Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Christmas Gift to Myself. And You.

Hello, friends.

I told you last night I had a special announcement to make. And boy, do I.

I was doing a little online shopping a few weeks ago. It was stocking stuffer time, and I went to my favorite stocking stuffer store, purveyors of fine rubber chickens, bouncing eyeballs, and plastic ants, Archie McPhee.

I picked out some items I knew I wanted, then turned to Archie's index to browse a bit more. I saw a little section called "Archie's Attic." I figured it was stuff on sale, but I remembered I'd just seen a section called "Super Sale," and wondered what the attic could be.

When I clicked, I saw it was a bunch of McPhee "classic" items, like those plastic ants and rubber chickens. Imagine my surprise when I saw this item.


Yes, there they were, the entire set of recipe du jour cards. I had no idea you could buy them, I just got them as free prizes when I bought other items there. (Plus the set dear Jellybean sent me.) Needless to say, I added them to my order.

So now I'll have recipes du jour out the wazoo! On busy Sundays and lazy Sundays when I don't have time or want to think up and make a recipe, I can just pull out a card!

I'm so excited. I hope you are, too.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, what's your New Year's Resolution?
- Runner-Up goes to the DeepFatFriar, with his "Avoid enjoying Danish in New Haven."
- And this week's last acrowinner of the year is Kellie (with an ie), with her "Alarming Experiment. Dynamic Invention. New Harley."
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!


Monday, December 29, 2008


Hello, end of yearers, and welcome to 2008's final edition of acromania.

And so that must mean it's time for our yearly nugget. "New Year's Resolution." I think I've done this every acroyear about this time, and as long as the letters change, so will your resolution.

The rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, one that matches both the topic above and the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket says this year he's going to give me more X and Z tiles. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

The acro? "New Year's Resolution." The letters:


So there you go. Put on your party hat and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Stay tuned tomorrow for a very special announcement!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

I haven't been around much lately, things have been very busy in Betland. But with 15 minutes left until Christmas, I finally have a moment to sit down and wish everyone much peace and happiness during the holidays. Well, and any other time as well.

Thanks for reading my ramblings and being my friend.

Here's a picture of Sherman in his Santa suit.

Which is kind of cute, but really cute when you learn the pants have suspenders.

See you after the holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Holy crap, I almost forgot.

So, in this week's acro, you were to tell me about your Christmas decorations.

Honorable Mentions go to Marla (MarlaMarla), with her "There Are Defiant Potatoes--- Ominously)," and I'm now afraid of Marla's potato pancakes, and Duke, with his "Tadpoles Adorning Drooping Poinsettias, OMG!" Duke, I want to see you dressing tadpoles.

Runner-Up goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Tiny Arabic Dancers Pirouetting. Outstanding!" Hope they don't get too dizzy.

And this week's winner goes to the DeepFatFriar, with his "Tinsel, and deer poop ornaments." Because nothing says "Christmas" to me like some ornaments made out of deer poop.

Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Picture Tuesday Acro!

Hello, middle of weekers. I'm running all over the place and letting things get by me again. Sunday night was the B'burg Community Band's Christmas concert, so I was a little late getting home. Last night I was working on a little Christmas project, then I had to do the Hucklebug podcast.

And so tonight we shall combine Picture Sunday and acromania!

Last week I finally got the tree up and decorated. Yes, here it is, the mighty and feared 2008 version of Bet's Tree.

It always looks the same, doesn't it.

Well, from afar. Up close, you'll see that Holly and Ivy got their wish and were placed on the tree side by side.

They're such good friends. Sometimes in the wee hours when I wake up for just a few minutes, I'll hear them giggling and singing carols there on the tree. Holly's been very excited because just one floor above them on the tree? Lamb Chop!

Now, it's nice having a next-door neighbor who, well, actually, who isn't a transient or a drug dealer. Or squatter. And yes, I've endured all those. I seem to have a real-live normal person beside me now, and she has a Christmas pig in her front yard. There's something about the way he stands there, holding presents behind his back, that just makes me smile.

Or maybe it's the old "pig on two legs" thing. I don't know. Just funny.

Anyway, let's turn all this fun and frivolity into an acrochallenge. This week's acrotopic? "My Christmas Decorations." Yes, tell me about your lights, your tree, your inflatable Grinches, anything you like.

All the rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches the topic above and the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket has been known to tie mistletoe to his handles. Then tomorrow night, yes, Wednesday night, at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So the topic, "My Christmas Decorations." The letters:


There you go - get into the spirit and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm behind. I'm way behind.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Picture Tuesday

Hello, almost middle of weekers, and welcome to Picture Sunday delayed till Tuesday.

