Friday, December 30, 2005

Get Out Of My House, Dave!

I had one of those occurrences last night that can only happen in Betland, Poderosa Division.

Now, I have to begin by telling you that I had dinner at the folks' house. See, Granny has her ways. Back in the old days it was macaroni and cheese. If ever my mom felt the need to coax me to their house for the evening, all she had to do was offer up a dinner that included her world-famous macaroni and cheese. But the Macaroni and Cheese Days are long gone, so now the carrot, as it were, she dangles under my nose is her equally world-famous hot wings. She knows I'm like Kit in "A League of Their Own" - I can't handle 'em, can't lay off 'em.

With me and my mom's world-famous hot wings, here's how it goes. It's a little something called The Same Thing Happens Every Time. I go to my folks' house, where the smell of hot wings is permeating the entire establishment. We get to the table, I put several hot wings upon my plate, and I begin to eat. I eat three, then I realize, "Shit, why am I doing this? Because you know, when I do, The Same Thing Happens Every Time." And so for the next hour or so I sit staring into space, while my parents sit and stare at me, and there's a feeling in my stomach akin to a feeling one would have after eating three good substantial boulders.

And I don't think it's the hot of the wings, I think it's the grease. I mean, I always take each individual wing lovingly in my hand, pop it into a paper towel, and squeeze any excess grease from its being, but people, it's still a deep fried chicken wing! There's only so much grease that will squeeze out. And so, I'm all greased up, with three boulders in my stomach, knowing I'm an idiot and trying to make that long and difficult decision one has to make from time to time, to puke or not to puke. Last night it was not to puke.

So after I'd stared into space like the catatonic flag girl (10/25/05), and my parents had had enough time to stare at me (even though they'd already stared at me earlier in the day), it was time for me to pack up my three boulders and go home. Which I did, and I padded around The Pod for awhile until it was time for Squeeze Chat.

Now, the #squeezesters are lovely people and they make Thursday worth living, but last night had the added bonus of Mike giving us "or" questions. You know, "Pop Muzik" or "My Sharona?" "In Quintessence" or "Jack and Diane?" "Cruel to Be Kind" or "Tattooed Love Boys?" It's a wonderful game, and some of the questions make you search your soul like you'd never dreamt possible. And so I stayed in #squeeze quite a long time.

I turned in around 2:00, all coffeed up and with the three boulders still resting inside me. And finally I drifted off to that Land of Dreams, but at 3:00, I awoke with a start. Actually, I awoke with a tremor, throughout my body, as if I'd given Hitler the "casual heil" and received that 12,000 volt shock behind a closed door (12/20/05).

I leaned over to get a drink from my mug, then I tried to decide whether or not I was hot, and decided I was only partially hot, so I put one leg out of the covers and left everything else underneath. And then, it happened.

As I was trying to coax myself back to sleep, I heard a rather loud and distinctly male voice coming from the vicinity of the kitchen of the Poderosa. From inside my house!

Needless to say, I jumped completely out of my skin, my soul left my body, I hovered above myself, my hair stood on end (moreso than usual), my three boulders rattled against each other, and all breath, heartbeats, and brain rhythms went into overdrive. In the one-half second that followed, I assured myself that I did indeed lock my bedroom door as I always do, and I put my hand on top of the phone receiver and tried to repeat 3262621, 3262621, 3262621, the number of the police station.

By the time I gripped the phone receiver, I realized just what the man at the other end of my house was saying.

"Congratulations, Skippy, you've got mail!"

Yes, apparently the mystery man who'd broken into my humble home was David Letterman. See, my e-mail notification sound is Dave himself saying, "Congratulations, Skippy, you've got mail!" And I guess when I was #squeezing, and listening to some Hackensaw Boys music for an added enjoyment, I'd turned up the speaker volume louder than it would normally be. And now David Letterman was yelling at me from the dennette, telling me to come look at my mail.

I laughed for a few minutes over this, but it wasn't a warm and cozy chuckle. It was more like the laugh of a hyena who'd just been grazed with a bullet. And I thought, yes, for the second time in one evening, "God, I'm an idiot."

And now I know how Dave himself must feel, having strange persons invade his humble home.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* On deck for Friday Chill: Well, let's just say how fortuitous it was for me to rent "La Dolce Vita" the day before my New Set arrived. Marcello in all his glory. Don't call me, I won't answer.
* Happy New Year's to all. Remember to say, "Rabbit, rabbit," and I've found it always helps if you greet the new year warmly and offer it a cookie.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ode To The Box

O, black box of joy
I brought thee into my house last eve
Thy weight was massive upon thy pedestal
I have gazed longingly
At thy clear image and sound
I marvel at thy rectangular screen
Upon which I have already viewed a film
12 Monkeys
Which made even the visage of Bruce Willis appealing
May we be enjoined as one
In loving bliss
For many years hence

Yes, as I told you below, I received my Christmas present from Mr M last night, and it was indeed a new television for the Poderosa.

A little bit of ESP (not my buddy ESP, the brain kind) was at work where this gift was concerned. See, round about the end of October my living room television started having a few problems with schizophrenia. I'm not sure what exactly happened to cause this, I mean, up till then he was a very stable and likeable fella, but suddenly my TV couldn't decide if he wanted to be a television set or a radio. Because I started turning him on to watch any number of programs or movies, and don't you know he'd go into some sort of 1930s flashback where he refused to show me anything, but his sound came out loud and clear.

Now, I'm sure he thought this was cute, but there's something massively infuriating about watching a TV with no picture. Even the most even-tempered of us can only do it for a little while, and, well, I've got the impatience of the Anti-Job, whoever he would be. Actually, the Anti-Job could be me, or Mamaw Bowles, when she was alive.

And so when I first informed Mr M of this personality disorder my TV had developed, he was quite surprised, because he had already decided that he was going to buy me a TV for Christmas. And now, although he had to blow the surprise, even if it wasn't his fault and all the fault of my schizophrenic TV, he'd given me a ray of hope to live upon - "If only you can put up with half a TV till Christmas...." And so I decided that I could.

It wasn't always easy, though.

Generally the loss of picture would happen when starting the TV up. So there I'd be, all ready to watch a show, or stick in a movie, or be entertained during my lunch hour, and...*pbbbbt.* Nothing. But sound. But sometimes it would happen right in the middle of something, a movie, a show, a sporting event. Vick goes back to pass for the Hokies, it's a 50-yard bomb, King is there to catch it, and... *pbbbbt.* Nothing. But sound.

(By the way, that description above contained a blatant lie, as Jeff King is a tight end for the Hokies and would never be at the receiving end of a 50-yard bomb, but I couldn't think of a wide receiver's name right offhand. Just so you know.)

And so, I would respond the only way I knew how. I would proceed to beat the living shit out of my television. I would do this because, well, it worked once. And then it would work again very occasionally, and it was also, if the truth be told, kind of fun. I'd just beat and beat, till my frustrations were vented and my fists were sore, and then later on I took to giving my TV very impressive kung-fu kicks with my leg waist-high out to my side. And whether it worked or not, there became something liberating about physically abusing a piece of one's living room furniture.

But my TV must have known his end was near, because the night before Mr M came down to take me to get New Set, Old Set just gave in. From 4pm till bedtime he was pictureless, and no amount of boxing or kung-fu would bring him back to life.

He ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. And a punch to the ribs.

And last night, Mr M arrived, and we went New Set shopping. And I have to admit here, I didn't really know what to expect. It should come as no surprise to you that I'm not often taken into stores, let off my leash (did you know I'm often leashed in stores?), and told to have at it. And so we walked around the Big Wall of TVs, looking at what they had, their features, their sizes... and, well, I was looking at their prices. As I would. Remember the Big Mattress Buy of '05 (so blogged 8/16/05).

Mr M pointed to a TV roughly the size of the screen at the long-defunct Skyway Drive-In Theater and said, "How about that one?" and I laughed, because, well, I knew he was joking. And when he looked at me like maybe he wasn't joking, I said, "Mr M (even though I didn't, cause I seldom address him as that), that's bigger than my whole living room wall!" "Well, I was wondering," he responded, thoughtfully and earnestly. I looked at the price - it was in the neighborhood of $1280, and frankly, that's not a neighborhood I'm used to inhabiting.

And I started to freak out a little bit, because I was looking at a TV that looked just like Mr Schizophrenia and had the same price tag, around $330.

But see, this is why Mr M can be such a wonderful person (although he'll cringe when he sees I told you that), and why his gift of a TV to me, even before he knew mine went schizophrenic, was so thoughtful. He wanted me to have a new TV that would be good for watching movies, an activity he knows I love a great deal.

