Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Girl Who Slept Through World War II

Yes, that's me, over here in the Pod raising my hand.

I've been accused of it once before, actually. Well, I've been accused of being able to sleep through a war many times, but World War II in particular. Apparently, according to Mr M, I fell asleep at one of the more pivotal battles during our viewing of "Band of Brothers." A fine, fine show, one I hold very dear to my heart.

Not so dear to my heart has been this week's showing of that PBS Ken Burns soon-to-be classic, "The War." ("They call me Mister War!") Three nights now, I've tuned in, and three nights now I've fallen asleep somewhere around the 8:30 mark. I sleep until about 9:50, catch the end, and feel quite well-rested. I'm also getting absolutely nothing done, as evidenced by the fact that I was supposed to blog in earnest last night and name the acrowinners.

I tried to do that, though, blogees. I really did.

Not my fault. I hit the computer at about 11:00 last night, and was reminded that yesterday was indeed the very last day I had to re-up on my computer anti-virus software. I'd been putting it off for about a month, hitting the "Remind Me Later" button and getting it out of my sight. But it was in my sight last night, and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it except to re-up. And so I re-uppped.

And it was a colossal pain in the ass.

It took about an hour and forty minutes, due to the fact that I kept getting windows telling me this program was open, and this program had to be uninstalled, and I did this wrong, and I had to restart, and I had to re-restart, and I had to re-re-restart, and I hated that anti-virus software so much by the end of it all, I almost decided to go naked in the anti-virus milieu and welcome all viruses into my machine.

I like to think I've gotten a lot better in the whole Hinkiness Department (though my Betland Security Alert has been on "Hinky" for quite a long time). I'm pretty good at dealing with people, and what I deem "real" situations. But dealing with computer software is not a "real" situation to me, I can't reason with windows that come up telling me I'm inferior to their lofty installation standards. I yell out of frustration, yell via fingers at Mr M, who's trying to tell me how to handle the whole installation problem, and it's very hard to yell at someone via fingers when you're restarting and re-re-restarting your computer.

Anyway, "The War" is making me sleep, but that's about all that is these days. Sleep at the Poderosa has been at an absolute minimum recently, and now, there's frustration for you. I might be able to sleep for an hour or so in my chair, but once bedtime comes, it's wide-awake time like you wouldn't believe.

And I had something of an epiphany on Sunday night as to why this is.

Well, I knew two reasons for my insomnia. One is my fault, one is God's. My fault is that I sometimes like to drink coffee at inopportune hours, and decaf is not a part of my dietary vocabulary. I've thought about putting a moratorium on coffee after 1 pm, but then decided, "Hell, if I'm not going to sleep anyway, I may as well enjoy a cup of coffee at night and not sleep."

God's fault is that it's hormonal, yes, I've reached that age a woman gets to, if she's lucky, where sleep becomes a thing of the past. It's not all hot flashes and lying in bed like a beached whale, although that's certainly a part of it, but every woman I've talked to around my age seems to have the same problem.

However, the ephiphany. The flashing neon lights realization of Sunday.

I was in the bed, it was around 2:30 am, I'd been in bed for approximately two hours, and it hit me. The reason I cannot go to sleep anymore. I cannot turn off my brain!

Yes, I go to bed, sometimes at reasonable hours and sometimes completely absurd hours, but it makes no difference, the minute I hit that mattress, my brain goes into overdrive. I lie there thinking about four million things at one time, one of those things certainly "God, I have to go to sleep," and the thoughts just take over my head, body, psyche and everything else, and I become so wide awake I may as well be up, in my dennette, listening to loud music and dancing the Bunny Hop.

I've often thought how wonderful it would be to meditate daily, to take some time to let all the stresses of the day wash away from me, but I've never been able to make a start at it. I assume this is why. There is no clearing my head of the trash that's in it, it's as cluttered as the spare bedroom in my house (aka "The Beast"), and that clutter may move around from this synapse to that one, but it doesn't really leave.

After this realization, I shared my thoughts with two people who told me they have the same problem. They're both smart people. So maybe that's it. Smart people are doomed to a life of insomnia because of their massive brain capacities.

That's what I'm going with, anyway. I like that theory, and I'm running with it.

I think when "The War" comes out on DVD, though, I'm buying a copy. I'll keep it in the bedroom for those sleepless nights.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, Daddy, what did you do in the war?
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her, "Nicely told officers "eat shit and...." I see LilyG was on KP duty a lot.
- And this week's winner goes to Michelle the dishy, with her, "Nestle Tester - over-eating, sitting around." I can safely say this is the only job in the army I could take on.
- Thanks to all who played! You've all done very well!


Monday, September 24, 2007


Hello, acroers, acroites, acrophiles, and even acrophobes. And welcome to another round of acromania.

I've been trying to watch Ken Burns' "The War" this week. I've tried both nights, and both nights I've fallen asleep. Yes, it's that boring. I don't know quite how he did it, making WWII boring. I love the interviews - I wish it was just 2 hours a night of interviews with those veterans and their families. They tell a story way better than Burns.

So that brings us to tonight's acrotopic. "What Did You Do In The War, Daddy?" Yep, just answer the question, and be promoted to Acromajor.

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets 3 entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above, but also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket's dad didn't serve. Made of wicker, you know. Then at 10:00 est tomorrow night I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners, who'll get an all-expense paid trip to the Russian Front.

The topic? "What Did You Do In The War, Daddy?" The letters:


Now, acro. Dammit.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Why do I even try for updates on a Monday? I'm always late to podcast.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to another round of Picture Sunday.

This weekend was definitely not business as usual, because guess what. Yes, Oktoberfest began this Saturday. Saturday I was in the Iron Maiden, aka my dirndl, in the sweltering barn up at Mountain Lake, playing German music. It was great to be with my old Sauerkraut Band buddies again, but that's about it. I'm already sick of the food, and it was just the first night, the people at Mountain Lake have shortened the stage, so it's even more crowded up there than usual, and I left with a massive headache. Mr M.


Well, I left with Mr M and a massive headache.

Anyway, though I took my camera up the mountain, I snapped nary a photo. So that's one less picture of men in lederhosen you'll have to see tonight.

Instead, let's go to other conquests of the past week. Like Friday. In the wee, wee, wee hours of Saturday morning, I went to bed after reaching a goal I'd had my eye on for some time.

