September 29, 2008


Someone just turned Sweet 16 today, and her name's Rebecca!

I recall the late-night trip to the hospital mainly because I had an Aretha Franklin greatest hits cassette playing. The labor and delivery were generally unremarkable, aside from the obvious miracle of birth itself, which, being my first experience with the human variety of such things, struck me not quite so much as miraculous, but more like something out of the movie Alien. Except with better special effects.

In any event, she's a good girl, and I'm awfully proud of all she's done over the years, and what a fine, beautiful young lady she's turning out to be. (And I say that not just because I know she checks in here every so often.)

So Happy Birthday, my little jelly bean.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:10 PM | Comments (22)

September 16, 2008

Oh, that's just crazy.

Or maybe it's just a matter of consolidation.

Anyway, as you know, I gave up blogging over a year ago.

Now some of you might snicker and point to such things as this post for evidence to the contrary, but you have to admit, compared to those times in the distant past when I might post ten or twelve multi-hundred-word, thoughtily-involved, occasionally mildly humorous posts a day, the current version is about as close to moribund as Possumblog could be, short of actually, you know, being really for real, gone-on-to-my-reward dead.

Why do I mention this?

Because I noticed something peculiar the other day--over in the sidebar at the very bottom, I was ranked as a "Marauding Marsupial" on the The Truth Laid Bear's Ecosystem. And today? A "Large Mammal."

Now friends, that's just bizarre. In its prime when I was writing thousands of words a day, with traffic on the order of a couple thousand unique hits per day, it was exceedingly rare for Possumblog to ever even get past the Slimy Mollusc stage. Oh, there were the times when it might even get Adorable Rodent status, but Large Mammal!? I don't think that ever happened.

So why now? I don't post regularly, the content of what I do wind up posting is weaker than the roots of Joe Biden's hair plugs (and not even half as funny) and yet, at least for today, I'm ranked as number 838.

Well, for one, all the junk I wrote in the past is still up and available for Googleering, so I reckon even if I did actually die, the site would still be reasonably well-trafficked by people searching for "all the "dumb guys" are running a race but the good guys will give up and come over to the concession stand where you'll be waiting with a towel and a h".

Quite a comfort, there, eh?

But I think there's probably something else happening (and I'm sure someone else has probably already noticed it and commented on it, and I just haven't seen it), but I think the huge number of Citizen Journalists-type blogs are being replaced by a fewer, larger, groupier blogs.

Let's face it, writing full-time is difficult if you actually have a full-time job. It's also difficult to keep things fresh and topical and entertaining with a one-member staff (even if you're a comedic and intellectual giant such as myself). Over the years, my guess is people have developed an affinity for a more select number of sites, ones that they trust to deliver whatever counterbalance they might seek from the traditional media sources and that do so with a certain level of expected quality or competence. With those expection also come one forced by the available technology, namely that there's going to be a LOT of content, and near constant coverage of any story, and the general result of all that means more than one person is going to have to be writing the thing.

Sorta like those things people called "newspapers."

So, anyway, I say the number of working, useful, usable blogs is shrinking (although obviously the potential readership isn't), and I suppose Possumblog happens to be the accidental beneficiary of that shakeout. It's not quite dead enough, and apparently that's good enough to get some traffic these days.

WEIRDNESS UPDATE: Maybe yesterday's spike was just a fluke--today your humble marsupial is once again nothing higher than a Marauding Marsupial, ranked in the mid-2000s. (Which is still a good bit higher than I remember it being for most of the time I was doing a lot of blogging.)

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:04 PM | Comments (10)

September 10, 2008

Bugs, Yet Again

Okay, I was sorta joking the other day about being freaked out by flying bugs. But only sorta. Because there really ARE some bugs that send me into fear-soaked spasms. I mentioned the last time about the giant cockroaches we have. Absolutely squeal-inducing.

But nothing beats cicadas for maximum fear.

Most of this comes from my childhood. When I was little, during the day I stayed with a babysitter who seemed ancient to me at the time, but who was probably not all that old, seeing as how she had a couple of high school-aged kids, Sharon and Don.

