Sunday, November 30, 2008

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of long weekenders, and welcome to another mind-numbing edition of Picture Sunday.

Yes, four days off, count them if you dare. And you know, I love a day off more than anyone, but sometimes long weekends aren't so good for me. Because if I have time to loaf, I, well, you know, loaf. I waste time, I'm lazy, I stay up too late and sleep too late, and though I don't really look forward to going back to work, I think I need to get back on a schedule of some sort.

I attended the annual Refugee's Thanksgiving Dinner this year, I think this was about year six. This time it was Mr M, me, and the DeepFatFriar. We held the dinner at the Friar's abode, as he was doing the main course, which was elk. Now, I must say, I was a little skeptical about eating elk, and I made a small back-up turkey breast just in case. I also made a pumpkin pie for the boys. Oh, and deviled eggs, which were all eaten before we got to the dinner table.

But I have to tell you, the elk was magnificent. It was not unlike roast lamb, was rare, thick, juicy, and the turkey was immediately relegated to leftovers status. We also had garlic mashed potatoes, Mr M made a tremendous stuffing and also made his famous $21 salad, which has sadly become the $27 salad in these trying times, there was broccoli and homemade cranberry sauce, and it truly was a feast.

It was also a very lovely and relaxing day.

Of course Sherman and Peabody stopped by.

Anywhere there's dinner, you'll find Sherman.

Since we were at the Friar's, I thought maybe this week's Picture Sunday could be a tour of his humble home. As you might imagine, and you'd be right, it's chockfull of interesting things.

Like his portrait, painted for him by a friend. I love this - if any color put to paper could correctly catch the spirit of the DeepFatFriar, this is it.

Oh, here's Mr M relaxing in the wheelchair. Yes, one of the chairs in the living area is on wheels. Mr M is playing dead for me here, but he declined when I offered to go to the stairs with him and play a little "Richard Widmark and the Old Lady."

Now, the Friar has the best shelves in the world. I've coveted them ever since I saw them. They cover an entire wall.

And here is the man himself, fresh off serving his elk.


And in keeping with an old tradition, before we left I put the pie tote on my head.

Notice the look of excitement mixed with pain? That's because a pie tote, a plate, and a glass pie pan lay very heavy on the head. My neck was about to snap.

Since we're talking Thanksgiving here, I thought I'd post a little recipe du jour. I'm very proud of myself, you know. I finally learned how to make a recipe card in the new version of Paint Shop Pro. I don't know why they have to change the procedures on things from version to version, and this lettering thing was driving me around the bend. But it came to me tonight.

Tonight's recipe features my squishy rubber chicken. I take him to Oktoberfest and we all throw him around and squeeze on him up there. Mr M hates the squishy chicken with a passion, especially when I shake it at him and say, in an accent worse than I actually have, "Lawdy, he'p me! He'p me, he'p me, they gon' put me in a pot!"

Well, our little friend finally got put in a pot for dinner and is now the star of his own recipe du jour. From the "Not for the Hungry" file in Cardland, please say hello to Thanksgiving Dinner.

All you need are a squishy rubber chicken and some croutons. Squishy rubber chickens aren't worth the effort of making stuffing.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* And now trash duty and to bed. Back to life.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Somewhere in the Vicinity of Godliness

I have a gorilla bag. Sounds scary, but I promise it's not. It's one of these, a shoulder bag that I carry everywhere. Gorilla bags are weatherproof, lightweight, have an extra long strap, and also have the added attraction of having a tiny furry gorilla hanging from a ring on the strap. Named, no less. My gorilla is Sonia. My bag is orange, but I don't care, I don't care what color I wear, I carry that bag. It's like my green shoes. I love them so much I don't care if they match or not. You should see me in my red shirt, blue pants, green shoes, black coat, and orange bag. Let's just say I can't really sneak up on anybody.

The greatest thing about the gorilla bag, however, is that it will hold everything you own. It holds everything I own, and I own a lot, so I'm sure it will hold everything of yours, too. Hell, it might hold everything we both own.

And so every once in a while I have to clean out the gorilla bag, where I will find such items as clothespins (everywhere I look in my life I see a clothespin), empty bank envelopes, fingernail polishes I have never and will never use, clarinet reeds, Barack Obama buttons (last 3 months), protein bars, bottles of perfume, more tubes of chapstick than should be allowed, and change. Change gathers in my bag to the point where I can't throw it over my shoulder without hurting myself and possibly the person closest to me, and that's normally why I clean it. Clothespins and empty bank envelopes I can deal with.

Now, as you all know, my mom, aka Granny, was in the hospital last month. She spent about a week there, half of it in intensive care, but she's well now and doing fine, and I thank you all for your good wishes for her.

It's an odd thing, intensive care. I love it. I mean, no offense, I don't want anyone to be sick, but after my surgery some years ago I spent my time in intensive care, and have hung out with Granny now in a different hospital's ICU, and it's cozy and the care is, well, intensive. You're not ignored, the staff are nice to you, and that's that.

But occasionally things have to be done in intensive care, and the family have to say goodbye and make themselves scarce. And one afternoon when my dad and I had to make ourselves scarce, we went out into the intensive care waiting area, which has a TV, phone, really bad magazines, and a wall full of brochures.

So as I said, Granny's back home safe now, and time has come and gone, I've Oktoberfested and clarinet duetted and podcasted and gone to work, and scanned the police blotter for funny crimes.