Yes, two million points. Now, before you start feeling sorry for me for the sad existence I lead, let me just stress these two million points didn't come all in one sitting. Not even I can sit still that long. This was an ongoing game, ongoing since Wednesday night. I was so happy to see the two million and know I could stop playing that I didn't even mind closing out the game and losing all my points once the goal was reached.

Another conquest of last week? My weeds. Remember my blog about the first mow with my new lawn mower? It was accompanied by a picture of a very neat and tidy front yard.

However, what you probably didn't notice was this. What used to be my flower bed in summers past. And what this summer has come to be known as my weed bed.

It was nasty, and out of control. It looked like something from the yard of a haunted house. So on Thursday I came home from work, changed clothes, hefted up my weed eater, and had at it. I threw away the ugliness once known as my little white fence, and ate weeds till, well, till I couldn't eat another bite. Then I had to rake them up and get them into a bag, after which I had this.

Barren, but nice. I'm so happy to be rid of those. I'm now looking for some new type of fencing for the edges, but everything I've found I like is very expensive. So it'll remain edgeless for now. Maybe I'll wait till right before the last mow of the season to put something up, that way I'll have edging when the first daffodils of spring make their appearance. Those damn daffodils. I've pulled up bulbs by the hundreds, and they still come up every spring.

But anyway. It's now time for the recipe du jour.

Just in case you didn't read Thursday's blog, you may want to take a look at it. For it was only Thursday that I discovered I'm the proud owner of a Japanese Yew in my back yard. The Japanese Yew is the plant that bears berries that kill any poor animal unfortunate enough to take just one bite of them. It gave me ideas, ideas beyond my wildest dreams. And so from the "Last Suppers" file at cardland, would you please say hello to Dessert of Death!

Yes, the Dessert of Death is easy to make. Just buy some ice cream, go to your Japanese Yew, pluck a berry or two (according to the literature, one is all it takes), and top the ice cream with your berries. Please have your life insurance policy at the ready, and a pen, so you can quickly change me to your beneficiary before the first bite. Which will also be the last bite. The Dessert of Death is very inexpensive to make, the ice cream was two dollars, but is very very costly indeed to eat.

Now, by the way, you all know I'm a pod. I know that too, it's common knowledge. You should have seen me making the Dessert of Death. This Japanese Yew, this plant I brush by several times with every yard mow, I was suddenly afraid to touch. I went into the yard in gloves and with a paper towel, pulled a small twig of a limb off, put it in the paper towel, and brought it inside. Then I used another paper towel to pull off the berries, which I then placed atop the ice cream - with a clothespin. I then threw the berries away, along with the paper towels and the clothespin, and washed my martini glass with a healthy dose of bleach before the dishwashing solution. It was like I was handling nuclear hazardous waste.

Then, after the dessert was over, I started having every symptom of Japanese Yew berry poisoning. Except the death, of course.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* You know, I used to laugh at men and their love for the weed eater. Now I understand it. God, that feeling of power in your hands!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hey, Yew!

You know, there are many disadvantages of working for TheCompanyIWorkFor. You hear about them all the time, via me, via the old blog. Some of these come under the heading "Dealing With The Public." But oddly enough, that heading has an asterisk and a subheading, which is called, "Well, It's Not All Bad."

For every cantankerous bastard who yells at you for 30 minutes about things that aren't your fault, there's a woman who gives you a bitchin' recipe for soup. Or for every boring half-wit who loves the sound of his voice so much he thinks you want to hear it drone on about nothing in particular for an hour, there's a client like Q, who comes in, tells the world's best stories, and makes us all laugh so hard we fear for the dryness of our pants. We have every social and economical background in our client base, so there's not a whole lot we don't see or hear.

Today I was the lucky recipient of a conversation with R. I've known R for years, graduated from high school with her brother. She lives in town, but she and her husband also farm. They have cows. I hear a lot about the cows. They're nice cows. In fact, R once pulled a little bit of a joke on me with one of the cows. We'd had some long-running banter going about how often she was in our office giving TheCompanyIWorkFor money, and that sooner or later she was going to just run out of money and have to bring me a cow in lieu of a check. And one day - she did just that. Well, OK, she didn't actually bring the little fella into the office, he was on the truck, but she took me by the arm and led me outside to accept her payment. And he was just a baby, and you know, all baby animals to me are so cute, even baby alligators and the like, and I would have been just as happy to take the cow and not her check. I doubt TCIWF would have been pleased, though.

So anyway, R was in the office this morning, and I don't know how we even got on the subject, but I was talking about my vines. I have these vines, you see. I don't think I've told you about my vines before, which is odd, since I've told you much more personal stuff. But I do have these vines, and they snake around the front and side of my humble home, the Poderosa. They're half ivy, half kudzu, and half something else, and that's a lot of halves, and I'm half crazy trying to get rid of them. Right now, they're still clinging to just the foundation of the Pod, but they're spreading and rising, all the way to the bottom of the siding and down one half of the foundation on the far side of the house. They're also hopelessly wrapped around the base of the hedges in the front of my house, and are choking them to death.

Early in the summer, I bought a three-pronged hoe, which isn't nearly as dirty as it sounds, and decided I was just going to have at it, swing that hoe like a woman possessed until I had vine pieces flying around in my yard, but it didn't quite happen that way. In fact, it happened kind of this way. *Swing!* ›Thud.‹ *Swing!* ›Thud.‹ That hoe would land in the vine bed, and I couldn't have pulled a vine out of there with a team of draft mules.

And so in typical "me" fashion, I just let it lay. For the whole summer, which has been the hottest and driest on record around here. It's rained once. That was last weekend, and a week or so before that, when I was doing a little hedge trimming, I thought I'd give it one more go with the Swing-Thud. And you'll never guess what happened. I didn't have to Swing-Thud, because the ground was so dry, all I had to do was yank and those vines started coming right out of the ground. (I used to love that Everly Brothers song, "All I Have To Do Is Yank.") I mean, it took some work, I had to put my back into it, but feet of vines were coming up. I got the entire far side of the Pod, it's now completely vine-free, a good portion of those at the corner and around the last hedge, some around the front door and steps, and all of those from the other corner of the house and up the dennette steps. In other words, people, three leaf and garden bags full of the vines formerly known as part of my home. Those behind the hedges though, the whole front of the house - it's going to be tough going with those, because they're, well, behind the hedges. I have no way to get to them.

