Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Came in this morning hoping to kvetch, and it appears I will have to rely on stupid old Blogger again! Oh well. ANYway, if you want to, catch me over at Revolvoblog and I'll let you hear about my trip to the junkyard! And my seminar! And my three hour meeting!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Goodbye, Blogger ol' buddy.

Small Brain? Lack of Ambition?

Say, around here, that's not a lizard, it's a possum!

I realize the level of frivolity seems to be at a low ebb around here at the moment, but I am busily renovating my little grass shack in Munivia and it's been a slow process, being that I don't know how to use a computer or anything.

For whatever reason, I have very particular tastes about how I think this pile of crap should look--has to be Garamond, has to be big enough for me to read it comfortably at my desk, has to be shades of gray, and I like having all the links up at the top. In the new place, things will look similar, but not, and I have yet to figure out a clean way to get the blogroll in the banner. I know I could--eventually--but that'll probably take way more time than I'm willing to invest. So that might change.

Which means I'm gonna have a lot of niggledy fiddly work to do to copy the links and take out the vertical line spacers and   code between each one. AND I STILL HAVE PAYING WORK I HAVE TO GET DONE! AAAAGGHHHH!!

If you want to see what the new place looks like--REMEMBERING THAT IT WILL CONTINUE TO CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE DAY--you can go to possumblog.mu.nu, and feel free to leave a comment.

(It is interesting to note that now that I am making a move elsewhere, Blogger has been trouble-free. If they were just trying to drive me away, there were certainly easier ways to tell me. Maybe a card or something.)

Monday, April 04, 2005

Other Stuff!

After spending most of the day scribbling on tax forms and wandering aimlessly around town, and doing laundry in between, and getting supper ready, and getting the kids to take their baths, I was, at the end of the day, asked to look over the paper the lovely Miss Reba had typed up for her class tonight.

Ten pages, and not quite the easiest read in the world. I did some heavy editing on it, made very difficult by the fact that every time I started typing, SOMEone would rush over and ask me what I was doing. Standard answer: “Oh, just cleaning something up a bit.” I did a lot of cleaning up, but I could have rewritten the entire paper if I had only been that energetic. She’s got a good topic--reducing anxiety among elderly persons being admitted to nursing homes--but her research and conclusions are a bit scattered. And she’s put so much effort into it that it’s very difficult to suggest changes without her getting defensively offended. But, it’s better than it was. AND, I didn’t have to type it.

Bedtime, up an hour earlier Sunday, grr, get everyone else up and ready to go to church, referee disagreement over which DVD to watch by threatening the nuclear option--i.e., the DVD player gets put in the attic, and finally make it to the building with minutes to spare. First day of the new quarter, and I was truly thankful everyone showed up to teach that was supposed to. And I’m teaching Rebecca and Jonathan’s class again--6th graders down to 3rd graders. Not really a good split and not really conducive to deep discussions, but next quarter I’m going to redo all the classes and get them divided up a bit more logically.

Worship, then on to lunch at Ruby Tuesday, which was really a mistake, since Catherine (and later I found out Jonathan) had been invited to a birthday party for a little girl in Catherine’s class, and the party started at 12:45, and we didn’t get through with lunch until 12:30, which meant a mad dash back down the hill and up the other to get home and get Cat and Boy changed into play clothes. BECAUSE, it was not just an ordinary party, but one at Pump it Up. A large new metal building full of all the big bouncy inflatable things you usually see outdoors, with an adjoining room for the cake and stuff. Quite a place--according to their website, there are only three in Alabama, but it seems like a good idea. Renting these things is always a chore, and they ruin your yard, and you have all the liability when someone breaks their dernfooled neck on one. This place, you just show up, bounce, eat, and leave. In that order--no eating before bouncing. Again--going to lunch right beforehand was probably not the best idea, although we didn’t have any sudden explosive gut launches.

And the little girl enjoyed her present from Catherine--I’m surprised she even knew she’d gotten something, with all the horde of screaming 8 year olds crowded around her, but when she pulled out the floppy fluffy curly white Scotty dog, everyone oohed and aahed. Which means I’m going to have to go find another one for someone for her Christmas present.

Finished that up around 3, then back home with two sweaty tired sugar-hyped kids, read a few pieces of the newspaper, then it was time to head back to the building for a meeting. ::sigh::

Did that, then evening worship, then home, then supper, then MORE TYPING! Oldest has a paper she has studiously avoided doing anything on, other than feigning great ignorance about what she should do. Four pages on symbolism in Shakespeare--she managed to scrape and plagiarize about three pages in the past couple weeks, and last night said that her teacher was very serious that it had to be four pages NOT INCLUDING THE BIBLIOGRAPHY! SO! UN! FAIR! Four pages--I could do four pages in half an hour. But then again, that requires work, which Oldest is even more averse to than the inimitable Maynard G. Krebs.

She would go and write a sentence, then give it to me, then a paragraph, then a sentence, then want to know if she’d filled her allotted four pages yet. No. On and on. We finally got about 3 3/4 done, after which I told her to go to bed. Because it was late, and I was tired, and I’m STILL tired.

AND NOW!? Well, now I’m trying to wrangle the new blog location into shape, which means more silly junk to mess with, and I have to fix my tax forms, and I’d REALLY like a Diet Coke about now.

I think I’ll go get one.


Sorry about the delay--I got busy on wasting time on the new site trying to make it look like this one (for some unknown reason related to obsessive-compulsive blogging disorder), and then I got all messed up and had to redo a bunch of stuff, and THEN there was WORK! AGAIN! The nerve of some people.

ANYWAY, as noted previously, this was a weekend spent doing several onerous tasks, the primary one being taxes. Up bright and early Saturday, sat down at the dining room table with all my junk and got busy. This year seemed to go a bit smoother than last, and I’m not quite sure why, because we had more stuff to figure out. I had intended earlier, if you recall, to get some of that spiffy tax software to help out, but I guess I’ll do that next year. Maybe.

The only glitch was that when I got ready to do my state return, I couldn’t find the forms. I don’t know whether I mislaid it and it got covered up with kid junk, or if it got stolen from the mailbox by an identity thief. The state has a very bad habit of printing both spouse’s Social Security numbers on the mailing label, and it’s out there for anyone who wants it. Doofuses.

So, I got through with the Feds, (and a tidy refund this year--I think $40,000,000, but I might be off a bit) and then went to the library to pick up a state booklet. (I also hopped on the computers for a minute to see if there was any e-mail that Chet had neglected to tell me about.) Back toward home again, and decided to make a quick pit stop at the AutoZone at the foot of the hill. I had decided to take Moby with me to the library for his monthly exercise, and when I got in, the combined effect of being outside in the weather and a host of icky stuff that I haven’t been able to clean out of the carpet, and just the general smell of machinery and old car had conspired to give the ol’ box the smell of a barrel full of burnt clutches. I drove over and back with the windows down hoping to get rid of the smell, but that can only do so much. So, some deodorant.

Blech. Nothing smells any good--all the coconut vanilla pine berry rain leather orange fresh Passion garbage just smells horrible. And that “new car” junk--no matter WHO it’s made by--does NOT smell like a new car. Unless all new cars are now made in a Tijuana cathouse.

I got two.

Home, and to work again on the state returns. Where I found out that politicians are not nice people. At least ours.

There is a spot on the deduction schedule sheet that allows you to deduct other taxes you’ve paid--mainly stuff like car tags, and I THOUGHT local occupational taxes. Both Birmingham and Jefferson County make you pay to work here, and the tab comes to a sizeable chunk. But this year, after I had gone through and done everything, I noticed that these occupational taxes were now supposed to be put in with other unreimbursed employee expenses. WHAT!? Surely not--those expenses have a 7.5% of adjusted gross income threshold. Of course, the total isn't quite 7.5%, and of course, I couldn’t deduct them. This bothered me, especially after I went looking in the booklet to see if this was a new change for this year. Nope. Not listed anywhere as a change, which can only mean…EEK! I might have done it wrong LAST YEAR!

I went back and looked at the instructions for last year, and sure enough, they CHANGED IT THIS YEAR WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE! Jerks. It cost me thirty extra bucks not to be able to deduct it. Pretty sneaking and conniving, but I’m not surprised. The amount they get from people who are able to make the deduction is probably miniscule, but to those of us who wind up having to fork over more dough in order for them to sit around and debate the merits of the queen honeybee versus the monarch butterfly, well, it’s rather galling.

It’s a shame tarring and feathering has gone out of style.

UPDATE! 3:30 p.m. Regular reader Stan the Government Man just sent me a link to a January 25, 2005 State Department of Revenue news release (.pdf file) that says I might be in luck!