But yesterday my change had once again gotten too heavy for me to carry around and so I decided it was time for a bag clean-out. And I found something in the back zippy compartment of my gorilla bag I'd forgotten all about.

That day Dad and I had to make ourselves scarce, I was browsing the wall of brochures in the ICU waiting area and found something I couldn't resist having a look at. And it was all I'd hoped for, and so I kept it, stored it away in that bag to be found again when I least expected it.

It's a gem of a brochure. It's called, and I quote, "Handwashing: Your Most Powerful Defense Against Infections."

Now, I guess I'm a pretty normal handwasher. I don't think I'm obsessive about it, but I guess I do it enough that my hands are always chapped and dry, but you also realize I have no dishwasher, so I have to do that by hand as well. I always think I wash my hands when it's necessary, when God intended, like after going to the bathroom and emptying the trash can.

But what a goldmine of information this little tome is. Want proof?

The very first page, well, the first thing you see when it tri-folds out, is the all important "When Should You Wash Your Hands?" To which my immediate reply is, "When they're dirty," but apparently I'm not in the real handwasher's loop, because here is their take on it. When should we wash our hands?

- Before getting ready to eat. (I seldom do this, because I feel like my hands are already clean, and, well, you know, I use a fork.)

- Before/During/After preparing food. (I do this when handling raw chicken, but I've never, in the middle of making a cheese sandwich, felt the need to stop and run to the faucet, I must admit.)

- Before and after treating a cut or wound, or tending to someone who is sick. (Sorry, Grandma, I love you dearly, but you're germy. Pardon me for a minute.)

- Before and after changing a baby's diaper. (I got no problem here, especially the "after," though I'm not so sure why you need clean hands to touch shit.)

- After touching animals. (I know this is accepted practice, but I poo on that theory. I like animals, and I'm not washing my hands every time I touch one.)

- After using the bathroom. (Well, of course, and if you don't do that, please don't offer to shake hands with me. Or make me a cheese sandwich.)

- After performing any personal body function: touching hair, scratching any part of the body, putting hands in or around mouth, etc. (Touching your hair? If I washed my hands every time I touched my hair, I'd have to carry a sink around with me, on shoulder straps, like a marching snare drum. And I have exceedingly clean hair, thank you very much. I don't even want to know what "etc" means here. If my arm itches, and I scratch it through the sleeve of my blouse, where does that put me? At the sink, I'm thinking.)

- After sneezing or coughing into hands or tissue. (Into a tissue? Isn't that why you use a tissue?)

- After handling garbage or trash. (No arguments here, but the "or" confuses me. Are garbage and trash two different things? Because I don't see much difference.)

- Anytime hands are dirty or you have reason to believe they have been in contact with germs. (Boy, that gives the compulsive handwasher free rein, doesn't it? Actually it means, "The remaining two minutes of your day not taken up by handwashing for the other above reasons.")

OK, so now we know when to wash our hands, which is always. Our next tri-fold section tells us, of course, how to wash our hands. It's called, and hold on to your hats, but be sure to wash up afterward, "The Correct Way To Wash Your Hands."

- Activate lever-operated towel dispensers before beginning the handwashing process. (1. So your paper towel can wave there in the breeze of a filthy restroom, and 2. Because apparently these people don't realize it's easy to operate those things with an elbow. Of course, you have to wash your elbow after, but that's OK.)

- Wet your hands with warm water and apply liquid or plain soap. Keep hands pointed downward. (Because God forbid the germs would cling to your upwardly pointed hands. I don't understand this. Of course you're going to point your hands downward when you rinse, and the germs will then slide off. If you point them upward then, you're going to get wet. Remember that.)

- Continue scrubbing for 10-15 seconds. (Hey, I'm not on a time clock when I wash my hands. If I want 7 seconds, fuck you. If I want 48 seconds, fuck you again. But be sure to wash up after.)

- Rinse hands well with warm water. (Because cold water is uncomfortable, and notice they don't care now that you're rinsing that your hands are pointed downward.)

- Dry hands with a paper towel. (I guess if the brochure people knew I use big, thirsty terrycloth hand towels in my house, they'd just die, wouldn't they?)

- Use the paper towel to turn the water off and to open the door. (This is just creepy, and though I've used paper towels to flush a public toilet, the day I turn the water off and open the door with a towel is the day I - well, I guess the day I'm in an interstate gas station bathroom, which I'd rather pee my pants than enter.)

All right, people, we know when (always), we know how (like a person possessed), so let's go wash! Huh? You're still not sure? Well, not to worry your pretty little (dirty) heads, friends, because the last tri-fold has some helpful hints. I know this to be true because it's titled, "Helpful Hints."

And it's actually a lie, because there's only one hint to speak of. But it is by-God helpful, if you ask me. And here it is:

- Determining the 10-15 second time period for scrubbing hands:

Try singing the "Happy Birthday Song" - or the song below:

(Sung to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Wash, wash, wash your hands,
Wash them well today,
Soap and water does the trick
It keeps the germs away!

(Second verse, different from the first!) (That's not in the brochure, that's me.)

Wash, wash, wash your hands
Wash them day and night
Scrub with soap and water too
And illness it will fight!

Yep, it actually has two different verses.

