Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today I Am A Man

Hello. I dropped $200 really quickly today. Sometimes I like dropping money quickly, sometimes I don't. Today was, well, so-so.

I took some time off work to get my car serviced and take care of a recall letter I got. Got twice, actually. It wasn't a bad experience, well, save for two things.

I think the dealership saw me coming.

Now, the people at my dealership are so nice. They're friendly, efficient, tell me what I need and what I don't, and I like that in a business. However, every time I go into their waiting area to, uh, wait, I sit down with a Games Magazine, and then I look up at the television hanging from the ceiling and it's tuned to Fox News. So I grab the remote and change it to MSNBC. I watch a little, I work a few puzzles, I get my car back, and I head home.

However, today when I entered the waiting area, sat down, got out my magazine, and looked up at the television hanging from the ceiling tuned to Fox News, and I reached for the remote, it was gone! They hid the remote from me! I actually got up and walked all around the waiting area, looking under newspapers and magazines, and it was nowhere to be found. Those bastards made me watch Fox News! The only way I made it through was due to a "breaking news" story where a carnival ride in Miami got stuck, leaving two people hanging in midair. I got to see them rescued.

The second thing was that the recall involved some sort of gauge on my fuel tank, and they told me right up front my car would smell like gas for a few days. And boy, were they right. My eyes watered all the way home.

On that very way home I stopped at the way-more-fun-than-it-should-be Tractor Supply Company and bought Milo a few things.

Speaking of Milo, it was a lovely day today. A little cold, but sunny, breezy, dry, and so after work I came right home and took Milo out for a walk.

By the way, in case any of my readers aren't Facebook People, I need to post a picture of my little doggie in the blog. See, a couple of weeks ago (three, I think) he got the worst haircut in the history of doggie haircuts. His whole body was shaved to the skin, and his head and tail were left completely full. It was an abomination. I later cut some on his head and tail to try and even him out, and it helped a bit, I mean, nothing could have been worse than what he had, but it was still just horrible. He's finally starting to grow out a little bit, and now I have to decide if I want to learn to cut dog hair myself or find a new dog barber.

Anyway, the night of the horrible haircut, I figured the only solution was to just cover it up. And since Milo has his own Doggie Snuggie, I decided that was the perfect way to hide his imperfections.

I love this picture. It's the closest Milo has ever come to posing for a photo. He looks like a canine cult member.

So anyway, today was lovely, and Milo and I took a walk. I strapped him into his Easy Walk harness so he wouldn't pull too badly, and away we went.

And it was such a nice walk. On the way down the sidewalk I let him explore, sniff, stop, bark, and cavort. On the way back, I kept it more businesslike so I could get some walking time in.

But here's the thing. On the way down, while Milo was exploring and sniffing - and investigating every light pole along the route - he found one light pole he was particularly interested in. And he sniffed, and tried to pee on it. And....

Wait for it....

He lifted his leg and peed right on the pole.

Now I understand how parents feel when their kids take their first steps, or speak their first words.

And I didn't even particularly want him to start lifting his leg!

Now, I'm perfectly willing to admit that this was a move of necessity. Milo wanted to pee on the pole, but he couldn't get close enough to it by squatting. He kept moving in, moving in, then finally I think he realized the only way he was going to get to pee on that pole was to lift a leg.

So for all my men friends who were so worried about this, there you go. I told Mr M, and he was overjoyed.

Tonight our pee consisted of a squat in the front yard, but then again, there was no pole around. However, I have a light pole in my back yard, and Milo loves that pole, so we'll see what happens.

I'm waiting for Milo's voice to change now. He already has a beard.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, speaking of The Boy, why does Milo howl when he hears a clarinet?
- Honorable Mention goes to Marla (marlamarlamarla), with her "Growling Only Tells Short Tales."
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her "Greatly overestimated talent, seriously terrible." Don't apologize, Lily - I have no problem admitting it myself!
- And this week's winner goes to Funafuti, with his "Gets overly truculent sans trombone." Great. Leave it to Milo to be a low brass guy.
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well! And thanks for hanging in after all my absences!


