Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Seems there'd been some complaints in the old suggestion boxes we have set up in the various restrooms at Betland. (We set them up there because we figure that's where our patrons are most comfortable and therefore most likely to be honest.) Mainly those complaints were directed towards our feature attraction, the Emotional Roller Coaster. "Not scary enough!" some screamed. "Too flat lately!" others yelled. "I cried tears of boredom!" a few shouted. "The most boring ride since 'It's A Small World!'" still others said. And one person said, "Made me want to eat my own vomit!" and we immediately found him and threw him out. After all, we do have our limits.

And so we got the special engineers back to their desks for a redesign. And really, they are special guys, if you consider "just released from the Albert DeSalvo Hospital for the Criminally Insane" special. They designed a dip in the workings of my psyche guaranteed to whiten the knuckles of any loyal patron. In fact, one poor soul fainted dead away and we had to call the paramedics, and what with the current litigious nature of the country, that's not really a good thing. So we just closed Betland for a few days to have a think about it all.

We thought. We holed ourselves up in the Poderosa. We pouted and wondered, about all those things in life we don't understand. And why we don't understand them. And why we let it eat away at the very core of our being why we don't understand them. And then on Sunday when we came perilously close to picking up a hitchiker on the Betty Bet Bet Inspirational Highway, we decided that maybe we were going a little too far over the edge. An edge from which there is sadly no return, as with hitchikers there is always the distinct possibility that they could smell bad or kill us with a knife, and at that point we thought that possibly some complaints about the boredom of a flat roller coaster could be tolerated.

And now we at Betland find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma. But not to worry, dear readers and park-goers, because we here at Betland are always on the horns of some dilemma or other. Frankly, Betland's posterior regions are in a constant work because, to be honest, it's not easy sitting on horns 24 hours a day, every day of one's life. But we do it, because our ass knows nothing else.

But it does beg the question: When one is faced with such dilemmas in life, how does one handle them effectively?

We here at Betland have spent the better part of our life thinking way too much about things, as evidenced by that most frightening of park attractions, "A Barefoot Walk Through Bet's Mind." We've had to raise the age limit for attempting this ride several times, from age 14, to 16, to 18, to 21, to its current 43. Eventually a good deal of the public at large will not live long enough to be able to access this particular ride. Which is probably a good thing.

But we digress. Where were we anyway, in this quagmire of Betland Affairs? Oh, yeah. Here. What good is thinking to excess about one's lot in life, when the responding action to these thoughts is approximately nil? And we suppose the answer to this rhetorical question would be, "Well, not a damn bit, we guess."

And now we must tell you, my friends, that this is where tonight's blog ends. Not because we stopped it there, for we didn't. We at Betland actually saw this blog through to its end. It was interesting, long, slightly scary at times, thoughtful, and, if we may say this, and believe us folks, we rarely use the term in conjunction with anything having to do with us, possibly brilliant.

Then as we were saving the remainder of the blog before publication, everything crashed and it all was lost.

Seems odd things are afoot at Betland. No internet on Sunday, then when Mr CableModemGuy came to check things out, and told us nothing was wrong, he went a few places and unchecked a few checks, and nothing's worked the same since. We are of the suspicion that Mr Modem may actually be an alumnus of the above-mentioned Albert DeSalvo Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Or else he had a problem in visiting Betland for a service call instead of to take advantage of the rides and attractions.

Or maybe it was the hand of God that stopped our blog from its publication. The same God we suggested in the lost blog could possibly fuck off (if indeed we decided to try Abject Apathy as our next life course, and we weren't particularly leaning in that direction, as we weren't particularly leaning in any direction whatsoever, which was basically our problem). Maybe God said, "Hey you answered that question, with 'Not a damn bit.' Now zip it, open your park back up, and get on with your life before I smite it out."

Whatever the case, we here at Betland are back in business, at least till we push that surprise button on the keyboard that blows us all up. And if writing is therapeutic, as they say it is, and who are we to disagree, maybe just getting the first draft up on the screen was enough to satisfy us.

But we're not buying a word of that. It was bloggus interruptus in the first degree. But as we ended the original blog, this too shall pass, and life at Betland shall get back to normal.

Oh, wait - this is normal, isn't it? That's the scariest ride we have.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Stay tuned for our next blog. It's complete and you'll love it. And - I didn't write it!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Just Call Me Casey Kasem

OK, so I've been tagged to do The Countdown Survey. I was actually tagged earlier in the week, but I've been quite lazy at the blog. Not lazy anywhere else, though, my dennette is blissfully clean, I made a Sauerkraut Band collage for the wall, and I've done various and sundry other things on my precious days off. Today was the last day, sadly, and I spent it basically doing sod-all. A real testament to sloth, the subject of another survey I did last week.

And so, without further ado - oh, and let me say that ALL of my answers to this survey are in random order, so if you thought something was my favorite and it's not at the #1 position, or you're upset that you're not #1 on my friends list, do not be alarmed - let's get to it.

The Countdown Survey

10 of your top friends:
1o. Stennie
9. Kellie
8. Jude
7. Mr M
6. Mike
5. Michelle
4. Lily
3. Sandy
2. Dave
1. Miriam

9 of your favorite foods:
9. tuna salad
8. cheetos
7. chicken
6. salad
5. chicken in a salad
4. meat loaf
3. cheese sticks
2. mahi-mahi
1. coffee

8 of your favorite movies:
8. Matewan
7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
6. 8 ½
5. Dig!
4. The Music Man
3. Some Like It Hot
2. Auntie Mame
1. anything Alan Arkin's in

7 of your favorite TV shows of all time:
7. David Letterman
6. The Andy Griffith Show
5. The Dick Van Dyke Show
4. Freaks and Geeks
3. Murder One (first season)
2. Monty Python's Flying Circus
1. Peabody's Improbable History

6 of your favorite songs:
6. Rocky Raccoon - the Beatles
5. Step Right Up - Tom Waits
4. Woman's World - Squeeze
3. Indoor Fireworks - Elvis Costello
2. It's Late - Ricky Nelson
1. Little Sadie - Tony Rice

5 stores you shop at:
5. Food City
4. Target
3. Amazon
2. Barnes and Noble
1. Wal-Mart (which is not to say I enjoy that in the least)

4 things you're afraid of:
4. death
3. airplanes
2. loneliness
1. making a fool of myself in public

3 of your favorite artists/bands:
3. Elvis Costello
2. Gillian Welch
1. The Beatles (I almost put "Picasso" here just to be shirty)

2 of your most prized possessions:
2. Sherman
1. The Poderosa

1 wish you always dreamed would come true:
1. inner peace.

So there you have it. It wasn't quite as bad as all that, was it?

Betland's Olympic Update:
* May I just announce that one of my readers (well, possibly more, but one has proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt) is a true fucking genius? Venice has used her journalistic skills to give me the name and phone number of the owners of the House to the North. So I am armed with this in case things don't improve and I find myself going over the deep end.
* OK, maybe the survey wasn't so easy - I've already had to change two answers. Well, one was because I put "The Music Man" in twice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Say Hello To The New Neighbors

As you all know, I live in the Poderosa. I like the Poderosa; it's small, but it's home.

On the south side of me is a little house that contains a small copy business. It's owned by Mr C, who's seldom there, he's a client, and he's a very nice man. Right from the start he told me to feel free to use his graveled front lot to turn around in so I wouldn't have to back out into the road when the traffic was heavy. He also had no problem that time my mother made the world's largest divot in his yard turning her big-ass van around. I was mortified; he waved it off with a smile.

On the west side of me is my backyard and the creek, where the occasional duck will float by on his way to somewhere else. There will also be, unfortunately, the occasional Dorito bag floating by on its way to somewhere else, but the ducks make up for it.

On the east side of me is the road, and a mountain. And they're fine, even if the road is sometimes traveled by that vilest of human species, the trash-from-the-car-window thrower.

And then, there's the north. The wicked north, which contains the plot of land that holds the house beside mine. This house, which, minus the dennette, has my exact floor plan, has become something of a thorn in my side. And for a while, I was perfectly willing to admit that this thorn was placed there by my own hand. But now the Cruel Hand of Fate has roundly stuck the most recent thorn in, right there in my side, around two inches above where I would imagine my appendix to be if I in fact knew where my appendix was.

Here's a tiny bit of history for those of you who don't already know the story. When I moved into the Poderosa, the House to the North was occupied by Shirley. I often refer to Shirley as a little old lady, and while she was little, she wasn't dottering around on a cane ready to keel, she was about early 70s. She greeted me at my door the first day and gave me a nice little gift, then basically butted the hell out of my life. And I liked that; I liked that a lot.