Pardon me, but if I'm in a public bathroom having a nice quiet moment in the stall, and I hear someone outside singing either "Happy Birthday" or "Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands," I'm screaming, "9-1-1!"

The final Helpful Hint is this one.

- Remember to keep your hands away from your face! (yes! an exclamation point!) (!) Think of all the objects you touch everyday that have been touched by someone who is not a good handwasher.

And that, my fine feathereds, is just spreading mass panic and hysteria amongst our general population. We're in the Obama Era, for God's sake, the era of togetherness! You're pulling us all apart! (!, again, but that was me.) (!)

Anyway, my sister used to teach elementary school, and I will never forget her major words of wisdom on this subject. "The dirtiest, grimiest, stinkiest kids, the kids with dirty faces who smelled like little chickens, never missed a day of school. Perfect attendance. Never even had a cold."

So pardon me while I toss this in the wastebasket. And I'm not washing my hands afterwards, either.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Wishing everyone a nice Thanksgiving holiday. If you're traveling, be safe. If you're drinking, don't drive. If you're with family or friends, enjoy them. And if you have extra to spare, drop something by your local food bank.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

More CSI: Podunkville

When last we left you, Jack Webb and I were telling you all about the stories in the naked city. Well, no one was naked in the stories, save for the one in the Olympic Update.

Want more?

BATTERY: A woman reported she was in the drive-through lane of McDonald's on Fordstaff Drive when an unknown male started hitting the passenger side window, telling her to get out of the car. When she got out of the vehicle, the male allegedly punched her in the stomach before fleeing in a dark-colored vehicle. Ptlm. Blackie White filed her report.

A description of the alleged suspect revealed him to be the Burger King.

BATTERY: Officers responded to Town Plaza, where several subjects were involved in a physical altercation. The argument was between two women and a man and involved discussion about a “sugar daddy.” According to a report filed by Ptlm. Blackie White, officers advised all parties to leave the scene and stay away from each other.

Forever. But they can have all the Sugar Babies they want.

SOLICITING PROSTITUTION: Ptlm. Bishop Knight was dispatched to investigate a blue Ford Focus that had just picked up a woman believed to be a prostitute. Knight located the vehicle on Astray Avenue and initiated a traffic stop. Both the driver and the female passenger claimed the driver was only giving her a ride. The officer allegedly found two condoms in the woman's purse. Mrs Woman, 46, of Peetown, was cited for soliciting prostitution.

What kind of world do we live in where a man can't give a car ride to a woman who looks like a prostitute and carries condoms in her purse? For that matter, what kind of world is it where a man can't give a prostitute a car ride?

DUI: Ptlm. Bishop Knight initiated a traffic stop on a silver Chevrolet Silverado after Det. Sgt. Lou Hoo reported seeing the driver pick up a suspected prostitute. Knight reported that the driver smelled of alcohol and had difficulty standing. He allegedly refused to comply with field sobriety or blood-alcohol testing. John Wobbler, 40, of a state far away, was charged with DUI.

Apparently his female passenger didn't have any condoms in her purse. Or else they knew Mr Wobbler was too drunk to do anything.

DOMESTIC BATTERY: Dep. Yosemite responded to Bean Avenue in reference to a domestic disturbance that had already taken place. The officer spoke with the woman, who indicated she had argued with a man and that he had injured her shin. The wound she showed the officer allegedly appeared to be nearly healed, while she reported the dispute had occurred the day of the complaint. Yosemite reported the complaint was cleared due to the alleged victim's failure to cooperate.

That alleged victim got kicked in the shin at an earlier date! Probably for lying.

GRAND LARCENY: A Pine Grove man reported he parked his vehicle, a Chevrolet pick-up truck, at his friend's home in Egghead overnight. The man allegedly left the truck unlocked with the keys inside. When he woke up the next morning, the truck had been stolen. Dep. D. Awg filed the report and noted that the owner located it over a hill the following day.

Dep. D. Awg also noted that the man was a complete and utter idiot, and the next time he leaves his keys in his unlocked truck, he needn't come crying to Dep. D. Awg.

BREAKING AND ENTERING AUTO, PETIT LARCENY, DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY: Dep. Flower responded to Snake Church Road, where a woman reported she had parked in front of the church and entered the building before 6 p.m. When she left the church, she said she noticed her front passenger window had been busted and that her purse was missing. Her purse contained the offering from the church's morning service.

And that's why you hide what you steal from the collection plate under the seat.

COUNTERFEITING: Dep. Depute responded to Chinese Restaurant in the Mall, where a complainant reported accepting a $50 bill from a black male she said was a regular customer. The officer attempted to locate the man but was not successful.

Forgive me for taking this as read, but sounds like a regular transaction to me. Actually, sounds like a man gave the woman $50. Wonder if she had condoms in her purse?

SHOPLIFTING: Cpl. N. Rupee filed a report from a complainant at the 7-11 in Barrel, who reported a white male entered the store and walked out with two cases of beer. He described the man as having brown hair and a goatee, a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans, white tennis shoes and a white hat. The officer searched the area but did not locate the suspect.
But they found him later.

And here he is.

BURGLARY: Dep. A.M. Ballard responded to Tobor Mobile Home Park, where a complainant reported two individuals came into the residence, stole a BB gun, a scope and two rugs. The subjects also allegedly poured coffee grains into the fish tank.