Montgomery—The Alabama Department of Revenue issued an immediate
taxpayer advisory today urging Alabama taxpayers who were mailed an Alabama Form 40 (Long Return) or a Form 40 NR (Non-resident Return) Tax Booklet and who have city and county occupational license taxes withheld from their wages or salaries to note errors contained in the booklets’ instructions directing those specific taxpayers to claim the local occupational taxes reported on their W-2s as miscellaneous tax deductions on the Schedule A. This direction is incorrect. Alabama law allows the occupational license tax to be claimed as a full tax deduction and as such, should be claimed on the Schedule A, under the section entitled “Taxes you paid.” The instructions for both the Form 40 and the Form 40 NR advise taxpayers who have city and county occupational taxes withheld from their wages or salaries and reported on their Form W-2s to report the amount on Schedule A, Line 19 or Line 24, respectively. This is incorrect. Taxpayers should report the amount of city or county occupational taxes withheld from their Alabama wages or salaries on Schedule A, Line 8, regardless of which return they are filing. […]

I say it means I might be in luck, because although I haven't mailed in the forms, to fix it would require me to go through and redo EVERYTHING. Again.

I'm thinking a bucket of tar and a pillow would be much less expensive. As well as much more satisfying. I suppose I'll redo it, just on the principle of the thing.

AND NOW, back to the drivel.

In amongst all the tax stuff, I also decided to get around to doing the other government-mandated interference in my life--changing the clocks forward. Going ahead and setting them forward early in the day makes it a bit easier to get used to the new time. Kinda. The clock count was up this year due to each of the kids having a timepiece--by my count, there were 14 to be fidgeted with.

And yet, we are still late all the time.

NEXT--Other stuff!


Yippee hooray.

A well-spent weekend, though, with all sorts of incredibly mundane, yet humdrum, happenings in Paradise Along the Pinchgut. Stay tuned and at some time today, you will get to read ALL about TAXES; Filthy, Sneaking, Thieving Alabama Politicians; The Library; Making Moby Smell Purty; Clockery; Editorial Review; Church; We Are Here to Pump it Up!; Church; Editorial Review; and I Am Now Officially A Munuvian!

Until such time as I can recreate what all happened, all of you go see what's happening in the blogroll, or maybe just sit on the porch for a while. Watch out for the wasps, though--they're building a nest under the rocking chair.

Friday, April 01, 2005

BLAH! BLAH blah, blah.

And I mean it!

Still stuck in a loop here, but figured I should take a break for a moment so as to keep the rest of my brain from falling onto the keyboard. If I don't, I might get like the guy that just came to the lobby counter.

Great big gigantic huge mean-looking guy. As I was walking back to my office (after coming back from the snack bar downstairs where I had purchased a refreshing and tasty Diet Coke), he in turn was walking into the double doors that lead to the freight elevator vestibule. The vestibule is inside our suite, so when he walked in there and screamed at the top of his lungs, it was very easy to hear.

Seems he's had a problem with one of the other folks in the department, and he has fully and truly learned what it's like to try to deal with a bureaucrat who is retired-in-place. Thankfully, he wasn't so angry that he did anything more than let out a blood-curdling scream. Having had to deal with the same person myself, I understand our visitor's urge to let off some steam.

It's been otherwise quiet here today--and there was a lovely sunny blue-sky midday, most certainly, after a night of rain, and a morning of rain, and an afternoon once again threatening rain. As I surmised last week, the arrival of spring means the jungle around the house has suddenly kicked into high gear for growth. I walked out this morning and the long patch of clover between my neighbor's driveway and mine was so high I couldn't see over it. Not really. It was only waist high.

BUT, doesn't look to be any way to get the mower out tomorrow--too wet. And I still have my taxes to do. And papers to type for someone. And a new class quarter starting Sunday at church means all sorts of other thinkey type things I have to do. And there's laundry. And there's this bout of dementia I keep having where I think it would be really neat sell old Moby (the white '94 Plymouth minivan) and buy an old car. But not just anything old, and not anything cool, either; but something awful and weird, just for the sake of being awful and weird. Maybe a Renault Fuego. Or a Fiat Brava.

Hopefully this will pass.

Anyway, I need to get back to work right now, or I'll never get done.

No foolin'!

I got work to do today, so the normal level of stupidity will be pretty low for a while until I get ahead of things.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's time to do more paying work!

Dude, Where's my Cognitive Ability!?

Kutcher says 'Who' started with P. Diddy

NEW YORK (AP) — Ashton Kutcher says the concept for his new movie, "Guess Who," started with P. Diddy. "The idea really came from when I was spending time with Sean Combs and people couldn't figure out why the two of us were hanging out together," Kutcher says in the April issue of Interview magazine. "They really couldn't look past the race line."

Actually, I believe most people were simply amazed that so much empty-headed self-righteousness could actually be contained in such a confined space without causing some sort of idiotplosion.

"Guess Who," which debuted at No. 1 at the box office last weekend, is a remake of the 1967 classic "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." In the present incarnation, many of the characters' races have been flipped. Kutcher plays Sidney Poitier's role and Bernie Mac is a version of Spencer Tracy. [...]

I've seen the original, and I've seen the trailer for the putative "remake"; somehow, I don't think Demi's demi-brained diaper-toter is going to have to worry about making very many award acceptance speeches.

Adventures in Headline Writing!

Crouch glory days isn't over in NFL Europe

Aside from the subject/verb agreement problem or whatever else might have gotten mangled, there is just the oddity of seeing "glory days" in the same breath as "NFL Europe."

Close, but no haggis, laddie.

Just had a recent visitor who fell into the Possumpile by Googling: Unclaimed Baggage + Scotland, Alabama.

That's Scottsboro, and the place is the Unclaimed Baggage Center, aka, The Island of Lost Luggage. If you want it, they have it. And it might even be yours.

They also have stuff on Ebay if you don't want to drive all the way to Scottsboro.

Hey! Lights!

I came in Tuesday morning and flipped the light switch and the three-lamp fluorescent fixture right over my desk didn't come on.


Although it was a bit like camping out.

Anyway, the maintenance guy and his maintenance helper girl were up here today looking at an inoperable fixture in someone else's office, so I shanghaied them and got them to look at my problem. Well, at the lamp problem.

Diagnosis--bad ballast.

They went and found another ballast and just got through changing it out, and BOY is it bright in here! Thanks, maintenance folks!

Speaking of Stupid, STUPID Blogger...

Due to the kind entreaties of Jordana Adams and the supreme indulgence from the folks at mu.nu, your friendly neighborhood Possumblog will soon be coming to you LIVE from the tiny, remote, friendly, unassuming, laid-back, fabulous cave-riddled, South Pacific island of Niue!

What will all this mean?

I have no idea.

I think it means I get to learn Movable Type, which is okay since I have Chet the E-Mail Boy, who is familiar with linotype machines. And it means that I will be freed from the evil clutches of Blogger and BlogSpot, except for those time when I have to fall back on it as a last resort when the mu.nu servers become too encrusted with seagull guano.

Biggest thing is that it will mean, after several years, that you will all have to change your blogrolls. Stay tuned for the new address.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom of the Day!

You have sound business sense.

I think that is abundantly clear to all long-time Possumblog readers. Next, one that's sure to set tongues a'waggin':

Your new love is already very near you.

That's so true--there's a picture of Miss Reba right here on my desk, and my love for her is new every day.

(Hey, you don't stay married as long as I have without knowing a few things.)

Today's lucky numbers:

6 14 19 36 41. 27


2 14 23 36 38. 16

Hey! Pictures!

Despite the fact that I told Jordana yesterday that I wouldn't have any pictures today due to all the stuff that packs itself into Wednesday evenings, I DID indeed find some time last night after we got home and after the kids were in the bed and after I finished editing and proofing a paper Miss Reba wrote for one of her classes (at least I didn't have to type it), there WAS time to put the evidence of our most recent excursion to ATL onto the chip, and I have just now transferred them to my online photo album. Or, more accurately, to my second album. I used up my 25MB limit on the first one.

ANYWAY, here we go.

It was very nice while we were there, and of course, we were surrounded by lovely buildings. Like the Georgia Power/Southern Company building across the street from the boys' room balcony--

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That's unfair, it really was a nice day--here's a shot of the SunTrust Plaza outside the window at the end of the hallway where our room was...

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...and one of the Bank of America tower, again from the balcony.

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My favorite, however, is this little monument--

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that sort of gets swallowed up by the rest of the neighborhood--

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Inside the hotel, this is a shot I took of the ceiling while waiting for one of the interminable events to be over--

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Tres '70s, but really, it's still an okay design that has held up well, which isn't something you can say about a lot of 1970s buildings. It does have a remarkable lack of rapid vertical circulation--i.e., elevators. For a convention hotel, with huge hordes of people getting out of meetings at one time, there really needs to be more than five elevators.

This is another shot of the decor--

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ANYWAY, I realize none of you care about that, but would much rather see pictures of ME! Well, sorry to disappoint, but since Daddy was taking pictures, there are no pictures of Daddy.

There are, however, ones of Boy.

Watching the teevee over yonder...

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(This is the girls' room, explaining the mess.)

And here is Boy with Rodney Copperbottom.

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Tiny Terror? Check!

All the little kids in kindergarten to 2nd Grade who don't get to compete, DO get to walk across the stage and have everyone take their picture. This will be Cat's last year to make the walk, and here is her moment of fame--

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Speaking of moments of fame, here is Oldest with her song-leading finalist trophy. (She's the one in the black blouse in the middle.)