Don was the problem. He was the sort of vacant-eyed, lank-jawed sociopath you find in various Flannery O’Connor stories. His main joy in life seems connected primarily to tormenting small children, namely me.

One such time occurred when he found either a live or a molted skin of a cicada on a pine tree in their back yard. He plucked it off and proceeded to chase me around as I screamed in terror as he hooted and cackled and threatened to put this bug on me and watch it eat me. And obviously, to a small child, a giant bug like a cicada is entirely capable of eating you completely gone.

His mother finally made him stop. Of course, as with all bad things that have ever happened to me, I had to have another run-in with these awful insects. Sometime back in those dim fearsome days of childhood, my babysitter had loaded me up and we went to town for something. Being that this was back in the mid-1960s, no one really thought much of the fact that when she got to her destination, she left me in the car. I was sitting in the back, and it was getting really hot, and was thinking about getting in the front seat so I could get a little air, when I was suddenly transfixed by the appearance on the little center console of—yep, a giant cicada, with its big bulgy eyes and razor sharp fangs and crushing vise-like clawed forelimbs, all ready to devour me in one gulp. I shoved myself into the far corner of the backseat and froze, staring at the awful creature for what seemed like 5 or 10 hours until my keeper returned. She opened the door and flicked it out, and I just knew when she did that it was going to fly at me and suck my eyeballs out of my skull.

It didn’t, though.

Anyway, I eventually grew up, and over the course of time learned about cicadas, and was even in D.C. many years ago when they had a big swarm emerge, and for the most part wasn’t all that freaked out by it. Because I am a grown-up and all.

So anyway, last night after supper I had to go get Rebecca from work, and stopped down at the foot of the hill to get gas in the van. I stood there and began filling up, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a cicada on the pavement, the size of a Presidente cigar butt. Of course, being an adult and all, I was not the least bit scared, and saw it only as an object of curiosity. And it also looked dead, and dead bugs can’t fly into your nose and eat your tonsils. And I thought if it was deceased, maybe I could take it to Catherine, because the other day we found a small dry-fly husk on the fence, and I showed it to her and explained all about the life cycle of such critters and how they make that loud buzzing sound in the trees and she was fascinated and not the least bit afraid of such things. Which is good.

I finished up emptying my bank account into the gas tank and hung up the hose and took a closer look at the dead bug. Just to make sure, I leaned over a bit and nudged it with my shoe and BZZZZZZTTTT!!! EEEEEEEKKK!! That danged thing was still kickin’!

The sudden loud raspy joy-buzzer sound gave me a jolt (although since I’m an adult, I tried to cover and just made a little skip to the right) and brought back quite a sudden flood of childhood memories. None pleasant. Although I guess I should be glad it didn’t bring a sudden flood of pee down my leg.

Anyway, I think the world would be just fine without cicadas.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:06 PM | Comments (8)

September 05, 2008

A Guide To Hockey

Given that there has been much talk in the news media of late about something called “hockey,” and given that there are probably some of you who are unfamiliar with the aspects of this activity because it’s not football or, umm, well…football, I have taken it upon myself to offer some pointers and tips and such about this sport. My qualifications include the fact that Birmingham has had many, many hockey games played here. No, I don’t know why. But that doesn’t matter, I’m still an expert on the subject.

1. Object of the game: As with all real sports, such as football, the object is to win by scoring more points than the other team through an intricate set of tactical and strategic movements on the playing field while simultaneously beating the fool out of each other.

2. Field of play: Due to the fact that the contestants wear ice skates instead of football cleats, as a matter of convenience, the field of play is a great big sheet of ice about 2/3 the size of a football field. Although it may seem odd that the players wear ice skates, one must remember that this game originated in the frozen Yankeelands, where it is common for everyone to wear ice skates all the time anyway. The sheet of ice has many pretty colored lines and circles and dots and such painted on it for decoration.