The strangest things happen to me. Remember how I was telling you that all the pictures I took except one mysteriously disappeared from my camera, and how I was going to have to take them all over again?

Well, tonight I was prepared to do just that, and I got out my camera for Try Number Two. I started on the first picture when I got the "batteries exhausted" logo. That's odd, I said to myself, I haven't taken that many pictures since last change, but I changed the batteries anyway, and when I did - there were all the pictures.

So let's begin with my little pictoral.

A couple of weeks ago I got a little box in the mail. I opened it, and inside was a gift. A gift from Duke, blogger, commenter, and Hucklebug listener.

It was a sock monkey Christmas ornament!

It was such a thoughtful surprise. I tried to think of names for little Sock Monkey, and knew I wanted the name to have something to do with Christmas. I chose Holly, which means little Sock Monkey turned out to be a girl!

So, Holly was getting acquainted with the Poderosa last week, and Friday I ended up getting coffee at a Starbucks where I saw and fell in love with this little creature.

Yes, a reindeer Christmas ornament!

Of course, she was named Ivy, and I brought her home. Since then Holly and Ivy have become the best of friends.

They love Christmas. They can't wait for tree-decorating night. They've asked to be put side by side.

They decided to spread a little pre-Christmas cheer by going caroling for the other cartoon characters at the Pod.

Everyone had a lovely time.

And then Holly and Ivy went bowling.

The end.

Speaking of holidays, the weekend after Thanksgiving, Mr M came down and we had dinner. He made up another batch of his wonderful stuffing. And this batch was huge. It was a mega-batch.

Little did I know that the little dog who guards my computer monitor (yes, around here everyone has a job) took the leftover stuffing and, well, he's quite the builder. And so from the "Holiday Housing" file at cardland, please say hello to the Stuffing Hut.

Yes, there he is, emerging from the Stuffing Hut, surrounded by Pokey, Melf, Mr Peabody, and Sherman.

And then they all ate his house. And a good time was had by all.

The end. Again.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm watching a movie starring Steven Hill, late from "Law and Order." He's about 30 and has a shock of black hair. And he's not eating a sandwich.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Picture Sunday Delayed

I don't know what happened, friends and end of weekenders. I had a whole story for tonight, complete with about seven pictures. I went to upload them, and only one of them was there.

And oddly enough, six pictures were there I don't even remember taking. But then again, it was from the last night of Oktoberfest, so that says something.

Odd, though. I'd long since deleted the pictures from that night.

It's okay, I can retake the pictures if you don't mind them later in the week. The real loss is the loss of the recipe du jour, which, sadly, cannot be recreated.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What Did The Zero Say To The Eight?

Yes, it's CD Mix Exchange time again, and the CDs for Mix Exchange 8 went out in the mail last Monday. And if you got one of my CDs and it was titled "Nice Belt!" that is indeed the answer to, "What did the zero say to the eight?"

After 8 CD Mixes, the challenge gets greater. But I forged ahead and did my best to the latest round of song categories given to us by our Mixmistress Stennie.

Here's the official track listing for "Nice Belt!"

1. Title track - Any song that is also the title of the album from whence it came, such as “Piano Man” from the album "Piano Man." "Hogs on the Highway," the Bad Livers. The late, lamented Bad Livers, whose bluegrass cover of Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" I used as "Kickass Cover Song" on an earlier mix. The only bluegrass band I know who makes use of a tuba from time to time. This song makes me giggle with delight. It's a fun hoedown with one of my favorite song verses ever: "Mama's in the kitchen, fixin' country ham/Brother's in the service, shot in Viet Nam/Lunch is on the table, my cousin's in the jail/Uncle's in the government, he totes the US Mail." I don't know, makes me laugh. Anyway, from, oddly enough, the album "Hogs on the Highway."

2. I Command You - A song title which is a command in the grammatical sense, such as “Don’t Stop” or “Please Please Me.” "Take the Skinheads Bowling," Camper Van Beethoven. I liked this category - you'd be surprised how many songs are actually commands. I chose this out of a list of about eight. I don't have the slightest idea why skinheads are on the lawn or why we should take them bowling, but I sure do love the song.

3. Human Anatomy 101 - A song about a part of the body. "Boobs a Lot," the Holy Modal Rounders. With all apologies to Stennie, who dispises this song. Lots of body part songs, too, I had a long list, and until the last minute had another song in this slot, "Nosey Joe." ("He's ready to stick his - big nose in your business") In fact, that was on my prototype CD. But at the last minute, I just couldn't help myself and switched to this Dr Demento staple from my childhood. It's just a wild-ass free-for-all of bad taste.

