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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

No blogging tomorrow--I still have a load of real work-type stuff I must get done, and playing on here does tend to slow down the real work-type stuff process. So, until Friday sometime...

Saddam: U.S. arms claims a joke
[...] Given the Iraqi track record, "it's difficult to comprehend - even begin to think that they might accept" the unconditional inspections, Rumsfeld said.

In Baghdad, Saddam scoffed at U.S. charges that he has been stockpiling weapons of mass destruction since kicking out United Nations inspectors in 1998.

"Such claims are something of a joke," Saddam told a meeting of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Organization. [...]
Saddam was then seen turning his head and giving an exaggerated wink to the assembled Organization members. Members of the IAEO shifted nervously in their seats and managed a bit of a chuckle. Photographs taken surreptitiously of the members' families were then displayed on a large screen and Saddam said, "All of your FAMILY members think such claims of stockpiling are a very LARGE joke!" At this point, raucous laughter was heard from all corners, and Saddam turned to son Uday and said "You gotta know how to work a room, my handsome, yet imbecilic, son."

Scientists Grow Mice Eggs Outside the Body

Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?

I think so, Brain, but me and Pippi Longstockings? I mean, what would the children look like?

Bombed cafe rare enclave of coexistence

Well, we sure can't have that, now can we? Just takes all the fun outta the jihad.

And thanks to Fred First for pointing me to this story: Death-trap cave reveals fossil giants
Eight complete skeletons of prehistoric marsupial lions are among an astonishing menagerie of megafauna fossils discovered in a hidden cave in Australia's outback desert. Only partial skeletons have been found before. [...]

Most of the fossils were uncovered in dry and dark conditions ideal for their preservation. In fact, so well preserved that Long was able to extract samples of DNA from the pulp cavity of one of the marsupial lions (Thylacoleo carnifex, as well as other soft tissue, hair and even blowfly remains, all of which have been sent to a laboratory in the UK for molecular analysis.

Scientists hope the extracted DNA might help settle a debate about whether marsupial lions are descended from possums or from wombats - a hotly debated point in megafauna evolution. [...]
I vote for possums. RRRRrrrrowwwwlll, baby!

Very nice story by Roy Hoffman of the Mobile Register for Newhouse News Service on trying to save a vanishing architectural legacy--The Rosenwald Schools.
GALLION, Ala. -- Almost eight decades have passed since Charles S. Foreman Sr. entered the first grade in the farm community of Gallion.

At first, he went to school in a church -- Oak Grove Baptist. As was often the case in the South, rural blacks went to school where they could -- churches, shacks, barns, tumble-down schoolhouses -- learning their ABC's in the months between planting and picking. Young Foreman, the son of tenant farmers, was no exception.

As Booker T. Washington had lamented in 1914 in Outlook magazine, "More money is paid for Negro convicts than for Negro teachers in Alabama." He offered up Wilcox County, Ala., as an example, saying that "per capita expenditure for education in 1912 was $17 for whites as against 37 cents for Negroes." In the state of Mississippi in 1912, Washington wrote, 64 percent of the black children in the state had attended no public school whatsoever.

By 1925, though, when Foreman was 8, he looked across a field next to Oak Grove Baptist and saw an edifice being erected with tall, whitewashed walls, high windows to gather the sun, and a shiny tin roof.

It was a Rosenwald School.

"It was nice," Foreman, now 85, recalls with a smile.

Oak Grove would become one of more than 5,000 Rosenwald schools throughout the South and Southwest. Built along strict specifications and varying by size, the grammar schools took their name from Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears Roebuck & Co.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, headquartered in Washington, recently named the Rosenwald Schools, as a group, one of the 11 endangered historic sites in the United States for 2002-03. [...]


Darn that Mac Thomason--he beat me to this one! Heat, mosquitoes, put city fifth on Lanacane's itch list
Carol Robinson
News staff writer

Birmingham just can't seem to get a break. After being named the 12th Sweatiest City in the nation in June by Old Spice, another company declared it the fifth-itchiest on Tuesday.

The Lanacane Itch Information Center said Birmingham's combination of summer scourges mosquitoes, poison ivy, and ultraviolet rays landed it on July's list of itchy destinations.

Birmingham is the only non-Florida city in the top five. [...]
Lanacane has an "Itch Information Center"?

Anyway, that's us, just asittin' around stinkin' and scratchin'.

Please, come and visit!

I missed this yesterday, but I must not let a Scourging of Richard Cohen lay about without linking to it. Join us for just a glimpse into Episode Forty Four!
[...] As it happens, the Europeans caught on to Bush before the American public.

Stupid Americans, so simplisme. And does anyone besides me take just a little offense at this idea Richard is floating that President George W. Bush is trying to get away with something?

In various polls, the voters here give Bush high marks for foreign policy, particularly his handling of international terrorism. But even the war on terrorism has not been handled well.

What is Mr. Cohen talking about?

As Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) …

Oh, that’s an independent source of information on President George W. Bush.

… points out, the United States botched the operation at Tora Bora by using Afghans to flush out al Qaeda and Taliban forces. The Afghans apparently did business with them instead.

So, the whole War on Terrorism is a failure because a few dozen, or maybe even a few hundred, enemy forces escaped in Tora Bora. Maybe. I guess Senator Kerry would have dispensed with all their local knowledge, disrespected their customs and intricate relationships, and charged ahead completely on our own. Like in … wait for it … Vietnam?

Bush's problem, and our own, is that he keeps trying to apply a dated ideology -- the wisdom of Henry Cabot Lodge -- to a world where it still does not fit.

As I tried to demonstrate, that is also the wisdom of President George Washington, and I don’t regard it as at all dated. But utopianism wasn’t even taken seriously by Sir Thomas More, much less by the illiberal utopian statists who have taken up the reactionary battle flag against freedom and limited government. [...]
It's not every day in which Henry Cabot Lodge comes up in conversation, you know, and it offers a wonderful opportunity to remind us all of his many accomplishments.

You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.

Hooray! He's posted again! Larry Anderson from up in Kudzu Acres talks about the finer points of genetic engineering the old-fashioned way, extralegal production of corn-based drinking products, the Army, knifeplay, and managerial creativity. The moral? Why, it's a matter of principle.

Also, Larry worries that his lack of a firearm might disqualify him from the Axis of Weevil. He notes:
I have a couple of swords and two wicked chainsaws, but not any guns.
All we ask is that you yell "BANG! BANG!" whenever you wield them.

I am up against the wall with stuff to do today, so nothing much to say right now except


A part of the unruly Weevil mob for only a day, and already Fred First has done outdid himself with his exciting James Bondian tales of his secret agent life in Scottsboro!

He also runs up against the bad side of Agnes when he came in the ostentatious and gaudy Axis of Weevil World Headquarters:
[...] although Agnes at the front desk pressed the security buzzer under her desk when I told her I was now part of the AOW team. I forgive you, honey, bless your little heart, you and me gotta sit down over a sweaty glass of sweet tea and have us a heart to heart after I get my desk arranged.
Luckily for Mr. First, we disconnected Agnes' button, because she got to where she was buzzing it anytime anyone came to the desk. She hasn't noticed, and we don't tell her. Also, although she probably appreciated the offer for some tea, we have to keep an eye on her so her blood sugar doesn't get out of whack. Last time that happened, the paramedics wound up having to take the doors apart to get her out to the ambulance.

Fred also asks when we teach him the secret handshake and stuff. Well, we have never really gotten around to having a secret handshake--everyone has such a hard time with the carpal tunnel syndrome (or "competitive stress disorder" as Fred puts it) that we just gave up.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Via Mac "Don't Call Me Snakehead" Thomason, this one from CNN:Fleeing males, manatees beach in Florida
MIAMI, Florida (Reuters) -- Six endangered manatees beached themselves in Florida on Tuesday but wildlife agents assured would-be rescuers the sea cows were not stranded -- just taking a breather from the amorous attention of pursuing males. [...]
Several fraternity members from the University of Miami were quoted as saying, "Man, those are some REALLY ugly chicks!" although their compatriots pretended not to notice and offered to buy the manatees a beer. One fraternity member could be heard shouting, "SHUT UP, dude, they're topless!"

Smell Like Celine
[...] the scent wizards at Coty Inc., the perfume and cosmetics company that has has partnered with the singer to come up with an eau de Celine, say the fragrance "will capture the talent, style, femininity and confidence of which she has become a symbol."

Coty--whose Beauty division makes Jovan, Stetson and adidas brand fragrances--and Dion announced Tuesday that the still unnamed scent (the name Celine is already trademarked by a rival designer) is expected to be on shelves across the globe early next year.

"I wanted to partner with a beauty company that would develop a product in line with my values," says Dion in a statement. "Like creating music, it is important that beauty products appeal both to one's senses and emotions." [...]
In keeping with the thoughts of The Greatest Singer Ever To Live, I will be introducing my own fragrance line, eauPossum.

"Eight Thousand men in arms..."

