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Archive for June, 2018

Dear Film Buffs:

It is summer blockbuster season, y’all.

I want to talk about movies.
I want to talk about movies I love and movies I hate.
I want to talk about movies that are my personal litmus test.

If you don’t like these movies, I’m not sure we can be friends:

1. Pulp Fiction
This is Tarantino’s best. Don’t @ me with that “Reservoir Dogs” crap. Quotable moments, a John Travolta comeback and inventive storyline? Shit … That’s all you had to say. If you don’t like it, I don’t know what to say.

2. The Princess Bride
I like it so much that I have a line from it permanently etched on my person. (If you like the movie, and I like you, I might show you.) You were on the fence about it until this post, and now you wish to surrender to me? Very well, I accept.

Tommy Boy Poster

3. Tommy Boy
Chris Farley and David Spade at peak performance. If you don’t laugh at the airplane bathroom scene, there is something wrong with you. You’re just a big, dumb animal.

Horrible Bosses Poster

4. Horrible Bosses
I’ll watch Jason Bateman in anything, but he’s at his finest as straight man here. And Colin Farrell has the perfect role. Don’t get me started on Jamie Foxx, murder consultant.

Bridesmaids Poster

5. Bridesmaids
Melissa McCarthy slays. Every. Single. Scene. My love for her comes out of me like lava. (She’s also great in “Spy.”)

Napoleon Dynamite Poster

I was going to stop at five, but here’s an extra (possibly controversial) movie for good measure:

6. Napoleon Dynamite
With this one, I understand you have to be in the right mood. Otherwise you don’t get it. I was worried about showing this to my kids because, if they didn’t like it, I would have to kick them out of the house. ‘Cause I do whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!

Honorable mentions: Guardians of the Galaxy, The Incredibles, The Avengers.

Yes, there’s a theme. Want to guess what’s on my most-hated list? Lots of dramas.

The English Patient Poster

1. The English Patient
Like Elaine said, just die already. I don’t give a rat’s ass about all the Oscars.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Poster

2. Batman vs. Superman
Don’t try to argue that this isn’t a drama. It totes is. Typical no-humor DC mierda. It was so boring that I fell asleep and DIDN’T MISS ANYTHING.

Steel Magnolias Poster

3. Steel Magnolias
It’s the only movie that ever made me nearly walk out of the theater. The accents were not even the worst part. The Southern clichés, predictability, scenery-chewing … I could go on. I won’t.

Black Swan Poster

4. Black Swan
Another Oscar darling. Just no. A better Darren Aronofsky film is “The Wrestler.”

The Hateful Eight Poster

5. The Hateful Eight
If I have Tarantino’s best, then the worst needs to be on a list too. I wanted to like it. I didn’t. The pauses/silence worked in my No. 1; they did not work here. So boring …

And, another possibly controversial choice for No. 6:

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Poster

6. The Lord of the Rings anything
Before you hire a hitman, let me say that I like fantasy (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Pan’s Labyrinth), etc. I just don’t like this fantasy. Why? Because of stupid stuff like the tree that is supposed to be all-knowing doesn’t know shit is going down in his forest. I know, I know: “Read the books.”

There you have it. Disagree? Come at me, bro. Maybe you’ll get lucky and get me in a transitional period. It’s not inconceivable.

Bottoms up,
Beth

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Yep, that’s a moonshine still (and a guy named Bullet Bob). Welcome to the South!

Dear Liquor Lovers:

Though I am mostly a beer and wine drinker, I went on a mission that you would love: a trip to the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery.

For someone like me who likes to go on adventures and write about them, this had all the elements of a good story:

1. An interesting setting
The distillery is next door to Dawsonville City Hall, which is also home to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. The distillery is connected.

It’s a short walk to the Food Lion if you need vittles before or after.

2. Colorful characters
Inside, I met “Rocket Man” and “Bullet Bob.” That’s how they introduced themselves. Here’s Rocket Man with his wares:

And here’s Bullet Bob with the grain mash on the tour of the (about 20′ x 20′) distilling room:

And here’s Richard, the stuffed Raccoon, otherwise known as “Dickless,” according to Rocket Man:

Hando will be disappointed that he missed meeting his brethren.

4. Snappy dialogue
Me (introducing myself because I felt I had to as I was the only person on the tour): “I’m Beth.”
Bullet Bob: “Where are you from?”
Me: “I grew up in Stone Mountain.”
Bob: “I once drove up the mountain in my jeep on a double date.”
Me: “Was that the last date?”
Bob: “No, I married her. That didn’t last long.”

