Thursday, March 30, 2006

Following The Meeting With Peabody's Crack Team Of Lawyers

You know, I like to tell myself that I don't think a lot about money. It was recently pointed out to me by someone, someone we won't mention but we all know who he is, that I do in fact think about money way too much, as evidenced by the fact that I'm always squirreling money away here and there and being afraid to spend it, and that's something I cannot deny.

It was only a few weeks ago when I cleaned my kitchen - I mean, really cleaned it, not just spot-cleaned it, and that entails cleaning off the kitchen table, which has one lame leg and holds everything I own, including my liquor - that I found an envelope and wondered, "Hmmm, what is this?" Then I opened it up and saw that it was the $300 I still had left of my Christmas bonus and was afraid to spend and kind of forgot that I had. I took a hundred out of it and have since spent some of that, but I re-hid the rest. Because I'm afraid to spend it.

I also take money from birthday presents and the like and hide it away, put it in my wallets and handbags separate from the "walking around" money from my paycheck so I won't spend it, because I want to save it to use on "something special." Which I'm afraid to do, so I just carry that money around, and eventually will blow it on something useless like hard liquor and clove cigarettes. And gas.

So maybe I do think about money more than I let on. I guess what I mean by it all is that I don't spend much time wondering how I can get more money. Good thing, because I suppose if I did get more money, I wouldn't spend it.

But sometimes, although money is nice, it's not about money. It's about principle. And one of those times is right now. It's been brewing for a while, but I finally decided to take action upon the brewing and meet with Peabody's crack team of lawyers. Because it's about time I sued somebody.

You see, my fine feathereds, my very being has been suffering some infringement lately.

Now, I'm a pod. We all know this, I've been telling you all about it since I've been keeping a blog. Mr M discovered this fact about me and set out to study me and present me to the world. He hasn't presented me as yet, but I have been diagnosed and, as far as I'm concerned, that is that.

Apparently other people don't see it so plainly. And I know this is true because there are a lot of "pods" springing up here and there, hither and yon, right in the Public Eye.

And so I need to sue someone about it and reclaim my rightful title. Here's a short list of those on their way to Lawsuit City, Arizona.

1. iPod, the mp3 people
2. Podcasting, the talking on the internet people
3. PODS, the transportable storage people
4. Sticky Pod, the device that mounts a camera onto your automobile people
5. The Pod, the British little travel trailer people
6. The Pod, the "our lawn canopies are geodesic domes" people
7. Odd Pods, the grow your own cacti at home people
8. POD, the heavy metal/thrash/scary band
9. "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," both the 1956 and 1978 versions
10. The POD Network, a higher learning organization
11. TPOD, the "trauma pelvic orthotic device"
12. K-Pod, a software used in connection with iPods
13. Toyota, who made a concept car called The Pod
14. Pod, an upscale restaurant in Philadelphia
15. The Senseo Coffee Machine, which delivers individual cups of coffee via coffee pods
16. All other coffeemakers who snatched Senseo's coffee pod idea
17. Escape Pod, the science fiction magazine
18. "2001 A Space Odyssey," and all involved with the book and movie ("open the pod bay doors, Hal")
19. Whales
20. Peas

The meeting with Peabody's crack team of lawyers was quite interesting. They're fascinating folks. They told me right off the bat to stay away from iPod. Nothing but heartache trying to sue iPod, litigation would go on for centuries, and even if they could pull it off, I'd be long dead before I'd see any compensation. So we crossed them off the list quickly.

Same for podcasting. Podcasting is a movement, and I was told it is exceedingly difficult to sue a movement. We'd have to get all of the podcasters to show up to court at the same time, en masse, and if only a couple of people overslept there could be continuations forever. Not to mention the fact that since I'm now part of a podcast, I'd be suing myself, which is just silly. Ix-nay on the odcastingpay.

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" was pretty much out as well. The first movie came out four years before I was born, and was I told they were pretty much safe. The second came out in 1978, decades before my diagnosis, and besides, it has Donald Sutherland in it and I couldn't live with myself if I sued Donald. No go on the body snatchers.

Now, we had K-Pod the software, Odd Pods the cacti, Sticky Pod the mount on camera, and The Pod geodesic garden tents. I'd never heard of these, I found them while doing my research before the meeting, and so the lawyers said if I hadn't even heard of them then they couldn't be making too much money (even though the geodesic people can't be poor, because they don't even have prices listed on their tents which means they're more than any of us can afford), and so all I'd probably be doing with a lawsuit is shutting down the companies, putting normal people like myself out of work, and making them go home to crying, hungry children every night. Not that the lawyers minded setting this all into action, but I told them I'd have a think and get back to them.

That brought us to Toyota, which I must admit was tempting, and The Pod British caravans, but frankly, I just couldn't set proceedings against them into motion. The Toyota Pod (<- go there and look at it), and The Pod Caravans (<- go there and look at them) are just about the cutest little things I've ever seen in my life. You just can't sue cute. That's all there is to it.

So that took our ever-dwindling list down to the POD Network and the TPOD trauma pelvic orthotic device, and I just don't know if I have the heart to pull the rug out from under people trying to get an education or people with traumatic pelvises. The only worse thing I could imagine would be pulling the rug out from under people with traumatic pelvises trying to get an education. It's just not done. (By the way, the TPOD seems to be a very nice device indeed. I'm looking into maybe purchasing one, which really goes against the whole grain of suing someone infringing my person.)

I was told Escape Pod the magazine and "2001 A Space Odyssey" were possibilities, but let's face it, those science fiction folks are creepy people and they'd find a way to get their revenge. All I need is to wake up one morning and find a big monolith at the foot of my bed and then turn into a baby. While my alarm clock sings "A Bicycle Built For Two" and plots to kill me.

POD the scary band and Pod the restaurant were next. Famous rock bands and upscale restaurants have lawyers almost as vicious as Mr Peabody's. I scratched them off.

That left PODS the storage people, Senseo and the like with their coffee pods, whales, and peas. Everyone knows whales have no money to speak of, and I guess to sue peas you'd have to sue God, and I don't think even I'm that brave.

So now I had a decision to make. Storage pods or coffee pods. Well, I like coffee, coffee's my friend. Coffee is also very popular with some very powerful people. I wouldn't be surprised to find out there's a coffee lobby in DC. And they do say, "Never sue a friend."

PODS storage, look out. By process of elimination, I suppose you're to be the poor souls made an example of. I'm asking for $400 billion dollars, and one of your storage pods to put it in while I decide whether or not I can spend it.

You know, I wonder if, as an out of court settlement, the other people would just give me some of their products? That'd be a nice life, driving the Toyota Pod around, pulling The Pod caravan behind me when I went to visit friends. Filming my car trips with the Sticky Pod. Lazing around the house, reading Escape Pod the magazine, surrounded by cacti, drinking as much pod coffee as I could hold, then ambling out to the yard to nap under my Pod geodesic tent.

Then I could jump back in my Toyota Pod, plug in my new iPod, and head up to Philly for a night of fine eating at the Pod restaurant. And if the whole trip to the big city became too traumatic, I could just don my new Pelvis Pod and calm myself right down.

And I could have as many peas as I could eat. If that was OK with God, of course.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* The new edition of Hucklebug, the podcast (don't sue!) is now up and running! Access by iTunes or or
* Mr M is officially now gainfully unemployed. Give him a handshake and hearty congratulations. He's happy about it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

One-Upped By Dad

Hello, folks. I have no blog.

Yep, here it is Tuesday, Blog In Earnest Day in Betland, and I'm without a blog. It's been a bit of a bummy day, I've laundered coffee-stained shirts, played the clarinet, and watched a movie. All while I should have been thinking up a good blog idea. But I didn't, and now you'll have to pay for it.

So I thought I'd tell you a story that made me laugh. Hell, still makes me laugh. And I have a sneaking suspicion it might be one of those "you had to be there" stories, but I'll give it a go anyway.

It involves my dad, my mom, and me, sitting in my office on Friday. They'd come by (they're still up here) to stare at me a while before they got on with their day.

It also involves two women barbers, whose names I won't divulge, but in the spirit of southern women barbers we'll call them Lurlene and Qutene.

See, Dad had walked up the street to get a haircut. And was gone and gone, way longer than was necessary, which was fine with Mom because that gave her more time to stare at me, and I was starting to feel like something in a petri dish when Dad finally came back in, hair as short as a Marine's.

"There you are, " Mom said.

"Oh, I had to have my hair cut by Qutene, and she's so friggin' slow," my dad said. Yes, my dad actually said "friggin'."

Then things settled in, my dad leaning against the doorway to my office staring into space, my mom standing in front of my desk staring into space, and me there at my desk, staring into space.

My dad's voice calmed to its normal tone, and he went on to say, to no one in particular and anyone who might be listening, "There were a shopfull of people in there, and Qutene was the only one there cuttin' hair, because Lurlene had to go to off to a horse show...." Then his voice trailed off into the air.

Silence. Staring.

More silence. More staring.

"She won a blue ribbon," my dad finally offered.

And I lost it.

Mainly because in all that silence, I was trying to come up with the perfect line to end the story. There were a blue million ideas rumbling around, but none good enough to throw out. My dad came up with the winner.

