Friday, September 29, 2006

Trojan Appetizers

One of my Official Return To Land of Applebee's Acts is to check my credit card statement, because I used it for the few souvenirs I bought in France, and there was a "conversion fee" associated with the tremendous effort involved in figuring how many billion dollars were required to equal one Euro. At the moment I am attempting to untangle just how it came about that I dropped $17.49 at an establishment listed on my transaction record as "Ass M De Sully, PARIS."

It's easier than identifying the pictures, which, thanks to the fact that I am basically the only person left on Earth still using actual film, I can only afford to develop a roll at a time. So for the next few weeks it's going to be this grab-bag of cathedrals and friezes.

Fortunately the very first roll that I happened to develop was the one with the mimes:

This was how the appetizers were delivered to us at one of the dinners. The mimes walked these little carts all over the restaurant, and we were afraid to approach for far more than the usual reasons that people tend to decline to get anywhere near a mime. They made a great show of pointing at and spreading their hands before the food, which consisted largely of hairy fish and thingy-intense spreads on little bits of cracker.

These were the more appetizing appetizers. Frankly the inclusion of mimes made us hardly less wary of the pre-food food-- not after the Incident of the Trojan Candies.

We were docked on the Seine, and waiters came trotting around with little chocolate candies, and we crowded around the silver trays, simply beside ourselves: Chocolate! If there's one thing the French can beat, it's an egg into a sugar-laden batter!

One man was wise: "I... don't know," he said as I gazed at one in my palm. "Might be a Trojan chocolate. You have no idea what might be inside there."

This theory was boosted by what I saw out of the corner of my eye, which was a small piece of chocolate sailing over the side of the boat. So I performed the patented Russell-Stover Crush, in which I surreptitiously mash a piece of candy just enough so that I can see what's inside, but not so much that somebody else might notice.

What oozed out the bottom of the candy was an entirely unknown substance, so I what I did next, which was to lick it, was perhaps not the most advisable thing.

You know... chocolate is a very delicious thing, and I am told that goose liver pate is also delicious, but one inside the other, not so much.

"I told you," said my fellow traveller. "Trojan."

I placed my appetizer on the railing of the boat and flicked. Thus I too made a solid contribution to the ecosystem of the Seine.

don't eat the second course either at:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Knight in Khaki

Steve Irwin, it seems, was also an artist.

He'd carved an enormous statue of a crocodile to grace the front entrance of his zoo. It's a huge thing, larger even than croc-life-size, the cuts deep and rough and sure. It's no small object to hide in your hand, delicate lines with small strokes. Irwin carved it with a chain saw, hacking at the wood until a beloved friend emerged.

The memorial at the coliseum he also built rang with music; not enormous orchestras, but one Australian folk singer, a guitar, and five thousand people bellowing "Home Among the Gumtrees." It was a lovely, earthy Australian moment amongst slickly packaged tributes from Hollywood stars, a purely down-under moment that made me feel at home in a place I'd never been before.

I couldn't turn my face from Terri Irwin's last night, her lined eyes and mouth, her cracked lipstick. Few sentences passed without tears. "I lost my prince," she said as she sat in her husband's zoo, her home. Birds squawked above her head. She mentioned that her daughter once pointed out that her mother and father lived happily ever after. Good for perceptive little girls. Sometimes knights don't come in shining armor. Sometimes come in khaki.

good on ya Steve at:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

International Travel Tip

Just because you can fully recline your seatback? Doesn't mean you should.

I do believe this is the last great taboo of air travel. You have your little seat and you have your little tray; that is your space. Once you ratchet your seatback into my face, however, you are in my space. I shouldn't have to move my seat in order to uncompress my ribcage enough to draw breath, ramming the knees of the miserable peon behind me into his chin in the process.

When I sleep on a plane, I lean forward and rest my head on the tray, because bending my body at a 45 degree angle is more comfortable than any position in the actual seat. And on the flight to France the person in front of me had shoved the seat back so far that I couldn't even get my head to the tray.

I had nine hours to work the problem, and what I hit upon was advance passive-aggressivity. During the return flight I slammed the tray down as soon as I possibly could, and when the person in front of me decided “Well! Time to brutally contort the sad, sad person behind me so I can have two additional micrometers of space to myself!” I put my forehead in the dead center of the seatback, a pissy blonde snot-filled ram, and shoved back.

There was a pause, then the seat swung forward. I raised my head. Lots of hairs out of place and a total loss of dignity, but by God I had defended my tiny piece of the sky.

emerging from the lag of jet at:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Crawling From the Bed of Phlegm and Neverending Makeup Work to Type the Following:

Julie The NephewsMama has been working on Jim The Small Child Nephew's bilingual skeelz while I was away.

"Aunt Beth, France!" he's been announcing. "Au revoir!" And, occasionally, entirely at random, mostly when the situation does not call for it: "Bonjour!" It should not surprise you that his accent is far better than mine.

