June 22, 2007

And as for next week...


Yep, it's that time of year again when I don't come to work for an indeterminate amount of days and spend that time instead in the bosom of my family, spending money I don't have on things I don't need, otherwise known as vacation.

As usual, this means I will be locked in the house with a shotgun, so don't think that when I say "vacation," I'm actually going to be away from stately Casa de Possum, and that you can come over and commit acts of burglary and mayhem. Because you'll get a faceful of lead, bucko, and in addition to that, be attacked by rabid bobcats! And fleas! And fire from Heaven! And boils on your buttocks!

So don't try it.

ANYWAY, what this does mean is that you'll have to go elsewhere for your fun and gaminess. Also, I won't be checking my e-mail or otherwise messing with the computer, so if the place gets trashed by spammers, please accept my regrets and the promise that I'll do the policing when I get bac--I mean--when I decide it's time to, which will probably be after I'm through feeding the giant vampire tarantulas to the rabid bobcats, which will then be thrown to the hungry mutant Pelosisharkodile that prowls the house looking for intruders. And, obviously, for rabid bobcats.

All of you have an excellent week, be good to your fellow man, and keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours.

Until 2 July, then, good afternoon.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:36 PM | Comments (2)

Chapter Five: The Reckoning

Well, I had a phone message from the appraiser yesterday, but it was late when I got it, and then when I got in touch with him this morning, he said he'd just called to introduce himself and that he'd looked at my humble hoopty and sent his information to the home office in Mississippi.

Who I just got off the phone with. Seems they're ready to just call it a total and be done with it. "But, but..." stammered I. Not that it helped. And not that I actually didn't expect that.

I suppose I'm satisfied with the offer --$761. As I noted yesterday, the total loss threshold in Alabama is 75% of fair retail value, and by my reckoning based on NADA that would have been somewhere around $1,300, being as charitable as possible. The values ranged from $775 for something in slightly worse condition than mine all the way to an astounding $1,800 for a museum piece. And also the price I paid for it. The value they gave me? $1,015.

Now I know noted negotiation professor Dr. Jim Smith is probably wincing that I didn't haggle about this more, seeing as how he wrote me yesterday not to be a pushover, and to get as much as I can out of them for this horror that has been visited upon me. And they pretty much came back very close to what I told Jim would be the worst case scenario--that being, offering even less money than it cost to fix it.

All his valuable negotiation skills were trumped by the fact that I really have no inclination to drag this out any longer. I've actually got someone with insurance, and the amount will cover the major part of the damage that was done, and there's still enough left over to salve my wounded pride, and I'll still have my car and be able to once again go in harm's way with it.

No, you do NOT have to take their first offer. You can present to them your own research about value, which can include what you paid for the car, and what you found that cars sell for on places such as eBay. You can request an independent mediator to decide on the value if you can't reach an agreement. You can fight as much and as long as you want.

But dang it all, I'm just glad I'm not going to be personally out $625.01. I had steeled myself for just that bit of savaging--that would have REALLY been the worst case, so I suppose it all works out.

Should have the check waiting on me next week sometime.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:12 PM | Comments (2)

"...Slip-Sliding Awaayyyy..."

Miss Janis asks:

I have a question. Maybe some of your other readers have experience.

Because our carport floor is so slippery under certain humid conditions, Lyman has ordered a kit from U Coat It to provide some texture.

Do any of you have experience with this product?

This is the product in question, a water-based epoxy floor coating.

Just about any product of this sort will work, but if you're worried about slip resistance, they do recommend that a non-slip additive be added to the top of the compound as it is applied. Without the additive (usually some sort of coarse mineral grit--in the case of UCoat, they have something called UTex, which is aluminum oxide), the floor will be even more slippery when wet than plain concrete. And even when it's new, the slip-resistant kind can still be slippery, since the grit can have a thin layer of the epoxy covering it as well. As it wears down to the actual grit from foot traffic, the slip-resistance gets better.

We've got a similar product that was applied to the floor of the crosswalk from the parking deck to our building. It was originally carpeted, but since the roof leaks all the time, the carpet stayed wet. Tearing out the carpet left a concrete ramp walking surface, but oddly enough, it did nothing to stop the roof from leaking. The solution was obviously to apply a coating over the concrete to enhance its slip-resistance, but as I noted, it can take a while for the grit to be exposed enough to provide optimal grip. It's better now, so I can walk confidently when the roof is leaking and not worry so much about keeping my footing.

Anyone else have anything to share?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:55 AM | Comments (7)

I realize it's not really planned.

But still, it's a bit off-putting when you peruse your local online news aggregator's home page, and you see this lineup of headlines:

NBC News denies money offer to Hilton 6/22/2007, 10:19 a.m. CDT
Iran cleric: Rushdie fatwa still stands 6/22/2007, 10:18 a.m. CDT
Smashing Pumpkins to perform in N.C. 6/22/2007, 10:15 a.m. CDT
More Stories

Then again, maybe the second story is in there as a tie-in to that new hit show, Iran's Wackiest Fatwas. Or maybe there's some sort of a Hilton-Richie The Simple Life-type show shot on location in Teheran. If only we had some word from the Persian counterpart of that great band Smashing Pumpkins, "Smashing The Heads of Demonic Infidels." I hear their concerts are really cool.

Anyway, it's a very odd world.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

Speaking of Lightning...

...but not the feline version at my house, Jim Smith sends along this peculiar article about a man in Florida struck down by a "bolt from the blue."

Obviously, we've pretty much all heard that expression, and somewhere deep in the crevices of my brain that contain the remnants of all my manly, woodsy, outdoorsy lore, that you could get hit by lightning even if there were no rain clouds nearby, but I never knew that THIS type of lightning was any different from any other sort.

Oddly enough:

[...] Experts said [landscaper David] Canales was killed by a weather phenomenon fittingly called a ''bolt from the blue'' or ''dry lightning'' because it falls from clear, blue skies. [...]

The fair-weather bolts pack a bigger, deadlier punch and form differently.

Most lightning bolts carry a negative charge, but ''bolts from the blue'' have a positive charge, carry as much as 10 times the current, are hotter and last longer.

The bolts normally travel horizontally away from the storm and reach farther than typical lightning, then curve to the ground. [...]

More about lightning of all sorts from NOAA.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:19 AM | Comments (2)

What do elephants love most?

Nuts, of course!

The Birmingham News posted a little blurb on their blog page this morning asking for people to leave their thoughts about the passing of one of Birmingham's best ambassadors, Mona the Elephant.

And as is the case with such things (you know--unmoderated comments solicited on behalf of something that should be uncontroversial), the very first comment is marked by the same smug self-righteousness, bad grammar, and superciliousness that have become the hallmark of those who delight in such precious concepts as "speaking truth to power." Way to stick it to 'em, ma'am! Although I am disappointed that George Bush was not blamed in some more direct way. And that there was no mention of global warming.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:46 AM | Comments (5)

I never read any of those slick electronics magazines...

...so I really had no idea what sort of ads they contain.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)


A blast from the past for you today!

From one year ago:

let me go.JPG

Awwwww! im in ur armzz!!1! Teh kuteness!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:21 AM | Comments (4)

Meaningless Technical Note

I noticed a while back that for whatever reason, a lot of my comment spam seems to recur in the same old posts. I've been dutifully deleting and blocking these, but it finally occurred to me that if I would close the comments on these posts that seem to draw spammers like flies to honey it would probably save me a lot of time deleting and blocking. Then I figured that I might as well close comments on any old posts that get spammed. I'd rather not do this, because the comments are a lot better than the posts, and sometimes people stumble upon something that's been hanging out there for a while and would still like to comment, but I am also tired of having to police these things, and closing the door seems to be a good way of cutting down on the amount of flies in the house.

So, basically, if a comment gets spam, and the post is over three months old or so, I'm just going to close it. If you somehow manage to stumble on these old posts and find it closed and would still like to comment, just drop me a note and I'll add it in.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:17 AM | Comments (3)

June 21, 2007

Those archivists have been at it again...

Just dropped by the Birmingham Public Library's Digital Collection "weblog," (or "blog" as the teenagers call it) and see that they have recently added the 441-page first volume of A History of Birmingham and its environs: a narrative account of their historical progress, their people, and their principal interests, to their offerings. It was published in 1920 by George M. Cruikshank, and the job of scanning it fell to one Carole Castine. It's an interesting read, if you like this kind of thing.

Hard to beat that old time civic boosterism:

meaning of birmingham.jpg

The valley he goes on to use as a comparison? Mesopotamia, site of no small amount of interest even today.

Anyway, a host of information from 87 years ago, and thanks again to the folks over across the park who do such good work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

Hey, Cool!

Simulated trip to Mars is planned

I'll simulate being interested!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

Totally Chapter Four

Just had a very pleasant conversation with the insurance lady, who says that they'd gotten word from their appraiser that they might have to consider my vehicle as a total loss.

"For only $600 worth of damage!?" I asked, with a hint of quizzicality in my voice, but also having already pondered the possibility that the damage--when totalled all together with the bumper damage--could begin to press upwards toward the market value of the car.

"Well, the body shop there at the Volvo place gave us a $1,200 estimate just on fixing the bumper."

Obviously, they have a very high opinion of their work, which is fine, but still.

I explained my odd little view that there should be no reason to total a car that is running and servicable and only needs a small amount of bumper repair. She said the local adjuster/appraiser/agent had some more checking to do before she would know for sure, and would contact me sometime this afternoon or tomorrow with their conclusion.

It does seem strange, but it is the way things work. In Alabama, as in most states, unless your own insurance has replacement-value coverage and you try to recover some from them, if someone runs into you, their insurance company isn't expected to pay more than the car's worth to get it fixed. In Alabama, the total loss threshold is 75 percent of the fair retail value. Despite the moronic amount of attention I lavish on my humble lump of iron, it's still only worth what it's worth, and let's face it--it's not quite a Rolls-Royce.

So, now the trick is to keep the insurance folks involved and negotiate around the bumper damage and prevent them from issuing a declaration of total loss. Which should be quite fun, yes?


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:15 PM | Comments (6)

It's just this sort of thing...

...that made everyone in Mayberry speak in hushed, awed tones whenever the name Raleigh was mentioned: Hog Waste Vigil Ends Thursday

A 51-hour hog vigil will end Thursday in downtown Raleigh.

The purpose is to draw attention to how hog waste affects the environment. The main goal is new laws to end sprayfields and help clean up industrial hog farms.

The vigil, held behind the state Legislature Building, started at 3 p.m. Wednesday and will end at 6 p.m. Thursday.

It's just that sort of urbane big-city hurly-burly that lured Barney away, you know.

(Thanks to Jim Smith for the tip, and no, I don't have any clue about what sort of priest they'd get to conduct such an important vigil.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:28 AM | Comments (4)

June 21, 1945

From the Marine Corps in Okinawa:

[...] Although America was acquainted with Okinawa in the early 1800s, for most Americans the small island nation went completely unobserved until the abrupt advent of World War II.

Situated on the southern approaches to Japan, the Ryukyu Island chain was geographically situated as to be virtually unavoidable in any American offensive strategy against mainland Japan. The inevitable soon became history when Okinawa became the arena for one of the most ferocious battles of the war. By June, 1944, the Japanese army arrived in force. Casualties mounted quickly as U.S. forces saturated military targets with bombs four months later.

In March, 1945, the first American troops landed on the Kerama Islands as the springboard for America's island leapfrogging strategy. Okinawa was next in line and, on April 1, 1945, the invasion began. After 11 weeks of fierce fighting, the battle of Okinawa was over June 20, 1945. Two months later Japan surrendered. Okinawa was one of the longest and hardest fought campaigns in the history of World War II. Total American battle casualties were estimated at 49,151, including 12,500 killed or missing. Japanese soldiers killed were about 60,000 while one-third of the Okinawan population, about 150,000 died in the "Typhoon of steel."

Because it was considered the key to the invasion of Japan, and because it is also considered a key geographical factor to the defense of the free world in the Pacific area, Okinawa now owns the nickname, "Keystone of the Pacific."

As relief funds, appropriated by the U.S. Congress, began to get pumped into Okinawa in 1946, the island began traveling the steady path to economic recovery. That same year, Okinawa set up its first general hospital, civilian newspaper, bank and courts. By 1950, the country had resumed its foreign trade lines and established a civil government system throughout the Ryukyu islands.

In 1951, a U.S.-Japanese peace treaty gave Americans complete administrative control of the Ryukyu for an indefinite period. By referring to the island as a "residual sovereignty," however, the United States still suggested recognition of Japan's basic ownership of the islands. In addition, the United States promised that, when international circumstances warranted, it would return administrative control of the chain to Japan.

Administrative authority of the Ryukyu Islands was transferred back to Japan May 15, 1972, and Okinawa became a prefectural district of Japan once again.

The island has been a favorite training area for the Marine Corps since post-war units were based here more than 40 years ago. Today, the Corps has eight different facilities on Okinawa to call home: Camps Gonsalves, Schwab, Hansen, Courtney, Lester, Foster, Kinser, and Marine Corps Air Station, Futenma. Beside a significant Marine Corps presence here, Okinawa is also home to a number of major Navy, Army and Air Force units and facilities.

Not to make too much out of it, but the next time a politician says we should withdraw from forward positions in the Middle East and operate out of Okinawa, the fact that anyone could even consider Okinawa as a base is that America took it by force, and have occupied it for 62 years. It certainly wasn't given to us out of the goodness of the Emperor's heart.

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


We got home yesterday and started the rush to get supper done so we could get to church on time, and for some reason Catherine kept wanting to show me her radishes.

Got everything started heating up, and decided to humor her and go see what she's grown so far. "ARE THEY READY TO PICK, DADDY!?"

I chuckled and said I doubted it.

And then I actually looked at them--HEY! RADISHES!!

She's only got a small 4 foot long row of them, maybe about twenty plants that came up, but sure enough, she had several big red lumps sticking up out of the ground, and we wound up picking about seven that were between the size of ping-pong balls and the rubber balls that are connected to paddle ball paddles with rubber bands. 'Bout this big. [holding thumb and forefinger tips together to make a circle, then moving forefinger down to the first joint on the thumb]

Anyway, I think I was more excited than she was. FRESH RADISH FOR SUPPER!

Took them in and washed them and cut off the greens. I know I shouldn't, but I discarded these even though they can be cooked or made into salad because I've never been a big fan of their flavor, and also, these had a ton of bug bites all over them. OH, but the radishes--nice red, bright white inside.

I sliced one up and added a dash of salt, and popped it in my mouth--warm, earthy, slighly pungent--perfect fresh produce.

"Want a slice? They aren't hot."

Cat dutifully took one and immediately began fanning her mouth.

"YUCK! You said they weren't hot, Daddy!"

Well, the slice I had wasn't. We finished putting the food on the table and I offered some to the rest of the kids and Reba. The kids declined, but Reba took a bite and also experienced a bit of fire. How odd.

I confidently grabbed another slice and munched on it and it was just fine and WHOA! BOY THAT'S HOT!

Sneaky little devils.

But boy it was good.

Until about halfway through church, when the enticing, peppery flavor began subtly repeating itself all through my innards. The drive home was even more distressing, with great sulphurous clouds of toxic gas building up and causing tremendous pressure on various portions of my body.

Thank goodness for Tums.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:46 AM | Comments (4)


You betcha!

Nothing like exploring alternative lifestyles and philosophies--today we visit the Kalabarians, who are able to tell much about you by analyzing your name. It's very scientific.

And they are so scientific that they give EVERY name the same thorough, reasoned analysis, even if the name sounds odd and vaguely insulting. So, even if you're named something like, oh, I don't know, maybe "Dingleberry," you can still receive top-notch information about you and your chances of success in this world and hidden secrets about your personality!

