March 30, 2007

Oh, enough of this silliness.

I got a ton of junk to get done this afternoon before I go, so I'll go ahead and wish you all a good weekend. Come back Monday and we'll see what happened!

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

A spanner in the works.

Or something.

But last night after the ballgame, I got word from the 8th grader sitting next to me that in addition to the math homework she had, and the language homework had, she also needed a current event article for social studies due today.

I tend to do the searching for these for the kids, mainly because they take too long to find things and tend to wander over to entertainment sites. (Not Possumblog, obviously, since it's not entertaining.)

ANYway, they've been studying world religions and junk, and they're on Islam right now, and her teacher wanted them to bring in articles about Islam. Best I could tell from her take on the assignment was that the news articles needed to be all about the lovey-dovey, RoP angle.

Okay, well, I'm just not in the mood for that.

I gave her this article, without comment, for her to read herself and see what she thought. In the car on the way to school this morning, she asked what it meant when it said "radical."

Well, radical in this context is when you have a group of people who say all they want is to live quiet peaceful lives, and all they do is go around trying to kill people who have different beliefs, because, doggone it all, they just can't have a quiet peaceful life with all these filthy kafirs around.

Not said quite like that, but close enough.

As I told her (and Jonathan, too, since he was in the backseat) there are millions of fine folks who believe jihad is an internal struggle against the power of Satan--just like Christians who put on the "armor of God" to battle the influence of evil in their lives. But there are a number of jihadis--a minority of believers, sure, but still darned big enough in raw numbers--who want nothing to do with such placidness, and only want to purify the world of the stain of the infidel.

And to be fair, as I told her, there are Christians who have similar views, too.

There is a difference, though, in that in this country there is a very vocal, very active, very large (both in numbers and in percentage) counterbalance, not just of Christians, but people of all faiths (or lack thereof), who are swift to condemn people like this, and eager to bring them to justice should they commit crimes in support of their misguided faith. For some reason, some members don't quite get around to criticizing any faiths OTHER than Christianity, but even if we take them out of the equation, you still have a healthy group of people who really DO want to have a free country where everyone is free to interact with each other.

Radical Islam has--again, on the basis of percentages--a very small minority of people willing to extend the same condemnation to the evil that lurks within the greater body of Islam. Moderate or pacifistic Muslims who speak out against radicalism do exist, but they face a determined, emboldened enemy who think nothing of imprisoning them, or killing them. It's bad enough to be an infidel, but the whiff of heresy and apostacy kicks the shariaist's angry glands up another whole notch. So, there's a lot of fear there, and I believe some sense of apathy, that has thus far made the Muslim-Condemnation-of-Fellow-Muslims-Who-Commit-Atrocities- in-the-Name-of-Allah a rather small organization.

You know, hand-holding multi-cultural feel-goodism is all great and wonderful, but let's not ignore the fact that there are people out there who actually want to destroy, with extreme prejudice, that very self-same type of happybird cloudfloaty land.

So, kids--treat people the way you want to be treated. But keep your powder dry.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:06 PM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

"It's not a job you want to try on your own."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:18 AM | Comments (6)

That new lower speed limit through Malfunction Junction seems to have done the trick.

Truck overturns, snarls Interstate 65 traffic

Of course, accidents like this are helpful, in that they reduce traffic speed from the posted limit of 50 miles per hour to 0 miles per hour.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:55 AM | Comments (4)

Mr. Seward retorts:

"Yeah, well who's laughing NOW, big boy!"

On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward agreed to purchase Alaska for 7.2 million dollars. Critics attacked Seward for the secrecy surrounding the deal with Russia, which came to be known as "Seward's folly." They mocked his willingness to spend so much on "Seward's icebox" and Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden." [...]

According to this site, "$101221757.32 in the year 2006 has the same "purchase power" as $7200000 in the year 1867." A hundred and one million sounds like quite a bargain, especially if you read down this list of export values of Alaskan products.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

Jeepers! It really DOES look a bit suspicious!

Via Doc Reynolds:

[...] CRS, a nonpartisan agency of the Library of Congress created to conduct research for members of Congress on legislative issues, changed its policy in February -- a month after Democrats took control of the Congress [...]

Oh, well--SURELY there's nothing amiss there. Which is probably why there's no press coverage.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:05 AM | Comments (2)

So, it's better to be blinded than beaten?

I guess so. L.A. police to get new flashlights

3/30/2007, 4:16 a.m. CDT
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police will soon be outfitted with a cutting edge flashlight that is not only brighter than others, but too small to be used as a weapon.

The idea for the 7060 LED flashlight was conceived just days after news cameras broadcast images of LAPD officers beating car-theft suspect Stanley Miller with a two-pound, two-foot long standard issue police flashlight. [...]

The new 10-inch, $100 flashlight was developed and manufactured by the Torrance-based company Pelican to meet LAPD specifications. It will feature both a standard "patrol mode" and an ultra-light "tactical mode" that is bright enough to temporarily blind suspects. [...]

[Emphasis mine] You and I both know the first time an officer uses the "tactical mode" light on a suspect, there's gonna be streets full of protestors dressed up like Little Orphan Annie and a hefty lawsuit. Or vice-versa.

All I know is that I keep a four-cell Maglite in every vehicle we have.

[...] Ramona Ripston, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, praised the LAPD for the equipment change.

"It's a really important step in the right direction, and it's going to make a difference in how the police department deals with the community," she said. "We've always felt that a flashlight was not an instrument to beat people with. This new one will serve the purpose it was intended to."

"...a flashlight was not an instrument to beat people with..."

As the computer guys say, "that's not a bug, that's a feature."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)



I feel sorry for the girls--they just haven't managed to put it all together this season, and last night was pitiful. They looked half-dead. Rebecca said it was too hot, but it's still not like the surface of the sun like it is when it's summertime. Still, even if it WAS too hot, and they WERE half-dead, the other team from Thompson apparently thrive in such conditions. The score remained tied 0-0 until the first half, but only due to their inability to modulate the power of their shots on goal. One girl sailed a kick over the net, over the football goalpost behind the net, and over the roof of the field house outside the fence across the end zone. She was just outside the box when she let go with it.

After the second half started, they began throttling back on the power and getting their shots dialed in, and more importantly, they did not let up with their aggressiveness. Our girls were a counterpoint of passivity and we only had about three or four shots on goal the entire game. Hard to win like that.

BUT, more chances for redemption tonight--they've got some kind of soccer tournament tonight and tomorrow, and will be playing two games tonight. If they aren't tired from playing Wednesday and last night, they will be tonight.

Be interesting to see how this turns out.

One bright spot? I get to make fun of the twentyish woman in the concession stand who needed a calculator to figure out the change for a $20 from a tab of $1.50.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:40 AM | Comments (4)

March 29, 2007

And now?

Another soccer game tonight, this one down in Shelby County which should be a nice fun ride down I-65 at 5:00 in the afternoon. Add to this the excitement of a tournament this weekend with a double-header tomorrow night, and then another game (at least) on Saturday, and I have feeling someone is going to be AWFULLY tired.

And it might even be someone other than ME!

Yeah, I know, go figure.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

A Diamond In The...

...well, not quite "rough."

Although roughage would have helped.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

Shameless begging!?

Surely the boys at the BBQ Emporium know that begging is worthless without throwing in the promise of a pound of barbecue, inside, chopped, with a pint of sauce. I am immune to begging, but I do have my price.

Being merciful and all that, though, I AM willing to throw 'em a link with the understanding that the meat will be sent as expeditiously as possible.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:07 PM | Comments (0)

Notable, Indeed.

Via Kim Du Toit, a little celebration of one of the finest hand implements ever created.

And further good words from a retired Texas Ranger. (Not known if his tears can cure children of cancer.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:42 PM | Comments (9)

If you have to explain something like that...

This story about a story makes me laugh. Okay, it sorta made me smile. Or grimace. Hard to tell.

But, no matter. I think it's pretty sad that the AP, or any news organization, for that matter, deems it necessary to once more do an obligatory explanation at the bottom of an article about what this "blogging" is all about. I thought these news-type people took pride that their material was an essential read for bright, intelligent people.

Frankly, if your idea of bright, intelligent people are those people who in the year 2007 have no idea what a blog is, you're pretty much announcing your own irrelevance. (Even more so if you can't do a better job of it than what was quoted in the article. Even more moreso in that the electronic version is absolutely worthless for wrapping fish OR lining a bird cage.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:08 PM | Comments (2)

That's just wonderful.

Over the course of the time that Jonathan has had braces, he's had to have several baby teeth pulled in order to make room for the braces or his other teeth, and now we're going to have to take him in to an oral surgeon so that one of the permanent teeth that was under one of the baby teeth can be "exposed," hitched to a mule, and dragged down into position.

There is much to be said for learning to smile in such a way as to hide your ugly lumpen misshapen teeth. Then again, were that to happen, it would be terribly difficult for the orthodontist to be able to afford his lake house.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:03 PM | Comments (4)

And now?

Well, since I missed Boy's afternoon orthodontist appointment a couple of weeks ago, I am punished by having to leave NOW and go get him and take him over to the office.

Back in a bit.

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

And the moon's not even full yet.

People are something.

Anyway, last night was soccer night and also my night to take up money at the gate. I thought I had signed up for the concession stand, but no matter. Actually, the gate is better, because you get to close up at halftime and go watch the game, while the concession stand folks have to stay in there. And it was hot last night in there.

So, I got there and took over the money box from the varsity boy's mom who was there, and pretty soon my junior varsity girl's mom counterpart showed up. She thought she was supposed to be in the concession stand, too. (I think the lady who keeps track of this stuff got the folks swapped around wrong.)

Stood around, chatted, bothered people coming in the gate. We sell family passes for the home games, and there's always some folks who leave theirs at home or in the car or whatever, so I make sure to tease them mercilessly. It is my nature, you know. Waited some more. The game kicked off. Couldn't see squat, because the gate's on one corner of the field, but best as I could tell, our girls were doing MUCH better this time than the last time they played Mountain Brook.

Took more money, made change successfully, had an old grandpappy come in and say very loudly that he was paying for himself and the next pretty girl who walked through the gate, which just happened to be his wife of many many decades. Lot's of jabber from this one--seemed to be on a first name basis with Mr. Jack Daniels or Mr. Johnny Walker. Or maybe he was just that sort of blabberjabber gladhander type. Whatever. Tried to explain to a visitor lady how to get out to the main highway, which is hard because I don't know any of the names of any of the streets in town, and I drive with little understanding of things like "north" and "east" or even right or left. I just sorta drive on autopilot, then when I wake up, I'm where I'm supposed to be. I think I told her the right way, though. If not, I do apologize, ma'am.

HALFTIME, and the score was still 0-0! Locked up the till and headed around the field to the concession stand to drop it off, got myself a canned Diet Coke, and started to settle in to watch the second half.


The aluminum bleachers, normally a shiny aluminum color, were covered in a uniform sheet of bright yellow powder. I had on black pants.


Around back toward the parking lot to go get the little folding stadium seat I keep in the trunk.

As I got closer to the gate I had left only a few minutes earlier, something seemed to be...I don't know--wrong. There were a couple of small clusters of people, and they were each looking toward the parking lot. And there was a group of people out there. Got closer, and there were two clusters of people--men--and they were moving backwards and forwards in the aisle where you drive. And they were shouting.

Oh, sweet mother--a kerfuffle. This can't be good.

And as it turns out, it wasn't.

AND THUS WE BEGIN A VERY STUPID SAD TALE OF STUPID SAD PEOPLE. With all sorts of preachy, holier-than-thou advice from me. Bail now if you wish. The game wound up being a 2-0 loss, but on the whole a good one, and the following didn't seem to have been noticed by the girls.


--so I walk to the gate and see a couple of our dads holding back a 30-ish, stylishly bald, buff, and goateed doofus who was doing the full WWE finger-pointing screaming cussing act, about ready to render a swift ass-kicking to someone.


The old grandpappy guy.

Who himself was being restrained by a gigantic wheezing fat guy who was visiting with one of the dads at that time holding back the other loudmouth. Pappy was yammering on and on, Doofus was busily running through the Lexicon of Bodily Function Curses at top volume, Wheezer was simultaneously trying to lift Pappy off the ground and tell him to get in his car and LEAVE and hoping not to have a coronary.

I don't know the full story, but best as I can tell, Pappy and G-Maw had come to see their sweet baby granddaughter play soccer. Granddaughter apparently being the product of the coupling of their sweet lovely daughter with Doofus. And for whatever reason, Daughter and Doofus went their separate ways, and now Doofus has a New Girlfriend. This must have displeased Pappy, because for some reason, when Doofus and his Doxie passed by them in the park, Pappy felt compelled to remark that she was a female dog. Doofus, feeling heartily disrespected, began loudly demanding apologies and respect, and that fire from heaven be rained down on poor staggering Pappy. Pappy, being three sheets to the wind, denied saying anything, said he shouldn't have said it, and said he meant it, and on and on.

And so we have a big bunch of morons screaming at each other in the parking lot. And I've got to get my folding stadium seat. I had my cell phone out and was one digit away from the final 1 to calling the law, and in retrospect, I should have done just that. The noise ebbed--slightly. I left them, still tense and angry, but at least not shouting cuss words.

Thankfully, it all settled down and nothing happened, although that could be because apparently someone DID decide it might be good to have some peace officers there, because after the game there were two cruisers in the parking lot.

In all, badly handled all around, and now we begin our dressing down of those involved.

1. Pappy--Put down that bottle. If you can't manage that, at least put it down long enough to go see your grandchild play ball. It's making you do and say things you shouldn't, and you might not care, but I can guarantee you your granddaughter does. Second, I don't know the situation, but no matter what, you don't get to call your ex-son-in-law's girlfriend a bitch. At least not in public. In private it's between you and God, but out there with polite society, you drag everyone else into your little hatefest and it's not pretty. Third, you're an OLD MAN--what in the world do you think you're doing out trying to pick a fight with some stupid lummox!? Sit down, shut up, and get over yourself. You are an embarrassment to your family when you act like an old drunk.

2. Doofus--Put down the attitude. You stand there--in a soccer park full of kids--and scream every cuss word in the book at an old man and tell him you were disrespected? Look, jack--men who have to scream that they want to be respected aren't worthy of respect. What would have been hurt if you'd just let that old drunk fool mouth off? Nothing. If you were half a man, it wouldn't even have hurt your pride. You would have just shook your head and walked on. But NOOOO! You have to act like a damned animal--in public--with your daughter somewhere around, and act like you ARE somebody? Please. Again, I don't know your family situation, but if this is the best you can do as a husband and father, your daughter's better off without you. How do you even look at yourself?

3. Wheezer--Mister, I know you thought you were doing something, but any bystander who gets in the middle of something like this is courting trouble. ESPECIALLY when you're pushing 400 pounds, and you are physically manhandling an old drunk, and practically throwing him toward his car. Think for a second--what if he'd fallen and hit his head on a bumper? And died? Yes, I'm sure the old fart was trying to create problems and for some reason wouldn't QUIT trying to get his ass kicked, but you need to understand that doesn't give you the right to commit assault and battery. You want him to leave? Call the cops.

4. Other Bystanders, Including Me--this went on WAY too long. The first time it seemed necessary to intervene between these two idiots, someone should have been on the blower to the police. NONE of you know if either one of these jackasses had a pistol or knife, and stepping into that without some backup is potentially a recipe for disaster. I had my phone out, and I should have gone ahead and called, and my only excuse is that one of the dads doing Doofus Restraint Duty said to hold on. Good thing someone did finally call.

Anyway, people are something.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

“Whhhhhhy, back in MY day…”

Good morning all, it’s time for you to clamber into the Wayback Machine and participate in this week’s “The More Things Change” Edition of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

Our inquiries this week were supplied by our favorite college professor and small-engine repairman, who claims he was inspired by my recent jaunt through the freshly-constructed suburbs south of town--suburbs that in my youth were full of free-roaming wooly mammoths and cave-dwellers. At least in the perception of my youngest child.

Anyway, as is the usual case, all of you are free to play along by either leaving your answers in the comments below or a link to your very own blog.

And away we go--

1. Do you still live in the town where you grew up? If not, what do you miss the most? If so, what has changed the most?

2. Does your family still own the house you grew up in? Either way, what was it like the last time you saw it?

3. What is the biggest change in the last 5 years where you live now?

Okay, now that Sherman has closed us in and set the dial, my answers look like this--

1. Not really moved away--I still live in the same metro area, but just on the other side of the county from where I grew up in Forestdale. It’s changed a lot, for the worse. At one time it wasn’t much more than a wide spot in the road on the way to Adamsville and Graysville, but from the late-‘50s to the mid-‘80s, it had grown into a pretty bustling suburb. And then it seemed to take a nosedive. Older businesses moved out, and the title pawn places and arcades moved in, and the quiet tree-lined streets got ratty-looking and mean. I don’t like going back there now.

2. No. We had two houses, one on the highway where we lived until I was 14, then another one in a subdivision in a bit more private spot, where I lived until I was 28. The first one was sold off as commercial property and started off as a florist shop, that went bust, then later it was made into an attorney’s office. The house is actually still there, but covered with brick veneer and a large front addition. But it’s a testament to the solidity of the place that they didn’t see fit to demolish it, but instead added on. And it’s now got a title pawn place next door. The second house is safe from being converted to commercial use, but the area looks sad and the house equally so. It used to be such a nice place, but now it just looks old and broken down and tired--the whole place--our house, our street, our subdivision, our neighborhood. Again, I don’t like going back.

3. Well, now that I live in the shiny happy land of Paradise Upon the Pinchgut, probably the biggest thing has been the explosive growth of the two retail areas on both ends of town, which was fueled by the explosive growth in high-end residential developments. It’s still a pretty and charming small town similar to what I grew up with, but I sure hope it doesn’t turn out the same way.

So there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:22 AM | Comments (14)

March 28, 2007


...there'll be more than just one piddlin' post today!! Yes, there will, and don't call me Shirley!

Hah. I crack me up.

ANYway, it's been a long and fruitless day, but it's about to get better because it's about to be quitting time, and tonight Rebecca has a game, and I get to be the money taker-upper at the gate. See? That's all exciting-like!

So, yes, there WILL be more than one post today. Tomorrow will be even better--if you judge "even better" as "there being more than two posts."

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

Here we go!

"Go" not being really a great word to use, since it does convey a sense of action and forward motion, when in fact I'm only pressing keys. Maybe "Pressing On" would have been better. Oh, well.

ANYwho, long morning as these things usually are, and my head is all spidery inside and I'd like to be on the beach.

Stuff to talk about? Oh, I'm sure there's bound to be something, I just don't know what.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:14 PM | Comments (6)

March 27, 2007

Fun Time!

Well, tomorrow it will be fun time, in the form of the regularly scheduled outage of Possumblogging that comes around every two weeks. SO, you'll all have to find ways to occupy yourselves for a while until I get back to a computer. I would suggest shadow puppetry, charades, taffy-pulling, and a rousing round of whist (although not necessarily in that order).

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

The Ultimate Global Warming Conundrum

Lack of ice set to kill start of Canadian seal hunt

YAY! No evil baby seal clubbers!

But all the baby seals are drowned!

But at least they won't be exploited for their pretty fur!

But this is wiping out the lifestyle of an indigenous people!

It has that whole "mother-sister-mother" vibe from Chinatown.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:13 PM | Comments (11)

"Chaos", eh?

Well, whatever. It's interesting anyway--a long article from Ad Age's Bob Garfield talking about the disintegration and reinvention of the way people sell soap and razor blades to a mass audience. I barely understand any of it [okay, none of it], but it's still fascinating reading, and disturbing, too.