Toren Smith has been kind enough to link to a post I made back on the 23rd, dealing with an excerpt of a letter I ran across in the book Quaker Records in Georgia edited by Robert Scott Davis. I thought it might be interesting to examine it a bit more closely in light of H.D. Miller's comments over at Travelling Shoes, particularly the one dealing with The Allusions of Z. Moussaoui, in which H.D. notes that:
Arabic speakers are immersed from birth in two deep streams of immensely beautiful, immensely difficult literary Arabic, the Qu'ran and Classical Arabic poetry, in much the same way that at one time English speakers were immersed in Shakespeare and the King James Version of the Bible.
Whenever you read 18th Century letters or text in English, it pays to be a bit circumspect in their interpretation. Meanings change over time, and exactness sometimes takes a backseat to literary effect. Oftentimes when reading soldier's letters or official accounts, someone might mention that the soldiers were "naked"--in most cases this doesn't mean "not a stitch of clothing," but "not enough clothing to be considered fully dressed by polite society." A man without an outer coat and waistcoat could be accurately described, at least in their way of putting it, as naked. Likewise, for a soldier it could also mean "not having his full complement of arms and accouterments." A soldier might be described as naked if he did not have his musket and cartridge box. Other examples include observations of battles in which thousands are said to be fighting, when actual muster rolls may indicate only a few hundred--in most instances, this is sort of like the wildly varying crowd estimates at events like the Million Man March. The basic idea is that there were a bunch, and more than any little piddling bunch. Literary license is granted in most cases, and was understood as such by most readers of the time.

Given this tiny bit of exposition, it might be good to revisit that quote, this time paying a bit more attention to the context and the ideas which are meant to be gathered. Again, this quote is from a letter written in 1775 by a 17 year old Orkney boy named Baikia Harvey, an indentured servant in Friendsborough, Georgia:
The Americans are Smart Industrious hardy people & fears nothing. our people is only Like the New Negroes that comes out of the ships at first whin they come amongst them. I am Just returned from the Back parts where I seed Eight Thousand men in arms all with Riffeld Barrill guns which they can kill the Bigness of a Dollar Between Two & three Hundreds yards Distance. the Little Boys not Bigger than my self has all thir guns & marches with thir Fathers & all thir Cry is Liberty or Death. Dear Godfather tell all my Country people not to come here for the Americans will Kill them Like Deer in the Woods & they will never see them. they can lie on thir backs & load & fire & every time they Draw sight at any thing they are sure to kill or Creple & they run in the Woods like Horses.
How best to interpret this?

First, remember that this young man had left the Orkneys as a 16 year old and had gone to a wilderness. He was probably lonely, weary, and homesick, and since he was in east-central Georgia, he had lived through a whole 9 month long summer of stifling heat.

From the letter it is pretty obvious that he is impressed by the Americans he has met who have managed to thrive in such an environment. As to his trip to the "back parts," the number of the men he saw must be seen as a stretch in a literal sense--there were not eight thousand free white men total in the unsettled back country of Georgia and South Carolina at this time (some estimates put the number of men eligible for military service in Georgia at about 3,000 in 1775)--but looking at it from his point of view, there were more angry armed men than he could begin to count. Not just a few, not just many, but more than there were peas in the cookpot or corn in the crib--a huge number, thousands even. If a number was actually taken, though, the eight thousand were more likely to number in the hundreds.

Further, it is highly doubtful that there were eight thousand rifles to be had in all of Georgia, and no matter how many men there were, most would have been armed with a smoothbore fowler, the equivalent of a single shot, 12 or 10 gauge shotgun. Rifles were carried by militia members, but their military efficiency left a lot to be desired since they took longer to load and usually could not mount a bayonet. The figure for accuracy of the shooters, however, does get pretty close. Properly loaded and patched, a rifled ball could be deadly accurate out to around 150 yards. (Until about the second or third shot, when fouling starts playing havoc with accuracy. 300 yards is right out.) On the other hand, no matter how well a ball-loaded smoothbore was prepared, its accuracy beyond 50 yards or so necessitated that they be fired in volley to provide an adequate volume of lead on the target. In any instance, marksmanship was highly prized among anyone who carried an arm, whether smoothbore or rifled. Missed shots meant missed dinner.

One thing that is certain--every man young Baikia saw had a weapon, regardless of the actual, literal number or their type. And they didn't get those guns, or their powder, or their shot from the British colonial governor James Wright or from Royal storehouses. (The Carolinas and Georgia had a tiny British contingent at the onset of fighting.) These men carried what they owned, and their sons along with them. Despite attempts to rewrite history--everday contemporary accounts, even those which might be written with literary license--indicate that individual ownership of arms was common and accepted.

What we can be relatively certain of is that Baikia saw more armed, rebellious Americans than he had ever seen before.

Knowing them as he did, he was one frightened young man.

Mystery Benefactor Revealed!

PREREAD UPDATE: Charles Austin writes to say:
Wouldn't it be more correct to write "Mystery Benefactor Discovered" or even "Mystery Benefactor Reveals Himself (Herself?)" since you did not in fact reveal the identity of the mysterious benefactor.

Hmmm, the only other mysterious person I know is Juan Gato.

As always, the Possumblog Editorial Board welcomes the opportunity to correct or clarify entries in order to mitigate any possible ill effects from a much-too-literal reading of anything written herein.

Mystery Benefactor Reveals Himself to Possumblogger (and To Possumblogger Alone) Because He, That Is, The Mysterious Benefactor, Still Wishes To Remain Anonymous (But Is Willing To Allow That He Is Not Juan Gato). Upon This Revelation, Possumblogger Writes a Short Entry to Say Thanks.

As noted yesterday, I noticed that some very gracious person had slipped a bribe to the Blog*Spot guard to get rid of the banner ad which used to grace the top of the page.

That person, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote me back to confess and to express his thanks for the piddling bit of assistance I was able to lend to his own (now growing in influence) blogging effort. Again, as I told him, any help I have been able to offer is certainly NOT worth such a nice gift, but I do sincerely appreciate the thoughtfulness. He supplied me with an official statement to post to explain his motivation:
Thank you Possumblogger for [snipped hubristic part out here about being great and wonderful and pretty and stuff]. As a patron of fine arts, I know good art when I seez it, and you ain't half bad! At a time when chuckles are scarce, you are a great source of snorts, chortles and the occasional lol's. God bless, and tell Reba and the yung'uns that (you-know-who) sez hey!
Thank you, Anonymous Patron of the Marsupial Arts!

I would also like to say thanks to everyone who continues to visit and read. It may be hard to figure it out, since I never really come right out and say it, but if there is any sort of intent to this whole enterprise, it is to ask all of you to be decent, treat each other decently, love your family, defend those who cannot fend for themselves, honor the sacrifices of your forebears, and cherish the blessings of freedom.

Just when you thought it could become no more ponderous or overburdened, the Weevilland Defense Force adds YET ANOTHER new member!

In a stunning addition of literary firepower, the mighty Axis of Weevil vaults to the leading edge of world blogging supremacy with the addition of Fragments from Floyd, written by none other than famous Auburn graduate (BS Biology, MS Vertebrate Zoology) and Birmingham native Fred First.

Now despite what you may think, "Floyd" refers not to Howard McNear, but to the verdant home of Mr. First--Floyd, Virginia--along the grassy banks of Goose Creek. Fred stumbled into the furry mess that is Possumblog via N.Z. Bear's Blogospheric Ecosystem, after taking an ill-advised look around at his fellow Crawly Amphibians. He sent a very nice note, which I answered with a long-winded tirade against the League of Nations and an advocacy of a return to the gold standard, which I think scared him slightly.

However, despite his well-founded reservations, he has agreed to throw in with those of the Greater Alabama Society of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Sufferers, and vows to continue to supply the world with some absolutely gorgeous photographs of his home town and its environs.

THEREFORE; BY the power vested in me by the Shop Superintendent of the Julia Tutwiler Womens' Correctional Facility and by my neighbor's cat, KNOW ALL YE MEN by these presents that one Fred First is now and hereafter (until such time as he turns in his door key and his name tag, or other such calamity) a full and faithful member of the Heart of Dixie Home Canning and Vengeance Association, otherwise known as the Axis of Weevil, AND is entitled to all the benefits and group insurance discounts flowing thereto.

Welcome Fred, and as with all of our new members, an overflowing Axis of Weevil Gift Pack (detailed in the post from yesterday) is being loaded into the Greyhound bus even as I type. (Assuming that Ricky our new runner got to the station on time--I don't think he's quite all there, if you know what I mean)

UPDATE: Fred writes back:
I am deeply humbled and honored by your most gracious introduction to the Axes and Absissas of WeevilHomeLand. I promise to do my duty to poke fun at myself, to honor all requests for emailed veggies (sorry, that was last week and to obey the laws of the pack.

Sure'nuff...looking foward to hanging out, however I do wonder about any virtual organization that would have moi as a member.

You've made me chuckle already, and that's a good thing!

Later Tater....BTW I can hep with that Tunnel Corpuscle Disease (actually had a patient call it that once, also referred to as 'competitive motion' disease by another) as my second MS was in Physical Therapy at U of A Bham).

Just asks all Axis sufferers to hold their wrists palm side up to the monitor and I will see if I can help.

There will be a small fee.

Someone's been watching Earnest Angely!!!!

I got home yesterday and had a big envelope from the National Personnel Records Center containing information about my dad's time in the Navy. (I have been trying to collect this stuff for some pages I have done to document his service over on my GeoCities site.) I had sent away for this almost exactly one year ago, and had just about given up on receiving anything back, so getting it was just like Christmastime.