There are hundreds of thousands of names in their database, so no matter if you're a Booger, a Twit, a Turd, a Possum (male, or female), or nothing more than Dirt, you will find out all sorts of valuable things you never knew about yourself, and maybe get over the deep-seated anger you feel toward your parents.

Oh, you might be tired of people making fun of you, but when you find out that even with a name such as Dirt, you have a "very responsible, stable nature" and your "calmness of mind enables you to analyze objectively, and to make decisions quickly, making it possible for you to do well in business or in any professional capacity," well, the sky suddenly becomes the limit for you!

So thanks to the Kalabarians and their supernatural insight into YOUR name!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:36 AM | Comments (5)

June 20, 2007

I wonder what sort of entertainment...

...Thursday will bring?

Hard to say, but given my recent vehicular gymnastics, this story is almost humorous.

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


Thieves steal Herman Munster's identity


The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Did Internet thieves steal Herman Munster's MasterCard number? Crooks in an underground chat room for selling stolen credit card numbers and personal consumer information offered pilfered data purportedly about Herman Munster, the 1960s Frankenstein-like character from "The Munsters" TV sitcom.

The thieves apparently didn't realize Munster was a fictional TV character and dutifully offered to sell Munster's personal details — accurately listing his home address from the television series as 1313 Mocking Bird Lane — and what appeared to be his MasterCard number. Munster's birth date was listed as Aug. 15, 1964, suspiciously close to the TV series' original air date in September 1964. [...]

[CardCops Inc president Dan] Clements said evidence indicates the thief, known online as "Supra," was operating overseas. "They really stumble over our culture. He's probably not watching any reruns of 'The Munsters' on TV Land." [...]

Hmmm. I wonder if Supra would be interested in buying this information I have on one Archie Bunker, living at 704 Hauser Street, Queens, New York?

Or maybe Elwood Blues, at 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, Illinois?

I finally might have found a way to make some extra cash!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:19 PM | Comments (2)

I have a suspicion.

Geico has been running ads on the front page of Yahoo! with their too-clever-by-half English yob gecko. I know you've all seen and heard the ads, but I believe I have stumbled upon something that points to a giant conspiracy, the exposure of which is bound to shake the insurance industry to its very roots!

I belive the Geico gecko is not really English.

[insert thundering dramatic minor organ chord]

Just look at this photo of him, shilling his goods:

geico ad.jpg

See it?

Look closer.

See what I see?

Of course you do--look:

geico ad enlarged.jpg

There's not one single English tea drinker in all of England who would be caught dead a) making tea with a tea bag in a cup, and b) LEAVING THE TEA BAG IN THE CUP!

It's obviously just some actor, and I bet if the truth were told, he's not even a real gecko.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:46 PM | Comments (2)

Say what?

Guard opens fire outside Walter Reed

WASHINGTON (AP) — An armed security guard at Walter Reed Army Medical Center opened fire at another guard Wednesday outside a busy entrance to the hospital, police said. No one was injured.

The guards had been arguing at about 8:30 a.m. when one of them fired as many as 10 shots, Lt. Jimmie Riley said. [...]

The guards are employed by a private security firm, which is under contract to Walter Reed. [...]

Now I realize there are certain economies available when you have private contractors, but still, it seems odd that Walter Reed Army Medical Center doesn't have, oh, I don't know--MPs, maybe--walking around. And if they do decide to stick with private security, one would hope that the next batch has a bit better marksmanship training.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:22 PM | Comments (4)

They say "man bites dog" is news.

I wonder if this would qualify, too: Suburban Fla. man strangles rabid bobcat

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:13 PM | Comments (3)

Yes, it's great fun when it's someone else's money you're spending.

New age town in U.S. embraces dollar alternative

The concept:

[...] "BerkShares are cash, and so people have transferred their cash habits to BerkShares," said Susan Witt, executive director of the E.F. Schumacher Society, a nonprofit group that set up the program. "They might have 50 in their pocket, but not 150. They're buying their lunch, their coffee, a small birthday present." [...]

The reality:

[...] "The promise of this program is for it to be a completed circle," said Matt Rubiner, owner of Rubiner's cheese shop and Rubi's cafe. Some local farmers who supply him accept BerkShares, but he pays most of his bills in dollars.

"The circle isn't quite completed yet in most cases, and someone has to take the hit," Rubiner said, referring to the 10 percent discount. "The person who takes the hit is the merchant, it's me." [..]

Imagine that! It's almost as if it doesn't matter if he has to take a 10% loss!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

Ahhh--what would we do without Steevil!?

As part of our ongoing diversionary tactic, he says this: "LOOK! A BADGER!"

Thank you, Steevil!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

Chapter Three--Light at the End of the Tunnel

Sunshine? Or a train?

We shall see.

Got a call this morning from a nice lady with Safeway. Seems that there IS an insurance company involved! Exchanged pleasantries, and she got out the tape recorder. Basic information--name, rank, serial number. Oddly enough, she asked if the accident happened on June 10. Uh, well--no.

Went on to describe the events as they occurred, that I'd already authorized the Volvo shop to go ahead and fix the car, and that the bill for the engine work was $625.01, but that there was still the issue of the bumper damage that, although minor, still needed attention. Got through with factual matters, then in my closing remarks noted the various attempts I'd made to contact SOMEone to pay for this. Gave her the policy number I'd been given, and oddly enough, she says that IS the right number, and explained that maybe the Alabama office thought it was an Alabama policy. Which is odd, because I would have thought that all policy numbers were unique, just to keep down any confusion. And it had an "MS" in the middle, too. Peculiar.

Recounted my repeated polite calls to the driver for information, then the call from the driver's father telling me NOT to call his daughter ANY more, and that I really would like to have my car back as soon as possible.

Oddly enough, she still didn't have a copy of the accident report. Even though they are available online. And the other driver could have gotten one the same way I did, by going over to the police department. So I was very nice and faxed her a copy.

Now then.



I guess I wait and see what happens.

I wonder what that odd, high-pitched sound is? And that odd rumbling?

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

For Rosie.

Simulation finds 9/11 fireproofing key

You know, five years ago I had the honor of viewing a video presentation by the chief engineer of the World Trade Center, Mr. Leslie Robertson, and got to hear a detailed review of the findings of the FEMA report of the collapse.

The simulation mentioned in the article above is a good and valuable tool to verify what most of us have known all along, and that is that the collapse of the World Trade Center towers (and surrounding buildings) is both more simple and more complicated than what many people believe--simple in that it was not the result of a massive government conspiracy culminating in a controlled demolition. Complicated in that there were a variety of influences that worked together to ensure the collapse of the buildings. If the airplanes had been nearly empty of fuel, it's doubtful the towers would have collapsed. If the fireproofing and sprinkler lines in the building had been protected from the potential for catastrophic impact, it's again possible the buildings could have withstood the hit. If the buildings had been hit several more floors up, it's possible there wouldn't have been sufficient mass to trigger the progressive collapse onto the floors below.

But in the end, the fireproofing applied to the steel was applied without the idea in mind that it could be forcefully scraped off by a loaded jetliner travelling at 500 mph. Likewise, the sprinkler standpipes were just that--pipes designed to carry water, not ever designed to withstand an impact by a 275,000 pound airplane.

People seem to have a great need to believe in cranks and crackpots and demogogues, and this event more than any other seems to have triggered this pychopathy in some folks.

"Free country" and all that, but you folks who can't get the conspiracies out of your heads need to understand that if the world really existed as you seem to think it does--with multiple dark conspiracies by our own citizens to inflict damage upon others--YOU, my friend, would not be around to talk about it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

Right up there with "Do these jeans make my butt look big?"

Was sitting there at the kitchen table this morning, quietly eating my whomp biscuit (thank you, Jerry Clower) and a glass of tea as my lovely bride sat with a bowl of Special K.

"What would you do if I got really skinny?"

Dang--just like when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor--I'm sitting there minding my own business and next thing you know I'm having to dodge torpedos! There's NO WAY to answer this well--if you say anything, it sounds like you're agreeing she DOES need to lose some weight, and even if she does, she doesn't WANT to think I think she's fat, and I don't WANT her to think I think she's fat, because when she thinks that, she gets all moody and doesn't want there to be any sort of nocturnal recreational activities, which makes me all agitated and jumpy.

"I, uh, well, I would probably tell you that you needed to eat something, or else you'd get sick, because you'd lost too much weight."

Yes, that was lame, but good grief, I was barely awake.

And, of course, since my parry was ineffectual, it only invited further discussion.

"No, I'm not talking about having anorexia--I'm just saying if I got really slim."


"Well, I, uhh, you're--[get up and attempt to flee to refrigerator]--uhmm, how much do you think you would like to lose?"

I have GOT to start getting up earlier and getting woken up before having these conversations.

"...but Reba, I have to say, this one's awfully hard to answer and not get in trouble, sorta like asking 'do these pants make me look big.'"

She thought for a second, "No, I wasn't looking for a compliment..."

Aaaaa-HAA! I finally got confirmation of motivation behind The Question! I knew it all along, but girls, one of your own finally let it slip that you only ask that question when you want to be told you look nice! I KNEW IT!!

Now if I could only figure a way out of the fix I was already in.

"...I was just thinking that I'd like to get back to the size I was when I had Ashley."

I continued attempting to affect my extrication from this situation with questions about what size she thought she should be, and avoided tripping any of the wires crisscrossing the area, or running across one of the laser beams, and sidestepped the mines, and managed to change the subject right as I jumped out of the way of the crocodile tank, which was full of sharks, too.

I did this by changing the subject when Rebecca came in the kitchen.

Thank goodness for the cavalry.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:19 AM | Comments (10)

June 19, 2007

Now then.

Tomorrow will be devoted to playtime, as long as I'm able to keep the work-related things in check. Be sure to put on some sturdy playclothes and closed-toe shoes, and don't wear any jewelry or anything else that can get snagged or lost.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)


Well, now.

Apparently it pays to continue to leave phone messages. Just now got a call from the young lady's father. Who seemed quite perturbed that his daughter had been receiving all these telephone calls. Seems his daughter was also offended by the fact that almost as soon as the wreck happened, I was on my cell phone.

Hard to imagine I would have had such nerve, eh?

He said he was going to go talk to his insurance company, the name of which he would not give me. He said he'd take care of it. And not to call his daughter ANY more.

Well, fine. At least I did get an actual land-line number for him, which I was able to look up and find. Apparently it's his business line. Again, that's fine by me.

Says he'll call me back Thursday.

We'll see.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:17 PM | Comments (4)


That was fast.

Martin just now called and said the car was ready. And on the even brighter side, it turned out to be $75 less than what he thought it was going to be. The dark side is that it's still $625.

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

On the plus side...

...I did manage to diagnose my problem accurately. Yesterday afternoon, I was going over in my head the symptoms of my car's distress--a sudden, violent shaking of the engine and the inability to get it into park that all happened at the moment of impact. Kitchen Hand alluded to a possible driveline misalignment, but I got to thinking and it suddenly dawned on me--engine mounts! Or a transmission mount. Or all of the above.

Just got a call from Martin over at Royal. They found a huge amount of problems, but there were some that were present before, such as a general weepiness of oil from the rear main seal. But the ones causing the problems?

Both motor mounts sheared, and the trans mount. So I get a prize for guessing correctly!

That being, this:

Trans mount = $60
Two engine mounts = $160
Shifter bushing set = $30
Labor and towing = $450

Getting hit by ["someone who seems to act an awful lot like" --Ed.] an uninsured, unlicensed motorist?


I feel so special.

[Edited on 6-20-07 to note that my perceptions are clouded by assumptions, and that this nice person could be on the up-and-up and I'm making too big a deal out of things.]

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:03 AM | Comments (11)


I think I'll cancel all my insurance, and forget about ever renewing my driver's license ever again! Seems to be of no consequence, despite all that claptrap you hear about "laws" and stuff like that. Tsk--silly people!

Yep--as you can probably guess, I'm still in the process of being worked over as if I were some sort of golden-haired Grecian slave boy in a den of randy catamites.

I checked a State of Mississippi DMV website yesterday, and it seems the driver's license number on the accident report comes back as an invalid number. Sure, it could be a simple computer error, but given the fact that the person who hit me now refuses to answer her phone or return calls, and given the fact that I attempted to contact the ONLY family [listed in the phone book--Ed.] who carries her surname in Smithdale, Mississippi, and they disavowed any knowledge of anyone with her given name or any knowledge of a 1996 Chevrolet Silverado, and did so in a most peculiarly confrontation way, well, I just have a feeling that the driver's license thing is only a part of a wider-ranging pattern of misbehavior.

I have to say, this is most uncomfortable.

ANYway, I have actual paying work I have to get done this morning, so all of you keep yourselves entertained for a few minutes while I get that wrapped up.

[Edited 6-20-07 to remove license number since it could potentially be valid, and to note that the phone book doesn't necessarily reflect the ENTIRETY of the population of a particular town.]

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:28 AM | Comments (9)

June 18, 2007

At Least I Still Have Dave

Dave Helton sent me these, either to cheer me up or finish pushing me over the edge.

(1) King Ozymandias of Assyria was running low on cash after years of war with the Hittites. His last great possession was the Star of the Euphrates, the most valuable diamond in the ancient world. Desperate, he went to Croesus, the pawnbroker, to ask for a loan. Croesus said, "I'll give you 100,000 dinars for it."

"But I paid a million dinars for it," the King protested. "Don't you know who I am? I am the king!"

Croesus replied, "When you wish to pawn a Star, makes no difference who you are."

(2) Evidence has been found that William Tell and his family were avid bowlers. However, all the Swiss league records were unfortunately destroyed in a fire, and we will never know for whom the Tells bowled.

(3) A man rushed into a busy doctor's office and shouted "Doctor! I think I'm shrinking!!" The doctor calmly responded, "Now, settle down. You will just have to be a little patient."

(4) A marine biologist developed a race of genetically engineered dolphins that could live forever if they were fed a steady diet of seagulls. One day, his supply of the birds ran out, so he had to go out and trap some more.

On the way back, he spied two lions asleep on the road. Afraid to wake them, he gingerly stepped over them. Immediately, he was arrested and charged with transporting gulls across sedate lions for immortal porpoises.

(5) Back in the 1800s, the Tates Watch Company of Waltham, Massachusetts wanted to produce other products and, since they already made the cases for watches, they used them to produce compasses. The new compasses were so bad that people often ended up in Canada or Mexico rather than California. This, of course, is the origin of the expression, "He who has a Tates is lost!"

(6) A thief broke into the local police station and stole all the toilets and urinals, leaving no clues. A spokesperson was quoted as saying, "We have absolutely nothing to go on."

(7) An Indian chief was feeling very sick, so he summoned the medicine man. After a brief examination, the medicine man took out a long, thin strip of rawhide, gave it to the chief, and told him to bite off, chew, and swallow one inch of leather every day. After a month, the medicine man returned to see how the chief was feeling. The chief shrugged and said, "The thong has ended, but the malady lingers on."

(8) A famous Viking explorer returned home from a voyage and found his name missing from the town register. His wife insisted on complaining to the local civic official who apologized profusely saying, "I must have taken Leif off my census."

(9) There were three Indian squaws. One slept on a deer skin, one slept on an elk skin, and the third slept on a hippopotamus skin. All three became pregnant, and the first two each had a baby boy. The one who slept on the hippopotamus skin had twin boys. This goes to prove that the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides.

(10) A skeptical anthropologist was cataloging South American folk remedies with the assistance of a tribal brujo who indicated that the leaves of a particular fern were a sure cure for any case of constipation. When the anthropologist expressed his doubts, the brujo looked him in the eye and said, "Let me tell you, with fronds like these, who needs enemas?"

Thank you, Dave!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:45 AM | Comments (8)

The Intricate Dance With The Tortious Offender and Her Insurance Company, Chapter One

Ever have one of those nightmares where you're being chased by someone wielding a GIGANTIC ELECTRIC SCREWDRIVER?

