Wednesday, December 31, 2003

At Year's End

8 hours. As I type this, there's a mere 8 hours till the end of 2003. Then the ball will drop, and Dick Clark will become neither older-looking nor less obnoxious, and Guy Lombardo will be somewhere in the Great Beyond conducting one more round of "Auld Lang Syne."

And I'll be celebrating. I'll be saying a few words to 2003. And to 2003 I'll be saying, "Fuck off! Go to hell and die, and carry thee from my life! I hope I never see your like again, and if I do, I hope I see you coming so I can smite your ass and get on with life. So go. Go fuck off. Now."

And to 2004 I shall be saying, "Hello, there! Hi, my new friend. Come in. Have a cookie. A drink. Let's get acquainted. Do you like TV? I have three - you can watch anytime you like! You need a loan? I'll spot you a few bucks anytime you're short."

But mainly on this day, the last day of the worst year of my life, I'll be saying, thanks, guys. Thanks to all my friends, the ones I get to see face-to-face and the ones I've never seen but dream of having big pajama parties with and laughing till dawn. Your kindness, support, and good wishes have not only kept me up, they've made life worth living. Your blogs and e-mails entertain me and keep me happy. Your incredible generosity during the Blogathon still touches me immensely. Your helping to make Acrochallenge a weekly event proves just how nice and smart and witty you all are. And most of all, just thanks for being so damn cool. There's not a single one of you out there who's not one of the coolest people on Earth. Don't ever forget that.

So there you go, and let's get on with the new year. And I mean it, 2003. Fuck off away from me and don't come back. And take my water heater with you.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah?

It's nearly midnight and I seem to be up and running again.

I was up at 5:30am and on the road at 7 for a 2½ hour trip. I had some medical tests run and took my computer to the shop in Roanoke. I bought an ethernet card for my old monstrosity computer. I let my mom take me to lunch.

I got home and headed directly for a haircut and then a pedicure. Finally back home at 9:15pm. Then started the task that is trying to get the old computer up and running. After a few misstarts and a 25-minute hold while calling Comcast support, I seem to be connected.

Except my Outlook Express seems to not like me. So if any of you have anything you must tell me, please try me at for now.

God bless me. I'm going to bed.

Monday, December 29, 2003

(Please excuse Acrochallenge while it takes an approximate one week hiatus. Mechanical problem at Betland. Rides can kill.)

Sunday, December 28, 2003

XP XP, I Break With Thee

Hi. Well, I seem to be coming at you once again from the outdated and much-maligned world of Windows ME. After almost a month of nightmarish hell with Windows XP, a system restore, and a full reformat, my computer was still fucked up beyond belief, not operating for more than a half hour or so without freezing and crashing.

Finally, today I went for broke, wiped everything clean - again - and reinstalled ME. So far it's been smooth sailing. I'm getting programs installed back into my system without errors or crashes.

Oh, well, XP. I wanted to be a part of your world, I really did. Maybe you gave me a bad disc or something. But for now, let's just remain friends, OK? Well, as much friends as we can be, seeing as how I bought you with my money and you fucked up my system.

But no hard feelings, really.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

2d Annual Christmas Picture

Well, it's time for Sherman to show you what Santa brought in this year's Christmas pic. All the way from Italy, it's his very own ----- Vespa!

Yes, now little S. will be riding through the streets of B'field saying "ciao!" to everyone.

There's actually another picture that's much cuter, simply because of the look of immense envy on Melf's face. See it here.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Fears for Tears

Well, the day is almost over, and I'm finally back at home and starting to unwind. And I hope that this time finds all of you cozy, and starting to unwind, and where you want to be.

I had an interesting occurrence on Christmas Eve. No, my grandma did not get run over by a reindeer, nor did the big inflatable snowman at the funeral home come to life and play with me, nor did Hermey the elf dentist show up unexpectedly to look at my sore tooth (unfortunately).

I went to the Christmas Eve service at my sister's church. It's not my church, I don't have a church. But if I were to go to any church, I'd pick my sister's. I like their services.

I swung by my folks' house on the way for a nice meal, then we all went together. It was cold and snowy and dark. We went inside and found a seat, and shortly my sister came along to sit with us.

James played a song on the organ, and then the handbells. My brother-in-law, a layreader, took his place up front at the altar, and the service began. We stood, the acolytes (including DJTaytieMac) brought the crosses up the aisle, and the joyous music of the season began to play.

And I began to think. Think about the past year of my life. The past three months. The past month. The past 24 hours.

And there in St Mary's, the tiny 97-year old stone church, in front of (as we say in the south) God and everybody, I began to cry.

The congregation began to sing "Angels We Have Heard On High." I tried to sing, then I tried to mouth the words. It wouldn't come. I was crying too hard. I cried through the call to worship and through the first and second readings. I cried through the sweet (and surprisingly humorous) sermon. The prayers, the hymns, the carols, the reading of the Creed. I cried so much that I would have never gotten my communion wafer down had it not been for the wine that came after. ("Take this bread, it is the body of Christ. Take this wine, it will keep you from choking to death.")

Now, there are a couple of things to be said about this experience. First of all, it was quite embarrassing, sitting there crying in front of five members of my family and a churchful of acquaintances and strangers. But it didn't matter, because embarrassing or not, it came and I had no control over it. It was just a dam that chose a really bad time to burst.

But here's the revelation. I was sitting in between my parents. My sister was one person away. Finally, during the second carol I stood to cry through, she looked over at me. The brother-in-law and DJTaytieMac were both at the front altar, facing me. There were people behind me who I knew.

No one offered to help.

My mom, normally the most mothering person on earth, totally ignored the fact that her youngest was sitting beside her bawling her eyes out. My dad did nothing, and although he can't see, I certainly thought he would be able to hear me. My sister looked at me, then looked away. My brother-in-law was facing me; he looked into his literature.

Only at one point did my dear tender-hearted nephew bend down to catch my eye under the advent candles; he smiled and waved.

There was even a point in the service where the line was mentioned about the importance of "supporting a friend who is sad." Hell, I almost just raised my hand. "Here! Here's someone!"

By the time the service ended, the tears were starting to dry. I shook some hands and headed towards the door to the cold outside. At the door I met Father Russ, who gave me a huge bear hug and told me Merry Christmas. And I climbed in the car with Mom and Dad, where nothing was said.

Afterwards we went to my sister's house for a small get together. People were nice. The brother-in-law rubbed my arm and offered drinks, and Taytie indulged in his favorite past-time, "hang on Bet."

