Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Beer

Today's the day President Obama, the Professor, and the Cop all get together at the White House to have a beer and therefore solve the problems of race relations in the US.

In my mind's fondest imaginations, here's how today will go.

Professor: You know, it was a long day, I couldn't get into my house, I was pissed off, and there you were, accusing me of breaking into my own house. I just blew up.

Cop: Yeah, I know, and when you started yelling at me, that just got all over me somehow and I handled it all wrong. It should have been a non-event, you know?

Professor: Yeah, I know. I mean, we're grown men.

Cop: We are, but we sure didn't act that way, did we?

President: Anyone want another pretzel?

I doubt it'll go this way, and I have a feeling when it's all over they'll go back to hating each other. Because the world stinks that way.

There's one thing I do know, though. Another cop, an Officer Justin Barrett, got into hot water when he sent out an email calling the Professor a (please, his words, not mine) "banana-eating jungle monkey." He did this not once in his little email, but four times. So I know you can look for Officer Barrett on the Hucklebug's feared Fuck-Off list this week.

The officer promises us he's not a racist, and his lawyer swears the words were taken out of context, though I'm not quite sure how "banana-eating jungle monkey" could have less sting in any context imaginable.

The officer's quote: "I have so many friends of every type of culture and race you can name."

My reply: Not anymore!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Oh, Milo. Milo's stubborn. Milo's going to give me headaches if I don't stop being afraid to say no. Well, actually, to say, "NO!"


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Picture Sunday

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

And talk about needing one more day in the weekend. My buddy Stennie and I participated in the podcastathon on Saturday. This was part of Blogathon 2009, an electronic gathering where people blog for charity. We podcasted. Started at 9:00 (my time) Saturday morning and did 48 podcasts, one every half hour, till Sunday at 9:00.

We had a great time, people gave us topics for discussion, quizzes, some came on-air to join us for a while, people stayed with us giving us comments of support, and when it was all over we had raised $650.56 of pledges for the American Cancer Society.

Again, our friends came through and showed us and the world just how cool they are. And we can't thank you enough.

There were some highlights, to be sure. I'll post some links that will take you to the pages where you can listen to them, but if you have a while, just head to and you can listen at your leisure to any of it.

Our friend Siskita creating mad-libs Broadway songs for us and singing them on the air (episode 14 - but warning, not for the squeamish or the young).

Our friend the DeepFatFriar doing his own Chaucer rap (episode 19).

Mr M and I doing something rather bizarre (episode 28).

Me singing my Ultimate Beatles Song, which I worked on off and on throughout the day (episode 45 - oops! edited to add this one starts with a bit of salty language as well, referring to Siskita's song).

I took a few pictures throughout the day, most ended up on Facebook at some time or other, but since I needed a Picture Sunday I thought I'd just use this space to give a little visual of what 24 hours of sleepless podcasting can do to a person.

Here I was at hour 18, getting a little tired, but still awake and relatively lucid.

It's amazing what three hours can do, though. Hour 21.

And then, in the last hour, when you know you can wait out another 60 minutes but aren't sure how. Hour 24.

Oh, and at some point, after a round of Fact or Crap Trivia, I took the opportunity to draw a picture of Milo on one of my playing sheets.

It is a fact!

And on a personal note, I would like to say that Milo was an exceedingly good boy, and that two other very good boys, the DeepFatFriar and Mr M, both visited me at different times on Saturday. They provided company, comic relief, dog-occupying, and DFF even provided an amazing dinner so I wouldn't have to worry about cooking.

Glad I did it, gladder it's over. Now I want to get my regular schedule back.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Rain! Hard rain! Big fat drops!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

By Request! (Amended Version)

Ahhhh, you thought I'd forgotten all about you, didn't you, my dear blogees. Well, I hadn't, I just haven't had a lot of time. But we're back tonight with another request blog.

Tonight, I'm honoring Stennie's request of "lists are always good." This one's been on my agenda for some time, but I couldn't come up with any good lists. So I went to Facebook. Lord knows there are lists galore there, so I picked some out and we'll give it a go.

If I Could Only Have Five Channels, They'd Be These -
1. BBC America. Couldn't do without it.
2. MSNBC. A life without Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and late-night reruns of "Dateline: To Catch a Predator?" I don't think so. (Please let it be a rooster clock episdode!)
3. CBS. Have to have my "Amazing Race." And I'd miss my new love Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory."
4. TCM. An interesting choice, since I don't have it now. It's really the only channel I long for.
5. Sundance. I could probably live without this one, but they do show some interesting indie and foreign stuff, and they have "Spectacle with Elvis Costello."

Five Songs That Remind Me of Something -
1. "Forever and Ever, Amen," Randy Travis. Reminds me of the enduring marriage of my parents.
2. "The Wreck of the Old 97," Traditional. Reminds me of the mid-late 80s when my cousin Jacob and I would go see our favorite cover band, Nervous Romance, at 117 South Main in B'burg. We'd go up to the loft to watch and they'd do this song, and people would stomp so hard we were sure they'd break the loft and we'd all die tumbling to the first floor.
3. "Stand," REM. Reminds me of my friend from England, Tina, coming to visit. We took a trip - a trip? several trips - to see REM, and at a stop at a rest area, she made us teach her the Stand Dance, that dance people did in the video. Other travelers must have thought we were nuts.
4. "Big Balls," AC/DC. Reminds me of a party at my house in the early 80s. I was still living at home, but the folks were gone, and after a high school football game some of my friends and some of my sister and her husband's friends all gathered at our house. One of the few times in my life I've smoked the herbal refreshment. We were passing around a gallon of strawberry cheesecake ice cream and a spoon. At one point, someone mentioned this song, and got a tape of it, and we all piled into my bedroom to listen to it on my stereo. There were about 12 of us on my bed. It broke.
5. "Gospel Plow," the Hackensaw Boys. Just reminds me of the first time I saw them. At Rocktoberfest, where the Sauerkraut Band was also playing. They started up and I'd never heard anything like it in my life. I was hooked from the first song. This is the only song I remember them playing.