All I know is that if Dante ever came back to life, he'd tear up the Divine Comedy and start writing about car insurance.

SO, let's see--I get hit, and my car won't run. Have to have it towed in. I expect that the police report will have the other driver's information such as a local address, phone number, and oh, I don't know, maybe their insurance policy number. Because before the other driver left, I asked the officer if the report would have all of her information on it. He said it would. Wait 72 business hours for report to be readied.

TODAY, go to PD and pick up report. Notice that there is no insurance number on there. Let out a little high-pitched imaginary scream.

Back to the phone. First find the girl's name and do some preliminary Googling. UAB student, pre-nursing. No local number. But she does have a MySpace page. I do know that she works at Brookwood Hospital. Call there first. Get the runaround from the charge nurse on the floor where she supposedly works.

"Will she be in today?"

"I don't know."

"Do you know what days she's scheduled to work?"

"NO. She might be here tomorrow."

Gosh--that gives me all kinds of confidence in the quality of care I'd receive at Brookwood!

Okay, I have her number in Mississippi, but before I chase that rabbit, I'll try some interaction with her insurance company, the mighty vaunted Safeway. Call, nice young man tells me he has no one by that name in his system. Tells me he has no one by that address listed in his system. I ask what I think is a darned good question--can they search by Vehicle Identification Number? You know, since they insure Vehicles, that all have Identification Numbers. "No sir, I'm sorry, but we can't search by VIN. You're going to have to get your insurance to pay for this."

[internal monologue] Well, you see, little weasel rat, I don't carry collision on my car, although I do have insurance, unlike your supposed client. In any event, there IS no one to go after except the person who hit me. [/internal monologue]

"Okay, well, let me see if I can find her and get the insurance policy number."

I have absolutely no hope of finding anyone at the number she gave me. Call, and darned if she doesn't answer! Maybe it's a cell phone number. Anyway, I introduce myself as nicely as possible, ask her for the insurance policy number, and she rattles it off after a second or two. I thank her profusely and happily call back her insurance company, the obdurate, yet obtuse Safeway.

Get another person this time, confidently give her the policy number. "Jamie Forehand?"

"Uhh, no." I gave her the name of the girl, and the vehicle, and guess what? That person was not listed on the insurance, and it was for a different vehicle. And it had been cancelled two years ago.

Which means either she showed the officer a valid insurance card at the scene, and mistakenly gave me the wrong number in her haste, OR she gave him and me the same number, and he neglected to notice the card was TWO YEARS OUT OF DATE. [Update 6-20-07--Just got off the phone with the actual insurance agent, and oddly enough, she shows that number as valid, and offered the explanation that the Alabama agent may have thought it was an Alabama policy, rather than a Mississippi policy. Which is odd--you'd think policy numbers would be unique. Oh well.]
I was offered some consolation by the claims person on the phone, who laughed in a smirky sort of way and said I might have to sue in small claims court.

Yep, it's a real laugh riot, ain't it.

Called back my rearender, apologized for the bother, and told her the number she'd given me showed up as having been cancelled two years ago. She said she must have gotten the wrong number, and said she'd have to look for it and call me back later. I gave her my number, which she said wasn't showing up on her caller ID. I'm glad I was able to help her screen her calls better! That's me--Mister Polite Helpful Man!

With Internal Rage Issues!

Who's Probably Going to Drop Dead With A Giant Bursted Aorta Caused By The Unresolved Stress Caused By Various Disaffected Losers Who Can't Seem To Lose Their Attraction To Him!

Called my agent just to get some advice on what all to expect in the coming days. He was on vacation. ::sigh::

Called the Volvo shop, told them to go ahead and start working up an estimate for me so I'll know just exactly how many times the person chasing me with the gigantic electric screwdriver is going to have to change batteries before they're done with me.

And thus ends Chapter One.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:28 AM | Comments (7)

Just like when the babysitter says...

...that your baby took his first steps while you were away at the movie.

Boy--at the tender age of 13--drove a truck with a stick shift this weekend, and I wasn't anywhere around. ::sniff:: My little boy's all growed up and I missed every last bit of it!! ::sniff::

I had dropped him off at the church building in the capable hands of Mr. Tom, a top-notch young man himself, and they got to work trimming the edges of the great big 5 acre lawn the building sits upon. The plan was for them to do that, then get some lunch and hang out. Boy got back to the house about 3:00, and the first thing he did was excitedly tell me about getting to drive Mr. Tom's truck around the yard hauling equipment to and fro.

Such a wound I have suffered! WOE IS ME!

Not really. Well, not much really. But I do wish I'd gotten to see him. Underage motor vehicle operation is such a rite of passage amongst men of my ilk, and then the fact that it was a manual transmission to boot, well, it does create just the tiniest pang. And to make it even worse, after it was over, Mr. Tom's wife let them come to their house and play video games in their stinking yardwork clothes. I think I must be jealous!

Anyway, at least I was able to stay home and do the laundry.

Reba and Rebecca went up to the pet store, and both of them had a great time. Ten full hours of it, as a matter of fact. I think Rebecca is going to enjoy doing this particular volunteer gig. She got to walk the doggies and let them soil the landscaping outside the doorway of the Kohl's store, and clean up giant puddles of piddle in the store, and play with them and even answer some questions for customers who came in when the actual paid staff were off chatting or hiding in the restroom. The biggest problem is going to be keeping her from bringing home every puppy she sees.

As for me, in between laundry loads, I did manage to get some nifty solar-powered spots installed inside the gazeb-- the Childrens' Large Fabric Playhouse so they don't have to have the Coleman lantern out there when they play cards and such. Worked out quite nicely--a light in each corner and two up in the top, and two collector cells mounted down low on the wood deck. There's not that many locations where they would have gone and still been able to get any sunshine.

And for Father's Day? Well, they still went and got me something--a nifty grill set, and a new pair of swim trunks and shirt for when we go on vacation, and best of all, hugs and kisses.

Now then--I have much to do this morning, staff meeting, and then off to the Homewood PD to pick up my accident report and SR-13, and then the intricate dance will begin with the offender's insurance company. I look forward to this slightly less than being given an vasectomy by an angry babboon using a rusty can lid.

Anyway, check back for updates.


The winner of the NAME THAT JUVENILE PEREGRINE FALCON BAND CAPTION CONTEST POLL is none other than N'sync, singing "YO, We're Not as White as We Look," coming in at an astounding, incredible FIFTY out of 57 votes cast! We congratulate the winner, Skinnydan of Lawn Guyland, Noo Yoik, and hope he enjoys his prize of a year's supply of P.G.T. Beauregard's Fried Catfish Nuggets, generously provided by our sponsor Possumblog Kitchens.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:07 AM | Comments (6)

June 15, 2007

Time to close up shop for the day.

I still have junk to do, of course, but I think it's time to lock the door and start mopping up and adding up the receipts.

Good week--a piece of foil, and a button!

The weekend beckons--at least I don't have to cut grass, seeing as how it's no higher than it was last weekend. Rebecca gets to start her new summer volunteer position at a local pet shop helping the animal shelter folks who run pet adoptions there. She's very excited about it, although not quite sure what all she'll be doing. I reckon a lot of puppy piddle and poo pickup. She'd better get used to it. She's still saying she wants to go to vet school, so the more stuff like this she does, the better.

Boy will be doing yardwork elsewhere, I think. We have a group of men at church assigned to do grasscutting and stuff, and one of them asked Jonathan if he wanted to help cut the high stuff the tractor can't reach. Of course, Boy was eager to get out of the house and hang out doing stuff that people other than ME assigned to him, but I have a feeling the novelty will wear off quickly. Then again, he might fool me. Meaning I'll have to dig up our yard and move it across town to the church property if I want him to help me cut it.

Anyway, all of you have a good weekend and Lord willing I'll see you all again next week, AND we'll announce the winner of the Bird Band Namin' Contest--remember to vote!

OH, and to all you dads out there! Have a very happy Father's Day!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:52 PM | Comments (2)

YOU Decide!

Such marvelous entries that I simply can NOT decide between them all. SO, in the spirit of democracy, we give you the NAME THAT JUVENILE PEREGRINE FALCON BAND CAPTION CONTEST POLL!

Voting will continue over the weekend and the winner will be announced Monday, if I can remember to announce it.

N'sync, singing "YO, We're Not as White as We Look."
The Hunky Boys
The Fuzzy Weevils, singing "Free Bird".
The Eaglets, singing "Hotel California."
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:16 PM | Comments (8)

Give that man the Understatement of All Time Award.

Duke prosecutor: Maybe got carried away

By AARON BEARD, Associated Press Writer
2 minutes ago

RALEIGH, N.C. - District Attorney Mike Nifong acknowledged Friday that he "maybe got carried away a little bit" in talking about the three Duke University lacrosse players who were once charged with raping a stripper, and he said he expected to be punished.

"I think clearly some of the statements I made were improper," Nifong testified Friday at his ethics trial. [...]

No, sir. Getting 'a little bit carried away' is using the really good 25 pound paper to print out an e-mail.

Hard to believe that there's someone out there who could have given attorneys an even worse reputation for cravenness, but I think we've found him. (Well, him and the Deeply Disturbed and Unsatisfied Pants Judge.)

UPDATE: 3:25 p.m. CAPTAIN OBVIOUS TO THE RESCUE! Duke DA Mike Nifong says he'll resign

By AARON BEARD, Associated Press Writer
5 minutes ago
RALEIGH, N.C. - Facing the loss of his law license, a tearful Mike Nifong said Friday he will resign as district attorney, more than a year after he obtained rape indictments against three Duke University lacrosse players who were later declared innocent by state prosecutors. [...]

"It has become increasingly apparent, during the course of this week, in some ways that it might not have been before, that my presence as the district attorney in Durham is not furthering the cause of justice," Nifong said.

Wow--that's some startlingly deep self-assessment there, Sparky.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

"Photographing the city skyline."


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:20 AM | Comments (2)

Not to be all politically-correct and all, but...

Dwarf Planet Outweighs Pluto

...but I think we're supposed to call them "little people planets" now.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:16 AM | Comments (2)


We were about to eat supper last night, and as is the usual custom we had the window blinds drawn so I could look outside at the slowly baking to a crisp yard and the various wildlife that happens by, such as the chubby doves eating seeds off the ground and the chubby kid across the street who seems to think our yard is the bestest shortcut ever.

Anyway, I asked Jonathan to say the prayer for us, again as is the usual custom, but this time I asked him to put in something extra in addition to the thanks for the food and family and things--a special request for some rain. It had been raining all around us all afternoon, and I could feel the cool wind blowing in from the north and the west and could smell that SOMEone was getting a shower. And the thunder--just over the next ridge, it seemed, but never quite over the top of us.

So he said his sweet little prayer, and added in the part about some rain, and said his amens, and as we sat there, I noticed a flash, and then, raindrops.

Sweet precious rain.

I told Jonathan he must have done a good job on his praying.

And then the rain stopped.

Obviously, I had to upbraid him for that and told him to pray harder next time. (Yes, he knew I was joking with him.) I was glad to get what little we got, and glad others got some, too. In the past, City Stages has been a pretty reliable monsoon-generator, so maybe that'll come true again this year.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:20 AM | Comments (3)


Yeppers, once again, Father's Day weekend is coming up, and once again, I have a seat at the epicenter of the entire City Stages musical festival, a window right behind the main stage.

And, as has been the case for the past eleven years I've sat here, it's now time for the sound check.

In a break from the usual Groundhog Day-like predictability of this occurence, I not only get to hear the repetitive mike test, I have also just been aurally assaulted by a full blown speaker test using some sort of prerecorded "music." It sounds something like the mouth-breathing miscreant who drives slowly through our neighborhood every night with his stereo turned up, except instead of an annoying thumpathumpathump coming through the walls, there was a heart-stopping thrumming bass that could set off car alarms for a one mile radius.

Thankfully, it only lasted several minutes, OH, wait--it's started up again. Something different this time--something in the flannel shirt and disaffection genre. HEY! THERE'S that driving solo crashing guitar riff! Nice!

I guess that's what I get for working in such a hip location.

UPDATE: 12:06 p.m. A different sound check now, one I'm assuming is to set the levels for a rap act, since the entirely of the check consists of a guy saying hey. hey. hey. hey. hey. hey. hey. hey. hey. yo.

Frankly, I have to say it needs more cowbell.

UPDATE: 2:10 p.m. Now THAT'S a sound check! They've got some folks jamming out there right now with some drums and some Claptonianesque-sounding guitar work, and even just messing around, whoever it is sounds really good. Hmm--just looked out there and the guy playing lead looks like Kenny Stabler--the current grandpappy version. Maybe he's one of these guys.

UPDATE: 3:01. Okay, now I might have to go fling a chamberpot full of ordure out the window. There's a group out there now doing a check with some kind of weird, flat, four-part barbershop harmony version of the Steve Miller Band classic "Keep on Rockin' Me Baby." Absolutely dreadful. I hope it's not actually a group that's performing and is maybe just a group of bums who snuck up there and grabbed some instruments.

UPDATE: 4:42 p.m. Boy, I tell you what--it never fails. I looked outside a few minutes ago and the sky had gotten angry-looking, and just now I heard the sound of a few big fat raindrops hitting the window sill. There's a line of rain stretching out in a west-northwest line--I'm sure it'll blow over quickly, but City Stages seems to have held onto its title as a surefire rainmaker.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)


Miss Diane up in America's Dairyland has a link to their local electrical energy monopoly's website, where there is a photo show of some baby peregrine falcons they're taking care of.

Miss Janis takes note of this, and says that Possumblog should once again sponsor another contest like the one we did two years ago. It was noted then that ANOTHER set of baby peregrine falcons looked like band musicians, or something, and the similarity to the current Wisconsinoraptors is strikingly similar. Vis.:

peregrine babies.jpg



The winner(s) will be announced this afternoon sometime, so time is short. As in the inaugural edition of the contest, prizes will consist of a variety of imaginary things that I carry with me in my pockets, such as this Six Flags Over Akron pen, this pencil eraser, this jar of frogs in formaldehyde, and a plug of Old Bloodhound chewing tobacco. All decisions by the judge(s) will be final, unless protest(s) is (are) accompanied by hefty monetary bribe(s), or offer(s) to cut my grass(es).

So, on your marks, get set, CAPTIONATE!

(And no, this time I have no idea what group they most look like. Although Poison comes pretty close.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:39 AM | Comments (7)


Okay, not really. But you have to admit, Catblogging Fridays have gotten pretty much played out, even amongst the top-quality A-list bloggers. Therefore, I have decided to do something completely different:


My Friend Jeff™ sent me these yesterday, and they are quite instructive in illuminating the handy building practices practiced in those parts of the world where there is no such thing as OSHA.

First up, we all know that welding can produce showers of white hot embers, and they hurt when they pop you. I myself have had the displeasure of having one of these tiny molten meteors of metal land inside my shirt, and it's not at all fun. Even worse is when your face is exposed, and to protect welders, there is a huge market for protective gear devoted just to the head and neck. But let's face it (so to speak)--all this equipment can be expensive, with all the custom Kevlar doodads and such. And now we find out completely unnecessary, given that you can get equivalent protection with a discarded piece of cardboard:

face shield.jpg

Inexpensive, infinitely configurable, easily modified to accomodate a wide variety of eyewear, and offers protection up to 451 degrees Fahrenheit!

Next up, I know you've all seen those warning notices on dry cleaner's bags--"PLASTIC BAG IS NOT A TOY!" Of course they're not toys--they're highly effective respirators!


Highly effective, and working on the principal that lung contamination can be best avoided by not breathing.

Finally, this clever fellow recognizes the dangers posed by head injuries. Falls, dropped objects, bumps, scrapes--all these things are very real hazards on the construction site, and you've probably seen all the wide variety of hardhats available. But when you get to thinking about it, wouldn't it be better to have something nice and cushiony to protect you?