There seems to be quite a bit of happy chirpy sounds from Big Media types, but for some reason it sounds way too much like what you would imagine the conversation to be like, had the bewhiskered moneybags directors of the Amalagamated Federal Whale Oil Company and the Columbia Whale Oil Lamp and Whalebone Corsetry Company decided to rename themselves Pollyanna and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, donned pretty red sunglasses, and traipsed arm-and-arm through the graveyard whistling all the way.

In other words, they must be high from licking small-dog-sized Australian cane toads, or giddy that no matter what happens, they've got a nice buyout clause in their contracts.

As a consumer, I couldn't care less how these guys try to get me to buy something, but I can tell you right now that just because it's in a slick magazine or on TV doesn't mean anything. For better or worse, the Internet makes it a lot easier to shop and compare, and bad product will have a much harder time getting anywhere, and even bad product makers know better than to spend money where it'll do them no good. Again--eh, whatever. I just hope the guys in the article were simply lyng through their teeth about how pretty and shiny things are, and when they go back to work they're at it hammer and tongs to survive. Desperation tends to clarify things for folks.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:52 PM | Comments (4)


Looks like someone else is trying to beat me at my own game: Tourism test ad: Don't come to W. Va.

[...] The don't-come-here ad is in addition to a new campaign that pits humdrum life situations against the thrill of escaping to West Virginia.

"It's a less traditional approach to tourism advertising," said Liz Chewning, the division's travel and marketing director.

Standard travel ads, which entice visitors by displaying the state's natural beauty, aren't doing the job they once did. So reverse psychology is meant to provide a little shock value. [...]

To further ram home the "Don't Come Here" point, every family visiting West Virginia will be given a talking Robert Byrd action figure. One randomly chosen family will be given Robert Byrd himself.

That should pretty much guarantee plenty of shock value AND keep anyone from ever visiting again AND get rid of Robert Byrd. It's a win-win-win!

Thank me later, West Virginia.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:22 AM | Comments (2)

I think I know the problem.

They're showing him pictures of pandas.

Let's face it--pretty much anyone's (including Chuang Chuang's) reaction to the sight of two randy pandas is going to be more along the lines of, "AWWWW, look how CUTE they are!"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:10 AM | Comments (3)

Oh, come now, madame!

Is Obama all style and little substance?

If you begin to demand such things as "substance," you'll eliminate the entire field of candidates! Good grief, what's next, asking if any of them have personal integrity!?

That's just crazy talk!

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

Thank goodness.

Iran: British sailors treated humanely

Although you do have to remember, this is also the same group of humane-treaters who believe hanging a 16 year old girl for getting herself raped is humane.

It's just a very nuanced version of humane, I suppose.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:54 AM | Comments (3)

A sad thing.

Fire levels nearly 200-year-old grist mill in Madison County

MADISON, Ala. (AP) — The Madison County deputy fire marshal has ruled a pre-dawn fire that leveled a nearly 200-year-old grist mill as suspicious.

Deputy Fire Marshal Dustin Spires said the historic Patterson Mill off Oscar Patterson Road was destroyed in the blaze that occurred about 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

Harold Patterson's father, the late John Patterson, ran the grist mill from 1919 until its closing in 1959. Harold Patterson, 63, told The The Huntsville Times he saw smoke early Saturday and was devastated when he discovered what had burned. Volunteer Fire Departments from New Market, Moores Mill and Hazel Green responded to the alarm but couldn't work fast enough to save it. [...]

Patterson believes the blaze was arson.

He said a camping lantern, folding chair and smoldering fireplace found near the scene raised the suspicion of investigators.

Umm, well, yeah, that sound pretty danged suspicious, alright.

Anyway, it's sad to lose a part of history like this. I do have to say, though, that if you own a site that has some historical value, it might be good to protect it, even if it means hiring a caretaker.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:49 AM | Comments (2)

I'd suggest a good gun store.

Engineers to help find Homer's Ithaca

No word on the type, although it'd be hard to beat a Model 37 riot gun. Especially one of the old ones without a disconnector. Fun!

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

March 26, 2007

No, but I've heard other things.

The lovely Jordana Adams sends along this e-mail:

You've probably heard this before, but did you know your spacing is funny and that the sidebar is missing from Possumblog?

Such a sweet-talker, that one!

But no, it looks okay to me from this computer. As I told Jordana, though, if you're viewing this with Firefox, it does NOT look the way it looks in IE. It's laid out using IE, and my crappy 800x600 monitor. If you're using something else, it's going to look wonky and I don't know how to make it property display for all settings and browsers.

SO--are any of the rest of you having trouble with the way it's displaying? Is it a new thing? Are you using something other than IE?

UPDATE: Okay, I've undone a change I made this morning--hit reload and let me know if anything changes, please.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:57 PM | Comments (17)

Talking about your yee-haw fun weekend...

UA players get a taste of Saban in workout

A headline revolting on so many levels.

But I do sense there might be a market among rabid Bama fans for Taste O' Saban bottled water, sports drink, soda, barbecue sauce, salad dressing, lip balm...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)


Not much in the way of a yee-haw fun weekend. We actually had two funerals we were supposed to go to, but didn't manage to get to either one due to all the other junk we had to get done. This makes me wonder how good the turnout will be for my funeral, and if attendance will be slack due to all the stuff people have to get done. Won't be so bad, I guess, as long as it's not REALLY menial stuff like sorting bobby pins or something.

ANYway, Friday night the scrapbooking thing got called off, so the girls stayed home and we began the usual job of bulldozing loads of clothes into the laundry room. After we were all good and tired and I was near collapse near to 11:00 p.m., I got the word from Miss Reba that NOW was the time chosen by Oldest to open her birthday presents.

Why? I have no idea. Why couldn't Reba just tell her to wait? I have no idea.

So I sat on the couch with my head lolling back and forth as she tore into her various gifts. I think she likes them, although I doubt it will last very long. Never does.

To bed, and then I recall that the first part of Saturday was spent cleaning up outside. Got Boy to help me clean the kitty kage and sweep the porch, and we redid the interior of the cathouse so that the perches are in different places. Lightning seemed very confused by the change, which is probably good. Keeps him thinking.

Got dressed and took some boxes of old clothes to the thrift store, did some other junk, and started getting the kids ready for supper. Grandmom and Granddad had said they'd take us out to eat for Oldest's birthday, and not only that, Oldest's other grandparents were going to join us, and not only THAT, but #6 had promised promised PROMISED he'd be there.

Leading, inevitably, to a big melodramatic scene when he didn't show up. Someone seems not to be getting the hint when promises (which in actuality aren't "promises," but rather "good intentions to possibly do something unless something intervenes, and something always intervenes") are continually laid aside. I think the kid probably has a hard time telling people no, and if there's ANYone who doesn't like hearing no, it's Oldest. Of course, rather than do the mature thing and tell him to stop calling, she decides it's best to stomp around making divots in the house and being mean to us, while simultaneously calling his cell phone and house--repeatedly--hoping to get him to pick up. Again--hints of a growing-apartness are when the person you are stalking won't return your calls. And said person is actively screening said phone calls to keep from having to talk to you.


Denial, river, Egypt, etc.

From a dad's point of view, it's hard to see your kid being led along like this, and hurts worse when any advice is met with a fiendish little hissy fit. But, dad must still be dad, so I'll give all of YOU girls some advice. Take it or leave it.

#1, Life's too short, and there's too many good guys out there to be stuck trying to fix or change the guy you're currently obsessed with if all he does is make and break promises. Second, if he was dating someone when he started making eyes at you, don't be surprised to find out he's decided to start making eyes at someone else while he's dating you. (Yeah, funny how that works.) Third, be a girl--let him call you, and if he doesn't call enough for you, quit taking his calls. Don't be so danged needy. (See #1) Fourth, guys want one thing, and it ain't to sit there and talk with you about how dreamy Orlando Bloom is and what color you should paint your toenails. Even nice, God-fearing guys only want one thing. Even nice old decrepit Bible-toting married farts only want one thing.

We want that one thing all the time.

24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Want it while washing the car, while doing taxes, while shopping at Wal-Mart, while unconscious.

One thing.




So when your dad says "guys only want one thing," listen to him and don't think he's just being a jerk. And moms, when your husband tells your daughter that guys only want one thing, PLEASE remember to back when you were dating your husband, and DON'T lightly laugh and act like your husband is just being overprotective. He's not. If you run across a guy who seems like he DOESN'T want that one thing all the time, he's a) gay, in which case he still wants it, just not from YOU, or b) he's lying, in hopes that you'll think he's the kind sensitive type so he can do more than THINK about that one thing, or c) he's dead.

And thus ends this advice session. Advice for guys later.

After supper and histrionics, we went and dropped Rebecca and Jonathan off at church for a teen get-together they were having and then headed home to more laundry. Went back later that night to get the kids again, and had to make a stop at Walgreens to see if they had any orthodontic rubber bands, Boy having run out.

No, they didn't.

Home, bed.

SUNDAY! Up, shower, dress, get kids and wife up and dressed, to church, stayed awake(ish), got Catherine situated with a ride over to a friend's house for their in-between age lunch get-together, went home, ate the rest of the leftovers from the night before, and then went BACK to go get Cat from her luncheon/devotional thing. It was all the way down in Chelsea (not in England, but Shelby County) and despite the barrier presented by Double Oak Mountain, the old Volvo managed to keep all the oil in the engine and not spew it all over the road, which was quite a relief.

Boy, things sure have changed in Shelby County. Even when I was working over on 280 in the early '90s, there really wasn't anything except for Lloyd's restaurant past 119. And Chelsea was even further out than B. F. Egypt! But now it's just all one continuous strip-shopping-center smear from the Colonnade all the way to what was one the boondocks. Got to the house, waited while they finished up lunch, then headed back toward Trussville.

"You know, Catherine, not too long ago, all this was nothing but trees through here. That wasn't there. THAT wasn't there." She was unimpressed. And, well, I mean, sure--it had always been there since SHE was alive. We drove on, back past Lloyd's, past the giant Wal-Mart development. "None of this was here?"

"No, Sugar, just trees."

"Not Hooters?"

"Uhh, well, no, not that either."

"They call it Hooters because they have an owl on their sign."

"YES! They have an owl, and owls hoot, so that's why it's Hooters! Exactly why. Although it's kinda odd that they sell chicken wings and not owl wings, but, oh well."

"Yes, Dad."



"You've been alive a LONG time, haven't you?"

"Oh, yes, you better believe it."

"Like back when CAVEMEN were around!?"

"Yes, I had my own cave."

"So you ARE a caveman!"

She was obviously being silly at my expense, so the next few minutes of the trip, I merely grunted when she'd ask me stuff.

Home, sat for a while and folded clothes, then it was time to head back to church for a couple of meetings. And more teen angst!


We were having our last meeting before heading off to the church-related convention we go to every year over in Atlanta, and someone had invited #6 to come along. Now we're very conservative when it comes to Bible things, but there are some of our co-religionists (such as #6 and his family) who are even MORE conservative, and don't take kindly to things like church buildings equipped with refrigerators or congregations getting together to do things like Bible Bowl, so I knew all along #6 would not want to go to this, nor would his parent allow it. But somehow, SOMEone thinks he promised to go. And that he promised to come to the meeting, because it was the last meeting and if you didn't go, you wouldn't get to go to the convention.

So, yet another scene. I tell you, it's like living in your own version of a Tennessee Williams play.

Had our meeting, had our evening worship, had ourselves supper from Arby's, went ourselves home, got the kids in bed, finished folding clothes, and collapsed in bed.

As I said, not one of the Greatest Weekends.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:56 AM | Comments (15)

I know I usually reserve the first post on Mondays... discuss the long list of menial things I did the weekend past, but I'm in a bit of a sour mood, and simply can't let this one go without comment.

When Elizabeth Edwards and her husband announced that despite the fact her cancer had recurred and that it was more than likely terminal, that her husband was going to continue on his quest for the Presidency, I sorta gave them the benefit of the doubt. I figure this is their decision, and one they probably didn't just come to offhandedly. I hope and pray for her health and the strength of her family.


Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm thinking too much. But I smelt a whiff of bullshit this weekend from Mr. Edwards when he was at a candidate's forum, and was seemingly compelled to bring up his wife's struggle with cancer, and what good insurance he has, and how he wants that for all Americans.

Look Pretty Boy, I'm all willing to respect your decision to go forward in this idiotic jaunt of yours, unless every speech becomes a way to use your wife's condition as a way to score political points. If she's going to be nothing but the poster child for political point-scoring, you're a much more craven and venal little person than I ever would have given you credit for being.

Are we going to be subjected to the sight of your wife dying while you intone with your mock earnestness and balled up sissy fists that "if only President Bush would allow scientists to do stem cell research, there might be hope for my wife"? During the last election, your ghoulish Democratic partners made is sound like Christopher Reeve would be able to get up and walk if only we'd vote for you guys.

Are you going to talk about childcare, then cast an evil eye toward Republicans and talk about how they'd like nothing better than to deny money to children who've lost a parent?

You gonna talk about Big Pharma, and how they'd deny some Americans the treatment your wife receives because they don't like poor people?

I sure hope not.

Although I have a feeling I'm wrong.

I also have a feeling that all the other Democratic candidates are going to start trying to figure out a way to have a wife with cancer, too.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:25 AM | Comments (8)

Nothing better on a Monday morning than...

...Monday morning staff meeting!


At least I'll be able to get a nap. See you in a little while with all the stunningly inconsequential details of the weekend.

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

March 23, 2007

Now that was weird.

I was just about to type up a 5,000 word exposition about the meaning of life, and this popped up--


Oh, well.

I guess I'll go ahead and click "Yes" and see what the weekend holds. It's gonna be busy, I know that--tonight Reba and the girls are doing scrapbooking, and then tomorrow we have a funeral to attend, and then we're supposed to meet Reba's mom and dad for supper tomorrow evening, and #6 has been invited to attend as well, and then afterwards Rebecca wants to go to a game night at the church building, and then Sunday something else besides church is supposed to happen but I don't remember what, and as usual, there is laundry to be done and weeds to be stared at through the window.

Hmm. Maybe I should push "No" instead...

ANYway, all of you have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday. I hope.

(Graphic courtesy of

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:05 PM | Comments (3)

Well, bless their heart.

Hard-core Bama fans name sons `Tyde' and `Saban'

Parents vow undying love and support for sons, unless Auburn wins.

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

Car Talk

Chef Tony, noted fondler of cast iron cookware, sent me a link to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times about an old friend of mine: The 'X' marks AMX's spot in auto history

Actually, a pretty good article for what is admittedly a rather obscure model. For a more detailed history of the car, probably one of the best sites is The AMX Files. As I noted to Tony, as a former owner, there are a few minor details I noted that aren't quite right in the article.

1. The 2-seat AMX showcar shown in the article came first (although it wasn't actually a two seater--it had a trunk-mounted jump seat called a "Ramble Seat" that could pop up, and the rear glass would also raise up to provide a windshield of sorts), so it's a bit of a misnomer to claim the AMX was nothing more than a shortened Javelin--in actuality, it's more like the production Javelin was a lengthening of the concept car AMX. The production AMX was a shortening of the production Javelin. In the end, it's nothing but a minor (and sort of confusing) quibble, since they were developed more or less side-by-side as companion models based on a common ancestor.

2. Despite what the article says, the AMX hood was no longer than the Javelin's. They shared front bumpers and fenders, so the hood had to be the same length or it wouldn't match the edge of the front of the bumper. They also shared doors, windshield, trunk lid, rear glass, drivetrains, suspension (although AMXs had axle-mounted traction links standard), and interiors (except for the rear seat, obviously). Although the AMX was distinctive, the two cars didn't look like entirely different cars from two different makers--the relationship was pretty apparent.

3. Speaking of the hood, the two blisters on the '68 and '69 models had simulated louvers, not real ones. '70 models got a functional hood scoop.

4. The serial number plaques on the dash did not follow VIN production numbers. It's possible to have a car with a lower dash number than a car that was built earlier in the production run. The serial number plates were supplied to AMC loose and were randomly picked out and installed as the cars came down the line.

But that's about it.

Mine was a 1969, and at the time I bought it, I had no idea it was one of 195 specially painted "Big Bad Blue" cars with painted bumpers. It also had the "Go Pak," which consisted of stiffer suspension, heavy duty radiator, battery, alternator, etc., stripes, and power front disc brakes. It was in pretty sad shape and I thought the color was horrible, so being young and inexperienced (and with able assistance from my Dad, who knew even less about such things than I did) I had the bumpers chromed and the car repainted bright Matador red with silver painted stripes.

It was beautiful, but it probably damaged the collectibility of it. I went through and redid the interior and rebuilt the engine and did a bunch of other stuff and entered it in a few shows, then I sold it when I got married in '91 for $6,500. This was back when people would have thought you were insane if you told them Hemi 'Cudas would one day cost over a million dollars. It was about what the average Camaro or Mustang of similar vintage was selling for at the time.

It was a great fun car although a real handful in the wet. I'm surprised I'm not dead.

Tony said he'd like one, so some words of caution--if you do ever get one, beware of rust in the rear quarters--there are no more sheetmetal quarters available except off of junkers, so you have to patch whatever rust or damage you find.

Also look out for crappy quality NOS trim bits. When I had mine, you could still order some trim parts from the factory, but they were of vastly inferior quality to the original parts. I bought a rear reflector strip and it looked like crap, and the lettering was crooked.

Front suspension is another issue--the '68 and '69 both used a type of spring and trunnion thing with a strut and top mounted spring that had a weak point in the center. These break and it was a lot of money even back then to rebuild it.

Anyway, quite a blast to drive, although I don't really crave to have it back now. Things change, you know.

OH, and before you all write to tell me about it, the one at the Alabama State Trooper Headquarters in Montgomery is a Javelin. Some of those had the AMX package--AMX having became the name of the performance option package on the Javelin from 1971 to 1974.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:48 AM | Comments (4)

That'll leave a mark.

Picked up a copy of one of our two local alt-weeklies yesterday down in the snack bar. First article, Letters to the Editor, a feature I have come to abhor in any publication (and one of the chief reasons I let my subscription to National Geographic lapse) because the letters are invariably full of ill-considered invective, poor grammar, and fallacious reasoning. Still not quite sure which party that makes look worse--the publication, or the people who read it.

ANYway, I figured I'd read the letters, mainly because I'd spotted some rather lengthy rebuttals from the editor included in the mix.

Friends, this is simply precious.

One snippet of snippiness:

[...] In a single paragraph he dismisses the idea that meaning is relative. Here's a clue, EVERYTHING is relative. Einstein, anyone? The "objective standards" for judging art, or hating it as the writer does, do not exist. My bet is that the writer scanned Michel Foucault's The Postmodern Condition, struggled with a few pages, and then decided it was a "swindle." How intellectually lazy can you get? [...]

...and the smell of gunpowder in return:

[...] 2. It may be that everything is relative, which makes Mr. Deman's claim that no objective standards exist a subjective one, and thus relative. (Say, maybe he's onto something!) But Einstein's General and Special Theories of Relativity do not in any way pertain to cognitive or moral relativism. I don't even know how that's possible. But it's fun to think about. [...]

4. I did indeed struggle with The Postmodern Condition, but it's hardly fair to blame Foucault, since he didn't write it. Jean-François Lyotard did.


Cat claws:

[...] he was pretty nervy to take on the likes of Museum of Modern Art curators and well-known art historians in his heavy-handed attempt to slash and burn all associated with minimalist art. His protestations are frankly quite telling. Mr. Pelfrey's talents might be better suited to reviewing a Normal Rockwell exhibit should one ever come to town. In the future, when a more sophisticated exhibit is shown here, perhaps you could be encouraged to find someone to review it who actually knows something about contemporary art. [...]

Cat o' nine tails:

[...] Ms. English presupposes a superiority of mind for academics and curators, while relegating us outsiders to a Norman Rockwell exhibit. Such a provincial and facile equation is, frankly, quite telling. [...]