And then I started to think. You know, maybe tears just frighten people. If most of us were to see a woman - or God forbid, a man - standing on the street crying, I don't think many of us would go up and ask if we could help. We're most likely to cross to the other side of the street.

So my crying went ignored, and after I finally stopped everyone was nice and cheery to me. It was strange. But I understand. A held hand or an arm around the shoulder would have made a huge difference, but I understand.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003


Ho, Ho, Ho, and a Merry Christmas Eve to you all! Seems Santa was a little late getting to the winners, but not to fear. Our Bet was going through a nasty reformatting tonight (thanks to Mr M), but we're finally up and running, and I've got some winners to announce before I start loading the sleigh.

Oh, but first, Ol St. You-Know-Who made a bit of a blunder yesterday when he didn't see Venice on his list. Now, you KNOW that the creator of Rewrite Theatre HAS to be on the nice list. But Santa is not. Venice, my love, leave me only bread and spoiled milk tonight - not even Nutella on the side.

And without further ado, the letters: O C H F T G. The entries:

*Oliver coveted his friend’s toy gun.
*Other children heard fantastic Tales Grimm.
*Oren celebrated Hanukkah, forgoing trappings, gifts.
*Ooh, coal! Heat, finally! Thanks Grinch!
*Oy, Claus: Hanukkah for the game?
*Old Christmas hymn: "Fuck Tom Green"
*Oprah cried "Hallelujah for the goodies!"
*One cold-hearted fucker: the Grinch.
*Onward, chosen hobbit Frodo! Trust Gandalf!
*Offering coal, hunh? Fuck that, Grinchanta.
*Ontario carolers have frozen toes, gout.
*O Christmas (Holy Fuck!) Tree! (Godammit!)
*Oh, crap, Heidi forgot the gifts.
*Oy, Chanukah! ("Hanukah" for the goyim.)
*Official Christmas Handbook: for the giving.
*Optimistic Christmas; Halloween, fun;Thanksgiving, gluttonous!
*On Christmas, have fun, take gifts!
*Only Christmastown has funny, tiny gnomes.
*Our Christmas Has Figs. Thursday Gathering.
*Overdoing Christmas, Hanukkah, Freda Treasured Gifts.
*On Christmas, Henry Fries Turkeys. Ghastly!
*Oh Christ, he's fucking the Grinch.
*On Comet, Hermey feels truly gigantic.
*Owen Claus -- his forgotten twin. Geez.

Well! You sure are some clever children. Though I will say that some of your language made Santa's hat stand on end! But that's OK; Elf Leader has a mouth like a sailor sometimes, if I may speak out of school.

Special Holiday Honorable Mentions First: Kellie seems to be proud as punch to tell us that "Our Christmas Has Figs. Thursday Gathering." Well, good for you, Kel!

Mike told you all a little unknown Christmas history with his very fine "Old Christmas Hymn: 'Fuck Tom Green.'" Boy, we love to sing a rousing version of that one up at the ol' North Pole.

We had a couple of mentions of that old Christmas geezer the Grinch. DeepFatFriar was pretty emphatic with "Offering Coal, Hunh? Fuck That, Grinchata!" (I think Cindy Loo Who said that in later years)

But this week we have winners. Yes, multiple winners, two gals, two holidays, two fantastic entries. Co-Champs this week are Stennie with "Oy, Chanukah! ("Hanukah For The Goyim.)", and Krizzer with "One Cold-Hearted Fucker: The Grinch."

Absolutely excellent.

Well, it's back to work for me. I'll be seeing you all soon, then it's off to Antigua for a short vacation before planning for next year. Merrrrrrrrrry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2003


Good afternoon, boys and girls, bloggers and bloggees, and stocking coal recipients of all ages! And welcome to the special Christmas edition of Acromania!

Today we have a very special guest judge - none other than that Jolly Old Elf himself, yes, the one and only Santa Claus! It's getting close to his big flight, but as a personal favor to me, he said he'd come by to judge a round of Acro for us - his last duty before loading up the sleigh and listening to that damned Elf Song one last time.

Take it away, Santa!

Ho, ho, ho, and Merry Christmas to you all! Oh, what a year it's been, and I've got reports on all of you! Jellybean, you've been nice, Krizzer, nice. Stennie and Mike, oh, there's some naughtiness in your files. Michelle, very naughty. Flipsy, Kellie - hmmm, still time for you two to make things up if you act now (but Kellie, tell Ervin he's definitely on the 'nice' list). The Friar and Capt A? Oh, it's looking like coal for you two. And LilyG, always on the nice list. (I'm afraid of her, you know.)

Well, I'll be judging your acros this week. Bet has pulled some fine letters from the acrobasket, and it's your job to give us three tries for the best acronym you can from those letters. I'll be judging from my remote location at the North Pole, that would be at about 9pm est, and I'll announce the winners.

Now - this week there is on very special rule. ALL ENTRIES MUST HAVE A CHRISTMAS THEME. (Bet says this will tell the tale of whether or not you folks actually read this part of the directions, or just head for the letters.) If you're not Christmas-themed, you will not win. And it'll be looking like coal for your stocking, too.

OK, here come the letters - oh, and Rudolph and Hermey say "Hi."


Thanks, Santie. Now everyone get playing!


It was Christmas Eve, babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me
Won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So Happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true....

When I mentioned the Mighty Triumverate of Modern Christmas Songs, I can't believe I left out "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues. Good Lawks a Mercy. Not only is it the greatest Christmas song, it may be one of the greatest songs of all time.

And having said that, yes, I'm broke. Not monetarily broke, believe it or not, but my computer is. It's been wacko ever since I installed XP, but since the weekend it's gone beyond wacko into full manic depressive stages. It's up, it's down, it's up, it's down. Mainly down.

It's supposed to be looked at tonight by Mr M. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, keep good thoughts in that direction. I will make sure the holiday edition of Acro gets posted, even if I have to risk my job to publish it from TheCompanyIWorkFor. So stick around.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Blogging At Work

Yep, it's a no-no, but I'm doing it anyway.

Today as part of our ongoing Christmas celebration here at TheCompanyIWorkFor, we made up new words to the old Rudolph classic "Silver and Gold." With apologies to Burl Ives and Sam the Snowman.

Silver and gold, silver and gold,
I wish I had me some silver and gold,
Oh, the things I could buy,
They say it won't bring me peace, but I'd ... still ... try...

Silver and gold, silver and gold,
Mean so much more when I see,
Silver and gold in my wallet,
And not on my Christmas tree.

Thank you, thank you.