So we stared a little more, and I began to get a little hinky thinking about all this. And we walked around a little, and I expressed interest in one of the TVs I'd looked at, one he'd pointed out to me, and in fact, this very one here. I was worried, though, and said by way of a conversation starter, "Boy, some of those TVs are pretty expensive, aren't they?" To which Mr M replied, "Yeah, but I was prepared to spend up to $1500 for one."

He kept walking. I stopped dead in my tracks.

And I replied the only way I thought he would appreciate. "Well, can I get one of the cheaper models and take the difference in cash?" And then I began to giggle uncontrollably there in the aisle. I was becoming helpless.

"You knew I was going to say that, didn't you?" I continued. "No," he said, laughing, "Even for you that was pretty low." Well, he does call me LCD (Lowest Common Denominator).

In the end, I decided to go with the one that caught my eye from the start, the comfortably mid-priced one linked above and pictured below. It was $30 higher than the other one I liked, basically the same model with the tuner/receiver/something not included. "Wonder how much the tuner/receiver/something separately would be," I mused. "My guess is about $30," was Mr M's reply. And he was probably right.

The comfortably mid-priced mattress, the comfortably mid-priced TV. And I'm very happy with both.

As an aside, this TV weighs more than a well-fed family of five. We had to get my mom and dad to help us unload it and get it inside, then Mr M was nice enough to get it plugged in, going, and hooked up to the VCR and DVD. And he enjoyed a piece of his Christmas gift from Granny, her much-coveted and loved homemade fudge.

And after all that, the coming down and spending and lifting and tugging and putting together, it was time for Mr M to go home. And he forgot his fudge. That's just not fair.

But he'll get it this weekend. And I get to watch my new TV. I'm going to have to find another piece of my furniture to abuse, though. I was getting used to that.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Also on the Christmas front, my dear Taytie got me a book called "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die." I'm going to start going through it tonight to see how many I've already seen, and about how long I have left to live.
* And the tree is down, a very difficult physical task, and it also included an unplanned total reorganization of my spare bedroom closet, and I've still got to vacuum yet. Ahh, life at the Poderosa.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Stop The Presses!

Just a quick moment to show you my Christmas present from Mr M, which I received tonight. Does it get any better than this?

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* See below.

As The Old People Form That Long, Long Line....

I saw a commercial on TV today when I was home for lunch.

It was another long commercial, as I said before, BBCAmerica likes those long commercials and this must indeed be true, because it was on BBCAmerica I saw this one and on The BeebAm I saw the commercial wherein doggies get the crap shocked out of them. And like it.

This commercial was for life insurance. Life insurance from the AARP.

Now, I have to say that I was struck immediately by this commercial for one reason - the spokesman looked just enough like comedian Harry Shearer for me to look at him and say, "Why, he looks just enough like comedian Harry Shearer for me to look at him and say this." In fact, if he'd had different hair, and maybe a different nose, I think it could have actually been Harry.

And this got me to thinking, wouldn't it have been funny if it in fact was Harry Shearer? If the AARP people came to Harry and said, "We'd like you to do our new life insurance commercial, will ya, will ya?" and he replied, "Well, OK, I will, but on one condition. I won't appear as Harry Shearer, spokesperson. I'll only appear in character, as some schmoe hawking life insurance, and I get to wear a short gray wig and a prosthetic nose. I'll do it like that, just for fun." For some reason, although I'm not an authority on all things Harry Shearer, it just seems like something he'd have a go at.

And then as the commercial started and we got the life insurance spiel, we had various and sundry Old People telling us about the costs of funerals these days. "Funerals can run upwards of $6000!"

Now, maybe I'm just a byproduct of my times, but I don't think of $6000 as much for a funeral. I always thought $10,000 would only get you the cheapiest of cheapie funerals, the kind without any choir and no big luxury limos carrying the family around - so $6000 must be for a funeral akin to the one my friend San told me about where "The State put somebody away." She went to some poor soul's funeral who didn't have money, insurance, or a family who believed in financing, so he had a state-sponsored 'do. San said the thing she'll always remember about that funeral is that, "It was nice, but when you looked down into the coffin to see the body, they didn't put any fancy padding in it, so the body was about three feet down in the box." I hope the difference between the $6000 funeral and the "State putting you away" funeral is some padding. I'd hate to think someone was forking out $6000 and still rolling around at the bottom of his casket.

And so to keep from some poor old person passing on and not at least getting some padding in his box so his loved ones won't have to lean over the coffin just to see his dead ass, the AARP is selling some life insurance. And that's fine. The Almost Looks Like Harry Shearer guy was hawking it, it's apparently very cheap, and everyone's happy.

Well. Yeah. I mean, everyone's going to be happy, and very soon, if they act now on this generous offer.

Because for the first time ever that I've seen one of these AARP insurance commercials, they're offering a special "gift" to those who sign up now. And it's not the gift of having your insurance sold to you by someone who looks amazingly like Harry Shearer.

It's a "comfort massager."

And so they focus there, on the "comfort massager," lying on a little table.

That's not a comfort massager, that's a vibrator!

Yes, the Association for the Advancement of Real-Old People, or whatever their acronym stands for, are pushing life insurance by offering a free geriatric vibrator with every policy. And think about this for a minute. Is this a very wise idea? I mean, some of these people who are going to be buying their life insurance are 80 years old. They're gonna buy that policy, make the initial payment, go wild with the vibrator, and it won't be long before they'll be breathing their last.

And the Association for the Advancement of Real-Old People are going to go toe-up within a year.

Oh, well. It can only mean good things for TheCompanyIWorkFor, I guess, who offers the same product for five times the price, and with no sexual aids.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. And it's hard judging this week, because every entry was a winner. So, what are your New Year's Resolutions, you crums?
- Honorable Mention goes to Kellie, with her "Doing upward scales. Extra practice." Oh, man, that needs to be my resolution. And to Michelle, with her "Douche underneath. Stop eating paste." Now there's a valiant goal for the coming year if ever there was one.
- Runner-up goes to Jellybean, with her "Deliberately use sexist euphemisms periodically." I'll join you on that one, bitch! (Oh, sorry, it's not the new year yet.)
- And this week's winner goes to DeepFatFriar, with his "Dust under stacked erotic paraphernalia." Well, cleanliness is next to godliness....
- Thanks to all who played, and for all the great acros. You guys rule.

Monday, December 26, 2005


Yep, here it is. The last acro of 2005. I know it's the holidays and all, and some of you might have your minds away from letters, but we're still going to try a round here and see what happens.

So the year is coming to an end. And you know what that means. Resolutions! Are you going to quit smoking? Start losing weight? Start gaining weight? Give up twice-daily sexual encounters with prostitutes? (No, Mike, you don't have to give that up, it's OK.) Are you going to stop polluting your body with rotgut gin, or are you just going to quit blowing your payday at the racetrack?

Or will it be something more imaginative? Knowing you lot, it will be. Anyway, this week's acrotopic is "So, You Crum - What's Your New Year's Resolution?"

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 also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket has resolved to spend more time next year with his brother, who's a collection basket at a local Baptist Church. They haven't always seen eye to eye. Then tomorrow night at 10pm est, I shall be reading over the entries and naming the winners, who will receive their very own 2006 calendar with nothing but pages marked "January." That way, with each new month they can start on their resolutions all over again. The losers will be beat about the head and shoulders.

The topic is "So, You Crum - What's Your New Year's Resolution?" The letters:


Now, stop contemplating your navels and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Toyed with the idea of taking down the Christmas tree tonight, but kept moving it to the back of my head. I really have no use for a tree starting Dec 26th, but something just kept nagging me, and I finally figured out it was "I'll be damned if I'm spending my one day off taking down a tree." So I put my day off to such better usage. Laundry and kitchen cleaning. Happy holidays to me.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Picture Sunday

On the 1st Day of Christmas, my blogger gave to me, a big whopping Picture Sunday....

Yes, folks, it's Christmas Night, and it's also Sunday Night. And you know what that all means. The gift that gives on giving, a special Holiday Edition of Picture Sunday.

Today was a fun day. I slept late, had some coffee, sorted out all my stocking stuffers, and headed to the folks' house, also known as Granny and Paw's. Soon after the whole family had amassed and we ate, drank, were merry, ate, opened presents, ate, watched TV, opened stockings, ate, and ate. I'm not sure we planned on eating that much, but, well, when you're at Granny's it can always happen. Ask anybody. They'll tell you.

Now I'm back home, and have a couple of pictures from the day.

And yes, I know what you're thinking? So, what did The Boys get for Christmas? And yes, I'm going to tell you. Much to the chagrin of Misters M and Peabody, Sherman got his very own guitar for Christmas. He was so excited about this - he's already asked me to hum a few bars of "Purple Haze" for him, which I'll gladly do, but I told him to maybe start out with some Ramones songs, since they go in for those "few chord" numbers. He's thinking of working up "Judy Is A Punk" for his first number.