Sure it would:


Safety and style all in one!

Thanks to all of our participants. If they're still alive.

UPDATE: Nate McCord of exotic Utah sends us this sign board from the much more safety-conscious continent of Australia. (Sanitized for your protection!)

aussie construction sign.jpg

I bet Todd gets a lot of calls.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:13 AM | Comments (4)

June 14, 2007

Wow, it sure has been a busy day.

And it's almost over with! A trip to the orthodontist with Boy to get his tooth hitched to some sort of medieval torture device. His oral surgery went fine and he's done a good job of keeping his newly-exposed tooth bright and shiny with Q-Tip applied toothpaste. And even better, only eight more payments to go!

Remind me in my next life to have kids with straight teeth. Or be an orthodonist instead of an architect.

Anyway, see you all on the morrow, and I'll even think about trying to get a photo of Lighting for you to ponder!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

Fritz answers that time-honored question:

"Is that a 5 inch plush dog in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

Father's Day for Terry

I told Reba not to let the kids get me anything too expensive this year, because I was wanting us to save money for getting my car repainted at the vocational school paint shop in September. Of course, this was before I got rear-ended and so whatever I was going to save up for might get exhausted just getting the car out of the shop it the other person's insurance doesn't pay but $12.79, BUT BE THAT AS IT MAY, every dad still wants a little something to remind him of just how hot and manly he is.

So, in that vein, I would like to put in a request for some of these:

chuck norris action jeans.jpg

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:16 AM | Comments (10)

I like teachers.

I really do. But this recent kerfuffle (thanks, Mr. Taranto!) about supposed mischief with the grades at our local middle school has caused me to have quite a bit more dim view of teacher's unions.

Apparently, there was a computer problem with the grades. It needed to be caught, and needed to be fixed, and parents need some assurance that it won't happen again.

But the idea that if you find something wrong with some student grades and the first thing you do is run to the head of the Jefferson County American Federation of Teachers makes me think you might have your own agenda going there. Don't give me that crap that it's about the students, or the sanctity of the teacher's gradebook or the integrity of the system. If that's what concerned you, there should have been at least ONE stop to complain to the people in charge of it BEFORE you went running off to the teacher's union and the news media.

I like teachers, but I like my kids more. Publicity stunts like this designed to attempt to play "gotcha" with administrators doesn't make me sympathetic to you or your compatriots. One of the reasons I voted for our own school system is local control, and friends, that doesn't mean having to put up with political crap from the union. Second, going off and assuming bad faith on the part of administrators and raising a stink before you even know what the problem is doesn't make you look very smart. And we've got enough stupid teachers being insulated from the consequences of their stupidity by the union.

So how about this--teach our kids, if you see a problem, try getting it fixed under the normal work rules, and THEN if you can't get some help, call upon your union reps. But you can drop the conspiracy crap right now, and quit running to Channel 6 when you think something might be wrong.

And by way of full disclosure, my father was both a Steelworker and an Ironworker, his father was in a railroad telegraphers union, my maternal grandfather was, and a host of uncles and cousins are, UMWA. I don't have any problem with workers collectively bargaining to ensure themselves a fair wage and safe working conditions. But unions shouldn't be about protecting the ignorant and the idiot at the expense of the customer, consumer, or client.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

Talk about burying the lede.

There's probably already been some comment about this, but it's new to me.

This is the headline: Bush plunges to new low in poll .

An approval rating of 29% isn't that hot. Eleven paragraphs in (and admittedly, these are the new-media style, single sentence paragraphs, so it's not like they're real literary type paragraphs), we finally see something to compare that to: "[...] the poll was not all good news for Democrats: at just 23 percent, the approval rating for the Democrat-led Congress is lower than Bush's. [...]"

And the press wonders why no one trusts it anymore. The headline could just as easily have been written "Bush trounces Congress' popularity by 6%!" or "Congress' Approval Rating Plunges Even Further, Faster, Than President's" or any number of other things.

Let's face it--no one really believed a Democratically-controlled Congress would be better than the one that preceded it, and no one really believes the press is non-partisan. So good to see both presumptions so neatly confirmed in one story.

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

Never fear!


Well, okay. Maybe a little healthy fear is a good thing.

ANYway, sorry to be so tardy with your morning bowl of mush, but I had another stupid early meeting this morning to attempt to pick a color for the front of a building.

You know what?

Women are very sexist.

I swear, if I heard one more time about how a couple of certain women saw colors differently from me, and how they were right and the other men with me and I were wrong, and how we just couldn't be expected to see colors well because we're just genetically incapable of it, I tell you I was gonna swat them with my purse.

What makes it even funnier is that the developer already had consulted with a couple of designers about his color selection, and BOTH OF THEM WERE WOMEN! This seemed to pass right over CERTAIN people's heads. Yeah, I know--it doesn't match the preconceived narrative and therefore must be discarded or ignored. Not that good open-minded, diversity-lovin' progressive sorts would ever do such a thing.


And to top it off, I had to go back over to the Volvo dealership and get my parking deck card, and my poor ugly lump of iron was sitting there wondering why he had been left amongst a bunch of mortally wounded strangers. You could tell all the other cars had been telling him horror stories about having their quarter panels sawn off and their subframes sheared and their precious essences dribbling away across the asphalt. I told him not to listen to that garbage and that he'd be well again in no time. I don't think he believed me.

ANYway, you didn't come here this Thursday for all that sort of garbage, did you?

No, of course not!

YOU, gentle reader, came here to see the BEST of what Thursday has to offer as you await the return of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three this fall!

So, without further delay, Possumblog presents to YOU...

Something so AMAZING...

Something so BREATH-TAKING...

That it may cause you to be STARTLED, and AMAZED...





Learn the difference between a DULL MAN and a BORING MAN!

Yep, it's just one thing after another, and perfectly in keeping with the high quality of entertainment we have here on Possumblog!

SO ENJOY YOUR THURSDAY, and DO come back soon!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2007

And now, this afternoon...

...I've just been in a terribly depressed mood. That's what I get for looking around on the Internets and finding out more than I wanted to know about my tortfeasor's insurance carrier.

Nothing good is going to come of this little episode, and it will not be one of those things I will look back on in the future and chuckle about. Unless, you know, I start my own fly-by-night insurance company. Seems like a good gig, if you can get it.

Anyway, sorry to be so unentertaining.

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


Now I have to do all the paperwork I was supposed to do when I got into the office.

Talk about adding insult to injury!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

Well, now, ain't THAT a kick in the head.

Or an exceedingly firm shove in the back.

Had gotten through with my meeting, made a run to the store for nothing of consequence, was waiting to turn right into traffic and WHAM!

A girl in a Chevy pickup truck rammed into the back of me.

Luckily, she wasn't going that fast, but it was enough to send my rear bumper askew, and worse, to do something that made the engine start running like a washing machine full of bowling balls. Couldn't get the transmission into Park, either.


Called the police, waited, a motorcycle cop showed up and took our information and wrote up his report (which won't be available until Monday), and then waited until the tow truck showed up. Got flat-towed over to Royal Volvo, waited for the service guy to get me written up, got a ride back here, and I just realized that I don't have anything like a piece of paper or form that says Royal has my car, and that is it MY car, and not to give it to some bum who walks in off the street (because bums LOVE 20 year old Volvos), AND I don't have my parking deck card, and I didn't realize the police report wouldn't be ready until Monday, so I didn't worry about getting the girl's name and phone number and insurance company because the cop said it would be on the report and I figured I could pick it up tomorrow.

AND all I can think about is what will happen if her insurance is some company that consists of a desk, an answering machine, and a Bahamian bank account.

But other than that, it was a very nice morning.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:07 AM | Comments (13)

June 12, 2007

Early meeting tomorrow, so...

...be prepared to go out and forage for whatever you can find in the blogroll!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

Hey, it could have been worse.

Dump truck found in Alabama wave pool

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — Decatur police are trying to determine how a one-ton municipal dump truck wound up at the bottom of the Point Mallard Park's wave pool.

Police said they suspect a maintenance worker could have been responsible for submerging the vehicle in the 8-foot-deep pool at the J. Gilmer Blackburn Aquatic Center. A wrecker service was called in to haul it out of the water.

Officers noticed several garbage bags floating in the water about 5 a.m. Sunday and had to move close to make out the shadowy object at the bottom. They said a gate was open and there were two sets of tire tracks, one leading up a ramp to the wave pool, the other appearing to match a white pickup parked nearby.

Police said an empty beer can, an unidentified vial and a pair of blue swim trunks also were found. The truck could have been driven into the pool as early as 10:30 p.m. Saturday, according to police.

Sgt. Steve Campbell said no arrests had been made, but the case could result in felony criminal mischief charges.

Not quite sure if I want to speculate on exactly how it could be worse, but I just know it could.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

Something I've never done before.

Until yesterday evening, that is.

I went outside to defy the local watering ban to ensure Catherine doesn't have a massive crop failure, and as I watched the tiny evil sprinkler give a bit of juice to her tomatoes and cucumbers and radishes, I sat there in our new quite comfortable chairs underneath our metal-framed fabric shadecloth, and didn't do a blessed thing.

Supper had been eaten, there was nothing to do but sit, and I did it with great abandon, listening to the occasional bird chirp and the pattering of water droplets on the dry ground, and catching the ever-so-frequent whiff of dog crap from my neighbor's house. Good grief--it's like living next to a hog farm. What do they feed that danged thing?

Aside from that, however, it was actually nice to be able to sit outside all contemplative like in a very nice square tenty thing. Maybe I will take up smoking cigars and drinking booze to add to the air of fleshly self-satisfaction. Would probably do well, too, at covering up the stench of Rover the Clydesdale.

Oh, and before any of you start griping that I was watering! in the middle of a drought! using a sprinkler!, let me remind you that I never water our grass, wash our cars, do an incomplete load of dishes or clothes, and never leave the faucet running when I brush my teeth. I figure I've saved enough over my lifetime to be able to douse my baby girl's little 8x8 vegetable patch whenever it needs it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:16 PM | Comments (5)

HEY! Things to talk about!

From the comments earlier, this smattering of conversationalism:

That's what you get for thinkin'!

Hmm? What?

How about your thoughts on Lilek's new endeavor, buzz.mn? It's funny(strange) to see him blogging rather than bleating. I still have not decided if I'll take the time to make a daily visit or two to his buzz.mn site. I suppose it will depend if he lets the Bleat slip. He says he won't but we all know how promises in the blogosphere go, particularly when it comes to pledges on maintaining a site.

Posted by: Marc V at June 12, 2007 11:38 AM

He said ominously. Hey, just wait--there may be even more people like that. One never can be too certain, you know.

ANYway, for those of you who don't know, go here first. I like it pretty much good okay fine. It's different, but in a goodish sort of not-the-sameness that suits his style and sense of urgency and desire to catalog everything and everyone and label it with a Sharpie and place it in a protective plastic sleeve and place them in a Tupperware stacking bin then stack it on a shelf with the perfectly scented sachet for the season. AND I LIKE THAT! I really do appreciate his seeming inability to NOT find something interesting and of worth in everything he comes across. I do fear that the novelty might wear off after the first twenty years or so, sort of like what happened to Possumblog around the '74-'75 season before we traded Villarosa and Mills to Tampa. Everyone had gotten used to relying on them to come up with new crap, and when they couldn't, well, the turnstiles stopped turning.

Thankfully, the '77-'78 season was a good turnaround and it's been rocking pretty well since then, but I credit this more to the "Every Night is Hat Night!" promotion, and making sure all of our grandstand vendors were very attractive women.

ANYway, I like it, although I still check our own homegrown al.com site much more often because it's local and we have a lot of crazy crap going on all the time.

Next up, this:

Sorry, I've been offline most of the AM, relocating all my office equipment from one side of a cubicle wall to the other side. That's right, I moved from facing north to facing south on the opposite side of a wall.

What a pain. There are still files to move and my phone is still plugged in on the wrong side but otherwise, I'm hooked up and back in business. The good news- I've still got a window. The bad news- my monitor now faces the corner where my boss comes out of his office...

Posted by: Nate at June 12, 2007 12:20 PM

No need to apologize, Nate, although I would suggest that your task might have been easier if you'd a wooden scooter carved from a tree trunk by a Southeast Asian hilltribesman.

We could talk about the TP my church is now buying. It seems to be “optical” quality. Meaning that while it is thin enough to read through it does seem to have some refractive properties.

Posted by: jim at June 12, 2007 12:22 PM

Maybe you'd be better off stealing some of that nice two-ply from the Marshalltown courthouse.

It would be nice and cushiony, and you'd have no reason to explore whether or not you can read through it!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:09 PM | Comments (4)


I know what'll be exciting!!

Watching the telephone while the secretary goes to lunch!

UPDATE: That wasn't nearly as much fun as I thought it would be. Well, I mean, after I got through reading the newspaper and the office supply catalog and the dictionary it wasn't.

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

Truth in Advertising?

Oh, come on--if they called it "Poop-Flavored Hell" no one would buy it!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

I thought...

...maybe there would be a bit more to talk about this morning.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:58 AM | Comments (3)


If you live around here, you probably saw reports similar to this story all day yesterday on the television.

Back when I worked at The Bad Place, one of my bosses had a membership there. For some reason, I'd forgotten that we always had our office Christmas parties there, and once I was reminded of that, it also occurred to me that it was also the site of my first date with Miss Reba.

She almost told me no, because she was still trying to rebuild her life and raise a baby after her first husband died, and she wasn't sure she could bring herself to go out on a date. And I'd given her the excuse that it was on a Wednesday night, and she was, and is, pretty scrupulous about not missing the midweek services at church.

But, she went. After being urged--strenuously--to do so by her mother and dad. (Thanks, folks!) She wore a red dress and had her hair fixed all pretty, and we sat with the fun set of my coworkers, and everyone was in a (rare) good mood, and I got to be cute and charming and perform my stellar rendition of one of those cheap movie projectors they showed health films on when you were in grade school, and the meal was a passable, very nearly realistic version of something resembling food.

She had a good time, and I thanked her for going with me and gave her a kiss on the cheek at the door when I got her back to her house.

Talk about your life-changing experiences.

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

June 11, 2007

Concert pianist, Stanford provost...

...National Security Advisor, Secretary of State, and now this: Rice engineered to carry cholera vaccine.

Is there nothing she can't do!?

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

Just remember...

Fighting Alabama senator doesn't expect expulsion

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition, either!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

Well, it certainly looks like they waited long enough.

TVA names successor to fossil power chief

Here's hoping they looked outside of the Cenozoic strata.

You know, I'm still not quite sure why the headline writers go to such trouble to write something so incomprehensible.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

PAG Going the Way of the Dodo.

Steevil sends along this Bloomberg article about Ford's search for buyers for the remaining bits of its Premier Automotive Group: Volvo, Land Rover, and Jaguar--with the suggestion that acquiring Volvo would be a good way for me to branch out into a new career.

If it meant a reliable supply of 240 spare parts into the foreseeable future, I think I would be on it in a minute. Of course, the question of what to do with the rest of the company also comes up.

That I'll have to think about for a while. Obviously, the first thing to do is hire the Swedish Bikini Team as company spokeswomen. Second is to develop a new small rear-drive sedan about the size of the 240 that uses the 311 horse V-8 out of the XC-90. Six speed ZF, IRS, 4 wheel discs the size of serving platters, no ABS, no traction control, no power anything. But with a cupholder, please. And a heater core that doesn't require the car to be completely disassembled if it springs a leak.

Second, if you simply MUST have an SUV, make sure they're redesigned to look like this:

Volvo TP21_62.jpg

I think my plan will work just fine. I don't work cheap, though.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:03 PM | Comments (2)

One of the signs something might be wrong with you.

If over the past weekend you had a dream that contained Jim Nabors singing an off-key version of a local radio show's theme song, while he's playing on the floor with a frisky little puppy that breaks wind in his face.