The copies were of my dad's basic enlistment and transfer paperwork, and although they didn't have much detailed information, it was a bit more than I have had. I found out that after being assigned to the 7th Amphibious Force in the South Pacific, and before being stationed at Hollandia, he had been assigned to the USS BLUE RIDGE (AGC-2), an amphibious force flagship, and to the USS HENRY T. ALLEN (APA-15), an attack transport. (here's a picture) In both instances he was assigned to the boat pool.

It was interesting too to see his performance ratings--he made excellant marks in seamanship and general duties, and 4.0s (the highest mark) in conduct. Hard to believe, knowing what a cut-up he was, but I guess when it came time to be serious, he did his job. And did it well.

So, a couple more pieces in the puzzle.

To his fellow veterans--those who gave their lives, those who have since gone home, and those who remain--thank you for your sacrifice.

"Yet another "George W. Bush is dumb" story has been taken up by those who like their caricatures drawn in stark, bold lines." From Barbara "ears of corn" Mikkelson over at Snopes.com, the latest debunkery of a supposed Bush verbal gaffe--"The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur."

One for the "Inspector Renauld 'I Am SHOCKED!'" file:Ousted Congressman Uses Profanity
NEW YORK (AP) - A profanity used by ousted Ohio Rep. James Traficant in an interview with Don Imus was excised from Imus' radio show Monday but slipped past censors during the MSNBC simulcast.

The former congressman, expelled from the House of Representatives last week, was talking to Imus about his case when he suggested the FBI and IRS could "go ... themselves." [...]
Given my slim knowledge of Anglo-Saxon curse words, I think the expletive in question rhymes with "duck." Sheer speculation, though.
[...] Despite the outburst, Traficant stayed on the line and Imus returned to him. Imus said he couldn't use such language, and Traficant said, "it's in the dictionary."

The colorful ex-congressman is to be sentenced Tuesday on bribery, racketeering and tax evasion charges.

"Let's move on," Imus said. "They are going to sentence you tomorrow. How much do you think you'll get?"

CLICK! Traficant hung up. [...]
Reached for comment later, Mr. Wiffles, the furry, moderately-sized service animal Traficant carries upon his head, stated that the former Congressman's comments were a natural mistake. "I was reading the dictionary right along with my owner, and I can state for certain that it was a common error, and he really meant to use the word "fuschia," or possibly "fuddle." He was just confused."

Monday, July 29, 2002

And, now...the much anticipated Weekend Post

First, for the Marc Velazquezes of you out there, the Executive Summary:

Friday: Wal-Mart. Harpy. Angry. Disappointed.

Saturday: Horses. Trotting. Baths. Wal-Mart. Success, finally. Still disappointed. Lawn Mowing. Cool hat. Incredible lightheaded feeling due to living in Hell's own blast furnace. Happy birds.

Sunday: Church. NOT the four-year-olds. I sure sing pretty, except when gagging and coughing. Not Jennifer (#@&* it all.) Aforementioned slobbery horse. Still hot. Typhoon. Church. Eat. Bed.

All in all, just one more in a very similar set of weekends. BUT, with the addition of all sorts of extraneous details and outright lies, I am able to create yet another thrilling and suspenseful journey through suburbia. Hold on tight! Whoa, not like that. That chair is broken and if you keep holding it like that the arm comes off.

Anyway, picked up Oldest from her grandparents Friday and got ourselves back across town with nary a smart comment or sarcastic roll of the eyes. (Gee, I don't know where she gets THAT from. And this could have been because she was asleep by the time we got to the interstate.) 45 minutes later we pulled up at Wal-Mart to get her glasses and walked in.

Fashion Model Girl was there, studiously ignoring us, as was another entire crew of people I had never seen in there before. Including one woman of indeterminate age and the aloof bearing of those who are Wal-Mart department managers. Told her I needed to pick up some glasses--"Do you have the tray number?" Well, gee, NO, I don't but my daughter does happen to have a name. And it's a darned good thing you can't read my mind, ma'am. I promptly and politely gave her name to Ms. Lady, who tapped on a computer and got the tray number then disappeared into the grinding room.




She walked back out. "Sir, it's only been four days since your daughter's exam." Well, yeah. "Yes?" "Well, sir, we usually only are able to do these within 5-7 days. Not including weekends. That's our policy."

I am a patient man. Despite the rambling moronofest that you read here on Possumblog, I really am a nice, polite, quiet, patient man.

"Well, he told my wife they would be ready today." "Who, sir?" HE, you yap! The HE whose name appears on the little receipt in your hand that you are trying so very hard NOT to let me see! "Whoever took her order last Tuesday told her they would be ready to pick up today!' "Hmm. That's odd. We don't usually promise 4 days. Our policy is 5-7 days. Not including weekends. And anyway, it's 6 o'clock, and our technician is getting off now. She works till 6."

I am a patient man. I really am a nice, polite, quiet, patient man. I watch as a nice young girl waves goodbye to her friends in the grinding room as she leaves with her lab coat over her arm.

"But if you want, you can check back first thing in the morning. Let's see, we open at 8, so if you come by at 9, they should be ready."

As you all have no doubt figured out by now, someone screwed up and didn't do what they were supposed to do. And oops, gee, the person who screwed up just left. And wow, we can't get her back, now can we. And golly, the BAZILLION other freeloading dunderheads milling around laughing and talking with each other just don't have the four brain cells required to chuck two pieces of plastic in the dingderned grinding machine, punch in the prescription and sit their butts down in a chair and watch the machine. And we happen to think that just because it only takes about 30 minutes to grind a set of lenses, it's really immaterial, because we decided to tell people that our policy states 5-7 days, and heaven forbid that we should try to maybe deliver a little extra service to our customers and give them their glasses when we said we would.

Fortunately, I am a patient man. I really am a nice, polite, quiet, patient man.

::heavy sigh:: "9, eh?"

Passive Agressive Lady--"Yes. But you might want to call first."

I just looked at her.

"Come on, Ashley."

We got clear of the store and Ashley said "That was disappointing. I thought I was going to be able to get them today. Were you mad at her?"

"Nah, sweetie; just disappointed, too."

Somewhere, I just hope there is a small tally board marked "Points For Not Succumbing to Baser Instincts in Front of Children." If there is, I better have at least one mark.

Saturday was horseytime, so after a bit of cartoon watching I set off with the older two girls. Little Boy had been feeling poorly (and Jackie Chan was on TV) so he stayed home with Mama. I went to sit on the bleachers and the lady from last week who wanted to know my opinion of preteen dating was there with her newspaper. "Would you like the paper?" "No thanks, I've already read it." "Well, looking at that hat of yours, I'm surprised you could read!" "Huh?" "Your cap," pointing to the center of her head. It then occurred to me that she was one of those University of Alabama folks, and I just happened to have on my RealTree cap with the big blue and orange AU on the front. Yes, hah-hah, you're a real funny woman. I am a patient man. Despite my....NO, not again! Lucky for her, I have a great sense of humor about my beloved alma mater, so I reacted as though I was insulted and we both laughed. Next time she won't be so lucky.

The girls did fine once more, and this time they even got to trot. Which scared the bejabbers out of them, but they kind of liked it anyway. And this time, after they dragged all the accouterments off their ponies, they got to give them a bath. (Rebecca likes doing this kind of stuff, but Ashley just hates it.) They got all finished and it was time to head back to...


Walked in--two smelly, dusty, horsey, children and one real big redneck looking dude with dirty jeans, a camo hat, and an attitude. Once again, we were courteously ignored by YET ANOTHER completely different crew of people, until finally I saw Ms. Harpy. "I've come to get her glasses." "Do you have a tray number?" AAAAAAGHHHHHHHHH! I AM NOT PATIENT, I REFUSE! "Why yes, today I do have it, because I brought the receipt with me." She typed, then disappeared.



Finally, out walks some girl who was not the Fashion Model Girl, and who was not the happy girl who left at 6, but at least she had the glasses and they were ready. She put them on Ashley and sort of halfway adjusted them, and we were set to go. And they do look real cute on her, and she was happy with them, and with the sunglasses that attach with little magnets.

And there was much rejoicing.

Got home and cut grass. By now it was about 12:30, which is when Satan shovels in another load of hard coal into the firebox. No one goes out when it's this hot. Except me, because I got a snappy new straw hat for my birthday so I don't get sunburnt ears and neck parts. Of course, I could wait until the sun goes down some, but then the hat would be sorta extraneous, now wouldn't it.

Took forever, and depressed me to no end to see all the stuff I've let grow up in the past few weeks. Weeds growing up everywhere, including the pernicious mimosa, and the ugly but edible pokesalad. And the poor birdies needed water and food. So after some amount of time (I don't know how long, because after about 15 minutes I was hallucinating) I got through. Filled the feeders, filled the bird bath, and saw my very first hummingbird of the season, here at the very end of July. But, at least we've got some now. You know, I could sit and watch hummers for hours. (Of course, I like sitting and doing anything not involving real work.)

The rest of Saturday was as the rest of all Saturdays are--scrubbing a bunch of mopheaded children and doodling ears and cutting finger and toe nails and reading just one more story and multiple trips to the bathroom to pee, or look at the wall, or whatever else they could think up.