I liked it because she was of the same mindset as I - she was a nice person you were happy was there, even if you never saw her. She'd call occasionally to say hi, or to ask a question, and we might see each other in the yard whilst tending flowers, but it was, for me, the perfect neighbor relationship. We were buddies from a distance.

But sadly, Shirley moved to another part of town (the dreaded West Graham). And I immediately began to worry about who'd be taking her place. I think the main thing I was worried about was someone who'd decide that next-door neighbors had to be next-door friends as well. And why I worried about this, I've no idea. Let's face it, I'm the original Nobody-Likes-Me Kid.

And after staying empty for a while, finally the House to the North was sold. And it was a proposition I hadn't considered. It became rental property. And this, my fine friends, is the worst of all worst-case scenarios. Because I've had to worry about my new neighbors on a regular rotating basis. Three times I've had to worry about my new neighbors, and three times I've ended up, well, not happy.

And that's a shame really, and as stated above, I'm willing to admit that the first two bouts of unhappiness were my fault.

The first of the three new neighbors were a family, a young family, a mom, dad, and boy of about 5. And I didn't like them right off the bat for one simple reason - they didn't wave to me. Sure, I didn't want anything to do with them, but that first day when they were moving in and I was watering the flowers, I waved to the mom, and her reaction to this caught me quite by surprise. To my wave, she promptly threw her nose into the air, turned her head sideways, and walked inside her new abode.

Now, I realize that my reaction to this should have been, "Yeeee-ha! I have neighbors who want nothing to do with me!" And yet somehow that just pissed me off. They did leave me blissfully alone, and they were ideal neighbors save for the fact that they apparently didn't know how to respond to a friendly wave, plus the fact that for a family with two drivers they had upwards of five cars, which they parked everywhere, even in their yard. But who's complaining, right? I mean, besides me.

Then one day, I noticed a distinct lack of cars at the House to the North, and it took me about a week to realize they had in fact moved along somewhere else, just like the ducks and the Dorito bags. And Shirley's house (for it will always be Shirley's house to me) was empty again.

It didn't take too long for the next new neighbors to arrive. And to be honest with you, I just never figured that conglomeration out. That was the first thorn I decided to stick in my side. At first, there was just a man there. Then one day I noticed there was a man, a woman, and a little girl. Then I noticed there was a man and woman with no little girl. Then there was a man. Then there was a man and a woman. The family dynamic seemed to change every two days or so. But hey, they were quiet and never once did they turn their noses upward when I waved. So I was probably unfair to them, too, except they seemed to be the trashiest people on the face of the earth. And I don't mean they were messy or anything, I just mean they set more trash out on garbage day than any people I've ever seen. Furniture, boxes, bags, hardware, all in a gigantic mound in their front yard. They never seemed to bring anything in, but there sure was an outflow of stuff.

And then one day they were gone. And I mean, one day they were gone. It was like they'd been vaporized one night and were no more. And I gave it a slight wonder, at least until the day I got a knock at my door and it was a client of ours at work who owns a loan company. He was looking for them. He was looking for them real bad. And so that kind of cleared up why they might have vaporized into thin air.

And so once again, the House to the North was empty.

And about three to four weeks ago, some strange things started happening. I'd see people occasionally go into or out of the house, as if they were looking at it. But it was still quite empty. Then a couple of times I was disturbed from sleep by car doors and people talking in the house's driveway. It happened twice, and I thought, "There are people using that empty house's driveway for ulterior purposes. I feel there's up-to-no-good going on there," because this was way after midnight, and as we all know, nothing good ever happens after midnight.

Then one Friday evening as I was chilling in my pajamas, I got a ring of the doorbell. There at the door was a girl of about 17, holding a baby. "Yes?" I said. "Is Heather here?" she asked. Now, this struck me as a little odd, because if I personally was going to visit Heather and a 45-year old lady I'd never seen before answered the door in her pajamas, I'd pretty much figure I had the wrong house. But that's just me. I kindly explained that Heather didn't live here, and when she got that look of confusion, I realized that I'll bet Heather lived next door. And I told her to try one house down.

And so began the current odyssey I find myself on.

Who lives in the House to the North now? I do not know. They're young, I can tell you that. For all the comings and goings at that house, and in case you're wondering, there are a lot of those, I've seen no one that looks to be over the age of 20. And that's being generous. From the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night, there seems to be no visible signs of life at the house. No car in the driveway, no open door, no people milling around. It's totally deserted.

But go to bed, my friends! Go to bed and see what happens!

It's started as early as 12:30am, and has gone on till at least 4:15. That would be your car door-slamming, voices in the driveway, voices from inside the house, and music. Cars pulling in, cars pulling out. That's the weird thing - at first I was trying to figure it all out and thinking, well, maybe whoever lives there has some kind of night job where they have to leave when I'm in bed. But that's not it, because - they always come back! There I am, lying in bed, praying this will be the night I actually get to sleep quietly, when it happens: 12:45, the door slams and the car starts up and backs out. 1:20 or so, the car pulls in, and the door slams. It's like they go midnight shopping every single night.

Two Fridays ago I was having a really good Chill Night, and between the coffee and movies found myself not turning in till about 3:15. I turned off the lights and climbed into bed, only to hear the thump-thump-thump of music next door. And God forgive me, for I always hated my childhood neighbor Mrs Callahan for this very reason, I had to get up and look. And so I stuck my nose out of the blinds of my bedroom window.

There in the kitchen of the house was a young girl walking around. Not doing anything, just walking around. She'd go in the kitchen, then walk out, then I'd see her walk back in again. I got back into bed and drifted off to sleep and didn't get to see how long she ambled.

Then that next Sunday, which is definitely not Chill Night as I have to go to work the next day, I went to bed around midnight. There was music again, and this time, voices. And after the 1:10am car door slam, I shot out of bed and became Mrs Callahan once again - out my bedroom window blinds popped my nose.

Here's what I saw. Four kids sitting in the kitchen floor. Drinking from cups. Two to a side of the room, facing each other. One was holding a white t-shirt. And they were throwing things at each other. It looked like pieces of plastic. Then occasionally one would become the holder of the t-shirt. Now, at this point I have to admit that as really really fed up as I was becoming with this whole situation, I was quite fascinated by this. Maybe it was some drinking game I'm unaware of, that's entirely possible, but there I stood, in the dark, nose out the blinds, like Margaret Mead discovering some new civilization. It went on indefinitely, and finally I had to try and salvage some sort of sleep out of the night, so I gave it up - after about an hour. Then as I was finally drifting off, I got a nice car door slam to the ear. That was around 2.

I don't really think of myself as a nosey person, although some would disagree, but I've had a look at the house. Not from a walk-around-peek-in-the-windows perspective, but every time I drive by I try to sneak a look. Because of this fact - there's not a stick of furniture in that house! When the girl was walking around, she was walking around an empty kitchen. When the four were throwing things at each other, the cups were the only domestic items in the room. Unless you consider a t-shirt a domestic item. There's nothing in the living room, and from what I can peek, nothing in the bedroom that's visible from the road.

What the hell is going on here?

As I write this, the house is empty. No cars, no people. No lights. No music. But I can guarantee that when 1am comes and I'm nestled in my newly-mattressed comfy bed, all those will appear.

And frankly, folks, I think this is going to drive me insane. I see myself, six months from now, sitting curled up in my bedroom, which is lit only by a naked lightbulb, writing in my 27th composition book: "Thursday, Feb 23d. Arrived, 1:17am, two car door slams, male voices. Music for 21 minutes. One car door slam. Backing out. Car arrives back, 2:01am. One car door slam." And then I'll go and clean my bathroom floor with a toothbrush. And something about that prospect scares me just the least little bit.

My only hope is that one night they will vaporize into thin air. I keep a good thought for this, as I know it can happen.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners here, get your red-hot acrowinners! So, where did I get off not having Picture Sunday?
- Honorable Mention goes to LilyG with her "Eventually, she insipidly took shitty images." (Finally - at last someone tells the truth!)
- Runner-up goes to Krizzer with her "Eat shit! It totally sucks, imageless!" (Finally - at last someone has the nerve to tell me to eat shit!)
- And this week's Winner goes to Michelle with her "Egads, schiksa! It's totally selfish! Ingrate." (Finally - someone calls me schiksa!)
* Someone please help me - I'm a crazy person magnet! Aaaarrrrrrrrggghhhhh!

Monday, August 22, 2005


Greetings to all, and welcome to another I'm-back-in-town-so-let's-get-this-party-started round of acromania!

Yes, I took a little musical jaunt eastward over the weekend, to Richmond, to hear my clarinet friend Mr N, that would be Mr N, not Mr M, play. Four ensembles, one was good, one blew, one was good but boring, and one, and I'm happy to report it was the one with Mr N, that would be Mr N, repeat, not Mr M, rocked. Rocked hard on a Peter Schickele (aka PDQ Bach) piece.

