Sunday, March 27, 2005

(Warning: Tonight's Picture Sunday contains a photo not for the squeamish. Two, if you count the recipe du jour.)

Picture Sunday

Hello, my Easter weekend friends. Mine went way too fast, mostly owing to the fact that I completely fucking wasted my Friday off (spent most of it in the chair dozing), and also to the fact that this weekend was the big cabinet paint.

With three people (for most of it, ESP had to leave early), 10 hours, and part of the prep work done by me earlier in the week, we still didn't complete the task. There was just a lot to do. Doors, mainly. I currently have no doors on my cabinets, paint splatters all over the floor and countertops, and many of the contents of my kitchen sitting in my living room floor.

Now, having said that, and I think that above paragraph made it sound like the Cabinet Thing was also a waste, we got a lot of work done and more importantly, I really think I'm going to like the new look. It's just that I have no before and after pics tonight, and won't till next Picture Sunday.

Saturday night I was mildly depressed over the incomplete "upheaval" state of my house - today, I'm not that bothered. It's not as bad as I was first telling myself, and besides, I live in squalor a good deal of the time anyway. I shall survive.

Mr M, bless his heart (and shoulder and back, which are currently about to explode), did the brunt of the work. ESP and I did lots of the primer work, and some painting as well. But everything is taking two to three coats, hence the amount of time. And those damn doors. 13 doors doesn't seem like many, but when you have no place to put them when they're drying, it's, well, it's a little disconcerting.

So the only painting picture I have for tonight is of the two boys. Let's call this one "Sherman Likes To Paint."

Such a good boy he is. I keep telling you that. This is a good boy. He's a mother's angel!

Music played during the painting - vinyl: "What'd I Say," Ray Charles, "East Side Story," Squeeze, CDs: "Clinch Mountain Sweethearts," Ralph Stanley and various women, and "Marches and Fanfares," by a lot of really loud wind ensembles. (The circus music really got us painting.)

Without further ado, the next picture, not for the squeamish, is simply titled "Nerves."

I guess I won't be happy till I have no skin left along any of my hairline. Oh well, a little Neosporin and some face powder make me look like I have skin when I have to go out in public.

Our last picture tonight, again, many kudos to Mr M for. I have my form of art (scant though it might be), and he has his. Some of examples of which can be viewed in the Galerie. But this is by far his most brilliant work to date, and I'm proud to publish it for you here tonight. This is entitled, one small step for S, one giant leap for cartoon kind, "AstroSherman."

I mean, brilliant doesn't quite describe it. I'm kvelling here.

Finally, this week's recipe du jour. And I don't know about yall, but to me nothing says "unabashed happiness and contentment" like potatoes wrapped in bread. So may I present to you Petit Potato Pastries.

Sure, they look like little bagels. And well, that's kind of just what they are. Mashed taters and onion (or as we say here in the country, "hunion") cooked inside some pastry. It's a starch-fest for the whole family! Oh well, at least they didn't spell "potato" with an "e" on the end. And at least they're not Petit Potato Pasties. Although, if you look at them, they could actually be used in that capacity.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Pbbbbt - that sound you hear is me bowing out of the office college basketball pool. My final team, Kentucky, went down like the Titanic. Well, I'm supposing, I hate basketball and refuse to watch it, even though I have money at stake.
* I rented "The Incredibles" over the weekend, and quite liked it, even though it wasn't really what I was expecting it to be. However, even if you've seen it, it's still worth a rent simply for the bonus short "Jack-Jack Attack." It's funnier than anything in the movie.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Damn You, Charles Manson, You Ruined My Career

I know it's hard to believe, but yesterday during my lunch hour I was watching TV.

I was sitting there, chewing a hot pickle and minding my own, when I caught a commercial for one of those press 'n seal wax paper products. It's the one where we're on a plane and there's about to be turbulence, so the rolls of press 'n seal pop down and we start securing our food.

There's a woman in the commercial, without a speaking part, she's just in a seat, and when they showed her I thought, "Well shit-fire, that looks like the girl that played Leslie Van Houten in 'Helter Skelter.'"

Now, we're talking the original" Helter Skelter" TV-movie, the one circa 1976. I have a very, very special place in my heart for that movie for some reason, and anytime it shows up late at night as filler on some local channel, I still watch till the bitter end. I think this is because of my then utter fascination (and even to an extent now) with the Manson family. When I was about 13 or so I read a book called "The Family" about the killings. Then when "Helter Skelter" came out a bit later, I read that too. So when the TV-movie appeared (when I was in high school) I was all atwitter.

(As an aside here, I have no real explanation for my fascination with the Mansons. Just like I have no explanation for my fascination with Nazis. I guess it's all wrapped around the sheer incredulosity of how they were able to do what they did. Of course, there's also that "car wreck" aspect of the whole thing. Both are so vile and disgustingly evil, and yet, you just have to watch.)

And so there I was looking at a woman who looked like the woman who played Leslie Van Houten. And it doesn't matter whether or not it actually was her, and in fact, I'm sure it couldn't have been. But it got me to thinking about all the actors who were in "Helter Skelter" lo those many years ago.

They basically divide into two categories. One category has such character-actor standbys as George DiCenzo, Alan Oppenheimer, David Clennon, Bart Braverman, Paul Mantee, and Linden Chiles. People we still see on any number of TV or movie things, whether we recognize them by name or by "Hey, I know him." (Or in Paul Mantee's case, from that cinematic gem "Robinson Crusoe On Mars.") George, Alan, et al all play prosecutors, policemen, judges, and reporters.

The other category contains, well, it contains such young up and comers as Steve Railsback, Christina Hart, Nancy Wolfe, Cathy Paine, Marilyn Burns, Bill Durkin, and Steve Gries. Now, let's get Steve Railsback out of this equation right now. He was playing Charles Manson, one of the big icons of the 60s, and did so with total abandon. To let things go back to my above comparison, playing Manson is not unlike playing Hitler. Scenery chewing is a given.

So, without Steve, we've got - well, what have we got. We've got a bunch of out of work actors is what we've got. A bunch of people who, after playing Manson family members, found themselves on the short end of the acting stick. Some haven't worked since the early 80s. Some have had sporadic employment, playing such diverse and meaningful parts as "Cashier," "Young Woman," and the ever-exciting "Unknown." Then there are some, the unfortunates Bill Durkin and Steve Gries, who haven't worked. Before or since. "Helter Skelter" was their 15 minutes of fame, and then it was a cloud of dust. Manson made and killed their careers.

