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, November 27, 2002


Just a quick post--I am knee deep in kids at the moment, and am jaw-achy with a just-repaired dental filling that required the good excruciodontist to drill even further down to about my left shoulderblade, and there is clothing to dry, and a leaking washing machine that will need to be manhandled out from its hole and turned upside down to find said leak, and the kid's bathroom throne is full of cleaner (meaning all of them disregard all the other available porcelain conveniences and the wide open spaces of the backyard and make a beeline for the one with caustic chemicals, requiring constant attention and shooing) and somewhere in here we're supposed to get all our stuff together to go to church tonight (no classes tonight, just when my high schoolers were starting to like the class well enough to bring friends--oh, well), and then there is preparation for a four day turkey eating contest, and my sister is supposed to be in town today sometime, and, whew, life. And how!

But I wanted to just take a moment and thank everyone for coming by, and to wish each of you a very happy Thanksgiving.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice.

5 Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Philippians 4:4-9 ASV
Peace to you all--see you Monday.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

As predicted...

I am up to my ample behind with stuff to do today, and have only had the briefest of opportunities to check the blogroll this morning. I did notice that Delaware's Finest Fritz Schranck is having himself a birthday today, so I sent him a ridiculous e-mail version of The Beatles "You Say It's Your Birthday." The pure delight of such a thoughtful deed on my part sent him into paroxysms of glee, to the point of donning an Ed Grimleyesque red shirt and high-waisted black pants and perfoming the Dance of Joy as he sent his return e-mail. Being the Very Largest Ed Grimley Fan Type Person Upon the Planet, I Must Say, I was as pleased as pleased could be to see that Fritz was a fellow fan, and sent him back ANOTHER e-mail suggesting we should make plans for a big jam session on the triangle. ::ting:: And then something happened that has never happened to me in my entire life.

I was shoveling papers around the desk and the telephone rang. Now despite the silly cornpone act I sometimes put on here and other places, whenever I first answer the phone I always use my very professional Midwest television anchor voice--rich, deep, manly, and devoid of regional cues, and today made even more husky and masculine by the world's worst case of pneumocrappiness. After I determine the identity of the person, I will either switch to Efficient Bureaucrat, Clueless Bureaucrat, Lazy Bureaucrat, Educated Guy Caught in a Bureaucracy, Somewhat Friendly Acquaintance, or full bore Down Home Boy modes, depending on the caller.

Ringring--"This is Terry Oglesby."

"Hi Terry, this is Fritz Schranck."

Do what?! Wow! IT'S HIM! "Well, HEY THERE!"

What a fun call! And a first, because in close to a year of blogging, I have never talked live and in person to another blogger. Oh, lots and lots of fun (and serious) e-mails, but never a voice at the other end. Until today.

We covered just about all topics known to man--the new Apple commercials, in which Fritz found that Teen Girl Culture transcends mere distance? you know? like, because everyone dresses and acts the same? Which then took us to our plan to outlaw the Internet, then on to taxes, Delaware corporations, working in government, libel, slander, our respective volumes of e-mail (he--one per day, me--one per day, hate mail--none for either), being spambotted by a domain jumper using your own name to spam you with secret methods of increasing the size of the old John Thomas, tips on increasing traffic from Google using such innocuous words as "hole," "monkey," and "hot," family, Erma Bombeck, if this blog makes my butt look big ('yes' was the consensus), birthdays (343 ain't old, by the way), blogging, blogging, bloggers, blogs, trolls, blogging, barbecue...Stop here. Imagine sitting at your desk and hearing someone talking about slow cooking a Boston butt all day long so that by the end of the day, the meat just falls off the bone. I nearly gnawed the mouthpiece off the phone. Then it was on to various smoked pig eateries, holiday travel, and finally a promise that should the Schranck family every cross the border of the Cotton State, there will be another call placed and much fun will be had. Much to the mortification of our children, as we will each be nattily dressed as Ed Grimley.


Monday, November 25, 2002

Well, now, THAT was a weekend!

Movie, popcorn, Christmas shopping, sleeping in, Christmas shopping, barbecue, football, hot and sour soup--wow.

Friday night we got the kids loaded up and taken to the grandparents. I had thought we might get to eat before James Bonding, but we got such a late start that we just went on to the theater.

Movie Review Time (With Spoilers of a Sort--scroll way down to miss them) As I mentioned last week, I was looking forward to this movie--I've had to sit through some mildly enjoyable non-guy stuff and it was time for some mindless action and women in danger. The 007 movies are also good from the Miss Reba perspective, because she tells me that Bond is hot. Which is a good thing after the movie is over. Nuff about that.

Die Another Day more or less follows the familiar Bond formula--opening gun barrel montage, first Bad Situation, escape, capture, escape, hook up with Unknown Good Girl, chase bad guys, get help from former bad guy, manage to get in trouble with Unknown Bad Girl/Mistress of Evil Guy, get captured, yack yack yack, cut some wires, escape, find out true plan, countdown clock, break into secret lair, yack yack yack, destroy it and Evil Guy/Girl, nearly die in escape, wind up in bed with Good Girl. And there are Toys--lasers, satellites, guns, got his Aston Martin back now, Q.

I really, REALLY wanted to like this one, and while it was going on I tried my best to keep my mind in Neutral and not notice the stupid stuff, but when it gets so distracting that you wind up saying "But why doesn't he just...," or "That's a dumb...," or "Madonna!?..." it's probably not a good thing. Yeah, several days later, you might want to start asking those question, but during the opening is probably not the sign of good Bond goodness to come. As witnessed by...

Opening sequence, packing a suitcase full of "conflict diamonds" with hidden C-4. I know it's C-4, because it says so in BIG LETTERS ON THE WRAPPER! "Gee, James, is this C-4 or Velveeta?--Oh wait, it's here on the label." Dumb.

North Korean "conflict diamond" smuggler dude with a stable full of exotic cars parked in the mud. Dumb.

North Koreans using hovercraft to scoot around DMZ. Great idea, won't blow up the land mines, especially useful when NO ONE IS EVER WATCHING or LISTENING, which happens a lot in the DMZ. "Sergeant, there's this big ol' boat thing flying around the minefield!" "'Sawright son, probably just some kids playing." Dumb.

Evil North Korean gets a faceful of "conflict diamond" shrapnel. Which stays imbedded in his face the entire movie. Despite access to weird science project DNA replication therapy that turns you into someone else. Despite the fact that a lobotomized chimp with a tweezer could have gotten them out. Dumb.

Bond gets captured and imprisoned in North Korea. FOR 14 MONTHS. Look, he's James Bond. No one captures James Bond for fourteen everlovin' months! Dumb, and disrespectful of the character.

Bond grows luxurious mane of hair and beard while in prison, is released looking like John Walker Lindh or Howard Hughes. Dumb. Made me want to smack him.

Bond is taken to MI6 hospital and quarantined. M comes in and Pierce Brosnan does this weird, affected, finger-pointing thing. British agents do not vulgarly point at their audience. Makes you wonder what the director was telling him--"Pierce, even though you two are the only two folks in the shot, I want everyone to know exactly to whom you're talking, so point right at Judith several times while you talk. Hmm? No, don't try to make your gestures make sense. Just randomly point while you talk. See? Just point, say your lines, point. And walk funny while you do it. That way it'll look like you're angry. And remember to point. ACTION!" Dumb.

Bond easily escapes from the hospital, which is on a boat in Hong Kong Harbor. When informed, M says, "Well, that's what he's trained to do." SO WHY COULDN'T HE GET OUT OF KOREA!? Dumb.

Bond gets sent to Cuba by the Chinese, where everyone speaks English and waves firearms around and there's this island clinic where they do the DNA school project. Dumb.

Halle Berry comes up out of the ocean all wet and glistening and slow-motioney and wiggly. Mmmm! Then she says her lines. Shut up. Just shut up.

They find "Conflict Diamond Faced" Korean at the clinic, being turned into someone else, but looking remarkably like Master Po from Kung Fu. He's comatose, sorta, but they can't just plug him, have to have long discussion, allowing him to escape. Everybody shoots everybody, everyone misses, clinic blows up, Halle Berry looks nice. Whatever.

Bond gets on trail of the "conflict diamonds," except they are made by some whiz bang boy industrialist philanthropist Hugh Grant looking fellow. Meets up with Rosamund Pike, turncoat agent. She sure is pretty.

Bond sword fights Bad Guy, which is when we see cameo by Madonna. Lots of soft focus going on there. Doesn't help a lot. Fortunately, Madonna's short on-screen time allows her sufficient time to demonstrate the range of emotion and acting skill of a paper napkin. Dumb.

Go to Bad Guy's Not Really Secret Lair in Finland. Big ice palace, lots of stupid stuff and people out in the middle of nowhere, find out that Bad Guy is somehow not getting the diamonds from his recently discovered mine but actually is moving "conflict diamonds." Halle Berry in evening gown and leather jumpsuit. Mmmmm! Says lines. See previous comment. Gets trapped, strapped to a table under a "laser." Movie quickly devolving into a not very good Austin Powers clone.

Big satellite is supposed to be mirror, but is actually a weapon. Whodathunkit? Americans try to blow it up. Shoot one missile at it. Oh well, that's it. We've only got that one missile. I guess we're all doomed to be overrun by North Koreans and "conflict diamonds." Sure wish we had TWO missiles. Or wish that we could have hit the satellite from the back end. Oh well.

Rosamund Pike and everyone else is on giant Antonov AN-225. Which is made by the Russkies. Luckily, every warning and label is in English. For some reason, Rosamund Pike is dressed in a sort of black bustier teddy thing and starts a swordfight with Halle Berry. Whatever.