Random Things Starting With the Same Letter as My Name -
1. Bibles
2. Beans
3. Bills
4. Birkenstocks
5. Bi-valves

Movies I've Seen So Many Times I Can Recite the Dialogue -
1. "The In-Laws"
2. "That Thing You Do!"
3. "Clueless"
4. "Blazing Saddles"
5. "Stripes"

Alcoholic Drinks That Got Me So Drunk -
1. Beer. First drunk ever. I went out with three other people, two of them my future brother-in-law and his buddy, then both world class beer drinkers. I stayed with them beer for beer. Oh, God. The worst part of it, it was on a trip, so the next day I had to ride home in a car for about six hours while my parents ridiculed me.
2. Vodka and Orange Crush. Hey, I was young. It was there.
3. Beer, Jagermeister, Jagermeister, Jagermeister, Beer, Beer, and Jaegermeister. My first ever gathering with the Sauerkraut Band, a pre-Oktoberfest practice way out in the wilds of Floyd County. I'd never seen so many shots hoisted in my life. And every time my mug got half empty, Jude the Corrupter would fill it full from his larger mug. I should have known what I was getting into, but...
4. Beer, Jagermeister, Jagermeister, Jagermeister, Beer, Beer, and Jaegermeister. And a Glass of Champagne. New Year's Eve, 2003. The Sauerkraut Band New Year's Eve Party, at the home of no less a person than Mr M. Again, the shots were flying fast, the beer was passing around furiously. By the time the champagne came along, well - that was the first year I'd heard that it was good luck if the first words you say after the clock strikes are "rabbit rabbit." I was determined to go outside and shout it, as 2003 had been such a crummy year and I was ready for 2004. I had to have a spotter on each side to get me outside. Weeks later I was at Mr M's and noticed an unsightly sticky spot on his floor, and asked what it was. "It's where someone spilled champagne on my floor, and I couldn't clean it up with a paper towel." I had a moment of clarity. "Me, right?"
5. Martinis. OK, I did realize I only had four on this list, I thought no one would notice. Har de har. Martinis! I'm generally a 2-martini gal. One's not enough, three's too many, two's just right. I know this because one night I got really pissed off about something and drank a third. I fell asleep face first on my keyboard. I got up to drag myself to bed, and when I went to wash my face I had key imprints on it. So there.

There you go, Stenns.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Speaking of Stennie, please remember we need your pledges for the podcastathon, which we'll be doing this Saturday. We're raising money for the American Cancer Society, because we want to kick cancer's ass. You can go to the Hucklebug site to read how to sponsor us. It's easy and will only take a minute!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Boy, what a day. If our year really is seven years of a dog's life, I think Milo and I are entering the Terrible Twos.

When I came home for lunch, we immediately went outside, of course, and did our usual 100 laps around the house, all across the gravel lot beside my house, then what seems to be Milo's favorite activity, sitting on the walkway watching cars go by. I told the girls at work I think he's actually an old man in a dog suit. All he wants to do is amble around the yard and then watch cars go by.

Then this evening was to be a big event, because Milo was going to meet Uncle Taylor. Uncle Taylor was coming to mow. But first, right after work I had to run a few car errands, so I picked Milo up and took him with me. He was quite good, but when he got a Milk Bone at the drive-thru at the bank, he took that as a sign he was to say "thank you" by climbing through the little slide-out window and personally licking the teller in the face. Boy, is he strong.

Then we got home and I sat at the computer a while waiting for Uncle Taylor. I'd forgotten, however, that my car keys were in my pocket, and I must have shifted wrong, and my security alarm constant horn-blowing thing went off. Milo went ballistic, barked and barked and lunged at the door. I got it turned off and we had to go outside so he could look at the car 72 or so times and pick up rocks in the driveway.

We went back inside, and we heard a car pull up. Milo started getting antsy, so we went to the door to find not Uncle Taylor, but Uncle Brother-in-Law. You'd have thought Milo had never seen a man in his life, for he got all excited and did a nervous pee, slightly missing Uncle Brother-in-Law's foot. They communed while B-in-L told me he'd come over to do some yard work too, cutting some tree limbs in the back yard and such, for which I was very grateful. Milo proceeded to pull me everywhere Uncle B-in-L went, but when the first shovel strike went into the yard, again, ballistic. Barking, lunging - it was a sight. I finally had to pick him up and walk to the stoop, where we sat and had a long talk about the rudeness of barking at family, especially family who was doing us a favor, and a calmer Milo kept an eye on his new acquaintance the whole time. One more lap around the house and a bit of car-watching and we went back inside, where for the first time Milo chewed on something he wasn't supposed to, one of my emergency slip-on shoes I keep by the door. I extracted it, moved it to higher ground, and substituted a toy.

Finally, Uncle Taylor showed up. Milo was a completely different doggie. He loped up to Taylor, greeted him, wanted to be petted, and seemed to be just fine. So I don't know, maybe he wasn't so much averse to Uncle Brother-in-Law as he was to watching someone do some hard work. Lord knows he hasn't seen much from me.