There are 2 exceptions to the Manson Ruined My Career rule. One is Railsback, who we've already mentioned and who, while not pulling down primo starring roles, seems to be steadily working.

The second exception is Rudy Ramos. Rudy Ramos has been around forever, and I can remember him as an actor when I was just a little thing. He was dark-skinned and played a lot of Indians. Anyway, Rudy Ramos was in "Helter Skelter" playing Danny DeCarlo, a former Hell's Angel who hangs out with the Mansons for the drugs and the groovy chicks. (This is a different breed of groovy chick from the groovy chicks Greg Brady chases around, btw.)

Rudy's imdb casting page is chockfull of parts, and he's been working fairly recently too, judging by the fact that he was in an episode of "The George Lopez Show." Playing, oddly enough, "Old Man." Anyway, I'm sure there's a reason that this Hell's Angel, this taker of drugs and canoodler with women, still got to keep working after "Helter Skelter."

His character was a snitch.

I guess if you stuck with Manson to the end, your career was doomed. Thus endeth today's lesson.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My taxes are done. Federals, anyway. Hoo-pee and Whoopteedoo.
* I'm on the horns of a dilemma. After tonight's episode, I'm seriously afraid I'm going to have to give up "The Amazing Race." I just cannot watch Rob and Amber. Watching them at all is nauseating, but watching them do so well is just about more than I can take.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Picture Sunday

It's not 9:30 already, is it? Dammit to hell, weekends are fleeting little things.

It was a busy weekend. Began it by working on The Beast, then went to Lowe's to get the materials for the big cabinet paint this week. Did fine on paint, primer, and the like, but in handles and hinges things went off the rails.

Well, I was OK on the handles once I accepted the fact that no handle was going to fit in the old holes left by my current eons-old handles, and that we'd have to re-fill and re-drill. Picked a couple of handles I liked, then finally got it narrowed down to one. Then I just went all hinky in the hinges. I realized I'm going to have to use a different hinge than the ones I have now. They all looked so big and I realized quickly I was No Man's Land, Hinge City. So I left those and thought I'd ask Mr M's expertise. Which I got.

Then it was back home to finally finish up The Beast, a quick if unexpected nap, then out to that nightspot of renown, Los 3 Amigos, to see the one and only Stetsons, featuring Taytie, Andrew, and the rest. Talk about feeling older than the room. Now, I know I wasn't the oldest person there, but I counted. I was the 8th oldest person there. It was 7 olds, me, and a room full of teenagers.

But it was fun. They were actually not only surprisingly good (especially Andrew's vocals), but very endearing in that they played current songs and old songs ("That'll Be The Day" was very good), and that they'd go off on a tangent and start improvising weird shit - sometimes it would end, sometimes it would trail off like a Monty Python skit. One of those, a rousing "Black Betty," had people coming in from the bar and restaurant area to hear, and another, a version of "Milkshake," was just priceless. Anyway, here they are, ladies and gentlemen, your Stetsons:

And here they are again:

(The bikini-clad girl was cardboard, and not part of the band.) And of course, I couldn't let things go without a shot of The Boy at work:

Now - something amazing happened last night. You'll never believe who was there. In fact, when I saw him I just lost all control and ran up and grabbed him and gave him a big hug. Get ready for it - yes, it was dear, brave, valiant, stalwart - Mowing Boy! In fact I was so happy I actually called him "Mowing Boy," and he laughed, either at that or the fact that I attacked him. Dear Mowing Boy. The Navy seems to have done him well, he's bulked up and looks like a young man instead of a scrawny boy.

Ahh, Mowing Boy. He'll be going back to Florida soon to complete his schooling.

Anyway, after the show I hit the road to B'burg and got there very late, just in time to have Mr M read to me from the myriad of textbooks he's studying at the moment. You'd be surprised how amazing "R" and its components can be.

Then it was clarinetting today, where I felt totally out of place because of my inability to read weird time signatures. To be sitting there with two other people well-versed and naturally talented in the area, well, I just kept saying, "I wish you two could just feel for one minute the stupidity I feel right now." But they couldn't, and so it was all futile and I took a little break and let them play duets. Then we went and ate really good hamburgers. The best part of practice.

Then back here. But let's get to The Beast.

Now, it's hard for you to understand how amazing this all is, because no one has seen the "before" Beast. Even in my first pictures of the Poderosa I took a picture of a closed door. Just imagine a room with a chest, some small bookshelves, a table and chair - then total chaos. Plastic bins of clothes, handbags, store bags, boxes, books, backpacks, arts & crafts supplies, wrapping paper, laundry racks - everything - just strewn about the floor willy nilly and upside down.

Now look at this:

And this:

And this, if you dare:

And just to show you how empty my floor is, check this out:

So, The Beast is tamed. Just like The Bumble in "Rudolph," though he doesn't have a "looky what he can do" trick like lighting the Christmas tree. But that's OK, all he has to do is sit there and be clean to make me happy.

And now to the recipe du jour, which is quite bland this week. If in fact fried chicken can be boring. But this isn't just any old fried chicken - this is Fried Chicken New Orleans!

So, what makes fried chicken New Orleans-worthy? Let's see: well, basically cayenne pepper in the breading. Woo hoo. I'm sure the city of New Orleans is peeing its pants with excitement at knowing cayenne pepper has gotten their name on a recipe card. However, the cucumber boats are exquisite, and there should be some potato salad somewhere on that card that's missing, and cherry tomatoes? Just there in a Tupperware container? Couldn't you at least marinate them or put decorative flags in them or something? Apparently not.

However, also missing from the picture is the suggested dessert, brownie ala mode, which I'd personally kill someone for if I could have.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Watching the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies, because nothing else is on. The Pretenders are a mere shell of their original selves, but anyone who made "Tattooed Love Boys" deserves a sacred and permanent spot in the Hall. Oh, and there's Rod Stewart, inducting Percy Sledge. We all know about Rod, don't we? Poor Rod. I'll be he won't do that again....
* I'm going to try to gird my loins and garner enough strength to start my taxes tonight. Probably won't take me a half hour, but I just can not make myself get started. Oh, in fact, I haven't done my Community Band mileage sheet yet, so maybe that gives me an excuse to put it off till tomorrow.

