Monday, December 26, 2005

Ain't You Got A Name?

Speaking of Things That Go: I started a post four days before Christmas but had to end the session because the cops showed up.

Because that was the only thing missing from my holiday season: The cops. One of the neighbors of Julie the NephewMama and Country the Brother-In-Law had backed right into my rental car, because what did I think I was doing, parking a rental car within fifty feet of their driveway like that? So I called the rental car company, and the guy, who was not working Saturday, was all, "File a police report and call us back and we'll charge you eighteen billion dollars for the three pieces of shattered tail light you currently hold in your hand and then we'll reimburse you, okay?"

Okay! So the Hamilton County Sheriff car pulled up--this being a major incident-- and the officer asked me for an office phone number, and I was all, "I don't know my home phone number, let alone my office one" and he frowned at my driver's license picture and left it alone. He then knocked on the neighbors' door to deliver tidings of Christmas joy. I did the adult thing, as always, and hid.

From the porch of my sister's home I heard half of the following conversation:

COP: Where is your daddy?

COP: Do you know when he'll be back?

COP: Is your mommy home?

COP: She's... asleep?

There's a reason, okay, why these particular neighbors are known as the White Trash Expo. The officer came back with their insurance information, and then he left, and I wistfully watched him go down the street, because I knew at some point I would have to exit the house and face these people again. Jim the Baby Nephew and his parents had already left for Mass, so I didn't even have the shield of his innocent youth as a cover.

I sidled out as best I could, but Mrs. Expo caught me. "Hey! Hey, you! Yes, you with the car!"

I feigned shock. Oh-- me? With the car? The car with the now-nonexistant tail light? Because your husband ran into it with his Montana-sized minivan?

She met me on the street as I attempted to gun away. "Hey. Listen, do we have to involve the cops with this?"

Do we have to involve me with this? I pointed out that the vehicle she was currently leaning on was not my car, but Enterprise's, and I had to do what they told me to regarding the now-ghettoized fender.

"Well, could you not park your car on the street anymore?"

But Wait, There's More!

The next day Julie the NephewMama found a note reeking of Wal-Mart's Intimate Apparel department. "To the nice girl whose car we hit," it began, for nice girls do not involve the cops, and it contained the announcement that The Expo had contacted Enterprise, and a person named Jonathan--also apparantly not working on Saturday--informed them that no, there was absolutely no need for a police report, here in We'll Totally Take Your Word For It World.

I called Enterprise again. No doubt this was a reputable, organized company; clearly there had been some sort of misunderstanding.

ME: Hi. I rented a car from the Cincinnati airport location, and on their way to their appearance on The Jerry Springer Show, my sister's neighbors backed into the tail light, and I called you, and spoke to "Justin," and Justin told me to file a police report, so I did, and the cops came, and it really wasn't much fun at all, because I told Jim the Baby Nephew that they were coming for him, which the NephewMama did not appreciate, for some reason, and the officer cited The Expo and left, and now I am here alone and scared, for they also called you, and spoke to a person called "Jonathan", and he told them that there was in fact no need for a police report, and doesn't anybody in your company have a last name?

ENTERPRISE PERSON: Okay. How do you spell "Cincinnati?"

crash at:

No Matter How Far Away You Roam

... the airlines will find you, and screw you.

I didn't arrive in Cincinnati without a fight. I was in the Daytona Beach International (Snicker) Airport deciding between a $249586283270 sub sandwich and a $294578209465 hotdog for lunch when Delta Lady came over the loudspeaker, asking all Cincinnati passengers to report to the ticketing desk, as though we had won some sort of grand sweepstakes. Must be present to be screwed!

The nine of us assembled, and were told that we would miss our connecting flight to Atlanta, and there would never be another seat on any other connection to Cincinnati, ever, but, since they, Delta, were wonderful and glorious to behold, we would now take a taxi to Orlando and fly on a nonstop from there to our destination. For a small fee.

You know how you come to hate total strangers just by their bald proximity? I hated the people on my flight. We stared at one another during reticketing, waiting for the taxi, riding in the taxi, re-checking our bags, sitting for two hours at the gate in Orlando, awaiting beverage service, throughout taxiing, on the jetway, and at the luggage carousel. Hate 'em.

It Takes a Hockey Team

Then I hurled my bags into my parents' condo grateful that the trasportation mishap for this trip was through, and thus was my complacency until I received the following phone call from Josh the Pilot:

ME: I'm coming to get you at the airport. Where are you?

