July 31, 2007


Teeth-cleaning time!

See you all tomorrow.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:06 PM | Comments (4)

Quote of the Day!

Courtesy of Big Arm Woman: "There are no dangerous sharks, just dangerous situations."

When I see things like that, I am reminded of something a very wise man once said:

Contrary to what most people say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion, or the tiger, or even the elephant. It's a shark, riding on an elephant's back, just trampling and eating everything they see.

You know, that is just so true.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

This should be entertaining.

The Guy Who Always Burns Toast is outside my office right now, slathering some sort of combustible onto his bread before putting it in the toaster oven. Obviously, I didn't even get far enough along in this post to speculate "and I bet he walks away and leaves it" before he did just that.

UPDATE: I crept toward the doorway, cognizant of the danger of getting caught, but determined to keep another senseless toasting incident from happening again. I peered from around the door frame--in, out, down toward the outer office. Bobbed back inside my office, then scoped out the short hall to the right. Clear.

The toaster timer tick-tick-ticked. I could already get a whiff of bread. Cheap. White. I casually stood, then made my move.

Sidled up to the unit--the tick-tick-ticking insistent as only a toaster timer can be. Mocking me. He'd set it to three minutes. What sort of madman was this? The smell of the bread was heady, nearly overpowering. Funny about bread. It smells so good when it's getting warm, and then it all suddenly turns to the stench of fusing carbohydrates, the molecules screaming in agony.

No time for sentiment. Had to keep my mind on the task at hand.

Another quick glance for interlopers. The timer had already ticked down a minute. I reached out and grasped the knob. It was warm, smooth. Hard. Plastic hard. White.

I snatched it counterclockwise, just as they'd taught us back in TSS. Toaster Setting School So long ago. The tick-tick-ticking of the timer suddenly accelerated t-tt--t-t--tick! before settling back into the one tick per second rhythm it had started with. I looked--I'd taken off a whole minute from the timer. Maybe even a minute-ten. Maybe a minute-twelve. No way to know for sure.

But this toast wasn't going to burn. Not today. Not on my watch.

I heard a noise down the short hall. A cough? Paper shuffling? Hard to tell. Time to extract. I turned and made the short leap back to the safety of my office, settled myself in my chair, and awaited the inevitable.

I placed my hands on the keyboard, acting like I was working. Acting like I'd not been in the heat. But even I'm not that good an actor. Nerves. Had I turned it far enough? The knob? Was a minute going to be enough? Even a minute-twelve? What if I had to go back? Would that smell, that awful blackened smell, would I start smelling it again? The doubts about my training, about why I even cared about stupid toast, they began to creep into my mind again. I remembered TSS--the kid that got his finger hung on the edge of a wide two-slot and made a vicious blistered whelp that lasted nearly two days. He was part of my team. I'm the one that had to get that burnt onion bagel out. I'm the one who had to put Neosporin on his finger. And a bandage.


The flat, metal-on-metal striker-actuated bell signalled to The Guy Who Always Burns Toast that his bread was done. As if he were even around to hear it. As if he'd wait for it, standing nearby. But he doesn't. Won't.

The smell was good. Pleasant even. No smoke this time. No char. No carbon. No screams.

As usual, The Guy Who Always Burns Toast was slow getting back to the scene. He rumbled in, talking low to himself the way the insane do, mumbling about the toaster oven, breathing hard, wondering why there was no smoke, or fire, but not enough to actually question what happened. In his mind, what there is of it, it was probably nothing more than the result of that cheap, defective toaster oven.

He walked away, back to his own side of the floor, to his own office, where he would devour his prey in private.

He'll be back again. He always comes back.

I'll be here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:52 AM | Comments (7)

I'm thinking at least a part of it was...

...a heavy diet of ABC Afterschool Specials.

How Giant Dinosaurs Survived Vulnerable Youth

Oh, and speaking of giant dinosaurs and vulnerable youth...


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:45 AM | Comments (2)

Help us, Sergeant Friday!!

Theft Suspect Eludes Massive Dragnet

You know, I find it odd that police never use real nets. Nets always work when the bad guys use them on Batman and Robin and on Scooby and Shaggy.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

Thank goodness there ain't no potted meat on that list.

Via the mighty muscular Megabeth, this list from the Alabama Department of Public Health (.pdf) of all sorts of canned meat'n'beans-type foods associated with or affected by the recent Castleberry's botulism recall.

I haven't been following this, because I never really thought it was anything more than Castleberry products, but I neglected to remind myself of the advice I keep giving my kids. They always want the stuff advertised on teevee, and I keep trying to tell them that in most cases the store brand is the exact same stuff by the exact same companies, so there's no use paying extra for it. Now I realize some store brand stuff isn't quite the same quality, so, you know, "YMMV" and all, but for the most part, it's cheaper to just have one production line making all the same stuff, rather than a separate one for the cheapo junk.

ANYWAY--back to the point--I thought it was just Castleberry, but the list from the ADPH has a list of brands, including Bryan, Southern Home (Food World/Bruno's store brand), and Thrifty Maid (Winn-Dixie's store brand). We shop at the latter two stores, and to my utter horror, I know for a fact that we have several cans of the Bryan Chili with Beans in the pantry (probably had a coupon for it, since it's several pennies more expensive than the store brands).

I sure hope it's not be affected by the recall--I'll be sure and check it when I get home.

Oh, and by the way--botulism is not a nice, fun disease that you can use to get off from work for a long weekend. (Dangitall). From the CDC:

How can botulism be treated?

The respiratory failure and paralysis that occur with severe botulism may require a patient to be on a breathing machine (ventilator) for weeks, plus intensive medical and nursing care. After several weeks, the paralysis slowly improves. If diagnosed early, foodborne and wound botulism can be treated with an antitoxin which blocks the action of toxin circulating in the blood. This can prevent patients from worsening, but recovery still takes many weeks. Physicians may try to remove contaminated food still in the gut by inducing vomiting or by using enemas. Wounds should be treated, usually surgically, to remove the source of the toxin-producing bacteria. Good supportive care in a hospital is the mainstay of therapy for all forms of botulism. Currently, antitoxin is not routinely given for treatment of infant botulism.

Are there complications from botulism?

Botulism can result in death due to respiratory failure. However, in the past 50 years the proportion of patients with botulism who die has fallen from about 50% to 8%. A patient with severe botulism may require a breathing machine as well as intensive medical and nursing care for several months. Patients who survive an episode of botulism poisoning may have fatigue and shortness of breath for years and long-term therapy may be needed to aid recovery.

Frankly, I'm not completely comforted that the death rate has fallen from 50% to 8%.

At least I can still enjoy my nice can of potted meat and crackers for lunch.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:05 AM | Comments (2)

Talk about your "hostile work environment"!

"He told us that he was under a lot of stress."

Being a used car salesman was probably a poor career choice, then.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

When in doubt...

...always grab the smokes and lottery tickets!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)


Matches his no brains.

Would-be shoe-bomber has no regrets

You know, I don't even go anywhere far enough away to have to fly, but it would still make me very happy if ol' Mr. No-Regrets was hooked up to a machine that kicks him in the groin every time someone has to take off his shoes at an airport security screen.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:24 AM | Comments (4)

July 30, 2007

Oh, that's silly.

Whoever heard of a building named "Dave"?!

Ball State names building for Letterman

Anyway, in the spirit of the event, and with apologies to World Wide Pants® and its agents and assigns, the Top Ten Features of the New Dave Communications Building at Ball State University:

10. Photos of Alan Kalter in every classroom to remind students of the horrors of the entertainment business.
9. Lovely Prancing Fluids fountain.
8. Balconies suitable for dropping bowling balls, watermelons, televisions, etc. onto the quad.
7. Fake windows that have breaking glass sound.
6. Entrance has a gap in it just like Dave's teeth!
5. TVs in the lounge play nothing but Conan.
4. Temperature completely adjustable from 32 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Maintenance crews stay busy rearranging landscaping so ground doesn't look bald.
2. Regis Philbin not allowed within 400 feet of building.

AND the Number One Feature of the New Dave Communications Building at Ball State University...

1. Comes complete with deranged stalker!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:17 PM | Comments (2)

A Gentleman and a Genius

Bill Walsh has passed away.

I really don't know much about his personal life, but he always came across to me as an honest, sincere man, and that's hard to beat, no matter what field you're in.

His genius was not just the development of the West Coast Offense (variations of which are the hallmark of just about any successful team playing today--including ol' chubby Al Borges' 'Gulf Coast' offense down at Auburn) but, as the linked article points out, the idea of the "coaching tree"--men whom he'd hired and developed and trained who would later go on to be his (successful) competitors. That sort of self-confidence is about as hard to find as honesty. Again, I don't know much about him personally, but I have to think his desire to serve as a mentor and encouragement to his subordinates had to at least partly be a result of how he felt when he got passed over by Paul Brown for the head coaching job with the Bengals. There are two ways to act when you feel like you've been cheated--complain and collapse, or use it as a learning experience.

Would that there were more who'd take the latter course.

Best wishes to his family, and may he rest in peace.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:48 PM | Comments (4)

Maybe I've got narcolepsy.

I mean, my boss has it, and so maybe I caught it from him or something. Or it could just be what I ate for lunch. Or that I didn't get any sort of restful sleep last night.

But it sure is weird to be sitting here working, then momentarily zone out and have the vivid sense of having a conversation with someone who's standing in front of you flapping his hands.

Not that this is a unique thing in our office, either in reality or in near-conscious daydreamings, but it is similar to that weird semi-awakeness I sometimes struggle against during church, when I wander off mentally and begin having the most startlingly idiotic semi-lucid thoughts. Wouldn't be so bad if I could do any of this with my eyes open, but it seems I just can't keep them open.

At least I've not started snoring.

That I know of.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:13 PM | Comments (12)


Stinkin' work. Be back after while.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:49 AM | Comments (3)



ANYway, Winnie's got a book, and it sounds like a good one. We've tried our dead level best to encourage our girls to be smart and never back away from it (since all of them really are quite smart in the first place) just to satisfy some sort of need to fit in with the popular stereotype.

So far, we're batting .667.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:07 AM | Comments (2)

Remember the other day?

I posted a comment about an article about some archaeology dig of a bunch of outhouses? And they found something they said was a Bowie knife, but the reporter spelled it "buoy"? That?

Well, this has absolutely nothing to do with any of that.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)

Made it through another one!

And not much else to show for it. But that's okay by me.

A weekend of normality for once--no one had anything special to do, nowhere special to go, no one special to see, so I actually got some work done without being completely exhausted.


Well, we went to see Catherine and all of her cheerleader friends rehearse the stuff they've learned in clinic this past week, and that was pretty cute. Cat and her group are old enough to know what's going on and able to keep up with the tempo and remember the words, but the little kindergarten-aged kids are...well--not. But doggone it, they sure are cute.

Saturday, no PetSmart for Rebecca, so she got to stay home and clean her room, and Boy didn't have any pressing social engagements, so he got to help me cut grass. And for once he was excited about it. Seems he got a bright idea to do a design in the front yard. Hey--he's cutting it, I'm not about to tell him not to, as long as he gets it ALL cut and doesn't miss anything.

Thankfully, his idea was to cut a spiral, which is something I've done before just to break the monotony. He was disappointed though, because he started from the outside perimeter, which is more or less rectangular, which meant the spiral was likewise more or less rectangular. Next week, I'm hoping he tries something in the crop-circle genre.

Got cleaned up after I'd mowed the backyard (front to back lines only), sat in the gazebo a while and cooled off afterwards, got a shower, did some grocery shopping, came home and ironed some shirts, made some stuff for lunch at church yesterday.

Sunday, fifth Sunday so we had lunch and the evening service was moved up to 1:00, which I always like because you get the rest of the afternoon to go home and sleep. Which I never get to do. Went home and finished the laundry, and watched Elf, which I still think is an awfully sweet movie, had some supper sometime later on in the evening, watched Miss Marple on PBS, and went on to bed.

And now?



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

July 27, 2007

That wasn't bad at all.

Actually only took about thirty minutes or so, which was a relief. Of course, these things are more fun to me as a people-watching exercise than anything else. I will say this--it says a lot about the devotion you have toward your teenager's school when you have a husky tattoo on your back. However, I would like to say that if you're of the short, squatty sort of female build, wearing a low-backed halter top held up with tiny strings probably isn't the best way to frame that puppy. Second, and this isn't just for Ms. Husky Pride, but for anyone with a back tattoo, it's worth remembering that the human body is (relatively) biaxially symmetrical, and that means that either A) things such as permanent artwork look better centered up on the backbone, or B) things such as permanent artwork look better when it's obvious they are deliberately off-center. When your husky tattoo is very large (to go with your large, sweat-moistened back) it would probably be better if it weren't slightly, but noticeably, off-center to the right, because when it's just barely off it makes it look like the guy didn't take his time, or was still feeling the effects of all those bong hits. I will give it a solid B+ as a realistic depiction. I was almost tempted to see if that furry texture was real or merely the work of a very clever inksman. I thought better of it, though. No use being that familiar.

ANYway, that's done, and it's almost time to head home, and begin the weekend. All of you have a fun time and I'll see you here again on Monday.

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

Now then.

Off to do school registration duty again. All both of you be patient for a couple of hours!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

Fascinating, Captain.

Nimoy to reprise Spock role in Trek film

Whatever. I just hope no one's trying to recruit Kirstie Alley to reprise the role of Lt. Saavik.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:30 PM | Comments (8)

It's Fortified with Minerals!

Wow--a tasty companion to Possumblog Kitchens' Chinese Tiny Morsel Hi-Fiber Buns! Sara Lee recalls bread that may have metal pieces

Mmmm--sounds almost as good as a Spring Surprise.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:22 PM | Comments (2)

Thank Goodness for Nick Saban!

Sure, all the other SEC coaches don't get as much attention when the circus comes to town, but just as surely they must know that's not a bad thing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:13 PM | Comments (5)

That's pretty interesting.

Well, it is to ME, although mainly for the purely selfish reason that it's something developed down there at that cow college I went to. But also more for the fact that although I don't understand much of the science involved, it still sounds like a very simple and elegant technical innovation to an old technology.

AU-developed microscope wins Nano 50 Award

7:56 AM, July 27, 2007

AUBURN - An optical microscope system developed at Auburn University and produced and sold by CytoViva Inc. has been selected for a Nano 50 Award by NASA Tech Briefs publishers. The annual competition recognizes the most exceptional new products in the nanotechnology field.

Vitaly Vodyanoy, a professor in the AU College of Veterinary Medicine, built the prototype that CytoViva licensed and further developed as the Dual Mode Fluorescence, or DMF, module. It enables researchers to observe unaltered, living cells in extremely fine detail and without delays or extra steps for processing, which are typical of current microscopes.

“It is attached to an existing research microscope, so samples are viewed directly through the microscope eyepiece and are captured using a standard microscope camera,” Vodyanoy said. “It extends light microscopy, offering a unique view of live cells and cell processes while they are occurring.”