Yep, it happens sometimes. One-upped by the old dadster.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* So, first of all, I've had the sad feeling all day long that this week's acrotopic was a repeat. Maybe I'm thinking of one Mike gave me, "Pets." But what is it about dogs, anyway?
- Honorable Mention goes to LilyG with her, "Sit! Rollover! Beg! Always responsive." Wow - Lily's had some good dogs. Mine never did that.
- Runner-up goes to Kellie with her, "Stays right by aging relative." Awwww, that makes me cry!
- And this week's winner is Mike, with his "Sometimes Rover bites a Republican." I can think of no better reason to own a dog. My dog Bill would have done that.
- Thanks to all who played! You've all done very well!

Monday, March 27, 2006


Hello to all, and welcome to another Boy, Aren't Random Letters Wonderful round of acromania.

I found out something nice today. Actually, I found out something nice and something not-so-nice, but since I'm trying to dwell upon the positive, I'll tell you about the nice. My new neighbors have, it seems - a doggie!

I came home for lunch today and heard a distinct yap-yap-yap next door, so I went out to investigate and saw the little fella, all white and tan and looking at me like he'd rather I go back inside. So I did. But we'll be friends, I'm sure. And then I got to thinking about how these new neighbors must be good people, not like the drug-dealing, door-slamming, no-furniture-having people who were there before them. Because dogs just do that, don't they?

And so this week's acrotopic is, "What is it about dogs, anyway?"

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 is a dog person. He once hung round a St Bernard's neck. Then at 10pm est tomorrow night, I shall be reading over the entries and judging the winners, who will get - no, I wouldn't foist a dog off onto an unsuspecting soul.... The winners and losers will get the same thing. Nothin'. You don't get nothin'.

So, this week's topic is, "What is it about dogs, anyway?" And the letters:


Now, go acro! Good boy.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* So Scarlett Johansson has taken over Angelina Jolie's spot as the newest Sexiest Woman Alive. Lips! What is it with lips? All these World's Sexiest Women are nothing but facefulls of lips! Well, and Angelina had that added attraction of looking like she might kill you in a knife fight and drink your blood. How did she lose her spot with that going for her?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Picture Sunday

Well, hello you Sunday nighters. And welcome to another here-we-go-again round of Picture Sunday.

First of all, a warning - there are more pictures of me in this edition of Picture Sunday than you will ever want to see in this lifetime or any other. So either "x" out now or be prepared.

Good weekend, people. Good weekend.

Mr M and I made a trip up to the wilds of Morgantown, WV to see a concert by the one and only, yes, you knew it was coming, Hackensaw Boys. They were playing a club up there, and this was my make-up birthday present, the make-up coming from the Thomas, WV experience I endured alone when Mr M had to bow out.

A different happening from the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, to be sure. Right off the bat, let's get to the bad. Two bad things - the sound was horrible, not The Boys' fault and no mistake, but microphones kept going out and not working, oddly enough microphones directly related to whomever was singing lead at any given time. Frustrating for them, frustrating for me. And - banjo player extraordinaire The Kooky-Eyed Fox kept breaking bridges on his banjo. It happened no fewer than four times, and each time it happened it sounded exactly like a gunshot going off, something that, there in West Virginia, could have been a distinct possibility.

The other bad thing was that the show became what I'd feared from the beginning, Morgantown being the home of West Virginia University, that there'd be a lot of drunken frat boys involved. It didn't happen till about 2/3 of the way through, so I guess I should consider myself lucky, but just loud, obnoxious people ended up around me. But I tried not to care. I bopped up and down there at my great vantage point, a step, which put me with a great view.

And now, this brings me to the good parts. First of all, and I cannot stress this enough, people, you all need to try it for yourselves, it is great attending a concert in the company of an asshole, as is our very own Mr M.

You see, we got there early, I think the correct term would be way early, as we were the first two people there, went and had some dinner, came back, and were still the first two people there, but when the first band started playing, more and more people came around and filled the floor. In front of me. I'm short, you know, and I started getting a terrible case of the hinkies and decided that by the time the Hackensaws arrived onstage I'd be hopelessly without a view.

"Leave it to me," Mr M promised, and he was true to his word. For as the opening band were doing their last number, Mr M said, "Time to move," and he calmly led us right to the front, and found my step, the steps leading to the bar area, where I could not only see, but bounce up and down to the music and lean against a wall if I got tired. Sitting on the stage was really the only thing that could have been better.

And then of course, good doesn't begin to describe the show. Those Hackensaw Boys just play music like nobody's business. And last night was no exception. All the favorites again, and some new ones I hadn't heard them do before. Those little charmers of bluegrass.

And now, let's get back to The Advantages Of Knowing An Asshole. You know, I kind of had this thing, this pipe dream of sorts, since I'd gotten Sherman's picture made with three Hackensaws in Thomas a month ago, that I could get his picture made with the other three and have a complete set. Yes, it's a sad life I lead, but I'm a pod and we all know that. Plus the fact that Sherman came along with us last night carrying his fiddle, which he's decided will broaden his musical scope to bluegrass.

Well, I'm shy, and starstruck, and I have the hardest time going up to people and talking. I only ended up talking to Salvage and Mahlon Hackensaw in Thomas because, well, because they were basically in my face at the time, taking some of the pressure out of it for me.

I'd mentioned this fact to Mr M earlier, not the fact of having Hackensaw Boys in my face, but the fact of wouldn't it be cool to complete my Sherman series, and although he thinks I'm rather lacking in the Sanity Department for being afraid to introduce myself to people, he took it upon himself to get this done for me.

It was amazing. The man was like my personal agent! He was saying, "Now, who do you want to talk to?" Then he'd go find them, shake their hand, introduce himself, introduce me, and ask for a picture. The man's fearless! And of course, all those Boys being so nice and kind, they were happy to oblige.

First we talked to guitarist/vocalist Spits. Cousin Spits, he was once referred to on the stage.

Now there's a sweaty man. Hey, they work hard, those Hackensaws. And you gotta love the "Fame" t-shirt. I didn't want to stare, so I didn't learn if that's the movie cast or the TV show cast on the shirt. Spits was nice.

"OK, who's next?" Mr M said, now on a mission. Well, I needed Four Hackensaw, also known as Ferd Hackensaw, fiddler, very important indeed to Sherman, with his fiddle and all. And so Mr M grabbed Ferd.

Ferd is a very personable guy, btw. Mr M mentioned to him that we'd all actually done a concert together, the famed Rocktoberfest in Winchester, and so Mr M and Ferd went on to have a whole conversation about this, while I stood around watching and wishing I remembered how to talk, and the idea between the two of those men actually transpired that the two of us (Hackensaw Boys & Sauerkraut Band) should play together sometime! I came out of shock long enough to ask Ferd a couple of questions, one about a song they seem to be playing that I have no access to (not recorded), and he told me the story behind the song, which is called "Look Out Dog," and was written from an idea about a wedding they played for a friend who had two dogs, in the wedding, and apparently they loved the dogs as much as they loved each other.

All right. I was down to one Hackensaw Boy. That would be Baby J Hackensaw, the cutest and, for me, somehow most intimidating member of the band. Off Mr M led me to the bar, where he said, "Point him out," and I did, and up he went, introducing and talking and asking for a picture. And Baby J was very sweet and said, "Sure," and even was kind and patient while my camera did some stalling for a moment or two.

Look at that. There's a happy girl. And a happy little red-headed boy. Lots of red in that picture, a blouse (in actuality it's more orange), a red t-shirt, and red hair.

And so that was my foray to the wilds of West Virginia to see the Hackensaws. It's probably going to be a while before I get to see them again, so this will have to hold me.

Anyway, Mr M was a dear, and this so made up for being ditched the first time. Four stars for Mr M.

And now, the recipe du jour.

I've got to say, folks, I'm quite proud of tonight's recipe du jour. I'm proud of it because it was created from the carnage of a failed recipe. (I'm still going to try that recipe; I'll re-engineer it.) Anyway, this comes from the "Party Foods" section of Recipeland, and it is.... Eggbots!

Yes, there they are, coming down from Planet Egg to invade the condiment plate at your party, the little Eggbots. See, they are gathered around the big pickled cauliflower. They think he's their leader. Easy to make, just take your egg yolks, give them some peppercorn eyes, and add antennae. Please remove the antennae before eating, along with the peppercorns unless you want to sneeze.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Let me just say to you all that today, this very day, March 26th, happens to be the birthday of no less a person himself than Mr Alan F Arkin, my personal idol. Happy birthday, Mr F Arkin.
* According to those in the know, a person can now go to iTunes and subscribe to Huckle-bug, the Stennie/Bet podcast.

Friday, March 24, 2006

And The Trumpet Goes: Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-TAAAAH!

Well, hello, dear readers. And the trumpet is blaring (as trumpets do) because it's heralding an announcement.

As you know, I have a blog. And as you also know, my dear friend Stennie also has a blog. And you know what? Now we have a blog together!

Now, wait, don't pee your pants yet. Because it gets better, so be near the bathroom. Stennie and I have an audio blog!

We will soon be part of this whole podcasting revolution. (I'm still deciding who to sue over the term "podcasting," btw.) Within the week or so, you can listen to us at And you can subscribe to our podcast there. However, if you just can't wait, as I know you can't, you can go right this second to, and manually download our very first three-part (we promise to be shorter in the future, really) broadcast.

Happy listening.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Go listen to us.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mr Relaxation

My folks are back in town for a little while. Seems that Friday my dad had to have a cataract removed from his eye. He chose to do this under the steady hand of his eye doctor "up here" (as opposed to the other eye doctor he has "down there," in Florida), Dr Blaydes. This would be Dr S Blaydes.

