June 23, 2006

State Visitor Day!

In keeping with my promise of last week, today we wish to salute visitors who come to Possumblog from the place that proudly flies this flag--


That's right! It's--well, hmm.... Let's see, two chicks in nightgowns carrying weaponry looking out a big picture window toward a lake with pretty sailboats, and they're standing on a carpet runner made out of shredded wood.


We would like to thank all of our many, many Empire State visitors who come by Possumblog, and ask you to take a moment and tell us all about your wonderful, lovely, pretty state. Why am I being so solicitous? Because I don't want to wind up in the Hudson wearing a cement shoes, that's why!

For the rest of our visitors, a bit of fascinating information about New York:

1. New York was named New York to keep it from being confused with Old York, the nickname of famed British actor Michael York.

2. At one time, New York was owned by the Dutch, who made a good living trading Dutch rubs, Dutch uncles, and Dutch ovens with the various indigenous Indian tribes.

3. New York is actually a very large state, consisting of the Borough of Manhattan, and other place that no one cares about.

4. New York ranks seventh in the nation in manufacturing, with 805,200 employees (as of 2002). The principal industries are printing and publishing, industrial machinery and equipment, electronic equipment, and instruments. The convention and tourist business is also an important source of income.

5. The capital of New York is Albany, which remained hidden in a dense jungle rainforest until it was discovered in 1973 by Belgian anthropologist Renee Gascoingne.

6. More movies are made about New York than any other place, except for Montana.

7. New York farms produce cattle, poultry, corn, vegetables, and fruit, and the state is a leading wine producer. One of the most looked forward to time is the fall harvest celebration in Central Park, where families from both Central Park East AND West gather together with their threshing machines and combines to cut the vast fields of wheat. The women make large picnic baskets of homemade goodies and set them out on the edges of the fields while children scamper about, and at noontime the men come in from the fields and everyone has a wonderful dinner. There are athletic competitions, where the men will see who can heave sheaves of wheat the furthest, or who can lift the heaviest sheaf. After dinner, the men return to the fields and continue the harvest until it is complete, and when the day is well done, everyone dresses up and takes in a Broadway show.

8. The highest point in New York is Mt. Marcy at 5,344 feet.

9. Famous New York natives include Herman Melville; Ethel Merman; Chico, Groucho, Harpo, and Zeppo Marx; Moe, Curly, and Shemp Howard; Phoebe Doty; Sammy Davis, Jr.; Martin Van Buren; Millard Fillmore; Vince Lombardi; and Theodore Roosevelt. And, of course, Scarlett Johansson.


Whew. God bless New York.

10. New York's Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, Westchester County, is the birthplace of the prison musical.

11. The state animal of New York is the beaver, and the state fish is the brook trout.

SO THERE YOU GO! Such a fascinating place.

As we said earlier, if you hale from the ol' En Wye, take a moment and say hello, or at least grace us with a rousing FUGEDDABOUDIT!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:09 PM | Comments (8)

June 15, 2006

State Visitor Day!

In our longstanding tradition of honoring the native lands of those who come to Possumblog, we take note that today is June 15, which just so happens to be the date in 1836 when our salute-worthy state entered the Union.

SO, then, if you happen to hail from the state that flies THIS flag--

arkie flag.jpg

--the Editorial Board of Possumblog bids you welcome, and invites you to leave a comment below and tell us a little bit about yourself and your fine state!

I will say that to this point, this feature has had precious little success in getting commenters who actually are from the place being honored to say anything, and I believe I have hit upon an idea that will result in a flood of feisty, proud Arkansasians. I usually try to be nice and give interesting facts about the state in question, but I have an idea I would get a much more intense response if I INSULT the state and its fair citizens instead!

Remember, regular readers, although I appreciate your comments about Arkansas, we really need to see who all from Arkansas actually visits us here at Possumblog.

SO, here are the most INSULTING, HORRIBLE, MEAN-SPIRITED things I could think of about Arkansas.

1. New York Senator Hillary Clinton lived there once, and is rumored to have swapped DNA with a native Arkansan fond of plain, thick-ankled harridans. His name might or might not have been "Bill."

2. The capital of Arkansah is Little Rock, which served as the model for the Town of Bedrock in the Flintstones cartoons.

3. Arkansas got its name from the Quapaw Indian word meaning "Home of Wal-Mart."

4. The Arkansas Razorback football team got beaten by Vanderbilt.

5. Arkansian Glen Campbell was NEVER a lineman for the county.

6. There actually was a person named Orval Faubus. The combination of the two silliest names ever heard catapulted him to the governor's office.