But R suggested the miracle cure I needed, something that would kill the vines but not the hedges. Vinegar. Plain old cider vinegar. Now, I have vinegar out my earholes, because it's cheap, I seldom use it, and every time I make a recipe that calls for it, I forget I already have some and buy some more. So I think I'm going to try it and see what happens. Either it will kill the vines and not my hedges, which is very good indeed, or the vines and my hedges, not so good at all, or neither the vines nor the hedges, but between the vines and the vinegar, I"ll have a good start on a yard-sized salad.

(And by the way, don't laugh, OK? I'm not stupid enough to think that pulling 1/3 of the vines from my house means I have 1/3 less vineage. I know how they work, I know they'll come back, and I also know that about the only chance I have of getting rid of them forever is to burn my house down. And then it's possible that I'll have vines covering the ashes. But I've at least made a good start, possibly good enough to keep up with them a little better as they grow back.)

The vinegar and vines now discussed, R and I headed into my back yard, conversationally speaking, when I mentioned to her my pine tree there. My berry-bearing pine tree. R told me in her not-so-subtle way that pine trees don't have berries, and I kind of knew that anyway. I mean, I have other pines, like my perfectly-shaped Christmas tree pine, back there with nary a berry in sight. But this is a large edifice with prickly needles that scratch and itch me when I breeze by while mowing, and at the end of the limbs are red berries.

R said she'd get back to me on that one. She has kids and kids-in-law in every scientific field you can imagine, professors, etc, one even works for the Nature Conservancy. And R got back to me. R got back to me not ten minutes after she left the office. I don't even know if she was home yet, or was calling from her car. Seems she'd called her son, and he told her it sounded like what I had on my hands, and in my yard, was a Japanese Yew. I was advised to Google it, and see if he might be right. And she was calling for a reason. If it was, and I had any pets, she wanted to make sure I kept them away from the plant, because they were poisonous. In fact, a Yew had killed one of their cows. Apparently, one munch and Blammo.

Well, I looked online there at TCWIF, and found a million different bushes and shrubs, some pictures showed the berries, and some didn't. Then I found this little close-up of a Japanese Yew.

I went home for lunch today, and the first thing I did was walk around to the back of the house to look at my tree. Here's what I saw.

And then I heard the Voice of God say, "Congratulations, Ms Bet, you're the mother of a bouncing baby Japanese Yew. Good luck."

Then I did some reading, on another website, and found these little nuggets of information. And golden nuggets they are.

TOXICITY RATING: Extremely toxic, death is likely.

ANIMALS AFFECTED: All animals (livestock, pets and birds).

PLANT DESCRIPTION: Several species of yew are planted as ornamental shrubs or hedges. They are woody perennials with flat 1/2-1 inch long evergreen leaves lighter green on the underside and broader than pine needles. The "berry" (technically called an aril) is grape-sized, juicy, and bright scarlet, with a hole in the end which makes it look cup-like.

CLASS OF SIGNS: Sudden death is the typical sign.

SIGNS: "Found dead" is the typical presenting sign.

FIRST AID: First aid is usually impractical, since the animals die so quickly.

Lawks a mercy, that's a mean one, that Japanese Yew.

And so I am the proud owner of a Plant of Death. I'm pondering a "Beware of Plant" sign for the yard. On the upside, though, if I ever want to kill anyone, I don't have to worry about messing with guns and such. I can just invite the offending party over to dinner. If you've ever pissed me off and get an invite, you'll definitely want to pass on the cobbler for dessert.

Oh, how I love the Poderosa.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! Very, very late acrowinners. But we got two more players, so I guess it was worth it. So, tell us about Shermuzorro.
- Honorable Mentions go to LilyG, with her, "Tradition orders paired epees, mask," and Capt A, with his, "Touche! On point! (Easy mouthful.)
- Runners-Up go to DeepFatFriar, with his, "Those other personalities? Eat me!" and the Eggman, with his, "Touche! Ouch! Poke easier, man!"
- And this week's winner is the dishy Michelle, with her, "Takes ornery prisoners, eats most."
- Thanks to all who played, sorry for the delay in winners, and you've all done very well!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No Blog Tonight

Hi, folks.

I'm tired. My back hurts. It's better, but it still hurts. Mowed the lawn tonight.

Then vegged.

Anyway, I'll put up a blog on Thursday, and until then - extra acro time!

Everyone get those acros in!

Monday, September 17, 2007


Hello, acroites, acroees, and acro-others. Welcome to another round of acromania.

I'm running way late on time tonight, so tonight's acro is going to be a "Caption the Picture." See, Sherman's been at it again. Well, with the help of Mr M. For a long while, Sherman's enjoyed his alter ego Shermula, who sports fangs and bites unsuspecting house guests in the neck. Now he's taken it a little further. Farther? More. Whatever.

He's kept the Shermula persona, but added to it. So say hello if you will to Shermuzorro.

He's an imaginative boy.

So give me an acro about Shermuzorro, please. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, and the deadline is tomorrow night at 10:00 est.

The letters:


So there you go, short and sweet. Acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Off to podcast land!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and what a weekend it's been. And welcome to another round of Picture Sunday.

My weekend began Thursday night, or the seedlings of it did. I decided what a nice idea it would be if I cleaned the hell out of my house that night, since I was going out of town Friday, and then on Saturday I could come back to a nice house and not worry about anything the rest of the weekend. About somewhere halfway through mopping my kitchen floor, I heard a *twang*. Actually, it was more of a *twonnnng*. It was not unlike the '60s cartoon sound of a spear twanging into the earth. (Those of us who have our TVs on every waking hour remember sounds like that, thanks.)

And so my back was out. It was so out it was in. Thursday night was miserable, and Friday morning was more so. I thought about canceling my trip, but found everything I'd booked was non-refundable, and as I don't have $100 to light up with a match, decided to head on out.

And after all, I mean, it was a trip to see the Hackensaw Boys.

I drove. I drove five hours, two of it in the pouring rain. Got to the hotel, and decided maybe it was a good idea to bulk up on some Tylenol before I went. I did.

Got to the bar, which is my favorite place to see them, heard a soundcheck, said hello, got hugs and some conversation, a couple of beers, and then went to have some coffee. Came back, a couple more beers, the show started, and even though I was still in pain, I was right at the stage, so I had something to hold onto while I gingerly bounced around.

The boys were great. Probably my favorite set yet. Only one song I can think of I would have liked that was left out, and some songs that for my money were getting a little long in the tooth were out of the set. They rocked, they hollered, they stomped, and I just love those guys. What joy they have in them.

