Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thanks, Bill...

...for taking one for the team. I don't care what anybody says about you (and you know I'd vote for you over and over if you could run), you're a hell of a speaker.

And on to acrowinners!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, what is your remedy for a headache?
- Honorable Mention goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Nutritious Apples Help Gigantic Pressure." Well, they do say it keeps the doctor away.
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her very special usage of the horrible first draw (I I O O E), "Ice, Indolence, Oprah, Oxycontin, Excedrin." Brave acro, but Oprah gives me a headache.
- And this week's winner is DeepFatFriar, ever the realist, with his "Nothing. A headache gives purpose." That sounds like something my dad would say. "In my day, we went around for weeks with a headache! And were grateful!"


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This Woman Must Be Stopped!

No, not Hillary Clinton. She's already been stopped, she just doesn't know it. (Sorry, Clintons, I used to love you both so dearly, but you're just acting like tantrum-throwing babies lately.)

I sometimes watch things on TV I'm not proud of. In fact, I'm quite ashamed of them. Train Wreck TV, I call it. I consider the horrible but addictive "Wife Swap" as part of this embarrassing fare.

Lately I've been watching something that I absolutely hate, something that makes my blood boil, and I always seem to find my way to it whether I want to or not. I'm not proud of it, no, and I don't know why I keep tuning in. I guess just so I can sit there and focus all the hate in my life upon one person. That person is Nancy Grace.

My buddy LilyG did a blog concerning Nancy a while back. She's the only other person I know of who's caught her abomination of a show, which plays nightly on CNN Headline News. Yes, CNN Headline News isn't about headlines anymore, it's about one-hour programming, all shitty, but this is shitty in such a different way.

Nancy Grace is supposedly a former prosecutor, or that's how she advertises herself - "feisty former prosecutor." And she may be a former prosecutor, but I disagree with the feisty. She's just a self-important, flat-out bitch. It's a word I hate using, but sometimes those words I hate just fit.

And LilyG was correct in what she said about Nancy Grace and her little show. She picks a topic, runs a fake trial on it, decides the outcome, and it doesn't matter if there are any facts supporting that outcome or not. And of course, with her being a former prosecutor and all, that outcome is always "guilty." Yes, she picks her headline, which is almost always a murder, decides who did it, and talks for an hour on how and why that person did it. She brings on a rotating bullpen of talking heads, all cronies of hers, to agree with her, and every once in a while she'll bring in someone new who has a differing viewpoint. She tells that new person off and goes to commercial before that person can reply. The person is then mysteriously missing after the commercial break, and I'd like to see her take on one of the those mysteries - "Where Did My Guest Go?"

Nancy also takes phone calls from viewers, 99% of which are cloying and agreeing with whatever her viewpoint is. These calls invariably begin with, "I love you so much, I watch you every single night," or, "Nancy, I love you and you're the most beautiful woman on TV." However, as with the talking heads, there will be the odd phone call from someone who doesn't love Nancy or think she's the most beautiful woman on TV, and that person will offer a differing viewpoint, after which Nancy will tell that person off and hang up the phone, then go to commercial.

Now this is just part of the standard Nancy Grace show fare, but there's so much more about this show to hate. And what's going on on her show right now is what she's so good at - taking a case and picking it to fucking pieces.

OK, first of all, let's go back a bit. The last time I caught this show, not this current run, but about 6 weeks ago, she was on some case where a woman was missing. Missing, and Nancy had decided that the woman had been murdered and the husband did it. No body had been found, the man hadn't been taken into custody, he was cooperating with police, but the woman was dead and he did it. There was a blinding moment of sense in my life (for once) where I decided I hated Nancy Grace and her show so much I couldn't watch it anymore, ever. And I was really good about that.

But as happens sometimes, I'm lying in bed, it's very late, I can't sleep, and I switch on the TV. That happened some weeks ago, and why oh why, why, Lord, did you let me hit CNN Headline News, I happened upon Nancy Grace. It was about 3am. She was "working on a case," the same case she's working on to this very day. The case of the missing toddler in Florida, Caylee. If you're not familiar, well, you've been living under a rock, but just in case you have been, Caylee went missing for about a month, the mom never reported it, said she put the child in a nanny's charge and wasn't particularly worried, but the grandmother couldn't get the mother to produce the child and so the police were called. It's been a swampy mudland of contradicting stories, allegations, and dead ends ever since, and Nancy is just wetting her pants over this case.

Of course, Nancy says the child is dead and the mother killed her. And you know what? Could be! Could not be! No one knows! There are a lot of us living in this world, and 99.999 repeating percent of us do not know what's going on in this case. And the .00000 repeating percent who do aren't talking. But Nancy's talking, and she won't shut up. And she's not going to shut up until 1) this mystery is solved, after which she'll find a way to take credit for it, or 2) another case comes along she finds more interesting.

And I really hope this kid is alive and OK somewhere, with someone, but I feel guilty that about half the reason I hope that is so that Nancy will be proved wrong and will possibly have to eat her words on national TV, which of course she won't, she'll just go to commercial, then find some new person's misery to cash in on.

There are a couple of things about this show that just blow my mind, small things to most, but stuff that drives me batshit crazy.

One is that Nancy, and all her talking head cronies on the show (I'm convinced they've been instructed), when doing a show on a child who's been a victim of some crime or other, refer to that child as nothing but - "a little girl," "a beautiful little girl," or "a beautiful little 5-year old girl." Of course she's little, she's five fucking years old, you dolt.

The other is that every single show Nancy does, no matter what the subject (I've seen two missing kids, a missing wife, and random feet washing upon the shore, that story didn't last too long, I guess she couldn't come up with a person to prosecute for amputating random feet), every single show, there is a video overlay imposed at the bottom of the TV screen that says, and I quote, "Breaking News!" Then underneath it gives some tidbit of the case. "Breaking News! Husband of missing woman goes out to the mailbox to check his mail. Looks guilty."

