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Dear Organizers of the Atlanta Oddities and Curiosities Expo:

Thank you from the bottom of my freaky little heart. It’s like you planned the event just for me.

Taxidermy? Check.
Jewelry made from animal parts? Check.
Human sideshows? Check.

One of the first things I saw when I walked in (by myself of course because who’s going with me to this?) was this array:

I think my strange little heart skipped a beat.

Then I saw this:

Sadly, he was not for sale.

But creations featuring Ouija boards were.

I am not allowed to come home with occult material. I’m not even allowed to remind Eddie that we have a Ouija board in the house.

But I almost came home with this:

I decided against the leg. I’m ok with having things that might have been roadkill. But a giraffe is an unlikely candidate for that.

Instead, I bought a coyote face.

That’s right.

And I actually uttered this sentence:

How much is the face?

That was my only Buffalo Bill moment, I promise.

I didn’t buy the jars of teeth that looked like corn niblets.

I also passed up the pelts.

I even declined the dicks.

You know what I did buy? Mouse paw metal horns.

And a glow-in-the-dark necklace featuring a spiderweb.

Note: That’s quite a job title. Is there a degree in that? Or maybe a certificate?

I also bought some leggings.

The ones on the right will be my Murderino lure.

Sadly, I did not come home with an IV stand.

Or a sheep skin.

Or any of the many hot bearded and tattooed men in attendance. You couldn’t swing a (dead) cat in there without hitting one of those.

Note to self: If you find yourself single, don’t troll bars. Clearly, you’ll find life among the dead instead.

My potential Hinge pic!

Look, I know that photo isn’t as sexy as the glamour shots of someone’s monkey, but I do what I can.

Anyway, thank you for bringing this event to Atlanta. You’ve given me new ways to torture my family — just in time for the holidays.

All my love,
Beth

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Dear Men of a Certain Age at a Bar:

Look. Listen.

I know you want love — or at least a little action. You can have it, but you have to follow some rules.

Auntie Beth is here to help.

DO: Try to catch the eye of someone you find interesting.
DON’T: Stare at her like a complete creep.

DO: Check to see if she is wearing a wedding ring.
DON’T: Make any kind of move if she is. It’s true that some ladies might still be interested, but let those ladies be the instigators.

DO: Leave her alone if she is clearly in a group, and having a full conversation with someone.
DON’T: Rub all up on her like a cat on an allergic guest’s leg.

DO: Continue your hunt for eligible ladies by scoping out the rest of the bar.
DON’T: Put your hand on the aforementioned woman’s thigh. And if you do it anyway, and if she firmly brushes you away, don’t put your other hand on her waist. This isn’t Jersey Shore, and this chick ain’t no Angelina.

DO: Leave her the F alone if she turns to you, looks you square in the face, and clearly and calmly says, “Stop touching me. I’m married, and not interested.”
DON’T: Keep on trying to touch her, forcing her to inform one of her male friends who then has to stand between you and her.

DO: Move on! There are plenty of seemingly eligible and attractive ladies in this bar. (Really? We needed to get all the way to this step?)
DON’T: Ask her if she wants to come outside for a smoke.

Women are not that mysterious. We will let you know if we are interested. And we are more empowered than ever before to tell you when we are not.

Don’t be THAT GUY at The Lizardmen 25th Anniversary show, which was amazing despite the bar shenanigans.

Sincerely,
Auntie Beth, who did not fully F politeness last night, but also did not suffer fools.

Here’s Auntie Beth with her friend Jeff, whom she likes and willingly got near.

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Dear British TV Producers:

It’s like you know me — like you are developing stuff just for me. As I’ve mentioned before, there is nothing that makes me happier than an evening of British TV.

Last time I visited, I became addicted to “Naked Attraction.” That still is on the list, but I watched new shows too this time:

The Only Way is Essex
Kind of like an upmarket “Jersey Shore.” Nothing happens in any episode, though.

Love Island
Like the “Dating Game” got it on with “Big Brother.” Again, nothing seemed to happen except folks hated on Dr. Alex.

8 out of 10 Cats
Game show? Talk show? Hard to tell.

Would I Lie to You
To Tell the Truth” meets Jimmy Fallon’s “Two Truths and a Lie.” I’m a fan of David Mitchell (with his beard, of course), so that led to …

Peep Show
What an odd show. It’s a little like “The Office” with a dash of “Spaced.”

“Peep Show” Mitchell (aka Austin Powers) vs. Lying Mitchell. Am I wrong?

Mock the Week
The Daily Show” with “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Friday Night Dinner
A sitcom where two adult sons come home each Friday for dinner with Mom and Dad. I wanted to murder the idiot sons.

Four in a Bed
Innkeepers visit and rate each others’ establishments to “win.” Insults and hard feelings ensue. Who brings a UV light to check the toilets before staying at a B&B?