And you know who else rocked? The crowd. Normally I'm oblivious to crowds, they're just minor annoyances to me, but the house was packed and there were some die-hard Hackensaw fans there. They knew the songs, and they were nice folks, and, well, let's give them some appreciation.

Now being so close to the stage as I was, of course again I couldn't seem to get all six Boys into a shot. Poor Plantain Hackensaw, who I talked to a while on Friday and found to be very, very nice guy (real name: Sean), got left out of the banner shot there at the top of the blog. So let's give him a little time in the spotlight.

And of course, not to be left out is Baby J Hackensaw, who as he was coming up to me on Friday, said, "I met your friends," while making a pinching motion on his cheek. (Those of you in the know know that Stennie saw the boys in LA recently, and pinched his cheek.)

Boy, look at Baby J's arms. He must do a lot of yard and brushwork, or own a cat like Mr M's.

It was at the halfway point of the show that the stage, which had until then been at my waist, suddenly was hovering around my nose. And also suddenly, I was unnaturally hot. I asked someone in that great crowd to hold my place and watch my stuff, and had to vamoose for a while. And when I did, I learned something.

You know, I'm always learning lessons at Hackensaw Boys gigs. Don't be afraid to talk to a Hackensaw, don't use Mapquest directions under any circumstances, don't be afraid to hand your camera over to a hippie to take some photos. Friday, it was: Don't drink four beers, a cup of coffee, take four Tylenols and forget to eat the entire day.

It wasn't pretty. Three songs of heaving, though, and I was back in my rightful place taking pictures.

But back to the show. Who always has the best seat in the house? Not me, even at the front of the stage. It's Sherman, of course.

In fact, Friday was a banner night for Sherman. After hanging on the speakers for a while, he decided to hang out with Baby J and Plantain when the Boys came to play right at the front of the stage. But he's rather small, you see.

And then, out of the blue, after taking the above picture, I looked up and there was Salvage Hackensaw motioning for me to give him Sherman. He actually made it to the stage.

Thanks, Salvage. Major photo opportunity there.

Anyway, it was a wonderful night, I'm very glad I went, and I still feel like complete and utter hell. The back is still out, I can't sit, lie down, or stand. Walking is OK, though. I need to just go outside and walk till I'm better, and see where I end up. Maybe at the doorstep of one of you fine folks.

And to the recipe. I was communing this afternoon with Mr M and the DeepFatFriar, for they'd invited me down for a dinner of bunny and vegetables (I'd never eaten bunny before, and it was very good), and we worked up tonight's fare. It was something, let me tell you. DFF was going for tricky wordplay to come up with a recipe, Mr M was going for the Yuck Factor, and I was looking for something with meaning. I won out. And so will you please welcome, from the "Wear Gloves" file at cardland, Popcorn Flambé.

Yes, the finger food I wouldn't recommend you eat with your fingers. All you need for this recipe is some popcorn, a very sturdy skillet, and something to douse your popcorn with. Light it up and, well, to be honest, all I can hope for is that you experience the thrill I did when Mr M lit that popcorn and it whooshed into that bigass flambé. It was a thing of beauty, and I mean that.

By the way, Popcorn Flambé? An outdoor dish. Please.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My back hurts. I have a month to get over it. Next Hackensaw Boys concert, October 19th.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Once A Day, Every Day, All Day Long

You know, I'm aware of the fact that none of you watch the "Today" program. I wish I didn't. But I seem to, every weekday morning, as I'm getting ready for work. I don't like it, I yell things at the television, I groan, I toss things, and yet, I still watch. I promise you, if there was anything else on, I'd watch that.

And I mean that. I would. But all the other big networks have shows that are just the same as "Today," in fact they stole their format right from the old NBC gem, and CNN has gone to a "morning show" format instead of straight news from 7 - 9 am. And what's even more disconcerting, so has ESPN! They have, in between "SportsCenters," something called "Cold Pizza," which is not nearly as appetizing as cold pizza, unless it's cold anchovy and rutabaga pizza. TVLand shows "MASH," "Cheers," and "The Jeffersons," oh fuckin' boy, and BBCAmerica shows the BBC news, oh fuckin' boy again. So see, I'm really forced into this "Today" thing.

And what a thing. I'm sure I've blogged before about the talentless fools hosting the "Today" program. Matt Lauer, he of no hair and no personality, Ann Curry, who seems like a very nice lady, but cannot speak one sentence without muffing something up. She also has the very annoying habit of taking short gasps of breath at inopportune times. In the middle of sentences. It drives me bats. Willard Scott, the man who apparently doesn't believe in Social Security Retirement Benefits and is a senile old coot. Al Roker, who's fine as far as jolly weathermen go, as long as he doesn't go all serious. And up until a year ago, the unbelievable Katie Couric, who used to forever leave me gob-smacked when she'd actually ask questions to guests like, "When you discovered your son's body, and the head was missing, how did you feel?" When Katie left it was hats and horns time at the Poderosa, she went on to bomb out anchoring the CBS News, and will forever earn her place in hell (I get to decide who goes, you know) by, the night of the Virginia Tech shootings, grabbing the arm of a kid who was being interviewed for a local TV station, and then starting an interview with him herself. "You're on CBS now!"

I had some small hope that Katie might actually be replaced by someone who'd bring a little life into the show. Instead, NBC decided to hire the human equivalent of wallpaper paste, one Meredith Viera. How this woman got anywhere in the TV Biz is beyond me. She blends into the scenery, is humor impaired, and looks like the lady in front of you at the grocery store. And she was once a hostess on one of the worst television shows in the history of the box, "The View." Anyone who's ever hosted "The View" should be invited on an all-expense paid vacation to the edge of the Grand Canyon on a very windy day.

And the kicker with Meredith, this woman I'd never imagine getting such a plum job - she's only there for 2/3 of the show! Can you imagine going in for a job interview with the opening salvo, "Sorry, I can't work all day, I have other things I need to get done?" Well, she did it, and it worked. And so now since Meredith is not there for the last hour they've brought in people like Tiki Barber, the former football player with not much on the ball, but a head so shiny it could lead luxury liners through the fog. And Giada DeLaurentis, yes, a cook from the Food Network, the girl whose head is twice the size of her body. And she doesn't cook! She's a commentator! She does interviews and remotes!

Good God, the world's gone mad.

It has indeed, and here's where I'm heading. This compost heap of a TV show, that I see just about every day, started out as a two-hour 7 - 9 am show. Then a while back they got all heady and went to three hours, till 10 am. And now, with a hostess who wouldn't even stay the whole three hours, they've added another hour! They're on till fucking 11 am now!