After Uncle Taylor was done with his chores, we went back outside to say goodbye, and walked over to Uncle B-in-L to sniff around, but Uncle B-in-L was now using a dirt and leaf blower, and this scared Milo, to the point where I knew if I lead him to the side of the yard he'd have a nice pee, and I was right. Scared the pee right out of him. Then after the B-in-L finished up we stayed outside and talked a while, and Milo kept trying to chew on large-sized rocks.

Oh, and while all the outside work was going on, I was working inside, where Milo attacked the leg of my wet blue jeans and had a small pee on the carpet while he was about six inches out of my eyeline.

I've come to the conclusion that Milo now understands he's got the gig, he's not on audition, and so he's really feeling his oats. Now I have to start being Alpha Dog. I mean, it almost makes me smile sometimes how he tests me.

But we're getting along. It's just that after all that in meeting two new people, on Thursday we're having a family dinner for my dad, whose birthday was this past weekend. Milo was cordially invited. I can't even imagine.

I guess he'll be OK just as long as nobody does any hard work.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, who wouldn't want to kick cancer's ass?
- Runner-Up goes to Marla (marlamarlamarla), with her "Children Hating Dickheads. Rotten Wankers!"
- Honorable Mention goes to Michelle the dishy, with her "Charlton Heston doesn't really wanna." (Which I loved dearly, but....)
- And this week's winner is LilyG, with her, "Cancer. He's doing really well." That's about as perfect an answer as I can think of.
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well.
* And remember, the Hucklebug podcast still needs pledges for the podcastathon. Please go to the Hucklebug site to read all about how to join us to kick cancer's ass this weekend. It's easy and for a good cause!


Monday, July 20, 2009


Hello, lovers of letters, lovers of life. Bet and Milo here (sleeping at my feet), bringing you another round of acromania.

Well, folks, the time is here again. This Saturday Stennie and I, we of the Hucklebug podcast, will be participating in the national Blogathon. Only we're doing a podcastathon. Yes, Saturday morning at 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 Pacific (oooh, sorry, Stennie) we will go on the air. For the next 24 hours we'll be doing a short podcast every half hour. That's 48 podcasts in 24 hours. We'll be asking for pledges of donations to the American Cancer Society. Yes, we're podcasting for 24 hours to kick cancer's ass.

How can you help? Well, first of all, you can go to and read the first post, which will give you the link where you can sponsor us. It's easy as pie and only takes a minute. You can pledge a penny an hour if you like, or a flat fee of a thousand dollars. We don't care.

You can also leave us some ideas for topics. I mean, we have 48 spots to do - we're going to need something to talk about! You can email them to either Stennie or me, or just leave them as a comment - either here or on the Hucklebug site.

And you can also join us. We'll be there till 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 Pacific on Sunday morning. Podcasts will go up on the half-hour. Tune in through the site and say hello, we'd love to hear from you. Really, the one we did a couple of years ago, in those wee hours your comments were about all that kept us going. Do you want to come on the air and join us? Did you devise a quiz, or want to hum theme songs to see if we'll know them? All you need is Skype and a microphone. Let us know!

When we first announced the podcastathon, and said it was to help kick cancer's ass, a question was raised - well, who wouldn't want to kick cancer's ass? Our short list included Nazis, child molesters, and bed-wetters. Which brings us to tonight's acrotopic? "Who Wouldn't Want To Kick Cancer's Ass?" What kind of vile human excrement would turn a blind eye to eliminating cancer?

All the 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 was pressed into service last time, we had an acro during the podcastathon. We might do that again. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So the acrotopic: "Who Wouldn't Want To Kick Cancer's Ass?" The letters:


So there. Acro, and please make a pledge for us, if you would. Thanks!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Milo likes to chew. Funny how that surprised me. I just keep forgetting he's a puppy. A very good, smart puppy, but a puppy.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Picture Sunday

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

You know, I've been thinking about dogs for a long time. I've always had them, up until the beloved Petster passed away some 15 years ago. Everyone told me, "Get another dog immediately," but I just couldn't do it, losing her was too painful. And so I never got one. I'd think about it, though.

And every once in a while I'd go to the local animal shelter's site and look at pictures. As you might remember if you've read my blog for a long time, a few years ago a friend told me about a West Highland Terrier (Bill and The Petster's breed) that had been rescued and was at that shelter. I called and made arrangements to go pick him up in two days. In two days I arrived, only to be told the dog had been adopted out to someone else.

And that was it for me. I couldn't stand the heartbreak.

But for about the past year, I'd go to that animal shelter website about once a month, just to look at doggies. And a couple of weeks ago, I saw a picture of a little guy I thought was adorable. He was a terrier mix, looked like he had a lot of Jack Russell in him, and for some strange reason last Saturday on my way to B'burg and Mr M's, I thought I'd just go visit him.

I got there and was told small dogs were down one hallway, bigger dogs down another. I took the small dog hallway and walked all the way to the end, where I saw the doggie. He was curled up in the corner, and he was a trembler. I patted his nose with my finger, and he gingerly took it in his mouth. I raised my finger through the cage until he sat up, then more till he stood up, and more till he was on his hind legs. He was cute. A girl who came by asked if I'd like to play with him in the "orientation room," and for some reason I said yes. And off we went.

But alas, it took me about three minutes in the room with Little Trembly to realize this was not the dog for me. He was extremely young and was all puppy. He peed several times in the room, a nervous peer, he he had no attention span, was skittish, and worst of all, shed like crazy. My blue jeans were white. I excused myself and thanked the people at the shelter and turned to leave.