JTP: Chicago.

ME: But you live in New Orleans.

JTP: They sent me to Chicago.

ME: Why?

JTP: So I could get the connection to Columbus.

ME: But... I'm in Cincinnati.

JTP: So is my luggage.

United saw Delta's charge-for-inconvenience and raised it one 180 mile round trip drive down I-71. Because only the incompetent will rise, they made sure this all took place at two in the morning for a driver who cannot find her way out of a handicapped bathroom stall, much less an airport she has never seen.

The call arrived after watching Country The Brother In Law's hockey team win its league championship. In the grand West Side soccer tradition of whoever brings the post-game soft drinks gets to be the captain, they recieved not a gigantic ring but a pitcher of beer, which I was allowed to share. So between the combined BlackBerrys of the Rink Rats we manged to chart a detailed course to Columbus, which I receieved with great care and followed precisely until I turned the wrong way out of the ice arena parking lot.

The divorce rate continues to rise, largely in part to cellular phones. It took me two hours to drive to Columbus and another forty-five minutes to actually locate Josh the Pilot. We had many conversations like this:

ME: Where are you?

JTP: At Passenger Pick-Up.

ME: No you're not!

JTP: I am too.

ME: Which side of the airport are you on?

JTP: What do you mean, which side? I'm at Passenger Pick-Up.

ME: I was just there, and I didn't see you.

JTP: Where are you now?

ME: In the bathroom, where else would I be?

As it happens, there are two Passenger Pick-Ups at the Columbus airport, a North and a South, because to have just one would make actual sense. The North and the South Passenger Pick-Ups divide the immense foot traffic of this great transportation crossway, and are twenty feet apart.

Classes begin again in Daytona Beach on January 10. I'm leaving now.

parking in the white courtesy zone at:

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Okay, first we had this, and now we have this, all of which happened, you must know, on the same day:

So I'm out to dinner with Ryan the Rocket Scientist and his straight man, Scott the Taller Rocket Scientist Who Can Actually Be Quite Cyncial When the Occasion Calls For It, and it was an excellent meal until the waiter seated us, for he found it necessary to have the following conversation with me:

WAITER: (pointing at Ryan) Is this your boyfriend?
ME: (gay, trilling laugh) O! He wishes.
WAITER: What's your name?
ME: Mary Beth.
WAITER: Mary Beth, just between you and me, you're kind of coming out of your dress a little bit.

Now. Let us go to Exhibits A and B:

This picture (Ryan is on the left; my rack and I are on the right) was taken just before the aforementioned supposed debutante ball, and seriously, do you see any coming out there pending? DO YOU?!!? Does he actually think this will help him, tip-wise?

So I called him on it, and he was all, "Well, you aren't really coming out, it's more of a case of a few more centimeters and there would have been areola."

Again: Seriously. Our waiter, clearly a top graduate of the Bill Clinton Service Industry Preparatory School, said "areola," and not in a useful way, like "There go a bunch of areolas" or even "'Areola' contains three vowels."

There is only one explanation for such a thing, and that is my rack. We are all, of course, familiar with the mighty power that is my rack. Right? Right. The Rack can track stealth bombers from eighty nautical miles; The Rack can certainly create its own optical illusions.

Such as the impression that there is way, way more of it than there actually is. In October I posted this picture of me with Carah, the BFFE:

The reaction I was going for with this was: "What a beautiful bride. And what is that blindingly white object next to her? Wait, let me get one of those pinprick boxes you're supposed to view an eclipse with."

What I got was 1.8 billion emails that may be summed up as: "Um. Did you lose the rest of the bridal party in your cleavage?"

So I went through the wedding pictures again, and came to a slow, horrible realization: "LOOK. AT MY. RACK."

I mean, LOOK AT IT:

It takes up the WHOLE ENTIRE ALTAR. I'm one wig and a Grand Ol' Opry appearance away from opening my own Appalacian theme park.

This is not the fault of the dress, which is quite wear-againable, by bridesmaid's standards. This is all about Incompetent Alterations Woman, whose doorway I darkened eight times times before I carried the dress back out again:

FIRST ATTEMPT AT DRESS ALTERATION: Bring the dress in for initial measurements. Hike up the bodice. It will be ready in a month.


THIRD ATTEMPT: Sign on shop: "Closed Do (sic) To Hurricane Wilma." Hurricane Wilma was three weeks ago, and hit landfall four states away.