And because of that there was no Picture Sunday. Which was a good thing I guess, because I had no pictures anyway. Little vacation we all got there.

And so this week's acrotopic shall be: "Where Do You Get Off Not Having Picture Sunday?" Go ahead, let me have it. Call me lazy, call me a slob, tell me we're all better off not having any damned Picture Sunday anyway, I don't care. I'm ready for the abuse.

All the other rules still apply. Everyone gets 3 entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above, but the letters below, which are drawn, as usual, from the acrobasket, or Mr A. Not Mr M, repeat, but Mr A. Then I'll do the judging at around 10pm est tomorrow night, and the winners will get their pictures taken, and the losers will, well, will not, I guess.

So tonight's acrotopic: "Where Do You Get Off Not Having Picture Sunday?" The letters:


Now, acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I ate a cookie this weekend. I didn't die, but it wasn't exciting, either.
* If I hate "Little House on the Prairie" so much, why do I wake up every single Sunday morning at 4am, the precise time it comes on channel 7. I think Pa Ingalls is sending me messages from heaven.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hurricane Warning, Yall

The idea actually came from my nephew.

We were talking about the latest hurricane to wash ashore, Ilene I think it was, and he wondered aloud why no hurricanes were ever given Southern names. I mean, after all, that's where they hit, that's where the millions of dollars damage is done, those are the people who are displaced in the aftermath.

And so as a tribute to my nephew for giving me a Friday blog idea, here you go, sir. May the next year's hurricanes be called thusly:

Hurricane Arbelle
Hurricane Buford
Hurricane Cletus
Hurricane Dale
Hurricane Enos
Hurricane Filbert
Hurricane Gaylene
Hurricane Hobert
Hurricane Ival
Hurricane Junior
Hurricane Kelvin
Hurricane Lerlene
Hurricane Milford
Hurricane Newgene
Hurricane Odell
Hurricane P-Dab
Hurricane Quetene
Hurricane Ray-Gene
Hurricane Sister
Hurricane Tex
Hurricane Uhley
Hurricane Velma
Hurricane Wynona
Hurricane Xenus
Hurricane Yobal
Hurricane Zeke

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I have a massive headache. I'm completely sick of dealing with crazy people at work.
* However, I am taking something of a four-day vacation from work next week, so things are looking up.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Between Heaven and Hell Lies Sleep

Here's a peek into the world of what it's like to be me.

Saturday, I whored myself. After a fashion, anyway. Not something I'm proud of, but there you go.

See, sometimes one must do these things, especially if one is me. I like to think of myself as fiercely independent, and in some ways I think I succeed. And then there are those times where a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, and I did it on Saturday afternoon.

It all boils down to this - I needed a mattress. Badly. In fact, I've needed one for years, I needed one when I moved into the Poderosa lo those many years ago, and even before that. I tend to be a "one side of the bed" sleeper, and so the left side of my bed basically has an imprint of my body in it. From the old size. No matter how nicely you dress the bed, the left side still droops in a downward slope, and many's the time I've been tossing and turning and found myself perilously close to hitting the floor. And sometimes I find myself waking up in the middle of the night, there on my right side, clinging to the right edge of the bed to keep from sliding off.

Round about my birthday my folks started telling me they were going to buy me a new mattress. My folks are wonderful people, and they often do things like this. And I say things like, "Oh, please, you don't have buy me a (insert high-priced item here), I'll save up and find a way to get it." But they're kind, and have some extra money, and, well, not to put too fine a point on it, like to buy me stuff. Because I'm the "single" one. I don't have a husband or high-dollar job like their other offspring, who can go out on her lunch hour and buy not only a mattress, but a new wardrobe, a car, and book a cruise.

And to be honest, I hate this. Not that I have very kind parents who have extra money to spend, but that I can't do all those things for myself. And that I occasionally find myself in the position of taking things from the folks, which puts me back into the realm of childhood, which is how they treat me anyway, and I guess that's where all the hinkiness comes into it.

When I go to my parents' house, this is a little how it goes. I get there, and my mom offers me food. "Would you like a sandwich?" "No, Mom, I'm fine." "I have some ham, some turkey, some roast beef...." "No, Mom, I ate before I came." "I can make some tuna, or make you a hamburger patty. I think I have some soup." "No, Mom, I'm not hungry at all." "Well, I've got stuff for a salad...." And at this point I get "that tone" in my voice and normally answer in a way I regret later. Then, when it's time to go home, I get, "Why don't you stay for supper?" "No, Mom, I've got something ready for tonight." "Well, we're having roast beef and potatoes, and I can make you whatever vegetable you like." "No, Mom, that's OK." "I can make you something different if you don't want that." "Mom, really, I'm fine, I've got my own at home." "Well, you don't have to go home, why don't you just stay." "Mom, I have a house two miles away that I'd really like to be in right now where it's quiet and I can do what I damn well please and you're not always walking into whatever room I'm in just to stare at me, and I'm getting to that tricky point of Right Before The Nervous Breakdown, so please just let me go the hell home. Please." Well, I don't think I've ever said that, but it certainly runs through my mind. Every time.

So anyway. I found myself with something of a free weekend this week, and my folks decided this would be the perfect opportunity to take me out and treat me to the gift of sleep. And as much as I knew it was going to pain me to accept this gift, I had also looked deep into my heart, and my finances, and knew that with a new car, and the old car repair bill coming due (and with no check from Podmobile Inc. in my hands), that the chances of my being able to afford a mattress on my own were dwindling fast. And I said, "Everybody in the truck!" Actually I didn't say that at all. Briscoe Darling on "The Andy Griffith Show" says that. I think my exact words were "Okay." And Saturday became Mattress Day.

When I arrived at the folks' house early Saturday afternoon, my mom was pushing tuna salad. "Do you want some tuna salad before we go?" "Nope, Mom, just ate," I lied. "I just made it, it's good tuna salad." "No, couldn't hold a thing, Mom." "I can make you something else, then." "Nope. I'm just fine and perfect, yall go ahead and I'll be ready to leave when you are." I was already being too friendly, and thus feeling quite whorish right from the get-go.

It wasn't too long till they were ready to go, and we piled into podmobile2 for the trip. They asked where I wanted to go, and I picked the local furniture store, and then my mom started suggesting some other places in the next town over. I said we'd start local, and she emphasized that we could always go to some other places in the next town over. She always does this - as if I'm slow enough on the uptake that the first suggestion doesn't get through into comprehension. I backed out of the driveway and headed local.

We drove through B'field VA into the once-bigger and now-completely dead town of B'field WV. I let my Mom do her normal thing, which is read every sign on the road. Billboards, store fronts, road signs, she reads them all. Out loud. (If you don't believe this, ask Mr M, who rode all the way to New Orleans with them and heard what was on every sign throughout six states. And back.)

Finally, she read the sign out front of the local furniture store and I knew we must be there. So we all subsequently piled into the store, and headed to the mattresses. Now, this is where things became kind of fun. Or was it funny. Both, I guess.

You know, as I said above, I haven't had a new mattress in ages. And I don't know if my memory banks are low or what, but I don't really recall picking that other mattress out. But I picked this one out, baby. I laid on them all, the cheap ones, the most expensive ones, the fancy "sleep technology" ones. I'd sit on the side of the bed, lie on my back, turn over onto each side, simulating a real night's sleep - I was having a ball! But of course it was a short-lived ball. Because I'm me. Once I'd laid on them all I knew it was decision time and I had to make that tough choice. Did I take the one I really liked, or the cheapest one in the store because the folks were footing the bill. This caused me no small amount of unrest, if you'll pardon a really bad pun.

In the end I compromised, eschewing both the cheapie model and the "priced so high I wouldn't be able to sleep on it anyway" model for a nice firm mid-priced one. The saleslady said I made an excellent choice, that that was the exact same model she slept on in her own humble home, and I was torn between believing that statement and realizing that maybe I did just fall off the turnip truck, and when she started us over to her desk, I announced that this mattress was to be a gift from my parents. Because I thought they'd like that announced.

God. I'm such a whore.

After a hearty round of thanks (which I never think are enough), we headed home, and I told my folks that I'd actually be back at their pad a little later because I wanted to swim. So I pulled into the driveway to let them off, and my mom seemed to be shocked that I didn't want to come inside for a while. I explained again that I would be coming back and not to panic at the thought of being without my presence for about an hour or so. And so I went home for a bit.