Monday, March 29, 2010


Hello, lovers of letters. Anyone up for a round of acromania?

One of the reasons I haven't been around much lately is that I'm spending a fair amount of time practicing the clarinet. See, my clarinet friend Mary and I are playing a duet-solo with the mighty and feared (well, mainly just feared) B'burg Community Band at this year's Spring Concert. We don't know where we're having the concert (B'burg High School's roof fell in and it's unusable for the foreseeable future), or when (we're probably going to have to move the date because we can't find a place to have it on the original scheduled date).

But still, I'm practicing at home, and Mary and I are practicing together.

Now, here's an aside.

Milo is a howler. Well, he is when he hears a clarinet. When I play at home, when Mr M and I do duets, when Mary came here to practice, when I listen to any kind of clarinet music at home or in the car, he howls. I don't know, I still find it funny, it makes Mr M extremely angry, but it makes no difference, he howls and no one's going to stop him. In fact, I was just listening to a recording of our recent Saturday practice right here, and Milo, jumping around and playing with his latest squeaky toy, was also howling away during the play.

And so this week's acrotopic - Why Does Milo Howl When He Hears A Clarinet?

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, one that not only matches the topic above, but also the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket is more of an English horn fan himself. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So, the topic, Why Does Milo Howl when He Hears A Clarinet?

The letters:


So there you go. Answer my question with an acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Accepting any blog topics, btw.


Sunday, March 21, 2010


Well, here I am. As you may have noticed, I haven't blogged in a while. It was kind of planned. I need a blog vacation.

Nothing big, nothing major, I just haven't had much to write about. Life's been a little busy. And no pictures for Picture Sunday, and, well, I've been a bit of a blank slate.

But I wanted to post something tonight.

So I thought I'd tell you about Friday.

See, it's kind of a tradition in our family that we don't celebrate birthdays on the date they're supposed to be celebrated. Children and grandchildren grown and going in all directions, it's just too hard. So we pick a date where we'll all be together, and celebrate a week or two later.

Friday was my belated birthday celebration.

And there's really not a lot to tell, we went out, ate, then went back to Granny & Paw's for a little while. But what I wanted to say is that my family has more fun together. I mean, we laugh till our sides are sore. It's like everyone saves up their best lines, it starts the moment we all get in the car together, and continues till we all say goodnight.

We ate, we drank, we all made each other laugh ourselves silly. It all ended back at the folks' house when my mom, who's been sporting a wig lately (she was on some medication that made almost all her hair fall out, though it's starting to come back in), sat at the kitchen table and said, "Well, I've had enough of this," and plopped her wig on the table. I mean, I guess when Granny throws her wig on the table, it's time to go home.

I got a call from my dad the next day, and he said we really needed to not wait for birthdays for such times. That we should try and all get together for dinner out once a month or so. I would love that, but I don't know if it will happen.

I hope it does, though.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* See? I don't even have an update. I really am a blank slate.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Short Hand, A Short Blog

Oh, my! Up until an hour or so ago, I had no acro entries, so I thought I was going to be free of a blog tonight.

You wicked acroers.

It's OK. My present came today! From me to me.

Yes, I bought myself a birthday present. I'd been toying with the idea for a while, and the day before my birthday I made my final decision and ordered it.

I bought myself a ring.

I wanted to buy myself something, yes, as silly as it sounds, from me to me, to commemorate my 50th birthday. I wanted a ring. Nice, more than I'd normally spend, but not outrageously expensive. No jewels, I'm not a jewel-type person. Just something that would mean something to me.

I went looking at jewelers' sites and found this one from David Yurman. Some of his stuff I like, some I don't. But this ring just said, "Hello! I'm the one!" I placed the order, then placed it on my finger.

Here's why I loved it. It's me. It's mainly silver, which is the color of jewelry I wear. However, it has a bit of gold, gold, the 50th anniversary metal, letting me wear other gold jewerly if I wanted. It's not flashy or fancy, and neither am I. It has bands that are all twisted together. I'm rather twisted together. Some bands are smooth. Occasionally, I'm smooth. Other bands are rough. Sometimes I'm rough.