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And here's Middle Girl with her little trophy for 2nd Place Bible Bowl Team.

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And, here's one taken at the start of the day, with them all together in the hotel room, not fighting with, or shouting at, each other--

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Let's see, who have we left out? Hmmmm. OH, YEAH! How about a current shot of the lovely and book-burdened Miss Reba, shown here talking--

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--and here, 16 minutes earlier, not talking and looking as though she wonders why her husband insists on taking her picture. (You can also see Catherine's tiny stuffed puppy, sitting patiently on Catherine's lap waiting for her to finish playing that confounded GameBoy.)

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Much later on in the afternoon, after everything was over and done except for the waiting, this is a shot of several restless, bored, tired--and in the case of one small boy, extremely angry--children sitting and keeping themselves entertained.

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Yes, Catherine is very ladylike.

ANYwho, them there is the high points.

Okay, so I forgot.

One thing that Jim suggested for the Thursday Three I completely overlooked when doing this morning's list--

Jeans or khakis.

Please add this to your lists--as for me, jeans. Jeans look good even when they are all worn out, but khakis don't. And jeans look better on husky guys than khaki.

Although these Italian cavalry trousers might make a stunning addition to my closet.

Radio Daze

From the Birmingham News this morning, more word on the shakeup in the local radio market, in which what used to be 107.7 "The X" will convert to an urban format, and the name will go somewhere else:

[...] Meanwhile, The X, which has been on the 107.7 FM frequency since 1998, will relocate to its new home at 100.5. The station has been simulcasting on both frequencies for the past four weeks.

The morning team of Beaner and Ken will begin broadcasting their show on The X at 100.5 beginning April 11, Daniels said.

One person who won't be making the switch, though, is Luka, the afternoon drive-time personality with the chirpy British accent. Her last day at The X was Tuesday.

Daniels cited "philosophical differences" as her reason for leaving.

Luka said Wednesday she was "exceptionally happy" with what she did in her seven months back at The X and hopes to land at another station so she can keep "my northern Alabama audience."

Her audience is welcome to her.

Anyway, this seems to be quite upsetting for a lot of local "T*ttl* and Kl*n*" fans going by the hits Possumblog keeps getting about them. (I get enough hits without encouraging more by using their full names) I even got one semiliterate troll who stopped by and left a (quickly shovelled out) dropping in the comment section. Which goes a long way toward explaining what sort of person is part of their audience, and why I never enjoyed listening to them.

Anyway, it's all very confusing and makes my head hurt. It's also somewhat ironic about the change, considering 107.7 was for years the home of legendary WENN, back when "urban" was "Black."

It’s the Yin-Yang Version of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

As suggested by Jim Smith, some “eternal questions that seem to divide people on an either/or basis.” Remember that the AoW Thursday Three is open to all persons, although we do ask that you be careful when you come in the door and not let all the chi out, because it ruins the groovy feng shui of the place.

Having thus now expended the sum of my knowledge of Far Eastern mysticism, we ask you to state a preference in the following categories--either leave your answers in the comments, or answer them on your own blog and leave a link so that we may all come and meditate upon them.

Some might notice this is not strictly a Three-themed thing. You are urged not to let this hinder you.



1. Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme
2. Cheese curls or cheese puffs
3. Chocolate or vanilla

CATEGORY 2--TV People:

1. Ginger or Mary Ann
2. Crockett or Tubbs
3. Barney or Warren

CATEGORY 3--Potpourri:

1. 9mm or .45
2. Pro football or college football
3. Boxers or briefs/thong or granny panties
4. Electric or blade
5. Paper or plastic
6. Dark socks and sandals at the beach or barefooted
7. Wal-mart or K-mart
8. Dog or cat
9. LP or CD

SO, there you are--answer as many or as few as you wish, but do be sure and let everyone know.

As for my answers:


2. Cheese curls. Anything else is a Nazi/Commie plot.

CATEGORY 2--TV People:

1. Mary Ann. I never understood the allure of the Ginger character. She seemed shallow and vacuous, even if she did have some curves on her. Mary Ann, though--Rrrowll.

3. Barney. I mean, COME ON! Jack Burns is a kinda funny guy, but the Warren character was just another example of the rot that set in on the Andy Griffith Show that culminated in the addition of Howard Sprague, the switch to color, and the decision to strap stroke-suffering Floyd into the barber chair.

CATEGORY 3--Potpourri:

1. .45 But, actually, it depends on what the intended use is. If I never intended to use it, the 9mm would be just fine.
2. College football, but it’s getting to be less and less appealing. Too much like the pros.
3. Thong.
4. Electric, but only because it’s quicker, and I can do other things while shaving, such as read or sit on the pot. If I have the time, there’s nothing that beats a shave in the shower with a good, fresh, twin (or more) blade. (By the way, this topic has nothing to do with Doc Glenn’s recent foray into razor blogging.)
5. Paper, although it’s getting harder and harder to find. But you can use paper bags for other things, and they stand up by themselves.
6. Barefooted. I’d rather it be as plain as possible that I’m not a Yankee.
7. Wal-mart. Everyone should know this by now.
8. Walruses. Dogs are too loveable, cats are too easily trained.
9. CD. I’ve got boxes of old vinyl, and even have a turntable (“Daddy, is this the thing you play those big black CDs on?”) but my ears are not so sensitive, and I can’t hear all the various bits and pieces of analog loveliness that all the sophisticated aurophiles can hear. I can, however, hear all the hisses and pops and skips.

ANYway, there you go.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Say, is that the world's tiniest violin I hear playing!?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Poor Kojo!

Yet another sign of a world turned upside down.

And let's not even think about that whole "strange bedfellows" thing...

Oh, for pity's sake!

First is was kernels and mice and a cat, and now BUGS!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

We've had to rollback to an earlier build this morning in order to fix some outstanding publishing bugs. This has had stability implications which we are now in the process of addressing.

Update: These problems have now subsided. We are in the process of preparing a new build which will include an additional performance enhancement as well as a fix for BlogThis.

Posted by Jason at 09:29

I think all the loose corn kernels that the mice missed must be attracting bugs. I don't know why they can't just disinfect the whole thing in some hot soapy water.

Oh, well. At least it's free.

Not bug-free, just 'no-cash-required' free.

Most Inexplicable Search Term of the Day!

Just had a visitor swing by Possumblog searching for lol library FURIOUS mood mississippi.

It is a mystery.

It is to laugh.

Scrushy defense: ex-HealthSouth executives out to save themselves

Finally, Team Scrushy might be onto something!

It's obviously in opposition to his own defense strategy, which seems geared toward making sure he is found guilty.

It is telling that a few days back when Bernie Ebbers was sent up the river, the combined legal prowess of the team poo-poohed the idea that a similar outcome could possibly befall Dickie Bird, because they observed that po' Bern was tried up in Noo Yawk, away from kith and kin down home in Miss'ippi. Our boy is being tried here, amongst all his friends who are well aware of his wonderful philanthropy and good deeds and church-goingness and high-holiness and such like. Who could convict such a man!? And so what if the money might be a bit tainted, right?

The defense also seems to be fascinated with the idea that the FIFTEEN other conspirators in this scheme made money from it. They've been pounding hard to show that they put the ill-gotten cash in the bank without any ill-feelings. But it's probably not the best ploy, given that the defendant also benefitted richly from the fraud, and by several orders of magnitude over the minor players in the game.

Finally, the lead defense mouthpiece has been scrupulous in banging the shoe of spurious suposition on the table, never failing to attempt to bring up the most unlikely hypothetical situations, and speaking of them as if they're fact. Oh, and there's nothing in writing telling anyone to do anything illegal, so Dick's in the clear.

It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out. Juries are odd things, but for what it's worth, there have been 15 straight convictions associated with this case, and all the jurors come from around here, and were just as aware of all the cash doled out by company to local organizations.

I suppose we'll see what happens.

Well, I tried.

I had some pictures from our recent excursion on the ol' digital camera, and thought I might try bringing it and its USB cable to work and see if I could load the pictures directly onto my machine in lieu of my previous somewhat cumbersome process of transferring them to my home computer, then to a flash drive, then to the computer here.

No dice.

Dumb old computers.

So, maybe by Friday we might be able to see some stuff. Or not.

And since I missed it yesterday--Obscure Architectural Term of the Day!

BRATTISHING. An ornamental cresting on the top of a screen or cornice usually formed of leaves, Tudor flowers, or miniature battlements.

From the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition.

More obscure than I thought--I could only find one tiny illustration of the concept. So, here it is.

The Play--Epilogue

As I related yesterday, Oldest's most recent theater excursion was cut short by a the sudden onset of hissy-fit-itis by the erstwhile director, who cancelled the show and walked out of the building Monday evening. With instructions to the players to stack their scripts on the table and a twittering admonition that he might call them back if he could be persuaded to change his mind, he walked out, locked the door and drove away.