Friday, March 18, 2005

That Was The Week That Was

The Beast:
I've spent this week working very hard on The Beast, the official Betland nickname for my spare bedroom/storage space/catchall for everything I don't have a spot for. For three years now I've been throwing stuff in that room and closing the door behind me. And since I have to be in that room every day because it's where my make-up table is, I've hated it and myself for letting it get that way. So this week I set out to tackle The Beast.

I bought shelves for videos and CDs, which freed up a chest of drawers they used to be housed in. Extra clothes which were in plastic bins went to the chest. Furniture was removed. And it's been trash, trash, trash, organize, organize, organize. Only tonight when I left the room for dinner did I start to believe I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, if I keep working tonight, I might possibly finish in the wee hours of the morning. That would make me happy. Then I could concentrate on getting my taxes done, and another household task at hand.... (pronounced, "dot-dot-dot-dot")

The Cabinets
Next weekend I'm undertaking probably the biggest job since I've moved into the Poderosa - I'm painting my kitchen cabinets. I've disliked those cabinets since I moved in, and I've toyed with the idea of painting them many times. But it's a damn daunting thought.

Finally, I decided, what the hell, let 'er rip.

So I've been researching painting cabinets on the internet. I've gotten all my information about paints, primers, materials needed (who knew about tri-sodium phosphate? not bloody me), and tomorrow I'm going to do the shopping. Tuesday the cleaning, Thursday the masking, and Friday and Saturday the painting. Mr M has bravely volunteered to help.

It could be interesting, someone reading about what to do. Real life seldom works out like the directions on a website. But there's always the reassuring thought that if I get flighty and out of sorts, Mr M will surely bong me on the head with a cabinet door.

Go Enlarge Yourself, PeeWee
I've been invaded by penis enlargement people. As you may have noticed, their bombardment showed in the comments of acro. But they also horned in on three other of my comments, and showed up in my guestbook.

I've considered moving to Blogger for my comments, but I'm hedging. I'm not fond of their commenting system. It's temperamental and very slow.

But to these penis assholes I say, "Thanks but no. My penis is plenty large and keeps the girls begging for more. Go bother someone else."

A Gay Knee Replacement
Remember that commercial I was on about the other day? The "we almost had to leave the city we love" woman who was too dumb to get an apartment at the bottom of the hill? Well, you know, the city she loves is San Francisco, and for a great deal of the commercial she's walking arm and arm with a woman, admiring flowers. Is this something we should know about? Is the "we" not she and her husband but she and her young lover?

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

However, one thing I'll say for the commercial. I like the fact that the bad-kneed woman is wearing big old black orthopedic shoes.

Don't You Go Accusing Me
Speaking of commercials, here's one that really gets up my nose. No pun intended. It's the one for Secret deodorant where they show all these women doing various and sundry things in the public eye, and they all not-so-discreetly lean down to sniff their underarms. Then the voiceover comes on and says, "We all do it."

Well, fuck you, false advertisers. I don't do it, I've never done it, and if you're going to accuse me of doing it, you can go straight to hell. And I can lay odds that I'm not the only person who doesn't feel this undying need to stick my nose in my armpit in the library, the park bench, and while serving people at a restaurant.

I'm well-deodoranted, and not with your product, either. So there.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Very excited about tomorrow night. Going to see the Stetsons in concert! What, you don't know the Stetsons? Well, of course you don't, silly, they're the nephew's band. They're playing at a local restaurant in town, and this will be the first time I've seen them. I'll be taking pictures, so look out, Picture Sunday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

(Hello. This was supposed to have appeared last night; however, apparently Blogger was as sick as I was. I was puking, he was crashing. Anyway, sorry for the delay. Thanks, and back to your regularly scheduled blog.)

Here's $5, Kid, Go Buy A Gee-Gaw

For about the past four days my sister's been harping on poor Taytie. It's always something where she's concerned. This time she's been harping about him because he spends all his money at the music store. Never mind that it's his money to spend, of course. "He goes for his guitar lesson every week, then spends another hour there buying stuff that I don't even know what it is!"

I wanted to reply to her, "You know, Einstein, that could be because you don't play the guitar." But since I'm nice, and since our relationship has been pretty good lately, I gave her the kind version of that, which was, "Well, you know, that's one of the great things about playing a musical intrument. There are just so many little doo-dads and gee-gaws and knick-knacks and gizmos you can buy for it. It's a whole different world." And funnily enough I said this to her while I was opening the package I'd just received in the mail, which was full of E-flat clarinet reeds.

So see, he gets it honest from his old auntie.

For a clarinet player, reeds are the main attraction. I mean, you gotta have them, there are 65,000 different brands and kinds, and, as an added factor, you can always blame a shitty performance on a reed. I like that in a doo-dad. Reeds are cool because of the boxes they come in. Square cardboard boxes with different colors and geometric patterns and logos. They look like European cigarette boxes. You know, nowadays they even have flavored reeds (I don't think we're talking high quality cane used here, they're marketed to kids), and a solution you can soak a reed in to flavor it yourself. Mmmmm, cinnamon reeds. I might play more if I had a cinnamon reed.

Then of course you have to hold the reed onto the mouthpiece, so you need a ligature. A ligature comes with your horn - it's silver, thin, and has two screws on it. It's generally not worth much. Therefore you need to choose from the thousands of designer ligatures out there for sale, in all shapes, sizes, and materials. I personally have a BG ligature, which is gold in color. Mr M has a Spriggs, which looks something like a barbed wire fence wrapped around his mouthpiece.

You must have cork grease, and everybody makes a version. Most are in sticks that look like Chapstick (witness my mother, years ago, talking about that new lip balm she liked so much - you can guess what she picked up and spread on her lips), but some new fancy ones are retractable and look like a white lipstick, and some, including what I use, come in a little pot. A plastic pot - they don't come wrapped in a bit of marijuana.

Then of course, I sport what I call the geeky neckstrap. This is one of those awful neckstraps saxophone players wear, but since I have a slight numbness of hand, the clarinet version of the geeky neckstrap does me well. There is also something out there that serves the same purpose, only it's a T-shaped bar you sit on. OK, let me see if I can explain. An upside-down "T," you sit on the horizontal bar, while the vertical line goes up between your legs (so to speak) and the clarinet rests on the tip of the vertical bar. It looks goofy and is virtually impossible to use while wearing a skirt. I was going to actually try one of these things at Clarinetfest, but the booth was closed. Shame.