I only WISH I was making that up.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:16 PM | Comments (4)

I know Dr. Reynolds has been...

...much publicizing the Dangerous Book For Boys here lately.

In that vein, I believe these young men and their nifty homemade motorlesscycles are just the sort of fellows who deserve their own chapter in the next edition of the book.



Just remember, kids--always wear your protective head plumage and loincloths.

(Thanks to Nate McCord, who identifies these boys as members of a Filipino chapter of the Hell's Angels, and says that they scare him.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:17 PM | Comments (8)

Wear Your Safety Glasses.

I've always been concerned about safety, at least in the abstract. Just like everyone else, though, in practice I've done stuff in ways that are unsafe, with the idea that since I was being extra-careful otherwise, I could get away with it, or that I could get away with not having to stop and go get some sort of safety equipment to put on.

Once more, I was reminded that Murphy's Law rules this world.

While I was cutting the grass, I'd given Jonathan the assignment of cleaning out Lighting's swank bachelor pad, then after that, the task of finishing breaking apart that old rotten rocking chair on the back porch. The washdown chore went fine, but then I saw him attempting to break the chair down. He was at first trying to do it by hand, which was comical but counterproductive, so I told him to go get a hammer and knock it down.

On a pass back around from the front to the back, I saw he'd gone and gotten the little heavy hand maul out of the garage. Not what I would have recommended, but it did have the benefit of mass. HOWEVER--he was still not quite understanding the best way to tear the chair apart. He was over there tap-tap-tapping with this big giant hammer, and barely making a dent in the chair.

Being "Big Me," I manfully strode over to him in a confident, manly, manful way and in my best Foghorn Leghorn voice demanded that he hand over the maul and let him be schooled by a manly man in how to destroy something quickly and efficiently. He'd gotten the seat part loose, and was about to try to tap each of the slats away from the two stretchers underneath.

[internal monologue] WHY, I SAY, BOY! It's OBVIOUS you just take this he'ah hamma' and whack those stretchers off with one big whack and all the slats will just fall apart! NO use to do 'em one by one, Boy! [/internal monologue]

"Let me show you, Son--just knock this one piece of wood off and all the slats will fall off."

I hammered the strip of wood off, and sure enough, they all came loose. Hammered the other strip off, and the slats were all completely free. Well, except for one. I leaned down to finish knocking it off, and just as it broke free, it rebounded up and the end of it caught me square in the eye.

Felt just like I'd been punched.

The only thing that saved me from a trip to the emergency room (and the possible loss of an eye) was the fact that I had my glasses on, and they do have shatterproof lenses. But I would have been better off to have a clear work area, and not been so eager to act quite so butch, and done a bit better job of being careful.

There's still a faint white mark diagonally across my left lens where the slat hit it.

Handy reminder, that.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:12 AM | Comments (4)

The Sopranos

Never seen it. Not a single episode. And not just because I don't have cable, because they do have the thing on DVD. I've just never understood the allure, and never really cared about watching.

Because let's face it, if I'm going to look at a soprano, it better look like this.


(Although judging by this, she could hold her own against Tony's boys.)

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

That's hot.

Hilton says she'll no longer 'act dumb'

Hilton stated she no longer desires to put in the effort required to act dumb, given that she already compares favorably in intelligence to fence posts, rocks, stumps, hammers, dirt, and her sister.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:04 AM | Comments (2)

Leporidae Update!

I know you've all been craving this information, so I must report that upon our return from our shopping trip Saturday, we once again espied the little brown bunny rabbit I'd seen the other day.

Obviously, such a site as a little wild bunny causes children to lose their minds, so they piled out of the van and went bounding off to go look at the tiny wild bunny. For some reason, the bunny was not interested in being seen.

And the biggest news?

"Catherine--is that Kelly the Bunny?"

"No, Dad--that's Sarah."

Oh, I see. She's finally grown out of the 'name every animal or toy some variation of a hard-K-sound name' phase. Either that, or she ran out of variations on the theme.

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

Quote of the Day

"If you are going to be stupid, you better be tough."

Nate McCord just sent me this story from Out West, (MSWord document) and it's frightening, yet somehow the guy manages to make it sound humorous.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:16 AM | Comments (4)

Boy, it's hot.

I tell you, there's something to this whole global warming thing. I remember that it wasn't even six months ago and it was freezing cold, and now it's blazing hot. Weird.


A very acceptable weekend--got the grass cut finally. Took a while--Catherine, of all people, wanted to help. I got her to go put on a pair of jeans and a regular pair of shoes, and let her cut about three or four passes and the allure--such as it is--quickly evaporated. Too hot, too dusty, too much interference from Dad who insists the lines be perfectly straight.

Further slowing things down was a clogged air filter. Puttering along and then it just wheezed to a stop. Took it over to the garage door and got my screwdriver and opened the cover and it was like opening a can of dirt. Tapped out as much as I could (because I didn't want to have to stop and go buy a new filter) and put it back on and was ready to go. Cut, mow, cut, mow, empty bag, cut mow cutmowcutmow.

And then---brrrrrrrrPOPBANG!

That was a very weird noise. Everything was fine and then it blowed up or something.

Stopped and looked, and discovered that the spark plug had been blown out of the cylinder head! Now I've never seen anything like that. I don't know if I had at some time in the past pulled the plug and didn't torque it back down tight or what, but apparently it's been running like that for a while, and finally managed to vibrate itself loose before being shot out the end of the engine. Good thing it was still connected by the plug wire or it would have shot across the street.

The rest of the cutting was uneventful. If dusty. Did I mention how dusty it was? And hot? Because it was.

After that, it was off to go look for something to go inside the Children's Large Fabric Playhouse. (No one appreciated my joke about Paddy O'Furniture.)

Went to K-Mart, went to Sam's, went to Wal-Mart. Finally found the one we thought would be just right. They were sold out of it. Went to the next closest Wal-Mart down the road in Roebuck. They had it, and it was on sale same as it was closer to home. The problem?

Absolutely the slowest induhviduals (thanks to Scott Adams) in the world assigned to go get it out of the stockroom and bring it to the curb. A smaller problem is that it came in two boxes, and one of the boxes was huge. The chairs weren't knocked down, but were already assembled, and so the box took up the entire back end of the van.

Whatever--we did manage to get it home and unloaded and put the table together and set out on the platform and it looks pretty darned good. Even if I didn't get the glider I wanted.

Best part?

Well, after church last night, the kids wanted to go out there and eat supper and play cards. I lit up the Coleman lantern, they got their food and cards, and spent an enjoyable hour or so out there. Sure, they had bugs and odd noises and not a lot of light to see what was going on, but they had a good time and managed not to kill each other. In fact, they enjoyed spending time together and didn't require electronic stimulation.

That's hard to beat.

ANYway, more later--I have to go sit in the Monday morning meeting and pretend to be awake.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:24 AM | Comments (12)

June 08, 2007

About that time, folks.

All of you go and have yourselves a wonderful weekend, and then come back here Monday and let's compare notes.

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

HEY! There's no slapping in baseball!! Or wrestling!!

Oh. Sorry--my mistake: Mom accused of attacking baseball coach

PRINCETON, La. (AP) — A woman has been arrested for attacking a coach after finding out her daughter had not made the Little League all-star team, sheriff's deputies said.

Sherry Savage, 30, allegedly grabbed a baseball bat and started toward the female coach.

Someone snatched the bat away, but Savage is still accused of slapping coach Gina O'Neal in the face before the two wound up in a wrestling match, deputies said. [...]

"Savage," huh? Sorta like that old Seinfeld bit about naming your kid "Jeeves" pretty much guarantees he's gonna grow up to be someone's butler.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

Just in case you wanted to know.

Just got this CNN breaking news update: "A judge orders Paris Hilton back to jail, CNN confirms. She was taken from court screaming, The Associated Press reports."

Look, if CNN and AP want you to know these things, who am I to question their priorities!? Obviously, it's important, and you need to know about it, whether you want to or not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

Defying the Stereotype

In a welcome break from my usual schtick, the headline for this story caught my eye, and and after reading it, I figured it was worth a post for one simple reason...

Ancient Egyptian City Spotted From Space

Heather Whipps
Special to LiveScience
1 hour, 39 minutes ago

Satellites hovering above Egypt have zoomed in on a 1,600-year-old metropolis, archaeologists say.

Images captured from space pinpoint telltale signs of previous habitation in the swatch of land 200 miles south of Cairo, which digging recently confirmed as an ancient settlement dating from about 400 A.D.

The find is part of a larger project aiming to map as much of ancient Egypt's archaeological sites, or "tells," as possible before they are destroyed or covered by modern development.

"It is the biggest site discovered so far," said project leader Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Based on the coins and pottery we found, it appears to be a massive regional center that traded with Greece, Turkey and Libya." [...]

[...] The satellite technology lets archaeologists such as Parcak—the first to use space imagery in Egypt—identify points of interest on a large scale. [...]

Well, that's just cool and I don't care where you're from. But I'm glad she's one of ours. (Even if she's originally from Bangor, Maine. Nice companion article from the UAB Reporter, here.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

I tell you, it's just one thing after another.

First, the rain, and just now the maintenance guy came by and replaced the ballast in the fixture above my drafting table, said luminaire having been dark for nearly a year, and installed new tubes in that one and in the OTHER fixture beside it that had only 2/3 of the tubes operating.

AND, Mike the Aging Hippie e-mailed me earlier with an unconfirmed rumor that The Bad Place (our former place of employment) is about to go tango-uniform at the end of the month.

Too much good news in one day?

Let's hope not.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

I smelled it from five stories up.

The dank smell of rain on hot paving.

Not many smells are sweeter when you've been praying for rain in the middle of a drought. Not sure how much is going to fall or how long it will last, but it sure is nice to see.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)

Tennessee Goes Secesh...

...and the only American architect most Americans can name is born.

Via the Library of Congress, we find that June 8 seems to have a lot of stuff going on.

As a little brain-teaser, without looking on the Internets, just how many American architects can YOU name? (And obviously, if you're NOT American, how many famous architects from your country can you think of?)

And speaking of secession and Tennessee and such like, those wacky kids up in Vermont might want to read up on the the State of Franklin.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:26 AM | Comments (7)

A question that deserves an answer.

Jimbo Smith sends along this link: Car drives into Long Island, N.Y., mall, and asks--"Is Long Island the new Alabama?"

It does seem as though they are trying very, very hard.

Ending paragraph of the article says a lot about just how hard they're trying:

[...] Thomas was to be arraigned Friday on charges of criminal mischief and reckless endangerment. He already faced arson charges for a separate incident at another Long Island mall, police said. Thomas is accused of setting a fire in a parking lot at the Broadway Mall in nearby Hicksville, they said.

Word on the street is they're gonna rename it Stupidtown.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

Steevil's Funhouse

Noted skipper, famed NASA scientist, and frequent commentor Steevil sends along some items of interest this morning.

First up, words of wisdom:

Among learning experiences I've had lately:

1. If your car breaks down on a road called a 'parkway,' and you have to wait for a while, you should check yourself for ticks (I found 2).

2. Driving a small open car past a high security prison (I've never seen so much razor wire in one place in my life) gives you an oddly anxious feeling.

3. Hi-tech rope is not only difficult to cut, but turns out to be beyond what my soldering gun with a flat blade can handle. The particular high tech rope on my boat is mostly low tech Dacron, but with Vectran (and no, I had not known it was also the name of a programming language) fibers reinforcing it. Luckily, it can be cut with a serrated blade, and a butane torch is hot enough to clean up the ends.

I would think #2 wouldn't be nearly so anxiety-inducing if the small open car in question was not in the habit of occasionally shedding pushrods. As for #3, liquid crystal rope IS pretty darned cool, but I was even more impressed by the entry for Fortran. Not being a computer guy, the only thing I know about Fortran is that it is named Fortran and it's a computer program of some sort. Interesting reading. No, it really is!

Anyway, I suggested to Steevil that he should keep a battle axe on the poop deck for those times he needs to cut his Vectran off. TO WHICH, he adds this:

For normal (Nylon or Dacron) rope, a "sheep's foot" blade, designed to be pounded on with a wooden mallet (or piece of 2x4) cuts cleanly. For this other stuff, I have to hack at it (come to think of it, I think I've read of people using hacksaws to cut hi-tech rope).

Vectran's pretty good stuff. It doesn't have the heat sensitivity of some other things (hence the difficulty of cutting it with a hot blade). Kevlar has lots of disadvantages--doesn't like turning around small radii, doesn't like heat [Steve later wrote to note this isn't one of the drawbacks. Ed.], is pretty good at cutting itself. Spectra (made by Honeywell) can permanently stretch (creep) if it's loaded up to a reasonable fraction of its breaking strength. Splicing any of them is a pain, and their aren't many knots that work with them.

But aside from those things...

AND IN OTHER EXCITING THINGS, Steevil sends along a link to this handy gadget. Obviously, a market need being met. One does wonder if there will be a companion device with sayings from your mother about sitting up straight, and asking why you're not married yet, and why you never come to visit (not that it's any of her business, since you've got your own life and can't be expected to drop everything just to come see about an old woman who's probably going to die any day now anyway).

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:27 AM | Comments (3)

And you know what else?

I went outside to leave this morning and there was a little brown bunny rabbit sitting out by the tree limbs I'd put at the curb!

It was very cute and Peter Cottontaily-looking. I thought about going back in and getting the kids, but I figured it would run away before I got back out. I decided just to go get a closer look, because it was cute, but of course, it darted out and ran away as I got closer. Right toward the still-open garage door!


Luckily, it swerved around the front of the car and ran into the shrubbery at the front of the house. Being stupid, I decided to see if I could see where it went, and heard it rustling over toward the opposite side of the house. I must have gotten ahead of it though, because just after I got beyond the front door, it dashed back the way it had come. Toward the still-open garage door.


I never saw it again, so I closed up the door and came on to work, and I'm hoping it's not leaving little round pills all over the garage.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:26 AM | Comments (4)

So, I got here this morning...

...and got upstairs and was nearly overcome by the humidity on our floor. It's like the air conditioning wasn't working or something. I stopped by the restroom by the elevator bank and nearly busted my rear end, because the terrazzo floor was slick with condensation. It was like a sauna. The actual office is a bit better--still stuffy and damp feeling, but not quite as bad as the elevator lobby was, but then I noticed my computer was screwy. I had left it on, but for some reason the log in screen was up.

Hmm. I wonder what the deal must be--spies? Saboteurs?



Got this e-mail from our emergency coordinator dude a few minutes ago:

A squirrel got into the high-voltage system supplying City Hall this morning and caused an outage in our immediate area. Fortunately, Alabama Power has provided temporary power to the area, including City Hall. They will be switching over to the regular power sometime later this morning, which may result in a momentary shut-down of power, including the computer system.

Stupid tree rats.

On the plus side?


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:12 AM | Comments (2)


Well, at least in the nickname sense. But in lieu of a Catblogging Friday photo of Lightning, here's one of Cat(herine) for you to enjoy. This is one that Reba took earlier in the spring before the last of Cat's wrecks and before the trip to the store to get new tires for her bike.


Oh, who am I trying to fool--this is just a way to post a photo of my car.

I tell you, it's really difficult to come up with cat photos of Lightning that are unique. Maybe if I taught HIM to ride a bicycle...

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

June 07, 2007

Perpetuating the Stereotype, Politician Edition

Sounds almost as good as those melees you see of Taiwanese legislators duking it out: Alabama senator throws punch in scuffle in Senate chamber

Posted by Associated Press June 07, 2007 4:02 PM

MONTGOMERY -- Session-long tensions in the Alabama Senate boiled over Thursday as Republican Sen. Charles Bishop of Jasper punched Democratic Sen. Lowell Barron of Fyffe in the head before the two were pulled apart.

