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.
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
California? What about Alabama!
Ken Layne takes note of James Wolcott's article about blogging, and notes that "This is the first print piece I've seen that recognizes the California tilt of this goofy blogging mafia."
Hey Ken, what about us?! Remember that one of the Axis of Weevil's goals is to tilt the blogbalance back toward the Gulf of Mexico!
To that end, we will be giving away Weevil Bobblehead Dolls every Wednesday to every person who comes through the gates of the palatial Axis of Weevil World Headquarters, and every Saturday is Hat Day!
Wife of Slain Reporter Gets Book Deal
NEW YORK (AP)--Mariane Pearl, the widow of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, is writing her memoirs. Scribner expects to publish the book early next year. [...]
...Certain "cartoonist" orders reams of paper and three gallons of ink in order to properly celebrate.
Axis of Weevil Welcomes Invasion of Europe by Insect Brethren
Axis of Weevil Minister of Giant Nucular Bugs and Greeting Cards Craig Biggerstaff with his take on the discovery of aints in Fraince:
I WOULD LIKE TO BE THE FIRST TO WELCOME OUR NEW INSECT OVERLORDS: Giant invasion of Argentine ants conquers Europe. A press release issued by the Ant Queen's minions indicated that their plans are to "avenge the humiliations visited on their holy sites", and called for a restoration of the supercolony driven out of southern Europe years ago in what the press release termed "the tragedy of Monsanto". France promptly surrendered. In a related incident along the Mediterranean coast, vacationing international correspondent Robert Fsck was ambushed and bitten repeatedly by thousands of ants who died in the attack; he nonetheless claimed "I would have bitten me too" and praised their "depth of feeling" before he drifted into unconsciousness from the ant venom.
UN backs Palestinian violence
UNITED NATIONS - Six European Union countries yesterday endorsed a United Nations document that condones violence as a way to achieve Palestinian statehood.
They were voting as members of the UN Human Rights Commission on a resolution that accuses Israel of a long list of human rights violations, but makes no mention of suicide bombings of Israeli civilians. [...]
EU members Austria, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Sweden approved the resolution, and Italy abstained.
Belgium and Spain have been pushing for tough EU measures against the Jewish state, with Belgium calling for sanctions based on a human rights clause in the EU-Israeli Free Association agreement, which grants Israel preferential trading terms.
But Britain, Germany and the Netherlands say such measures would end the EU's chance of playing a greater diplomatic role in the search for peace.
Pays to know who your friends are. As well as your enemies.
British spies to get union protection
LONDON (AP) -- Britain's spies are to get trade union protection, but it will be strictly undercover.
The staff association for Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6, is to join up with the First Division Association, the union for senior government managers, the association said Tuesday. The arrangement will extend trade union support to staff of SIS, which handles Britain's overseas intelligence operations. [...]
Closely following the announcement, MI6 denied reports of the alleged development of a picket line which utilises stealth technology and invisible placards.
US Warns Against Eating Florida Puffer Fish
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - US regulators on Monday warned Americans not to eat puffer fish caught in the Titusville, Florida, area because they may contain a naturally occurring toxin that made three people ill and can be deadly. Symptoms of the toxic poisoning can include tingling and burning in the mouth and tongue, numbness, drowsiness and incoherent speech, the Food and Drug Administration said. [...]
Incoherent speech? Apparently the fish of choice among certain politicians. Sounds like a conspiracy to me.
Jenin Camp Is a Scene of Devastation But Yields No Evidence of a Massacre
From the Washington Post:
[...] Interviews with residents inside the camp and international aid workers who were allowed here for the first time today indicated that no evidence has surfaced to support allegations by Palestinian groups and aid organizations of large-scale massacres or executions by Israeli troops.
Thus far, about 40 bodies have been recovered, according to the Israeli military and aid groups.
"Everybody was thinking mass graves in the way we think of Kosovo," said Guy Siri, deputy director of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. "I don't think we have seen that." [...]
A Movie About Nothing
NEW YORK (Variety) - Miramax Films has inked for worldwide rights to "Comedian," a documentary about Jerry Seinfeld's year on the road doing standup gigs after "Seinfeld" ended its hugely successful NBC run. [...]
Rickwood Field: America's Oldest Ballpark
It's springtime, which means two things. Sleeveless dresses, and the Rickwood Classic. This year's opponent will be the Chattanooga Lookouts (chorus of loud boos, hisses, and sundry insults to manhood and parentage--which have nothing at all to do with the 13-1 butt-kicking they gave us yesterday) and the special guest will be Vida Blue, who played for Birmingham in 1969 before going on to the bigs. The game is coming up Thursday-week (translated for our Southern Language illiterate friends to mean "a week from Thursday") on April 25th, so y'all come on down.
It makes me sad to hear of Robert Urich's passing. I'm just glad no one has trotted out the "Dan Tanna Cashes In His Chips" headline--although I guess E! Online will work it in. Urich seemed like a genuinely good man, and of course, Vega$ was my favorite show for those three magical seasons it was on the air. What was there not to like? Vegas, Dan Tanna, '57 T-Bird in the living room, casual gunplay, and the glorious Phyllis Davis. Judy Landers I couldn't stand, but Miss Phyllis had it going on. Spenser: For Hire was okay, but it suffered from a dearth of showgirls and women in bikinis. (We had to wait a few years until Miami Vice premiered...)
Monday, April 15, 2002
Navin Johnson's Dog
Saudi ambassador to Britain glorifies suicide bombers in poem published in Arabic daily
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- The Saudi ambassador to Britain, a well-known poet in the Arab world, has praised Palestinian suicide bombers and criticized the United States in a poem published in a London-based newspaper.
"You died to honor God's word," Ghazi Algosaibi wrote in "The Martyrs," a short poem on the front page of the Saudi-owned Arabic daily Al Hayat on Saturday.
The poem praised Ayat Akhras, an 18-year-old Palestinian who blew herself up in a Jerusalem supermarket, killing two Israelis and wounding 25 on March 29, the same day Israeli troops began their incursion into the West Bank to crush Palestinian militias behind a wave of attacks.
"Tell Ayat, the bride of loftiness ... She embraced death with a smile while the leaders are running away from death. Doors of heaven are opened for her," wrote Algosaibi, the ambassador in London for more than a decade.
Building a hopeful future by eliminating anyone to populate it.
Proto-Orwell, Philosophical Drunk,
And a darned fine rep for the Axis of Weevil! Dr. Weevil gives a demonstration on the proper methods of bloggelation:
No doubt a professional writer or teacher of writing could find even more errors in Pseudo-Blair's work -- and perhaps a few in mine. This is just first aid, designed to bring semiliteracy up to bare competence. In doing so, I hope I have at least demonstrated that "mediocre and third-rate" is a compliment coming from this author, since his own style is abysmal and fifth-rate, or tenth-rate, or whatever is the lowest rate.
To attack the problem from a different angle, here are Proto-Orwell's Six Rules:
1) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2) Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Language oppressor! Pedant!
Good to have you on board, mate!
Much pixellation has been given over lately to properly identifying persons who strap explosives around their waists and go forth to kill as many innocent persons of other ethnicities as possible, and in doing so, kill themselves. Long time ago, we called 'em anarchists, then there was just plain terrorists, then there was suicide bombers, then homicide bombers, now I see Bjorn Staerk (hey Bjorn!) preferring suicide terrorists.
I believe if we examine the Steve Martin film The Jerk, we can come up with a better name. In one scene, Navin Johnson (born a poor black child) adopts a dog which has just saved the lives of a motel full of guests:
Guest Hey mister! You no call that dog "Lifesaver"!
Guest You call him Shithead!
Navin Good! Shithead.
Capital Influx is a Tool of the Illuminati
No, really. Elizabeth Spiers desperately tries to debunk Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney's prescient vision of George Bush's known involvement in so-called "attack" on the World Trade Center. Elizabeth starts grasping at straws, insisting that such things as "evidence" be produced, and that only "sane" people should be elected, and that people should use this strange thing called "common sense." Listen to her:
Good god. How did this woman ever get elected? It's enough to make you lose your faith in the democratic process. Or at least advocate mandating IQ tests for people that want to run for office. ("I'm sorry Mrs. McKinney, but we compared your scores to our minimum benchmark - the test scores of a drunk spider monkey - and well, it doesn't look too good....")
Why it just boggles the mind! Of course, the government has long had mind-boggling ray guns that do this, too. I am able to keep them from accessing the 5th Level of my Consciousness by the warp-wave transponder I carry with me. I also have an RF sensitive cloth cranial covering that I wear when outside--the satellites, you know...
(Good job, Elizabeth!)
More Ripping Yarns from the Gateway to Happy Living--Tales of Kevin, Postponement of Operation Ranch Hand Two, Head Wounds, Succumbing to One of Life's Two Constants, Kissing Sisters, Ear Lowering, and Shoes that Fit.
Either I'm a psychic, or my life has become an interminable grind of monotonous predictability.
I will be setting up a toll-free line tomorrow, and will answer all your questions about the future--only $3.99 per minute.
Most of what I had planned Friday at quitting time for the weekend came true with startling accuracy--if you measure accuracy in the broadest possible terms.