I see a time in the very near future when, after Conan O'Brien leaves the air, the "Today" show will begin. And will go until 6 pm. They'll add other hosts and hostesses, that Ty Pennington building guy from "House Makeover," John Madden, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Pamela Anderson Lee Rock Anderson, Carson "Douchebag" Daly, The Amazing Kreskin, 50 Cent, Ryan Seacrest, The Verizon "Can You Hear Me Now" guy, Bob Dole, a Baldwin Brother, and a guy from the dry cleaner's around the corner.

And Willard Scott. He'll get a whole hour to wish 100-year olds happy birthday.

TVLand, why don't you just put me out of my misery and start showing "The Dick Van Dyke Show" in the mornings?

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm going to see the Hackensaw Boys tomorrow night! I'm going to see the Hackensaw Boys tomorrow night, and tonight I threw my back out mopping the kitchen floor!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More How To Become a Sophisticate By Expanding Your Vocabulary Online While Wasting Time

Hello, linguists.

A few months back, when I was still fairly new to the addiction known as Text Twist (TT), I did a blog about the ins and outs of the game. "Ins" and "outs" being two words perfectly legal on the TT board. "Ins" gives you "sin," and "outs" gives you "out" and "oust." And "sot," if you leave out the u. Just in case you were wondering.

During that blog I gave a rather lengthy explanation of Text Twist People (TTP) words, and how you had to find those words to fit in the word grid, whether you knew the words or not. So when a word came up you'd never heard before, you just had to memorize it and realize it would show up another time. Words like ort, ted, sere, rhea, roc, and hafted. I then took the trouble, for you, my dear blogees, for I didn't give a flip as long as they got me points, yes, I went to the trouble to look them all up and give you their definitions.

I really shouldn't have done that.

I shouldn't have done that at all, because now when words come up I don't know, I take the time to wonder what they could mean. And as we all know, thinking is a definite minus in the Text Twist World (TTW). Thinking takes seconds, and seconds tick away, and words go unfound. Unfound. Seven letters. Will not show up on the Text Twist Board (TTB).

About four months have passed since that first blog. My goal at that time was to score 200,000 points. Today, that's a slow session. My highest score is in the 1.45 million range, and that happened last week. Then Stennie suggested we both reboot our computers to make the podcast recording go smoothly (smoothly - 8 letters - right out on the TTB), and when I did, I lost my highest score ever. I put that thought away, but fear that one night when I get drunk and angry, that thought may come crashing back.

Anyway, if you're interested in becoming one of those people who bores party guests to tears with your infinite wisdom vis a vis the English language, or you're just thinking of becoming a Text Twist Addict (TTA) yourself, which I don't recommend because it's quite maddening, I thought I'd give you the latest round of word definitions. Oh, but before I do, I may have a little correction to make. I went on and on in that first blog about the word "arces." How I couldn't find a definition for it anywhere. Don't quote me on this, but I'm beginning to believe this could possibly be because arces is not actually a word. I've seen plenty of "arcs," and a few "arced"s in my game, but never again an "arces," so maybe I was confusing the two words and combining them into one. Because I'm an idiot (I).

OK, here we go. Play along with Bet, and tell me how many of these you already knew.

Ret - Ret comes up all the time on the old TTB, because it contains three very popular letters. It's right up there with ted and ort. I kind of forgot about my old friend "ret" the first time around. Ret has nothing to do with carpetbaggers ravaging Southern women during the Civil War. It means "to soak," as in fibers. Well, that's nice. If everyone remembers correctly, ted means "to dry." So you ret and you ted, and you retted, which is a six letter word on the TTB. By the way, I pronounce ret "ret," not "rit," as people seem to mistakenly believe when I pronounce "pen" and "pin."

Wadi - The first time I saw "wadi" on the TTB, I thought it had to be a computer malfunction, or the TTP were pulling my leg (L). But no, "wadi" does appear from time to time. To me, it's a nonsense word, a lyric from a 50s doo-wop song: Boom boom shoo bop bop wadi wadi. But apparently this is not the case. A wadi is the bed of a stream in regions of Asia and Africa, which is dry until the rainy season, then forms an oasis. It's a gully. ("Gully" - five letters. Also gives you "gull" and "guy.")

Weir - Not "wire," though "wire" also gives you "weir" on the TTB. And "ire," but that's just showing off. Also, much to my chagrin, it is not meant to be the family featured in the much beloved and one-seasonal TV show "Freaks and Geeks." A weir is a fence or enclosure in a stream for taking fish. Hey, that's what the dictionary says, don't ask me, "Taking them where?" for I do not know. It's also a dam. "Dam." Gives you "mad." By the way if you have a d on your "weir" board, watch out - wire, wired, weir, weird, ire, red, dew, wed, dire, rid, ride, die, wide - you could blow the game wide open!

Dory - This is not that little explorer girl all the kids love nowadays. Her name is Dora. Unless there's one out there I don't know about. Dory the Actuory. No, that's stupid, it's actuary, but "Dora" doesn't really rhyme with "explorer" anyway, unless you have a weird accent. Anyway, back to dory. Apparently, well, not apparently, it's right here in black and white, a dory is a flat-bottomed boat with high flaring sides, a sharp bow, and a V-shaped transom. As in, "Dora the Explorer got a little too close to the dory, tumbled, and put her eye out on the sharp bow. And her little monkey friend laughed. Because he was a monkey."

Rood - Rood? "Surely the TTP do not know how to spell," was my reaction the first time I saw "rood" come up on the board. Was it some spoonerism? Hobin Rood? Wed Rood Forest? I like "rood," because it's the reverse of "door" and therefore always gives you an extra word, but let's face it. It's a silly-looking word. It's also religious, because it means "a crucifix," which goes against the TTP's "No Biblical Words (NBW) rule," but they use "cross" and "church," so I'll let it go.

Spall - No, not the brilliant British actor in all the Mike Leigh movies. That's Timothy, and even though that's a seven letter word, it would be out because it's a proper name. As would Tim as well, and Dory if it was the actuary and not the sharp-bowed boat. A spall is a tiny fragment or chip of stone. Timothy Spall's quite a large fellow. And Chip is also a name, but the TTP allow it, because it also means, well, a chip. And gives you "hip."