Because, you know, the fish saw the whole thing.

This is still the naked city. Jack Webb and I, who are fully clothed, bid you goodnight.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* In all fairness, I'm sure Johnny Depp's never stolen a case of beer in his whole life. I just want that on record, please. As does Jack Webb.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CSI: Podunkville

(Imagine the dulcet tones of Jack Webb)

This is the city. Actually, it's not, it's the town, and the county. Wait, I'll start over.

This is the sticks. Southwest Virginia and Southern West Virginia. The stories you are about to read are true. The names and places have been changed to protect the innocent. And the guilty. And Bet.

I don't get our local paper. It's a waste of 50 cents, and when you think about what a small amount 50 cents is, that's saying something. However, there's one part of the paper I do pine for from time to time, and recently I pulled up the online version of our newspaper to have a look. By the way, the online version is also a waste of 50 cents, so I'm glad it's free.

That section of the paper I still pine for is the local Police Blotter.

When you live in a small town, the Police Blotter is great. Nothing major, no murders or anything, stories like "Mr So and So reported to police the theft of a stereo system and a pig." That one actually appeared some years ago. All I could think of was the party the suspect was going to have that night.

So on a slow afternoon last week, I popped into the online version of our area's Police Blotter. Though I was a little disappointed there were no VA-side crimes, I found enough goodies over the border in WV to make a blog.

Let's begin.

DOMESTIC BATTERY: Dep. Dingly Dang and Sgt. Heehaw responded to Waybad Street, where a domestic altercation was reported at approximately 2 p.m. The officers reported both parties appeared to have been drinking, and each claimed they had been the victim of domestic violence. The man claimed his wife threw a brush at him, and when he deflected the brush, he allegedly struck her in the face. Both parties were charged with domestic battery.

I love a good brush fight. I just use mine as a microphone when I'm pretending to sing. (By the way, can a person claim that they allegedly did something? "I allegedly struck her in the face, but I didn't mean to!")

WANTON ENDANGERMENT: Dep. Bill Officer responded to White Pine Mountain Road, where a man reported his mother had shot at him at approximately 6:30 p.m.. When the officer arrived, however, the alleged victim had fled the scene.

First of all, how bad does a guy have to be to get his mother to shoot at him? And exactly how did he know the time? "Holy shit, mom's shooting! And it's only 6:30!" Anyway, he fled, which, I guess if my mom shot at me, I'd still be running, too.

DOMESTIC BATTERY: Cpl. Klinger responded to the area behind The Grocery in Blue Valley at approximately 10:15 p.m., at which time a complainant reported his mom and stepdad were involved in a physical altercation. When the officer arrived, the woman's shirt had been ripped off, and her back allegedly had red marks all over. The man was charged with domestic battery and arrested.

Some call that a fight. Others call that a good time. I guess it was a judgement call.

SHOPLIFTING: Ptlm. S.B. Wallah responded to Another Grocery, where a complainant reported an individual attempted to exit the store without paying for Garnier hair gel and Cover Girl cosmetics. Sara Jessica Latifah, of PeeTown, was charged with shoplifting.

And she had the prettiest mug shot in the book!

PETIT LARCENY: Sgt. Bill Coe investigated a report of stolen registration tags from a vehicle at Untied Motors.

PETIT LARCENY: A Circle Avenue complainant reported registration tags stolen from a vehicle there. Ptlm. Flatfoot filed the report.

PETIT LARCENY: A West Side Street woman reported someone stole the registration tags from her vehicle. Ptlm. Flatfoot filed the report.

Not to give too much away, but anyone need a registration tag for their vehicle? See me behind the school at 9 pm.

ASSAULT: Sgt. Sargent filed a report from a complainant who reported her 11-year-old son had been followed and harassed by a juvenile female at a school dance. The female's mother also allegedly confronted the boy, calling him names and reportedly attempting to choke the boy. The officer spoke with supervisors at PeeTown Middle School, and the investigation was ongoing.

Isn't that always the case. The girl has just about roped the boy of her dreams, and then Mom has to get involved. I don't know about today's 11 year olds, but I saw this as a big horsey girl and a little trembly boy. She's threatening to steal his lunch money, but in her heart, she dreams of the day they'll marry.

DOMESTIC ASSAULT, POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE: Sgt. Flatfoot and Sgt. Bill Coe responded to Meefirst Street, where a complainant reported a disturbance. They reported hearing an argument inside the apartment when they arrived. They also reported hearing the suspect tell his girlfriend he would break her jaw if she didn't stop accusing him of cheating. After he was taken into custody, Ptlm. Flatfoot reported finding four Xanax pills and one hydrocodone tablet in his pocket. The man was charged with domestic assault and possession of a controlled substance.

And his mistress came to bail him out.

ASSAULT ON AN OFFICER, OBSTRUCTING AND OFFICER: Det. Cpl. O'Reilly escorted a BeeTown West man to Magistrate Court for arraignment on domestic assault and domestic battery charges. During the proceeding, the officer reported the man made faces and threw his pen across the table when Magistrate I. D. Judge set bond, and called the officers obscenities when Judge left the room. Afterward, O'Reilly reported the suspect refused to follow his directions to exit the courtroom and attempted to strike him with an elbow when the officer tried to direct him to a holding area to await transport to jail. He allegedly continued attempts to keep from exiting the building and fell to the floor when the officers attempted to guide him through the doorway.

