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.

Thursday, May 13, 2004



As I noted in the first post, I have been out this morning doing Proud Papa duty. A certain professor (who shall remain nameless) asked if this meant that I got to play slugabed this morning and sleep in.


I had to get up at the normal time and get the kids up and ready to go as usual and get them to school. Little Boy had a choir presentation this morning at 8 a.m. (so he said) so I figured I might as well get them there and wait.

[Some of you may be wondering how it is that I posted the Thursday Three at 8:00 this morning, when I just said I was doing all this other junk. Due to my association with the high-tech cognoscenti, I cheated and actually posted it last night, and used Blogger's handy Change Date and Time feature to make it appear to have been posted today. I hope you can see clear to forgive me this egregious abuse of your trust. Or not.]

Out the door right at 7 or so, shoved all four in the van and headed off down the hill, intending to stop at the post office on Watterson and buy some stamps so I could mail my rubber checks to the various people to whom I owe money. Drove right past it. Got all the way over the bridge to the traffic light before realizing it, so I made the loop back up South Chalkville and back around to the PO. Which sorta describes my mood.

Parked, admonished the children to be COMPLETELY SILENT to avoid the inevitable arguments that would ensue at the instant any one of them uttered a syllable, and made my way to the stamp machine in the box lobby. Still too early for the counter staff to be working, and apparently the vending machines are on the same schedule. There was one of the school lunchroom ladies in front of me trying to buy some, and it didn't work for her. She turned and fussed and walked on out. Like a slot machine addict, the obvious lack of a jackpot of the player ahead of me meant that my odds were MUCH better for a payoff, so I went ahead and tried my hand. Crapped out. For some reason, it could only give $5 in change. If I could have figured out a way to make it give five bucks in lieu of the 14 cents I was due, I would have stayed there and played all day, but there was no time for that. I fussed and walked back out to the van, where it was remarkably quiet.

And now I was running behind schedule, which is never good.

On to the middle school to drop off Oldest, whom I have taken to saying goodbye to and kissing on the cheek while we are still on the other side of the driveway from where I let her off. I figure not letting her friends see that she actually has anything to do with me is going to be about the only way I can still give her a nice smooch and tell her I love her without her being SO! EMBARRASSED!

Let her out, then circled back out to the main drag and was off to the elementary school. Let the kids out at the gym, then went and parked in the front, and congratulated myself for still having about fifteen minutes to spare before the program started.

Walked in, signed the visitor sheet, went to the gym, which was empty except for teachers in the process of setting things up and the custodial staff sweeping and cleaning. It seems the program was supposed to start at 8:30, not 8 as my sweet son had told me. WOW! I was SUPER early! That NEVER happens! After they got the bleachers unfolded, I went and made myself uncomfortable on the back row, which had the benefit of the wall, where I could lean and rest my back.

A few more parents filtered in, and then the kids started coming in, and by 8:30 it was a happy madhouse of chatter. The assistant principal quieted everyone down, pledge, and then the performance. The presentation was about all the types of musical concepts the children had learned during the year--tempo, pitch, notes, harmony--stuff like that, all set to simple songs. And the addition of two special visitors. A couple of the teachers dressed themselves up as a couple of high-fashion redneck chicks, and they interjected various silly comments throughout, and sang a rousing version of Elvira. It was kinda funny, I suppose, and the kids thought it was a hoot, but I would have preferred just letting the kids sing and play their instruments. But I'm just not a very humor-oriented sort of guy.

They finished up at 9, and I went down and snapped a couple of shots of Jonathan with his buddies, and then figured out what to do until it was time for the next program, Rebecca's D.A.R.E. graduation. It started at 10:30, so I had some time to kill, and rather than hang around leering at the teachers, I figured I would go try to buy stamps again, and get some gas in the van, and remind my boss that I was going to be out this morning. Sometimes, he forgets.

Off back toward town, making a quick detour to the library so I could check my e-mail and send a message to my boss that I was going to be in at lunch. I mentioned it in the super fun Monday Morning Meeting, but I don't think he was in attendance, and I didn't want him to think I had just up and quit. Checked on the blog and the multitude of other e-mail accounts I have, and read the story about Rummy visiting Baghdad. Fat Teddy's reaction was predictable, saying it just didn't matter, and Secretary Rumsfeld should have gone and seen to this when the allegations were first made. But when I listened to the report on the radio on the way to work, the reaction of the troops when they saw him was tumultuous and grateful. Said reaction, oddly enough, not mentioned at all in the article, and something that shouldn't be discounted. Fat Teddy might be right, but it would be hard to make that case based upon the reaction of the soldiers who greeted the Secretary of Defense. That type of reaction is something those wishing for nothing more than an opportunity to embarrass the President might want to ponder before playing the contrarian.

On then into town to the post office, where the counter was now open and staffed by the clerk who looks somewhat like Candice Bergen, circa 1980, at least around the hair. Stamps, drop the letters, and off to fill up on some of that wonderful gasoline.

You know, everyone complains about the cost of gasoline, and it is pretty high, although not when you factor in inflation. But when you consider that I paid $27.95 for an H-P 28mL black ink cartridge at Wal-Mart the other night, it's a downright BARGAIN--one gallon of ink is the equivalent of 3785.41 mL. At $0.998 per mL, that ink costs a whopping $3,777.84 per gallon! The heck with war for oil, I want someone to find out where they pump that ink out of the ground and go take THAT over!

The gas cost a buck-eighty, which is about five cents higher than the RaceTrac down by the interstate, but I just didn't want to have to drive that far. I DID, however, want to smack the slack-jawed loser who pulled up on the other side of the pump, who got out and pumped gas while HOLDING A LIT CIGARETTE in his teeth. MORON! I never know whether to say something to boneheads like this or not, but one of these days, I believe I will be compelled to repeat the title of this post. It'll probably get me knifed, but that's better than getting blowed up real good.

ON back to the school, park, and head to the amphitheater, and sit in the back so I could get a good view. Six classes of fifth graders went through the program, about 160 kids or so, and out of each class, one representative was voted on by their classmates to read his or her essay about the program. And guess who one of the ones was who got to read her essay?

So, yes, I was very proud of Middle Girl. She got up there and did a very good job, a fact I'm sure will provide hours of gossip to the girls on her soccer team when they found out that not only does she talk, she did so in front of a room full of nearly 200 people! (There were two of her teammates there, so word is bound to get out.) I know there is a lot of talk about the D.A.R.E. program being ineffective at reducing drug abuse, and there might be a more cost-efficient way of getting better results, including the idea that parents might do more in the home to discourage abuse, rather than farming it out to the schools, but I still think the concept of getting kids to think of the police as advocates rather than adversaries is good. (And it certainly beats teaching them that it's perfectly fine to experiment.)

Anyway, that's what all has been going on.

Now back on the tractor.

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