And I've no idea why, but instead of going out the door, I headed down the big dog hallway. I walked along and saw many Pit Bulls and Eskimo Dogs, and dogs of no fixed breed, and I walked by a cage with a small shepherd and a fluffy-looking dog, who was curled up asleep. I said, "Awww," and kept walking. And I reached the end and turned around, but when I passed the cage again I decided to give a quick "tk, tk!" to try and wake the sleeping doggie up.

And I came face to face with this.

And it was love at first sight. I ended up asking if I could play with this fella too, and was told sure, and off we went. And this doggie was just a doll-face. He was so sweet, playful but not rambunctious, and when I picked him up he ate my whole face off. I wanted him.

I was told he'd just been brought in that day and so he wouldn't be available for adoption till the next Monday, over a week away. He had to get his shots and the like. And that was good, because it gave me time to go home and brood over it and think of all the reasons I didn't need a dog and how I was stupid to even consider it again.

And so I thought about all those reasons, working, traveling, expense, worry. And I thought of something else, too. I want a dog. I miss a dog. I need someone in my life to depend on me, to take care of so I'll stop being wrapped up in my own problems and have a little responsibility. I've been much happier with dogs in my life. And speaking of life, life's too short not to have one.

A problem, though - I noticed that very day that my little guy was the only dog in the shelter who was wearing a collar. I wondered if he was a runaway, if he'd be claimed as soon as his owners realized he'd ambled off.

I called Monday to find out. They didn't know, but said it was very possible. I asked if I could call back to see if he was still around through the week (of course, if I hadn't convinced myself against the whole idea), and they said sure. I called Tuesday and he was there.

I called Wednesday and they said they thought he'd been claimed; they couldn't find his paperwork. But they found it, and told me the dates were wrong, that he would be available Friday, and that there was a woman calling about him every day. I had a feeling that was me but didn't say anything, but they suggested that if he was still there Friday, I should come first thing. They couldn't reserve animals for people, so it was first come first serve.

I called Thursday and he was there, so I went to visit again. We played and I was besotted, and I got him to stand on his hind legs for a treat. The lady I spoke to that first Saturday was there, and she came in the room several times to watch us play.

On the third time she closed the door behind her. And she said, in a low voice, "Listen. If you want to pay the fee now, I'll hold him for you on Friday. You just have to understand that if the owners claim him, we have to give him back."

And I said yes. In fact, she didn't make me pay the fee that day. She said, "I know you'll be back."

I went home Thursday with a stop by the store to buy about $100 of doggie goods. (Expense!) I came home and looked at my house, which is so full of stuff a dog can get into it's not even funny. I had a lot to do. But you know what? There was no nervousness, no hinkiness, not a second of regret. I was so excited to get this little guy I could have exploded right there.

I had to work all day Friday, but Mr M had a plan. I'd get him at lunch, bring him home, and then he'd take him to B'burg and watch him, walk him on a leash, start with housetraining, assuming he wasn't. We were assuming that, as his estimated age was four months old.

And so I went to get my doggie!

He was nervous, but we made it home just fine, and I had to hand him over to Mr M while I went back to work. After work I headed to B'burg to get him, where he was pronounced by Mr M A Good Doggie. He'd been outside to use the bathroom, had taken some walks on the leash, and when I got there, they were watching a movie. He said when we put him in the crate to send him away with Mr M, he cried for about five minutes then was as good as gold.

So I headed back home Friday night, just me and doggie. And Mr M was right. Five minutes of crate crying, then as good as gold. We got home and the first order of business was a bath. Was a sweetheart in the bath. After the bath, we took a picture. He wasn't even camera shy.

Shortly after his picture was taken, he stole a piece of pizza from my plate. It was funny, though, my fault for getting up to get a paper towel, and I got it back from him so he didn't get sick.

I had to record the podcast Friday, and Mr Doggie, who was still unnamed, sat at my feet the entire time. I was juggling several names. When I first met him my immediate thought was Webley. The second time I met him, he didn't seem much like a Webley. Cooper was in the mix, as was Shelly, my sister was lobbying for Moon Pie, but somehow I kept going back to Milo. And so somewhere during or after the podcast on Friday, he was officially named.

Hi, Milo!

And so we've spent the weekend together, and it hasn't all been a bed of roses. There are a couple of problems, but they have nothing to do with Milo the Sweetheart. On Saturday he started coughing, and it's gotten quite bad, and from all I'm reading online, I'm thinking he might have a case of kennel cough. It makes me cringe every time the boy coughs, cause, you know, I'm a mother now. And he's also either got fleas or skin problems. He scratches a lot, and the fur at his back legs is all matted. It's matted because he scratches and bites, and his skin and fur is very dry. So even though he's had his beginning shots, I'm making appointments tomorrow with the vet and the groomer (Expense!) so we can get him fixed up.

Other than that? It's all good. I'm not kidding, folks - this little doggie is a mother's angel. He is so good. Friday night when I put him in the crate and went off to bed, he cried his heart out - about ten minutes. Then he was as quiet as a lamb. Last night he didn't even cry. And he doesn't get into the things I've yet to find a place for so he won't get into them.

He's only had one accident in the house, and that was the first night, a pee on the kitchen floor, which is vinyl tile anyway, again my fault because I wasn't watching him. Everything else has been outside, and today he's even started doing a new trick.

Yep, he goes to the door when he wants out. That's after two days!

We go out a lot, he loves the outdoors. I've made something of 5700 laps around my house so he can walk, and this morning we took a walk down the street through the lot beside my house, then back home via sidewalk. The cars didn't bother him, in fact, he loves to just go outside and stand, while I sit on my front steps holding his leash, and watch cars go by. We've been practicing our leash walking, or as I call it, our Fancy Pageant Walkin', and I'm not doing so good there. I seem to have lost the Alpha Dog designation when it comes to being the leash holder. But I'm working on it.