Being somewhat of the artsy-fartsy type myself, I understand all about pride and arrogance and being a prima donna and having high expectations of others. However, there is also something that trumps that; namely, having enough sense to understand your duty in providing some level of supervision to the persons entrusted to your care.

In other words, even though your dudgeon might have skyrocketed through the roof, you don't just run away and leave a kid behind, in the care of other, slightly older, kids. Now, it's not like our little burg is so dangerous--it's a civilized sort of place, and she would have been just fine even if she had walked the couple of miles all the way home.

There is, however, the principle of the thing.

It is no small good fortune that there were still two of the young people of the cast who agreed to stay with Ashley until I arrived, being that she had to rely on me to pick her up.

Given the situation, for once Oldest and I agreed on something; namely that no callbacks would be accepted. Life is much too short to place yourself voluntarily in the thrall of such silliness. And she does have a lot of schoolwork that has to be done, regardless of what sorts of extracurricular things she might want to do. SO, she was actually a little relieved by the turn of events.

ANYway, got home yesterafternoon and saw the answering machine blinking. Pushed the button, and it was one of the cast members leaving a message for Oldest, an older lady who has some sort of pull with the theater and who was ever so sweetly saying she wanted Oldest to come to the theater at seven so they could discuss what to do.



My finger slipped and erased the message.

Such a pity.

Obviously, it wasn't the lady's fault about what happened, and she probably was embarrassed for the theater and was trying to see what could they do to make things work. But, call and talk to me. Give me some explanation about what's going on. Allow me to tell my daughter and make a decision. Yes, it's all about me, because me is the parent, and me needs to know this stuff. And you need to hear the word "no," in no uncertain terms, from me.

I didn't even tell Ashley about the call.

Reba and the kids got home, I got supper started, got the last load of trip laundry in the washer, got the kids working on homework and baths, read the mail, supper on the plates, kids to the table, phone rings just as I'm about to sit down. ::sigh::

Telemarketers. Sorry if that's your chosen profession, but I don't like it when you call me, and I reserve the right to abuse you and hang up on you for tying up my telephone line.


"Could I speak to Ashley?"

I recognize the voice, and it's no telemarketer.

"May I ask who's calling, please?"

"Yes, this is Silly Pissant (not his real name)."

"I'm sorry, she can't come to the phone right now. Thank you!"

And I hung up the phone--as the handset made its way to the cradle, some sort of high pitched yammering was coming out of the ear piece.

Squeal all you want, Junior. But find yourself another Meg. And maybe it's time to grow up a bit.

Another one from yesterday...

I promise this wasn't Jonathan...

Alabama Boy Drives Off in Father's Truck

By The Associated Press

ENTERPRISE, Ala. - A 7-year-old who apparently wanted to play with friends couldn't wait. He drove off in his father's truck, eventually running it into a ditch before police officers managed to coax him out of the vehicle.

The boy was driving the big, dual-wheel truck erratically along Highway 27 when other drivers called police Thursday morning, saying they couldn't see anyone behind the wheel.

The boy apparently got the keys while his father, who was not identified, was sleeping, and he was trying to drive to an Enterprise day care center, police said.

Capt. Mike Lolley said the boy was near a convenience store when the vehicle swerved into a ditch.

The boy rolled up the windows and locked the doors as police approached. He pressed the gas pedal and the truck sent mud and dirt flying but didn't move.

Officers coaxed him out by telling the child they would take him to play with his friends, then took him to the police station.

By the way, Enterprise is also the home of the Boll Weevil Monument.

The worst thing?

Yesterday was the first day of spring. We've had a couple of weeks now when stuff has been blooming, and Sunday the redbud trees really started showing off, and Monday I saw a dogwood putting out a few tiny white blossoms; however, the tree limbs behind all the flower petals on all the trees were still dark and bare.

But yesterday, green. Green leaves shooting out everywhere, which is when I consider Spring to truly have Sprung, and I wanted to let everyone know, but I couldn't because the silly machinery was broken.

Anyway, all the trees are green now. And it's supposed to be 80 today. It sure was a lovely spring while it lasted.


Let's see if this stupid pile of poo is working today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

OOOOOoooooohhhh. So THAT'S the problem.

From the Blogger status page, we find this note for today:

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

We're currently in the process of rolling back a bad kernel upgrade that has significantly impacted the service. Restored app servers are coming back online and all should be repaired by the end of today.

Okay, I'm not a computer person, but it seem very obvious to me that problems are BOUND to happen if you try to run any kind of electronic device on corn kernels.

Even worse is the fact that one bad kernel seems to have brought the entire popping mechanism to a halt, probably making the whole place smell like burnt popcorn.

My suggestion is to use several mice to run through the machinery and find the kernels and eat them, thus freeing things up to begin operating smoothly again.

You're welcome.


Lunch was very nice, although I was admittedly a few minutes late. Due to stupid STUPID Blogger. Anyway, we got the booth by the front window and proceeded to order. Which brought about the first epiphany of the afternoon.

They’ve gone up on their prices. Now, I like food, but nine bucks and some change for a bacon cheeseburger and fries and a canned Diet Coke (that cost $1..49!) is pushing things a bit. As is paying that much and receiving the added benefit of friendly, yet entirely lackadaisical service. So, it looks like yet another establishment goes by the Magazine Swapping and Lunch Eating wayside.

Topics of discussion today included: work; Mutual Friend JohnTM; why buy a Toyota Avalon!?; budgeting; house building; plumbers; moving; children; wives; messiness; messy wives; Disneyworld; Wendy’s chili; stupid people; “stupid” people; mustard on my tie; Chap-Stick (Uh, you can keep that now. Oh, no thanks.); the new hit NBC show The Office, which is based on the Brit sitcom of the same name, and both of which are shameless ripped off from our mid-90s treatment for a show set in a suburban office building to be called Two East; pigeons; expensive hotel room service food ($38 a pound for mixed nuts--the next time anyone complains about the cost of aspirin on your hospital bill, try finding out how much it would cost to have it brought to your room by room service in a hotel! And it’s always delivered by some sullen Filipino kid in a baggy polyester outfit, rather than a buxom nurse in crisp starched whites, her firm legs swathed in whi…ahem. Never mind.); learning to drive; first cars; cars used to be pretty crappy; uncomfortable moments at the register--then a furtive dash out the back door to the parking lot, where we continued with; the Saga of Flighty Theater Man; Porsches; his sister; OOOOH car magazines!; and that’s about it.

Never a dull moment!

Okay, that’s a lie.

You might have noticed the post below, even though it is time-stamped for 11-ish this morning, just now seems to have shown up.


I tried posting it before I left for lunch, and that didn't work, so I came back here afterwards and have tried now for a good hour and a half trying to get it to work.

It makes me very angry that people who give away free stuff don't make sure it works right.

Well, now--

I have just e-mailed my first initial rough estimate of possible cost for all this garbage to my boss, which should buy me several days worth of grace until he actually sees I have sent something to his inbox, and comes and asks me to print it out for him.

Just gotta love that there technology.

But, I'm still not quite free yet--I still have to get the meeting minutes done from last week. Thankfully, I have until April 7 to get them finished. And no, I dare not procrastinate until the 6th the way I do in my private life.

STILL, there should be a gentle shower of possumy goodness again here in the coming hours. BUT ONLY AFTER I go have lunch and swap car magazines with My Friend JeffTM!

Yes, it's that time again--actually a couple of months past time, but that's neither here nor there. Lunch today will be at the ever-reliably greasy Anchorage Restaurant over in the seedy/snooty section of Homewood, so all of you who didn't go to the last of my publicly advertised luncheons--DON'T GO TO THIS ONE! Jeff, like the rest of my circle of acquaintances and family, does not need to know of my dirty little blogging hobby.

Now then--a couple of things that didn't get said yesterday: I saw Cameron Diaz on the Tonight Show the other night. I never realized she was as stupid as bundle of axe handles, but she is. Oldest DID enjoy her Bible birthday present. It's one of the Nelson study Bibles, and has all kinds of notes and maps and stuff. I like it, too, although the pages are a bit wispy for my big fumble fingers. The play's NOT the thing--as you all recall, a certain teen in our house was all hepped up about playing Meg (not short for "megabyte," by the way) in a local production of Little Women. At rehearsal last night, the director, whom I have compared to my fictional creation of college theater major Cay Wooshley, developed a severe case of the snits, and called off the whole thing. Which is probably a good thing, considering how much stuff Ashley has to do for school. She wasn't too upset, and neither was Grandmom, who had already started making her (time period inappropriate, but insisted upon by the director) costume. Luckily, she hadn't made the whole thing.

ANYWAY, I gotta get our of here and go see MFJ, so I'll be back in a bit with some more drivel!

Another day wasted doing the paying gig.

Sorry to be so unentertaining (more so than usual) but I do have all sorts of mindless busywork to get done pretty soon. You know, like, today maybe.


Monday, March 28, 2005


There is a reason there never was a Hope and Crosby, “On The Road to Atlanta” movie.

Anyway, up at an awful hour, showered, woke everyone up, got them into their Day One clothes (church tee shirt and jeans) put the last bit of junk in the van, made sure the doors were locked, released the snakes and bats, got everyone in the van, and took off.