The patent-pending imaging system is being used by a wide range of researchers involved in infectious diseases, tissue engineering and drug delivery. Researchers can watch a fluorescently labeled drug enter a cell, be transported and observe the results on the cellular physiology and morphology.

“This has a profound impact on the quality and convenience of data collection,” said Chuck Ludwig, president of CytoViva. “The new tool eliminates traditional, computer-enhanced overlay when imaging fluorescently labeled nanoparticles in unlabeled cells, tissue or biopolymers.” [...]

Complete list of Nano 50 winners for this year here, and again, some of the stuff sounds really cool, and it's also heartening to see how many of the awards go to various NASA facilities around the country, which shows that at least a few hearty souls are out there doing some science with all that money instead of acting like a bunch of rowdy ne'er-do-wells with pocket protectors.

And kudos to the vet school AU, too--they do a lot of stuff down there, and it's more than just standing in the pasture elbow-deep in the back end of a cow.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:57 AM | Comments (3)

Booze and Saboteurs and Embezzlers

--Oh My!

Via famed NASA rocketologist Steevil, this:

NASA Has its Own Embezzler Too

Report: NASA Employee Stole More Than $150,000, Local6.com

"A former NASA employee is accused of stealing more than $150,000 from government coffers, according to a report released Thursday. Elizabeth Ann Osborne, 52, who resigned in October after 31 years at the space agency, pleaded guilty to embezzling public money as part of an agreement made with the U.S. Attorney's Office on July 17." [...]

I'm sorry, but that's just not very a nice thing to have done.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"As anyone can plainly see, I'm 5-6 1/2 and a strapping 150, and unlike some people, I came by all of it naturally."

Outta the park, Bob!

(It's obvious that the juice did nothing to improve Bonds' temper or wit.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2007

Bad news, good news.

NASA reports sabotage of flight computer

The bad of this is obvious--there was a saboteur on the loose who had access to some very critical equipment. The small bright side is that he (or she--the article doesn't say) was caught and the equipment found before any damage was done. Does make you wonder what sort of employee screening and subsequent supervision is done to prevent this sort of thing. And, obviously, what sort of motivation the person has.

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

Speaking of Soldiering and Writing

Read enough, and after a while you come to understand that this is the type of person who is much more indicative of the quality of men and women who serve in our military, and he serves as an example of how to honorably fulfill two sometimes competing obligations.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

There are few things more disconcerting...

...than getting a call from your wife saying the doctor's office wants her to come back in Monday so they can redo her mammogram because there was an area they couldn't make a definite determination about.

It could be nothing, and odds are, it's not.

But that knowledge doesn't seem to stop a person's heart from pounding on the inside of his chest like a jackhammer.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:48 PM | Comments (9)

Crimes and Journalism

I've had nothing to say about the recent furor over the articles in The New Republic by a soldier serving in Iraq--first because it was unclear in the beginning if this person was really who he claimed to be and if what he wrote is true. It appears now that he is actually a soldier, and actually serving in Iraq. The only question now is if the things he describes are true.

If they are, it makes me wonder why any reputable media organization would ever stoop to allowing such a person an outlet for confessing these obscenities without wanting the person brought to justice. Is TNR now to be considered the place where every other sort of disaffected psychopath can tell his story frankly and openly without worry that he'll be subject to justice? If one of the guards at Abu Ghraib had written stories for them, would they have been as energetic to hide the person's identity to keep him or her from suffering official repercussions? Or does TNR just not care about seeking justice, as long as it has a means to wage a wider, political battle with those who do not share its editorial viewpoint? TNR and the author have both asserted that these articles are not intended to be representative of every soldier in Iraq, but given the fact that no dissenting views were sought, and given that an overt effort was made to shield this soldier from military justice, seems to point to a different conclusion. Namely, that it is indeed meant to be seen as representative of the culture of the US Army, and further, to expose this condition, that it is necessary that rightful justice be withheld from one man. When did it become within the purview of ethical journalism to shield self-confessed criminals (criminal within the context of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) from punishment? Who gave TNR that right? And if they have that right, how is it detemined who gets the benefit of their editorial sanctuary, and who does not?

The other alternative is that the stories are not true. Or that they contain only partial truth, woven with a healthy layer of mendaciousness. Or that they are true only in the non-truthful-truthiness way that has now become the preferred method of certain people in determining reality versus fiction, namely whether something is true on some indeterminate "higher level," one that promotes a particular point of view, whether or not the microscopic version of events unfolded as it did. (As when Bluto rallied the Delta House with his stirring and heroic monologue which referenced the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor. "Don't stop him--he's on a roll.")

If this is the case--and again, it's not clear yet that it is or isn't--but if it is, again what does that say about TNR? Were they so willing to believe something that fit their preconceived notion (aided by years of wholesome and uplifting Hollywood depictions of military-grade sociopaths) that they simply could not be bothered to fully check the source and his stories before they were printed? Did they not care whether it was true or not? Did they not learn anything from all the broken Glass on the floor? Or is making a buck just that important? Or is it even about the money? Is it about pridefulness, and hubris, and the desire to be seen as the holder of some special insight others are unable to possess?

I have no idea.

All I know is that no matter what, it's not one of journalism's finer performances.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:56 AM | Comments (5)


Good grief--is there not ANYthing that SOMEone won't find "insensitive" or "offensive"!?

Producers: 'Cavemen' not racial metaphor

When you get this upset about some stupid teevee show that will last approximately eight episodes before being cancelled (because it's based on a mildly entertaining, but entirely one-dimensional, advertising concept) it makes it hard to believe you when something that actually IS bigoted shows up.

As for the show, Cirroc, the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer was there first, and did it better.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:35 AM | Comments (10)

One is reminded about that old bromide...

..."never bring a knife to a gunfight."

Obama tries to turn Clinton words on her

Other cautionary sayings that come to mind include:

"Do... or do not. There is no try."

"Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball."

"Never scold the tiger when you're wearing your pork chop pants."

"I'm rubber, you're glue, and more to the point, I'm the one that's married to Bill Clinton, so surely you don't think there's anything you can say that I can't use to utterly destroy you and all things you care about. Right? Right."

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

Let no one doubt their determination to lose.

Democrats push new Iraq withdrawal bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats have drafted new Iraq legislation they hope will appeal to Republicans fed up with the war: Start withdrawing troops in two months but leave it up to President Bush to decide when to complete the pullout. [...]

Forgive my cynicism, but this will accomplish what, exactly? I mean, aside from being a(nother) badge of Congressional fecklessness.

Get some feck, people.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2007

Quote of the Day.

"This is not a cat that's friendly to people."

Well, you got me there.

And the second best quote of the day is in the same article: "[...] it's also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person."

Cats? Self-centered!? Please.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:45 PM | Comments (5)

Staging a Comeback!!

As you all know, my overall site visits have been effectively cut in half since around April (as have a lot of other bloggers), due to some kind of jiggery-pokery Google has done to suppress hits for blogs in general (and I think non-Blogspot blogs in particular, but that's for another day's conspiracy-mongering).

Anyway, aside from the obvious effect fewer readers has on my rather fragile ego, the side-effect of this work by Google is that I also have been getting many, many fewer odd search requests, nearly drying up an entire Possumblog category, "Fun With Referrer Logs!" There IS no fun when there are no oddballs stumbling in here unawares.

THUS IT WAS WITH GREAT GLADNESS that one such person came crashing in, searching for meteer that's gonna blow earth up. Not JUST odd, but Possumblog is the NUMBER 1 result!

I once more feel that my arduous toil is not in vain! As opposed to, oh, say, our recent guest inquisitor.

ANYway, never being one to allow a visitor to leave without some satisfaction that his or her inquiry was worthwhile, I will say that the Earth-Blowin' Up Meteer IS on the way, and everyone should send me $100 apiece so I can get to work on my Anti Earth-Blowin' Up Meteer Defense Fence.

Thank you for your support.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

I am shocked!

Of course, the use of the word "shocked" might drive it all the way over into R territory!

Blog Rating

"This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words: knife (7x), kill (2x), shoot (1x)"

Of course, I could also be messing myself up by repeating those exact same words...

Oh well.

Via the ever-wholesome Mrs. Adams (who gets away with talking repeatedly about her nur-nur facilities with impugnity!)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:16 PM | Comments (8)

Stunning Insight!

College libraries not just books

True indeed--they also have co-eds! Which, let's face it, is much more of a draw than books.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

"Pinky, Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?"

Falling mice population concerns experts

Who knew there were experts concerned with the population of falling mice!?

"I think so, Brain, but isn't a cucumber that small called a gherkin?"

Oh, and I just now actually read the whole story. Okay, that's a lie--I only read the first paragraph, but after I did that, I couldn't read any more of it:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some might think fewer rodents would be a good thing, but scientists are concerned about the dwindling populations of two small fury creatures on New Mexico's list of endangered mammals.

Sorry, but small fury creatures just weird me out.

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

Entertainment Headlines!

Or possibly that little ditty from Sesame Street, "One of These Things (Is Not Like The Others)."

Britney behaved badly at photo shoot AP - 34 minutes ago
Lohan defends herself after arrest AP - 1 hour, 38 minutes ago
Queen guitarist to complete doctorate AP - Wed Jul 25, 10:09 AM ET

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:42 PM | Comments (2)

Aw, shucks.

I was really excited when I saw this: Volunteers sought to be stung by jellyfish

...but doggone it all, I'd have to go all the way to Norway. It just doesn't seem quite worth it.

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

Fair Question

Dr. Reynolds links to Amazon's page where they're selling diagonostic code readers for cars, and wonders:

SO HOW MANY MECHANICS WILL THIS GADGET PUT OUT OF WORK? Not as many as if you integrated it with a Web service that took the codes and gave you step-by-step instructions on what to do, specific to vehicle type. I wonder if anyone will try that?

Good question. They've been selling code readers at parts stores for several years now, so it's not exactly like it's a new thing, but I figure they won't put much of a dent in mechanic's pocketbooks for a few reasons.

First, trouble codes and check engine lights don't come on a lot nowadays. Cars, despite what you might think about your heap, are generally pretty reliable, and spending a goodly sum of dough on a reader that you might use once or twice over the car's life isn't that attractive.

Second, few people, even if they know the trouble code and had step by step instructions, are actually equipped to work on cars. It's not quite like sharpening a pencil or installing a lamp. You have to have specialized tools to fix most of the things that would show up as a fault code, as well as a place to work on it, as well as the time to do it. Even back when cars where akin to Fred Flintstone's in their technical sophistication, it was still a chore to fix them yourself. With the rise of urbanization (and hoity-toity communities where they don't like it when you have your ancient Volvo up on jackstands in the driveway for weeks on end), there are fewer areas where you can actually do mechanical work of this sort.

Third, if you're like me and you DO have tools, and DO have a place to work on your car, and DO have some practical experience with how to work on cars, and DO have several old beaters that you're financially bound to keep driving because you're barely able to keep enough money in the bank, and you've kept them long enough for them to start requiring an increasing amount of diagnostic attention, you'd probably be better served to do what I do, which is a modification of Glenn's suggestion.

Most of the parts stores around town will, as a courtesy, use one of those diagnostic readers to read your code and reset your check engine light, then give you a little readout of the code. Again, not knowing anything, this is useless, but the online part Glenn mentioned can still be done, although you actually have to do a bit of Googlefu to find it.

Every time this has happened with our Focus, I take it down the hill to the Advance (or AutoZone--sorry, never can keep them straight) and they check the code, reset the light, give me the readout, and then I plug in the code and bit of verbiage that comes with it into Google along with something like "ford focus" and after a few minutes you generally will find links to manufacturer's technical service bulletins or other online professional mechanic's websites that will give you some good, useful information on the fix and parts and tools and time required.

Of course, there is an alternative to this, although it does require killing trees.

Simply get a Haynes shop manual for your car. It has all the codes in it, and detailed instructions on fixing it, and it's pretty cheap. Sometimes you can even find copies at the library.

SO, in conclusion, mechanics don't really have to worry about these things cutting into their business, and they are handy if someone you know owns one and doesn't mind you mooching off of them to let you use it, and the link to the way to fix things is not that hard to establish, especially if you know how to read a book, and it sure would be nice if I had enough dough not to worry about having to fix my own cars, but it's nice that I can.

UPDATE: Oh, hey, by the way, if these things DO get to be the in thing for upwardly-mobile sorts to purchase, I would like to remind everyone that Possumblog Medical Devices is your one-stop source for home MRI units. Show those expensive medicos a thing or two!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)


What a morning. Or as I like to say, "What!? A morning?" Which isn't that funny when you see it written instead of hearing it spoken, but then few things are. Sorta like Yakima, or uvula.

ANYWAY, it's been a long and tedious morning and my head already hurts and I would like nothing better than to have been able to stay at home in the bed and slept all day long. Next best thing? I suppose to post what it sounds like while I'm sleeping all day long.






Yeah, I should have stayed home.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:29 AM | Comments (2)

July 24, 2007

Right when I was about to post something good...

...it's time to go. Gotta go get Tiny Terror enrolled for the next school year, and then take her to her practice, and then come back to the house and eat supper, and then go back and get her, and then come back home, and then fiddlefart around doing things I have no business doing, and then go to bed, and then dream weird things, and then get up tomorrow and go to my twice-a-week off-campus bureaucratfest, and then come back here and play with lots of paper, and then maybe post something on here. If I remember to.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

Ask Dr. Possum!

Well, look who just waddled into the spacious and inviting lobby of the Axis of Weevil World Headquarters than our old friend and boon companion, Dr. Possum!

As per usual, he has graciously deigned (I before E, except after C. And sometimes D.) to answer questions from YOU, the most inquisitive readership in all of the Blogiverse. Those who are new to Dr. Possum's tremendous braininess might wonder why he, of all people (or marsupials) is more qualified than anyone else to answer questions. Dr. Possum (although by all rights he should thrash you for your impudence) kindly notes that he is the world's leading expert on every topic, real or imagined, including such subjects of math, literature, shopping carts, nucular physics, medicine, and women's foundation garments.

SO FEAR NOT--ask anything you wish in the comments below, and Dr. Possum* will see to it that you are given an expeditious and satisfying answer!*

*Dr. Possum is a real doctor, although Dr. Possum himself is fictional.

**No warranty is expressed or implied that Dr. Possum's answers will be expeditious and satisfying.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:14 PM | Comments (11)

In other, other celebrity news...

Siegelman Scrubbing Floors in Prison

By Jon Paepcke

OAKDALE, La. -- Attorneys for former Gov. Don Siegelman said he’s scraping old wax off prison floors.

Those are Siegelman's latest duties at Federal Correctional Complex located in Oakdale, Louisiana. [...]

For some reason, I get the image of the former governor wearing a karate headband and listening to a wizened Okinawan man saying, "wax on, wax off."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:40 AM | Comments (2)

In other celebrity news...