Sunday I got all my stuff together to bribe my new charges with. Two sacks--boy sack and girl sack, full of nice stuff for little kids who were good. Sat down and immediately kids start showing up with quizzical parents. Had to explain situation as delicately as possible, but everyone already knew the reason. Then, out of the blue, the 3rd and 4th grade teacher showed up, who also helps me with the curriculum. "What?" Explained to her the whole situation, without the delicate touches. And lest you think miracles do not happen, she volunteered to switch with me! Carefully shielding my joy, I weakly protested and said "no" while thinking "YES!!!' and finally relinquished the chair to her. And I got to teach Boy and Middle Girl and their classmates in the 3rd and 4th grade.

They were great, and it was an eye opener for these two kids, as this was the first time they had ever had me as their teacher. After the initial silliness, they stopped treating me like Dad and really started paying attention, which was neat. They and the rest were all interested and excited and learned well. This is just about the best age to teach--they can, and do, pay attention and they haven't yet decided how cool it is to be a smart aleck. I was just glad that I didn't have to scream at them, since I was supposed to be leading singing. Which went pretty well--we had a good sized crowd of about 230--but as always, I dislodged a hidden cache of ick and had to cough. Never fails. But everyone was on key for once, and everyone stayed with me, and everyone was loud, so it wasn't so noticeable. No more so than Peter Brady singing "It's Time to Change."

Lunch was without Miss Jennifer, who we've come to find out comes on duty at noon. Reba said we should go to the store and shop and wait on her from now on. Our waitress was nice enough, but took forever and was just a bit neglectful. Miss Jennifer is never like that. If I can figure out a way to go into a store without the kids wanting to get everything they see, we might have to try this.

Got home, got Tiny Girl ready for her pony lesson, and finally got to have actually one. Well, almost. We walked around for about 45 minutes before the thunder started and the horsies had to go bye-bye. Three weeks in a row, three monsoons right around 4 or 5 o'clock. At least she did get a little time. And the slobber I have mentioned? Her pony was Harley, who just prior to entering the paddock had consumed her afternoon repast, and spent the time of our lesson chewing and dripping on my hand. Eww.

After that, back home to towel off and change back into presentable clothes, then on back to church, then back home, then supper, then blessed bedtime. And then?

It was time for work.

Say, wait just a doggone minute here!

Some very kind person has apparently gone and paid off the Blog*Spot mooches to remove that banner ad at the top of the page! Whoever you are, that was incredibly nice of you, and absolutely, entirely unnecessary.

If you would, please send me a note so I can thank you personally.

Extending Alabama’s Cultural Hegemony, One Blog (or Two, or Three) at a Time

In a stunning display of naked ambition, we turn your attention to Quana X. Jones, writer of Eristic who asked the following question at 2:18 a.m. on Saturday, July 27:
Here's a stupid question for 2:18 a.m. Does Possumblog believe a blog gets to count as a 'bamablog if someone lived in 'bama for a year? I'm wondering...

oh, no reason...
Sensing with my keen sense of…something…that this might be a really good thing (because I really like fish sticks, and "eristic" sounds like some really cool sort of fish sticks), I quickly ran to find out about this mysterious Quana person and found this:
Quana X. Jones lives in the middle of central Texas on a small patch of land that was once cotton fields. The land is poor and worn out. So is Quana.

Now before anyone gets wired up about Quana residing in the great State of Texas, please keep in mind that Quana has lived in foreign countries and has traveled all over the world. Quana speaks three languages. In spite of this, Quana remains a provincial individual with a narrow mind, a sharp tongue and a perpetual distrust of humanity in general and cats in particular. Quana is not a journalist, a lawyer nor an academic. Quana has never done anything worth relating here in print. In short, Quana is a coot.

Quana chose to blog because blogging could act as a venue for venting long pent-up frustrations with the nature of things, both universal and particular. No where is the absurdity of the natural order more evident than in the fields of politics, international relations and the mindless drivel of what is today termed 'the media'. Therefore, Quana's blogs are often, but not exclusively, about our relations with other nations.

To prevent any further confusion for those wishing to use pronouns, Quana is female. While coots are generally considered to be male, due to rampant cootism in this part of the country, females (if old enough, fat enough and mean enough) may be considered coots as well. Undoubtedly, Quana more than meets the qualifications for cootism and has been a card-carrying coot for many years.

Quana has never forgotten the most important lesson in life: It takes 27 muscles to smile and only four to squeeze the trigger of a high-powered sniper rifle. Quana is a singular person of stout homeliness, flat feet and excellent eyesight.
Wow. Was I ever disappointed. Not a single mention of fish sticks. But, recognizing that there is more in life than frozen prepackaged processed fish products, and that she seemed to be heavily armed, I contacted Quana to let her know that her sojourn in Alabama was but one of many stringent rules for inclusion in the Axis of Weevil. Being quite careful to refer to her only in the third person, she was led into the darkened recesses of the Axis of Weevil Air Defense Command bunker deep underneath Sand Mountain and shown the mystical runes which constitute the membership requirements of the Greater Alabama Society of Vegetative Husbandry and Armed Conflict. (It having been a while since these were made public, it might be a good time for review:)

1) Born in, or now live in, or once lived in, or would like to live in, Alabama;
2) Not ashamed to admit to #1;
3) Staunchly anti-idiotarian, or can at least pretend pretty good
4) Functionally literate
5) Don't type in ALL CAPS or all e.e. cummings case or MiXeD.
6) Update your blog more than once a month
7) Willing to be made fun of
8) Willing to make fun of yourself
9) Have a framed picture of John Moses Browning
10) Personal library must contain more books than you will ever read
11) Must be able to recite Monty Python and the Holy Grail and give an episode synopsis of all Andy Griffith shows from memory
12) Your pickup truck must be in good working order--use of ether to get it started is not recommended, but will be allowed on a case-by-case basis

DISCLAIMER: As with the well-loved Calvinball, the rules may change in the middle of the game.

After careful review, Quana ticked off each item, and upped the ante to say that
as for the picture of Mr. Browning, he is stapled to the wall between Mr. Colt and Mr. Winchester in a group that includes Mr. Savage, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Smith, Mr. Wesson and Mr. Marlin.
All thoughts of breaded piscine morsels melted from my mind, knowing that we had found yet another worthy candidate for inclusion in the Goldenrod Writer’s Colloquium.

As we turned to go back to the Registrar’s Office, I stumbled over a Small Black Blog crumpled in the floor. OH NO! It was none other than Dirk Benson, who had started his blog at the unceasing prodding of Axis of Weevil Director of Lingerie Sue Lizano, and who had asked to have his application processed before I went on vacation!

In an apparent paperwork snafu, we have concluded that Dirk’s application was misrouted to Roberta, who took one look at this passage on his written essay:
I might as well tell you the truth. I'm a Yankee. A Damn Yankee, born on the outskirts of Boston, no less. So I may not be quite the fine company Suli made me out to be.
and had a hissy fit. Being that I was incommunicado whilst on holiday, Roberta took it upon herself to draw dirty pictures on the back and scrawl anti-Kennedy messages across the front. All the while, poor Dirk had been patiently waiting for the thumbs-up, and had decided to encamp upon the floor of the bunker and patiently reread the membership requirements and an old copy of an Argosy left over from when Todd, Jr. went to the barber shop and they were having a get-rid-of-stuff day. (Dirk's painful solitude is more than likely the reason he has only posted one thing since beginning his blog.)

In any event, two things immediately sprang to mind after returning to Headquarters—first, figuring out how to pin all of this on Roberta, who has been a pain in the neck ever since we stopped providing free coffee in the breakroom; and second, we really need to do a better job with security in the bunker. Dirk should not have been able to penetrate through our perimeter, especially since we got a new screen door AND a door bell.

So, in dealing with the staff issue, Roberta came in this morning and found that she had been summarily fired for such mean-spirited trashing of our good Yankee members—despite our reputation as close-minded and bigoted toward those above the Mason-Dixon, the Axis of Weevil has a well known non-discrimination policy regarding national origin, so even though some may think us foolish, we welcome Yankees into the organization. Yankees offer much in the way of necessary humor—I mean, who else wears shorts, black socks and loafers to the beach?

And as for Dirk’s plea for acceptance, he joins us here now along with Quana for their induction into the Yellowhammer Action Society.

SO THEN; By the power vested in me by the Alabama Department of Travel and Tourism and by the Alabama Anti-Idiotarian Party Caucus, Dirk Benson and Quana X. Jones are hereby admitted to the Righteous and Dignified Collector’s Guild and Blogging Society of Alabama (known to some as the Axis of Weevil) with all of the rights, privileges, group discounts, and legal liability attaching thereto.

[Insert tape recording of “Sweet Home Alabama” here]

Now that Dirk and Quana are members in good standing, they will be receiving upon the first truck the justly famed Axis of Weevil Gift Pack, containing Dreamland ribs, a gallon jug of Milo's sweet tea; a G-Lox Wedgee gun rack from Mark's Outdoor Sports for their veehikles; 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); a three piece, 24 ounce box of Priester's Pecan Logs; a box of Jim Dandy grits; a one quart bottle of Pilateri's Steak Sauce; and a coupon for 25 pounds of propane FREE from Dixie LPG.

So, now, go welcome them to the club!


Possumblog is a daddy! The Pride of Vidalia, Louisiana Janis Gore has started her very own blog called Gone South. Janis has a very special place in my heart, as she was the very first person who ever wrote me a fan letter, way back on February 27, 2002. She has kept in touch since then, always with good humor and a wry attitude, and I have found her pithy comments here and there all over Bloglandia. Given her way with words, I bugged her several times to start her own blog, but she demurred. That is, until now.