It did quit raining Friday, so Boy soccer practice went on as scheduled, but there was a special unseen surprise lurking in the murky shadows of the crystal ball. My inlaws decided to take us out to eat, so after practice we went to Palace, which is one of the nicer Chinese restaurants in Trussville. There is always a wait, especially when a herd of Us'ns come in. We finally got a table after 8:15 or so, and were graced with Kevin, our English not good but ever so attentive and Chow Yun-Fat handsome waiter. He made the mistake of playing with Wild Baby, so the rest of the evening the only thing Catherine would do was make moon eyes over him and flirt. We finally got ready to leave when it was nearly closing time, but she wouldn't go until she cornered him coming out of the kitchen with food for someone else. She had to tell him thanks again, and tell him good-bye, and tell him about her chopsticks (or porkchops, as she called them), and loudly sing Ohsaycanyouflagbangled Stars, and tell him good-bye, and tell him about her shoes.
Saturday morning, I tried sooo hard to get up early. Had the clock set for 7, which I figured would be late enough to get the sleepy out, but still early enough to get out and start polluting my yard with weed killer. I just couldn't do it. I turned on Weekend Today, and sorta drifted in and out of consciousness and hoped for them to show the chaste and modest Norah O'Donnell. (Some of you may think that Possumblog has become Miss Norah's Fan Club, simply because Google counts the huge number of times I mention her name. The bad thing is most of the hits come from pervgooglers who for some reason think I have pictures of her in her birthday suit. I don't, by the way.) No Norah, so I figured I might as well get up and get dressed and get Boy ready for his game. The dandelions will be there long after I am shriveled up.
His game went very well--they won 4-0, and he even managed to stop a ball at the goal. He has never played back before, and I was a bit sceptical of his talents, but the coach put him in late when we were already up 3-0, so it was okay. During the game he got tripped up by another player, who got called for a penalty. Jonathan was a bit woozy when got up and as he cleaned the dirt off his face, the coach on the other team tossed the ball back in to the referee. It arced up and bonked Little right on the top of the noggin. The other coach was terribly embarrassed and ran out to see if he was okay, and our coach ran out there, and I just kind of sat there and chuckled. Some of you might think I'm a cruel old bastard, but I've got four of the toughest little pine knots around, and I knew exactly what he was going to do. His coach asked him if he wanted to come out and he shook his head no--they threw the ball in and he was in full whirling, spit-slinging Tasmanian Devil mode. That's my boy.
Got home, got him in the tub, and started doing taxes. I received a very nice e-mail from Marc Velazquez up in Andy Griffith Country who reminded me that e-filing is the way to go. He missed my entry about my constant perpetuation of the penny-pinching Scotman stereotype. I also get some sort of perverse joy out of trying to fill out paper forms--it's part of the longing-for-a-simpler-time part of me, the one which also misses old voting machines with the big straight party levers and little levers by the names and the big curtain that swooshed around you.
Good grief, where was I--taxes. I couldn't find my good calculator, which is a nice Casio solar scientific one, but luckily I remembered my best calculator, the mighty Construction Master IV which will do calculations for any kind of construction problems--it will add dimensions in feet, inches, decimal feet, and metric, then spit out the answer in any format you want. It will do rafter solutions, board feet, cost estimating, stair layouts, as well as just plain add up numbers. It is so valuable to me that I keep it hidden in my briefcase under the bed. It's been a while since I used it, but the batteries were still good and I managed not to mislay it during any part of the calculatory process and the best news is that my calculations show I will be getting a refund of 16'-3 1/4".
Afternoon was time for Middle Girl's game, so off I went again. This time we had visitors from Vestavia, and very nearly got our clocks cleaned. These girls were pretty darned good and got a couple of lucky kicks. Like last week, out girls managed to play on their side of the field most of the game, but only managed to score two points themselves. Frankly I was happy with a 2-2 score. It was hotter than all get out, too, which they weren't used to. Temperature in the upper 70s, and humidity around 90%. My wife said it rained buckets back at the house, which is only about two miles away, but it was just nasty, damp still air at the park, like walking around in a fog of dirty mop water.
Sunday, I got a hair cut after church while Reba and the kids terrorized Target one last time. We are instituting an economic boycott for a while because of casually rude customer service. All the guys with tennis balls on poles in the world will never make up for deliberately antagonizing a paying customer. The associate in question apparently is unaware that a WalMart Supercenter lurks but a mile away, with nice folks who don't think that a fine selection Michael Graves can openers is sufficient to allow churlishness on the part of the employees.
My haircut, on the other hand, went off with nary a mistake, except the young lady took it upon herself to go get piles of someone else's hair and sprinkle it on my smock. I knew it couldn't be mine, because it was uniformly gray! Why, I am a YOUNG man! Or, I will be after I go get me some Grecian Formula. I thought at first she had completely cut off my sideburns, until I realized they were just so gray they couldn't be seen. Back when I just had a sprinkling, I would joke to just cut out the gray--I can't joke like that anymore or I'd look like Mr. Clean. Except without the earring. And big muscles.
And the final thing of the weekend was the after-church shopping trip to WalMart to buy church shoes for the three younger ones. Middle Girl has been in pain since the last pair of shoes were bought for her, which she said she loved in the store, and which she said fit just fine. The two little ones decided if someone was going to get shoes, they obviously needed some, too.
I took this one because my wife was tired and wanted to just sit in the van and read. I also took this because I enjoy having to keep up with three kids in the shoe department. And trying to decipher if they are walking weird because the shoes hurt or they are just new shoes. Or even if they hurt at all.
"Do they hurt?"
"I don't...well, not really."
"Do they HURT?!"
"No. I don't think so."
"Look, if they hurt, you don't need to get them--let's get something that fits!"
"But you said they hurt!"
"Only a little."
"Even a little is too much. What about these?"
"Mama doesn't like those."
"Try them on anyway, it may be all that fits."
"They don't fit."
"What about these, they look cute."
"Do they fit?"
"I think so, except on the back."
(sound of rest of prematurely gray hair ripping from scalp)
"Well, they feel good."
"Walk over there and back."
(Flop, flop, flop, come off, flop, flop)
"They're riding up and down your heels and they're too loose--they won't stay on!"
"They have a bow, though."
Repeat two more times.
Ah well, such is life.
Friday, April 12, 2002
It’s raining here, and it’s been raining just about all day, and just about all day I’ve been hoping for some sort of reprieve so that I can sit at home and vegetablate instead of having to wait in the rain for soccer practice to be over. Every hour, call the hotline-- “All Fields Open.” Ugh.
But, the kids have fun, and if I were at home I’d just be doing stuff like our taxes and laundry and spraying for the gigantic wasps that have decided the garage door is just the place to hang out and play. Luckily tomorrow there will be no heavily laden trips across town and back—both of the kids’ games are at our park. Of course, the games are several hours apart, which means two separate trips.
Up early, get dressed, dress Boy, run to park, come back, spray weeds, change weed-killer saturated overalls, take a shower, get redressed in different overalls, find tax forms, find receipts, find good calculator, find pencil, find pen, get Girl to go dress herself, run to park, come back, throw everything on the kitchen table in the floor, start doing taxes, tell kids to not bother Daddy as he fulfills his civic duty, wonder about the nature of the universe, forget to carry my two, fill in Box 16(b) incorrectly, mumble incoherently as Wife tells me to move my lardybutt out of the way so she and the kids can eat supper—Supper!? That late already?!—move papers, scrape food off, lose good calculator, find toy one that works, begin again, finally figure out mistake on Box 16(b), kiss kids goodnight—Good Night!?—start filling out the real tax forms in ink, turn on TV, watch the news, drink the last of the 3 liter Diet Coke using one of the kid’s sippie cups, get up to stretch, wander outside to the back yard, decide to put lid back on compost bin that got blown off in storm, get lost in weeds, turn up weeks later, dirty and disheveled, clutching a small plastic cup and a toy calculator, find out locks have been changed and all my underwear and guns are stacked up in a neat pile by the back door. Wake up sitting at table drooling all over inked tax forms, cuss, print out new ones, decide to go to bed and vow to work on it Sunday afternoon.
Sunday—church early, lunch, home, taxes, church late, supper, home, taxes, sleep, wake, dress, kids to school, mail taxes, work.
See y’all Monday, I hope.
Schroeder goes to court over hair dye allegations
HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Lawyers for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder went to court on Friday to deny that he dyes his dark-brown hair and to try to stop a news agency from repeating such suggestions.
No word from Jimmy "The Rug" Traficant on whether he will proceed with a similar lawsuit directed at those who snicker at the large gap visible between his scalp and the small, friendly mammal he affixes to his pate.
VC Shop Talk
Elizabeth Spiers of Capital Influx with an insight into the world of entrepreneurship and venture capital. Lots of good stuff--
My client is a web-services veteran and has made [and lost] significant sums of money in that sector. He's also a limited partner at two of the largest VC funds in New York. These women had no idea what his background was and didn't ask. He, naturally, didn't volunteer. They spent a good 15 minutes explaining how wonderful this "Internet" thing is because it allows you to sell things without geographic restraint. He took it in good stride and responded that he understood the value of the Internet, having made money in web services but expressed some doubts about the inherent value of their business model. Their response was to reiterate the value of the Internet, as if he just didn't "get it." One of them was a little condescending and insinuated that we just weren't visionary enough to appreciate the model. [The fact that the model has been tried and has failed numerous times was apparently irrelevant.]
At least no one got stabbed in the head with a pen. Yet.
I had to sit in a meeting yesterday with a similar fellow who was trying to get the City to go into the low-cost housing business with an exciting new low-cost building material, which could be assembled in a low-cost factory using low-cost prison inmates; said material only being complete after using said gentleman's finishing machinery, which we would have to buy. All well and good, except the City proper does not build houses, the Housing Authority does. The second little snag showed up when I asked the question "Is this a HUD approved material?" No. "Are you working on getting it approved?" Yeah, I think they are. I tried to explain that no matter how great and wonderful it was, if it wasn't HUD approved, it wasn't going to fly with the Housing Authority. Never did seem to stick.