Rocket Man (at the tasting, pouring me a pink potion): “Ever had Sex on the Beach?”
Me: “Yes.”
Rocket Man: “I mean the drink.”
Me: “Har har.”

4. Believable conflict or peril
After a tiny taste of the White Lightning, I had to keep from screaming “Motherf—–” at Rocket Man and sprinting to the Food Lion for a jug of milk. (Moonshine that is 109 proof will do that.)

3. Compelling plot
I drove an hour to a city I had never visited to take this distillery “tour.” I put myself in great danger (Atlanta roads, moonshine tasting, jar of raccoon penis bones next to the tasting cups), all to get presents for friends (and a good story).

Peter Piper picked a peck of trash-panda peckers.

The tale also had a great resolution: I came away with an understanding of how moonshine is made, more information about “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville,” the aforementioned gifts, and this blog post.

And perhaps new items for the must-drink list for you boozehounds.

Salud!
Beth

The devil in a jug

*Apologies to Will Smith for changing his lyrics.

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One more cruise post. I promise this is it.

Dear Royal Caribbean:

My family and I are veteran cruisers, yet our vacation this month was our first foray into the Royal Caribbean world. We won’t be back.

Here’s why:

Oasis of the Seas is a massive boat that holds about 6,200 passengers. We paid much more than we would have paid on our go-to line, Carnival, chiefly because there was more to do on Oasis of the Seas (a rock-climbing wall!).

However, that makes no difference if the activities aren’t open on a regular basis.

But that wasn’t the only issue. I have comments/suggestions, if you want to read them:

1. The comedy club only holds about 120. That means only about 2 percent of the people on board can see a show. That’s a problem.

2. With the exception of the cabin stewards and the buffet and some dining room staff, the staff are unpleasant, unfriendly people. Either hire people who can be friendly despite the crappy hours they work, or give them better schedules so they don’t become crabby.

3. Fix the microphones in the Opal Theater. The orchestra overpowers the singers at every show.

4. If a party of 11 calls a year in advance, they should be able to sit together at dinner.

5. Accuracy counts in your description of excursions. If you show a water slide in the image of the water park excursion, the slide should be included in the water park excursion. If you say you will be going to a reef and that reef no longer exists thanks to a hurricane, then you need to remove that part of the description and drop the price.

6. Please put chairs and tables along the sides of the pool for nonsmoking adults who want to get together to play Uno. The smokers had the best setup: alcoves with plenty of tables and chairs.

7. Don’t accidentally put salt instead of sugar in the meringue on the first day. That puts people off the desserts for the rest of the time.

8. If you go to the trouble of having an “authentic” British pub, then have the decency to have Guinness on tap. Do not serve it in a can.

9. If you want to entice people to come to the spa, locate it near a window. No one wants to spend money for the steam rooms/hot seats if they are going to be staring at wood paneling. Also, train your masseuses to give an actual massage. If I want to have someone just pat me a few times on the back, I’ll hire one of my kids (and it will only cost me permission to buy a Fortnite battle pass.)

10. If you say you are going to have a volleyball tournament, then you need to have that volleyball tournament. Some people (Not naming any names, Patrick) plan their whole day around it. Don’t make people have to get loud on vacation.

 

11. Please require hairnets or hats for all those who handle food. There were too many hairs in the buffet to count. (And that’s just gross.)

The moral of the story is this: Bigger is not always better.

Sorry, Royal family.

Calling Carnival for next year’s trip,
Beth

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Dear Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival Organizers:

I wanted to like your festival. Heck, I wanted to LOVE it. Grilled cheese and beer — what’s not to love?

Well …

Here’s a short list:

1. The ticket price
Tickets were $30 plus service fees, making them $35.16. Festival entry, three samples, admittance to the “beer garden,” and live music were included in the price. Still seems a bit steep.

2. The samples
This is more my fault than yours, but I thought that with a ticket price that high, samples would be generous. At least a sandwich or half a sandwich. Nope, a quarter, if that. So 3/4 of a sandwich was included in the price. Yes, they were yummy, but …

3. The “beer garden”
That lofty-sounding moniker turned out to be one tent with about seven kinds of beer in cans: two craft and five crap. Some were not even cold. And they cost $7.