Mr Peabody got a nice comfy rocking chair, for those contemplative moments, of which there will be fewer now that the guitar is in the house.

Mr Peanut got a money clip (for all that money he has from not spending it on helping me out around here at the Poderosa - sorry, the holidays always seem to bring out family hostilities), and Good Luck Baby Lily, who decided it was time to learn a musical instrument as well, got a shiny new flute.

Huckleberry Hound was overjoyed to get a scale model replica of his much-beloved Houndmobile. And Gossamer got an indestructible (and inedible) rubber duckie. I think they gave that to him in an effort to maybe interest him a little in bathing.

Now, when we were at Granny & Paw's, Sherman had an occurrence of the most fortuitous kind. He got to meet another celebrity, one Buddy Lee. In all seriousness here, sometimes the holidays bring those moments we are really not prepared for. Buddy Lee was a gift from me to my sister, and when she opened him, she was so overcome, she cried. Which of course made me cry, and so we sat there laughing and crying while she hugged her Buddy Lee. Here was the first-ever meeting of the greats.

Then came the moment Sherman had waited the entire day for. He got to jam a little with Taytie himself.

And a good time was had by all.

And speaking of gifts, tonight's recipe du jour is a gift in two ways. First of all, a gift to you because it departs from the regular card set. And second of all, a gift to me, because, well, it was a gift to me. A couple of weeks ago my buddy ESP gave me a recipe book. At first I thought, hey, this is just a regular recipe book, but this book is very deceiving. Because the further you get into the book, the more heinous the recipes get. Tonight we'll use something fun and festive in honor of the holidays. What says "Happy Holidays" better than some Bunny Cookies!

Wow. Them are some surprised-looking bunnies! Some silent surprised-looking bunnies, because the poor little fellers have no mouths. However, their pecan ears more than make up for it, and when I first saw them, all I could think was "Hey! These bunnies are in blackface! These are minstrel bunnies!"

Thank you, ESP, for the book!

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I got a bitchin' set of 120 Prismacolor colored pencils for Christmas. Let the drawing begin!
* I watched "The Miracle Worker" this morning. I hadn't seen it in years, and it was so much fun to watch again. That breakfast scene (which I once compared to Mr M and I playing clarinet duets) - Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke both deserved Oscars for that scene alone, and in fact, deserve to get one every single year from now on for it.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What A Buck-Fifty Will Do For Your Christmas Spirit

Yes, folks, I'm going to tell you this. I have to tell you today, because with me, well, you just don't know what tomorrow will bring, so I have to tell you while it's still accurate.

This morning, on an off-chance, I weighed myself. I have currently lost exactly 150 pounds.

It's been a long time in coming, especially the last seven pounds. And it felt good.

It felt so good, in fact, that I found myself doing things today I would never have imagined. I spent all morning at TheCompanyIWorkFor doing about 2% TheCompanyIWorkFor stuff and the other 98% doing fun "me" stuff. Some of that "me" stuff was looking at recipes online. I found a vegetarian chili recipe and an apple walnut cake recipe.

I also made a wonderful discovery. See, it seemed that for a period of time my "old blog" (the one linked over there in my archives) was a mass of html code, lost forever. My Barbie blogs, lost forever, my "To Kill A Mockingbird: The Musical" blog, lost forever, my "It was hot and I got drunk" blog, well, ditto. Today, they all seem to be back there safe and sound. Which was good in and of itself, but especially good since I needed a couple of those blogs (for something I'll tell you about at a later time).

My last Christmas gift arrived, via FedEx, so as far as I know no one will be left out on Christmas morning.

On my afternoon off, I got myself to the grocery and started a massive shopping spree. Ended up spending almost $150, in fact $4 less than my weight loss to this point. I got stuff for the chili, baking stuff, and regular food necessities. Then I went by the liquor store for Goldschlager and stocking stuffers (when you're in my family, alcoholic stocking stuffers are just way too easy), then it was home to unload and get into action.

While I wrapped presents, I started on pumpkin pies. I made two. Then I started up on the cake, and while it was in the oven I had at the chili.

Now as the night's winding down, it's all done except one last little punkin pie. It's in the oven as we speak.

Sherman told me to tell you he got all A's on his midterm exams, and Mr Peanut is still alcohol-free.

Sometimes it's just good to be in Betland.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* The dishy Michelle was right - a Security Update is in order. The Betland Security Update has been changed to "Giggly."
* Anyone want a pumpkin pie?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

So, When Does Willem Dafoe Come In?

Actually, he doesn't, so put your mind at ease.

Over the weekend I watched the movie "Triumph of the Will." I'd never seen it. I knew about it, yes, I'm no boob. I know I'm close, but I'm not there as of yet. I know Leni Riefenstahl, and I knew it was her documentary tribute to all things Hitler. Let's just say I knew it was out there, but I'd chosen to keep my distance.

Because, as you well know, I hate Nazis.

In fact, it was when I did my drunken blog for National Drunken Writing Night a month or so ago (only a month? damn) that I got a comment from Stenns suggesting that if I really hated Nazis as much as I say I do (and I do), that I might want to check out "Triumph of the Will," that there would be a lot in it for me to hate. And so I stuck it in my Movie Queue (or as we in #squeeze call it, the Movie Queueueueueue), and since the availability said, "Long Wait," I pretty much forgot about it.

But it came last week, to Mr M's, where the movies come. He watched it first, and called me up to tell me he couldn't wait for me to see it. "You're going to love this. There are more Nazis per square inch in this movie than any movie in history. They couldn't have crammed one more Nazi into this film," he beamed. Well, he was on the phone, I can only assume he was beaming. He sounded like he was beaming.

And so he came down this past Friday night to enjoy a Friday Chill with me, and we watched "Triumph of the Will." Which, when the title flashed onscreen, said, "Triumph des Willens," prompting me to immediately start asking how Willem Dafoe got into this film, and did he play Hitler. You know, he's played Jesus, and I'm totally convinced that Jesus and Hitler are the two most portrayed characters on film, so that would be quite a coup, to have played both. The Triumph des Willem, if you will.

Mr M and Stennie were absolutely right about "T of the W." There is a lot in it to hate, and it does have more Nazis per square inch (NpSqI) than any other movie in history. It was filmed at the Big Nazi Rally in Nuremberg in 1934. Nuremberg looked like a quaint little town, at least before all those Nazis descended upon it.

Now, I don't think I can call this a movie review, because I don't think there's any way I could actually review this movie. Nothing to review, just two or so hours of this Nazi Hoedown, this Nazifest, this Nazirama in Nuremberg. But it certainly did keep me interested for a long period of time. Mainly waiting for close-ups of Hitler so I could shout out, "You Nazi shithead!" and in fact, I had so much fun doing that I finally started shouting it out at 10 or 15 minute intervals just to entertain myself.

But there were a few things that struck me about "T of the W." Like the music. Now, I'm a member in good standing of the Sauerkraut Band, and there was some music in there that we play. Songs I like! And yes, the song I refused to play, Hitler's personal march (the Badenweiler Marsch), was in there as well. But "Seite an Seite?" I love that one! Will I ever be able to play it again? OK, to be fair, I couldn't technically play it before, it being fairly hard, with a tough "road map" (repeats, DSs, and coda), and well, let's face it, it generally comes at a point in the evening when I'm pretty much sloshed anyway. But now! Now!

I tried to clear my head by thinking gentle musical thoughts. "The Baby Was Born With Lederhosen," and "En Muchen Steht Ein Hofbrauhaus."

Another thing that struck me about "T of the W" was that it didn't have that scene, that defining scene I've always associated with the movie, albeit without benefit of ever having seen it. I can always remember seeing a clip from something, a clip of a big Nazi hootenanny where it's night-time, and there are people marching around on a field, holding torches, and doing a formation of a rotating swastika. I'd just assumed it was from "Triumph," I mean, what else could it be from, and when the big night-time torch-lighting rally started up I said to Mr M, "This is where they do the rotating swastika, isn't it?" And he gave me a blank stare. And I found out why, because it wasn't in there, and now I'm totally befuddled as to where that scene comes from. Unless it comes from that night I ate the mushrooms I wasn't supposed to eat.

And another thing that struck me about "T of the W" was, in fact I hate to keep going back to it, those Nazis per square inch (NpSqI). But listen, people. There were a shitload of Nazis in this movie. I mean, the camera would pan back, back, back, and there were more Nazis than the eye could see. There had to have been a million Nazis in this movie. Hitler Youth in their little tents, just like the Boy Scouts at a jamboree. Nazi drummers, and trumpeters, Nazis in cars, little baby Nazis giving Hitler flowers. Nazis in traditional German garb, Nazis in all manner of uniformed dress. Nazis in states of undress. Nazis hanging off light poles and rooftops trying to sneak a peek at Herr H himself. There were Nazis bathing, cooking, eating, marching, romping. Yes! They were romping! I don't remember seeing any Nazis frollicking, but if they did, I'm sure it was somewhere in this film.