High dudgeon:

[...] You are wasting MY seven minutes with your article, and encouraging ignorance in the citizens of Birmingham. Being challenged by the content and presentation of art is a fundamental part of any aesthetically engaged culture. CULTURAL FRAUD is dismissing difficult art as a swindle. CULTURAL FRAUD is decrying experimentation as a waste and calling for a return to familiarity and safety in our art. [...]

Good DAY, sir!

Sounds a lot like Rick Willson Ellensburg Gleen Greenwald.

Return fire:

[...] Contrary to Mr. Horn's severely limited analysis, I certainly wasn't "calling for a return to familiarity and safety in our art." I never suggested that the works were challenging or difficult. I look forward to the day when any of those three artists can surprise, challenge, or alarm me. In fact, whenever someone tells me that they find the work of Judd, Anastasi, or Sandback "challenging," I feel mildly embarrassed for the individual making that claim. [...]

It's such an entertaining read--do yourself a favor and read it all. And I shouldn't do this, because it's impolite to give away the ending of such a fun diversion, but the last paragraph is nothing short of perfect for the task at hand:

[...] Beyond that, for the reader who genuflects at the altar of curators and scholars but calls me shallow, for the reader who claims that my ideas derive from inexcusable ignorance and then calls me a Nazi, and for the reader who says that no informed person can take exception to Donald Judd's work and then calls me a bigot, I offer the supreme post-structuralist reply: I know you are, but what am I?


Mr. Pelfrey, a salute to you, sir. Keep up the good fight.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:20 AM | Comments (14)

"Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

Genetically Tweaked Mice Get Human-Like Vision

I think so, Brain, but why would anyone want to see "Snow White and the Seven Samurai"?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)


It's Catblogging Friday!


I finally found a cat that would pose for me and wouldn't R-U-N-N O-F-T.

And she even comes with a unicorn!


Yes, there is one clock in the house that I forgot to change to Daylight Saving Time. But she was up quite early this morning nonetheless because she wanted to finish watching her Special 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition of The Last Unicorn.

I will tell you all you need to know:



Although she seemed to enjoy it, personally I can't see how anyone other than a dung beetle would like it. The animation is horrible, the colors are both muddy AND washed out, and the voice work sounds like they gave everyone tranquilizers and a mouthful of sand. And this had big(gish) names in it--Mia Farrow, Robert Klein, Keenan Wynn, Jeff Bridges, Angela Landsbury--and every single one of them sounded as though they were recorded while doing the first read-through of the script. And then there's Alan Arkin, who does the voice of the wizard guy, and somehow manages to make him sound like a Brooklyn dishwasher with a lobotomy.

It's that bad.

But then again, there wasn't much competition in animation, thus (partially) explaining how it actually managed to get nominated for an award as Best Animated Film. It's TRUE!

As if it could compete with The Secret of NIMH or Tron! Please. But it HAS been digitally remastered, meaning that the dreck is 32% more crisp!

Looking over that award nomination list is interesting, though--some good stuff in '82: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Mad Max 2, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Conan the Barbarian, Eating Raoul, Blade Runner, The Dark Crystal, Pink Floyd--The Wall, and even more impressive stuff when you look over at the Oscar list for '83.

Hard to believe some of those movies are that old. Blade Runner especially still manages to look stylish even today.

ANYWAY, that's your Cat photo for the day.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2007

I don't usually post this late...

...but I was just reading e-mail and saw that Kitchen Hand had decided to drop in and play along on the Thursday Three. Neat! I was looking forward to seeing what all he was up to today (or tomorrow--danged Date Line) and then started reading down through his posts. He'd first noted that as he was typing up his comment that he saw some smoke from a vent shaft in Melbourne's Burnley Tunnel.

And then he posted an update and the full story became apparent--an awful vehicle collision then a subsequent fire in the tunnel that has led to the deaths of three people.

I know you will join me in offering prayers for the families affected by this.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:47 PM | Comments (2)

Crazy Danged Australians

Tim Blair says they're up to (or down to) some new scheme again, and it's just all a big pile of confusion, and the commentors aren't helping a thing!

It's all very baffling and makes my brain have sharp stabby pains.

And add to this the fact that my calendar says it's springtime, and come to find out people down there call it autumn.

What sort of joint are you guys running down there!?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:33 PM | Comments (2)

Thank heavens...

Republicans shut down state Senate

...that our longsuffering elected officials were able to stave off this shutdown until after they'd managed to ensure the veto of their pay increase was overridden.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

I'm just so confused!

Tyson selling plants in Alabama with 1,200 workers

I mean, is Tyson using 1,200 workers to help him sell plants, or is he selling both plants AND workers in Alabama (which I would think would get him crossways with the 13th Amendment)? It's just a mystery!

I am glad to see he's doing something productive nowadays, though. Aside from biting people.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

I suppose if you don't have a real job, it makes some sense.

Edwards will continue presidential run

I know that if Reba was sick, I'd still keep going to work as much as possible and all, so I don't suppose it's too much different for Boy Wonder to continue doing what he does for a living--running for office.

However, this story has a bit more to it, and believe it or not, it's NOT about Mr. Sissyfist.

[...] John Edwards said a biopsy of her rib had showed that the cancer had returned.

The bone is one of the most common places where breast cancer spreads, and once it does so it is not considered curable.

But how long women survive depends on how widespread the cancer is in the bone, and many can survive for years. The longer it takes for cancer to spread after the initial tumor, the better the prognosis. She was diagnosed in 2004.

Chemotherapy and radiation are standard treatments, along with use of drugs that specifically target the bones called bisphosphonates. Other treatments include hormone therapy if the cancer is responsive to estrogen.

Dr. Lisa Carey, Elizabeth Edwards' physician, said that initial tests showed some very small suspicious spots elsewhere, but that the therapy focus would be on the bone. Asked where else, she said "possibly involving the lung."

Emphasis mine.

This doesn't sound good at all, and I know our prayers are for Mrs. Edwards' recovery and comfort, as well as strength for her family.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

Fame and Fortune, Brought to you by Volvo!

How very odd.

I got an e-mail this morning from a young lady who produces prepackaged interview things for local TV news shows. According to her, she's working on a story based on the idea that drivers might know about AAA and such, but might not be aware they can get roadside assistance through their insurance company. In the course of doing her research (i.e., Googling) she'd run across my post on Revolvoblog about using my insurance-company-provided roadside assistance service the other day and wanted to do an interview with me about my experience.

As I am a well-known recluse, I first tried the "why don't you just e-mail me your questions" ploy, which never seems to work with reporters, and it didn't work this time either, since she wants to send out A CAMERA CREW. (!?)

This seems like an awful lot of fooferal for such a completely boring story, but apparently local TV news is a heavy buyer of boring fooferal.

Who'd a'thunk it!?

Anyway, I told her I'd be glad to have them come by during lunch sometime next week. What should I wear?


Big Boy.JPG

or this--


or this--

purple terrygasus.jpg

or maybe this--


Oh, and I suppose I should ask if it's okay for a few family members to be there, too--


Fame makes for such difficult choices...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:34 AM | Comments (26)


Thanks to Skillzy for finding an intriguing photoblog that goes by the name of Shorpy.

And this is Shorpy, too.

A hundred years ago wasn't a great time to be a kid.

Lew Wickes Hine's other photos of Bessie Mine can be found here on one of the Library of Congress websites, and here is where the mine was located. As you can see, it's actually closer to West Jefferson than Dora. If you follow that yellow road marked Flat Top Road, you will see it passes over a river, and there's a railroad trestle adjacent to it. Long time ago (although not quite a hundred years), my dad used to take me fishing at the foot of that trestle.

I never did catch anything.

Oh, by the way--one of the photos has a picture of a kid carrying what are called "spragging irons."

In case you ever wondered, this is where I get the slang term I use occasionally for when something gets jammed up--"a sprag in the wheel." Basically it's an iron rod you poke through the spokes of a wheel to keep it from turning.

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

Gosh, reporting is so much easier when you already have the framing settled ahead of time.

Counties hit by Katrina slow to repopulate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Experts say the pace of rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina has slowed, leaving New Orleans and some other Gulf Coast areas with less than half the people they had before the storm.

Ummm, slow compared to--what, exactly? "Less than half"? Is there a benchmark level that we should be expecting, considering what happened in New Orleans is unprecedented?

And they say some of the hardest hit might never regain their population.

Gosh, THANKS experts! "Might never," or not! Not to diminish the suffering of people along the coast hit by Katrina, but depopulation does occur when places no longer are able to offer economic security for their residents. Out West, they're called "ghost towns." But they're all over the country--many of the places where my parents grew up are no longer visible, the houses and businesses long ago having been abandoned and taken over by kudzu. But if there's a way to make a living there, people will go back. But despite what experts might say (or not!), there's no formula to predict how long that will take.

The latest Census Bureau estimates, to be released today, say that ten months after the hurricane, Orleans Parish had slightly less than half the people it did before the storm. Nearby Saint Bernard Parish had less than a fourth of its pre-storm population.

It might be worth noting that Katrina hit 19 months ago. The data is an estimate, and it's from 10 months ago. Now that's nearly a whole year out of date, and it's possible more people might have moved in in the intervening time. But, of course, that's not really important, is it? Nah--only that it's slow, by some arbitrary measure. And convenient for making a political statement.

But other Gulf Coast communities have grown as hurricane victims fled to nearby cities and Americans continued a decades-long migration to coastal areas.

Harris County, Texas -- home to Houston -- added more than 123,000 people from 2005 to 2006. Houston attracted many Katrina refugees.

Gosh, so you're telling me places not hit as hard grew in population, because the people displaced went there?! Fascinating, Captain! The implication of the article seems to be that this growth is the result of something rather shady--it's as if those rich Houstonians are somehow sucking up all the growth that should be going into poor parts of New Orleans.

Those evil Big Oil people!

Or something.

It's hard to tell exactly what the whole point of the story is, if not to attempt to cast any part of the recovery effort in an unfavorable light. But then again, maybe I'm just being cynical.

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

So long, Larry Bud.

Letterman regular 'Bud' Melman dies


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

Down and Dirty Thursday Three

Okay, no time for long-windedness and literary flourishes--answer these questions, NOW!:

1. What are you supposed to be doing RIGHT NOW? (Aside from answering these questions, of course.)

2. How long is it going to take you?

3. What do you have to do after that?

GO! RUN! Get your keyboard and leave a comment or a link to your blog.

1. As with most Thursday Threes, I’m actually writing this a day ahead of time, and I am right in the middle of preparing the Thursday mailout while simultaneously helping a lady who’s about to come back upstairs to the counter in about five minutes, not that I really mind that, because she’s as pleasant as can be--a little short solid chunk of a woman, with pretty eyes and hair and a wicked sense of humor. And obviously, I’m writing this right now. And some guy just came in the office to ask me how to describe a steel-framed elevated crosswalk with an aluminum-framed glass curtainwall exterior cladding. So I told him that.

2. The mailout prep should be done in a few more minutes, waiting for the stupid copier to make stupid copies. The deal with the citizen-client person will take a bit of time--have to update several bits of paperwork (eww) and sign off on some other bits of paper and then grumble at someone.

Well, one of the benefits of this is that I can tell you that helping Client Girlwoman went well since her papers vere in orter [said in oily German-accented English] and the computers aren't puking up electrons everywhere.

So now just to find a grumble target.

3. If I have time, I’m going to try to go ahead and get the mailout material folded and shoved into the envelopes today so I won’t have to do it tomorrow morning and mess up playing along with other people on the Thursday Three.

SO there!

THURSDAY UPDATE: Got the Thursday Mailout done and in the box before close of business yesterday, meaning today I might actually get to come out and play!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:32 AM | Comments (16)

March 21, 2007

Y'know, to any normal person...

a word such as "paperwork" almost sounds pleasant. It sounds somewhat as though the work is of a floaty, flimsy quality--what one of the swells in The Great Gatsby might engage in betwixt swilling booze and making idle chitchat. Or maybe it's something like decoupage, which is a French word from the 1970s meaning "gluey paper mess applied to ugly bottles which are then inexplicably turned into lamps." Still, not really a bad thing, if you have a surplus of ugly bottles and a dearth of table lamps.

As a kid, you'd watch TV shows about adults doing adult things, and they always said they were "buried in paperwork." To a kid, this sounds sorta like being buried in leaves. You imagine pipe-and-fedora equipped office workers with rakes, gathering up vast piles of paper, then suddenly jumping into them with glee. And with SECRETARIES! (And we know what THAT sounds like! Especially if those "secretaries" have been taking dictation!)

So, you know, you grow up having certain expectations, and then you find out that paperwork has a lot in common with another fun-sounding thing, waterboarding.

Anyway, I've been shuffling vast piles of paper today with nary a twitch of even the slightest breeze of mirth, which explains the lack of Possumblogging today. And now I have to go answer the phone at the front desk.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:29 PM | Comments (4)


For those who have read Possumblog for a while, you no doubt have come across various comments and disturbances caused by one LittleA, weblog author and notorious punster. However, as you see from his blog, it's been a while since we've had an update from the Clan of the Aardvark, and frankly, I'd begun to worry about them. What if they'd run out of crunchy, piquant ants and termites!? What if they were roughed up by a roving gang of pangolins!?

Taking matters into my own hands, I bypassed Chet the E-Mail Boy entirely and personally sent a message to LittleA to enquire about him and his family. On February 22.

On MARCH 19, I finally got a reply! So, for all of you who've been wondering how things have been going, here is his reply, slightly edited to preserve everyone's anonymity--

Hey Terry!

Life is increasingly frenetic at the [Aardvark] house. [Mrs. A.] is still dealing with her foot and there is a likelihood that the pain she is experiencing may never go away. The [EAC] is finishing her sophomore year at college and still has the long distance [redacted]. We had to sit down with her in February and have a little "come to Jesus" meeting about school and finances and the expectation that she needed to step up her work efforts if she was ever going to get a car and live on her own after college - working 30 hours a week at a $6.50 an hour job in the mall wasn't going to continue to cut it. On a positive note, she seemed to respond well to that and has, indeed, stepped up her efforts to earn an extra buck every chance she gets - even working at said $6.50 an hour job over spring break. The [YAC] is working on getting her permit and, being a drama queen in general, always seems to have a problem with something. It's only a phase (lather, rinse, repeat).

I am working (or at least showing up) about 50 - 60 hours per week and taking a series of professional certification tests (only 7 more to go - as in 18 months) and still teaching Sunday School and singing in choir and playing handbells and... For an underachiever, I certainly seem to be overstimulated. Of course, to make things really interesting, I have learned to procrastinate everything until the very last minute so that I can maximize my stress. The big elm tree in the back yard needs to come down before it falls down (on my storage house, the metal shed, the neighbor's house, the power lines, my house, or all of the above) so I'm getting quotes for that. The house needs foundation work (everything is shifty in Texas), needs rewired, needs replumbed, needs reinsulated, needs... ::sigh:: The fact that I have zero ability to work with my hands doesn't help.

Anyway, even with all that, life is pretty good. I have a wife and family that love me, manage to eat regularly, enjoy working a Sudoku puzzle or two now and then, not to mention I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.

I'm afraid, though, that I've finally given up on ALANHA. My new job just doesn't give me any time and I the rest of time I'm either too busy or too exhausted to worry about it. I still drop by from time to time, but haven't really been able to keep up too well. Thanks for checking up on me, though. I do appreciate it.

Say 'hey' to Goober for me. Oh, wait. I mean, say 'hey' to everyone for me.


Good to hear they're all still eating, but I know I speak for many folks when I say it sounds like someone needs to slow down a touch!

Best wishes to you all, and do keep in touch when you can. And don't be afraid to tell your employer to lighten up so you can get some blogging done!

Now then--what about that Yorkie person?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:29 AM | Comments (2)

Dr. Possum RETURNS!

It is an unprecented happening--that being that Dr. Possum agrees to return for a SECOND day of question answering--but last evening he received a special missive from The Land of Tomorrow, which meant that it was actually today, or yesterday, that the question was sent in. BUT NO MATTER, Dr. Possum wishes to ensure that no inquiry is left undone, even if they come from all the way around the globe. (The fact that Dr. Possum passed out under the Merganthaler has nothing to do with the fact that we still have him available today.)

SO, having given that bit of introductory exposition, we give you this:

Spam filters stopped me asking Dr. Possum this question at his weblog, so I’m emailing my question instead, even though it’s probably tomorrow or yesterday where you are and I’ve missed the Ask Dr. Possum boat.

Anyway: should I buy this car?

Yours in anticipation,

Kitchen hand

Dr. Possum responds:

Let's see--a 33-year-old Swede dressed in red with leather trim? Why, it's enough to make Dr. Possum forget his medical assistants who accompanied him to Cozumel! In a slightly more serious vein, it certainly looks like a worthy enough automobile--for those of the readership who use greenbacks and inches, the price works out to around $2,900 dollars, and the mileage to something like 136,269.2. That seems quite reasonable, at least on paper, and looking at only the tiny photos. As with all such purchases, it pays to first inspect the vehicle in person. Much in the way of dents and dings can hide in photos, and it's hard to get a feel for how it drives unless it's actually driven.

Dr. Possum gives a qualified "buy" recommendation, but reminds you that the last car he bought exploded.

SO there you are, Kitchen Hand! Let us know how it turns out.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:09 AM | Comments (6)

March 20, 2007

Stupid computers.

The unexplained three-hour absence COULD have been explained had the computers been working before I had to leave to go pick up Catherine and take her to the ear-nose-throat guy to have her hearing rechecked, because I would have been able to post a quick note and be done with it.


Oh well.

She's fine, by the way. When she went back a couple of weeks back for her checkup from when she had the ear infections in February, the nurse couldn't get a good reading on the little handheld pressure scanner doohicky that measures if there's still any fluid on the ear, so we had to go back to the ENT to have it checked. Which we did. Then came back here, because I still had work to do. And this.

ANYway, there will be much more fun tomorrow. Maybe. And probably stupid computer problems.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Not feeling angry and bitter enough today?

Read this.

But don't say you weren't warned that such hijinx would happen when we voted them in.

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

I hope this means good news.

Just got a CNN email news update: "Radio traffic from the scene indicates a 12-year-old Boy Scout missing since Saturday in the North Carolina forest has been found alive, National Park Service spokeswoman Tina White said." (Additional story from WRAL, via Jim Smith.)

As I'm sure it has with other folks, this story has weighed heavily on me, and I have been praying they could find this kid unharmed.

(And not to be mean, but I have a feeling that his reported ADHD won't ever make him wander away again.)

Update commentary below.

And for what it's worth, whether you're a Scout or not, some basic rules for when you're in the woods.

1. Always have with you a signaling device such as a whistle or a communication device such as a radio, walkie-talkie, or cell phone.

2. Dress appropriately for the area.

3. Do not wander off by yourself. Always have a buddy with you.

4. Stay on marked trails.

5. If you become lost, STOP. (Sit, think, observe, plan) Do not continue to walk around trying to find your way back. Doing so causes you to expend more energy, and you could possibly become injured. Stay calm, make sure the area you are in is relatively safe, make sure there is a place you can find shelter, and begin to periodically signal your location or try to contact someone with your phone or radio.

Additional information geared to kids from the US Search and Rescue Task Force, and for more advanced hikers and hunters from Connecticut Valley Arms (Article one, two, three, four, and five)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)

I wonder...

Playing Music Makes You Smart

I wonder if this has anything to do with that famed children's rhyme that starts off, Beans, beans, the musical fruit...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:57 AM | Comments (7)

"Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

Internal Body Clock Linked to Mania in Mice

"I think so, Brain, but what kind of rides do they have in Fabioland?"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

Spd Rdng Jst Gmk

Or, if you prefer, Speed Reading Just a Gimmick

Well, sure--I mean, you can move your finger and lips only so fast.