Now, I think I mentioned this more than a while back, I live in a four-person family that are divided along two distinct camps where illness is concerned. The first camp contains my mother and sister. They are wonderful people, but they both wear illness like a jeweled crown. They love it. They love talking about it, and being the center of attention when they have it. Every cough is too loud, every sniff is exaggerated, and they can work whatever is wrong with them at a given time - and believe me, anything is wrong with them at any given time - into any conversation you start. "I'm going to go grab some lunch." "Well, I can't grab lunch, because I'd just throw it up." "Hey - did you see the news story about the war in Iraq? Twenty soldiers killed." "Well, at least they're out of their misery, and here I am still with this horrible headache." I'm not kidding. You start a conversation, they can work how bad they feel into it.

And no matter what may be wrong with you? Don't mention it. Because theirs is worse. "Look at this - I seem to have blood squirting out my eyeholes at regular intervals." "Well, at least you don't have this stomach virus, I can't move for the cramps!" My mom's intro into one of these is always, "You think that's something?" Then she'll go on to tell you what's wrong with her that's worse. It does no good to try to bring this quality to her attention. Once I was limping around on a foot so sore it could bear no weight, and when she noticed I was standing still upon one foot, she asked me about it and I told her I was in so much pain I couldn't walk. "You think that's something?" she started out. I said, "Well... yes! I do!" and lurched away like Quasimodo, leaving her only slightly stunned, but not understanding well enough to stop her doing it.

Now, the second camp contains my father and I. We don't talk about illness. We don't want people hovering around us. We're like dogs. When we're sick, leave us alone, or we may bite. Of course, maybe we don't talk about illness because we know it'll do no good, but it's still how we are. I've got the current gastrointestinal thing going on, which has moved, in my mind, from "a bug" to "stress" to its current "colon cancer" (it is National Colon Cancer Awareness month, you know - I have till the 31st to be diagnosed), and yet it was only this week when I decided to mention it out loud to someone other than you folks. This is because my mother kept goading me to tell her what was wrong, for she was convinced I was either sick, depressed, or "mad at her," and I made the mistake of blurting out that every morsel of food and liquid for approximately 3 weeks had run through me like it was doing the Jesse Owens 100 meters, to which she 1) told me about her sinus problems, and 2) has now asked me every time she sees or speaks to me how my bowels are doing. I tell her fine and leave it at that. Frankly, I'm just not strong enough to keep the conversation going.

And so, the cataract. My dad - who is not Mr Relaxation, btw, that comes later - had apparently had this baby invading his eye and growing there for quite some time, and never bothered to tell anyone about it. My dad's eyes are barely functional anyway, with his macular degeneration, and although he noticed that his right eye had gone from, say, 20% vision to approximately 0% vision, he was enduring it, coming to the realization that this was his time to go totally blind, and, like my colon cancer, he was staying quiet about it and worrying. Until finally the worry got to him, like hopefully it'll get to me before the 31st, and he hithered himself to his "down there" (Florida) eye doctor. Where the cataract was found.

And he chose to come "up here" to have it removed by Dr Blaydes. My dad likes Dr Blaydes a lot, trusts him in a way that I've only trusted my sadly-retired Dr Davies, the man who pulled on my toe as I was being put under anesthesia, then lovingly held my intestines in his capable hands and changed my life. And Dr Davies smelled wonderful. I can only hope my dad thinks Dr Blaydes smells as good.

As I said earlier, this would be Dr S Blaydes, who is the son of Dr E Blaydes, who was a legend in B'field when I was growing up. I've only found out in adulthood that Dr E Blaydes was also a legend many other places, namely the World of Opthamology In General, and was nationally known for his talents and trailblazing techniques.

I never went to Dr E Blaydes. This is because only old people, with real eye problems, and rich kids went to him. We didn't go anywhere rich kids went, we went to Dr S in a neighboring town, who was a friend of my dad's and gave five-minute examinations that went something like, "Better here, better there? Do you like number one or do you like number two?" Then he wrote you a prescription and you got to go to the small room and pick out your glasses from the approximately three styles of frames he had. Two weeks later you got your glasses, and it was such an adventure, falling off curbs and missing when you grabbed for the door handle of the car, because your glasses were too strong. But you got used to it in about a week. If you were wearing your glasses all the time, like you were supposed to.

The running joke about going to Dr Blaydes was the waiting. He had loads and loads of patients, hundreds by the day, and apparently they all had the same appointment time. Patients would get there in the morning, start waiting, and eventually start up conversations with other waiting patients. "What time is your appointment?" "10:30." "Mine too!" "And yours?" "10:30." "10.30." "10:30." "10:30." And on and on. You could get there at 9:00 and be there till six. But you were seen by Dr Blaydes. And it was worth it, provided you took your lunch along and didn't get hungry.

But there was another reason that Dr Blaydes was a legend in B'field. And it was monumental. Dr Blaydes once did eye surgery on no less a person himself than Perry Como. Yes, Perry Como, Mr Relaxation.

When I was a little girl, ours was a pro-Como household. I don't know that we had any of his records, maybe Mom had one in there with her Percy Sledge and Ray Charles, but we all liked Perry. I can remember my sister and I, in our pajamas, sitting in the floor watching him on TV. The way he sat on the stool, one knee up, the other leg stretched in a standing position, leaning on his bent knee and singing softly into the microphone.

Perry was nice, you could just tell. Perry was the celebrity you could invite to dinner. Sure, Dean Martin might tell funny stories, but he'd get drunk and something would get broken. And Sinatra, forget it. He'd punch out your grandma. And Andy Williams just never seemed sincere. He wouldn't let any of the guests on his TV show sing by themselves, he always had to sing with them. Perry would entertain the adults, be nice to the kids, and, hell, maybe even help you wash up the dishes afterwards.

I was only 10 or 11 when the whole Perry Como Getting His Eye Surgery thing happened, so I'm a little sketchy on the details. In fact, I don't even know how many of the details were divulged when the story appeared in the paper. I don't know if Dr Blaydes went out to California to operate on Perry or if Perry winged into town here. If he did, he did it on the sly; no one saw him. So either it happened somewhere else, or nothing was reported until Mr Relaxation got back home after the surgery.

It didn't matter, though. It was a Big Deal. I mean, my little town is small even now, but back then it was miniscule. The thought that we had a connection with a real-live celebrity, especially one as big and wonderful as Perry Como, caused a real buzz.

I'm sure that made even more people flock to Dr Blaydes for their eye care. Not us, though. We had to stay with Dr S, and spent our years from elementary to high school falling off curbs and missing door handles.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners! We have acrowinners! So, what suggestions did you have for me to improve my embouchure?
- Honorable Mention goes to Michelle with her, "Napalm alloy, liberally massaged, offers friction." Maybe napalm is my only answer, Mitchie.
- Runner-up goes to LilyG with her, "Nice and long, moist, orgasmic fellatio." Oh, Lily. I still can't believe it. It was incredibly funny, but I just can't believe it.
- And this week's winner goes to - well, it's a tie. You know how I hate to declare ties, but this week there were two that made me actually haw-haw-haw right out loud. So kudos to our co-winners, Flipsycab's "Naked and liquored, munch on Fritos," and Kellie's " Need agility? Lebanese Mouth Origami. Fabulous!" Now, like I said, both just keeled me over. I think I'd be pretty good at Flipsy's, not so sure about Kellie's, but it conjures up a great picture. (I also liked Flipsy's suggestion about masticating flutes.)
- Thanks to all who play - you make my week!

Monday, March 20, 2006


Hello to all, and welcome to another round of that brainteasing bundle of beguilishness known as acromania.

I have an embouchure. I mention this, well, I mention it for two reasons. One is because I always seem to be talking about it and how it bedevils me when I try to play the clarinet. The other is that the dishy Michelle left a comment the other day asking, "What is an embouchure?"

I answered that it's how one's mouth grips the clarinet, and mine is normally weak and wrong. That's kind of a gloss-over answer, though. Let's go to the dictionary. "The position and use of the lips, tongue, and teeth in playing a wind instrument." Well, maybe I didn't gloss it over as badly as I thought I did.

Anyway, Mr M says, "Practice, practice, practice. Play long tones." Then again, that's his answer to everything. If I told Mr M my left big toe was hanging by a single thread of skin, his advice to me would be, "Practice, practice, practice. Play long tones." And frankly, that's the hard way out.

So I'm looking for the easy way out. This week's acroptic is, "How Can I Improve My Embouchure?" You can give me any suggestions you like. "More kissing," I'd like that one, "Ben-Gay on the lower lip," "Forget it and give up your horn." Whatever you like, provided, of course, it matches the letters.

All 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 is a percussion player, he wouldn't know an embouchure if it slapped him in the face. Then at 10pm est tomorrow night, I shall be looking over the entries and naming the winners, who will get a brand-new tube of Chapstick, and the non-winners, who will get to listen to me play the clarinet for at least an hour, depending on the badness - or lack, remember this! - of their acronyms.

So, the topic is, "How Can I Improve My Embouchure?" The letters:


Now, stop pursing your lips and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* More cleaning. Two loads of laundry, vacuuming, air spraying, then some exercise, and tonight it's, "Practice, practice, practice." Maybe no long tones, though. I hate long tones.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Picture Sunday

Hello, greetings, and welcome to a pretty tired edition of Picture Sunday. Well, the edition itself isn't tired, I hope not, anyway, though that's for you to decide.

