Monday, June 30, 2008

No Acrochallenge, But Picture Sunday Answers

Hello, friends.

This is something of a wild week for me. Lots planned, not least of which is practice and a preview of Mr M's and my duet piece for his recital. We're previewing it Wednesday.

My life's running out of control again. I can't wait till I have it back, though I cannot say when this will be.

Anyway, no acro tonight because my brain is fried, but here are the answers to yesterday's "Guess What It Is."

1. Harry, my sock monkey (Stennie, you should be ashamed.)
2. A toothbrush
3. Eye shadow
4. A bottle of Coke
5. The acrobasket
6. My autoharp
7. A clarinet fingering chart.

Recipe: Pizza.

Winner was Kellie (with an ie), who got five of eight, the dishy Michelle got four of eight, and Stennie got three of eight.

Thanks to all who played!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Picture Sunday

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

Hey! Let's try something we haven't done in a while. No, I'm not putting things on my head. This week's Picture Sunday is a barn-burning game of "Guess What It Is."

For the uninitiated, in "Guess What It Is" I will post a picture of a small square of something. It will be something inside this very home. Your job is to guess what the big picture is. I think this week's edition is quite easy, but I always think that, because I take the pictures and know what they are. We'll see how it plays with the viewing public.

The first one. Guess what it is. Hint: It's in my house, but hasn't been here long.





















The next one. Hint: It's in everybody's house. I certainly hope so, anyway.





















Number three. Hint: I found it ludicrous someone mentioned I use this too much.





















Yet another. Hint: Sits on a shelf in the spare bedroom. It was given to me.





















How about another. Hint: You know this.





















Let's keep going. Hint: Dust it off, take its picture.





















And one final. Hint: A useful item I have for decoration.

















So there you go. Please chime in with your guesses.

And now it's time for the recipe du jour. And since we're playing "Guess What It Is," let's continue that game to the recipe. From the "You Guess It" file at cardland, please say hello to Recipe du Jour.

















Hint on the recip du jour? It's not something I'd make as a normal recipe du jour. It was my dinner tonight. Second hint: I never have this on Sunday nights.

So there you have it. Enjoy.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Please, if you will, head over to the Comfy Chair Cinema and view our latest feature, "The Great Houndini." It was an all-night affair, and we think you'll have fun with it. Everyone involved in the making sure did.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Worst TV Show Ever

Hello.

Let's talk TV. Now, I know I just made a brash title up there. The Worst TV Show Ever? Think of the contenders! Since the television was invented, there have been thousands of rotten shows.

However, the one I'm referring to isn't a sitcom, or drama, or even a sports show. And I have to tell you that I'm making the call here about it being the Worst TV Show Ever after only seeing it twice. Which may not seem very fair, but I think I'm justified.

The Worst TV Show Ever is "Showbiz Today," on CNN Headline News.

Now, "Showbiz Today" has actually been around forever. Think about Ted Turner, and you'll realize that it's been around since, oh, 4 minutes after the introduction of "Entertainment Tonight." Ted was famous for that shit, taking whatever new show had just come out, doing the same show with a cheesily similar name, and slapping it on CNN. "Showbiz Today" used to be a perfect clone of "Entertainment Tonight," and there was nothing wrong with that, it was what it was, and it also had Bill Tush as an anchor, and I refuse to diss anything he was in because I loved the man.

But then "Showbiz Today" faded from view. For a long time. And CNN Headline News stopped being what it was billed as, headline news, and started having actual TV shows programmed into it. Really bad shows. It was a match made in heaven, bringing back "Showbiz Today," expanding it (inexplicably) to an hour, and sticking it into Headline News' new "real show" schedule.

And that's exactly what they did. I now pronounce you network and show.

So I've known about "Showbiz Today" being there on the teevee for some time, but I've not seen it because, well, because I've had no desire to see it. I see all the celebrity crap I care to see going to news websites. After all, CNN and MSNBC treat Britney Spears' running over a photographer's toe with the same importance they do a Middle Eastern summit meeting.

However, I went to bed very late one night last week. It may have been Thursday, but it doesn't really matter. It was late, and I was lying in bed, and I needed some sort of noise in the background, so I flipped on the TV. I'm not sure how I ended up on "Showbiz Today," probably because my glasses were off and I was pushing buttons in the dark, but land there I did. And within about 15 minutes I was lying there, not sleeping, saying, "Holy Lord a Mercy, this is the Worst TV Show Ever."

And see, here's the thing. The reason this show is the Worst TV Show Ever isn't because of the content, well, necessarily, though the content's certainly pretty lame. It's the way the show is set up.

Here's what I experienced lying there in my bed last week.

OK, now the big news that day was that apparently Hulk Hogan was getting death threats, and someone leaked the tapes. Ohhh, yes, I'm sure that has you near the pants-peeing stage, as it did me. It was Big News in the "Showbiz Today" world. Who was sending these threats, and who leaked the tapes? I was there in bed, wishing I was asleep, not giving a flying fuck about any of that - I mean, I can't imagine anyone not sending Hulk Hogan death threats. I was thinking of working up a few myself, only I don't care enough to pay for the phone call to make them.

Anyway, I'm getting way off the beaten path here, and my blog's going to end up being too long anyway, but I had to tell you what the big story was to tell you this.