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

Ask Dr. Possum!

Well, well--aren't YOU people lucky!

Dr. Possum* just dropped by after spending a week with a brace of buxom young Hooters waitresses at the International Fake Doctor Conference in Cozumel, and has agreed to spend a few minutes answering YOUR questions about YOUR problems, whether they be medical, emotional, navigational, mechanical, or seemingly insoluable.

As always, this work by Dr. Possum is pro bono, but you are reminded he only means the later, more conservative congressional Sonny, and not the semi-hippie Sonny from when he was married to that shrill shrew harpy Cher.

Dr. Possum asks only that you supply your question or problem in the comments below, and as soon as he is able, he will answer with all the vast store of knowledge he has acquired over the years. The answer you receive might even be accurate. This, however, would strictly be an accidental occurance.

*Dr. Possum is a fake doctor. But he IS a Fellow with the American College of Phony Physicians, and has the card to prove it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:49 AM | Comments (29)

By the way...

...I am still bleary from the weekend and the continuing lack of sleep I have been getting, thus explaining the inexplicable usage of "through" in lieu of "threw" in the previous post.

As well as "kilopascals" for "screaming night terrors." Although I can't quite remember where I used that one.

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

Maybe it's just me, but...

...the recent teapot-tempest about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys has led many Democrats and members of the press (but I repeat myself) to screech at the tops of their tiny lungs for Attorney General Gonzales to be fired.

Oddly enough, I cannot recall hearing a single peep that their anger is the result of racism.

I mean, William Jefferson gets caught with $90,000 in bribe money in a freezer in his Congressional office, and the moment anyone even mentioned that maybe he was a criminal, all the progressive sorts immediately threw out the charge of racism against the accusers.

Is it just that Democrats are allowed to get away with racism, or are Hispanic people just another type of Caucasian when they become Republicans, or are liberals just a bunch of excitable crybabies who can't stand the competitive nature of politics?

It is a mystery, I suppose.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:09 AM | Comments (7)

March 19, 2007


Well, the weekend has come and gone, and I feel like I've been hung up in a sack from a tree limb and beaten with an axe handle!

Remind me to ask Boy more questions about such sojourns before I set out again.

ANYway, Friday evening was spent loading the van in--our kitchen stuff (which we have started always taking even if we're not going need it) consisting of a box of supplies, then an Alice pack with the stove and three small bottles of propane; food; the small pack with my lantern and heater--then the rest of the junk, two folding camp chairs; my backpack (and my new mummy bag fits right in the sleeping bag carrier on the bottom--not that it matters now, about which, more later); Boy's bag; big tent; little tent; tarps; then in the middle, a shovel, a small pair of loppers, and a two gallon jug of water.

Didn't get finished loading until nearly midnight, because somehow, I lost or misplaced my big tarp, and had to make a late WalMart run. Let me tell you, there are some WEIRD people at Wally World as the clock approaches midnight.

Up early the next morning, dressed, got Boy up, kissed Reba (who barely stirred) and out the door we went. Stopped and got breakfast then rolled around the corner to the Scout hut, where we proceeded to mill around being cold.

Because it was cold. Cold and windy. The two things I hate above all other things except maybe cold-windy-rainy. Finally managed to get various tables and chairs and chuckboxes and water jugs and other supplies loaded up, and away we went.

Pleasant enough drive, although slow, since the guy with the trailer was hauling it with an ancient wheezing Dodge pickup that could barely go faster than 60. Downhill. With a tailwind.

Me? Well, I resisted the urge to sleep the entire way, since I was the putative driver. I cannot say I was entirely successful, but I didn't run off onto the shoulder any, so I consider that highly successful. After getting off the Interstate at Heflin, the scenery helped keep me awake. Sorta scrubby farmland, and all that such things entail here in the South, with lots of roadside attractions such as the guy selling Army surplus tents out of his front yard, and a variety of farms with cast-off cars and trucks scattered about the grounds, along with the various house trailers where they have bait and tanning beds. But at least the roads were good. Around here the rural areas are pounded by coal trucks, and so a country drive can be less than pleasant, but over there in East Alabama there are much fewer such conveyances, and to make it even better, the Cleburne County road department does a fine job of maintenance. So not bad at all.

Finally got to the camp and was pleasantly surprised, although I shouldn't have been if I'd read the website better. And then I remembered what I'd forgotten--my camera. What a dolt. Drove on around to the campsite, which was on a rise near the dam at sparkly pretty 80 acre Lake Cross. Lots of pretty, pretty water.


Luckily, there were some nice latrines right over there and--

They were locked. And inoperable due to the recent cold weather. So I peed behind them. Whew.

But, if they're locked, won't we have to...

Yep, sure will.

Good thing I'd brought a shovel.

Although I must say that the idea of exposing my tender nether regions to the cold blowing wind proved to be more efficacious than a box full of Imodium with a Kaopectate chaser in rendering my system locked up tighter than the latrines were. Good thing we were only gone for a day, though.

Unload, set up the kitchens, set up tents, eat lunch.

I'd brought some cheese and crackers and smoked sausage and sweet tea, which I thought was pretty darned good. Especially that cheese part.

After that and the boys had changed into work clothes around 1:00 p.m., it was time for their service project. Again, I had only an inkling of what was supposed to be going on, but as it turns out, the plans by the Scout hierarchy were for a nice hiking trail all around the five mile perimeter of the lake. They'd already gone through and marked a trail, and had cleared what turned out to be about 3/4 of a mile of it. Our part was to clear more.

Which is actual work.

And for some reason, I kept wanting to whistle "Colonel Bogey's March."

Anyway, thank goodness one of the dads (there were seven men and ten or so boys) brought along his mule and wagon, in the form of a 250 Kawasaki four-wheeler and utility trailer. We loaded all the chain saws and gas and tools and junk onto the trailer and set off with the intent of clearing a five mile path. I'm not sure why anyone would think we could get five miles done.

The terrain was relatively open, but there were a lot of rocks just under the leaf litter, and a lot of them were small and loose, which mean a lot of twisty feet. And although the group before us had cut a lot of stuff, they'd also left a good bit of smaller things in the way, so we wound up cleaning up those parts, too. The mule did fine, although there were several tight hollows and gulleys that I didn't think the driver was going to make it through, but he appeared to have done this more than once in the past. We had a couple of times where we had to lift the trailer up and around things, but overall, it was a godsend to have it with us.

As for the work itself, slow and hard. Made slower and harder by the fact that the boys required near constant attention to get them on task--one minute they'd be off looking at the water, the next they'd be looking at the sky, the next they'd be hacking and sawing at dead trees off the trail. We probably cleared as much outside the trail as on it.

But we made good progress, despite the lack of assistance from the boys. But not nearly as much as we thought. It got to be about four o'clock and we decided to stop for the day and turn around, and everyone was making estimates of how far we'd gone. "Surely we've gone nearly the whole way!" "Maybe we've made it 3 or 4 miles."

Somehow, I figured that although we'd done pretty well, it wasn't nearly so far as we thought. Got the mule turned around and the boys were well on their way back to camp ahead of us. Go figure. The driver set the odometer and when we got back to the place where we'd started cutting--1.8 miles. There was a bit of disappointment that we'd not gotten as far as we thought, but still, we wouldn't have gotten that much if we'd had to carry all the saws and tools, so we said okay. All the way back was right at 2 1/2 miles.

And let me tell you this--there was one chubby man out there who was quite tired when he got back to camp.

Went and changed socks and then it was time to start supper. One thing about it--although that heavy camping is a bit cumbersome, you do tend to eat well. We had a Mexican chicken casserole of sorts cooked in the cast iron Dutch oven, and it was quite good. Although all I could think about was going to bed.

Cleanup, then campfire time, which was spent waiting on the boys to clean up after themselves. Supper and cleanup was supposed to be over by around 8:30 or so, but by 10 p.m., they had only just finished cleanup, so no camp songs or skits or stuff. I'd spent the last two hours sitting there dozing and moving away from the smoke and trying by best to stay warm, WISHING I could be unsociable and go to bed, but wanting to wait and be nice and sit around and do the traditional stuff.

Next time I'm just going to be unsociable.

To the tent, where I got off my work clothes and changed my Spiderman Underoos for the Batman ones, got on my sweatpants and socks and shirt and got my brand new sleeping bag out.

Never again.

I'd never used a mummy bag before, and it was an immense struggle just to get IN it, much less trying to zip it up. I wrestled and fought with that fool thing for what seemed like hours, getting myself fully worked up and woken back up, and firing up a nice bout of reflux from the spicy Mexican casserole. And then when I did get arranged, I couldn't get to sleep for my mind replaying over and over again the odd little plink-blip-beep-plink sound my phone makes as it goes in and out of service areas. It was off, but I couldn't get that sound out of my head. And back to the sleeping bag--I wrestled with it more, and couldn't get anywhere near comfortable because I have to be able to toss and turn and roll and move my arms and legs and I felt like I was being suffocated. I finally just had to unzip it and put it over me like a blanket and sleep right on the air mattress (with DID work like it was supposed to, although a cloth covering would have been a nice addition) and managed to get a few hours of sleep. Of sorts. Even unzipped, the danged thing kept moving the wrong way and I'd have to wake up and move it around and then I'd freeze my butt and then I'd move and freeze my stomach and then I'd move and freeze my arms. All night long. Except for the one time I had to go pee, and it seemed warmer outside than it did in my tent.

Up at 6:30 and cast a rueful glance at the sleeping bag, swearing to it once I got it home it was going back to Wal-Mart. Then I remembered that Catherine needed one for her sleepovers and junk--what better thing for her than something that completely immobilizes her as if she were in a straightjacket!

Undid the lantern and hooked up the heater. FINALLY some heat. I suppose I could have left it on all night, but the spare bottles were still in the van and I didn't want to have to go get one. Put on clothes, shaved, brushed teeth, applied my Refreshing Shower in a Spray Can (i.e., deodorant), brushed my hair, and blearily opened the tent flap to see that everyone else had apparently gotten up much earlier than I had, because they were all standing around the fire and drinking coffee.

I grunted greetings to them all and once more began the slow dance around the fire to avoid the smoke. You know, usually you can get upwind and life is good, but this weekend for whatever reason the wind came from all directions, making it impossible to hunker down by the fire in one spot.

Breakfast of fried egg sandwiches for the men--and other things for the boys. I don't know what all they had. But as it was the night before, it took them until lunchtime to get cleaned up, meaning we lost time for the devotional. I got my stuff packed and ready to go, and we got most of the kitchen broken down and loaded, and the boys were still playing and wadding up giant piles of pine straw and not doing anything.

A break for lunch, and again the boys were at a loss of how to cook their food since they'd just put everything away. Luckily, Jonathan had his mess kit in his bag and so they used that to boil water for their ramen noodles. Why they didn't just get the noodles in a cup is anyone's guess. Sure would have made cleanup easier.

Got the last of the gear loaded in the trailer, doused the fire, and the boys did the final policing of the camp. Then had to do it again because they didn't do it right the first time.

The trip home was quiet, since Jonathan decided to go to sleep. I didn't make that decision, but napped anyway several times. It seemed much slower going back for some reason, but I think mainly because I was working on a total of about eight non-sequential hours of sleep out of the three days and I was tired, and my lower intestinal tract was beginning to lobby for a break.

After an hour of weaving and cramping, we were finally back close to a restroom of known cleanliness, so as the caravan went on, I made a stop at the Food World in Moody.

Thus refreshed, it was about twenty more minutes back to the Scout hut, where I was relieved to see most of the hard unloading work had been done by the others.

A brief meeting after they'd gotten things stowed away, which mostly dealt with the lack of leadership the troop leaders had shown in keeping everyone working together as a team, and then it was to home. More unloading. Unpacked everything and put it away as I recounted the story to Reba, who herself had several hair-raising tales of her own of her weekend spent with the girls.

Despite the intense fatigue and grogginess, after hearing her story, I was glad I'd gone.

Got a shower, got on my church clothes, and managed to stay awake through several interesting lesson points, back to home, and time for supper.

Mexican chicken casserole.

So, anyway, it was a very full weekend, and I'm sore today, and would like to take a nap, please.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:42 AM | Comments (6)

March 16, 2007

And so...

...the mighty whirling turbine that powers Possumblog is now in the process of being shut down for the weekend, so we ask you all to come again next week when it's restarted, and have yourselves a good time between now and then.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:25 PM | Comments (2)

Oh, a'camping we will go...

Well, time for another one. Camping out with the Scouts again this weekend, and I was under the impression that I might be able to miss this one. I was quickly disabused of this notion by Boy, who noted that he'd already told his Scoutmaster I was going.

I guess I'm going, then.

This time it's over to Camp Sequoyah, which from the write-up on the website sounds more like a resort than a campground.

As usual, I have little information about what he's supposed to bring or do or anything, and it does no good to ask since he usually just shrugs his shoulders or says "someone" is "supposed to call him" with more "information."

Which obviously never happens.

Anyway, best I can tell they're supposed to be clearing underbrush and/or overgrowth from trails. I hope to sit in a chair and read. I'm also hoping it gets a shade warmer than it is now, too. The early part of this week was absolutely wonderful, but with the cold-front-induced rain we had yesterday, things have turned off chilly again, and as you all know, I don't like being cold. Or being in the wind. Or being eaten by wildlife.

Additions to the camping kit have been sparse since last trip. I went ahead and got Jonathan his own tent. They can't sleep in the same tent with an adult, even if it's their own parent (thanks, pedophiles!) and he didn't like having to share a tent with one of the other campers the last time, so we got him one of these. Reasonably priced and about the right size, although something of a Rubik's Cube to put together. Also got him a new sleeping bag, since the one he has looks more like a little girl sleepover-type bag than a real manly man wilderness bag. I wish now I'd gotten one like it because it comes with its own compression sack and it's rated down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Which means it would be warm, which is what I want to be. Which is why I got myself one of these, in the 2 1/2 inch thickness. I've been carrying a big inflatable queen size air mattress, but it's something of a pain in the butt and is a little too big and wallowy. The one good thing is that it gets you up off the floor so you're not as cold. Which is what I want to be--not as cold.

Anyway, once I get home tonight it's time to pack up the gear and make ready for a couple of days of lounging about in the woods and not doing laundry.

OH--one good thing about the cold weather? Not nearly so many chiggers.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:00 PM | Comments (9)

There are few things worse...

...than dealing with a bureaucracy.

And that's all I'll say about that.

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

Color me less than impressed.

Plame: My cover was 'recklessly' abused

[...] "It was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover," she told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

"If our government cannot even protect my identity, future foreign agents who might consider working with the Central Intelligence Agency and providing needed intelligence would think twice," Plame said in response to a question. [...]

"Irony," eh? Not sure "irony" would describe how one Richard Armitage became a plural of officials. Could be that he has enough ego for several. As for the government protecting identities, it would help if information were kept out of public view. Such as asking that employees not publish their professional and private information in the latest Who's Who. That might help a bit. Just a suggestion.

"Irony" would be better employed as a description of how a particularly callow couple of minor goverment worker/socialites with gigantic political axes to grind are complaining about their supposed victimization, when it is almost entirely the result of their own incompetence. And their unwillingness to either leave their political leanings outside the realm of their jobs, or quit their jobs if they were unable to work within the prevailing political framework. Even Wile E. Coyote never stooped to blaming ACME for all of his backfiring schemes.

Then again, he was a genius.

Said so on his business card. And his Who's Who bio.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday!

On March 16, 1802

Congress approved legislation establishing the United States Military Academy at West Point, one of the oldest military service academies in the world. Strategically located on the west bank of the Hudson River 50 miles north of New York City, West Point has been continuously occupied by U.S. troops since January 20, 1778. George Washington established his headquarters there in 1779. In 1780, Benedict Arnold, then in command of the post, tried unsuccessfully to betray it to the British. [...]

More from the official website, here.

Best thing about West Point?

Female Cheerleaders! And they don't wear combat boots! (At least not all the time.)

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

I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll...

...smite you in the name of Allah, you filthy infidel!

Via Jim Smith, this jewel: School Changes Name of Play to 'Three Little Puppies' to Avoid Offending Muslims

That's what one British school renamed the traditional Three Little Pigs story for a school play, so as not to offend Muslims in the community, London's Daily Mail reported.

Organizers of the children's musical theater performance changed the lyrics' character's names in a move some — including Muslims — are saying went too far.

"The vast majority of Muslims have no problem whatsoever with the Three Little Pigs. It's always been the traditional way of telling the story and I don't see why that should be changed," Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra from the Muslim Council of Britain told the Daily Mail, saying the name change was "bizarre."

Gill Goodswen, head teacher of Stile Common Junior School, defending the move.

She said: "We have to be sensitive if we want to be multicultural. It was felt it would be more responsible not to use the three little pigs." [...]

You have to figure that when the people you're expending great amounts of moronwaves not to offend think you're daft, you might just BE an idiot.

How about this, Ms. Goodswen--if we're going to be truly multicultural, we each allow the other racial or ethnic groups to have their own little stories and plays and junk without having to change the names to suit some perceived, potential grievance someone might have with it.

Otherwise, you just come off looking like a real dolt.

Because, Gill, for what it's worth, and as noted in a comment on the Daily Mail's website--most Muslims consider dogs as unclean, too. Some a little more than others.

Stupid twit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:34 AM | Comments (7)

Production Levels Skyrocket...

Airbus workers strike in France, Germany and Spain

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

Lollipop Guild Goes Bad!

Malaysian police detain 'midget' gang

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

And then Pooh said...

..."Oh, bother."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:41 AM | Comments (7)

Yes, I'm here, and wasn't late this morning.

I'm just still hung over from last night's gadding about--first had to find Catherine, who'd wandered off into the woods at Grandma's house--in the rain--because she wanted to go for a walk. Found her rather quickly by bellowing at the top of my lungs. Then home, then got Boy to take down his tent that we've just gotten and had it set up in the garage in order to seal the seams on it, then after Reba was home it was off to the thrift store to pick up a chair for Rebecca to decorate for art class, then back to the bookstore to pick up The Glass Menagerie for Oldest (which I am almost certain we already have) and then three books on soccer for Bec so she could do a report, then on to Target for cat food, manila envelopes (we already had a stack of those, too), and spray paint to touch up the chair I'd gotten at the thrift store, but Target doesn't SELL paint (!?) so then it was back up the shopping center to Michael's, who does sell paint and picked up a can of that.

On back to home, set up the chair in the garage on top of an old sheet and proceeded to slather spray paint all over the chair. I'd recommend against the Krylon latex spray paint. Slow to dry, susceptible to getting fisheyes (odd humidity-caused pits in the paint film) and is drippy, without being that great at coverage. I thought I was doing myself a favor because it doesn't stink (a lot) but next time I'm just getting some fast dry enamel and be done with it.

And that only takes us up to 9:00 p.m. I didn't get in bed until midnight. And so I'm tired. Thus the lack of posts this morning.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:55 AM | Comments (2)

March 15, 2007

That ol' Pop Culture Madness strikes again.

You recall the News poll I linked to on Monday. You don't!? Well, here it is--we're all a'voting on who represents us (i.e., Alabama) the best. Or something. I'm still not quite clear on the concept. But that's probably just me.

In any event, Round Two has started, so you can go here and vote, if you enjoy this sort of thing.