Bond and Berry get out of crashing Antonov by helicopter, which just happens to have all of the "conflict diamonds" hidden in it.

END. In retrospect, what a steaming pile of crap. Brosnan seems to have gotten in the Roger "Just Send Me the Check" Moore mode, and the director (I guess) decided to incorporate about a thousand too many of those odd, Matrix-like change-of-viewpoint camera swoops, along with the exciting new technologies of slow motion and fast motion. And then there is all the product placement distraction, brought to you by Norelco. And conflict diamonds. You may have figured out that these were part of the storyline.

Time for another director, time for another Bond, time for a movie with fewer gadgets, time for a remotely-plausible storyline that hasn't already been done two or three times, time to put away the schlocky Charlie's Angels camera tricks and CGI. Time to go rent From Russia With Love.

But, it was a movie and time spent with Reba, so it couldn't have been too bad. Then on to Wal-Mart for a little Christmas shopping without the kids, which was very helpful. Sadly, the movie lasted so long that it was too late for barbecue, so we stopped and got a quick hamburger at the Burger King drive through. Mine was supposed to be some sort of smoky cheddar something, which had the invigorating taste of garbage, sandwiched between two slices of "sourdough" with the consistency of a life jacket. Blech.

Saturday, got up late, got dressed and did a bit more shopping and then FINALLY got my barbecue, which was really, REALLY good. Right in the middle of it, as I was holding forth to Reba about all the stupid stuff in the movie in a wildly gesticulating fashion, I felt a tap on my shoulder--"War Eagle" a nice older lady said as she and her hubby were walking out. I had forgotten that I had my Auburn sweatshirt on, and I was so taken by surprise I almost didn't know what to say. "Thanks you, War Eagle, too!" or something. What a dork. Anyway, got all through, made a final pass through Target to finish propping up the American economy and it was time to go see the game. I timed it just right so that we would arrive at the grandparents as the game was starting so I could finagle an invite to watch the game.

What a game! And no rioting after it was over with. One thing that makes the Alabama-Auburn game the nation's best rivalry is that the rivalry is settled between the end zones. After that, everyone goes back to normal. Such as it is. But throwing bottles and fighting is just so...crude. Morons. Better would be to just go write a joke book or something.

Home, bed, up Sunday, and the icky sinus crud of last week has transformed itself into a lung-filling beast of mythic scale. I blow my nose and all I get is that odd high-pitched squealing sound as my sinuses try to open up. HONK-whhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeEEK. Ouch. Go to church, probably infect everyone, afterwards go eat many bowls of hot and sour soup and spoonsful of hot mustard sauce in attempt to loosen grip of demon. Works only a little, which should tell you how bad it is. Back home for some clothes folding exercises, read the paper, go back to church, try not to sleep by constantly hacking, back home for supper, kids to bed, sleep, and wake up here.

Today is going to be a short one, as I have to go pick up the kids and take them to the dentist this afternoon. So this day is already about shot. Tomorrow is going to be busy, and then I will be off Wednesday for the rest of the week for the holidays. Meaning that this may be about the only bit of Possumblog you get for this week, so I will leave you this, which was written by my 10 year old daughter Rebecca for an assignment in class last week:
My Thankfulness

I have many things I'm thankful for. I am thankful for my home, family, and friends. These are the most important things I'm thankful for.

My home is one of the most important things I'm thankful for. My home is very warm, and it has good protection. I am very thankful to live in a warm place.

My family is one other thing that is very important to me. They take care of me and love me a whole lot! The also believe in me.

My friends are the last most important things that I am thankful for. My friends always care about me. They also are good people to talk to.

My home, family, and friends are the best things in my life. They are all good things to be thankful for. I am so glad I have these things to be thankful for!

In case I don't get back to blogging this week, have a joyous Thanksgiving at your home, with your family and friends.

...and the greatest of these is love.

From Francesca Watson--
[...] I felt a persistent tugging in my heart, which I tried to ignore. My instinct in such situations is to try to “fix” things – I hate seeing people in pain or emotional distress, but I didn’t know this woman or what her situation was. It was none of my business. But whenever I looked over, there she would be – tears streaming down her face, her hands clenched in her lap, her head trembling ever so slightly. Perhaps she herself is ill? I wondered. It looked like Parkinsons, that little tremble.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it another minute – that tugging just wouldn’t leave me be. I got up, and walked over to this complete stranger, wending my way through the family members around her, and I leaned over and took her hand. “You don’t know me,” I said, “and I have no idea what your circumstances are. But God knows what you’re going through, and I am just feeling led to come over here and offer to pray with you. Would that be OK?” She raised her head and looked at me with such hope in her face that I almost lost it right there. She said, “Oh yes, please. I just can’t pray myself right now, I am too upset.” And the woman seated next to her, whom I later learned was her sister-in-law, clasped her hands over mine with a grateful smile. As I knelt down in front of her, as her family gathered round us, she told me about her husband – a minister for many years. He had come in for surgery to remove a benign tumor from one side of his brain. The surgery was dangerous, she said, but everyone had expected that once he got past it, everything would be OK. Now the doctors were telling her that the tumor was very large and not benign, and something about it told them it had originated somewhere else – metastized from another site the doctors hadn’t found yet. It was very bad news. [...]

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Color Me Shocked!

Auburn 17-Alabama 7!

Friday, November 22, 2002

Date Night!

WOO-HOO! It's been a while since La Reba and I have gotten to go out sans offspring, and someone was getting cranky. And he writes a blog, so you know it's best if he's not cranky. AND not only is it dinner and a movie, BUT it is returning to a house void of previously mentioned offspring, who will be spending the night at Reba's folks' house, which is a convenient mile or so away. AND FURTHERMORE, it's not just dinner, but dinner at Jim and Nick's Barbecue where I will order the
Slow cooked pork shoulder hand pulled and served on a toasted Kaiser bun with pickles and Bar-B-Q sauce.
Served with french fries.
(Click on the picture of the one in Trussville to see pictures. Sadly, it is only of the building and does not include pictures of the waitresses.) AND YET EVEN FURTHERMORE, it's not just a movie, but...Halle Berry as James Bond's Girlfriend! with Special Guest Rosamund Pike!

Let's recap--barbecue + Berry + Bond + built-in babysitters = one darned fine evening!

And Saturday is the big game, which hopefully will not be interrupted by telemarketers, asteroids, plague, zombies, Jehovah's Witnesses, stomach virus, sudden power outages, ring-tail lemurs, cramping, bloating, or any of the other stuff that normally happens at our house.

So, I bid you good afternoon, and may your weekend by as nice as mine!

Good grief--I am officially the smartest man in the world!

I was just doing my daily jog by The Straight Dope, and was perusing the latest from the Second Smartest Man in the World Now That I'm Number One, Cecil Adams, a very nice discussion of fire. I was reading along, "blah blah blah flame blah blah blah gas blah blah" and then came to this little commentary related to Uncle Cecil's New Definition of Fire:
(2) Typically characterized by flame. The pup qualifier "typically" allows me to sidestep the issue of apparently nonflaming fires, like you get with burning charcoal. I suspect charcoal fires do create flame; you just can't see it due to the lack of impurities or incompletely burned fuel in the plume. (You can't see a fuel fire at a NASCAR race either, because the cars run on clean-burning methanol.) But that's a matter we can leave for another day.
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Ed Zotti will have to be drawn and quartered for letting this howler out the door. Since the founding of NASCAR in 1948, stockers have burned God's own 100 octane Union 76 Racing Fuel, which produces a lovely warm flame halo around everything when it gets lit off. Maybe Cece was thinking of ethanol, which is what the fellows used to carry around in the trunk late at night. Or maybe he was thinking of the NHRA alky classes. Or I guess he could even have been thinking of the CART or IRL guys. But NASCAR? Sheesh.

In any event, all bow before the great Possumblogger! Defeater of Cecil Adams!

November 22, 1963
[...] I want to discuss with you today the status of our strength and our security because this question clearly calls for the most responsible qualities of leadership and the most enlightened products of scholarship. For this Nation's strength and security are not easily or cheaply obtained, nor are they quickly and simply explained. There are many kinds of strength and no one kind will suffice. Overwhelming nuclear strength cannot stop a guerrilla war. Formal pacts of alliance cannot stop internal subversion. Displays of material wealth cannot stop the disillusionment of diplomats subjected to discrimination.

Above all, words alone are not enough. The United States is a peaceful nation. And where our strength and determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.

I realize that this Nation often tends to identify turning-points in world affairs with the major addresses which preceded them. But it was not the Monroe Doctrine that kept all Europe away from this hemisphere--it was the strength of the British fleet and the width of the Atlantic Ocean. It was not General Marshall's speech at Harvard which kept communism out of Western Europe--it was the strength and stability made possible by our military and economic assistance.

In this administration also it has been necessary at times to issue specific warnings--warnings that we could not stand by and watch the Communists conquer Laos by force, or intervene in the Congo, or swallow West Berlin, or maintain offensive missiles on Cuba. But while our goals were at least temporarily obtained in these and other instances, our successful defense of freedom was due not to the words we used, but to the strength we stood ready to use on behalf of the principles we stand ready to defend.

This strength is composed of many different elements, ranging from the most massive deterrents to the most subtle influences. And all types of strength are needed--no one kind could do the job alone. [...]
Excerpt of remarks prepared for delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas by President John F. Kennedy.

This speech was never given.