The show comes on. The host says, "Welcome to 'Showbiz Today,' the most provocative entertainment show on the air." Then he says, "Tonight's breaking story - Hulk Hogan and those death threats - the tapes have been leaked and you'll hear them. But who leaked them? We have an interview with some hoo-hah who has the tapes [my term, not his]." Then a woman, a co-host I guess, popped up and said, "Joan Rivers booted off the air for using the f-word, Denise Richards talking about Charlie Sheen - I'll tell you who I think should just zip it." Apparently Just Zip It is a regular feature, and in introducing that feature, the woman did indeed tell us who she was going to tell to just zip it, so I don't know why they even let her come on the air at that point. She let the cat out of the bag in the first 15 seconds of the show.

So the introduction's over and the show begins. And the host says, "Welcome to 'Showbiz Today,' the most provocative entertainment show on the air." Then he says, "Tonight's breaking story" - and yes, he repeats everything he just said ver batim. Then the woman pops up on a split screen and says, "And I'm going to tell you who I think just just zip it. Joan Rivers got botoed off the air..." and she repeats everything ver batim.

So the host says Mr Hogan has been receiving these death threats, they play some of them, they're silly, they go to the hoo-hah with the tapes, who's a close personal friend of the Hogans and thus proving the Hogans themselves have handed him these tapes, and the host asks who made them and the hoo-hah says he doesn't know, and the host asks who leaked them and the hoo-hah says he's not telling. So the host says, we'll be back with more of this exclusive interview in a few minutes.

Then they switch to the woman on split screen and she says, "Joan Rivers was booted off the air using the f-word, Denise Richards talking about Charlie Sheen - I'll tell you who I think should just zip it." And they go to a commercial.

And I'm not making this up. I hung on for about 40 minutes until I finally and thankfully fell off to sleep, but there was a five minute interview wherein the hoo-hah denied knowing anything, another five minute follow-up of this exclusive interview where the host asked the hoo-hah the same questions and got the same answers, and the rest of that 40 minutes was the host and co-host telling us what was coming up. And in telling what was coming up, they told us the whole story anyway!

This show should have been 10 minutes long! It's an hour!

Well, needless to say, I slept fitfully that night and dreamed of Joan Rivers telling Hulk Hogan to "fucking zip it" or she'd kill him, and when I woke up I thought maybe this was a one-off thing and I was being too harsh. So, and yes, I know it's hard to believe and I should be slapped for it, I made it a point to watch another episode. In fact, I taped one so I could take a few notes.

I taped last night's. I ended up with six pages of notes. I promise you, I'll condense like there's no tomorrow.

OK. The big stories on "Showbiz Today," the most provocative entertainment show, were:

* Hollywood's Baby Drama - has Hollywood influenced the so-called "baby pact" high school kids in Massachusetts?
* Divorce Wars! Stunning court decisions in the Christie Brinkley divorce, and more fighting in the Denise Richards/Charlie Sheen divorce, even though they'd said they were pleased with the judge's initial decision.
* Angelina vs Britney - who's hotter? A smackdown! You'll be surprised at the results!

So there you go. Those announced, we go to a commercial. We come back. "Smackdown! Angelina vs Britney - who's hotter? How did Britney win? We'll tell you a little later!" (Well, so much for "who's hotter," you fucking told us, you dickweeds.)

But first, Hollywood Baby Drama - the shocking story of unwed Hollywood mothers influencing young girls. And so we blah de blah de blah about all the pregnant unmarried Hollywood actresses showing off their stomachs and negotiating to sell their baby pics, and how that makes little girls across the country be pregnant and unmarried. We have psychologists and magazine editors arguing with the host. He can't get a word in edgewise, the only moment of happiness I had during this whole debacle. He's had enough. He turns to the camera.

"Next - Divorce Wars! Speaking of teens, a teenager broke up Christie Brinkley's marriage. We'll tell you about the stunning court decision in her divorce. Also Denise Richards/Sheen" on and on he completely repeats the whole thing from the beginning of the show ver batim. However, he has a trick up his sleeve and announces they're also going to tell us when they come back that Anna Nicole Smith's baby's father bought a bunch of her old lingerie as a gift for the baby. Oh, they're going to tell us that when they get back. How kind of them. Oh, and Angelina and Britney and the smackdown and the surprise and the hotter one.

Now I have to give the guys credit on this one, because when we came back from the commercial we got something completely new. The Amy Winehouse deathwatch (please, we've waited too long already), and that she has emphysema and was smoking coming out of the hospital. "Emphysema - I'm shocked!" the host says to the special correspondent, "Aren't you?" She replies that she's shocked in the way that emphysema is what her grandmother has, and her grandmother is 88 years old. She says, "I mean, who gets emphysema at age 24?" And the host answers, "Someone who lives like Amy Winehouse."

Now, Mr Host, if you answer that someone who lives like Amy Winehouse gets emphysema at age 24 - why in the fiery fuck are you shocked at the news?

God, I hate you, Mr Host.

After that little exchange, the host tells us that Christie Brinkley's divorce had a stunning decision by the judge, and that Angelina and Britney are in a smackdown over who's hotter, and that we'll be surprised at the answer (even though earlier he told us it was Britney), and that we'd get to all that when we came back from the commercial.