Russell-Hawn son to play hockey for Alabama-Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Wyatt Russell, the son of actors Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, has signed to play ice hockey for the University of Alabama in Huntsville [...]

Okay, now that's weird on just way too many different levels.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:00 AM | Comments (6)

If ever there was a species that needed a better media advisor...

Great Bustard lays eggs in Britain for first time in 175 years

It's almost like the guy who named it had some sort of personal grudge or something.

(I just read the article, and it says the eggs were infertile. That's gonna be one great big omelet!)

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

Oh, come on, now!

You know, for a smart guy, that Dr. Weevil (brother of famed NASA rocket scientist Steevil) sure is out of touch with history. He says this:

InstaPundit links to a story from the Knoxville News about Tina, a Shire breed horse claimed to be the world’s tallest. The dubious historical claim is half a sentence: “Shires date to the Trojan War . . . .” What possible evidence could support that claim?

Evidence? EVIDENCE!? Come now, Doctor--it was in the newspaper! What more sort of proof do you need!? And you have to admit, the Greeks didn't go and build a giant wooden badger to hide in, now did they? Of course not.

Now, there are some sites, such as this one, that aren't very inventive and creative, and say that the breed can be traced back only to the Norman Conquest, but obviously, the site isn't written by a journalist, and therefore can't be trusted to provide high quality information.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:44 AM | Comments (2)

And now, the next thing.


Last night was Catherine's first night of cheerleading clinic. She's decided she wants to cheer for our local youth football squad, just like her sisters before her, and has been looking forward to this for months now. Got her to the gym at the old elementary school, and it was like someone had kicked over a fire ant hill. What looked like several million little girls in red, all scrambling everywhere at once. The various team moms and sponsors and wranglers and the cheerleaders from the high school got them into smaller piles, and we were finally able to find Cat's group and get her situated. I gave her a quick kiss and made my exit, although I probably could have stayed, but it was too hot, too loud, too frenzied, and there were too many firm young high school cheerleaders with long tan legs.

Came back at 8:00, and the chaos and pandemonium had only partially abated. How do they ever get anything done!? But, they seemed to have learned something, and they went through a couple of little routines before dismissing, and aside from not being able to jump very high, Cat did quite well, and was full of the manic glee she does so well when she's doing something she enjoys.

Tonight, same thing again.

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

July 23, 2007

What liberal media!?

Obama's neighborhood rich in diversity

[...] a mix of black and white residents who are wealthy, well-educated and liberal-leaning. [...]

Y'know, I've been trying for years to figure out what people mean when they use the word "diversity."

And golly gee--it's not at all what I thought!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:21 PM | Comments (6)


Honda Dealer Gets Into Ad Accident

Printing Gaffe Causes Every Scratch-Off Card to Award Grand Prize

By Jean Halliday

Published: July 23, 2007

It sure seemed as if Mr. Opportunity came knocking for residents of Roswell, N.M., last week. A lucky 30,000 of them received scratch-off tickets from their local Honda dealer that pronounced them all $1,000 grand-prize winners.

Except that potential $30 million payout was a printing error -- one that's forcing the agency behind the "Make an Offer" promotion to offer amends to would-be winners.

Jim Fitzpatrick, president of Force Media Group, Atlanta, said he knew within 15 minutes he had a problem with the Roswell Honda promotion his company handled. The dealership called him and said the first person who came in with a game piece last week had won the sole $1,000 grand prize, and called again 15 minutes later to say there were five more winners. [...]

For some reason, I imagine the next few hours were like that scene from Airplane, when Lloyd Bridges as Steve McCroskey says, "Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up sniffing glue."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:44 PM | Comments (2)

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

[...] raised exclusively for rich folk to kill and eat.

Mmmmmm--Wow, that's terrific bass!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:43 PM | Comments (2)

Daily Grooming Tip!

Don't bring spinach dip to work if your job requires you to talk to people face-to-face.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

Oh, and for you Harry Potter fans...

I've never read more than a few pages of any of the books, and have no real desire to! I'm sorry to have misled any of you with my earlier postings of spoilers from the last book, but as I suspected when I wrote them, I now have confirmation that no characters from The Andy Griffith Show actually appear in this, or any of the other books.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:34 AM | Comments (4)

Okay, you asked for it!

Or at least didn't violently object.

SO, here's the wrap-up, one so weak and thin and worthless that I would be embarrassed to publish it were it not so much more robust and hearty than all the other crap I've ever posted.


Time again for the cat's annual checkup. Given his behavior last year, in which he sliced open the vet tech's arms like some sort of crazed vivisectionist, we were much more cautious this year and didn't let him out of his carrier to roam around the exam room and get all agitated.

Got to the office, and there was some doofus guy there with two morbidly obese, yet intensely hyperactive golden retrievers who were all over the place panting and wheezing and whining and slobbering. I turned the door of the cat carrier around toward the wall to keep Lightning from getting too freaked out. Not that he was--he seemed calm for the most part.

Got to a room, sat for a moment and then the young lady came in to start the exam. After a lengthy warning about how last year he'd sliced open the vet tech's arms like some sort of crazed vivisectionist, she cautiously drew him out and petted him and he was as docile as possible under the circumstances. She took him out to another room to get a fecal sample, and brought him right back a minute or two later. Aside from his wide-eyed humiliation, he had remained calm. She placed him on the scale and he sat nice and still--10 pounds, 2 ounces.

The doctor came in and introduced himself to us (it was Middle Girl and I making the trip) and after a lengthy warning about how last year he'd sliced open the vet tech's arms like some sort of crazed vivisectionist, he started feeling of Lightning's head and ears and body and stuff, then gave him two quick needle stabs. Aside from a slight mrAWL!, there was no more drama. Thank goodness.

Took Rebecca on up to PetSmart for her day of animal shelter volunteerism (she's been doing this for several weeks now and had enjoyed it--I think), then dropped by the bank to get monies to pay the vet, then went back toward town.

Up until then, Lightning had been very quiet, but about halfway back, he started a near continous cat-yammering. Not sure why. I kept telling him we'd be home soon enough, but it's like he doesn't understand English or something.

Drove on, listening to the catcophany, parked at the vet, ran in and paid, and came right back out to a silent kitty.

"Hmm, that's odd, Cat. I..."

I wonder.

"I hope you weren't having to go to the litter box!"

He didn't say anything, but when I got in and closed the door, he let me know in his own odiferous way that he had indeed decided to use the carrier as a makeshift toilet. Rolled all the windows down and headed up the hill to the house.

Got home, let him loose, and retrieved the towel we'd put in there at the very last minute before we'd left home. Didn't seem like much of anything, until I figured out he'd buried everything inside the towel. ::sigh::

Time for kitty cleanup. Washed out his carrier, washed down his pen, emptied his litter box, gave him clean food and water, and then spent the next half-hour trying to coax him back out of various neighbor's fenced-in back yards so I could get on with my next task...


Finally decided it was time to cut back the wisteria, since it was about to strangle anything within 20 feet of the plants, including the giant sweet gum it stands closest to. Stuff is scary--there were two big tendrils of the junk growing across the ground toward the neighbor's fence, and long dangly arms reaching out nearly 10 feet to grab onto Rebecca's sycamore tree. It grows up and out and down and across worse than anything I've ever seen, and that includes kudzu.

Pulled and yanked and cut and ripped and finally got most of the long stuff pulled free, and it's still wooly and snaky-looking enough to be almost decorative. Also pulled down some poison oak and poison ivy, which is almost as pernicious, and with the added drama of, well, poison. That done (and again, interspersed with trying to get the cat to come close enough to catch) also got some produce out of the garden--three gigantically round, but oddly short cucumbers. They look almost like baseballs. Also got four green beans, and a pepper and a tomato. We seem to have discovered the secret for cucumbers--nothing else has come close in productivity. Except for maybe Jonathan's pear tree, which has managed to endure both a late freeze AND a drought this year. Not as many this year, but what grew look very fine and plump.

AND NOW, the main event! Mowing the pasture. My next-door neighbor with the barking dog had gotten out early and cut his, and neglected to set his wheels up higher, leaving big piles of grass and scalped places everywhere. Well, not me, not this time. I set mine up a couple of inches, not really enough to cut it as close as it needs, but enough to make it nice and even and still green. Even with that, it still took twice as long to cut the front as it usually does. There were patches that were close to a foot high.

Amazing what a little water can do.

And that was it for the outdoor work. I had really, REALLY wanted to try to work on the Volvo's still-cockeyed rear bumper, but I was too hot and tired to lie on hot concrete and play with that. For Larry "Free Mercedes" Anderson's benefit, the insurance stuff is still up in the air. If I accept their money, I'm responsible for reporting it to the state and go through that whole salvage title thing. I just can't do that. It's too much hassle, and even if there's really no way the state could ever track me down and enforce its own silly law if I decided NOT to report it, I'd still have it on my conscience. We really need the money, but I'd rather not be on the wrong side of the law. So, looks like unless they're willing to work with me on some way to pay me LESS than they think it's worth, I'm going to have to wind up just dropping the claim and being out the money. ::sigh::

They say having a clear conscience like that makes it easier to sleep, but don't believe 'em. Either that, or I've got something else making me have a guilty conscience

Two different nights, two different sets of bizarro dreams, no details of which I wish to recite here, aside from the fact that in both I hanging around with a bunch of college kids (even though in the dream I was the age I am now) and most shockingly bizarre of all, I seemed to attract an inordinate amount of attention from the co-eds, despite my exceedingly advanced years.

I blame global warming, or possibly those cucumbers, which are definitely not the burpless kind.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:32 AM | Comments (4)

Well, well, well.

So you came back for more, eh?

Whaddya know.

ANYway, now that your here, what more do you want? A rousing tale of lawn maintenance? A right ripping yarn about taking the cat to the vet? Recitations of deeply disturbing dreams? Violent gardening imagery?

"ALL" you say!?

Okeedoke. Gimme a few minutes (which will obviously be interrupted by staff meeting) and I'll see what I can make up.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:13 AM | Comments (7)

July 20, 2007

Hey! Another Surprise Visit!

And just as short and meaningless as the other two!

Including the extraneous used of exclamation points!

Why, it's almost more than my tiny bureaucrat brain can handle!

Anyway, just in case I'm not able to get another parole before the day's over, all of you have a fun weekend. Me? I'll be cutting grass, and taking Lightning, The World's Most Expensive Free Former Kitten to the doctor for his annual checkup and butt-needling. Let me throw in another exclamation point for that one. "!"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)


I got an hour reprieve!

Time for lunch, and then afterwards, more mindless sitting and thumb-twiddling while I sit around reading the newpaper and waiting for the phones to ring!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

Reporting for Duty!

Desk duty, that is. It's my time in the rotation, and it just so happens that today the secretary will be out pretty much the entire day. Which means no inane chatter and silly blithering for YOU today. Or at least not a whole lot.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2007

On the radio at the moment...

Bill Monroe, "Blue Moon of Kentucky."

He sure could sing and play.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:31 PM | Comments (1)

On the bright side, none of them had anything to do with spelling.

Auburn reports 13 secnodary violations, three in football

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

"I am shocked! SHOCKED..."

[...] the European Union is staying firmly on the sidelines [...]

Let no one ever doubt their strength and determination.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)


Political message.
Smug satisfaction.

Yeah, I know--hard to believe. Vandals attack man's Hummer, leave note

I suppose that whole "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" thing has its limits, eh? Sure. Maybe these good, non-violence-espousing citizens of northwest D.C. feel much more comfortable living by that old Japanese proverb, "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down." Because obviously that guy got what he had coming, right? Right.

I just hope when his smart progressive neighbors get their due, they take it without complaint.

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

I feel queasy.

No, not from the last story, from this little advertising header in my Gmail spam file: "Combine grapes, spam, peapods and onions in large bowl..."

That's frightening.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:08 PM | Comments (8)

Never fear, MINE aren't!

Beijing's cardboard-stuffed buns a hoax


The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — A freelance reporter for a Beijing television station has been detained for faking a hidden camera report about street vendors who used chemical-soaked cardboard to fill meat buns, local media said. [...]

The story, allegedly shot with a hidden camera, was first broadcast on Beijing Television's Life Channel on June 8 and then again on China Central Television last week.

It created a buzz on the Internet, and people flooded chat rooms with comments expressing shock and disgust. On the YouTube Web site, the video had been viewed more than 6,000 times by Thursday.

Beijing Television apologized to the public during an evening news broadcast Wednesday and said the reporter, identified by the official Xinhua News Agency as Zi Beijia, was detained by police. A copy of the broadcast was obtained by AP Television News on Thursday.

"He used deceptive means to get the footage on the air," said news anchor Wang Ye, without giving specifics. "The Beijing Public Security Bureau has taken the criminal suspect, Zi, into custody and he will be severely dealt with according to law."

Hmmm--so I guess "fake but accurate" doesn't go over too well in China. Well, the freelance version of it, at least.

Zi's footage appeared to show a makeshift kitchen where fluffy buns were stuffed with 60 percent cardboard that had been softened in a bath of caustic soda and 40 percent fatty pork.

Beijing Television said an investigation revealed that in mid-June, Zi brought meat, flour, cardboard and other ingredients to a downtown Beijing neighborhood and had four migrant workers make the buns for him while he filmed the process. It said Zi "gave them the idea" of mincing softened cardboard and adding it to the buns.

The newscaster said the station was "profoundly sorry" for the fake report and its "vile impact on society." The station vowed to prevent inaccurate news coverage in the future.

"We just wanted to be more like BBC and Reuters, but frankly, they're much better at producing propaganda than we are."

Police said Zi told editors he wanted to investigate the quality of pork buns, and spent two weeks visiting stands but could not find anything to report, Xinhua said. He filmed the fake report after coming under pressure to produce a story, the agency said.

I believe it's called 'the narrative was right, but the facts were wrong.'

The report prompted Beijing's health authorities to investigate more than two dozen vendors selling pork buns — a common breakfast in China. None was found to use cardboard.

Authorities said specialists determined it was impossible for cardboard buns to go unnoticed.

"Even if you mix a tiny proportion, to say 5 percent, of cardboard, the fiber substance can be easily seen, and the meat buns made this way could not be easily chewed," Xinhua said, citing a Beijing Municipal Food Safety Office spokesman.

Okay, now this is where they're just flat wrong.

I can safely say that Possumblog Kitchens' New Chinese Tiny Morsel Hi-Fiber Buns have only the tiniest of cardboard fibers, virtually invisible to the naked eye (assuming they are closed) and are so soft and tender that they could be chewed by toothless 100-year-old crones with absolutely no difficulty whatsoever!

Try them today! Now with the great flavors of either brown or white cardboard!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

Not to be cruel, but...

Rowling angered as NYT reviews last Potter

By Mike Collett-White and Robert MacMillan

28 minutes ago

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun published reviews of the final Harry Potter book on Thursday before it went on sale, drawing a stinging response from author J.K. Rowling.