The last paragraph:
[...] We in this country, in this generation, are--by destiny rather than choice--the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of "peace on earth, good will toward men." That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: "except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

Collins drops bid for tuition payback
News staff writer

Jefferson County Commissioner Bettye Fine Collins said Thursday she won't use county money to pay for her college tuition.

Collins said her request a $12,600 reimbursement to cover tuition costs that she said were job-related was in line with routine county policies and procedures for reimbursing county staff for money they spend to attend professional development seminars and classes.

Even so, "I feel that public officials must avoid even the appearance of impropriety in all matters," she said, reading a prepared statement. "Therefore, I have not, and will not, accept a penny of this money." [...]
Well, bully for you, Big Mama. In addition to avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, I feel it's important for public officials not to break the law. Or to say the law doesn't apply to them. Or sit there and spend huge sums of my county tax dollars on frivolous crap.

Then again, that's just me.

Supreme Court's top justice injured in fall at his home

Well, I think it's pretty obvious the Democrats are behind this.

"Hey, Terry...the car's making a funny noise."

Having supper at Grandmom's and Granddad's last night...

"Well, what does it sound like?"

"Oh, I don't know, sort of a rumbly boiling sound--rrrrrrbbrbbrrrrbrbrbruggh--like when the stuff in the engine boils out, but without that weird smell. Ashley said it sounded like a plane flying overhead."

"Hm. Does it stop when you put the brake on?"

"I don't know."

"Do you hear it all the time?"

"Uhh, I don't know, maybe."

"Do you hear it when you turn or accelerate?"

"I think I heard it as I was coming up the hill. Maybe."

"How long has it been doing it?"

"I don't know, maybe a couple of weeks or a month."

It is at this point in my narrative that I invite readers to go over to my old GeoCities site, where I long ago posted a few short essays. One of them is called "Boy Things--Things I Tell My Son." It is a small list of words of wisdom which I struggle to impart into my lad. Part of the list is devoted to picking out a girl to date/marry/go hunting with. One of those criteria is being knowledgeable about cars.

There is a reason for this.

"Well, I'll drive it home and let you drive the van home, and I'll see if I can figure out what it is."

Finish supper, load kids up (who had been at the in-laws so Mom could run get her hair fixed. It looks REALLY good by the way), and I get into the lap of 1994 Oldsmobile 88 luxury and get ready to go.

Turn on ignition, turn off radio. Nothing odd.

Put in gear. Sound of car shifting into Reverse.

Take foot off brake pedal, back slowly into street and apply brake again. GGGGGRAAAAAAAUUUUNCHHH. Oh. My. Sweet. Georgia. Brown. (Or thoughts to that effect)

Shift into Drive, begin to pull forward, apply brakes...GGGGGG--GGRRRRAAAAAWWWWWWW--NNNNNCH--RRNCH--RRNCH


Brake rotors worn so thin and fine that they could be served up with Grand Marnier and whipped cream at the Magic Pan. Brakes ground to the bare nubbins of atoms, useful only for making heat and noise. Brakes which felt like I had large millstones attached to the front axles, being grasped by arthritic monkeys holding handsful of aquarium gravel. ::sigh::

Took car in this morning to my buddies at Alignment by Ingram.

That funny sound is $287.88 exiting the bank account.

Gee, just what I always wanted for Christmas!

Pup's Thanksgiving Turkey

Chuck Myguts over at Redneckin' rummages around in the memory bank for tales of Thanksgivings past (scroll down a bit):
[...] Here in the Southland, where I was raised so many years ago, dogs weren’t kept just to have a dog. They had to have some sort of purpose in life. Like watch dog or hunting dog or kids dog. Most of the time, one dog had to fill all job descriptions. But not in Ted’s family. And nobody had house dogs, they were all yard dogs. The closest thing to a house dog was family pet and in my family that was almost always the best hunting dog.

Uncle “no pass” Ted had two rules about his dogs. One is they were all female and two, they were all named for family and family friends. The naming rule, of course, caused all kinds of confusion like when he would be yelling for his dog, Judy (my mother, his sister‘s name) out the backdoor “Dang it Judy, quit licking your butt and get over here.” [...]

Dr. Uncle Sam

Spuddy Buddy Marc Velazquez takes up the cat o'nine tails to soundly thwack Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune over the issue of universal health care (which, if implemented, would have the dubious distinction of providing none of those)...
[...] First, he should stop using the clunky term "single payer" to describe his plan. [Why - you've been using it for your whole column?] Nobody except for us news junkies and policy wonks knows what that means. [I'm in the club, I'm in the club - WOO HOO!]

Instead, he should describe it as a simple expansion of Medicare to cover everybody. Medicare is a program most Americans understand comfortably and want to keep. Building on that popularity and comfort level, many experts over the years have advocated expanding Medicare to cover everyone, regardless of age.

Great googly-moogly, if that doesn't chill your blood, welcome to the far left. Who are these experts advocating Medicare expansion, and have they been slapped down yet? Simple expansion ... I guess to match the universe, because once we start a single-payer health plan, there will be no end in sight to the gouging of wallets.[...]

Well, it's that time...

'Twas the night before the Iron Bowl, when all through Alabama
Not a critter was stirring, not even a yellowhammer;
The RVs were parked by the stadium with care,
In hopes that some Dreamland ribs soon would be there;

The students were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Jack Daniels danced in their heads;
And mama in her jersey, and I with my big foam #1 finger,
Had by the TV started to linger,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sofa to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a golf cart, and some fat guy in a red and white suit,
"HEY! Get off my yard, or else I will shoot!"

With a little old driver, so sloppy and drunk,
I knew in a moment it must be Bob from down the street who is a rabid Alabama fan.
More rapid than War Eagle his curses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, D*&!@! now, D$#?**! now, P&%$$$#@R and V*&^~!
On, C**&$#@@T! on C*&%?! on, D!@#$R and BL*&&^>?N!
To the top of Denny Chimes! to the top of Bear's tower!
Now #$@##%^! away! Feel the Tide's Power!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the moron he climbed,
With a snootful of scotch, and urge to pee ill-timed.

And then, he was tinkling, I heard on the roof
The dribbling and dripping of the big goof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down Bob slid and slammed to the ground.

He was dressed all in crimson, from his head to his shoes,
And his clothes were all tarnished with cigar ashes and booze;
A roll of toilet paper, and a box of Tide were flung on his back,
And he smelled like a monkey or some kind of macaque.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow (except for the thin brown stream down the side from his dip of Skoal);

The stump of a stogie he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a giant beer belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was dimwitted and slow, a right stupid old cuss,
And I laughed when thought of him getting caught under a bus;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had more things to dread;

He spoke not a word, but rolled over with a smirk,
And let loose a thundering back burp, the big dumb jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, and striking a pose;

He sprang to his cart, to his team gave a whistle,
And away he drove off, like a low flying cruise missile.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he weaved out of sight,

"Hey Auburn!

Hey Auburn!

Hey Auburn!

We're gonna beat the hell
out of you!

Rammer Jammer
Yellow Hammer
Give 'em hell Alabama!"

© 2002 Possumblog Sports Center

Yes, tomorrow is the big day, and I got a nice e-mail from the Pride of Vidalia, Lousiana, LS-Whovian, fellow Axis of Weevil member, and blogdaughter Janis Gore of Gone South, who sends her fond thoughts:
From: "Janis Gore" janis22@bellsouth.net
To: "Terry Oglesby" terryoglesby@yahoo.com
Subject: Auburn/Alabama
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 20:42:25 -0600

At least I get the pleasure of knowing one of you is going to lose.

A woman of few words, but when it's from the heart, well...

In any event, the 68th installment of America's fiercest college football rivalry is now upon us, and rather than assault you with yet another Alabama joke, I will simply point you to the Humor section of al.com, which has a rather long list of Alabama/Auburn jokes for your reading pleasure. (I particularly like the Auburn joke about the family trip to New York.)

It appears that Possumblog Sports Central's vivacious and charming Chief Statistician Ipsa Dixie has decided to overlook the hostile work environment which pervades the Possumblog Publishing Company and come up with some predictions for the game based upon past performance.

First, she tells me that if I look at her chest one more time she's gonna gouge my eyes out with a letter opener. Fair enough.

Second, she notes that the Tigers have beaten Alabama in shutouts in each of the three meetings held in Tuscaloosa since 1893. Interestingly, the Tigers have appeared only twice in Tuscaloosa in the 20th Century--at the start in 1901 (Auburn 17-0), and at the end in 2000 (Auburn 9-Alabama 0).

Third, the teams appear on paper to be relatively well matched in the major statistics of rushing, passing, total offense, total defense, with one exception--Alabama is ranked 9th in the country and is 9-2 (6-1 SEC), while Auburn is not ranked and is 7-4 (4-3 SEC). It doesn't matter if you can run up and down the field all day long if you can't score more points. Auburn has some crucial players out of play, and since Alabama is on probation, this is THE bowl game for them, so they are going to be out for blood.

Finally, the Alabama cheerleading website is REALLY well done, and even has individual photos and bios of both the Crimson Squad and the White Squad. Further depth is found in the strong Crimson Cabaret lineup, which ALSO has individual photos! This has been one area where Auburn has managed to hold its own all year, but the Tide comes on strong in the most crucial measure of strength.

Ipsa says that Auburn is going to have a tough time this year, but in the interest of appearing optimistic, the Possumblog Magic Score Generator has been rigged to produce a final score prediction of Auburn 21-Alabama 17. If Auburn does manage to win this thing, an 8-4 record is good enough to get into some of the second tier bowls, but a loss will probably put them in the "Super One Foods/Omar's Stihl Saw Sales and Service/Northwoods Ford-Lincoln-Mercury Bowl" in Hibbing, Minnesota.