And this is sad, but I don't know what the saddest part is. That I was still watching the show, that the the show wasn't even halfway through, or that I was only on page three of my notes. They're all equally sad. And I guess the saddest thing ever in history would be for me to go through the next three pages of my notes, so I won't.

Just suffice to say that for the next half-hour we get more previews of what's coming up, the Angelina vs Britney smackdown that they've already told us who won, the Christie Brinkley divorce stunner that they eventually tell us - in a preview, no less - is that Brinkley won a public trial, and they also tell us that that Richards/Sheen thing is coming up, and that it's going to be that Charlie Sheen wasn't happy his girls missed a visitation.

There was a small tribute to George Carlin, one that lasted about 1/16 of the time they've spent up to now telling us what's coming up and what's in what's coming up, and then they give us a "sneak preview" of a movie called "Eagle Eye," but it's not a sneak preview, it's a trailer.

And finally the host says, "And that's it!"

Although I was thinking, "That's it? You bastards wasted another hour of my life." But I guess I shouldn't have been thinking that, because I did sign up for the viewing.

Thing is, I have a feeling absolutely no one watches this show, and I have a feeling it'll be on for at least the next ten years. Think of the amount of times they can tell us what's coming up, and what's in what's coming up, in ten years.

Stay tuned, and I'll be back to tell you how many times they can tell you what's coming up. It's 14 million, and I'll tell you, coming right up.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* No acrowinners tonight. I got lazy. Can't a girl get lazy sometimes?

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Picture Sunday

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

It was a working weekend. For the most part.

Got home Friday after work, decided to take advantage of my dad's brand new hedge trimmers, and girded my loins for the summer job I hate the most, trimming the hedges. I do it once a year. I cuss a lot. In the past, I've gone at it with manual hedge trimmers, which is good for the artistic but bad for the weenie-armed. Since I decided I'm more weenie-armed than artistic, I asked Paw if I could borrow his new trimmers, he said of course, and so I went at it.

The verdict? Way easier. Way quicker. Still not fun. And very tempting to just take a huge swath through those bastards and cut them to the twigs. But I held back.

And in the end, I think I did a pretty good job. I hope you think so, too, and if you don't, just smile and compliment me anyway.




















Saturday it was to B'burg where the work was of a different type. Clarinet practice. I tried to arrive a little early so Mr M and I could work on the piece we're playing in his recital. Did I mention he's doing another recital? July 10th. He's been kind enough to ask me to be a part of it again, but practice time has been scarce. And though he's very confident about his solo pieces, I'm not at all sure about ours, and I don't want to be the blight on his otherwise perfect performance. So we worked, I whined, yes, I was again Helen Keller to his Annie Sullivan, and I got a little bit more comfortable with it than I had been.

But we took time out for dinner and a movie, which was nice, then I headed back home.

Today it was back to The Yard. (Geez, I'm becoming a regular Linda Lawncare. or Yolanda Yardwork.) Mowing in the heat of the day, followed by weedeating and working with my "we're dead but pretending to hang on" flowers. The humidity was oppressive, but I got through it.

Just in time for a massive hail storm. Hail the size of canned hams!




















OK, maybe golf balls, but it was still something else. And because there can never be enough pictures of the same patch of my yard you've seen a million times....




















And you know what they say. Well, they say that when you're given lemons, you make lemonade. I say when you're given hail, you turn it into the recipe du jour. From the "Enjoy Nature's Wrath" file at cardland, will you please say hello to Hail in a Glass.






















Now, it's a little difficult to make this dish if it hasn't recently hailed in your area, but if it has, you've got it made. Go out in the yard (in your bathrobe), scoop up some hail stones, put them in a glass, and voila - a really lame recipe du jour.

Since I've got a little something else for the Olympic Update, I'll tell you right here that there is a new movie up at the Comfy Chair Cinema. If you like the outdoors, if you like redheaded boys, if you like certain singing actors, or if you just like me, you might want to head over there for. Follow the link on the left in the Blogroll, or just click right here.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* You know, one thing about having a digital video camera at hand is that you can catch events as they're happening. Like, oh, say, hail storms.

video

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Now, Here's a Story

Look at this.




















This is a picture of the engine of my car, podmobile2. As you know, I've had my share of happenings with cars. Podmobile1 was my dream car, right up until the day its steering wheel came off. Then came podmobile2, which has hit a dog (grieved over the dog, and my bumper, which had to be replaced), the oil pan cover has fallen off (badly replaced during a servicing), and currently several items are being held hostage in the back of the car because the back hatch is broken and stuck in the "lock" position (a new one's on order).

Today, podmobile2 hit a new height. And I'll give you the punch line first. I've lightened the above photo - now look down towards the bottom.




















Yep. That's a kitty in the engine of my car.

It started very strangely, as you may imagine. I was going out my door, heading back to work after lunch. The minute I opened the door I heard, "Mrow. Mrow."

I thought, "A cat? Where's a cat?" There are no cats at all around my house.

I spent a good 10 minutes walking around my house saying, "A cat? A cat?" and looking around, but there was no cat to be found. I was dangerously late, so I tried to forget about it and I headed back to work. The trip back was quiet. Upon arrival, my first question to the workmates was, "Is there some kind of bird that sounds like a cat?" That's what I'd decided, because the "mrow" was short, not drawn out like a full-fledged meow. And it never varied. It was the exact same "mrow" every time I heard it. Yeah, it was a bird. A catbird.