Well, what a bad apple. I guess he'll be making faces through those cold steel bars now!

DOMESTIC DISPUTE: A Georgepark Road woman reported her live-in boyfriend spanked her daughter too hard. When Dep. D. Awg responded, he advised the woman of the domestic violence protective order process, which she reportedly declined to pursue.

"Ehhhh. Come to think of it, she deserved it, I guess."

BURGLARY, TRESPASSING: A resident of Old Guess Road in Sparta reported an unwanted visitor in the home. The woman told Dep. Flower she awoke that morning and went into the kitchen to find a 23-year-old man standing there. The woman reported she woke her husband, who questioned the man. He alleged he was there to protect the home from aliens. The husband physically removed the man from the home, and Flower arrested the man, noting he appeared to be extremely intoxicated.

Deputy Flower would like to read from his notebook. "The man appeared to be extremely intoxicated. No, you don't understand. Incredibly, extremely, horribly intoxicated."

BREAKING AND ENTERING, GRAND LARCENY: Dep. F. Burns responded to Lazy Day Place, where a complainant reported several mirrors, a microwave, two spools of copper wire and a nail gun were stolen from an apartment.

I'm thinking, what, bomb? Homemade bomb? By very vain terrorists?

FORGERY, UTTERING: Sgt. Sargent responded to First Bank of Money, where an employee reported a gray vehicle pulled into the drive-through lane and the driver attempted to cash a check without proper identification. The alleged victim was contacted and advised to fill out an affidavit.

You know, I'm a peaceful and non-violent type, but I really found myself wanting this to read, "A gray vehicle pulled into the drive-through lane and the driver attempted to cash a check without proper identification. The alleged victim was shot." Hold up my drive-through line again.

PETIT LARCENY: Officers responded to North Pedestrian Street, where a complainant reported her CD player and 10 CDs were stolen from her car. Sgt. Bill Coe filed the report.

This made me laugh remembering a conversation with my buddy Stennie where she was talking about people breaking into her car to steal cassettes and CDs, only to get home and look through them. "Shit! The original cast album of '1776?'"

DOMESTIC BATTERY: Sgt. Man responded to a home near the Cowhead Road intersection. When he arrived, the officer located what appeared to be fresh drops of blood on the stairs leading into the residence, but no one was home at first. While officers were on the scene, the male resident of the home returned and reported he and his wife had argued while they had friends over “partying.” The man told officers his wife left with another man present that night. He claimed the blood was from a wound he received when one of the other men present hit him with a broomstick. The man’s uncle was present that night and reported he observed the altercation and allegedly heard the husband threaten to kill the wife.

Was I at that party? I can't remember much, but my broom is missing.

So this is the sticks. And who says we don't have crime here? Anyway, I have more, but this is running long, so I'll turn it into a two-parter, if you don't mind. Look back in a couple of days.

If you dare.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Since there are no acrowinners (I'm thinking of taking acro on a long, long trip, give me your thoughts), I thought I'd relay a story of a big-city Police Blotter.
- My sister, cousin, and I were in Atlanta, sitting in the lounge waiting to get into a restaurant. We picked up a copy of our favorite free "about town" paper, and my cousin was reading it while we waited. We heard her giggle, and giggle, and finally start laughing out loud. She was laughing at the paper's Police Blotter, which had a story that went like this.
- "A man was arrested at the [insert name of strip club] in the downtown area after an altercation with employees. A dancer at the club complained to the bouncer that there was a man near the stage trying to stick his finger in a woman. The man was confronted and told he could not stick his finger in a woman. He replied that he had paid his money, and could stick his finger anywhere he wanted. He was asked to leave, and refused, causing the bouncer to physically remove him."


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Picture Sunday

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

A blissful weekend at home. I started it by hightailing myself to B'burg right after work to return an item I'd (stupidly) bought at Best Buy. Got my card credited back and went right out and bought two winter coats. Well, a coat and jacket. No pictures of that. Just a gray wool coat and black fleece jacket. Then I was back in B'field in time for a nice Friday Chill Night.

Spent almost all day at the computer on Saturday, save for a foray to the grocery. Worked during the day on a little something you Hucklebug devotees will be hearing this week, and spent the night working on the mighty and feared Great CD Mix Exchange 8.

Yes, the iTunes screen gets really bleary after all that time, but I soldiered on, and actually finished up today. I need to start burning CDs as soon as possible so I don't start thinking too much and end up changing my songs.

Another task today - remember some time back I mentioned in passing that I'd recently bought myself not one, but two OPPHs? That would be, for those keeping score at home, Old People Pill Holders. I did this because I'm supposed to be taking all these vitamins and I keep forgetting. I keep half of them at work, thinking for some reason that'll help me remember my midday vitamins, but I don't. I'm horrible.

So I sat down today, made out a list of what I wanted to take when (just like I do for my mom weekly - boy, it just comes full circle, doesn't it?), and made up midday and evening OPPHs. My next big goal is to make sure I get back in the swing of getting what I need where I need it. (Like, a pill in my mouth.)

So, I put these...


Then I watched "The Amazing Race," ate some of the worst stir-fry I've ever made, and that's about it.

Hey! How about a recipe? I'll bet you never thought it would return, but it has, the recipe du jour.

