only NOT going to let us undertake mass deportations by allowing its citizens to be forcibly returned deep into their territory, they have been doing all they can to get people to COME here. The news media? Please. Look at how they have treated the situation so far--anyone want to take bets on how they would react if someone OTHER than the former managing editor of the Christian Science Monitor was plumping for the resurrection of Operation Wetback? The U.N.? Well the problem isn't just Mexico, but there are great wads of Central and South Americans who can't wait to get here from their corrupt nations, and whose countries would be loathe to have to take them back. No catch-and-release? Well, then, the only alternative if we can't drive a bus to Venezuela is to put them in prison. Where we will once again have to deal with how harsh and cruel we are for our treatment of other nations' citizens.

Hey, I don't have any answers either, but there's no use pretending that this article is anything more than just another attempt by a partisan press to poke at the current Administration.

Finally--tires. Man, how I love tires.

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


Yes, I know I have a lot of catching up to do, but since Fridays in Greater Blogistan are devoted to catblogging, what better way to catch up than with BRAND NEW KITTY PICTURES!

After we got back from vacation, we took the World's Most Expensive Free Kitten to the vet for his first round of vaccinations and worming. Which, of course, required the purchase of a cat carrier to get him there with as little drama as possible. Thankfully, there is a vet down at the foot of the hill (across the highway from my dentist's office), so there wasn't much time for him to get all wound up.

The vet is a very tiny girl who seems to have a pretty good tableside manner, although I don't think I would want to make a habit of putting cat noses up to my mouth if I were her. He seemed perfectly content throughout the exam, and found time to get down in the floor and repeatedly, viciously, attack the floor-mounted stainless steel door stop. Silly cat.

Anyway, he weighs all of three pounds.

Obviously, when he fuzzes up his tail, he looks MUCH bigger--

And he's now climbed every tree in the yard, just because he can. He likes this stump, though--I think mainly because it's close to the bird feeder, but also because he seems to like to gnaw on it and reach his paw down into the hole in the top of it.

SO, there's your Lightning Update!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2006

But then...

...I get a nice Asian visitor searching for valuable information who managed to find Possumblog, and I feel cozy and warm all over.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:10 AM | Comments (2)

Okay, that's it.

I'm ready to punch someone in the head. Hard. And then I'll laugh, and point, and say stuff like, "Hey, I just punched you in the head, hard, and now I'm laughing at you!"

And if it just so happens that it's the exact right person, I won't even feel bad about it tomorrow. (If it's just a random bystander, I might decide to apologize later on this afternoon.)

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

July 05, 2006

I thought...

...that today would be more or less normal. Oh, maybe "back from vacation" normal, but even that's not so bad after the first hour or so. But it's turned out to be normal only if your definition of normal is being staked to an antbed, covered in Hershey's syrup, and forced to fill out an environmental impact statement by holding a dull pencil in your teeth.

Why do people have to be so dadgummed dense? And why does their density always seem to have an inordinate impact on me?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:31 PM | Comments (2)

Worst part of being back at work?

Being back at work.

Seems that being out is a convenient way for people to dump off the stuff they don't want to do.

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

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig!

Well, I’m tired for one thing. None of that “tanned, ready and rested” mess for me--I’m bedraggled and still lacking about a day of sleep. BUT, I’m not complaining. Although I am having a bit of trouble remembering exactly what all this blogging stuff is about.

As for the vacation, being that I’ve been gone so long, there’s too much to tell so I’ll just hit the high points--

Miles traveled--795 miles round trip, including one 185 mile round trip daytrip through the Smokies.

Roadkill--surprisingly few fur pies in evidence this year. And most of them were in Alabama. I seem to recall approximately 10 raccoons, 7 possums, 2 armadillos, and a variety of chewed up mammals of indistinct species. I was amazed there weren’t more up in the mountains, and it made me wonder if they do a bit more policing to keep from disturbing the tourists or something.

Car trouble--none at all. Mileage ranged from around 23 on the highway to abysmal in the mountains. (Mainly due to my keeping the transmission in second or third most of the time.) The last time I drove through the Smokies, it was with my parents in their ’74 Buick Riviera, a car of great floatiness and thirst, and I remember thinking how difficult the travel seemed on the road that crossed between Gatlinburg and Cherokee. This Odyssey seemed much more buttoned-down, and this despite the fact that I’ve never been fond of its odd handling characteristics. But it handled the tight 20mph sweepers with a full load of six passengers with great aplomb and with no fatigue on my part.