Well, no one in the office knows any more about birds than I do, and I was stumped, but I kept thinking about it till five o'clock, when I went back out to the car, which was still quiet, and headed out. I dropped the work deposit by the bank and headed off to the store where I buy hair goop. I bought said goop, and when I opened the door of the shop to head across the parking lot, I could hear the "mrow" from the door of the shop. So the sound was attached to the car and not my house and its surroundings.

I headed home, popped the hood of my car up, and started looking. I got a flashlight. I laid in the driveway. I looked like an idiot, laying and standing in the driveway, putting my head in the engine of my car going, "Meeeowww!" I came inside and caught Mr M online, and asked him if it was possible there could be a cat in my car and he said absolutely it was.

As I was typing I heard it again. "Mrow! Mrow!"

I headed back outside with the flashlight. And for the first time, I finally saw it. Little kitty feet.

I tore back inside, typing as fast as I could. "It is a cat! There's a cat in my motor!"

I went back outside with, yes, I know, an unbent coat hanger. I poked at the feet. And heard more, "Mrow!" I walked around to the side of the car and looked into the engine, and there he was. He was looking up at me saying, "Mrow!" which I guess at that point meant, "Stop poking me with that coat hanger, you harpie!" But I was just trying to get him to move.

See, it was, besides being bizarre, frustrating. He was about six inches away from a ledge which would lead him right out of the car with a little jump. But he wasn't budging. I poked again. He moved to the other side of the car, where there was no little ledge.

And I really started to worry.

It was obvious he was just a kitten. His precious little face kept looking up at me. He didn't understand why I was there, why I was making him move. I knew he had to be hungry, and scared, and that if he didn't soon get out of there he'd end up in a spot where a start of my car would mean no more kitty.

"If I only knew a really skinny person who could get under my car," I thought. Then I thought, "How dumb. My nephew's so thin he only has one side." I called and put out an APB for Taytie. He was mowing a lawn for someone, but his mom said she'd send him over afterwards.

But I couldn't wait. I called my dad, good old Paw. Paw suggested a garage, where they could put the car up on a rack, but it was after six o'clock and everything was closed.

Except Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart, the people who put the oil pan cover on my car wrong, causing it to fall off. But I was desperate. I called. A girl answered. I began, "Please, I promise you I'm not a raving lunatic...."

And so I told my whole story to her, she was very entertained, she left to go talk to some people, and said if I could bring the car in, they'd look at it. After they checked with management to make sure it wasn't against store rules to pull a kitty out of a car's engine. After a short wait, I got the go-ahead.

I put the hood down, girded my loins for one more start of the car, and headed to the Wally World. I parked and went inside.

I waited in the waiting area for quite a while, thinking two things. 1 - Would they be able to dislodge this cat, and 2 - If they did, what in the hell was I going to do with him? I love all animals, and don't want any little creature to be homeless, but I really didn't want a cat right now. If ever. I was getting depressed, and after not seeing my car come into the garage, I decided to get up and walk around. That's when I saw three people at my car, which was still parked in the lot.

I headed out, and almost immediately heard the "Mrow!" There was a girl who worked at the garage under my car, and two of her friends were standing there offering support. One of the girls, a redhead who was maybe 20, had already fallen in love. I said casually, "Want a cat?" She said, "Oh, absolutely. I love cats."

And so we stayed out there for about 45 minutes, two of the girls sticking hands in holes under the car forcing Mr Mrow-Mrow this way and that. At one point he got so close to that little ledge we all started screaming, but he refused to jump down to the parking lot. Instead he took a turn upwards, and was so close to my hand I thought I was going to be able to grab his head. But he still wouldn't have fit through the opening.

"He's going towards the axle!" said Wal-Mart Garage Girl, and about that time, I saw the kitty's head pop out from behind the tire, then duck back down. "My cat's been in the axle of my car before, I can get him now," she continued, and said, "We'll get your kitty for you now."

"He's not my kitty," I replied. "That's why I asked you if you wanted one."

The redheaded girl jumped all over that, and said please could she have him. You bet, I replied.

The Garage Girl then went around to the side of the car and slid underneath it. And in about a minute, out she came with the kitty.

He was teeny. Teeny tiny, and he was adorable. And still going, "Mrow!" I know he had to be hungry.

The three girls were just going ga-ga over him, I made the redheaded girl promise to give him a good home, but I don't think I need to be worried. She was in love with him before she even saw him.

I gave him a little rub on the head and said, "Have a good life, buddy," and he said, as I was walking away, "Mrow!"

"Awww, he's saying goodbye," said the Garage Girl.

And so my car is quiet and there are no signs of life in my engine. Redheaded girl has a new pet, and Garage Girl has a work story she can tell for months to come.

And I don't have to worry about finding a kitten a home.

He sure was a cutie, though. "Mrow!" indeed.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Mrow!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Know It's Wrong, But It Feels Too Good To Stop

I do something that drives my buddy Mr M pretty much batshit crazy. I do a rather long laundry list of those things, actually, but there's only one I'm going to tell you about today.