Hey, does your thumb hurt? You can buy thumbrest cushions that fit on your horn for anywhere from 98 cents to $42. And if 42 bucks isn't enough of your money to spend, you can get one of the really fancy ones. They actually have to be mounted onto your instrument with screws (screws in my RC? Never!) and will set you back about $200. I've actually played a clarinet that had one of these, and it's quite nice, if not a bit strange to get used to. Still - I really like my thumbs, they set me apart from the apes (and some would say that's about all that does), but I don't know that I worry about their comfort $200 worth.

Everyone has spit, don't they? It's a proven fact. So no clarinet goes unswabbed. Swabs can be cotton, felt, or, preferably, silk. In school we used to make them from handkerchiefs tied to a piece of string and weighted down with some kind of fishing hee-gee. But that was kid stuff. Silk's where it's at these days, even if I don't quite understand it, because surely cotton absorbs more spit.

There are even designer pieces of the horn. Barrels (the joint of the horn just below the mouthpiece) - I have a Moening barrel that looks something like the radiator of a car, only it never meshed well with the RC, so it's now abandoned in my clarinet box. Mr M has a barrel made of Delrin which sounds nice but looks like hell. It's a black monolith of a thing with no silver ringing around its ends. I call it the "after market part." It just looks like it doesn't fit there. At Clarinetfest this year the big item was the Backun bell. And make no mistake, they were cool. A smooth wooden bell that made a horn sound like it had just descended from heaven. At $550 a pop, however, I'd have about as much chance of floating to heaven for a long weekend as I would affording one.

(Oh, and by the way, and I guess it goes without saying - mouthpieces? Nobody, but nobody uses the mouthpiece the horn comes with. You must buy someone else's designer mouthpiece.)

Then you've got your reed cases, replacement pads for keys, extra cork, mouthpiece cushions (so your teeth don't scuff up your mouthpiece), reed cutters, stuff like key and bore oil (which I've never used), oh, and you can't forget a tuner and a metronome and a set of teensy tinsy screwdrivers, and everyone should really have a peg to stand their horn on when still assembled but not in use.

Then there's the weird stuff. If one would flip the lid to my clarinet box, they might find a combination of any or all of the above products of various ages and conditions and in total disarray. But they'd also see the weird stuff.

I've recently become way too dependent on Lip-Ease tooth cushions. I have a bad problem of biting when I play, and therefore, after about an hour I develop something of a hole in my bottom lip where my teeth have dug in. So I buy these "cushions." Bit of poetic license the Lip-Ease people have, because to them a cushion is a piece of stretchy plastic you fold over and affix to your bottom teeth. But who cares - they've been working so far and they're cheap as chips. They can call them anything they want to.

And in a stunning admission, I've also occasionally been taken in by the clarinet versions of snake-oil salesmen. I currently have something floating around in my clarinet box that was guaranteed to give me better breath support. It's still floating around in there unused, because I've yet to figure out how it works. It's supposed to work on a suck-and-blow premise, blowing against pressure to build up your diaphragm. Or something. Anyway, there's no pressure to be built in this thing. You just blow and blow and suck and suck into the tube, and you may as well be blowing and sucking into thin air because it's the same feeling. I honestly don't know if I'm doing something wrong or if an integral part of the machine was missing when it was shipped to me. All I know is that I can't make heads or tails of it, and it's just lying there in my clarinet box looking like a cross between a marital aid and a breastpump.

In catalogues they have another version of a "diaphragm builder" they sell, generally for around $25. It's a plastic machine where you blow into a tube and make a disc rise in the chamber. I never ordered one of these. Because I already have two - that I brought home with me from the hospital when I've had surgery. It's the exact same machine as the hospital gives you to blow into so you don't get pneumonia. "Yes! Your playing will improve and your lungs will remain influenza-free! Who could ask for more?"

I'm sure it's the same for every instrument out there. Band instruments, rock instruments, stringed instruments. We could go on forever about those catalogues and the neverending list of gee-gaws - um, sorry - improvement items they sell. There's one thing they don't sell in those catalogues, though. And I don't have any lying around in the disarray of my clarinet box, either.

In fact, I haven't been able to find it anywhere.

I wanna know where I can order a box of practice.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* And now, from the lovely confines of Poderosa East, comes Mr M with the acrojudging:
"Howdy, howdy, howdy! kay. Enough of that.
First, I want to award the "Least Hackneyed" award to every one of you for not citing that old joke about Cleveland, viz, "....The first prize is a night in Cleveland. The second prixze is two nights in Cleveland." Besides, Beatrix already mentioned that I knew she would.
Second, there is no second.
Third, let's get to the awards.
Honorable Mention goes to Venice' non-acroic parenthetical burp "Well, that's about all I can say about Ohio...."
Runner Up goes to Lily, with "Garfield assassinated. Final resting location? Downtown" because she knew that Garfield was from Cleveland, and she has balls enough to parade her erudition in front of us all.
The winner, across the board, though, is DeepFatFriar, not only for the consistently trenchant, high-quality responses, but for the continuity of the whole (which isn't to be judged on, but I'm making the damned rules here tonight). I'm not awarding this for one acro, but for the whole shebang. (DFF makes an epic out of everyhing. Nothing granular about that guy.)
Vaya con huevos.
Capt. A."
* Thank you, Captain.
* Hey, what's that autoharp tuner doing in my clarinet box?

Monday, March 14, 2005


Hello to the washed and the unwashed, the saved and the unsaved, and all those in between. Time for another my-house-is-a-total-mess-because-I'm-trying-to-reorganize-it-so-what-the-hell-am-I-doing-online-putting-up-this-blog round of Acromania!

This week we're trying for another state acro. And because the state chosen is Ohio, we've brought in a special guest judge. Well, he's a guest judge. You can decide for yourselves whether or not he's special. That little old native of Ohio himself, Mr M, will judge.

Remember the state acro rules. You may use any acro you like that pertains in any way to the selected state. There's only one rule - if the state's first letter shows up (like an "o" this week) you may not use the state's name for that letter. Why that rule is in there I don't know. It's just like that weird rule in "The Name Game" about "if the first two letters are ever the same, you drop them both and say the name." Damn, that really clouded up that song, didn't it?

Anyway, everyone gets three acronyms apiece to try and come up with their best work. Also remember that our letters come to us courtesy of the trusty acrobasket. Tomorrow night at about 10pm est Mr M will be judging and wickedly ruining the lives of some of you, all with a maniacal laugh.