4. Song about waiting. "Waitin' In School," Ricky Nelson. As I've said many, many times, and probably right here in this very blog, I think Ricky Nelson is one of the most underrated rock and roll artists of all time. Time seems to have placed him as just a teen idol, but he had some terrific songs and a great voice. And was out there doing his thing when he left us on New Year's Eve, 1985.

5. Novelty song. "Stairway to Gilligan's Island," Little Roger and the Gooseberries. Speaking of Dr Demento, it was on his old radio show I first heard this little gem of a record. Who'd have ever guessed you could take the music from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and sing the lyrics to the "Gilligan's Island" theme over top of it - and make it work? It does work, and for me, anyway, the longer it goes on the funnier it gets.

6. Great song on a shit album. "Endicott," Kid Creole and the Coconuts. From the album "In Praise of Older Women," which I never cared for, but as I said on the CD sleeve, I also haven't gone back after 25 or so years to have another listen. I might feel completely differently about it now. I've always been in love with "Endicott," though, the song if not the title character. I will forever think of my sister when I hear this song - although I'm sure it's sung from the point of view of a girl who wants her man to be like Endicott, I always hear it sung from the point of a mother who wants her other son to be like Endicott.

7. Song from 2008. "Alabama High-Test," Old Crow Medicine Show. Boy, these "current year" songs are tough for me. I'm so out of the loop I'm normally at least a year behind. Enter the Dear Nephew! He introduced me to this song, from the OCMS's newly released album "Tennessee Pusher." It's my current favorite, about a poor soul caught with a half-pound of Alabama High-Test as he's heading for the state line. And ends up in a "jump suit, chain gang, shackles on my feet and hands." Poor guy. Not poor me, though - now I get to have all kinds of fun going back and discovering the Old Crow catalog. Thank you, nephew.

8. Song about school. "Baggy Trousers," Madness. Boy, I used to love Madness, and what a string of winners they had in the early to mid 80s. I personally am a little more fond of their earlier stuff, like this one about "naughty boys in nasty schools, having fun and playing fools, smashing up the woodwork tools," and "all the teachers in the pub passing 'round the Ready Rub." The whole song makes me imagine rosy-cheeked little English kids jumping around.

9. This & That - A song with a title using the conjunction “and.” "Skin and Bone," the Kinks. Ahh, the old Kinks. This was in their "Muswell Hillbilly" stage, foot-stompin' faux country. I've always been fond of this song, about Fat Flabby Annie, who was incredibly big, till a fake dietician went and put her on a diet. Now she looks like Skin and Bone! She's oh so thin she's lost all the friends that she had! You can't see her walk by! See what happens when you don't eat no mashed potatoes, don't eat no buttered scones?

10. Dedication: dedicate a song on your mix to someone! "A Little Help From My Friends," the Beatles. Yeah, in a way it's a cop-out, dedicating my song to everyone. But it's true - the more I listened to the lyrics about no worries at the end of the day being alone because of friends, I knew this was the dedication I wanted to make. I would write Ringo Starr and tell him I used this song, but you know, he's not accepting fan mail anymore. Bastard. I can't believe he got that much anyway.

11. Favorite song from the year you graduated high school. "One Way or Another," Blondie. I graduated from high school in 1978, which was a really exciting time for music. Only I wasn't really in on the exciting end of it, I was listening to the same old crap. That's why I had a really hard time deciding between two songs for this. This one, which I didn't discover till probably my freshman year in college, and "Promises," by Eric Clapton, which I actually adored in high school. I still like Eric's, but how could I not go with the Blondie?

12. Song you are most surprised to discover in your CD/MP3 collection. "Rock Island Line," Lonnie Donnegan. It seems every mix has one category that gives me fits. This was the fit inducer this time. I'm not one of these people who has every song in my collection in my ipod, there's not near enough room. I have to place songs there myself. So I'm hard pressed to be surprised. I have one song that I honestly don't know how it made my way to the ipod, it's by a band I don't know, it's a song I don't know, and I have no idea how I got it or why it's there. However, I don't like it, and I wasn't about to put it on the CD. Serendipity! Twice in about the past month, this song has started in the car when the ipod's on shuffle, and I've thought, after the first two notes, "I have 'Proud Mary' in my ipod?" Then I realize it's not "Proud Mary," but this song. Like Ricky Nelson, Lonnie Donnegan, King of Skiffle, also died out there giving it all he had. RIP, Lonnie.

13. Kick-ass cover song. "The Great Atomic Power," Southern Culture on the Skids. Yes, the old favorite, kickass cover song, rears its head again, and after 8 mixes I'm having trouble maintaining the same level of kickassedness with my cover songs. But Southern Culture is rife with good covers, and this one is a blazing cover of the old Louvin Brothers song about The Bomb.

