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Archive for July, 2012

Dear Saddle Bags:

Thank you for opening in Savannah in May. You’ve filled the country dance hall/saloon void that formed when Stetson’s on Mall Boulevard closed. (Stetson’s is now Star Castle Family Entertainment Center. Not a suitable replacement, in my opinion.)

You are now the go-to place when Eddie and I need a night out. (Don’t judge. We don’t get out much. You’ll see why we like it here.)

Where else can the young, middle-aged and old mingle so happily together — watching the band, dancing, riding a bull? You are a place where young men help older, drunk women heave themselves onto the bull’s back.

You are a place where men proudly carry purses.

You are a place where men in cowboy hats wear Mardi Gras beads in July.

You are a place where other men in hats line dance alongside their accountants while two drunk girls dance with each other.

You are a place where men are fond of dirty dancing — with each other.

In short, you are everything a people-watcher could want. Thank you for bringing so much joy into my life.

See you in a couple of weeks!
Beth

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Dear Dan Cathy:

I am impressed by your ability to lead Chick-fil-A, a business with 1,608 restaurants and sales of more than $4 billion last year. I’m also impressed that you publicly voice your beliefs, even if they are unpopular. (At least they seem to be unpopular in my social circle.)

You know you’ve chosen a tough road when even the Muppets hate you.

I fully support your ability as an American to support “the biblical definition of the family unit.” As I’ve mentioned before, I think people can support whatever they want in their church and private lives. But if we are talking about legislation, then we will have to agree to disagree.

All men are created equal” to me means that all people should have the access to the same rights in the United States — paid for, of course, via tax dollars (that everyone pays regardless of, well, anything. Unless they have really good lawyers. Or lobbyists).

Truth be told, I haven’t eaten at one of your restaurants since 1994. That was when I bit into a filet sandwich and found an unsavory hunk of cartilage. Little did I know then that your beliefs were unsavory (to me) as well.

That little bit of gristle saved me from eventual guilt, though, at supporting an organization that does not support all people. Feel free to believe what you believe, support what you support. I’ll be over at Taco Bell, faux beef and all.

Exercising my right to choose,
Beth

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Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be.

— John Mellencamp

Dear Citizens of Ringgold, Georgia:

I am totally impressed with you. Small towns often get a bad rap — targeted as intolerant communities. And maybe some (many) are.

But you are showing via AMC’s new show, “Small Town Security,” that you are accepting of different kinds of people, including transgendered “lieutenant” Dennis Croft.

I admit I didn’t really see that coming in the first episode. I thought Croft might be gay, but the truth was more surprising and interesting. What’s more, Croft is in love with his married boss, Joan Koplan, otherwise known as “The Chief.” She owns JJK Security with her husband Irwin, who seems to be accepting of this situation and enjoys the meals Croft cooks for them on a regular basis. Fascinating. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Croft (second from left), Koplan (center) and the cast of “Small Town Security”

And you, citizens of Ringgold, don’t appear to be fazed at all. At least, not according to Croft. Good for you!

You certainly aren’t like these punctuation- and spelling-challenged people:

(My favorite is “high fullutent.” Yes, I think they meant “highfaluting.” And I think I’m about 12 things on that list.)

Anyway, thanks for showing that “small town” doesn’t always mean “small-minded.”

Slack-jawed in awe,
Beth

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Dear Ashley Van Sipma:

I discovered your article about World’s Fattest Woman Pauline Potter via a link to a Huffington Post version of the story a friend posted on my Facebook wall. (Thanks Julia!)

I can’t imagine what you must have thought when your Closer (UK) editor assigned the story. Or maybe you found Potter on your own.

American journalists are supposed to try to avoid inserting bias by using words such as “shockingly” and “incredibly,” but really, I think you just put into words what we all were thinking.

I admire your restraint in not editorializing more, instead choosing to let Potter and her ex-husband Alex tell the tale I’m not sure we needed to know.

While I admire Potter’s attempts to lose weight by exercising, I’m not sure I needed to know that she does it through sex with Alex the Ex up to seven times a day. And I certainly didn’t need to know that “it’s great exercise just jiggling around.” And that he came sniffing around again when she had hit her largest weight of 728 pounds. (Does he have a little fetish?)

During the interview, what did you do when Alex said the following?

It’s hard to position her and find her pleasure spots as she has a lot of fat in the pelvic area. But it turns me on knowing she’s satisfied. Although once, when she got on top, I couldn’t breathe.

Did you just look down at the notepad and keep on writing, pretending this was the most normal interview ever? Or did you look up, eyes wide, shocked at your good luck at finding someone so quotable?

I mean, this is great news for Potter as she’s lost 98 pounds already. And they both seem very happy. But I just think that the quotes are so candid — graphic even — that it forces us as readers to gawk, gape and form lasting mental images.