So, grab yourself a Presidente on the way out and go give her a look!


I didn't realize it, but Janis and her hubby have found themselves in the unenviable position of paying property taxes on a condo down on the Redneck Riviera, which not only makes her eligible for inclusion in the Axis of Weevil, it also means we have a place to PARTY!!!!

So, ONCE MORE, by the power vested in me by the Alabama Marine Patrol, Open Water Division, and by this card which promises me a high paying career in air-conditioning repair which was neatly clipped from Popular Science, it is with great pride and pompous braggery that we herewith ordain and appoint Janis Gore into the Cotton State Heavy Ordnance Club and Quilters Union, otherwise known as the Axis of Weevil, with all of the pain and suffering concommitant thereto.

And as with Quana and Dirk, Janis will soon be receiving her very own Axis of Weevil Gift Pack, which I intend to personally deliver to her condo.

COMING SOON! Fascinating Tales From Paradise Along the Pinchgut!

HA! Made it through yet one more action-packed weekend! I have exciting yarns of baby blog births, new Weevilistas, hummingbirds, slobbery horses, heat, reprieves, and other really boring stuff, just like every other weekend story. Oh, and ninjas! (Well, not really.) BUT, all of this minty freshness will have to wait a while--we have our usual Monday morning staff meeting (consisting of sitting on long wooden planks in a barbed wire enclosure and being forced to listen to a loudspeaker-delivered harangue) and I must finish some notes from last week, and then there is the requisite time that I devote to hiding in the restroom reading MAD magazine. So, bear with me for a bit while I do dumb old work stuff.

Friday, July 26, 2002

What a week, eh?

And time for the weekend. I have to go get Oldest Girl from her grandparents on one side of town, then haul her back onto home turf and go pick up her new glasses from (guess where) Wal-Mart.

They must have some new help over the summer, because they uncharacteristically were very knob-headed when filling in the insurance form or, in fact, even being prepared for it to be handled by insurance at all. Reba had called and warned them, but when she got there Tuesday the young eye tech dude reacted as one would expect anything saddled with being “young,” “tech,” or “dude” to react. Slow speech, blank stare. Luckily, I was shopping for school supplies with the other kids, so I didn’t have to witness Mrs. Oglesby administer his punishment.

I wound up having to go back LAST night, this time to get Middle Girl’s frame fixed, and also to drop off the proper form for them to fill out. Which took forever. At least this time it was handled by the Anti-Dude, whom I’ve never seen before, except for her work in Hollywood. Tall, deeply tanned brunette with a lab coat, denim skirt, and a white peasant blouse showing about three inches of gymnasium-toned midriff.

If I may say so: “Hokey SMOKES, Bullwinkle!”

Even at this very moment, I still am trying to figure out what to think about this situation—I mean, it seems like every woman in Trussville looks like a model, yet there is something vaguely disconcerting about a young lady walking around acting like a serious Wal-Mart eyewear professional/actress. It just seems a more likely role for Velma, rather than Daphne. (Of course, Velma hates that sort of typecasting.) Anyway, the whole gang of meddling kids finally figured out the insurance form and replaced the missing screw in the glasses.

One wonders what exciting adventures await us tonight.

Saturday, as usual, horseback riding for the kids, and I really, REALLY need to cut the grass. I somehow managed to finish some of the yard from several weeks ago, but there is still a patch in the middle of the back yard that has grown treetop tall. And I still haven’t found time to wire up the poor little fountain. And finish filling up the bird feeders. And there’s laundry. And picking up the never ending pile of bricabrac the kids pull out of their rooms and handily strew about the house. And making sure they all get their ears cleaned out.

Sunday is gonna be fun. The teacher of the Sunday four-year-old class came up to me at church Wednesday night and said, “You’re going to hate me…” Which is code for “You’re going to hate me, but you know what? I really don’t care because…” Because this group of kids is the one I was talking about back on Monday morning as being the bunch that has absolutely no parental control, and she had gotten to the point of not wanting to teach them annnnnny more. I have all of their parents scheduled to teach either this quarter or some other time during the rest of the year, and the kids’ sterling reputation has made it nearly impossible to find anyone who will teach them. Basically, there is no one I could call on. So, since I didn’t schedule myself to teach this quarter, I told her I would teach it for the rest of the quarter.

They’re not gonna like it, and I imagine there are going to be some parents who don’t like it.

I’m not sure what they are studying right now on Sundays, but it will all change no matter what it is. We are going to learn some new things, such as: when the teacher says be quiet, we be quiet; when the teacher asks us something, we say “yes, sir” or “no, sir;” when we want to talk, we raise our hand—the whole Miracle Worker/To Sir, With Love routine. And despite what some of you may think, after the initial shock of having Gunny Hartman banging on a garbage can and screaming at them, they will settle down and be good, and have fun, and get a neat surprise out of the sack at the end of class, and generally learn that it’s more fun to mind than to act like a bunch of heatherns.

I’m not sure yet about their parents, though. Might have to do a little PT on them. (I don’t think we’ll use Up Jumped a Monkey.)

In any event, it will make for an interesting post come Monday morning. See you then.

He's fallen, and although he CAN get up, it is with no small amount of discomfort!
Dispensing with the usual fare of reminding Mac what they do to horses, the staff at Axis of Weevil World Headquarters send our best wishes to the now differently-abled WarLiberal, who took a tumble whilst running up a ramp to escape a Chinese snakehead fish (or possibly a mosquito, laden with West Nile virus) and wound up with a cool orthopedic device.

As is company protocol, Mac will be heartened to learn that he will be provided with a handy piece of blue cardboard to hang from his rearview mirror, which will allow him to park in the handicapped space. (And thanks again to Gwen for the restriping job--although you still need to repaint the wheelchair symbol--this time use a template. Please.) Willadean in Human Resources did say that she needs your excuse from the doctor. And that it has to be signed in ink, not photocopied like the last one. Timmy in Legal won't return my calls, but I'm sure he sends his best. We are sorry that the flower fund was taken, because you and Charles Austin were the only ones to put anything in, but I'm sure we will be able to find a nice mug and some Hershey's Kisses to brighten up your space.

Get better soon!

...Exciting and newww...Come aboard! We're expecting yooooou!

Nice post from Axis of Weevil Department of Linguistics Director HD Miller on mushy stuff and the work of Ibn Hazm:
[...] Now I have to admit that I’ve got a dog in this fight, since excerpts of my translations of Ibn Hazm have been recently published in Maria Rosa Menocal’s book The Ornament of the World. Yet despite my bald-faced Ibn Hazm partianship, I can still safely say that de Rougemont's Love in the Western World, which was first published in 1940, before the more recent scholarship on Ibn Hazm appeared, is seriously outdated.

I’ll leave you with a few snippets from my ongoing translation of Tawq al-Hamammah, first prose,

Love, may God honor you, is a serious illness, one whose treatment must be in proportion to the affliction. It's a delicious disease, a welcome malady. Those who are free of it want not to be immune, and those who are stricken want not to be cured. [...]
I eagerly await Mr. Miller's translation of Hazm's greatest book, What to Say When Your Beloved Asks, "Does This Veil Make Me Look Fat?"

Turn with me now to Scourges Chapter 43, in which we find this SHOCKING passage:
[...] Hussein may be developing nuclear as well as chemical and biological weapons. He has already used chemical weapons against both Iran and Iraq's Kurdish population. It would be folly to sit around and wait to see what he will do with nuclear weapons.

When Richard sticks to facts, he can be amazingly lucid and persuasive. [...]
AMAZING! "And the Lord did grin, and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals and fruit bats and large..."
Of course, these two sentences have now used up this month’s quota of reasonableness by Richard Cohen.
Oh. Never mind, then.

(Actually, Cohen's whole output for the day really was interesting, in that despite speaking about the war in Viet Nam, he did not use the word "quagmire.")

I realize that I rely entirely too much on my referrer logs for material, but when Possumblog becomes an international phenomenon, I simply must comment. Especially when it comes to... finnish newswomen. Apparently knowing my feelings for Wheeling, West Virginia's own Jodi Applegate, and for the serious, yet dewy, Norah O'Donnell, some poor soul apparently thought I might have some insight about ladies beyond our shores. Not wishing to turn away customers, I have diligently searched and from Finland's YLE TV-1, I give you Mirja Pyykön.

Lebanon Quits Arab Hoops Tourney
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Lebanon withdrew from the Arab championship final Friday after several players were slightly injured in a confrontation during their semifinal game against Tunisia.

Lebanon held an 86-83 lead over Tunisia 86-83 with one second remaining in the fourth quarter Wednesday when fights broke out between the teams. Tunisian supporters also threw water bottles and chairs during the game. [...]
Chairs, eh? Who knew Bobby Knight was a big Tunisia supporter!

Thursday, July 25, 2002

From the diary of Harry S. Truman, 25 July, 1945, (via the Truman Presidential Museum and Library):
We met at 11:00 a.m. today. That is, Stalin, Churchill, and the U.S. president. But I had a most important session with Lord Mountbatten and General Marshall before that. We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley era, after Noah and his fabulous ark. Anyway we think we have found the way to cause a disintegration of the atom. An experiment in the New Mexican desert was startling - to put it mildly. Thirteen pounds of the explosive caused the complete disintegration of a steel tower sixty feet high, created a crater six feet deep and twelve hundred feet in diameter, knocked over a steel tower a half mile away, and knocked men down ten thousand yards away. The explosion was visible for more than two hundred miles and audible for forty miles and more.