FOURTH ATTEMPT: "You lose weight! You wait so long to pick up dress, you lose weight!" Hike up the bodice.

FIFTH ATTEMPT: Now the hem is too long. Hike up the bodice.

SIXTH ATTEMPT: By the way, we don't accept debit cards. Or credit cards. Or checks.

SEVENTH ATTEMPT: And we're not open on Saturday, either.

So if there's some somewhat classless overspillage, thou shalt not blame The Rack, powerful be its name. Just look what happens when you try to corral it.

homespun fun at:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

What Is This "Winning" Of Which You Speak?

Well now.

I'll accept it, of course, but I won't pretend to understand it. Beamed here from Detroit were Marvin Lewis all snuffly on the sidelines and a shoe-removing Chad Johnson (who made ESPN's Quote of the Day with the following: "I'll travel to all 52 states to see who can stop 85." Go ahead on, Chad.) Seeing as I could not bear responsibility for yet another loss, I intermittently watched White Christmas, a delicate ritual in and of itself, and by the time Bing Crosby unwrapped the cheap plastic white horse from Rosemary Clooney, the whole thing was done.

Oh, we love them now, of course. The Cincinnati airport was a world of Bengals. Delta tiger-striped the very luggage carousels: "The Official Airline of the World-Famous Cincinnati Bengals." Where was all this two years ago? Where were all the "Delta: Transporting the Cincinnati Bengals to Each Individual Loss Since 1992" posters?

still alive at:

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Competent Official College Professor UPDATE

I wore my turquoise pretty-girl flowy skirt today. LOVE my turquoise pretty-girl flowy skirt. I was walking down the hall from the lady room (so named because there is one--ONE--stall in there for an ENTIRE FLOOR of women) and I heard somebody in the hallway call my name. I turned around, and he pointed behind him. Confused, I twirled. He sighed, then mimed tugging at the back of his waistband. I began mentally preparing the sexual harassment lawsuit. What th--

The Problem: Back of the turquoise pretty-girl flowy skirt was tucked up into my pantyhose AND UNDERWEAR.

Person doing the pointing: Co-chair of the department, whose specific duties include decide who will teach what on a semester-to-semester basis.

I do not love my turquoise pretty-girl flowy skirt ANYMORE.

fries are up at:

Monday, December 12, 2005


My final word on bad Christmas music is pretty much here (and, in one last burst of anger, here), but that was written before I became a teacher, and now I must alert you to my frustration with Mel Torme and Nat King Cole. Now I hear "Yultide carols being sung by a choir" and I'm reaching for my red pen, becuase "being sung" is passive voice, and its perpetrators must be destroyed if the world is to continue its proper rotation.

I'm also stunned that I originially didn't include a very large scream-at for the Beach Boys with the earbleed-triggering "Little St. Nick," in which we are solemnly informed that "Christmas comes this time each ear." Thank you, Mike Love. I wasn't aware.

also, you haven't lived until you've heard Willie Nelson sing "Frosty the Snowman" between grass inhales at:

Sunday, December 11, 2005

And how was YOUR weekend?

Just another day as High Princess FlowerWreath here on Endor.

quick, jam their comlinks, center switch at:

Russell the Reader: Go Russell Go!

Many thanks to Russell the Reader, who has now brought his fine self into the Ranks Of the Very Awesome Readers here at BlondeChampagne. Thanks, Russell!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Well, THIS will fix EVERYTHING

In other news, life no longer has any meaning.

nooooooooooooooooo at

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Because I am a scholar and only expose my mind to that which is fit for it, this weekend I settled into WE’s Charles and Camilla: Whatever Love Means.

The quality of the program is nothing less than what one would expect from the WE, which can only aspire to the credibility and massive cultural impact of Oxygen.

Largely I was tuning in to see how the wedding was depicted. The whole thing was a part of WE’s “Royal Treatment Weekend,” an entree-of-the-hall round up of every single House of Windsor related object of televised floating detritus it could lay its pink beribboned hands on. So every time I surfed past WE Princess Diana was flinging herself down a staircase or Queen Elizabeth was sniffing “I blame you for this, Chaaaaaaahhhhhhhls” or Chaaaaaaahhhhhhhls himself had come down with a nasty case of the Skywalkers and was whining, “But Mummy…that’s not fair.” Boy, I wish we had a monarchy, here in America.