They even had the Special Nazi Shovel Corps. A platoon of men armed with shovels, ready to dig at a moment's notice for The Fuhrer. Did they dig his bunker? One can only speculate. But their scene is astounding. Here they are, before Adolf himself, presenting their shovels just like rifles, throwing them up, down, and over their shoulders. And they repeat some sort of long involved Nazi Shoveler's Oath of Loyalty, then get an impassioned speech from Hitler about how the Shovel Corps is the most important Nazi corps in Naziland. Riveting stuff.

Oh, and did you know that even Nazi bands goosestep? Imagine that. Knowing you have to play an instrument while goosestepping, knowing it can't sound very good that way, and yet knowing that if it doesn't sound good you'll be the recipient of a gunshot behind a closed door somewhere. And I thought it was tough playing for Mr M....

On a serious note, if a creepy one, I have to say that some of the actual filmmaking is fascinating. Although the majority of the film looks very documentary-like, the scenes of the Day Rally in the Big Stadium were frighteningly real. One could almost imagine oneself being there, what it felt like, how the sun would be so bright as to burn the eyes, and the massive Nazi frenzy filling the air.

But on another, more musing note, where was the Nazi Dinner Dance? You know that somewhere in all this fun and frivolity there had to have been at least one dinner dance, where The Higher Echelon dined on the finest foods and Les Braun and his Band of Renown played while they all stomped around the dance floor, imagining the day they'd be stomping that way over Poland.

Anyway, enough of this banter. Remember my review of "March of the Penguins?" Remember what I asked? I asked for a companion piece where we'd have the same movie, only with dialogue instead of narration. Funnily enough, Venice informed me that that movie exists. Not only exists, it's the original version of the film!

Well, I want a companion piece to "Triumph of the Will." And I know this one hasn't been made yet. I want a companion piece for "Will" that will be the movie, only with mine and Mr M's comments dubbed over top. Our own little "Nazi Science Theatre 3000." It would contain our musings on how tired everyone's arms must have gotten, marching an entire parade route or standing during an entire rally with that one arm out. And then the conversation would segue into the discussion of the "casual" heil vs. the "formal" heil. Notice how sometimes they didn't stick their whole arm out, they just bent it at the elbow and flicked the wrist? At first I thought only Hitler himself was allowed to use the casual heil, but there are a few people in this film who do it as well, and they weren't even military! They were regular peons doing the casual heil to Hitler. I was shocked, frankly. They were probably shocked, too, later, with 12,000 volts, also behind a closed door.

The companion dialogue would also of course contain me quoting my favorite line from the movie "The Women," re sleeping alone: "Heaven knows it's marvelous being able to spread out in bed like a swastika." Even if it's not a lit rotating one.

And how many times did I get to use the much beloved Python line, "I was head of Gestapo for five years - three years - nein, nein! Was not head of Gestapo at all! I make joke." Well, we'd know how many times, because they'd all be there on the soundtrack.

It would certainly contain Mr M's two lines of the night, his dubbing of dialogue over Nazi speakers at one of the early rallies. After one Nazi Grand Hoo-Hah of some sort makes a remark that has the audience clapping and stamping in response, Mr M told me he'd just said, "Anybody here from Germany?" OK, on a computer screen, mildly amusing. In person? That joke's a winner all around. A little later, another Nazi got up to speak and Mr M dubbed in, "It seems these two guys walked into the Hofbrauhaus...." To which I added, "And one of them had a duck on his head." Yes, I know - how do we not have our own TV show yet?

It would also have all the Hitler Youth jokes, the Sauerkraut Band jokes, the Geobbels jokes, the Rudolph Hess jokes, the Willem Dafoe jokes, the Shovel People jokes, the goosestepping jokes, the "sound of a gunshot behind a closed door" jokes, the Hitler's mustache jokes, and that special added bonus, me yelling, "Ya Nazi shitheads!" about 4000 times.

Those Nazi shitheads indeed. Sometimes you just have to joke.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, what are you coming as to my big Christmas Halloween Bash?
- First of all, special "Good Going, Girl" prize to LilyG, with her little story, which ended in "Hmmm. I'll undress afterwards." We're all waiting for that, Lilster.
- Honorable Mention goes to Kellie, with her "Hannukah Ivan. Ugly Arrangement." OK, I want to see Hannukah Ivan. Wonder if he's wearing Hannukah socks?
- Runner-up goes to DeepFatFriar, with his "Hairless immature unisex alien." One can only imagine....
- And this week's winner is Stennie, with her, well, she had no idea what my blog was to be about, and yet she's coming as "Hitler in underwear - Ach!" Ach indeed. "Was not Hitler in underwear at all! She makes joke."
- Thanks to all who played, and have a happy acro holiday!

Monday, December 19, 2005


OK, before we start, apologies for the lack of Picture Sunday. Yesterday was just a long day. Up early to make the first concert, the church one, which was at 10:30. Got through that one fairly well, then made it to B'burg just in time to play concert two with the Community Band at 4:00. And, yes, logistically I could have gotten a Picture Sunday together, but seeing as how I just had one photo and was quickly losing the will to live, or at least the will to stay awake, I gave it a pass.

But to make it up to you, I'll show you a picture of My Boy is his new hat. It was a present from his pen-friend Achmed.

You just can't beat a fez for style. That's what Achmed says, anyway.

This will be our last round of acromania before Christmas, so of course our acro will have to be holiday-themed. This week's acrotopic will be about Halloween.

You know, I'm sick of coming up with Christmas acros, no matter how you re-word them they always lead to the same thing. So I've decided that this week, let's make it Friday, give you all time to get here, I'm going to have a Halloween party. Sherman's already unearthed his Shermula costume, and Mr P is going as, well, I'm not sure, but he has silk knee-pants and one of those Restoration air-filters around his neck. Huckleberry Hound is coming as Quick Draw McGraw, he thinks that's the funniest joke in history, Mr Peanut has some sort of Zorro costume he's working on, Lily's coming as a little girl who had a hole bitten in her midsection, and Gossamer's coming as a monster. Not a lot of imagination in his head, you know. But he is bringing cookies, so that's good, unless like last party they're all half-eaten.

This week's acrotopic is "What Are You Coming As To My Big Christmas Halloween Bash?"

You know the rules. 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 randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket is turning himself upside-down and going as a fashionable wicker hat. Then at 10pm est tomorrow night, I shall be reading your entries and naming the winners. The winners get the last of my Halloween candy, which I took to work to put in the freebie basket, but it was already filled with candy canes. Losers get squat. Absolutely squat. Now if that's not an incentive to work on your acro, I don't know what is.

So, this week's acrotopic: What Are You Coming As To My Big Christmas Halloween Bash?" The letters:


There you go. Now, stop wrapping, start making up, and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Did you know the acrobasket has children? I sure didn't, till he was complaining the other night about paying child support. Apparently he has two birds' nests (the twins) and a ring box.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fallen Angels, or A Christmas Blog That Will Make You Not Like Me Very Much

If in fact you ever did.

Because, see, I used to have this Christmas tradition. I don't have it anymore, haven't for about 4 years. But I used to. My very first day of Christmas shopping I'd go to a local store, of which there are several in My Little Burg, and pick an Angel off the Angel Tree.

I'm sure all of you have Angel Trees in your Burgs as well. A tree with cards on it, cards with names, sizes, and wishes of little disadvantagees, to whom you may be their only Christmas. My heartstrings would tug as I'd pour over the Angels and try to find one for myself. I usually went with girls, girls who wanted something special like a doll, or a tea set, or a pair of kitty pajamas.

And I'd shop thoughtfully, probably more thoughtfully than I did for my own family, and pick out as much as I could find, box them up all nicely in tissue paper, and wrap it with a big bow for returning to the local store.

And then, something started happening. It became harder and harder to find Angels on the Angel Tree. And I don't mean they weren't there, because they were. I just couldn't find an Angel for me.

Now, I think of myself as one of the more bleeding-hearted individuals in the world, the kind that feels more pain for people than they often feel for themselves. I cry at TV news, I once let my heart ruin my own Christmas when I saw a kid in a wheelchair waiting in line to see Santa (hell, how do I know that kid wasn't happier than I was?), I look for doggies at The Pound and go into deep depression for weeks. And I always thought of that little cardboard Angel I picked off the tree as my own.

But in the past few years I'd see these Angels, and they were impossible to shop for. Because they started wanting things I couldn't afford.