Oh well.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

What Possumblogger wants for Christmas. (I think I'm gonna have to install a tip jar.)

Fun With Referrer Logs, #12,063

Greetings to the recent visitor to The Possumblog Beauty Emporium and Dollar Store who arrived by Googling plump lips and improve their color at home,naturally. Well, naturally! My little tip is one I learned as a child...take a regular plastic (or glass) drinking cup and apply it gently to the area around your mouth. Create a vacuum inside the cup by sucking in with your mouth until the cup adheres tightly to your face. Leave in place until your mom comes in and yells at you to stop. When you remove the cup and run and look in the bathroom mirror, you will see that your lips are nice and plump and full of rich, natural red blood cells. Apply a bit of concealer to the ring around your mouth, and you are set for the evening. (A drawback is that the results are not permanent, and need to be refreshed periodically. If you are out for a hot evening at a restaurant, you can use your wine glass, but if you are at a lower cost establishment or one which has more of a roadhouse atmosphere, we do not recommend trying the procedure with a beer bottle.)

Next up, a studious person trying his best to find out information about soccer moms naughty, and had to search all the way to result number 267! (Two Hundred Sixty Seven!) before finally landing in the safe confines of Possumblog.

Well, friends, this is one area in which I am well versed. Please avert your gaze if you are sensitive about reading tales of extremely naughty soccer moms...

I remember as if it were just last month (because it was) that I was confronted with one such person at the soccer park. She was tall and blonde, with a wicked looking 1998 Dodge Caravan Sport. And she parked RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE "NO PARKING" SIGN!!! Can you believe how naughty that was?! I almost said something to her about it.

And then, there was the voluptuous brunette who leaned up against the wall of the concession stand--the filmy gauze of her blouse playing gently in the wind across her alabaster skin, ALONG WITH THE SMOKE FROM HER CIGARETTE!!! Good grief, everyone KNOWS the whole Sports Complex is no smoking, and there she was just naughtily puffing away! Sheesh! And don't even get me started on the time that Breck Girl Mom left a water bottle on the field!

Bad, BAD soccer moms!

UPDATE: This just in to the Possumblog Institude of Biblical Antiquities---a bewildered visitor searching for antedeluvian map of alabama. It just so happens we have an original copy of a map produced by Ham, one of Noah's sons and the inventor of barbecue, which very clearly shows the way Alabama looked prior to the Great Deluge. It is startling in its clarity and detail, including the nice border of Alabama symbols, such as the yellowhammer and the long leaf pine, and it has a picture of Governor George C. Wallace. The map came to us via our Irish correspondent Pat Slagging, who had made a trip to Istanbul earlier in the year and purchased it in a drunken fit from a trusted Turkish dealer in Noahic memorabilia. We are in the process of verifying the age and provenance of this exciting find, but preliminary analysis of the inscription at the bottom "This map of Alabama was drawn by Ham, son of Noah" rendered in blue ink most certainly points to its genuine nature. In addition, the ancient age of the map can be verified by the fact that Talledega Motor Speedway is not shown. Truly, an exciting acquisition, and one we will soon release to the public in framed versions, along with a Certificate of Authenticity expertly printed on a real laser printer. Call today to have your name placed on the waiting list!

Say, whaddya know--the Alcan is 60 years old today!
--[...] When the Japanese invaded the nearby Aleutian Islands, completing the highway became even more urgent. More than 10,000 U.S. troops worked in cooperation with Canadian troops and independent contractors to accomplish this remarkable engineering feat in just over eight months! Among those soldiers building the Alcan Highway were four units of the Army's Black Corps of Engineers. All troops worked under extreme conditions. Mosquitoes and flies swarmed them in the summer heat, and temperatures near 40 degrees below zero chilled them to the bone in winter for weeks on end. To build the Sikanni Chief River Bridge, men waded chest deep into freezing waters to place the trestles. [...]

Well, the Aussie Wave has finally subsided and Possumblog has again returned to its normal low ebb of regular visitors and strangers searching for silly Walesa quotes. What a strange coincidence! Just the other day, Lech and I were relaxing with a couple of Diet Cokes and chatting about the Iron Bowl. Lech is a big Bama fan, you know, so I just had to tweak his whiskers a bit and tell him a story.

It seems that Alabama Power had hired a couple of crews of college interns studying to be electrical engineers, one group from the University of Alabama and one from Auburn. They were supposed to use the summer to work out in the field getting some first-hand experience in the hard work of electrical power distribution. One day their supervisor decided a good way to challenge their productivity was to have a contest. "Boys, each of your groups are going to be given a truckload of power poles and a five mile stretch of road to install 'em on. Here's your maps, and may the best school win!" The Auburn and Alabama students whooped and raced out of the shed and hopped in the trucks and blazed off.

Finally, near midnight the exhausted crew from Auburn came back into the storage yard, dirty and tired but elated at winning. The next morning, they showed up for work, but were alarmed to see that the Alabama interns had not gotten back. The supervisor became concerned, too, and just as he was about to call on the radio, the Alabama students rolled slowly back in, and dragged themselves off the truck in absolute exhaustion.

The supervisor walked up to the bedraggled bunch and said, "Sorry to tell you boys that you lost the contest, but doggone it, what took you so long!?" The crew leader leveled an angry gaze at the Auburn boys, "THEY CHEATED!" "What do you mean!?" said the supervisor. "We drove by and saw theirs, and they was leaving a good 20 or 30 feet stickin' up outta the ground!"

Lech looked at me blankly. "Power poles, Lech." Still looking blankly. "The Alabama guys were burying them all the way to the top, don't you get it?" A slight glimmer, and then slowly he chuckled. "But what about the power lines--did they not need to install the wires, too?" "Look, it's poking fun at them for...I mean, you're SUPPOSED to have the..." "And did not their supervisor go and supervise their progress while they were burying the poles? If so, he could have averted the catastrophe. Now the poles will have to be removed and set properly. This is what is done here in America? Is this the way the beloved University of Alabama is treated within the borders of its own state?"

"Oh, it's just a silly joke, Lech--let's talk about something else. Here, pull my finger."

Silly Walesa.

Notable Quotes
HOLLYWOOD (Reuters) - They really said it -- notable quotes from the news:

"I didn't need People magazine to tell me he's the sexiest man alive. The difference between me and People magazine is that he'll still be the sexiest man alive in my eyes when he's 100 years old."

--JENNIFER LOPEZ on fiance BEN AFFLECK, who the magazine has named as "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2002, quoted on the magazine's Web site.
Let's return to this quote about three months after they are married. Given past history, this will be approximately two months after she has started seeing someone else.

Cars crash gate, race around field at Birmingham airport
The Associated Press
11/20/02 5:46 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Two cars crashed through a locked gate at Birmingham International Airport and raced across a runway and taxiways Wednesday before ramming another locked gate to escape.

The vehicles never came close to the terminal or any aircraft, and the cars -- a black Cadillac and a white sedan, possibly an Accura -- were gone before police could catch them. No arrests were made.

Air traffic controllers and ground workers watched the incident in amazement.

"They went pretty much in all directions all over the airfield," said Patty Howell, a spokeswoman for the airport authority.

The airport was closed for 15 minutes during the breach, and the Federal Aviation Administration said an incoming flight was delayed about 30 minutes. One or two departing flights were delayed briefly.

There were unconfirmed reports that gunshots were fired, but no shell casings were found.

Estimates on the length of the episode ranged from less than two minutes to 15 minutes.

"It was enough time to bust through (the gate), spin out, and bust out on the other side," said police Sgt. Roy Bowden. "They were chasing each other."

The cars slammed into a gate at Pemco Aeroplex Inc., which refurbishes military aircraft, about 1 p.m. and zoomed across a runway. The vehicles exited by ramming through a gate at a corporate hangar on the opposite side of the field.

"They blasted through it," said officer Robert Miller. "It is a very heavy metal gate and they bent it into an 'S."'

The cars were last seen leaving the area on a busy street that parallels the main runway. Soldiers from an Alabama Air National Guard unit secured the gate by the corporate hangar until police could arrive from the other side of the airfield.

Miller said witnesses saw one person in each car, but it was unclear whether anyone got a description of the drivers or license plate numbers. He said there was no reason to believe terrorism was involved.

Airport officials say agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations are investigating the incident as a "serious security breach."
Knowing the area where this happened, I would say more than likely this was either gang- or freelance pharmaceuticals-related.

Speaking of the airport, a few years back a pilot who graduated from Alabama was trying to land. He and his Bama grad co-pilot struggled mightily to bring the plane down on the runway, and after a near dive approach and locking up the brakes in a cloud of burning rubber, managed to land with only the nosewheel off the edge of the paving. The co-pilot looked at the captain and said, "Good grief, that runway shore wuz short!!" The pilot replied, "Yep, and the funny thing is that it's a mile wide!"

Thanks everyone! Thank you--you're a beautiful audience! (Surely you didn't think I had forgotten about the Alabama Joke Week of Wittitude!?)

Gore: Dems Have Good Chance in 2004

An article with many rich veins for mockery, so it's hard to pick just one. How about this one--
"It's not just about me, it's about how I can best serve my country, whether I would be the best candidate for Democrats to put forward against Bush," Gore said.
Translation: "It's all about me." Another one:
Gore acknowledged he has plenty of work to do winning over Democrats who remain skeptical after his loss to Bush.

