Tuesday, September 27, 2005

What The Boys Are Up To

It should come as no surprise to you that I have this friend, Mr M. I mention him on those rarest of occasions here in the old blog.

Well, I speak to Mr M just about every single night, every night he's in town, anyway, and we talk about this and that, the important and the unimportant, but every single time we talk there's one particular question that will come up. Without fail.

"What are the boys up to?"

And by that he means, of course, Sherman and Peabody. It's a question as simple as asking how the family is, but it's a question he always wants to know the answer to.

And so I always tell him.

Now, most of you few loyal readers out there know that I have a small community of cartoon characters who've taken up residence with me at the Poderosa. And we have a good old time here, usually, except for those occasions like when Mr Peanut got drunk and chatted up women on my computer, and the odd time Gossamer eats something he's not supposed to, like, say, Lily my good luck baby. But it's generally a fun little commune we have.

In the beginning of Mr M's asking of the question, the answer was often the same. "What are the boys up to?" "Playing Chinese Checkers." Sherman used to be a great fan of Chinese Checkers, especially when he was nine (he's 10 now, you know, has been for the past two years), and he's very good at it too, even winning games over Mr Peabody now and then.

But Chinese Checkers turned out to be but a passing fancy, and now things have moved on. And so now the answers to the question are becoming a little more complex.

Like the time Sherman got his brand new cowboy hat. For a while the answer to the question was, "Sherman's in his hat, sidling up to me and saying, 'Howdy, ma'am!'"

And often the answer involves music. There was the time S & P were rehearsing for that benefit performance they were doing at the old folks' home in B'burg, and so the answer became, "They're practicing 'Sonny Boy,' with Sherman taking up a place on Mr Peabody's knee for the big finale." Or sometimes the answer is, "Sherman's got his clarinet out practicing his 'wild music' again." (He was inspired by jazz clarinetist Don Byron after Clarinetfest last year.) Or, "Sherman's practicing his scales." (He's a diligent practicer.) Or, "Sherman's in his lederhosen, playing 'The Clarinet Polka' and tap-dancing." (He's also a very talented little boy, in case you hadn't guessed.)

Then of course the reading club began, and so if it's a particularly quiet night I'll have to answer with what the gang are reading. Misters Peanut and Peabody have been re-reading "War and Peace" for some time now, and Sherman likes "Huck Finn," Huckleberry Hound and Lily are still enjoying "Dick and Jane at the Seashore," and usually Gossamer just eats a magazine. Or a paperback, if he's feeling intellectual.

Then if it's warm, I'll have to tell about how Sherman is outside riding his Vespa, or catching fireflies, or floating peanut shells down the creek. I have to whisper the last one, though, because I'm afraid that news might send Mr Peanut back to the bottle.

But occasionally things just go wild around here. A while back when asked, "What are the boys up to?" I had to be honest and answer, "Well, Sherman's standing on his head, wiggling his feet and singing, Mr Peanut is waltzing, alone, Gossamer, Huckleberry Hound, and Lily are doing The Limbo, and Mr Peabody is Morris dancing."

"Boy, there's never a dull moment at the Poderosa, is there?" came the reply from Mr M.

Just last week, I reported that Sherman was doing his geometry homework, Mr Peabody was working on a small piece of machinery for the WABAC, and Gossamer was chewing on Huckleberry Hound's foot. "Does Huckleberry know this?" asked Mr M. "No, he's asleep," I replied.

Only last night when Mr M asked about the boys, I told him that it was a fairly tame night and that while Mr Peabody was grading Sherman's homework, Gossamer was giving piggy back rides to the other characters. "Oh, that's nice of him," said Mr M, and then I had to admit that that may not be the case per se, that the guys were just climbing on him as he was slowing down, and he probably didn't even realize they were there.

But that's OK, because as a reward sometimes on Friday nights one of the characters will give Gossamer a makeover. Gossamer really likes makeovers.

Now, it's a really odd thing how this has all become such a natural part of my life. I mean, I know, and Mr M knows, and I guess most of you all know, that at the Poderosa, Wednesday night is Fish Stick Night. That's the night I head off to Community Band, and so everyone left here at home has Fish Sticks, Sherman's favorite food. Sometimes the two Mr Ps will have something a little fancier, say Smoked Salmon Sticks, but it's quite the Poderosa tradition.

A couple of weeks ago when I opened up my clarinet case at Community Band and who should be there to greet me but Sherman (he apparently stowed himself away in there after Oktoberfest rehearsal), T, who sits with me in the clarinet section, exclaimed, "But he'll miss Fish Stick Night!" And so I guess it's become a natural part of other people's lives as well.

At Band I sit in between T, the clarinetist, and Kellie, she of the oboe and acro, and we generally have a great time. And often the conversation will turn to Sherman, and Peabody, and occasionally Mr Peanut. T inquires about his sobriety. I think she worries. (His sobriety's going quite well, thanks, I know you all wonder from time to time.)

But just recently during our break at Band, the three of us were conversing and who should come along but the lovely L, who mans (womans?) the merchandise booth at Oktoberfest and also plays percussion with Community Band. And she caught the tail-end of a conversation that involved the boys, and wonder how Fish Stick Night was going and such, and the look of amazement on her face caught me quite by surprise. I mean, I thought she'd seen me lovingly bring Sherman and Peabody, in their lederhosen, to Oktoberfest and sit them there up onstage as a part of the Sauerkraut Band.

In other words, I was amazed that she was amazed that we were sitting there talking about the boys like it was old home week.

I guess it's just so common for me now, to talk about the red-headed boy and the genius doggie, and the giant peanut with the drinking problem, and the monster and the blue dog with the little hat and the good luck baby with a hole in her midsection where she was nearly swallowed alive, that I just assume everyone else feels the same way. And I'm constantly amazed when they don't.

It makes me wonder - am I crazy, or is everybody else? Because, you know I don't feel crazy at all. I mean, I'm part of the commune.

(By the way, as I was typing this very blog, Mr M popped in to ask, "What are the boys up to?" The answer tonight is, "They're indian wrestling in my overnight bag." They like my overnight bag for some reason. Maybe I should incorporate what the boys are up to into the Olympic Update.)

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So what was such a gyp?
- Honorable mention goes to LilyG, with her "Yes, no intellect, so denied grant."
- Runner-up goes to Flipsycab, with her "Yeller noticed immediately, something different. Gun!" Ouchies!
- And this week's winner is, once again, Funafuti, with what is possibly the best sentence ever constructed in the English language, "Yolanda never imagined she'd die gopherless." Not only am I mourning for Yolanda, but I'm thinking of making this my new email signature line.
- Thanks to all who played, you all did very well!

Monday, September 26, 2005


Hello lads and lasses, ducks and drakes, and queens and drones. And welcome to another round of acromania.

I'm not going into the greatest of detail here why I've chosen this week's particular acrotopic, but suffice to say that my dear nephew's high school band went to their first festival Saturday and didn't win band of the day. They acheived a "superior" rating, but didn't win the big prize. They never do - their rival band always does. It's a long story, but the kids understand they're doomed from the start, and even knowing that voted to go to this same festival once again this year to face down their rival. So this week's topic shall be, "Dang. What a gyp."

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above, but the letters below, drawn from our best friend, the acrobasket. The acrobasket is fair to all. Then at about 10pm est I'll judge the entries and announce the winners, who'll win a fabulous prize, possibly a 3-piece lounge suite, and the rest of you will turn off your computers complaining about the recent gyp you've just suffered.

So this week's topic is "Dang. What a gyp." The letters:


Now, quit your whining and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I worked out today after work, drank a nice protein drink, did some deep breathing...and promptly fell asleep for 2 hours in the Comfy Chair. Now my contact lenses are stuck to my eyes.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Picture Sunday

It's late, but I'm here. And welcome to a seriously bringing-up-the-rear version of Picture Sunday.