We love to bark together, we just get together and bark like nobody's business. And yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, after I came home from the store with a couple of new toys, he took a liking to Green Dog, and - he fetched! After one day, my Milo was fetching!

And best of all? He's a cuddlebug. Boy, does Milo like to cuddle. We cuddled for two hours tonight and watched VH1 Classics' "The Seven Stages of Rock."

In fact, the only worry I have is that he'll get too big. As you can see, this boy has some whoppin' big feet. I imagine two years from now after I've added the Milo Wing onto the Poderosa and I'm riding him in the yard. (Well, there is the worry about tomorrow, when Real Life starts and I have to start leaving him several hours at a time. I left him for about 2 ½ today, and he did all right.)

But I don't even care. Growth is gradual. I'll get used to whatever size he ends up being.

Hi, Milo! Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? You are!

Oh, and he doesn't mind being held.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* This is important! Please remember that this Saturday, the 25th, Stennie and I are doing the Hucklebug Podcastathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society. We need your pledges! We'll be doing 48 podcasts in 24 hours. We did this a couple of years ago and it was a great success - help us keep it going. Any amount at all you want to give would be welcomed with appreciation. All you have to do is go here, to the Hucklebug website, and you'll get all the instructions on how to pledge. Thank you!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Racing Stripes

You know, sometimes the blogging gods smile upon you.

I was knocking around a couple of ideas at work today for a blog topic, but nothing was grabbing me much. A request blog (which I promise I'll start doing again), pictures of a clean Sherman (if I could get him all fixed up in time), a rousing edition of What Are The Boys Up To, eh, it all seemed dull to me.

Then around noon, while the boss was at lunch and I was sitting at her desk, a couple came in and asked to see her. San at the front explained she wasn't in right then, but that I could probably help them, and so back they came into the office.

They'd bought a new car and they wanted to get everything set up.

And all I wanted was a camera.

This was a couple of, oh, the man was probably in his mid-seventies, and his wife was a little younger. She was dressed nicely, with a modern haircut, very well turned out, and he - well, he was a man around five feet five inches, not slim but not stout, tanned, and he - well, he....

Any fans of "Freaks and Geeks" out there? The wonderful show of some years ago about kids trying to get along in high school? Remember the episode where geek Sam was trying desperately to fit in with the cooler kids so he bought some clothes of his own?

Well, the very nice and friendly seventy-something fellow who'd ambled into the office today was wearing an honest-to-God Parisian Nightsuit.

It was a seersucker jumpsuit, snug-fitting, and probably bought new somewhere around 1978. It was white with red pinstripes. It zipped up the front and had its own built-in belt. He looked like a tube of Pepsodent.

I got the helpless, well, I had the good sense not to get the helpless giggles, but I got the helpless "the corners of my mouth are turned up and everything I say ends in a bit of a laugh." Every time it happened, I said something funny, about not being able to read VIN numbers without old people glasses and the like, and I got through it well. I was very happy San had a customer up front so she wouldn't catch my eye, but was terribly disappointed the boss wasn't there to see it.

And since I didn't have a camera, I don't have a picture for you. However, I have one of those old naked drawings of Kim Jong-Il from a blog sometime back, so I've tried to recreate it.

So as I said, they were such a nice little couple, and they were so excited about their new car, which was a Mini Cooper. I was telling them how cute I thought they were, and they said, "Well, you might see us around town in ours, if you do, wave! It's red, with white racing stripes."

And then my smile turned from one of snarkiness to one of endearment. Mr Client was going to pick up his red and white striped Mini in his red and white striped jumpsuit! He was all nattily attired to drive his new car around town.

And I smiled all day.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Man, do we have acrowinners! You've made me proud! The topic was, "Who's At My Door?"
- Honorable Mentions go to DeepFatFriar, with his "Department of Defense, attacking," Mr Middlebrow, with his "Delerious octogenarians dementedly ambling," and Duke, with his "Dirty, old, degenerate Acolytes."
- Runners-Up go to Mike, with his "Duh. Opportunity, dumb ass," Kellie (with an ie), with her "Dudes on divine Arabians," and LilyG, with her, "Dogs ogling dinner, aperitifs."
- And this week's winner is Marla (marlamarlamarla), with her "Daughter of Dad, actually." Because, well, with me in the reflection, I guess that is who's at my door. Good one!
- Yes, everyone's on the winners board this week, because you all had such good acros. You've all done very well!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Picture Acrochallenge

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

I said I'd have some pictures for you, but since I'm still working on the cleaning of Sherman I don't have his pictures for you tonight. In fact, I worked on him very little tonight, but I worked on cleaning my floor a whole lot, so here's a picture of that instead.

And while I was taking pictures, I realized I hadn't taken a picture of my new front door! Lord have mercy, how could I have left that out of the Picture Sunday madness? Well, let's remedy that right now.

Oh, and look. There I am in the reflection of my new door, taking the picture. Such a photographer I am.

OK, now that that's out of the way, it's acro time. This week's topic? "Who's At My Door?" Yes, I just opened my door - who did I come face to face with?

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 can't answer the door, of course, he's too short. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So, the topic is "Who's At My Door?" The letters:


So there you go - go to the door and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I dont' really have an update, but I feel bad when I don't stick one in here. Uh, I had crab for dinner tonight. There.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pictureless Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to a (sadly) Pictureless Sunday. But do not fear - there could be pictures tomorrow.