He said he will "have to convince the political insiders and the journalistic community that I'd learned enough to run a better campaign."
Translation: "I'll never convince the rest of America I've changed--might as well try to to work on someone more malleable."


Everyone needs to read Lileks! Today's installment is a good one, discussing the outrage attaching itself to the Victoria's Secret fashion show--
[...] As for the malleable minds that will be warped by these lanky inhumans and reject real women, well, good. Real women will be spared the difficulties of living with an idiot.

When the lid’s on tight, the stuff that bubbles out is altogether ookey, if I may quote the Addams Family theme song. (Now there was a couple who loved each other. Say what you will about their hobbies, but do you think Morticia and Gomez had separate beds like Rob and Laura Petrie? Good Lord, no; if Gomez hadn’t had that big cigar to clench all day he would have been dragging Cara Mia up the stairs nine times before lunch. He was crazy about her.) [...]

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Leaving the warm confines of Blog*Spurt and Blogger, Peg Britton's Kansas Prairie blog upped stakes last week and moved on to Greymatter. Same great blog content, and now with the reliability of a Massey-Ferguson!

Drop in and read about her English houseguest--
[...] John knew what to expect before he came to visit and he's loved every minute of being here. He wears a constant smile on his face when he talks about visiting the Grothusen farm, the Masonic Lodge, Drover's, Robson's, the Indy folk, family and many other people. He loves talking about the trips to Abilene, Wakeeney, Bogue, Lincoln, Wilson and Lucas and spots in between. He's loved it all, even the food. He's tried it all. [...]

Adventures in Headline Writing--Death sentence eased in case of retarded Nevada inmate

What, they're going to tickle him to death? Smother him with bunnies?

His sentence was commuted to two life terms.

Adventures in Headline Writing Part Two--Indiana U. Probes Porn Movie Shoot

Hmm. A "probe," eh? Wink, wink...nudge, nudge, eh?!

Religious leaders ask automakers to build more fuel-efficient products

If there was justice in the world, the headline would continue with "Automakers tell religious leaders to buy an ass and get around like Jesus did."

From Mac Thomason, the newest in the ongoing saga...Captain Euro and the New Inspections Regime!
[...] BILL: Still, I've never seen a chef's uniform with a hood and a glass faceguard. Um... What's that they're stirring in that big vat?

EURO: I will ask. [Speaks to head chef in broken Arabic.] He says it is split pea soup, a great favorite of President Hussein.

BILL: It seems kind of bright for soup. Should soup be glowing?

EURO: Ah, but the President likes his soup very spicy. It is a great delicacy, unfortunately restricted to the President and his family. Because of the sanctions.

BILL: There seems to be a lot of it there.

EURO: It boils down, of course. Why are you so suspicious?

BILL: Well, we are weapons inspectors.

EURO: That is no reason to be impolite! We are guests in this country, and we should not be prying into affairs that are no concern of ours!

BILL: How do we know they aren't our concern?

EURO: Of course, we must believe the Iraqis when they tell us. Honor is very important in Arabic culture and to disbelieve them would be an affront.

BILL: You've never found any weapons, have you?

EURO: No. Once I thought I found a surface-to-air missile, but the gentleman carrying it explained to me that it was actually a very large baguette. [...]
Please, empty mouth of all liquids before reading full text.

Possumblog Utah Correspondent and Jeep Repairman Nate McCord (who, once more, needs to start a blog) sends along a link to a Rufus Jones article in the Daily Standard about a film coming soon to Cinemax--
FOR AS LONG as there has been a Saddam Hussein, Saddam scholars have been confronted by a question with no easy answer: just what kind of crazy is he? He reigns by terror at home, while preying on anti-American sentiment among the conflict-averse abroad. So is Saddam calculated-crazy, crazy like the cross-dressing, discharge-seeking Klinger character in "M*A*S*H," crazy like a fox?

Or is he certifiable, driving-with-one's-lights-on-dim, two-pence-short-of-a-bob crazy? Some say he evidences that special brand of tin-pot dictator crazy--the kind of crazy that caused the syphilitic Idi Amin to eat his victims' organs and store their heads in the fridge. While others (mostly axe-grinding Iraqi dissidents) have suggested it may go beyond that, that Saddam might be suffering from the most advanced, most debilitating, most incurable brand of barminess--that he just might be Angelina Jolie-crazy. [...]

But there is perhaps no portrait of Saddam Hussein that has more effectively explored the non compos mentis angle than "Uncle Saddam," a documentary by French filmmaker Joel Soler, which Cinemax will air on November 26 at 7:00 p.m. Soler ingratiated himself to Saddam's inner circle (including his personal filmmaker, his architect, and his interior decorator) by convincing them he intended to document the country's suffering under U.N. sanctions. The anti-American pose served as a credible cover since Soler is, after all, French.

But unlike many of his sophisticated countrymen, Soler, a former television producer, is prone to moral outrage, and has displayed an admirable streak of ballsy-ness. Hot on the bin Laden trail during another project, Soler was beaten by bin Laden bodyguards after refusing to relinquish his camera. On September 11, he had been working on a project on Adolf Hitler, and found himself watching the Twin Towers collapse in Leni Riefenstahl's living room (she watched alongside him--in her bathrobe). [...]
Man, I wish I had cable!

Muslim rioters burn down newspaper office in protest over Miss World article
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Muslims burned down a newspaper office Wednesday to protest an article suggesting Islam's prophet might have chosen a wife from among contestants in the Miss World beauty pageant being hosted by Nigeria.

The local office of ThisDay in the northern city of Kaduna was destroyed, police and newspaper officials said. No one was in the building, editor Eniola Bello told The Associated Press. [...]

The Nigerian Muslim Umma, a group of Islamic scholars, declared a "serious religious emergency" Wednesday and called on President Olusegun Obasanjo to cancel the pageant and "sanction" the newspaper. Government officials were not immediately available to comment.

"As a result of the indescribable pain caused to Muslims ... one cannot predict what can happen" if the pageant goes ahead, the group said in a statement. Muslim groups say the pageant promotes sexual promiscuity and indecency.

The article, published Saturday under the headline "The World at Their Feet," questioned the reasoning of Muslim groups that have condemned the pageant. It is being held Dec. 8 in the capital, Abuja.

"The Muslims thought it was immoral to bring 92 women to Nigeria and ask them to revel in vanity. What would (the prophet) Muhammad think? In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from among them," the article's author, Isioma Daniel, wrote. [...]
Shocking provocation!
"We Muslims do not provoke other people. But when we are provoked we do not rest until we deal with the offending agent," Datti Ahmad, president of Shariah in Nigeria, a group supporting the adoption of Islamic law, was quoted as saying by Abuja's Daily Trust newspaper.

Ahmad added: "Nobody will denigrate the holy Prophet of Islam and live in peace with Muslims." [...]
Probably not worth noting, but anyone who is not a believer denigrates both Allah and the Prophet. You do the math.

Two illegal poisonous snakes seized from home
FRUITHURST, Ala. (AP) -- Officials seized two illegal poisonous snakes, including a deadly African Puff Adder viper, from the home of a man who apparently sold his collection of snakes at shows and over the Internet.

Officers from the state Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries division arrested the man for possession of two non-native poisonous reptiles and two others he had previously sold. He was also charged with illegally possessing a raccoon. He faces up to a $500 fine for each count.

Besides the viper, the man had a Western Diamondback rattlesnake caged up, officials said. The two non-native snakes were among about a dozen poisonous snakes officers found in cages that were not properly secured, making the home dangerous to anybody inside it.

Dan Spaulding, collections curator at the Anniston Museum of Natural History, accompanied officers on the raid: "They were like loaded weapons lying around," he said.

State law forbids the possession of non-native poisonous reptiles, though one can own native species.

Officials did not release the man's name.

The African Puff Adder is a leading cause of snakebite death in Africa. Bites are often fatal and those that aren't usually result in some degree of disfigurement or disability.

Museum officials said they would contact zoos in Birmingham and Atlanta to find a hoem for the seized snakes.
And another case of "Man Nearly Dieing From Kissing Head of Poisonous Snake" is narrowly avoided.

Well, well, well--it appears the Blogger/Blog*Spot minions have dosed up those silly, ailing computer thingies with a nice cup of castor oil, and everything seems to be flowing freely once again.

And there was much rejoicing.

Jackson: I Made a 'Terrible Mistake'

Ya think so, Sparky?!

Said it before, say it again--what a friggin' idiot.

Quite possibly the coolest thing in the entire world!

Pathe news archive goes online
LONDON (Reuters) - Hours of historic Pathe News footage spanning the world's political and everyday life from 1896 to 1970 have been made available on the Internet for free, the government says.

The move to make Pathe's newsreels -- which informed and entertained generations of people when shown in cinemas ahead of feature films -- free to the public was made possible by a grant of over one million pounds by the lottery fund.

"I am delighted that National Lottery good cause funding, has enabled Pathe to bring about this world first both in terms of technical achievement and in bringing 20th century newsreel to the 'small screen' of Internet users of all ages," Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said in a statement on Tuesday.

During World War II packed cinemas saw a their bi-weekly dose of newsreels by British Pathe. Black and white images of wartime leader Winston Churchill, often backed by rousing patriotic music, would prompt cheers from audiences, many of whom relied on the newsreels for a glimpse of the world outside Britain.

Web surfers keen to take a peek at the past can log on to www.britishpathe.com. British Pathe is owned by the Daily Mail newspaper and General Trust Group.