So it's me. It fits perfectly and I love it.

And it was really hard to get a picture that doesn't show all of my horrible, dry, wrinkled, dishpan hands, but I finally got one. After the ring purchase, maybe I need to invest in a manicure.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Yes, acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, what do I need to clean?
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her "Really, Elizabeth. Clean? Go rowboating." I'm telling you, Lily, that's exactly how I feel.
- And this week's winner goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Really Eclectic Country Gold Records." I could never get rid of those! They might be worth something someday!
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!

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Monday, March 08, 2010


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

I need to clean the Poderosa. I'm having company on Sunday, and I'm a little bit left of freak-out mode. I always think of my house as filthy.

I made a list. I was going to go room by room, but tonight I came up with a better idea. First I will unclutter. Then after I've uncluttered, I will clean. I started trying to unclutter the kitchen counters tonight.

It's going to be a long week.

Tonight's acrotopic - "What Should I Clean At The Poderosa?"

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 needs a cleaning, too. I currently spot a camera base, two pencils, a remote, and a hat in him. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So the topic - "What Should I Clean At The Poderosa?" The letters:


So there you go. If you don't acro, you have to come help me clean.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

(Today's blog is long. Get a cup of coffee.)

They Don't Write 'Em Like That Anymore, But Then Again, They Never Did

I'm not sure who it was. Maybe LilyG or Mike the Blogless. It was someone in the poundsqueeze faithful, though. Someone who suggested sporcle.com as a good time waster.

And boy, is it. I went there and was immediately hooked. It's all quizzes. I'm the first to admit I'm a sucker for a quiz. And there's a quiz for everybody! There are all sorts of topics, entertainment, science, math, television, music, religion, geography, sports, and more. I spent many an evening and late-night weekend playing all the quizzes I could play.

Then I started kind of running out of quizzes. I was taking them faster than they could post them. And yes, I'm also the first to admit that that's more than just a little bit embarrassing.

But then! Then!

Then I discovered the "User Created" section of the website, where plain old people like you and I put up their own quizzes. Sometimes they make it to the main page and sometimes they don't, and that's because some of them are great and some of them suck, but there are quizzes in all the regular categories as the main page, and games are uploading all the time, and well, I'm still quizzing away.

However. The thing that sends me to the blogging board for a little rant-rave.

For about three weeks now, there's been a new quiz uploaded daily by the same user. And boy, am I in love with these quizzes.

This user (no idea if it's a male or female) takes a year and it's our duty to guess the songs that charted from #15 to #1 in that year. And the best part - the clue for the answer to each question is a clip of a song for that year.

The first year for these quizzes was 1968. The next night was '69, then '70, then on and on until we finally reached 1989. That's a lot of years' worth of music, and it's taught me something I pretty much already knew, but this just drove it right home, into the driveway, and closed the garage door.

Music sure got sucky.

I often talk about how out of the loop I am as far as popular music is concerned. I thought it was just because I'm old, but I'm now realizing it's because I'm a relatively intelligent human being with a modicum of taste, and what has passed for a hit song the last 25 years is really sad.

The first years of these quizzes, the late 60s and early 70s, I was having a blast! I was singin' along, I was typin', I was in heaven. I was actually downloading songs from the quizzes from iTunes, songs I'd forgotten about, ones I realized I only had old, scratched-up singles of. And I was rockin' the quizzes themselves. For 1968 I got 36 of 38 songs. 1969, 33 of 36. 1970, 42 of 47.

And it stayed like that, and I thought I was it, man. Then as the years progressed I found I was getting less and less correct songs. The early 70s were still good, 48 of 56, 48 of 60.