And then there were eleven again
Ray Mikell has decided not to be included in our list of Alabama bloggers. Thanks for putting up with us for so long, Ray--I realize many of the (admittedly conservative) views expressed by the people on the list, both Alabamians and those linked above them, make you uncomfortable.
I wish you continued peace and happiness.
Mr. Poopsie ChickenSniffer does the Axis proud
Charles Austin decides to stop the Cycle of Cohen Scourging (temporarily), celebrates his daughter's dodecitude, battles the VC, uncovers a new bit of Axis of Weevil secret mystical lore, and makes fun of bad people. Quite an evening's work!
Color Mr. Poopsie LizardTush very impressed.
Wish? Wish? Did someone say "Wish"?
I got this early this morning, and figured the Nigerians must be up to something new, but the subject line says it's "Shamless" so I figure it couldn't hurt to pass it along.
From: "Dave Copeland"
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, BlogHawk@hotmail.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Shamless Self Promotion
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 06:52:49 -0400
Better late than never...consider this an open invitation to check out my emerging web log....
I apologize if this is the second time you've gotten this message.
Ashcroft Urged To Drop New Rule On Gun Sales Policy
From the Washington Post:
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) yesterday called on the Justice Department to withdraw a proposal that would sharply reduce the length of time that gun transaction records are kept. Durbin claimed that shortening the time from 90 days to 24 hours would "have a serious negative effect" on keeping guns out of the hands of felons and terrorists.
I have said this numerous times on these pages--the 24 hour period in which records may be retained is STATUTORY. After 24 hours, they are to be destroyed. There is no legal means by which these records can be kept without modifying the law. Dave Koppel and Glenn Reynolds discussed this very issue back in December in this National Review Online article. An excerpt:
Quite plainly, all this means that (1) records aren't supposed to be kept on legal purchases of firearms, and (2) it's illegal to establish a national gun registration system. This was underscored in the recent case of RSM v. Buckles, 254 F.3d 61 (4th Cir., 2001), where the federal Court of Appeals pointed out that the government's power to scrutinize gun records was limited, and that a national gun-registration system — even one established through "backdoor efforts" — was illegal.
[...] [Lowell] Barron, the state Senate's president pro tem, uses a goofy yardstick to measure achievement. With the Legislature on the verge of wrapping up both budgets before the end of the session, Barron had this to say:
"We should be able to go back home and tell our constituents we've had another successful session," he said, apparently with a straight face.
Granted, it is highly unusual for lawmakers to pass budgets before the session's last day. But this is cause for a declaration of success?
This is the Legislature that refused to allow the people to vote in November on whether they wanted a citizens' convention to rewrite Alabama's grievously flawed constitution. This is the Legislature that wouldn't allow the people (again!) to vote on changes that would make the state income tax fairer. This is the Legislature that let die a measure that would start cleaning up the state's campaign finance system. This is the Legislature that even as it passed both budgets irresponsibly approved pay raises for educators and state employees, despite the fact the money probably won't be there to pay for those raises. This is the Legislature that during these lean fiscal times found $325,000 extra for themselves for office expenses.
Of course it was a success--they managed to make it through one more session without being tarred and feathered.
One of the advantages of having a daddy with a blog:
Mid-State Soccer League--Ages 10 and Younger
"Trussville Rockets defeated Hoover Nightmares 6-1. Natalie Davis was leading scorer for the Rockets with three goals with assists from Abby Chiarella and Abbie Friday. Kayla Cobb scored one goal with an assist from Robin Keller, Emily Frazier scored on an assist from Samantha Bhate and Meredith Eyler scored one goal unassisted for Trussville. Katie Jones and Rebecca Oglesby played well on defense. Goalies Kaitlin Sublett made three saves and Savannah Chandler recorded two saves for the winners. Meredith Simmons scored one goal to lead the Nightmares. Other outstanding players were Suzie Rohwedder, Hanna Conger and Dana Stuckey. Goalie Lindsey Voelker made 36 saves for Hoover."
As I mentioned Monday, Hoover's goalie was great, although I didn't quite get the potential score right--had she not been so adept, the score would have wound up being 42-6 (as opposed to the 30-5 score I had estimated).
Looks like someone needs a customer service refresher course: Georgia woman stabbed over McDonald's meal dispute
PHENIX CITY, Ala. (AP) -- A McDonald's employee was arrested on second-degree assault charges Wednesday after an upset customer was stabbed in the forehead with a ballpoint pen.
Stephanie Renee Coleman, 21, of Phenix City is accused of leaning over the counter and repeatedly stabbing Nelani Walton of Columbus, Ga. in the forehead with a pen, police said.
"There was an order that was placed, and, evidently, the customer wasn't pleased with it," Phenix City Police Capt. Jim Hart said.
Thursday, April 11, 2002
No NO NO!
Ding-dernit, I go to all the trouble to set up the most feared network of arm-waving, spittle-spraying, pixel-popping bloggers in all of the Greater Trussville area, and then someone comes in here and says Possumblog has a homey, friendly vibe! POPPYCOCK!
Hmm? You're too cold? I'm sorry--here, here's a quilt. Anyway, as the Exalted Stirrer of the Pot, such things are an affront to my... pardon? Yes, I took those pictures when we went down to Dauphin Island. Yeah, I know, she's really grown a lot since then. I remember when we were walking through the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and I wound up having to carry her just about the whole way! What a little chunk! Where was I...OH, yeah. An affront. You know, my front yard is full of dandelions. Saturday I've got to get out and spray something on them before they take over the whole place. Reminds me of my dad back when I was in high school--he and I worked and worked on our old yard. Sure looked a whole sight better than mine now. High school. You know, I'm in business with a good buddy of mine from high school Eve Tushnet. Yeah, she and I are in the panty hose business. Higher quality stuff; a little naughty, if you know what I mean. We call'em Eve's Tush Nets. Can't keep 'em on the shelves.
Anywho, see you after while.
U.S. veterans, Holocaust survivors meet to mark 57 years since Nazi camp's liberation
[...] Buchenwald, where victims were starved, tortured and worked to death, was the first major concentration camp entered by American forces at the end of World War II.
"It has an aura of unreality about it," Warren Priest, one of the former medical soldiers, said of his first return to the camp since 1945. "Everything that made Buchenwald the hideous place it was has been removed," he said. "All of the drabness, all of the dirt, all of the bodies, all of the unmentionable sights -- and most of all, all of the odor, which was inescapable."
[...] U.S. Gen. George S. Patton was so disgusted by what the Nazis did at Buchenwald that he ordered the citizens of nearby Weimar to come and see the victims.
"In all that viewing by all those people, not one of them said `How awful,"' recalled Priest, 80, of Campton, N.H., who was an orthopedic surgical technician at the time. "That was the problem -- that indifference."
But is it as effective as the rhythm method?
Greg Hlatky discusses the wonderful world of patents, in particular #5,163,447. Certainly gives new meaning to the old "didya ever get a song stuck in your head" phrase.
Israel lashes back at Arab critics at U.N. aging conference
[...] But Arab delegates at the weeklong U.N. World Assembly on Aging kept hammering away at Israel, insisting that elderly Palestinians especially were suffering under Israeli occupation.
"Palestinian people are being killed every day, they are being displaced, the basic elements of their lives are being destroyed," said the head of the Lebanese delegation, Hussein Majed. "This is an unjustified genocide, this is a liquidation of human beings."
Well, given past attempts to mount the moral high ground over this issue, one must assume this means that Hamas will pack Palestinian grannies and grandpas with plastique and roll their wheelchairs into crowds of Jewish civilians.
Great Moments in Headline Writing:
Stapling Hemorrhoids Less Painful Than Removal
As with same-day tumor removal, I see fantastic push-market opportunities for Yahoo!--TINY AMAZING WIRELESS X-10 HEMORRHOID STAPLER!
Pulitzer mining in Alabama
The Birmingham Post-Herald's Wade Kwon with comments on the recent award of a Pulitzer to Dianne McWhorter and past awards granted to those writing about Alabama (scroll down the page about 3/4 of the way--as always, I have no idea why the P-H does this with stories.)
Not all of Alabama's unintended contributions to the Pulitzer contest have been about racial strife. Other cheery topics that earned wins or nominations include: state prisoners used for drug experimentation (Montgomery Advertiser and Alabama Journal, 1970); the state's high rate of infant mortality (Alabama Journal, 1988); problems in the state tax system and schools (Birmingham News, 1991 and 1994); questionable management practices at the Southern Poverty Law Center (Montgomery Advertiser, 1995); and state constitutional reform (Mobile Press Register, 1995).
And while "Carry Me Home" is all about this city, two unusual tie-ins precede it: Pulitzer-prize winning composer Elliott Carter was a nominated finalist again in 1996 for "Adagio Tenebroso." That piece premiered in Birmingham by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
In the 1984 Feature Reporting category, Post-Herald reporter Jay William Hamburg was a nominated finalist for a series documenting the world of a young boxer and his manager.
This latest Pulitzer is both albatross and tribute to a city stuck in the spotlight of 1963. (Already the year has seen church bombing suspect Bobby Frank Cherry pop up in two forms, TV movie and real-life courtroom drama.)
Upon winning, McWhorter remarked, "I am probably the first person in the world to say, 'I'm so lucky to be from Birmingham, Ala.' "
Alabamian by birth ... Pulitzer by the grace of God.