This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10. I have told the secretary of war, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop this terrible bomb on the old capital or the new. He and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and save lives. I'm sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler's crowd or Stalin's did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.

Arguing with the voices in your head:
Moussaoui Withdraws Guilty Plea Bid
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Zacarias Moussaoui declared Thursday he was guilty of four of six charges accusing him of conspiring with the Sept. 11 hijackers, then abruptly withdrew his attempted plea after arguing with the judge.

"You want to link me to certain facts that will guarantee my death," Mossaoui told U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema as he withdrew a plea he tried to make an hour earlier.
Mossaoui is reportedly demanding that he be represented by Colin Ferguson.

From Snakehead News Central (aka WarLiberal Mac Thomason), we see an article from Cox Newspapers[Beavis] He said cox..hh..hh.hh [/Beavis] which mentions invasive species, in particular this paragraph:
Importation of the brushtail possum was banned earlier this month. A voracious marsupial, it is a carrier of bovine tuberculosis and can inflict damage on forests and native species, the Wildlife Service said. Native to Australia, 200 brushtail possums brought to New Zealand have now multiplied to 70 million and spread over 95 percent of the country.
Well, thank goodness they just took them to New Zealand. If they ever decide to come here, watch out! Although some of you may think I would be all for this, I must say that as a NATIVE American marsupial, I decry the efforts of foreigners such as this coming in here and taking jobs away from good, honest, hard working Didelphis viginianii. We will fight this threatened invasion with all the weapons we have--and our chief weapon is surprise!...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our four...no... Amongst our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms. And a non-furry, prehensile tail.

So don't get no ideas about bringing in no brushy-tailed possums.

Google can't find everything...

This just pulled from the referrer log: my hot mail printout that was stolen yesterday by frank

Frank, who works downstairs in the Physical Plant office here at the spacious and lovely Axis of Weevil World Headquarters and Convenience Store, says he didn't steal any printouts yesterday, because he was working on the water heater. He did say that just because someone throws something in his wastebasket, it doesn't mean he stole it, and that he didn't even know it was there. I tend to believe Frank on this, so I must assume it was someone else in the office, possibly one of the summer interns--BUT, even then, I don't think any of them intended to steal it. Gwen said she might have picked it up by accident off the printer, but she doesn't remember because her head still hurts from the slight sunstroke she suffered yesterday after I made her restripe the parking lot.

So right now, let's just calm down a bit and get back to work and not be quite so paranoid. Unless you're talking about Frank who does the toner deliveries, in which case you're probably right to suspect him.

One of those stories that defies parody: Gadhafi's Son Opens Libyan Art Exhibit
LONDON (AP)--Seif el-Islam Gadhafi, a son of Libya's leader, opened an exhibit of art and antiquities from his country, including dozens of his own paintings, in an effort to promote tourism in the North African state.

A troupe of 22 traditionally dressed Tuareg dancers posed for photographers and tourists at Tuesday's event in a tent in Kensington Gardens, next to the Royal Albert Memorial in central London.

Some of the works appeared to be political, such as ``The Challenge,'' which shows an image of his father, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, over the sea during a sunset. On the beach in the foreground, facing away from the viewer, are three black-robed and hooded figures, two of whom are holding large crucifixes.

Seif el-Islam Gadhafi said the hooded figures represent death, but he declined to interpret the work. That role seemed to fall to the exhibition brochure, which said it was one of several works showing Libya's defiance of former international sanctions.

``I hope it will encourage people to go to Libya,'' said the artist, who is one of seven children of Col. Gadhafi. [...]
No comment yet from defeated Alabama Congressman Earl Hilliard, who will now have much more time to devote to art appreciation and world travel.

U.N. Says Milosevic in Bad Health
[...] "His workload must be reduced and the medical treatment by a cardiologist is most advisable ... the accused should have such treatment," [presiding judge Richard] May said. The court will await further testing and "consider any option that may be available for the future conduct of the trial." [...]
Milosevic is resisting treatment, perhaps fearing that his favorite cure-all will be used, namely a slug in the back of the head.

JFK Envy and Ronnie sure is a pretty man
From Axis of Weevil Minister of Tourism and Footwear H.D. Miller comes his reaction to some poop from Maureen Dowd (whom he tags as "MoDo," which I think looks enough like "komodo" to do a great injustice to komodo dragons everywhere):
With the current crop of whining pretty boys, steroid freaks, Scientology cultists, and pampered, method-acting twits, few Hollywood stars under the age of 75 are now anywhere close to having Reagan's amazing combination of looks, natural good-humored grace, and common-man likeablity. Kevin Costner had a chance at it, until his visions of grandeur kicked in after Dances with Wolves. Tom Hanks makes millions by being extremely likeable, but his increasingly doughy form is not, let's face it, movie-star handsome.

Likewise the current crop of pretty boy politicians are all, as MoDo points out, JFK knock-offs. They imitate the JFK style because it's easier to imitate something that is itself an artificial construct, put together by Joe Kennedy's public relations wizards, than it is to imitate the God-given charm and native good-humor of Ronald Reagan. Reagan was a one-off, a once-in-a-lifetime American force of nature. While there have been scores of politicians who've done a good job of JFK mimicry, there are no politicians who've managed to successfully evoke the memory of Reagan. It's apparently not possible to do.
I've always thought that Rutherford B. Hayes was sorta hot. But that's just the liquor talking.

Yet another local projo who needs to get his own blog, Birmingham Post-Herald reporter Wade Kwon with his report from The Acme Company's stockholder's meeting:
Greetings, beloved investors, and welcome to Acme Co.'s annual shareholder meeting.

As your CEO, and as your pal, I'm here to reassure you that our corporate family is as strong as ever. There's absolutely no need to panic, despite what rumors you may hear in the checkout line or the unfounded news reports blaring from cable news or even the dubious half-truths buried in our annual report.

No, Acme still stands by its founding motto: "Let he who is without stock options cash the first stub." While it has been a challenging year, I'm happy to report that my earnings have never been higher; my future, never brighter.

How did we do it? In a word, extreme accounting practices.

That's right. In a world run by numbers, Acme has taken a bold step to ensure that our bottom line has the top figures, the freshest digits, the choicest calculations. Some outmoded accountants have called our approach criminal -- we prefer to call it criminally clever.

After all, we're in business to make money, even if it's out of thin air. That's our commitment to you, the stockholder. Of course, we're speaking specifically to our holders of preferred stock. Those with common stock can kiss our worthless assets.[...]
In related news, anvil futures took a tumble, and the largest consumer recall of assemble-it-yourself Nike rocket kits in corporate history has been announced, both of which spell bad news for beleaguered Acme. Corporate execs have been seen holding tiny umbrellas over their heads along with handwritten placards saying "Help me!"

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Well, now. THAT was interesting.

Just got off the phone with a nice young reporter for the Tuscaloosa News named Stephanie Hoops, who is doing a story on...blogs. Looking for the local Alabama angle, she first contacted Dr. Weevil, who, though thoroughly familiar with Bibb County, now resides in Clam City, Maine. The good doctor graciously redirected Ms. Hoops to Mac Thomason and me, and I got an e-mail today asking for some input. Being stupid, I said okay.

I really would have rather done this as an exchange of e-mails, so I could eliminate most of the "uhhhh, well, uhhhhm, ah I dunno" aspects, but Ms. Hoops requested actual aural contact, so I phoned her up just now. (These may not be in the proper order, as I am typing from memory, not having the foresight to tape record my conversation. So the quote marks should be considered as paraphrasing, not direct quotes.)

"Hi, this is Terry Oglesby." Brief pause, then recognition, some rustling of papers and a thanks for calling back and a brief synopsis of the piece which was going to deal with...blogs.

First question "What is the name of your blog again?"
"Oh, yeah!"

"How did you chose the name of your blog?"
Now starts the horrifying series of "ums" and "ahs," whistles, clicks and grunts which makes a moment on the phone with me like listening to a recording of Shamu: "Well, ah, I don't....I mean it doesn't really mean...it's just a stupid name that doesn't...ummm...no real reason...it's just sort of a name that's...Ah, I don't know." Whew.

"Why did you start a blog?"
Tens of visitors ask the same question daily when reading Possumblog. I told her that I like to write, and read, and that it was fun, and I'm a moron, and that I didn't really know. I also mentioned that it was easy. Because I'm a goob, that's important. I worked in a reference to James Lileks. "Who?" James Lileks--L-I-L-E-K-S at lileks.com. Gave her a brief rundown of Mr. Lileks, the Bleat, the issue when he listed a few blogs, my following of those links and finding a wondrous world of people who could spell and had read something other than a comic book, and how the events of September the 11th had caused a lot of folks to find an outlet for their thoughts. I mentioned that I was the webmaster for our reenacting group, which gave me a bit of an outlet for being creative, and the small short stories I had posted on my GeoCities site back before December, neither of which allowed a whole lot of spontaneity, although they are still fun to mess with. Then something happens...HERE...and thus was birthed Possumblog.