Bishop said he punched Barron after the senator called him a "son of a bitch."

"I responded to his comment with my right hand," Bishop said.

Barron initially refused to comment and went into a closed-door meeting with other Democrats. Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, was seen going into the Democratic meeting carrying first aid supplies, but she said Barron was not hurt.

Bishop said he regretted throwing the punch because "that's not the way grown men solve their problems," but he said he would not immediately apologize to Barron.

The fight came on the final day of the 2007 regular session of the Legislature as Republican senators were using delaying tactics to force the Democratic leadership to bring up an election reform bill to ban transfers of campaign donations between political action committees.

The Senate had just taken a recess Thursday afternoon when Bishop approached the chair where Barron was sitting. Moments later security officers and others rushed to separate the two senators.

Alabama Public Television tape showed Bishop taking a swing at Barron and hitting him in the head.

Republican senators and a few dissent Democrats have been using delaying tactics in the Senate all session to protest Senate rules formed by the Democratic majority that the minority coalition says are unfair.

"It's indicative of how much tension is in the Senate right now," said Sen. Larry Dixon, R-Montgomery.

Members of the Alabama House said the incident makes the entire Legislature look bad.

"It's certainly a black eye on the Legislature and the Senate in particular," said Rep. Jay Love, R-Montgomery.

So to speak.

Anyway, looks like someone finally took Frank J. up on that whole "punch liberals in their dumb monkey face" thing.

No word on if any deer antlers or shovels were involved in the fracas.

(Post updated at 4:50 with version of events via the Huntsville Times in lieu of shorter version from the Birmingham News I'd first posted. Links to respective Senator's websites added.)

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

Seems like I remember reading this before.

Origin of Deja Vu Pinpointed

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)


Judge puts freeze on Jefferson's assets

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal judge Thursday froze the assets of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who was indicted this week on charges of soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. [...]

Lawyers for Rep. Jefferson objected strenuously to this move by the judge, noting that it marked a great waste of time and a duplication of effort, given that Jefferson's assets were already frozen solid to begin with before being brutally seized from his office freezer by FBI agents.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

Illegal immigration.

Boy, the place is all lit up about this, isn't it?

I've been trying to figure out what's going on and personally, I think this is a very important issue, or not, and one that must be addressed firmly and positively immediately, unless it should be addressed irresolutely and tentatively at some point in the future, if at all.

Obviously, nothing meaningful can happen without security, and meaningful security at that, provided that much good cannot be done in some other way, such as through insecurity and a three-part carbonless paper form that can be easily filed underneath a file cabinet.

It is clear that families are being hit hardest by this, except for those people who have no families, or those families who have no people, none of whom will be able to grow up and share in the benefits guaranteed by the Constitution to everyone who lives outside the United States, among these being life, liberty, the pursuit of Paris Hilton, free day care, a million dollar per year minimum wage, no late fees or failure to rewind fees, and an opportunity to appear on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.

There has been much talk of a fence, which I am all for, because talking solves things a mere fence cannot, except for those things that only a fence can solve, which aren't that many, but still frightening, or not. I know I've wanted a fence for years, because I'm quite tired of neighborhood children traipsing through my backyard taking a shortcut to other people's houses to offer grass-cutting services they are trying to wrest away from illegal immigrants. And if the fence is not the answer (although I'm not convinced that it is, or not) maybe a better solution would be a long, large, very high permanent barrier used to protect my property. Or not.

Thankfully, we have Congress to sort this mess out, and for that we must all be eternally chagrined, unless they do exactly what we want, which is much, and in doing so secure for themselves a beloved position in our hearts as highly paid, barely qualified public servants willing to sacrifice the blood and toil of others. I feel confident they will continue to look after the little man, by robbing the big man, to whom they will then succor with a special loss regaining mechanism applying a multiplier of 1.008783 to reimburse him for the the losses to the little man, and that this will gladly be paid for by the middle sized man, whose remaining worldly goods will be transferred to a special secure government holding facility where they will be washed with special environmentally-sensitive chemicals and allowed to air dry naturally on a very large fence, and from thence taken by illegal men, pressed, folded (or placed on hangers) and given to the little man, who will sell them in order to purchase lottery tickets. Or not--it's still somewhat unclear in my mind. Except for the parts that are clear.

I remain firm in my conviction that we face trying times ahead, if these reform measures are not overwhelmingly passed or defeated right now, or some time later, or earlier, or not at all.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:52 PM | Comments (2)


Mother Nature is quite the fickle one.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

Oh, good grief.

The original post that led to other posts that finally wound up being linked in THIS post is such a bunch of twaddle.

What is it with some people? If you can't find some sort of earthy, carnal attraction to your own spouse without getting tut-tutted about it, then something is just bad wrong with this country. The original photo that started all the swooning hand-wringing is tame beyond belief.

Look, there's a time and a place for everything, certainly, but please--just as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes a guy standing beside his wife and talking to her is just a guy standing beside his wife talking to her.

Now, by way of full disclosure, you all should know--if you're not abundantly aware of it already--that I find it difficult to look on my wife for more than about a minute or two before my mind starts wandering to thoughts of a more base nature. Just last night, as we were sitting on the pew at Vacation Bible School, listening to all the kids singing the list of Old Testament judges, she had to tell me something, so I leaned over so she could she could tell me in my ear because it was so loud in the auditorium, and as she was telling me, I noticed that I could look right down her blouse, so I did, and I enjoyed it tremendously, and had to ask that she repeat herself several times as I held my ear to her mouth.

Oh, sure, she finally caught on and told me to stop it RIGHT NOW, but, still, this country would be a lot better if people would leer at their own spouse a bit more often, and really mean it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:37 AM | Comments (6)


Finally, someone has taken my idea of how to deal with miscreants.

Feisty Ga. family subdues home intruder

HINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A robbery suspect was rescued by officers after his intended victims disarmed him, beat him with a metal broomstick and were about to whack him with a shovel, authorities said.

Police officers who were summoned to the home late Tuesday said they found the suspect, identified as Darrel Rolle, 27, lying on the living-room floor as Wu Ni's family held him down.

"He was so exhausted, we had to help him walk to the patrol car," Sheriff's Deputy Brian Barnes said.

Poor little thing. Even worse is that an hour later he was hungry for another butt-whupping.

Ni, a restaurant cook, told officers that he, his wife, his parents and other family members were returning to the home when he was confronted in the master bedroom by a man pointing a gun and shouting, "Give me the money!"

Ni said the man forced him to his knees and was taking cash from another family member when Ni grabbed his arm and took the gun away.

But that was just the start of the melee. According to the police report, Ni's parents and a cousin jumped on Rolle, and the combatants moved to the living room, where Ni's wife, Rong Lin, pummeled Rolle with a metal broomstick.

Rong his bell, so to speak...

When the broomstick bent, Rong Lin got a shovel from the backyard, but Barnes and a second officer arrived before Rolle could get hit with the shovel, authorities said.

"When we walked into the living room, the family let Rolle go," Barnes said. "We were able to cuff him without incident."

I'm certain he was quite ready to be arrested.

Oh, and here's something:

The gun turned out to be a pellet gun, police said.

Rock crush scissor. Paper cover rock. Scissor cut paper. And a real shovel beats fake gun.

Rolle was treated at a hospital for scratches and a bite on his ear and then taken to jail. He was charged with armed robbery, burglary and battery. Wu Ni was treated at the scene for cuts and a bite on his arm.

Hinesville police could not say Thursday whether Rolle had an attorney.

Somehow, I can almost guarantee you there'll be some sort of ambulance-chaser who'll sign on to try to rip these folks off for defending themselves.

I bet you it won't be someone from Hinesville, Georgia, though.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

Oh, who am I kidding.

No made-up story is ever as good as real life.

Man in critical condition after being stabbed with deer antler

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — A Columbus, Georgia, man was in critical condition after being stabbed with a deer antler during a fight.

Columbus police responding to the incident Monday night found a man lying in the road and another man sitting nearby. Police say 55-year-old Terry Moore had a stab wound to his left ribs and a head wound. He was rushed to The Medical Center in Columbus.

According to authorities, witnesses said the man sitting with Moore, 47-year-old Eugene Ellington, stabbed him with a deer antler and struck him with the rim of a bicycle tire. Ellington was arrested and has been charged with aggravated assault.

Police say the two men were acquaintances who argued before the fight because Moore refused to stop calling Ellington a name with an expletive.

But of course.

Ellington denied that the deer antler was his.

Well, he's technically right--he's not a deer and so he couldn't possibly have grown a deer antler. Still, I'm not sure that's a winning legal gambit in this instance.

And finally--

The west Georgia city is located near the Alabama line.

A little too near.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

Seeing as how...

...the writers of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three are all out trying to find gainful employment during the summer hiatus, we have all this free time on Thursday mornings to fill with something equally entertaining.

THUS, it is with great pride that we present for your enjoyment...


I'll give you the characters and setting, and YOU, the vast Possumblog readership, will get the opportunity to write your very own production!


SO then, let's see what we have:


REUEL J. PUDDLER--Crusty patriarch of the Puddler dynasty. Made his fortune in the broom industry.

GLADYS PUDDLER--Crusty matriarch of the Puddler dynasty. Maiden name Rutabenner, of the Albany Rutabenners.

NORDEAN PUDDLER--Dim eldest child of the Puddler dynasty. Given to fits of singing and shopping cart theft.

SAKS PUDDLER--Rakishly dissolute second child of the Puddler dynasty. Rumored to have been sired by SAKS FUNDERBURGER.

BRYTTANIEEGH PUDDLER--Youngest child of the Puddler dynasty. Graduated cum laude from AAA Community University. Rumored to have been sired by REUEL PUDDLER.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON--Handyman of the Puddler estate. Was won in a card game between REUEL PUDDLER and SAKS FUNDERBURGER.

SAKS FUNDERBURGER--Curmudgeonly paterfamilias of the Funderburger empire. Made his fortune in toothpick dispenser industry.

BRITTINI FUNDERBURGER--Vivacious materfamilias of the Funderburger empire and fourth wife of SAKS FUNDERBURGER. Maiden name Newly, of the Whispering Pines Subdivision Newlys. Graduated summa cum laude from Harvard Med.

TIM AND RICKY FUNDERBURGER--Twin sons born of ROBERTA LEE FUNDERBURGER, first wife of SAKS. Interests include gambling, drinking, and BRITTINI FUNDERBURGER.

NELDA FUNDERBURGER--Eldest daughter of SAKS, born of MONICA FUNDERBURGER, second wife of SAKS. Quiet, unassuming, favors sensible shoes, works for NSA in counterintelligence.

QUINN FUNDERBURGER--Burly, yet passionately artistic, plays offensive guard for local AFL-2 league and owns local gallery specializing in Russian Suprematist art. Born of CINDI FUNDERBURGER, third wife of SAKS. Secretly dallying with BRYTTANIEEGH PUDDLER.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG--Mayor of Palastski Township, bitter archrival to both SAKS FUNDERBURGER and REUEL PUDDLER. Father of CINDI FUNDERBURGER.

FLYING OFFICER WHITBEY JEROME SKATTLETON, RCAF (ret.)--Flew three supply missions to Northwest Territories in 1967 before becoming debilitated due to toe injury suffered from dropped pallet of canned mutton. Retired to warmer climes to nurse toe back to health, insists on being called full name with honorifics.

TOWNSFOLK, VARIOUS--Sturdy, good-hearted people who always vote Republican unless they vote Democrat. Generous, hard-working, loyal and not given to violence unless urged on by petty, damp-armpitted demogogues.


OPENING SCENE: Midday, Palastski Township-Bloomberg Municipal Justice Building, mob of TOWNSFOLK, VARIOUS crowd front staircase.

A woman screams as a baby carriage begins bouncing down the marble steps...

NOW! Each of you add your own paragraphy and direction, and we'll have the grandest two (or twelve) act blogplay EVER CREATED on a Thursday in June!


See how fun this is?!


We wish to thank everyone for your incredible outpouring of passion and creativity, making this the single most successful blogplay ever to have been done on Possumblog on this date! Of course, we couldn't have done this without our kind sponsors: Playtime Costume Rentals at East South Plaza; Lorenzo's Catering #3 at 923 West 154th Street; and Buddy G. Music and Trophy, Highway 9 Bypass. And our most profound thanks to Ted McGinley for stopping by and delivering a searing portrayal of Ricky Funderburger.

Thank you again, everyone!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:30 AM | Comments (11)

June 06, 2007


I've really got to do a better job of remembering the proper pop culture references.

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

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

FERETORY. A shrine for relics designed to be carried in processions; kept behind the high altar.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

Okay, I sorta have a problem with something that can be hoisted and toted around being labelled as an architectural term, but other dictionaries (none of which have a reference to flightless ANTarctic birds) say it can also be the area of a church where relics are kept.

But, let's face it, it sounds like something you'd keep a ferret in, and therefore has great comedic value.

SO, here's a ferret.

And here's an interesting tale of St. Swithun, which includes a handy graphic showing where his feretory is located.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:20 PM | Comments (4)

I am shocked--SHOCKED!

New Video Likely Not Loch Ness Monster

Actually, a pretty good (if a little too short) commentary on what should be obvious.

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

Obviously, he's not a big fan of Willie Sutton.

Guman robs post office in rural Tuscaloosa County

I heard this on the news last night, and couldn't help but wondering exactly how much cash the Ralph, Alabama (pop. 1,098; number of businesses, 8) post office has in the till on a given Tuesday morning in order to induce someone to commit armed robbery to retrieve it.

Surely there has to be some other nearby place with better prospects for success. Such as underneath the guy's sofa cushions.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

The Perfect Candidate?

Well, he's no Fred! Thompson!, but still, I believe he offers a realistic, workable, honest vision for America.

Or, if we can't have Dave, I suggest Dan.

Gurney For President.jpg

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:40 AM | Comments (6)

. . . _

63 years have passed, but the memory of what took place should never die.

President Franklin Roosevelt address the nation via radio:

[...] Almighty God: our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day without rest - until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters and brothers of brave men overseas -- whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a countenance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the House of Commons:

[...] I have also to announce to the House that during the night and the early hours of this morning the first of the series of landings in force upon the European Continent has taken place. In this case the liberating assault fell upon the coast of France. An immense armada of upwards of 4,000 ships, together with several thousand smaller craft, crossed the Channel. Massed airborne landings have been successfully effected behind the enemy lines, and landings on the beaches are proceeding at various points at the present time. The fire of the shore batteries has been largely quelled. The obstacles that were constructed in the sea have not proved so difficult as was apprehended. The Anglo-American Allies are sustained by about 11,000 firstline aircraft, which can be drawn upon as may be needed for the purposes of the battle. I cannot, of course, commit myself to any particular details. Reports are coming in in rapid succession. So far the Commanders who are engaged report that everything is proceeding according to plan. And what a plan! This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place. It involves tides, wind, waves, visibility, both from the air and the sea standpoint, and the combined employment of land, air and sea forces in the highest degree of intimacy and in contact with conditions which could not and cannot be fully foreseen.

There are already hopes that actual tactical surprise has been attained, and we hope to furnish the enemy with a succession of surprises during the course of the fighting. The battle that has now begun will grow constantly in scale and in intensity for many weeks to come, and I shall not attempt to speculate upon its course. This I may say, however. Complete unity prevails throughout the Allied Armies. There is a brotherhood in arms between us and our friends of the United States. There is complete confidence in the supreme commander, General Eisenhower, and his lieutenants, and als6 in the commander of the Expeditionary Force, General Montgomery. The ardour and spirit of the troops, as I saw myself, embarking in these last few days was splendid to witness. Nothing that equipment, science or forethought could do has been neglected, and the whole process of opening this great new front will be pursued with the utmost resolution both by the commanders and by the United States and British Governments whom they serve. [Editor's Note: Mr. Churchill added the following statement later in the day]: I have been at the centres where the latest information is received, and I can state to the House that this operation is proceeding in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. Many dangers and difficulties which at this time last night appeared extremely formidable are behind us. The passage of the sea has been made with far less loss than we apprehended. The resistance of the batteries has been greatly weakened by the bombing of the Air Force, and the superior bombardment of our ships quickly reduced their fire to dimensions which did not affect the problem. The landings of the troops on a broad front, both British and American- -Allied troops, I will not give lists of all the different nationalities they represent-but the landings along the whole front have been effective, and our troops have penetrated, in some cases, several miles inland. Lodgments exist on a broad front.