Palestinian office closed because rent not paid
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Palestine Liberation Organization has been evicted from its downtown Washington office for failure to pay rent. Hassan Abdel Rahman, the PLO's chief representative in Washington, confirmed the eviction Thursday and said the reasons were political. He acknowledged that rental payments had been in arrears but said similar problems in the past had been resolved amicably with the landlord. This time, he said, the landlord would not negotiate.
He attributed the eviction to widespread sympathy for Israel in Washington.
"Pro-Israeli sentiment is making life a little bit difficult for us," he said. The eviction is part of an effort "to isolate and shut off the Palestinian voice." In effect, the landlord said, "No, we don't want you," Rahman said, adding that his aides have been looking for new quarters.
Ah yes, pro-Israeli sentiment again raises its ugly head. Imagine--if there were no Israel--there would be no rent. Everything would be free!
What do eggs and the Axis of Weevil have in common?
Well, among other things I could think of, both are now available in convenient packages of twelve!
I received the following yesterday from H.D. Miller:
I just stumbled across your blog and had to write you. I'm not quite eligible for the Axis of Weevil listing yet, but by August I might well be. I've just accepted a job in the History Dept. at Jacksonville State, and will be moving south in a couple of months...from Manhattan.
[Laudatory bits about the Possumblog edited out--there were pages and pages of it. If you count each letter of the alphabet as a page, there was.] I'll be reading you and your fellow Axis of Weevil members in preparation for the big move. Keep up the good work.
Ahhhh, excccccelent! Another drawn by the lure of the Cotton State! I did a quick bit of googling to find H.D.'s blog (since he didn't give it in his message) and found it under the banner of Travelling Shoes, which has the following intro:
It's been nearly three years since I've attached the "Travelling Shoes" brand name to my writing. The last issue of a zine to bear the name "Travelling Shoes", the much lauded "Authentic Seville" issue, appeared in the late Summer of 1999. That issue was not only my favorite, filled with what I thought was some of my best writing ever, but was remarkably time and energy consuming. Time and energy that subsequently had to go into more mundane projects, like the researching and writing of my dissertation.
My life is more managable now. My dissertation will be completely finished and submitted by early next month; I've managed to secure gainful (barely gainful) academic employment for next fall; and my personal life appears to be more or less stabilized. So, I've decided to revive the old zine, first as a blog, then as a more fully developed website, and finally a full-fledged paper publication. And with any luck, this evolution will take place over the course of the summer, ending with a new issue of the paper zine in late August.
In the meantime, I'll be posting things here. Most of it will be the usual blog stuff: light commentary on the news of the day mixed with masturbatory ego-stroking and boundless self-regard. Occasionally, I'll try to post pieces that would be more familiar to the regular readers of the old "Travelling Shoes", meaning a combination of history, humor, personal observation, and travel writing. Hopefully you won't find it too terribly boring.
With my beady eyes ablaze and my luxuriant fur atingle, I sent a reply to Mr. Miller:
Travelling shoes travelling some more, eh? Welcome in advance to Alabama.
As you know, the Axis of Weevil Board of Registrars is not real picky about immediate location, noting that a person must be born in, or have lived in, or WANT to live in Alabama--so if you want an early initiation, just say the word.
Also, being a sneaking, conniving, Yankee might work out to your advantage in this instance--as you may have read in earlier installments, the Axis of Weevil Gift Pack also contains an allotment of four comely, busty co-eds who shave their legs and wear makeup, but this is ONLY for those poor souls who live OUTSIDE the South (We know hard hard such things are to come by elsewhere). If you complete your handy email-in response card now, you can get the co-eds delivered forthwith. If you wait until you get here, you will have to select your own Gamehens at Jacksonville.
It's up to you.
Knowing a good deal when he saw it, H.D. gave his final answer:
Hmmmm, well that's an offer that's mighty hard to refuse, so count me in. Make me an official Weevilist.(Weevilo?)
As for being a yankee, I can only claim to be half yankee, and only if being from California counts as Yankee. And at that, my mother's family is all from Texas, Tennessee and North Carolina. (Although, my Father's family is pure Yankee from Pennsylvania.)
In any event... Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of Blog!!!
Bwahhhahhhahhhhaaaa! The world is OURS! Sorry. That slipped out.
In any event, to answer H.D.'s questions, being from California is not considered being from Yankeeland. (Much to the relief of all who live above the Mason-Dixon Line).
So then, by the mighty power vested in me by the Alabama Department of Corrections and by the voices in my head, the right honorable H.D. Miller is hereby baptised into the Greater Alabama Artillery and Haiku Society, better known to some as the Axis of Weevil, with all of the burdens and mental problems concomitant thereto. Given his predilection for travel, Mr. Miller has been named as the Axis of Weevil Travel Coordinator and Cruise Director, and Special Emissary to William Shatner/Priceline.
As is our odd and socially-unacceptable custom, we are FedExing H.D. his very own Axis of Weevil Gift Pack, the contents of which have been discussed ad nauseum upon these very blog pages. We wish Mr. Miller a safe journey home from the wilds of Manhattan, and are sending a warning to the authorities in Calhoun County.
IN A RELATED STORY...
The Ole Miss Conservative Patrick Carver has decided that the South deserves another closely allied army of anti-idiotarians:
Calling all Magnolia Staters
Upon taking the advice of Lee Ann, I am officially announcing the creation of the "Delta Entente" (though "Catfish Confederacy" has a ring to it... and so does the "Magnolia Bloc") an alliance open to all bloggers hailing from the Mighty State of Mississippi. Together, we shall defend the honor of our fair state against savage Yankees and other scum forces. So if you fit the profile, please drop me a line.
The Axis of Weevil wishes to congratulate Mr. Carver for calling up the forces of M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-humpback-humpback-I. We look forward to a long and fruitful alliance in the battle to spread the goodness of the South far and wide. Blogspeed, my friend!
AND, IN YET ANOTHER DEVELOPMENT...
Tennessee Naval Expeditionary Force Rear Admiral Rich Hailey of Shots Across the Bow notices that there are more than enough Southern bloggers to recreate the chariot race in Ben Hur or to have a SOUBLOGCON get-together for toasting marshmallows and playing tag. Such an outlandish idea has the full support of the Possumblog, and hopefully among all the Alablogistanis in the Axis of Weevil. Rich suggested a possible location of Atlanta--who else out there has some ideas about this? Contact Rich at email@example.com
Man, talk about burying the lede!
My hate-spewing, ignorant buddy finishes up a particularly bloody idiotisection:
Did I learn more from this quick tour than I learned from the day’s papers? Yes and no. Newspapers build the house. Weblogs furnish it.
The more I read, the more I learn. The more kaleidoscopic the links, the more I can hope to understand what is going on. The warblogger world is more diverse than it appears, but it has one unifying meme: Never again. This used to be the oath of the Jews, but it’s shared now by millions who saw the towers tumble.
As an unreflective knee-jerk insular America-firster gun-pointing babe-clenching irony-deprived ahistorical cretin, I couldn’t possibly tell you why.
You ever have one of those dreams?
No, not one of those, one of those where you wander around campus in the dark, looking for Room 67-E, and the campus is different somehow and you go by the stadium, but it's in the wrong place and you ask the campus policeman who appears out of nowhere how to get to Ghrlsmsdk KJkdll Hall, Room 67-E, and he points at a small house that wasn't there earlier and you go in and it says "This is Room 6E-7" but you go in anyway and it's huge inside and there are all these people waiting on you to start your lecture, but you aren't supposed to be lecturing because you're still in high school and you lost your locker and then BEEP BEEEP BEEEEP the alarm goes off and you get up and see a couple hundred visitors from InstaPundit standing around waiting for you to write something worthwhile?
Well, hey y'all. It don't get no better. But thank you for dropping by anyway--the place is a mess and I don't have my War Profiteer Jar set up (dang it all) but I wasn't expecting company. There is some Grapico in the refrigerator, and we can have some pimiento cheese sandwiches when I get back from the store. Make yourself at home (sorry about all the possum droppings) and I'll be back in a bit with exciting news about a brand new Axis of Weevil member.
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Brain Tumors Safely Removed on Outpatient Basis
Which can only mean one thing: daytime TV, once a bastion of rent-a-lawyers, psychic hotlines, and exercise product infomercials, will be inundated with ads for brain tumor specialists.
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM A BRAIN TUMOR!? DON'T HAVE TIME FOR A LENGTHY HOSPITAL STAY!? COME ON DOWN TO BRAINY BOB MD'S DISCOUNT TUMOREMOVER STORE!!! WEAK CREDIT-BAD CREDIT-OR NO CREDIT AT ALL! AND UNLIKE SOME PLACES, [Insert graphic showing big fat greedy doctor smoking a stogie] YOU GET TO TAKE THE TUMOR WITH YOU! YOU ARE GUARANTEED TO HAVE YOUR TUMOR REMOVED THE SAME DAY, OR WE'LL GIVE YOU A TRIP TO DISNEYWORLD! CALL NOW TO SET UP YOUR APPOINTMENT!
(Some restrictions may apply)
[insert clip of young woman pointing to bandaged head--"Brainy Bob MD's Tumoremover Store makes me wish I had TWO-MORE!"]
Of course, Yahoo! will probably go into heavy rotation with pop-ups for AMAZING TINY X-10 WIRELESS TUMOR REMOVAL! And I'll get spammed by Nigerians who want me to invest in walkup tumor removal stands in Lagos, and all I have to do is allow them to transfer $30,000,000 in setup funds from the Abacha Medical Clinic into my bank account for three days.