My picks for Round Two--

Courteney Cox (1)

Sela Ward (5)

Kate Jackson (3)

Jim Nabors (2)

Hank Williams (1)

Emmylou Harris (4)

Nat "King" Cole (3)

Alabama (2)

Harper Lee (1)

Kathryn Tucker Windham (13)

Fannie Flagg (6)

Truman Capote (2)

John Badham (1)

Michael Biehn (5)

Tallulah Bankhead (3)

Louise Fletcher (2)

First round picks that did not make it to Round Two:

Rush Propst (13)

Amber Benson (11)

Alan Hunter (9)

W.C. Handy (12)

Eddie Kendricks/Temptations (6)

Jimmy Buffett (7)

Tammy Wynette (9)

Homer Hickam (14)

William Bradford Huie (7)

Rick Bragg (8)

Johnny Mack Brown (4)

And I'm still saying it'll be a Capote v Alabama matchup at the end, with Alabama coming out on top simply because they can actually be reached for comment.

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


It's time to reveal the results of our first week's polling! This has been an incredibly popular addition to Possumblog, with almost three people participating!

Remember, these are highly scientific polls conducted using actual computers, so you know they're accurate and reliable.

ON to the results (in each case, the percentage is followed by the number of votes):

Who is your favorite Possumblog Industries employee?

Kit the Wonder Cat 11% 2
Jimmy, from next door 6% 1
Chet the E-Mail Boy 28% 5
Big Luther 11% 2
Miss Butch 0% 0
Miss Wanda 0% 0
Pat Slagging 0% 0
Ernesto, in Billing 6% 1
Jimmy Neil 0% 0
Clew 0% 0
Norah O'Donnell 39% 7
Ibrahim Malwad 0% 0

Of course Norah is your favorite! Do you actually think I would allow anyone else to win!? And by the way, quit trying to give Chet an ego boost. He's already asking for name-brand corn flakes.

What scares you most?

Spiders 6% 1
Snakes 6% 1
Heights 19% 3
Nancy Pelosi 69% 11
Mind control rays 0% 0
Feet 0% 0

Again--this is an incontrivertible scientific fact--Nancy Pelosi scares nearly 70% of Americans!

What letter does your favorite expletive begin with?

F 8% 1
G 0% 0
S 25% 3
M 17% 2
D 33% 4
L 0% 0
H 0% 0
2 8% 1
X 8% 1

Well, I'll be D--------!

The next one is a bit less tongue in cheek--

Who is the first person you ask advice from about personal problems?

Your spouse 60% 9
Your mom 0% 0
Your dad 0% 0
A close friend 13% 2
A coworker 0% 0
Someone who writes a blog 27% 4

I'm not sure if someone was just messing around, or if it actually means something. I guess if you're a regular blog reader, you actually might know of someone who can give you advice that you can't get from a friend. Odd.


Who is your favorite Surrealist?

. 0% 0
Inside 11% 1
Who is your favorite Surrealist? 0% 0
>123.91 11% 1
Susan Anton 78% 7

This one was a shoo-in, too. Everyone loves her bold use of color and incongruencies that rival that of Dali himself.

Thanks for playing along, and be sure to participate in the next round of polls. If there is a next round!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:32 PM | Comments (2)


...I have nightmares that look like this.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:35 PM | Comments (5)

Well, I guess this means Brian Setzer is going to be the next celebrity in rehab.

Stray cats enter home, attack women, boy


Not the band!?


Never mind.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

Why, yes! I am late!

Just a reminder to you all--the most important piece of emergency equipment you can have in your car is a cell phone.

Got the kids rousted and fed and in the car this morning with time to spare, cranked up the ol' lump o' iron, put it in Reverse, and had to wait while Boy jumped back out to run inside and get his assignment for art class.

As we waited, I caught a whiff of a most peculiar odor that I at first thought was something like burning friction material, coming in through the vents. Hmm. That's probably not good. I quickly put the car in Park, thinking (hoping against hope) that it wasn't the reverse clutches or something inside the transmission. Got out and lifted the hood, and nothing was out of place. No smoke, everything perking along as if nothing was wrong.

Well, that's weird.

Boy came back and off we went, first to the middle school, dropped him and his big sister, then it was on to the elementary school with Cat. The car didn't miss a beat, and it began to mightily bother me about that smell. It smelled expensive, but maybe it was nothing since the car wasn't a pile of cinders.

Dropped her off at school, then stopped at the Publix to get a box of sodas for the office. Paid, got back some cash so I could pick up Reba's repaired shoe and Boy's Scout cap, walked back outside and got in the car, hit the switch, and...


The radio and fan and all the dashboard lights were going, but there wasn't a whir from the starter or even a click from the solenoid.


So that's what the smell was.

I figured it had to be something in the starter circuit, and more than likely was the fusible link, a big, high amp fuse in the starter cable that can burn up and do the exact thing it was doing now.

But what to do about it!? I HAD TO GET TO WORK!

Lucky for that handy cell phone.

Could I get Reba on the phone? No, she was already too far from Trussville to turn around and come back for me. Let's see--7:20. Maybe I could get Oldest, especially since she refuses to turn her phone off. I could get her to come get me, then I could take her to school and take the car on with me to work, then get Grandma to pick her up, and...

"Your call is being answered by an automated voice message system. Your party is not available...."

The one time when it would have been a good thing to have the phone on, and it was off.


Okay, I'm going to be late for work.

First order of business, look at my insurance card and call the number to make sure I still have emergency road service coverage. (I.e., the second most important piece of emergency equipment you should have.) Yep, but then had to call a different number for that. Called, got a woman from somewhere very far away, told her all my personal information, told her where I was, "Publix supermarket in Trussville!" "Public market in Russellville?"

Finally got all that figured out, then it was a question of where to take the car. There is a new shop right down the road about half a mile from where I sat, but I had no idea what the name of it was. So I told her that.

Alas, she needed a name. I finally figured I'd have it taken to the shop that worked on the Focus, so I gave her that name. Did I have an address?

Well, no.

I thought about getting out--IN THE RAIN, which was now beginning to fall--and going inside the store for a Yellow Pages, but the heck with that. She finally decided to put in her computer that I was going to have it towed to a shop on Gadsden Highway.

"Gasten Highway?"

"No, Gadsden. Gee-aye-dee [pause] Zee-dee-ee-en."


We finally got it figured out.

Hung up and waited. Got a call back that the tow truck would be there in 45 minutes.

::sigh:: That means around 8:30. Oh, well.

Waited. Watched various professional women and housewives go to and from Publix. The rain picked up. Then slacked off.

About 8:20, the phone buzzed again and it was the tow truck guy. Had to explain where I was, since he had no clue. You figure tow truck guys are like cabbies and know every place in town, but apparently not.

Got there right at 8:30, and soon thereafter my phone buzzed again with a robot asking if the tow truck guy had gotten there, and if so to press 1. I did as instructed.

The rain picked up again and he kept right on working, while I pretended to be a big sissy dork and hid under an umbrella. I felt even worse when I saw a couple of women walking out of Publix without umbrellas, so I thought maybe I was only thinking it was raining hard enough for a cover. I moved the bumbershoot to the side, and was severely misted by at least three raindroplets. Too wet for MY tastes. What with being a big sissy dork and all.

Clambered up in the cab after he'd gotten everything secure, made the short hop to the car place. AHhhhh. "Hey, it's called Panos Automotive Service!" I said proudly.

Walked in and gave them a rundown of my problem and told them what my diagnosis was so they'd have something to ignore, the counter guy said it might take many hours, I said I'd have to wait no matter what, then I went in the restroom and peed.

All that rain, you know.

They got it backed off the flatbed into the first bay, and I read the variety of magazines they had. This was the first time I'd ever used this place, and from what I could tell, they seemed to know what they were doing. It's usually covered up with cars, and it seemed reasonably tidy, and while I was sitting there reading the doormat and uniform delivery guy came by delivering door mats and uniforms. You figure any shop that goes to that much trouble is pretty stable.

Or at least I sure hoped so.

Along about 9:30, I heard the tell-tale clickwhirPUTT-putterputterputter WHOOOOSH of the car cranking up in the shop. SUCCESS! I wonder what was wrong...

Turns out I wasn't quite on the target--it was a defective neutral safety switch that had shorted, then burnt out the wire leading to the starter. Same type of symptom as a bad fuse, but harder to fix.

Or was it?

I have now much more fondness for this place, because the mechanic (who allowed that he had a couple of Volvos, too) said he could just bypass the switch. Now this isn't the preferred fix, and most shops are so scared of litigation that they swear such a thing was not only inadvisable, but simply beyond the ken of mere mortals to accomplish.

The alternative was to order up a switch and replace it.

Which was going to be more money, and I knew it, but I had them ask anyway.

50 bucks for the part, 50 bucks for labor, plus the labor they'd already done on the car to figure out what was wrong with it. Call it close to $200 with tax. Which really isn't bad, but was still more than I wanted to spend.

Which meant that the tab to get me back on the road came to $80. I just have to be really REALLY careful to make sure the car is in Park to start it.

Out of the door before 10:00 a.m. and on the road.

Since I was late, I went ahead and drove over to the shoe shop and picked up the shoe, now fully strapped, along with Boy's cap, now also fully strapped. Tab for that? $10.

So, now--$90 lighter, I am back to work and ready to find out what all I missed.

What all did I miss?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:32 AM | Comments (2)


Once more the calendar grinds around to Thursday, and once more we slather upon the viewing public yet another Axis of Weevil Thursday Three! Today we’re going to talk about hometown landmarks, so all of you get your pencils ready and answer the following three questions:

1) If you only had one hour to show a visitor something interesting in your hometown, where would you go?

2) If you then had to find that friend a great place for a quick bite to eat, where would you go?

3) Now that you’ve entertained and fed your friend, it’s time to send him on his way. You’re not sure which way he’s going, but he’s got a fast red convertible, and you want him to see something nice as he drives. What route from your home to someplace else, either to the north, south, east, or west would you recommend to him as the most scenic drive?

Man, I wish I was the friend in this story! ANYway, go and answer those and either leave a link to your blog in the comments below, or the actual answer itself.

As for my answers…

1) Well, I guess we have to decide if we’re talking my actual community or the whole metro area. If we say the whole metro area, I think we’d go to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. If we had a bit more time, we’d do the whole zoo-gardens-Vulcan tour, but that takes more than an hour.

2) This one’s tough, since the place is swollen with great eating joints. I think for something hot, fast, cheap, and good, what we’d do is just pull out of the parking lot at the Botanical Gardens and stop at the first place we saw. I think a shot in the dark like that would turn out to be pretty darned good. (There is a fancy restaurant at the gardens, but it’s fancy and not necessarily fast or cheap.)

3) Hmm. I’m gonna cheat and combine north and east and tell him to drive State Highway 79 all the way to Guntersville. Beautiful mountains and stuff, and not a lot of interference from the constabulary.

So there you go!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:48 AM | Comments (18)

March 14, 2007

Coals to Newcastle?

Maybe--Big Bob Gibson BBQ in 1st expansion with North Carolina franchise

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Restaurant, which began as a backyard pit stop in the 1920s and became a landmark north Alabama eatery, will open its first franchise location in Monroe, N.C., on March 26. [...]

The restaurant has won many prizes, including grand champion at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis, but had not ventured outside Decatur.

"North Carolina is its own barbecue region," [Gibson vice president and head chef Chris] Lilly told The Decatur Daily. "They typically have whole hogs, and they're known for their vinegar-based sauces. It's not unlike what we do, where we take our barbecue right off the pit and let the customer decide what sort of sauce they want to use." [...]

Be an interesting thing to see. It'll probably do well, but the article notes plans for an awful lot of citified extras that weren't around in the long ago:

[...] Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, which is known for its tomato-based sauce but offers other varieties, was founded by Decatur resident Bob Gibson, known as "Big Bob" because he was 6-feet-4 and weighed 300 pounds. Out of his hand-dug pit, Gibson began serving barbecue in the 1920s from a makeshift oak plank table nailed to a tree in his backyard. [...]

Now if you could franchise THAT, you might be doing something!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:12 PM | Comments (17)

I believe the saying is something like...

..."a prosecutor can get a ham sandwich indicted," but on this one, I'm willing to bet there's something to the charges: AP NewsBreak: Former Secretary of State Worley indicted

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Former Secretary of State Nancy Worley has been indicted by a grand jury on charges stemming from her unsuccessful campaign for re-election last year, her attorney told The Associated Press Wednesday.

Montgomery attorney James Anderson said he received a call from the attorney general's staff informing him that Worley had been indicted on five felony counts and five misdemeanor counts accusing her of soliciting campaign funds from employees in the secretary of state's office. [...]

During Worley's re-election campaign last year, one of her employees, Ed Packard, ran against her in the Democratic primary and filed a complaint with the attorney general's office. The complaint involved Worley sending an envelope to her employees that had a place on the outside for them to mark whether they would like to volunteer in her campaign, post a bumper sticker on their vehicles, or make a contribution.

Anderson said the envelope was accompanied by a letter explaining there would be no retaliation against any employees who didn't support her. "As far as she knows, nobody who worked for her gave to her," he said. [...]

Well, nice try, dude, but the law doesn't seem to give elected officials an out if they say they won't retaliate, or if none of the employees participate--

[...] State law prohibits state officials from soliciting their employees for help in a campaign. Violations can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, with the felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine and a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. [...]

I imagine she'll find a way to settle, since it seems even from her own attorney the solicitation was made, and the defense against the charge seems to be that it's nothing but a politically-motivated charade.

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

Some men dream.

Some men dream big.

Now THAT, readers, is a deer stand.

(Many thanks to Nate McCord for that one.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:06 PM | Comments (5)

American Idol!

Is there any way to go ahead and eliminate all the guys? I really have no desire to see any more weeks of their wimpy caterwauling. Might was well go ahead and cut some of the girls, too, although I can at least cut off the sound and look at them if I don't want to hear them sing.

As it is, I'd much rather just cut everyone but Melinda Doolittle (who can sing, but looks a little too much like Smokey Robinson for comfort) or Jordin Sparks (who's cute, but can't sing quite as well as Melinda) and let them finish out the final weeks.

OH! And Diana Ross? Frightening.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:49 AM | Comments (3)

It's good to know a guy.

Early this morning I was neck deep in some stupid paperwork when one of the guys in communications dropped by. We go to church together and he was up here doing some phone work and thought he'd stop by and chat for a minute. Which we did. Normal stuff. Then he said he needed to get back to work, installing voice mail on one of the phone of one of the other folks up here.


I have been wanting voice mail for the entire twelve years I've been here. I'm out in the field a pretty fair amount, and it's rather ridiculous for the secretary to have to take a message when it would be far simpler for someone just to leave a voice message. Not to mention the times when the phone simply doesn't get answered.

For many years, though, the powers that be simply forbade such high-falutin' finaglery, until the folks in charge realized it was convenient and began getting it for themselves while not letting we peons in on the secret. After a while, the technology began to trickle down to a few people on down the ladder who managed to get it, but only after jumping through flaming hoops while being shot at by poison-dart flingling atlatl artists.

Early on I figured I could just get my own answering machine and hook it to my phone (sort of like the way in which I stole my own autodialer speakerphone out of the conference room and replaced it with my crappy phone) and no one would care that much, but I just didn't want to have to spend my own money for it, especially when there's nothing to using our system except adding another phone number onto the system list.

Anyway, back to the conversation--it sure seemed to me that the guy on our floor getting his phone switched onto the system is no more needing of the service than I am, so how'd he manage to swing that?

"Wow, THAT'S nice!" I said, with no small amount of jealousy in my tone. "I wish I had voice mail on MY phone--what sort of form do you have to fill out to get that!?"

The rest of the conversation will have to be redacted to protect all the vast conspiracy that's involved, but suffice it to say, I won't be missing any more phone calls.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:35 AM | Comments (9)

I only know a little about cars...

...but I suppose enough so that I tend to get a regular stream of folks who find Possumblog when they're searching for answers to car repair and maintenance questions.

Such as the person who came by yesterday wondering: how to fill cooling system on pontiac aztec.

As with all car repairs, consult your owner's manual first. Second, if you have any reservations about the procedures, it is better to take it to a qualified ASE-certified repair facility. Having dispensed with those two vital disclaimers, for the do-it-yourselfer, the following is my recommendation for the Pontiac Aztek. The following is for all model years.

1. Raise the hood and make sure the engine is cool to the touch, and then carefully remove the coolant reservoir cap.

2. Allow the unoccupied vehicle to roll into the nearest body of water that will allow the coolant reservoir to be completely submerged.

3. Leave.

I hope this helps.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:04 AM | Comments (6)

Now then.

A busy morning, which followed a busy Tuesday evening, but only after being interrupted by a very busy sleep, which was filled to overflowing with weirdness. I'm going to have to start sleeping with earplugs and a sleep mask just to cut down on the oddities induced by ambient light and noise in the house that persists EVEN AFTER I'VE GONE TO BED.

You know the kid's game "Don't Wake Daddy"? In my house they've apparently decided to do this in real time, with the twist of renaming the game, "Don't Let Daddy Have a Single Restful Night the Rest of What Is Destined to Turn Out to be A Very Short Life." I ask so little, and require so little--why must they begrudge me of my sleep!?

Anyway, I'm here now and there's stuff to do.

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

March 13, 2007

Boy, you folks were a quiet bunch today!

My turn tomorrow! Got my early morning exercise in bureaucratic abusiveness to attend so I'll not be ladling up the fresh warm thin gruel of possumy flavor you've all come to know and detest. At least not ladling it up until sometime after I get back to a computer, that is.

ANYway, see you all sometime laterish.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)


Just witnessed yet another one of those scenes that makes me shake my head and wonder about how people can actually walk around.

A coworker was just now set off by a discussion of cigarette smoking and began complaining about all those evil SUVs spewing emissions all over her pretty clean globe. THAT'S who's bad in this whole thing, you know. Second hand smoke!? BAH! Everyone knows that SUVs put out enough emissions to equal THREE cars! It's a FACT!

On and on she went, her ox of smoking having been gored (so to speak), so she felt it necessary to lash out at something or someone else to excuse herself. And do so in the most inflammatory (so to speak) way possible, practically daring anyone to disagree with her. You know, because she's one of those progressive types who are so open-minded and tolerant and all.

Well, I learned a long time ago never to wrestle with a pig--you get dirty and the pig enjoys it. So let me just offer you good folks the benefit of actual information, rather than churning bile.

Vehicle emissions for all new cars, light duty trucks, minivans, and yes, SUVs, sold in the US since 2004 must meet all the same "Tier II" standard.

Some light trucks met auto standards even before this went into effect, although I don't know which ones or by how much. I'm not sure how to come to a best guess for just how much they diverged, but this EPA report from 2000 (.pdf) shows the total average emissions for cars and trucks (including, again, minivans, pickups, and SUVs) in the entire US fleet, and as best as I can tell, the average all cars were putting out amounted to 440.95 grams of pollutants/mile, and light trucks were 555.12 grams/mile, which my calculator says means that cars emitted about 20% less pollutants by weight per mile as did trucks.

Now I know there's a lot of apples v. orange comparisons that you could do, but it still doesn't look like even a stinky old Pre-Tier II truck was as dirty as three cars. And when you consider that most late-model trucks only put out a miniscule amount of pollutants compared to, say, my non-evil, socially-responsible '86 Volvo, it's really comes down to something that says it's all more about mere appearances (mixed in with some sort of odd class envy) than it is about actual facts.

Not like it really matters to people who've already made up their minds. Loudly.

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

Okay, I'm as guilty as the next guy.

Always harping about how politicians don't do anything worthwhile.

Well, I guess when I'm wrong, I'm wrong, and this story proves that politicians are strong, smart, and capable.

Now if we could only keep them doing important things such as this and not messing around with us, we'd have it made.

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

Now THAT was a lunch!

Absolutely gorgeous day for a walk today--light breeze, low humidity, pleasant temperature, lots of happy smiley sunshine. Just perfect.

I had to make a trip down 20th Street today to take some articles to the Goodyear Shoe Hospital--one, a shoe of Reba's which had an ankle strap coming loose (due to Oldest's habit of not undoing shoes to take them off or put them on), and two, a Boy Scout cap with a torn-asunder adjustment strap. Seems Boy was messing with it last night as his meeting and "it just came apart in my hand!" Riiiiiight. Both sides of the plastic band neatly ripped from their moorings? I have feeling horseplay was involved, and probably no small amount of monkeyshines. Most certainly shenanigans.