Say What?

One of the modern marvels of our age is closed-caption television. I'm not kidding.

Think about it. If you are a deaf person, or even a hard-of-hearing person, it must be a godsend. I always used to wonder how horrible it would be to be deaf and not be able to enjoy televison. Yes, I know there are at least a thousand jokes you could make about that statement, but, you know, I guess I am a pod and I wonder about these things. I used to think, "Ooooh, I'll bet the hard-of-hearing love foreign films with subtitles - they can enjoy movies too!"

Then along came closed-captioning. And we rejoiced.

I mean, to think that there's someone there, transcribing every television show on TV, movies on cable, and everything else is one thing to marvel at. But, listen! Live shows! Awards shows, and sports, and well, and whatever else is live on TV. That's pretty damn cool.

And yet, in all this marveling, I'd never really used closed-captioning. Never felt the want or need to. In fact, always felt like I was kind of stealing if I did. You know: "Hey, this service is for us! You hearing people use your damn volume. Now, beat it, ya damn hearing people!"

That was, of course, until Mr M came along. Mr M is, well.... He's certainly not deaf. And I certainly wouldn't class him as hearing-impaired. It's more, he's got a bad case of the "huh?"s. You have to repeat things for him, especially if you have a godawful hick southern accent and say pen and pin and boil and bull alike (according to some cruel folks). And when we watch TV, he likes the volume up, and the closed-captioning on. (And as of yet, we haven't been attacked by any deaf people for using their service.)

When I'm at Mr M's, watching closed-captioned TV has become pretty much second nature. It used to be disconcerting because I'd be so busy reading I lost sight of what was actually happening on the screen. That was a short-lived phenomenon, though, thankfully.

However, there is one thing I can't seem to get past. There are some serious mistakes in the closed-captioning world.

Most of them have to do with names. Like when an announcer tells us a story about Nicole Kidman or Alicia Silverstone, we're likely to see their names appear in the captioning as "Nick Old Kid Man" or "A Leash Unsilverstone."

But there can also be errors in conversation. When someone in a TV show tells us he's through playing football, what we see in print is that he's "threw playing footbowl." Or "she herself went dancing" can show up as "she hurts elf wind dancing" when read instead of heard.

Then you've got those wacko weird days when either 1) the closed-caption machine is just fucking broken, or 2) the closed-caption typer is on peyote, or 3) possibly both. When these days happen, you get nuggets like this. When Dan Rather says, "Iraqi insurgents crossed into Tikrit today, shooting several US soldiers and destroying several buildings in the downtown area," what we read is "Zusszi inph0nt &fn78eU llllll8ehhrnwz ONENKDO3 Ohddln30$@3 svinUliqZ fo^dCifh¥r." The corresponding action when that happens, for me, anyway, is to just get drunk and enjoy the flow.

Then, there's the sin of omission. (Is omission in fact a sin? Can be, says I.)

It must be a bitch having to type rapid-fire conversation for a program that's an hour long, or a movie that's two, or, God forbid, a sporting event that's four. So you get a lot of omission of text in conversations, news, and the like. So where John Madden might be waxing poetic about a football (or footbowl) player and say, "You know, when he came out of college he was very highly touted by the scouts. But what with his knee and the lewd conduct scandal with the underage girls and the positive drug tests and the fact that he hasn't scored a touchdown since God was in the third grade, most people would agree his career has been less than stellar." When that comes up on the screen in captioning it's something closer to "He was highly touted by the scouts, but his career has been less than stellar." Loses a little something in the translation, if I may say.

A few days ago, I found myself on my own for lunch with no errands to keep me occupied. Normally when this happens I'll go home and do laundry, or sit and catch "Law and Order." But I was hungry this particular day and decided to go to a local spot for a sandwich. It's one of those places where, thankfully, they have a couple of TVs suspended from the ceiling (I say thankfully because it's hard for me to eat and read a book - my normal "out by myself" activity - at the same time). But these TVs are, of course, mute, and so we get to enjoy, depending on which direction we're facing, either CNN or the Weather Channel in all their closed-captioned glory.

So I'd gotten my sandwich and drink, and made sure I was facing the CNN side of the room, and I began to chomp and watch. There was a story about the missing student case in North Dakota, and the sheriff's office had called a press conference for later in the day. The anchorwoman was reading the ins and outs of the case and leading us to believe there might be a big announcement at this conference. So I'm reading along, and I'm reading (I'm paraphrasing here), "The press conference will be at 3pm. As you know the student has been missing since November and although someone has been charged in connection with the disappearance, he is no longer speaking to the police. Of this press conference an insider has said, and I quote - "

And it ended! It flat-ass ended on "and I quote!" How can that happen? That's like saying, "We're going live now to an announcement that will change the earth forever from this moment on," then never going there.

At first, well, after the initial shock wore off and I recouped enough to swallow my bite of sandwich that had lodged in my throat, I thought, "Well, the typer wasn't fast enough, ran out of time, and we're paying the price for it."

But then I began to think otherwise. What if the typer got sick suddenly? What if he/she keeled over and died? What if, in a complete Pythonesque stroke of bad luck, the hairy hand of a monster reached out and knocked the typer unconscious?

We'll never know. But such is the world of closed-captioning. In fact, and I quote -

Thursday, December 18, 2003

In Lieu of Lunch

Bah Humbug, no that's too strong
Cause it is my favorite holiday
But all this year's been a busy blur
Don't think I have the energy....

Hi, boys and girls. I'm sitting here on my lunch hour. I've decided to eschew lunch for a quickie blog. (that would make an interesting blog name: Kwik-E Blog.)

And lunch isn't all I'm eschewing, I'm afraid. The decision is made, the die is cast. I shan't be getting a Christmas Tree this year. I made the decision yesterday. I'd left it so late because I was so not in the Christmas spirit, then I kept thinking if I didn't get a tree I'd just be a big fat Christmas failure. Then yesterday I realized hell, even if I got a tree that very day I couldn't decorate it till tonight, which is exactly one week from the holiday anyway. So instead I'm taking my tree lights and putting them around the inside of my window for a little festive lighting, and I'll find a way to put a few things around and a place to stack my presents, if I ever finish buying them and begin wrapping them. Just to see if I can make the place look a little Christmasy without a tree.

Speaking of procrastination, I'm also carrying around with me as we speak a boxed gift and two to-be-mailed-overseas Christmas cards. None of which I know will get to their destinations on time. It wouldn't bother me so much (well, the gift does, I want it to get there on time), but for the lecture I always get at the Post Office about how I wasn't prompt again this year, and I did know that these things won't be arriving till after Christmas, thus making the baby Jesus cry.