7. A Frenchman, Henri de Tonti, founded the first permanent white settlement. A FRENCHMAN! Now granted, he was born in Italy, and this was back in the 1600s before the French got the reputation for being highly capable surrenderers, but still, he probably spoke all that French jibber-jabber and stuff and ponced about in frilly boots. He did have a hook hand, though, which was cool. And he died in Mobile, Alabama, because he could not stand to be in a land where the football team lost to both Auburn and Alabama in the same season.

8. The highest point in Arkansas is Magazine Mountain at 2,753 feet high, which really isn't all THAT high. Although I suppose it might be impressive since it really is made out of magazines. Ever wonder what happens to magazines that the stores don't sell? They go here and are piled up.

SO THERE! I expect a large outpouring of support for Arkansas now that I have gone and done all that insulting. Remember, leave a comment and say HI!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:23 AM | Comments (10)

June 07, 2006

State Visitor Day!

As has now become our long-standing tradition, we take this opportunity to celebrate and honor Possumblog visitors from yet another one of our fine American states.

As you all know, today is June 7, which is fortunate in that it coincides nicely with the next state in our alphabetical run-down, because today's honorees hail from the state that flies this flag--


Yes, today in conjunction with Boone Day, we celebrate the fine denizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky!

We welcome our Kentuckian visitors (most of them, anyway) and ask that you take a moment and introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your lovely homeland.

In the mean time, we will take just a moment to educate ourselves about The Bluegrass State:


1. Kentucky's capital is Frankfort, which was named for Kentucky's first governor, Frank F. Ort.

2. James Harrod established the first permanent white settlement at Harrodsburg in 1774; the following year Daniel Boone, who had explored the area in 1767, blazed the Wilderness Trail through the Cumberland Gap and founded Boonesboro. To this day, Boone's Farm Wines are favored by discriminating winos who appreciate their fine flavor, historical significance, and cheapness.

3. Kentucky's flag has two men who appear very close to embracing each other. But they're really just very good friends, or maybe relatives. So there's nothing weird at all about it at all.

4. Like many states, Kentucky's name derives from an American Indian basis, the Iroquoian word “Ken-tah-ten,” meaning “land of tomorrow.” People say this because the Iroquoian word “Ken-tuh-kee,” is actually a very naughty term.

5. The website of the Kentucky Tourism Council is http://www.tourky.com/. No one is certain how many travellers have mistakenly wound up in Instanbul due to this. Or in Lexington.

6. Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants operate solely to irritate PETA.

7. The maximum speed limit on public roadways in Kentucky is 65 miles per hour.

8. Famous Kentuckers include Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali, Louis D. Brandeis, Patricia Neal, Johnny Depp, Bill Monroe, Kit Carson, and Ashley Judd. Yes, yes---you get to see a picture:


That Abe's a hunk, ain't he!

Oh, very well, you can have another one.



SO ANYWAY, guests and visitors from Kentucky, we bid you a happy Boone Day and ask you to let us know you're here!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:08 AM | Comments (9)

May 25, 2006

State Visitor Day!

Continuing with our longstanding tradition of paying homage to Possumblog visitors from around the United States, we take this opportunity today to go to the next state in our alphabetic listing and salute the great state of



Jordana Adams (who seems to know whereof she speaks) suggested that maybe we should make sure to pick a state with persons who could be reliably counted on to stop and leave a comment, unlike all those stuck-up Montanarians. THAT'S THE VOLUNTEER SPIRIT!

So, today we invite anyone visiting from Tennessee to take a minute and say hello in the comments section, and tell us a bit about yourself and your exotic and exciting homeland.

For the rest of you, some interesting facts about Tennessee:

1. Tennessee was built by Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone using a small hatchet and a wagonload of logs.

2. The Volunteer State has a greater variety of birds than any other state in the Union.

3. The name "Tennessee" is a transliteration of the Indian word "Tana-si," which means "Go Big Arnge."

4. Tennessee's population of 5,689,283 includes Alison Krauss.

alison krauss 2.jpg
(photo credit Russ Harrington)

5. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the "Lost Sea" in Sweetwater as the largest underground lake in the U.S.

6. Andrew Johnson held every elective office at the local, state, and federal level, including President of the United States. He was elected alderman, mayor, state representative, and state senator from Greeneville. He served as governor and military governor of Tennessee and United States congressman, senator, and vice president, becoming President of the United States following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

7. Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1899 at a plant on Patten Parkway in downtown Chattanooga after two local attorneys purchased the bottling rights to the drink for $1.00.

SO, all of you Tennesseenians, say "Howdy!"

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:17 AM | Comments (12)

May 08, 2006

International STATE Visitor Day!