Spring cleaning may or may not have begun in Betland. I spent today, after a stint in the kitchen being the new Recipe Card Lady, tackling the spare bedroom, aka The Beast. Actually, re-tackling it. If you'll recall, I tackled it for the first time last year, and got it in fine shape, where it stayed. Until Christmas, when it again became the spot for everything I didn't have a place for to be thrown. So I went at it again, and got things back in order.

Then came a massive clothes-chucking binge. Those are currently sitting in bags, waiting to be taken to the mission.

Then I got tired, and hungry, and said, "Screw it, I'm eating and doing Picture Sunday." And one salad later, here I am.

What else did I do this weekend? Not friggin' much. I found myself at loose ends for awhile last night while Mr M trotted off and did his musical things, and so I headed to Target. Which makes tonight's Picture Sunday the Crass Consumerism Edition.

First of all, I bought myself something I've needed for a long time. How long? Well, let's just say the ones I had I'd probably had since high school, and every time I see them in their naked state I get queasy.

What are they? Pillows!

Look at those babies! They're so fat! My old ones were so thin they only had one side. I tell you, there will be some good sleeping at the Poderosa tonight.

Next I had to go look for light bulbs. This made me giggle. I'm sure we all remember Stennie, don't we? And I'm also sure that we all remember her most classic of blogs, Without Lamps There'd Be No Light. If you haven't read it, go and do so. I'm not kidding; it's imperative that you read that blog!

Anyway, for my birthday I received a gift from my sister, the gift of a lamp. Now, I didn't need a lamp, and when I opened this present I must admit I had my doubts. For this lamp was certainly not something I would have bought for myself. "I thought it would look cool in your living room," said my sister, maybe reading the puzzled look on my face.

This lamp mostly reminds me of something Greg Brady would have had in his bedroom when he got to convert his dad's den into his own groovy bachelor pad. It also reminds me of, is it Vishnu? The dude with the arms? Anyway, this week I decided to get it out and put it together, and I must admit the little fella has grown on me. He has a certain charm. Not for my living room, but I thought he might kind of funky up my dennette.

I put the lamp together, had it standing there, and then found the instructions. Which I decided to read for some reason. Seems that I had put all the parts together in the wrong sequence, according to the lamp people anyway, but I didn't care because everything was where it was supposed to be. However, just like poor Stennie, I didn't seem to have the kind of bulbs the lamp people were telling me I needed for Mr Funky, the lamp. Stennie needed Type A Bulbs (bulbs with high blood pressure). I needed Type G Bulbs. I had never in my entire life heard of Type G Bulbs.

Funny thing about light bulbs. They don't have their letter types on the packaging. And so I went studiously through the 1000 bulbs Target had to offer, and it paid off, because my bulbs worked just fine. (It was the "candelabra base" that helped me pick the right ones.)

So there's Mr Funky. Oddly enough, Stennie's lamp instructions told her to clean her lamb with a mild non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth. Well, mine takes no cleaner at all! Just a soft cloth! Mr Funky's low-maintenance!

And now it's time for the recipe du jour.

You know, when I go to Community Band on Wednesday night, the boys stay home and have fish sticks. They're Sherman's favorite. Sometimes, though, Sherman gets a special treat. And tonight's recipe comes from the "Sherman's Favorites" file, and is indeed that treat. Say "Ahoy" to the Sea Dog.

Ahhh, the old Sea Dog. This is your favorite fish stick, nestled in a hot dog bun, and topped with tartar sauce and "algae" (spinach). To be honest, this is not an idea original to Sherman. There used to be a drive-in here years and years ago that actually served the Sea Dog, just like you see above you. Our card version is served up with Tater Tots (how could it not be?), and a nice glass of pink lemonade, made so much more fun by a bendy straw.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Isn't the point of a good musical to have a lot of good musical numbers in it? I thought it was, anyway....
* One of the things I did when cleaning out the spare bedroom was - I kid you not - go through my Christmas stocking and get everything out of it. I'm a little behind. Still, it was kind of like having Christmas all over again.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

It's 6:05 - Do You Know Where Your Pod Is?

Hello. I'm Bet, and I'm a pod.

I just thought I'd say that. I haven't in a while.

As all of you know, I am a member in good standing of the B'burg Community Band. Our motto is, "We don't play that well, but we're nice." Or maybe, "We don't play that well, but we're loud. And nice." We are not to be confused with the Sauerkraut Band, of which I'm also a member in good standing, and whose motto is, "We have more fun than our audiences. Because we're often drunker." Which kind of takes the phrase "good standing" out of the equation, because at the end of the night, very few of us are standing well at all.

Anyway, Community Band practices every Wednesday night, right there in B'burg, and I say with all modesty that I have one of the better attendance records amongst the bandsters. And therefore, just about every Wednesday I come home from work, tear around the Poderosa trying to get all my stuff together, and almost immediately hit the road to practice.

Sometimes this is an easy process, because I've been smart enough to have everything - horn, music folder, and accessories - packed neatly away and sitting at the door. But other times it's not so easy. "Oh, shit! My horn's still together! And where's my geeky neckstrap? And my music, geeeeeezus! 'Die Fledermaus' is still in my scanner, and here are these two pieces on the stand, and - hey - what's 'On The Mall' doing laying on the washing machine?"

"Cork grease! Cork grease! And where the hell is my reed case??"

Then, after everything's been packed together and thrown (and I mean that literally, I tend to chuck it right onto the passenger's side when I'm getting in the car) inside, I'll hit the road, generally remembering at the last minute that I need gas, or to go by the bank, or that I haven't eaten all day and I really should get something to feed myself with during the 75-minute trip. That's if I didn't take the time to make myself a nice dose of Orange Crapius before I left the house.

But eventually I'll get going, onto the Betty Bet Bet Inspirational Highway, which leads to a stretch of I-77 North, then back onto the BBBIH. It's quicker that way.

And that's what brings me to the subject of tonight's blog. The driving part.

For there is always, and when I say "always" I mean every single week, without fail, there is always a point where I check myself against time to see if I'm liable to be late, early, or, in those rarest of occasions, on time.

And that checkpoint is, for me, 6:05.

Don't ask me why this is; I do not know. All I know is that a few years ago, as little as 2 or as many as 3, I happened to be driving along to Community Band in podmobile1 and happened to look at the clock. It was 6:05. I remember exactly where I was. I was starting up the beginning of the long incline on I-77. It was sunny and warm.

It wasn't a big thing. I mean, I didn't look at the clock, see a huge lightning bolt, and have the pointing finger of God come down and say, "It Is 6:05 And You Are Here At This Moment In Time." (God always capitalizes, btw.) I just glanced at the clock, saw what time it was, and noticed where I was.

And then for some reason, every single week hence I did the same thing. Watched the clock till 6:05, looked at my surroundings, and knew where I stood in relation to time and getting to practice.

Sometimes, it's good. Being where I was that first night, going up the incline that leads to my exit off I-77, is pretty good. That's not a late night. Sometimes, though, I'll be rounding the steep curve on the BBBIH, or even be past the 45 mph speed trap in G'Lyn when it's 6:05. When that happens, I know I'm set. I could stop for gas in B'burg, or to get a bottle of water for practice, or even just get to the parking lot early enough to read or listen to music.

If it's 6:05 and I'm not on I-77 yet, I'm gonna be late. I don't like that feeling.

I guess the reason I'm telling you this is, well, I'm not sure why, except that I got to thinking a little too much about it last night when I looked at my clock until it was 6:05, and then noticed where I was. (I was about to hit the exit off I-77; I know you were dying to know.)

This is the only area in my life where I do this, that I can think of, anyway. I don't do it any other times I go to B'burg. When I'm going to Mr M's on the weekend, I don't wait for 2:47 to see where I am. I don't look at the clock while folding clothes and say, "It's 7:12 - good time I'm making." In fact, other than the 6:05 thing, time doesn't really mean that much to me.

The only thing that comes even close is the 3:30 Workday Situation, where I know that if I can make it until 3:30pm, I probably won't die before the end of work. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

And that's it, really. No fancy ending, no big conclusions, no anything. Yall can just think about me next Wednesday at 6:05 and wonder where I am in my journey to Band Practice.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Hey, Vin Diesel's in a movie where he wears a wig.
* And speaking of Band, last night's practice saw me play our two hardest pieces, back to back, without losing my embouchure at all through either of them. Played them both all the way to the end. No one seemed to be as excited as I was, but boy, was I happy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Transition, or I'm Not Anything

I had an interesting occurrence at the old offices of TheCompanyIWorkFor yesterday.

Now, of course, TheCompanyIWorkFor is a Very Big Company Indeed, and as a VBCI, they tend to like to appear to be on the cutting edge of all things Big Company-like. And apparently one of the biggest things nowadays in the world of the Very Big Company Indeed "We Care About Our Workers As They Slave Away For Us And How Can We Get Them Slaving More Efficiently" is the Cheese Test.

Okay. It's not really called the Cheese Test. It's called something else which I'm afraid to use the actual name of, but it shares a name with a kind of cheese, so we'll call it the Cheese Test and leave it at that. I don't want the Cheese Test people coming after me with knives and lead pipes, because frankly, they've upset me enough already.