Postal Officials = Nazis in blue outfits.

On the upside, however, I've received enough cards to start displaying, which is cool. And work has been really fun this week. See, we've completed all our set goals already, so we're basically just coasting this week, with the occasional shitty interruption by someone actually needing some TheCompanyIWorkFor service. How dare they, this close to the holidays. We've decided to string out all our gifts as long as possible and have a kind of "12 Days of Christmas" thing. So we brought all our gifts for each other, but we're opening them one at a time. One person gets one one day, another person gets one the next, and so on. So far I've gotten a really cool magazine rack (that I may end up putting sheet music in), and today I got a great charm bracelet filled with - yes, folks - all kinds of tiny charms of pocketbooks. Someone must have noticed my two-pocketbook coup.

And, I got a scandalous, hilarious, and wondrous gift yesterday from the DeepFatFriar himself. Am I allowed to tell what it is, Friar? He wouldn't let me open it at work, so I don't know if he'll let me shout from the rooftops of cyberspace what it is.

And finally, the snow is peppering down here now, as it has been all morning. That can't help but make things a little Christmasier. I have to go the grocery after work and get some appetizers for a party I'm going to tomorrow, and some ingredients (or gredients, as Taytie used to say when he was a toddler playing "Let's Cook") for some cookies for the office. (I'm excited about the party - people are going to be playing board games, so I hear.)

Now back to work. I think I'll make my list for the grocery there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


It's been a long day. Please forgive my being late with winners.

First, I have to say something. I found myself on my mom's sofa at about 4pm today, dead to the world. I woke up just in time to see the Mario show on the Food Network.

You know how on cooking shows they have three or four people sitting at the bar where the star of the show cooks? And they ask questions or help out, or mainly just eat the star's culinary delights? Well, today on Mario, there were three people at the bar. Some guy, some girl, and Michael Stipe.

Now, to say this is odd is something of an understatement. He was never introduced as Michael Stipe, frontman for REM, or as anything else. He was just one of three schlubs watching Mario cook. Geez, it was odd.

Anyway, this week's very wily letters were U I R I Y. The entries:

*Undulating, I rise into you.
*Ugly! Icky! Roy is yours!
*Uncle Izzy rhymes in Yiddish.
*Unless I'm right, it's yucky.
*Ugly Ida really inspires yelling.
*Ubersturmfuhrer Ivan: rapist, idiot, yutz
*Ursula is right: I'm yummy!
*Unbelieveably inebriated, right in Yonkers.
*Ugly idiot requires interminable yelling.
*Unused intellect rendered idiotic yahoo.
*Under Isabel, Riley itemized yachts.
*Underneath ivy roofs, I yearn.
*Unless it's red, it's yellow.
*Unbelievably irate rabbis in yarmulkes.
*Urine is really interestingly yellow
*Up Izzard's rump, imagine: Yacks!
*Ukranians ingest rennet, ice cream, Yoda
*Urinary infections recur if you.....
*Ugly, irrational Rumanians in Yukon.
*Until it rains, I'm yours.
*Under Igloos, Rudolph Is Yelling.
*Unless I Read, I Yodel.
*Ugly Iris Really Is Yellow.

You know, my number one rule is "never throw the letters back." I tell you that so you'll know that as bad as those letters were, I had to give them to you.

Well, first honors go to Kellie with "Unless I read, I yodel." I know Kellie, and happen to know that this is completely true.

LilyG's "Ubersturmfuhrer Ivan: rapist, idiot, yutz." not only described wretched man, but made me laff as well.

And deepfatfriar's "Until it rains, I'm yours" was stellar, as was his "Urinary infections recur if you...." (a double honor there)

But this week's winner is the sex machine himself, Mike, with his declaration "Unless it's red, it's yellow."

Thanks to all for playing, and hope you're around next week for what is shaping up to be a very special round of acro!

Monday, December 15, 2003

A Picture

Since I don't have anything much to say tonight, I thought I'd give you a picture.

When we were on our girls' weekend in Winston-Salem last weekend, I bought an action figure. Some store had Rudolph figures and, although most of them were just "more of the same" where figures go, one really jumped off the shelf at me.

They had a Melf! (He's actually called "Tall Elf," but of course, we all say he looks like Mel Cooley from "The Dick Van Dyke Show," so we call him Melf)

He's so cute I took his picture for you.


It's icy, it's cold, it's drab outside, it's time for another December what-the-shit-am-I-getting-everybody-for-Christmas round of Acromania!

I shall be your humble judge this week. And if anyone else would like to judge in the near future, again, let me know.

The rules are ... completely different this week! No, no, not really, same as always. Everyone gets three entries to make the best acronym they can to the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. I'll judge tomorrow night around 9pmish est, and announce the winners shortly after, when there'll be laughter and tears over Tia Marias (thanks, Elvis).

This week's letters are:

oh, hell, there's a napkin and a tube of Chapstick in the acrobasket

This week's letters are:

oh, I am SO sorry


OK, put your thinking caps on and have at it.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A Few Musical Notes

Did you ever sit down to blog and realize you're out of ideas? I'm there right now, so instead of bullshitting around, I'll just tell you two quick things and be outta here.

First of all, I must give a mighty shout-out to my nephew, yes, the very one and only DJ TaytieMac. He went to All-Regional Band tryouts yesterday. This was his second time. He went last year, as an eighth-grader, and was, well, a little overwhelmed. I think he'd practiced his rudiments, but was totally thrown by the sightreading portion of the trying out. He was very disappointed.

I told him before he went this time to be as polished as he could on his rudiments, and to not even think about the sightreading - I mean, after all, it's nothing you can practice. Hell, I've been playing 30-some years and sightreading's still the bane of my existence.

So I called him last night, when I knew he'd gotten home, and asked him how he did. He made fourth chair Symphonic Band. So basically what that means is that of all the kids trying out from about B'field all the way west to the Tennessee border, my fella was fourth best. I was so proud of him. I was totally kvelling. And he was proud of himself, I think, though he'd never admit it. He just laughed and said, "I figured you'd be happy about that." Such a babe.

Community Band had our big Christmas concert last night. And boy, did it make us feel that Christmas was indeed upon us. This was because the stage on which we played was 30 fucking degrees all night! I'm not kidding; when we weren't playing, which, sadly, was too often, I had my hands stuffed into the sleeves of my shirt. I don't know what happened, but the cold air was blowing so hard it blew a couple of folks' music right off their stands!