On Tuesday the website's "Lucky Dip" section -- which retrieves clips randomly from the 3,500 hours of footage -- offered shots of a "thief-proof car"; Ronald Reagan (then an actor) giving evidence to the U.S. Congressional inquiry into "Unamerican" activities; and a short piece showing people running across hot coals.
A sampling from the Lucky Dip today includes a 1934 visit to San Diego by the German battleship Karlsruhe, a 1967 color fillum of a lorry anti-jack-knifing device, a 1937 short of an elephant shaving a man, and a 1930 children's tennis match from Ireland.

Way cool, and free to boot!

Well, it appears that once more Blogger's servers are having some sort of mental aphasia and the whole thing isn't working right. Yes, I know it's free--but doggone it, so is breathing! If I was having as much respiratory trouble as Blogger has bug trouble, I would be hooked up to a ventilator in a hospital.

Guys, fix the problems with your code and your service before you worry too much about the way the flippin' site looks! Of course, this could be just a way to manage the number of subscribers by making a large enough percentage migrate to private domains and Moveable Type. Last guy here, please turn off the lights, okay?

We're gonna need a bigger blog...

Scene--Apartment interior, girl on couch reading magazine
Music--slow, ominous beat

[Sound of door knocking, stage left]

Girl: Who is it?

Voice outside door: (Mumbled) Mrs. Mucmphm

Girl: Who?

Voice: (louder) Plumber.

Girl: Plumber? I didn't call a plumber...who's there?

Voice: Candygram.

Girl: Oh, I love candy!

[Gets up moves to stage left, opens door, music crescendo with loud chord, Girl is met by....]


Girl: Screams

[Is eaten by large Land Shark]

In yet another fine outing, Charles Austin examines the latest boating accident of a column by Richard "Not Dreyfuss" Cohen, and decides that a bigger boat is definitely not needed for shooting fish in a barrel:
[...] Among the targets mentioned was the Statue of Liberty. So, naturally enough, New York's governor, George Pataki, went right to the Statue of Liberty to prove either that the report was false or that he was invisible.

Or maybe to demonstrate courage and to stick it in the eye of the bastards by letting them know that we will not be intimidated. Kind of like saying, “I got your target right heah,” in a New York state of mind.

As always in these matters, we were told that we could not allow the terrorists to intimidate us. We must go about our daily business, which includes, for some reason, a visit to the Statue of Liberty.

Uh, maybe because it was explicitly called out as a target?

We denizens of Amity are confused.

If I could get Richard to do one thing for the good of mankind it would be to stop using the royal we in his columns.

Soon, the time will come when we will pay no heed to any alerts, regardless of color, and walk into situations we could have avoided. It's also likely that the police will themselves tire of the constant warnings and relax their vigil.

Yes, it’s called human nature. Not that an illiberal utopian would recognize it even when it jumps up and bites him in the ass.[...]

Good morning--sorry I'm late, but...

I had to go to the dentist AND take Tiny Tornado in for her very first checkup. It's been too long for me--since we moved a few years back, our old dentist is now highly inconvenient to get to, so we have neglected the health of our teef. Fortunately, there was little detrimental stuff found, at least for me. I have a broken filling that needs fixing, and Cat has 22 perfect little razor sharp fangs. The dentist said they even might be too perfect. Nice and white and neatly spaced, but spaced ever too close together, bringing on the specter of orthodontia. Hers are the best--the other kids will probably need them for sure. We'll find out when they go in with Mom on Monday--Reba will have to have a couple of crowns installed. Yikes. I'm sure it won't hurt a bit, and it only cost 500 bucks a crown. Thank goodness for dental insurance.

In any event, for it to be Catherine's first time, things went very smoothly. She got to meet Mr. Slurpy the Magical Oral Suction Device and got squirted in the maw with Mr. Water Gun, both of which delighted her to no end. The tooth goop was strawberry flavored, she got a toothbrush and toothpaste and had her entire head irradiated. I got similar treatment, except they have a new thing now instead of tiny stainless steel picks, which is a high-pressure water jet to loosen plaque. It was very nice, much like stopping in the middle of cleaning your sidewalks and jamming a 5 horsepower pressure washer wand inside your mouth. Ouch. Miss Aimee decided to go back to the archeological approach after having to peel me off the ceiling a couple of times.

The occasional electrifying pain of such work means that I would be much more lax about dental health if it were not for the fact that professional teeth cleaning is the one activity where I can guiltlessly nestle my head between the nicely tanned breasts of a woman not my wife, and on occasion even be asked to "turn toward me, please." It hardly gets better than that, even in America.

We got through and got the bill settled up, and Cat went back to tell everyone in the office 'bye and then it was off to check her in to kindergarten. She got her slip signed and I gave her a big kiss and watched her go around the corner and studiously prepare for her day. Stop at shelf, put backpack on peg, take out snack, put on shelf above peg, take out folder, go to door, turn around and give Daddy a 5000° Kelvin smile, open door and run in. ::sigh:: She sure is growing up.

Got here, signed in, answered some e-mail, was astonished by the traffic generated by one simple link by Tim Blair (thanks again!) and suddenly remembered that I have not assaulted you with the daily Alabama joke! Heavens to Murgatroid! Here we go with one sure to displease both rabid Alabama fans and PETA (so how bad can it be?!):

An Alabama racoon was ambling though the forest when suddenly he felt a trap snap shut on his leg. Try as he might, he could not get free, and began to cry. After a while, an Auburn racoon limped up and asked him what was wrong. "I is done got my lag caught up in this here trap, and I is gonna die!" The Auburn racoon said, "Well, friend, that there's a deep bad thang, but you doesn't has to die. I gots caught in one them traps, and I gots free by chewin' off mah leg. You do that, an' you'll get loose." And he went on his way for to steal some food.

Later toward dawn as the Auburn racoon was making his way back home after his night's activities, he came upon the poor Alabama racoon still in the very same spot in the very same trap. "Why friend! I thoughted I telled you to gnaw your lag off!" "O me," wailed the Alabama racoon, "I done did what you said, but when I didn't get loose after chewin' off three of 'em, I just gived up!"

Thanks everyone, thank you! I also wish to thank my technical advisor, Joel Chandler Harris.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

EEEK! A Tim Blairalanche, and the place is a wreck!

For those of you trying to figure out what Aussie Tim Cobber Mate is referring to, it's about the World's Biggest Liar competition held over in Olde Sodde that I blogged about last week. Stupid STUPID Blogger seems quite perplexed when it comes to actually taking you to the post for which it assigns a number, meaning that you click on the link and get taken to the top of the page where I talk about helping Boy with his book project. In any event scroll down just a bit and you'll see the stories about the Liar's Contest. No, really, you will--promise.

Since you're here, let me apologize for the way the place looks--we just had all the carpet ripped out, and we're all out of Vegemite, and the dogs won't stay outside, and if I had only known you were coming I could have gotten some fried chicken from the store. We do have some pimento cheese--would you like a sandwich? Just don't sit on the couch--don't ask. Sit over here on the recliner, or you can use one of the kitchen chairs. Thanks for dropping by!

Young Arab breaches security at Stansted Airport
The Associated Press
11/19/02 12:22 PM
LONDON (AP) -- An young man of Arab extraction got past security at London's Stansted Airport and into the cockpit of an empty passenger jet before he was caught, police said Tuesday.

Authorities said, however, they found nothing to link Josef Monti, 18, who lives in Paris, with any terrorist organization.

Monti reportedly broke into the European Aviation Boeing 737 Wednesday and urinated in the cockpit, police said. He pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday to one count of criminal damage and two charges under the Aviation Security Act.

Monti was being held for psychiatric evaluation. Police said Monti gave them no credible reasons for his behavior.

British news reports said that after arriving in Britain aboard a Eurostar train from France, Monti asked for directions to north London's Finsbury Park mosque, which is widely regarded as a center of radical Islam in Britain.

Police said they were unable to confirm that report.
So this is what it’s come to—from the pervasive fear of al-Quaida, to the Shoe Bomber, to the Cockpit Pisser. How sad. What’s next?—[insert dreamy sounding music--fade to small bungalow on outskirts of major city]

Hakim, our brother Josef Monti has struck a mighty blow against the Zionists with their effrontery to fly through the houri-filled blue skies of Allah, so we too must do our part, praise Allah.

What is it you propose, beloved brother Achmet?

Thank you for asking—I have the secret weapon feared by all filthy whores of Satan—into this paper bag, I have placed the leavings of vicious unclean mongrel dogs. Upon the doorstep of the Great Satan, I will place this and call down avenging fire upon the sack using this Zippo I stole from the Jew store, and when the vile bastard child of Satan opens his door, he will soil his already filthy shoes as he tries in vain to quench the ever-burning fire of judgment!

::gasp:: Brother Achmet! You are so brilliant in your quest—you didn’t put your fingers on the dog poopies did you?

No, of course not. I made my daughter do it.

Very clever—what great angel of Satan will you strike—The FBI? The CIA? The Postal Offices?

Well, Hakim, a fine and learned question you have asked. The vicious Jewlovers have much power of the djin to do harm to me, and although I glory in martydom, I do not wish to enter Paradise with large portions of my ample, swelling haunches shot away by the blind pigs of Satan, so I was thinking this weapon should be unleashed upon someone more deserving of punishment. Possibly the evil whore dog woman known as Wendy the Weathergirl from the Zionist Channel 8, inshallah.

Ah, again a clever thing to do, and as you also, I do not wish to see your firm and manly hinder regions damaged. When will you do this great deed?

Right now, my brother—I have carefully mapped out my route to the lair of the vile scum woman, and I now will call upon Allah to guide my hand steadily as I light the bag.