This week's topic is "Ohio." The letters:


Damn. That almost spells Garfield. Actually, it almost spells Gafrield.

Well, back to the cleaning. I'm building shelves.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Speaking of building, I put together and hung my over-the-door shoe rack last night. Imagine my surprise to learn I was harboring 41 pairs of shoes in my tiny closet floor. Not bragging, or complaining. I just had no idea that after the last Big Shoe Giveaway I still had that many pairs.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Picture Sunday

Yes, it's Sunday, ladies and gentlemen, Sunday! See! Bet dump all the dirty laundry from the weekend into the floor! See! Bet jump through the ring of garbage as she gets the trash ready for takeout tomorrow! See! Depression set in as Bet realizes the weekend is over! See! The pictures from what was to be Picture Friday until Blogger suddenly and permanently ate Friday's blog! Yes, Sunday, ladies and gentlemen, Sunday, with free admission for all!

OK, enough of that. Yes, it's true. The last of my trip pictures were to be here for you Friday night, but Blogger did a wobbly and ate them all. So Picture Sunday shall be the end of my trip, and then that will finally all be out of the way. Not that I'm trying to get the trip out of the way, I had a lovely time.

OK, where did we leave off? Oh, yes, I know. We were on the way home. And we stopped at that most distinct of buildings, the building with a shape as familiar as the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal, that building that gives a winking nod to orange juice squeezers everywhere, the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It was dark, and Sunday, and closed when we went, but in true y'all come style, they don't lock up the parking lot. So I got to get right up to the thing. And here it is. Let's all think of Knute Rockne and smile.

And then it was hit the gas and try to make it home by midnight. Which we did. However, since the time was going so well, Mr M decided to let Sherman take a turn at the wheel. No, he doesn't have a license, but don't tell anyone, OK?

He's an excellent driver, really.

Finally, one buddy picture for posterity. It's Sherman and Wedgie, who appeared in my Christmas stocking this year and is hanging on my rear-view mirror because his attacher is kind of wonky. I tried him on my clarinet bag a couple of times but he kept escaping, and I'd find him laying in the parking lot, abandoned. So he now travels the highways and bi-ways. I think he likes it that way.

And a good time was had by all.

And now, after a week's absence, comes the recipe du jour. It looks like a goodie this week, folks, it's a breakfast dish, no, it's a side dish, no, it's a main dish, no! It's a cholesterol-laden artery hardener! It's the ever-popular baked eggs with potatoes!

Look at those eggs shining like two globs of hate from out of those potatoes. (Actually, I was hoping to make an eye or breast reference here, but sometimes a sight is too disgusting to even make a smutty aside about.) This recipe has it all, folks: mashed potatoes, green taco sauce, eggs, cheese, onion, butter. After this one the whole family will sit around like statues till someone finally gets the energy to turn off the TV so they can all go to bed.

Serving suggestion for this one is the eggthing, marinated asparagus and tomatoes, and cherries jubilee. Wow, all this and cherries jubilee, too. Does life get any better than that?

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Shout out tonight to the GHS band, who got a division I rating at their concert competition. This, along with their division I in marching competition, makes them a bone-fide Virginia Honors Band. Woo hoo, you're the man. Men. And women.
* Today it seems like there's one less blog out there in the ether. Shame, really.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

More Pictures!

OK, more photos of Cleveland.

Tonight it's the Hard Rock Cafe. My boy Sherman had a groovy time at the Cafe. Now, I'll bet you didn't know what a rock-n-roll fan S is. Of course, his mentor and doggie daddy isn't so fond of that, but tolerates it.

Imagine his excitement at finding a real-live red plastic Devo hat!

Then what should we find but a poster of one of Sherman's favorite bands!

As we were leaving, S saw a section dedicated to one of his heroes. Here he is enjoying some John Lennon memorabilia.

As you can plainly see, the Hard Rock people were much nicer than those museum bastards. They let Sherman climb all over any exhibit he wanted.

There'll be more pictures appearing soon in the Gallery. That is, just as soon as I get the gumption to make the additions.

Here's a blast from the past. It's Kiefer's. No, not Kiefer Sutherland's, but an old German place Mr M used to play clarinet in when he was but a lad. It was his first flirtation with German music. The restaurant is now defunct, but I'll be damned if their sign didn't survive.

And our final Cleveland picture - don't worry, tomorrow are the "coming home" pictures - is of a sign we saw in the West Side. A reputable company, I'm sure. This one's for all my girlfriends.

Hmmm. Wonder if they're listed on the Dow-Jones.

Anyway, one more day of this stuff. You'll survive, I promise.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Commercial alert: I know I'm always on about this, I mean, I remember doing an entire blog about it. Weenie-stiffening pills. They're all horrendous, but I keep seeing this new one for Cialis. Two things: apparently the pharamaceutical name for Cialis is "tadalafil." It just makes me think, take the pill and - ta-da! Also, there's a little blurb in the bottom left corner that says, "See our ad in Golf Digest." So, are golfers more impotent than most people? Is it those plaid pants?
* Hmmm. Strange things are afoot.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Fun With Foreign Words!

You know, I'm called a myriad of various and sundry things by Mr M. "Kiddo," that one I like. I like being a kiddo. " Zazu," that one's not bad because it's normally said with an air of affinity. "Beatrix," is OK, because it was taken from "Kill Bill." In fact, put the three together, "Beatrix Z. Kiddo," and I've been called that too, as kind of a formal name. "Podlet," which I guess is the pod's term of endearment. "Elizabeth," that's generally like being chastized by your parents and often has the same effect when used by Monsieur M.

Then there's that one thing he calls me that I don't like. Oh, he thinks it's hilarious, but I'm having a hell of a time trying to glean the laff-riot factor out of it. That name would be LCD.

"LCD" stands, to him, for "Lowest Common Denominator."

This comes about because Mr M knows I like the old smutty double-entendre. And I rarely pass up a chance to use one. If there's a crude joke or aside to be made, I have to make it or die. It's that simple. I'm like Roger Rabbit not being able to resist finishing "Shave and a Haircut" with an explosive "Two Bits!"

Now, I think of myself as a fairly halfway semi-intelligent human being, and I'm capable of understanding and enjoying many complex things. Therefore, I feel "Lowest Common Denominator" is most unfair. I prefer to think of it as simply, "A Flair For The Baser Instincts."