A Brief History of the Future in the Middle East
James Lileks' Newhouse column of today.
Fresh spasms of anti-Semitism have flared in Europe -- and why should anyone be surprised?
Europeans wrote the book on anti-Semitism. (It's called "Mein Kampf," and remains a best seller in the bazaars of the Middle East.)
Some have wondered whether the easy, open contempt for Israel shown by European opinion makers has emboldened the Jew-kickers and synagogue-burners. Perhaps. It's clear that Europe's leaders are reflexively pro-Palestinian, just as they accuse America of being automatically pro-Israel.
The difference, of course, is that Europeans have to defend men who pack girls with nails and explosives and send them off to die.
Europeans are always up to that job, however. A lifetime of marination in sophisticated casuistry of modern philosophy has prepared them well. Suicide bombing? Mere extroverted existentialism. If Hamas sent a pregnant suicide bomber into an Israeli nursery, many would insist that she was simply exercising her right to choose.
Yeah, he would say that. hes just anothre one of thoos war profiteres shacking his tip jar and trying to sell his book. he thinks that becase he spells right that hes so great and wonderufl. he doe'snot really use that money to buy dog foods, you know. I know for a fact that he get's probably about $10,000.0 A DAY and spends it on lavish parties where he and his wife Barry (who is also married to Tim Blair) serve blood pastries and eat pork. Is it any coincidense that he was not in New York on 9/11? Or in Washington?
Axis of Weevil Potency on Rise--Now Has Biggerstaff Than You!
The terrifying spread of Weevily infestation continues unabated with the addition of Craig Biggerstaff's Page Fault Interrupt. I checked my double-secret Possumcounter the other day and found young Craig standing by himself, looking forlornly at all the other members of the Heart of Dixie Barbecue and Latin Club cavorting and frolicing among themselves, wondering why he had not been invited to frolic and cavort. As he said then, "Of course I'm hurt, but y'all didn't ask, and it wouldn't be proper to invite myself. Besides, I'm no good at secret handshakes."
Being the kind, sensitive marsupial I am, I wrote Craig and verbally abused him for being so pitiful. Using both "dadgummit" and "consarn it" along with assorted other examples of downhome thesaurus abuse, I told Craig to give us a little bit of information to make sure the paperwork is in order. (As with all autocratic, totalitarian, axial-type deals, your papers MUST be in order.)
Craig wrote back the following:
I was born and raised in Huntsville, and now have lived in or around Houston, Texas almost as long as in Alabama. Maybe that dilutes my credentials.
[Note: First order of business will be a trip to the therapist to work on that inferiority complex!]
True, when the king of our suburban jungle left a dead squirrel on the patio yesterday, I put said squirrel in the trash and not the stock pot. I have never picked cotton (although my mother has, and misses no opportunity to lord it over me). I use turn signals.
[Note: It is permissable to dispose of cat-gnawed vittles. No one should eat after the cat. Or eat the cat. Alas, it appears there is another issue for Craig and the therapist to discuss--imagine, someone who has a compulsion to use turn signals!]
On the other hand, I learned to drive on a 1962 Ford Falcon, out on the gunnery ranges of Redstone Arsenal. A flashing red signal means you U-turn and go back. I spent many a childhood day at my grandparents' farm shelling pea after pea after pea. I can drive U.S. 72 in my sleep and have many times.
[Note: Now we're talking! Learned to drive on a gunnery range--one must logically deduce that he learned to shoot on a highway, so he's way up there in the rankings]
I definitely miss having mountains around. And seasons -- real seasons, not summer from April to October with 95% humidity and mosquitoes the size of buzzards.
[Note: Hmmm. Apparently TVA, NASA and the Army were able to conjure up some sort of weather-modifying, bug-getting-rid-of machine while he lived here, and used it to chase all that stuff south of the Tennessee River.]
I take a moment here to warn the gentle reader that the following passage may be too graphic. In it, Craig admits to being an atheist:
However, I refuse to take a position on UA or Auburn; call me infidel, but I don't have a dog in that fight.
Although it may horrify some, such an alternative lifestyle does not disqualify one from being considered for membership in the Axis of Weevil. We are Tolerant of all such (admittedly insane) activities, and our Ministry for Inclusiveness and Diversity actively encourages those who have dirty, criminal, proclivities such as this to feel comfortable interacting with others. However, for the sake of the children, we ask that you use the outdoor smoking area by the staff parking lot when expressing your unbelieving side.
All in all, it appears Craig fully meets the stringent requirements of membership within the Axis of Weevil (the secret handshake instructions will be forwarded later) and so is duly invested into the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Yellowhammer, with all the rights and duties falling thereto. Craig will be receiving the justly famed Axis of Weevil Gift Pack, consisting of Dreamland ribs; Jim Dandy grits; a gallon jug of Milo's sweet tea; a gun rack from Mark's Outdoor Sports for his pickup (or other suitable veehickle); a package of Bubba's Beef Jerky (according to Dr. Weevil, this is homemade and is available only at the gas station at the end of Highway 82 in Bibb County); and a coupon for free underpinning for his trailer.
As the Axis of Weevil's new Bull Moose Party Chairman, Craig urges all of you to "Blog softly and carry a Biggerstaff."
Tuesday, April 09, 2002
UPDATE re: William Henry Sheppard
Axis of Weevil Plenipotentiary of ISBNs and Shushing Mac Thomason notes that Sheppard will be first in line when the Ministry of Morale begins accepting nominations for the next award for Southern culture, which will honor those of our number who have shuffled off this mortal coil. (As mentioned at some indeterminate time in the past, this high honor will be known as the Haintie.) Mac writes: "I was thinking of nominating (Stillman College's own!) Sheppard for a Haintie. Seeing how I work at the William H. Sheppard Library, and did a display on Sheppard -- actually two." Mac also recommends another book which came out recently on Sheppard which Robert Heath, the Dean of the Library, helped research. Mac didn't give the title, but I assume it's William Sheppard Congo's African American Livingstone by William Phipps. (Correct me if I've gotten that wrong).
From Moira Breen:
WE INTERRUPT THIS IRREGULARLY SCHEDULED POSTING. I'll probably be won't be doing any blogging for a while.
And please check back in a week or two
Dadgummit, don't scare me like that! "I won't be doing [fill in blank] for a while" is my passive-aggressive shorthand for "I won't ever do [blank] again!" Anyway, consider this your stern lecture. And thanks for the continued plugs for the Axis of Weevil and Possumblog. All of us eagerly await your next post.
Carry Me Home
From the Mobile Register :
Birmingham native Diane McWhorter received the Pulitzer Prize Monday for her impassioned and often deeply personal history of her hometown's epic racial struggle, "Carry Me Home: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Movement."
[...] "Birmingham's in my bloodstream. Alabama, it's the crucible. It's the state that's working out its race problems," she said.
McWhorter is a longtime contributor to The New York Times, and to the commentary pages of USA Today.
Although other Alabama natives have received the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for newspaper work -- among them in recent years Howell Raines (from Birmingham) and Rick Bragg (from a community outside Jacksonville), of The New York Times -- only one other came to mind on Monday who had received it for a book: Harper Lee of Monroeville, in the fiction category, for her novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird."
And from The Birmingham News:
[...] What this says about Birmingham is it's an important place in our national story and the Pulitzer says so," McWhorter said. "I'm so happy I'm from Birmingham."
The book, which took McWhorter 18 years to complete, chronicled the civil rights movement in Birmingham and the city's staunch resistance to desegregation. It climaxed with the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing that left four girls dead and a nation horrified.
Not only does McWhorter's book spotlight unsavory aspects of Birmingham's history, but attempts to answer how the city could engender such violence as the church bombing. McWhorter tells the tale through the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and other courageous local civil rights leaders who were often overshadowed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Earlier I posted about the "but"-sayers, those who tacitly condone murder as just in the face of perceived injustice. For those who think strapping explosives about you and killing innocents is the way to celebrate your moral authority, you might be well served to read a bit about some other people who found themselves in dire straits.
They served, and continue to serve, a prophet the Koran says is worthy of respect. Their prophet, who said "Blessed are the peacemakers," caused them to stand unflinchingly in the face of the spite and anger and death. They were poor. They were oppressed. They were denied their just rights as citizens of the United States. But the lunch counters at Loveman's and Woolworth's were not integrated by suicide bombers. They do not sit in the mayor's offices of our cities or in the desks of the State Capital because they slit the throats of the former holders of those seats.
They had faith in something greater than themselves, whether it was God, the humanity of their fellow citizens, or the desire to give their children a better world. And they acted upon that faith, not in blind hatred, but in the assurance of a higher moral authority who said "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Is it just possible they could be better role models for you and your children than roving gangs of murderers?
(Update--I was checking my referrer logs and noted that Odawg of Odawg's Blizzog came up with the very same argument two whole days ago. And said it much better: Desperate people don't just blow themselves up. Rather, they first search for leaders and ideas to give them hope or a course of action. Sometimes, those leaders are good people - Mandella, King, Ghandi. Sometimes, however, those people are evil, like Hitler, Mussolini, or Mao.
Yasser Arafat and groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Al-Aqsa Brigades aren't asking people like Rosa Parks to take moral, non-violent stands against people they believe are oppressing them. Instead, they're convincing their followers to commit heinous acts. If the Palestinians were not lead by the likes of Arafat, but rather by a Mandella or Ghandi, does anyone doubt they would have their nation, their freedom, and peace, or that at least their future would be brighter?