Friday night I watched a 4½ star movie ("Layer Cake"), and hung around my computer till the wee hours of the morning. I became (ask the dishy Michelle!) quite the maven - well, wait, "maven" is a word I truly can only apply to Stennie, let's make it mavenette - by reinstalling scanner software, downloading printer drivers, monkeying around with changing my email program, and more. I was really proud of the whole email thing, but it turns out Thunderbird didn't have the one thing I love in an email. The chance to provide a signature line. So it was back out with that and back in with the old standby I was using before.

Saturday night it was back to B'burg, back up the mountain, and back to another Oktoberfest. Lots of people last night, lots of fun, and a possible, oh, let me figure here, 6 on the drunkometer. I was doing fine on my second beer and first shot of Goldschlager till Eddie (remember now, Eddie's the Jagermaster) handed around shots to the clarinet players after "The Clarinet Polka." That put me a little past the halfway mark. But it was all good, and our first picture tonight comes from the mountain. (As does our second, but we'll get to that later.)

You know, I like to pass around gifts from time to time. (Just don't expect one from me on your anniversary, see blog of Thursday, Aug 11, 2005.) In the past, re Sauerkraut Band, Mr M and I have started a tiny tradition of final night gifts. Year before last we gave Ed, our Fearless Leader (really, he's fearless), a set of wind-up hopping lederhosen, and last year we gave all the band members posters of The Jager Bench. We already have our this year's final night gift planned, and believe me, it'll be a doozy.

But last night I had the opportunity to give something else. See, I'd been wanting something for a while, something that didn't really exist per se. So I got the grand idea to go looking around on the 'net for someone who could create it for me, and damn if I didn't find someone. So I had them do it for me, and since I could order it in bulk, ordered up some and took them up the mountain with me last night.

All the band members got one, plus Oscar, head of the esteemed (if misunderstood) Krautheads, who just happened to be attendance last night. They seemed to go over well, and I was well chuffed when at least one person went right out to her car upon receiving hers and gave it a place of honor on her bumper.

Our second picture, also from last night, I'm still not overly sure what to make of. After it was all over, we'd played "Auf Weidersehen" and began cleaning away and packing, I went to take Sherman and Mr Peabody from their places on our stands. As I picked up Mr Peabody, I noticed something was a little different. He had - all the tickets from last night's raffle (prizes are given at intermission) stuffed down into his lederhosen! Was he trying to fix the winners? Was he the victim of a practical joke? We'll never know, but he's still carrying them around.

Last night's memorable quote, from a 4-year old girl brought onstage during audience participation.

Ed: And where do you live?
Girl: Daddy's house.
Ed: And what do you want to be when you grow up?
Girl: A rock star.

Well, the way things are now, she's only about 8 years away from her goal.

And now, it's time for the recipe du jour. And yes, folks, we've got another goodie for you. It's the one and only and never to be duplicated (well, one can only hope), Frankfurter Crown!

Imagine the excitement of this little number appearing on your dinner table! This regal combination of weenie tops and mixed up crap in the middle. Let's see, what's in that mixed up crap.... Bacon, onion, potatoes, cream of chicken soup - and green beans! That makes it healthy! And The Card says we have this with coleslaw and rhubarb pie! Now that's some fine eatin'.

And yes, I know what some of you are just dying to say, so I'll say it for you. The Frankfurter Crown - suitable for The Weenie King. (It's a long story....)

Happy Week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Today I found, quite by chance, a CD I've been looking for for some twenty-odd years. In fact, I'd looked so long I'd just given up hope of it ever being released on CD. It's by Doc and Merle Watson, is called "Doc and the Boys," and is the one album that singlehandedly turned me into a bluegrass fan. It was an amazement to find it, and I played it all the way home today.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Submitted For Your Approval, O Lord

You know, I do a lot of driving. Sure, there are people who drive much more, maybe 50 miles to work, and then back, every day, and they're probably never late for work like I am and I'm only ½ a damn mile away.

But I do drive a lot. And all that driving affords me a great deal of thinking time.

Last night on my way to Community Band, driving along the Betty Bet Bet Inspirational Highway, I realized that maybe I was coming to the end of That Long and Winding Cerebral Road. Because I started thinking about the Ten Commandments. And I don't mean the Cecil B DeMille epic, I mean the stone tablets of sin.

Don't ask me how I got to thinking about this particular subject, for I do not know. I don't think I'd recently committed any heinous sins, nor had any committed upon me, but there it was square in my head. It just kept creeping into my mind how there are Ten Commandments and only Seven Deadly Sins. And I started trying to match Commandments to Deadly Sins. Like "envy," that one's easy, it matches "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife or his ass." And "greed," I guess it could match "Thou shall not steal," although to me greed is a much more all-encompassing sin.

But somehow there's no "Thou shalt not be a lazy piece of flesh" (sloth), or "Thou shalt not look at thyself in the mirror and say, 'O Lord, I am looking damn fine today'" (pride).

Back when I used to watch "Designing Women" as I was getting ready for work each morning, I saw a really nice episode where Mary Jo started up a dating relationship with Julia and Charlene's preacher. It was mainly nice because the preacher in question was played by Bruce Davison, and I could look at him all day and never get bored, but it also touched upon the way the religious are viewed by, well, I guess by what the overly pious would call heathens. And it had a conversational exchange between Mary Jo and the preacher I'll always remember because it made me laugh. It went:

Mary Jo: "I shouldn't cuss. I know it says that in the Bible, 'Thou shalt not cuss.'"
Preacher: "Mary Jo, I don't recall the word 'cuss' ever being used in the Bible."

And you know, I guess that's certainly good for me, that there's no "Thou shalt not cuss," "Thou shalt not smoke or drink," and "Thou shalt not look at certain people and think dirty thoughts." For if there were, I'd have to give it up and go ahead and push that "down" button on the escalator and accept my Eternal Punishment.

The current 10 we've got are fairly good, too, I mean, I surely don't want anyone going around killing, robbing or bearing false witness against my person (although I could probably live with someone coveting my ass, but you and I know this isn't going to happen anytime soon).

So. We've got our not killing, stealing, and committing perjury (lest ye never be allowed on "Law & Order" again). Don't bonk your secretary once you're married, honor your father and mother (maybe with a celebrity roast on their anniversary), keep the Sabbath holy (hey, I like Sundays off), and don't have any idols (oops, sorry about the Alan Arkin thing, O Lord) nor other gods .

We can't covet our neighbor's ass, no matter how nice it may be, and we can't give "The Saddest Music in the World" the "Good God" rating on the Movie List, or say, "That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah."

There should be others, though. Like, whatever happened to "Thou shalt not be selfish?" Wouldn't you think that should have been a command to everyone? Or "Thou shalt not spread gossip?" I'm beginning to believe that that scene in Mel Brooks' "History of the World, Pt 1" where Moses drops a stone and the 15 Commandments become 10 could possibly have been a little more documentary-like than he'd planned.

So here for your approval, O Lord, are some Commandments You may want to think about. A sort of Bill of Rights to the original ten.