Whatever Love Means
ended with a wedding, all right, but it was the good one, the one where Charles and Diana were married. I don’t remember much of this event myself, except for the fact that it took place on a day when my family and I were to go to the late, great Americana Amusement Park, and the stupid thing had better be over soon because I wanted to ride the Little Dipper, and the Little Dipper waited for no government, foreign or domestic.

‘Tis a sad thing that I recall far more of Charles and Marriage: The Sequel, which took place right around the same time as the funeral Mass of Pope John Paul II. The funeral was only slightly less depressing. The Deuce, in death, looked more robust than the Queen, who frowned and clutched her purse and reigned supreme over a great many horrible hats.

It’s bad when viewers, faced with a head-to-head comparison of the leading forces of the Catholic Church and representatives of the best families of England, are forced to conclude that the cardinals and bishops wear the less ridiculous hats. If I were Camilla, I would have turned around halfway down the aisle all, “No way I’m ruling these people. I'll be back when you're not dressed like a one-nation scene from Seussical.”

to the Queen at:

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Welcome readers!

Be at one with the roaring.

squeak! at:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

God Says BWAH

While home I was home with Jim the Baby Nephew, we partook in a great deal of Sesame Street, and you will be happy to hear that Bob McGrath is still around, although likely not as happy to discover that he is now frighteningly old and strongly resembles a cadaver in a sweater. (“Today’s show was brought to you by the letter 'C'!)

Jim and I also watched Gloria Estafan inform us for three and a half minutes that “Hola Means Hello!” and I was sad that I did not catch the next installment, in which we would have doubtless learned that “Growing Economic Integration Means Increasingly Lackadaisical Border Control!”

But there’s new things to learn as well. I was born way ahead of the Teletubbies, and so I have little knowledge of them other than the fact that the purple one is gayNOTTHATTHERE’SANYTHINGWRONGWITHTHAT, but some fool (Hi, Grandma!) bought him a battery-powered Teletubbie doll. The red one. Its name is Po, and Po sings mind-enriching songs like:

Po Po Po Po PO!
Po Po Po Po Po.

and then Po laughs, and Jim laughs, and every adult within earshot dies a little inside.

Jim also has a moving Santa Claus doll that plays “Jingle Jingle Jingle” when you press his hand, which Jim does on an incessant basis. Po and Santa are all part of God saying BWAHHHH! to Aunt Beth, who once laid herself down in front of a horrible object in Pogue’s department store called Mr. Christmas, which electronically beeped Christmas carols, and if you plugged it into your Christmas tree, the lights would flash on and off in time with the music. This was the best, most obnoxious thing the entire combined wisdom of mankind up until the year 1981 had to offer, and Grandma said that the precious child should have it.

Sorry, Mom.

I'm too much at:

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Some of you have reported problems with viewing the website (which, in and of itself, is understandable-- I can hardly bear to look at it myself 99% of the time); specifically, for some, the screen tends to freeze and crash the computer and in general trigger the Apocalypse.

The problem is apparently isolated to those using Internet Explorer, which--and I say this with the utmost respect for a very fine product--is a filthy, maggoty sewer hole into every spyware warren imaginable.

I emailed Blogger about the problem two weeks ago, and the techs very helpfully responded that I consult a list of FAQ articles such as "How Do I Post?" and "What Is This 'Inter-Net' Of Which You Speak?" So I'm still waiting for assistance from those quarters, and will probably will be sitting here until the Sun crashes into the Earth's crust, so here's a word of loving and grateful advice: Download Firefox and use that instead... not only to view this site, but for every blooming thing viewable. You can even import all your bookmarks from the eeeeevil IE. Mozilla readers haven't reported any browsing issues, and they're not-doing so with a middle finger cheerfully extended in the general direction of Bill Gates.

And that's one to grow on.

scratch like a monkey at:

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Janet The Reader's Continuing Rockage

Janet The Reader has once again awed me with her awesomeness. Thanks, Janet!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Let's all hear it for me for retaining the ability to lecture out of the third person this morning. When one spends four consecutive days with a 19-month-old, one forms sentences to be heard and commanded, not that either will take place. So today my students very nearly heard: "Give your essays to Aunt Beth. No throw!"

On Sunday I attempted to fulfill my godmotherly duties, and after Mass took Jim the Baby Nephew on a tour of the church altar. He was terrified of the baptismal font, impressed for maybe a second and a half with the Advent wreath, and could take or leave the tabernacle, which means I am failing miserably in my charge and he's going to grow up to be a bad, bad Catholic who can't even cover a four-corner Bingo properly. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. You'd think he could explain transubstantiation by now.