14. Song with your name in the title. "Elizabeth," Zoe Lewis. I had to go looking for a song with my name in the title. I found two, but loved this one. Who cares if it's a lesbian love song. If someone would write a song like this for me, I might lean in that direction for them.

15. Smoking song - a song about smoking, what else? "Tobacco Union," Alan F Arkin. Now, I don't have to have a song by Mr Arkin on every mix I do, but this one seemed to fit. Even with the more than strange reference to people who chew tobacco - in church! Do people do that? Anyway, I chose this song for one reason - because the definitive smoking song for me, Robbie Fulks' "Cigarette State," had already been used in a previous mix. Now there's a song about smoking, dammit!

16. Song about magic. "Miss Macbeth," Elvis Costello. I had a rather tough time on this category as well. When I think "magic," I think the Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic" and not much else. I was sure someone else in the mix would use that, so I went looking elsewhere. I had another song on the prototype CD I wasn't that enamored of, and all of a sudden remembered the lyrics to this Costello number, about a woman who "has a golliwog she chucks under the chin, and whispers to it tenderly then sticks it on a pin." And I'll be darned if a boy down the lane doesn't end up bent doubled over in pain.

17. Next song Stennie should learn on the guitar. "Baltimore," the Hackensaw Boys. Hey, as far as I'm concerned, Stennie can learn all the Hackensaw Boys songs she wants on the guitar! But I chose this one because I think it would be fun for her to play. It's mostly chord-based but has a few guitar licks here and there, and I imagine us singing away on it together. But as I mentioned on the CD sleeve, I get the harmony.

18. Introductory song - Song you would like to have played by Paul Schaeffer and the CBS Orchestra if you were a guest on Letterman. "Ein Prosit," Becky & Ivanhoe Dutchmen. I can't think of a more appropriate song for me to greet Letterman to. The only reason I can imagine being on his show is that, oh, say, the Sauerkraut Band were involved in some sort of international scandal that disgraced the country, and I had a chance to come on and tell our side of the story. The song's only 35 seconds long, so it gives me time to get out from behind the curtain and shake hands, and it even includes the "Zicky Zacky" cheer at the end, which of course I would lead Letterman's audience in from the stage. My only regret about this is that I bought a generic version of it from itunes, not realizing I could have recorded it from the video I have of the actual SKB singing it.

19. Amnesia - a song about forgetting. "I Can't Remember," Timothy Seth Avett. A member of the Avett Brothers, this is a solo effort, and is a lovely, lovely song. Poor guy can't remember shit, but what a lovely song. And the fact that in the chorus he sings, "Don't be sad, don't be sad, we've all had harder times?" That makes me even sadder! I need to discover some more Avett Brothers, too, I believe.

20. Amnesty song - As always, a song that you would have liked to use in this (or any other) mix, but couldn’t seem to find room for. "One Hippopotami," Allan Sherman. I felt like this lavish, orchestrated parody of "What Kind of Fool Am I?" might be a good way to end the mix. It's a novelty song from the sixties, and is all about singulars and plurals! (Has it ever occurred to you that the plural of half is whole?) It also ends with one of the worst punch lines ever, but still makes me giggle.

So there you have it. Another mix in the can.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, boy, do we have acrowinners! You all wanted to give me a punch line!
- Honorable Mentions go to Mike, with his "So what? I'm probably gay anyway," and Kellie (with an ie), with her "She watched insistent pigs google 'animals.'"
- Runner-Up goes to the DeepFatFriar, with his "'Swinging' with Iceland's Professional Golf Association."
- And this week's winner goes to LilyG, with her, wait. So, why is Grandpa's room empty? Well, he was getting into a little trouble getting lost around town. We took him to the doctor and the doctor showed us a human GPS system that would ensure he'd never get lost, no matter how far he roamed. We asked how much such a thing would cost, and were told around a thousand dollars. "So, we instead put Grandpa away."
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!


Monday, December 01, 2008


Hello, lovers of letters. Yes, you asked, and here it is. Acro is back. Let's see what happens.

I'm late for Hucklebugging, so let's get right to it.

I'm afraid this might be a hard acro, then again, it might be incredibly easy, because the possibilities are endless. This week's acro, "The Punch Line." Give me a punch line to a joke. I don't care what the joke is, we'll mold one around the line later. It can be anything from, "That's just how Grandma thinks," to, "I don't need a car," to anything else.

You all know the rules, so I won't go into detail. Three entries per person, match the letters and topic, and let 'er roll. Sorry, acrobasket, you get no punch line in the acro about punch lines.

The topic, "The Punch Line." The letters:


There you go. Now hyuck it up and acro.