"Thou shalt not hit someone smaller than thyself."
"Thou shalt think of others once in a while."
"Thou shalt listen more than thee speaketh."
"Thou shalt be kind to animals."
"Thou shalt not drive thy vessel in a reckless manner."
"Thou shalt not drive thy vessel while intoxicated."
"Thou shalt not wake the sleeping."
"Thou shalt not speak loudly in a public place as to be heard above all others."
"Thou shalt not scare thy neighbor."
"Thou shalt not blow thy trumpet as to tumble Jericho walls." (applies to Oktoberfest only)

Then again, maybe those could all be condensed into the Eleventh Commandment. The catch-all. "Thou shalt be a nice guy." It's really not too much to ask, after all. And it's way more important than coveting your neighbor's ass.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, the reformatting is complete. Mr M just left the Poderosa after spending the afternoon working on my computer. There was only one slight nervous breakdown, some yelling, a lot of "what's your password again?s," no loss of pictures or music files or emails, a homemade dinner, and things seem to be running quickly and smoothly. Then again, I have to reinstall some more things, but it didn't turn out to be the experience of grief I'd anticipated. And yes, I did have to come clean and admit that to Mr M at the end of the night. Because I follow the Eleventh Commandment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Crash Into Me pt 2, or Hell Week


First of all, this is not a movie review, so don't be afraid.

Interesting things at the old TheCompanyIWorkFor. I got to work this morning, quite on time, thank you, and proceeded to start up my computer. And it was an otherworldly experience.

I started getting these error messages. This was invalid, that was invalid. Error here, error there. This couldn't be loaded, that wouldn't pass the security check. I restarted a few times and got the same windows, one popping up after the other, and I began to believe that every time I touch a computer these days it must go toe-up.

Finally, when I couldn't resolve the problem on my own, I called good old ISC. (TheCompanyIWorkFor is famous for its acronyms, btw. Every program, every department, every manual, they're all acronyms. Maybe TheCompanyIWorkFor should come to acrochallenge some time.)

I got a nice guy on the line, and he tried to help me fix the problem myself. When that didn't work he told me to hook up my favorite computer feature of all time, NetOp. (Followed closely by Remote Assistance, which allows Mr M and I to have the most amazing online fights over the usage of my mouse.) But NetOp wouldn't load, and error/security/invalids kept popping up in little windows until there were finally 43 of them staring me in the face. And Mr Nice Guy At ISC decided it was time to send me to Corporate. This was after Mr Nice Guy and I decided we were going to make our first million by composing some new Windows chords for when things were going horribly wrong.

Soon after I hung up with Mr Nice Guy, I got a call from Steve at Corporate. Fortunately, Steve was as nice as Mr Nice Guy. And Steve and I did this and that, and when he learned that he couldn't NetOp me either, he started doing some checking around.

Now, it's at this point that everything got quiet on the phone, and my workmate San picked that opportunity to tell me a story about her son. And the argument they had last night. And it was a great and funny story, told as only San could tell it, and I sat there and listened, enrapt, with the phone halfway over my chin. As her story ended and she drifted back up front to her office, and I was left again with silence and the faint clicking of keys, I decided I'd go ahead and ask. "Did you hear any of that story?" Which was followed on the other end of the line by the most hilarious fit of laughter I think I've ever heard. "Ah, you did," I replied. "Seems San's having a few problems with her son." "Oh, I think she might have the situation quite under control," he answered, and he was right, of course, because San generally does.

So in between some more silence and muffled giggles, Steve gave me the news. Basically the news is that I'm screwed. Because my computer, sometime yesterday afternoon, apparently had a grand mal seizure and will not recover. It is quite dead.

And that's not really the end of the world, because sitting in our storeroom there at TheCompanyIWorkFor we have a roomful of new computers. I was getting one of those for my little office anyway. However, the install doesn't happen until a week from today. And if TheCompanyIWorkFor did want to take the time and expense to send me a new computer, which, of course, they don't, the new machine wouldn't arrive till Friday at the earliest, and Monday at the latest.

It seems I'm a little bit between a rock and hard place.

So I've been banished. I've been banished to the departed Kath's old office, the next to the last one back in the building, with none of my toys, nothing on the walls (walls painted, I'm sure, from blood mixed with vanilla ice cream, btw), no character, no sunlight, and no proximity to any other living co-workers. They may as well have put me back in the bathroom. I have no idea what's going on anywhere, with anyone, and I can't even watch people walk down the street when I'm supposed to be working, like I can in my real office. It's a sad and dull place. I feel like the rest of the office is up there having a party and I'm stuck in the corner wearing a dunce cap. But I have a working computer. My only friend.

And he shall be my only friend for the next week.

On a brighter note, though, although it's not helping me out right now - I don't think I've mentioned yet what fun I'm having raping Kath's old office and taking all the good stuff in it for my own personal usage. First I took her chair, which is newer and much more comfy than mine (although right now I'm back in my old chair, at her desk). Then I took a little toy she left behind, a tiny ATV which Good Luck Baby Lily is sitting on right now. (It's made her so happy, and she's almost forgotten about that nasty hole in her midsection where Gossamer tried to eat her but spit her back up in the nick of time, etc, etc.) Then I decided to take her desk of shelves, which were much nicer than mine and have lots more room for all my manuals, books, pictures, and the like (although right now I'm back looking at the old set, which I took from my office back to hers).

Next is going to be the really nice brocade box I gave her for her birthday and filled to the brim with chocolates. The chocolates are long gone; apparently she didn't think enough of me, or the box, to take it with her when she left. I'll bring that home and do something with it.

Oh, I did today, however, find a brand new package of index cards back there which I've decided to use as sort of non-sticky post it notes. I'm taking all my notes on them, and will only be happy when I've used them all up. That'll teach her to send our office ugly faxes and accuse the boss of trying to block her unemployment.

"Oh yeah? Well, I'm using your index cards! Yeah, go ahead and cry, see if I care!"

The fun never ends around here.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Lawks a mercy, look at the acro entries this week! And holy letter tiles, Batman - has Eric come from the dead to acro?
- Honorable Mention this week goes to Anonymous, also known as Mike, for "Steve, Roger excitedly frolicked towards weddedness." (Although I've also been known to frisk a waitstaff or two.)
- Runner-up goes to Kellie, for "Solemn Reverend. Eloquent. Farted. Tainted Wedding." I really hope she wasn't describing her own nuptials there.
- And this week's winning acro goes the man who crawled out from under a rock, Funafuti, for "Shit, Reverend Eddie fucked Tom's wife." This reminds me of those early days of acroing on irc with #squeeze. Some of the filthiest acronyms ever devised, they were.
- So, Funafuti, Oktoberfest will be over at the end of October, and I've always loved fall anyway. I'll reserve the church, let's see, my family pays for the wedding, you can sing an original song, and we'll invite everyone in the world.
- Everyone's were great, and thanks, everyone, for playing!

Monday, September 19, 2005


Hello to everyone, welcome to Monday, and welcome to yet another pee-your-pants-with-excitement round of acromania.

I'm stuck for a topic. I'm just flat-out stuck. So I'm going to make one up on the spot. How about "It Happened At A Wedding." (There you go, that's the joy of watching TV - you see a commercial with girls traipsing around in wedding gowns, and an acrotopic is born.) Did Uncle Fred get drunk and dance the cha-cha? Did Mom cry? Did the ring bearer kick the flower girl in the shin? You tell me.

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above, but the letters below, which are drawn from the good old acrobasket. The acrobasket is a confirmed bachelor, but then again, he hasn't met my pink Easter basket, either. Then I'll be judging at around 10pm est and announcing the winners, who'll get the honor of being my bride or groom, and the rest of you can drink a toast to our everlasting happiness.

So the topic is "It Happened At A Wedding." The letters:


Now, walk down that aisle and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My dinner's in the oven. I really have to go now.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Picture Sunday

Hello to all, and welcome to another scintillating edition of that nugget of happiness known as Picture Sunday.

Yes, I'm feeling much better tonight, thanks for your kind comments and thoughts. Must have been a 24-hour type of thing, well, no let's call it a 36-hour type of thing, because I finally started feeling relatively human back around Saturday afternoon.