The New York Times review, which appeared overnight, said its copy was purchased from a New York City store on Wednesday, while the Baltimore Sun said it obtained a hard copy of the book "through legal and ordinary means."

The official release of the eagerly awaited "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is not until 0001 British Summer Time on Saturday or 2301 GMT on Friday night.

Rowling, whose first six Potter books have sold 325 million copies worldwide, responded with a terse statement.

"I am staggered that some American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children," she said.

"I am incredibly grateful to all those newspapers, booksellers and others who have chosen not to attempt to spoil Harry's last adventure for fans," the 41-year-old added. [...]

Sugar, you do realize one of the rags we're talking about here is the New York Times, right? Do you really think that a paper that has a long and rich history of blithely and continually seeking to subvert American interests and giving editorial aid and comfort to various terrorist groups around the world for the sake of a political grudge against the sitting Administration really gives a fat rat's tail if it messes up your precious book launch? What sort of fantasy world do you live in?

Anyway, on a related note, I think after reading some more in the book, I am also shocked about the death of....

...Floyd as he sat in his barber chair, and his demise coming by the hand of a razor-wielding Earnest T. Bass. A rock I could have guessed, but not this!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:11 PM | Comments (2)

Architectural Term of the Day!

SLYPE. A covered way or passage, especially in a cathedral or monastic church, leading east from the cloisters between transept and chapterhouse.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

I had a bad case of the cloisters once.

ANYWAY, here's an image of the elusive slype, this one coming to us from Peterborough, England:

peterborough slype.jpg

Image shamelessly stolen from this site, which catalogs the history of Peterborough in a Lileksian-MPLS style through the use of picture postcards.

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

Quote of the Day.

"I think most people think I was pretty lucky."

Count me among most people.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

The Game Show Poll

It seems The Price Is Right has had a big surge of popularity today and now leads in the polling, with Jeopardy! coming in with only slight more than half as many votes. Somewhat surprising, since to me, TPIR isn't as much fun as it used to be. Bob seems awfully tetchy these days--grumbly and unnecessarily sarcastic, almost like he's auditioning for Happy Gilmore, II. I always make a point of watching it when I'm off from work during the week, but I still don't think much of it as a game show.

More surprising is that no one has picked Wheel of Fortune. Maybe I'm prejudiced because I have actually held in my hand a makeup sponge that was used to apply makeup to Vanna White's person, but even if I hadn't, it still seems as though it would have gotten at least a few votes.

UPDATE: Seems the power of suggestion is still a strong motivator! Just checked and see that WoF now has a vote! Remember, ever time you vote for Wheel, an angel gets a free spin.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

Perpetuating the Stereotype, Volume 3,910

This time at the Slap-Happiest Place on Earth!

Ala. woman charged with beating woman in line for Disney ride

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — An Alabama woman has been charged with beating and kicking a woman she said cut in line at a Walt Disney World attraction, authorities said.

Victoria Walker, 51, of Anniston, was released from Orange County jail after posting a $4,000 bond Tuesday, nearly two months after the altercation while in line for the Mad Tea Party.

Yeah, I know--"what are the odds!?"

Walker was with her 11-year-old daughter when she yelled obscenities at Aimee Krause, 35, of Clemont, Fla., and shoved two children with Krause, according to a sheriff's report. Walker grabbed Krause from behind and began beating her until witnesses pulled the women apart, the document said. [...]

"It's a small *&^%$(in' world after alllll, so get the ~!@$* outta my waaaaaay...."

Biggest surprise? There is no mention of alcohol.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:43 AM | Comments (3)

You say...

..."Co-ed Naked Quidditch" like it's a bad thing.

Anyway, the biggest surprise I've found so far in the latest and last Harry Potter book?

SPOILER ALERT--Answer below the jump...

That part where Barney left the key on the peg because he thought it was Otis asleep in the cell, but it was Voldemort, and he got out of jail and stole the squad car, and when Andy back from fishing he got all mad at Barney, and they had to call in the state patrol all the way from Raleigh, but before they could catch him, Goober ran over him with the tow truck.

In fairness, I'm only about halfway through it, so there might be some other surprises along the way.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

Dern it all.

Why couldn't I have thought of this!? (Aside from being a moron.)

It's such a clever scheme, although I do have to agree that "food miles" is rather silly. If you're gonna do real units of measure (as opposed to silly made-up French ones) a much better measure would be "food furlongs" simply for the alliterative appeal. If you just MUST have something with a Continental feel about it, maybe something like mangia miglia. If you can't resist metricizing it, Kibble Kilometers would work--it has alliteration, the inherent comedy of SI units, and the hard-K sound favored by krazy komiks from Kalamazoo to Kalgoorlie to Katmandu. (You know, the hard-K sound found in a duck's kwak is one of the reasons that the duck the best animal to use for for elevating a subject's humor quotient.)

ANYway, I've got to come up with some sort of virtue/vice-offset scheme that people will pay me for.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2007

The other day, when I was...

...contemplating the myriad ways I could attempt to amass a large sum of cash with as little effort as possible, my mind began to wander. Which is dangerous. In any event, I wondered if the Powers That Be would allow someone to attempt to be on every TV network quiz show. I figured probably not, but it would be fun to try. Then I tried to figure out which one, if I had to limit myself, would I most like to try. Although I love watching Jeopardy!, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is probably better for racking up a sizeable amount of dough in a short period of time, and you're not having to compete against anyone head to head, and you get an unlimited amount of time to agonize. And Meredith Vieira looks a whole lot better in a skirt than Alex Trebeck. (I'm assuming.)

Anyway, which show would YOU most like to be on?

What game show would you most like to appear on as a contestant?
The Price is Right
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
1 Vs. 100
Wheel of Fortune
Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
Deal or No Deal
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:42 PM | Comments (6)

Other things you learn from working on cars.

Parlez-Vous Hot Rod?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

Gosh, who'd a thunk it?

Senate scuttles troop withdrawal bill

I'm sure Muqtada al-Sadr and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar al-Assad and various self-detonating Paradise-seeking jihadis appreciated Harry Reid's efforts on their behalf.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

You can't keep a good man down.

Steevil, in conjunction with the post yesterday about the press' fascination with stories of a stinky nature, sent me a link to an article about an archaeology team excavating some 19th century privies in California. Interesting finds, indeed:

[...] They uncovered a pistol, a buoy knife, whisky flasks, a set of false teeth, two dog skulls and a blade from a set of sheep shears. [...]

Ah, yes, the buoy knife, named after famed Alamo fighter and cork-filled channel marker, Jim Buoy.

Danged homophones.

Now, in fairness to the AP, subsequent versions of the story were updated (without noting the correction) to remove the word "buoy," and then even later versions had gotten around to substituting "bowie." Maybe later follow-up subsequent updated versions will get around to capitalizing Bowie. (Ah--indeed they have! Although, again to be fair, bowie can be something of a generic term.) Anyway, the article above from USATODAY is one of the few versions floating around with the original humorous version of verbiage.

Now if people could only figure out what a Bowie knife actually looks like--one version of the AP story came with pictures, and the knife shown looks nothing like a Bowie knife. Maybe there's another knife they're talking about, but the general level of expertise of the writing team kinda makes me doubt anyone knows much of anything about anything.

Anyway, if you read the whole story, you also get to run across this corker:

[...] "It might be an early crime scene," project archaeologist John Foster said. "It looks like the two dogs were decapitated. Then whoever did it dumped the skulls and the blade, thinking the women probably wouldn't be looking too hard into the bottom of the privy." [...]

Uh, not so fast, there Sparky. "Crime scene"? Look, doof, just finding a knife in a privy doesn't mean it was used to kill anything, and moreover, even if it was used for killing two dogs, killing a dog wasn't a crime back then. Second, if someone was up to mischief, why dump the dogs' heads in the privy? What about the bodies? Are you telling me the womenfolk back then would not be so indelicate as to note two headless dogs roaming the streets? If they were going to do anything, they would've just buried the animals and not gone to the trouble of cutting off their heads. What, do you think the "perps" were afraid someone would check dental records!? And why would he assume the dogs belonged to women? And why would he assume it wasn't women who did the killing?

Archaeology can tell you a lot about the way people lived in the past, but it works better if you can resist the urge to play like some cut-rate investigator from CSI-Ventura. People threw all sorts of stuff down the privy, as well as dropped things by accident, as well as disposed of various offal and viscera and every other thing. Best not to read too much into what you find until after you've done a bit more lab work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:43 AM | Comments (12)

I never thought I would say this, but...

...the Sacagawea dollar coin was very nice.

However, this is only because it has been surpassed in crappiness by the new dollar coin.

I had to stop and get stamps this morning, and the machine spit back out two of the new Presidential dollars as part of the change. Now, for all the insipid, new-agey touchifeeliness of the Sacagawea coin (Indian woman with a BABY! Ooooh, fer KUUUUTE!), it did at least look like some form of actual currency.

When these two new coins were retrieved from the chute, I honestly thought that they must be some sort of new Postal Service stamp tokens.

The reverse of the coin, which the Mint breathlessly describes as having a "striking rendition of the Statue of Liberty" simply looks cheap.


Sorry, Guy Who Designed It, but that's my opinion.

The off-center, 3/4 profile Liberty with the $1 bug sniffing her armpit looks slapped together by one of those weird little countries that puts Elvis on their coins. There's too much dead space in the composition, and as I have continually railed against, anything other than a profile or full face on a coin looks absolutely stupid. Low bas-relief does not allow the subtle shading that shows up on the proof-sketch versions of coins. Yes, it works fine on paper currency (and on stamps) because you're able to use engraving to get incredibly fine detail and shading, but it does NOT translate to coins with their variable shininess and the tiny amount of actual relief that can be struck.

Same thing with the front image, in this case of John Adams.

adams obverse.jpg

The sketch image looks okay, but in the three-dimensional world, he winds up looking like Porky Pig. Look, if you're going to insist on designing coins as 2-D paintings rather than as 3-D sculptures, it'd be better to come up with some way to apply a painting on the face of the coin. Which is a stupid idea, but no worse than trying to make American currency some sort of silly collectible memento like one of those "railroad penny" machines at the arcade or a Naughty Nellie from the service station restroom.

And again, the same gripe with the back applies to the obverse as well, with the relatively huge amount of "white" space around the image making it look like a bigger picture was out of the budget. Of course, the stuff that usually fills in the white space--date, mint mark, and motto--is now moved to the special incused edge. OOoooohh--edge incusing! Yet another lame idea--it's illegible without a magnifying glass, in circulation it'll get worn off quickly, and it serves absolutely no purpose at all. It's not big enough to be decorative, it doesn't have any "feel" to it like reeding.

And finally, this "golden" color thing must go. In circulation, these coins get ratty-looking quickly, adding to their aura of tokeny cheapness.

I'm tired of this. I don't want my money to have the feel of a souvenir. I have no desire for it to be used as a changing billboard of decorator-inspired kitsch to satisfy some Mint mugwump's desire to emulate the success of the stamp-collecting set. Look, when you decide to commemorate everything, nothing is special anymore. How much longer will it be before the Mint comes up with some way for each person to have his or her own image on a quarter or a nickle? I mean, if it was almost good enough for the Post Office, can the Mint be far behind?

Enough, folks.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:39 AM | Comments (13)

Nothing like a little jolt of humor to set the day going!

Edwards ad touts him as a tough guy

tough guy.jpg

He's gonna kill terrorists bare-handed AND keep his hair shiny and manageable!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:16 AM | Comments (7)

July 17, 2007

And finally...

...I was gonna go home this afternoon and cut grass, because it's now 83 feet high from all the nice rain we've had the past couple of weeks.

But it's raining again.

Drat--I might just have to go home and not do anything.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:45 PM | Comments (5)

Well, of course...

Idaho center touts bear rehabilitation

...it's obvious that it's really only successful when the bear admits he's got a problem.

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

Groundhog Day

Y'know, if I was a professional journalist, I think I would get tired of having to write another story about some blooming plant of some sort that smells either like rotting meat or like smelly feet. Every few months it seems like there's another story that hits the news feeds about one of these plants, and I just can't see why anyone would care, or want to read more than one story about a foul-smelling plant.

Oh well--I guess that's why I'm not cut out for such work.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

"Yeah, that's the ticket!"

Via Ace, a report of shocking comic-on-comic violence in the City of Angels.

Gotta say that as much as I disagree with those who engage in recreational drinking and fisticuffs, there are some awfully sorry people in this world who deserve the pain and embarrassment of getting whupped up on by Jon Lovitz.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:15 PM | Comments (2)

Why I'm glad I have a very large and hard head.

"But he's in great shape," Guilford said.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

I agree with the commentors.

This is obviously the sort of behavior one must expect when your husband's in and out of jail.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:37 PM | Comments (1)

Well, it makes perfect sense to me!

Famed NASA rocket scientist and man about town Steevil sends along a link to an article from one of his local papers, which Steevil says is called by locals the "Crab Wrapper" for printing such phrases as this--"[...] actually based on a real-life 19th-century legend. [...]"

Tsk-tsk--Steevil is obviously not aware of just how important reality is when it comes to legends.

(Oh, and by way of full disclosure, Possumblog is actually based on a real-life 17th century fable.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)


Homer homage ruffles Pagans

A 180ft chalk figure of Homer Simpson painted beside the famous Cerne Abbas giant in Dorset hasn't gone down well with the Pagan community.

Springfield's own favourite rude man, dressed only in his briefs and brandishing his beloved doughnut, was painted on the hill to promote the new Simpsons movie.

But Pagans are praying for rain to wash away the display next to the Cerne giant, which is considered to be an ancient symbol for fertility.

Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: "We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind.

"We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away." [...]

Yes, because it never rains in England.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:25 AM | Comments (6)

My guess is the Teamsters probably have something to do with it.

How Solar Systems are Organized

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:53 AM | Comments (2)

Should anyone ever doubt their determination to surrender.

Senate Dems Vow to Pull All-Nighter to Force Iraq Vote

Gosh, if the Copperheads had been this energetic, we might still have a Confederacy.

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


Russia Vows Response to UK Expulsions

MOSCOW - Russia on Tuesday vowed a "targeted and appropriate" response to Britain's expulsion of four diplomats [...]

Probably worth remembering that their "targeted and appropriate" responses in the past have included polonium and dioxin and old-fashioned cranial lead poisoning from a 9mm Makarov.

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

Mean What You Say, Say What You Mean

Boy, that would put politicians out of business. ANYway, a good little article from Ad Age's Eric Webber on the benefits of plain-speaking.

[...] The PR business is filled with some of the smartest, most innovative people I know, but they're too often overshadowed by the creators of language that only serves to reinforce the negative stereotype of the PR person as nothing more than an obfuscator.

I'm not saying that the local PRSA meetings have to become some sort of Algonquin Roundtable, but I do think it's time that we as an industry start holding ourselves to higher standards. We're supposed to be in the business of taking sometimes complicated issues and putting them into language that is easy to understand.