Accommodations--Very nice little modern two bedroom cabin right in the center of Pigeon Forge that was surprisingly private. It had an upstairs and downstairs and two big back porches looking out into the woods, a good sized kitchen, satellite TV (on four different sets). Only drawback was that it was at the very top of a hill, and the pool was at the very bottom of the hill. Nice and quiet, though. I am NOT impressed with the money I was charged for the cleaning fee--they need to get another housekeeping service.

Scenery--beautiful, at least the mountain part of it. The parkway from Sevierville to Gatlinburg is better looking than I recall from childhood, but still much too full of the ticky-tacky crapshack souvenir places. Exactly how many different go-kart/miniature golf places can you build in one place?! I was surprised at how many of the trees up in the higher elevations were dead--the articles I’ve read cite insect damage, various fungi, and air pollution. Cades Cove was quite beautiful, though, and on that leg of our daytrip we counted about twelve deer, two turkeys, and a mob of people who found a bear and proved their intense stupidity by setting out on foot to go get a closer look. Idjits.

Potpourri--Saw a heaping wad of Hutterites coming down the pathway from Clingmans Dome. That's not something you really expect to see. Jonathan counted motorcycles during the trip, and managed to see a total of 465 or so. Rebecca counted license plates, and wound up with tags from 37 states. Ohio seemed to be represented well. Worst drivers? Still has to be anyone coming out of metro Atlanta. It's not all Georgia drivers, but the ones that make themselves noticed most by their rudeness and unnecessarily aggressive driving all hale from Atlanta. Work on that, please.

Activities--We got in Saturday and I didn’t want to go or do anything because I was tired, but later on that afternoon we did go grocery shopping. My New York friend of Hebrew extraction might think Birmingham not so amenable to those who wish to keep kosher, but let me tell you what, you’ve never seen a more pitiful scene than the search that occurred in the Sevierville Super Wal-Mart as innumerable clerks tried to help a young woman try to find some matzah. We pick up the conversation in midstream:

She: “Matzah--it’s Jewish unleavened bread, sorta flat like a cracker?”

1st Associate: “Uh, well, it might be over in the Mexican food--hey, [name of assistant manager]--have we got any matt-so?”

Assistant Manager: “Any what?”

2nd Associate (who appeared out of nowhere): “Masto--it’s a type of Jewish crackers!”

She (quietly, and now having been forgotten by the others): “Matzah, it’s not really crac--”

Assistant Manager (to 1st Associate): “All our crackers are gonna be over on aisle 12.”

1st Associate: “Well, she said it wasn’t like real crackers and that it wasn’t over in crackers at all, and she thinks it might be in the foreign food stuff. Like Mexican.”

This conversation continued in this vein for several more minutes I’m sure, given the exotic nature of the request, but we had other things to go get.

Sunday was overcast and we stayed close to the cabin, aside from a couple of trips to church. Odd, these resort/tourist-town churches--they seem only to have a handful of regular members, and tremendous crowds of visitors. They had 275 on Sunday morning, and barely 50 in the evening.

Monday was supposed to be our day to go to the mountains, but it rained from before dawn until well into the night. So we went shopping at the Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet. Wheee. Shopping in the rain is very fun. With children, even more so. But we did find some nice plastic covers for some of our Pyrex bowls!

Tuesday was absolutely stunningly beautiful all day long, so that was our daytrip day. Up to Clingmans Dome, parked and left Reba and Ashley in the van because the former was feeling bad, and the latter somehow neglected to bring along any shoes to walk in. Hmm. Imagine that! Up to the top with the other three, looked around, and came back down. On down the mountain for a picnic stop, then on into Cherokee to buy gas, then BACK over the mountain to go see Cades Cove. Did the loop, but with it getting late in the day, we only stopped at a couple of the buildings.

Wednesday, home again. Church Wednesday night where I found that it’s probably not a good idea to go on vacation right when the new quarter starts. Thursday and Friday and Saturday? I’m not quite sure, although I think we did laundry, and we had my mom and sister over for lunch on Saturday.

Stuff I didn’t do--watch the news, read a newspaper, or look at a computer.

Lot went by while I was gone, it seems.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:19 AM | Comments (8)