Then 1975 hit, and I got my first small hint of disco and thought, "Oh, shit." The numbers dipped to the mid and low 40s. I remembered all those people when I was a teenager. The ones who said disco was so much wallpaper paste, and I laughed at them, as if to say, "You old fool - get with the times!" Now upon listening, most of them sounded exactly alike. I was getting more and more disappointed that I couldn't remember the songs I knew from high school. I was sure 1977, a year I remember has having one memorable hit after another, was going to be a breeze for me. I ended up with 39 of 50.

Well, fuck it all, I thought. The early 80s were my halcyon days! That's when I discovered Elvis Costello, and Squeeze, that's when MTV was born and I saw all those rough but endearing videos. Over and over and over. So when the quizzes for '80, '81, and '82 showed up, I was so ready. Uh-huh. I was so ready I found myself getting scores like 38 of 54, and 29 of 43.

It hit me that sure, I discovered Elvis Costello and the like in the early 80s, but guess what - those people never got played on the radio. They got played on MTV and if you wanted their records, you had to go out and scour stores for them. As I told Mike the Blogless, it hit me that these were also the years I abandoned my radio forever. Good for my soul, but not for the quiz.

I knew that once '83 and onward hit I was going to be out of my element. I wasn't quite prepared, though, for how out I was. I was outside looking in through an electric fence. My scores dropped down to the mid-twenties of 50, 51, 52 songs.

Then 1987 came along. Full disclosure here, it was Friday, and I'd done a full Hucklebug podcast so I'd been drinking, but I scored a paltry 21 of 55 on the songs of that year. And more full disclosure, it was't the liquor, because I took it the next day sober and got the same result.

The rest of the decade had me hovering at 23 of 50 or so.

Now. Here's what I'm talking about when I say music sure has gotten sucky. Well, wait. There's always been sucky music, don't get me wrong. I doubt I could name a year without at least a couple of songs that will make us all cringe, laugh, or gag. But! But those gagalicious songs were at least memorable. From the 80s on, it is a rare gem to find a memorable (good or bad) song that registered on the charts.

I'm going to give you an example here. Let's take some random years, OK?

1968: Lady Madonna, Tighten Up, Sky Pilot, Both Sides Now, White Room, Walk Away Renee, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Honey (Mike's all-time favorite song), Grazing in the Grass, For Once In My Life, and Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay.

1969: Sugar Sugar, Come Together, Hair, Fortunate Son (my favorite Creedence song, thanks very much), Sweet Caroline, Build Me Up Buttercup, Honky Tonk Women, Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, and Suspicious Minds.

1970: Let it Be, Ride Captain Ride, Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), All Right Now (my favorite guilty pleasure of all time, thanks very much), Spirit in the Sky, My Sweet Lord, ABC, Tears of a Clown, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again and if you ever wondered where Prince stole all that crappy spelling, now you know), Bridge Over Troubled Water, and Fire and Rain.

1973: Ramblin' Man, Space Oddity, Smokin' in the Boys' Room, Let's Get it On, Killing Me Softly, Until You Come Back To Me (favorite Aretha song, thanks very much), Reelin' in the Years, The Way We Were, Dueling Banjos, You Are the Sunshine of My Life, and Give Me Love (ditto George Harrison, thanks very much).

1974: Takin' Care of Business, Everlasting Love, Radar Love, Rock the Boat, Midnight at the Oasis, The Night Chicago Died, Come and Get Your Love, I Shot the Sheriff, Kung Fu Fighting, and Sweet Home Alabama.

Lots of songs. Some good, some great, some next to Godliness, and some pretty bad. But all memorable.

And so 1976 brought us Dancing Queen, More More More, Turn the Beat Around, Disco Duck, and can anyone give me a valid answer as to why Disco Duck wasn't the death of disco? Boy the money it would have saved me in the day, and I would have probably discovered Television, Patti Smith, and the Ramones a lot earlier than I did.

The late 70s were all full of one orchestrated disco hit after another. And then, my salvation, the 80s. Or so I thought. Let's look at the wonderful, revolutionary, mind-bending music of my halcyon days.