Maybe my bitterness at the whole Fallen Angel phenomena is the way in which I grew up. Since I have an affluent nephew soon-to-be 17, I think about this a lot. I was lucky enough to grow up in the 60s to mid-70s, in a small town in the south, where, well, as I put it, "every kid was in the same boat." My family wasn't rich, wasn't poor. And neither was anyone else's. We all bought our entire wardrobes at Penney's and lived in hope we didn't go to school one day all wearing the same dress. No one had the biggest house in town, because there wasn't one. And yeah, there may have been a few kids we called "poor," because they didn't have the same quota of stuff we had, but that was about it.

I was a junior in high school in 1977, and witnessed the birth of mass consumerism. It happened overnight. One day a kid wore an Izod Lacoste polo shirt to school, and my safe, happy little lifestyle was over. It took about 10 months for the new "rich people's" housing development to go up, and the world, or my town at least, never looked back.

And I learned Tough Life Lesson #1. Well, no, let's say Tough Life Lesson #2. Tough Life Lesson #1, "When parents say 'we'll see' they actually mean 'no,'" comes much earlier in a kid's life. So Tough Life Lesson #2 - "There comes a time when you start looking differently at, 'No, because we can't afford it'."

Because, you see, when we were kids we heard, "No, because we can't afford it" all the time. It was right up there with, "Good morning dear, Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies" in frequency. But every kid in our town heard it, every day, from every parent, because remember, we were all in the same boat.

But now, overnight, some kids with Lacoste polos and Aigner handbags weren't hearing it. They were hearing, "Why yes, dear, you go right out and get that and be the new trendsetter amongst your group." Goodbye, former boat-mates.

So what does this have to do with my current Anti-Angel stance. I don't know. Well, I do know, but I don't think I can explain it.

I guess what it has to do with it is that I want to help kids at Christmas who need help, and I know they have to be out there, but they don't seem to be showing up on that tree where I've always found them before. On that tree I'm finding kids who want toys that cost 80, 90 bucks. And kids who want games for Playstation2, and Xbox. And kids who want Abercrombie and Fitch clothes. And instead of doing my duty, picking an Angel and having at it, I'm looking at these cards and saying, "If a kid has an X-box, why the fucking hell is he on the Angel Tree?"

And I don't know, maybe in this day and age, in this culture, a kid who has an X-box but not the requisite 100 games to play on it is considered poor. And it's my own problem that I can't accept that. And maybe I need to just gulp hard, go to Abercrombie and Fitch, and buy something for the kid I can afford, which would probably be a glove, 50% off because its mate is gone.

But I can't do that. I just can't.

My cousin Jacob, who used to be glue-close to me but now barely speaks, once told me something not long after she Got Religion. And it stayed with me. It was about giving. "Your job is to give if your heart tells you to give. What the recipient does with the gift is up to them. You gave - you're out of it at that point."

And so now I stuff money into bell-ringers' pots and keep on going. I've given. Who the bell-ringers decide to buy gifts for, and what they buy, is their own lookout.

I've done my job - I'm out of it at that point.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, folks, my web maven Stennie seems to have done it again. You shouldn't be, if you once were, getting popups when coming to my humble blog. It seems to be fixed. If you are getting them still, well, don't tell me. I'd prefer not to know right now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Oh, Shit - Stop The Presses Again!

Hello, dear readers. I made a serious mistake last night. No, actually I made two. The first was screwing up my typing of Capt A's acro (that's what you get for not using cut and paste), and the second was using what I'd typed to determine that Capt A's acro was invalid.


There was in fact a big fat Z in his acro, because the the fired-up atheists were zealously raping Rudolph.

My mistake, Capt A's acro crown has been re-rewarded, Flipsy goes back to Runner-Up after a brief moment of glory, and I shall sulk away and hide. I mean, really - do you all realize what the next two weeks of my life are going to be like?

Pray for me.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* In the below blog, I also misspelled "quadriplegic" about a hundred times. I'll catch hell for that too. I think I'll go correct it. For posterity.
* Well, not a hundred. Only once.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

March of the Deep-Throated Penguins. In Wheelchairs.

This is a Comfy Chair Hodgepodge Review.

For I've seen a few movies lately that I've been wanting to comment on, and I haven't had the time, space, strength, nor intelligence to do so. I now have all of those, well, all except one, and I'll let you guess which one, but I fear after you read me it will have become all too apparent which one it actually is.

A couple of Fridays ago, I watched "Inside Deep Throat." I'd been wanting to see this movie since I first heard about it, during its theatrical release, and no, it wasn't for why you may think. Really. It wasn't. It was not a high-class excuse to see pee-pees and wee-wees. And no, it wasn't because I was such a fan of the original "Deep Throat," because I promise you I've never seen it. And I know you don't believe me there either, but I swear to you on my stack of Alan Arkin movies it is true.

I wanted to see it because, well, first, because it's a documentary, and as a general rule I love documentaries. Documentaries rock. (But gently.) But also I wanted to see it because I can remember "Deep Throat," or at least all the hoopla that surrounded it.

I was but a podlet in 1972, and I can remember all kinds of news stories, jokes, and discussions concerning this movie "Deep Throat." Now, being 12 - and believe me, folks, I was a naive 12 - I didn't really know anything at all about this whole "Deep Throat" brouhaha, except I knew that it must be dirty, because it was what everyone's parents talked about when the kids went down in the basement to play checkers. And then one of us would come up for a glass of water and all conversation would cease, leaving Mrs D red-faced and Mr and Mrs Y still giggling.

But here's the thing. Until I actually saw "Inside DT" (I've used the phrase "Deep Throat" way too many times already, and fear the porn surfers will be rampant on my nedstat now), I didn't know what the damn movie was actually about. I mean, I knew, you know, but I didn't know. I just thought it was about a woman who was very adept at a certain skill, and I don't mean giving people down the road. I had no idea there was that other throaty issue involved. So I guess I'm a naive 45-year old as well.

And I enjoyed the movie, well, the first 2/3 of it, anyway. It started out giving a really good feeling of the early 70s, and it had interviews with those involved, except Linda L, of course, who was a very mixed-up lady indeed, and she died several years ago. But one of the interviewees was a guy named, I kid you not, Larry Camp, and his interviews were hilarious, especially the way they were interspersed with the folks who were talking about the landmark event that "DT" was. (All his comments were along the lines of, "It was crap." "It was shit." "He was the worst actor in the history of acting.")

And it was a real trip seeing the 7.0 version of Harry Reems, who's aged very well, and was quite candid in talking about his role in the film even though he's now a born-again Christian real estate salesman living in Utah. And can't you just imagine that. I mean, does this man ever use the phrase, "And now let me show you to the bedroom" without a houseful of snickers? I also had no idea that our Harry came perilously close to going to jail for his fun and frolic in "DT." And that's kind of scary when you think about it, isn't it?

And there's also a series of interviews with an old guy who was a distributor of the film, whose wife sits in the background bitching at him for doing the interview. That alone is probably worth the price of a rental.

Sadly, though, the film has a major steam runout with a third left to go. When they start talking about whether or not the mob was involved in the financing and distributing, all the fun and frivolity and showing of pee-pees and wee-wees (though I didn't watch it for that reason, remember) comes to a grinding halt.

And so that gives me the perfect opportunity to print my capsule review of "Inside Deep Throat." It prematurely ejaculates. You saw that coming down Main Street with a hat on, didn't you?

Over the weekend I got to see another documentary I've been yearning to view, "March of the Penguins." Only good stuff had I heard about this one, and let's face it, people, it's about penguins! How can you go wrong with that? And the short answer to that is, "You can't." I liked "March of the Penguins."

This one, of course, tells the story of the life of the Emperor Penguin. Which is basically walk, walk, walk, mate, walk, walk, walk, lay an egg, walk, walk, walk, hatch an egg, walk, walk, walk, feed the baby, walk, walk, walk, raise the baby, and walk, walk, walk. These penguins are serious walkers, man.

But it all works, mainly because the penguins are so damn cute, and because somehow you really get involved in these penguins' lives. It has, and I swear to you this is true, the saddest scene in cinematic history about a couple losing their baby, and speaking of babies, the first time a baby penguin shows its face in this movie it's so adorable I screamed a scream of pure ecstasy. "It's a bay-beeeee!"

There's also a milisecond of action that's probably given me the biggest belly-laugh at the movies this year. One of the walking penguins slides and falls onto its ass. Low-brow humor, I have, but I still giggle just thinking about it.

I had lots of questions during the film, the main one being, why don't these web-footed little bastards just live nearer the water instead of walking 70 miles every time they get hungry, but towards the end of the film I finally figured that out, and I must admit that the credits put a little damper on things for me by showing the camera crews doing some of their filming. Because the photography is so nice and intricate I spent a great deal of time wondering how they did it, and finally decided they did it by dressing up the cameramen as Emperor Penguins and integrating them into the flock. Which was a nice idea to think about, especially when I started thinking that if they actually did that, at least one of the cameramen would probably have been mated.