The homicide bombers aren't victims of Israeli oppression, lashing out from hopelessness and despair. Rather, they are victims of immoral leaders who have convinced them to commit atrocities. They have been socialized and indoctrinated into a culture of hate and destruction. And it is all because of their leaders.)
The Black Livingstone
Interesting review of Pagan Kennedy's book, Black Livingstone A True Tale of Adventure in the Nineteenth-Century Congo.
[...] William Henry Sheppard was born in Virginia in 1865, near the end of the Civil War, and grew up in the era of Jim Crow racial segregation. Young William contributed to the family income by toting packages, hay or anything else he could find, and at the age of 11 moved in with a white family to work as a stable boy.
As a child, Sheppard probably heard about the famous adventures of Henry Morton Stanley, who in 1871 uttered his famous words (“Dr. Livingstone, I presume”) to the explorer and missionary Dr. Stanley [sic, David] Livingstone.
Like most others in the Western world, Sheppard likely knew little else about the “dark continent.” For profit-hungry Europeans, including Belgium’s King Leopold, Africa was the place to seek fame and fortune. As a missionary, Sheppard saw Africa as a place to perform God’s work—but that wouldn’t stop him from seeking glory as well.
Sheppard had already displayed ambition and a quick intelligence before his adventures in the Congo. He was a member of the first graduating class at Booker T. Washington’s Hampton Institute and later studied for the ministry at Tuscaloosa Theological Institute (now Stillman College). Sheppard toiled in the work-study program at Hampton, laboring on a farm 10 hours a day and then attending classes for another two hours.
[...] One of Sheppard’s greatest feats was to find his way into the forbidden city of the Kuba kingdom. For nine years, Europeans had unsuccessfully sought this great city, which was rumored to be filled with riches.
Sheppard’s unrelenting will and clever tactics, besides his mastering of the Kuba language, made him the first Westerner to visit the Kuba city. He emerged not just unharmed, but was declared the reincarnation of “Bope Mekabe,” an ancestral king.
Sheppard insisted that a mistake had been made, but the king replied that after such a long journey, naturally, he would have forgotten his true identity. This event is one of the most engaging parts of the book and explains the unique position that Sheppard held as the ghost of a returning son, the “black white man.”
Allowing yourself to be eaten by the tiger
Dr. Frank's comments on the futility of appeasement:
Tony Adragna has it right: Bush, "walking a tightrope between the State Department and DoD," lost his balance because of the recent round of unexpectedly brutal suicide attacks. His speech attempted to restore this "balance," by giving everyone a bit of what they wanted to hear. (In this sense, it was rather "Clintonian.") At best, the balancing act may buy a little time, at least until it becomes clear that the Powell mission has failed-- if there is, in fact, anyone to whom this is unclear. At some point, though, the administration will have to make a choice. None of the options are particularly enticing, but if they, like their predecessors, choose appeasement, they will in effect be giving the green light to further suicide attacks. Again.
You know, we used to hear the phrase "Do not negotiate with terrorists" a lot. That's because it works.
Whenever you make crime pay, expect to have criminals.
Whacking the Daily Wanker
Charles Austin takes on the unenviable task of trying to reason with the unreasonable. (The Sine Qua Non Archives appear to be acting up at the moment--the entire URL for the post is here, but it may show up as not being available.)
Cargo plane sets down in pasture: cows, pilot unharmed
WALKER SPRINGS, Ala. (AP) -- A Clarke County cow pasture became an impromptu runway when a cargo plane had engine trouble and aimed for the only clear patch of land below.
The pilot of the plane, owned by Bessemer-based Air Carriers Inc., reported engine trouble around 8:30 a.m. Monday, company owner Tommy Morrow said. The pilot, whose name has not been released, touched down just inside the barbed wire fence of the grassy pasture, rolled about 200 yards and halted just short of a line of trees.
But according to farm owner Annie Mae White, the cows didn't seem to mind, and all bovines were present and accounted for. "They were standing around, eating and looking at everybody and doing their thing," said Nancy Vrocher, White's daughter.
It's a shame Gary Larson is retired.
Al-Aqsa’s next logical step
From Mr. Lileks' Bleat of today, on suicide bombing:
Had a horrible thought today: how long until Al-Aqsa sends pregnant women to commit suicide bombings? There’s certainly nothing in their moral construct that would prohibit it. They’re canny enough to know that many Westerners would find this Horribly Symbolic - not the act itself, of course; we’ve digested (and excreted) the concept of female suicide bombers and the attendant carnage. No, many would insist that we regard anew how horrible the situation must be, that women would kill their unborn babies in protest. The inhumanity of the act - the unspeakable atrocity of the act - would be taken up by some as proof of a greater atrocity visited on the Palestinian people. The symbolic denial of a collective Palestian future by the occupation would be equated with the actual denial of the future of an individual Palestinian child. Mind you, no one would support it . . . but.
Always a but.
The men who send these children out to kill know their enemy, which is to say us. They know well that some in the West wouldn’t even consider a Manichean stance unless the name was changed to Personchean - and even then, it’s too simplistic. Some in the West insist on a complex approach to moral inquiry, as if they want an innoculation against uncomfortable truths. Stupid people are full of cerrtainty - why, Yeats said as much. Smart people, wise people, nuanced people are more comfortable analyzing evil than confronting it - as if understanding the history of handgun development will keep the one pointed at your head from firing.
Hence we would actually debate whether a pregnant suicide bomber in her first trimester was exercising her right to choose for herself, while simultaneously committing an act of impositional choice in the Stockhausian sense, one that had extenuating circumstances that required a historical and cultural perspective . . .
I had similar thoughts this weekend while mowing and meditating--including the maddening "We abhor these actions--but..." used by the morally bankrupt to justify murder and various lesser crimes. One thing I asked myself was if suicide bombers were blowing up abortion clinics, what would the terror apologists and "peace activists" say?
Want the "cycle of violence" to stop? Stop saying "But."
Monday, April 08, 2002
Irish priest accused of heresy for denying divinity of Jesus
[...] Rev. Andrew Furlong was suspended from his duties in December after saying Christ was neither a savior nor divine. In an article posted on his personal Web site last year, Furlong wrote that Jesus "was neither a mediator nor a savior, neither superhuman nor divine; we need to leave him to his place in history and move on." He also called Jesus a "mistaken and misguided" prophet.
Furlong, the rector of Trim, a parish northwest of Dublin, has refused an invitation to resign from Richard Clarke, the Anglican Bishop of Meath and Kildare.
Asked by Possumblog's Irish correspondent Pat Slagging why on earth he was even a priest in the first place if he didn't believe the teachings of the denomination, Furlong said "Oh, it's the all for the colleens, gom! I can't get enough of these Irish birds, you know."
As promised, I have sent a notification to Dr. Rice via her e-mail address at Stanford to let her know of being awarded the Croix de Grits. And as promised, I turned on the ranting-hokey-dumb-guy filter, so she might even read it. (And yes, I know I'll probably get some sort of autoresponder message that Condi can't play right now, but you never know...) Mark Byron said he thought we had "a snowball's chance in Mobile" of actually getting a response, but hey, I'm a sucker for Lost Causes.
Leader of the De Sade Group
War Liberal and fuzzy bunny lover Mac Thomason's take on organic food and Dr. Gregory Pence's book about such. In it, we are astounded to find out that gu-anner is loaded with E. coli. Imagine that. It's like my good friend Earnest T. Bass said:
"I lived 6 months with a posstum and a raccoon too! That's where I learned to wash my food before I eat it."
Truer words were never spoken.
Arab hard-liners applaud Saddam for stopping oil exports in support of Palestinians
The order sent oil prices up, but analysts said the cutoff would not affect world oil supplies because other major members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have not agreed to join Iraq, and other producers likely would make up the difference.
Thank you, dearest brothers, for smiting the Zionist cabal with you devoted willingness to stop selling your oil. Hope you don't mind if we get rid of a bit of ours.
From Sunday's Birmingham News, yet another Great Moment in Headline Writing, and an interesting article on the efforts to land the Hyundai plant in Alabama. Setting aside the arguments for and against corporate welfare, and whether such incentive packages are beneficial to taxpayers, the article shows that there is much more to winning this game than simply throwing money around. Believe it or not, it takes a bit of, dare I say it, sophistication; along with a big slab of luck. A couple of excerpts:
[...] Siegelman brought in some help new University of Alabama System Chancellor Malcolm Portera. Portera had helped lure Mercedes-Benz to Alabama in 1993 and Nissan to Mississippi in 2000. Plus, Portera knew B.H. Ahn, the Hyundai executive in charge of the company's plant project.
"I also got a phone call from him the first week I was here," Portera said. "He said, `Dr. Portera, I am now head of Hyundai Automotive Group. If we come here can we work with the University of Alabama?' And I said, `You got that right.'"
[...] Siegelman hopped a plane, along with House Speaker Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, and others to travel to D.C. to sell Hyundai on Alabama. Siegelman had already been working on one aspect of his sales pitch speaking Korean. The governor was coached on how to say "good morning," "how are you?" and "welcome to the United States." But as his plane approached the capital, the governor began to wonder if he was saying the phrases correctly. "He called the Korean embassy to try it out on them first," Hammett said.
When Siegelman finally delivered the phrases to Kim, the gesture registered immediately. "President Kim asked me if I had ever been to Korea," he said.
[...] A helicopter ride was scheduled to Hyundai's research center 100 miles away, but an overcast sky grounded those plans, so the group piled into a Hyundai limousine. At the R&D center, Siegelman watched the company test cars in the wind tunnel and even got to watch a crash test. "President Kim looked at me and said, 'I hate this part,' as the crash test was starting," Siegelman recalled.