4. Live music
It was Christian music.

5. The heat
Brookhaven Park might as well have been the surface of the sun. Very little shade, 90+ degrees. Within five minutes, I’m sure that every single person in attendance had a steaming undercarriage. This event was supposed to be in April, which would have been much better. Can I suggest moving it to November or December? Or even an Oktoberfest event would be good. No one likes being hot while eating hot cheese.

This is about the extent of the festival. Disappointing.

6. The selection
When you said there was an “amateur division” for voting purposes, I naturally assumed there would be a medley of vendors. There was one amateur entry. One.

The professional vendors almost made up for the lack of amateurs. Just look at this menu board:

The “Hot Mess” was delicious. However, my favorite was the “Sour D” at a different place:

Garlic buttered sourdough toast with American cheese, avocado and bacon. Yes, please.

Anyway, if this is the way it is going to be next year, you are going to have to lower your ticket price. This was, at most, a $10 experience.

Now, if you want to add full-size sandwiches, beer samples and an indoor location in the summer, that’s different.

Yours in love of cheese,
Beth

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Dear Cruise Buffet Patrons:

Unlike most people apparently, I do not go on a cruise to eat. I go on a cruise to turn off my phone without guilt and spend time reading magazines and playing Uno with friends and family.

Some of you live for the food. That is clear from your behavior during the times I did visit the buffet for sustenance.

Unfortunately, you left your manners back in port (if you had them to begin with).

Let me offer a refresher on proper buffet behavior:

  • DO wear shoes. Yes, this goes for your kids too.
  • DO pull up your pants. Ass crack is not appetizing.
  • DO take advantage of the hand sanitizer at the door. No one wants your germs anywhere near the food.
  • DO understand that there is enough food for everyone. I guarantee it. No need to shove. For example, just look at this mound of bacon:

At least one pig was more than harmed in the making of this pork pile.

  • DO say “thank you” if someone hands you the bacon tongs. DO NOT be a jerk.
  • DO say excuse me if your belly nearly knocks over a child. It’s just the right thing to do.
  • DO be nice to the wait staff. They work 10 hours a day for seven months with few breaks.
  • DO take small portions of the things you want to try. The best thing about a buffet is that you can go back for more if you are still hungry. Otherwise, you are throwing away good food.

    So much food goes to waste on a cruise.

  • DO chew with your mouth closed. You should have learned this by now.
  • DO NOT, under any circumstances, start talking if you have food in your mouth. Please.
  • DO NOT eat your steak with one hand while you walk around the buffet area with your plate in the other. (True story.) It’s shocking I would have to remind you that good manners dictate that steak is to be eaten at the table with a knife and fork.
  • Really, DO NOT eat anything off your plate or the buffet in the buffet area.

To be honest, this list goes for all buffets everywhere – not just on a cruise. If necessary, print this list for future reference. Your fellow diners will thank you.

Sincerely supportive of sneezeguards,
Beth

 

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Dear Readers:

Every year, we go on a weeklong cruise with friends.* Four different families are involved, but not all families go every year. This year, three families spent a week on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. There were 11 of us: six adults and five kids.

Families present:
Patrick, Petra, Ryder (13), Mia (9)
Edgar (aka Eggy), Sophia, Ava (9)
Eddie, me, Dominic (13), Gideon (12)

Here is the week in quotes (all accurate, I swear):

DAY ONE: Port Canaveral
Setting: Four adults and four children are walking in a single-file line down the narrow stateroom hallway on Deck 12 to make way for an old lady on a scooter.
Patrick: “Excuse us.”
Hag: “It’s too late for that now.”
(Note: Were we supposed to spring to the ceiling like spider people to make more room?)

 

DAY TWO: At sea
Setting: Breakfast at Johnny Rockets
Server to Eggy: “You want omelet?”
Eggy: “Sure.”
Server: “Hamchee?”
Eggy: “Hamchee?”
Server: “Hamchee omelet. You can have ham and chee. Or plain ham with chee. Or a little chee with some ham. Ham and chee.”

Setting: One of the many pool areas on Deck 15
Patrick to me as I’m peacefully sipping a fruity drink: “You paid $12.95 for that?”
Me: “Yes, but there is a souvenir glass!”

Setting: Same place, but about 10 minutes later
Server to me: “You want another one?”
Me: “Yes, please.”
Server, holding up rum bottle: “With medication?”
Me: “Lord, yes.”