But perhaps this frank reporting will be inspiring to others.

Anyway, good job on the article, and congrats on Huffington Post reworking it for the U.S. audience. Because of that, you earned an increase of about 2,800 percent in Facebook, Twitter and email shares.

Maybe you’ll get a raise, or at least diversified story options (read: ones that are not tabloid fodder).

Still Cloroxing my mind,
Beth

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Warning: This post contains graphic images of medical conditions.

Dear Larry Page, Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin and all Google employees who have anything to do with Google Images:

Thank you for creating this service. Without you, I would not have such easy access to the shocking, disturbing images I crave to fuel my ability to procrastinate. (It’s what I do when I am stalling on a project.)

Today, I have selected skin disorders as the topic of interest. I started with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which is a particularly nasty skin disorder resulting from an allergic reaction or infection. The person who introduced me to this disorder aptly described it as “Cronenberg-levels of horrifying.” Thanks to Google Images, I was able to find the following example. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

As another form of the disease is called Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (Lyell’s Syndrome), I naturally moved on to Necrotizing Fasciitis. Otherwise known as the “flesh-eating disease,” it is all kinds of horrible. You had plenty of images to prove that point, including this one:

And that led to Fournier’s gangrene, which is also quite dreadful. Again, Google Images did not disappoint. (But there will be no sample images posted here. Even I have limits, and the results of “penile debridement” cross the line.)

I got back on the non-genital track with a search for just “gangrene.” Once again, you had plenty to share. I wonder about the following photo, though. The person clearly has a big problem, but the photo does not look like it was taken in a hospital. It’s shot like some kind of nail treatment “before” picture.

I worry about all the people in these pictures. Are they OK? Did they get reconstructive surgery? Are they alive at least? Unfortunately, even when I follow the photo to the original link, there’s rarely any “where are they now?” follow-up.

Can’t you make that happen? Isn’t Google the Information Sharing Overlord?

Anyway, thanks for providing this service. I managed to waste about an hour of my life. (And yes, I did finish the project I was putting off.)

Feeling lucky,
Beth

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Dear Spammers:

I appreciate your attempts to make your comments on my blog look legitimate. However, I think it is time to hire someone who has a better command of the English language.

For example, Pace Express, I can’t imagine how my website “got here up.” And please don’t “clutch [my] RSS feed” or anything else.

Viagra online, I’m not sure what it means to “larn,” but I don’t think I want that either. I won’t mention the run-on sentence because I always try to be “user genial.”

And as for you, Olive Garden, your teacher needs more than “this tips.”

I know you, as spammers, have to do what you have to do. Please just try to use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation while you do it.

Thank you for your consideration.

Offering “clearness for [my] submit,”
Beth

* “Spam” is a portmanteau of those two words. Now you know.

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Dear Mr. Garrigan:

You seem sincere in your request for feedback about my recent stay at Mainsail Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Tampa. Your title of “performance and quality assurance manager” indicates that Mainsail in general is interested in enhancing the guest experience.

I’ve taken the survey, but I want to give you more information. I realize that what I’m about to talk about is a collection of First World problems, and I’m a little embarrassed to be complaining in general.

But you asked, so here goes:

1. If the suite sleeps 10, then you should equip the kitchen with enough utensils to allow all 10 to eat at the same time. Three bowls, three small plates, four forks and one steak knife doesn’t cut it. There were seven of us. We had to feed the kids, wash the bowls, then feed ourselves, with one of us eating out of a mixing bowl.

2. Continuing with the topic of kitchen equipment, there were no spoons, potholders, dishtowels or sponges. There wasn’t a working can opener, a spatula or a ladle. How are people supposed to cook without these things?

3. If the suite sleeps 10, and you know that we have seven people in the suite, you should provide enough towels for all of these people (especially as I asked for extra towels when I made the reservation). How can you think four bath towels, two hand towels and one washcloth is enough for seven people?

4. If the guest calls and asks for more towels, you should bring them. We called twice for more towels with no response. It took a trip to the front desk and a housekeeper APB to finally get more the first day. On the second day, despite numerous phone calls, we remained towel-less and damp.

5. If you are proud enough to advertise that you have plasma TVs in the living rooms, then you should make sure they work. It shouldn’t take five phone calls to the front desk to get the TV working.

6. If you advertise that you offer free Internet, people assume it is wireless. Who uses an Ethernet cable anymore? Don’t you realize that many people use iPhones, iPads, MacBook Airs, etc., that do not have an Ethernet port?

7. Chances are good that people who are staying in a hotel are on vacation. While on vacation, people generally like to sleep in. Therefore, 6:30 a.m. is really too early to mow the lawn. Leaf blowing is certainly out of the question.

If it really is a “pleasure to serve,” then please make the guests happy by addressing the above issues.

Not likely to return to your establishment,
Beth

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