Sunday, February 17, 2008


The new BlondeChampagne is now here. We be WordPressin'. Past posts are safely archived, and I'm working on re-forwarding the domain name. I'm leaving this site here under the blogspot title, with a link over at the new platform. Comments to this page will no longer be published, so if you wish to sound off, do carry your air horn to the new cellar.

Now scat. Take the Champagne flutes and the loose cash with you.

turning off the lights at:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Everybody Into the Lifeboats

I don't quite know what's going down here, but BlondeChampagne is slowly dying-- every time I check in, a few more images are gone, a few more commands disabled. Five years of writing and comments might be circling the electronic drain, a thing so winceable I haven't even bothered having a panic attack about it before. But here it is.

I'm in the process of backing up the files of the entire blog and setting up a new account at a new platform. Somehow I'll figure out how to re-point the URL, too, so sit tight.

when english majors compute at:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Not Feeling Like Myself

Hello, everyone. This is Not Josh The Pilot. This is, in fact, Mary Beth. Why am I, then, signed in as my husband? Because, sensing that I had placed far too much emphasis on the second half of the name of this site, today I somehow managed to lock myself out of MY OWN BLOG.

I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but I was deleting a junk Gmail email account I'd created, and in the process ceased to exist in the eyes of Blogger. I'm not sure how I'm even typing this post, given my lack of substance or matter. In any case, I filled out a help form, in which I had to check a lot of boxes asserting that I am, in fact, a dumbass. Blogger announced that it would get back to me. I'm sure.

This may mean I might have to move the whole shebang to another platform, which I totally do not want to do, but I'm just saying: Oy.

sigh at:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don't You Wish

you knew me in high school?

Me neither.

big foam numbers can't hide the shame at:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I was awake for 22 hours yesterday, and just before I allowed myself drift into a sweet, sweet chadless world, I got a completely awesome idea for a post. I reached over to the pad and pen I keep by my bedside and wrote it down. Are you ready? Ready? This is so hilarious:

"Rugnortim. I O, no borbs."

I am so glad I was able to share this important insight with you.

Rugnortim UPDATE: It's "Proportion."

switching to a tape recorder at:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Best Voting Experience Ever

I was not looking forward to casting my vote in the Potomac Primaries: Ginger Division. Without getting too political, I'm so disgusted by the choices available, on both sides of the aisle. I saw very little point in voting today, other than to exercise my duty as a citizen of the republic in which I live. However, today was the most wonderful voting experience I've ever had because at my precinct was the prettiest poll worker I have ever seen... my bride!
Adding to her resume of day jobs, today, for the awesome compensation of one hundred (100) bucks (dollars), Mary Beth spent 16 hours, starting at 5 a.m., at the local high school auditorium as an Officer of Elections. She had a button that said so. I think she needed it to prove her position simply because she's so young. All the other Election People looked like they were born in time to vote for Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday we celebrate today. When you're hanging around a polling location and you look like you were at least 24 years old at the time of the Gettysburg Address, it is obvious you are an Official Poll Worker.
I love "seasoned citizens", but I wish more young folks, especially those as good-looking as MB, would work the polls. I think voter turnout would skyrocket!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Body Image

I would like to know exactly when my nephews found it necessary to refer to me and their perfectly lovely mother as fat heifers.

Jim The Small Child Nephew was recently discussing my wedding, and he announced that after the ceremony, "Josh picked up Aunt Beth, and she was heavy." She was also having a wicked good mascara day, but he never says anything about that.

The King's baby brother, meanwhile, has shown appreciation to his mother for all the womb-carrying with the world's most backhanded compliment. He threw it down as his father's family was working on his people identification skills:

COUNTRY THE BROTHER-IN-LAW'S FAMILY: (pointing to Country) Who's that?


COUNTRY THE BROTHER-IN-LAW'S FAMILY: (pointing to Julie The NephewsMama) Who's that?


At least Cow had the comfort of rationalization; Will's current favorite animal, she points out, is the cow. Maybe he was, therefore, trying to identify her as his favorite person. Or maybe he really, really misses breastfeeding.

oof at:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Super Saturday Media Awards

1) Most Hilariously Gendered Use of Wall-Sized Colored Maps Award: CNN, which keyed counties that went for Barack Obama in dark blue, and Hillary Clinton's in light blue. Because she's a girl, and the girl should have her states the color of Wet 'n' Wild eyeshadow, Pat Benetar Line.

Mike Huckabee's districts were tinted a charming pink. I'm not entirely sure what CNN was trying to say there.