But here's what I want from the "March of the Penguins" people. I want a companion film. And this film would be the exact film I saw, only minus Morgan Freeman's narration and plus people reading dialogue that would be spoken by actors as the penguins. That would be a damn fine film, and I'd be the first in line to see it. And I'm just waiting for the scene where that one penguin falls on its ass and says, "Ohhh ... shit." Then gets back up and starts walking.

Two thumbs up, fine holiday fun.

Last night it was documentary #3 in the Betland Non-Fiction Filmfest. "Murderball." I saw Ebert and The Other Guy review this one a while back and something struck me as interesting about it then, though I couldn't tell you what it was, and I decided to give it a try.

"Murderball" tells the story of Quadriplegic Wheelchair Rugby, which is also called Murderball, and is basically a sport wherein men roll around in wheelchairs and beat the ever-loving snot out of one another. It's a fascinating sport and no mistake.

But more fascinating are the men who play it. We meet them, well, Team USA anyway, up close and personal, and they're all intense, engaging, funny, and some of them are cuter than hell. We also meet the coach of Team Canada, who used to play for Team USA but got cut and went all Benedict Arnold on our asses. And the movie follows a timeline leading up to, then reaching, the meeting of the two teams at the 2004 Paralympics.

Now, you may go into "Murderball" with the same mindset I did. You know, I just normally break up when I see people in wheelchairs anyway, and I was expecting this to be a sentimental tear-fest about the disabled pushing themselves to the limit in celebration of sport. And it is about that, but don't buy any Kleenex, because there's nothing sentimental here about the story or the guys in it. In fact, I don't think anything will change your attitudes about folks in chairs like this film will.

The Murderballers are all very frank in telling us about their disabilitycaps (since I hate all those terms I just thought I'd meld them together in a big ugly word), in other words, how they came to be in the chairs (it isn't always a spinal cord injury), and how it affects their lives. And we see them living those lives just fine, thank you, without any help from us.

Oh, there's an added bonus in their frankness as well. They have no qualms whatsoever in telling us about the sex lives of maniac quadriplegics. Apparently just because the legs don't work, well, that doesn't mean everything below the waist is gone. And call it sexist if you want, and it may be, but I couldn't help giggling along with these guys when they talked about the relative ease of getting laid when you're a cute guy in a wheelchair. To paraphrase one guy, "I'll be as pitiful as it takes to get them hooked."

However, along with these rough and rowdies, we're also introduced to Keith, who was proabably also a rough and rowdy, at least up until the motocross accident that left him paralyzed. We pick up his story 4 months after the accident. Now, if there's sympathy to be heaped and tears to be cried, you'll do it all for Keith, especially in the scenes where he can't undo his velcro shoes, and when he looks around his brand-new disabilitycapped-accessible apartment and smiles and says, "It sucks." And his family say, "But it's got everything you need!" And Keith replies, to their helpless blank stares, "Yeah, but I'm still in this chair."

And Keith struggles along. Until one day the Murderballers come to his rehab center, and he can't wait to get into one of the balling chairs. And once he's in, they have to force him out. And you know he's going to be OK, too.

They're all OK. And "Murderball" wins the Betland Non-Fiction Filmfest, beating out - or is that beating up? - the Penguins by a wing. "Inside Deep Throat" comes (get it? comes?) limping (get it? limp?) in at a flaccid (get it? flaccid? it's funneeee!) third.

Now, where's my gift-bag?

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, my Betland Holiday Spectacular may not end up being so spectacular, seeing as how there are only three entries in it. So what's going to be on your float?
- Honorable Mention goes to LilyG, with her "Flying acrobats, zipping naughtily into roses." That would make an interesting float....
- Runner-up goes to Flipsy, with her "Follywongs and zingleberries, noozlesnogs in rows." Absolutely no idea what it means, but I'm still laughing. Tip of the hat to Dr Seuss!
- And this week's winner goes to someone calling himself Capt A, with his "Fired - Up Atheists Noogying Inebriated Rudolph." Sorry, but I love the idea of fired-up atheists in a holiday parade.
- Actually, I came up with one myself. Fat Assed Zebras, Neighing In Rounds.
- Thanks to all who played!
*Wait! Stop The Presses!*
I've just realized something. The winning acro is a fraud. It's not the correct letters, the "z" was left out. Capt A is not the winner, and the winner becomes Flipsy with her zinglie googly foogly thing.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Hello, my friends. Because really, let's face it, if you're here, well, you must be. It's Monday, and you know what that means - another put-on-your-letterhats-and-let-the-good-times-roll round of acromania.

I had an interesting occurrence Thursday. I mean, it was wasn't earth-shattering, it was just one of those things that make you tilt your head and grin.

It was my afternoon off, and I'd worked (really, I'd worked) on some things, things that entailed completely turning my house upside down then back rightside up again. It was cold and windy and for most of the day and evening I'd been listening to the wind whistle and the ice whap-whap-whap upon my window. Then it got to be about 7pm and for some reason I had my head in the closet of my bedroom. And I was still listening to whistle-whistle, whap-whap, when all of a sudden the whapping got louder. And lower. And it went from whapping to something approaching a big bass drum.

"Wow," I thought. "That doesn't sound right." Then all of a sudden, *Ta-Daaaa!* Up started a band playing Christmas Carols. And then it hit me. For my fifth Christmas since moving into the Poderosa, the Christmas Parade was parading right in front of my house.

This is a definite plus of living on the street that leads into town. In the past I've gotten a lawn chair and sat out on the porch waving at people and having candy hurled in my general direction. But this year it was way too cold and windy (Taytie marched in the band wearing ski goggles to protect his eyes), so I waved at people from the inside window.

And so it's time for this week's acrotopic. It's time for the big Holiday Parade in Betland, and there are bands and floats galore. And you're all float entries in my parade. And so, "What Is Your Big Holiday Float In My Parade?"

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 also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket's zipping along in the parade on wheels, with a Shriner sitting in him. It's not pleasant. Then at 10pm est tomorrow night I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners, who of course will receive a gift certificate for $2.50, redeemable at any of the shopping areas of Betland. Losers get to spend next Christmas on a float with Mr Snake.

So the topic, "What Is Your Big Holiday Float In My Parade?" The letters:


And now, get out there and wave! And throw me candy!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Laundry, laundry, laundry.
* I tried something different tonight. Please tell me if Betland's still giving you popups. I fear it might, and I fear Stenns may have been right about the culprit.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Picture Sunday

Well. End of a very short and extremely busy weekend, and now it's that very bewitching time of evening, time for me to post up some pictures and get you a Picture Sunday.

Friday, it happened. It started during lunch, when I went out looking and finally found a fake tree I thought I might be able to live with. I came back to work and agonized over it for another five or so hours till finally the girls at work got sick of me and said, "Just go! Go right now, right after work, and buy the damn thing." And so I did.

I had no intentions of getting it out and putting it up Friday night, but I couldn't help myself, so I did. And it was all working so well I went ahead and unearthed the Christmas ornaments and made an actual evening of it. And you know what? It was fun, too. It was fun, trimming my fake tree, drinking coffee, watching a really bad Alan F movie on TV, and after it was all over I got to sit back in the Comfy Chair and look at my finished product. And I was happy.

There's the Rudolph gang saying hello underneath. Except of course, The Bumble. He has a special job every year. And here he is, hanging on for dear life.

Looky what he can do! (You know, I haven't watched "Rudolph" yet this year. Add that to my "to do" list.)

So, the tree is up and the living room's looking mighty Christmasy. That doesn't mean, however, that I've done that other stuff I need to do. Check out my video plunder.

Sad thing is, I'm kind of running out of room to put all those. I need more shelving, man!

So yesterday it was out to shop, with the girls from work, and then we went out to have dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, where I had two martinis and was pretty much useless for the remainder of the evening. Then it was more shopping today, where I spent way too much money way too fast, and now I only have two presents left to buy. So I guess I'd call that a success.

Then back home and tonight I had to go to Church Practice. Yes, some of us have to practice going to church these days, and I'm one of them. No, not really. It was the first practice for the Christmas musical thingie one of the local churches does that I get roped into playing for every year because it's put on by my old band director. It was a mess tonight. I'd explain more fully if I had the strength, but I don't. So just believe me. It was a mess.

And speaking of messes (sorry, I just couldn't pass up an opportunity as good as that one), how about this week's recipe du jour! The Card calls it Sausages and Spanish Rice, but I lovingly refer to it as March of the Penises!

Bum, bum, bum, bum, here they come, here they come, marching to your town, over rice, over peas, they're greasy and they're brown, they're penises! Penises! Marching over rice and peas, penises! Penises! Have you ever seen uglier penises than these! Hey!