Dross - It's always nice to learn a new five-letter word. No matter how good you are at Text Twist (TT), and I'm quite good indeed if I do say so myself, five-letter words are always something of a crapshoot. (Nine letters - right out. However, both "crap" and "shoot" are eligible for points. As are "carp" and "hoots.") Now, if you're Southern, and I mean really Southern, more Southern than I could ever dream of being, "dross" could be your underwear, or those things you pull out of chest bureaus where you put your clothes. "Darlin', my chest of dross is almost full." (By the way, when I was growing up, there was a kid in our neighborhood who swore it was Chester drawers.) Anyway, "dross" is the scum that forms on molten metal, now that's specific, or waste or foreign matter. As in, "Darlin', there seems to be some dross in my dross."

Speaking of words, I had an interesting occurrence at work last week. I had to call the Virginia Department of Worker's Compensation. When I did, I got the obligatory "press one, press two" spiel, and it went on forever, "Press one if you need to report a claim, press two if you need a tax ID number," and when the recorded voice got to about eight it was, "Press eight if you need an ombudsman." Such a foreboding word, ombudsman, and yet funny at the same time. I imagined a lone man in a small office, behind a desk, wearing an African headdress and holding a spear, or in a black tuxedo and wearing a red fez. Sitting there patiently, waiting for the poor soul who needed an ombudsman.

Obviously, I don't know what an ombudsman is. It's nine letters, so I don't have to worry about it on the TTB, but if I don't know what it is, how will I know when I need one?

I hope if I do, he brings his fez.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, what was on your shopping list?
- Runner-Up goes to Duke, with his, "Burned Toast, Tripe, Rancid Danish Donuts."
- And this week's winner goes to LilyG, with her, " Beef testicles, turtle resin, Dunkin Donuts." Mmmm. Gotta have that turtle resin.
- Thanks to all who played! You've all done very well!


Monday, September 10, 2007


Hello, acroers, acroees, and acroites. Welcome to another round of acromania.

Since I had a bit of a mutiny with last week's acrotopic, "Corned Beef," I'm going to give you all a break this week. An easy acro, completely non-judgemental and inoffensive. It's called, "Shopping List." Let's say you're going to the grocery. What's on your shopping list? That simple.

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 his own personal shopper. Bit of a waste, really, as he needs nothing. He's a basket. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 I'll be reading the entries and naming the winners and losers, and giving prizes galore. Imaginary prizes, of course.

And so the acrotopic, "Shopping List." The letters:


So there you go. Acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* OK, acro time. Not much of an update, but there you go.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to another round of Picture Sunday.

Weekend at home this time around. Spent a pre-Friday Chill mowing the yard (and believe me, with the lack of rain, there's not much to mow), then hung out, watched movies, and stayed up late. Saturday, Mr M came to the Pod for a change, and we did the usual, played clarinets, argued, watched TV, and I made dinner.

Today, it was gathering the family for a dinner to celebrate my mom's birthday, which was this past Wednesday. I do love my family, but God, sometimes an outing with them is like running a marathon while being beaten with a bicycle chain. That was pretty much the case tonight. Came home in a rather foul mood and in need of coffee.

Hey, when Mr M arrived at my door Saturday, he arrived bearing gifts. Now, I like gifts, I like gifts a lot. And this one was a nice gift. I'll show you what it was, and you can all play a round of "What In The Hell Is This?"

Yes, there it is, standing tall like the barometer of fear that it is. Is it the monolith from "2001 A Space Odyssey?" Nope. Is it a sleeping bag for a snake? Nope. A French bread warmer? Afraid not.

It's a clarinet cozy!

Yes, now, in my near 60-degree home, when I've played my clarinet and want to stand it on its peg, I don't have to worry about it freezing and cracking. I also don't have to wrap the piece of fleece I bought at the fabric store around it. Now all I have to do is slip the cozy over it, and it will stay warm and toasty. One of the great inventions of musicdom, I say.

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

You know, my podcast buddy Stennie is all excited because she got a new bike. Those of you hucklebug listeners will recall hers was stolen a while back. Well, in honor of her new wheels, I bring to you, from the "Mobile Treats" file in cardland, the Fudgecycle.

The Fudgecycle is an easy recipe to make. All you need is some fudge, a knife, and a very steady hand. You don't have to make sugar spokes and handlebars, or add color to the bike body and flag. But I did. Because I care.

Original inspiration for this dish came from the DeepFatFriar, who suggested a FudgeSickle, which was a fine idea, but I decided to go in a little different direction.

Sherman has dibs on the Fudgecycle, btw. That boy loves fudge.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I, who am very lacking in funds lately, decided to throw caution to the wind and buy a fancy new coffeemaker this weekend. I'm poor, but happy. And hoppy.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Deer Pee, or Reality Check

I'm going to talk tonight, via fingers, about reality TV. And so I must issue my standard disclaimer here. Save for one show, "The Amazing Race," I don't like reality TV. In fact, I would go so far as to say I hate reality TV. It's just an incredibly embarrassing way to get on the TeeVee, and I don't know why, save for "The Amazing Race" of course, anyone would want to do it. I understand completely why someone would want to be on "The Amazing Race," though, and if I had the skills, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

However, it's summertime, you know. When television becomes more of a vast wasteland than it's ever been before, and sometimes I just want to watch some television, and these shows are staring me in the face, and so occasionally I'll stare back. I had a free evening last night and caught a bloc of reality shows, train wrecks that they were, and I just couldn't help but say a few words. Via fingers.

Now, I must be honest in the old blog, and so I have to tell you that the first program I caught was "Wife Swap." "Wife Swap" isn't nearly as dirty as it sounds, and I see this show as often as I possibly can. I don't like it so much as I'm addicted to it. Yes, I'm addicted to it, for it gives a high not unlike watching a car accident, or a man jumping off a building into a glass of water, or, oh, someone sawing a lady in half. Not a magician, just some schmoe off the street. With a rusty saw.

"Wife Swap" is a program wherein the TV People take two families, and the moms of those families switch houses for two weeks. The first week, the moms must live just like the moms in the houses they've been deposited in. Then the second week, they get to change all the rules and make their new families live just as they see fit.

"Wife Swap" has two different families each week, but it doesn't really matter, because the show is always the same. I was trying to explain this to my buddy Stennie one night, and she completed my explaining sentence so perfectly it took my breath away. See, I started my description of the show, "Let's say there's one family, and their whole life is dancing. All they do is dance, make dance costumes, go to dance recitals, polish their dancing trophies. That mom is then sent to...." and Stenns answered, "A family where the grandparents were killed by a rogue troop of dancers." And that's about as apt a description as I think exists.