The outstanding feature has been the landings of the airborne troops, which were on a scale far larger than anything that has been seen so far in the world. These landings took place with extremely little loss and with great accuracy. Particular anxiety attached to them, because the conditions of light prevailing in the very limited period of the dawn-just before the dawn-the conditions of visibility made all the difference. Indeed, there might have been something happening at the last minute which would have prevented airborne troops from playing their part. A very great degree of risk had to be taken in respect of the weather.

But General Eisenhower's courage is equal to all the necessary decisions that have to be taken in these extremely difficult and uncontrollable matters. The airborne troops are well established, and the landings and the follow-ups are all proceeding with much less loss-very much less-than we expected. Fighting is in progress at various points. We captured various bridges which were of importance, and which were not blown up. There is even fighting proceeding in the town of Caen, inland. But all this, although a very valuable first step-a vital and essential first step-gives no indication of what may be the course of the battle in the next days and weeks, because the enemy will now probably endeavour to concentrate on this area, and in that event heavy fighting will soon begin and will continue without end, as we can push troops in and he can bring other troops up. It is, therefore, a most serious time that we enter upon. Thank God, we enter upon it with our great Allies all in good heart and all in good friendship.

dday stripes.jpg

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

June 05, 2007

Yet more opportunities for finding alternative entertainment!

I've got an early meeting tomorrow morning, so the constant supply of weak humor and vapid commentary to which you've become accustomed will have to be satisfied elsewhere for an hour or two.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day.

Via renowned NASA rocket surgeon Steevil: "I figured he would go up there and step on somebody's neck, and that would be the end of it."

A close second, from earlier in the same article: "You'll do."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:51 PM | Comments (2)

Man, this whole "Discovery of America" deal is just ALL topsy-turvy today!

First, this story: Chicken Bones Suggest Polynesians Found Americas Before Columbus, and then I just saw another story that says the FRENCH got here even before that--Ancient Frogs Rafted to the Caribbean.

I guess they sent the ancient Frogs so that in case they didn't make it back, no big deal. Still, I think I would have given them something a little bit sturdy than a raft.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:30 PM | Comments (2)

Okay, it's not like I was TRYING to be all John Edwardsy.

It's just that there wasn't any shampoo in the shower this morning OTHER than the two (incredibly expensive) bottles of girly salon goo--one was just regular Healthy Sexy Hair Soymilk Shampoo, the other, Healthy Sexy Hair Chocolate Soymilk Shampoo.

It was either use one of those, or wash my hair with deodorant soap.

So, I used the chocolate. Smelled like I was showering in Ovaltine. And all I could think of was how silly all this stuff is. That is, until I read this: British women prefer chocolate to sex: poll . All makes sense now, I guess--the shampoo comes from Great [sic] Britain after all, and apparently the women there like their chocolate more than their men. Such as they are.

Still, I am haunted by the fact that this stuff is in MY house. Could this be some sort of not-so-subtle hint regarding my declining he-manly attractiveness!? And rather than just going ahead and lathering my head with a bar of Lever 2000, did I inadvertently make matters even worse by poncing it up with a dollop of chocolate shampoo!? Chocolate soy milk shampoo, that not only will make my hair shiny, but make me grow girly bits and desire to watch Music and Lyrics--again!

I've GOT to be sure to stop by the store on the way home and get a gallon bottle of Sam's Choice shampoo/dishwashing detergent.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:41 AM | Comments (13)

One shouldn't make fun of the Irish.

Unless they have a sufficient amount of discretionary income.

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

Maybe it's just me...

...but the cure sounds worse than the condition.

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

Well, my, my.

The times, they ARE a'changin'!

As the old saying goes, a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged.

(Via Dr. Reynolds, who is not a medical doctor.)

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

Well, would you look who the...

...probation officer just dragged in! It's been a while since we last spoke, but you all will be happy to know Dr. Possum is visiting with us again today, which means it's time for another exciting round of ASK DR. POSSUM!

Dr. Possum, freshly arrived from Cannes, is here to answer your questions of a medical nature, as well as any other question on any other topic, including, but not limited to, crustaceans, radio theory, furniture assembly, naughtiness, the Kuiper Belt, chickens, and the meaning of life.

As you know, Dr. Possum has studied at some of the finest institutions of higher learning across the globe, and is one of the foremost authorities on everything. And he's a REAL doctor!*

So if you've got a question, leave it in the comment section below and wait just a moment, and throught he magic of the Internet, you will in only a very short time receive an answer.

It might even be correct!**

*Dr. Possum is NOT a real doctor.

**No warranty is expressed or implied.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:57 AM | Comments (10)

June 04, 2007

Oh, yeah. I forgot.

The Childrens' Large Fabric Playhouse will need furniture.

Of course, certain members of my household think it should be equipped with something large and pretty and furniturey and more costly than our indoor furniture.

Other members of the household believe there's nothing wrong with decorating out of the Briscoe Darling/Samford and Son catalog, seeing as how the doodads and furbelos in question will be used by our children, and probably by strangers who seem to have made a habit of getting to the street behind us by walking along our property line, and by various rabid woodland creatures.

A nice porch glider, some deep chairs, and a flat place to put your feet up sound okay by me, and I can't see why that would have to cost more more arms and legs than I have.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

Up early...

...Sunday, walking around like an arthritic crab. I've resolved from now on to only eat Rice Krispies for breakfast to muffle the sound of my joints snapping, crackling, and popping.

Got everyone up and dressed, and it was off to church.

I was still a bit fatigued, and during the Sunday School lesson I kept getting very close to nodding off, then would have one of those odd semi-lucid dreams where I'm on a ladder and the gutter just brushed past my outstretched fingertips as I was falling toward the ground. I did my best to mask my sudden twitches of reawakening by acting like I was shifting in my seat or fixing my sock.

Good sermon after that, and then it was on to home for lunch, consisting of all the food that was left over from the previous night, and then Mom took Rebecca for her special surprise, going to Wal-Mart to finally spend her Christmas money, as well as some time with just her and Mommy. (Well, Catherine had to go, too.) Rebecca's been saving since Christmas, although we were never quite sure what for.

So, off they went, leaving me to watch multiple re-runs of M*A*S*H* in place of the rained-out Dover race. You know, I remember thinking M*A*S*H* was funny. It was when it started, I guess, but boy, they were phoning it in by the time they got to BJ and Winchester. And not even using very good telephones. What absolute crap.

Dozed a bit, and then the girls got back. And Rebecca had managed to get herself a new blue 4G iPod Nano! Of course, she knew Oldest would be jealous (Oldest, who gets more money for Christmas, but refuses to save any of it) but she didn't care. So, we've take one more step into the 21st Century.

But before we could play with it, it was time to head back to church for evening worship and the kickoff of Vacation Bible School. It was my turn to lead singing, and of all the things I've managed to do over the years--forgetting words, mangling melodies, turning purple from coughing--I managed to do one new thing I've not EVER done before.

I squeaked.


It was the whole Peter Brady, "It's Time To Change," thing, except I didn't have any backup singers and I left my bell bottomed suit at the house. Luckily, it wasn't really that bad and I think I was probably the only one who heard the repeat of the onset of my puberty, and for once I actually did have the tune and tempo all lined up right, but still, where in the WORLD did that voice cracking come from!? I blame global warming.

Wrapped that up, and then we sequed right into VBS, which this year is about loving your neighbors, and not just the people next door, but maybe even those on the other side of THEM! Shocking, I know.

Home, 9:30, and everyone was tired, and sorta hungry, but it was too late for supper. TO BED WITH YOU ALL!

Except for Rebecca and me.

Because we had iPodding to do!

Got my church clothes off and settled in at the computer. Downloaded iTunes (simple), set up an iTunes store account (confusing, but ultimately achievable), and copied three songs from one of her CDs to her iTunes library (incredibly simple), got an updated set of software for the iPod (automatic, but time consuming), then figured out how to get the previously copied songs onto her iPod (not quite foolproof, but I figured out that it was because it was plugged in and recharging while the other stuff was going on, and it didn't sync properly. After we did it again, it worked like a charm.)

I'm telling you, I've never seen what the big deal was with these gizmos. But after spending a couple of hours messing around with it, I want one more than I can stand. They are SO FLIPPIN' COOL!

I wish I could save money for one...

SO, anyway, the tale of the tape: deck extension, CLFP, new floodlamps, saving the environment by driving all over the country, replay of puberty, and I become part of the iPod culture. What an odd weekend.


You know that wedding I was supposedly all wanting to go to?

Well, I really think someone must have been hearing things, because Friday afternoon, Boy was scheduled for his oral surgery. I was supposed to take him, but since Miss Reba was off, she did the honors.

He came through just fine, although a dose of Tylenol 3 would bring anyone through just about anything in fine shape. Anyway, with his mouth distress, the nuptializing just had to be cast by the wayside. So, you know, things have a way of working out pretty well.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:11 PM | Comments (4)

You know...

...if the instructions say it can safely be assembled by no less than three people working cooperatively, it's probably a good bet they didn't just pull that number out of a hat.


I only need a ten year old girl!


Because I am a moron.

ANYway, after the deck had dried sufficiently and I had gotten the big box out of the garage, the moment of truth arrived, accompanied by Catherine, who wanted to get into that box with all of her being.

Laid it on the ground, cut loose the binding, and opened it up, whereupon she pounced on the bubble wrap and loose assemblage. "DO YOU NEED THIS, DADDY!?"

"Not yet, please put it back."


"NO, please put it down."




"Look, I know you want to help, but I need to figure this out and read the instructions and make sure all the parts are here and if you keep plundering through this stuff I'm not going to be able to put it together so could you PLEASE stop touching everything until I tell you to and PLEASE be quiet so I can read with this says and DON'T MESS WITH ANYTHING."

"I was just tryin' to help.'

Awww. Poor lil' girl, bless her heart.

But don't touch anything.

Actually, it's a pretty simple thing. Four corners made up of two pieces bolted together, four thin beams, four roof supports with four corner supports, some shelves, and a fabric roof and mosquito net. A few bolts, some clips, and all is well.

I got Catherine to be helpful and go get my socket set out of the garage, because I wasn't going to use that silly flat wrench included in the hardware--it'd take forEVER.

Read some more, then here came Cat with my tools, which she plopped down onto the deck and opened, spilling out ever single socket in the box.


Reason #2391903 why things take so long to get done at my house, and why I have prematurely gray hair. We picked up all the shiny things and put them back in their numbered locations, then bolted together the corner pieces.

Then, after that, I got to looking at that tree.

I stood up one of the corners, and figured once the roof was on, it was going to be somewhat close to the lower branches on the pine tree.



"Okay, Cat--help me move all this stuff off the deck."

In yet another exercise in slowing things down, I decided to cut those lower limbs off. Got out the pruning saw (the one I'd nearly cut my thumb off with many, many years ago) and started making a big mess. Those limbs looked so much smaller when they were way up in the air attached to a tree.

Four big limbs came crashing down, along with a couple of smaller ones, and they were dutifully stacked at the side of the house to await brush pickup day.

While I was wrestling with a long-leaf pine, the children were off playing with the newest toy in the yard, a Hula Hoop. Jonathan, being a boy, delighted in throwing it up high in the air. Jonathan, being my son, was surprised when it got caught in the top of the maple tree.



Well, that's okay--it's not like I'm not already nearly dead anyway from my unnatural exertions of the day, and not at all like I'm not yet certain if I'm going to get this CLFP assembled before nightfall. Let me take some more time to rescue a thin cheap plastic torus from its arboreal assailant.

Since I still had the pole lopper in my hand, I figured I'd see if it would reach. Extended it all the way out and found it was short by approximately a foot.



Went and got the big steel folding ladder, since I was going to need it later for the roof of the playhouse anyway, and to change out that light fixture. Unfolded it, and successfully rescued the Hula Hoop. AND the precursor--a plastic glow-in-the-dark necklace Jonathan had thrown in the exact same tree in nearly the exact same place back about six months ago.

NOW THEN, to assemble the gazebo.

Fastened the thin beams to the corners and stood it up. Now to get it square. Since I was now so discombobulated and heat-strokey, I couldn't readily add up the required numbers to make sure it was centered on the platform, so I got Cat to run get my dimension calculator from the house.

Punched in the numbers and determined I needed 2 1/4 inches on each of the long sides, and 3/4 inches on each of the short sides. Or vice-versa. I tried to explain what I was doing, but Catherine seemed confused. It could have been because I was babbling.

Centered it up, and tacked it down to the platform, hoping it won't blow too far away in the next tornado. Now time for the roof supports.

THIS is when you need three people to work on it.

Like wrestling a big metal four-legged spider. BUT, I did, after much straining and grunting and unsaid oaths manage to get all four corners neatly clicked into place. It's looking very nice, I must say.

Time for the fabric cover.

THIS is when you need three people to work on it.

Or more.

BUT, I did, after much straining and grunting and unsaid oaths and the introduction of the steel ladder manage to stretch the fabric over the framework. It was very, VERY difficult to do, especially without anyone holding the opposite end--like putting a too-tight sheet onto a mattress (or a too-tight fabric cover on a flimsy metal gazebo frame), one side would pop up when I tugged the opposite side down.

I did get it attached, though. And all the little hook-and-loop straps fastened.

Boy, was I tired.

Time for the mosquito netting. It fits under the skirt of the fabric cover, which means I probably should have put it on first. Sure would have been a lot easier.

Attached all the little plastic shower curtan rings to the loops, then spent the next half hour with my hands up above my head making my arms ache attaching each little ring to the metal beam that ran around the thing. And mightily tugging the fabric cover up and down to cover the top edge of the netting. AND stopping to dig up one of Reba's rose bushes that was at the corner of the platform, threatening to open great big holes in the netting.


It looks just like the picture. Sorta.

Now then, since it was nearing sunset, it was time for the final project of the day, installing that light fixture on the corner.

Reba and the two older girls left to go pick up some Chinese food for supper, so I was left alone with the two younger kids, who by this late time had already gone inside and gotten their baths and washed their hair.

I was cleaning up my mess and saw Boy come outside--"Mom said I should keep an eye on you."

Mom was right--I'd spent all day on various CLFP-related tasks, and I was very tired and my shoulders and arms ached mightily from all that overhead fidgeting with tiny frustrating parts. I really didn't need to be climbing a ladder.

But I am a moron.

Got my fixture and my shiny new bulbs and put them in the old rocking chair on the patio and got the ladder moved over to its new spot.

Rest for a minute.

Looked at the old chair--it's far past time to throw it away. I'd bought it while I was down at Auburn and so it's set outside for twenty years now, and its rockers are rotted off and its wobbly. Time to give it a decent burial. I was absent-mindedly tilting it back and forth to finish breaking off the one final bit of rocker, when my package of brand new compact fluorescent bulbs ever so slowly tipped forward and floated to the ground below the chair. Only about a foot of drop. It landed gently on the metal ladder.



I hoped against hope I'd not broken the thing, but when I picked up the package (it was a two pack) I heard the tell-tale tinkle of broken glass inside.


At least it didn't creat a toxic cloud of mercury. The interior swirly cone was still intact--it was only the exterior reflector and lens that broke. I thought long and hard about trying to figure out how to reuse it anyway, but even I'm not that big of a moron.