Anyway, this is a disgusting little number, there's no denying it, and Mr Card says we should have this dish with fried zucchini (let's just make it a whole phallic-themed dinner, shan't we?), poached pears, and a salad with blue cheese dressing. Well. I don't like blue cheese dressing, so there. I'm having Italian. Oh, sorry. House vinaigrette.

Happy Week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Shout-out to the nephew, who got 4th chair symphonic drums at the All-District Band tryouts this weekend.
* I almost bought a pair of Hanukah socks today.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How To Speak Bet

I've found something out over the past few years, and mainly it's because of you, dear readers, that I've discovered it.

You all think there's something funny about the way I talk.

I've kind of always known this, I can remember a trip cross-country my family took when I was 10, and my sister and I got made fun of all over the damn place. They made fun of our accents in Texas, for God's sake. I mean, hello?

But I spend a lot of time around here, where I live, isn't that strange, and I talk a lot with people who also live and spend a lot of time around here, where, well, where we all live. And so we talk to each other and understand each other and have a fine old time. And no one makes fun of anyone else, except of course that time I said the word "biscuit" just a little too loudly in a public place and it had something upwards of seven syllables. And I guess I'm okay with that, because it was pretty bad, even for me.

But then along came all of you folks, and Mr M, who likes to announce how he's an honorary Southerner, but it doesn't stop him from making all manners of fun of my language skills, evidenced by our very first meeting when a story he was telling got really confusing because I kept thinking he was talking about a blind man when in reality he was talking about a blonde man.

And of course he always laughs heartily when I talk about the "Ha School," which he envisions as some sort of comedy academy but in reality it's a place 17-year olds graduate from. And how the leader of the Sauerkraut Band is Eh-yed, even though my brother-in-law, who spells his name B-R-I-A-N is "Brine."

And I don't even want to get started on the whole "Pen-Pin" "Boil-Bull" debacle, where all of you, my dear readers, turned on me and voted that you couldn't tell the difference when I pronounced those word pairs, even though there was a clear and distinct difference and you all hurt me very deeply with your lack of correct hearing. And we also discovered that you can add "Lion" and "Line" to that list as well, for only a few months ago I was made all manners of fun of for that one too.

But then there was that night.

Oh, Dear Lord, that fateful night when I was chatting with the faithful in #squeeze and I used an expression that's been in my life as long as people have been talking around me, and that's well, let's face it, forever. And that expression was, "I gave him down the road." I still cannot convince anyone who was there that night that this is a perfectly acceptable phrase in normal usage where I come from, and that it's not only completely clean, it has nothing to do with oral sex whatsoever. Oddly enough, that night came not long after I was also snickered at for using the phrase "the hump," which is also a totally G-Rated term.

So I thought that maybe in an effort to help you all not only understand me a little better but also add some much needed vocabulary skills to your own damn lives, maybe I could give you a few pointers. Below are some terms. These are generally items that I've been 1) giggled at for, 2) asked to repeat and/or explain, or 3) met with a blank stare for using.

Please, use these words and phrases. I need some help here.

* To Give Down The Road - OK, before we go any further here, let me just reiterate to all of you the innocence of the meaning of this, it simply means to tell someone off in no uncertain terms. "The next time I see him I'm going to just give him down the road" is something you might say if someone pissed you off a great deal, or made fun of you for nothing more than your phraseology.

* The Hump - The hump is what you have if you're pissed off at someone, so named because you generally hump your shoulders all up and sulk away. You can give the hump to someone, or have the hump at someone. You are not "humped," or "humping." It's a noun. Or an object. It's been a long time since I was in English class.

* Right - Not a direction, but a modifier. It's not quite "very," but more than "pretty much." Kind of on a par with "a damn sight." Used only recently in the phrase "it's right trippy," and something else I can't remember that I said to Mr M that he made fun of me for saying.

* Your Possum - This simply means "your problem." If you stole from your boss and got fired and want to whine to me about it, forget it. Because it's your possum. The longer, or "formal" useage of this would be, "That's your possum, you wool it."

* Tits on a Boar Hog - It's something, or someone, that's completely useless. As are, well, tits on a boar hog.

* The Fur-Lined Pisspot With The Stucco Handle - This is The Grand Prize, The Brass Ring, The Whole Enchilada, or The Big Deal of the Day. My dad often uses this one when someone wins the biggest poker hand of the night.

* Plum - Now, no offense, but I thought everybody knew how to use "plum." It's a modifier as well, meaning "completely." The nicest-looking girl in town is "plum cute," while the man who just won the marathon is "plum tuckered out." Please practice your usage of "plum;" it has to go with an adjective. I remember fondly the night I got to laugh at Mr M because he tried it out by calling someone "a plum asshole." That's just wrong, people.

* Help My Time of Day - This is your general phrase a la "Good Grief," "Good God," "You Don't Say," "I Can't Believe It," or "Well, Stick A Fork In Me and Call Me Sally." It's just an exclamation.

* So Thin You Could Read The Lord's Prayer Through It - Believe it or not, this means something is really, really thin. (It does?? Well, help my time of day!) After repeated washings during Oktoberfest, the apron to my outfit is currently so thin you could read The Lord's Prayer through it. Personally, I don't know why the Lord's Prayer would be harder to read through something than anything else, but there you go. Maybe the print on the Lord's Prayer is right tiny.

* Fagged - No, don't go there, you're wrong already. This simply means you're tired. Usually goes with "out," but doesn't have to. After cleaning the house my mother would often say she was "plum fagged out."

* Rip - This is a woman of ill-repute or no moral code whatsoever. She would give that other thing that's not "down the road" in a heartbeat. To anyone. "Oh, she's nothing but an old rip."

So there you go, I started you off with eleven. The Baker's Dozen version of a Decalog, if you will, of words and phrases to incorporate into your daily life. I want you to go out tomorrow and use one of them on those nearest and dearest to you.

Oh, and by the way, if you ever hear me talk about ull, I mean the stuff you cook with. Or put in your car. Olive, Wesson, you know....

Oh, never mind.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* If you're the kind of person with extra-sensory perception or you share a brain with me, and you get waves that I'm over here thinking, "Wow, what a great idea it would be to...," please call me up and stop me before I finish the thought. Please.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Workers of the World, Unite!

I knew it was going to be an interesting day when I began it on my knees.

Well, I didn't truly begin it on my knees, but I did find myself on my knees, in my driveway, when going out to start my car so it could warm up and defrost. Driveway - completely iced. I was in the process of opening the car door, so that was good. I was holding onto the door handle when I slid onto my knees. Had I not been doing that I would have been lying still in my driveway, every bone below the waist broken, screaming for someone to come help me. As it turned out, I was on my knees, holding onto both the front and rear door handles, looking around saying, "Oh, please, God, don't let anyone have seen that." And I don't think anyone did. So I got up and proceeded with my day.

My day, which included a lunch hour full of running. Now, this isn't anything new in Betland, I often have to run around on my lunch hour doing things. And this is OK, I mean, it's not as fun as sitting in the Comfy Chair with my feet up drinking an Orange Crapius and watching Alistair on "Cash In The Attic," but it's not horrible, either.

Except for this one thing.

We at our little office there at TheCompanyIWorkFor have this philosophy. And this philosophy is "If You Don't Work From 9am To 5pm, Get The Hell Out Of Our Way."

Now, this philosophy probably means more to people who live in this general area of Southwest Virginia than it may mean to all yall living in those metropolitan areas. Because around here? We have loads of people who don't seem to do anything to earn a living. We have Old People, who I guess have done their fair share of working and thus don't have to do it anymore, and maybe I can live with this, for I'm in constant hope that I'll live to be old and not have to work anymore, too. I doubt this will happen, but a girl can hope.

We also have those who live on what we call "The Draw." The Draw means you get a check for doing nothing. Remember, this is the coalfield and railroad world here, where Disability is as common as a sneeze. In fact, I think you can get disability here for a sneeze, though I sneeze quite often and I still seem to be working my ass off. But that's me. I don't work for the coal or railroad industry.

The Draw also includes that mysterious lush wonderful way of living called SSI. Now, I say "mysterious" because I've never quite understood how SSI works. Apparently you get SSI if you're too dumb, lazy, ugly, shy, or devoid of any other number of qualities to make you employable. But it also includes children and family members of the above-mentioned group. SSI is rampant in this area. In fact, often when we ask people, at TheCompanyIWorkFor, for their occupations, their answer is "SSI." Well, guess what. SSI is not an occupation, but it may as well be, because these people are drawing enough to have a happy life without benefit of going to an office to be yelled at for 8 hours. So maybe "dumb" isn't one of the qualities involved in getting SSI after all.

So anyway. My little burg is filled with people in town during the day who aren't working. Which is, I guess, why they're filling up the damn town. And here's the thing. They're clogging up the town with their non-working asses while the people who do work are trying to get things done.