Now, this Caylee case has been the sole focus of Nancy's show for some two months. And every night (well, that I've seen it, and that's more nights than I should), down at the bottom of the screen, it's, "Breaking News! Little Caylee's mom goes to party!" "Breaking News! Caylee's mom borrowed shovel from neighbor!" "Breaking News! Brother calls little Caylee's mom at jail!" I swear to you, the other night it was, "Breaking News!" Tot's mom let out of house arrest for two hours to go to church." If this keeps on, I envision, "Breaking News! Little Caylee's mom sneezes twice, coughs once, calls pharmacy."

I have a vacation coming up, and more than anything in the world, I want to just disappear for a week. To get away from it all, sure, but for another reason as well. I'd tell the family not to worry about me, but that I was heading out. Then I'd get someone, possibly LilyG since she hates Nancy Grace as much as I do, to call the Nancy People to tell her that a woman has gone missing in Virginia. Then I'd hole up in a hotel for the next week, watching Nancy talk about how I was murdered, who did it (she'd hone right in on Mr M, she'd have him convicted and heading to The Chair), and how it was done. I'd watch all the video captions ("Breaking News! Suspect in woman's murder blithely plays clarinet!"), then at the end of the week I'd show up with a cheery wave and a, "Boy, was that a relaxing vacation!"

And then Nancy would say, "I thought it was something like that, but that Mr M's guilty of something, I'm telling you right now! I'll bet he cheats on his taxes, or runs red lights!" Then she'd go to commercial.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Remember, all - you have one more night to acro. I won't be judging till tomorrow night. Look below for the acrotopic.



Hello, lovers of letters, lovers of life. Welcome to a late round of acromania. I just plum forgot last night. It's OK, we'll put this one up today, then I'll judge tomorrow night, giving you a precious few hours more to acro.

You know, I'm feeling OK today, and did last night as well, but as I've told you more than a few times lately, I'm having regular headaches. I mean, headaches at regular intervals. There's nothing regular about the actual pain of the headaches. It's stress, I know that. I've now bought some Head-On (Apply Directly to the Forehead!), and I'm ready to do the Soltice vs Head-On challenge. Head-On has already lost in the price department. It's damned expensive, and I think my paying that much for a tube of the stuff has ensured that I'll never get another headache again.

Anyway, this week's acro: "What Is Your Remedy For A Headache?"

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, one that matches the topic above and the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket doesn't get headaches. He gives them. And is proud of it. Then tomorrow night (yes, that's Weds night) at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So, the topic, "What Is Your Remedy For A Headache?" The letters:

OK, redraw. 2 Is, 2 Os, and an E.

The letters:


So there. Ice your head and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* It's funny. They've packed up and gone home, and there's still beach volleyball going on.
* Boy, that Jimmy Page has sure gone white-headed, hasn't he? I say good on him. Let that white hair fly, boy.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Forgive Your Humble Blogger

For there is no Picture Sunday, no recipe du jour. There's not even an Olympic Update.

Woke up with a headache today, drove home with it, it followed me into the house, and though I asked it politely to leave, it did not. Tylenol and a hot bath have helped, but not much.

I'm just tired, folks. I'm very, very tired.

I'll get back to where I need to be.


Thursday, August 21, 2008


Well, not really. Well, a little bit. I don't know.

When asked today, over the phone at work, how I was doing, I said, "Fine," but said it in such a way that the lady picked right up on it and answered, "Mmm hmm. You sound fine. Frustrated, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted." She was right. Funny how she picked up on it and no one I sit in that office with has.

Anyway, I really need a vacation, and I finally scheduled one for the week of Sept 8. If I make it that long without my head blowing apart.

I had no intentions of blogging last night, sorry about that, but had a few tonight, only after an hour-long swim and a pitcher of martinis, those intentions went by the wayside about as quickly as you might imagine. I sat down for a little Olympics, and fell flat-ass asleep.

Anyway, speaking of swimming, I'll tell you a little something. I have a wonky ear.

Now, this isn't something that just cropped up. It's not sore, or injured. It's wonky, and I guess it always has been.

When ear bud headphones became all the rage, when people were first buying them to use with their mobile CD players, I wouldn't buy any. I couldn't help but think they'd be terribly uncomfortable and the sound wouldn't be as good as a nice, cushy, comfortable pair of headphones.

Then came that fateful day I got, and subsequently became engaged to, my iPod, and of course it came with the ear buds. And while I was very wrong about the sound, the sound's wonderful, I've always been frustrated with the fit.

Because the left ear bud is always either falling out, or on the verge of falling out, of my left ear.

I first noticed this while walking the track. I thought I was inserting it badly, or the wind was catching me as I rounded the turns, or, I don't know, I was sweating it out. But I was constantly fiddling with that left ear.

When I mow, I start out by putting in the ear buds, popping in the right, then fiddling like shit with the left and never having it comfortable. It stays like that during the entire mow, and when I take a drink break on the step of the dennette, I tend to wipe sweat and play with my left ear bud.

And when I swam last night, a light bulb went off over my head, which normally puts one at the risk of electrocution, I suppose, but I somehow escaped. I use earplugs when I swim, and there I was, sitting with my legs dangling over the pool, fiddling like shit with - my left earplug.

My left ear is just wonky! Nothing fits in it right!

I would look to see if it's misshapen somewhere around the ear hole, but that's not really something one can examine easily, even with a mirror. Maybe I'll take a close-up picture of it. There's a Picture Sunday blog not for the squeamish.