Got to the building on time (wonder of wonders) and waited in the van. I guess I’m just not a very social person, but every year everyone gets to the building and wants to get out and talk and drink coffee and schmooze. I want to drive. Get on the road and get ‘er done. But, I am always the odd one out. Reba took the kids in and let them relieve their teensy bladders, and, of course, since she is the social one of the bunch, she got caught up chattering with people. One of these days, I am going to get her to be just as socially withdrawn and awkward as me, just like I’ve taught her how to pack! Well, maybe not.

We finally left out about 6:40 or so and the best I can say was that it was a nice clear day, and the DVD player we got at Christmas was very well received by the children. I am sorry to let Meryl Yourish down this year, but there is no roadkill report. She thinks it’s very odd that I keep up with such things, but I am sorry to say there was little to report that was of interest, although I think I did see a coyote. Or a gray bathmat. Hard to tell.

Stopped at Tallapoosa, Georgia to stretch and pee, and scared Catherine with my stern warning not to do anything BUT pee so that we wouldn’t get left. She kept telling Reba to hurry, which was nice that I didn’t have to do it.

I can’t quite figure out the allure, but for some reason every year whenever the caravan stops at this place, everyone wants to look at all the cheap Chinese-made garbage. I don’t know why--it’s the exact same cheap Chinese-made garbage we have in the convenience stores back home. Me? I’d rather just pee and leave.

Final hour and a half was uneventful, until we hit the metro traffic. So to speak. No one had any close calls, but it’s always unnerving to me to try to stay convoyed with everyone else, especially when the prevailing speed of traffic is 75, and we’re all poking along doing 50 behind the church van. “Hello, good sir! Yes, I think you’re Number One, too!”

Arrived at the Hyatt and got in line to pull into the garage. Waited. Some guy started walking up to each car, motioning around and acting like he was in charge of something. But, being that he had on sweats and sneakers, I figured he was just a bum with a new take on how to shake folks down. Sure enough, the lady in front of us handed him out some bills, and then he came to our car--“Pull down there to where that van is right now, and when you make the turn you have to swing real wide so you don’t hit nothin’. But just wait here until the rest of the cars move.”


“Do you think you could spare several dollars so I could get some coffee this mo…”


Yes, I suppose I would be considered cold and heartless by some, but I don’t give folks money on the street. Especially this guy, who was energetic and articulate enough to get himself an honest job. He didn’t seem to mind--he headed on back and waved and jabbered all the way back to the corner and then some.

Got inside and the entire place was jam-packed with church vans and cars waiting to be parked. Apparently everyone decided to arrive at 10. And did.

In previous years, it’s always been a mess getting our rooms, sometimes with the wait lasting hours, so when the valet came around, I just let him have the car key and figured we’d come back later when we had a room. Unloaded ourselves, went upstairs to the lobby, and our group’s leader was waiting there with the room keys. ::sigh::

I sent them upstairs while I raced back to the motor lobby see if the van might still be in the queue so I could get them to unload it. In a marvel of efficient operation, I saw that they had just pulled the car BEHIND us to the door. I asked the girl at the counter if they’d already taken ours back, and sure enough, they had. And there was little use in asking for it to be brought up again with the pile of cars still to be parked. Meaning, I got to be a bellman. Without benefit of a bellcart, which are only available to highly trained bell personnel. And anyway, all of the carts already had other people’s junk on them.

SO, off to the bowels of the garage with some guy. At least we were parked on the end space, and not too far away. I grabbed a few things, and told the guy I’d be back. Wait 15 minutes for elevator, up to the room, dump, got Boy to help me, wait 15 minutes for down elevator, back down to the lobby, down to the van, more junk, back up the ramp, wait 15 minutes for up elevator, go to room, final dump.


Took Oldest and went and got some stuff from the Dairy Queen in the food court, then went on to Chick-fil-A because SOMEone just HAD to have a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A, even though it was smaller and more expensive than Dairy Queen, because she could NOT be forced to eat the same thing as her brother and sisters. Back up to the room, distributed food, got Boy and we went to our room for some peace and quiet and cartoons. Finished up, went and got our pitiful bit of luggage from the girls’ room, and then downstairs for the first presentation of awards.

That done, it was time to go back and get ready for the evening festivities, while Reba took Rebecca to go listen to Ashley’s debate team. Cat and Boy and I watched cartoons, then got dressed up and went and had some supper, with the intent of taking the other three some supper. Unfortunately, the Chick-fil-A closed at 6, as did everything else, so we were left with full stomachs and intense anger from Oldest who was certain this was some kind of personal attack on her. After being told by someone in our family to stow it, she and Mom and Sis went outside the hall to a small buffet the hotel had set up with sandwiches and stuff and got themselves something entirely edible.

Next award ceremony started and ended and we went back to the rooms where Reba and the girls decided to be all social and junk and go visit with the kids studying Bible Bowl and song leading, while Jonathan and I did the smart thing and watched cartoons. (As an aside, it has probably been noted that our television viewing pleasure was animation-heavy. This was do to the incredibly short-sighted insistence by the Hyatt of not having the History Channel on their cable system.)

We boys went to bed (and endured listening to the motorcycle races going on outside the hotel), but upon waking the next day, we found out the girls stayed up to nearly midnight. I don’t know why. But complaining about being sleepy was officially declared a non-topic of conversation or complaint.

Up, shower, dress, breakfast junk food, take luggage back down to van (again assisted by Boy, again with interminable elevator waiting--oh, and three trips this time) then some time wasted before an early lunch, then Rena and Rebecca went on with Ashley to do song leading, whilst Jonathan and Catherine and I visited the mall and looked around at the bookstore. Cat found a tiny stuffed puppy and a bookmark, and Jonathan found a Robots book with a cutout model of Rodney Copperbottom. (And I wonder how long it will be before that name turns up in some sort of adult movie?) We wandered for a bit more, then decided there really wasn’t anything to see, so we went back and sat in the lobby for a while and I admired the ceiling of the atrium.

We went back downstairs and found out that Ashley had made it to the final round, which was nice, and we sat some more and I watched people. One lady came by with a baby stroller and sat with us on the bench, and I promise you she looked just like Angelina Jolie, except more modestly dressed. Her hubby came by a few minutes later and sat down, and in a completion of the whole Bizarro Universe scenario, was nothing at all like Billy Bob Thornton! So, see? There is hope! Of some sort.

The girls came back and then it was time to go see Rebecca’s team compete in Bible Bowl. 40 multiple choice questions about the book of Mark, in a nice quiet room with a humming ventilation system. Thankfully, I did not snore. And only went to sleep a couple of times. Ashley read a book, Jonathan played his GameBoy, and Reba sat outside the room with Catherine, who decided she had been still and quiet long enough for the day. That done, it was time to not do anything else.

Reba had brought along her backpack full of schoolwork, so we found a table and she worked on that while we continued video gaming and people watching until suppertime, went and ate, came back to the main ballroom for the final ceremony of the weekend, took some pictures, found out that Rebecca’s team had come in second in her age group, found out that Ashley didn’t quite make it from the top six into the top three, and then along about 9:45, it was over and we dashed downstairs to get our van and get on the road.

I was one of the first ones there, and as you recall, with a spot on the end I figured we’d be out in no time flat.

Thirty minutes later, and behind about ten other cars whose owners arrived after we did, we were indeed on our way. And it started to rain. ::sigh::

All the way home, in varying intensities, but rain. No stops, though. That television seems to dry up any bathroom urges pretty well.

Home about 11:30 or so, packed away the snakes and bats, sent everyone to bed, then set about to deliver the bunny presents to everyone, then collapsed into bed. Up early Sunday as usual, ooh and aahed over the assortment of Eastery candy and the disharmonica, dressed and off to church where I had to try to teach my class without falling asleep at the lectern and without throttling the couple of visitor boys we had who were apparently brought straight from an institution. Neither one had brought a Bible with them, so I had to get Jonathan to sit between them to share, and he was as put out with their young-Helen-Keller-on-meth psychopathy as I was. Can’t really blame them too much, because they were just kids. But I do blame their parents for never teaching them how to sit down and shut up and act like somebody.

I did suggest they ask their parents for some instruction in this matter, although I doubt it registered.

Worship, then off to have a birthday dinner for Ashley at the fancy Japanese steakhouse in Trussville, which thankfully was also attended by Reba’s mom and dad, meaning it was much easier on the wallet than it would have been otherwise. And in an odd coincidence, the goofy kid who never could wait on us right at the Chinese restaurant down the road a bit has somehow managed to get a job at this place taking drink orders and bring out the salad. Yes, this is usually a job done by slim pretty Japanese girls in kimonos, rather than gawky country boys. But at least this time he did seem to be able to get our order right.

AND THEN, after the eatin’--home to do laundry. Laundry, laundry, laundry. Mountains of laundry. Which still isn’t finished.

::sigh:: Something to do for tonight, I suppose!

Anyway, it’s been a long weekend.