OH, I tried. Tried to give all the worldly visitors who happen upon Possumblog a chance to be honored and lauded and praised--first the Brits, then the Franks, then the Canucks. But would anyone say hello? NOOOOOOO! SO, as promised, the International Visitor Day feature is now officially STRICKEN from the list of things about which we will spend time.

IN ITS PLACE, as suggested by the lovely and fecund Jordana Adams, will be U.S. State Visitor Day! Hooray for America! I asked Jordana how she thought I should pick which state should be first to be honored--date of admission to the Union, size, weight? She suggested alphabetical, which seems quite straightforward, so to kick things off, we begin our salute with the great state of



I've never been to Montana, but I've always like the idea of it. Montana, that is. I'm not sure how many visitors we receive each day from this grand state, but if you are one of them, please be sure to stop and leave a comment below so we can properly salute you and your fine state.

Now, for the rest of us, a bit of information about Montana.

The name of the state, Montana is French, and means "My Tana." The meaning of the word tana is losts to the mists of time.

The flag of Montana is designed to look like a porthole, which is the first view that was seen of it when Columbus discovered it by looking out the window of his boat.

Montana has a population of 452,715 females, and every single one of them can kick your butt.

Famous Montanavians include Gary Cooper, Chet Huntley, Evel Knievel, and Myrna Loy.

Fields of grain cover much of Montana's plains. It ranks high among the states in wheat and barley, with rye, oats, flaxseed, sugar beets, and potatoes as other important crops. Sheep and cattle raising make significant contributions to the economy.

If Montana invaded Canada, Montana would win, but it has never done it because it would mean having to figure out something to do with Quebec.

The state motto of Montana is Oro y Plata, derived from Montanarians favorite snack food, a plate full of Oreos.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Montana is 117 degrees, set on July 5, 1937 at Medicine Lake. The lowest recorded temperature is –70 degrees, set on January 20, 1954 at Rogers Pass, which is, let's be honest, just ridiculous.

There are several universities in Montana, notably the eponymous University of Montana.

Montana truly is a marvelous state, and so we salute you and again, if you are a visitor to Possumblog from Montana, spend a minute or two to let us know a bit about you.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:19 AM | Comments (12)

May 03, 2006

International Visitor Day!

Okay, we've had TWO of these so far, and by Jiminy, if we don't get someone today to stand up and say hello from beyond the borders, I will call an indefinite halt to this feature, and then where will we all be?!

SO, here's the deal--if you are a citizen of the fair nation which flies this flag:

Maple leaf.gif

--you are invited to please give a shout to everyone and to tell us a bit about yourself.

And remember, if you don't, the rest of the world will be denied EVER being saluted in this way again. Yes, I realize you shouldn't be pressured like this since is was the previous weeks' stunning lack of responsiveness by the Limeys and the Frogs, who just couldn't be put upon to even give a simple nod of the head or wave of the hand, that has brought us to this crucial day.

HOWEVER, when you think about it, who better to salvage their soiled reputations than you hardy Canucks, who share genetic material with both of those countries!

One thing I am sad about (I mean besides that thing about not ever being able to make our invasions during the Revolution and during the War of 1812 stick) is that I've never gotten to visit up that way. Then again, I've never been to any of our states north of New York, either--I don't get out much, you know.

I HAVE, however, had a lot of contact with you good folks as you come through on your way to the Gulf and after you've arrived. I must say that every Canadian I've come across has been unfailingly nice, and the ones on the road drive very well. Even those from Quebec. Oh, and how could I forget!? Back during my study abroad tour of Europe in '86, I had dinner with a very nice Canadian girl we came across in Athens.

About the only bad experience I've ever had with a Canadian was that reporter girl who had some guy send me an e-mail threatening to sue me for quoting one of her newspaper articles in a blog post. I know Canadians are wary of being overly influenced by the culture of the big hulk south of the border, and I would have to say this woman's fascination with litigation is one of those peculiarly American pastimes you folks would do well to disregard.

ANYway, if you are a Canadarian (and I know some of you are, because I see your .ca domain names, so don't try to act like I'm not talking about YOU), today is your day! Please drop us a note, say "hullo, eh!" and tell us how you came to Possumblog.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:16 AM | Comments (19)

April 25, 2006

International Visitor Day!

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to last week's shout-out to our good friends in the UK (which resulted in a total of ZERO Britannic commentors willing to leave a comment--although it did garner two comments from citizens of the Axis of Weevil), we have decided to once again salute Possumblog visitors from outside the borders of the United States.

Today we ask that if you hail from the country that flies THIS flag:


that you leave a comment below so that we can extend a hearty bon jour to you. Be sure to tell us a bit about yourself, and how you came to visit my little corner of the blogosphere.