Now, I've used earplugs for years when swimming, and I guess I've always done a lot of fiddling, but I didn't really notice it till today, after the ear bud debacle. Maybe that's why I never wanted to try those in the first place, wanted to stick with nice, cushy, comfortable headphones.

The earplugs I wear when swimming are made by Speedo and therefore must be awfully trendy and possibly Olympicly-endorsed, but they're quite odd. They look like beehives and are tiny but football-shaped, with ridges in them to (I guess) keep them snug in the ear.

After slipping the right one in last night, and then jamming the left one in after much sturm and drang, I had a nice swim, then afterwards - couldn't dislodge the left one! It was stuck in there like nobody's business, and though I could probably accept that with the ear bud, at least I wouldn't have to constantly fiddle with it, with the earplug it was frustrating and, frankly, painful. It took a good two minutes of pulling to get it out.

And so I have a wonky ear. And a blog, I guess.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* It seems to be a consensus with me and my nearest and dearest that silver medal gymnast Jonathan Horton is a little cutie pie. He also should have been the gold medalist. More gymnastics cheating.
* Women's beach volleyball is finally over! Finally over! Of course it ended with the Americans winning, rolling around in the sand in their bikinis, hugging, and that's exactly what NBC had been waiting for all this Olympic time.
* My vote for best sport and nice person so far goes to hurdler Lolo Jones. She lead till the last hurdle, which she clipped, then tripped, finishing seventh. Knelt on the track for some time in stunnned disbelief, then got up, did an interview, was very kind and matter of fact in saying, "Hey it happens to everyone, and doesn't it just suck that it happened to me at the Olympics," then - interrupted her interview to hug and congratulate the silver medalist. I like her.
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, what Olympic event will you be competing in?
- Bronze medal is a tie between Kellie (with an ie), with her "Nifty Evangelical Reasoning Award," and LilyG, with her "Norwegian Elk 'Rasslin. Absolutely."
- Silver medal is a tie between Duke, with his "Nanoscale Electronic Robot Archery," and DeepFatFriar, with his "Neo-Existential Retrograde Aquatics," in which I think they'd both probably win the gold medal.
- And this week's gold medal goes to Patrick (my little Patrick), with his "Noticing Englebert, Running Away." Perfect Olympic event. The field takes off from the start line, jogging in a straight line. At some point, Englebert Humperdinck shows up on the track, then all the entrants turn around and run, screaming, hands waving in the air, back to the start line. The one reaching the start line first is the winner
- Thanks to all who played. Now accept your medals and flowers, and stand for the national anthem from Patrickonia.


Monday, August 18, 2008


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

As you well know, the Olympics are smack-dab upon us. So this week's acro will be easy. "What Event Would You Compete In In The Olympics?" Two-Man Poker? Tiddly Wink Throwing? Well, let's see what the acrobasket gives us.

All the rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, one that matches the topic above and the letters below. The letters are, as always, drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket took the gold in Desk Sitting (Individual). Tomorrow night at 10:00 est I'll be reading the entries and judging the winners.

The topic, "What Even Would You Compete In In The Olympics?" The letters:


So, go for the gold, and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Foul, foul things are afoot at the gymnastics competition. I don't care what they say. There's cheatin' out there.
* Trampolining was fun to watch. Reminded me of a hundred May Day celebrations in the school gym.
* I've found the perfect job for me. Driving that little white podmobile that zooms around the track with runners filming them. I want to ride in that podmobile!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Picture Sunday

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

Not much to report. I stayed home this weekend, hung out, barely left my house, had a nice Friday Chill Night, and spent a lot of the weekend making this week's Comfy Chair Cinema offering. But more on that later.

Of course, as a result I have no pictures, and I didn't really have a recipe du jour. However, this week's Picture Sunday has ended up being nothing but recipes du jour!

See, it all began this way.

Some weeks ago I was at my mom's, aka Granny's, and had my camera. She has a pie holder that's, well, it's a glass pie. You put your pie in a pie, which has for some reason always made me giggle, and I thought I'd take a picture of that glass pie, then when I was stuck for a recipe du jour I could pull it out as a last resort.

Thing is, lighting was bad, my hands weren't steady, and the picture was horrible. I made a card of it anyway.

And so came tonight, that night I was stuck for a recipe du jour, and I pulled out that picture. I also pulled out the original and decided to have some fun with it. So welcome to Picture Sunday - The Paint Shop Pro Edition.

Remember the opening of the old sitcom "Family Affair?" Bouncy music (dah dah dah DAH dahdah dahdah dah) and a kaleidoscope visual. Well, from the "Looks Like the Opening of 'Family Affair'" file at cardland, it's Kaleidoscope Pie.

The next one's a little pointilistic, an art form I was always fond of. It also looks rather etched, so from the "It's Sketchy" file at cardland, would you please say hello to Etchy Pie.

Oh, my - where's the pie? Someone put it in the shower! From the "Outside Looking In" file in at cardland, here's Pie in the Shower.

And here's my personal favorite. I've heard tell it's was the favorite of the late Timothy Leary. I'm not sure of the ingredients, but from the "It's A Trip" file at cardland, man, it's the Groovy Pie.

So there you go. More recipe cards than you can shake a stick at, and I didn't even have to cook.