Instead, we're just as likely to take a rather uncomplicated message and put it into language so hard to understand that it ends up meaningless. More than ever, I think there is a need for style, wit and -- most of all -- clarity.

I once worked with a woman who had a habit of using the phrase "Which is to say...." For example: "The value is immeasurable, which is to say, it's hard to measure." That's an actual quote. Call me a simpleton (go ahead, I'm used to it) but if you are clear and direct, you only have to say what you mean once to get your point across. [...]

Of course, you could also take the Possumblog Path, which is to embrace the liberation that comes from realizing the complete and utter pointlessness of what you have to say.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:50 AM | Comments (5)

Saaaay--that's pretty interesting!

If you're down in Auburn tomorrow, you might want to check this out: Estimating Project Volatility using Monte Carlo Simulation in Real Options Analysis

Stuff like this is really interesting to me, because I drove a '72 Monte Carlo in high school.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:39 AM | Comments (10)

Things you learn while working on cars.

1. If you're crawling underneath a car, be aware that there are all sorts of little flying bugs that don't get high up off the ground. If one of them flies into your ear, it's best not to try to poke it with your finger if that finger is covered up with dirty black grease.

2. If you crawl out from under a car all sweaty and grease-eared with your mop of hair hanging down and plastered to your forehead, and your son comes up to you and says, "Hey, Dad! Your hair looks cool combed down like that!" don't believe him.

3. If after your labors and travails are completed and you walk into the kitchen looking like this:


...and your daughter comes running up with a big grin on her face and lets you in on the secret that Mommy thinks you look sexy when you've been doing manly mechanicking work and are all hot and sweaty and greasy-eared, don't put much stock in it. Yes, she probably does get a little flutter when in the presence of a goaty-smelling he-man, but this is only in the abstract. Were you to attempt to clutch Mommy's bits and pieces with your besmutted meathooks, she will slap at you and tell you that you're dirty and stinky.

BUT, at least the car is now operational again, with a new center bearing and center bearing bushing, and center bearing support spring, and center bearing support spring cup washer. Downside? Well, there's still a lot of growling noise, which is probably the result of a bad bearing in the end of the transmission.

But that's a task for another day.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 07:48 AM | Comments (20)

July 16, 2007

Well, yes, you did mess up.

Called IPD, got the guy I ordered from last Friday.

"Let me see...uhhmmm, sir, yes, I'm afraid I'm the one to blame for that. Usually we fill in any special instructions to the warehouse, and I didn't put Saturday delivery on there. I apologize for that, and I'll refund the extra charge to you right now."

Which is good customer service. Not truly great customer service--which would have entailed the company trying to find some way of making up for the added inconvenience that their mess-up caused me--but, still, good. And I suppose good enough to not make me swear them off forever.

But next time I'm going to be more careful.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:09 AM | Comments (4)

So, who is this Murphy guy, and who let him make the law?

Remember from my suprise Friday post about that extra dough I paid for Saturday delivery for my bearing and rubber donut?

Well, apparently everyone forgot about it. Oh, it got next day air service alright--and it landed at the Birmingham airport at 6:48 Saturday morning. And sat there. And despite my best efforts to let the UPS hub come let me pick it up there, they came up with every excuse under the sun to say no. So all day Saturday, and all day Sunday my car sat up on the stands, its little half driveshaft dangling underneath, while the part to fix it waited ten miles away.

Now I've picked up stuff there before, so it's not like it's impossible. But the guy kept saying, "Well, they're not going to unload a plane for just one package."

No, but they had to unload the plane, right?

They're not going to let a fully loaded plane sit on the apron until today, are they?

No, they unloaded it, and it was routed to the proper delivery rack, where it sat until today. It's on the truck right now, as a matter of fact, speeding its way to my house where I will retrieve it this afternoon. You know, rather than on Saturday. When I could probably have picked it up at the airport, only about 15 minutes away from the house, if the UPS guy had actually been interested in doing a customer a favor, rather than sitting around reading the latest issue of Swank.

Of course, I'm peeved at IPD as well, since I stressed how much I wanted to be able to drive my car today, and told them explicitly I wanted it delivered on Saturday, and I was more than willing to pay extra for that service.

SO, I was left this weekend with not much else to do except run errands. Grass? Oh, you better believe it needed cutting, but the OTHER thing that kept cropping up all weekend was rain. It never got dry enough to mow, but that I'm not going to complain about, seeing as how a drought makes you glad you've got some rain. But still, I would like to have done something that felt like actual progress, rather than busywork. I do, after all, have a job for that type of thing.

ANYWAY, speaking of job, I have a lot to do today, and so I'm not going to get to play much. Boy has YET ANOTHER trip to the orthodontist to replace that stinkin' rubber band on the tooth they're trying to pull down, and since Reba and I are riding together today, I also have to come back and pick her up after work, and there's other sorts of running around I have to do today, and did I mention I'm peeved? Well, I am.

SO, to work with me, and the rest of you get out there and explore the blogroll until I get back!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:16 AM | Comments (2)

July 13, 2007

Okay, so there's something to this Friday the 13th stuff.

The plan yesterday was to scoot home and get the car jacked up and the driveshaft pulled and the bearing off and maybe get the new one put back on, or maybe get it done this morning.

See, I was real smart like and looked on the weather radar and saw some rain headed this way out of the west. The weather forecast said it would be here sometime around mid-day today, and I didn't want to have to wait until Saturday to get it finished.

AND EVEN BETTER--the parts had arrived right on time and were waiting on me when I got home!

Got my work clothes on, ran outside, and began earnestly and vigorously jacking up the car. In the front, a set of giant ramps my Dad made from locomotive parts (well, almost--1/8 inch solid steel plate and 3/16 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 angle iron) but since they're so high, I had to jack the front up a bit, then slide them under the tires. Of course, the jack won't go high enough to get the ramps all the way under the tires, so I had to drive the rest of the way up. Which is nerve-wracking, because if you drive off the end, it's A Bad Thing.

But, this time, no problem. Put a wedge behind each of the tires and hammered it in, and set about to raise up the rear end. After much calisthenics, I managed to get the rear axle up high enough to set the iron jack stands my Dad had made, also made from locomotive parts. (The ramps and stands could hold up a dump truck.)

That done, time to get that shaft loose. I skritched underneath with my crappy creeper, and saw for the first time just how bad the center bearing support had worn out. Basically, nothing but rubber crumbs. Marked the driveshaft so I'd put it back right, unbolted the four bolts from the differential flange, and dropped the shaft gently across my Adam's apple, managing not to completely throttle myself. Although I did wind up with a lovely smear of dirty grease as a necklace.

Pulled the shaft gingerly out of the end of the other driveshaft, laid it inside the garage. Pulled loose the bearing support, dropped it down, and at that point began to feel a bad feeling. That hunk of rubber looked awfully biggish. And the new one I'd just gotten seemed awfully smallish in comparison.

Walked into the kitchen covered in black grease and got the new part--sure enough, my driveshaft is of the 2 inch variety, rather than the 1 3/4 inch variety. My new parts? Useless. One tiny little quarter of an inch sure does make a BIG difference.

Kicked myself for not taking the advice of the parts guy out in Portland--"Order both, and then send back the one you don't need." Pish-posh, said I. No need for that.

Because I am a moron.


Well, the quickest thing was to do what I was going to do before I ordered the wrong parts--go to NAPA this morning and get the bigger bearing and bearing support. Also, decided to go to the Volvo dealer to pick up a little rubber bellows that goes around the joint where the shafts connect. This was missing completely and keeps dirt and water out of the connection.

ANYway, I went to the shop down at the foot of the hill this morning, and got the bearing. They didn't have the big rubber donut there, but it was available at the main distribution center in Birmingham. Got in the car, and raced over to the seedy industrial part of town where stray bullets sprinkle down from the sky like cherry blossoms. Got there, finally was able to make the guy understand what I needed, and he said it would be just a minute while they pulled it from the warehouse.



Was accosted by a talkative fellow who works out at the airport and had come in for a starter. Heard all about the fence he had built, the hassle with the neighbors, the NEW fence he had to start building, the above-ground pool he made in the backyard, the fact that it's 8 inches too low on one side, his plans for fixing it, his wife's craft room he had to stop working on to work on the fence and the pool--THIRTY SOLID MINUTES of him talking a blue streak, with me wanly nodding in assent and offering the occasional "Hmm" or "Well" or "I tell you what." The parts guy kept calling back to see what the holdup was, and finally became so exasperated that he went to pull the part himself.

Fence Guy kept right on talking, got his starter, paid, kept talking, and talked his way right out the door.

Parts Guy came back with a rubber donut. Same size as the one that doesn't fit. "No, this one's not the right one."

"Well, we had two back there like this, which is they couldn't find the one I'd called back for, and so they didn't know what to do, but I brought this one out just in case it was the right one. We can order it for you. Be here next week sometime."

Oh well.

I'd only wasted an hour.

Maybe the Volvo dealer has one! I tried to call from there, but couldn't get them. Dang.


Got there, walked in, had to make the guy understand what I wanted, finally got the part number. "Uhh, no sir, we don't have that in stock, but we can order it. Be here on Monday." They didn't have the little rubber bellows in stock, either.


Well fart. I need to work on this TODAY (or tomorrow). The only way I could possibly make this work is for the folks in Portland to next-day the parts to me.

I am a moron.

Headed home, saw a flock of four wild turkeys standing alongside the Interstate around Liberty Park, wondered where their car was, got back to Grandma's house to pick up the kids (who'd been over there while I chased parts) and wound up back at NAPA to return the bearing I'd bought first thing this morning.

Got home, and the rain started. Looked outside and saw Sarah the Bunny eating birdseed off the ground. Called the place in Portland, got a return authorization, ordered the other set of parts, paid extra for the next day shipping, and kicked myself for being a moron. Repacked my too-little parts, went to the UPS store in an increasingly heavy rain and sent them back.

Made lunch, got supper started, and began to reconsider my previous decision to not be superstitious about silly things like Friday the 13th. The only bright spot? Even with paying for three different shipping fees, my parts from Portland are still going to be cheaper if I'd bought the stuff here. But I dare not make too big a deal out of that. Never know what sort of bad juju that might unleash.

ANYway, see you all on Monday!

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

July 12, 2007

Friday the 13th

It frightens me so much that I intend to stay home tomorrow and work on my car!

No, really. Well, not the part about being frightened--the part about staying home and working on the car. I'm taking my annual personal day, and gonna blow it crawling underneath the bottom of a greasy lump of Swedish iron to change out my driveshaft bearing.

No, I don't know why they built it with a two-piece driveshaft like some sort of dump truck or something. No, I don't know why they can't make something that'll last longer than 240,000 miles. No, I don't know if I've actually ordered the right sized bearing or not. No, I'm not sure the kids would ever even know about it if the car falls off the jackstands and crushes me like a big fat possum. No, I've never done this type of repair before.

But despite all that, and despite any lingering triskaidekaphobia I might harbor, it's still nice to play hooky for a day.

SO, all of you have fun tomorrow, and I will try to do the same, and then Lord willing and the car don't fall on me, we'll all get together again on Monday next and chat about things some more.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:37 PM | Comments (2)

Okay, that was weird.

And for some reason, I just now decided to notice.

Anyway, I went to my meeting this morning and pulled into a parallel spot on the street, right behind a guy in a Crown Vic with Cobb County, Georgia plates. He was out of his car on the sidewalk, and when I pulled up he raised his hand, almost like he was warning me about something. I didn't think too much about it, since he was bespectacled and wearing a tie and carrying a nice notebook and driving an old man car, so I put the car in park and was about to get out when he came back and said, "I just put money in that meter, and this one's not working--could you back up?"

I didn't think anything about it, and since there was one more space behind me, I just backed up and parked there, and then he backed up from the space he'd been in to the one he wanted me to move out of. We both got out and he thanked me as I put a quarter in the meter, but it just now occurred to me exactly how peculiar the whole thing was.

Why would you pull into a parking space, put money in the meter, then get back in and pull forward one space? And once you got THAT space, why would you worry about a parking meter that's on the fritz? If it's not working, you don't have to plug it.

People are strange.

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

My goodness!

Looks like it was a busy Saturday in Hanceville!

By Karen Williamson
The Cullman Times

When the Hanceville Police Department received a complaint from a neighbor of 75-year-old James Bennefield’s last Saturday about a hog getting loose, the fracas ended with the hog getting shot and Bennefield being shocked with a Taser.

You know, it's not often you get to write an opening sentence with the words hog, fracas, and Taser in it.

Corp. Don Chamberlain and Officer Chris Westmoreland responded to the call on County Road 545 and spoke to the neighbor.

“The complainant advised the hog tore up the garden and the yard and was always getting out,” said HPD Investigator Lt. Jimmy Rodgers.

The officers had already been out to the house earlier the same day and discovered the hog running free. They asked Bennefield to put the hog back in the fenced area.

During the second visit, Bennefield became combative, Rodgers said.

“He became real aggressive, cussed the officer and told him he wouldn’t put his hogs up, and he wasn’t fixing his fence,” Rodgers said.

Well, I think that's probably happened to all of us at one time or another.

The hog was in the neighbor’s yard when the officers arrived. The hog then entered the road and became a road hazard, said Rodgers.

Chamberlain shot the hog.

According to police reports, an agitated Bennefield responded by charging one officer. He changed course and bore down on the other officer, Rodgers said.

One imagines there was great temptation to substitute the phrase "boar down on the other officer."

“Chamberlain tried to get Mr. Bennefield to calm down and (tried to explain) the reason for shooting the hog,” said Rodgers, reading from Chamberlain’s report.

But Bennefield only became more incensed, cursing and clenching his fists, according to Chamberlain’s account.

Finally, Bennefield took a swing at Westmoreland, according to the report, and Chamberlain responded by using his Taser gun. [...]

Bennefield said he has contacted an attorney and would file a complaint today if he was able to.

“I do not feel good,” he said. “I was advised by my attorney not to talk to anyone” until the complaint was filed.

Given the way in which fracases of this sort tend to unfold, he just better be glad John Law didn't get mixed up and Taser the hog and shoot him.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:44 PM | Comments (7)

Verrrrry Interesting...

On the way home yesterday, I saw a car with a Ron Paul bumper sticker. Yes, believe it or not.

But something about it seemed...odd. And then it began to dawn on me--first of all, the sticker was on the left side of the bumper. Second, it was applied so that the left side of the sticker was higher than the right. And the color of the car? Red.

Obviously, this means that the entire Ron Paul candidacy is nothing but a shadowy Communist conspiracy! The goal? To take over the MOON! It's no coincidence that the first two of the anagrams of "Ron Paul" are "Plan Our" and "Lunar Op."

Just remember, you've been warned!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:09 AM | Comments (2)

Oh, come on--it's just a little cellulose!

Beijing steamed buns include cardboard

BEIJING - Chopped cardboard, softened with an industrial chemical and flavored with fatty pork and powdered seasoning, is a main ingredient in batches of steamed buns sold in one Beijing neighborhood, state television said. [...]