I've spent the evening working on, well - my boy. Yes, I've been cleaning up Sherman. Trying to get the ink stain off his head, then cleaning up his nose and hands. I also went to work on his shirt, and am toying with the idea of working on the fading of his glasses and eyes.

It really has been a time consuming effort.

But hey, while you're here, check something out for me.

Friday after this week's Hucklebug recording, podcast-mate Stennie was gracious enough to give me my first lesson in html. It's something I wish I knew more about, and since I've been complaining about how Blogroll now uses banner ads on any page you access through them, we decided new links would be my first lesson.

So if you'll look at all my links there to the left, under "Try These Sites" (yes, I did that, too!), you'll be able to get to all those blogs and sites with no ads following you. May not look like much to you, but I'm very proud of myself. And Stennie, for being a patient teacher.

Other than that, good weekend, but I'll hold off on telling you about that.

Happy week.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Hello, friends. I was supposed to blog and name acrowinners last night. I fell asleep.

It's about time. I haven't slept in so long I didn't even berate myself for taking a two-hour nap in the Comfy Chair. I'm also cutting myself some slack because I've taken back up my relationship with the exercise bike. Been back at it for almost a week, and was kind of surprised at myself for being able to go at it as long and as hard as I have been.

As I said earlier in the week, I was without a Picture Sunday this past week. It wasn't supposed to happen that way, but it did. It's a long story. It's not particularly pretty, either, but I'm far enough away from it that it now amuses as well as amazes me, so I thought you might like to hear it.

See, last weekend was the holiday weekend. I had Friday off. On Saturday I was to go to B'burg and Mr M's, where hopefully we'd see the B'burg Community Band, sans me, play a concert and then watch the fireworks. And then celebrate, because, of course, the Fourth of July is Sherman's birthday.

I did nothing on Friday. Absolutely sod-all. Left my house once, only to fill the car up with gas. Had cleaning plans, then thought, "Oh, that sucks, it's my day off, for God's sake," so I loafed around and had a nice day. Around 4pm my dad called and I told him I was doing absolutely nothing. He asked if I was still going to see the Community Band the next day, I said I hoped, and then he posed the "pool conundrum," which was to ask how upset I'd be if they didn't open the pool this year. It's a lot of work.

I understand this completely, and though I'll miss it, there was no way I could tell my dad to open the pool, and so I said it was absolutely fine and not to worry about it. We said our goodbyes and I went on with the day. Being lazy.

I got up Saturday, and just as I started, in a timely manner and everything, to get everything packed up for Mr M's, the phone rang. It was Dad. He said, "Are you still going to B'burg?" I told him I was. He then informed me that he needed me to take him to WalMart, as he needed some chemical for the pool and Mom needed some things as well.

OK. Now, I'm going to be starting a few paragraphs of this blog with "OK." Because several times during all this I sat or stood, looking askew into the air, and thought, "Ooooo Kaaaaay." So, here was the first OK. I spoke to my dad in the afternoon the day before and told him I had done nothing and was doing nothing that entire day. He knew I was going to B'burg Saturday. And yet he picked Saturday as I was getting ready to leave to say he needed to go to the store. I felt a bit leery about buying chemicals for the pool as well, but I don't know that much about its upkeep so I was willing to give Dad the benefit of the doubt on that one. There might be chemicals you put in when you're not opening it. What do I know?

So all of a sudden my on-time plans were not on time anymore, and I started rushing around like a chicken with no head trying to get everything ready. I was naked with wet hair, which I remedied quickly, then started trying to get a bag packed. Then I tried to remember that I needed to get my clarinet apart and in its case for duets. I tried to remember a chair for the band concert. I tried to remember to brush my teeth, and to get all the cartoon characters together and in a bag large enough to hold them so we could have Sherman's birthday. I tried to remember cameras. And my ipod. And a hat for the sun. And a couple of protein bars and a few diet green teas.

I had everything in a pile in the floor and was in the process of loading them into the car when the phone rang. It was my dad. He wanted to know if I was ever going to get there, and I told him to hold his tater on the cold end, that I was packing up the car and would be there shortly. I got everything loaded in and headed out. When I got there, he was standing on the porch waiting for me.

He got in the car and said, not in a snippy way, in a very dadly way, "If this is going to take too much time for you, I can call someone else."

OK. (So I thought, staring sideways.) If my dad knew I had plans to go somewhere for an event that started at a specific time, why didn't he ask someone to begin with? But I didn't say that, I said it's OK, I'm already here, let's go, because I had realized that in this world there are dumpers and dumpees, and I knew which I was, and we started out.

We got to a WalMart teeming with the tired, the poor, the wretched refuse of any July 4th, and parked. Dad handed me his list. It contained the pool chemicals, then things like potatoes, onions, potato chips, paper plates, eggs, coffee, paper towels, and hamburger and hot dog buns. I looked at the list and said "fine," perfectly happy - until! Until I was told that those items were on the list because my sister and her husband were coming over to the folks' house for a July 4th dinner.

OK. (So I thought, staring upwards and trying to keep my eyes dry.) If my dad knew I had plans and they were attending an event that started at a specific time, and my sister and her husband were coming over to dinner, why didn't he ask them to bring the dinner items? But I said nothing again, because as a dumpee, it doesn't really matter what you say, it's best to just stand at the ready and hope one miserable stinkin' time you can dodge a little to the right and missed getting dumped on, but of course that never happens.

So we got inside the WalMart, me huffing and puffing through my mouth like I'm giving birth, hoping this will keep me from having a cryfest, and I told Dad to get his pool stuff, and I'd do the grocery items, and we'd meet in the front. We split up. I headed right and went through the grocery aisles like a dose of salts. It was like I was on that old game show "Supermarket Sweep." I got everything in record time and went to the front, expecting bells and whistles and the grand prize, but instead I got - no Dad.