I dressed the baby for bed on Saturday night (you see here the end of the procedure, which took a good half hour-- "Okay, wait, it's on backwards. Give me your arm! Give Aunt Beth your arm! No, your other arm. Come back!") and had to call upon the Power of the Socks From the Notre Dame Bookstore.
Notre Dame was trying extremely hard to lose, so they sent in the eighteenth-string kicker, who missed. A lot. You would think that in practice, just in case this type of sort comes up in a game-type situation, he and the holder might want to spend a few minutes--I don't know-- kicking the ball through a goalpost.

And the Bengals had to call upon the Power of the Sleeper Pajamas, against the Ravens. While at the airport I noticed that the score was 34-0 Bengals, and so I sat down to watch a nice breathable stomping for once, and then the Bengals decided that the game would be far more exciting if they just gave the other team the ball, so within five minutes it was 34-21.

I was watching with my toes just outside a food court Outback, from between a faux-white fence, because that is all you see in Australia-- white fences, furious people wheeling little suitcases around, and $85 cocktails. I'd forgotten what it's like to actually care about a professional football game in a group setting. "OHHHHHHHHH!" we said when the Bengals effected a turnover. "YEEEAAAHHHH!" we said when they did something not-stupid. We said "OHHHHHHHHH!" quite often.

Jim's vocabulary is coming on very well. His favorite word is "EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" He would slip behind the door of his playhouse, and I would say, "Jim! Where is Jim? Did he go outside? Oh, Aunt Beth is so sad without Jim!"

This was his cue to burst through the door: "EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" My job was to be shocked.

He also employs it as a food critic:

ME: Do you want Kix?

JIM THE BABY NEPHEW: (shakes head violently)

ME: Do you want Rice Chex?

JIM THE BABY NEPHEW: (shakes head violently)

ME: Do you want veggie puffs? (which, ew, but I still had to present them as a not only viable, but delicious, option)

JIM THE BABY NEPHEW: (shakes head violently)

ME: Do you want fruit?


I bet I would have gotten a seat at Outback if I started ordering like that.

no throw at:

George the Reader Mega-Rocks!

Big, huge, honkin' THANK YOU to George the Reader for his kind donation. I feel the love, brother.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

"As God As My Witness..."

From one Cincinnatian to the world... happy Thanksgiving.

Les: (broadcasting) I'm here with hundreds of people who have gathered to witness what has been described as perhaps the greatest turkey event in Thanksgiving Day history. All we know for sure is that in a very few moments, there are going to be a lot of happy people out here. Now the crowd is...the crowd is...(reacting to people staring at him and brushing by) the crowd is curious, but well-behaved. Oh! I think I hear something now. Uh, the crowd is moving out into the parking area, and...oh yes, I can see it now. It's's a helicopter, and it's coming this way.

Andy: A helicopter?

Les: It's flying something behind it...I can't quite make it out. It's a large banner and it says, uh - Happy... Thaaaaanksss... giving! ... From... W.... ... K... ... R... ... P! What a sight, ladies and gentlemen, what a sight! The copter seems to be circling the parking lot now, perhaps looking for a place to, something just came out of the back of the helicopter! it's a...a dark object, uh...perhaps a skydiver, plummeting to the earth from only 2000 feet in the air...and a second, and a third! ...No parachutes yet....Those can't be skydivers... I can't tell just yet what they are, but--Oh my God, they're turkeys!!! Oh, no, Johnny, can you get this? Oh, they're crashing to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! Oh, this is terrible. The mob is running around pushing each other...oh my goodness. Oh, the humanity! People are running about...the turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! Folks...I don't know how much longer they're...the crowd is running for their lives. I think I'm going to step inside...I can't stay out here and watch this any longer...Children are searching for their mothers, and...oh, not since the Hindenberg tragedy has there been anything like this! I don't know how much longer I can hold my position here, Johnny. The crowd...

Johnny: Les? Les? Les, are you there? Thanks for that on-the-spot report, Les. And for those of you who just tuned in, the Pinedale Shopping Mall has just been bombed with live turkeys. Film at eleven.

Venus: Les! Are you okay?

Les: I don't know. A man and his two children tried to kill me. After the turkeys hit the pavement, the crowd kind of scattered, but some of them tried to attack me. I had to jam myself into a phone booth. Then Mr. Carlson had the helicopter land in the middle of the parking lot. I guess he thought he could save the day by turning the rest of the turkeys gets pretty strange after that.