I'm really happy with this week's Comfy Chair Cinema movie, and I ask you all to go here and have a look at it. It's called "2001 (Sort Of)," and a lot of work went into it. It has stop motion photography, location shooting, homemade sets, slow motion, fade-ins and fade-outs, and some of fine, fine acting.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My oh my, the Olympics I've watched. It's all becoming a blur by now.
* The guy who won the men's 100 meters was so fast, he quit fucking running 3/4 of the way through and still smoked everyone. Speaking of smoking, he was from Jamaica.
* I love watching badminton. It reminds me of my childhood playing badminton, only the shuttlecock wasn't batted at me at 100 mph. The girl who won looked like smokin' Dr Javier. (Again, speaking of smoking.)
* If you haven't seen it, this was one of the more interesting moments of the games. It involves an injury, though, so if you're squeamish, I wouldn't head that way. (At least they sent someone to cover him up.)
* How many beach volleyball games can there be? I like the scoring system, but dammit all to hell, it's all they have.
* My absolute favorite moment of the games so far: A French weightlifter had the silver medal sewed up, but could win the gold if he attempted a 430-lb lift. He went to the barbell, rubbed his hands, leaned over it, grabbed the bar, made a face, waved his hand "nahhhh," and walked off. That's the most French thing I believe I've ever seen.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain!

As we all know, the Olympics are now in full swing. And now the secrets are coming out.

Not that I'm a normally a big conspiracy person. I mean, to me, it was bound to happen. You take a country with a governmental history like China's, what did you think? It was all going to be sweetness and light? Well, sure you did, because that's what you're seeing. It's what you're supposed to see.

In the opening ceremonies, which were fun to look at, and I had fun looking, there were smiling drummers and smiling singers and smiling dancers. Everyone was smiling except the soldiers who carried the Chinese flag to the pole, and they were so not smiling I had to hide my face under my blankie out of fear. It was like the Wicked Witch showed up in the stadium all of a sudden, appearing in that red smoke right in the middle of Dorothy frolicking around with Toto. They frowned and goose-stepped their way to the flagpole and hoisted the flag, then it was back to the Happy Faces of China.

Were they happy faces though? I mean, the faces were, but what about the people behind them? Because, if you listened or have read anything since, the performers were told by Olympic organizers that they weren't smiling enough and they should be projecting a happier vision of Chinese life and culture, and so they'd better smile, dammit, or face the business end of a whip behind a locked door. And so they were smiling like a country possessed.

The opening ceremonies also featured a little girl who sang a song, a song of great national importance, and she was just as cute as a bug's ear. If you got up out of your chair and stuck your head out your window, you could hear the sound of a world full of people all going "awwwww" at the same time. It was obvious to me the little cutie was lip syncing, but I didn't pay much attention to it because no one really sings anymore, especially at a big stadium-held production like the Super Bowl or the Olympics. Only yesterday did the news break that not only was the little cutie lip syncing, she was doing so to someone else's voice.

Yes, Lin Miaoke, the little cutie we saw, was actually pretending to sing while the voice of 7-year old Yang Peiyi was booming throughout the stadium. Turns out that Yang had the amazing voice, but Lin had the look. According to the ceremonies' director, and I quote here, "The reason was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling, and expression. Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects."

So Yang had the voice, but apparently her crooked bangs and crooked teeth kept her from singing - or at least lip syncing to her own voice - on the night of the ceremonies. The director stressed that the decision went way up the power chain, right to the old Politburo.

You can go here and read the version of the story, and I hope you do, because it has pictures of both little girls. And while Lin is as cute as a bug's ear - Yang is cuter than a bug's ear. Her crooked bangs and crooked teeth are what make her about the cutest little thing in China.

(Notice I said "about." I think the clear winner for cutest little thing in China goes to 9-year old Lin Hao, the little boy who marched along to help lead the Chinese team into the stadium. Lin was trapped under his school during the recent earthquake, managed to pull himself out, then went back time after time to pull out his classmates. When asked about this, he replied, "I had to do it. I was a class leader." Please, and I'm begging here, if any of you find out that this is also a government-concocted story, do not tell me. I love this story so much I cried with happiness at being a member of the human race when I heard it.)

Fireworks? Hell of a fireworks display at the opening ceremonies. Of course, we've found out in the last couple of days it wasn't really all it appeared to be on the TeeVee, either. Apparently the huge fireworks display that burst around into the shape of footprints were actually faked. Yes, CGI'ed and pre-recorded.

How hinky does your country have to be to - well, to be the country who invented fireworks and have to use fake ones? Fireworks are spectacular in any setting, it's the fucking Olympics, people are in a frenzied state anyway - they'd go apeshit if you just sent up a regular 4th of July display. It was all good enough, folks. You didn't have to fake us out as well.

OK, so the ceremonies ended and the games began, and then we had to hear about the small piece of news that the Chinese womens gymnastics team may have some members who are woefully underage. See, 16 is the age to play, and while every other country in the world left their wondertots at home, China had them right there in the country and figured they'd use them. They vehemently deny this, of course, but listen. I watched the preliminaries. If some of those girls are 16, I'll get out there and do a double-twisting frappe, blindfolded, right there on the balance beam. There were a couple of girls I'd be surprised were more than 12.

To be honest, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often, especially in countries where everything's a big secret, and I can remember where a reverse version of this happened in the Little League World Series. Some kid pitched who we later were shocked to find was too old, even though at the time he sported a mustache and drove himself home from the game.

Nothing we can do about that, though, if China has a piece of paper and a scary-looking guy holding it saying that a 3 foot 1, 49 pound girl is 16, I guess she's 16. I hope she spent a lot of time memorizing, "I was born in 1992," or she may also be the recipient of the business end of a whip behind a locked door.

However, what's really zinging my brain all over the house about these games. The timing. See, China's a half a world away from us. There's a time difference of 12 hours. And you know what that means, Olympics nuts - spoilers! The results are out there before you get to see the action at home in your living room.

This is a long-debated subject, and personally, I kind of like it. I can remember the last Olympics at our office. Well, they weren't held in our office, they were held in Athens. But there in our office at TheCompanyIWorkFor, round about 4pm every day, one of us would hit, and ask the question. "Want to know results or not?" And we're all kind of nosy there and when you have the results a click away, well, it's hard not to push that button.