The episode I saw last night contained one family where the poor put-upon dad did everything for the incredibly spoiled and pampered wife, and the even more pampered and spoiled obnoxious daughter. The daughter only wore the finest of designer clothes and makeup, and had a monthly cell phone bill of over $300. Dad worked all week to provide money for these soul-sucking women, and wasn't even allowed to sleep in the same bed as his wife because his snoring offended her. The mom of this family had to go to a house where that family ran their little business out of their home. And their business was, and I'm not making this up because as good as my imagination is it's not this good, their business was bottling deer pee.

Yes, Family Number Two were deer pee crazy. They collected it from a number of deer on their property, they put it into bottles right there on the kitchen counter, and they loved them some deer pee. They also ate deer meat every night and had deer heads on every wall of their home. Which was very large and modern and may have been nice had it not smelled like a giant deer urinal.

So for the first week, Deer Pee Mom was pampered and bored stiff, and Pampered Mom was gagging and choking and soaked in deer pee. When the second week came, I know you'll never guess what happened. Yep, Pampered Mom made Deer Pee Family stop being so damn crazy about deer pee, and Deer Pee Mom made her family bottle deer pee. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a good time was had by all, well, not by all of them, but by all of us sitting in the Comfy Chair watching this train wreck of a program.

The thing that gets me about "Wife Swap" is that there's yet to be a family, and I've seen more than my share of families on this show, who aren't totally shocked and near the riot stage when their new mom changes the rules. It's like they've all been slapped in the face. There's arguing and crying and harsh words.

And so, if you happen to be reading this and thinking, "Wow, I really need to get on that 'Wife Swap' program," here is my Official "Wife Swap" Advice.

1. I'm assuming if you signed up for "Wife Swap," then you've seen at least one episode of the damn show. And let's face it, one is all you need. Therefore, you should know that the Mom who comes to your house is going to be the total polar opposite of everything you are. If you're a gun-toting military family, your Mom will be a flower-toting hippie. Do not let this alarm you. Do not act shocked. For if you are that shocked, you are indeed an idiot, which would explain why you signed up to be on "Wife Swap."

2. Because you know your Mom is going to be your polar opposite, and even if you didn't, you have to have learned it during her first week at your house, please do not be devestated when she changes the rules to make you live at a total 180 from what you're used to. For God's sake, people, if you spend all your time being a cheerleader, and you don't know that your new Mom, who surely was attacked by a rogue troop of cheerleaders once, is going to announce the first rule is, "No more cheerleading," then you are indeed an idiot, which again, would explain your appearance on the show.

3. When your new Mom announces her rules, don't blow up, cry, bitch, moan, get pissy, run out of the room, or threaten to kill yourself. It's one week out of your stinkin' life, for cryin' out loud! If you have to be forced to clean your house, or mow your lawn, or not work 21 hours a day, or put some deer pee in a bottle, and you can't do that for seven days out of a 75-year life span, you are indeed an idiot, have no sense of fun or adventure, and deserve to be ridiculed, which surely you will be when your histrionics show up on the TeeVee for all to see.

4. Parents, look at your kids every once in a while. If your kid has a near nervous breakdown at the thought of living one week in a "no cleaning, no organizing, no chore" environment, she's a weird kid. She needs therapy. If your kid, upon hearing video games are out for the next week, throws things and calls the new Mom a bitch, he needs a parental foot up his fundament.

OK, so there's your guide to being a contestant on "Wife Swap." But that show goes off at 9:00. And at 9:00, I caught an episode of something I'd seen once before, a little gem of a program called "Fat March." "Fat March" is a program wherein there are some people, and they're fat, and they march! Hard to believe, I know, but it seems to be true.

This show defies any kind of logic or decency. Now, I only caught my second episode last night, so I might be missing something, but here's what I've gleaned from the program so far. There are fat people, and they march. They're on a 500-mile march, and if they reach the finish line, even if it's on one leg, they share in a big prize, possibly a new leg. There are two fitness experts, who are therefore hosts of the show, along for the ride, but I've seen nary a thing but marching and sweating. I don't know what these people are eating, it could be deep fried Twinkies for every meal, but by God, they're marching. They're also sweating, falling down, getting shin splints, taking occasional trips to the hospital for knee x-rays and hydration IVs, and they're bitching and pissing and moaning like crazy.

And so, if you happen to be reading this and thinking, "Wow, I really need to get on that 'Fat March' program," here is my Official "Fat March" Advice.

1. Don't be fat. And I don't say this as a personal judgement here, because I happen to be on the hefty side. But if you are fat, you will be picked for this program, and you will be subjected to marching in 100-degree heat up and down the highways and byways of our great land, getting shin splints, falling down, having knee x-rays and hydration IVs, and sweating like crazy. You know those annoying friends who tell you you should lose weight because they're "worried about your health?" Well, I'm worried about your health if you go on "Fat March," for you shall end up in the hospital if not a slab at the morgue, and I'm more worried about your mental health if you're interested in being a contestant.

2. If you do choose to be fat enough to go on this 500-mile march, please stop pissing and moaning. You asked for it. Did you think it was going to be as fun as sitting on your couch watching "Fat March" on TV, eating bon-bons, and laughing at people falling down and getting shin splints?

3. When asked by the producers of the show what you want your by-line to be, as in what they superimpose on the screen under your name (ie, "Jane - Military Mom" or "Bob - Deer Pee Expert"), please do not identify yourself as "26-year old virgin." I swear there's a guy marching up and down our highways and byways, sweating, pissing, moaning, and falling down from shin splints, who seems to think that's his overall identifying trait.

And OK, there's your guide to being a contestant on "Fat March." But that show goes off at 10:00. And at 10:00, I caught an episode of a show I've seen several times, "Super Nanny." "Super Nanny" is a program wherein there's a British nanny, and she travels each week to a home where parents are stymied as how to take care of whatever brood of brats they might have for a given week. Then the Super Nanny gives them advice on how to get the little cretins rounded up and pointed in the right direction.

Last night's episode featured a family with six kids. Some were the wife's, some were the husband's, and one was theirs together. The husband was never home, having to work round the clock to feed this gaggle of kids, and the mother was left there with the little bastards, screaming at them not to do this or that, not to walk on the table, not to scream at each other, not to breathe, and would you please come into the closet to play with this plastic dry cleaning bag for a few minutes.