But, Achmet…

Silence brother Hakim!

—BUT ACHMET, should you not wait…


You know, Achmet, your wife is going to be very angry about the burnt poopies upon the carpets of the house.

Shut up, Hakim.

Cracks In the Armor?

In a stunning statement, Axis of Weevil Charter Member and Sole Holder of the Order of Morawski, Lee Ann Morawski herself over at Spinsters, posts the following startling quote yesterday evening--
Next week is the most serious challenge yet thrown at the vaunted Axis of Weevil. Yes, the Iron Bowl. The first Iron Bowl since the Axis’ founding. The epic battle between Alabama and Auburn threatens to rend the Axis asunder. Religion is all well and good, but the Iron Bowl is important.
Next week? NEXT WEEK!? I see Tuberville's evil plan to mislead Alabama into not showing up on Saturday is already having the intended effect. BWWAAHAHAHHAHAHAA! We will win a crushing, overwhelming victory by DEFAULT! Sorta like the thing that goes around every year telling Democrats to vote on Wednesday!

Of course, should this nefarious scheme be found out, and the Tide does manage to show up on time (2:30 p.m. Saturday, November 23, 2002--broadcast on CBS) our plans may need some reworking. Please, no one tell them!

As for the relative importance of this game, all I can say is that I have known of people of mixed marriages, so it is possible to put aside the deep divide for purely carnal reasons (although it is a terrible burden upon the children of such a union). HOWEVER, one of the unspoken, but fully understood tenets of membership in the Axis of Weevil is that we are all free to dispute, rant, rave, yell, cheer, badmouth, or perform other such verbal and literary assaults against whomever we wish in this great conflict, and then go back to our penultimate function of fighting for truth, justice, and the American Way AFTER the Iron Bowl is over, with no rancor or ill-will on either side (except for the continued telling of Auburn-Alabama jokes).

In any event, Miss Lee Ann and all you other Bama fans just remember that the game is NEXT week.

And despite trying so hard, I must share this joke--

Back when Alabama still had the electric chair, four inmates were going to be executed on one day--one had been an Alabama student, one a student at Auburn, one from Tennessee, and one vile creature from the University of Florida. They were gathered all together, and the warden first asked the Auburn student to sit in the chair. He was buckled in, his last statement was taken and the switch was flipped.

Nothing. The warden said it was an act of a merciful God, and to the great relief of the Auburn student, he was allowed to go free.

Next, the Volunteer student was placed in the chair. Statement taken, switch thrown.

Nothing. Breathing a deep sigh, the Rocky Topper was allowed likewise to go free, and went his way praising God.

The third student was placed in the chair, and after saying a quiet prayer to Steve Spurrier, the warden once more ordered the electricity on. And once more...nothing. The Gator was released upon the orders of the warden.

At last it was time for the Crimson Tider, who had been intently watching the entire proceeding. He boldly went over behind the chair and, leaning down for a moment then proudly rising up, proclaimed--"I tell you what you're doin' wrong--you ain't got this thing here plugged in!"

Nate McCord, Fighting Falcon fixer-upper sent along a reminder that today is National Ammo Day.

The Possumblog Armory and Powder Magazine is just now receiving an order of five dozen, 240 round spam cans of Greek .30-'06 ball on stripper clips. The UPS man is having a bit of trouble, but he still has to unload the 5,000 rounds of 6.5x55 Swede, 1,000 rounds of .223, the pallet of 12 gauge magnums, and then there's the other truck full of .45 Silvertips. And the BBs. Can't forget the BBs!

ABC Seeks Sexiest Person in America

"If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."

Hey, Maw, we done bought us an airline! RSA wins USA Airways bid
The Retirement Systems of Alabama emerged Monday as the winning bidder for US Airways Group, but it didn't have much competition in a bankruptcy auction.

The state pension fund's plan to invest $240 million in the nation's seventh-largest airline was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Arlington, Va., when no other bidders came forward. The RSA had earlier topped a $200 million offer from Texas Pacific Group.

RSA chief David Bronner said Monday he hopes a deal can be completed within a month that will give the state pension fund a 37.5 percent stake in US Airways once it emerges from bankruptcy. [...]

[Bronner] said he believes the airline will return to profitability soon and it will end up being a good investment for the $26 billion-asset pension fund.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't," he said.
That's $26 Billion with a B--Bronner and the RSA have put together a very profitable portfolio, and one that has continued to do well, even in the past year--if everyone is so concerned about finding education dollars, I say we let Mr. Bronner run the show.

Good Morning!

I got some sleep last night! I feel almost human. I started crashing (figuratively) last night about halfway home, which is not good in the dark when you're driving in bumper to bumper traffic moving at 110 miles an hour. (I'm exaggerating, of course. It wasn't really bumper to bumper--there was probably a good foot or two betwixt everone.) Napping and driving in the dark is probably not the best way to insure long life, so it was nice to get close to home. Not all the way--had to stop and pick up my shirts from the laundry and then stop at Food World to pick up milk and juice boxes and snacks for the kids. It's always crowded at that time, and I had to go with the shortest line rather than the cutest cashier line. The only good thing is that I was able to look over toward the cutest cashier, and it wasn't the mop-headed duuuude on Number 5. Got home and open the garage door and see wife and Middle Daughter frantically motioning for me to get inside. Rebecca came running out and I told her to help me with the stuff, but she was too excited--the excitement inside was the press conference in which Don "For the Children" Siegelman was conceding the election.

I continued to get stuff out and as she finished telling me, I threw my head back and started laughing a loud, sinister fake laugh--"BWaaaah Ha Ha Haaaaaa!!!" and she said, "Shhhh, Daddy! The neighbors will hear you!" "BWWWWAHHHhhhaaahahahaha!!!" She finally rolled her eyes and went inside, as did I, in time to see most of the speech. Oh well, that's over with. I wish I could say good riddance, but some folks become a bit too dependent upon feeding at the public teat, so I know Dapper Don will be back.

Ate supper, read the mail, got Tiny Terror bathed and in the bed, made sure the rest got their baths, and hit the sack at 9:30. Sure was nice.

And now, here I am again. I have a stack of meeting minutes I have to get typed up, so blogging will be sporadic today. Before I go, I wanted to leave you with the second installment of the Bama Joke Week of Wittitude, but some might think it a bit insensitive due to the terrible accident which happened last night in Tuscaloosa. A pickup truck load of Alabama students went off the road and plunged into the Warrior River around Northport. The students in the back of the pickup drowned because they couldn't get the tailgate down so they could get out. BA-dump-bump! Thank you, everybody--kinda sneaked that one in there! Anyway, surely you should know by now that nothing will stop the Week of Wittitude, so here is the story of the day:

Two Bama fans were out fishing one day and found a real hot spot. They were just pulling fish in right and left. One says to the other, "You know what, we oughta mark this spot so we can come back again," and pulls out a pencil and draws a big X in the water beside the boat. The other says "You big dumb idiot! Gimme that pencil--" and he grabbed it and marked the X on the side of the boat. "You draw it in the water like that and EVERYBODY will know where it is!"

Thanks again folks! Good night and drive safely!

Monday, November 18, 2002

It's 2:00 p.m., and I just got back.

Blech. That took WAY too long. But it went okay, and there was mighty good food involved, so I suppose it's okay. I was going to fill you in a bit about the weekend, but I am very nearly wiped out by having had only four hours of sleep last night as I once more portrayed Good Daddy, and stayed up until 1:00 a.m. somewhat carefully cutting and taping bits of construction paper together for another reading fair book report presentation type of deal for Middle Girl's benefit. With wonderful fun of this morning, and the benefits of lack of sleep, I am simply too tired to tell you all about Harry Potter and the Chamber Pot of Secrets. Other than it was pretty good, I guess. About like the first, except different. But not a lot. I tell you, this franchise is not ever going to take off without some girls in shorts and some gunplay. Of course, that's just me, and I am very tired.

Anyway, the weekend was more or less as I planned, but with no mouse disposal, and a shutter that got dislodged, and stuff like that. So you haven't missed much, unless you've missed some sleep, in which case you begin to wander around the keyboard like a drunken chipmunk.

Whew! I'm going to start all over tomorrow, and see if this comes along any better! See you then...

Fourth Quarter, 1:25 Remaining, Fourth and Fifteen, One Play, Three Points...

The difference in a Number 7 team and a Number 25 team. What a game, though, even if we did wind up losing. Georgia showed some real poise, dang it all, and managed to hold it together long enough to get that one play. Game of inches, any given Saturday and all.

Oh well, time to start beating the drum for the Bama game. For those of you outside of Alabama, the Auburn-Alabama game is religious in its fervor. It is one of the defining questions of who you are, much like "sweet or unsweet," "inside meat or outside," "chopped or sliced," or "Winn Dixie or Food World." Around here, answering something like "Notre Dame" to the question of who you pull for is more or less a self-imposed sentence of exile. Oh, people will be nice to your face, but once you leave they will talk bad about you. In mean, cruel tones. In the end, there are only two schools--Auburn or Alabama. That's it.

As part of each side's attempt to sway public opinion, there is a near-constant barrage of verbal sparring. Auburn-Alabama joke books are one of the state's major industries, and are the staple of political and religious speeches, as well as fodder for the break room.