"The Big Cheese." People use that expression all the time, but do they ever stop and think about how it makes the cheese feel? Does cheese feel superior to all the other dairy products because of this? I don't know, but say hello to the return of the recipe du jour, from the "Awesome Appetizers" file at cardland, The Big Cheese.

Yes, there he is, a dashing figure in his tomato bowtie, carrot hair, olive shoes, green pepper eyes, celery hands, and pimiento mouth. Invite him to your next party and watch the joy as guests dismember him for their snacking pleasure.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* By the way, I was wrong. I thought buying two coats would mean we'd have a very warm winter. It snowed here last night. Snowed while I wasn't looking! I got up from the desk to go to bed, and there was snow, right out my window.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To Lead The Nation

Yes, the election results are now a week old.

This past Thursday, those of us who meet to greet in Poundsqueeze, the channel we, well, meet to greet in, we were all still heady with the thought of a President-Elect Obama, and were discussing which states turned red, and which turned blue, and who won what in which states.

You'd have thought we were actually intelligent human beings.

Which we are, but when Mike the Blogless posed his question to me, it became apparent that we're intelligent human beings with a bent towards the silly. Mike's question was, "The cartoon characters who live with you - who would you put in what positions in the presidential cabinet?"

I told him that very night that was a blog topic just waiting to happen, and tonight I shall answer his question.

OK, my boys get to be in the cabinet. I override Obama in making these calls. Here's what I've got:

Mr Peabody: No question on this one, Mr Peabody will be Secretary of State. Secretary of State is your biggie, the handler of affairs foreign and domestic. He has the president's ear. Obama has big ears, and Peabody has a strong grip. I couldn't think of anyone's paws I'd rather have holding our nation's interests.

Sherman: I came up with a job for Sherman very quickly - Ambassador to the UN. I mean, is there anyone, anywhere who doesn't love Sherman? He makes friends wherever he goes. Then I realized there was a cabinet position just made for him. Secretary of Agriculture. Lest ye not forget Sherman's mastery of crop development: the Shermanhead peach, Shermanhead watermelon, Shermanhead carrot, Shermanhead squash. Last year he developed the Shermanhead pickle, an actual dill pickle that grows from a vine (something about soaking the seeds in brine), and he's currently working on - and this is top-secret hush-hush stuff - a chocolate cake plant.

Huckleberry Hound: Easy one, this is. Huckie could hold no position better than that of Surgeon General of the US. Huckleberry has pulled every member of my family out of harm's way just by staying with them at the hospital. He's a caring soul, and knows more about getting people from sick to healthy than you'd ever believe.

QuickDraw McGraw: QuickDraw spent his years, till he came to live at the Poderosa, out west. He was a cowboy. Cowhorse. Whatever. I think he'd make a fine Secretary of the Interior. He knows a lot of buffalo personally, has a fine respect for the land, and can spot a tumbleweed at 500 yards.

Che Guellama: I think Che could work well as Secretary of Labor. Remember that his job, before he defected to come live with me, was carrying clarinets from Chile to ports around the world. On his back. On foot. Hooves. Whatever. He knows the value of hard work. He also knows the value of the actual worker, as he cast off his title of "Llama #27" to come to the Poderosa. He needs to work on his English, but he'll go over very well with the Spanish-speaking community.

Mr Peanut: Mr Peanut has been an industry unto himself, a well-known brand, for well over 75 years. Who better to be Secretary of Commerce? If you can keep yourself selling well for that long, you have to be doing something right. Mr Peanut is also very dapper and urbane, and would be a treat to have around at the odd state dinner.

Gossamer: I'm tapping Gossamer for Secretary of Defense. This may seem like a fairly odd appointment, but I think it could work. Sure, we know that no matter how hard Gossamer tries to do in Bugs Bunny, Bugs always wins. But people all over the world probably don't know that, and I think it would send a definite message to have a monster as the Secretary of Defense. And in working closely with the Secretary of State, Peabody, Gossamer wouldn't have to be overly intelligent. Which is good, because he's not. And we'd have to appoint an Undersecretary of Defense, whose job it would be to make sure Gossamer didn't eat important documents.

Good Luck Baby Lily: OK, so Lily's only a baby, but if we don't appoint her to a government position when everyone else is getting one, her feelings will be hurt and she might cry. So let's create a new post just for her: Coloring and Being Cute Czar. It will be an unpaid position, and every year at the State of the Union Address, the president can mention how well she does her job, and there will be a small film clip of her coloring and being cute. And the Senate will ooh and ahh.

Bunsen Honeydew: I had a really hard time finding a job for Bunsen (or Bun-Bun, as Lily calls him). There's no Department of Scientific Experiments, you know. However, when Bunsen first came to stay with me, he gave me an hour-long lecture all about how my washing machine works, and he and Peabody have conversations on all kinds of subjects. So meet Secretary of Education Bunsen Honeydew. And yes, Beaker can be his assistant. As long as they don't blow up the White House.

Harrigan: Harrigan is my sock monkey, and he sits on my desk watching over me during the recording of each week's Hucklebug podcast. So Harry is going to be the head of the FCC. Watch for lots of cussing at the 8pm "Family Viewing Hour" on television. Harry just doesn't care.

So there you have it. May God bless this cabinet and all who sail in her.