I headed back to the pool section. No Dad. I headed back to the front. No Dad. Then I went up and down every fucking aisle in the WalMart, knowing full well that this was the worst possible course of action, because all you're doing is moving around your target, but I did it anyway. I headed back over to the grocery section.

After about three aisles I saw my dad loping along, pool chemicals in one hand, and in the other - paper plates. I went over to him and said, "Dad, I got paper plates, they were on the list." He replied, "Well, you got the small size."

OK. (So I thought, putting both hands over my face in case I started to scream.) How would a man who was not with me when I got paper plates know what size I got? And he was wrong, because I got the right size.

We finally got to the checkout and I got Dad home and headed out to B'burg, an hour and fifteen minutes late, but still in time to go to the band concert.


Remember that part above where I was mentioning rushing around to get ready? Well, I remembered most of those things, my clothes and horn, and to brush my teeth, and my chair and my hat.

However, in the mad rush, I forgot Peabody.

And Sherman.

Yes, I arrived at Sherman's birthday party, for which Mr M had made cupcakes and everything, without the birthday boy. When I realized this, I had a sinking feeling that I just don't think I can describe here.

And so that was my weekend. Well, most of it. The rest of it was that Sherman was none too pleased about being left behind on his birthday.

When I got home, I opened the door to the dennette, and was doused by a strategically placed bucket of water. As I went to put my stuff away and change into dry clothes, he'd placed his gardening hoe in the living room where I'd step on it and hit my face.

I changed clothes and went to the kitchen sink. A surprise rubber band had been put around the hand sprayer, and I was doused again. I washed my hands, only to realize I was using black soap. There was grit in my toothpaste and itching powder in my shoe.

It was an all out practical joke assault.

Finally I took Sherman aside and explained the roles of the dumper and dumpee, and told him I got his point, but that he was getting to be a big boy now and he could jump in the bag with the other cartoon characters all by himself. Or the car, or my overnight bag. He seems to get here and there all the time without me, and if he gets left behind again, he can blame himself.

And so I guess that time I was the dumper.

Anyway, Sherman missed getting his very special birthday present from Mr M. He was to be awarded a special certificate.

Yes, Our Boy has advanced to the status Intermediate Clarinetist. He can't wait to show everyone in Sauerkraut Band.

And that was my weekend. Fireworks galore, but not always the fun kind.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, what is a fitting way to say "good riddance" to Sarah Palin?
- Honorable Mentions go to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Let Every Oomailiq Rejoice! Northwest Yippees!" and Marla (marlamarlamarla), with her "Lost Energy. Old Republicans Never Yield."
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her "Leave! Enough of Republican nuttiness, you." Excellent, and winning until....
- And this week's winner goes to the DeepFatFriar, with his "Laughingly eject over Rochester, New York." Although I have to admit the idea of Palin exposed naked on rocks, yammering, is enticing.
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well! (and were patient to wait a day)


Monday, July 06, 2009


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

I didn't do a Picture Sunday yesterday. There's a long story involved with that, which I'll tell at a later date. Probably tomorrow.

Anyway, I was sitting here bereft of an acrotopic, and Michelle the Dishy came up with one for me. And it's a good one. The topic? "Ways to Say 'Good Riddance' to Sarah Palin."

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 is convinced Mrs Palin drew half her speech randomly from a basket of her own. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So the topic? "Ways to Say 'Good Riddance' to Sarah Palin." The letters:


Hmmm. Sounds like something she'd name one of her kids. Leorny.

So, resign yourself - to acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Thanks, Dishy - and just because you came up with the topic doesn't mean you can't play!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Careful What You Wish For

I swore I wasn't going to do it.

I swore I wasn't going to do it, just like I've sworn before. And yet I still always break, do a blog on something topical I have no business blogging about, say stupid things, embarrass myself, and, well, swear I'll never do it again.

But as my TV boyfriend Keith Olbermann said, "This circus ain't leavin' town anytime soon." So let's talk a little Michael Jackson.

And to begin, let's get two things out of the way right up front. First of all, I'm sick to death of hearing about him, so if you are too and skip this blog I won't blame you in the least. I'm sick that I can't escape him, that he's invaded hard news programs, and that everyone from his family to a man who once saw him eat an ice cream cone has come out of the woodwork to tell a story.

And second, I didn't like Michael Jackson. I saw him not as a genius, the greatest entertainer of all time, or a superb "musician," which I have to say it just chafes my britches when I hear someone who stands at a microphone and sings called a "musician." He had a decent voice, could dance his pants off (which apparently he did a few times, but I'm steering fairly clear of that), and I'm sure knew his way around a production board.

And third, although I said there were only two things we needed to get out of the way but this cannot be overlooked, the man was fuckin' nuts. People who like his music but not him agree, people who like him and his music agree, and 4 out of 5 doctors agree. He was nuts.

When I was growing up I couldn't stand the Jackson Five (or the Jackson 5ive, if you will). Absolutely hated them. Of course, being a kid, I wasn't basing this on the songs or the singing, I based it on the fact that their dress sense was hideous and that one played the guitar and one played the bass, like that "meant something," when to me all it meant was that Tito and Jermaine didn't know how to dance that well and so something was shoved into their hands. It looked wrong, and the instruments should have been left to a backing band and if Tito and Jermaine couldn't dance, they should have reduced it to the Jackson Three (or the Jackson 3hree, if you will).