See, we'll be driving in the car, or sitting around on the couches at his house, Poderosa East, and we'll be having a conversation. Maybe he'll ask me if I want to go to Office Max, that he knew I was looking for some ink cartridges, and he needs a few things, and then he'll ask where I'd like to go afterwards for dinner.

And my reply will be that sure, I'll go to Office Max with him, though I've already been earlier in the day looking for my cartridges to no avail, but I can browse while he gets his items, and I wouldn't mind a trip to Famous Anthony's afterwards for a cheeseburger and fries. I like their food, even though the service leaves a lot to be desired.

Only I'll forget where I am and who I'm with, and the reply will come out like this.

"I'll go, but I done been to Office Max once today lookin' for those cartridges, and they don't have none. I ain't gonna care if you look around for some stuff, though. And I wanna go to Famous Anthony's for cheeseburgers and fries. Cause you know, I love me some taters. Even though the waiters don't got much on the ball."

And sometimes Mr M will call me on it, and sometimes he'll just shake his head and look at me with that expression that says, "You poor little fool." I know that expression well.

I can't help it, though. Well, I guess I can help it, I just don't want to. I call it Hillbonics.

Hillbonics are just, I don't know, they just go with the territory where my friends and I are concerned. We'll get together and talk, and we know the right way to say things, but the more we talk and the more animated we get about what we're saying - sometimes it just has to be said in really bad grammar.

And you know, Mr M should take that as a compliment. After all, he's the one who's always saying, when I'm at his house and feeling kind of lazy and want him to do something like make coffee, or cut up some pepperoni to snack on, "Hey, you're not company, you're family. You do those things yourself." And since I'd never go into a spate of Hillbonics when I'm around folks I wouldn't classify as close friends, he should consider himself family and not company in my world.

But he doesn't. Which is not to say he's not intrigued by the whole Hillbonics World.

In fact, he's been trying to learn some Hillbonics (or should I say, "Learn him some Hillbonics"). He likes to throw in "plum" and "shorely" and the occasional "that-there," for which he should be commended, but he won't won't pass the goal line of bad grammar to score his touchdown.

Cut to today, when I stormed into the office after lunch, more than a bit pissed off because once again the 1200-pound door at the back of our office was stuck. Sure, I could have said, "They need to do something about that door." But it packs no punch. Slightly less punch than, "They need to do something about that fucking door." No, I was pissed about it, and only, "They gonna have to do something about that door" would work. And it did, because the other girls in the office rallied around me, united in hate against that door.

Now, we're not stupid enough to go to the landlord and say, "You gonna have to do something about that door." That would be wrong, and it would be awful. We would simply go to the landlord and ask him to fix the door, as it was stuck once again.

Later in the day, after I'd reached into the pocket of my new pants and found a little sticker saying, "Inspected by 37" in there, this little exchange took place:

Me: Hmmm. My pants were inspected by #37. (Truth be told, I said, "My paints were inspected by #37.")
Boss: Did they pass?
Me: Well, they ain't fell off yet, so I guess they did.

Because "ain't fell off" is much more fun than "haven't fallen off." See, I know which is right, and I know which is fun.

I've also been caught by my podcast-mate Stennie going a little over the edge on the Hucklebug. And it happens because I'm feeling loose and happy and unconstrained (whether lubricated with alcohol or not), and the listeners are my friends, and, "I don't got a highlight this week" pops out instead of, oh, say, "Tsk, tsk, I haven't a single highlight to my name." Which I don't think I'd ever say anyway, even in a room containing Queen Elizabeth and the Pope, so maybe that was a bad example.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, except back to that spot that says sometimes it's just fun to let loose with some grammar that would make my past English teachers' heads explode, just like it's fun sometimes to let out with a string of curse words that would embarrass a ship full of sailors. And that, just like with the cursing, you have to be around the right group of people to do it.

I can remember not so long ago when Ebonics were all the rage, and English professors were publishing articles about it being the death of the English language, writing those articles at the same time other English professors were welcoming it as a modern mode of speech and writing. Both sides were wrong. (Yes, the Oracle of Bet has spoken.) Ebonics are fine when used to embellish a conversation with some like-minded folks. I'm just not sure I'd want to read a research paper, "The Effects of the Presidency of Millard Fillmore on the Average 21st Century American," written in Ebonics. Or plain English or any other language, and once again I seem to be drifting.

Just rest assured that if I'm in your presence and start spouting lines that make me sound like I've been raised in the hills, well, I have. But I still know the correct way it goes.

It just means I done decided you're my friend.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, what are you all spending your stimulus checks on?
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her, "Help educate darling Nick, needs PHD."
- And this week's winner is Kellie (with an ie), with her, "Have Entertaining Dinner. Need New Patio."
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Acrochallenge!

Hello, lovers of letters, and welcome to another round of acromania.

Guess what I got in the mail today? Well, I got a letter telling me my government stimulus check was coming, and right behind it in the pile was my government stimulus check. So, boy, were they right!

OK, so I like getting a free $600 in the mail as much as anyone, but I think the government stimulus check is possibly the worst idea in governmental history. Well, save for the 2000 election and the war in Iraq. And Viet Nam. And so maybe it's only in the Top Ten worst ideas, but that doesn't mean I'm sending my money back.