We at TheCompanyIWorkFor have an hour for lunch. We used to go out, in twos, when there were four of us working there, and no matter where we went, there were a bunch of non-working folks ruining our eating experience. Sitting there at tables we should have been sitting at, eating food we should have gotten first, complaining about their bills while we should have been blithely paying and walking out the door. We don't even go out for lunch anymore. Too depressing.

(By the way, do you know that if you're old and you complain, you get what you want? I've seen people get extra portions, bigger chicken strips, and combinations younger people would never get just because they look at the staff with those steely old eyes and complain. "I'm a Senior Citizen, I deserve this!" Yeah, yeah. You're getting the Senior Citizen's discount too, I don't see you complaining about that.)

Non 9 to 5ers clog up the restaurants, the bank, the grocery, the department stores. They're just there, clogging. They're in our way!

There should be a law. The "Daytime Workers Provisional Law of Non-Work Production." In it would be stated that if you do not hold a 9 to 5 job, and someone who does (and we'd get little special cards identifying us - with our pictures on them) needs something, they're allowed to get right in front of you.

Wouldn't that be wonderful?

"Excuse me, Jubal and Ethel, I see you're both retired. Here's my card. Vacate this table immediately. Yes, you can take your food with you, I'll be ordering my own."

"Umm, sir? Yes, you, with the NASCAR hat. I see you're cashing your check there. Well, here's my card, see, there's my picture, that's me. And I have these coins I want changed into real money. Now move it and let me by, or I'm afraid this several pounds of coinage will be dropped upon your foot. Thank you."

"Ma'am? You're on this bench at the Wal-Mart, and well, I hate to be forward, but my feet hurt and I can't find the light switch plates I'm looking for. Here's my card, see, and I'm going to sit here on your bench while you go find my plates. I'll be right here!"

"Hey, you! You're at my pump! Move your ass, my car needs gas! Here's my card. You have a card too? Oh, never mind, I'll wait."

See? I'm reasonable.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* We have acrowinners. So, what exactly is your big inflatable Christmas yard thingie?
- Honorable Mention goes to Jellybean, with her "Antlered Animal Eating Nog," and Flipsy with her "Atheists and Evangelicals naysaying."
- Runner-up goes to Mike, with his "An all-Eagles nativity."
- And this week's winner goes to Kellie, how could it not be, with "Alan Arkin Eating Nuts." Now, when I drew the double A I had no idea what I'd done till I saw this entry. Now it's all I can think about. My Christmas won't be complete without a big inflatable Alan F eating nuts in my yard!
- May I just say that when I came up with this acrotopic and letters I thought, "Well, this will be boring," but you all proved me wrong. Any one of these entries would make the most fabulous big inflatable Christmas yard thingie. I think we should submit them to the inflatable yard thingie people.
- Thanks for playing!

Monday, December 05, 2005


OK, let's see what happens here, guys.

I've not been able to access my blog, or anyone else's, for that matter, all evening. (Well, anyone else's who goes with good old Blogspot.) I do seem, however, to be able to get into Blogger itself. So let's at least try to throw up an acromania (throw up? I must still be thinking about Barley Casserole), and see if it publishes.

Well, it's Christmastime, as you all may or may not know. If you don't know, I want to be living under whatever rock you're using as your residence.

We had a big story on the local news last week about those big, huge, gigantic, enormous inflatable Christmas ornaments everyone seems to be putting out on their lawns nowadays. And how they're being stolen as if they were diamonds laying out there in the yard. And then today, we got a call at TheCompanyIWorkFor from someone who'd had theirs stolen as well. Shame.

Personally, I wanted to giggle. Because I hate these things. They're so big. They're so - oh, I don't know, inflatable. This year I've seen a few new ones to add to the obligatory Santas, Grinches, Snowmen, Polar Bears, Mickeys, and Winnies. I've seen the Snow Globes, they seem to be quite popular this year, and a Homer, and a new Mickey where he's reading a book and sitting down, all hunched over it, as if he's really into this book. Thing is, with him all hunched over like that he looks really dirty. So everytime I drive by those peoples' house I always say, "Oh. There's Mickey reading porn."

Anyway, this brings us to acro. This week's topic? "What Is Your Big Inflatable Christmas Yard Thingie?"

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 randomly drawn from the acrobasket. Oddly enough, in his yard, the acrobasket has a big inflatable - acrobasket. With a bow on. Then tomorrow night at 10pm est I shall be reading over the entries and naming the winners, who will receive their own inflatable yard thingie, in fact the very one I stole from that woman's house who called me today. Losers will have their names turned into the police as the thief.

So this week's topic - "What Is Your Big Inflatable Christmas Yard Thingie?" The letters:


There you go. Now, go acro and leave me alone. No, wait, that sounded rude. Go acro and don't leave me alone. There.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Hmmm. The "For Rent" sign is back in the yard, but someone was at the House to the North tonight. I don't know. I'm worried, though.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Picture Sunday

Hello to all. It's Sunday night and we all know what that means - another Don't-Have-A-Nervous-Breakdown-From-The-Excitement round of Picture Sunday.

It was a pretty sedate weekend here in Betland. A nice Friday Chill Night, with a couple of movies, one of which was that nugget of glory known as "Repo Man." Now, that's a movie I love and haven't seen in many, many years. Imagine my excitement when I saw it was coming up on the Sundance Channel in just enough time for me to fix another coffee and get comfy in front of the TV. One of your more quotable movies, "Repo Man," but I shan't go through the list here. If anyone has a favorite quote, though, be sure to tell me about it.

It was to Mr M's on Saturday, where the fare was almost as usual. Clarinetting, an attempt at a movie (so bad we just couldn't continue), and a new wrinkle - Scrabble! I personally wanted to play Acro, since that's all Scrabble tiles mean to me anymore, but I submitted to an honest-to-God Scrabble game, and I'll be damned if I didn't win it. This is a big deal, as Mr M is a keen Scrabbler.

Today I didn't get kicked out of Mr M's early, as I'd expected, and finally roused myself enough for a trip to Office Max to look for something, which I found but didn't like. So while I was out that way I girded my loins and headed to Target, which wasn't quite as crowded as I was expecting, and I found my item there, and also perused the pre-lit fake Christmas trees. It's been how long now, 3 years? 3 years I've been musing a fake tree, and I still can't bring myself to do it.

Then it was home, where I took all the pictures for today. So I guess this week it's Picture Sunday - The Around Town Edition.

It all started when I saw this sign as I was filling up with gas yesterday. I loved this sign and knew I had to take a picture of it.

You know, nothing says "family" to me like cigarettes. And good thing, because apparently the Bailey's people agree with me. Bailey's Family Cigarettes, and there's Dad and Son enjoying a good smoke. The family that smokes together, well, I guess, chokes together.

After I took that picture and realized I had no others for tonight, I just zipped around town snapping photos. How lucky for you all.

Hey, did you know that B'field has its own geodesic dome? Well, we do. It's at the local college, on their gymnasium.

Next I headed towards town, with a stop at the Duck Pond along the way. The Duck Pond is pretty, but here's the thing. It's a pond, and it has ducks! And - it's the town's water supply. So for those of you who laugh at me because I have a water cooler in my house, well, you can stifle the giggling right now.

Oh. And if you've lost your soccer ball, that might be where you need to look.

Then it was to Town Itself. We're not a one-light town, we're a two-light town, but this is the main one. (Well, unless you go to the north end of town where all the new stuff is. A veritable plethora of lights there.) Let's see, there on the left on the corner is New Graham Pharmacy, and on the left about halfway up is TheCompanyIWorkFor. Riveting stuff. This is the main drag in town, but not called Main Street, oddly enough.

A little deserted, town on a Sunday afternoon. It'll pick up tomorrow.

And now to this week's recipe du jour. Have a bucket at the ready, because it's Barley Casserole!

Now, all I can say about this, besides "yuck," is that this looks very suspiciously like the famed Buckwheat Groats card of about a year ago. In fact, I'm convinced that this is indeed Buckwheat Groats, which I think I described as a bowl of meal worms or maggots or something, only with some rotini pasta and mushrooms added. And the funny thing is, this is under the category "Cook To Freeze." Now, as horrid as this dish is, I can't even fathom opening my freezer and seeing it, frozen, staring me in the face.

Oh, dear.

The card says we should have this lovely dish with - aaaaaaaaaa! With nothing! There's no serving suggestion! Just a big bowl of Barley Casserole and have at it. Boy, that'll make the kids happy.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, the worry has begun. The "For Rent" sign is out of the yard of the House to the North as of today. Who will be moving in? I'll keep you posted; but then, you already knew that, right?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

When Photo Ops and Headlines Collide

This little nugget comes courtesy of our local paper's front page on Tuesday....

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Betland has a headache. It's going to bed.