And I did return to swim, after which my mother offered to include me in whatever they were getting for dinner. I politely declined, and she then named off every eating establishment in a two-state area that she would gladly be willing to go to for something for me to eat. Oh, and I guess I should interject at this point and say she did this, as she often does, while I was trying to get dressed. This woman saw my naked ass enter this world, and it apparently wasn't enough for her, because every time I drop as much as a zipper, she's there looking at me. I don't like to stand around naked, and there she is, wanting to tell me a 45-minute long story about anything under the sun any time my bare flesh sees the light of day. I have no idea where this comes from, but of all the fruity things my mother does, I daresay this could well be the fruitiest.

When the list of restuarants had run out and I couldn't hold onto the towel any longer, finally my mom said, "Well...aren't you going to stay with us?" Now, for all I make fun of my folks, and my mom in particular, the total despair with which she said this sent a poison-tipped arrow right through my heart. I don't know if spending 50 years with your chosen spouse drives you to just want anyone else there as company, or if they really miss me that much, and believe me, folks, there's not that much to miss besides which I see them almost every single day when they're in town. I was firm, though, and very nice and made several excuses about wanting to catch up on my laundry, practice the clarinet, and watch a movie. And I shielded my nakeditity and pulled on my clothes and was soon out the door.

(At this point I realize this nagging on the 'rents has been Mom-intensive. Mainly because she's worse than Dad at all this, but he has his moments. His mainly include thinking I can't do anything, as evidenced by the fact that if I take a break during my swim to, say, breathe, or adjust my goggles, he always comes outside, for if he doesn't hear me thrashing in there he's assumed I've drowned.)

Anyway, the mattress arrived yesterday. It's quite impressive - in look and feel. I was still feeling a bit rough from my Sunday sickness, so I decided right after work I'd test it by way of a quick lie-down. I woke up 2 hours later. And even with the nightly goings-on by my new neighbors (more about that in a later blog), rest last night was blissful. I slept beautifully.

The sleep of the morally bankrupt.

Betland's Olympic Update:
*We have acrowinners!
- Honorable Mention goes to Flipsycab, with her "Doing rails and smoking weed – all right!" (Ahhh, the fun times I've had....)
- Runner-up goes to Michelle, with her "Dyslexia Ruins Acro - Someone Won't Accept Reason!" (OK, someone's been paying attention.)
- And this week's winner is Mike, with the one that make me laugh out loud, "Donald Rumsfeld attacked soldiers with a rake." (I think I saw that on CNN!)
Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well.
* I promise I'm not nearly as mean as I sound sometimes. I'm really not.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Hello, acroers, acroees, and acroites. Welcome to another hell-hath-no-fury round of acromania.

I'm stuck for a topic, my acrobabies. So guess what - free round, everybody!

Yep, this week, there will be no acrotopic. Feel as free as a bird to come up with the best acro you can, providing of course, you get the right letters in the right order. And I look at them and say, "Yes, those are in the right order," and judge them accordingly.

So I guess all there is to say is that you know the drill - everyone gets 3 entries to come up with the best acronym they can that match the letters below, which are drawn from the famed acrobasket, who's recently been asked to write his memoirs. He's mulling things over. Then I'll be judging at around 10pm est tomorrow night, and naming the winners.

This week's acrotopic is - nonexistent. The letters:


There you go. Be Free!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Crikey. I don't even have an update. Let's see. It was horrendously busy at work today, how's that.
* Oh, here's one. I went to Wendy's today and ordered a side salad. When I got to the window, they came up and told me they were out of side salads. How are you out of side salads? For Christ's sake, can't you just take some lettuce out of some other salad and stick it in a side salad bowl? Who runs these places?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Picture Sunday - Indeed!

Happy Sunday, everybody, and welcome to a rather meager Picture Blog.

Bet is not well at the moment. Something I ate. It's not with me anymore, it's long gone, but the nausea remains. I'm nursing a cup of coffee in my comfy bathrobe, but I long to be curled up in the chair, so I'm going to post a couple of pictures and call it a night.

I'm posting, since I was asked, a couple of pictures from my favorite cookbook of the Ebay lot. And yes, I can give you all proof positive that there actually is a book with the title "The South Jersey Asparagus Cookbook." By the way, I underestimated in my earlier blog - it has a whopping 14 pages.


I decided to pick my favorite picture from the cookbook to display tonight. It's official name is "Surprise Stuffed Tomatoes," and what a surprise! I like to call it "Phallic Asparagus." It's quite grand.


I'd be proud to be any stalk of phallic asparagus if I could be in that dish.

OK, and now to the real recipe. The recipe du jour. It's just like Mom used to make, if Mom really likes cottage cheese - it's Cottage Cheese Meatloaf!

OK, meatloaf is great, but this is a little dry. However, look at the festive nature of the cottage cheese ball! We also get a lovely fruit salad, and the card says we get angelfood cake, too, though they're not showing. And why aren't they showing? Because the family ate it all instead of what's on the plate!

This actually reminds me (the cottage cheese scoop) of a Taytie story. When he was in kindergarten, his mom asked him one day what he had for lunch. And his face screwed up into a frown and he said, "Tuna." And she asked him, "Don't you like tuna?" And his response was, "It was cold...and in a ball!"

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I want to make a correction to my Seven Deadly Sins meme. When asked what I'd done I was most proud of, I was really stumped for an answer, of course, being me and not thinking anything I do is worthwhile. So I opted out for flying to England. When in reality I don't know why I didn't think of the answer, "Buying the Poderosa." I'm much more proud of that. Thanks for listening.
* I really like the way that ceramic chicken oversees the asparagus on the cover of "The South Jersey Cookbook." It's very comforting, for some reason.

Friday, August 12, 2005

One Subject You Can't Talk Enough About - Sin!

Yes, I've been tagged. I've been tagged by the dishy Michelle, who's done enough sinning in her time, so I hear, to do the latest meme - The Seven Deadly Sins. And since I am not without sin, I shan't be casting any stones.

The Seven Deadly Sins


1. Who did you last get angry with? I guess Kath, over the whole way the quitting thing went.
2. What is your weapon of choice? A straight-ahead deadpan stare.
3. Would you hit a member of the opposite sex? I probably have.
4. How about of the same sex? Sure, bring someone over!
5. Who was the last person who got really angry at you? Mr M, of course. He's always mad at me.
6. What is your pet peeve? You know, I didn't really want to answer cell phone users, but lately I can't think of anything that pisses me off more.
7. Do you keep grudges, or can you let them go easily? I have grudges going from 1962.


1. What is one thing you're supposed to do daily that you haven't done in a while? Swim. Haven't in a week.
2. What is the latest you've ever woken up? I can remember one Fourth of July I spent alone where I stayed in bed till about 2:30pm.
3. Name a person you've been meaning to contact, but haven't? My English friend Tina, who lives in Ireland. I started her a letter in February. It's still unfinished and unsent. And currently lost.
4. What is the last lame excuse you made? Wednesday night. "Why should I swim, it doesn't seem to be doing any good anyway...."
5. Have you ever watched an infomercial all the way through (one of the long ones?) Oh, yeah. Insomnia's a wonderful thing.
6. When was the last time you got a good workout in? Last Thursday. 50 laps. (oops - that was pride)
7. How many times did you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock today? Only once, but that's good for me.

Gluttony (Believe it or not, I originally typed "Sluttony" to this one)

1. What is your overpriced yuppie beverage of choice? I guess bottled water. I buy coffees, but they're the plain-old kind.
2. Meat eaters: white meat or dark meat? Meatically speaking, I'm quite the racist - I just don't like dark meat.
3. What is the greatest amount of alcohol you've had in one sitting/outing/event? Oh, geez. If it was that much, how do you remember? Probably about a bottle of wine, a half dozen beers, and a few Jager shots. That would have been the "It was hot, and I got drunk" party.
4. Have you ever used a professional diet company? I've done it all, baby.
5. Do you have an issue with your weight? Oh, about $23,000 worth of one.
6. Do you prefer sweets, salty foods, or spicy foods? Spicy, but flavorful spicy, not just hot for the sake of hot.
7. Have you ever looked at a small house pet or child and thought "LUNCH"? Well, actually, yes I have. Mr M used to have a kitty he named "Lunch," so every time I saw him I did indeed think "Lunch!"


1. How many people have you seen naked (not counting movies/family)? I'm giving a round figure of about 100 on this one, but that's counting communal showering.
2. How many people have seen YOU naked (not counting physicians/family)? Well, that really depends on if that webcast on New Year's Eve went global....
3. Have you ever caught yourself staring at the chest/crotch of a member of your gender of choice during a normal conversation? Two questions on this survey I'm actually embarrassed to answer "yes" to, and this is one of them.
4. Have you "done it?" Oh, sometime back in the late 18th century.
5. What is your favorite body part on a person of your gender of choice? For lustful purposes, I have two, and I'll answer the more tame of them - that part of the neck right behind the ear.
6. Have you ever been propositioned by a prostitute? Not that I know of, unless Mike counts.
7. Have you ever had to get tested for an STD or pregnancy? Yes, but the circumstances surrounding it were quite comical.