On the ride back to company headquarters, Siegelman got lots of face time with Kim, as snarled traffic made the trip last nearly nine hours. "You get to know somebody well when you're trapped in the back of a limo with them for that long," Siegelman said. "We really got a chance to talk about more than just business."
[...] December was spent exchanging telephone calls, information and Christmas cards. The next month, Hyundai wanted to tour the final six sites. After touring Mississippi, Hyundai officials landed in Montgomery on the afternoon of Jan. 22. Siegelman met them at the airport something Hyundai officials would later tell Hammett no other governor bothered to do.
That night Alabama officials were ready to put on the ritz. Jacque Shaia, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, and her staff aimed to make an impression at The Legends golf resort in Prattville. Or a series of impressions.
When the Korean officials arrived in their rooms, they found gift baskets featuring a number of Alabama-made products: recordings by Alabama musicians, books about the state, paintings by Pell City artist Wayne Spradley, peanuts from the Wiregrass. Korean teas were placed in each room. So were robes embroidered with "Stars fell on Alabama."
A note in English and Korean invited the guests to a feast in the resort's dining hall. Taking no chances, Shaia briefed the waiters and cooks on the importance of the dinner and the need for secrecy.
Shaia's favorite flower orchids decorated the tables and the dining hall. It was a good choice.
"It turns out one of the Hyundai executives was head of the orchid society in Korea," she said. "It was just serendipity."
Hyundai executives and Alabama officials dined on hot and sour soup, Salade a la Normandy, Gulf red snapper en papillote and a spicy beef dish called bulgogi. Dessert was lemon ice cream and cream cheese, white and dark chocolate mousse with raspberries, and fresh fruit with poppyseed yogurt dressing. Menus were written in both English and Korean, as was a note that awaited the executives when they returned to their rooms wishing them a good night.
"President Kim came to me several times during the dinner and said how touched he was by the hospitality," Shaia said.
On Feb. 25, Hyundai said it was in the final stages of deciding between Montgomery and Glendale, Ky., meaning that sites in Opelika and Mississippi and Ohio were out of the running. Three days later, Hyundai told the state to send its economic development delegation, headed by ADO Director Todd Strange, to Los Angeles in just four days for an official presentation.
Again the EDPA swung into action, this time putting together a written proposal for Hyundai. Shaia and her team opted for something more special than the typical three-ring-binder.
Twenty-five suede-bound, hand-crafted books were created using rice paper and silk sheets. On the front, Korean characters urged "a warm welcome," just under a metal Hyundai car emblem rounded up from dealerships. "We were going for the `wow' factor," Shaia said.
Inside the book were pictures of orchids. "By now, we knew," she said. There was a quote from Confucius, "Friends of one and the same head are just as sweet as the aroma of an orchid."
In the book, a letter from the governor touted the virtues of Alabama and the Montgomery site. Siegelman pledged to create the Hyundai Center for Automotive Excellence, which would become "the foremost center for automotive research, design and manufacturing in the 21st century." He also promised to name a stretch of Interstate 65 the "Hyundai Expressway."
The book also took a subtle jab at Kentucky, which was having trouble securing the last 111 acres of its Glendale site because a family was unwilling to sell. There were repeated assurances that Montgomery's site would be available.
Bumpin' and rubbin'. You NASCAR types know what I mean.
[...] Kentucky and Alabama officials spent April Fool's Day on the telephone fine-tuning proposals, making new promises and trying to read the tea leaves.
At 8:35 p.m. Alabama time, Siegelman's phone rang. It was Hyundai President Kim. "Governor, I am calling to tell you we are going to build the plant in Alabama," Kim told Siegelman, who pumped his fist in the air to let his staff know it was good news.
Whether you like Siegelman or not (and you all know how I feel about him) and whether you believe such jiggery-pokery with the public purse is right or wrong, the Alabama Development Office did their derned homework.
Ahh, back to work. Now I can get some sleep!
What a weekend. But before we get to that, please update your links to Dr. Weevil's website, which is now at www.doctorweevil.org. The good doctor's new site looks very nice, and the weevils have receded into the background for all of you who were given the willies by seeing them in all of their buggy glory. Speaking of which, Dr. Weevil notes that "There seems to be a bug in MT 2.0, at least for some browsers." Hmmm.
Anyway, as promised, I got up and did my Saturday morning meditation routine, which consisted of 1 1/2 hours of groggily being led behind a droning lawnmower, beating down the dandelions to a more socially acceptable height. Cutting grass in the morning actually is sort of therapeutic--it's not 95% relative humidity and 110 degrees (C or F--after a certain temperature, you cease to care), the pollen is damp enough not to float around so much, and the sound of the lawn mower drowns out my muttering to myself, so I can carry on a very nice conversation with myself and solve world problems and the neighbors are none the wiser. And neither is the world. Maybe if we gave each Palestinian a lawn mower. [Insert inappropriate comment here about suicide lawn mowers]
My soccer girl and her team did great, soundly thrashing the upstart Riverchase team by 5-1. These little girls really played well; they spent most of the time on the opponent's side of the field, and if every goal shot had been accurate, the score would have been 30-5. Our only problem was that our girls started their kicks a bit too far away, and they didn't quite have the oomph to get past the goalie (who got a real workout, and all things considered should have been Riverchase's MVP). There was a reporter there from the Birmingham News, so hopefully they will get their pictures in the paper Wednesday.
Afterwards, we made the long trip back to the house, stopping at McDonald's to poke a thumb in some anti-globalizedPETAMarxisthealthnuts eyes and get some Happy Meals. I got some of the new almost lifelike white meat chicken strip product, which was almost pretty good. They had just come up out of the oil and were really hot. I kept trying to eat them and wondering if there was a way I could sue Mickey D's for giving me hot food. Those bloody capitalists! Making their money while I scorch the top of my hard palate!
Got home, got Soccer Girl changed and got Franklin the Ford loaded up with gardening tools to go up to do yard work at church with the 3rd to 6th graders. I am constantly amazed that these things I "plan" manage to come off so well. They are always seemingly thrown together, but they always turn out to be fun for everyone. And luckily the kids were focused--there was about three hours worth of weed-pulling, trash-grabbing, hole-digging, plant-planting, and van-washing--and very little chasing around and making messes, and they had a good time. We fed them pizza and ice cream and then had a short devotional. It was from the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus was using the flowers and birds as an example of God's providence for mankind, which I thought might work well considering they had just been outside digging and planting and playing with worms and stuff. It probably would have been a bit more motivational if my baby girl didn't run in and start talking to me during the middle of it, or if my son could have figured out a way to tell me his joke after we got home. But of such is the kingdom of heaven, so it's hard to get too upset.
Got through and took out the trash and locked up, then had to roll Franklin down the hill to get him to crank. The winter was not kind to his battery (which, now that I think of it, is relatively new and should be returned for a replacement). I had to jump him off at the house, and with amazing prescience decided it would be best to park him headed downhill when I got to the church building. I just hope I run as well when I have 255,000 miles on my odometer. He really needs a valve job; just about every upshift is accompanied by a deafening shotgun-blast backfire (and I imagine a nice little flamethrower action out the tailpipe). Which I think is somewhat humorous, except when the police are around. At least it doesn't stink, unlike the backfirings of his owner.
Sunday was busy as usual. Church, then you get buffet at The Big Dragon, yes okay? This place is kind of tucked out of the way next door to a tanning parlor in Trussville, in an older strip shopping center nigh unto impossible to get to. But they always do a good business. It's unique, at least to me, because for some reason they have two white teenagers as waitresses. It's just so odd to see, since most of the mom-and-pop places only hire family, or Chinese speakers. These two definitely aren't up on their Mandarin, so I'm at a loss. Mom and pop and aunt all speak English, so the only thing I can think is that they needed interpreters for the East Alabama dialect.
Got home and read the paper (all the way through-hurray) and got Soccer Girl ready for her skills session with Keith the English Soccer Hooligan, who was late for the skills session and did not seem to be his normal chipper self. I had to leave to go (yep, you guessed it) to the church building for a meeting, and met back up with longsuffering wife and nonlongsuffering kids right before our evening services started.
Last night was my turn to lead singing. (We have six guys who take turns) I learned how to lead singing very late in life, and reading music is not something I can quickly do by sight (meaning I have to stick to songs I know pretty well), and I have a vocal range of approximately 6 notes (none of which are above G), and my unamplified voice projects to right about the third pew, but despite all that, I can do a pretty good job. Except for last night. For some reason, there was a group of really loud, off-key, slow-tempoed folks right there in the middle who never got it together. It's not like these were hard songs--it was some of the hippest of the late 19th- and early 20th Century's Greatest Hits, and for once, it wasn't like I was singing them wrong; but nothing I did could herd them all back to the same set of notes. I thought long and hard about calling down fire from heaven on them, but figured after a while that it wouldn't be right, and it would mess up the upholstery. Oh well.
We ate supper at the Ruby Tuesday down the street, and had one more odd thing. We are regulars at this particular place, so we know all of the waiters and waitresses, but we had a new girl last night. She was great and friendly and talked to the kids--when Boy said he was 7 1/2, she said she was 20 1/2--and just generally fussed over us and was a good waitress. Toward the end of the meal, she got to talking to my wife and I about kids and the fact that she was four months pregnant. No cravings or sickness, but she was concerned that she had not gained any weight. Reba gave her some mom-to-be tips, especially not to worry about gaining weight, it would come. The waitress joked to me that she would probably balloon up to 300 pounds, and then said the oddest thing I've ever heard a girl say--"From 140 to 300, that would be something, allright!"