Baozi are a common snack in China, with an outer skin made from wheat or rice flour and and a filling of sliced pork. Cooked by steaming in immense bamboo baskets, they are similar to but usually much bigger than the dumplings found on dim sum menus familiar to many Americans.

The hidden camera follows the man, whose face is not shown, into a ramshackle building where steamers are filled with the fluffy white buns, traditionally stuffed with minced pork.

The surroundings are filthy, with water puddles and piles of old furniture and cardboard on the ground.

"What's in the recipe?" the reporter asks. "Six to four," the man says.

"You mean 60 percent cardboard? What is the other 40 percent?" asks the reporter. "Fatty meat," the man replies.

The bun maker and his assistants then give a demonstration on how the product is made.

Squares of cardboard picked from the ground are first soaked to a pulp in a plastic basin of caustic soda — a chemical base commonly used in manufacturing paper and soap — then chopped into tiny morsels with a cleaver. Fatty pork and powdered seasoning are stirred in. [...]

MMMMmmmm! Sounds like a new product for Possumblog Kitchens--Chinese Tiny Morsel Hi-Fiber Buns!

Anyway, you know, I think most people would be more repulsed if they knew exactly what sort of "fatty meat' was being used, given the Asian predilection for consuming the flesh of a wide variety of undomesticated animals.

All I can say is you can rest assured our new Chinese Tiny Morsel Hi-Fiber Buns will be made with only the finest manatee.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:42 AM | Comments (2)

Gosh, where's Lloyd Bentsen when you need him!?

John Edwards takes page from RFK's book

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The campaign of presidential hopeful John Edwards has a ready answer for all the criticism about his expensive haircuts and expansive home: A man can be wealthy and care about the poor, too.

Just look at a Democratic hero — Robert F. Kennedy. [...]

Senator, you're no Bobby Kennedy.

Anyway, no one (well, no one with any common sense) is begrudging him his days at the beauty parlor, or begrudging him his money. What strikes some folks (including me) the wrong way is that he constantly rails against the rich (of which, he is one) and has constantly tried to misrepresent the amount of wealth he DOES have (by going about preaching his faux-populist, po' millworker's son schtick) without the slightest sense that he understands why anyone would object. If you're going to vilify those with money, don't be surprised when people point out how rich you are.

And back to this thing with the haircuts--if he's suddenly decided to be proud of his Kennedy-esque wealth and a newfound noblesse-oblige, why has he felt it necessary to make his campaign pay for his haircuts? Why not just grab one of his big sacks of gold coins and toss a few ducats to the stylists?

Because his sin is not in being rich, it's in being a venal little twit.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:00 AM | Comments (4)

Aside from starting to sweat...

...that wasn't so bad. And if you're predisposed to producing a large volume of sweat, and you're going to have to have an outdoor meeting, it's a whole lot better to be out there in the morning than in the afternoon. So, you know, it all worked out well enough.


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

Okay, well, this isn't an auspicious start.

I had my hopes all built up for an interesting day, but it looks like the first few hours are going to be completely work-related. Got to go look at some stuff a few blocks away, and despite the fact that it deals with something I like (old buildings) it's still a meeting, with people (and you know how THEY are), and it's one of those where I'm subbing for my boss, and my only briefing beforehand was that I needed to show up.

Let's just hope something comes out of it worth blogging about!

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

July 11, 2007

Maybe tomorrow will be more interesting.

By then, all of the huge host of people who visit Possumblog from the other side of the International Date Line (and those odd people who stay up late reading Possumblog) will have left their suggestions for the finale of your bedtime story!

Which seems a bit off, seeing as how those of you on this side of the line will have to wait until tomorrow to see how it ends, and you're probably gonna be up all night worrying about Hoppy and stuff, and then you'll probably get up and come wake me up and tell me you're thirsty, and I'll tell you to go back to bed, and then you'll pout, and then trip over the stuff in the floor, and then start crying, and then I'll have to sing to you, and just to annoy you I'll have to sing like Slim Whitman, and then you'll be even more upset.

Oh well--such is life.

ANYway, see you all tomorrow!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:56 PM | Comments (2)


It being so slow today, let's do something that I used to do with my kids--make up a story as we go along!

We'll do it like this: I'll start off with some introductory stuff, and then pause. The first person who comments gets to pick the word or phrase to go in the spot, and then we continue on like that with various stops and starts until we've told a story and you're good and tired and ready to go to sleep!


Once upon a time (as all good stories begin), there was a very large Kangaroo, hopping merrily along his way. As he hopped, he carried with him a very large pair of cymbals. He hopped and banged and crashed and hopped and clanged, making a most fearsome noise!

He had just rounded the corner onto Main Street when he saw--or more accurately--heard the thundering, thumping, window-rattling thud of a bass cannon-equipped hoopty, even though it was allllllll the way down at the other end of Main Street.

It got closer, and closer, and closer, and then pulled up and stopped right in front of the kangaroo! Inside the car were twelve drummers drumming, and they continued to drum away in time with the music booming from the car! SUCH A RACKET THEY MADE!

They drummers saw the kangaroo, and one of them leaned out the window and said to the kangaroo, "What's YOUR name?" The kangaroo looked at them with a very puzzled look, and said "What'd you say?! I can't hear you!"

It was a very odd scene, what with a cymbal-carrying kangaroo conversing with a caboodle of cacophonic kids!

The drummer who asked the kangaroo his name couldn't hear the kangaroo say that he couldn't hear what the drummer said, and so he turned down the radio (since he knew no one else would be able to hear him if he told someone else to do it) and then started swatting everyone to make them quit their drum-banging so he could hear the kangaroo.

"Hi, Kangaroo," the drummer said, "what is your name?" The kangaroo, even though his long ears were still ringing, heard the question. He sat back on his long rubbery haunches, rubbed his furry little chin and said "My name is Lonnie!"

Well, not really, but that's what he tells strangers.

His parents named him "Hoppy" and he just hates it.

But with this load of suspicious noisy drummers, Hoppy, or Lonnie, figured he'd never seen anything quite so strange, and figured now was as good a time as any to use a name he liked. So Lonnie it was.

"Hi, there, Lonnie! Look, Lonnie, we're lost and were wondering if you could tell us how to get to San Jose? That's where they're having the nearest drum and bugle corps contest, you know."

Hoppy wasn't so sure about this--not only were there no towns called San Jose anywhere near, the drummers didn't have a single bugler in the car. Something about the situation made Hoppy's little black nose twitch (which he hated more than being called Hoppy).

It was right then and there that Hoppy decided to [Something good, I hope!]...

WE INTERRUPT THIS BEDTIME STORY FOR SOME ACTUAL NEWS: Giant badgers terrorise Iraqi port city

Friends, that's no badger--IT'S CHUPACABRA!! Or Manbearpig. Or Batboy.

Jim Smith sent me that, because he knows I'm a sucker for stories about giant flesh-eating, monkey-faced badgers.

Anyway, now back to the EXCITING! ENDING! OF! your bedtime story!

It was right then and there that Hoppy decided to take off the kangaroo suit, stop hopping around like a moron and get on with life as Mr Robert H. R. Johansson of 15 Elder Parade, Essendon; a plumbing supplies merchant and aspiring political candidate!


WOW! Didn't see that one coming!

Thanks to all who participated in the Storytime for yesterday/today and I hope it helps you as you sail off to Slumberland. Or someplace similar.

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

I question the timing.

New dictionary includes 'ginormous' AP - Tue Jul 10, 7:33 PM ET

Rare giant squid washed up in Australia Reuters - Wed Jul 11, 1:59 AM ET


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

Good morning!

Yes, you can once again get your fresh hot moronic offerings again! Problem is, it's been an awful uninteresting morning, so there's not actually very much to talk about.

That is, unless YOU have something YOU want to talk about!

What's on your mind this morning?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:32 AM | Comments (8)

July 10, 2007

Oh, THAT again.

Yep--once more I have to venture forth and have my regular off-campus meeting tomorrow, so you'll all have to wait for a while for your usual ration of stupidity. Unless you want to browse through the archives, which are chock full of it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)

Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

It's been a while, so let's look at...

ADYTUM. The inner sanctuary of a Greek temple whence oracles were delivered; also, more loosely, any private chamber or sanctuary.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition

A slightly more detailed definition with a drawing can be found here.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:53 PM | Comments (4)

Shoutout Tuesday!

Hello to all of our recent visitors from:

Birmingham, Alabama
Saint Louis, Missouri
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Weehawken, New Jersey
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dallas, Texas
Kelseyville, California
Toronto, Ontario
Cleveland, Ohio
Pensacola, Florida
Murrysville, Pennsylvania
Findlay, Ohio
La Mancha, Canarias, Spain
Sioux City, Iowa
Dalton, Georgia
Richmond, Virginia
Nijmegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
Coldwater, Michigan
Meriden, Kansas
San Antonio, Texas
Plano, Texas
Cairo, Georgia
Clearfield, Utah
Sugar Loaf, New York
Mobile, Alabama
Billings, Montana
Houston, Texas
Springfield, Illinois
Vincent, Alabama
Irving, Texas
Dimondale, Michigan
Bend, Oregon
Emeryville, California
Chicago, Illinois
Greenville, North Carolina
London, Lambeth, UK
Memphis, Tennessee
Arroyo Grande, California
Montreal, Quebec
Watson, Alabama
Murrysville, Pennsylvania
Greenville, North Carolina
Miami, Florida
Elmhurst, Illinois
Montgomery, Alabama
Mountain View, California
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Pensacola, Florida

(2:00 in the afternoon isn't really the best time to catch all those international visitors, but rest assured you're being said 'hey' to, also!)

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

It never fails to unnerve me...

...when people get here by searching on my name.

Thank heavens this is all nothing more than a clever ruse, being that I'm actually someone else, and you don't really know who I am.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:54 PM | Comments (2)

Uh-Oh. Gonna be trouble.

Pope: Other Christians not true churches


THIS JUST IN: Baptists go on rampage, vow to invade Catholic neighborhoods and invite people to Vacation Bible School

Episcopalians call for holy war, leaders say will take local Catholic priests out for game of golf with loser buying drinks

Lutherans outraged, agree to meet with Pope over upcoming hotdish supper


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:45 PM | Comments (9)

Why They Hate Us, Episode the Next

Is it...

1) Allowing women to serve on juries; OR
2) Arresting women jurors for wearing earphones under their hajibs when they should have been paying attention to court proceedings (although technically, they aren't able to pay attention anyway since they're only women); OR
3) Holding court in a place called "Blackfriars," which is really pushing that whole Crusader imagery just too far; OR
4) All of the above

I'm not sure, but I'm sure once this story gets on the playlist, Islamic Rage Boy is gonna be bustin' a move.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

Now maybe it's just me...

...but since when is a "heat wave" something that's only been going on for a day?

East swelters in 2nd day of heat wave

And since when is a heat wave only two days long? "[...] Cooler weather and storms were forecast by Wednesday. [...]"

Newspapers--struggling mightily to become as useful as spam.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:16 AM | Comments (3)


Obama's Alabama stops pull more than $100,000

You know how everyone ("everyone" being people in the media) likes to show their intellectual superiority by playing those clips of George Bush stumbling or mangling various vowels and consonants during public appearances? It would be harmless fun if so many non-media-people use it as another way to justify their hatred of the man.

But let me tell you what, if you're going to use that particular way to show how stupid someone is, let's hope you didn't watch the arrival of Senator Obama in town.

Now I like him okay--he's a liberal of the worst pandery sort, but at least he doesn't seem to have the twitchy insanity currently infecting so many of his fellow partymembers. I don't think he'd make a particularly bad President, nor a particularly good one.

But I have to say, watching him on the feed from the local television news show, his first few minutes after being introduced at the Sheraton yesterday evening was painful. He kept grinning and mugging for the camera, and tried to be peppy and humorous to the folks up on the stage with him, but more than anything, he just seemed as lost and uncomfortable as someone who showed up for a job interview on the wrong day, at the wrong place. And this was with an overwhelmingly friendly (including the news media) crowd. Maybe he was just tired--he seems to have that problem--but he just didn't seem to have the easy jocularity of someone like Bill Clinton, or dare I say, George Bush.

Maybe he got better once he started reading from his script, but his preamble would make late-night comedy fodder the full equal of that produced by the current President.

Not that anyone would ever do that.

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

I blame the chicken stir-fry.

Or possibly global warming. But last night I dreamed I had grown great huge Ambrose Burnside-grade sideburns.

I'm not sure why I would have a dream like that, although I did watch several episodes of the Ken Burns/PBS Civil War series over the weekend, and I was reminded once more that guys back then had some awfully strange ideas about what constituted tonsorial attractiveness.

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

Sorry, but...

..."running with the cows" doesn't have much of a ring to it.

Anyway, it must be a slow news day, because this has all the hallmarks of a prank announcement from a bunch of not especially witty college students, especially given Reuters' credulity in reporting it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

Hoist by my own petard.

Well dang.

You might remember I made a move a couple of weeks ago to try to limit the amount of comment spam I have coming in by closing the comments as they popped up. Wasn't really a big distraction to most readers since it seemed that there were only about two or five very old posts that got the most spam, so I figured as spam came in, I'd shut off the offending post, which I didn't like doing because the comments are a lot better than the actual posts, but I got tired of having to come in and delete ten or twenty stupid messages every morning.

Making it even easier, Miss Jordana pointed out that our Mu.nu blogs have a handy little bit of code where you can close comments older than a certain date, so I inserted that in my template, and made it to where any post has its comments shut down when it gets over 21 days old.

These efforts seemed to have worked very well. There was an entire week there where I didn't get a single spam comment.

However--it's started back now in earnest, and apparently since the old, rarely ever seen posts are unreachable, it's all coming in on new posts. ::sigh:: And it's not even real spam for fly-by-night p00rn dealers and freelance pharmaceutical salesmen--it's those things with web addresses composed entirely of random letters, and the messages are likewise random letters.

Anyway, the comment spammers are back, and it sure would be nice if the people who do this were crushed by a bulldozer.

UPDATE: Well, well. Seems comment spam is a nice way to make money.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:31 AM | Comments (2)

July 09, 2007

Well, THAT was brief!

I have to go take Boy for an orthodontistical visit this afternoon, so all of you have fun and enjoy all your cake and ice cream and pony rides until I get back tomorrow!

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

Oh, did I mention...

...that today's my birthday?

Well, it is!

Best present so far was yesterday evening, when Rebecca said I didn't look 45. "You look more like you're maybe 38."

I'll take it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:08 PM | Comments (22)

Speaking of stir fry...

...in the microwave--I didn't get the memo about it, but apparently today is "Bring Horrific-Smelling Foods From Home and Cook Them Right Outside Terry's Door" Day. Earlier someone brought in rancid fried fish, then there was a couple of indistinguishable funkfoods that smelled something like feet and sewage mixed together, and now someone just nuked something with the unmistakable topnote of "Chinese Rat Slaughterhouse."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

Snide, Rude, and Completely Uncalled-For Remark of the Day

No, this can't be Helen Thomas because she's still alive.