The boss was so excited to have her workers taking the Cheese Test. She was so excited she paid an, I'm sure, extortionate amount of money to have us do so. She just couldn't wait to see our results and find out "what we are."

See, that's what the Cheese Test does. It tells you what you are. There are several different groups of workers, you have your thinkers, dreamers, builders, explainers, researchers, innovators, and on and on, only they're not called those particular things, they have interesting and fun names, and each name has a different color attached to it, so to where when the graphs print out at the end of your test in the results, it looks amazingly like the order form you order Girl Scout cookies off of. Therefore, your thinker is the parallel to a Thin Mint, a dreamer is a Trefoil, a researcher is a Tag-along, and a builder is one of those awful lemon cookies no one ever buys.

Oddly enough, the Cheese Test does not have a group (of any color) called the loafer, the time-waster, or the person who hates his job. And that may be exactly where my problem lied. Laid? Whatever the past tense of lie is. Lay, I guess.

The Cheese Test, which, to be honest, I had not much interest nor faith in, was a very neat and tidy little thing wherein one was asked a series of questions about various job situations, with the taker keeping in mind a general theme of, "If I were free to be myself." Yes, I know this sounds very early 70s Marlo Thomas, but I swear that's how it went. For each situation one had a series of choices, and had to choose his/her very own "most likely" and "least likely" answers.

That was it. A page of questions, if I were free, fiddle dee dee, what would I do, what wouldn't I do, then bang-zoom, what Girl Scout cookie am I?

A-haaaaaa. You knew it wasn't going to be that easy, didn't you?

At the end of my test, I pushed the "results" button and saw something quite interesting. I wasn't much of a Tag-Along, I was OK as a Trefoil, and I was kind of tied in the Thin Mint - Awful Lemon Cookie department. But - and it was apparently a large but indeed - I was also two big squares of whatever the purple Girl Scout cookie is, not on the graph, but down at the bottom in a separate area.

This is because, Ms Cheese told me, I was "in transition."

Now, right off the bat, I kind of liked what the Cheese Test said. It said, in big bold letters, "You have terrific talent!" I'm trying to believe that the Cheese people actually meant that, but they also told me that because I seem to be "in transition," that I may not be letting my true talents shine through.

And this is where things start to get weird.

I am, according to all things Cheese, in a 10% minority of workers who are attempting to work in ways that are unnatural to them. Also, according to the Cheesists, I am under a great deal of stress. No, you don't understand. A great deal of stress.

Because the next five pages of my results were all about what incredible stress I seem to be under.

Now, I know this is true. You know it's true, too, because I seem to be mentioning it in my blog, over and over, until you're all sick of hearing about it. But how did the Cheese people know this? How did they know this, just from my answering a series of dumb, "What would I do" questions? I mean, none of my choices for any situation was "kill myself," "kill my boss," "kill a TheCompanyIWorkFor weasel," or "go to the post office with a machine gun." And furthermore, never once was mentioned making six-hour trips up 8 mountains and having to pee the entire time. And yet, they knew!

They told me, those Cheese folks, that my stress could be work-related or life-related, but that I was one stressed-out individual indeed, and I needed to do something about it, pronto. In fact, they said that I shouldn't even look at the Girl Scout cookie graph, because those results meant nothing when a person like me, who was on the verge of a straightjacketed visit to the rubber room, was taking the "free to be myself" test. Because apparently I was not free to be myself at this time.

The Cheeses did tell me, however, not to worry, that my true self was somewhere inside me screaming to get out, and that I needed to find a "self discovery process" (I'm reading "therapy") to provide myself "the freedom to accomplish tasks through your own methods." (I'm reading "loafing all day.") Then the test ended with - and yes, this is true, I would not lie to you, dear readers - a "worksheet" with some probing questions that are supposed to help me figure out just why I'm under so damn much stress and what the hell I'm going to do about it.

Then - it was time to take Part 2 of the Cheese Test! Because yes, there are two parts of this little fondue of information.

Part 2 of the test was the same as Part 1, another series of "most likely" and "least likely" answers, only this time the general theme the taker was to keep in mind was, "My job consists of." No "free to be," this was all about "have to be." This part was where I was supposed to learn what jobs I'd be most successful with, and where TheCompanyIWorkFor should have me toiling away the most, I guess.

When the results came up after all those choices were made, I seemed to be a Tag-along or a Trefoil, I was tied again, but also again, nothing was very plain.

And this is because instead of two purple blocks at the bottom of my Cookie graph, I had a red number with an underline. Sounds innocent enough, right? Well, think again, my friends. For a red number with an underline means I'm "in contradiction."

I've often thought of myself as a walking contradiction. Thanks, Cheese people. You've confirmed it for me.

The very first paragraph of my results was telling me I was all contradicted because I'm trying to be all things to all people. And I'm just - get ready for it - creating all manners of stress for myself. (By the way, and maybe I've been at TheCompanyIWorkFor too long, I thought that having a job was all about trying to be all things to all people. Then again, maybe that's why I'm a helping of spinach shy of a healthy lunch, emotionally speaking.)

And in fact, all those jobs I was to be ideally suited for? Well, they didn't exist, not in this edition of the test, anyway, because I'm evidently so damn screwed up they don't know where in the hell to put my ass. Or any other part of me.

However, the Cheeses did stress that when I grow up and get my act together (they gave me three months) that I should come and visit their site again and see if I'm worthy to work at TheCompanyIWorkFor, or anywhere else, for that matter.

And that was yesterday. I laughed, even though it wasn't a hearty belly laugh, it was more of a sickly chuckle. And I wondered more than once how my answering those very innocuous questions could produce such volatile results. And then I went home and scrubbed every non-carpeted floor in my house, which, while stressful, also got my mind off the whole Cheese issue.

Cut to this morning.

I was working along, minding my own, when the phone rang and a lady at the other end asked for the boss. I asked if I could tell the boss who was calling, as I do, and the lady at the other end of the phone identified herself as - I kid you not, dear readers - Ms Cheese. Ms Cheese herself, whose last name was the name of the test, was calling my boss. And so of course I earwigged in on the conversation.

It seems Ms Cheese, we'll call her Velveeta for the purposes of trying to make at least one person giggle, was calling my boss - well, I thought it was maybe to ask how I was doing and to see if I had in fact offed myself sometime during the night, but it was actually to tell her that the complimentary CD that test-takers get telling them about who they are and what they're good at after they've tested, well, I wouldn't be getting mine. Because apparently they don't know who I am and I'm not really much good at anything.

This is the first thing I heard my boss say, over the phone, right into Velveeta's ear. "I know! She's not anything!"


I'm sure I've heard this statement said in my general direction enough times throughout my life. It was still disconcerting. It was disconcerting, mainly because of the sheer number of times I heard "she's not anything" uttered in regards to my person. "I didn't know that could happen on a test - she's not anything!" "I thought she'd be a Thin Mint, but she's not anything!" Okay, Okay - I get it.

But here's the funny part. My boss went on to actually try and explain to Velveeta, this woman who barely knows my name and yet knows all about me, why I could possibly "not be anything." And all that stress I seem to be under. "Life-changing situations? Well, yes, in the past couple of years she's had major surgery and has undergone a complete changing process," blah-de-blah-de-blah blah blah. Thanks, boss. Velveeta maybe already knew that, from the way I answered Question 7, part 2, Cheese Test.

Well, it was funny to me. The boss never even bothered to mention, because it never entered her mind, that since around September my work situation has been hell on earth, and that I am convinced that my job will kill me and I will die right there, at my desk, phone in one hand, pencil in the other.

Bosses never seem to think about those things.

Anyway, I just wrote, in pencil, "I'm not anything" at the top of my printed test results and left them there in plain view on my desk for anyone walking past to see.

Like they didn't already know. I mean, hell, if Velveeta knew....

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. Small turnout this week, but a new player, so that rocks. Now, Tell me about that guy. You know, him.
- Honorable Mention goes to Kellie, with her "Wonderful! Handmade? I'm Absolutely Green." Oh, I'm sure you are, Kel.
- Runner-up goes to LilyG, with her "Whoa! He's all in green." Noooooo!
- And this week's winner is our newbie, Marla B, with her "When He Inhales Alcohol, Go!" I think that is very sound advice indeed.
- Thanks to all who played! Then again, what do I know? I'm not anything!

Monday, March 13, 2006


Well, well, well, my little acrociples. Or is that acrocicles? Never mind, welcome to another "what will she come up with next" round of acromania.

You know, St Patrick's Day is not far off. In fact, it's Friday. And I know how I'll be celebrating. Martinis! Green olives! Oh, saints be praised, top o' the mornin'.

However, not everyone's so lucky. As was pointed out to me over the weekend.

Now, this week's acrotopic is link-based. So here's the topic: Tell Me Anything You Want About This Guy Here. To see the guy, and thus get a good acro going, you have to follow the link on "Here."

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 (and in the link), but also matches the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket is not Irish, but someone once hungoveredly ate some Lucky Charms out of him for breakfast on March 18th. The milk went everywhere. Then tomorrow night at 10pm est I shall be reading over the entries and judging the winners, who will be invited to join me for martinis with green olives on Friday, and the losers, well, your date is the acrosubject.

So, this week's topic: Tell Me Anything You Want To About This Guy Here. The letters:


Now, get in there and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Nothing much to update. Cleaned the kitchen floor, laundry room floor, bathroom floor, did two loads of laundry, and I'm tired. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders. I type this week's Picture Sunday with a shaky hand. Please be kind, that's all I ask.