1. How many credit cards do you own? Including all of them? Gas cards and the like? About 8.
2. What's your guilty pleasure store? Target, because when I'm in there I always end up buying stuff I don't need.
3. If you had 1 million dollars, what would you do with it? Pay off podmobile2 and the Poderosa, give a little away, and bank the rest.
4. Would you rather be rich, or famous? Oh, rich. Rich! Fame just makes people look at you.
5. Would you accept a boring job if it meant you would make megabucks? So fast your head would spin round.
6. Have you ever stolen anything? Well, I'm the kind of honest where I've gone back through a drive-thru and waited in line so I could return a dollar overage I was given as change. But once I left a store and realized there was something in my buggy that didn't get scanned and I didn't pay for it. It was a mistake, so I didn't actually steal it. But I didn't take it back, either, so maybe I did.
7. How many MP3's are on your hard drive? HA! 500, maybe? But that, my friends, is not stealing. In my eyes, anyway, and I'm the authority on these things.


1. What's one thing you have done that you're most proud of? Probably flew to England by myself.
2. What's one thing you have done that your parents are most proud of? You know, I don't think of anything I've done as anything they were proud of. Probably losing weight, which is when you think of it quite sad.
3. What's one thing you would like to accomplish in your life? A college degree. I'm really doing a lot about that, aren't I?
4. Do you get annoyed by coming in second place? The other question I'm embarrassed to answer "yes" to. But yeah, I do.
5. Have you ever entered a contest of skill knowing you were of much higher skill than the other competitors? I certainly have.
6. Have you ever cheated on something to get a higher score? No, but in high school I once cheated to raise a friend's score. It didn't, though, I totally bombed the exam, and we both got grilled for about an hour.
7. What did you do today that you're proud of? Cleaned around the Poderosa some. No, I take that back. I kind of cheered someone up today.


1. What item (or person) of your friend's would you most want to have for your own? I'll take Mike's record collection. When does it arrive?
2. Who would you want to go on "Trading Spaces" with? Now, if I'm reading this question correctly, I have no idea what it has to do with envy. At all. But I'd go on that show with my sister, because she has really nice taste and wouldn't let Hildy put moss on my walls.
3. If you could be anyone else in the world, who would you be? Someone smart and good-looking, but for the life of me I can't put a name on her right now.
4. Have you ever been cheated on? Haven't we all?
5. Have you ever wished you had a physical feature different from your own? There's not a physical feature I haven't wished different from my own!
6. What inborn trait do you see in others that you wish you had for yourself? Self-confidence.
7. Do you wish you'd come up with this survey? I didn't? Oh, I guess I didn't. Sure I do.

And finally, what is your favorite deadly sin? Oh, baby - sloth, and no mistake. And I'm even answering this on Friday night, my own personal sloth-fest!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* After all that you want an update? OK, here's your update. I'm going to go fix myself some dinner. So there.
* Oh yeah - and I don't believe in this "tagging one person" crap. I want to see Stenns, Flipsy, Lily, Venice, and Jellybean answer this. And Kriz!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Love Without Gifts

A few days ago I had some aspersions cast upon my person by a friend. It wasn't dire, my friend didn't hop up and down, hurling her index finger at me and shouting "J'accuse! J'accuse!" It was more in the form of what we erudite folks know as the Stink-Eye.

It all came about when this friend asked me what I'd gotten my parents for their anniversary, and I answered, "Nothing." And when her eyebrow raised I went on to explain that I don't believe in giving anniversary gifts, even to my parents. She then answered, "Uhhhhooookay," and the aforementioned Stink-Eye appeared.

Now, I'm not an unsentimental clod. I'm a very feeling and caring person, given to tears at a kind word, a sad thought, or a commercial if it's well-written or contains dogs. But I can't help it. I don't want to give anniversary gifts to other people in love. You may think I'm unsentimental, uncaring, or a cheap-ass, and I may be one of those things, and since you all probably know anyway I'll go ahead and confess that it could well be the third one.

My parents have been married 50 years, and that's certainly something to be proud of. And I'm sure my mother deserves a gift for being married to my dad that long, just as he deserves one as well. But they deserve gifts from each other. Same with my sister and her husband, cousin Jacob and her husband, and everyone else I know who has a husband or wife.

I buy you a gift if you get married. And I buy you a gift if you have a baby. But I'm not buying you a gift every year just because you slogged through one more year of wedded bliss without calling the lawyers. I wish you well, and that's it.

And so I accepted the Stink-Eye and got on with the conversation. And I'll accept yours too. A happy marriage should be its own reward.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* So it looks like I've screwed up acrojudging, and for that I will apologize. I didn't even notice, I promise. I noticed several weeks ago when someone left a letter out of all three acros. I didn't mention it, I just noticed it. I judged badly. Mea culpa. It was still a good acro, though, wasn't it? I'll look better next week. Well, I'll look the same, actually, I'll just judge better.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

You Can't Fire Me, I Quit

We had an interesting occurrence today at TheCompanyIWorkFor. We had someone quit.

I was going to be vague in the details, but I figured since I was actually brought into the proceedings I had as much right as anyone to tell whatever parts of the story I wanted told. And so I'm going to.

The person we lost was Kath. Kath was our fourth person, our "revolving door" person, called that because there are the stalwart three of us who've been there forever, and we keep hiring that fourth person that doesn't seem to work out.

The thing is, Kath worked at first. She was efficient, did what was asked of her, and, as a bonus, was a lot of fun to be around. It just didn't stay that way.

See, besides working at the old TheCompanyIWorkFor, she also ran a family business with her husband and some others. And she began doing that business in our offices. And it began taking over. And I won't go into those details, mainly because it would take too long and it might bore you anyway, but it finally got to the point where I told the boss K needed to hand about half her paycheck back over to repay bosswoman for the use of office space, telephone, copier, fax, and time in connection with Family Business.

She'd been warned about this and it subsided for a bit, but only a bit. Then one day last week we had a very ugly episode in the office. One of her workers visited Kath in the office, there was an argument, and things got ugly. Very ugly. There was yelling, threats of calling the police, and me - me, who not only hates all conflict but has the office adjoining Kath's - I was sitting there, hands over my face, saying quite out loud and to no one in particular, "Oh, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, please make this stop. Please shut up. Oh, my God, please make this stop." Luckily there were no other clients in the office at the time, so we lowly TheCompanyIWorkFor people were the only ones to have to experience it.

This was, for boss, the last straw. She had me type up a letter (by this time Kath had whisked herself away for her second vacation this year) to have on Kath's desk when she returned today. In it was stated that from hence till the end of time, no Family Business could be conducted on TheCompanyIWorkFor property. None. It mentioned nothing about personal phone calls (of which there were many, as K came with her own 10-piece set of baggage), or time spent doing anything else non-work related - it pertained only to the second business. At the bottom of the letter was a place for Kath to sign saying she understood this and would comply with it.

She wouldn't sign it. And so she quit.

And I felt really bad about it all. For about 20 minutes. Then I felt really angry. And I guess that's why I'm writing about it tonight.

The first thing that started that "bad feeling" going away was the fact that Kath suddenly decided that she wasn't speaking to me anymore. I made several attempts, even trying as I'd go past her desk on the way to other places. She put her head down and remained silent. Then - then! - in a stunning move of cowardice, she picked the moment when I went to the bathroom to leave. Not a so long, nice to have known you, you suck you fat bastard, nothing. And that hurt. Because I thought that no matter what problems she and the boss had, we'd always gotten along well and at least a nice "see ya round" was in order.

Then when she was gone I found out some things that transpired in that "I quit" meeting and I realized that maybe ol' Kath didn't like me as well as I thought she did. Or maybe she was just using me in her defense, I don't know.

First of all, when confronted with her wrongdoings (which remember, only concerned Family Business), her first line of defense was apparently that I'm late to work on a regular basis with no penalties levied. Then she went on to mention that our workmate San took her fair share of personal phone calls. And she even went so far as to accuse me of being favored over her because for four Fridays in October, I leave work an hour early to make it to Oktoberfest. This from a woman who's missed work, left early, and come in late for reasons such as going to court, kids' graduations, kids' dentist's appointments, football games, basketball games, snow, bad roads, meetings with teachers, truant officers, lawyers, etc etc till you want to puke. "It's not fair," she said. "And it'll never change."