You know, I feel compelled to tell you a little about my Saturday afternoon, since I wore my "I'm Blogging This" t-shirt, and, as Stennie says, if you wear your "I'm Blogging This" t-shirt and don't blog about it, you're branded a liar for life.

So, let's see. I bought batteries at the drug store, for my digital camera. That was exciting.

Oh! And I gave podmobile2 his first bath. Well, I guess "shower" would be more appropriate, I didn't actually immerse him in water, rather had him stand stationary and be sprayed with soap and water. To be honest, I was just doing my band-geek duty, as the local car wash was giving its proceeds from Saturday to the GHS band. But ubergeek that I am, I not only had my car washed, and gave an extra donation to the band, but I also just went wild and cleaned the inside of my car before I left.

Then it was to B'burg to get prepared for, you guessed it, that Trip of Fun up the mountain to Oktoberfest.

Yep, there was the sign, and we obeyed it, right up the mountain to the big barn at the little resort.

It was a small crowd, see, I told you it started way too early, but still fun nonetheless, and I thought I'd give you a little quote from the evening. You see, I'm the unofficial quote-keeper of Oktoberfest, yes, I write down all the good ones in a little notebook and at the end of the season we pick the best line from the event and post it on the Sauerkraut Band website. Just so happens this quote involves, well, your humble quote-keeper.

Eddie [sits down in his chair]: *Buuuurrrrrrrrrrrpppppp!*
Me: God, I've missed you guys.

So, there you have it. Oh, the fun we have.

Only a short time later we hit the Big German Buffet for the first time this season. This is always a running joke amongst us Sauerkrauters, how exciting and amazingly appetizing that buffet looks the first couple of nights, then about 2/3 into things, how we trudge to the table thinking that if we have to eat German food one more time we're all gonna die right there on the mountain.

So here for your "eating German food vicariously" pleasure is a picture of my first meal of the season.

Oooh. A little blurred there, isn't it? I promise there was just water in that stein. Anyway, let's see, we have a little salad, a little red cabbage, two different types of smoked salmon, for your personal future information, avoid the pepper-encrusted kind, and yes, all salmon needs some capers thrown on top, and finally a big potato pancake. That and the cabbage are about the only things I don't end up sick of. All eaten al fresco on the stone wall outside the barn.

That looks like it could be a recipe du jour, doesn't it? No? Well, then we'll just have to give you the real thing. Say a cheery hello to Chinese Fried Asparagus.


Well. What can you say about that really, except, "That asparagus has a lovely red hat!"

Because this is, as you can see, just some greasy asparagus cut up and fried within an inch of its life. It says on The Card "2 tablespoons of oil," but I'm not buying it. No serving suggestions or anything. Just fry up those asparagi and let the good times roll.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I stole a songbook from Oktoberfest last night because - I'm in it! In name only, but the songbooks they've used up until this year were the originals. The members of the Sauerkraut Band in the old ones were also the originals, people long, long forgotten. This year they finally got us right!

Friday, September 16, 2005


I should never have said it, I know. But I said it anyway, quite without thinking.

Only last night I was speaking to Mr M, who was telling me his woes about insomnia while on the road (he travels now, you know). And I started to extol the virtues of my new mattress, and then it just slipped out. "I could just stay in bed all day long!"

Well, guess where I ended up spending the entire damn day today.

It was the strangest thing. There I was last night in #squeeze, chatting away as usual, and wondering why I'd have a headache after 4 cups of coffee earlier in the day. (One must do what one can to stay awake during the kind of TheCompanyIWorkFor meetings I have to attend.) I kept trying to fight off the headache, but it finally won, making me say goodbye to my #squeeze friends way earlier than I wanted to.

Now, it took roughly 12 minutes, or the time from my turning off the kitchen light to climbing into my really, really comfy bed, for this headache to go from dull to throbbing to completely raging. And so it raged, through 1:30, 2:30, 4:30...and I lay in bed wondering whether my migrating brain tumor had decided it was going to burst or if in fact I'd contracted some kind of rural brain fever while on the wilds of Rt 460 earlier in the day.

Finally, round about 6:15 this morning I awoke again, head pounding, bathed in my own sweat - and here came the nausea! And the dizziness! Oh, boy! And so I spent about the next 4½ hours heaving violently every three minutes. It was not a happy time here in Betland.

I basically spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon drifting in and out of consciousness, snoozing, writhing, heaving, crying, pissing, moaning, whining, questioning the existence of God, and drooling. This went on till about 2pm.

At that point I hadn't heaved in a whopping 30 mintues, so I became very brave and headed to the shower. I showered, brushed my teeth, put on clean pajamas, and courageously - went back to bed. Where I stayed till 7 tonight.

Somewhere in all that this afternoon I got a phone call from The Boss, who told me she was informed by the district coordinator at TheCompanyIWorkFor, the one who organized the meeting, that there were apparently a couple of people there yesterday who were sick with some sort of headachy-vomity virus. Oh, thank you, dedicated TheCompanyIWorkFor stooges, for showing your sick faces at the meeting so everyone would think so highly of you. May the next time I heave be upon your shoes.

Anyway, I'm now sitting here in my still clean jammies, with my still clean teeth. I've eaten a small meal, and had about a half glass of liquid. My head still hurts, and I'm still relatively dizzy, but I feel like I'm at least beginning to mend.

And now I get to look forward to Oktoberfest tomorrow night! Oh, well, I guess I didn't need to get sworping drunk the first night anyway.

Happy Weekend.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* As I was coming home from the meeting yesterday I was driving through a little town called Lebanon. No, not that Lebanon, this is a smaller one near me. I passed a small auto shop on the road with a sign out front that said, "United Mufflers of Lebanon." Somehow I just loved that. I started to think of the shop not so much as an auto repair place than as a union hall, where the Mufflers of Lebanon all gather to band against the oppression of The Man. United Mufflers of Lebanon! Hell yeah, I say! Actually, I'm thinking of beginning a novel I'll call "United Mufflers of Lebanon." Then again, I do have rural brain fever.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Crash Into Me

I haven't done a Comfy Chair movie review in a while, mainly because I'm no movie reviewer (as you'll soon find out), and also because the last time I reviewed a movie all I talked about was how I was sure I was under the influence of LSD (see "The Return of Captain Invincible").

And it may not be fair advertising for me to call this one a Comfy Chair review, because I was not in the Comfy Chair when I viewed it. I just throw this out because I'm honest.

But over the weekend I watched a movie I'd been wanting to see, one that had gotten rave reviews, one that people are mentioning as Oscar©worthy. Then again, I never agree with the Oscars©, but I guess that's beside the point and I've drifted©. Yet again©.

So there©.

And that movie was "Crash©." (OK, I promise I won't do that anymore.)

"Crash" has an all-star cast, a big ol' all-star cast, lush photography, and enough stories to be a skyscraper. It tells us of racism in all its forms, the subtle and the not-so-subtle, the white on black kind, the black on white kind, the black on latin kind, the black on asian kind, the latin on asian kind, the rich on poor kind...and everybody hates the Jews! No, not really, I was just quoting from Tom Lehrer's "National Brotherhood Week" there, but oddly enough, that's one prejudice our writer didn't want to expound upon, apparently. Which was rather odd to me, but there you go, and no one hated fat people in this movie either, but I don't know if that's considered racism as such, and besides, it of course being a Hollywood movie, there were no fat people in it to hate anyway. Oh, but I guess the paraphrasing of Tom Lehrer in this situation was probably everybody hates the middle easterners.

And really, that's about it. I mean, as I said before, there are a Thanksgiving meal's worth of stories going on, about the racist cops, the racist hoodlums, the racist rich people, the racist immigrants, and the racist racists. And about how during 2 days in this huge city known as LA, they all keep meeting each other over and over and over. I don't meet the same people that many times in my town, and it only has about 5000 people in it.