Anyway, I wasn't sure the shoe place could fix it, what with it being a non-shoe item and all, but as soon as the lady was off the phone, she'd already grabbed two claim tickets, and I didn't even have to explain what I wanted. "They'll be ready after 3:00 tomorrow."

THAT is service. And the place is interesting, too, with all sorts of odd smells and machinery, and an occasional shop cat walking across the counter.

On back down the street to eat, because I had noticed that El Mexicano was now open. This is what used to be Sabor Latino, and/or Sabor Mazatlan, and/or Tower Cafe back when it was in the Frank Nelson Building. They've been shuttered for a while at that location, and the promised move to the north has been going on for what seems like years. They're now in the location where McDonald's used to be, next door to where the flower shop used to be, which is itself next door to where the post office branch used to be. From what I can tell, though, the move from 1st Avenue was a good one. Walked in and was impressed at the packitude of the customers--just about every table was taken, and taken by big groups of people.

There were a few familiar faces--that of the friendly scowling owner, that of the former chip passer-outer guy (who now seems to have advanced quite a bit further up the ladder), and one waitress I recognized. It appears they've added about three more waitresses, and all of them seemed to be in a distracted tizzy of activity. The young lady who had my table was pretty and pleasant enough, but I think it must be hard to get too involved in mindless chit-chat when all that bustle is going on. But she was nonetheless sweet and was incredibly polite, so she got a good tip.


Oh, yeah, I did order some of that--the combo platter with a taco, flauta, and burrito. As with the old location, it was hot and familiar and freshly made. The taco was a bit disappointing--just cheese and meat, but the flauta was perfect and the burrito was the size of a baby's arm. I think it was $5.75 plus drink and tax. Upon approaching the cash register after I was done, I was disappointed that the cashier girl of J-Lovian proportions who'd worked at the old location didn't seem to be around, but her substitute more than made up for her absence.


And I am unanimous in this.

Anyway, good to see they're back in operation again and that they're pumping out the food.

On back to work, where I was treated to one of those Magic City wonders I so enjoy--an angry disturbed man who was beating a payphone to death because it wasn't working. Probably from having been hit too many times by angry disturbed people. Anyway, after clobbering the thing several times with the handset and screaming at it, he threw down the talky part and began stalking up the sidewalk screaming and cussing some more.

So glad he was on the other side of the street!

All in all, a great day for a walk.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:55 PM | Comments (3)

Like the swallows to Capistrano...

...or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, some things are always faithful to return--Clinton: Right-wing conspiracy is back

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton told Democrats Tuesday the "vast, right-wing conspiracy" is back, using a phrase she once coined to describe partisan criticism.

Speaking to Democratic municipal officials, the New York senator used the term to hammer Republicans on election irregularities. [...]

Audience members said the smell of irony in the room was as thick and heavy as the junior Senator's ankles. Bursting in halfway through the meeting, Ted Kennedy screamed that he would lead a charge against Republican policitians who drink and drive. And then passed out.

[...] On Tuesday, she asserted the conspiracy is alive and well, and cited as proof the Election Day 2002 case of phone jamming in New Hampshire, a case in which two Republican operatives pleaded guilty to criminal charges, and a third was convicted.

"To the New Hampshire Democratic party's credit, they sued and the trail led all the way to the Republican National Committee," Clinton said.

"So if anybody tells you there is no vast right-wing conspiracy, tell them that New Hampshire has proven it in court," she said. [...]

Well, not to split hairs, but three people seems rather less than vast. Especially since none of them are Michael Moore.

[...] New Hampshire Democratic Party chairwoman Kathy Sullivan said she absolutely agreed with the senator's description of the case.

"People think we're paranoid when we talk about the vast right-wing conspiracy, but there is a real connection of these groups — the same names keep popping up," said Sullivan. "They are the most disgusting group of political thugs that I have ever seen." [...]

Blindness being a rather convenient thing on occasion. And by the way, I don't think you're paranoid, I just think you're a addlepated Democrat. But I repeat myself.

[...] [Clinton] also said the government should do more to end unusually long lines at certain polling places.

"It just so happens that many of those places where people are waiting for hours are places where people of color are voting or young people are voting. That is un-American, and we're going to end it," Clinton said.

Well, sadly the easiest way of ending it is to require that people have enough brain cells to be able to quickly and efficiently mark a flippin' ballot.

Of course, as we have seen countless times, this would doom the Democratic Party.

Just remember, precinct workers come from the precinct in which they live. If the precinct is overwhelmingly Democratic, it generally will follow that the election officials and volunteers are likewise going to tilt Democratic as well. This might be the source of the problem, since the various tasks require skill and organization of a relatively minor nature, as well as a disposition not to blame sunspots or superstition for rank incompetence. Allowing Democrats to run things like this is just asking for problems.

Anyway, it all boils down to the fact that there is no need for a vast right-wing conspiracy when the people supposedly on the short end of the conspiracy are so highly capable of defeating themselves.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:54 AM | Comments (3)

For lovers of Furrin Cars, Parrots, and Mechanics with a Literary Streak

I was looking around last night for a variety of junk, and did a search for some things for my Volvo and somehow ran across one of the most interesting places I've ever seen on the Internet.

The place is called Foreign Affairs, and is the website of a repair shop and used car dealer in the Staunton, Virginia area, and it sounds just like the sort of place I would enjoy working in (should I ever decide to ditch my current vocation). Although it combines two of the most disreputable sorts of businesses (no offense to honest used car dealers and mechanics--all five of you), you simply have to admire any shop that prides itself on "avian entertainment, and pointless pettifoggery." The avian entertainment consists of Remington and Kuzo (scroll down past the lovely wife of the proprietor), both of whom I'm certain will appeal to Miss Janis.

I found this page first, which is a documentary of sorts of customer complaints about their cars, and the photos and explanations of what was wrong. Some of them are frightening to see, but the prose is certainly entertaining: "Most engines don't operate well with a hole in the piston. Maybe a small hole. When your engine overheats, STOP and call a tow truck."

That's a photo of the mighty Volvo B230F. Proving even anvils have their limit of abuse.

Anyway, a thoroughly engaging website and what sounds like a great bunch of folks. I sure wish they had a location in Trussville...

(By the way, I had some trouble getting some of their pages to load this morning--just keep hitting reload if you have to.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:11 AM | Comments (7)

Jack Bauer Update!

Woman scorned + lost marbles + cutlery = very bad idea

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2007

Well, why would they stay where they aren't wanted?

Clinton denounces Halliburton's move

NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday denounced oil giant Halliburton's planned relocation to Dubai.

"I think it raises a lot of very big concerns and we're going to be looking into it in Washington," the New York senator said at a news conference in the Bronx. "I think it's disgraceful that American companies are more than happy to try to get no-bid contracts like Halliburton has, and then turn around and say, 'You know, we're not going to stay.'" [...]

Come now, Mrs. Clinton--think of it as a strategic withdrawal. They're only doing to us what your partymates want America to do in Iraq.

I'm sad that it seems we've allowed a company to believe it can do better somewhere else, but liberals seem not to be able to be satisfied no matter what happens. They hate Halliburton when they're here, they hate them when they move away. Personally, I'd rather be hated from a distance.

Anyway, Democratics are going to have to make up their minds--either quit blaming American companies for every evil, or be prepared for them to take advantage of greener pastures. Although that does do damage to the traditional Democratic mindset of trying to have everything both ways.

Oh, and by the way, it would be nice if you hated terrorists with as much fervor as you ladle out on large corporations.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:34 PM | Comments (4)

You've never seen a rabbit with glasses, have you!?

Beta carotene pills may not save eyesight

The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Carrots, rich in beta carotene, long have been thought to sharpen eyesight, but a new study suggests that beta carotene pills are powerless against a common type of vision loss among older people.

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people 65 and older. The condition blurs the center of the field of vision, making it difficult to read, drive, thread a needle and even recognize faces. It affects more than 10 million Americans and there is no cure.

An earlier large study had shown that beta carotene — when taken with certain vitamins and zinc — could slow or prevent vision loss in people with age-related macular degeneration. Commercial formulations of the eye-protecting combination vitamins are sold over the counter. [...]

Odd--when your whole article is about something that doesn't work that you would turn right back around and call the thing you're writing about "eye-protecting combination."

Anyway, for those of you who might have missed it, carrots never really have been all that when it comes to improving your peepers. Here's an article dealing with just how we got to thinking that carrots made you see better. You really do need the vitamins found in carrots (and other vegetables like them) but the carrot as super-vision-maker actually began as a spoof in the early days of World War II by the RAF, who didn't want to tip off the Germans about the radar their night fighter pilots were using, and instead offered up the idea to the press that the pilots were eating lots of carrots to improve their vision.

Simpler times, eh?

Why nowadays, the mighty giants of the press (in the interest of the public's right to know) would expose the propagandists nefarious scheme, then do a detailed analysis of the radar sets (along with a handy German-language version), and then bitterly complain about the unwinnability of the conflict now that the Nazis had gotten hold of the secret.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:45 PM | Comments (5)

Well, we might not be all that good at basketball...

...but we sure seem to have figured out the water stuff!

Auburn Women's Swimming And Diving Claims Another National Championship

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - For the second straight year and the fifth time in the last six seasons, the Auburn women's swimming and diving team is National Champions. It wasn't as dramatic as last year's three-point victory over Georgia that came down the final race, but for the second year in a row, Auburn had to come from behind on the final day, this time erasing a 32-point deficit to Arizona to win by a final margin of 58 points. [...]

Congratulations, girls!

UPDATE: To satisfy Skinnydan's visual craving for muscular broad-shouldered women, here are some photos from the meet taken by Todd van Ernst.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:18 PM | Comments (2)

And then Sam Colt ruined everything.

Short Legs Made Human Predecessors Better Fighters

Our ape-like predecessors kept their stout figures for 2 million years because having short legs ironically gave them the upper-hand in male-male combat for access to mates, finds a new study. [...]

While I am quite proud of my ape-like 29 inch inseam that gives me great box-toting power and a very low, road-hugging center of gravity, I'll have to say that I'm glad my branch of the tree is the one that thought up gunpowder and 185gr hollowpoints.

Dumb bunch of monkeys.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:40 PM | Comments (2)

Oh, now this might be pretty fun.

In reading The Birmingham News yesterday I saw that they had decided to glom onto this whole March Madness thing AND this whole Internet thing and come up with an online contest of sorts in which they have come up with a gigantic bracket full of people who are Alabama natives (full bracket here as a .pdf), and pit them against each other in a playoff of sorts to determine...something. I'm not quite sure what. I mean, some of these people are dead, which would make it exceedingly difficult for them to come and cut down a net or kiss a big trophy if they should win.

But it still looks like an interesting way to waste time, nonetheless.

My first round picks are below:

Courteney Cox (1)

Jim Nabors (2)

Kate Jackson (3)

Rush Propst (13)

Sela Ward (5)

Amber Benson (11)

George Lindsey (7)

Alan Hunter (9)

Hank Williams (1)

Alabama (2)

Nat "King" Cole (3)

Emmylou Harris (4)

W.C. Handy (12)

Eddie Kendricks/Temptations (6)

Jimmy Buffett (7)

Tammy Wynette (9)

Harper Lee (1)

Truman Capote (2)

Homer Hickam (14)

Kathryn Tucker Windham (13)

Gay Talese (5)

Fannie Flagg (6)

William Bradford Huie (7)

Rick Bragg (8)

John Badham (1)

Louise Fletcher (2)

Tallulah Bankhead (3)

Johnny Mack Brown (4)

Michael Biehn (5)

Dean Jones (6)

Rebecca Luker (7)

Phillip Alford and Mary Badham (8)

And who do I think will go all the way? Capote and Alabama. Give it to Alabama in the final, again simply because they are still alive and able to accept the trophy.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:18 PM | Comments (2)


As predicted, the time change was not met with the rousing, rollicking, tumble-out-of-bediness that usually happens in our house on Sunday mornings.

I simply must get myself an electric cattle prod.

Anyway, made some breakfast, got the van loaded, and eventually got underway after much pain and agony inside my head from the continual battle raging between Calm Self-Control and the berzerkers who practice Efficient Time-Management.

Got to church, feeling not at all full of God's love and compassion, seeing as how it takes twenty minutes to get there, and we left about 17 minutes before the designated meeting time. Wouldn't be that bad except Reba is teaching this quarter and really should be there about ten minutes before class starts. Which would require us to leave MUCH earlier than we did.

Oh well.

Good class, good sermon, and then back home for some good lunch. Then, time to go do more stuff--Ashley had a meeting that required one of us to be with her, so Reba took her to that, while I was tasked with taking Rebecca to go find some shoes. She'd gotten herself a new brown outfit, and wanted a pair of brown shoes to go with it. But not just any brown shoes--brown shoes to match the black pair she already has.

And nothing else would do.

Off to Rack Room, where they had a pair of brown shoes just like her black ones. Except way too small.

On to the shoe place in the upper shopping center, where they had all kinds of shoes, but none like her black ones, and none she liked in her size.

On to JCPenney, where they had all kinds of shoes, and even more of them, but none like her black ones, and none she liked in her size.

On to, where else, WAL-MART, where they had all kinds of shoes, and even more of them than any other place, but none like her black ones, and none she liked in her size.

Got the kids and myself something to drink and went home.

Got everyone loaded back up later and went back to church for the evening service, led singing and only coughed during one song which I'm sure everyone enjoyed, then headed home for the final time. Supper, then read the paper, then crashed into the mattess like a truckload of wet concrete.

Thank goodness I can now get a nice nap.

OH, and by the way, Jim Smith is on spring break, but it sick. I would like to let him know that I tried Diet Grapico, that it tastes very good, and I recommend it to him as a healthy elixir for what ails him.

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



Got up at 6:00 and woke Reba up so she could go get ready to go, and managed to sleep a bit longer in that fitful, half-awake way when you try to wake up but you're dreaming you're eyes won't open and you're in an office with people working and you tell them you're sleepy and they tell you to open your eyes but you can't and it feels like they've got sand and glue in them so even though you try you can't until WHOA! It's time to wake up!

I remembered that Saturday that I slept so late after everyone had left to go do their own things, and it put me behind in all my important chores, so I went ahead and forced myself to get up around 7:00 and get the day going. Got the kids up to start getting dressed, started up some laundry, and got to work on the first car project, namely figuring out why the Focus smells like gas.

Went outside, jacked it up, looked all around for leakiness, and could only see the parts where it had previously leaked. Drove it and got it filled up and came back, jacked it up again, and was gratified to see that the filler tube I thought I hadn't tightened enough was indeed nice and leak free. The only problem is that the gasoline odor was back, and with no visible leakage, that could mean only a couple of things, neither of them good.

One, I had either left a hose loose on the top of the tank when I had previously dropped it to change the fuel pump, or Two, I hadn't tightened the hateful blue plastic retainer ring sufficiently to keep the juice inside.

As I said, either thing would require me to once more drop that tank down and mess with it. I think what's happening is the latter, since it only happens when it's full of gas, then dissipates when the tank level drops. It's probably seeping out around the retainer ring, since I was too lazy to put in a new rubber gasket.


Well, don't fill it all the way up sounds good to me.

By this time the Reba and the three older kids were ready to leave for the building, so after I bid them adieu, I settled in for a long day spent with just Tiny Terror and myself.

You know what? I don't think I gave her any breakfast. As I was trying to recall all this, I think we skipped that part of the morning completely. Maybe Mom fed her before she left.


Oh well, what's a little food when there are parts to buy! Called the other parts place down the hill (more of a parts supply place than a mainline mass market retailer) to make sure they had a set of plug wires for the old brick, which they did. Got Cat dressed (more or less) and made her quit whining by promising her that if she would be good and help me, I'd take her to Sonic for lunch and then we'd have a picnic on the old footbridge over the Cahaba. (Not a current picture, but still a good one.) THIS she understood!

Off down to the foot of the hill, walked in and saw that the genial old fellow (who smelt of stale coffee, Marlboros, and grease) already had my set out there waiting on the counter. THAT'S SERVICE, my friends!



Admittedly, they were top of the line, and had the nice metal shields on the plug ends, and all that, but that's still awfully steep. Then I saw the list price--$132. I figure I must be getting a real deal.

Paid, and went back home ready to get started.

As I mentioned, I don't know how long ago this was done, but I know I haven't done it. (I could look at the voluminous records kept by the previous squirrelly owner, but I didn't want to.) Anyway, it's been idling rough for a year now, and although the mileage is relatively good at around 21 mpg, I keep thinking it could do better. New ignition parts might be the trick.

First thing was to replace the rotor button and cap, which turned out to be more trouble than I gave it credit for being. Seems the rotor takes a bit of persuasion to fully seat itself, but I didn't know this until I cranked it and the whole distributor cap was wildly oscillating like a Tilt-a-Whirl. After a few smears of silicone on the underside of the rotor and then a polite tap with a screwdriver handle, it was where it was supposed to be.

BUT, before all that, there were the plugs to install. I was a bit fearful of what I might find--carbon, or worse, oil. Happily, they were each and every one a nice shade of toasted bread, with only one having a bit of tan-colored scaley stuff on the ground electrode. The center electrodes, though--oh, my. They were all nearly burnt down to the insulator. No WONDER the thing has been running rough and hard to start in the cold!

In with the new set (actually, these are done one at a time to keep junk from blowing into the cylinders) and after a bit of a brain cloud with the screw-on tips (which weren't needed with the type of wires I had) that caused me to have to REMOVE all the little screw-on tips, the wires were all snapped on, and the engine cranked to life. Again, there was the slight mishap with the bobbling distributor cap, but after that was squared away, things worked just like they should.

And I have to say, Catherine was a great help through the whole process. She even got to wear her own pair of blue nitrile gloves to keep her hands clean, which she thought was super keen. She would fetch tools for me and throw boxes away, and was kind enough to go get my shop manual so I could remember the proper firing order, (1-3-4-2, by the way), and asked what this was, and that was, and what those were, and generally hung around far longer than I ever thought she would. Of course, she's still a kid, so as her attention wandered, she went and bothered the cat for a while.

SO, time for a test drive, and LUNCH.

Cleaned up, gathered her up and off we went. Now I might be full of wishful thinking, but ol' Järn felt like a brand new car--well, almost. But a lot more peppy and without the shakiness at idle he'd had before. So, that turned out just fine.

Stopped at Sonic--

cat passenger.JPG

--got us a couple of sandwiches and some drinks, and off to the park. Where a lot of other folks seem to have had the exact same idea we'd had. But it's a big park, so we weren't crowded at all.

Sat on the bridge and ate our foods (and judging by this photo, hers must have contained Valium)--


--and looked at all the attractions--several folks had their puppies out for a romp, so this was almost more interesting to her than her meal, although in fairness to her, I was equally distracted by the couple of folks who'd brought out their Alfa Romeo roadsters (both red) and were parked on the green plain upriver from us and were taking photos of them. One was a particularly nice little boattail model that looked much better than it seemed to run.

Anyway, she hurried and finished her food and ran over to insert herself into someone else's family--

river cat.JPG

and I finished up my sammich and just relaxed. One thing I noticed on the steel girders of the bridge is something I had previously overlooked--the name of the foundry town molded into the steel--

lack of want-to.JPG

I like stuff like that.

Also like playing with rocks, and one of the things she's been wanting to do since the last time were were there was go skip-rocking, the less-well-known designation for the pasttime of rock-skipping. So we walked across and down onto the bed and began looking for likely candidates.

skip rocking.JPG

She finally got enough practice to where she could reliably skip them at least twice, which did her no end of good. It was getting time to go, though, since I had one more car-related task to get done. Of course, she begged and pleaded and wheedled, but I managed to distract her with the promise of a rousing bout of Pooh Sticks.