1980: Every Woman in the World (Ah, the Air Supply Years), The Tide is High, Tired of Toein' the Line, Little Jeanie, Into the Night, All Over the World, I Love a Rainy Night, Love the World Away, Magic, Giving it Up for Your Love, and Sailing. Sure, we had Celebration, Funkytown, Whip It, and Fame that year, but you can see the slippage. I hope.

1981: Kiss on My List, Morning Train, Let's Groove, Take it on the Run, Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, Harden My Heart, We're in This Love Together, Theme From "The Greatest American Hero" (BELIEVE IT OR NOT IIIII'M WALKING ON AIR!), Physical, Queen of Hearts, and Don't Stop Believin'. It's not the 1981 I remember riding around in my car skipping classes.

1982: Even the Nights Are Better, Eye in the Sky, You Can Do Magic (America was still around?), Do You Believe in Love (Huey Lewis rears his head), Freeze Frame, Up Where We Belong, Open Arms, The Girl is Mine, Maneater (even Hall & Oates were slipping), Don't Talk to Strangers, and Pass the Dutchie. (Now, I will admit this year also had Rock the Casbah, Stray Cat Strut, 867-5309, Steppin' Out, We Got the Beat, and 1999.)

Oh, but then the mid-80s hit, and it was Katy bar the door. Really. Bar it, Katy, and don't let any of this stuff in.

1986: Shake You Down, Livin' on a Prayer, Mad About You, Nikita, Heartbeat (by everyone's favorite, Don Johnson), Like a Rock, Is This Love, On My Own, Be Good to Yourself, The Glory of Love, Take Me Home Tonight, Typical Male, and Love Touch. the hell? They did have Holding Back the Years and Sledgehammer, but that can't begin to make up for that papfest.

1989: Another Day in Paradise, Get on Your Feet, Opposites Attract, Batdance, Blame it on the Rain, The Look, Like a Prayer, I Drove All Night, The Living Years, I'll Be Loving You Forever, Shower Me With Your Love, The Best, and, well, and a bunch of other crap, too. Of the 50 songs on that quiz, I got 19. Number of songs I couldn't tell you ever even existed? 11! 11 that were news to me, boy.

As you can imagine, when it came time for the 1990 quiz, I was giddy with dreadful delight. Would I do worse? A new low? Then a miraculous thing happened. I went to the sporcle page, and the quiz was - 1967! Could it be? Could the hand of God have tapped Mr Quizmaster (or Ms Quizmistress) on the head and said, "Hey, Bet's out of her element. Get right on that."

I was back in Wonderland again. I was listening to the songs I knew from the radio of my childhood and getting high scores. Then the next night was 1966. And the next night was 1965! I was 42 of 50, 44 of 50, and 44 of 50.

And then 1990 showed up, and I was bummed, getting an embarrassing 16 of 50, and I hovered around the 23 of 50 mark on the rest, until today. 1993 - 12 of 50.

Anyone know any of these golden greats?

1993: All That She Wants, Please Forgive Me, Breathe Again, Can We Talk, Hero, Gangsta Lean, Ordinary World, Hip Hop Hooray, Slam, What's My Name, I Don't Wanna Fight, Kickin' It, Rain, One Last Cry, The River of Dreams, and even a one-hit wonder that's forgettable, Whoomp There it Is.

The 90s was the biggest suckfest in music history.

Well, until the 2000s, in which I predict there will be a year I don't know one single song.

The Quizmeister promises to go back to the early 60s, and it won't be a minute to soon for me.

Five important things one learns, though, when being addicted to these music quizzes by year.

1. Music sure enough did get sucky, and it's not unsucking as the years go by.

2. Almost every James Brown song sounds exactly alike.

3. Chicago and Barry Manilow stayed around long after their sell-by dates, and towards the end, their songs are totally unrecognizable. Not unrecognizable as them, unrecognizable as music.

4. Bryan Adams should never have been allowed to make one single record.

5. If one is considering comparing quiz scores with Mike the Blogless, well, don't. Mike wins every single time.

So endeth the music lesson.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I saw the sun today! It was right there in the sky, shining!