It was smaller than it's been in past years, in terms of performers and audience. We normally have a big chorus, and a couple of kids' choirs, and had neither this year. (Incidentally, kids' choirs = families = big audiences) Instead we had the band, and the Community Strings, plus a nice little jazz trio, and a Sweet Adelines group. Thankfully, it didn't last too long, and Mr M and I, who'd planned to leave the building after the concert "like rats out of an aqueduct" (his words), almost made it. But.....

But I decided I had to have Sherman's picture made with Santa Claus, so that took a little doing. Had to find the Big Guy first. (Sherman's Christmas togs are quite fetching, no?)

When we left the building, quite unratlike, may I say, it was snowing like crazy! It was really pretty, quite slick, ultra cold - well, about as cold as it was on the stage - and we wanted to get a pizza and get the hell home. Which we did.

So I came back home today, by way of a few shopping stops. Went to eat dinner with the parents, who are back in town for the holidays. Then immediately went to their loveseat and fell flat asleep. That loveseat is like a crib to me. Five minutes on it and I'm gone. Got up to come home, and found it had snowed again while I was inside, and is still snowing as we speak. Or type. It's quite pretty, but makes me really not want to go to work tomorrow.

OK. There we go; boring blog completed.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Is It Christmas Already?

I'm still not ready for Christmas. I don't just mean that I still have over half my presents to buy.

I'm not emotionally ready for it.

The Great Water Heater Debacle of 03 took a lot out of me. I laughed, looking back on the actual day of finding out - that I found out, then left to go on a weekend away. I do love that the more stuff that happens here at the Poderosa, the less upset I get over all of it.

But where it's taken its toll is the clean-up. It's only been today that my carpet isn't wet to the touch. That's a week of wetness. I wet-vacced two nights, and used towels as sponges. I've worried about the musty smell and that my floor underneath might be damaged. I have a shop-vac lying in the floor of my hallway. A basket of old clothes there too, displaced from their hiding place in the laundry room.

This morning at about 1:30 I had a repeat of the GWH Debacle. I was sitting at my computer, sleepily #squeezing away, when I heard water running. "Oh no," I said. Couldn't be. But it was. There was water running back behind that ominous latticework wall. I quickly unscrewed it and moved it aside to find water pouring - and folks, I mean pouring - out of a pipe coming out of the tank and leading straight to....the floor.

I sprang into action by screaming "nononononononononono" and running for towels to put underneath the pipe. I then called my brother-in-law, a fine man who can apparently guess his way through the workings of a gas water heater while in REM-sleep.

I won't go through all the gory details yet again, but he figured this happened because the temperature was set too high. The water had tapered off and quit and I reset the temperature, and that seemed to do the trick. But sleep was out of the question at that point, so I bundled up in the Comfy Chair and ended up dozing for about an hour before rising time came.

I've been flirting for about the past week with the idea of unearthing my big Christmas box from the closet in the back bedroom. It has my ornaments, stockings, Christmas toys, well, everything. It's basically Christmas In A Box. But the Debacle happened, and then the wet floor, and then the Debacle Redux, and now I'm afraid if I go get that box out and drag it into the living room, my house might just explode.

I'm inching towards the holiday, though. Baby steps. I did get my Rudolph characters set put up in my office, complete with the Bumble putting a star on a little Christmas tree I have ("Looky what he can do!"). And I've unearthed the three CDs that have my three favorite Christmas songs on them. The Mighty Triumvirate of Modern Christmas Songs. That would be Elvis Costello's "St Stephen's Day Murders," Robert Earl Keen's "Merry Christmas From the Family," and the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping."

The third of these, I must say, has cheered me up to no end. "Christmas Wrapping," an upbeat danceable number if there ever was one, contains a serious fistful of lyrics. It reminds me, in fact, of "Ya Got Trouble" from "The Music Man." You know, you don't listen to it for a long time (well, 11 months in this case), and in that time away you get really rusty with the lyrics, so you have to listen to it over and over about 6 or 7 times to get warmed up. Then you're like a well-oiled machine and can spit the words out just as fast as (the late, lamented) Patty from the Waitresses does.

Hey, Stennie - maybe that should be our tie-breaker for the next "Trouble"-off!

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Bag Lady

You know you're getting old when you become what you used to make fun of.

This has happened to me before. Most notably, the first time I complained about some young sprout playing his music too loud. I said, "He needs to hike that down a couple notches. Ohhhhhhhh, shit." I almost caught myself, but not quite.

I also passed the "pizza at 2am" threshold several years ago. I used to love the fact that if I wanted to eat something spicy, say, jalapeno bites for breakfast, I did so with abandon. That doesn't much happen anymore.

I also notice Rolaids and Soltice are now big items on my shopping list.

Today I hit a new low on the I-Don't-Have-A-Hope-In-Hell-Of-Ever-Being-Cool-Again barometer.

I was sitting in the parking lot of the Wally World, Walmart to most of you. I ran out of cleaning supplies during the Great Water Heater Debacle of 03, and was stocking back up.

I parked the car, put on my gloves, and got out my handbag. And I sat there for a few minutes, dumbfounded at how I became that lady that waddles through the Walmart with a big, 47-pound handbag containing everything she owns. I don't know how it happened, but it has indeed taken place.

Now, you must know that for the first 25 or so years of my life, I never carried a pocketbook of any type. I carried my drivers license and cash in pockets, and that was it. (I wish I had a dollar for every time I washed my drivers license in the laundry.) Then as I got older and wanted to carry a few more things, I started carrying small, discreet bags. And that continued forever.

Well, or so I thought. Since the weather turned I seem to not be able to get shut of this one handbag I'm carrying. It's not hugely huge, it's what you might call mid-sized, it's not a shoulder bag, it has handles (yep, just like your mamaw's), and is some sort of vinylish all-weather stuff. And although it's not a hugely huge bag, it holds shitloads.

I'm currently carrying things around with me I'd normally never have. Fingernail polish. A comb. Over the weekend I found a clothespin in there. I have about 14 ink pens and $14.77 in change at the bottom. I have prescription bottles. Ones I don't even use anymore. I found an empty snack-sized crumpled up Frito bag. I don't even remember eating Fritos in the last few months. I have wrapped straws from fast-food places. I've got mail, folded up pieces of paper I've printed off the computer at work, and about 25 bank envelopes. All empty, of course.

