Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gym Membership

By order of our bank accounts, my gym membership currently consists of the workout DVDs I've amassed over the years. They have titles like Your Wedding Workout and We Bet You Ate a Sandwich Today, You Fat, Fat Pig. The latest offered an introduction from cherry Instructor Lady whose accent varied, within one sentence, from Southern, to British, to Kiwi, to Boston College, and back beneath the Mason-Dixon. She assured me, multinationally, that all I required for our workout was a floor. Maybe, if I were the fancy sort, a mat.

Well... right on it, sister! Done! I cursored the DVD to the first workout. There was a title card, and then--

CHEERY INSTRUCTOR LADY: You're going to need a towel.

but in what hemisphere at:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Welcome Freelance Switch Readers

You are hereby out of the cage and into the Tasting Room.

Have a glass.

unfettered at:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Called Out

Appearing at Events Update: I'll be speaking on the workings of the space shuttle at 10 AM on Saturday, January 26, at Our Lady Of Hope Catholic Church in Potomac Falls, VA. Following that, I'll continue the lecture beneath the nose of Enterprise at the Udvar-Hazy wing of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. All of this involves a blowtorch and the phrase "mating the tank," so you pretty much have to be there.

To business. Today I was reflecting upon Teller of Penn and Teller--and don't we all, at some point?--and thinking very deeply about what his visits to the DMV must be like. Teller, whom I otherwise respect, has legally changed his name to... Teller. I mean, when when he (silently) signs himself in at the dentist's office, that's what he goes with. It's on his passport.

As a person who married and moved to a completely new geographical area at the same time, this has created a great deal of furrowing. Since to splay "By Mary Beth Ellis Hunter" across a book jacket would leave little to no room for an actual title, I'm legally changing my last name to Josh the Pilot's, but will continue to write as Mary Beth Ellis. This has resulted in total bureaucratic Armageddon, with junk mail hailing me as Mary Hunt, telemarketers calling for Mr. Joshua Ellis, and three different driver's licenses at once. I would have quite the little side industry in gateway documents if I so desired. (Damn yoooooou, basic ethics and morals!) That fourth horse bearing eight change-of-address forms in triplicate? He rides for me.

To demand to be addressed by one name is mind-boggling; even Jesus Christ had two names, not to mention a middle initial under certain circumstances. We are left, as a culture, to the Rise of "Dude."

In my days working backstage security at Riverbend (I mean this quite literally; I did it for two days), this created a great deal of angst: What if Cher booked a show? Sting? My parents raised me to address new acquaintances as Mr., Ms., or Mrs. unless otherwise invited, and here I'd be bereft of a last name with which to polite the client. To refer to another human being as "Ms. Madonna" called for a sense of the ludicrous I left behind the day I discovered that when Boomer Esiason was with the Bengals, his team nickname was his actual name: Norman.

Fortunately, Cher stayed far, far away from the banks of the Ohio, and I was left to totally and accidentally offend the Gentry half of Montgomery Gentry by not recognizing him and refusing to allow him backstage until I saw a pass. By then, though, I was able to issue a full and proper apology, as opposed to, "Hey, I'm really sorry about that... you!"

but kix brooks was totally cool about it at:

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fine Print

I'd like everyone to meet the label I just peeled off my latest bottle of fluvoxamine.


Dear bottle:
If I weren't experiencing mood changes, sadness, depression, or fear, I WOULDN'T NEED YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Hampshire Conclusions

Having spent two and a half consecutive days in the state of New Hampshire about nine years ago, I can with 100% confidence declare the following, fellow Americans:

1) Just once, I would like to see an acceptance or concession speech that doesn't look like it's being delivered at the opening session of the Mid-Central Professional Management Corporate Training Synergization Seminar.

2) Tonight's election coverage included an interview with the person who must have the most cubicle-deathly job in these United States: Comptroller General. Yeeeeeaaaaah, we're going to need him to come in on Saaaaaturday.

stapling at:

Monday, January 07, 2008


Jim The Small Child Nephew and Will The Baby Nephew are now of an age when we can toss them around without worrying that their heads will fall off. So that's what Josh The Pilot and I did on our last visit, flinging about one nephew apiece. Then we'd trade, switching them mid-air like little blonde juggling clubs.

What you see here is an attempt to face both of them in the same direction at the same time, which went precisely as well as you might expect. They were within reaching distance of Thomas the Tank Engine toys, which are based on a disturbing program featuring chronically depressed trains who live on an island. The island is apparently the size of Australia, to judge by the amount of railage, and wherever it is I don't want to visit there, for cranes are forever falling over and feelings are getting hurt and sentient trains are ramping up the fury.

Thomas the Tank Engine is the Saw of childhood entertainment; one episode features a jelly-intensive train wreck, and it was absolutely the worst violence I've seen involving jelly since Doughnut Stealing Guy was apprehended. Will The Baby Nephew burst into tears, as did I.

So we threw each other around some more. When in doubt, go for altitude.

aunting at:

Previous Tastings