Not one to allow such high culture to be sequestered within our borders, and realizing what a bully pulpit a somewhat regularly read blog can be, Possumblog will hereby unleash upon the unwitting world a Week of Wittitude featuring a daily joke skewering the Crimson Tide. Those of you who don't appreciate someone picking on the precious Crimson and White are welcome to start your own list. Today's installment begins:

Two Alabama Law School grads went out to Colorado to hunt elk. They had a wonderful guide and managed to bag six of the magnificent animals. After they were finished for the trip, they made their way back to the bush plane, only to be met with the worried look of their pilot. "Fellows, those are some prime animals, but I'm afraid they're going to be too big to take back with us--we've only got enough space for you and four of the elk." Both of the Bama grads started showing off their skills in legalese, threatening action for breech of contract, fraud, and every other thing imaginable, and finally wound it all up in the end by saying "And furthermore, when we came out here last year we killed elk, too, and we flew in a plane just like this one--the exact same model, in fact! We are NOT leaving our elk."

Although still frightened, the pilot feared he had no choice, and after a while elk, equipment, guns and men were crammed into the tiny plane. It sputtered and wobbled and managed at the last minute to become airborne. It was not to last, though, as after only a few miles the engine began to lose power and finally ground to a stop. After a terrifying crash into a snowbank, the men were able to drag themselves from the wreckage. Although the plane was a total loss, they had all survived.

The pilot said, "I think I know where we are..." and one of the Bama grads said, "Yeah, me too! This looks like it's about a mile from where we crashed last year!"

Thank you, thank you...I'll be here all week.

BUT, right now I have to go prepare to give a presentation, and I will not be back until later on this afternoon, so I will catch you up on everything else upon my return.

Friday, November 15, 2002

So, Mr. Possumblogger...

...now that you don't have soccer practice and games, what do you do with your time? Glad you asked, Imaginary Friend!

Last night was spent helping Boy with his reading fair book project report presentation deal thing. Everyone in the whole elementary school has to come up with some sort of large two-dimensional somethingorother which illustrates some salient point or character in the book, some interesting bits of pasted-on verbiage, and a "commercial" intended to spark the interest of the viewer of the artwork and cause him or her to rush willy-nilly to the public storehouse of books and beat down the door to get a copy.

As with all modern elementary school homework, this wall hanging/exercise-in-marketing cannot actually be done by a child, but requires Parental Involvement™. To make it even harder, the Parent™ must not allow his influence to show through to the finished product, but rather work in the idiom of a primitive folk painter, allowing the finished example to not look like an adult did it, but like a highly intelligent and enriched child had done it. Much like a clever Cold War Russki spy, my fingerprints had to be carefully erased, the five year course of architectural education neatly hidden, the secrets of the adhesive properties of tape, glue, paste, and friction artfully disguised as mere happenstance in the hands of a child. And I have a Past. There have been shoebox dioramas for Curious George, model bicycles and Christmas lights for Genies Don't Ride Bicycles, a Revolutionary War campsite with soldiers handpainted onto clothespins, models of Elizabeth Regina I done with a Styrofoam ball and Pringles can--each artfully and skillfully rendered, and each having at least two and one half minutes of actual Student Participation™ (cleverly redirected toward activities such as helping Daddy find the glue, or throwing away paper scraps, or sitting quietly beside the table waiting for instructions rather than dangerous stuff such as cutting out things or lining things up).

Last night's project was a "character hanging" (no, not Tom Dooley) which had to use, for some odd reason, a wire coathanger as the base. Onto this was to be attached a paper plate (or other suitable renewable-resource-based product) head, and below a cut-out body of sorts, the whole of which was intended to create the Gestaltic avataristic essence of the book's main character. The crudely photocopied instruction sheet on how this thing was supposed to look included a couple of pictures of some other kid's work, which I must say, looked like hammered crap. This was going to be a cinch.

In this case, Boy's chosen book was Arthur's Christmas, by the creator of Arthur the lovable aardvark, Marc Brown. (And not to be confused with Arthur's Perfect Christmas, or Arthur Decks the Halls, or Arthur's Christmas Rave and Arrest, or Arthur Samples Adult Holiday Beverages)

Having read the book twice, and after consulting with Mama, Boy was determined to complete a hanging showing Arthur in pajamas holding a package wrapped in Pokemon wrapping paper. Okay, whatever, son--although in the story Arthur has decided to get Santa a present and winds up whipping up a huge bowl of glop. ::sigh:: Reading comprehension means little when there is the opportunity to insert a bit of artistic license in the form of Pikachu on red shiny paper.

So, to work. Corrugated brown cardboard box lid provided a suitable head (paper plates...PLEASE!) which was quickly cut out and upon which a scrap of the white side of the box was cut out into requisite dorky glasses and pasted onto head. Body of poster board--crudely, yet pleasantly and accurately rendered and outlined and patterned in thin blue stripes, little hands of brown cardboard. Onto this was glued six strips of paper (cut out entirely by Boy, but only after having been carefully lined off by Dad and after repeated admonishments not to screw up the cutting) which had short sentences inscribed upon them: "He wants to make Santa a present," "He asks his parents for help," etc., which were carefully inked in Sharpie marker (!) but only after a certain Dad had provided faint penciled-in lettering to follow, and last, the two final pieces of graphic excresence, a larger piece of paper with the title of the book, and the vaunted "commercial." The title block was based upon the candy-striped border of the book's cover, which was carefully outlined by Dad, then colored expertly by Son, except for one teeny mistake in which the order of red-white-red-white was jarred by a red-white-red-red-white incident. Having had some experience at this Game allowed me to know that this was an acceptable level of wrongitude, which a less-experienced parent might have been tempted to correct. Oh, no--leave it be. It only adds to the artifice. In the center was the shaky, outline-lettered title, spelled absolutely right, yet slightly off center enough to show that charming lack of attention associated with child's artwork. All colored in and looking good. Last the spiel about the book, which was written on another large paper, this time with a framework reminiscent of the arched window on the front of the book. Once more, Wonderdad lightly drew in Boy's words--well, more or less his words, except edited for content, spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and Boy colored in the shutters and background and inked the text.

The final result was stunning--the elegant, simple style of Marc Brown's illustrations, with their economy of strokes and elemental forms, makes constructing a recreation with plausibly deniable Parental Involvement™ that much easier. And Boy had a good time.

We were sitting there at the kitchen table, and he was excitedly coloring in the various bits of stuff and chattering about the book, and he stopped for a moment and said, "You know what, Daddy?"

"What, Buddy?"

"I sure like having you as my daddy."

"Yeah, well I like having a little boy just like you to be a daddy for."

So, even though soccer is over, I still have plenty to do to stay occupied. Tonight we have Middle Girl's soccer party, then tomorrow one of the kids' church friends is having a birthday and we're all going to see the new Harry Potter flick, and I really need to scrape the pumkin guts off the front porch from Halloween, and I really, REALLY need to check on those mousetraps I set out last month, and I need to go to the dump, and the seat cover on the truck needs to be replaced, and there's all that stack of laundry, and then there's the Auburn game to watch, and then there's church on Sunday, and then there's that whole 'being a good dad' thing.

I manage to stay busy, I suppose. ANNYway, all of you take care of yourselves and I'll see you Monday.

Finally, someplace my talents might be of use...

World's biggest liar to defend title

LONDON (Reuters) - The World's Biggest Liar will defend his title against a small but devious group of challengers in a pub in northern England later today.

George Kemp beat five-time winner John Graham last year with a string of tall tales including one about his grandfather's greyhound which he said stopped in the middle of a race to have pups and then went on to win, followed by the puppies.

This year's eight entrants will meet for dinner in the Bridge Inn, Santon Bridge in the picturesque Lake District to limber up with a few pints of ale before going head to head with their lies.

"They put their names in a hat and are picked out one by one," pub manager Teresa Appleton told Reuters by telephone. "Each one then has five minutes to tell a pack of lies."

A panel of six judges sits through the performances and then retires to consider its verdict.

The winner gets the princely sum of 25 pounds in cash, a tie proclaiming them the World's Biggest Liar and a silver cup they can keep for a year.

"The competition is tough. They all keep their lies a strict secret until the night," organiser Ian Congdon said. "We are looking for originality, delivery and humour."

The competition, which attracts interest from around the world, was inspired by 19th century Bridge Inn landlord Will Ritson who kept his customers entertained with fictitious tales about the surrounding area.
Bunch of amateurs, and Limeys to boot! Whenever you fellers pick one, send him on over here and let him get his comeuppance. I'll even pay for his airplane ticket and hotel room.

Well, well, an UPDATE: World's Biggest Liar fends off opposition
LONDON (Reuters) - The World's Biggest Liar has kept his title for a second year, fending off competitors at a northern pub by boasting of his exploits on a wooden motorcycle.

George Kemp, 35, told how he rode a balsa wood motorcycle to victory at the Isle of Man TT race, stopping to take advice from formula one driver Nigel Mansell who was walking his dog on the course.

"It was very tight this year," competition organiser Ian Congdon said by phone from the Bridge Inn, Santon Bridge, where competitors were still noisily celebrating. "It could have gone any way between two or three people."

One competitor boasted of how he had disproved a theory that French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte had only one testicle, while another told of an expedition to Africa where he had met Elvis Presley.

In second place was former five-time winner John Graham, who was stripped of his crown last year by Kemp with the tale of his grandfather's greyhound, which gave birth to pups in the middle of a race before going on to win, followed by the puppies.

"The entrants try very hard to keep a straight face," said Congdon. "They're judged on delivery, humour -- anything that keeps you entertained, and George certainly did that."[...[
A bloody wooden motorcycle and prissy Nigel!?! THAT'S ALL YOU GOT!? Please. My offer still stands--get on over here and let's have at it, Georgie.

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