But here's the kicker. I'm carrying around with me, in my pocketbook - a pocketbook! Yep, several times in the past couple of weeks I've needed a small shoulder bag for just the essentials - you know, cash, credit cards, license, and maybe a pen and lipstick. So I filled one up and have carried it here and there. But it doesn't hold my checkbook. Or my clothespin, which apparently I can't operate without. So the small shoulder bag has gone into the big vinylish handbag and I'm carrying it all.

I went into the Wally World and purchased my items. The lady put them in my basket and I headed out to the parking lot, in a driving wind and blowing snow. I rolled my basket up the aisle. And down the aisle. And up another aisle. I'd lost my car. It would have been funny had it not been so damn cold, and had I not realized less than an hour earlier that I'd turned into an old uncool waddling bag lady who thinks teenagers are ungrateful louts who play their damn noisy music too loud.

I wanted to sit there in the lot and cry. But I didn't. You know, only babies can get away with that, and even they sometimes get yanked up and spanked. So I soldiered on and found my car two aisles over.

Can a plastic rain bonnet for me be far behind?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Observations Made While Watching This Year's Showing Of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

1. When Rudolph and his buddies are playing around at the first Reindeer Games meeting, talking about meeting does and such, the music in the background is an orchestrated, very poppy version of "Rockin Around The Christmas Tree." In an estimated 35 viewings of this show, I'd never noticed that before.

2. Clarice must have the richest reindeer family in Christmastown. She's the only doe that can afford a nice bow for her head.

3. While it was mean of the other reindeer to hurl epithets at Rudolph like "schnozz," "firesnout," and the like, it's odd not one chose to call him "sissy" or "baby." Rudolph seems to be the only young reindeer to show up for the first day of Reindeer Games with Mom and Dad in tow.

4. There's not always tomorrow for dreams to come true.

5. The relationship of Mr and Mrs Claus is eerily like that of my own mom and dad. She's happy and smiling, snapping her fingers along to the Elf Song (she even goes behind Santa's back to tell them their song was perfect). She's trying to get Santa to eat and be happy. Santa, however, is something of a horse's ass, grumpy, bored, and generally just wanting to be left alone. However, I didn't see Santa getting three sheets to the wind most nights between 5 and 8pm.

6. One of Yukon Cornelius's mush-dogs is a French Poodle.

7. While it was sad that Rudolph was sent away from the Reindeer Games because of his "disability," for the times (1965) it wasn't really that uncommon. Who amongst us who was attending elementary school in 1965 had any kind of child with a disability as a classmate? That was pretty much mandatory home-schooling.

8. Could it possibly be that what makes the doll a Misfit Toy is that she's just...a doll? The Elf Leader himself says, "We have dolls that walk, talk, eat, cry, laugh and run a temperature." Well, maybe she can't do any of those things, so she's a misfit. (Actually, I still think it has to do with her immensely swollen ankles.)

9. If Hermey's a gay elf dentist, and Rudolph has a red nose, and they're misfits, why isn't Melf, the Tall Elf with Glasses, also a misfit? He doesn't look like everyone else. He's nearsighted and six feet tall. But there he is right with all the other elves, singing and dancing and being a part of everything. Does he escape because he's with the program?

10. Every time I hear Comet at the Reindeer Games saying, "I not only wanna be your coach, but I wanna be your pal," my skin crawls. I think Comet molests young reindeer at the Games every year. That's why they fly so fast.


It's time! It's time! It's time for acrowinners!

Our judge was the wonderful and beautiful and oh-so sexolicious Michelle. The letters were B F S E L G. And the entries were:

*Bruce flattened saxophone; Elizabeth laughed grandly.
*Bush feels superior. Elderly left gasping.
*"Best fucking sex ever," Liberace gurgled.
*Bet finds sloshy environment lingering ghastly.
*But first, Swharzenegger extols lady groping.
*Botanical fungi extorts lichen gang.
* Buy Fresh Squid. Everyone Loves Goo.
*Bet Finally Sells Elephant Lamp. Good.
*Bet's Floor. Squishy. Erupting. Leaky. Gurgling.
* Baghdad -- forget safety, everybody leaves gladly.
*Bring fruit! Says Empress Lily, giggling
*Bullwinkle flies? Stop eating little greenies.
*Bet felt someone else's left gluteus.
*Bong for sale. Extra lighter, gratis.
*Bryan Ferry says, "Easy? Lily G!"
*Big, fat, selvish, evil, lying guy.
*Before Fall, select eleven lopsided gourds.
*Bright fellow seeks equally lively girl.
*B F Skinner: Erudite. Learned. Gay.
*"Bruce fibs," says Elizabeth. "Loves games."
*Big fat Sam's eaten Lupe's goat.

And now, for the cheers and tears, I shall turn it over to Michelle herself. Mitchie?

Sorry I'm late with the announcement of the Big Winner tonight, ladies and
"gentlemen", but you know, girls like me, we got stuff goin' on. Ok,
actually, my sister called and refused to get off the phone, regardless of
my insistence that I had someplace else to be.

Some very good choices tonight, for example:

Flipsycab's "Bet finds sloshy environment lingering ghastly." - so very

And then there's Kellie's "Bet's Floor. Squishy. Erupting. Leaky.
Gurgling." - probably very accurate, and again, so very timely.

And well, there's Lily's "Bullwinkle flies? Stop eating little greenies."
Although this has nothing to do with Bet's floor, and despite the fact that
I kind of don't get what she's talking about, this entry serves as the best
proof I have that Lily really needs to get out of Kansas. She's clearly
succumbed to hallucinogenic drugs.

But of course, there can only be one winner. This winner shall enjoy a week
of knowing they are truly the best acroplayer in the acronym universe. A
real peach, a gem! A woman among women! Here is her winning entry: "B F
Skinner: Erudite. Learned. Gay.

That's right. This week's winner is Bet, genius that she is. Skinner? Gay? Who knew?

Wowie. Thanks! I'm honored, I'm blushing. And I'm inviting everyone back next week for another round of acro!

Monday, December 08, 2003

I watched a documentary about John Lennon tonight. About halfway through, I realized today is the anniversary of John's death.

I miss John. I don't think about it. I don't sit around and pine, saying, "Oh God, I wish John Lennon was here." But I miss him. I can finally hear Beatles songs again without being sad, that took awhile. However, there are some songs that will always make me misty, "In My Life" and "Norwegian Wood" being the top two on that list.

Towards the end of the documentary they played an audio clip of John talking about "Double Fantasy." He was saying that he was singing it to the people his age, who were there at the beginning and had grown up like he did. And he was saying he wanted to let them know, hey, I made it out of everything OK, did you, did you find happiness and love, and weren't the 70s a drag, and let's go on to the 80s now.