I have found…

…that if I actually do my work, it has a much higher probability of getting done. Which I suppose is why it’s still not finished. Well, that, and not knowing exactly what I am being asked to do, and being asked to do it with no background information on costs or anything.

Which leads to the concept of known far and wide as SWAG, in which random dollar amounts are plucked from twixt my squishy glutes and assigned to various to-be-fixed-or-constructed line items; the resulting column of “numbers” is then sub-totaled, then doubled, after which overhead and profit are added, then doubled, and then a 10% contingency line item is added, and the whole is then totaled. And doubled.

And somehow, it always manages to cost twice as much as you planned.

Anyway, I’m still about a quarter of the way through in the plucking phase, so this will have to be necessarily brief.

Or not.

SO, Thursday night I head toward the lovely ville of Truss, with a stop off at Sam’s for some gas and a run inside the store to see if they had anything Easterbunnyish for the kids. Since we were going to be on the run Saturday night and Sunday, there was no time to do our usual collection of goodies to put into their individualized baskets (and no, I’m not joking) and anyway, Oldest is getting a bit too old for such things.

They had lots of stuff, but nothing I really liked.

I did buy some road-n-hotel snacks, though--breakfast bars and such like. For some reason, whenever we go anywhere it’s like trying to feed a pack of hyenas. At home, the kids can eat something small for breakfast, go all the way to lunch and eat not a whole lot, and then go all the way to supper. On trips, however, they can’t seem to get enough food.

Anyway, checked out and went on across the road to Wal-Mart to see if THEY had any Easter baskets. Or more snacks. And a birthday present for Ashley. Again, although the selection was bigger, it wasn’t quite what the Easter Possum wanted to leave. They did have a lovely assortment of snacks, however, including Cheez-Its. And I found a very nice study Bible for Ashley.

I called home to explain why I was being so delayed, and Miss Reba mentioned in passing about seeing some neat Easter baskets at Target. Hmm. “Mentioned in passing”? ‘That must mean she REALLY wants me to go to Target!’ I said to myself inside my little acorn-sized brain. SO, off to Target.

Got there and WOW! They had the EXACT SAME THING AS WAL-MART! ::sigh:: At least they were the same price. I picked up a Spider-Man metal bucket/basket for Boy which had a wristband with candy in it, and a pen with candy in it, and a thing with candy in it, and some candy. ALL of it Spidey-themed. (As an aside--I think someone could do pretty well in the Old, Yet Still Quite Childish market with a basket featuring Mary Jane.)

For Catherine, there was a Curious George basket with George in a cute pair of pajamas, with a small pack of candy, and a pack of story cards (pictures of objects, which you use to tell a story, and then try to remember the order of the cards afterwards--supremely difficult with an acorn-sized brain, let me tell you) and for some strange reason, a harmonica. Why did I get my sweet, yet entirely too loud child something else with which to make racket?

It is a mystery.

Now then, for the older girls. I had figured on a spiffy metal basket of some sort with a DVD and some cool edible stuff and maybe a Beanie Baby, since they do still like squishy things. An hour later, I FINALLY found an interesting rectangular wicker desk organizer that was divided in two, with two lids that folded over each half. I’m not sure what its actual use is, although it was probably written on the tag that I had to remove so that no one would suspect that the gift might not have been left by an oviparous rabbit at all, but by a person. With baskets in hand, I went and found a couple of DVDs--one for Rebecca, The Incredibles, and Giant for Oldest--and a couple of tall jars of caramel corn, and finally a couple of squishy animals--a blue bunny and yellow ducky, each with a pack of jelly beans. (Jellly beans which Oldest informed everyone as loudly as possible come Sunday that she absolutely HATED. But which she would not be talked into trading. Figures.)

Anyway, the plan was to put the tall bottle of caramel corn in one side, and the movie and critter in the other side. They really did look nice and teenagery, even if a certain person didn’t care for hers. Middle Girl seemed quite taken with the idea. BUT, all that’s on Sunday. There’s still the intervening weekend between here and there to cover.

Home, very late it turned out, hid the merchandise, and started loading the Family Truckster with our luggage. It has taken some time, but Reba is now gotten to the point where she doesn’t think she has to pack for a week to stay gone a day. She did well last year, but this year she had it down almost to my level of lightweight travel. Basically, there are two outfits--the driving over and hanging around outfit of Day One, and then the Day Two outfit. Since there is a late-afternoon award ceremony that requires nicer clothing, I just take a shirt and tie and slacks and wear it all day and night on Day Two. One thing to pack, plus a pair of oxford shoes, some clean underwear and shaving stuff and toothpaste and junk like that. And Reba, although not quite there, was pretty darned close this year, and resisted the urge to bring along huge bags full of stuff for the kids to keep them occupied. That’s what the darned television is for, right!?

Oldest had already gone over Thursday afternoon with some other friends of ours, so the van actually had some room in it this time--even more startling is that it had room even WITH Ashley’s junk on Saturday night.


Into bed at around 11:30, and then right back up at 4:30 so as to be able to get everyone up and dressed and out of the house and to the building at 6:15.



I'M AWAKE! I'm awake.


And back home, and ready for a nap.

There was an exceedingly long weekend, about which you will hear a dreadfully boring recitation at some point during the day. But I still have the junk to finish that I started last week, and if I don't get if finished--well, uh...hmm. I don't quite know. But I assume it would be very bad.

So let me get that wrapped up and then I can come back and tell you all about the wonders of Atlanta. And the Easter Bunny. And a daughter who just turned 15. (Or, rather, five years old for the third time.)

Anyway, back after while--do be sure and check out the folks in the blogroll for something that is actually entertaining.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Dumb old squirrel.

Well, it's almost time to go, and thus starts a very long weekend. I'm off from work tomorrow, but will still have to get up early. We're going on our annual pilgrimage for the convention where the kids get to do all their songleading and Bible Bowl question-answering and debating and stuff, so off we will be going to Atlanta, starting at the break of day tomorrow.

It's always exhausting, with the added dimension of getting to drive back home late Saturday night, this year made even more fun by the prediction of foul weather brewing at exactly the same time of night and location as where we'll be driving. Should make it MUCH easier to stay awake. Or not. This year we're going to get to try out our portable DVD player in the car. If it cuts down on fights and pee stops, I'm all for it.

Oh, and nobody get any funny ideas about breaking into my house. I have very nosy neighbors, and have plans to dump a whole box of rattlesnakes around inside. And bats. So don't try anything. Unless you've come to neaten the place up and clean some--if so, please feel free to use the cleaning supplies we never use.

ANYway, all of you have a good Easter, and come back Monday and if I get through the weekend unscathed, I'll tell you all about it.


Or, "How Sugarmama, Skillzy, and Yours Truly plan to take over the world."

1) A diabolical genetic experiment has now been launched combining a monkey, a squirrel, and a pigeon with a robot. BOW BEFORE OUR POWER! BWUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

2) Umm. I don't know. Probably something like, a poster or something.

3) Oh, yeah--send us all your money.

There now. It is pointless to resist.

AS FOR THE REST OF OUR TIME TOGETHER--it was very fun, although before the other TWO (of our host of millions who were invited) arrived, I felt rather odd sitting by myself at a table for six. (I made Chet the E-Mail Boy sit outside on the bench by the guy with all the luggage and blankets and boxes and pieces of foam.)

Sugarmama (not her real name, by the way) was first to arrive, as usual looking taller than I think she should, and she mentioned that Skillzy (not his real name, by the way--at least, I don't think so) was going to be a bit late due to traffic on I-65. Skillzy drove all the way from HOOVER for this get-together--must be all that time underwater when he was in the Navy or something.

Anyway, Sugar ordered herself some food while I was impolite and started chowing down without her (sorry to be so crude) and in only a minute or two, the ruggedly handsome bearded Skillzy showed up and went and placed his order as well.

The meal was spent much as Sugarmama describes in her post, although she did leave out the part about seeing Willie Nelson in the restaurant, and about her towering rage regarding her sweet little sister who called in the middle of our plotting of world domination to ask the directions to Kohl's.

There was a side discussion about salsa, in which I was forced to admit buying cheap gelatinous Pace by the five-gallon bucket and that I am an unsophisticated salsa dweeb, and so they made fun of me. And so, you know, after I got all their information about hydraulics and computer networks, I now plan to turn the RoboMonkePigeorrel on them. Hah! I guess I shouldn't say anything about that until afterwards, though.

Later topics included work, the singles scene (thank the Good Lord I'm not single), nasal congestion, yardwork, car repair, home repair, electricity, chain saws, Indian food, Thai food, spicy food, food, Quiznos, Subway, male expectations of reward versus reality, and lesion-patterned panty hose. I refused repeated requests to see what I was wearing under my navy blue Haggar pants legs.

Roly Poly was jumping today, for some reason. I figured with it being Spring Break there wouldn't be that many people there, but it was pretty packed. They HAVE gone up on their prices, which is a bit of a let down.