2) Most Mangled Chant Award: Obama's supports during his Richmond victory speech, who were chanting... something hopeful and change-related, but which came over the crowd mics as "DE-FENSE!" If somebody had actually stuck a little wooden fence in the air with a gigantic "D" glued to it, I probably would have driven down to join them.

aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirbaaaaaaaaaaallllllll at:

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Trying to Find Atlantis

Of all the emotions I experience while watching a shuttle launch on television these days, nostalgia is my least favorite. Having seen many up close, standing near enough to the orbiters to have examined their carbon scars, has ruined me. Some reactions will never change--the pride, the jealousy, the anxiety until the boosters drop--but until the fleet stands down I will always ache to explain the thing, every inch and every second, to a roomful of awed children and awed children-again.

meco at:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Jammin' (Albeit, Only on the One)

There is a new Site Which Is Awesome 'Acause It Hired me: Don't go there yet (psychelink!); we're still in beta. When it's live, I'll let you know that the drywall is all nailed up, at which point I hope you will come say hi and click on stuff. Both New Kids On the Block and "Lucille" are involved, you guys. You have to come. You don't even know!

JamsBio is a bloggish site which invites its users to create an autobiography through the framework of songs. It'll be open to anyone who wants to come over and play, but I'll be part of the--and this is quite possibly the most specious phrase ever associated with my writing-- "assured quality content." So some cross-linking is going to start happening up in heah, and if you don't mind the occasional Olivia Newton John dissertation, you are most welcome to take up your Champagne flute and wander from the Tasting Room to Globe Records and Tapes from time to time. Joey-Joe McIntyre is totally waiting for you, OMG.

also Danny-- why didn't anyone ever like Danny? at:

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Today, in idle conversation--we were discussing, I don't know, raisins--my husband, whom I SLEEP next to, revealed that he is, in fact, one-fourth Canadian.

Notthatthere'sanythingwrongwiththat, but isn't this something you should tell a person before you marry her? Shouldn't she be fully apprised of the fact that you may, at any given moment, bust out one quarter of an "eh?" I could have the entire marriage annulled on grounds like this.

I can't write anymore. I can't deal with this. One-fourth Canadian. You think you know a person. Better I know this now, rather than, say, if we decide to have children and the first one exits the womb with a mullet.

Lifetime movie at:

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Official Super Tuesday Analysis

My keen political science major mind will now dissect for you the precise moment when Governor Mitt Romney fell behind in his quest for the Republican nomination: It happened the second he broke out the enormous freaking foam mitts.

Anti-Mormon bigotry... abortion stance... tax policies... whatever. It was all about the mitt.

Nationally, Mitt is most famous for his work as the CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, at which time he telegraphed his disastrous position concerning crowd-related insignias. For the Official Mascots of the 2002 Games are these:
Come come, now, Gov'nur!

It's a small leap from a lascivious rabbit to the least inspiring Presidential-related foam object in American history. Oh, Mitt, you just didn't focus group this one, did you?

ashes at:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

You Stay Super, America

Okay, Super Tuesday states-- all I ask of you is to keep things interesting. I don't want to be bored next week. For in order to restore the confidence of the American public in the electoral process, the Commonwealth of Virginia has made me its newest election official.

I'll be working at the polls at the Virginia primary on February 12, because I want to plunge myself into my new state and because I wish to truly become a part of the election process and because the Election Board said that it will give me one hundred dollars.

Virginia is hosting a dual primary. This calls for a complicated precinct-based voting system which consists of a red binder and a blue binder on a folding table. I am not allowed to ask the voters which party they belong to; instead, I must say, "Which primary are you voting in?", and distribute the appropriate ballot, because then, and only then, will I know whether or not I'm supposed to hate this person.

I am forbidden, by law, to answer any questions about the candidates. This is, unfortunately, tied to the rule prohibiting me from denying anyone a ballot, which makes me very sad, because anybody who approaches the polling place and seeks voting advice from the blonde handing out the ballots has absolutely no business voting in the first place. It's to the point where I am not even permitted to distribute information about who's on which ballot; if somebody shambles up to me and yells, "I like the guy who wears shoes! Which piece of paper is he on?" I must instead direct the person study to a sample ballot in search of his candidate, and hope that he gets permanently lost on his way back to the booth.

These are all real-life, official laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I know, because a PowerPoint presentation told me so.

Becoming an election official was an excellent career move, for at the training session I was the square root of everybody else's age. Having just turned thirty-one, it was immensely satisfying for someone to turn to me and say, "How nice to see some young people here!" When the session opens with the staff handing out pins to people who have been working the polls longer than I've been alive, and ends with the crowd gasping in total amazement when an animated GIF of a donkey and an elephant appeared on the screen, I have no right to anxiously duck out to the ladies' room mirror in search of wrinkles.