Like I said, I kind of like it that way. Most of the time it would make no difference in my watching or not, and I'm not so caught up in the whole circus that I must watch it as if it's happening live.

But this year, my friends and blogees, I can't find any damn results!

I had become convinced that this was some sort of Red Chinese Conspiracy. They were holding the results of the events until after they showed on Big Western TV Networks to keep people watching. But apparently that's not the case.

I went batshit crazy online looking for some evidence of this conspiracy, and everything I read, things written by men and women who get paid to write about such things so it must be true, everything I read said that most of the Big-Ass Special Events (BASE), your swimming finals, your gymnastics finals, would actually be shown live.

And so it's not a Red Chinese Conspiracy, it's a Red Chinese Hooptiedooptie, for why would a country so absolutely life-and-death hinky about holding an Olympics schedule huge events like the 100-meter freestyle or the team gymnastics championship at 8, 9, or 10 in the morning? It boggles the mind. Or this one, anyway.

Sadly, there's one event that does seem to have become a victim of the Red Chinese Conspiracy. The clarinet events. They're still in the preliminary heats, but I've not heard one report of the sightreading, scales, or any other part of the clarinet events.

All I can say is "Go, Team Italy!"

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Japan has the most dour and depressing national anthem I believe I've ever heard.
* Acrowinners, we have Olympic Acrowinners! So, what did the wasp say to the girl he was about to sting?
- The bronze goes to LilyG, with her "Ouch? Little filly, experience beautiful rapture."
- The silver goes to Kellie with an ie, with her "Oh, look, favorite eats! Bet's right."
- And the gold medal goes to the dishy Michelle, with her "Oy, let's feast! (excitedly bites rump)" I love the idea of a wasp saying "oy."
- Thanks to all who played - now stand at attention for the national anthems.

Labels: ,

Monday, August 11, 2008


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

You know, Thursday night I was stung by a wasp. Right in the upper inner fleshy painful part of my arm. It hurt.

Tonight's acrotopic - "What Did The Wasp Say To The Girl He Was About To Sting?"

Rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches the topic above, and also the letters below. They're drawn from the acrobasket, who, when turned upside down, looks a little like a beehive. I'll be reading the entries tomorrow night at 10:00 est and naming the winners.

The topic, "What Did The Wasp Say To The Girl He Was About To Sting?" The letters:


There you go. Dodge insects and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* New winner of gayest sport ever - Men's Synchronized Diving. Synchronized diving??? It was bad enough watching women do it, but I had to watch men do it tonight. A couplet from Russia even had matching buzz cuts.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Picture Sunday

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

Not many pictures, not much to tell. In fact, I'm in a bit of a hurry here, because my oven racks are cleaning. Well, they're cleaning because I'm cleaning them, proving once again that nothing in my life is easy.

OK, instead of Friday this time around let's start on Thursday. I finally got to mow my lawn after about 10 straight days of rain here. Even though the sun was out it had rained earlier, and the ground was soaked. Yes the ground was soaked, the grass was high, and I knew it was going to be a pain in the ass but I soldiered on, and - well, it was a pain in the ass. And other areas as well.

I started in the front yard, emptying my mower bag more often than usual because of the wetness of the grass, but it didn't make much difference. The grass would get stuck in the bag and I'd have to heave and tug and jump up and down, and wet grass was getting stuck to the blades and they were throwing grass all over the yard anyway. I had to sweep the driveway and my front walk of thrown grass before starting on other areas of the lawn, and I was becoming of a very foul demeanor.

I mowed the left side of the yard, then headed around to the right side so I could finish up in the back, my least favorite mowing area. Trudging along the right side, pushing, lugging, sliding, I just started to cuss. Probably aloud, I was thinking it was just in my head, but I had my iPod plugged in so I'm not sure.

"Everybody I know has everything they want and I have nothing! I don't have someone to mow my yard or fix my car, I don't have a big house, I don't get to take fun vacations!" I was an embarrassing volcano of self pity.

Then I headed into the back yard, where I was stung by a wasp. Twice.

I'm assuming it was a wasp. It left no stinger and got me twice. And it hurt like a fucking gun shot. So I went inside, put some baking soda on it, stood at the sink, and cried like a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

After crying a while I realized my yard wasn't finished, so I went back out and finished it.

It hurt all night that night, and has itched every day since.

I hit the yard again after work Friday. (That was after going to Mom's and being the Pill Nazi. She's doing well, by the way.) It was a little drier, I was in a better mood, and I trimmed all the weeds as well as pulling a multitude of weeds from my flower garden, making it look all nice and not abandoned, as it had earlier in the week.

I went to B'burg yesterday, Mr M, DeepFatFriar, and I had a nice dinner, then today Mr M and I spent most of the day working on the Comfy Chair Cinema movie.

Oh, and there was a sidelight in yesterday. I did a bit of car shopping.

I figure it's just like that scene in "Master and Commander." If the crew think another crew member is jinxed, it doesn't matter if he is or not. He is. So whether my car is jinxed or not, it is because I think it is.

I don't know if I can afford a new car. I don't really care. Looking neither depressed nor encouraged me. It was nice to be outside on a sunny day, though.

I looked at 2009 Foresters, nice because they've changed the body style, but I actually like the old body style better.

I like the Impreza Outback Sports, but hell, they're more expensive than Foresters.

What I really need to find is a new 2008 model. Old body style, still new car. I haven't found one yet.

Today, because of the movie-making I got home very late, so it was just catching up with stuff around the house and the recipe du jour.

Now, about the recipe. I have to tell the story. Just out of nowhere, a couple of weeks ago I blurted out to Stennie pre-Hucklebug podcast the phrase "Spaghettisburg Address." I knew it had to be a recipe, but it was such a good phrase I didn't know what to do with it. I held it last week and thought.