Oddly enough, she didn't remember what this was. I guess it's been a while since we read Winnie the Pooh. We gathered up a batch of sticks and went back onto the bridge, and with great fanfare dropped them over the side and ran to the other to see whose would come out first. She won most of the times, which also make her feel super terrific happy fun!

Which is good, because we spent the NEXT hour waiting at the Express Oil Change for them to do a radiator flush. Another task that's been on hold since I bought the car, even despite the dire warnings of the previous owner that it was time to have it done. And it is important. I'd just not gotten around to it. And despite knowing how to do it myself, I wanted someone else to do it, simply because it's messy and tiresome and I didn't want to fool with it.

I also didn't realize it was going to take an hour, though.

Anyway, they fixed me up and I was ready to go again after unloading more cash. ::sigh::

Home, met Reba leaving. She'd intended to come back from church and drop off the kids and go shopping for some pants for herself, but apparently decided the martyrdom of taking the other three kids with her to go shopping was a worthy way to go. I asked her if she didn't want to leave them with me, and she just shook her head no and drove on off.

Eh, whatever.

I had things to do--namely, more laundry.

Did that some more as Cat played on the computer, then went and began changing all the clocks in the house. No use waiting until 2 a.m., am I right?!

Then I took a shower and collapsed on the couch for a while. Reba and the kids finally showed back up sometime around 7:00. They'd found all kinds of things to spend money on. Some of which were even necessary! Rebecca was especially pleased to find some cute tops to wear. Since she's been playing soccer, she has lost close to twenty pounds, and looks much better in her clothes now. And feels better, too, which explains the fun she was having doing a fashion show for me.

Supper then, baths for everyone, then to bed.

Sunday was much less busy...

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


...took Cat for her ear checkup, and the good news is that her ears are clear, but I still have to take her to an ENT for a hearing check since she didn't pass the one they give in the office with the little hand-held doohickey. ::sigh::

Off back toward home, picked up the dry cleaning, picked up two more kids from Grandmom's house, and went to the house to meet up with Reba and Oldest. Who were intent on not letting me get my car parts or make my trip to Wal-Mart without first taking everyone out to eat.

At Pizza Hut.

Now, I like pizza, and don't really mind Pizza Hut's version thereof, but I cannot STAND to eat at the actual restaurant. It's decorated in that horrible pseudo-Italianate/rec room decor from the bad part of the 1970s, and the whole place feels like it has a sticky film over it. Mainly because it does have a sticky film all over it. And not a clean sticky film, either. And it's always full of kids whose parents don't care about eating in a place that's like one giant glue trap. To make it worse? It's just as slow as ordering it and having it delivered. At least at home you can eat in your own dirt rather than half of town's dirt.

Obviously, it doesn't matter what I think, though.

But we still had to go to Wally World and I still had car junk to buy, so we decided to take two vehicles, and after our dinner was choked down, I'd go on and get the groceries (for the thing at church on Saturday) and get my parts.

Waited, refereed yet another foul disagreement between the two most immature members of the family, ate a bowl of salad and a tiny bit of pizza as my innards churned from the combination of anger, filth and noise, and then it was time to pack up and leave. Thank goodness.

Rebecca and Jonathan decided to go to Wal-Mart with me and the other girls went back home to get a jump on the laundry. Up to the top of the hill, parked, and decided to do a quick swing through the parts department to see if I could get what I was looking for--spark plugs for the Volvo. I don't know how long it had been since it was tuned up, and decided that as part of my fun for Saturday would be to work on it and see if I could get it running a bit smoother. ANYway, I got over to the plug display, and to my utter dismay, found that there was no handy chart to let me know what sort of plug I was supposed to get. This is important, after all.

Well, dang.

Went on and got the provender for Reba--she was going up to the church building on Saturday to help fix food for everyone for the areawide Bible Bowl, which is usually (and more conveniently) held on a Sunday. Whatever. Got some lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, and cookies, and tried to finish calming Jonathan down. See, part of that upset at the restaurant was due to the fact that he inadvertantly let slip the name of a little girl he's got a crush on. A fact not shared with Oldest and with Cat due to the fact that neither one is mature enough to be nice to him about it, but will no doubt make every possible effort to embarrass him with the information. SO, he was mad at himself for letting it slip to them, and mad at them for immediately acting just like we all knew they would. Ashley seemed nearly beside herself, and you could tell she's just dying to ruin things for him by telling the girl. But after a few laps around Wal-Mart and some fatherly and sisterly advice from Rebecca (who is more mature than a lot of adults), he was back to his usual pleasant demeanor.

Left there and made a stop at the Advance Auto Parts place at the foot of the hill, and since things had gone so well so far, it should be no surprise that Lisa the Parts Guy wasn't there, and so I had to get my valuables from some ancient guy who smelled like stale coffee and Winstons. Set of four plugs, a distributor cap, and a rotor button--22 bucks. And they didn't have a set of plug wires. ::sigh::

On to home, got them to all get cleaned up and in the bed, did a bit of laundry, and then collapsed in the bed myself.

And then, there was....


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

All that concern...

...about the time change for Daylight Savings, and not a peep about what it does to the stupid time stamp on blogs! ::grumble::


A weekend that was actually productive, for once! More about it in just a bit after I get some diet soda inside of me and get woken up.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:10 AM | Comments (2)

March 09, 2007

Annnnnnd, that’s a wrap.

I have to head out early today to go pick up Cat and take her to the doctor for a checkup on the double ear infection she had a couple of weeks back. She seems better, and she’s not acting like a back-end like she usually does when she’s sick, so hopefully she’s over it.

Anyway, the weekend calls, so all of you have good one and Lord willing I’ll see you back here bright and early (earlier, what with the clocks springing forward and all) on Monday and we’ll see what all went on.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)


Being that we all want Possumblog to be the hippest, most niftyest place on any of the Internets, we are adding yet another NEW FEATURE for your entertainment and enjoyment.


That's right! Over in the sidebar will be a rotating assortment of polls for your amusement and/or edification. Some will be serious questions, others not, and supposedly they will rotate in order as you reload the page or make a return visit. Also, it is alleged that you're supposed to only be able to vote once a week, but we all know that's not necessarily so for you savvy computer people.

If you have a topic you'd like covered, drop me a line and let me know what it is. Otherwise, just play along and act like it's fun. Needless to say, these are in no way scientifically significant or accurate or anything like that, so no wagering, please.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:32 PM | Comments (2)

Fortune Cookie Wisdom of the Day!

Jeff and I met up at the swanky Wan's Chinese in Cahaba Heights, and I must say I was highly disappointed. No buffet for one thing, and the place was nice and tidy with clean plates and silverware and glasses. Thankfully, the hot and sour soup was tasty, and the kung pao chicken had the odd texture and scorched flavor of something other than chicken, or else it wouldn't have been anywhere NEAR the stereotype I so crave in my Asian cuisine.

As usual, the luncheon talk dwelt on our usual mix of xenophobic bigotry, work, cars, stupid people, local media personalities (including the personable, cute, and inimitable Wendy Garner, and the savaging of one former TV climatologist who thinks much more highly of himself than he ought but who shall remain nameless since I can't spell in Polish), Internet filth (i.e., Possumblog), cars, and imaginary restaurants.

All in all, quite a nice lunch, especially since I got two whole magazines out of the deal.

Now then, what you've ALL been waiting on!

First up, this:

An interesting sports opportunity is in your near future.

I sure hope that dream of having my own cheerleading squad is about to come true!

Next, something even BETTER:

A short stranger will soon enter your life with blessings to share.

I really appreciate the wisdom in these things, but I DO so wish they'd at least give me a name to go on. I've already intensely questioned several short people here in the building whom I've never met before about the blessings they're supposed to share with me, and apparently NONE of them were the right one.


8 12 22 29 31 45


21 31 32 33 40 44

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


Dumb computers. The Innernets are acting weird here at HQ and I don't like that one bit.

Anyway, it's almost time for lunch, and guess what? It's magazine swap day with My Imaginary Friend, Jeff. I always thought he was real, but when I couldn't get him to leave a comment, I finally realized that he was nothing more than a figment of my imagination. Or fig newton.

In any event, will be back after while with thrilling stories of Chinese buffet cuisine and car magazines!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:50 AM | Comments (2)

Not sure who this looks worse for.

Reuters, or the level of intelligence of Reuters' readership: Rock scientists to make map of the world

"Rock scientists"!? Why not write "geologists"? Does the writer not know the word, or is he afraid the readers won't?

Silly Reuters.

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

Truer words were never written.

Sorry not so hard for John Edwards

Since he prides himself on his Southernness, he understands well what I mean when I say he's as sorry as they come. As sorry as the day is long. As sorry as an egg-sucking dog. As sorry as a two-dollar watch.

Yep, sorry is something he does well.

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

I wonder if it has nekkid girl mud flaps and a gun rack?

Air Force launches 6 satellites from Alabama-built rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A cluster of experimental research satellites have been launched for the Air Force.

The six satellites for the Space Test Program-1 mission were launched just after ten eastern time last night on an Alabama-built Atlas Five rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. [...]

There is no truth to the rumor that each of the six cylindrical satellites were deployed by rolling down the window and throwing them at stop signs.

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

Missed it by that much.

Well, the girls are doing very well at being gracious in defeat. Last night's game was particularly disappointing because for 3/4 of the match, they played extremely well and kept the score at 0-0. They passed, they stole, they were calm and controlled and the other team--again, a more experienced varsity squad--were looking very much overmatched. Our problem? Not being able to finish, the same thing that plagued Rebecca's old club squad. We had a bunch of shots on goal, but so many of them were weak or off target that it was simple for the other team to bat them away. The other problem? In the last seven minutes or so, the other team figured out how to score three goals, only one of which was a clean, well-done goal. The other two were cheap ones, including one in which one of our players bounced it in while trying to head it out of the goal.

After it was over, they were still upbeat, though, and could tell that they played a much better brand of ball. Now if they could just put up some points.

Rebecca played the last half, and did quite well in a midfield position she'd not practiced at. Had a couple of very good stops, and convinced a few of the other team's players not to get in front of her when she's kicking. A ball in the face is bad--one off of her toe is like getting hit with a medicine ball. She also exhibited some nice defensive skills against a girl we go to church with. The other girl has some exceptional foot skills, but sometimes would get caught up in her own world of fancy footwork. In a scene reminiscent of the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones was facing off against the two sword-twirling tribesmen, our young friend was dribbling down the field and got held up by Rebecca. In a tremendous show of agility, she bounced and pranced and twisted around the ball as Rebecca seemed to watch with bemused detachment. And just as Indy reached into his holster and dispatched his two assailants, Rebecca finally got tired of the show just took the ball away and walloped it down the field to her teammate. Hehee.

But, still, they would have had even more fun if they'd won.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2007

Game Night

Middle Girl's team has a rematch tonight against the varsity team from Moody they played (and got beaten by) a few weeks back, and there's been an awful lot of tough talk during practice about going out and getting some revenge.

Of course, I reminded her that the most important thing is to exhibit good sportsmanship.

And the easiest way to be a good sport?

By making sure you win. Convincingly.

Lot easier to be gracious that way.

See y'all tomorrow!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

Ahh, springtime...

...the flowers begin to bloom, the trees put on their best greenery, the Legislature is in session, and MONEY FALLS FROM THE SKY LIKE GOD'S OWN RAINDROPS!!

Legislators vote selves more than 60% raise; Riley promises veto

In the famous words of Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the king."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

Fun Facts About…

…My Friend Jeff™!

Okay, folks, I have tried. I have begged, pleaded, wheedled, whined, and implored Jeff to drop in and say hello to everyone, so I've had to finally fall back on the last of my persuasive tactics, that being threatening. I told him if he didn’t introduce himself, I’d do it for him.

This is what he gets for his stubbornness.

1. I found this hard to believe, but I’ve known Jeff for 18 years. He came to The Bad Place not long after the office had moved out to the Highway 280 area.

2. Jeff has lived all over the country, including Minnesota (where he worked at an actual Target store), Colorado, Louisiana, and Alabama.

3. Jeff graduated from LSU and is a registered architect.

4. What few people know, however, is that he managed to achieve both of these things while still being functionally illiterate. Jeff can only count to 39, and will occasionally substitute the “th” sound for “f” sounds in words. Thus, words such as finger will sometimes be pronounced as thinger.

5. Jeff shares my enthusiasm for interesting automobiles, and collects model cars. In addition to decorative thimbles, spoons, and Princess Di tea towels.

6. Jeff was one of my groomsmen when I got married, and I was one of his groomsmen when he got married. There is no truth to the rumor that he asked me to marry him.

7. Jeff’s casualwear of choice is a polo shirt tucked neatly into plaid madras shorts, and deck shoes. This could be the reason for the aforementioned rumor.

8. Jeff’s father, Jim, is a long-time employee of 3M, and has often blamed his exposure to industrial solvents for Jeff’s various conditions. Jeff’s mother is named Babs.

9. Jeff invented the name Pigmonkeygirl long before Manbearpig was born.

10. Jeff once witnessed the late Earl Hale--famed draftsman, Camel smoker, and Old Spice wearer--sneeze a load of nose contents all the way to the floor, then draw it back up into his head.

11. Jeff is one of the charter members of the Skilled European Driver Club.

12. Jeff once was secretly tape recorded saying uncharitable things about a man who is a psychopath. The recorder was hidden by none other than the insane man, proving the point that sometimes paranoid people have a darned good reason for thinking everyone talks about them behind their backs.

13. Jeff’s number one exercise activity is…

…bike riding.

my friend jeff.jpg

More to come later.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:08 PM | Comments (12)

The Giant Catch-Up Post

Okay, since I’ve been out and haven’t had the opportunity to do much in the way of posting of late, now is the time to catch up on what all’s gone on lately, including taking a look at all the old news that everyone has already beaten to death and giving it a shiny fresh coat of vapid commentary!


The bad thing? I wrote all this crap down inside Movable Type, and then when I went to post it, it all got eaten up. No, I didn’t compose it in Word first--what do you think I use, Blogger!?

Well, this time I probably would have been better off if I had. But the whole thing is usually so reliable, though!

Anyway, I had to redo the whole post which, as you know, takes all the devil-may-care spontaneity out of the process and means that the first post was much, MUCH better than this one.

Anyway, here goes--

1. Old New Blogger v. New New Blogger. I recently had to update Revolvoblog to the New New Blogger format, and I have to say, the things that made Old New Blogger better than Old OLD Blogger--the much greater ease of use, the more intuitive interface, the greater stability--all of these have been once more done away with in New New Blogger, thus giving us back the craptacular pile of poo we started with. And with the added benefit of absolutely no tech support! Thanks, Google!

2. Hillary the Negress. I always thought Bill Clinton got extra points from the liberal establishment for having an interracial marriage, since he was black and Hillary was white, but after hearing and seeing her recent bouncy, sassy, you-go-girl appearance in Selma, I guess she was just 'passing' all these years. Still, she and Bill have ascended higher than any other colored couple, except maybe Steadman and Oprah. Anyway, several commentators have expressed deep reservation about Hillary’s hymn-reciting performance, saying the put-on dialect smacked of cold, callow, self-absorbed, shameless political pandering.

Apparently, these same commentators have been living under a rock for the past twenty years and have never heard of Hillary.

3. Walter Reed. Without a doubt, it is a shame that the physical plant of this and probably many other military hospitals has been allowed to deteriorate to this extent. Some have mockingly noted that this is what government run healthcare would look like.

This is not a new sentiment.

My dear sister, bless her heart, who actually voted for Mr. Clinton the first time, is a rheumatologist who has worked rotations in VA hospitals in Augusta, GA, Birmingham, Mobile, and St. Louis. In 1993 when Mrs. Clinton was still Mrs. Rodham Clinton and began her crusade to bring healthcare under the auspices of the federal government, my sister said right then that all one had to do was visit a VA hospital to know what kind of disaster such a plan would cause.

My sister truly loves her work, and enjoys working on the veterans in her care--her problem wasn’t the work, either then or now. It was the level of mind-numbingly stupid bureaucratic hurdles that were attached to each case she saw.

That’s the nature of the thing--there is no profit incentive in anything run by the government, and no reason to be more efficient. Priorities and responsiveness are tied to the political expedient of the moment, and if necessary, the folks in charge simply ask for a few billion dollars more to make sure the paperwork flows right, and we foot the bill. I firmly believe there are few things government does that cannot be done better and more efficiently by the private sector. And treating sick people is one of those things.

All that to say that this problem is not new, nor is it due to the unfeeling heartlessness of the Bush Administration or evil Republicans.

Or even evil Democrats.

Can veteran’s healthcare be done better?

Well, duh, of course it can.

Will it be done better?

Sadly, probably only slightly, and then only slowly, simply because that’s the way bureaucracies roll. After all the hearings and righteous browbeatings administered by our Congressional representatives, we’ll be asked to pay a higher price to ensure our poor soldiers have the best care possible, most of which will get sucked up by a different set of bureaucrats whose job it is to monitor things and report things and use reams of paper. Soldiers will still have less time to see a doctor because the doctor will be chest deep in red tape although exactly 23.6% of all rooms will have been renovated in FY2008.5 and will have 78.32% less mold and mildew, and patient satisfaction with level of care will have skyrocketed from 2.3% to 3.2%, and the politicians will get to crow about the great sacrifices they’ve had to make to ensure that the evil Republicans didn’t skimp on funding and that the increase in funding from one year to the next is never allowed to be even a percentage point lower, and then they’ll all go have themselves flown to a resort for a $10,000 per plate fundraiser.

See? It’s all good!

In addition to that level of silliness, there’s also the fact that there is a military bureaucracy involved on top of the usual hospital bureaucracy and the government bureaucracy. The military’s primary responsibility, like it or not, is going out and creating intense property damage with loud boomy things, with concern for the comfort and care of individual members of the organization taking a slightly lower priority. That’s why you hear stories of little martinets who want everyone to report for morning roll call even if the patient is bedridden, and the guys who want everyone in Class A’s even if the soldier can barely move. Yes, it’s silly, too, but it’s been this way in every army in every time period. That’s not an excuse, because it’s inexcusable, but merely the fact that people are people, and sometimes find themselves in positions of authority with little brainpower to back it up.

In the end, it’s always going to be a problem getting the best care when there’s something involved in the process called politics.

4. American Idol, 24, Heroes. I’ve lost all track of what’s going on with my shows. I think the best idea is to put them all together, call it America’s 24 Idol Heroes, give each person a Glock, a microphone, a magical power, and let them all fight it out. The winner is automatically named as Anna Nicole’s babydaddy.

5. Quaker Oats “Quakes” rice snack chips, ranch dressing flavor. Dadgummitall, these things are GOOD!

6. Ann Coulter. Her brand of right-wing political satire is unappealing to me, although every once in a while she does say something that makes some sense. The Left is usually apoplectic about her and try to put her words into every conservative’s mouth, which is not only kinda gross but not even the real thing to be worried about.

Until the day comes when popular culture embraces her and documentaries filmed from her point of view are given Oscars, and she’s given Nobel Peace Prizes, and she’s given her own political talking head show on a cable news channel, and she’s lauded for her brave speaking-truth-to-power abilities, and seen as a valued advisor to press and Presidents, I simply can’t be that concerned about her.

I’d pay more attention to her, but the fact is that much of what she says is so over the top offensive that regular people just don’t want to be around it.

This is in opposition to those on the Left, who have embraced the exact same rhetorical style--full of anger and hate and venom and spite and mockery for those who would disagree--to the point that it is now the default position of one of the two mainstream political parties in this country. It is just this sort of jibber jabber (except slanted leftward) that does indeed get awarded Oscars and Nobels and bully TV pulpits. Mainstream liberals like to excuse their own verbal excesses (which, again, have become the prevailing method of interaction amongst the progressivey sorts) by pointing at Coulter. Well, fine.