Then Kath seemed to have a problem that I made more than she did. Never mind that she'd been with us about 3 years and I've been at TheCompanyIWorkFor longer than half her life. Never mind that it shouldn't matter to her what the hell I make, it's none of her concern. And you know, if she was that upset over it all she could have told me and I could have easily explained to her (as the boss did in that meeting today) that when my contract was drawn up I had two choices of how I was paid. I picked one, and that's my pay contract. It's different than hers. I'm salaried, because I'm mainly managerial; she was commissioned because she was hired for sales. Had she been working for TheCompanyIWorkFor and not Family Business all day long, her paycheck could have easily been double mine. She didn't want to hear it, though.

And you know, I think I know why she never came to me with her problem over this, besides the fact that for all she shows, she must be filled with entirely false bravado. Because if she'd have come to me with this problem, she'd have had to explain... how in the fuck she knows what I make in the first place! I've never told her, nor has boss, so she's either sneaked a peek at my paycheck or into boss's checkbook, which is accessible if one knows where to look.

And finally, she leveled the bomb that made me lose all respect or friendship for her. In the form of a blatant lie. While casting accusations on everyone around her, she saw fit to inform the boss that I blogged from work. Which may I say to that: I have no qualms whatsoever (and I freely admit it in the office) that I've done my share of work loafing. We all have. I've paid my bills at my desk, I've ordered clarinet reeds over the phone, I've looked at enough websites to fill the internet, I've snacked, I've read the occasional magazine. During downtime. But there are two work taboos I have. I won't go to Ebay and I won't blog. And it's probably out of fear more than anything, I feel somehow that doing either of those things could alert the TheCompanyIWorkFor weasels where I might be on their computers, thus getting my ass in some hot water with them. But I don't do it, she knows I don't do it, and it pissed me off that she'd use it against me in some sort of effort to take her coworkers down with her as she fell.

Anyway, she's gone. She didn't even try to explain herself, or say, yes, Family Business takes up a lot of my time, but let's work out a way to manage it. I'll try part-time work, or learn to delegate responsibilities of Family Business better. Boss would have been willing to listen to anything she had to say, but grew tired when all it turned out to be was attempts to drive knives into the workers who were left. She was gone by about 10am, or precisely the time the first drop of pee left my body when I went to the bathroom. And who knows, maybe I'll see her again one day, in a store, or restaurant, and maybe we'll say hi to each other and maybe we won't.

And maybe I'll get up the nerve to ask her all the questions I have about this day. How she was so knowledgeable about my paycheck. If she really had all that resentment towards me the times we worked together, the times we were helping each other do stuff, when we were laughing and talking about our lives. Did she really always think of me as some Dick Cheney, some evil minion to the boss who got away with more than she did and laughed evilly about it when I was back home in the evenings. Or did she just try to use me as a scapegoat because she was going down for the third time there in boss's office this morning and didn't have anything else to grab onto.

Maybe I'll get up the nerve. But I doubt it. I'll probably just put a menu up in front of my face.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* And if all that weren't enough, I got home tonight only to find an email telling me that my special buddy from Community Band, J, is facing some pretty serious health problems. I'm upset and sad, and everyone please keep a good thought for J. She's a special person.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Jumble Sale

A few random thoughts© up for purchase.

Corrections, 25¢:

A week or so ago, I answered the Flipsy meme about cookbooks (when is another of those going to make the rounds?). I shamefully said I owned about 3 or 4 cookbooks, and I realized tonight that that is, my fine friends, a blatant lie.

I'd forgotten all about my box of Ebay cookbooks. See, since I'm in constant worry about my recipe du jour cards running out, and rightly so because they're going fast, I occasionally look around on Ebay for more recipes. And I found a boxed lot of old books for about $5. And I bought them. They're all slim paperbacks from the 60s; however, most of the recipes were in black and white photos, and the color ones weren't generally of the great horrible quality of what we have now, so I just packed them back up and stuck them in the closet.

But tonight I got to thinking about them because I'm looking for some kitschy kitchen art to hang up in The Egg. And I got them out and started looking at them, and they're actually quite fun. There's "The Leftovers Cookbook," "Cooking the French Way" (ooh la la), "Lunch Box Specials," "The Ground Meat Cookbook" (Mitchie and Flipsy should love that one), and my own personal favorite, and believe me folks, it's a slight book, about 10 pages, "The South Jersey Asparagus Cookbook." That's about the most specialized book I can imagine ever being written.

But I've lied. I don't own 3 or 4 cookbooks, because there are 18, count them, I know you won't, in that box alone. I have cookbooks out the ying-yang!

Celebrity Quotes, 75¢:

Every once in a while a member of The Famous will come out with something so good it makes you glad to be alive. This happened a few years ago when Aretha Franklin was praising a certain mentor in her life and gushed, "He turned my career around 160 degrees."

Today Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg was taking time from his busy pants-dropping schedule (thanks, "Clueless") to do an interview re his new movie on the Today program. He'd talked about how some film experiences had a good director, but not a good script, or a great cast but not a good director, then said, "This time I got both - a great script, director, and cast."

You gotta love moments like that.

Apologies Demanded, 60¢:

I had a wonderful dog named Bill who loved to bite people. He liked to bite people more than anything else, and was quite good at it. He bit me, everyone in my family, and several friends, or at least they were right up until the time his teeth sank into their flesh.

When my nephew was about 4, Bill bit him. Taytie was playing with him and Bill reached right up and bit him squarely on the nose. Taytie cried, the nose bled, and we all ended up in the hospital to witness a tetanus shot and I had to produce vaccination papers on my doggie.

I don't think anyone (except me of course, because in some ways I think Bill and I were woven from the same cloth) in my family ever forgave poor Bill for this act. We'd tolerate his teeth from time to time, but he'd bitten the Golden Boy. In fact when Bill died a year or so later and Taytie was told this, the first words out of his mouth were, "He bit me once."

Today in Dear Abby there was a very nice little description of doggies and why children shouldn't be left alone with them. The column contains the following, and I quote, probably illegally:

"Dogs are pack animals. Their family is their 'pack.' In the pack, the dominant animal will offer a corrective bite on the nose of a younger dog to correct unacceptable behavior."

And now, over 10 years after his death, my Bill has been exonerated. I want a posthumous public apology for my dog, family, and I want it now!

And that's all I have for sale.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* We have acrowinners. What did you think of when you were saying, "Man, that's a cool thing?"
-Honorable Mention goes to Mike, with "Sleeping in, evading nuisances." (Mike and I have this thing about sleeping in. On completely opposite coasts, of course.)
-Runner-up goes to Michelle, with "Seeing Eddie in Nordstroms." (That would be cool - I'll bet he'd be buying bustiers.)
-And this week's winner goes to LilyG, with "Singing In Egypt. Naked." (She thought it was cool; now she has to do it for us!)

Thanks to all who played!

Monday, August 08, 2005


Well, hello to all you people who love letters. You know, I'm sure there's a support group out there for you. A 12-step thing.

Now, I know Mike Week is officially over, or at least I declared it so, then I'll be damned if that man didn't show up again in my life to influence my blog. I tell you, he needs to get his own damn blog, that boy.

We're always talking, us bloggers out there, about how one of the great joys of life is getting a surprise in the mail. And today, courtesy of Mr Mike, I received one of the coolest things in the Free World via post. It's just, well, it's so great I won't even attempt to explain it. I'll just show it to you.

Great Crikey Moses. How cool is that?

And so in honor of the great surprise in my mail this morning, this week's acrotopic shall be this: "Man, That's A Cool Thing." So you be thinking of what you'd consider a cool thing.

All the other rules are the same, everyone gets 3 entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic but also the letters below, which are of course drawn from the coolest basket I personally know of, the acrobasket. Then tomorrow at around 10pm est I'll be judging and naming the winners, who will be the coolest people in the world for the next week.

So this week's topic is "Man, That's A Cool Thing." And the letters are:


OK, so don't just stand around looking cool - go acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* By the time you read this, there should be - wait for it - a brand new Captain Asshole's Corner posted on the Comfy Chair. You'd better go read it, you know those things appear very infrequently.
* Oh, and by the way, you do know I have a guestbook, don't you? Don't you??

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Picture Sunday

Hello to everyone out there in Sundayland, and welcome to this week's edition of Picture Sunday.

My weekend was nothing to speak of. Believe me. And so rather than rehash it here, I'm going to take you on a little trip through the mythical world of make-believe.

You know, I'm me, and that's all I'll ever be, and sometimes I'm OK with that and sometimes I'm not. And even when I am, there's always going to be that part of me that dreams of being someone else.

Someone...oh, say, someone....

Yeah, I doubt there's not a single girl out there who didn't think of herself even just the teensiest bit as Mary Tyler Moore, throwing her hat in the air while making her way in the big bad world. With that awful woman looking on, seemingly in disgust.

But I have to tell you, guys. I know Mary's a major legend and all, but she was never really my favorite. Sure, she was great, but there was someone else I idolized as a child. Someone whose oh-so-cute pumps I would have gladly stepped into at a moment's notice.