The movie starts with a latin woman being rear-ended in her car by an asian woman. Remember this.

From then on we find out someone's been murdered, and then we start meeting all these racist people, and we know that one of them's going to end up being the murderer and one's going to end up being the murderee. And of course, the stories wind their way around this way and that, leading us to believe it'll be him, then her, then him, and then it becomes very clear, so clear that when it happens we see it coming down Main Street with a hat on, and then we have a little wrap-up and the movie's over.

So there's my review. Or not.

Now, here was my thing about "Crash." It was trite, and it was heavy-handed. It was heavy-handed of "being written by a high school student" proportions. But I was enjoying it. Well, I don't know if enjoying was the word, I guess I was enjoying it the way one would enjoy a church sermon, but I was caught up in the stories and photography and how it was all winding around. (And there's some really nice music in there as well.)

But then something happened. Something happened that ruined a movie that was probably bound for ruination anyway, but it was ruined in such a way that I can not stop thinking about it.

And I'll try to kind of pussyfoot around things here as to not spoil it for those of you who still have a hankering to see it, but when "the thing" happens, and we all know what I mean when I say "the thing," it's so out of context and out of character that it defies description. I'm convinced someone from another room came in cold to write this scene. It's that out of place.

Now, it's at this point that I guess my movie review becomes a plea. If anyone can explain this scene to me, please do so. Because I'm the first to admit that sometimes I can be a little slow on the uptake, so if I'm missing something here, please don't be afraid to embarrass me by telling me I'm an idiot. Believe me, I'll be happy to accept it just to hear the explanation.

So after the movie came that worrying time I knew would come. The time to give this movie a rating on the Movie List.

I was sorely tempted to give it the rating I created solely for the movie "The Saddest Music in the World," that would be your "Good God" rating. But it just didn't fit. Not because there weren't times when I was watching "Crash" that "Good God" didn't escape from my lips, but because the "Good God" created for "The Saddest Music in the World" was for its sheer weirdness. I needed something else to describe "Crash."

And to be honest, "One Star" almost described it. But instead I decided to go with a rating that summed up how I felt about the whole experience. *Sigh*

Because that just about says it all where "Crash" is concerned. And you can listen, Mr "Crash" Director (whose name is actually a Scottish entrail dish), I may be a rube from the South, but I know racism is rampant in this country and every other one as well. And I know it's on all sides of the racial and ethnic spectrum. And it sucks and we've probably all been as guilty of it as we've been victims of it. But apparently driving that point home by showing it over and over again in scene after scene wasn't enough for you, because you had to go and ruin any plausibility your movie ever had just to needle us a little more about it at the climax. *Sigh* indeed.

So, do you remember what I asked you to remember? How the movie begins? Well, the movie ends with a black woman who's been a supporting character throughout being rear-ended in her car by a random immigrant.

And so it's clear to me what the makers of "Crash" are really trying to say. That foreigners can't drive.

Racists! Racist Bastards!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. And a good number of entries as well! And so, what can be said about "The Sandwich Loaf" that hasn't already been said?
- Honorable Mentions go to LilyG with her "Sandwich? No -- it's cake! Definitely repulsive, nevertheless." and Jellybean with her "Sandwiches need icing? Come, don't revolt needlessly."
- Runners-up go to DeepFatFriar with his "Some nerd in culinary distress risked newness." and Flipsy with her "So, nobody informed Cleaver: don’t recipe narcotically."
- And the Special Assitant to the Winner this week is Kellie with her "Served Nightly In Cancun. Drunkards Rarely Notice."
- But this week's Absolute Grand Prize Winner goes to me, with one I thought up this afternoon, "So Neauseating I Could Die Right Now." Now, normally, I'd never ever enter myself in my own contest, but since only the winner got to not eat the sandwich loaf, I'm indulging in a little self-preservation here. A girl's gotta live, right?
* Aaaaah, crap. Let's declare everyone's above entries the winners here this week! You all had great acros and nobody should have to eat the loaf.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Hello, hello, hello. It's Monday, and you know what that means - another bite-your-lip-and-put-your-thinking-cap-squarely-in-place round of acromania.

Well, color me happy. I just came back from getting my first pedicure in months and months. I guess when one's pedicurist has a baby, one really has to work at getting an appointment. But believe me, it was worth the wait.

Feet have nothing to do with this week's acrotopic, though. I just couldn't let go of the thought of that sandwich loaf. I mean, could you? There's so much to think about. So this week's topic shall indeed be "The Sandwich Loaf." In case you're just tuning in, or need more inspiration, it's down below in Picture Sunday.

All the other rules are the same, everyone gets 3 entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches not only the topic above, but the letters below, which have been drawn from the trusty acrobasket. The acrobasket who said he might try a piece of sandwich loaf, but only for money. On a bet. Then I'll be judging the winners and announcing them at 10pm est tomorrow night. The winner gets to laugh and point as the losers have to partake of the loaf. So I'd be acroing like my life depended on it if I were you, because basically, it does.

So this week's topic is "The Sandwich Loaf." And the letters:


Now, acro and try not to be neausous.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Another update of my update: Hey, Friar, you're right. My back hatch has no keyhole either. Why even have a key?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Picture Sunday

Well, well. Guess what day it is? Oddly, for another half-hour, at least, it happens to be Sunday, and you all know what that means. Another hold-your-breath edition of Picture Sunday.

Today I found myself at the top of scenic Mountain Lake for Sauerkraut Band rehearsal and Oktoberfest set-up. We girls got the fun job, bypassing the heavy lifting, cable rigging, rafters walking, and sound equipment placing for hanging out with the lovely L at the merchandise table, unpacking, arranging, and tagging. We got to play with a crate chock-a-block full of stuffed animals. Just look - Mickeys, Minnies, Winnies, and Beanies, all with a German flavor.

After lots of set-up and meeting and greeting friends we hadn't seen in way too long, we got down to a little rehearsing. We had a nice Schunkel practice, and played some new songs that, well, had to be heard to be believed. And I'm not sure I mean that in a good way. Anyway, before the practicing began, The Boy and I posed for a little picture out there on the patio.

Peabody may not have been there in earnest, but he was certainly there in spirit, on my hat. And say, don't I look washed out in that photo? I'm blaming lighting. And yes, that is my #squeeze t-shirt I'm wearing. Anyone out there still wear theirs?

Oktoberfest starts next Saturday, which seems very soon to me, but I guess it is time already. So gird your loins and get ready for photos, folks. It's an inevitability.

But let's leave that for now. Because - it's time for the recipe du jour. It's time for the recipe du jour I've been waiting seven long days to present to you. If ever a recipe was filled with the spirit of my recipe card sets, it's this one right here. This is the Oscar© of recipe cards.

Say hello, my friends, to your worst nightmare. The Sandwich Loaf!

What - the - fuck - is - this? Well, of course, I've already answered that. It's our worst nightmare.

OK. It's got five layers of bread, salmon, cheese, and all the makings of egg salad. And a bunch of other stuff (olives, pimientos, celery, sour cream) that you add to the above to make variations of them. You apparently just take the bread, the items, and build like there's no tomorrow, and then - then! - ice it! With green cheese!! Green cheese!! Does it get any better than this? Sure it does! Then you garnish it with yellow cheese icing - and add fresh flowers!

I mean, really. What kind of demented June Cleaver thought this one up? I just wanted to be there when they were inventing this one.

Oh, man. It's a classic.

Happy week. (And after that, how could it not be?)

Betland's Olympic Update:

* Do you know that the passenger side of Podmobile2 has no keyhole on it? Is that standard on newer models? It's just weird. My passenger door looks naked.

Friday, September 09, 2005

And Looky What He Can Do!