I thought about making a spaghetti house, but that didn't really say "address." This weekend I took it to the man of thought, DeepFatFriar, and he suggested I go literal. And so I did. From the "Meaningful Pasta" file at cardland, please say hello to The Spaghettisburg Address.

No secret here. All you need for this one is some spaghetti. Spell out as much of the address as you care to, or care to remember, and give your family a history lesson along with dinner.

Please, I beseech you to go over to the Comfy Chair Cinema. A double feature! Not only our regular movie, "The Script Ohio," but an outtake reel for your enjoyment. Follow the link right here.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Could you believe it? The Olympics are here! My Olympic Update now has some validity to it!
* Opening ceremonies: I don't care if you would have offered me a chance to light the Olympic torch and $100,000 cash, I would have passed. They lifted a guy about seven stories in the air by wire, then one of the wires shifted, turning him sideways, and he ran the circumference of the stadium midair. When that one wire shifted and he turned sideways, I nearly screamed. "My God! He's gonna fall!" Then there he was with those cables and a lit torch. What if he would have burned through his support?
* Opening ceremonies, basketball, swimming: Seeing George Bush at the games just made me want to spit. From looking at his watch all through the ceremonies to waving at athletes during the events. "Hi kids! I'm a rootin' for ya! I'm screwin' up your country and the world, but I'm here a rootin' for ya!" Bastard.
* Again head to the Cinema, if you dare!


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

As Seen In This Blog

I came to a stunning realization Friday night. Now, you'd think with all the stunning realizations and epiphanies I write about coming to I'd be a very enlightened individual. I don't think I am, I feel like sometimes I'm living my life through mud, and this is one of those times.

Friday night I'd gone to B'burg, had dinner and duets with Mr M, got a nice present from him, and generally had a fine old time. Then I started driving back home, on Rt 460, which I've lovingly dubbed the Betty Bet Bet Inspirational Highway because I drive it more than any human alive. Or dead, or yet unborn.

And I hit a raccoon with my car.

He darted right out in front of me, in a weird zig-zag, like he was thinking frantically, "Take the car? Dodge the car?" And he decided at the last minute to take the car, and that car was mine, and he ran right into my right front tire and I heard him crunch like nobody's business under my car. It was a magnificent crunch, and I felt bad for the little guy, all the while thinking, "Whew. At least it wasn't a dog." As you recall, I hit a dog a couple of years ago, right on that same stretch of the BBBIH, probably not five miles from the raccoon murder, and that dog left me replacing the front bumper on my car.

I got home and had a few glasses of wine to celebrate the life of Mr Raccoon, and the next day I had to run a few errands, and when I went out to my car I saw a big piece of black plastic hanging down from behind the bumper of my car, podmobile2.

And I cussed.

So let's take stock. I got podmobile2 in the summer of 2005. In that fabled and storied time, I've hit the dog and ruined a bumper. I've lost the oil pan cover from underneath the car when the yoohoos at Wal-Mart didn't replace the pins on it and it fell down, then tore off before I could get it there and show them their mistake. I had a headlight go out. I've had to replace two tires because they were worn out (that was within the first year). I had several items (including three of my four music stands and two shirts) held for ransom in the back hatch of the vehicle because the back hatch door wouldn't open. Turns out the lock was broken, and I had to have it replaced. I stood at my open door a few weeks ago and watched podmobile2 get the absolute hell pinged out of it during a hailstorm. And a scant weeks later I crunched Mr Raccoon and have a big plastic thing broken and hanging off. My car's a 2006 model, and it may as well be totaled.

And so Friday night as I heard the sound of little varmint bones under my wheel, I came to the stunning realization. Great Bouncing Icebergs, my car is jinxed.

My previous car, the original podmobile, never - and I know this is going to sound like some sort of sickly joke but it's not - it never gave me a minute's worry until I was driving it at 65mph and the steering wheel came off. I must admit, there was some worry when that happened, but before that, nothing. Original podmobile was not jinxed. Podmobile2 is.

I have never wanted a new car as much as I want one right now. But it's just not financially in the cards for me to have one. I still owe one year on podmobile2, which is a shame, because who knows what'll happen to it in that year. Will the doors fall off? The seat break out from under me? The windshield implode into my face? On the rainiest day of the year? Anyway, at the very beginning of my car-buying life, I promised myself I'd never buy a new car while still owing for an old one. Nothing but heartache and a lifetime full of inflated debt in that.

Anyway, that brings us to tonight's blog, not the having a car that is jinxed, but the wanting things I can't afford. Because for about two years now, I've had the best idea ever for a blog. Not one to replace Betland, but an accompanying one. I can't start that blog, though, because it would take more money than I have now or will ever have.

If I ever strike it rich, though, I'll start the blog, and then you'll see what a generous and thoughtful person I am, because that blog would be a benefit to you all, dear readers.

My great idea is to have a blog dedicated to nothing but reviewing items sold on TV.

And I don't mean your everyday commercials. I mean infomercials, or the really bad TV ads with Billy Mays screaming at us to by Oxy Clean, or the fake doctors telling us what diet pills are going to make us lose inches around our waists while sitting in a chair reading a book. You know the ones. The ones that end with a website or phone number to call and order. The ones that will change our lives, given we can wait the four to six weeks for delivery.

Now, you know and I know these products don't work. Well, I know it, because I've bought a couple. In fact, years ago I did an entire essay about my search for a hair removal product that would free me from the bonds of leg-shaving. I bought and tried three, two jars full of gooey, sticky, substances spread on the legs and pulled off with cloth strips. Neither worked, they were horribly messy, and even more horribly painful. Then I bought a spray remover. It was nothing more than Nair that smelled like an orange, came in a very badly made spray bottle, and was about triple the price of Nair. I chalked these up to experience, it was worth the price just to see if I could find something that worked easily, well, kind of. The bad part of it? About the exact time I re-boxed the items and threw them in the trash was also about the exact time they showed up on my credit card bill.