We apologize for this cheap, low humor, and now return you to your normal kind, uplifting, and gracious programming.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

As you all know...

...Miss Reba is an excellent cook, but I do think it might have been better to go ahead and take the shells off the tails of the shrimp that she tossed into the stir fry. Because if you leave them on there, they tend to come off in your food, and it can be uncomfortable when you're just a'chewing along minding your own business and bite into a crunchy sharp tail fin.

Just sayin'.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Via Osmondlandia's own Nate McCord: "Clearly there were some other options available."

I'd say so, too.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:47 AM | Comments (7)

Rain, Part II

I forgot the other exciting thing--Catherine's cucumbers seem to have gotten the idea to grow, and we found a great big one yesterday.

She was horrified that I ate it for supper last night, though.

She wanted to make a pickle out of it.

We tried to explain to her that it's hard to do a batch of pickles with just one cucumber, but this didn't seem to matter at all to her. She gave me the stink-eye for the rest of the evening.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:44 AM | Comments (6)


It started Friday afternoon, and continued sporadically through the night, and then all day Saturday. A good slow rain that didn't come equipped with flash floods or tornadoes or lightning, and I have to tell you, it sure was nice.

Although you've all come to expect a 3,000 word exposition of the weekend past, this time there's really nothing to report. Although, I did finally identify the bird that's been hitting the feeder lately as an Eastern (formerly knowns as the rufous-sided) towhee.

It's good when that's the most exciting thing that happens.

Now then--time for staff meeting.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:22 AM | Comments (2)

July 06, 2007

What an odd week this has been.

That midweek off-day was part of it, as was the flurry of busiwork when I got back to work on Monday, as was, or has been, well, just everything this week. Thankfully, if nothing else I CAN use this discombobulation as a handy excuse for poor quality and volume of blogging output. Now if only I could find a way to use it for the other six years' worth of junk...

ANYway, the weekend is almost here, and hopefully it will allow me time to fully come to my senses.

Then again, maybe that's not the best idea in the world, either.

In any case, all of you have a great weekend, and I'll see you all bright and early on Monday.

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

Laughter is the Best Medicine

SO, it comes to us that our beloved Terra is sick, according to a widely diverse group of celebrities and politicians.

Fear not, though, for as we all know from reading Reader's Digest, "Laughter is the Best Medicine"--although probably not for things such as cancer and gunshot wounds--but be that as it may, I believe that tomorrow's Live Earth concerts are only a portion of the help our sick planet needs.

It also need laughter.

Therefore, I propose than in partnership with Live Earth, we conduct a companion presentation which shall be called Live Mirth, which will consist of people who aren't willing to attend one of the many concerts sitting around and making fun of the people who do.

As Mr. Blair notes, there's no way we can ever overcome the massive amount of (absolutely necessary!) waste and pillage caused by these concerts, so we must do the next best thing and use them and the attendees as valuable sources of renewable humor. Let's not let this valuable opportunity for healing Mother Earth pass us by!

We thank you for your support. Support of Live Mirth of a monetary nature should be sent directly to me.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:53 PM | Comments (4)

For those of you who use Gmail..

...or for those who don't, really doesn't matter. Anyway, Google's privacy invaders, in exchange for allowing you to have unlimited storage of emails, will sift through all your communications and glean words and phrases that match words and phrases related to people who advertise on their site, hoping that you will see something that interests you, because you've already been using words like "goat" and "depilatory," and they just signed up Flenster's Goat Depilatory and Udder Wax as a Google Ad Partner, and so they'll throw a link to their website up at the top of the page--discretely--and hope you'll click on it.

ALL THAT, to note that Gmail has a folder for spam, which means that there are a tremendous amount of links related to Spam®, and Spam®-related recipes, and Spam®-themed merchandise.

But I have to say, some of the things are just not pleasant, such as this one that just popped up:

Spam Swiss Pie - Bake 45-55 minutes or until eggs are set

Something about reading that short phrase just makes my guts churn like an industrial washing machine. And I also have to wonder what the Swiss did to deserve something like this.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

So, you say your favorite marsupial-themed blogger...

...has a birthday coming up, eh?

Well, I'm certain there are few things he would want more than one (or SEVEN!) of these babies!

Unless it's several of these.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:12 PM | Comments (8)

Seven Wonders of the World?

Feh. I read this story, and all I could think of was how lame the choices are. How could they have left out the Coon Dog Cemetery!? What about the World's Largest Office Chair!? What about the Hueytown Hum!?

I tell you what, the people who come up with these lists really need to get out more.

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

How odd.

New Measurement: Earth Smaller Than Thought Y'know, I never realized anyone had ever measured the size of thought.

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


No, I DON'T want to "sit in with you" on your meeting! I don't CARE if you think it helps to have someone else in there to "help you remember" things! Here's a tip--get a legal pad out of the supply cabinet. A hour spent listening to crap-spouting is not my idea of a morning well-spent.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:58 AM | Comments (5)

July 05, 2007

My goodness, it HAS been quite a while!

But we cheer the triumphal return of none other than our ol' abyss-staring buddy, Charles Austin, who pleasures us with Throat Warbling Mangrove, amongst many other shiny things!


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:26 PM | Comments (2)

A New Possumobile?


Dave Helton has been ever so kind to try to assist me in the event that I should have to procure alternative transportation. I'd told him that I was convinced that to avoid unnecessary damage from people running into me that my next car was going to be a dump truck. Ever the resourceful sort, for my next I Am A Moron Project™, Dave suggested...


I just happen to have a 1953 (or maybe a '56) International Harvester single axle dump featuring a single cylinder hoist, diamond-six engine with a one-barrel carb (complete with a dirt dobber nest!) and ARMSTRONG™ power steering. I hate to part with such a gem, but I know you are a man of class and discernment, so I would be willing to part with it to you for a the low, low sum of $45,000... and if you act today, will even throw in a bonus Moron Project™! A 1964 Caterpillar 933 Traxcavator that RUNS... of course the motor does have a little miss in it... well, it's actually more of a peck...or maybe a knock... ok, it sounds like a little man with a sledgehammer is beating on the block,


Think of all the fun you could have with the kids pulling the engine in your driveway (to pi$$ the neighbors off), rebuilding it, then driving it down the street knocking down mailboxes! It also makes a dandy snake killer, providing you can get on top of the snake and spin the tracks just right.

BTW, the Dump truck DOES run, you just have to have a really good battery or park it on the side of a hill.

And to prove he's not joshing, here's the Project in Question:



Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:12 PM | Comments (12)

Yet more evidence for...

...the George Bush/Karl Rove Evil Republican Time and Weather Changing Machine! DNA test indicates very green Greenland

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
2 hours, 1 minute ago

WASHINGTON - Ice-covered Greenland really was green a half-million or so years ago, covered with forests in a climate much like that of Sweden and eastern Canada today.

An international team of researchers recovered ancient DNA from the bottom of an ice core that indicates the presence of pine, yew and alder trees as well as insects.

The researchers, led by Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, say the findings are the first direct proof that there was forest in southern Greenland. [...]

Scientists offer the Time/Weather Machine as the only plausible alternative for how Greenland could ever have gotten warm enough for forestation, noting that many famous celebrities and politicians have said the scientific community has reached unanimous consensus that global warmthening can only be done by the influence of evil Republicans.

To further bolster their suspicions of some sort of time-travel device being used, researchers also reported finding a picture of an adorable kitten sitting in snow with the text "im in ur glashurz--makn thm melt!1!", which they seem confident is a sure sign of evil, sarcastic Rovian involvement in the ecosystem.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:39 PM | Comments (5)

One assumes...

...that it will be met with the same stunning level of success as other Congressional ventures: Congress looks to boost tourism to US

One also wonders how long it will be before strong suspicions are voiced of the effort being part of a vast conspiracy funded by Big Hospitality.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:14 PM | Comments (3)

Hey, guess who else is back from vacation!?

That's right, Dr. Possum!

He's just now entered our hallowed halls, just narrowly missing bumping into the hallowed water cooler and tripping over the hallowed door stop!

As you all know, Dr. Possum is the world's foremost authority on everything, and often stops by to assist us in making Possumblog ever more useful to you by answering any questions you might have. As a doctor*, Dr. Possum is fully and equally knowledgeable on matters medical, biological, geological, tautological, photographical, occipital, occupational, and accidental, and is therefore imminently able to assist you in your seach for information.

Have a question? Just leave it in the comments below, and after he comes to, Dr. Possum will give the all that you need to know!

*Dr. Possum is the holder of a Doctorate of Humane Numerals, awarded in 1949 by the University of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. At this time, no credible evidence has been submitted to dispute the validity of this diploma.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:50 PM | Comments (8)

Well, I've heard of citizen's arrests before...

...but never one conducted by a building: Man with knife arrested by Obama's hotel

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)


Now then, FINALLY some time free of the grip of mindless institutional papershuffling and buttonpushing for some good old-fashioned mindless individual buttonpapering and shufflepushing! Such a relief!

Went over to the inlaws' yesterday, and as usual, Reba's mom fixed every possible traditional 4th of July food known to man--burgers, ribs, hot dogs, chilled boiled shrimp (yes, I think it's odd, too, but the kids can't seem to get enough of them, even after I mentioned how much they look like grubworms), baked beans, cole slaw, sliced tomatoes, banana pudding, apple pie, cantaloupe (and for the philosophy fans there was Kantaloupe, too! Sorry--indulge me that one--no one else at the house understands the weak joke), strawberries, grapes, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and our contribution, a pot full of corn on the cob.

For some reason, I wasn't all that hungry. Just had a hot dog, some tomato, and a piece of corn. And then went and slept the rest of the afternoon in their basement while Catherine and Rebecca watched TV.

Went home, changed, went to church, got home, watched the Thunder on the Mountain fireworks show on the television, helped heat up all the leftovers from lunch, ate, went upstairs and read the kids some more of their book, sent them to bed, and proceeded to listen to the stupid dog next door bark. I think the neighbors are gone, because he usually doesn't bark this much. But he's been barking for three days straight, now.


























Two barks, every three seconds. For hours on end.

I love animals, and I don't particularly dislike this one, even though he got loose last week and tore up Catherine's garden, but there are few things that rub me the wrong way worse than a barking dog that simply will not shut up, even after doing the exact same bark for hours on end. It makes me have very dark thoughts.

He finally quit around midnight. Because that's when the second round of bootleg neighborhood fireworks started going off. I'm not sure why midnight--I understand it on New Year's, but if they're going to do it at midnight for the 4th, why not have done it the previous midnight? But at least the constant thud and whistle shut the stupid dog up.

Until about three a.m., when he started up again.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:27 AM | Comments (4)

Now before all of you start begging for big steaming bowls of Possumblog...

...please remember that this is Mailout Thursday (although with the midweek holiday, it's actually more like a pseudo-Monday--blech) and I have things to do. And further, I dreamed about blogging last night (in between the yahoos with their fireworks and our neighbor's big stupid dog that barked all night long) so that's probably a sign of some sort. Not sure what, but no matter.

ANYway, be patient and there'll be more in just a little while.

And as an aside, there are few things more sad than rebellious young people who get incarcerated for dabbling in recreational drugs, except for ones forced by their father's religiopolitics to play the rebel while driving a dorky Toyota Prius. I mean, even Patrick Kennedy had enough of the bad-boy about him to DUI himself around in a Mustang.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:01 AM | Comments (8)

July 03, 2007


...all of you have a great holiday, and I'll see you around these parts again on Thursday.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

And I completely missed getting to blog about this...

Siegelman, Scrushy go straight to jail

It would be difficult to find two people in this state who deserve time in the Graybar Hilton more than Teflon Don and Dicky Bird. What's even nicer is that, at least for the time being, they're getting to share the same 6 foot by 8 foot cell and stainless steel throne.

Talk about cruel and unusual.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:50 PM | Comments (2)

On a more serious note.

I'll be at home tomorrow celebrating Independence Day. It's nice to have a day off, but it's worth remembering that had it not been for a brave few souls 231 years ago, you might be having to read this in English.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:46 PM | Comments (4)

How could I forget!?

My sister was in town over the weekend, and she and my mom took us all out to eat for lunch at the Chinese place over by the movie theater sort of for my birthday (which is the 9th of this month) and my sister's birthday (which was back in May) and for the 4th of July all rolled into one convenient package, and my mom and sister got me two shirts and two ties for my birthday!

To make me feel better about my recent accidental rearending, my sister recounted her recent incident in which she herself was the rearender, and her insurance was thus saddled with paying for the rearendee's damage and hers. The tab for her car (an '01 Infiniti I-30)?

Five grand. It was low speed, but it buckled the hood and messed up both headlamps and her front bumper and some other junk in there.

So, you know, I should feel pretty good about my own mishap, right?


a happy.jpg

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

There are times when you realize...

...that even when you've got an injured car, you're probably still doing okay compared to some folks.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:14 AM | Comments (3)

Not Unentertaining in the Least!

We are proud to bring you the very latest in Knock-Knock Joke humor, via our very own humor consultant, my ten-year-old.

The one she told most over the past week is this stellar contribution to the art:



"Who's there?"


"'Jamaican' who?"

"Whatcha makin'!?"

The lengths to which we will go to keep you engaged and rolling in paroxysms of laughter know no bounds! Please do stay tuned!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:58 AM | Comments (2)

Yet MORE Entertainment!

How can it get any better than THIS!?

I'm thinking of a number between -14 and 21.3--first person to guess it wins a FABULOUS PRIZE!!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:12 AM | Comments (17)


That's right, my own solo electric guitar arrangement of a "Free Bird"/"Tuesday's Gone" medley!

Oh, wait.

I don't know how to play the guitar.

Sorry--never mind.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:08 AM | Comments (4)

Playing Catch-up, Day 2

The good thing is that there seems to be a lot of people on vacation, so that makes getting this mess done a lot easier, not having all that constant interruption from icky humans. The bad thing is there's a lot of mess. While I was out, I missed the second of our biweekly (or semi-monthly) regulatory meetings (the ones where I take minutes) and so I've been left with trying to decipher someone else's (actually, two other elses') notes, and it's not very easy, given their infirm grasp of the concepts associated with the tasks of listening and taking notes. And there was all the leftover junk no one did while I was gone. And there is my own incredible sense of apathy and/or ennui and/or lethargy.

NONE of which are entertaining! And by Jiminy, if there's something that Possumblog should be, it should be entertaining!

THEREFORE, I present to you a short excerpt from the thrilling book, The Life and Times of Wendell G. Fleen, Notary Public. It has all sorts of tender pathos and raging fury, much like what I go through on my daily job. From page 956:

[...] It was noon, which is lunchtime. I opened up my sandwich, which was made of sliced ham on bread. I ate it, and drank a cold cup of water I'd just gotten out of the cooler. Unbeknownst to me, a drop of water from that very cup dropped onto the Fridley/Sturtzen papers I was supposed to sign after lunch, and the drop spread nearly to the signature line before I noticed it. I quickly got a piece of blotting paper and pressed it onto the wet place on the paper, and saved it from certain ruin.