And of course, we're supposed to spend, spend, spend like there's no tomorrow with these checks, which is precisely why everyone's financial status is in the dumper anyway, so I'm banking most of mine, thanks very much. I kept a little out, and the present I bought myself that will get this country back on its feet? A Water Pik. Something I wouldn't have bought for myself otherwise, but they've come out with this new fancy one, and so my teeth are in for a real treat, at least until I decide it's too much trouble or takes up too much time.

Anyway, tonight's acrotopic. "What Are You Spending Your Stimulus Check On?"

That's right, go wild, buy anything, as long as it matches the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket hasn't filed income tax since 1971, so he won't be getting a check. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, and I'll be reading the entries at 10:00 est tomorrow night and naming the winners.

The topic? "What Are You Spending Your Stimulus Check On?" The letters:

H E D N N P

Endorse, spend - and play.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I also bought some Comet Cleanser with my stimulus check, but I'd have bought that anyway, so it doesn't count.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Picture Sunday

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

My weekend started with a bang - because I got paid! I had been so damn broke the past 10 or so days, no food in the house, eating single pieces of lunchmeat and scrapings from the bottoms of bags, but with a paycheck in hand, I went to the grocery and bought like a madwoman.

Then I got home, got everything put away, and it rained, thus keeping me from mowing my yard, which was starting to grow way over my ankles. So I stayed in and chilled.

Band concert on Saturday, so I headed, in the still-bad weather, to B'burg, picked up Mr M, and headed to the concert site. We stood around in the wet for about 10 minutes, and the call came. We were canceled. I was happy.

See, I'm perfectly happy to go play an outdoor concert, but if there's been any rain, I want it canceled. Chairs are wet, the ground's wet, you can't put your instrument case anywhere, it's messy, the tent covering us drips.... It's just not fun. I gave a happy cheer at the cancellation, then Mr M and I went back to his house for some clarinet duets, went out for dinner, then watched a movie. Then I headed home, because I wanted to be home today for one more try at the grass.

And the weather finally cooperated. Damn, it was hot, though. I'm used to mowing after work, not in the midday sun. But I got it done, got the grass bagged and dragged to the curb, tended to my flowers a bit, which had been looking like the walking dead but finally seem to be perking up a bit, and came inside for a rest before heading to the folks' (Granny & Paw's), because of course, today is Father's Day.

Granny made hot wings, everyone was there, much merriment was made, and it was a nice way to end the weekend.

And from this evening comes the 2008 Father's Day Me & Paw Photo.






















Then we decided to do a mad one, just for fun.
























Then it was home. Where my recipe du jour was gelling in the fridge.

You know, I mow grass an awful lot. And it seems so wasteful to always be throwing out three leaf and garden bags full of grass. I decided I needed to do something useful with that grass, and by damn, I hit on something today. Make a nutritious party food with it! From the "Go Green!" file at cardland, would you please welcome into your homes the Cheesy Grass Ball.
























Yes, there it is, looking very much like the clump of nature that it is. The Cheesy Grass Ball consists of melted cheese mixed with a goodly portion of grass. I used lots of grass, because, well, I have enough. I don't think I'm going to run out anytime soon. Then refrigerate, top with almonds, and garnish with an olive, because olives make things so much more festive.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Yes, it's true! A brand new movie is up at the Comfy Chair Cinema! And what better way to celebrate Father's Day than to head over to the cinema and check out one history's great father-son teams. Go now, while the lines are short!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Your Humble Blogger Apologizes

For falling asleep halfway through a blog that was going nowhere anyway.

DeepFatFriar wins acro with his, "Oh, Jesus, Khalid! Hell evaporated!"

Apologies again, I'll do better next time when I'm awake.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Acrochallenge!

Hello, lovers of letters everywhere. Welcome to another round of acromania.

Tonight will be the shortest acropost ever. This week's topic? "It's Hot."

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 melted Saturday. (He went out for a walk.) Tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

The topic? "It's Hot." The letters:

O J K H E

Now start fanning yourself and acro.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Picture Sunday

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

You know, it may be a happy commune we have here at the Poderosa, but it also gets a little crowded sometimes. Let's see, we've got Sherman and Peabody, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Good Luck Baby Lily, Mr Peanut, Che Guellama, and Gossamer the Monster. We have fun, but it's often loud, and sometimes I'd just like a little peace and quiet.

Enter Mr M.

Apparently my buddy Mr M, who has no cartoon characters living with him and doesn't understand the undertaking it can be, has been having a few conversations with Mr Peabody. It seems Peabody gets a little lonely on occasion, you know, being the only genius in the house and not living in Manhattan anymore, and wanting to talk nuclear physics and only having Huckleberry Hound at hand.

And Mr M went into action.

He found Peabody a colleague. Straight from the Big Lab in Muppetopia, he sent for Dr Bunsen Honeydew.





















Yes, there he is, telling me how my washing machine works. I don't really care how it works, I just care that it does.

Anyway, Bunny is really quite sweet, and everyone's getting along very well with him. Lily seems to find him something of a giant teddy bear (she calls him Bun Bun), Huckleberry made him a Boston Creme Pie, Quick Draw's teaching him to play poker, and, well, Peabody has been going through all his chemistry books for some serious conversation.

Here is the Monumental Meeting of the Minds.
























By the way, don't ask me, because I don't have the nerve to ask Bunny why he's green. I don't want to hurt his feelings, and am just assuming it was a lab experiment gone awry.