AND THEN--time to leave. I had to get across town to give Reba her care package--an oriental chicken wrap, chips and Diet Coke--and get back to work. We bused our table and went out the door, arm-in-arm like Dorothy and the Tin Woodsman and The Cowardly Lion and I made Chet act like a scarecrow. We bid Skillzy goodbye on 4th Avenue, then I bid Sugarmama goodbye at 6th, giving her something to sell on E-Bay in the form of my autograph, AND tricking her into giving me a hug! HAH! She's so gullible.

Then on to the parking deck and on to Miss Reba's workplace, where I delivered her vittles AND tricked her into giving me a KISS! HAH! She's so gullible.

And now, I am back here.

And the stupid squirrel is loose.

Be back when I get it caged again.

Off to Eat!

BUT, I will not be recording the goings on until much later--I just received a call from Miss Reba to bring her some lunch because her place only has slimy stuff today. SO, when I leave out, I will have to leave with some extra rolled sammich stuff for her, and then go take it to her, and THEN come back, and do some work, and THEN write about what went on.


BUT, before I get to work--

I was in the bathroom shaving this morning when I noticed Reba had dumped all the advertising inserts into the wastebasket that had come with her most recent shipment of pantyhose from Silkies. They're usually not nearly so interesting as the Victoria's Secret catalog; you know you're in trouble when an article of clothing is on a young skinny model and it STILL looks like a tent your grandma would wear.

Anyway, what really caught my eye were these--described as "Tulip Rose Pantyhose," but to my eye they look more like "Scalded By Spattering Hot Grease." Maybe it's just a poor quality photo, but the detail looks so subtle that the idea this is supposed to be flowers is lost on my eyes, and all I can see is something that looks like a horrible rash all over the model's legs.


It does remind me somewhat of when we went to Venice many years ago and some woman and her husband got off the water taxi we arrived in, and she had on a pair of white capri pants, and what I thought were some kind of lace-pattern sheer white hose.


They were just plain sheer white hose. The "lace" pattern I thought I was seeing was caused by the matted black hair of her legs.

Anyway, back to work all of you!

A little-known fact is that the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three can be balanced on end during the vernal equinox!

A better-known fact is that it is exceedingly difficult to come up with three questions every week! BUT, since we have launched out on a Springy theme, answer me these questions (even if you’re on the underside of the globe and are headed toward autumn)--

1) What is the one thing that you love MOST about Spring?

2) ASIDE FROM POLLEN AND TORNADOES, what is the one thing that you love LEAST about Spring?

3) Name your single most favorite song, movie, play, book, painting, sculpture, etc., etc., with “spring” as part of the title.

NOW THEN, all of you gambol off into the sunny bright breeziness of the season and either leave your answers in the comments below, OR leave a link to your blog so we can all see what you have to say.

As for me (because it is all about me)--

1) Dogwoods. There are other trees and plants that bloom earlier, and are bigger, and showier, but there is something about dogwoods that I really enjoy. Especially the old and gnarly wild ones up in the woods. And they don’t bloom until it’s REALLY springtime, unlike some of those that get all revved up then get frostbit.

2) I don’t particularly like the sudden increase in things on the honey-do list. Life is crammed full enough as it is without the added burden of recreating the Japanese Imperial Palace in the backyard.

3) Jeanne Crain singing “It Might As Well Be Spring” (scroll down to the soundtrack samples) in the movie State Fair. I love the movie, and love the song, although, in fairness, it was dubbed by Louanne Hogan. (And lest I neglect saying it--Rrrowl.)

So, there you go!

A reminder...

As if any of you needed it--but who would want to miss the BlogLuncheon today at Roly Poly downtown!? I'll be there, and Sugarmama, and Skillzy and...uh, other people. Like, maybe, YOU!

The festivities start at 11:30 and will end whenever, although I will be leaving at exactly 12:21 in order to get back to stupid ol' work.

Remember, the password is "llama."

NOW THEN, I have just as much junk to do this morning as I had yesterday, so don't expect much of anything. You know, just like normal.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Long day, and it's not over.

It would help if I could get more hepped up on doing my futility exercise.

Oh well.

There's always tomorrow.

Or, maybe I just need a good bonsai artist.

UPDATE: Skinnydan suggests I just take up bonsai myself.

I hear it's very relaxing.

I need me a one of them Work Monkeys.

I'm just saying...

You know what's most unfair?

I have so much garbage to shovel that I can't tell you about last night as we were eating a hurried supper and watching American Idol (usually a no-no to have the TV on, but I made an exception) and when Nadia Turner came out with her usual soft curly poofy hair all tied up into a brush on top of her head, the kids just didn't know what to make of it, and I said, "What? Have y'all not ever seen a 'frohawk before?!"

Brought the house down, I tell you!

But I can't, because I have stupid work to do.

(And no, I didn't mean Freddie Frohawk.)

Well, you can just forget about any fun around here today.

Much to do, no time to do it all.

Come back tomorrow for the Super Terrific Axis o' Weevil Thursday Three, AND remember that the Metro Birmingham Buggy Lantern Collector's Association will be meeting tomorrow at the downtown Roly Poly location on Birmingham Green at 11:30, for an hour of frivolity and rolled sandwiches.

UNTIL TOMORROW, please make use of the handy list above of names of people who are interesting to chat with.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


I will be having an out-of-office experience at our usual biweekly meeting, meaning I won't have anything posted until much later on in the day.


Speaking of alarm clocks...

Alarm clock set to wake doziest of sleepers

LONDON (Reuters) - Can't get out of bed in the morning?

Scientists at MIT's Media Lab in the United States have invented an alarm clock called Clocky to make even the doziest sleepers, who repeatedly hit the snooze button, leap out of bed.

After the snooze button is pressed, the clock, which is equipped with a set of wheels, rolls off the table to another part of the room.

"When the alarm sounds again, simply finding Clocky ought to be strenuous enough to prevent even the doziest owner from going back to sleep," New Scientist said on Tuesday.

Or should I have said, "Speaking of stupid ideas..."

Okay, assuming you have a clock that can roll itself off your nightstand and right itself in the pile of magazines and socks beside your bed, and then eventually wander off elsewhere, what makes these eggheads think would you go chasing after it? You'd eventually just ignore it like you do the regular alarm clock.

Why not just set up about twenty alarm clocks all through the house, each set at one minute intervals to go off, one after another? Or go to bed at six in the afternoon if you have so much trouble getting up in the morning?

Now THAT'S Desperate.

I got an email from a certain college professor this morning, who said:

Are we actually going to hear/read something about the weekend? Is that snippet all there is? [...]

I begged off, noting that the weekend past was a swirling maelstrom of swirly maelstromity, and it didn't get any better in the expanded version. Aside from the haircut.

However, some people are rather persistent--

I need something--I have to preach at tonight's service. We make a big deal of holy week so that by the main service on Easter Day we are so tired I don't care. Thus anything to help me procrastinate would be pleasing.

I feel so, so...whatever the combination of "sacrilegious, yet usefully time-wasting" would be.

I tried to deflect the attention of my correspondent to another post, but he would have none of it, so I finally asked what request I could fulfill that would satisfy his need to not do anything--

I don't know, how about 3 paragraphs.

On the other hand how about reporting on dull church meetings and how the planning for the new addition is going--some actual serious stuff--failing in that, how about a trip to the store.

Well, this might be pretty easy if I do single-sentence paragraphs like all the newspapers do now.

Like this.

And now, I'm done.

Nah. I suppose I owe it to my regular readership to accomodate special requests as best as I can.

Dull church meetings? Not at all--tiring, yes. But never a dull moment. I think I have finally gotten everyone to concentrate on priorities--space to eat and fix food, one; more space for classrooms, two; everything else, three. It's very hard, because I have been trying to get our committee, with input from everyone else, to do as much of the preliminary programming work as they can so they can understand WHY they want what they want, and WHY certain decisions have to be made at certain times, and why some things are mutually exclusive (we had several people say we had too many handicapped parking spaces, and some say not enough--obviously, someone's gonna get peeved at the end result), and why we don't need to be trying to figure out where doors are going to go or the color of the carpet before we've decided a few things about how many people we're going to try to cram in the place.

The frustration from their point of view is that they want to see pictures now, and right now is not the time to draw pictures. And they keep asking me, "don't we need to get an architect to help us figure out what we want?"



Except, I'm not charging you to sit here and discuss the same things that you'd have to discuss anyway with whoever we finally decide to hire!

People are funny--the idea that if your not paying for something, it must therefore have no value is hard for some to overcome. But, thankfully, I get to facilitate things, and we'll eventually get to the understanding that there is a whole series of steps and decisions to be made in proper planning that just can't be skipped.

Next is to get with the surveyor and find out why they're taking so long, and to get one of the guys on the committee to get the set of building plans digitized so we can have something to work from. Another thing no one seems to understand is that it's awfully hard to hold your brother's feet to the fire to get something done on deadline. Sometimes it's better to be able to have a business relationship with whoever's doing something for you so you can be mean and cranky and actually require performance.

AS FOR THE TRIP TO THE STORE--Sunday night after church, we went to Wal-Mart and bought Catherine a new Bible because her old one is falling apart.

SO, there you go, Doc!