Who is America?
Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest venture. As if I’m not embarrassed enough. How can I explain two sitting Republican congressmen, Dana Rohrabacher (California) and Joe Wilson (South Carolina), wanting to arm toddlers? I can’t. I’m going to tell people I’m Canadian.

And “Naked Attraction.” I just can’t get enough. Hannah* found me watching it while I was eating breakfast. What can I say? I like to start the day off right.

In fact, I’m a little jealous of host Anna Richardson’s job. In what other career path could you utter these memorable phrases?

You’ve seen everything they’ve got to give you. What’s your choice?

You have quite a pair of balls on you. That’s quite a pouch.

How do you feel? You’ve got six vaginas staring you in the face.

Not very many. That’s for sure.

Keep up the good work,
Beth

*Friend with whom I stayed on the trip. She and her husband Dave love to introduce me to new shows.

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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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Dear Friends Who Also Are Parenting Boys:

In my last post, I asked you to tell me the crazy things you never thought you would say. My Facebook feed blew up with sentences that did not disappoint.

Here they are in all their glory, along with the name of the beleaguered parent who shared (thank you!):

  • “Stop touching Jackson’s penis, you have your own.” [Jackson is a dog.] (Maya)
  • “Is that poop or mud? Wait, let me smell it.” (Wendy)
  • “Is that poop or chocolate?” (Stephanie)
  • “Quit playing with your penis in the living room.” (Afton)
  • “Get your balls off the counter.” [Yes, THOSE balls.] (Also Afton)
  • “Stop wiping your boogers on the ________.” (Afton again)
  • “That IS a big poo-poo!” (Still Afton)
  • “Oh please don’t pee on me.” (Elizabeth, mother of a newborn)
  • “Wash your feet. Every. Day.” (Amy)
  • “Washing includes more than just standing under the water! Use soap. All over your body. Rub it around. All over your body. Then rinse it all off.” (Mary)
  • “How have you survived 9 years of life … you’re just now figuring out what happens when you stick something metal into an electrical outlet?!” (Also Mary)
  • “Why does the upstairs smell like piss?! I swear to almighty God if I open your toilet lid and find you haven’t flushed upstairs in days, I will bolt this bathroom shut and you can go in the yard.” (Mary Catherine. And also, he did. And she did. And he did for a week.)
  • Wash your hands! Use soap!” (Mary Catherine again)
  • “Don’t lie to me; that’s the same pair of underwear you’ve had on for 3 days. You smell.” (Still Mary Catherine)
  • “Wiggle wiggle wiggle. Wiggle wiggle wiggle.” (Mary Catherine again, reporting that this came from the shower)
  • “Stop behaving like an animal.” The reply: “But mom, I am just a mammal.” (Mary Catherine FTW)
  • “NO chain saws in the living room!” (Said to both father and son, according to Vanessa)
  • “We don’t jump on the trampoline with our penises out. Put it back in your underwear.” (Amber)
  • “Yes, you’re allowed to say ‘bad ass’ in this instance, but don’t go making a habit of it, ya got me?” (Said by Billy, referring to a suit of armor for an imaginary man cave)
  • “You can’t just come back to life after your brother killed you!” Don’t cheat; you’re now on the sidelines until all the kids are dead!” (Eddie)
  • “Um is that TP hanging from your butt? Did you even finishing going? If you leave it there it dries on and is harder to get off. OK in the bath tub.” (Erika)
  • “Do not call yourself Lil’ Woody at recess.”(Kelley)
  • “Don’t put your penis on the TV.” (Chrissy)
  • “Don’t wipe boogers on the cat!” (Marguerite)
  • “Go ahead. Whatever happens is on you.” (Kimberly)
  • The son: “I just want to climb this tree.” The mom: “Go ahead, and see how far you get.” The reply: “You’re always ruining my fun.” (Kimberly again)
  • “Who put the athletic cup in my purse?” (Caroline)
  • “The dog brought three waffles down from your room today. Stop leaving food up there!” (Caroline again)
  • “How can you still be hungry? You just ate a footlong Subway!” (Also Caroline)
  • “Why are there empty cereal boxes in the pantry?” (More Caroline)
  • “Get the earbuds out of your ears! I’m talking to you.” (Still Caroline)
  • “I don’t care who started it! Just stop!” (Caroline one more time)
  • “Don’t bite your toenails. That’s just gross.” (Caroline has three boys)
  • “We do not eat people!” (Stephanie)
  • “You can NOT go to school naked!(Stephanie again)
  • “If you’re not dressed in 2 minutes, you’re going to school naked.” (Stephanie with the mixed message)
  • Son #1: “Mom! He’s looking out my window!”
    Son #2: Continuing to stare intently out his brother’s window.
    Me: “He’s breathing your air too so get over it.” (Pam)
  • Those clothes/that camping gear/that (pick a sport) uniform cannot touch the carpet anywhere in the house.” (Michele)
  • “No, you cannot eat the whole chicken/roast/side of beef. Leave some for the rest of us.” (More Michele)
  • “Socks, especially stiff ones, go in the laundry basket.” (Michele one more time)
  • “You are not leaving this house until you figure out what that awful smell in your room is.” (Shital)
  • “Get that mulch/beetle/mustard bottle out of your mouth!” (Shital again)
  • Are you ever going to remember to flush the toilet?” (Nicole)
  • “Do you realize that not doing your homework makes me want to strangle you?” (More Nicole)
  • “OK, how about let’s try that again, but this time tell the truth.” (Nicole again)
  • “It’s fine with me if you can’t get your driver’s license until you’re 18.” (One more from Nicole)
  • “You must flush the toilet every time you use it! There is pee all over the floor!” (Amanda)
  • “I am not your maid!” (Also Amanda)
  • “Hey! Stop! No [sniffing] armpits.” (Candy)