Andy: Aw, Les, c'mon now, tell us the rest.

Les: I really don't know how to describe it. It the turkeys mounted a counterattack! It was almost as if they were ...organized.

Mr. Carlson: As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

no, there's not really a Pinedale Shopping Mall here at:

Dave The Reader Is Awesome!

Many thanks to Dave The Reader, who is already kindly helping to pick up the loss of revenue from the Great Google Nipple Ads Experience.

Dave! at:

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Shaking the Moneymaker

Because some of you have good taste but no lives, you've asked after the whereabouts of the Google ads formerly located at the top of the page. I know this is a very technical, web-specific explanation, but I am afraid they went bye-bye.

They went bye-bye because--not that I like to draw hasty generalizations about my readers--you don't seem to be the type of people heavily into buying fake nipples. Google, you see, uses a very specific program that the searches keywords of an advertising partner's webpage and spits out ads that, in very remote portions of the solar system, pertain to the copy contained therein. So because I made the world-ending mistake of typing the word "bra" four times in seven paragraphs here, Google made the very logical assumption that my readers have no nipples, and advertised accordingly. And you can only load your own webpage so many times before alerts concerning the September Super-Perky Sale grow tiresome.

Therefore: Bye-bye, Google. Hello, more ramen noodes.

eat! at:

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I'm sitting here happily contemplating my liquor. It's pretty much all you can do, at this point in the Bengals-Colts game, which after the first quarter currently stands at 14,295-14,181.

I meant to gather some alcohol unto me on Friday night, because Flipper was coming to visit so's she could have a movie buddy for Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire; Goblet Of Fire Now Available Only At Target For $19.95. So I went to a liquor store so as to have some sort of wine selection not involving a cardboard box, and then I decided that I should invite Mr. Peach Schnapp's to the party, but, contrary to popular opinion, I did not need the bigol bottle, just a little bottle, the kind I keep strapped to the podium for sustenance between classes.

These smaller bottles were kept behind the counter, which was unfortunate, because it forced my least-favorite thing: Interaction with another human being.

And this human being, there at the liquor store, had been clearly intimate with the inventory for quite some time, preparing specifically for my arrival.

ME: I'd like a traveller's bottle of the Peachtree, please.

LIQUOR STORE GUY: (pointing to a bottle holding, like, two microns of liquid) This one?

ME: No, the next larger size.

LIQUOR STORE GUY: (pointing to a bottle of Peach Pucker) This one?

ME: No, the Peachtree.

LIQUOR STORE GUY: (triumphantly brandishing a bottle of peppermint Schnapp's) Oh! This one!

Then I made the fatal error of asking for two tiny samples of flavored Margaritaville tequila-- one mango, one tangerine-- and after first emphasizing that I wanted two bottles, one of each, no, one, of each, I got back to the Blonde Bachelorette Pad and found, not at all to my shock, two bottles of tangerine. Well, at least there were, indeed, two. I'll need them now.

drink! at:

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Okay... I'm a horrible person, and I did a horrible thing.

I was grading papers, doing brain-things, and I actually had to stop at one point due to the loss of intellectual activity by the TV in the background, which was tuned to... Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team.

Here is what I learned:

-There is a person in this world named "Starr Spangler," and when she was born, her parents looking lovingly down at hear and said, "Won't she make a wonderful porn star someday, honey? Let's call her 'Starr.'"

-In order to become a professional cheerleader, one must reorder one's priorities. Direct quote: "Well, being a cheerleader is a full-time job. (Pause.) Plus, being a mom on top of that." This was announced by "Whitney," who needs to give her daughter to a foster mother who does not make a living out of setting back the women's movement thirty-odd years.


-During an interview with the judges, if you are asked "What does wearing the Dallas Cowgirl uniform mean to you?" the correct answer is most likely not "I would keep it clean and return it at the end of the season."

-If you are unattractive, you need to get a fake tan, and some streaky skunk hair, and a big ol' bottle of White Rain. Then, and only then, you will be fit for polite society.

-And even if you do contain some sort of horrible physical defect such as, for instance, having thighs with a circumference larger than .000000005 inches, there are airbrushers on hand to ensure the whites of your eyes are the approximate color of God's beard on the Official Team Photo.