And that really made me miss John. Because we did make it out OK. But we can't tell him that.




I just endured 20 minutes on the cusp of excitement. Yep, I just witnessed my 3d Christmas Parade right from the porch of the Poderosa. I was so bummed last year that the band didn't march. Well, this year, now that I have an "in" to the band (well, two "ins" if you count Mowing Boy), I found out why. They do march, they just pick up the parade route about halfway into town instead of at the starting point. Which means I don't get to see them because they're lazy asses. Humbug to them.

And now it's time for another orgasm-inducing round of Acromania. I'll tell you all, I'm taking time from my busy wet-vaccing schedule to put up the round this week. The new water heater is in, but the cleaning left to go is immense. I'm projecting the end of it around April 2004. Maybe about the 16th. At 9:50pm.

Anyway, we have a judge for acroing this week, and the judge is the wonderful and babe-o-licious Michelle! She's over there, all dry and comfy in her house in Chicago, the bitch. I mean, the lovely and wonderful person that she is.

So we all know that everyone gets 3 entries to make the best acronym they can to the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. We will not have 3 letters again this week, and by the way: I was asked last week how that happened, the 3 letter-thing, and if the letters were generated by some sort of computer program. If only I was so sophisticated! I promise you folks, there is an acrobasket, and it's full of Scrabble tiles, and I just decide each week, "Oh, let's do four letters," "Oh, let's do six letters," and start randomly drawing.

Anyway, this round ends at 10pm eastern tomorrow night, and the winners will be posted not long after. And now, the letters:


Now, there are some good letters! So why are you waiting? Acro!

Sunday, December 07, 2003


Yes, my buds. I'm back from my annual Christmas Girls Weekend. It was interesting, to say the least.

Well, actually, the Girls Weekend part of it was just a fun weekend. We went to Winston-Salem, NC, and stayed in a nice hotel that was actually more like a luxury condo. We shopped and drank and went out to eat, and watched TV and lolled around and laughed ourselves crazy. I bought a few Christmas gifts, some stuff for myself, and I spent way too much of my special set-aside "Christmas Gift Cash" for a pair of shoes for myself that were too expensive, but I really liked them. So Merry Christmas to me.

But the real part of the story started before we even left.

Friday morning when I was getting ready for work, I heard something going on in my house that I didn't like. I was hearing a trickling behind the latticework in the laundry room. This is where my hot water heater and my furnace are. I went over to the latticework, stuck my ear right to it, and felt all around the floor there. It was dry. I used my 40-some-odd year philosophy of "When In Doubt, Call Dad," and did just that.

He asked me if I'd looked back there behind the latticework, and I told him no. What I didn't tell him was that I really didn't know how to get back there, because I couldn't find the screws to unscrew it and open it. Anyway his answer was, "If the floor's not wet, I wouldn't worry about it," so I hung up the phone and went to work.

But you know me. I worry.

When I came back home at 1pm to get my suitcase and be picked up for the trip south, I walked by the latticework. Trickle trickle. It was worrying me. So I popped my head out the door and said, "Go pick up the other girls and come back to get me last, I need to investigate this." And I picked up my handy tool chest.

After a lot of searching, I finally found the magic screws that opened the latticework. I opened it up, and standing there, like the big cylinder of hate that it is, was my water heater. The pipes leading into it were wet. The floor underneath it was wet.

By the time all this had happened, all the girls had been picked up and were raring to go. I went to the door and flagged them inside. So inside were the four of us, the TheCompanyIWorkFor Girls, looking at my water heater. One of us knows her home improvement stuff. Another is semi-knowledgable. The other two are pretty much hopeless (I'm in that category).

In the following moments we: turned off the gas to the heater, turned off the water to the heater. Opened the hot water faucets and drained them. Took the garden hose out back and strung it through the laundry room window in an effort to drain some of the water from the tank outside. (That was a joke.) We put towels under and around the heater to soak up the excess water, of which there was much too excess of for that to work very well.

During all of this, one of us had to go to the bathroom, and we discovered there was a large portion of my living room floor that was wet. Wet wet. Very wet. Then we discovered there was water against the wall behind my sofa. It was a worrying thing.

We put towels on the floor to soak (I'm officially out of towels, people). It was at this point I asked the girls, "Do I need to stay home, or will that just be two and a half days of sitting here in a wet house?" And the answer, which, granted, came from three women with their asses on fire to get in the car and drive, answered, "There's no reason to stay here."

So I called the plumber, who wasn't there, because he's never there, I think he hangs upside down like a bat 22 hours of most days, and I left him a message. The message told what was wrong, that I'd be gone, and we gave him San's husband's phone number for contact. And we left. And the women's fiery asses were extinguished.

Cut to one Girls Weekend later....

We got home about 5pm today. Unloading was fun. We had so much shit in the car we were afraid to hit the brakes lest we be beaned in the head by flying gifts. So we got to my house first and the unloading began.

This is how things work for me. I got out, opened my door, and proceeded to go get some bags out of the vehicle. In the meantime, the other girls were looking for my stuff as well. I brought the bags I'd gotten inside and put them in the chair. My suitcase, two very large and heavy appliances, and about four bags were retrieved by the others. They set them at the vehicle, basically where they'd gotten them, and said, "Goodbye," driving into the sunset while I carried all the stuff from my driveway into the house by myself.

Once inside, I was excited (not in a happy, Christmas morning kind of a way, but more in an anxious, pushing the door back in a haunted house kind of a way) to see what the house was like. Everything was as it was when I left. Old broken water heater. Turns out the plumber is still hanging upside down like a bat and won't unearth himself till tomorrow.

The floor still has the wet spots - I mean serious wet spots, and that's really all I'm worried about at this point, that the water's going to cause problems. The way I figure it, the water heater's just one more thing about owning a house, I can replace it now or in the future. I just don't want water damage to my carpet, floor, sofa, or anything else, for that matter.

So I'm here at home for tonight. I can't bathe or wash clothes, but I'll live. I've got clean clothes, and I can go take a shower at my sister's.

And so it goes at the Poderosa. But it begs the question: if a girl's really really good, does Santa bring wet vacs and water heaters?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

The Greatest Thing

You know, it was only a few months ago that we here in our little corner of Blogland were extolling the virtues of Getting A Surprise In The Mail. I don't know if the consensus came to be that it was the best thing in the whole world, but I'm sure it finished in the top two.