Oh, man. Ann Marie, nee Ann Marie Brewster, the aspiring actress who got into more fun situatons (for my money, anyway) than Lucy, and who once starred in that off-off-off-off- (think New Jersey) Broadway production of "A Preponderance of Artichokes." And not only did Ann Marie have the spunk to try to make it in New York as an actress, she had pound-for-pound the absolute best boyfriend in the history of television, Donald Hollinger. I'd have married him in the first episode, I mean it.

Then again, do I really have the spunk to make it in New York on my own? I'm a small town girl. With an exceedingly wacky family.

And sometimes I believe I have family members that rival these. I never had a Lurch, though. Or a Thing. Cousin Murray was pretty fuckin' close to Cousin Itt, though.

You know, the above slipped into the realms of the surreal, just a little bit, anyway, but here's someone who was probably closer to me. The no-one in high school who longed to be a someone, who longed to be cool, and known, and have all the answers.

OK, so Lindsay Weir of "Freaks and Geeks" smoked pot a few years earlier than I did, and she actually had a boyfriend in high school, even if he was a loser and she broke up with him not long after they got together. But still, save for Ann Marie, I think I identify more with her than anyone else.

I coulda been her.

And now, back to the world of reality. Stark, ugly reality. The recipe du jour. Say hello, if you dare, to Breaded Turkey Breast.

Well, someone can't seem to believe it, anyway. Actually, I'll eat just about anything breaded, and this wouldn't be such a bad dish - if there was something to go with it! It's just laid there, bare, with not a sauce, topping, gravy, or anything else to cover its nakedness. Just some green stuff, which could be parsley, or rosemary, or, hell, grass, for all I know.

I guess the card people feel a little sorry for the dish too, because we get three sides and a dessert, and one of the sides is creamed corn, and I'm right there with them on that. I'll skip the rice (damn, talk about a dry meal), peaches, and lemon chiffon pie.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:

* Many thanks to Mike for tonight's final Mike Week topic, "TV Characters I Could Have Played." And thanks to Mike for making my blogging experience this week so fun. I hope I did him proud.

* And thanks to Mr M for taking me through the hell that is learning Paint Shop Pro. As you can probably tell, this was my first-ever time doing this kind of thing.

* And boy, did that picture from earlier in the week - me at five - come in handy again so soon!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Overheard At The Condiments Ball

"Haven't you heard? Hellman's been in love with Hunts for years. Unrequited, though, I'm afraid...."

I was told last night I would have made a good GoGo. And I liked hearing that. Because not only did I really like the GoGos in the early 80s, but I think I'd have made a damn good GoGo myself. I never did the drugs and sex thing like they did, but I'm such a follower. I'd have fit right in in time, I'm sure.

I've always wanted to play the guitar. Guitar or piano, because as far as instruments go, they're the cool ones. They're the ones you can play and get a following of people around you clapping and singing. I ended up with the clarinet. The fucking clarinet. And the oboe! The fucking oboe! You show me a person who takes an oboe to a campfire party, and I'll show you a person who not only lost her oboe to the campfire, but every friend she ever had as well.

I have, as most of you well know by now, an autoharp. I love that autoharp, but I can't play it. And why can't I play it? Well, mainly I can't play it because it sits leaned up against my living room wall in its case. And I don't care what you've heard, but no matter how good you are you're not going to get much of a sound from an instrument while it's still in the case. Still, I hope. I hope I'll get motivated enough to get the thing out and doodle around some more with the "Learn To Play The Autoharp" book the lovely Kellie loaned me and the few chord sheets for songs I printed out from the internet. My dream is one day I'll be able to play "The Wildwood Flower" well enough to make people cry. Just like Mother Maybelle.

My nephew is in a band, and in fact, I saw them play today. Our town is having the big "Lemonade Days" festival this weekend, and your very own Stetsons rocked the gazebo at lunchtime. It was fun. They played songs from their CD (give me $5 and I'll get you a copy), and this time around I actually knew them well enough to sing along!

I'm always trying to give my nephew CDs I've burned that are full of suggestions for their set list. I have no real hope of any of them getting in there, but I'll never stop suggesting. It's part of the fun of knowing someone in a band. Trouble is, I'm always throwing songs in there that no one knows, and what band full of self-respecting teenagers are going to want to cover songs that no one knows? The last batch I sent over to the nephew included "Draft Dodger Rag" by Phil Ochs and "Casting My Spell" by the Talismen. And "Rattle My Bones" by the Suburbs. And "The Worrying Kind" by Robert Gordon. Maybe one day I'll get him "I Don't Wanna Love You (But You Got Me Anyway)" by the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver. Who knows - and what's one more song they'll never do, right?

Anyway, after the concert, which was as I said at lunchtime and the temperature hovered at around 90 degrees, we all headed back to work where we were quickly becoming aware of the sad fact that, at least in our town, lemons = loonies. Weird day at TheCompanyIWorkFor today. I drank lots of water to replenish the gallons of sweat I lost at the concert, and helped myself to Kath's secret stash of Cheetos later in the afternoon. (It's ok, it's ok - she told me I could.)

Now it's back home, finally, and ready for Friday night chilling. But you know, I keep thinking - maybe somewhere between the dinner and the coffee and the liquor (tonight it's beer) and the movies, maybe I'll get that autoharp out of its case and see what it can do. Whatever that is, I hope it can do it by itself because I'd say I've damn near forgotten everything I originally learned.

Oh, and by the way - you know I love good old Alan F Arkin, and George Clooney's mighty cute, and Chris Cooper and David Straithairn sure are fun to watch in films, and Donald Sutherland - well, what can you say about Donald? But when it comes to nice, friendly, and down to earth, you just can't beat Don Knotts.

Yep, Don Knotts.

(That's your own Stetsons striking a casual post-concert pose up there.)

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Thanks to Mike for his topics, "Who Makes The Best Condiments," "Rock Bands In History I Could Have Been In," "Coolest Songs Only I Know," "Best Junk Foods," and "Movie Stars I Could Be Friends With." (It was getting to the end of the week; I had to cram.)
* This was a pretty rotten blog. Sorry, Mike.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Modest Proposal (or There's Probably Something In Here To Offend Everyone!)

OK, let's play a game. We need to cut some corners here in the old US budget. (That's a game?) And I've just been elected president. (OK, that's a game.) Well, here's the kind of president I am - screw the advisors, I'm gonna do this the way I'd do my budget at the Poderosa, and let's face it, I'm not swimming in money over there but at least I'm not living out in the yard in a refrigerator box. And as of yet I haven't starved.

So let's do this the old-fashioned way. Let's cut some stuff out.

First to go is Utah. Get the mother right out of the way. No use whatsoever, that state is. The Mormons practically own it anyway, we'll sell it to them for a good portion of the 27 gabillion dollars in their coffers, and they can change the name of it to Mormonia. Just think, anybody traveling out west on Amtrak will have to have a passport! And they can charge a little by way of an alien tax to get back some of the gabillions they gave Uncle Sam. It's either pay the tax or listen to Mormon propaganda, and I think I know which way most of us will be going. Oh, and sorry Mr Redford, you're going to have to move your little movie party to Colorado.

Next, we're going to combine Alabama and Mississippi. We'll call it Malabippi. Two of our poorer states, let's face it, and they're eating us up in social welfare programs. So let's just combine them together and do something with them. Now, there's the question, though - what are we going to do. Damn. What are we going to do. Oh, I know. Sell the land to one of the Major Studios and use the whole expanse there for movie-making. You could build every conceivable type of set in Malabippi - build large cities, barren deserts (how hard could that be?), have a civil war set, even set up an interplanetary space type of place. Send all the big stars down there to make movies, that would make them prove they really want to be in the movie biz. Somewhere in all that bunch of land you have to have the Mississippi River, right, but it would of course become the Malabippi River for that stretch, you could film all your water stuff there. There's even coastline for beach movies. Yeah! Let's bring back the beach movie, Malabippi style!

Then I'm going to do something that's really gonna pick up the cash - the top states, well, the completely useless ones, anyway, Montana, North Dakota, and Michigan, which isn't worth much now that the big automakers have moved the auto business away, let's sell those to Canada. They can use them however they want, I don't care. Don't give a shit. Use them for parking. Just pay us the price and do as you please.

And finally, I'm going to have to decide what to do about Florida. Florida isn't completely useless, but it needs some help. So here's what I propose.