 

DAY THREE: At sea
Setting: Outside Patrick/Petra’s cabin as we are getting ready to go to lunch
Ryder: Gideon and I just heard a guy knock on the door like this: [Ryder says “Room Service, Room Service” while rhythm knocking on the door]
Gideon and Dominic start doing two different dances from Fortnite: Orange Justice (Dominic) and the Floss (Gideon) while chanting/singing, “Room Service, Room Service.” This becomes a refrain for all of us the rest of the week.

Setting: The first formal night
Angry old guy walking down hallway: “I’m not dressing up for nobody.”

 

DAY FOUR: Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Setting: Our cabin where a medley of children and adults are playing Uno. Dominic is gnawing on candy that just appeared in the room.
Me to Dominic: “Who bought that candy?”
Patrick: “I think Petra did.”
Me to Dominic: “Of course. You never use your money to buy anything.”
Dominic: “I would if you’d let me access my funds.”

DAY FIVE: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Setting: Breakfast at the Windjammer buffet
Me to Sophia: “I realized I didn’t bring enough pants. I guess I’ll just be Pooh-ing it up the rest of the trip.”

Setting: Still breakfast
Server to all: “You want sticky bun?”
All (with variation): “No, thanks.”
Ryder and Gideon using the “Room Service” rhythm after the server leaves: “Sticky Bun, Sticky Bun!”

Setting: Deck chairs near sports pool area after we leave San Juan
Patrick to me: “You aren’t getting a drink?”
Me: “No, it’s $12.95, and there’s not even a souvenir glass.”
(Note: What a difference a few days makes.)

Setting: Evening at the lobster dinner
Patrick to all: “Should we meet later at the Windjammer? The ass jammer?”
Me, after misunderstanding Patrick: “The ass chamber?”

 

DAY SIX: Labadee, Haiti
Setting: Beach after the water park where we were not allowed to bring hats, sunglasses, coverups or a magic cave in which to hide
Patrick to me: “You look a little lobster-y.”
Petra to me, five minutes later: “Uh oh, you got some color.”

Setting: Dazzles bar where the six adults are playing Joking Hazard
Petra to all: “There’s not enough dick talk in here. We should create our own rude game.”

 

DAY SEVEN: At sea
Setting: Breakfast at the newly christened Ass Chamber buffet
Eddie to no one in particular: “I’m getting into the wine at 2 today.”

Setting: Low-stakes blackjack table at the casino
Me to Eggy and Patrick: “Do you want me to get out [of my seat] so you can play?”
Patrick**: You play your game, girlie.

 

DAY EIGHT: Back in port
Setting: The pool at the hotel where we had to stay over before going home
Dominic to Eddie and me: “I’m not going in the lazy river anymore.”
Me: “Why?”
Dominic: “Some kid peed.”
Me: “How do you know?”
Dominic: “You don’t just go up to your sister and say ‘I just peed’ if you didn’t pee.”

More cruise posts to follow, including one about the buffet. (I know you can’t wait!)

Love,
Beth

* Luckily I had paid for this when we were flush — long before our Savannah house sat on the market (and sat and sat and sat). (I haven’t written about that because it is still too painful. Not at the funny point yet.)

** There’s so much from Pat here. It’s because A) he’s funny and B) we are the two in the group who love to play games, so we are together more than most. Most of the others like to work out. Shudder.

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Dear City of Brookhaven Solicitor:

Despite the fact that I frequently flout the rules at the apartment complex pool, I am (generally) a law-abiding citizen. When I visited the Brookhaven Municipal Court yesterday to contest a parking ticket, I was reminded that many people are not.

I used to cover the cop and court system when I was a TV news reporter. Yesterday’s visit made me miss those days. Ah, the sordid lives of others are a nosy person’s catnip.

DUI? Check.
No proof of insurance? Check and check.
Driving without a valid license? Check, check and check.
Revocation of probation? Check, check, check and check.

One dude had been cited for running from the cops on two different occasions. He conveniently forgot about that second time. And that his girlfriend had been the one to call the cops on him.

Another had so many moving violations he had to be on house arrest for 90 days.

I counted more than $5,000 in fines from just five people.

How do people get themselves in these situations?

Maybe they were on Ambien.

I was almost embarrassed that I was just there to whine about a parking ticket — a ticket you dismissed. So thanks for that.

Anyway, it’s good to have a reminder that things can always be worse.

Lovely to meet you, but I hope I won’t see you again.
Beth

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