The session instilled confidence in the Electoral Board from the start, beginning as it did with a series of hand-markered directional signs taped to a succession of garbage cans. The first turn led me to directly face the bathroom, but fortunately there was another Sharpie-created arrow affixed to the skirt of the lady sign, so I mazed my way to a mega-secret conference room which contained reams of sample ballots and, I would hope, an explanation as to why Virginia has no awesomely named state parks like Kentucky does. (This, however, is a right valiant effort.)

There was much discussion about what to do if a voter returns to us with an uncast ballot in his or her hand and requests one for the other party instead. In that case, I am to go to the Blue Or Red Binder Of Democracy, and find that person's name, and write down "VCM", which means "Voter Should Be Removed From Genetic Pool." I was warned that this would happen more than once. "You know," said the trainer confidentially, "how people are." (i.e., cosmically stupid.)

Also covered was the expectation that everyone treat disabled voters with respect, which threw a real wrench in my day, given that I was planning to meet each wheelchair with a broomstick in the spokes and a cherry "Gimps ain't allowed up in here!"

I'm expected to report for work at five o'clock in the morning, which will seriously mess with my sleep cycle, because that's normally right about when I'm going to bed. I'll keep you updated on any Sharpie-related developments.

diebold accu-vote at:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

"Take it all in, boys. Just take it all in."

As a Bengals fan, I know that a lot can happen after the 2 minute warning in a Super Bowl. So if I were Eli Manning, I would have spent the entire fourth quarter rolled in a little helmet-covered ball beneath the bench, alternating between sobbing and throwing up.

I'm sitting in my little office with my husband, watching our first Super Bowl as married people, 24 hours after a serious and protracted discussion about paper towel absorbency. We're deep in student loan debt and his developmental air traffic controller's salary doubles my freelance writer income. And we are holding each other tonight, because the red carpet crowd doesn't take much notice of us, and it's nice to know that every now and then, the underdogs get a confetti and Gatorade shower.

correcting the stadium announcer's use of passive voice at:

Friday, February 01, 2008

Five Years Later

...and still waiting for her to come home.

Welcome Freelance Switch Readers

I must say, in that wide field of articles I've written which are accompanied by a large and angry omnivore, this one is my favorite.

This paid-for piece was brought to you by trolls who insisted that I have no business as a paid writer.

lemonade at:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Total Crock

Today I had an e-stack, and a writing application deadline, and cookies to make, and I still hadn't had my usual self-directed hating time by noon. This called for the Mighty Mighty Crock Pot. In went the chicken, basil, and many oversplashes of white wine. I turned it on, petted my good friend there on the counter, and retreated to my office.

When I emerged five hours later, it was to... room temperature chicken floating in a sea of basil and sad, sad wine. Because Crock Pots work really well? Only they have to be plugged in first. As always, I've got it backwards; every other newlywed burns dinner. I never cook it begin with.

ramen noodles at:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Big Brother

I never particularly wanted a brother, big or otherwise, until I first gained one through Julie The NephewMama's marriage. This went tolerably well, and I then exercised complete veto control over two I gathered last year as I made my own way through the husband selection process. I highly recommend brother-choosing over brother-foisting, if you haven't already exercised this option.

My own godchild has confirmed my fears of what growing up in a house with a small boychild would have been like. With his mother in the other room and his grandmother apparently out of earshot, last week Jim The Small Child Nephew confronted his baby brother with the following announcement: "You're going to go to the doctor for a shot, and I will stay here with Mama Peg and watch Charlie Brown."

Swap the major elements with cars and Internet access, and we have a snapshot of the future. Will The Baby Nephew is currently in a phase in which he can only say the words he requires to manage the basic needs of life-- "Night-night," "cookie," and, of course, "Aunt Beth" (this last one came at Christmastime, as I leaned over him to change his diaper; it was, most likely, more of a warning than a cry of tender recognition). So he's not at a place where he can yet respond to the comforting big brothering tactics of The King, but one day, very soon, he's going to rear back with a toddler version of a big ol' STFU, and then it will be on. Enjoy while it lasts, dear Jim.

little sister at:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sunshine Up Yours

It's a ways to go before Super PoliDork-o-Rama Tuesday, and I'm running out of stomach lining. This is the first election of my lifetime in which an incumbent President or VP isn't on either ticket, and even though my pills and I agreed to step off, I cannot. I'm still holding to my vow to not opinion-hurl in this space, but that doesn't mean I don't have a very serious conversation about immigration policy with the hash brown casserole.