I brought him a hat from the Eiffel Tower, because what every two-year-old German Ohioan needs is a jaunty blue beret with PARIS stitched on it in glittery silver thread. He'll probably get two steps out of the house with it before he is beaten.

jetlag go away, I don't know the time of day at:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Le Pleghm

When I returned to the U.S., the customs guy stamped my passport and said in the flattest tones possible, "Welcome back", as in, "Oh... you again."

Everyone has been all, "How was your trip?" and it defies a single-word description, so this is going to require several days worth of posts. I'll start by thanking all of you for continuing to visit even when I wasn't here, and especially to Josh The Pilot for doing such a bang-up job while I was gone. There's an episode of Frasier in which Niles takes over the radio show for a day while his brother is sick, and Frasier is furious that he does so well: "The little brat is scintillating!" So now I will curl into a small ball and try to forget that my boyfriend can not only fly planes and tell them where to go, he also has the ability to craft the likes of "she has enough underwear, glitter, and graham crackers in her other bag."

I mentioned when I opened the comments section that I hoped it would become a little family, and indeed it has, complete with football-related knife fights. I missed you guys and wondered every day what types of intellectual discussions were taking place in my absence, eager to discover exactly how long it would take before the topic of vomit came around.

We had 18-hour days in France, and as Josh has mentioned I become exhausted by such strenuous activities as lifting several paper clips at once, so my chief souvieneir is a low-grade fever and peanut shell-riddled khakis from when I almost fainted in one of the many, many security lines at the airport and the Air France people brought me a little seat to rest on that was also conveneinetly attached to a garbage can. YOU try not passing out while people are angrily hurling nearly-full water bottles at your head. (The Transportation Safety Administration, I was pleased to note, waited until the moment my plane touched down in The Swamp before lifting liquid product restrictions.)

As we all know the very best thing to do when one is congested is to climb onto an airplane for eleven hours, so I swam back from Paris on a river of red wine and phlegm. Don't worry, I'll unpack the champagne and tales of blondeness tomorrow.

back to bed at:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ask Josh The Pilot, Vol. V, Last Day: It's been great, y'all!

Jill said...

How long is ATC school, and why did you leave the Air Force Academy?

I’ll be here for 11 weeks, until the first week of November, after which I’ll immediately report to my facility in northern Virginia.

I left the AF Academy for a number of reasons. To make a long story short, I liked the Air Force part but not the Academy part. I loved being in the military, wearing the uniform, and experiencing the comraderie, but I was disgusted with the immaturity of the other cadets, and I didn’t want to put up with all the bull-you-know-what for four years.

red pill junkie said...

Ok. New question then... Why planes?

To quote an old beer commercial: Why ask why? Try Bud Dry.

Anonymous said...

You two keep referring to the University of Airplanes. Which University is that in real life? Or is that top secret?

Anon, refer to my answer to Rachel who asked the same question a few days ago.

Rachel said...

I feel bad about the lack of questions, so this is me doing my part.
Favorite color?
Favorite movie? Too many to choose from
Favorite thing about your job? Getting paid to talk on the radio using aviation lingo
Favorite book of the Bible? Joshua, of course!
If you could be any animal, what would it be? A horse, ‘cause chicks dig horses
If you could go back and relive any moment in your life, what would it be? Passing my private pilot certificate checkride (flight test)
If you could live anywhere, where would that be? On top of a mountain in Colorado
What would be the first thing you'd buy if you won the lottery? This
And thanks for indulging all of us nosy parkers!

Anonymous said...

I hate to fly. (Hate the bumps, scared of falling thousands of feet to a firey death...I think these are pretty run-of-the-mill flying fears...) Please tell me how to learn to enjoy it!

Anon, if you haven’t read it already, please refer to Ask JTP Vol III. I’m happy that you at least want to try to learn to enjoy flying, instead of writing it off as something to be endured. Admittedly, airline flying is not the most fun experience, especially these days. To get a taste of real flying, the fun, no-large-odorous-fellow-passengers-or-screaming-children-in-the-next-row kind, head to your local flight school and ask about the Be A Pilot program, where you can get a one-on-one introductory flight for only $59. If that’s not in your budget, you should be able to ride along for free on someone else’s training flight. If you tell them you’re trying to get over a fear of flying, no student and/or instructor will have a problem with letting you observe a flight lesson. All pilots relish the opportunity to demonstrate how fun and safe it is to go flying.

I’d love to hear how things turn out for you, Anon. It will make my day to hear that you’re no longer scared to experience the freedom and joy of flight!

Lexie said...

How about your nickname for MB? Does she remind you of Tinkerbell?

Tink is not a nickname I came up with. She was given that name by her friends Oogie, G-Force, and Flipper. However, the name does suit her well. She likes glittery things, she’s beautiful, blonde, curvy in a good way, and takes issue with her thighs even though I think they look great!

MB is on her way back to the States right now: at

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