3. Equipment: Long curvy wood clubs are used to beat opposing players and chase around a frozen Moon Pie on the ice. On each end of the sheet of ice, there’s a big square crab net sort of deal and a score is recorded if you manage to get the Moon Pie in the net.

4. Rules of Play: Each team is composed of the same amount of players as in a six-man football squad, with one guy trained to guard the crab net and beat people, and the other ones trained to swat the Moon Pie fiercely toward each other and toward the other team’s crab net, and also to beat people. You cannot pick up the Moon Pie and run with it, nor heave it to one of your teammates, nor kick it through the goal, although if the Moon Pie hits you and bounces in the crab trap, that’s okay. Touchdowns only count one point, and there are no such things as field goals or safeties. Unlike football, there is no snap for each play, and all the players skate around in each others backfields and hit each other with their sticks the whole time.

5. Penalties: As with football, there are referees, and as is common in all sports the officiating squad is assembled from a seemingly endless supply of blind, mentally-deficient nincompoops who have no idea about the rules of the game nor who their real fathers are. They can, however, operate a whistle. And apparently, despite all the walloping that goes on, there are some things that are bad, and so the stripes get to blow their whistles and stop the play. Sometimes if they get really mad, they’ll send a player out to what’s called a “penalty box” although it’s not much of a penalty because they get to sit there and rest and drink alcoholic beverages the whole time. There are several other penalties that can be called, such as “icing,” which has nothing to do with the chocolate stuff on the outside of the Moon Pie, and “offsides,” which is pretty meaningless, since again, there is no snap count and no one lines up against each other and everyone’s just whooshing around beating each other. Sometimes the whole bunch will start wrestling for the Moon Pie and it gets locked up so the refs will stop things and get the Moon Pie and drop it betwixt a couple of players and let them fight for it fair and square. Although it is acceptable to beat on each other, sometimes everyone gets carried away in the moment and they forget all about whacking the Moon Pie into the crab net and all just start grappling and wrestling and beating each other to the exclusion of all else. Although this provides most of the entertainment value of the sport, the black hats look askance at it and after ten or fifteen minutes they break things up and send everyone out for a smoke and alcohol break, and then start over.

6. Hockey Mom: Each player is required to have a mother. The mother is responsible for seeing to it that the player is at the field on time, the player’s skates are tied correctly, and that he has his mouthguard, helmet, pads, wooden club, and a selection of snacks, juice boxes, and smokes and alcohol for sharing after the contest is complete. Each mother is required to be able to field strip a referee into its main components within 20 seconds. Should there be an altercation upon the field of play that continues after regulation time, players are sent to go shower and have a drink, and then each player’s mother completes the altercation in his stead in the parking lot, with points deducted for smudged makeup or broken fingernails. The losing mother in such altercations is required to host the next team hot dish supper, with the winning mother hosting the supper after that.

It really is a very exotic and interesting sport, despite the lack of marching bands or kickoff returns. We hope you have enjoyed this primer on the sport of hockey.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:05 AM | Comments (10)

September 03, 2008

Lunch With Pam the Liberal

Fun as usual, and with the added spark of Politics to enliven the conversation. As one of the increasingly small cadre of old-school sane liberals, she’s actually quite entertaining to talk to about politics and despite being an Obiden supporter, was willing to actually give the governor of Alaska her due. And not the sort of grudging respect a few on the Left are willing to dispense along with a pat on the head and an ironic smirk, but actual respect for having convictions and being willing to stand there and be unapologetic about them. Not that she would agree with the Governor on everything, but she does at least see her accomplishments and see that they are more than the result of just being hot. I reckon there’s some empathy there since Pam’s had to put up with a lot of that kind of crap herself over the years.

ANYway, it was quite a nice break in the day, and if you get a chance, drop by Sol’s over on the ground floor of 2 North 20th. Pam had the chicken salad with pita wedges and something that I think was tabouli, and I had the Philly cheesesteak and it was quite good. Even had real Velveeta on there!

So there.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:58 PM | Comments (11)