I laughed and said something innocuous, but it was so odd because I have never heard a girl publicly state her weight. First time for everything, I reckon. I guess there are better things to be concerned about.
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Friday, April 05, 2002
That time of the day again, and of the week. Little Boy has soccer practice tonight, then we have a late morning game for Middle Girl tomorrow (across town—just like the last time), after which we will head up to the church building (back across town and then some) for weed pulling and flower planting with the preteen kids from church. Before we go to the game tomorrow, I will stand forlornly in my dandelion-choked yard and decide that I can no longer put off mowing. So, bright and early I’ll assault everyone’s ears with my lawn mower. (It’s better that way, though, they can’t hear the weeds screaming.)
Along about 7:00 p.m., I will make my annual trek through the house resetting all of the clocks one hour ahead. When I was little, we had one clock, an early 60s teak and brass starburst design on the wall of the den. The clock on the stove didn’t work. Unplug, spin hands ahead, plug back in. Now, I live in a house full of clocks on every stinkin’ electrical appliance and in every vehicle and every refrigerator magnet and on every wall of the house. My favorite is our kitchen clock, which is an old English oak-cased keywound fusee clock, circa 1850. Still keeps perfect time and has never once blinked “12:00” when the power goes out. Of course, I do have to wind it every seven days, but I need the exercise.
Sunday--church in the morning, soccer skills clinic with Keith the English Soccer Hooligan in the afternoon, then church again in the evening. Yes, I get a lot of churching. I need it. (Of course, I need a Sunday nap and I don’t get a lot of that!)
At some point in the next few days, I have to apply to get back the money I have been loaning Uncle Sam. Every year, I vow to do taxes early. Every year, I do penance for breaking my vows. I promise I’ll get them done before the 15th. That one’s never been broken.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Croix de Grits. I intend to write a non-tongue-in-cheek e-mail to Dr. Rice at her Stanford address (I can’t find one at the NSC—I don’t know why not) to let her know of our bit of tomfoolery. Sure would be cool if she answers back, but I won’t hold my breath.
Anyway, that’s all for now. See you all Monday, and thanks for stopping by.
Great Moments in Headline Writing--Oprah Cutting Back on Book Sugegstions
Devastating effects already seen on spelling ability of Associated Press writers.
Women Protest with Their Wombs
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Hundreds of Finnish women are protesting with their wombs, vowing they will not give birth for the next four years unless parliament scraps plans to another nuclear power station.
This sounds like a job for our newest Axis of Weevil inductee--Minister of Nukularity J Bowen.
Actually, this sounds like a good way to insure that there are fewer future protestors. If they were really smart, they would go in for fertility treatments and have thousands of little Greens marching to the polls in a few years.
Pete Buck=Lou Ferrigno
From Hawk Weevil Emily Jones:
Peter Buck of R.E.M. has been cleared of air rage charges. Apparently, the sleeping pill made him do it. While the rest of the world drifts off into a mellow slumber after taking these pills, Buck is transformed into a ill-mannered, renegade sky-ninja who shouldn't be held accountable for his actions. Sort of like Dr. David Banner turning into the Incredible Hulk.
Britain to Scrap Bobbies' Wobbly Helmet
The distinctive helmet worn by the English "bobby on the beat" could be on the way out because it wobbles and falls off in fights. Patrolling policemen will try out three new hats this autumn as possible replacements for the 12-inch-high beat helmet, which has topped most officers' heads for the last 150 years, the government said on Friday. [...] The three hats being tested are a shorter version of the current model, a stronger version of the female officer's bowler hat and a reinforced baseball cap for specialist units. "I wouldn't like to see a baseball cap," [Police Superintendents' Association President Kevin ] Morris said. "It doesn't look smart enough."
No, that requires that they be turned backwards.
Karenna Gore-Schiff Roots in the Grass
Greg Hlatky's take on Goregirl#1's possible run for...something:
So here's my suggestion for Ms. Gore-Schiff. If she's interested in running for office and loves grassroots politics, how's about starting out with some humble place in the political sphere, one which brings her in constant personal contact with the concerns of ordinary folks. Something akin to a township trustee, who has to endure to some idiot at a meeting ranting about a cellphone tower nearby, worry about whether there'll be enough salt for the roads this winter, or changing the zoning on a piece of property. Or, since her children will certainly be attending one of New York City's fine public schools, sitting on the her childrens' community school board and listening to the concerns of parents.
Somehow, I don't quite think that's what she had in mind. Something where a chief-of-staff handles the rabble so she can go off to tony fundraisers with the glitterati was probably closer to the mark.
Well, at least she won't be growing a beard.
Huge trade in illegal handguns
From The Daily Telegraph (Australia):
[...] Police appear to be fighting a losing battle to control the number of firearms on our streets and admit that in some suburbs guns are easier to buy than a mobile phone. "It seems like they've all got guns," an officer involved in the drug agency said yesterday. "There are whole gangs of young people wandering around the streets and each of them has a gun." "If they're dealing in drugs, and so many of them are, then they arm themself with a gun for protection."
[...] A convicted killer who spoke to The Daily Telegraph yesterday said guns had never been more readily available. "It's a huge business. There are plenty of guns for sale if you have the cash and know where to go." "I could go to a certain pub in Sydney and I'd have a handgun within a quarter of an hour. The bikies have always got a supply and all the young kids in gangs have got them." [...] "It's a huge business. Since the gun laws came in handguns are a one of the biggest assets."
But at least the non-criminals have been disarmed.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: AXIS OF WEEVIL CENTRAL COMMAND e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
COVETED AWARD GRANTED TO DR. CONDOLEEZA RICE
ALABAMA, 5 APRIL 2002--In a closely watched contest among ten finalists, Birmingham native and United States National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleeza Rice has been chosen by popular acclaim to be the first recipient of the Croix de Grits, the much heralded award granted to "recognize people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to Alabama and/or to the South."
The Croix de Grits is bestowed by a group of Alabamacentric blog writers collectively known as "The Axis of Weevil." This group, consisting of Mac Thomason, Elizabeth Spiers, Ray Mikell, Will Hester, Lee Ann Morawski, Dr. Weevil, Charles Austin, Emily Jones, J Bowen, and Terry Oglesby (all of whom have some tie to the great State of Alabama and the skill and desire to type a lot) decided that it was high time to recognize those who have demonstrated to the world that The Goldenrod State is capable of producing prodigious greatness. Each member was asked to nominate a particular person whom they believed contributed to the intellectual, political, artistic, literary, moral, spiritual, culinary, etc., life of the state. Voting was then opened up the readership of the Axis of Weevil's member bloggers.
Nominations began for this award on Tuesday, March 26, 2002. The original nominees (and their vote totals) for this tremendous award included astrophysicist Dr. Thomas Wdowiak (3), author Florence King (12), Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (6), the black voters of Mississippi (1), New York Times editor Howell Raines (0), Ave Maria Grotto builder Brother Joseph Zoettl (6), Alabama's Major League Baseball players (1), Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward O. Wilson (3), Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson (0), and Dr. Rice (21). Early in polling, a substitution was made in which Times editor Raines was brutally dumped in favor of singer and musician Ray Charles, who went on to garner two votes.
Controversy arose when East Tennessean and former Navy man Rich Hailey wished to withdraw his original nominee of Senator Fred Thompson and replace him with author Lewis Grizzard. Negotiations to include Grizzard on the ballot were tense, with the Axis' Directorate of Election Stealing insisting that nominees be among the living. Undeterred, Hailey resorted to calling for his readers to mobilize for an electronic invasion of the Axis of Weevil's Communications and Dry Goods Department. Sensing the potential damaging effects that bad publicity could bring, Terry Oglesby, Possumblogger, invoked a much-abused Calvinball Rules provision and relented to the placement of Grizzard in the poll. Stung by the vigor of Grizzard's supporter, Oglesby consoled himself by throwing an immature fit of name-calling. Both Grizzard and Hailey were heartened that Grizzard's dirt nap was no impediment to his gathering up of two entire votes.
In yet another face-losing exercise for Oglesby, he later blundered upon information that yet another candidate was non compos vitae, Benedictine Monk Joseph Zoettl. Noting that Zoettl died in 1961, Oglesby poured forth a monotonous harangue about the rule of law and with a style reminscent of Lyndon LaRouche, intimated that another Axis member, Sine Qua Non Pundit Charles Austin was perhaps a member of the Illuminati of Avignon. Puzzled and bemused, Austin promised to quit voting for Zoettl as soon as it was convenient.
United Nations observers of the voting process were generally satisfied that it was handled as well as anything else they have every seen, while EU members complained bitterly about the general lack of multilateralism and the fact that it was not metric compliant. In what could possibly the most hotly worded complaint, former Vice President Albert Gore vigorously demanded that polling be reopened and his name placed upon the ballot, saying that the anti-idiotarian bias of the polling and nomination process guaranteed he would be excluded. The Axis of Weevil's Ministry of Agitprop and Sewing released a statement consisting of a picture drawn by one of its member bloggers in which Gore is shown as a small crying baby. An arrow was drawn to the crayon-medium artwork with the legend "Littel Cribaby."
Notified of her award in a nationally broadcast phone conversation, Dr. Rice expressed her delighted puzzlement and firm commitment to hang the Croix de Grits Citation upon her refrigerator, and to wear the heavily ostentatious medallion while lounging around the house and maybe in the yard.
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