Well, guess what. Today, this cold, rainy, ugly, Thursday morning, when the mail came and they plopped mine down upon my desk here at TheCompanyIWorkFor, along with a bill, a letter from Jimmy Carter (don't get excited; he wanted money), and a little note from my folks, there was a cushy 5 X 7 manilla envelope. It was from Michelle.

Hmmmm, I thought. This is interesting.

I opened it up to find a Hard Rock Cafe pin. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but I like to collect the little guitar pins from Hard Rock Cafes from hither and yon. Some I've been to, others are souvenirs from travelling friends.

Apparently when Mitchie was out west going to a wedding - well, that was the excuse, we all know she was out west to see the one and only Stennie - the two of them headed to Newport Beach, where Michelle got me a Newport Beach Hard Rock guitar pin.

Wowie wow wow, I can't tell you what a day-brightener that was.

I've been thinking for a while now that I need to display my pins in a different way. Right now they're on my bulletin board at work, all stacked in a line, along with the other pictures and buttons and concert tickets and the like. I was thinking it'd be cute if i could take a map of the US and mount it over a cork board, and stick my pins in the places where they're from. Then of course, I'd have London and Edinburgh and the Caribbean ones out there in the ocean. Good idea? Yay? Nay?

Well, this is probably the last you'll hear from me till Sunday. It seems this weekend is indeed the TheCompanyIWorkFor Christmas Girls' Weekend Away. For the past couple of years, in lieu of a Christmas dinner, we've been chucking the spouses and kids and going away on our own to shop, eat, and what have you. (Actually, shopping and eating is about it.) The digs and meals are paid for by the boss, so that's cool. It's a tiring thing, though. Does the phrase "As much fun as you can stand" ring a bell?

Anyway, wish me luck, and see you Sunday.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

If The Pillsbury Dough Boy Ruled The World

* Handshakes would be replaced by a good-natured poke to the belly

* Chef's hats and kerchiefs always in fashion

* Slang for male genitalia: doughnuts

* Number one health concern of the aged: mold

* Citizens divided into three types: crusty, gooey, or flaky

* The ruler's residence would be called The Parker House

* All jokes responded to with "nnn-heeheehee"

* National motto: "We Shall Rise"

* Children everywhere treasure the book "Rebecca of Pepperidge Farm"

* Supreme compliment: "Nice buns!"

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


Well, here we go, time to announce the happy and the not-so-happy, time to crown this week's acrochamp.

The letters this week were S O W. Boy, let's not do that again for a good while. Three letters, you can't even get a sentence going. But the valiant entries were:

*Sick of work.
*Shakespeare's oddly written.
*Salting open wounds.
*Saucy Ophelia wiggled.
*Skipping Oprah? Wonderful!
*Sophistry! O'Reilly's wrong!
* So Ornery, Wilbur!
*Stennie Orgasms Willingly
*Silence Oprah Winfrey!
*Silly Orsen Welles.
*Soup. Odiferous. Wonderful.
*Sarah only walks.
*Sex? On Wednesday?
*Sowwy old Wepublicans.
*Suprebly obotic woodwinds.
*Sexy Other Woman
*Surreptitious Offer: Watches
*Same Old Wound
*Studs overtly woo.
*Satan: other worldly.
*Semen! Ovaries! Womanhood!
*Spitting out Whoppers
*Scared of wedgies
*Sleep Over? "wink"
*Soused on wassail,
*singing of Wenceslas,
*Silly obnoxious women!

Well, first of all, I must give props and the special grooviness crown to Krizzer with her continual entry of "Soused on wassail, singing of Wenceslas, silly obnoxious women!" That was not only incredibly clever, it was damn near a haiku! Very good, Kriz.

I would give Mike an honorable mention for "Sick of work," but it's a total lie. The man doesn't work 10 days a year!

So honorable mention, and so close to winner we almost had a tie, was Jellybean's "Surreptitious offer: watches."

But there can only be one winner, and this week again it's the mad monk deepfatfriar with Sex? On Wednesday? That's what I say!

And that concludes acro this week. Thanks to all who play, see you all next week!

Wednesday indeed.....

I Was NOT Responsible

As I went back to the office from lunch, I saw the 8 foot tall giant inflatable snowman in front of the funeral home. He was completely deflated. Drooped over a porch bannister.

I guess in the end, death comes to all.

Monday, December 01, 2003

3 Things You Should Know

1. One of the local funeral homes in town has a huge inflatable snowman in front of it. It's very disconcerting. He's about 8 feet tall, and he's very happy. Not that his disposition is the only thing that makes an 8 foot tall inflatable snowman in front of a funeral home in kind of bad taste. But he could at least look solemn, or thoughtful, or, oh, I don't know, who am I kidding. Nothing could ever justify an inflatable 8 foot tall snowman in front of a funeral home.

2. I had the most fitful night of sleep last night. I woke up at 2:30, 3:50, 5:15, was awful. And somewhere in between the 5:50 - 6:30am range, I had a dream/flash/vision that I'm not sure I'll forget anytime soon. It had to do with a woman that I was interviewing for some reason, a woman who was a psychic, who got her psychic visions from masturbation. Yep, you heard me correctly. Masturbation for fun and profit. And so I was supposed to be trying to interview this woman, who was getting ready to go on the David Letterman show (and get paid the tidy sum of $150 for her "performance"). So there she was, having at it, trying to summon up her portents from the stars, and I was trying to interview her, and at the same time, Dave wanted her to decorate the studio Christmas tree! It was a hectic little scene, I can tell you. Anyone want to analyze that one for me? I'm going with "I must have had a fever."

3. I don't have one single gift idea for Christmas. I half-assed decided I was going to give everyone I know one of the hundreds of catalogs I've received and tell them to pick their gift. Then I realized that I'd fret and wring myself silly trying to decide what catalog to give which person! I hate shopping for people.


OK, holiday's over, the work week's calling, and it's time for another by-God round of Acromania!

Owing to your acromistress being very procrastinative, I will be the guest judge this week. But one of you - and you may or may not know who you are - will be getting an email soon about judging next week. So be prepared.

The rules are the same as ever. Everyone gets three tries to make the best acro they can to the randomly drawn tiles below. Umm, you know, the tiles from the acrobasket. (I'm starting a campaign to get the acrobasket inducted into the Smithsonian and sit there right beside Jeannie's magic bottle.)

I will be judging tomorrow, oh, let's say at 9pm my time. That's eastern time. The bribing can begin immediately, however.

And here are the letters (we're going short and sweet this week):


Oooh. That was telling, right here after Thanksgiving and all. But there you go. Now get to entertaining me!