Well, fairly uneventful weekend here at Betland. Went to B'burg and got a couple of clarinet lessons from the esteemed Mr M. I had to keep saying, "Just tell me this like I was a fifth-grade student. Who's a smartass." See, I can't take a lesson from Mr M without mouthing off to any suggestion he gives me. I'm trying, though.

Didn't take my camera along with me, so I'm retreating to an old favorite for Picture Sunday. Because, you see, I realized that I had some requests I'd left unfulfilled.

Back in November, the last time I did a "Things On My Head" edition of PS, I encouraged anyone with a request for me to put something upon my head to write on in. And you did. And guess what. I never put those things on my head. Well, we're going to take care of that right now!

Our first request came to us from a little gal in California named Flipsycab. She wanted to see Orange Crapius on my head. Well, want no more, my Flipsy!

And now we have the first disclaimer of the night. All my pictures have disclaimers tonight, by the way. The first disclaimer is: If you look closely you will say to yourself, "Well, what a gyp. That's not Orange Crapius at all! It's Lemon Crapius! Charlatan!" However, when I drink Orange Crapius it is actually a half and half mixture of orange protein and lemon protein. That makes it a little more palatable. You will also notice that tonight I seem to be wearing a hat. Let me make it very clear that this does not help nor hinder my head-sitting-upon in any way. Let me also make it clear that if you saw my hair today you would indeed be very thankful I was wearing a hat.

Now, our next request came from the dishy Michelle, of Chicago. And what a greedy little thing Michelle was. Her request was to see two musical instruments on my head. No! One wasn't good enough for Michelle, she had to have two. Well, for you, dear....

Second disclaimer of the night: Yes, I am holding my clarinet onto my head. Hat or no hat, a clarinet is not easily balanced upon the head, and, well, my clarinet, man! It's my baby. I couldn't risk having it fall off, which it surely would have done. Actually, my clarinet is probably put to better use these days being sat upon my head than being played with my failing embouchure.

And for my next trick!

Yes, I'm holding it as well. This is because not only is it an incredibly clumsy instrument, but the damn thing weighs about 50 pounds. It speaks to my sheer will and strong neck muscles that this picture even got made. But there you go, Michelle. Two instruments, one head, one hat, and one hand.

And now, it's time for something new. A little experiment.

As you may know, as I told you, last week's recipe du jour was the last of my recipe cards. There are no more, folks, at least until I can find another series somewhere I don't already have. So, well, I'm left to my own devices. Which is a scary thing.

So I decided, "Hell, why not. I can make as ugly things as those recipe people." And so I did. And as I said, please be kind. My very first homemade recipe du jour card comes from the "Fun & Nutritious" section of Betland. It's Cookie Salad!

And an easy recipe it is. Just take your favorite green salad, mine has lettuce, carrots, and cauliflower, put some of your favorite cookies in it, fudge cookies for this particular recipe, strategically place some olives around, and dress it with a caramel topping vinaigrette (caramel topping, olive oil, and vinegar). And there you go! A salad all the kids can get behind.

And just for added nutrition, our salad tonight is being served with, no, I know it looks like flat lager, but it is indeed a nice glass of Orange Crapius. A non-carbonated drink that forms a head like that cannot be good for you, I'm convinced.

(By the way, I actually made this, including the dressing, and the clean-up wasn't exactly fun.)

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I may have figured out the mystery of my CD Excange CD. It's just now that it's a little bit "old news," so who cares. I think everyone got the main idea, anyway. And I'm still short 3 CDs! My post office hates me.
* PS - I meant to misspell "exchange." It was a pun. No, a palindrome!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Great CD Mix Exchange

Greetings, music lovers. Now you can leave. Let's get the other folks in here, they'd probably get along better with me on this topic.

As you may or may not know, I think I mentioned it in passing a couple of times here in the old blog, I participated in Stennie's Great CD Mix Exchange. Here were the rules. Participants were given a list of 25 descriptions of songs. It was our duty - yes, our sworn duty - to find 25 songs of our choosing to match up to these descriptions, put them onto a CD, and send them around to the other participants. Therefore, every participant would have a CD of everyone else's, and, well, let the fun begin.

Those are the simple rules. However, as happens sometimes when people are really enthusiastic about something and decide to fret and furrow and think too much, it turned out to be a long involved process, I think for all involved. What if all the songs wouldn't fit onto one CD? (A long tutorial of making mp3 CDs was given by Stenns.) Would we include track listings with our songs, or let them be a surprise? After all, the original rules said track listings were to be posted to blogs. (Easy on that one. Some did, some let the songs be a surprise.)

But, for me, and I now know for some other folks, the hardest part of the whole challenge was coming up with a final listing. "Yes, this song's perfect. Except this one might be more perfect. But this one's for #2, and it also matches #10, let's move it there. This one's great, but too long if I only want to use one CD and not go to the mp3 format. I really want to use this one, but I'm sure everyone will be using it, so I need to find something different. This song fits, but I hate it, I can't use a song I hate." And on and on. And on. And on.

We really did think about this whole escapade a great deal.

And of course, for me, there was the whole #18 conundrum. I honestly went through every CD I owned, walked along my shelves with my baby flashlight shining upon the spines of my discs, trying to find something - anything - to be my #18. I ended up with something dumb but heartfelt.

And #15 was no cakewalk, either.

Anyway, we ended up with 9 participants, which means we'd all be getting 8 CDs from around the country, filled with other people's musical ideas. So far I've recieved and listened to CDs from Mike, man of mystery and movies, and Stennie, and just today I received CDs from Flipsycab, River Selkie, and Kelly. Listening shall begin tonight on those. Oddly enough, I haven't gotten Michelle's yet, one can only hope she's planning on delivering hers in person.

Ah, the fun we have.

So here it is, posted today to my blog. My track listing for The Great CD Mix Exchange:

1. A favorite political track. "Draft Dodger Rag," by Phil Ochs. Makes me giggle, and should be required listening for every teenage boy. And girl, I suppose. Because before they know it, they're going to need its advice.
2. One of those tracks that will make you tap your feet no matter what. "Rattle My Bones," by the Suburbs. Ahhhh, those heady days in B'burg circa 1987. Most Saturday nights, South Main Cafe, Nervous Romance, the world's best cover band. They used to do this one.
3. The song you'd use to tell someone you love them. "Bus Named Desire," by Scruffy the Cat. Another mid-late 80s band. How can you disagree with a love song that starts out, "You're a top kid, you're a blue suit."
4. A song from a Broadway musical or a film soundtrack. "Galaxy Song," from Monty Python's Meaning of Life. I wasn't overly fond of the movie (it pains me to say that), but the song is brilliant.
5. A song that forced you to sit down and analyze its lyrics. "Step Right Up," by Tom Waits. After analyzing, I kind of came up with the conclusion that the guy's selling something. No, really, I took "analyze" in a different way than some. I took it to be, "What the hell are all the words to this?"
6. A song you like that a 5-year-old would like too. "All Around the Kitchen," by Dan Zanes. It makes me dance all around the kitchen, too. And if I can find a 5-year old to dance with me, I'm going to do the motions.
7. A song that makes you drive too fast. "Action Packed," by Ronnie Dee. "Gimme the downbeat, maestro!" This is one of the coolest songs ever recorded. Hear me? One of the coolest songs ever recorded.
8. A kick-ass cover song. "El Paso," by the Old 97s. The 97s rock out the old Marty Robbins ballad. I love the speed, and the harmonies at the end. And the "special guest appearance" by Bill from "King of the Hill" at the end certainly doesn't hurt. I can't help but think Marty would have smiled at this version.
9. A song that both you and your grandparents (would probably) like. "Virginia Way," by the V-Roys. I like this choice for a few reasons. It's got a distinct bluegrass feel, is about family, is about Virginia, and, well, I just know Mamaw Bowles would have loved this song.
10. A song you really liked when you were 14-16 that you don't hate now. "I Don't Wanna Love You," by the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver. I've tried hard to remember how I even discovered this song, I'm sure I heard it on some late-night radio station when I was supposed to be in bed on a school night. 1976, if I'm not mistaken, getting it in right under the age wire.
11. A break-up song. "Jilted John," by Jilted John. Many great break-up songs have been written and recorded throughout history, but there's just something about this one. Probably the cockney accent. And of course that refrain of, "Gordon is a moron."
12. The song that that would start the opening credits in the soundtrack to a movie about your life. "Wastin My Time," by the Eagles of Death Metal. I had a tough time deciding between two for this one, the other being a song called "Single Girl," with such wonderful lines as, "I'd rather be a single girl sailing on the sea than to be a married girl with a baby on my knee," and, "Single girl, single girl, she goes to the store and buys, but a married girl, married girl, she rocks the cradle and cries." Then I had to decide: in the end, will I be known more as a single girl or a colossal time-waster? The choice got easier.
13. An awesome live track. "Look Where That Sun Done Gone," by the Hackensaw Boys. I could have put the entire "Give it Back" CD on for #13, but this one is 1) awesome, and 2) a great indicator of the Boys live.
14. An a cappella song. "Uncorrected Personality Traits," by Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians. Psychology was never so fun. I also don't recall psychology ever having an "Oy!" thrown in.
15. A good song from a genre of music that no one could guess that you liked. "Big Mama's Door," by Alvin Youngblood Hart. Like I said, this one was no cakewalk, because I don't imagine anyone being surprised by any genre of music I might like. I almost put a hymn on, but it was bluegrass-based, so that wouldn't fool anyone, so I went with The Blues. Even though as The Blues go, this is a happy song. The man in this song is not depressed in the least.
16. A song you wish you could play, on the instrument of your choice. "Guisganderie." A quick little clarinet solo extravaganza. And just to further blow the minds of those who got to listen to the track, the solo in this particular recording was played by my very own best buddy, Mr M. See, I told you he was good. However, apparently Mr M disagrees, because he asked me to stress that this was recorded several years before his car accident, in which he was injured and "never played as well again." He says he couldn't play this as well now. I disagree.
17. A favorite artist duo collaboration. "O Death," by Ralph Stanley and Gillian Welch. What a happy little number this is. However, this version is about 14 times funkier than Ralph's solo a cappella version on the "O, Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack.
18. A favorite song that you completely disagree with (politically, morally, commonsenically, religiously etc.) "Bucknaked," by Scruffy the Cat. First of all, who would have ever thought I'd be using Scruffy twice on my CD? But this was the one. This was the one I fretted over the most, because anything I disagree with, I don't like! However, I feel I can say with complete conviction that dancing around naked is pretty much right out for me. At least Scruffy do suggest we turn out the lights....
19. A song you love that a friend introduced you to. "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," by Richard Thompson. Introduced to me by my friend Mike. Mike, I owe you for a lot, including my life, but this one probably tops the list. (In a stunning turn of events, Mike used this song as his "song a friend intoduced you to." Now that's sharing the love.)
20. A song you wouldn't play in front of your Mom. "Kiss You Down There," by the Hackensaw Boys. This song won out over "Fuck This Town," by Robbie Fulks, for one reason. I've said "fuck" in front of my mom, but anything remotely sexual is, well, I'll either turn down the stereo or cough a lot.
21. A song that you like but would play loud to annoy the neighbors. "Molly's Chambers," by the Kings of Leon. It's loud, fast, thumping, electric. What's not to annoy?
22. A favorite song that's in a foreign language. "Riu Chiu," by the Monkees. Come on, I know we all remember the Christmas episode. The guys sing this one at the end.
23. A favorite track from an outfit considered a "super-group." "Cindy Incidentally," by the Faces. A great track. A great band. I saw the Faces live when I was about 13. They did "Ooh La La," and "Memphis," but I can't remember if they did this one. I tell myself they did to keep happy. Rod Stewart was wearing gold lame pants.
24. A song that makes you want to drink more beer. "Muirshin Durkin," by the Pogues. Let's face it, there's not a Pogues song out there you can't drink beer to, but for some reason this one was calling to me. Probably because it's under 2 minutes and time was short. It's still a great song.
25. Your favorite song at this moment in time. "Alabama Shamrock," by the Hacksensaw Boys. No surprise there. Has been my favorite song since I bought the album, still haven't worked out the words (it could have been my analytical lyric song), but this song makes me incredibly happy.