And what all that has to do with what's to come, well, you tell me, because although I'm thinking of them together, they're actually not related. Except inasmuch as they tell how my humor can really wear a simpleton's hat and yet still give me hours of entertainment.

As you well know by now, Mr M and I are clarinet players. We play duets just about every weekend we get together. We have stacks and stacks of music, some mine, most his, some we've bought together, and some we've downloaded from internet sites. Lots we've downloaded from internet sites.

Sometimes these pieces have their original titles attached. Which are not in English. And of course, because I have no control over it, the "Two Bits" syndrome, I feel the need to "translate" the titles of these pieces. It helps me get a feel for the music so I can play it better.

For example, we have our Rossini collection, which contains four pieces of music. I like to think of this as a little operetta about a Renaissance-era family. It starts with "Una Voce Poco Fa." The English translation of this is "One Voice, A Little Fay." I imagine this to be sung by the Lord of the Manor's "other" son, the one they don't mention to company.

Next comes the peppy - nay - rousing "Zitti, Zitti, Piano, Piano," which musically should mean "Eating Ziti Very Quietly," but since it's not a quiet song, I've translated it into a simple "Eating Ziti At The Piano." It's a festive hoedown for the whole family, bouncing around all tomato-faced at the piano, even fay little Herbert.

Then things take a sad turn in the Rossini fold. The next number is "Dunque Io Son," which we all know, of course, translates into "I Drowned Our Son." This one even has lyrics: "I drowned our son/he's only one/O, look out yon/He's in the pond." It brings a tear.

However, things end with a decidedly upswinging mood as our Rossini collection concludes with everyone's favorite "Di Si Felice Inesto." Which translates into "The Happy Incest." I have an idea of lyrics for this one, but there comes a point where words are not the preferred method of communication; I believe I'll take myself up on that offer.

There's another duet we attempt, well, I attempt, Mr M plays it pretty well. It's a two-part piece by a composer named Ponchielli. It's called "Il Covegno." Which we all know in English means "The Convenience Store."

Part one of the piece, a stately and spry introduction, followed by a more melancholy middle part, then a happy end part where the two clarinet lines intertwine in and out and up down, I call "Ahh, The Variety." This represents the heady feeling of walking into the Convenience Store and seeing all the colors of the cigarettes, lighters, potato chip bags, and bric-a-brac. The saddish middle part is all about realizing there's no whole milk, and the deep decision one has to make towards half and half, 2%, skim, or powdered coffee creamer. Then, as the music speeds back up and intertwines back together, this is about walking down the candy aisle, with all the colorful and sugary treats leaping out at you, screaming to be bought.

Part two of the piece starts out at a steady pace, then picks up a little more, with the two clarinets playing the same part, only one is about 1/2 beat behind the other. That builds until the final "presto," played at such a breakneck speed no one with normal fingers can possibly play it, and it all ends with a big arpeggio flourish. This part I call "Gas Drive-Off." The beginning is driving into the lot, to the pumps, with the job at hand to pump some gas and be on one's way. Then as the clarinets start playing against each other, there's the conflict of that sad point when one realizes the credit card is gone and there's no cash in pocket. Of course, the presto furioso is the "Holy shit, I need to get out of here" speeding away, with the manager of Il Convegno shaking his fist in disgust.

I know I'll never play "Il Convegno" well enough to perform it, but I long to, just so I can introduce it and tell its story. I really think that would help the audience appreciate it so much more.

Mr M made a two-CD set of clarinet music to take on our trip to Cleveland. (Wooo hooo! Clarinet music - hit the gas and pass the bong!) It contained "Il Convegno," and others that I was hearing for the first time. One of the songs, by Cavallini, was called "La Calma: Romanza Senza Parole." Which to the trained musical mind translates into "The Romance Has Calmed Since My Parole."

It's only fitting. We play books full of Cavallini duets. When we do, the conversation goes basically like this:

Mr M: What are we going to play?
Me: How about some Cavallini?
Mr M: Mmmm, I'd love some. With alfredo sauce.

And he calls me LCD.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners abound! Thanks for all who played, and some of you even described our weekend pretty well.
Honorable Mention goes to Anonymous (OK, since you're in the winners, own up to your acro) with "Candy, ale, eeriness, vagabonds, stale air."
Runner-up goes to LilyG with "Careening auto ejected various smashed alcoholics." (Now, that says road trip to me!)
Winner this week goes to a brand-new acroer, ESP with "Captain and Elizabeth's visit surpasses anticipation!"
Many, many good ones, I wish they all could have won.
* OK, a few more pictures from the Cleveland trip! I know I told you I couldn't take pictures in the museum - however, outside the Natural History Museum, Sherman just couldn't pass up an opportunity to recreate the dinosaur ride he takes at the beginning of the Improbable History cartoons:

Wanna see the best billboard in the whole wide world? I actually made Mr M drive me down the same piece of off-ramp in downtown Cleveland three times so I could get a picture of it worth printing.

"I scream, you scream, we all scream for green beans!" That wins my award for the best billboard ever in history.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Acrochallenge and Picture Week, Day 1

Well, my friends, looks who's back from the wilds of Cleveland.

Yes, my b-day present from Mr M was a trip to Cleveland. Yes, I know the joke. 1st prize is a week in Cleveland, 2d prize is two weeks in Cleveland. But I had lots of fun - it was a short trip, but it was a good trip. And I have the pictures to prove it.

It is because of that that I'm going to stretch Picture Sunday out over a week's time. Every night, along with whatever other blog I see fit to post, I'll stick in a picture or two that I promise you will enjoy. Oh yes, I promise.

We didn't leave till Saturday morning, but the fun started this past Friday night, when Mr M showed up at my house with Eefer. Who is eefer, you ask? Well, I've been wanting an E-flat clarinet for some time. So we went halfsies on one, with my having the option to buy his half out at a later date if we're both willing. This E-flat hails from Australia! So imagine the giddy excitement I had introducing him to my B-flat clarinet, the RC, who of course hails from L'Olifant in Paris.

The meeting went a little something like this:

Me: RC, this is Eefer. Eefer, RC.
Eefer: G'day!
RC: Bonjour.

It was riveting.

Then it was Saturday and the trip began. We arrived mid-afternoon, and Day 1 included a drive through the city, a visit to Lakewood Park to look at, well, The Lake, and what I'd been anticipating most of all, a tour of Mr M's old childhood stomping grounds.

The first picture I took in the city was of this magnificent structure. It's - it's - it's - it's a giant rubber stamp!