First of all, and sorry Mom and Dad, I know you'll have the hump at me for a little while over this, let's move all the old people and retirees up to the panhandle in the new Geezerico. It can be a kind of polyester concentration camp. Golf courses, bingo parlors, bad driving, and early-bird specials at all the restaurants. Then we'll take the west coast, the Gulf side, and sell it to Disney. That way they can expand all they want. Disney can have Cape Canaveral too, they're way more efficient than NASA is these days. That leaves the east coast and southern tip, which we'll make beach only, but we'll designate which beaches cater to what people - we'll have the redneck beach, the beach foreigners come to, the yuppie beach, the rich people's beach, the drunkard's beach, the quiet people's beach, the no smoking beach, the no kids beach, and the beach for people who don't really like beaches. That way there will be a beach for everyone and tourism will explode.

That may leave us with only 46 states, but a with lot more money in our till. And of course, we'll have to change the flag, so there's another great employment opportunity. It's gonna fuck with the Miss America Pageant, but I'm not concerned about that.

It's time to lighten the load. So you borderline useless states better stay on your toes. Hey, New Hampshire, I wouldn't look so smug if I were you.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Thanks to Mike for today's topic, "Least Valuable States."
* Mr M and I went to see these folks last night. And what an impressive group of kids they were.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Burned and Broken

I was a square peg as far as kids go. My sister, "the good one," always had her straight hair in place, clothes clean, and generally, to hear the relatives tell it anyway, was a perfect little lady.

Cue four years later. Along I came, and grew into a screaming, crying, loud little terror with hair and clothes askew, who broke everything in the house and was ready to fight anyone who told me "no."

And look at me now. Hard to believe. How did that little girl grow into today's weenie? I like to tell myself it was all that hammering of my square peg into my sister's round hole. So to speak. About all that's left of that little girl is the hair. And that's what I wanted to get rid of!

When my sister and I were growing up, our boo-boo history was thusly: If the sister got hurt, it generally wasn't her fault, something happened to her, say, oh, I poked her in the eye with a Barbie doll. But if I got hurt, it was basically because I was doing something I shouldn't have. Like walking through the sticky bushes barefoot or trying to climb the latticework on the carport.

My sister was seven when she got her leg broken. Notice I didn't say she broke her leg. No, she was walking along, minding her own, probably going to church or to minister to the downtrodden or feed the hungry, when some neighborhood girl came up behind her and *whoom!* ran over her with her bicycle. One broken leg later, my sister was the talk of the neighborhood. Parents were crying, children were offering up their toys and candy, and the bicycle's pilot, whom I'm sure had become convinced her place in hell was secured, decided she'd atone by pulling my sister everywhere in her wagon. Just like in a parade. Just like a beauty queen. Hmmmm.

I was five when I broke my arm, and yes, I did it all by myself I'm proud to say. A real self-starter I was. We lived in a little house (that still stands, has been remodeled, and is as cute as a button, which is a shame since when when we lived in it it was a pit) that bordered a small neighborhood store. The store had a nice gravel parking lot out front, and at either side of the lot were white posts, about six feet apart. And through all those posts ran a cable.

The great excitement amongst the big kids in the neighborhood back then was to take a run-a-go, jump on the cable, and see how far you could spring yourself off onto the other side. My sister and her friends did it all the time. And hey, what made them so special anyway? So I decided it was time for me to try.

I tried it. Gingerly. I hopped up on the cable and hopped down onto the other side. Ahhh, piece of cake. Then I got a little farther away, and a little farther, and well, before I knew it I was hopping like the big kids. I was becoming a world-class hopper.

Or so I thought. On about my dozenth hop, something happened. A fatal foot slip. Instead of springing into the grass with a "Take that, older kids!" I went slamming face first onto the gravel before me.

And it hurt. It hurt like hell, though I wasn't allowed to say that, of course. So I just cried. I cried on the ground, I cried when my sister drug me into the house, I cried when my mother washed the gravels out of my face. We had dinner that night and she held me on her lap and tried to feed me, but all I did was cry. And if there's one thing my mother knew it was that if I wasn't eating then something was wrong. So it was to the hospital.

A few x-rays later and I was diagnosed with a fractured arm. And that was where I had my great meeting with Dr Raub, the crusty old bastard of a doctor everyone was afraid of but me. We got along like a house afire. (If you care to hear the story of Dr Raub, hit the introduction of my of July 1, 2002 blog.) I came home with a cast and a new hero.

Cut to the next year. Something happened to me that I never would have believed in my then six-year-old lifetime.

It was Halloween. By then I was in the first grade, and we were into our new house, the ranch-style on Lynn St. Me, my sister, and my cousin Jacob were all doing the neighborhood for tricks and treats. Well, treats, we weren't interested in tricks, it was all about the candy haul. It was suggested by my mom that year that I go as a devil, and if I think too much about that I'm sure I'll be forced right back into psychotherapy, but she had a cute idea for a costume and so I went with it. I had a little red cotton dresslet, red nylon tights, shoes, and the requisite horns popping out of my curly mane.

There we were, all around the table on Halloween Friday night, the sister, Jacob, me, Mom, Dad, and the grandparents B. My dad was reaching over the table to hand something to my mom and - knocked over an entire cup of freshly-poured coffee. Onto me.

(That was back in the 60s, those days of the perculator. You know, tall, silver, long spout, clear thing at the top that showed your coffee popping away in there. I see those in stores sometimes and am always tempted to buy one. Just for that coffee-shower thrill, I guess.)

It was something. The coffee was steaming hot, and right onto my red nylon devil-tights it went. It seared away at my thigh. When the folks finally got the tights off me, what was left of them, anyway, I had a massive knee-to-hip circle of burned flesh.

It's funny, because I remember the arm, and that was a year earlier. I remember sitting at the table on my mom's lap crying. I don't remember anything but the aftermath of the coffee bath. Maybe I went into shock, who knows. Anyway, there was one thing I did know. I'd broken the curse. I'd gotten an injury that wasn't my fault!

And so it was to the hospital for me. Funny, I guess nowadays I'd have been taken away from my parents and put in foster care with a burn like that, but it was a different time, and after some treatment and a huge bandage, I was back home. When I arrived, I found that my sister and Jacob had continued out trick-or-treating, with an extra bag for me. They told my sad and sorry tale at every house, and the treats flowed freely that year.

I didn't get pulled around in a wagon like a beauty queen, though. That's an honor reserved for only one member of our family, I'm afraid, and I ain't it.

(That's me up there in the cast, and my dad, btw, in the yard only feet from where the fracture took place.)

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Thanks to Mike for the above topic, "Greatest Injuries Of My Childhood."
* And now to acrowinners, all vying for that autographed picture of Mike. So, what did yall learn from pets?
- Honorable mention goes to Flipsy, with "Rears! Asses! Yummy! Olefactory manna!" A wonderful acro, but I'd be embarrassed to admit I'd learned that one particular thing....
- Runner-up goes to Mike, with "Ripping at rugs, yelping, outdoor meandering." I'd always wondered where he'd learned that....
- And this week's winner, and that autographed picture, goes to LilyG, with "Really adorable reactions, you oughta master." Because, really, it's the face, isn't it? Ask my nephew - maybe that's where he learned the "puppy dog eyes."

Thanks to all who played!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Mike Week Acrochallenge!

Hello to all of you Betland tuner-inners out there, and welcome to a very special week here in podworld. You know about the Discovery Channel. You know that once a year, in an effort to scare, fascinate, and whet the "I hope a man gets eaten" appetites of their viewers, D.C. has Shark Week.

Well, here we do things a little differently. In an effort to scare, fascinate, and whet the "I hope a man gets eaten" appetites of our viewers, we have Mike Week.

Yes, Mike the blogless, who can apparently come up with terrific blog topics but not the words to flesh them out, well, he's given me a week of topics, and by damn, this is the week I'm putting them into use. So welcome to my nightmare, also known as Mike Week. Tonight, it'll be your nightmare, too.

One of Mike's topics will actually become this week's acro. And it concerns our furry friends. This week's acrotopic is "Things I Learned From Pets." Everyone's had a pet. Well, I hope, anyway, I'd hate to think there are people out there who've gone through life petless. Anyway, if you haven't had a pet, think of your neighbor's pet, that'll help.

Our rules are as always. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the mikerotopic above but also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket was briefly married to Mike during the mid-80s, but then again, who wasn't, right? Then I'll be judging at around 10pm est tomorrow night, and the winners get an autographed picture of Mike himself. I guess the losers get an in-person visit. It's a joke! It's funneee - get it?

So there you go. This week's topic: "Things I Learned From Pets." The letters:


Oh, and I guess I should make it clear in case anyone wondered - Mike is eligible to play this week. So, what are you waiting for? Go play!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* By the way, two things I learned from my pets. How to hide behind a curtain and make sure everyone knows where you are, and how to bury a weenie in the corner of the room in the carpet.
* Mike's seen Elvis Costello so many times that when Elvis sees him out in the audience he cries and runs off the stage.