The next question caught me off guard too, something to the effect of "would you tell people to start a blog," which I answered by incoherently mumbling. Finally, we got it to the point that I wouldn't say to just anyone, 'hey go blog yourself,' simply because if you aren't interested in writing or having people be critical of you, blogging is not going to be very much fun. I have reached the point where it doesn't really matter to me what people think, which explains a lot of the content herein.

"What is your blog about?"
Aww, GEEZ! I JUST DON'T KNOW! It's about me being stupid and hitting myself with blunt objects and shaking my fist at imaginary beasts--which is more or less what I told her. I have worked very, VERY hard to make Possumblog as hard to categorize as possible, and reducing such stupefying genius to mere words negates the artistry of the whole shebang. So, more grunts and "well, it's really hard to say what it's about."

"How many people visit your site?"
"Two. Me, and some blind guy." That got a chuckle. Then I explained that I was dead serious, and I didn't appreciate her mocking me with her laughter. Well, no, I didn't say that either. I explained that I don't have a very big readership, because I don't spend a lot of time trying to get people to come visit ::coughBrendanOneillcough:: and that I might have a hundred one day and forty the next. I also explained that many of my cherished readers mistakenly find Possumblog while searching for such things as monkeys, due to the way Google returns search results, which is to scan all the stupid stuff I write, including the word "Monkeys." I didn't tell her that many also come here for monkey p0rn. Which I don't have.

"How much time do you spend during a week or a day updating your blog, and do you do this from work or home?"
Oh crap. Oh CRAP. "Uh, well, uh, I'm not supposed to do this from work. And it only takes about two seconds. Honest." Two seconds to press Post and Publish--an hour to compose an ode to Mr. Van Owner, days spent reading the blogroll, months playing Yahoo! News, Google News, al.com, Reuters, et al. like some sort of Vegas slot machine--yep, just a few minutes out of the day. Really.

"What do you do for a living?" Architect. "Where do you live?" Birmingham.

The actual interview took a good while, simply because of my own inarticulate babbling, and then she asked if I had any questions. I asked when her piece was going to be published, and she said maybe this weekend, but no promises. Then I asked her the big question..."So, since you're writing a story about blogs, have you got one?" Nervous laughter. "Well, I tried to do one on Blogspot, but I put one post on there and I thought it was so bad." Great gravy Marie! "Well, what's the address anyway--I want to read it!" "I deleted it." WHY? "It's just that I'm used to having an editor and...well, I just didn't like having it there for everybody to read." BUT YOU WRITE FOR A LIVING! I still didn't believe her, and I noted that when you write in your diary at home, you don't have an editor..."I know, but a blog is public." "Just like a letter-to-the-editor is public!" "But aren't you worried about getting sued?" "Only if I sue myself for saying I'm an idiot." I explained that I make a point of NOT writing about easily identifiable private individuals in such a way that it could be considered libelous, but I figured commenting on news stories of public figures was fair game. As was my own commentary on my lack of brain capacity.

Sometime in there I can tell she has pulled up the site--"I see you're for constitutional reform--that's good,...ahh, wacko Jacko..." "Are you reading the old GeoCities blog?" "It says the 25th...wait...January!" I finally got her over to the new site and she started reading that. "How did find all of these Alabama bloggers?" Basically, it was accidental. I found Mac first, and it just sorta growed. I explained that not all of the Axis of Weevil members lived in Alabama, and gave her a rundown of their locations.

Finally, she got tired of all my meanderings and pointlessness and it was time to put up our blocks and go home. She thanked me again and asked if she could call back if she needed more information. "You bet."

So now, Stephanie--if you're reading this, you now get to do what we here in the blogosphere call an "angry rebuttal," in which you e-mail me with what I really said, which I will post, and try unsuccessfully to deny, or spin to my advantage.

It really was fun to speak with you, and I hope the story works out well for you.

And just in case--This blog is completely fictional. Any similarities to persons living or dead, actions, and/or events, is purely coincidental. Or not.

ANGRY REBUTTAL UPDATE: Ms. Hoops gets out the e-mail machine and sends the following:
Ah! I've just looked into the mirror! My co-worker, Katherine Lee is laughing at me. "Now you know what it's like to be reported on," she says.
Wonder if that makes me a........ Nah.

In any event, I thanked her for writing back and promised to make any necessary clarifications, and pestered her again to restart her blog--this time dangling the coveted Axis of Weevil Membership Card in front of her. No word back from her yet, but how could she refuse? (She probably doesn't know that if you show the AoW Membership Card at Woods and Water there in Tuscaloosa, they'll give you a free pack of crickets.)

Further updates as they are warranted. We now return you to your regularly scheduled pogromming.

James Lileks phones in a tip on Line 2:
[...] In a fit of patriotism, the Postal Service announced that it wouldn't participate in TIPS. Apparently if someone's getting packages from Yemen marked BIOHAZARD, and the postman has to leave them at the end of the driveway because the occupant screams FILTHY ZIONIST TOOL! whenever the postman shows up, that's of no concern to the post office.

Imagine this sort of reaction during World War II. Just try. If you dig in the wartime archives you'll probably find a poster showing a jaunty, paunchy mailman in full blue mufti, giving us the thumbs-up under the motto HE'S KEEPING HIS EYES PEELED FOR HUNS or LET'S LICK HITLER LIKE A TWO-CENT STAMP! This year's poster: IT'S NOT IN OUR JOB DESCRIPTION.

Of course we need some sort of civilian vigilance effort, some way of helping people alert authorities. But who ARE the authorities, anyway? In the old days of B-movie sci-fi, the first thing someone did upon detecting giant atomic-mutated weasels was to "alert the Authorities," as if there was one number, one switchboard, one office with a gray metal desk and a man in a uniform.

"The Authorities" meant the military, the police, hospitals, firefighters, and inevitably the eggheads down at the University, who'd been working on this worrisome Giant Weasel scenario for some time now. They were one seamless team of steel-spined Americans who could focus the entire resources of the nation on a single problem and a single solution. (Which usually involved lots of artillery fire at the Giant Weasel, to no effect.)

That was a myth, of course. But there are more Authorities now than ever, and they seem as coordinated as a dozen pigs trying to line-dance on an ice rink. [...]
Man, I hate weasels.

Possumblog gets an e-mail

Hmmm. I wonder if this is legit?
Dear Sir,

It is with trust and confidence that I make this urgent, important and confidential business proposal to you.

I am an attorney in practice here in Nigeria. One of my clients was late MR. MARK CHANG, a Taiwanese national (now deceased). Three years ago, Mr. Chang secured a consultancy contract from the Federal Government of Nigeria valued at US$39 million. He received mobilization fee of US$13.4 million and successfully executed the contract, but the balance of the contract payment(US$25.6million) is still unpaid. Mr. Chang was still pursuing the release of this money, when on September 2001, he, together with his wife and only daughter died in a ghastly motor accident in Lagos. They were buried two weeks after.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has now directed (with a provision in this year's budget) the payment of all Contractors who have satisfactorily executed their Contracts. The payment is by quarterly disbursements. Mr. Chang's Contract payment is among those approved for release in this third quarter. As his personal Attorney before his death, I have been officially notified and instructed to forward particulars of his next of kin so that the money can be remitted into his/her account. However, as attorney and close confidant of Mr. Chang, I know that he did not leave any WILL (because of his sudden death). This money will therefore be paid into the account of whoever I present as his next of kin with affidavits and other documents. If not, the fund will be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Simply, I intend to channel this money to the account of a reliable person who upon successful payment of the funds, will earn 20% thereof, 75% will be for me and some Government officials who will assist me to approve the payment and 5% is to offset all expenses to be incurred in the documentation process. Your nationality does not matter as all modalities have been concluded to present the person as Mark's next of kin and consequently, the beneficiary of the fund.

This transaction will take about 14 working days to conclude as soon as you indicate your interest. For prompt action, contact me urgently through email: [...] or fax: [...]

Celestine Ojoma
Principal Attorney.
Celeojoma & Co.
Wow! That's a LOT of money! And I'm sure it must be legal. Thank you, Celestine, for financially liberating me from reliance on the stock market or the Georgia Lottery!

From Andy over at World Wide Rant
THOSE SILLY FRENCH, booing Lance Armstrong as he rides in the Tour de France, yelling "Dope! Dope! (doped! doped!)" at him as he passes by. Given that the French idea of victory often seems to involve putting your hands up in the air to avoid fighting, it's understandable that they would be mad at someone like Lance who seems unstoppable.
Even with only one, he still has more...

In yet another mean-spirited attack on the technological ignoramus we like to call Royal Dick, Axis of Weevil Bootheel Region Commander and Inferno Tour Guide Charles Austin trys to help Poor Richard with his problematic doodaddery:
[...] … that while I was online reading about the changes at AOL Time Warner -- how synergy had not yet been achieved and how broadband had proved to be narrow indeed -- my computer failed.

It all revolves around Richard. But, I’m missing the irony somehow.

Something happened to the Internet or to the cable or to the computer itself.

Why not call Al Gore? Shoot, he invented the darn thing. I’m sure he can fix it.

Now, before I get more angry e-mails pointing me to this defense of Al Gore, let me just note that Al did in fact say, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” Now, while it is true that it’s a small stretch this to say amounts to Al claiming to have truly invented the Internet in lieu of people like Vint Cerf, it is quite indicative of a mindset of which Al Gore and many others suffer – that all it takes is a command from official Washington to make things happen. This is nonsense. If it were even close to true, then why don’t our fearless leaders from either party by executive, legislative, or judicial fiat just wipe out cancer, poverty, hunger, AIDS, red tides, termite damage, oil spills, gang slayings, racial hatred, and global warming; reverse the depletion of fish stocks and the extinction of species; raise literacy rates; explain the inability of the Terry McAuliffe to tell the truth; eliminate soil erosion, acid rain, global warming, and any comets that might strike the earth in the next 100,000,000 years?