Sure, you all know that my idol Alan F Arkin is an actor's actor. But how many of you bastards out there knew he was an author as well? None of you, right? Well, I did, so take that, readers. Nanny nanny poo poo.

But it was only this week (yesterday, to be exact) that I've had the opportunity to get my hands on a little of his reading material. This is a kids' book (I think he's done four of those) called "The Lemming Condition." And a very sweet book it is, I read it on my Thursday afternoon off. It tells the story of a young lemming on "The Day," the day his entire community makes the trip over the cliffs. He doesn't understand what it is, or why, and tries to get some answers (with the help of a few animal friends) before it all takes place.

It also, oddly enough, contains a few curse words here and there. And I liked that. I liked it quite a bit, goddammit.

So there you go. Alan F Arkin. Renaissance Man. Read him. Watch him. Love him.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Update from Tuesday's blog, where I said I wasn't qualified to say whether or not Kanye West deserved to lose the awards he lost and pouted over. After seeing him perform tonight, I feel qualified. He did. But hey, he was still in there helping out.
* Update from last night's blog, just in case you're wondering why I just don't eat a lot of protein. I can't hold all I need, it won't fit. Plus, there's malabsorption.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

(Warning! Quasi-surgery blog ahead!)

Orange Crapius

I've been in a bit of a crisis lately. It's not one of those things that just popped up and crisised me out, it's actually been going on about 3 months. And while I'm not on the edge of death, or nervous breakdown, it's pretty much slowly driving me insane. Just like my new neighbors.

In the past 3 months, I've lost a total of four pounds.

This isn't good, especially for a person who has a doctor who seems to think she should still be losing weight faster than Ben Johnson ran the 100 meters on steroids. And while I don't even agree with that, the fact that I seem to be hopelessly stalled is bugging the absolute shit out of me.

During those three months I've had meetings with the above-mentioned doctor, a nutritionist, and a support group of surgery patients. I've gotten suggestions, things I need to cut, things I need to add, and things I need to switch. And for the most part, I've followed those suggestions. With no results.

Then last week, I got a phone call at work that was a welcome occurrence. A call from my surgery buddy TT, who knows way more about these things than any doctor, I'm convinced, and who's very nice and entertaining, but not above kicking my ass if needed. I told her my dilemma, she listened for a while, and then she got out her boots. The pointy ones.

She told me one thing I already knew, and one thing I didn't. I wasn't eating enough, and wasn't getting in nearly enough protein, that I knew. But I figured once my body realized that was all it was getting, it would give up its hoarding of all these calories and things would finally move. No, TT said. TT said as long as I'm starving myself my body will never give it up.

She gave me a suggestion in the form of a guarantee. If I'd flush my body with enough, if not more, of the protein it needs, it would finally realize I wasn't starving it and I was going to see results that would astound me. Give it a week, TT said. After one week if I didn't see a change in the scales, I could personally come to her house with my pointy boots and give her ass a little kicking.

Now, TT knows I love her dearly, so I can say this, but this prospect excited me beyond belief. I mean, I was either going to lose some weight or get to kick her ass. If that's not a win/win situation, I don't know what is.

And so last week I went back to the basics. The old protein drinks I used to drink faithfully in my early days.

Now, I'll try not to bore you too much with my quest for protein. I've blogged about it before, so you don't need more whining from me, but I really don't think it's too much to ask in this life for a nice girl like me to find something loaded with protein that doesn't taste like Janitor In A Drum. Or worse, and believe me folks, I've tried some that are.

What I went back to was my old standby, Nectar. Nectar is a big whopping jug of powdered whey protein isolate. Yum, yum. It comes in several flavors, and while it's not the most vile thing one could put into one's mouth, I'm sure, it's not something I look forward to either.

I have three big whopping jugs of Nectar. One's called Fuzzy Navel (isn't that cute), one's called Roadside Lemonade (Roadkill might be more appropriate), and one's called Crystal Sky.

I normally drink Fuzzy Navel because it's the most palatable. The Lemonade is so incredibly sweet it makes you want to take to your bed and writhe, and to be honest, I'd yet to try the Crystal Sky because about a day after I ordered it, I read a messageboard online that contained upwards of 100 messages discussing how incredibly nasty it was.

So my orders from TT were 3 protein drinks a day. Damn, in my best days I only did two. She'd rather have me drinking four, but said three would be adequate, and if there's one thing I am, it's adequate. And last Thursday I began the whirlwind of protein that my life has become.

With the Fuzzy Navel, as I said, the taste is palatable. Sure, I'd rather taste a bag of Cheetos, but I can choke these down without gagging. The problem I have with FN is the consistency. You mix it with whatever liquid you may prefer, and I prefer various and sundry flavors of Crystal Light, but when the mixing is done you don't end up with a clear orange liquid. You end up with a liquid that's more translucent than transparent. In other words, it's not thick enough to be of a shake quality, but not watery enough to be like Kool-Aid.

I call it Orange Crapius. And I'm thinking of opening up a chain of fast-food protein bars in malls nationwide selling Orange Crapius and weiners that have been rotating under a big light all day.

But anyway. I've been drinking three Orange Crapiuses (Crapii?) a day for a week. I even packed my little kit up, along with my blue plastic drinking glass and straw, and took my protein parade on the road this weekend at Mr M's so I could comply with the regimen.

Trouble is, I'm starting to run a little low on Orange Crapius. So when it was time for protein drink #2 today, I girded my loins and went to the cabinet. And pulled out the big whopping jug of Crystal Sky.

I popped the top and saw not a light orange powder, but a grayish-green powder. It reminded me exactly of what a person's bones must look like if they're ground very well. I poured out the Crystal Light and got a big scoop of Crystal Sky, and prepared to stir. And stir I did.

Crystal Sky is blue. Well, how Caribbean. However, in my blue plastic drinking glass it didn't look like something I might be drinking on a beach in Jamaica. It looked like what my toilet bowl looks like when I pour a lot of Comet cleanser in it.

But hey, it was poured, so I added a shitload of ice and a straw and had at it.

And you know, it's not nearly as nasty as everyone on those messageboards said. Which is not to say that it's not nasty at all, because it certainly is. It has that protein aftertaste, but I just held onto the straw for all it was worth and sucked till I thought my brains were going to come out. And I finished it. And I may possibly be able to finish it on other occasions too. (Which is a good thing, because I still have protein drink #3 to go for today.)

I thought Crystal Sky might look more inviting if I put it in a drink glass. And from a distance, as you can see, it looks pretty spiffy. But guess what, it didn't change the taste. And up close, even in the martini glass, it still looks like something one should use to clean one's toilet with. And if I run out of Comet cleanser, I just might give it a try.

Oh, and by the way. A week? Not one pound lost. I'm going now to unearth my pointy boots.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Boy, did I see something weird on TV last night. I was at Mr M's after band practice, having a coffee and watching "Law and Order." And listening to him make yet more fun of Sam Waterston. The show was about a man with a TV cooking show who was accused of murdering a woman. And when the non-Lennie guys came to arrest him he was filming an episode of his show. And his set - was Rachael Ray's kitchen on "30 Minute Meals!" It was the exact set, the same walls, the same tiles, even the same old-fashioned stove! It was her set! I just kept marveling at that, and Mr M seemed to think there was nothing whatsoever about it for marveling. But I'm still marveling, so there.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Soapbox, Please!

I just wanna say something really quick here, I don't want to piss anyone off or bore anyone or beat a dead horse. But I just need to say it and get it off my mind so I can go on with life. I mean, it's one of those things that my saying something about isn't going to make any difference anyway, so you can read or not, and don't tell me which you chose.

I found myself a few days ago on a Friday night with pajamas, coffee, and, lo and behold, no movie to watch. This is a fairly rare occurrence here in Betland, and I was at odds just a bit. So I puttered around the kitchen, trying to come up with a dinner plan, and decided to turn on the TV.