And so, if you happen to be reading this thinking, "Wow, I really need to get on that 'Super Nanny' program," here is my Official "Super Nanny" Advice.

1. Do not have more than one child. For if you do, things are going to get messy, and you're going to have to hire the Super Nanny, whose methods I cannot cotton to. If you have but one child and you need the Super Nanny, then you are an idiot indeed.

2. Do not marry, if you have a passel of kids, someone with a passel of kids. Real life is not an episode of "The Brady Bunch," and you don't have Alice living at your house, raising your kids and cooking your meals.

3. At some point, the Super Nanny will show you something called "The Naughty Bench," where you are to take your children and sit them for five minutes so they'll know they've been bad. When she shows you this Naughty Bench, laugh heartily in her British face.

4. Then proceed to beat your children. Beat them soundly and often. At least once a week. Even if they haven't done anything, beat them so they will know you have the capacity to do so. When one of your twins (as happened last night on "Super Nanny") hits the other twin in the face with a rowboat oar, do not take him to the Naughty Bench. Take the oar from his hand and beat him until he screams for another mommy from "Wife Swap" to come be his new mom. Then hit him one more time. If your child (as happened last night as well) climbs the ladder on the neighbor's RV and stands on top of it, do not scream, "Come down from there, it's dangerous!" like his mother did. Climb up on the RV and drag the child down, hitting his head on every rung of the ladder. Or call the neighbor and ask him to please start the RV, jerk it into reverse, then take off at 90 miles per hour.

5. When the Super Nanny mentions the phrase "time out," she means take a few minutes to calm down and then talk to your child, looking it in the eye. She doesn't take mean a few minutes to remove your belt and let the beatings begin. I, however, recommend the latter. Often.

OK, there's your guide to being a contestant on "Super Nanny," which is actually a guide on how not to be a contestant on Super Nanny, and therefore have kids I can sit next to in a restaurant.

You know, I think it's odd how restaurants are so big on giving you the choice of smoking or non-smoking, but wouldn't dream of giving you the choice of kids or non-kids. And I've yet to see a restaurant with a "Naughty Bench." That's a sign, you see.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, tell us all about labor.
- Honorable Mention goes to LilyG, with her, "Stupid idiotic overseer. Work's disgusting."
- Runner-Up goes to Michelle (the dishy), with her, "Sucky, idiotic old woman (Director)."
- And this week's winner goes to DeepFatFriar, with his, "Shit! I overslept, was demoted."
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!


Monday, September 03, 2007


Hello, Mondayers, you Labor Day Lovelies, you acroers and acroites. Welcome to another round of acromania.

Well, this week's acrotopic is easy. This is Labor Day. Therefore, the acrotopic is "Labor." Pain of childbirth? Sure. Day-to-day office workings? Bring it on. Back-breaking manual labor? You bet. (No, actually, I Bet. You Bloggee.) Whatever labor means to you, tell us all about it in an acro.

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 not exactly a workaholic. His work schedule is from 10:00.01 to 10:00.017 on Monday nights. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners, who will receive an all-expense labor-intensive vacation at my house, and the non-winners, who will receive a year's supply of Rice-a-Roni.

So the topic, "Labor." The letters:


Hey, come on - you got a "W," what more could you ask for. Acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* End of the long weekend, and my yard, house (inside and out), and car are all clean. Ahhh, it's a good kind of tired.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and what a lovely end of weekend it is. For tomorrow's a holiday, and we have one more day of unworkly solitude.

It's been a good weekend here at the Pod. A little Friday Chilling, well, after a lawn mow. A trip to B'burg on Saturday for clarinet quartets, then back home to weed eat. Then today, it was cleaning in the inside of the Pod, laundry, and a trip outside to, well, rinse off my house.

My house is quite dirty. I guess it's bound to happen. Last year my friend San's husband pressure-washed it for me and had it looking all spiffy, but he hasn't had the time to do so this year. So today I got out the old water hose and had at it, rinsing down the windows, shutters, and siding. It didn't do a lot to help, but, well, I figured it couldn't hurt.

I also rinsed off my car. Which was a little silly, but I had the hose in hand and all. Maybe I'll get out the soap and water and wash it properly tomorrow.

I guess the big news around here is that I'm about to get new neighbors. Yes, just as I was starting to like the renters in the House to the North (aka Shirley's old house), they've taken their baby and moved out. It was just a week ago that I saw the girl outside, baby on hip, in the front yard, letting baby watch me mow.

My new neighbors? I have no idea. I've seen three different entities, any of which could be the new neighbors. It's either a single woman in a Mercedes (I'm very quickly ruling this one out, because no one with a Mercedes would rent that house - it must be one of the owners), an older toddly-looking couple, or a man on a cane. The single woman and cane man were both friendly when I was working outside. It'll be interesting to see who finally emerges from the door as the dweller.

Well, here's my picture for Picture Sunday.

As you know, I've printed a picture here and there of Alice the Cat, the feline owned by Mr M who loves nothing more than the taste of my flesh and the feeling of my skin in her claws. We've decided she thinks I'm a giant mouse.

Sure, you all don't believe me. You think she's a little angel, and her clawing and biting at me is innocent play. Because this is the Alice the Cat you've seen pictures of.

However, recently Mr M got a picture while Alice wasn't looking. He got a picture of the real Alice. This is the Alice who greets me every weekend.

It's a wonder I have any skin at all.

But now I must close up Picture Sunday for another week, and leave you with the recipe du jour. You know, when thinking up recipes du jour, I go for different things. Sometimes it's purely about the food (my PeanutButter, containing peas, nuts, and butter). Sometimes is purely about the look (my Two-Bedroom Mashed Potato Cottage). Or what I like to call the "Bleccch Factor"(my Jell-o Tuna Salad Extravaganza). Then again, sometimes I just plain old like the idea of something (my Lemon Meringue Pea).

And that's where tonight's recipe du jour comes from. When trying to think up this week's dish, it just kept popping back into my head. Would it work? Would it be photogenic? Finally I decided I didn't care, and went full steam ahead. And so say hello to this week's recipe, from the "Ciao!" file at cardland, Cannellini Cannoli.

Yep, it's easy to make, take your cannoli shell, fill it with some cannellini beans, and top with whipped cream. If you're out to impress, and well, let's face it, I am, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and top with a single cannellini.

A perfect companion to a nice Italian dinner, a small glass of brandy, an espresso, or a package of Tums.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Really. That's the true Alice.