-When speaking of one's breasts, one must refer to them as one's "girls".

rah! at:

Monday, November 14, 2005

Background Noise

Sorry I've been unable to update, but Josh the Pilot and I were in North Carolina at a wedding, and you will be grieved to know that what you missed was a whole lotta this:

That is what you do, while driving from Florida to North Carolina. You pray for unconsciousness, and when you don't have it, you feign it, because only then will you be spared Georgia. I'm sure it's full of lovely people, but judging from what I saw along I-95 they all want to sell me like eighteen metric tons of pecans for seven cents. I DON'T WANT YOUR PECANS, GEORGIA.

At nightfall we busted out the DVD of Revenge of the Sith, which we were able to watch with the help of Josh's computer and a battery pack and fourteen extension cords and a 90-foot roll of Reynold's Wrap. And we marvelled at the wonderous technology I balanced on my lap, all, "Lookit! We're watching a movie. In a car!"

In five years, of course, the whole thing will seem like the 8-track of car-movie-watching technology, and what would have been even more impressive was if we'd been able to hear the wonderousness. Turns out a Ford Escort is not the most soundproof vehicle in the world, and we were watching the film with the commentary track on, so it sounded like this:

GEORGE LUCAS: What we have here is a


GEORGE LUCAS: in the scene and


EWAN McGREGOR: My loyalty is to the Republic, to democracy!

JOSH THE PILOT: What did he say?

GEORGE LUCAS: digitally animated.

ME: Something about Tony Danza?

So I wound up tipping the laptop to a ninety-degree angle and pressing my head against the tiny little speakers with Yoda like two micrometers away from my face. I suppose it was good for him.

The one thing--the one thing-- I did hear clearly was, of course, this scene. The whole "I love you because you're beautiful with the love and the loving" business, uncut and cranked THX high. George Lucas talked for two and a half solid hours over the music and the droid noises and the lightsaber battles, but this part? The worst dialogue in six movies of Worst Dialogue? For that, he fell respectfully silent, so as to allow one & all to appreciate its majesty. Un-shut up, George.

going to Toshi station to pick up some power converters at:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Welcome... MORE Readers

It's all about the Darcy.

most obliged, sir, at

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Welcome Readers

"What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

This, apparently. Many thanks to Flipper for her factchecking services. Perhaps I should buy her a Jager Bomber, NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Super Sized Smirky-Smirk at:

How YOU and your hair doin'?

I attended my first academic conference this week. I got a nametag and everything, and I don’t know about you, but nothing says “I’m A Intellectual” like your own name suspended from your neck with a plastic bungee cord.

I settled in with a happy sigh. No students to get in the way of teaching! No TV! No politicking! No Geraldo! Just scholarship! Sentence syntax, ho!

VERY FIRST PRESENTER, VERY FIRST SESSION: As we all know, George W. Bush is a horrid monkey-faced Nazi who eats newborn manatees.

OTHER ATTENDEES: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

THE DOOR: (clicks softly shut behind MB)

So I went to another room, where academic activity of some sort indeed seemed to be taking place, and I will let you know what it was as soon as I finish the four PhD’s required to understand just what-all was said in there. Something about “the…and…therefore.” Whatever it was caused much pique to a gentleman sitting behind me, who shot a hand in the air. A thesaurus fell out of his mouth as he began shrieking about Doestoevsky, and what must he think of all this, and the word “paradoxically” was used, the only thing that stopped him was the blessed ringing of his cell phone, and let me just say that any academic point you might wish to make will be severely undercut when “Axel F” begins to issue from your pants.

I also presented. The seven people in the room, only three of whom were also not presenting, seemed appreciative, particularly when I shut up.

Now this was a collection of English divas, which meant that not one single thing started on time, except for the cocktail party, which began at six AM. They gave us drink tickets—I mean, literal drink tickets, like those tear-off things clearly left over from the Split the Pot at the church festival St. Simon’s parking lot, and we each got two, and you have not lived until you have seen a roomful of people with advanced degrees trying to form a line with alcohol at the end of it.

This all took place in a convention ballroom roughly the size of Connecticut, and I cannot fathom how there was square footage enough for all the egos.

Also, I was hit on by a woman. This was heartily offensive, not because I have a problem with gay people–the lass was simply showing good taste, after all—but because she hit on me while I was attempting to read. I was sitting near the hotel bar, immersed in high literature, and we had the following conversation:

WOMAN: Nervous about something?

ME: Uh… please?

WOMAN: I’ve been standing here watching you tap your foot while you’re reading. Are you nervous?

ME: Um.

WOMAN: Are you with the teachers?

(It’s the new pickup line! “I’m with the band” is out! “I’m with the teachers” is in! Chicks dig red pens!)