(I now use the Intuition shaver, and love it. Who'da thunk.)

I've tried Proactiv, the face products that turned Jessica Simpson's face from acne-ridden quagmire to clear as a lake, although I don't know what made it so orange lately. It's either those bad spray-on tans or she sprayed some of that orange hair removal stuff on it. I'm not going to say Proactiv doesn't work. I think I'm going to say it works too well. In drying out my breakouts, it also dried my whole face, to the point where if I walked outside in a stiff wind my face was in danger of blowing clean off my head. There was lotion to accompany the cleanser, but it oiled up my face again. So it worked, and it didn't. And it was very expensive.

(I don't need Proactiv anymore because, magically, I got old. Now if I get a pimple I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl.)

Months ago my newish friend Patrick (he doesn't look newish) did a great blog about trying to move a huge cabinet and the device he used, which was bought from some TV ad I'd never seen. Apparently it was a sling-like contraption used for moving the bodies of the infirmed. And while I laughed at his story, I also thought of a commercial from long ago advertising these magic casters - four tiny pieces of plastic guaranteed to change our lives and move couches, pianos, refrigerators, and Aunt Velma, who, when she sits around the house, sits around the house. (Sorry. I had to.) I always wanted to order those things, even though I really didn't have anything I needed to move, and that may well have been where my first inklings of this blog idea started.

Those casters aren't advertised anymore, which leads me to believe they didn't work, and if you'll notice, none of these products stick around very long. I think that's a dead giveaway. But my blog could save you from buying them before they finally do fade out.

The one that intrigues me the most nowadays is the Billy Mays-advertised (stop shouting at me, Billy!) Magic Putty. This is a stick of what looks like modeling clay that you cut off a slice of, knead it around in your fingers, and stick it on something, where it apparently will hold, well, Aunt Velma to a light fixture. It holds shelves on the wall, shelves that hold an entire stereo system. And yet it's delicate enough to hold the handle onto a coffee cup! And as if that weren't enough, and by God, it is to me, it also stops leaks in pipes (had I only known where my leaky pipe was all those months of the Water Debacle of 08), plugs holes in aquariums (which confuses me - who shoots at their fish?), and can pull a tractor trailer when stuck to a chain.

See, I have plaster walls at the Poderosa, and I can't even hang a damn picture on the wall without drilling a hole and placing a sinker in it. Oh, the wonder of sticking some glorified Silly Putty up there, sticking my picture to it, then when I'm tired of the picture I can just pull it back off and it won't damage my walls! Which begs the question - if I can pull it off when I'm tired of my picture and it won't damage my wall, how strong can it be? Shout me the answer, Billy.

Another product that looks mighty enticing and would make my life a hell of a lot easier is the "sucks your clothes flat" plastic storage bag. We've all seen the commercials for this one. You put everything you own in a clear plastic bag, put your vacuum cleaner tube in a hole in that bag, suck out all the air, lock it up, and your clothes, blankets, bedspreads, coats, towels, and Aunt Velma's panties will remain as flat as a pancake, making them easy to store and keeping dust, mold, and animated (well, in the commercial) spiders off them. Then when you unlock the door on the hole, everything springs back to life, and Aunt Velma has her panties back.

I have a lot of clothes, a lot of clothes I never wear and should really give away but don't, and I have some seriously modest storage space at the Poderosa. Oh, how those suck bags would simplify my life. But guess what, dear readers. I don't even need a blog for this one. I considered giving them a try, and went online to read some viewer comments at a website selling the suckers. (No pun intended. Well, not much.) These things received - well, wait. You know how no matter what you want to buy and read buyer reviews, nothing ever gets five stars because some dildo gives the product a one-star review? Always. I'm convinced it's forever the same dildo, and he just doesn't know how to use anything. Anyway, these things received the worst reviews I've ever seen a product get. I'm not sure anyone gave them as much as two out of five stars. Apparently the locking door doesn't keep them sucked to the suckage they're supposed to have, and after a day or two all the air's back in them and your drawers and closets are just filled with clothes in see-through bags. Unsucked.

There's also a food version of these bags, there's no sucking involved, but they're called Green Bags and they're supposedly made from some super-duper polymer that guarantees a longer life for your food. I don't trust this idea for a minute. I refuse to believe that a fully sealed Zip-Lock would pale in comparison to anything.

However, if I had the money, and for the sake of this imaginary blog and my dear readers, I'd gladly give them a try. I've forgotten to stick certain things in Zip-Locks from time to time, and have dipped my hand into a bag of shredded carrots that felt like the inside of a cadaver, and pulled out onions that have taken on a life of their own. Set up housekeeping in my crisper and yell at me for taking them out and interrupting their Friday night poker game.

I don't have a pet, but that Peticure thing I'm seeing commercials for fascinates me to no end. It's shaped something like a vibrator (not that I'd know), and it doesn't cut your pet's nails, it files them down. The animated portion of the commercial shows a constantly turning object filing the little critters' nails, but the live-action shots aren't quite like that. They're more like "file - turn. file - turn. file -turn." Very slow, and the end product isn't as spectacular as I would imagine they would show on a TV. That beagle's nails are pretty shoddy-looking. However, it really gets fun when they show the cat owners happily filing their kitties' nails, and I'd just love to see Mr M use this item on his cat Alice. I could be at the ready with Billy Mays' Magic Putty to plug up the gaping bloody holes in his face.