Then I finished my sandwich. [...]

SEE! Told you it was thrilling!

Anyway, now that you've been entertained for the morning, I'm going to get back to work for a while.

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

July 02, 2007

Best new thing?

Well, for some reason Rebecca took a pen to Jonathan's hand and drew this:

a happy.jpg

"What's that?"

"I don't know--it just drew a smiley face on his hand, and then he wanted me to do something else to it so I made hair and arms and legs--and it makes me happy every time I see it!"

And doggone it if it doesn't make me react the same way!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

Things I didn't do.

Blog, use a computer, watch the news, read a newspaper, read a book, vacuum the floors, cut the grass, wash laundry.

Things I did do--watched several videos the kids brought with them, played cards, cooked, washed dishes, sweated, operated a paddle boat, learned my way around Fort Payne, went to the grocery store three times, heard a bobwhite, thought I'd lost my cell phone, drove around a lot, was impressed with the general tidiness of various small North Alabama towns, tried to keep the peace, stepped in multiple piles of animal manure of various types, sizes, and species.

Things I would have like to have done--gotten lost in the woods and forced a massive search and rescue operation to be carried out on my behalf, found several million dollars, not sweated as much, had more time to spend on vacation without worrying what I would face upon my return.

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

Looks like I'm gonna have to get all Reader's Digest-y on you.

Let's hit the highlights:

Car: When I left Friday, I was headed home to fax a copy of my title to the insurance company, for what I assumed was proof of ownership. Reba freaked--"YOU'RE GIVING THEM YOUR CAR!?" No, I get to keep it, and they give me a partial settlement, and things are hunky dory. Until I kept hearing her concern in the back of my head, which caused me to do some Googling.


Seems that in the State of Alabama, if you keep your car after it's been totaled, you're issued a salvage title. And you can't drive it, until you get a rebuilt title issued for the car. To do this?

If you decide to keep the car and rebuild it, you must obtain a rebuilder's license and rebuild/restore the vehicle to its prior condition. When you finish rebuilding it, you must have it inspected. This is to determine that no stolen parts were used to rebuild it and to ensure that your vehicle has been safely rebuilt. According to Alabama law, only a licensed rebuilder can apply for the inspection. The vehicle must be restored within Alabama only.To apply for a rebuilder's license, contact:

Alabama Department of Revenue
License Tax Section
P.O. Box 327550
Montgomery, AL 36132-7550

You will be provided with a license application and instructions that will explain the requirements and fees. State law requires that you post a $10,000 surety bond to become licensed. A surety bond is a contract guaranteeing that you will rebuild the vehicle.

Once you have met the rebuilder's license requirements, you must include the following documents with your application for a salvage vehicle inspection:

Application for Inspection of a Salvage Vehicle
Remittance Advice, Form INV 31-1
The original salvage title properly assigned to the owner/licensed rebuilder
Copy of rebuilder's license
$90 fee, payable by certified funds (application fee of $75 plus title fee of $15)

You'll also need the following Bill of Sale forms:

Notarized Bills of Sale for all major component parts. The forms must list the manufacturer's vehicle identification number of the vehicle from which the parts were removed.
Bills of Sale for all minor component parts. Notarization shall not be required unless the component part contains or should contain the manufacturer's vehicle identification number.

Mail the documentation to:

Department of Revenue
Automobile Inspection Unit
P.O. Box 327641
Montgomery, Alabama 36132-7641

When your vehicle has passed inspection, you will be issued a rebuilt license plate that will be permanently attached to the vehicle. You will be given a rebuilt title that allows you to drive legally on the highways.


Okay, that's not a good thing--I need the thing to drive, and I don't want to have to go through all that garbage to drive a car that is already drivable and fixed. Frantic call to my insurance agent (who had been on vacation) at his home to verify my understanding, he said yep, that's right. I felt a sinking feeling in my guts.

Thought I was going to be okay, though, because the agent in Mississippi said she wouldn't mail the check until she got my title copy. Of course, little did I know that it would be in the mail on SATURDAY!

But before that, I made the decision to go ahead and get my car and pay for it myself. I figured if the worst came, at least I wouldn't have to have it towed home or pay any storage fees for leaving it there at the dealer.

And getting it was an ordeal, as well. Tried to pay by check, but their processing service wouldn't clear it. I don't know why, because we both got paid Friday. So we had to go to the credit union ATM. Which would only let me get $500. So we needed more money. Like, our vacation money. And some of the money the kids had gotten as presents. 62,501 pennies is a lot, you know. Drove to ATM, got money, got my card flagged, went back home, got rest of money, drove back to dealership--all the time with two bewildered children in the backseat and a emotionally distraught wife in the front.

Paid $630. "Uh, do you have a penny--I don't want to have to give you back 99 cents in change." I could have smacked that woman right in her pugly face. But I didn't, because I am very nice. Went back out to the car and got a penny out of the floor. Paid, got my five bucks in change and my keys.


Over the past week, I've been leaving frantic voice mails on the agent's phone in Mississippi, telling her we simply had to work something different and that I wasn't going to cash the check right now. She called back today, but I still haven't actually talked to her. My agent called to offer some advice last week, which amounts to hoping they'll be willing to work on some other arrangement that won't require scrapping the car.

I weep.

Vacation: Well, obviously that wasn't a good start to things. Bright and early Monday we packed the van and headed to the bank to transfer some money from our rapidly dwindling nest egg to cover the car repair so when the check for the accomodation came in, it wouldn't bounce. THEN we headed out for our destination...

DeKalb County, Alabama! Nestled high atop Lookout Mountain, and home to DeSoto State Park, and Fort Payne, Sock Capital of the World!

We rented a little cabin at a place called Rooster's Rest, right on the outskirts of Fort Payne about three minutes from the state park. Absolutely wonderful place--the man and woman who own it are a youngish couple with a small farm and a couple of cabins on the property, and we stayed in the newer one that will sleep at least six, and pretty comfortably, too.

I can't say enough good things about the place--the owners, Jim and Donna Crowe--were perfect hosts and the cabin was perfect and the kids had a grand time because of the bed loft. The pasture fence comes almost right up to the front steps, and they have a couple of horses and so the kids (but most especially Catherine) were beside themselves. Also, there was a neighboring pasture that had a few head of cattle on it, and the feed trough was near the end of the driveway, and that attracted cows, which in turn also attracted Catherine. I think she petted and hugged every large farm animal for a half-mile radius. Also got to ride her around in the paddle boat and chase after the duck and the geese. She seemed overjoyed at that, too.

Anyway, although I don't usually make a habit of commercial endorsement, if you ever are in that area of our state, be sure to at least give them a call or e-mail and stay with them.

Activities: On the trip up on Monday, we made the trek to one of the other top tourist attractions in North Alabama, Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro. Yep, the place where your lost airline luggage winds up. I'd heard about this place forever, and wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'll say this, Scottsboro itself is a might on the ragged side, but the Unclaimed Baggage store itself is really pretty nice. It's not big, but it's clean, and relatively neat, and full of stuff. Clothes, especially. Of ever conceivable type and style. But more interesting to the kids, there were electronics.

Boy found a game for his Nintendo DS for $15, which regularly sells for over $30. Catherine found a nearly new Pixter for $15, which retails for $100, or around $60 on Amazon. And Rebecca. Poor thing. She'd just gotten herself a new iPod Nano a month ago, and then found a 30GB Video iPod. For $130. And the problem? She had enough cash to get it. She thought and thought for nearly an hour, trying to figure out what to do. She wanted a video one before, but didn't have $270 or whatever it cost. And if she got it, she'd have two, and only needs one. And what if it didn't work? (They will take it back for store credit, but there would still be the issue of driving to Scottsboro again.) Finally, she couldn't resist and had to get it. A black one, it didn't have a USB cord or earphones, but still it seemed like a good deal. It looked like it functioned right, but we wouldn't know until we got home that it was perfectly fine, and already loaded with the most current software. That's pretty hard to beat. She's still hiding it from Oldest, though, because she knows she'll be even more jealous than she was when she got the Nano. So, anyway, whoever you are who lost a video iPod on your last trip on an airliner, thanks!

Went from there on to the cabin, got unloaded, relaxed a bit, then went to eat at a restaurant since we weren't up on all the local grocery stores, and we also didn't want to have to cook anything.

Up Tuesday, went swimming at DeSoto. 3/4 of the kids got sunburnt, Rebecca didn't get in the pool. Went to the grocery store that afternoon and got food for the week. Began a Phase 10 card game that lasted until Thursday night.

Wednesday went touring--drove to Mentone to see the Wild Animal Park. Which I'm sorry to say was disheartening. All sorts of exotic animals (two tigers, a lion, two mountain lions/cougars, three bears, an ostrich, an emu, multitudes of monkeys, two ring-tailed lemurs, various camelids--including two camels--along with various domestic animals) that had all been rescued from people who couldn't care for them, now being cared for by people who seemed overwhelmed by the task at hand. Most of the animals looked well-fed, but they were in small enclosures that were pretty untidy, and the facilities themself looked like they were either in the middle of being torn down or rebuilt, and not very well in either case. The people who ran the place were nice and seemed kind and knowledgeable and well-intentioned, but it still made me uncomfortable.

Next stop, the Depot Museum in downtown Fort Payne, a nice little old Richardsonian Romaneque train depot from the late 1800s. Lots of content, but a bit lacking in focus. And again, missing that little something that can't be found simply by having enthusiastic volunteers, namely, upkeep. There's a line between just a pile of old junk and something worth seeing. Just because it was beloved by someone's Unc Zeb or Aunt Til doesn't mean that everyone will find it equally enchanting. And just because something is old doesn't mean it can't be kept clean and free of dust and other signs of indifference. I'm sounding mean, but by the time we got there, I was already a bit put off by other things. Anyway, skip the diorama trailer if you can help it. Oh, and for the record, "Stationary Air Hose" is not the same thing as "Stationery" and "Air Hose."

And the final stop, the Alabama Fan Club and Museum, devoted to the most famous of Fort Payne's citizens.

This was more a stop for Reba than me, since she was somewhat of a fan in their early days. It was--interesting--I guess, but once more, there were some tell-tale signs that there's not quite as much of a fan base as there used to be. Grass growing in the cracks in the faded parking lot tends to send that signal, as does the variety of water-spotted ceiling tiles in the small theater that has a looped video presentation of the band's career. They retired from performing in 2003, but the overall condition of the place made it seem like it had been much longer ago.

Back to the cabin, change clothes, head to church. Yes, even on vacation, we have to keep up with these things, lest we be beset with evil. Such as having a potential junk car in the driveway when we returned home. Nice little place right downtown.

Thursday, horseback riding! Not that I wanted to go--I was hoping for one day where we could stay in and not go spending the rest of our money. But alas, it was not to be. I had seen where the Cloudmont Ski Resort in Mentone also had horseback riding, so I called and they said it was raining there. Well, that's nice that someone was getting rain, but I had a child who was pitching a perfect little snotty fit to go ride and we needed to go. So we said we'd try it at 2:00 p.m., since I was sure the rain would stop. Good thing I'd been up on my prayers, because it did.

Got up and we started the short drive back to Mentone, and came in the front drive of Cloudmont. Drove, road narrowed. Drove, road became gravel. Drove, road became winding and narrow and gravel. Passed a girl's camp, and after another set of bumps and ruts, found ourself at the rustic office.

"Uhm, hey--we were supposed to go horseback riding? 'Oglesby'? At two?"

"Oh, well, you're looking for the ranch--just go back up here to the first dirt road on the right and follow that on around the golf course and then over the covered bridge."

Simple enough.

Got off the gravel road onto the dirt road, watched the golfers going at it, hit some ruts, drove. Drove. Road became a logging trail, approximately five feet wide. Found covered bridge, which was missing many floorboards. I didn't mention this. Made turn, crossed bridge and did not fall onto rocks below. Turned at end of bridge onto what was billed as the Old Military Road. It was a series of rocks, crevasses, humps, twists, turns, ruts, and washouts, all on a path that was only 7 inches wide and obviously laid out by a drunken Army engineer riding a unicycle while being attacked from all sides by wolves, bears, Indians, and car insurance agents. After a MILE of this, we finally found ourselves perched atop Lookout Mountain at the Shady Grove Dude Ranch.

Went to the office, and no one was in. And it didn't quite look like anyone had been in since about 1989. There were a couple of people caring for some horses across the pasture, so we walked over there, and found that these were the caretakers/ranchhands--a mother and her teenaged son. They saddled up two horses and a pony, I helped Rebecca and Catherine get up on their saddles, and then they were off on an hour-long adventure with the boy leading the way.

Miss Reba, Jonathan, and I stayed behind at the bunkhouse porch, listening to distant thunder and too-close mosquitos. Saw a couple of wild turkeys scoot across the trail on further up the way. Sure was a lot of nothing to do.

An hour passed, and they came ambling back down the gravel road, past a large dumpster. I'd seen this earlier, and wondered how a garbage truck could ever get into this place. Unless there was some easier back road.

The girls dismounted and we headed on out. The back way. Which, it turns out, was actually the FRONT way--a nice wide unpaved, but unrutted, road--about an eighth of a mile back out to the main drag. Gosh, if only we'd known. Went the wrong way at the gate, then got turned around right and went back to the crossroads where we'd first come by an hour earlier, which featured a huge array of decoratively rustic hand-painted signs pointing to various locations. Including one small one that mentioned something about a dude ranch. ::sigh::

Friday we left for home, but not before stopping to let Reba do some antique shopping in Fort Payne. She'd been very mopey about not getting to go see more trinkets and tchotchkis and bricabrac and junk, and obviously this was my fault because I am a bad person, so we stopped and parked and got out into the sauna that is your typical small Southern town in summer. Walked a bit, found a shop, went in, was eyed by a small proprietor man who exuded the quite miffed air of someone who'd been passed over for the lead in the local production of the Truman Capote Story. Lots of dirty, dusty junk. We stayed there forever, then left. By this time, Reba was less than thrilled with the prospect of further such shopping, so we got back in the van and headed home.

And there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:34 PM | Comments (11)

Of COURSE I'm here!

What, you think just because I walked in this morning to a hornet's nest covered in elephant manure being dragged around by rabid bobcats riding on rattlesnakes with laser beams mounted on their heads that I don't have time to fill you in on all the pleasant and diverting details of my recent getaway to the quiet wilderness of DeKalb County!?

Well, I don't.

It's gonna have to wait, folks--I got too much to do at the moment and it all had to be done last week. BUT--be patient.

There WILL be some fresh meaty Possumblog SOMEtime in the very near future, assuming cleanup duty doesn't kill me.

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