Thanks, Mike, for the topic.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have - well, acrowinner. So, tell me about The Interstate.
- Honorable Mention goes to Patrick, with his "Icky, Lengthy, Obnoxious, Frantic Times."
- Runner-Up goes to Patrick, with his "In Lieu of Flying, Try...The Interstate (Yes, it's cheating)" Yeah, but it's not like you have a lot of competition this week.
- And this week's winner goes to Patrick, with his "I Loathe Our F*cking Traffic."
- Duke, and his "Slap Happy Girls" comment came in a distant fourth.
- Thanks to all who played!


Monday, November 10, 2008


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

I had to make a journey today. I had to go to the doctor. No, nothing wrong, just my annual. It takes about 2 hours to get to the doctor's office, and some of that is spent driving my most hated highway, Interstate 81.

Interstate 81 is the very road where I lost my steering wheel three years ago, but that's not really why I hate it, I hated it before that. It's too crowded, has too many tractor-trailers, people drive it too fast, and, well, it's boring. Nothing to look at on the side of the road.

I feel that way about a lot of interstates, and if there's a viable alternative, I normally take it. Tonight's acrotopic? "The Interstate." There you go.

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, one that matches not only the topic above, but also the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket doesn't travel, so he has no thoughts on the interstate. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners. (Sometimes more than one!)

The topic? "The Interstate." The letters:


So there you go. Rev up and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I don't seem to be making many movies of late (I'll get back to it one day, I promise), but my friend Mary did! Remember (for you Hucklebug podcast listeners) my "highlight of the week" a few weeks ago, about five of us Sauerkraut Band members recording a piece of music in good old room 114 of the Mountain Lake Resort Hotel? Well, if you go here, you can see Mary's daughter and some classmates using our recording to dance to. (It had a good beat, and they danced to it.)


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders. Welcome to a short edition of Picture Sunday.

Ahhhh, no Oktoberfest. Remember for the past seven weeks how I bitched and pissed and moaned about how I was really going to start getting some stuff done after it was all over with? Well, this was my first weekend "free," and I did - well, not much.

I did clean a little bit to start Friday Chill Night. It was time to deal with the Oktoberfest bomb that that gone off in my house. I put away my Sauerkraut Band trappings, put horns and accessories back in their places, cleaned the kitchen floor, got caught up with laundry, and cleaned the spare bedroom, aka The Beast, which had become The Beast yet again and needed straightening up in a big way. And somehow...

...oh my...

...somehow that led into working on closets, moving out summer and clothes and moving in winter clothes. When I realized that I'm way short on closet space and this was going to cut a wide swath into Martini Time, I let that go and left things as they were. Straight, but not necessarily unfinished.

Yesterday I was to go to a concert, to see Southern Culture on the Skids, but somehow talked myself out of it. I was tired, my sister (who was going with me) was tired, and I didn't want to travel and stay out late and possibly have to stay overnight. So we decided together we'd give them a pass this time around, and instead I got up way too early and met my cousin Jacob for an auction.

It didn't go well. And there's a specific reason for this. I'm cheap. I mean, I'm damned cheap, which I guess is a good thing, because I'm not really flush with money at the moment, but every item that came up that interested me, I'd bid, bid, bid, then back out. Came out empty-handed, well, almost empty-handed, bought a small bauble.

Hung around the house Saturday night, still not watching movies, and then Mr M came down today and we played a few clarinet duets (boy, did I suck), then went to Granny & Paw's for dinner.

And that's about it, folks.

I do have a couple of pictures for you, though. In all those Oktoberfest pictures last week I realized that I'd forgotten something very important, and I know two little characters who'll be very angry at me if I don't make up for it.

Because along with last weekend being the final Oktoberfest of the season, it was also Halloween!

I had a grand total of one trick-or-treater. That beats last year's total of zero. Anyway, Sherman and Good Luck Baby Lily were out and about collecting candy, and it I thought you might like to see their costumes.

Sherman went as Sherman of Arabia.

That gave him a good opportunity to untie and ride his camel, Bumpy. Bumpy's not very sociable, and doesn't see a lot of action around the Poderosa.

Lily picked her costume, too. She went as a mummy.

Lily loves the TV commercials with the Michelin Man on them. To her, he's a mummy, and so that's what she wanted to be on Halloween. Her favorite Michelin commercial is the one where the Michelin Man goes hunting for, and finally finds, his Michelin Dog. Lily gave her very best longing look to Peabody, but he was not falling for it for a minute.

So there you go. Still waiting for the time and gumption to do the recipe du jour idea I've had for several weeks. It'll show up one day.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Mr M and Paw had one of the more interesting dinner-table conversations I've ever known them to have. About bands and the Civil War. I think you had to be there. Not at the war, at the table.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Obama Diet

Well, as I sit here writing this, the hinkiness has finally left me. For about two hours earlier tonight, I just wasn't sure. Then Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, and whammo, blooey, and bang-zoom, we're having an Obama Night.

I'm overjoyed.

I voted today, as you can see from the photo. I didn't get to wear the button, though, because here in Virginia voters were not allowed to wear clothing or buttons touting political candidates. So instead I went to vote as a Blue State. Blue jeans, blue blouse, blue socks, blue shoes. And now it's just come in, Virginia is blue. Yippee!