Oh. Speaking of Pedi-products, I did buy something from TV that worked. Well, I bought it in a store, but it was advertised in one of those ads. The Ped-Egg, an egg-shaped contraption that scrapes all the skin off your feet and holds the dead skin in the egg till you're ready to get rid of it. Which I hope is soon, as I don't know who'd want to keep that stuff. It was only 10 bucks so I bit at it, and I have to admit, it actually works. The scraper part is OK, I have a feeling you could get the same effect with a cheese grater because the blades look just like one, but so far the ex-feet have stayed in that little egg and not flown around the room. I can't imagine those blades staying sharp for very long, but at 10 bucks, who cares. You throw 10 bucks out in the street, right?

Anyway, dear readers, one fine day I'll strike it rich, and when I do I'll start that blog. Maybe I'll have a little picture of Billy Mays up in the corner. He'll be muted, though. I've heard him shout enough for fifty lifetimes.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* The raccoon fiasco, btw, will only be $74 and a half-hour of my day. But still. Still!
* Sorry there was no acro this week. I was feeling lazy. We'll be back, acro and me.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Picture Sunday

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

My weekend began on Friday, when - get ready for it, regular readers - it was Lemonade Day in my hometown of B'field. As you who read me know, this is an annual occurrence in our little town, created to honor the longtime tradition (it began in the '40s) of the town handing out free lemonade to its citizens when the thermometer hits 90 degrees.

One part of this celebration is the Window Decorating Contest, where businesses in the town decorate their windows in lemony ways, and they are judged by a local weatherman, the same local weatherman who judges every year, the same local weatherman who stops by our window, looks, lingers, laughs - and then gives us - nothing.

Yes, we are the persona non grata of the Window Decorating Contest, even being told that as good as our windows are, there's just not enough going on on them. Now, we are a business with three slim windows. We're not a store with large expanses of window space and floor space to put things. We're handicapped from the start, and so we use our imagination for the WDC.

The first year we did the (8/6/06) Lemon Art Gallery. Then we did the (8/14/07) Evolution of Lemonade. We used creativity, we used imagination. This year we just decided to suck up. Our theme was "What To Do in B'field When It's 90 Degrees." We took pictures of places around town, the Dairy Queen, the Farmer's Market, the local pool, the golf course, the field where the farm team Orioles play, and the like. We captioned them, "Take a Dip," "Cool Off With Ice Cream," etc, then in the middle window we had "Drink Lemonade," and had pictures of townspeople drinking lemonade.

We lost again.

(By the way, this picture was taken today, after our window had endured two torrential thunderstorms. The window borders didn't always look like that.)

Now, the winner, I have no quarrel with. Although it was a store and therefore had more space, it really was a lovely window. But the second place finisher was a flower shop that had lemons and yellow flowers in the window. OK. If you're a flower shop and you don't have yellow flowers, you need to shut down. And the third place finisher - well, there's a story there. They won the contest two years ago by putting some construction paper lemons in their window. They came in second last year - with the same display. And this year? Well, I drove by there after work to see if they had the same display again, but instead, I'll be damned if I could find a single lemon decoration in their window. They had nothing! They had a Christmas tree in front of their store that had some construction paper lemons on it.

So we at TheCompanyIWorkFor officially hate Lemonade Days with every fiber of our being, and though we said we wouldn't do it this year but got roped into it, we have sworn a sacred pact that next year our windows will be bare. Or maybe I'll just stand in the window all day in yellow with a raised middle finger.

Another facet of Lemonade Day is the Wacky Lemon Hat Contest. I'd never been so interested in that, to be honest, but this year I got to thinking how funny it would be if I entered the WLHC. With Sherman. I set about making him a hat, still half-thinking I wouldn't have the nerve to enter him, but when the time came I plucked up my courage and headed to the WLHC. With Sherman and his hat.

It was sponsored by a local dress shop in town. There were five entrants including me. They gave out first, second, and third prizes. Of the five entrants, Sherman got - squat. Didn't even place. The winner was a straw hat with some flowers pasted on it and a straw coming out of the top.

And so I'll also never enter the WLHC again, although I will say that every entrant got something, something handed to us in a bag by the store owner (who is a very nice lady and didn't judge). Mine turned out to be a really pretty bracelet, so I guess I didn't come away from Lemonade Day empty-handed. Sherman's hat also got displayed in the store's window, where it will remain this week. (It's circled, lightly, on the lemonade stand. And that's the winning window, too.)

I still hate Lemonade Day, though.

Friday night I headed straight to B'burg after work to hang out with Mr M for a while. When I was there he gave me a present. A present for being a part of his clarinet recital. It was a great and fancy-ass new tripod.

Look at that, if you dare. All this time I've been using a cheap and tiny desktop tripod, the head of which moves every time I press the shutter on my camera. This is like entering a whole new Tripod World. Thanks, Mr M!

Saturday I didn't do much of anything, and it was glorious.

And today I worked just about all damn day on the Comfy Chair Cinema movie before heading out to have dinner at Granny's. The Comfy Chair Cinema movie, while time-consuming and brain-taxing, was a lot of fun, and I really hope you'll head over to the Cinema and give it a look.

And since I was at Granny's anyway, how about a little Granny love with the recipe du jour. Yep, no joke food here, from the "Always Good!" file at cardland, will you please say hello to Dinner at Granny's.

Yep, there we have a big hat hen (sorry, when The Nephew was just a toddler, he used to always end the "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" rhyme with "Big Hat Hen"), some garlic mashed potatoes, a lovely ear of corn, and some green beans. And no, we generally don't have two kinds of potatoes with every meal at Granny's, but the green beans were given to her and they already had potatoes in them. There was also, of course, biscuits and gravy, but I didn't partake.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Please, again, go and enjoy "Rubber Stamp Fun," this week's Comfy Chair Cinema movie. Just click right here.