Well crap.

Got Boy to help me fold the ladder out straight, and then hoisted it up against the side of the house. Got my small electric screwdriver (the single cell one that wouldn't have worked on the deck screws) and put it in my pocket.

"Okay, now Jonathan, I want you to stand here and hold this ladder, okay? And before I get up there, let me ask you this--if I fall, what should you do?"

And now, back to the first post of the morning--"Catch you?"

"NO! You call 9-1-1! Buddy, you'd kill yourself trying to catch me--just run and call 9-1-1 as quick as you can and don't try to catch me!"

Up the ladder.

You know, one of the things I do not miss at all about working for an architecture firm is climbing ladders. I used to have to go do roof inspections, and there was nothing I hated more. And, of course, you have to just John Wayne-it up and not act like it bothers you, but I never did really get over having to do it. And still dislike heights, but when something has to be fixed, it has to be fixed, and by golly, I had about 30 minutes of daylight left, and I wasn't about to be defeated.

So, up the ladder. The springy steel ladder, shimmying and shaking and swaying and gyrating like a young Kate Pierson. I don't know if it was simply the nature of the construction of the ladder or fear making itself known through involuntary muscle twitches in my legs. In any event, I got all the way to the eave of the house, which is two stories high. Or about 240 inches, for those of you who use the metric system. I carefully reached over to the fixture and unscrewed on bulb, then let it drop to Jonathan below, who caught it like a champ. Unscrewed the next bulb, and let it drop away to be caught again. Now the fun part.

Got out my screwdriver and reached over to unscrew the two screws holding it to the plywood of the eave, trying to figure out if I DID happen to start falling, if I could hold onto the gutter or downspout enough to slow me down to less than terminal velocity. Probably not. Undid the screws, dropped one, pocketed the other, and pulled the wiring down. Uncoupled the wire nuts holding everything together, and then remembered that maybe it would have been good to have turned off the power. Especially since I was high atop a steel ladder.

Resolved to be extra EXTRA careful, I put the wire nuts back on the service wires and dropped the fixture to the ground.

Down the swaying ladder, on the ground, got the new fixture and hardware out, made a preliminary adjustment to the bulb holders to aim the light the right way, and back up the ladder.


"Right, Daddy!"

Got to the top and got the wires hooked back up without electrocuting myself, poked them back up into the attic and began the delicate process of screwing the fixture back onto the eave. Did it. Whew. Nothing dropped. Not even me.

Back down the ladder, and the issue of new bulbs.

Obviously, since the hard part was done, I couldn't very well wait about the bulbs--I needed them, and I needed them now. It was 7:45.

Told Jonathan to stay in the house, and I gathered up a tired, wetheaded Catherine to go look for a replacement.


Closed at 7.


Every type of bulb, except compact fluorescent floodlamps.

Home Depot?

Got 'em and headed home.

Home, and saw that Reba and the girls had just gotten home with supper, but by now I was not the least bit hungry. Too hot, too tired, too sore.

Back up the ladder, clutching both bulbs and the ladder with equal ferocity. Screwed them in, back down the ladder.

Went to the light switch at the back door, and...

Yeah, I know--I was half-expecting them not to work, either, but both of them lit up and shone right where they needed to. And it was good.

Now then, that UNbroken bulb from the first pack. I had a burnt out bulb on the front corner of the house, so I folded the ladder back down in half, hauled it to the front corner (blessedly only 8 feet off the ground) and changed out the old bulb for the new, and reaimed the fixture to that it actually shone on the driveway instead of the wall of the house behind the holly bush.

Put away the ladder, and that, my friends, all twelve hours of it, was my Saturday.

I ate a little bowl of soup, went upstairs, showered, and hit the hay.


Yes, there's SUNDAY in the mix, too!

NEXT: Christmas shopping, and VBS!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:23 PM | Comments (6)

Phase II

Deck Lengthening.

CAUTION: Contains carpentry and carpentry-related text. May not be suitable for those who wish to remain awake.

Okay, so I gots myself this wooden platform. First step, taking up the end deck board to get at the stringer on the end in order to remove it.

Old screws have a tendency to rust, which makes rounding them off with a power screwdriver quite easy. And makes them a bit harder than they should be to get off.

Undid the majority of them then got a wrecking bar to pry up the two screws that were still imbedded in the wood, and to my surprise, the stringer wasn't simply nailed to the ends of the joists, but each joint had it's own little joist hanger screwed to the end, all of which were in turn screwed to the stringer. Very nicely done, whoever originally built it. AND it makes it that much easier to fix.

Unscrewed the stringer, unscrewed all the joist hangers and set them aside. Now then, to lengthen out those two end joists by two feet. Got my board, and my nail plate, and had absolutely NO SUCCESS. These plates (more properly, mending plates) are difficult to get started into the wood, and even tougher when you've got no way to support what you're trying to nail against. I beat and banged on the thing until I had it mangled quite well, and realized it was going to be another trip to the hardware store.

I figured out after much sweat that a simple flat plate would work a lot better.


Off down to the Marvin's at the foot of the hill, grabbed two plates and was back home in no time, screwed the plates on to the short extensions, then onto the ends of the side joists, and then reconnected the stringer I'd taken off earlier to the ends of the extensions. Screws are very nice. If your batteries hold up.

Now then--I had a nice box (that I assumed was relatively square--I never did check it) and it was time to add in the interior joists. And answer questions from the children who came out to inspect what I was doing before they went next door to play with the baby. I was able to tell them that I was hot and sweaty before they lost interest and ran off.

ANYway, the platform sits very close to, or in some spots, on the ground, so it wasn't too bad getting the wood in place, but it did require some scratching with the end of the crowbar to level out some high spots. Once done with that, I reattached the joist hangers onto the 3 foot boards, slid them into place beside the existing joists, and snugged them up to the stringer, but not so tightly that they would push it out of position. Screwed in the hanger ends into the stringer, then went back and screwed the new joists to the old. The one foot of extra overlap length allowed enough room to position the boards and pull them up tightly under the old decking to insure it was relatively level and true. Three screws per joist, and I was done with the support work. (And obviously, if I was doing this on anything other than something that was already on the ground, I would have lagged those boards together with some actual meaty lag screws--as it was, the three thin screws I put in there will do fine for what it's holding up.)

Reba brought me a barbecue sandwich, which I ate, although I really wasn't in the type of condition that made barbecue appetizing. Sweat makes it taste sorta weird. And soggy. Anyway, it was better than passing out from hunger, so that's a plus.

Next, the decking!

Turned over the one original board I had taken loose to begin with, and set it on the outside and screwed it back down. This allows you to make an edge between which all the other boards can be arranged so that they have consistent gaps between each board. Of course, I didn't realize there would be quite so much crook in the boards.

Got them all four laid out between the existing and the end board, put one screw in the end of each where they were all spaced evenly, then went down to the OTHER end to align them. Well, there was no way it was going to be even spaces. A couple were so far out that I wound up having to undo them and turn them end for end to attempt to get them slightly more even.

Still, even with the attempts at matching the spaces, I still had to use the ol' iron persuader to warp the boards back sideways as I anchored them down.

That is, until my batteries ran completely out.


I'd gotten almost finished, and then there was nothing left. And none of the other batteries were charged up. Meaning that I had two options--use a regular screwdriver (HAHAHAAAAA!!) or go get some deck nails.

Back to the store.

Looked around to see if they had any batteries--they did, but it wasn't worth the price--and then got a box of ring shanks.

Home, finished nailing down the decking, pushing and pulling the crooked ones into place, and HEY! Pretty much okay!

I did cut a couple of pieces of blocking to hold the corners up off the ground a bit--again, since it's not supporting much weight, this is okay for what it's going to be holding. AND THEN!?


The old platform has been sitting uncovered under a pine tree for ten years now, so it needed to be cleaned. Got a bucket of bleach and some water and a push broom and found more muscles I should have been using more often. But at least I got to enjoy the refreshing scent of bleach. Once it was all done, it looked quite nice. Ish. The new boards are still a lot lighter. But I do NOT care.

Now--time for Phase III!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:39 AM | Comments (2)

Okay, now then.

Sorry about the delay. Not only did we have a long staff meeting (with all of our long staffs) I had to make a run to the bank to stave off at least a couple of creditors. Temporarily.

Anyway, that took a lot of time due to the technological progress that has made everything go twice as slow as it used to. I used to could just go by the drive-through and be in and out in about thirty seconds. It takes five minutes now to do the same thing. BAH! Computers. Never will amount to anything.

AS I WAS RECOUNTING TO YOU, the weekend was very, VERY exciting, if you like it when I get all cramped up like a soda can in a trash compactor.

I decided it was Time.

Time to erect the Childrens' Large Fabric Playhouse. You might recall this as the fabric and aluminum-framed gazebo bought several weeks ago from Target. (vis., here, and here) However, in the interest of protecting myself from neighborhood busybodies who have nothing better to do than pick out improperly painted mailboxes, this will now and forever be named the Childrens' Large Fabric Playhouse, since it seems that--given the overwhelming amount of them--that the usual wood and pretty canvas swingset and playforts are exempt from the governing sections of our covenants. Probably not in the strictly legal sense, but in the reality on the ground, they're EVERYwhere in our neighborhood.

SO, this is a playhouse for the kids. Sure, it's not high up off the ground like some of them are, but we fear for their safety in something so high off the ground. And yes, it's not made of redwood and rainbow canvas, but we want our children to be all cultured and couthish and grown-uppy and all. And yes, it does have mosquito netting on the sides, but that's only because we'd rather then not succumb to some dread vermin-borne contagion of some sort.

So there.

OH, and no, it does NOT take the place of the Large Plastic Not A Storage Shed But A Playhouse. That will remain in place as something of a child annex, should they need a more private place that smells of gasoline.

SO, it was Time.

What did I need to do?

The wooden platform in the backyard is 10 feet long x 8 feet, 3 inches wide. Or vice-versa. The gazebo is a nominal 10x10, although actual dimensions are 9'-8 3/4" square. In either case, there needed to be a stretching of the wooden platform by 2 feet. Or .333 yards for those of you more familiar with the metric system.

Meaning carpentry.

Up early Saturday, had a fine breakfast of pancakes and bacon, then gathered up Middle Girl.

Why her?

Well, she's been wanting to volunteer this summer at our local PetSmart store for the St. Clair County Animal Shelter, who bring various puppies and kitties for adoption to the store on Saturdays. So, she needed to go fill out a form there, so I figured I'd knock that out of the way with my other trip. And it would give me someone who was actually interested in helping me tote things.

Got gas in the van, went to PetSmart, met a big group of very nice volunteers, including a very quiet little redhaired high school girl who sort of reminded me of Rebecca, let Bec fill out the application, got some information, and that was that. She's now signed up to volunteer, and I think if the volunteer coordinator had been there, she could have started. BUT, since she wasn't, the senior volunteer lady was a bit hesitant to hire on a new hand, so Rebecca will get to come in next weekend. And she's very, VERY excited about that. She loves puppies and kitties.

From there, it was time to go shopping, with a stop for some expensive air to fill up the rear tire. And I just now remembered I have a little air pump in the van I could have used. DRAT! I'll remember next time. Not.

To Lowe's--I'd made careful measurements the day before, so I knew I needed four 10ft x 6in x 5/4 pieces of decking (the cheap kind with big grain, even though it doesn't match), and a pressure treated 2x6 for the deck joists, cut into three 3ft lengths, and two 2ft lengths. That's thirteen feet, meaning that since they didn't have a 14 foot piece, I had to get a 16 footer.

And hardware. Screws for the decking, and some nail plates to lengthen the edge joist on the platform, since they had to be a straight splice instead of being sistered together.

Because I didn't have enough on my plate for the day, before I had the long board cut into pieces by the handy Lowe's kid who was running the saw, I stopped to get a new flood light for the corner of the house.

It's been broken forever, with one socket hanging on only by its wires. And both bulbs were burnt out. Since I was going to have to get up there anyway, I figured I might as well go ahead and change out the fixture to an unbroken one. And to cut down on the amount of times I'll ever have to get BACK up there, I got fluorescent flood lamps. Yes, I'm becoming quite the compact fluorescent fan, aren't I? They are more expensive, yes, but they do last a lot longer. If you don't BREAK ONE. More on that later.

Got my lumber sized, went and checked out, (and yes, all during this time Middle Girl was quite helpful at hoisting lumber), and it was time to head home.

Pulled around to the back yard, unloaded, and got ready for Phase II.

NEXT: Phase II.

Oh, and before I forget it--remember that story I posted last week about the kid that got fired from Wal-Mart because he made some lame inflammatory comment about his erstwhile employer? Well, apparently he now has plenty of time on his hands to do a little self-Googling to find out who all has written about him. And he felt compelled to show off his high level of self-esteem in the comments section of that post. He is truly an incredible young man. And really REALLY smart and enlightened and successful.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

"Catch you?"

"NO! You call 9-1-1!"

Just one of the amazing quotes you'll hear about in just a bit. I've got out lovely staff meeting in about six minutes from now, and then I have the task of actually typing up some tepid recollection of events of the weekend just passed.

And I have to limber up.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:25 AM | Comments (2)

June 01, 2007

Time to close up shop.

I sure wish I knew what I was supposed to be doing this weekend.

Darndest thing--I was told last evening that I had agreed to go to a wedding tonight. I have thought and thought, and I do not remember being asked if I wanted to go; and further, I find it unimaginable that even if I DID remember being asked that I would have ever answered in the affirmative.

I've REALLY got to have a camera installed on me so I can replay these lost episodes of my life.

ANYway, all of you have a great weekend and I'll see you back here sometime on Monday.

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

Interesting Friday Fact

If you live in the Birmingham metro area, you know who The Suzukiman is. For those of you who don't, here's a primer.

Interesting Friday Fact?

The guy lives in my neighborhood.

And oddly enough, doesn't drive a Suzuki, but rather a new bright red Corvette convertible.

For which I'll wager he didn't have to pay ZERO down, and $99 a month.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:35 PM | Comments (4)

Oh, come on.

Surely he's just joking.

SO I SAW THIS LIST OF Father's Day gift suggestions and while there's nothing wrong with it, I wonder if anyone would post a list of Mother's Day gift suggestions that consisted of things like vacuum cleaners, stoves, and mops. But tools and grills for dads are different, somehow. Why?

Just in case this isn't a rhetorical question, I would say my years of research lead me to believe it's because guys like this kind of stuff.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:53 PM | Comments (3)

I wonder if she's one of Tommy Flanagan's wives?

"The show also promises to feature Abdul playing practical jokes on her assistants and show how her lack of sleep makes her loopy."

Yeah, that's the ticket!

Hey, here's a tip--if lack of sleep makes you loopy, get some sleep.

Unless, you know, you just enjoy people assuming your loopiness is caused by fistfuls of pharmaceuticals flushed down your gullet with a couple of quarts of potato-derived alcoholic beverages.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)


Fridays are sure slow.

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

Quote of the Day

"She said she got confused"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:24 AM | Comments (6)


Okay, once more, I am falling down on my stated goal of being an A-list blogger by doing the Catblogging Friday schtick. I don't have photos of Lightning today AGAIN, but hopefully I can add a new, BOLD, and EDGY! twist to the usual fare by substituting something even BETTER than a photograph! Something that captures the evocative, contemplative nature of the feline species!

As you all know, Jimmy (from next door), who has a condition, is quite the artist, and has over the years has created many fine artworks for new members of the Axis of Weevil as welcoming gifts. Unbeknownst to most of you, Jimmy is currently enrolled in a class at Hazel's Academy of Courtroom Art, and has agreed to do a computer drawing of Lightning, the World's Most Expensive Free Former Kitten, as part of his assignment on electronic drawing media!

I think it captures his essence quite well. (Lightning's, not Jimmy's.)

lightning courtroom artist.jpg

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:48 AM | Comments (2)