Now, if that's not about the coolest thing you've ever seen, well, there's no kind of help I can give you. I especially like how the bottom of the handle is below ground, like the thing fell from the sky and landed with a thud.

Then it was to the lake, that would be Lake Erie for you keeping score at home, where I discovered an amazing fact. It freezes. I mean, when we walked up on the rocks overlooking the lake, it was like looking out on the vast Polar Regions. In fact, I was expecting to see a line of penguins waddle by at any moment. If you don't believe me, check this out.

Still don't believe me? Well, check this out, ya bastards.

Now you believe me, don't you?

And so it was that we found ourselves headed to the famed and fabled West Side, where a young Mr M (who was then simply Master M, or Private Asshole) was molding himself into the character that he would one day become. I got to see his childhood home, where he lived till he was 13. I got to see his junior high school. I got to see the hospital where he was born! And just when I didn't think my heart would withstand anymore, I got to see his home during The High School Years...

And the high school itself, the legendary James Ford Rhodes High. It's still going strong today.

With the podmobile in the lower right hand corner, no less. Hey, bit of trivia. We all know that Mr M is the most famous graduate of Rhodes High. Who's the second most famous? That's right - Drew Carey.

Well, after the "This Is Your Life" tour of West Cleveland (which is quite a charming area), we retired for the evening, went out to eat, where I got blasted on one little old glass of wine (what a lightweight I've become), and we got prepared for another day in the big city that rocks.

I'm ending the pictures here for tonight, but here's what you'll have to look forward to in the coming week. We visited the Cleveland Museum of Art, which I enjoyed immensely and was extremely surprised at the sheer volume and variety of what they have, but where I didn't get any pictures because those blue-blazered nazis wouldn't let me take any. Then we went for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (pin opportunity!! this one courtesy of Mr M), where our waitress sang "YMCA" standing on a booth and Sherman feasted upon all the artifacts of his rock and roll heroes. And - beat this, folks - we got a parking spot on the street right in front of the building. Days like those are few and far between. We drove around looking for my favorite billboard in Cleveland, of which I took a picture, and believe me, you don't want to miss it. Then it was unfortunately time to head back to the real world, which we did, reluctantly, with a promise to go back when we have the time to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (I haven't been since Elvis Costello, the Clash, or the Ramones have been inducted), and the West Side Market, one of Mr M's favorite haunts.

And now I guess we have a little matter of acrochallenge to address, don't we? Well, it's going to be a Reader's Digest version, you all know the rules anyway, right? Our topic this week is "Road Trip!" And our letters are below:


Remember, you get 3 entries apiece. I'll be judging tomorrow night around 10pm est.

See you tomorrow.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'll bet you didn't know Sherman was such a rock and roll fan, did you? You'll be surprised.
* The original, Japanese "Shall We Dance?" was on cable tonight. The people who remade that movie and Hollywooded it up should go to jail. For years.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

This'll Have To Do

Earlier today I was working on tonight's blog. It was going to be a bit long (aren't they all these days), but I was typing along having a good deal of fun. Then all of a sudden, *pbbbt.* I hit a wall, and couldn't write on it anymore. I didn't know where to go with it. So I saved it and maybe you'll all get a chance to ignore it next week.

In the meantime, how about this?

People I Could Go The Rest Of My Life Without Ever Seeing Again

* Paris Hilton
* Kirstie Alley
* George W Bush
* Michael Jackson
* Mr & Mrs Britney Spears
* Angelina Jolie
* Condoleeza Rice and her shitty haircut
* Donald Trump
* Reality Show Whores Rob and Amber
* That Cross-Eyed Woman from the BBC Show "House Doctor" who paints everything yellow.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Dumb commercial alert: Anyone seen the one for knee replacement surgery (a commercial for surgery, lovely), where the woman in San Francisco says it was either have a knee replacement or give up living in the city she loves so much? "See, I work down here, and I live up there." (pointing to a San Francisco-sized hill) Umm, and that was going to make you leave the city? Are there no cable cars? No cabs? No buses, no hired cars? You were going to pick up everything you own, displace yourselves and your careers, and move to another city? Couldn't you just move to an apartment at the bottom of the hill? Geeeezus.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Dude, Where's My Stuff?

I seem to be the victim of a cruel hoax.

Who is playing it upon my person? I know not. The gods, the stars, the evil people who rule the world. One can't say, really.

All my things are disappearing.

And I don't mean stuff around my house, like my car keys and newly-laundered socks. I'm talking good old American products out there. Right out there in stores, stuff I want and can't have. Can't have anymore, anyway.

It's like Wendy's. Or Big Wendy, as my nephew called her when he was just a tot. They'll put something on their menu and list it as "Only For A Limited Time!" It used to be the Monterrey Ranch chicken sandwich. I tried one, and it was quite good. A couple of weeks later I went back for another, and - it was gone! I think they brought it back one time, just long enough to give me one more whet of an appetite, then it disappeared and hasn't been seen since.

More recently with Big Wendy it was the (and I'm only slightly paraphrasing here) Wild Mountain Spicy Swiss Ultra Bigass Hoohah chicken sandwich. It's a spicy chicken patty with a hottish sauce, red onions, lettuce, well, it's a tasty little number.

Or was, anyway.

I used to get that a lot in the old pre-surge days. But it disappeared, and I was left lonely. Then, a couple of months ago it reappeared on BW's menu. I got all excited and started reliving my junk food days, and so I ordered one. Came home, took it off the bun and ate it with a knife and fork, and you know, damned if it didn't work out just fine. And a few times after that I'd do the same thing.

Then one day I was at odds as to what to have for dinner, so I decided to go see Big Wendy and get the Wild Mountain Bigass chicken thingie. And of course, it was gone. Gone, gone, gone, and I ended up with my old standby, a side salad with house vinaigrette, aka the stuff that tastes exactly like what they used to call Italian dressing.

I recently had a similar experience in the Crunchy Carby Snacks That I Shouldn't Have But That Make Me Happy department. I was browsing at a convenience store a while back, trying to find a little bag of chip-like stuff I could have in the car, and I saw some Doritos. Black Pepper Jack, they were called. I bought a bag, and thought they were probably the best flavor of Dorito yet.

Next time I went in for some, when I got back into the car I noticed something on the bag. The words that strike fear into the hearts of consumers everywhere: For A Limited Time!

"Well, fuck," I said, crunching.