Liberals are no better than Ann Coulter.

Also, she needs to eat more.

7. Blogging. Eh, just a fad.

8. Car Maintenance. Since I’ve been off, I’ve finally had time to get both the oil and the transmission fluid and filter changed in the Volvo, and I feel so much better about myself! Which, of course, kicks that ol’ “I Am A Moron” feeling into overdrive, to the point that my eye was caught by this barge berthed at the consignment lot down at the foot of the hill from my house. And even better, the actual price is about a thousand bucks less than the price on the website! Yep, that’s what I really need to drive around in.

9. I can’t remember what else I was going to say.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:53 PM | Comments (2)

By the way...

it's Mailout Thursday, so I'm deep in the middle of spindling and mutilating, so please bear with me for a while longer, then I will do a giant catch-up post with all the interesting things that I've missed in the past few days.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

To sleep, perchance to answer a blog quiz...

That's right, fans, it's Thursday, and that can only mean one of several million things, but in this particular case we're talkin' The Axis of Weevil Thursday Three, America's Most Restful Diversion!

As you recall from last week, if you recall, I thought I might still be a ward of the courts and so the call went out for hosting volunteers. I received no one willing to demean themselves quite THAT far, but one intrepid soul did send along a nice set of questions that we'll get to in just a moment.

As always, we invite you to play along by either answering the questions in the comment section below or by leaving a link to your own blog. Anyone can play, assuming you can read and write in English, or failing that, Alabamanese.

SO THEN, on with the show--

In honor of losing an hour of sleep this weekend, I [meaning Jim] propose The Wonderful Night's Sleep Thursday Three:

1. Do you sleep on a feather pillow or foam?

2. Do you like a firm or soft mattress—or other if you're an old hippie?

3. Do you keep it cold and sleep under lots of cover, or hot and only a sheet?

There you go now--slip on your flannel jammies or that naughty scrap of silk that I like so much and go figure your responses.

As for my answers:

1. Feather AND foam. We have four regular-sized feather pillows (two of which are made from the feathers of Reba's late grandmother's ducks) and then Reba also has one long body pillow that's full of foam. I like the feather pillows for sound absorption when I have to resort to covering my head up with them to keep the noise and light out on weekend mornings, but there are some foam pillows I've used before that I really like better because they're lighter and don't moosh down so much.

2. Firm.

3. I like it coldish. I like having a bundle of covers close by in case it gets too cold, but I mostly stay sweaty hot even in winter, so I'm usually in a tee shirt and shorts and on top of all the pile of covers. Reba, on the other hand, can't seem to get warm enough, even with an electric blanket on top of her and me (Mr. Furnace) beside her. That is, until she DOES get too hot, and then suddenly I'm awakened by a whumping pile of bedcovers that comes flying over on top of me.

So there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:00 AM | Comments (17)

March 07, 2007

So, if I'm not on jury duty anymore...

...where have I been all day!?

Finding out once more that taking two days from work multiplies the amount of crap I have to do by a factor of four. So I'm still not caught up. And there's been this whole back-and-forth with a certain Possumblog newcomer who refuses now to say hello to everyone because he's a big scaredy baby. If he's not careful, I might just have to make up something. And I don't want that--I want you all to know he's really real. Just like Chet the E-Mail Boy.

Anyway, that's why there's been nothing much in the way of possumy fun today.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:49 PM | Comments (9)


Well, it was bound to happen.

Got this cryptic message from My Friend Jeff™ sometime yesterday morning:

To: Oglesby, Terry
Sent:Tue 3/6/2007 8:37 AM
Subject: Hmmm...

Lookie what I found...


As I said, it was bound to happen that more of my real world acquaintances would find me. A while back Charlie my reenacting buddy found me, but as far as I can tell, he only checked in once, then there was Tall Blonde Tracy™, who drops by, but only rarely, and there is Andre, whom I see at my biweekly regulatory meetings and he sometimes participates in the Thursday Three, but My Friend Jeff™--now HE'S someone who is an integral part of the storyline here, with multiple posts over the years about our lunch outings and magazine swappings and various frightening goings-on at The Bad Place (our former place of employment) and junk like that.

Not much else to do except 'fess up, and let him know that although HE might know, there are still others out there who don't (i.e., Miss Reba), but that this fact should not be used as a way to blackmail me--there being all sorts of moist secrets in HIS closet that he was foolhardy enough to share with me!

But also, now that he knows, I did tell him I expect him to be a regular contributor to the discussions from now on, so with this post, I ask him to say hello and introduce himself to you all.

And by the way, American Idol contestant Chris Sligh is not my brother.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:41 AM | Comments (11)

March 06, 2007

Jury Duty, Day 2


Got there bright and early so I could snag that coveted front row seat and thought I was spread out enough that no one would bother me. Little did I know that the row would also become home to an old guy of the hyperfidgety sort. My father-in-law is like this--always tapping his foot or playing with his pocket change or moving or various other things that keep his hummingbird-like metabolic rate going. He eats more than any man I've ever known, yet still stays pretty slim. ANYway, I had a guy like that, and in addition to the aforementioned slightly fidgetiness, he also had an industrial-sized desire to suddenly rear back in his chair (which are nice theater-style seats--all bolted together) which would cause the entire row to rock violently back and forth. Then he'd push back and start tapping his heel on the ground. Then he'd go to the john then come back and nearly fall into the chair and once more come dangerously close to pulling the whole assembly out of the floor anchors.

Look, I'm a big, heavy guy, but I pride myself on having a certain graceful, Gleason-esque floatiness about me that doesn't require me to nearly break everything I touch or sit on. And when I sit still, I sit still. Why does it seem everyone else is intent on beating me to death like they're wrecking balls tethered to a cable!?


At least he didn't stink.

Anyway, bunches of people got called back, and soon the room only had about twenty people left. Turns out that all the juries had been seated or the cases settled, so we got to go home at noon! WOO-HOO!

So, now to get some personal stuff done that I never get to do during the week. I think I'm going to go get the transmission serviced in the Volvo, and maybe do other things--you never know, I might even blog!

All of you have a good afternoon, please be sure to take a shower and/or bath tonight and/or tomorrow morning, and take a couple of muscle relaxers, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2007

Jury Duty, Day 1

This year I came prepared with a sackful of reading material--a stack of car magazines and a book about the SS Mayaguez (By the way, for those who believe Gerald Ford to be the Last Great Republican President, it would be best for you to not read this book. He comes off badly--basically, the lumbering dolt he was portrayed as by liberals back when he was just another Republican and not a stick to beat up on George Bush with.)

The only problem is that I didn't get there quite early enough to get a front row seat, and had to settle for an aisle. Which, of course, meant I had to move in to the empty middle seats when they ran out of places for people to sit. So for a while there I was squinched up betwixt two big ol' women, with no knee room in front of me.

That loosened up a good bit, though, after a bunch of folks got taken away for juries and I saw several seats open up on the front. After the break, I came back and got one, but had to endure some OTHER big ol' woman's outdoor-grade expensive perfume. And her constant elbowing of me. She'd met up with three of her expensive friends and so she turned her back to me to carry on her conversation (loud, mannered, full of references to the lake house and her husband's patients) while simultaneously swinging her arms back toward me.

Thankfully, she and her friends got called in the next round.

Waited, read.

Lunch, where I decided to run over to the library to see if I could post a few things. Made my way through a filthy phalanx of Rainbow People or Phish phans on the sidewalk in front of the library. Big clot of them, all about 19, full of heady ideas and lice and bold talk for people who make no contribution to society.

It wouldn't be quite so bad, except for those of us old enough to have been hippies when they were first on the scene (man) who would greatly appreciate the younger generation coming up with something NEW for once, instead of glomming onto a greasy and unproductive nostalgia lifestyle.

Whatever, dude.

Came in, found a computer that was empty, and set about to log on but found that either the server was down or it was being filtered. So, no dice. And then, AGAIN WITH THE SMELLY PEOPLE!

Some youngish guy in a bad Hawaiian print shirt came in and started peeling the lining out of my nostrils with his horrifunktacular body odor. And why is it that the Bohemian sorts of people who disdain regular contact with soap and water decide a good alternative is to douse themselves with--yes, you guessed it--patchouli.

I realize smells can't kill you, but doggone it, if something smells bad, it ain't good. Long time ago, they thought bad air COULD kill you, thus the name for the dread disease of malaria. Now we know through science that it's instead caused by foul demons and not bad air, but I still think there's something to be said for avoiding bad odors. Is there ANYthing in nature that smells bad and is good? Rotting meat? Bad. Sulphurous vents around volcanos? Bad. Burning rubber? Bad. Hippies? Bad. I can't think of anything that smells good and is bad for you, although I do hear that the last thing guys in the gas chamber smell is almonds. Which, I suppose is a good way to go. And there was this girl I knew at Auburn who always wore "Lauren" perfume, and to this day whenever I smell that particular heady and perfect perfume I become weepy and morose and start drinking heavily. Not really.

ANYway, here's the deal--you youngsters want to be freewheeling and bold and innovative with your tiny little young minds and be unique in all of world history and create a trend for future generations? BECOME CLEAN-SMELLING HIPPIES! I guarantee you'll be unique. And I'll like you better.

And please, PLEASE, if you're going to use the computer terminals at the library, don't be a stinky dirty hippie. BE A NEW HIPPIE and smell clean, so I won't start GAGGING and have to leave after spending only about ten minutes playing on the computer.

SO, after that, I had to go outside, back past the lousy hippies, and finally get some fresh air in my lungs. Although I still think I smell that hideous odor sticking to various nasal crevices.

After lunch, back to the jury room, got myself a nice seat up front, and got called for a jury toward the end of the day. Didn't get back to the courtroom, though, so that'll be the first task tomorrow.

See you then!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:52 PM | Comments (7)

March 02, 2007

Worse than being hoist by your own petard... probably getting hung on your own gallows.

But then you figure Haman had it coming to him, acting the way he did.

Best wishes for a fun and festive Purim tomorrow to all of my Hebrew neighbors and bloggers!

(And no, this wasn't mentioned just so I could maybe get in on some of that mishloach manot action. Not much, anyway.)

As for my weekend, there is all kinds of stuff going on that I have little knowledge of, although I do seem to remember that Rebecca has soccer practice tomorrow, and I am going to once again try to get my oil changed in the Volvo. I feel very ashamed of myself--I checked it the other day and was 2 1/2 quarts low. I suppose I could just let it continue to go like that and it'll eventually change itself, but I don't recommend that. AND next week--as I said before, I've got jury duty, so Possumblog will be on hiatus until I'm released. All of you go and visit other places and see what they're doing instead. Just remember to come back and don't abandon me!! OH, and a certain East Carolinian donated some questions for the Thursday Three, so DO come back for that.

Anyway, all of you have a great weekend, and I'll see you again sometime next week, maybe.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

I think you'll see this coming a mile away.

Topless wife photo ends man's pole protest

No, wait--hold on--read the first paragraph:

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man who spent 10 days in a self-made box atop a 72-foot-tall pole to protest a looming jail term was lured off his perch by his wife -- who sent up a topless picture of herself in his lunch box. [...]

Okay--all together now:

"Why would she get in his lunch box to have her picture taken!?"

Thank you, folks--you'll be here all week.

Second best part?


[...] His wife Susanne, 25, backed his protest until the former stripper and mother of their five children decided she had had enough.

They know what causes that, you know.

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

If only I had...

...a laptop. Why, next week when I'm on jury duty, I could sit there and blog all the live-long day. Well, I suppose I'd also have to have an Intertube connection, too, but surely there's a wireless connection somewhere in or near the courthouse I could jump on surreptitiously. If I had a laptop.

I guess I'll have to fall back on the old standard, reading a book. Or I could join the crew that usually gathers by the television and watches soap operas. Or I could sleep. I wonder if anyone would object to some guy in a sleeping bag, if I get over in a quiet corner?

And just how is it that I have been called for jury duty for what seems a relatively large number of times over the past few years? Seems like it comes around every two years or so, whereas Reba's never even been called! It's not that I don't like it--I actually do enjoy parts of it. Civic duty and all that. It's just that the waiting to get called part is boring. Maybe if they had a show. Have some of the local theater companies come and perform or something. Or maybe some video games. Or a slot car track! That would be cool.

Anyway, all that to say I again need someone to volunteer to host next week's Thursday Three.

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

American Idol

Atonal Barba is still in it, which I find disturbing. Yes, she was one of two cute chicks I picked before anyone started singing, but great Caesar's ghost, now that they ARE singing, she's terrible. Even worse than that girl from last year who posed in Maxim.

Overall, I'm still a bit put off by the lack of talent this year. Maybe the producers need to work a bit harder on getting actually talented people in front of the judges rather than the insane and delusional. I mean, I understand why they have the crazies, but a little of that goes a long way.

Kellie Pickler? She's a big fan of Dolly Parton, and I have to say she seemed to have taken to heart Dolly's quip about putting 20 pound of mud in a 5 pound sack. And was it just me, or with that eye makeup and lighting did she not look way too much like Tammy Wynette? And not in a good way--in that sad, "I've been up fighting with George all night" way.

Who needs to go next? Ryan Seacrest. The catty banter with Simon got annoying the first time, mainly because it wasn't funny or clever, and it got in the way of the show, which (although he might not believe it) is NOT about Ryan Seacrest. Next to go after him? Randy Jackson. He's very pitchy, dog. If he could ever come up with something else to say other than pitchy, dog, or hot!, I might have a different opinion. Or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:22 AM | Comments (18)

I'm not generally one for tax increases...

...but this one is worth doing just to prove a point.

And by gum, let's not limit ourselves to "National Drive Around Aimlessly and Just Burn a Tank of Gas for the Environment Day." Let's have "The Great American Year of Driving Everywhere, Including to the Mailbox." Every little bit helps, you know.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:17 AM | Comments (2)

Tough time.

Storm death total now 10

This is slightly lower than what was reported at first yesterday, which was 13 across the state. A glimmer of hope came later in the day when the toll was revised sharply downward, with the earlier preliminary numbers being said to have been in error due to miscommunication at the site. Sadly, the number at the school now appears to have been accurate, and it could turn out that the statewide number will go up again as searches continue for people unaccounted for. (Photos of the storm damage can be seen here.)

As I mentioned in a comment last night, our prayers for those who have lost family members, both here in Alabama and across the Southeast.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:49 AM | Comments (4)

March 01, 2007

Soccer Night

Last evening was a big messy deal of trying to make sure Rebecca got a ride from school over to Mountain Brook (which she did, even though she had to make a last-minute substitution) and then getting us to church afterwards.

The game itself? Pretty good--the girls seemed to pass more and were a bit more aggressive, but they're still holding back too much, and it cost them to the tune of 3-0. Rebecca played more than she did in the last game, and did better this time when she decided to not let anyone get the ball from her. She's still too slow, but I think she'll get quicker as the season goes on.

At least they don't give up--they kept things active the whole game.

As for the wild dash to Leeds afterwards, we actually would have been on time had the coach not kept them so long afterwards for the pep talk, but as it was, we still managed to get there in time for class. Of course, that was only because I wouldn't let Rebecca change--she just wore her sweatsuit over her uniform and left her cleats and shin guards on. She still managed to look cute, although she was a bit ratty-haired and smelly.

I figure God understands.

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

Oh, so it's culture you want?

Goober Fest.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

For everyone who loves--nay, adores--building contractors.

Got this today from My Friend Jeff™--

First up, the drawing, which is a graphical depiction of a set of stairs leading to a doorway.


The round thing with the letters and numbers is a symbol that tells you to look on sheet A6.10 for detail number 2, and since it has a line and a dotted circle attached to it, it's telling you that when you turn to that particular sheet and detail that you will see a detailed, larger-scale drawing of that left door jamb area.

Or at least that's what's supposed to happen.

However, sometimes all those liney-drawy things can get all confusin' for a feller, as witnessed by the end result of trying to give someone more information than he's ready for...

stair tread as built.jpg


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:52 AM | Comments (7)


Well, maybe sometimes panic is good. We've got a scary bad tornado-spawning storm a'comin' this way this afternoon, and so if you've got kids in the Trussvegas school system, be aware that they've announced everything's closing at noon and there will be no afterschool activities today. As opposed to the usual blather the teevee stations seem to have become increasingly engaged in when there's even a hint of a shower, this looks to be the real thing, and a real bad thing at that.

Keep an eye out today, and stay safe.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:46 AM | Comments (8)

The perfect word for bloggers!

This via famed NASA scientist and Spitfire pilot Steevil, who sends along this:


According to the website--

(om-fuh-lo-SKEP-sis) noun: Contemplation of one's navel.

[From Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination). Ultimately from the Indo-European root spek- (to observe) which is also the ancestor of suspect, spectrum, bishop (literally, overseer), despise, espionage, telescope, spectator, and spectacles.]

I now go to contemplate.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:24 AM | Comments (3)

Sounds like someone else...

...managed to marry up. Best wishes to Skinnydan and the unmentionably active Mrs. Skinny on eight years of connubial bliss!

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

Deep South Version of the Thursday Three!

Many thanks to someone even MORE Southern than I am for stepping in today with a set of questions for the Thursday Three, the Favorite International Blog Question Thing! Many thanks this morning to Kitchen Hand (not his real name) who kindly volunteered to help out with the following questions. Remember, anyone is free to play along either by leaving your comments below or a link back to your own blog.

SO, here we go:

Thursday Three Questions:

1) Here, it is the first day of autumn - Wednesday Thursday 1st of March. However, in some parts of the world, the new seasons do not arrive until the 19th of the month, or later; due to large cattle breeds called solstices and equinoxes that issue huge amounts of methane, which increases global warming and makes the seasons run late. Question: what is your favourite season, and why?

2) When you started your weblog, did you deliberate over whether to choose a nom-de-blog or use your real identity? What swayed you either way?

3) Discussing religion, politics or sex has always been impolite at cocktail parties, because of the risk of embarrassing face-to-face arguments. However, this is not a cocktail party, but a blog. And since the whole point of a blog is to have robust discussions, make a comment on the first thing that comes to your mind about religion, politics or sex. Pour yourself a martini first, if it helps. Don't forget the olive.

Wow--he's good. Anyway, off you go now to cogitate upon those things.

My answers are now up for your confusion.

1. Okay, before we even start off, let me just say that this poor Earth of ours is so messed up by our continued carbon-spewing abuse that not only does global warming cause it to be cold AND hot, I'd like to also point out that it's almost springtime here, yet in Australia it's AUTUMN!! How much longer will Gaia nurture us if we continue to confuse her in this way!?

As for favorite season, I like fall and spring, mainly because of the mild temps. Of those two, spring is better because of all the trees and flowers and things blooming out--looked outside this morning and Boy's pear tree is in full flower. And the daffodils have been up for at least two weeks now. Love it. Summer is okay as long as I can find myself an air conditioner because I don't like being drenched in sweat all the time. Winter is least favorite, but around here it's not like it's really bad Yankee/Canuck winter because it's usually not really cold for a long stretch, but I don't like the lack of daylight more than anything else.

2. I never thought about being anonymous, and I'm not sure why not exactly, other than to not encourage people to try too hard to figure things out. I guess when I started I figured that if I went ahead and used my actual name, crazy people wouldn't obsess about trying to find me or out me. Oddly enough, very few people I know have managed to stumble across me over the last six years, including my family, despite using my real name. It is constraining somewhat because there are a lot of things that I could say but won't, but that's really no different than real life--see Question 3.

3. First thing that comes to mind about religion, politics, or sex?


I would say that over the years, I've found that my positions have changed in all of them.

So there you go.

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