I have no trouble at all admitting that as an adult I came to appreciate how good those old records were. "I Want You Back," "ABC" (which Jessee Jackson has repeatedly called "The ABCs of Love" on news shows, and why is Jessee Jackson, and Al Sharpton, for that matter, enmired in all this shit?), "I'll Be There," and my own personal favorite from that time, "The Love You Save." Of course, those were the Motown years, so they had that terrific catalog of songs to choose from and the Motown production people forming their sound. Doesn't make the records any less good, but that was the case.

After the teen idol years and the quintet's inevitable decline, Michael went solo and released an album called "Off The Wall." It had some great songs on it, and for me, this was as good as Michael ever got. And it was good. He was cute and charming and could sing and dance. Then that was it for me. Michael pretty much ceased to be except to piss me off, and after "Off The Wall" he jumped the shark.

"Thriller" was terribly overrated, the music and the videos. Everything after was even worse. And then of course, "everything after" includes not only the music and videos, but all the weird shit surrounding his private life, which got much worse.

And I've said this several times before and after his death, but where he was in his life when "Thriller" came out and all that happened after it, Michael Jackson could have ruled the world forever. He seemed like a nice kid with talent who was generous and admired by his peers.

But he just had to fuck it all up.

He decided he wanted to rule the world forever, and thus set about this whole self-styled King of Pop shit. He couldn't be The King, that was Elvis, so he added "of Pop" to the end and had at it. He became a recluse. He wore masks when he went out in public. He set out to control everything that was said or released about him. He lived at an amusement park with a chimp. He laid in a coffin-like chamber and bid on the Elephant Man's remains. He decided he was Peter Pan, the magical Never Grow Old, Never Die boy.

Well, he grew old, and he died. And as he was growing old, all that weird childlike shit was very unappealing.

But here's the thing. Why didn't he ever notice that?

Well, the answer to that is easy, of course, it's because he was fuckin' nuts, and I think the fact he didn't notice it is my clear argument as to his diminished mental and emotional capacity.

Over the weekend I caught that special from 2003, you know, the famous one where Jackson extolled the virtues of sharing your bed with children. He creeped me out so much during that show it's hard to put into words. It also contained him looking the director square in the eye and telling a couple of lies.

The first was that he hadn't had any plastic surgery. He actually said that! He said it over and over, that the massive change in his appearance was simply a result of his "growing and maturing." May none of us ever grow and mature in such a manner, please Lord. Finally, he relented after continued questioning and said, OK, he'd had two procedures done on his nose. Only two, and that was to help him breathe better, which is more than laughable if you look at his original ethnically fine nose with lots of room in it and his then current nose, which barely had nostrils, which I always wanted to shove two straws up just in hopes he could get a little air.

The second was that his kids, and that was a hoot and half - well, let's go here first. He said he was so desperate to have kids that he used to walk around his house carrying a doll, which, well, I don't believe I'd have told that, but that he met the mother of his first two offspring and she gave those kids to him as a gift, but I'm going off topic here, so let's get back to the point. He said that all three of his kids were formed with his "sperm cells," as he so lovingly put it. (His kids, by the by, are Prince Michael, Paris Michael, and Prince Michael II. Who in the hell did he think he was? Oh, the King of Pop. Sorry.) He said that the mother of the third was from an anonymous surrogate, and he specified he didn't care if the mother was black, white, Asian, anything. The director asked, "But the mother is obviously white." And Michael threw in quickly, "No, she's black." Then went on to argue about it.

Now, have you seen those three kids? I mean, without the elaborate masks he always forced them to wear? The first two are supposed to be half black and the third all black. If there is one drop of black blood in any of those three kids, I'll hit Queen Elizabeth with a brick and take my rightful place on her throne. The oldest one looks like he stepped right out of the Third Reich, for God's sake.

Personally, I think that as important to the African American community as he was, Michael Jackson hated being black and wanted his kids as white as possible. My opinion, but my blog. Which I swore I wouldn't write.

Anyway, that special also touched on the whole molestation thing, and here's where I will cut Michael a modicum of slack, but not much. I mean, let's face it, the man was fuckin' nuts, but the only people who knew what went on in any of those episodes were those present, and I wasn't, so what judgment can I level. I think if he did do anything sexual, and he may have, it was - I don't know if "unintended" is the word I'm looking for - maybe "ignorantly." You know, like walking around naked in front of kids was fine, like sharing your bed with them was. I guess I can't imagine him premeditatedly preying on a kid for sex because I can't see him having the brain to do so anymore.

And so, he ended up still famous but washed-up, drug addled, surrounded by hangers-on and yes-men, and in debt. And he was planning his big comeback. Which leaves me wondering today, if he wanted to make a comeback, why didn't he get his once-talented ass in the studio, write some songs, and release a killer album? Because he couldn't. He didn't have it anymore. Whatever talent he had was long gone, the creativity had vanished, and so his only means of getting back in the public eye was to go onstage again rehashing the songs and moves from 20 years ago. Or dying, which he did, and got way more publicity than his stage shows ever would have.

To me, Jackson's death was a shock, it was unexpected, but I can't really say it was sad. His life is what was sad. He could have had it all. And he chose to mess it up so bad there was no getting it back. I wish that in time my memories would be of those Jackson Five (or Jackson 5ive, if you will) songs and the good stuff from "Off the Wall."

But I know that won't happen. Michael Jackson himself saw to it that it won't.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* RIP, Karl Malden. You had a fabulous nose, and I liked your work. And because of the above, people probably won't even remember you left us.
* Grim Reaper, you think you could go on vacation for a little while?