And I enjoyed my Black Pepper Jack Doritos from time to time for about a month-long period. Then this weekend I wanted to get a couple of snacks to take to Mr M's, and headed to the convenience store. No Black Pepper Jacks. I headed on to B'burg and stopped at a store there. No Black Pepper Jacks. Apparently their limited time has now passed, and they've suddenly disappeared from all the stores that used to have them.

But all this pales in comparison to the Great Protein Bar Debacle of '05.

Protein supplements are mighty plentiful, but really good ones are extremely hard to come by. I've found one liquid version that's OK, drinkable, expensive, but comes in huge tubs and I don't think it's going away any time soon. Bars are a little different.

Without going into too much folderol vis-a-vis the world of protein bars (which are very important to me, because it's the only way I can make myself have anything resembling a breakfast), here's what one is up against in this department.

Now, what you're looking for is 1) a good amount of protein grams (15 is OK, 18 is really good, 20 or more is excellent), 2) the smallest amount of sugar or sugar alcohol grams possible (nothing over 3 for sugar or about 5 for sugar alcohol), and, and this is a biggie 3) something that doesn't taste like a brick.

There are hundreds of bars out on the market, and finding the right combination of the above is nigh on impossible. Some of them have as low as 3g of protein, as many as 23g of sugar, and, well, there's no denying a brick when you eat one. Believe me, I know.

Back in January when we went down to North Carolina on the girls' weekend, we made a Target stop. Target now has this little area in their stores called "The 1 spot," where they have various and sundry pieces of junk that are only $1. I was browsing around in there and found little individually wrapped candy bar-looking things in one bin. They were called "Smart Selection." I turned them over and started reading the labels. No sugar or sugar alcohol grams, anywhere from 18-20 grams of protein, about 8 of fiber...I was intrigued, so I threw three or four into my basket.

My friend San and I checked out before our shopping companions, so we took our bags and went over to the table-and-chairs area and sat down. I thought, hey, perfect opportunity, so I pulled out one of those bars and gave it a try. It tasted like a brownie. With nuts. A real-live brownie.

"Man," I thought, and left my bags with San while I went about bought about six more of the bars.

And needless to say, when you eat one for breakfast every morning, or need a pick-me-up in the afternoon, six doesn't go a long way.

So just about every Saturday when I was in B'burg, I'd go and get a handful of my new buddy, the Smart Selection bar. And a few weeks ago, I noticed the bin was getting empty.

It was at that point that I started to get a basket, load every one of them in it, and priss myself (even though I'm physically incapable of "prissing") up to the counter. But I didn't. "There might be a limit," I thought. "They might accuse me of greed." Instead, I bought about 18.

The next week, they'd been moved to a bin at the bottom of the rack, and there were precious few in there. "Fuck greed," I decided, and put them all in my basket. There were maybe 15 left.

When I got to the counter and they started running them through the register, they were ringing up at 25 cents a piece. "Yall are gonna discontinue these," I said to the girl, and she answered, smilingly, that yes they were. I tried to plead my case, "Target needs to know the goldmine they've got in these little babies," but her unflinching smile told me she neither understood nor cared.

It's hard to explain. I'm perfectly willing to admit that I'm bordering on addicted to these little things. I'm also perfectly willing to admit that I'm really obsessive and think about things way too much. Last week I had my mom hitting Target stores in Florida and even had Mr M (bless his heart) searching them out in R'noke. None were to be found.

This past Saturday when we went out shopping, of course I made him stop at Target for one last look at the B'burg store. No bars. I was walking around all dejected. "I only have 9 bars left!" I kept saying, glassy-eyed and in disbelief. Then who should we walk right into but my cousin Jacob.

Jacob is a something-or-other at Target. Manager? Hell, I don't know. If she talked to me more and I didn't still have her Christmas presents from 2003 in my spare bedroom I might know her title. Anyway, I descended upon her like a plague and started quizzing her about these bars.

She told me a lot, and none of it was good. Seems the "1 Spot" items are cyclical. They come in and go out of every store the same day, and nothing will stay there for more than six weeks. My little chocolatey friends' six weeks had come and gone. The only glimmer of hope she gave me was that sometimes if an item does well in its little wire bin eventually it could make a return appearance down the road for another six weeks. "But don't hold your breath," she said.

"But I don't think they realize what they've got here. They've got the gold standard of protein bars!" I ranted. She looked at me like I was a little unstable. Which, if you think about it, was exactly the right look.

I'm currently about 7 bars away from eating bricks.

Oddly enough, while all this was going on....

Remember (and if you do you win the prize for brain capacity) in my "Vinyl Fetish" blog from March 16, '04, I talked about having a favorite record. A 45 of the old nugget "Casting My Spell," by the Talismen. I think I was lamenting not being able to find it, because I used to love playing it even though it was broken all the way down the length of the record. I'd just snap it together and put it on the turntable. I later found out that Jimmy Page played on the record, and I found some sort of Page retrospective that contained not only that track, but the single's flip-side, a cover of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War." It wasn't available through Amazon, but was from one of their "Marketplace" dealers, so I ordered it.

And waited. And waited. And then, oddly enough, I waited some more.

Several weeks later I got an email saying it was on backorder and did I want a refund. "Not if there's a chance I'll get the CD," I replied, and so I got the privilege of waiting yet some more.

And in fact, I waited so long that I forgot that 10 months had passed and I had nothing to show. So I emailed the bastards and politely asked about the CD, and was promptly (to their credit) issued a refund to my Amazon account.

And so I went back into their site to see what I could use my new refund on, and I found yet a different CD of Jimmy Page stuff with both the Talismen songs on it. Again through another "Marketplace" seller. It said "Available, will ship within 1-2 days."

I signed up with glee. About three days later I got an email saying the item was no longer in stock. And the money was put back in my account.

I don't want the money! I want my stuff!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* We have Acrowinners!
Honorable Mention goes to LilyG with "Academy kidders. Beyonce - every number!?!"
Runner-Up goes to Flipsycab with "Antonio kept belting evil notes."
And I think this may have only happened one other time, I absolutely cannot decide a winner between two great ones.
Co-Winners go to DeepFatFriar with "All knowledgeable boxers exited, nauseated," and Mike with "Ain't Kill Bill even nominated?" Both too good to chose.
OK, guys, speeches ready.
* Could someone please make Paris Hilton go away? Please? All my stuff is disappearing, and yet she has the staying power of The Bible.