There are a few themes here, including being preoccupied with body fluids and functions. And I know from being married to a man that not much changes in adulthood.

Yours in solidarity,
Beth

P.S. Parents of girls, I don’t want you to feel left out. I’ll post your crazy comments too. Please share them below or via Twitter, email, DM, Facebook, Hando’s Instagram page — whatever!

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Dear readers (and, I hope, fellow lovers of language):

I need a break from the 2016 election.

Let’s talk about the serial comma (also called the Oxford comma) for a moment. We’ve all seen the following to advocate for its use:
why-use-the-serial-comma

But here’s the thing: I would use a colon to clarify if I really meant that JFK and Stalin had side jobs. My sentence would read:

We invited the strippers: JFK and Stalin.

If I meant that JFK, Stalin and some ladies working their way through college were all coming to the party, I would write:

We invited JFK, Stalin and the strippers.

I’m a fan of improving clarity by rewriting. No need to overwork the comma and use it for a simple series.

However, we cannot give the comma a gold watch and say goodbye. We still need it. And some people certainly appreciate it. (Read this from the bottom up.)

Email courtesy of 36-hour Tina

Email courtesy of 36-hour Tina

 

We also need articles or bad things happen.

 

Image courtesy of Shane Marshall Brown

Image courtesy of Shane Marshall Brown

A “the” before “pen” would have made all the difference. (Or even a bigger space before “is.”)

What we don’t need is random quotation marks — not even one random quotation mark, as seen in the photo below. (By the way, quotation marks come in pairs. That’s how they work. But if the signmaker had added another, we’d be wondering what the dogs are actually doing.)

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Image courtesy of Angela DeVore

Please send me your sign/email/meme fails in the comments or via Twitter (@BethCon5). I think we all will be needing more election breaks over the next 45 days.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Men:

I am so angry right now. I need to vent. Why?

Because you don’t live in fear of being attacked and raped like women do. It is a part of our lives and it sucks.

Tonight I had a scary encounter as I walked back from having dinner at a delightful Ethiopian restaurant. (Side note: One of the perks of my constant travel is that I can eat where I want to eat. I can’t ever find anyone who will eat Ethiopian food with me. Eddie said the bread reminds him of human skin.)

My friends know me as a tough chick. I am well traveled and rarely afraid. Of course, I don’t put myself in risky situations either.

I learned the hard way that women are easy targets after one night in college when I was assaulted in downtown Atlanta. So I know to be on guard.

After dinner tonight, I walked back to my hotel on a bright, heavily trafficked street. An older gentleman who appeared to be drunk walked toward me. When I passed, he turned around and followed me. I stopped, turned around and made eye contact. He stopped and started walking the other way. When I began walking again, I could hear him begin to follow me again, his shuffling picking up speed as I walked faster. It was like “The Walking Dead.”

When I had nearly reached a populated crosswalk and he had almost caught up to me, I turned around again and backed up to a building to let him pass me. He looked at me and tried to stop to talk. I waved him off and said, “Go on. Get away from me. You’re giving me the creeps.”

Two fellows pulled up in a white sedan and asked if I was OK, was the guy bothering me. They offered me a ride. They looked perfectly normal, but I declined.

Luckily, my hotel was only a block away and I made it back without further incident. I’m safe. (Clearly, as I’m able to write about it.)

Here is the truth, Men: I didn’t want to stay on the street with a weird dude but I also didn’t want to get into a car with two men I didn’t know.

Imagine if you had been me and the people you encountered were women. I doubt any of you would have been concerned about either scenario.

It pisses me off that women have to worry about these things on a regular basis. It’s not freakin’ fair.

Yeah, I know: Life’s not fair.

I blame Obamacare. And penises.

(Maybe I should thank that disturbing dude for curing my blog writer’s block.)

Safe at last; safe at last,
Beth

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