So there you have it. 25 songs, one CD, a few days of my life, and a cloud of dust. If you didn't participate and you want a CD anyway, I'll make you one. Cause I'm that kind of gal.

And by the way, if you're a participant - Stennie swears I got my songs for numbers 5 and 6 reversed. I'm positive I didn't. Someone please back me up here, I'm getting paranoid.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* We at Betland have had some sort of bug running through us (at least we think we have, it's either a bug or stress) for about 8 days now, and so we're going to retreat to bed for a while. That's a Friday Chill of a completely different kind.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Holy Fucking Shit

I was going to try and come up with some sort of pun or witty bon mot as a title to tonight's blog, but this was much more appropriate. And those who were with me during the Oscar telecast can attest to this, as I uttered the phrase "holy fucking shit" upwards of 4 dozen times after the Best Picture Oscar was announced.

It was "Crash."

Pardon me, but once more, with feeling. Holy fucking shit.

I blogged about "Crash" after I saw it. May I refer you here (Sept. 13), back to my original thoughts on this train-wreck of a motion picture. "Crash" is a movie about racism. OK. Sure, a movie about racism can be made, and probably should be made. It's just that the movie that can and should be made is not "Crash."

Because, to be blunt about it, "Crash" is a shitty movie.

When I did my original "Crash" blog, I expounded upon two main themes, or tried to, in my own shoddy way. The first theme was the incredibe shitability of the script, which was implausible, holy (not in the the Jesus way, in the way that means "full of holes"), rambling, and self-important. (By the way, in a stunning kick in my teeth, the screenplay also won an Oscar.) The other theme was that it's one of those movies that tries very hard to teach us a lesson by making us all feel really bad about ourselves. By the time the movie wraps up, after preaching to us all with a wagging finger for over an hour and a half, I guess we're all supposed to sigh deeply, take a dark, truthful look in the mirror, and say, "Boy, have I been living wrong. I gotta change myself, and pronto."

Only I didn't do that. And I won't. And "Crash" can't make me do it. Understand, "Crash?" You can't make me do it!

I'm now about six months past my viewing of "Crash," and I'd, thankfully, kind of wiped it from my mind. It took a while, but I did it, on my own, without therapy, drugs, or screaming into a pillow. Then all the Oscar buzz started, and it came roaring back into my consciousness. It was uninvited and unwanted. But it came just the same, like the Jehovah's Witness who won't stop knocking at your door.

"Surely it won't be nominated," I kept telling myself. Then I kept telling myself, "Surely it won't win. I mean, gay cowboys. Hollywood loves gay cowboys." But apparently I was wrong, and Hollywood doesn't love gay cowboys as much as I thought, or as much as they should have. (I say this without having seen the gay cowboy movie, but let's get real here, it doesn't really matter. The winner should have been gay cowboys. Or TV newsmen, fey writers, or Olympic terrorist hunters. Anything.)

But anyway, back to the paragraph before last. It came crashing back to me, no pun intended, and so I started thinking all over again about how much I hated this film. And the more I thought, the more I realized something. That was the fact that, besides it being a completely shitty film and all, I was sick of being preached at. I was preached at by the people who made the film, and since then I've been preached at by the people who see it as some beacon of truth, required viewing for every American. For it's getting to be that if one doesn't like "Crash," well, one is just as bad as the people in the film. And the people in the film were pretty bad indeed.

Now, I'm perfectly willing to admit that I am not without prejudice somewhere or other in my life. I'm big enough to do that. But am I the person who crosses the street when I see someone of a different race approaching me? No. Am I the person who thinks someone of an ethnic persuasion is going to break into my house? No. Do I evade any Middle Easterners, thinking they're obviously terrorists trying to blow my ass up? No.

And more importantly, if I'm being given the runaround on the phone by someone named Shaniqua, do I say, "Shaniqua - big fuckin' surprise," like Matt Dillon's character did? Oddly enough, the answer to that is no. Poor misguided fool that I am, I'd have the audacity to say, "Dammit, you're giving me the runaround on the phone!" (Actually, I was even lying about that. I, poor misguided fool that I am, would actually have the audacity to say, "Thank you," hang up the phone, and dial again, trying to get someone more helpful. But I'm like that.)

And in the final analysis, those pro-Crashers who accuse us con-Crashers of being like the people in the film - doesn't that make them as bad, too? They're Crashists!

Frankly, thinking about this makes my brain hurt.

Last week I read something by a guy named Erik Lundegaard. He wrote an article on talking about the crappiness of "Crash," and yesterday he did a very good follow-up article after it won the Oscar. I shall refer you to it here, because he talks about the movie more intelligently and eloquently than I ever could. And because of this fact, I encourage you all to go there and read something smart about the film.

But besides being smart and all, Mr Lundegaard makes a point that was something of a revelation to me. For I knew I hated "Crash," but I'd missed the most glaring of facts as to why. He pointed it out to me, clear as day. Because the problem with racism in America, and everywhere else, I guess, is that we all think it. In "Crash," they all say it. They say it, right out loud, into the faces of the people they're racist towards.

Thank you, Mr Lundegaard, for helping me to see the light. Now if you could just explain the whole story of the murderee and why he's murdered by the murderer, I'll come and visit you, with a hundred dollar bill, and give you a big kiss on the lips to boot.

And so, the Oscars came and went and "Crash" won Best Picture. I should just try and forget about it again, like I did those months after seeing it. After all, who remembers the Best Picture Oscar from year to year anyway? Well, I do, but I'm a geek.

But it still irks me. It irks me, probably because I'm thinking that people out there who would have given "Crash" a pass before will now feel an obligation to see it. And that Best Picture label it now has will tag it "Important" rather than just "Self-Important." And people will believe in it. And if they do, will they take that dark, truthful look into the mirror and think, "Yes, I've been living wrong and I have to change?"

Which means if they do, I guess, they'll stop spouting racist remarks into people's faces and go back to thinking them silently. Yes, put racism back where it belongs! In the mind, in rejected loan and job applications, behind polite smiles!

OK, it was a joke.

Anyway, my answer to the "How did 'Crash' win Best Picture" question? I have two, actually. The Academy decided that maybe they'd look a little more noble if they voted anti-racist than if they voted pro-gay cowboy.


"Crash" didn't really win. Jack Nicholson just opened another Best Picture envelope and yelled "Crash." (Hell, knowing Jack Nicholson, he might have yelled it because he was going to crash.) By that point, the director and producers were up onstage and nobody was brave enough to say, "Excuse me, little mishap here," and yank the statuettes from their (very white) hands.