There on NBC was the hour-long non-extravaganza (and that's OK, it was quickly put together) to raise money for hurricane victims. Harry Connick, Jr was there, and the big country people, and Aaron Neville, who has a cross tattooed on his face, and if that's not dedication to The Lord I don't know what is, and I don't care if he does have the voice of an angel, that voice kind of creeps me out.

Then in between acts celebrities would read from cue cards and ask for money. And yes, I know that you know exactly where I'm going here, so I'll just cut to the chase.

One of those celebrity pairings was Mike Myers and Kanye West. And Mike stood there earnestly, reading his bit, asking for money. And then it was Kanye's turn to speak.

Now, I'll be right up front about it all and say this: Kanye West. Feh. I couldn't give a shit about him, he's a rapper with a massive chip on his shoulder. He whines and pouts when he doesn't win awards, and I couldn't tell you whether or not he actually deserves those awards, because to me one rapper is no different than the 17,000 others out there.

And so Kanye began to speak. His eyes popped out and cheeks puffed up and he stammered and restarted, and for a mere second I thought to myself, "Holy shit. Kanye can't read." And then I listened a little more and realized that Kanye wasn't reading. Kanye was giving a speech.

It was one of those moments that I actually long for on the old teevee. Uptight, nervous, unplanned moments. Mike Myers stood there beside Kanye, looking concerned, rubbing his chin and half-nodding, as if to say, "Yes, yes. I'm as embarrassed as hell, but - yes, yes. Yes. Please get me out of here." When Kanye finally ran out of stuff to say for a moment, Mike piped back in with more cue cards. He might have been reading Kanye's part, or his own, but it didn't really matter.

Then it was Kanye's turn to speak again, and he said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." And then the camera did a *whoosh!* turn off of him so quick it made my head spin, and we ended up on Chris Tucker, who was seriously not prepared to speak. And I figured this out because he said something along the lines of, "We need your help, whatever you can give, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please give. Please." I doubt that was written.

So here's the thing. I seriously doubt the time to make this speech was when one was asking for money for victims. And yet, I know it has to be tempting, having something of importance to say, or that you think is of importance to say, and having this perfect national live-TV opportunity to say it. So, I was almost with him on it. I was almost right there with him.

But he did it the wrong way. He made it black and white.

And I just wanted to grab hold of him and say, "Oh, Kanye. Right church, wrong pew."

Because as we know, or at least a good portion of us know, George Bush doesn't necessarily hate black people. George Bush hates poor people. If you're black and you've got the goods, George is right there with you.

But as we know, it's the poor people who suffered in all this mess. Black, white, mixed race, immigrants, the biggest common bond they all seemed to have was a lack of funds. Certainly seems to be, anyway. I mean, I personally didn't see anyone slogging their way out of the sewage-infested waters carrying their golf clubs and diamonds. As one seldom does in these cases.

And I don't even know that the victims were poor had anything to do with the lack of relief. I personally think it was a years-long lack of management skills and attention to details that should have had attention, under the second term of a president who doesn't know his ass from his elbow, and oddly enough, doesn't even care that he doesn't know.

But I do think that Bush's lack of visitation with the victims in the city has everything to do with this absolute dismissal of anyone who's not on his financial level. Let's face it. The man's never had to struggle for anything in his life. He's certainly never had to wonder where his next meal was coming from, or his next house payment, or how he was going to get an education or a way to feed his family. It's totally alien to him, and he's remained happily oblivious to it his whole life. And of all the things that amaze me about George, probably the biggest of all is that a good deal of the people who voted him into office were the very people he refuses to believe exist.

And so while Bush made his grand entrance into New Orleans (after not setting foot on ground the first time), he went to the airport and looked at a levee. Meanwhile, you know who went into New Orleans, who walked the streets, went to the Convention Center, talked to people, prayed over the dead, and hugged and listened to the living? Harry Connick, Jr.

I don't know about you, but I'm backing Connick in '08.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners! We finally got entries for acro! So, what about those moms?
- Honorable Mention goes to Jellybean, with "Tippling in living room nook." (I love that.)
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with "There is Louise, ranting, naturally." (Lily did something wrong!)
- And this week's winner goes to Flipsy, with "They intrude, learn, reassure, nag." (That they do. Well, I guess they learn.)
Thanks to all who played! You all rocked, and Flipsy, expect a call from my mother soon.

Monday, September 05, 2005


Hello to all, the laborers and the laborees, and welcome to another one-more-holiday-shot-to-hell edition of acromania.

As you may have noticed below, if you've taken a peek at Picture Sunday, there's a fetching snapshot of my mother there. And guess what. Today just happens to be my mom's birthday.

So in honor of my mom and moms everywhere, this week's acrotopic shall be, "Oh, Those Moms."

The rules are as always, everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches the topic above and the letters below, which are drawn from the famed acrobasket. His mom was a bread basket, by the way. And quite the stunner she was. Then I shall be doing the judging at around 10pm est tomorrow night, and the winners will get a call from my mother. No, I wouldn't do that to you, really, you can go ahead and enter the contest....

So the topic is "Oh, Those Moms." The letters:


So there you have it. Go acro. After, of course, you've made your bed and picked up your room.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Here's an update from last night's update. The Hokies didn't lose!
* Why is every holiday known to man an excuse for a "Law and Order" marathon? I shouldn't complain, I watched quite a bit today and seeing Benjamin Bratt never hurt a soul, but every single holiday....

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Picture Sunday

Well, here we are yet again at another end of the weekend. But that's OK, because I don't have to work tomorrow! Wonderful thing about us laborers, getting our own day.

I did a full week at TheCompanyIWorkFor last week, but I had the week before that off. Which is not to say I didn't work. I cleaned out the dennette, which hadn't been cleaned in God-knows-how long, and believe it or not, it's still in a relatively clean state now.

But as happens when one cleans out a long-abandoned space, especially a long-abandoned space with a computer, books, and a lot of papers, one is going to find some lost gems. And so I did. And so I'll show them to you tonight, in Picture Sunday: The Dennette Edition.

The first thing I found was a doodle. Yes, friends, as you know, I am a doodler from way back, and it's about the only thing that gets me through those boring TheCompanyIWorkFor meetings. And that is indeed where this one came from, I can even remember doing this one. I'm sure I was doing it to keep from falling asleep there at my table, right before being led to the make-your-own-sandwiches table. I remember "segmentation" being discussed, I guess I was thinking about ice cream, and well, maybe I was hoping District Weasel Head would in fact morph into a chicken, thus making my 2-hour drive worthwhile. Didn't happen, though. Sadly.

OK, next are photos I found during my clean. One of the things I did that vacation week that I'm proud of was put something up on my walls. The walls of the Poderosa are hopelessly bare because I can't find anything I like well enough to put up (and God forbid I should try to create something myself to like enough). But on my vacation I took an afternoon and put together a nice Sauerkraut Band collage and hung it, hung the old pic of my dad I love (that I published here summer of last year - the "matinee idol" picture), and also framed and hung an old picture of my mom to go with it. This isn't the picture, because this one has those two damned spots I couldn't remove, but I actually like this picture better. Because of the glasses. My mom looks so cute, a kicky little smart cookie in this one.

And this is for the multitudes (wait, is two a multitude?) of you who requested more childhood pictures of me. Well, here you go, you asked for it. You're getting the whole gang here, the inseparable three (my sister on the left, me in the middle with cast, and cousin Jacob on the right), along with the inimitable Mamaw Bowles. This was at Mamaw's house in N'rows (it no longer stands, was taken by the post office), on Easter once many many years ago.