And if that wasn't enough, and believe me, it was - I got into the act and brought someone else into the house this weekend.

See, we're not quite sure how it happened (actually, we are - I was too lazy to create a logo), but the official logo and mascot of the Hucklebug podcast has become a sock monkey. Stennie stuck a sock monkey's picture up on the website as a logo, and we both liked it so much neither of us wanted to take it down. I gave her a sock monkey for Christmas, we gave LilyG's little baby Nicholas one for being born, and when I passed one in a store yesterday, I couldn't resist. It didn't matter if I wanted to. He jumped into my cart and sat there, riding around with me in the little child seat portion of the cart. I couldn't have just dumped him at the register now, could I?

So please say hello to Harrigan, also known as Harry. As in, "I'm just wild about...." (My favorite song Michigan J Frog sings.)

























Harry is now sitting by the computer, waiting for the podcast record tomorrow night. He's anxious to hook up with Bubsy, Stennie's sock monkey. It should be a real treat for them both.

Unfortunately, my dear blogees, there is no recipe du jour this week. This is because the Comfy Chair Cinema movie took up my entire day. It was a long process, a whopping six hours, and after it was over with I realized it was 10:00 and I hadn't had dinner. So I made my own recipe du jour and ate it.

I'll do better next time.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Yes, folks, it is true - the Comfy Chair Cinema movie is an epic! Four minutes long, and you'll kick yourself if you miss it. Really, you will. Head over there now and give it a look. Thanks!

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mea Culpa

Check the news. Go ahead, I dare you. Boy, has there been a lot of apologizing going on lately.

I mean, just Friday I blogged about Sharon Stone and her "karma" misstep, and it didn't take long - well, until people started hissing when she walked down the street - for her to start falling over herself with apologies. Little Miley Ray Hannah Montana girl was giving the puppy eyes and the "I'm sorry" all over the place when she showed up on the cover of Vanity Fair all tarted up and naked. She didn't apologize for her father's mullet and the fact that he sang "Achy Breaky Heart," which would probably have been more appropriate. But I guess that's his apology to make.

In other celebrity knee-dippings and grovelings, Joaquin Phoenix issued an apology for missing the Cannes Film Festival - because he has the stomach flu. He apologized because he's sick. I mean, I'm sure he's very sorry he has the stomach flu, and though I don't know him, I'm rather sorry he has the stomach flu. But he doesn't have to project an apology overseas for there being one less monkey at the circus that is Cannes.

Hulk Hogan's son Nick is apologizing profusely for causing a car accident that left his (presumably former) friend in a something of a vegetative state. "I apologize.... Every single day I think about the accident and John." Yes, apparently you are thinking of it every day - as you sit in your jail cell trying to cop a deal for a reality TV show about what it will be like when you get out of prison. (This is true, I'm not making this up. I wish I was. Sorry.) (See? Now they've got me doing it!)

Jerry Springer recently apologized for, well, for "The Jerry Springer Show." And that's one apology I was happy to see. Apparently he's not so sorry for it he's giving back all the money he made, but in an effort to wipe his slate clean and get on to loftier pursuits like hosting "America's Got Talent," he's burying the hatchet with us all for perpetrating "The Jerry Springer Show" on us for, what, 15 years? Is he just now sorry, or was he sorry the whole time? Couldn't he have gotten really sorry about it about four years in and ended the whole thing?

In sports backdowns, Roger Clemens is terribly sorry for having an affair with country singer Mindy McCready when she was only 15. Actually, he's terribly sorry it came out that he had an affair with country singer Mindy McCready when she was only 15. Actually, Clemens should just issue a blanket apology for being a total blowhole, and for promising to retire over and over. Oddly enough, Ms McCready has been mum on the whole affair subject, but a while back she apologized for being caught drinking and driving for about the 12th time.

The Beijing Olympic Committee is just crushed and sorry that they issued volunteers a handbook on dealing with the throngs of tourists coming to the Olympics that had a little section called, "Dealing With The Disabled." This section contained such nuggets of wisdom as the disabled have "unusual personalities because of their disfigurements," and that the disabled also "can be very stubborn and controlling." Which you know, the disabled can be stubborn and controlling. They can also be very nice folks. The able-bodied can be stubborn and controlling as well. They should have just left out the title of the chapter "The Disabled," and substituted "Olympics Fans In General."

The world of politics is awash in apologies. This is because politicians are generally boobs and idiots and are always sticking their foot in it, coupled with the fact that politicians are never supposed to, on occasion, eat their feet.

Bill Clinton is apologizing to a journalist from Vanity Fair for calling him "sleazy" and "a scumbag." Which, you know, if that's what Bill thinks, it's what he thinks, I don't see why he should apologize for it. Of course, he should have just called the fellow a sleazy scumbag to his face instead of in the national papers. I have a feeling, though, Bill isn't the least bit sorry the Miley Ray Hannah Montana girl got naked and tarted up for a cover of Vanity Fair.