Sherman is only ten, and he can't vote anyway, because he's a cartoon character. However, starting yesterday he found a special way to show his Obama support. His diet has consisted of only foods shaped like the letter O. Yesterday it was Cheerios for breakfast, Spaghettios for lunch, and donuts for dinner. Today it was Fruit Loops for breakfast, a bagel for lunch with some onion rings on the side, and, as I was having pizza tonight, Sherman announced he'd only partake if I cut the middle out to turn it into an Opizza. Which of course I did. He's been sucking the odd Life Saver, and as the historic announcement came, was finishing off a piece of Bundt cake.

I'm now waiting to see Barack come out and address the crowd at Grant Park. I have lots on my mind, too much to organize into a coherent blog.

All I know is that, for the first time in a long time, I'm really proud of this country. Now - let the change begin.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, how did you convince us to vote?
- Winner is qoatip, with her "Democratic Daughters Fear Hitleristic Neo-Republicans." Not anymore, love!
- Runner-Up is DeepFatFriar, with his "Democrats! Democrats forever! Hell no, Republicans!" (Although I must say, after your second entry, I want to read your diary!)
- And this week's winner is Kellie (with an ie), with what I think is a completely brilliant acro, "Doing Duty. Feeling Hope, Not Republican." Yes! I'm feeling lots of hope tonight!
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!


Monday, November 03, 2008


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

OK, this is it, people. Tomorrow's the big day. You've got one more chance to tell the world why it should vote tomorrow. Or shouldn't vote tomorrow, I guess there are anti-voters out there.

This week's acrotopic shall be, "Hey, Here's Why You Should Vote (or not vote) Tomorrow."

All the 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. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket once held votes for the class officers of the second grade at Woodrow Wilson Elementary. (This was before I knew him.) Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So the topic: "Hey, Here's Why You Should Vote (or not vote) Tomorrow." The letters:


There you go. Now acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm tired. You know what? I'm always tired. I won't say it anymore, just know that whenever you're thinking about me, I am.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome back to Picture Sunday. Yes! Picture Sunday! You thought it was gone forever, didn't you?

First news first. Thanks to all who sent good wishes. My mom, aka Granny, is out of the hospital. Got out today. Still has to go back for daily blood tests, and will be on the anti-blood clot medication for some time to come, but she was delighted to see the outside light of day again. And we were delighted to get her home.

You know, twice in the last two weeks I've gotten a little bit of a jabbing. And that jabbing came from Ed (which, if you know me, is pronounced "Ehh-yud"). He's been highly disappointed in the lack of Sauerkraut Band/Oktoberfest Picture Sundays.

I started to do one a few weeks ago, but when I went through my pictures thought, "You know, when the pictures all start looking the same to me, they can't be very exciting to the average bloggee." But after the Ed-jabbing, and after realizing that my bloggees are anything but average, I now present to you Picture Sunday - The Oktoberfest 2008 Edition.

Yes, last night was the final night up on the mountain at Oktoberfest. We had a wild season, it began with the discovery of dear Si Felder under what used to be the lake, and ended with our beloved euphonium player Seth on sick leave, our vocalist Ruth with laryngitis, and Seth's daughter Deirdre off traveling in India.

OK, so let's go. Random shots from last night. Which get more and more embarrassing. For me, anyway. (Yeah, you know where that's going, don't you.)

Here is our Jagermeister inflatable shark. We decided he needed some panties.

I have no idea what song this was during, but Mary and I seem to be enjoying the hell out of it.

Leslie, who mans (womans) the Shameless Commerce Division (© Car Talk) of the SKB, made us two jack-o-lanterns for the last night. They were great.

First is the Ed-o-Lantern:

Next is the SKB Eagle-o-Lantern:

Here's a picture of some of us out on the patio during break. I had to sit for a while and think as to why I wasn't in this picture. I finally realized that's because I took the picture. (It was all a little hazy at that point.)

Same thing, only I'm in this one. Which means either someone else took the picture or I'm one fantastic photographer.

How about a shot? My oh my, even Tim, aka Dr Binky, got into the act.

Mary seems to be disbelieving of something, but it's probably not that I'm having another shot.

More shots!

It was over much too quickly. We still had about six songs left in the set when we noticed it was quitting time. So an audible of "Unter Donner und Blitzen," our traditional closing night piece of rowdiness, and then it was time to say goodbye. To the crowd, anyway. Of course, on the last night we have "tear down," where we have to take up and clean wires and cables, dissassemble the lights, etc. And it's kind of a "goodbye party" as well. (And I was shocked to find that the goodies I made, cocoa apple cake and blondies, went down well with the gang.)

I normally wouldn't include such an embarrassing picture of myself, but one last one. For one reason. No, not to show the total drunkenness I got myself into, but to show off my new Sherman and Peabody t-shirt.

And by the way, don't worry. Mr M made a repeat appearance in the Sauerkraut Band last night so I'd have a designated driver. (And doesn't he look thrilled about it.)

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I have to tell you, I saw a clip of something on MSNBC today. It was a McCain-Palin rally where country singer Gretchen Wilson was singing her hit, her tome to the toothless, "Redneck Woman." Now, I perked up when I heard her sing these lines of the song:
Victoria's Secret
Their stuff's real nice
But I can buy the same damn thing
On a Wal-Mart shelf half-price.
Now, forgive me, but with the $150,000 Sarah Palin wardrobe, does that fit? At all?
* And there you go, Ed. Stop jabbing me!