Ahhhh, olden days. Look at the sheer thinness of my sister's legs. No wonder they wouldn't withstand getting run over by a bicycle.

And that brings us to the end of another Sunday. Except of course, for that moment we all wait for with sweats and heart palpitations, the recipe du jour. Gird your loins and say hello to Waldorf Salad.

Now, I have nothing at all against a good Waldorf Salad. The problem here is that this doesn't seem to be one. To me, a Waldorf Salad is apples, grapes, walnuts, and mayonnaise. Hell, anybody who watches "Fawlty Towers" knows that. For some reason, the card people seem to think a Waldorf Salad contains bananas, which is gross, and miniature marshmallows, which is just, to use a technical cooking term, icky. And lettuce, which may just be a bed of some sort, but it's still uncalled for. Under any circumstances.

Still, the card says we need to nourish ourselves with this wrong salad and some fried chicken New Orleans, which we've actually used as the recipe du jour before, broccoli with lemon slices, and Devil's food cake. Eat up. If you dare.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:

* Well, I played the clarinet for approximately 3 hours today without dying, and the Hokies are losing. Looks like fall is here!

* Oh, my GOD. I just got a peek at next week's recipe du jour. I promise you folks, you do not want to miss next Sunday.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Delta Blues

You know, I wasn't going to produce a Hurricane Katrina blog. I've been bombarded with the news all week, and then other people are doing them already, and I'd just seem like a follower. And generally when I try to blog on profound subjects (the pledge of allegiance, politics, my own psyche) I tend to flounder and end up making not much sense.

But I just keep thinking.

I keep thinking about New Orleans. As I commented in Stennie's blog, I have an affinity for that city. I've been there three times, and there's just something about it I love. And I think that something is that New Orleans is basically whatever you want it to be. You want it to be a historic city? OK, it is. You want it to be a cultural city, full of art and music? OK, it is. You want it to be a drunken party brawl? OK, it is. Everyone's happy!

The first time I was in New Orleans I was 17. Imagine that. A naive 17-year old high schooler from B'field. I spent the first day or so walking around the French Quarter, arms dangling at my side, head tilted backwards with my jaw dropped. The second or so night we were there, my sister and I were walking around the Quarter soaking in the sights and sounds. And I was seeing things I'd never seen before. The naked woman that swings out the store front window. The strip club that proudly announces "Our Girls Are Boys!" The people trying to feed the mounted policemen's horses hot dogs and hurricanes.

And then we came upon a small club with a sign in their window. I read it. "Awww," I said, "Well, actually that's kind of nice. 'Wish The Woman Of Your Dreams.'"

My sister nudged my ribs. "You might want to take a second look at that." I did. It was actually "Wash The Woman Of Your Dreams." Oh, well.

The second time I was there was in the mid-90s, when some of us flew down to see the Hokies in the Sugar Bowl. (New Orleansites seem to love the Hokies and Hokie fans. Maybe because we're always so damn glad to be there.) We hopped off the plane, got to the hotel, checked in, and immediately headed to Brennan's for breakfast. Brennan's for breakfast is Heaven Divine, because they serve you enough drinks to get you sloshed for the day, and they also have dessert. A then 6-year old or so Taytie discovered the one place on earth he could have chocolate cake for breakfast. You talk about a happy boy.

(An aside, just in case it ever shows up in Daily Trivia: What replaces the celery stalk as the garnish in a Bloody Mary at Brennan's? A hot pickled green bean. Now, there. Your mind has just been enriched.)

That night we found a restaurant to die for, completely by chance, just walked by it, it looked interesting, and so we went in. Alex Patout's. The food was great, the people were great, and we were happy. We also discovered many local beers that night. Many, many local beers.

Later during that second trip we tried a really fancy schmancy restaurant on someone's recommendation. The wait was excruciating, and the experience less than stellar. The food was sub-par, and when someone at the table made the remark about the chef, "Well, he's no Alex Patout," my sister chimed out, just a little too loudly for the ambience, "Hell, he's not even Alex Trebek." I was infected with the hopeless giggles the entire rest of the night.

The last time I was in New Orleans was over Christmas. And to be perfectly honest, I was the reason we were there. Our family had decided to take our holidays on the road, just for a change, and we had three candidates: New Orleans, Las Vegas, or a cruise. The only one of those three I would agree to was New Orleans. Las Vegas would have required flying, and I've never ever had the urge to cruise.

It was a fun trip. Mr M came along for the ride, and we met a shrimp who was evidently the tallest one in his class. I discovered martinis at the Green Bar, and was discovered at the Green Bar, by my sister, while I was smoking a clove cigarette in public. It snowed and iced for the first time in 50-some-odd years, and the cable cars were down, the Christmas Jazz Parade was canceled, and many of the roads were closed. I didn't care; I thought it was cool.

I also, in honor of this fair city, am going to come clean with a confession of monumental proportions. Mr M and I were conspirators in a gigantic lie on that trip. After my sister and her husband told us we'd never get into Preservation Hall, and we didn't, we lied and told everyone else we did. And they still all believe it, and neither of us has ever said any different. And none of them read my blog, so I hope our secret is safe till the end of time.

And now New Orleans is a mess.

People are dead, people are displaced, and people are still on rooftops waiting to be rescued. To hear it told, it's mass chaos everywhere.

And you know what I keep thinking about? Heat. New Orleans is a hot city. It's hot and it's humid (my hair! my hair!). Sure, it snowed this Christmas, but I've been there in January in a t-shirt and still had to fan myself. In the summer, it's hot beyond belief. All these people, with the stagnant air hanging, wanting water. How miserable it must be.

I also keep thinking about random people. The guy who told my fortune in Jackson Square. The street person who gave Mr M and I Mardi Gras beads. The jazz musicians who played for us while we were waiting for that Christmas parade that never came. The guy who mixed my martinis at the Green Bar.

I saw something on television yesterday that made me cry. It was a scene of a woman, at the Convention Center, in a wheelchair. Beside her was a body, already covered by a tarp. She was slumped, shaking, and holding a paper with the name of her next of kin written on it.

That was at lunch. Later in the evening, I saw the same spot, the same covered body, and the same wheelchair. Only now, the woman in the wheelchair was covered by a tarp as well. She didn't make it; hell, for all we know, she may have died while they were standing there filming her. No, I doubt that happened; it would have been way too good a story not to show, on a continuous loop, a woman breathing her last.

I saw a family living in the top floor of their home, as yet unrescued. They said they had three people and three dogs. A few jugs of water and foodstuffs for a few days. And a half-bag of dog food left. And that's just one of many, many families. And animals.

So I took the lead of Stennie, Krizzer, and a lot of us others out there. I contributed. To the Red Cross and the Humane Society. Because really, it's all we can do at this point, right? Throw money into a pile, and hope it gets down there before a lot more lives are lost.

And I try not to be overwhelmed by it all. Those who've actually made it out, been taken to Houston, are getting help. Medical help, and they're getting food, water, hygiene products, and friendly faces. I just hope people keep making it out.

And I hope it doesn't get worse before it gets better. And that in time, New Orleans will be up and running again. Giving people good memories like mine to last a lifetime.

(Above, me in a much happier time and place.)

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I tried to leave George Bush out of this blog, because we all know how I hate him and I figured anything I said would be the same old prejudicial party line. But just so you know, I still hate him.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Great Writers At Play

I told you you'd love tonight's blog. And you will. And I told you I didn't write it. And I didn't.

Tonight's blog is simply a link to the latest installment of Captain Asshole's Corner. And a better Corner I don't think I've seen. It even rivals "Captain Asshole's Books That Need to Be Written."

So without further ado, go here and feast your eyes.

Captain Asshole's Croquet Rules

There you go.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My geek t-shirt came today! My geek t-shirt came today!