On the Dangers of Physical Exercise

I was leaving out this morning with the kids to drop them off at Grandmom's house, when up at the end of the street I espied one of those people.

You know--joggers.

As I got closer, I saw that he had the look common to these people, being that he was in full grimace, looking like he was about to keel over. And, of course, since we have nice sidewalks in our neighborhood, he was running in the street.

When we made the turn at the stop sign, the full impact of the horrors of physical exercise were there for all to see--in his inexplicable urge to go out and sweat and take up a lane of traffic, he also had to jog right by a nice, big, fat, toothy, freshly-killed, POSSUM!

"EWWW! Look, that guy was jogging out in the street and he had to run right by that by that big dead possum!"

"WHERE!? WHERE DADDY!?" The whole van erupted into chaos.

"Right there on the street! Y'all act like you've never seen a dead possum before!"

Rebecca piped up, "I haven't. We never do get to see them when we sit back here. I've seen a dead squirrel before, though."

"Well, there's a possum."

"Boy, they're ugly, aren't they, Daddy!"

You betcha.

But not as ugly as some guy running in the street who has to avoid stepping in one.

Fun with the Referrer Log!

To the person who just visited searching for "it's not my job" possum, let me assure you that you've come to the right place.

Thanks to Miss Janis, who sends me (via The Obscure Store) this ripping tale of modern-day brigandry:

Growling man with sword robs store; suspect arrested

Acadiana bureau

NEW IBERIA -- Police arrested an Abbeville man Saturday who is suspected of having walked into a convenience store growling with a sword clenched between his teeth to rob the place of a can of tobacco and a bottle of whiskey.

Good to see that some people have their priorities right in life, eh?

Brandon Doucet, 28, 306 N. St. Charles St., Abbeville, was arrested by Broussard police and charged with armed robbery, hit and run, two counts of reckless operation, aggravated flight from an officer and no driver's license.

Iberia Parish Sheriff Sid Hebert said his deputies responded Saturday to a report that a man had come into the Food N Fun convenience store at Duperior Avenue and Maire Street about 7:50 p.m. with a white sword between his teeth, and growling at the clerk behind the counter.

Well, the name of the place IS Food N FUN--what do they expect!?

That man, believed to be Doucet, walked behind the counter, grabbed a can of tobacco and a bottle of whiskey -- while continuing to growl -- and left without a word.

"He was like a pirate. If he had been wearing a patch and a hat on his head and a parrot, she (the clerk) would have thought he was a pirate," Hebert said.

What about if he didn't have a parrot or an eye patch or a hat, but maybe had a peg leg? A hook hand? What about in lieu of a hat if he had a bandana tied around his head? What about if he had a monkey instead of a parrot? What about if instead of growling he said "avast."

It is a mystery, I suppose.

"There was some extremely abnormal behavior."

And thus, Iberia Parish Sheriff Sid Hebert becomes the winner of this week's, "Oh, You Think So, Sparky!?" Award, handed out regularly to those with a very firm grasp of the obvious.

Shortly after the convenience-store incident, sheriff's deputies spotted a car believed to be that of the convenience-store robber and gave chase, he said.

I wonder if the defense strategy is that it couldn't be the right guy, because what self-respecting pirate drives a car?

At one point, the vehicle ran another car off the road, and may have sideswiped yet another vehicle while still in New Iberia before deputies gave chase, Hebert said.

The chase led deputies toward Lafayette Parish, and the Iberia Sheriff's Office called ahead to the Broussard police to notify officers that a fugitive was heading their way, Hebert said.

When the car entered the Broussard area, the driver cut the lights before speeding out of sight of the deputies, Hebert said.

Why, that crafty buccaneer!

Once in Broussard, Doucet turned his car down a dirt driveway, only to find a dirt mound at the end of it, which police say he proceeded to hit, ending the chase.

Or not.

Doucet is being held in the Iberia Parish jail on a $250,000 bond.

I'm sure no one makes fun of him in there.

I wonder what Cornswan* would taste like...

*Cornswan--cornbread-battered and deep fried whooper swan on a stick, similar to Possumblog Kitchen's other fine foods--the original Cornatee, along with Cornutria, Cornorca, Cornguins, and Cornephant.

Well, I've changed again.

I haven't been very satisfied with the Wal-Mart Connect internet service I signed up for a good while back. The proprietary browser is horrible to use and and goofy-looking to boot, and the access has been terribly unreliable for the past few months, and there's just too much Compuserve/AOL crappery involved in working with it.

So, I have jumped over to PeoplePC. I didn't really do any research or anything, but I like their little stick-man ads on teevee. I got all signed up last night, and then called the Wal-Mart customer "service" number (apparently in a call center on the outskirts of Mumbai) to cancel my service.

The inevitable question came up about why I wanted to cancel (at least, that's what I think she asked me), and one problem I mentioned was that the access numbers often don't work, and that I have been getting kicked off with increasing frequency. After a run-together mishmash of vowels and consonants, I was able to discern she was asking what OS I was using.


"Oooooh!WelltheWindow versionyouuse,itnogoodforconnectingbecause itnotlaterwithup datecodeyouhave toputin codemakeit workrightnowyou stilluseWalMartConnect? Okay?"

"Ma'am, I just want to cancel my service." I said this very nicely. And slowly.

Round Two of "Why The Service Sucks, Is the Customer's Fault." She rattled on and on about some discrepancy between the way stuff on the computer talks to the newest versions of Windows, and I interrupted her bitstream to tell her it was messing up when I was using 98, and that it worked fine when I first started using the service but recently has gotten pretty crappy so she kept hammering and finally paused.


"No, ma'am--I just want you to cancel my account."

From what I can tell, I still have WallyWorld service through the end of April. Or not. I think I can continue to use it (as if I actually wanted to) through April. Or not.

I finally said my goodbyes, and she said goodbye, and I thought the call was through. I held for a second expecting to hear a click on the other side, but none came. I did hear some coughing in the background, then, "ALLOSIR?" Why was she still hanging on the line!? I guess they just take calls one after another as soon as someone hangs up, but it was awfully disconcerting.

So I asked her what she was wearing.

(Not really, but I have wanted to do that to telemarketers before.)

Anyway, just to make sure I actually was cancelled, I called the number again this morning and talked to a guy I think was named Bob Smith (there's probably a whole lot of those on the outskirts of Bangalore) who did confirm after many minutes of rapidly run-together conversation that my account was cancelled.


Would that we had more like her.

Iranian-Americans celebrate new year holiday

The Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Sometimes, children look at Setareh Golzarian with fear. She has the dark eyes and olive skin of a Middle Easterner, and she wears a hijab — a Muslim hair scarf.

"They sometimes look at me like, 'Oh, no. She's one of them," Golzarian said. "I am one of 'them.' That makes me different, but really, we're not that different. In many ways we are the same.

"There is one God, and we all share that God. Why fight?"

With tensions rising between the United States and her native Iran, Golzarian, 29, is trying to get the word out early that Iranians aren't inherently bad. With the Iranian new year's celebration, or Norooz, pending, she wanted to give a peek into the life of Iranian-Americans.

The Alabama Islamic Education Center in Huntsville, with which Golzarian is involved, hosted a community-wide Norooz party Sunday evening. She said the holiday is as big to Iranians as Christmas, except this holiday doesn't have religious implications.

Norooz signifies the moment that winter's cold gives way to a living, hopeful season, and it coincides with the Western world's beginning of spring.

All of the traditional symbols — illustrating birth, health and prosperity — were on display, and Farsi music played in the background while young children played on the floor, watching a cartoon on the Disney Channel.

Golzarian has celebrated Norooz every year since she came to the United States to marry Javad, who was completing his medical residency here. With the birth of each of their four children, the holiday gained more meaning.

But this year's celebration has a significance all its own. This is the year she called The Times so she could talk about how Iranians decorate eggs and give gifts and eat sweets on a holiday.

"Understanding comes gradually," she said. "It comes in a series of steps.

"If you see me in public with my hijab and you wonder why I wear it, ask me. Don't just walk away and think something bad about me."

Good advice, as well as is realizing that understanding works both ways.

Kids give Amish and Mennonites strange looks, and in areas that are mostly Protestant, Catholic nuns and priest get a wary eye, too. In part, this is based upon the seemingly odd manner of dress affected by these folks, both of the men and the women. But what has to be remembered, however uncomfortable it might be to say it, is that a world-wide jihad has been launched against Western civilization, and it's not the Amish who launched it.

I do not hold that all Muslims are potential jihadis, no more than I hold that all Christians are potential Klansmen. But the good and peaceful practitioners of Islam have to come to a realization that came hard to folks around here--quietly pursing your lips and expressing whispered disdain for bad people who make a mockery of God, while still accomodating or enabling their actions in the name of misplaced brotherhood, is a recipe for misery.

To some people, the fact that I am a Christian, Southern, white, man makes me automatically suspect of the worst hatreds imaginable, and admittedly, there's a lot of baggage there. But you know what? I don't take it personally. I don't whine and complain and protest about how unfair it all is.

And I think Setareh Golzarian has the right idea.

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