Why? Because it doesn’t work that way! And listening to Al Gore letting it rip, it’s clear that he still doesn’t understand this.

A technician was summoned, promised somewhere between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. You know what happened. The guy never showed.

Summoned. Not hired, called, requested or commissioned, but summoned. Fetch hither the technician! But if the technician had shown up and repaired Richard’s thingymabob, with a tug of the forelock and a “by your leave”, he could move on to the next self-important blowhard who cannot understand the technology he depends on for his livelihood.

I am now in my third week of major, severe and non-synergetic computer hell.

Wheras, I am completing the equivalent of my 21st week perambulating around the nether regions of the illiberal utopian statist ring of hell that Richard Cohen calls home. Virgil has deserted me and I’m afraid that Beatrice hasn’t turned up yet.

I have had a technician out three times.

The number of technicians called out shall be three. No more. No less. Three shalt be the number of technicians called out and the number of technicians called out shall be three. Four technicians shall not be called out, nor either shalt thou call out two technicians, excepting that thou then proceed to call out the third technician. Five technicians are right out.

I have spent whole days -- I am not exaggerating --

Why would anyone think that about something Richard Cohen would write?

… with The Washington Post's crack technical staff, good people all.

Perhaps Brendan O’Neill needs to stop criticizing amateur bloggers and start looking at the drivel produced by the professionals.

No one -- and I do mean no one -- can figure out what is wrong.

Well, at least no one in Richard’s circle of A-list partygoers. Perhaps Stacy Tabb could help, even if she isn't a member of The Washington Post's crack technical staff, she's still good people.

At times like this, I long for my old Royal typewriter. [...]
At times like this, I long for a monocled, bewhiskered newspaper publishing magnate to thrash with his silver-tipped walking stick anyone (namely Mr. Cohen) who would dare ask to be paid good money to write such falderol, after which the upstart would be thrown to the curb for the ragman.

Weevilette in Distress! Elizabeth Spiers had food poisoning!
So I'm recounting my various sins and wondering what I did to deserve this Job-like existence, even if only for 48 hours. Payback for past life as Attila the Hun? Slamming Dave Winer? Slamming the Hamptons people? Generally being an obnoxious smart-ass?

I swear to god I will never eat chicken salad again.
Hope you're feeling better today. (Remind me to tell you the baby wipe story someday.)

A very public thanks to Toren Smith of The Safety Valve who actually took the time to read the turgid flopdoodle before you, and he survived! (Apparently being a conservative in San Francisco has resulted in his ability to stomach just about any sort of lunatic ramblings.)

And yet another very public thanks to John Hawkins of Right Wing News, who ranks Possumblog right up there with File 13's Amish Tech Support and Happy Fun Pundit (and RWN) as one of the "funniest political blogs out there."

Personally, I believe John must be huffing ether if he thinks a) Possumblog is funny--it's not--it's all deadly serious and earnest, and as soon as I learn how, I'm going to make a giant papier mache head and hold a protest march and it won't be the least bit funny; b) Possumblog is political--it's not (despite my aforementioned desire for a one-man puppet protest), because politics is a dirty, filthy, habit that stunts your growth and makes your breath smell bad and turns your fingernails yellow; c) Possumblog is a blog--it's not...well, okay, it is; d) Possumblog is out there--it's not, it's right here in front of me leaving a small greasy stain on the linoleum.


Klan won't march in York, leader decides
Tom Gordon
News staff writer

A Ku Klux Klan leader who won the right to hold a march Friday in the Sumter County city of York said Tuesday there will be no march.

"I don't believe I'd march in York if you paid me $1,000," said Jordan N. Gollub, imperial wizard of the Carthage, Miss.-based Royal Confederate Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. "I don't like some of the things the mayor said about me the other day, so I don't have any great reason to come to York. They've given us a hard time, not giving us a reason originally why we couldn't march and all this."

York, a predominantly black city of 2,800, had passed a parade ordinance that Gollub challenged, saying it put unconstitutional restrictions upon his right to march. U.S. District Judge Edwin Nelson blocked enforcement of that ordinance on Monday, and ruled it unconstitutional Tuesday. [...]

York Mayor Carolyn Gosa said she telephoned Gollub on Tuesday morning and told him the city was prepared to handle the march and that Gollub told her, "I'm not ready now." [...]

Gollub said he still hoped his group, and members of two other Mississippi Klan groups and an Alabama group, would march at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the Choctaw County seat of Butler, a majority-white city. But he said lack of interest could scuttle that plan.

"If we look like we're going to have two or three (marchers), it's really not worth the effort," said Gollub, who said there was not enough time now for him to organize a meaningful march in York. [...]

The 43-year-old Gollub, a Philadelphia native and former substitute school teacher, said he has been active in Klan groups for more than 20 years. He said the original purpose of the Friday marches was to honor western Alabama's Southern heritage and recruit new members. [...]
Pointy-headed piss ants. All three of 'em.

No posts for this morning, due to the demands of my real life job of making the world a better place through regulatory excess.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Okaloosa deputy kills emu that harassed dogs with 5 shots
Now see! This is just the kind of thing that happens when emus have unrestricted access to firearms!

From Down Under Where It's Already Tomorrow--

Eval oppresor Tim Blair acts like hes all that, and that smart peopel who dissagre with him are the bad one's.
THE US GOVERNMENT brought the terrorist attacks of 9/11 on themselves.

That's what Robyn Scholes, letter writer to The Melbourne Age, thinks. She was answering The Age's question: Should Australia support the US? And she isn't alone in her views. Let's continue with Robyn's letter, then look at the other idiots …

"Given their interferece in the governments of other countries for over 100 years, and their agressive foreign policy for the last 50+, its a wonder such events have no taken place before now. The Australian government has supported the US in much of it's agression over the last 40 years and it's time we stopped. We have enough human rights and oppression issues to address here, before we head out into the world to solve those of other countries. One American President was quoted as saying.. 'We (the US) have no mandate from God to police the world.' If his successors had kept this in mind, The World Trade Centre might still be standing. Australia should distance itself for Bush's 'Strike First' policy, before someone decides we are a threat."
Robyn Scholes
No spellchecking tyranny for Robyn! Those US multinational spellchecking companies won't agressivly interfer with her. Poor spelling seems to be characteristic of the anti-US lobby; I'd hate to generalise, but it's as if all these people are fucking retards: [...]
Faschis! Its' becasue Reagen and Bush I and Bush II stole money to educate us with to give to thier rich Republican oil freind's!

The Past is an Interesting Place

I was over at the library doing some research for our reenacting group and came across an interesting quote in the book Quaker Records in Georgia edited by Robert Scott Davis. The passage in question was written by a young Orkney servant boy named Baikie (or Baikia) Harvey, who had come to the Friendsborough, Georgia settlement as an indenture of Thomas “Burnt Foot” Brown. (So named for being tarred, feathered, and set alight by Rebel sympathizers in Augusta.)

Harvey is listed as being an unmarried servant from Kirkwall, Scotland, gone to Georgia “to seek a better way of living.” His age is given as 16 in September of 1774. On December 30, 1775, he wrote a letter to his godfather in Kirkwall, and the following excerpt of that letter was noted in Davis’ book:
The Americans are Smart Industrious hardy people & fears nothing. our people is only Like the New Negroes that comes out of the ships at first whin they come amongst them. I am Just returned from the Back parts where I seed Eight Thousand men in arms all with Riffeld Barrill guns which they can kill the Bigness of a Dollar Between Two & three Hundreds yards Distance. the Little Boys not Bigger than my self has all thir guns & marches with thir Fathers & all thir Cry is Liberty or Death. Dear Godfather tell all my Country people not to come here for the Americans will Kill them Like Deer in the Woods & they will never see them. they can lie on thir backs & load & fire & every time they Draw sight at any thing they are sure to kill or Creple & they run in the Woods like Horses.
Just thought you might like to know.

And the rabbit goes down the hole...

Bear with me as I log yet another milestone in my life.

Please remember that although suburban life is glamorized in the movies with incredible stories of talking mice children, spy children, spy parents, wacky inventors, and Mena Suvari covered with rose petals, most of the time is is far less dramatic. Except for today.

For today, my friends, I no longer have a baby at my house.

Despite the fact that our youngest daughter still gets big soppy tears when told she must take turns, still accidentally pees in the middle of Wal-Mart, still torments small animals, and still thinks that my omnipotence is second only to the Creator's (and despite the fact that I still do these things, too), today upon the breathtaking expanse of our driveway, she tied her shoe.

Liberation! Freedom! Throughout the entirety of human existance, there has been no greater force for the advancement of civilization than the learning of this arcane and devilishly complex set of rules and calculations--of rabbits and trees and holes and circles and loops--secrets passed from the hands of Neolithic shamans to the princes of Egypt to the halls of Minos to the Agora to the Capitoline, and now to the small hill behind the Trussville Post Office, yet another brave human goes out into the clamor and confusion of life freed from the tyranny of untied shoes!


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