ME: Yes.

WOMAN: OHHHHHHHHH! That is so cool!

ME: ...Yeah.

WOMAN: Well, I’ll just let you get back to your book.

ME: Okay.

(fourteen blessedly uninterrupted seconds of lightsaber battles, which are slightly more compelling on film than in the printed word)

WOMAN: I bet you almost never wear your hair like that. I can tell.

ME: …?

WOMAN: Why don’t you let me buy you a drink?

ME: No, thank you.

WOMAN: Come on! We'll get Jager Bombs!

ME: That’s... very nice of you, but no thanks.

WOMAN: You’ve been working hard all day! Let’s get you out of those pantyhose!

ME: Oh look, here comes a total and complete stranger! I need to go walk next to him now. Bye!

Yes indeedy, there was a whole lotta academicing goin’ on.

buy me a shot at:

Monday, November 07, 2005

Best! Dinosaur! Ever!

Jim the Baby Nephew's second Halloween went surprisingly well, considering he becomes horribly frightened by smaller babies and the vacuum cleaner and various family members. But utter darkness and strange people dressed as various forms of death shrieking past? That's okay.

His performance is especially admirable when one takes into account the fact that he was encased entirely in felt.

Later, he helped pass out candy. By hurling it down the sidewalk.

We're also training him in Beer Retrieval.

I have taught him well.

roar! at:

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Shut Up, Faith Hill

I know I'm the only person in the known universe voicing this, but... please, can we stop Faith Hill? As of 1997?

Faith is a spit of musical froth; listening to her is like having not eaten in five weeks and having someone shoot an entire can of whipped cream down your throat. Her country songs sound like pop, which means they are not country in the first place. Note to Faith: Most actual cowboys did not roam the range with their horses and their guitars and their electronic voice synthesizers. When you're singing about pickup trucks and your voice comes out like Cher in "Believe"? It's time to stop.

I would yank Hank Williams out of the grave to listen to this if he hadn't whirred himself to the surface already the first second Shania "Man! I Feel Like a Hooker!" Twain stepped up to a microphone with her push-up bra and her amazing note-and-a-half vocal range. But Shania, at least, has no pretensions to usefulness. The latest agonization from her--the song is called "Shoes," people, as in the footwear-- consists of the following lyric: "Men are like shoes/Made to confuse." Yes, I open the closet in the morning and I cry... what are these things, and how do they go on my feet? They... they were just made to confuse!!

Thank you, Shania. Thank you for shaming my ovaries once again.

Now we have Faith, who's a Mississippi Girl! Who just don't change! No, Mississippi girls are humble and modest and down-home! So much so that they release major industry label-backed singles about just how awesomely humble they are!

Song: Mississippi Girl




Well, it's a long way from Star, Mississippi

Not far enough.

To the big stage I'm singing on tonight
And sometimes the butterflies still get me

Attack butterflies? With frickin' laser beams attached to their heads? Sweet.

When I'm in the spotlight


And some people seem to think that I've changed
That I'm different than I was back then
But in my soul, I know that I'm the same way
That I've really always been

Except for the mansion, the nanny, the superstar stubbly husband, the posh RV, the publicist, the makup artist, the photo shoots, the hairdresser, the chef, and the bazillion dollar per-concert-ticket take. Other than that? Biloxi Saturday night.

'Cause a Mississippi girl don't change her ways
Just 'cause everybody knows her name
Ain't big headed from a little bit of fame

Noooooooo! Not at allllllllllll!

Her hair, however, continues to expand with each new issue.

I still like wearing my old ball cap

You hear that, squirrels and bunnies? She wears an old ball cap! And she likes it! One of us! One of us!

Ridin' my kids around piggy back


They may know me all around the world
But, y'all, I'm still a Mississippi girl

As denoted by the "y'all."



Well, I spent a few weeks in California
They put my face on the big movie screen
But that don't mean I've forgotten where I came from
That's just me chasing dreams

And this is just me snorting my cherry 7-UP all over the keyboard. Seriously. Why bring it up at all? Is the next lyric about having Bobby Redford and Oprah over for martinis and a greased pig catch? Y'all!

Mississippi girl!
Mississippi girl!
yeah, yeah, oh
oh oh oh oh oh
Mississippi girl!

I... can't top this. I stand before you verbally vanquished. You've convinced me, Faith, yeah, yeah, oh!

Cincinnati girls don't change their ways, except of course when the cops show up at:

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