One of the reasons I chose not to apply my degree in political science to the actual practice of political science is that politics brings out the very worst of human nature. It is sixth grade writ large. I would be in office four seconds before openly taunting the weak and demanding that those of who I am jealous never appear on my slumber party invitations.

Only politics can give us pictures like these. This is from last night at the SOTU (that's the State Of the Union address, for those of you with lives), and... how awesome is this? The very tableau of it! It's epic! At the bottom right is--remember him?-- John Kerry: "I'M STILL HERE AND MY PINK TIE AND I HAVE MAINTAINED PISSEDNESS AT ALL OF YOU." About four inches behind him is Hillary Clinton, and in a few seconds she's about to run up to Nancy Pelosi on the rostrum all, "OMG, Barak and Ted were totally talking about me. Are they still looking? OMG! Don't look, don't look!" And in the meantime, Barak and Ted sat together for the second SOTU in a row, which confirms that they are total BFF's now, and I have these visions of Obama getting to the chamber way, way early so that he could save a seat for Ted, and then he spread his suitcoat over it, and then he sat there for 45 minutes saying firmly to the Senators who are often picked last for the kickball team, the ones who are in the Math Club, "No... taken.... this is saved...Ted's sitting here." And Vice President Big Time sat there facing it all, cleaning his gun and glowering at people, watching the President deliver a sentence mentioning nuclear power, which, I am sure, he directed the speechwriter to insert just so he could say "nook-ular," just so he could piss everybody off. How can you not be entertained by this? IT'S AWESOME.

Tonight is especially enjoyable, since Florida voted today and I am treated to a TV news tour of not only my former state, but my former section of my former state. People are throwing down "I-4 Corridor"'s like Jello shots. It's a Russert-driven scrapbook of the past five years: "Seminole County, wicked! I've gotten lost there tons of times! And Boynton Beach, I did this horrible endless design-build bid at the Evil Horrible Boring Day Job for Boynton Beach!"

The returns have barely started, and I just whizzed past Shepard Smith attempting to explain, with many hand-waves, where Putnam County is: "It's north of Lake Okeechobee? And east of Gainesville? And west of Flagler Beach? And south of Greenland? You know...? There?" Dear Shep: There's this thing? On the internet? And you're on TV, in a multimillion dollar studio? Maybe you could-- I don't know-- put those two together, and point to where it is?

Just awesome.

brevard, orange, and volusia county shoutout at:

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Greater of All Weevils

Despite my maiden surname, I have no British blood, and the closest I've been to England is having gained, via reading many Regency-era novels, the knowledge that one is supposed to refer to the mother of a duke as "Her Grace The Dowager Duchess." At the Kennedy Space Center, we educators used to fight over who got the visitors from England; when arrayed in folding chairs before a scale model of the space shuttle, they were interested, polite, tip-happy, and easily sunburned. You would have a good day on a bus full of Brits.

However, as is my wont, I waited six years for Master and Commander to souse the culture before seeing it for myself. And Master and Commander would have us believe that British people could neither master, nor command, a Clapper, let alone an entire empire.

The British navy, according to this film, is the largest collection of dumbasses, tools, and whiners ever to take to the high seas. Their strategy of eluding a heavily armed French warship is to row into the fog... and then go "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!" And hey, is that an albatross flying really, really low over the deck? Let's shoot it!

It was fascinating to watch 18th century concepts of child care, especially in light of the fact that every single time Jim and Will The Nephews enter a car, they are ruched down and strapped in with a HANS device and five-point harness. During the Napoleonic Wars, apparently, not only were there no baby gates, but little kids were hurled onto active warships without so much as a bike helmet. By my count, one twelve-year-old on board the movie witnessed or endured the following over a two-hour period:

  • one suicide
  • one arm amputation
  • the death of a fellow twelve-year old
  • two major naval battles
  • many shanties
  • one whipping
  • the scrupulous documentation of various beetles
Daily therapy, for serious.

I do not understand the great Oscaring of this movie. Russel Crowe fails to punch anybody until there's about ten minutes left (most disappointing), and that's even before the plot gets there. The plot shows up with maybe thirty seconds to go, at which point the film immediately ends. Up until then, it's all rowing and map-staring and drawing pictures of lizards. Oh, and the shanties. It's kind of a shame we don't break out in the occasional shanty anymore, you know?

also, everybody says "seaman" a lot at:

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