You might not realize this (I know I didn't until I checked the referrer logs) but at 5%, vistors from France comprise the highest number of international visits to Possumblog, ahead of both Canada and the UK which both come in at 4%. This is in spite of the fact that Possumblog is even less intelligible in French than it is in English, and despite the fact that I tend to make sport of certain members of French society.

However, when I visited France way back twenty years ago, I do have to say that it was very pleasant, even with the layer of dog poop on the sidewalks of Paris, and the maddening insistence on the part of the citizenry to pretend they did not speak English.

They also had an odd way of banking--my friend Dirk and I needed to cash some travelers checks (or as the French say, cheques) and went to a Crédit Lyonnaise branch close to our hotel (or, as the French say, hôtel). We walked in like big goobers and as our turn was called, went to the teller, who looked pretty much like your stereotypical image of a French bank teller--well-dressed, thinning slick hair, thin mustache, flower on his lapel--and using our massive amount of French language skills, asked politely, "Parlez vous Anglais?" (We did this even though we don't actually speak English, but rather speak Redneck-American.) He smiled politely and said, No, which means the same no matter where you're from. So we fell back to making big sweeping arm movements and various signs to indicate we wanted to exchange our American Expresses for some of those fruity French francs. He understood, and handed us what looked like an ATM card and said Merci. Which does not mean mercy, but is the same thing as thank you.

"Hmm. Well."

Dirk and I stood there for a second, and I suggested that maybe we were supposed to take this ATM card we'd been given outside to the ATM that was conveniently mounted to the wall of the bank.


So we walked outside, stuck the card in, and as you can guess, all this weird foreign gibberish showed up on the screen.

"Dirk, this is all in French. I don't know what we're supposed to do. Maybe we should go back inside."

SO, we did, and upon our entrance, the teller came from behind the counter and greeted us as if we'd been kidnapped and just been found alive. "Je vous bleh moi su morei l'ver mon loouiss com nal fla blag mwoah mwuah lettrous vew blahclumno afblhwoe countre fwippy lomo cou pepi le peu v'play wikn interieur banc frew tuendu woflkasvlzx! Blah blah blah! Oui!?"

We had no idea what he said, but the general gist of it was that we were supposed to have taken the faux ATM card from him and gone down to the end of the counter and handed it to a lady who would give us francs, rather than remove it to the outer side of the building of the bank. We all laughed just like they do in those old movies, and Dirk and I bid them all boocoo mercy. Which we thought was the polite thing to do.

Anyway, if you are a French visitor to Possumblog, please do stay a minute or two longer and drop us a comment.

And yes, this is merely an opportunity to gratuitously post a photo of Sophie Marceau.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:04 AM | Comments (9)

April 19, 2006

International Visitor Day!

Since I still have a great honking wad of work to do today, and since I still feel compelled to provide exciting and innovative entertainment for all both of my remaining readers, I thought it might be fun to play a little game with those of you who come to Possumblog from other places. This allows all of YOU to provide lively content down in the comments, while I go off and do paying work.

SO, here we go--IF YOU, Kind Visitor, hail from the nation that has this flag:

Union Jack.jpg

leave a note below to let us know you've been by so we can all say hello. And feel free to tell us a bit about yourself (although please, nothing prurient or discomforting).

Hard to believe, but it has now been twenty years ago, when I, a bright-eyed third year architecture student was blessed with the opportunity to spend a spring quarter studying in Europe. Our first stop was London, where we spend the first day at a near-sprint trying to see as much as possible. The first night produced a severe bout of constipation, for some reason. Just as well--our hotel was furnished with the fine quality Izal Medicated Toilet Paper. Fine breakfasts, though.

From there, there was a trip to Cambridge, then a couple of days later a long train ride to Edinburgh for a few days, with a side trip to Glasgow. Highlight of Scotland was the discovery of something called Spud-U-Like, a take-away placed devoted to the humble potato. One of the girls in the group bought a baked potato that supposedly came with sour cream. Upon returning to our eating area, she opened up the foil-covered lump she'd been given and found a large mass of what looked to be an exploded cow udder.

The second best highlight of the trip was when we were near the coast and heard the sudden roar overhead of two FB-111 "Aardvarks," flying low and hot. We had no idea at the time that they were rehearsing for Operation El Dorado Canyon, the eventual bombing of Libya and of Moammar Gaddafi's compound.

Anyway, my trip to the UK was quite pleasant, aside from the intestinal knotting, so if you're from there, thanks for not kicking me out and for being marvelous hosts.

So, let's hear from you!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:53 AM | Comments (6)