Bill's wife and limping candidate Hillary has had to do her share of sorrying. First there was that whole "I was in Bosnia with bullets flying past my head" statement, which proved to be untrue, and to her credit, she pretty much came out and said, "Hey, I'm sorry, I kind of, well, you know, lied." Takes a fair amount of guts. Then she made that gaffe that still boggles the mind, or my mind, because it was so bizarre and out of left field. That one a couple of weeks ago about her staying in the race until the California Primary because, well, you know, that's where Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Huh? She didn't quite cop to much when apologizing for that one, that one was more of an, "I'm so sorry everyone in the free fucking world took that the wrong way." I guess one "it's my fault, totally" is enough for her.

Obama's not immune. He's had to apologize a couple of times recently, one for the zany-ass church he attends, it's more dinner theatre, really, and performances that have taken place on the stage. Uh, pulpit. First there was Reverend Jeremiah Whore, sorry, Wright, who was just dying to get in the spotlight - and did. Then came the just as odious Reverend Michael Pfleger, who certainly could take the church version of the Oscar (©) with his impersonation of Hillary Clinton. Obama has apologized for the goings-on in his church so much - well, so much he left the church! Which must be kind of sad, as they sure put on an entertaining Sunday morning service, but if the performances keep up Barack will still be able to view them on all the news shows through the week.

Then, Barack recently apologized to news reporter Peggy Agar for saying to her - yes, for actually saying to her, when she asked him a question while he was occupied with some other people, "Just one second, sweetie." Well, I never! The nerve! What has the world come to when, instead of ignoring the woman right out, he turns to her to acknowledge he sees her, then calls her what I consider a term of endearment. No, "Beat it, sleazebag," no, "Outta my way, bitch." "Just one second, sweetie." Well, anyway, he called and left a flowery message of apology on her answering machine.

On the subject of zany-ass preachers, John McCain has had to apologize for his association with John Hagee, the creepy conservative shithead preacher who hates gays, Jews, Catholics, and anyone not just like him, and almost said that Hitler wasn't such a bad guy. McCain started running, hands waving in the air, from this man, and said he was sorry the shithead seemed to like him so much. Once the press got hold of some of Hagee's rantings, anyway.

Dick Cheney, who has, let's face it, so much to apologize for, tried to make a joke earlier this week when talking about his family tree. He mentioned inbreeding, he mentioned West Virginia. And Senator Robert Byrd mentioned something about taking him behind the White House and kicking his ass till he had his fourth heart attack, but was kind enough to do it in private so it didn't make the papers. Now Cheney has apologized to West Virginia, inbreeders, and anyone else who'll still listen to this douchebag.

Oddly enough, you know who isn't apologizing? Right. George Bush. This is because George Bush never apologizes. George Bush is like the schoolyard bully who does whatever it takes to get what he wants. He's the one man with the most to apologize for.

He won't, though. Never will. But I will. I'm truly sorry I live in a country full of people stupid enough to have voted for the man not once, but twice.

Hear me? I'm sorry!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So speaking of politicians, tell me your campaign promises.
- Honorable Mention goes to - ME! (cause no one else played)
- Runner-Up goes to River Selkie (you are not an acronothing!), with her, "No lacey tights, real gams exposed!" Going for the sex vote!
- And this week's winner goes to DeepFatFriar, with his, "Nuclear lemon trees! Revivication! Genetic engineering!" I didn't realize the Looney Party was back on the ticket!
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Acrochallenge!

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

I would normally say it's still a little early for this particular acro, but I don't know why. The 2008 election process started approximately four years ago, and frankly, I'm sick of it. Obama and Hillary are still fighing like cats and dogs, and McCain has decided to head them off at the pass and start fighting with Obama. So, well, why not?

This week's acrotopic is, "What Is Your Campaign Promise?"

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 really wishes I could get the previous sentence all comma'ed up right. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

The topic: "What Is Your Campaign Promise?" The letters:

N L T R G E

Now, go shake some hands and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Unlike the Rolling Stones, time is not on my side, has never been on my side, and I think time and I will probably end up getting into a fistfight before it's all over with.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders. Welcome to another round of Picture Sunday.

You know, I was going to skip Picture Sunday this week, seeing as how I had no pictures, then I thought, "No, I can't do that because I skipped it last week and that wouldn't be fair." Then after I started things I remembered that I did do a Picture Sunday last week. Yes, my memory is that dim.

Anyway, I did a bit of inside cleaning and straightening this weekend, mainly in anticipation of Mr M's arrival for dinner and clarinet duets today, but alas, he couldn't make it. So I immediately became very lazy and spent a lot of time in the Comfy Chair watching movies.

Speaking of the Comfy Chair and movies, yes, it's true, there is a new movie up at the Comfy Chair Cinema, or at least there will be as soon as I can post it after I finish this blog. It's, well, I won't spoil it for you. You'll just have to go and look for yourself.

Hey, let's talk recipes du jour.

Have you ever had the urge to beat on someone, and possibly enjoy a sweet chewy snack afterwards? If so, tonight's recipe is right up your alley. From the "Candy Punishment" file at cardland, will you please say hello to Licorice Whip.
























It doesn't get any easier than this. All you need for the Licorice Whip is, well, a piece of licorice and the desire to whip someone. Mr Peabody and Sherman demonstrate above. Disclaimer: Of course Mr Peabody doesn't whip Sherman, and Sherman is smiling because he knows he gets the licorice once the picture is taken.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* It's not time for next week already, is it?
* Don't forget to visit the Comfy Chair Cinema. Now offering licorice whips in the lobby!

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