I mean, really. Have you gone and looked at the Lundegaard article I gave you the link to? Look at the picture of Nicholson there with the winners. That is the look of a man who's just pulled something over on somebody, and I think we know what and who.

By the way, as the Oscars were wrapping up, Jon Stewart kept telling everyone to drive safely. Drive very safely. He apparently saw "Crash" as well, and got the underlying message of the entire film. And he knew about all those foreigners out on the LA highways and by-ways, and was worried about the safety of his fellow showbizzers.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Good lawks a mercy, look at the acroers! Let's see what we got up to with "Your Name."
- First of all, a Special Award of Merit to Krizzer for her entries. She really did have the toughest time of it.
- Honorable Mention goes to LilyG, with her, "Lent is looming." "Yes, God." Sure, the George one was good, but this one made me laugh right out loud.
- Runner-up goes to Stennie, with her, "Starting to embrace natural nerdiness." It's about damn time!
- And the winner this week is Mike, with his "Maybe if 'Crash' had acting...?" The answer is a resounding no, Mr H.
- Thanks to all who played, you rock, and thanks to Mr M for the topic. It turned out to be a great idea.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Hello to the post-Oscar hungover and everyone else. Boy, Stennie really shouldn't have put that "one drink for every reaction shot of George Clooney" rule in her Oscar drinking game.

Welcome to a tiny departure in the world of acromania. Yes, tonight, we're going to try something new. This is an idea courtesy of Mr M, and it just might work.

This week, the acrotopic is "Your Name." As far as an actual acrotopic, it's free. Acro about anything on God's green earth. The only rule is that your acro has to be the first five letters of your name. Therefore, if you're Kellie, your acro letters are K E L L I. If you're Venice, they're V E N I C. If you're LilyG, you'll use your all your letters. If you're Bet, well, she won't be playing, or Mike, you can use your whole name and the first however many letters of your last name. Stay with me here, it'll work.

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 (kind of) above, but also the letters below (or the letters of your name), which will not be randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket is taking it easy this week. He played the drinking game last night, too. He'd forgotten all those people who died this year, and got quite snockered. Then at 10pm est tomorrow night, I'll be reading the entries and naming the winners, who will get to keep their names, and the non-winners, who will have to change to something else.

So, the topic? The "Your Name" acro. The letters?

[Y O U R N A M E]

OK. Get our your birth certificates and let the acroing begin.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* That CD Challenge thing? Very fun, but I hope no one ever asks me to do it again. A lot of work.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Picture Sunday

Folks, Picture Sunday is going to be very short tonight. So live with it.

First picture! (See, I'm getting right to it.) For my birthday last week, I got a very nice present from my buddy ESP. It was a homemade necklace that had letters spelling out things that are "me." That would be Sherman, Peabody, Mr M, SKB, etc. It's as cute as a bug's ear, but - more importantly, in with my present was... a present for Sherman!! It was a little necklace. And here it is.

Is that just not the sweetest thing you've ever seen?

Now, what else have I been doing this weekend? Mainly working on the big CD Meme Challenge, where I had to come up with 25 songs that matched 25 different categories, now I have to finish recording it - 8 times - to send to the other people who entered the challenge.

I've been doing this with the joy that is iTunes. Actually, that would be the joy that is anything other than Music Match. Thursday I finally dropped Music Match forever. Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last.

And don't try and look real close, because that's not my playlist, so you're not getting any inside information.

And now, to, well, to a very sad portion of our evening. Ladies and germs, this week I present to you - the very last recipe du jour card. It's been a long run, joy and tears, satisfaction and nausea. And it ends tonight, at least till I can find another set. But do not fear, for the recipe du jour will not end, I'll come up with something, and I have a little bitty idea starting. But tonight, let's end it with beans. The San Francisco Bean Salad.

So, we have some green beans. Bean liquid, that's always useful, mushrooms, bacon, vinegar, honey, and almonds. Funny, it doesn't look gay. We have the salad with roast beef, a baked potato, and some orange sherbet.

It ended not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Line of the week so far. Uttered by Mr M on messenger last night. "BRB. I have a fire in my spitoon."

Friday, March 03, 2006

It's The End Of Stamp Week As We Know It, And I Feel Fine

Yes, Friday is here, the time I have longed for so badly this entire week. I'm home, I did all my housework last night, and so let the chilling begin. Martinis on tap, an Alan F Arkin movie, and - if my calculations are correct, not only is my CD for the CD Meme challenge done, but it all fits onto one CD. I couldn't have possibly asked for anything more.

So since there's only one more night of stamps, let's have a blow-out extravaganza. All the ones I have left are going up on the table here, half price. Clearance, it's a smoke-damaged furniture you can drive it away today sale.

Hey Stennie! Ya like penguins? Of course you do, you little cutie. How about some stamps of these web-footed little bastards at play. And why on God's green earth would I have not one, but two stamps of vacationing penguins in tourist clothes? And more importantly, why would I even have one??

I guess those pengies went to Hawaii. Or they're touring Universal Studios in Hollywood, hoping to see where "they filmed 'March of the Penguins.'" Or - maybe they're in town for the Oscars, since they're nominated this year!

Now, how about some stamps that don't even have images on them? They have - *gasp!* - words!

I used to really use that "I have nothing to say" stamp a lot. You know, word stamps can espouse a philosophy of life...

... But sometimes they can have the double-duty of espousing a philosophy of life and being great to have at work!

I need to keep that one handy.

How about two stamps that make me giggle for different reasons. The first? Well, it's just so darned cute.

See? They're fish! And they're pretending to be the Loch Ness Monster! So the joke's on us! Get it? It's funneeeeeee!

The next one makes me giggle because I guess the same kind of girl who in January watched a movie about a bear eating a man, well, 20 years ago she enjoyed a three-piece stamp set that depicted a man becoming quite ill.

So there you have it. Just a cross-section. But it was fun, for me, anyway.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Settle an argument here and now: is it "dufus," or "doofus?"

Thursday, March 02, 2006

More Fun on the Web

It's an odd world I inhabit.

Today at work we had a small (very small) lull in the action, and so I decided the time was right for me to go online and order some Lip Ease Cushions. These are some little babies that I probably shouldn't buy, certainly shouldn't need, but I do both anyway. They help to keep me from biting a gaping hole in my bottom lip when I play the clarinet. They're little plastic sheets you fold over your teeth to, well, and I guess they're well-named, ease your lips.

I went to the normal website I get these from. They were "on order." So I went to another. They were also "on order." And so I said, "Shit," as I do, and did a search for the item.

I found another version of the cushion, looking exactly the same but made by a different company. And here's where the fun begins. I went to that website, the site of a very renowned woodwind instrument establishment. I found my item, and in a little box I was told the sad news: This item has been discontinued.

However! There was hope. Because in that self-same little box was a link. The link was titled "See other related items." Well, surely this could lead me to something similar.

So, I'm looking for "related items" to the $6.49 little clear plastic strips one puts upon one's teeth so one doesn't bite a hole into one's bottom lip when one plays one's clarinet. Right? Here are, in order, a list of the related items.

1. Dunbar Student Bagpipes Package, With Case - $749.99
2. LaVoz Alto Sax Padguard - $11.99
3. Scott's Highland Services Kitchen Pipes With Soft Case - $239.99 (Description of item, and I quote: Kitchen pipes are a set of mouth blown small pipes. While not as loud as the highland bagpipes, they have a firm and dignified presence.) (When was the last time you heard "dignified" and "bagpipes" in the same sentence?)
4. Ross Technologies Programmable Electronic Bagpipes - $269.99
5. Bo-Pep Flute Finger Saddle - $6.99 (I don't know, it just sounds dirty to me.)

The list goes on and on and on, but nothing having anything to do with the comfort of the lips or the sharpness of the teeth is even skirted around.

And bagpipes! What the hell do bagpipes have to do with my lip comfort? I don't know. Maybe somewhere in my search I used the word "pain."

What else is on the list? Let's see. There's something called a "Flute D# Key Replacement Cork" that looks amazingly like a breast implant. I'm not sure about the size, but it really stokes the imagination. I've not seen anything like it on any flute I've ever seen. Then there's a wonderful-sounding little item called a "Saxophone End Plug." Boy, the saxophone ends I've wanted to plug. They don't look big enough in their pictures, though, to adequately mute a saxophone. I doubt a rolled-up bedspread would.

OK, Stamp Week is drawing to a close, just a couple of nights left. So tonight, let's go with some homemade stamps. These are some of the first stamps I ever made, lo those many years ago.

Horses and Houses. Hmm, maybe those little squares of paper I cut out for the stamp images would work folded across my bottom teeth.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* There is a very disturbing commercial out there for Burger King. It's the one where we get a glimpse inside the home of the Whopper family. Apparently Dad Whopper and his son Whopper, Jr are having a fight because Whopper, Jr wants to sell himself for a dollar. That in and of itself is disturbing enough. But the argument that takes place, while Mom and Sister are standing nearby, with Whopper, Jr's resentments that his dad Whopper is always off at Burger King instead of being a good father - it's just fuckin' creepy. Who wants to know that the Whoppers are a dysfunctional family, and moreover, that Whopper, Sr is a shitty father and rude to boot. Not me, that's for sure.