Friday, June 4, 2010

Betty and the Real World


Uncle Valentijn takes Hannah on that notorious date wherein she becomes chatty and muzzy. No wonder since the restaurant was the Baron of Beef (which I feel I must interject here to say that it sounds like one of the Candyland characters--King Kandy, Queen Frostine, Baron of Beef...). Anyway, beef is a heavy meal and claret might have sat heavily also (...she said, talking from her pie-hole, as she had no real experience to draw from...). Anyway, the inter-web-nets inform me that a 'baron of beef' in the U.K. are important parts of the cow (including both sirloins) but that in the U.S. it is unimportant cuts used for roasting. This tells me nothing about Valentijn's regard for Hannah so we will disregard it.

When baby Paul gets to go home for the first time, the welcoming party sounds like the 'finale of Ruritanian opera'. I ran across an article about President Nixon (anyone who served before, say, Jimmy Carter is exempt from The Uncrushable Jersey Dress's famous non-partisanship, Betty Keira announced arbitrarily...) and his bad choice of uniform for White House police:

Ruritania was originally an imaginary German state invented by Anthony Hope as the scene for the action in The Prisoner of Zenda, first published in 1894. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines Ruritanian as “of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an imaginary place of high romance,” which describes The Prisoner of Zenda very nicely but misses the reason the word was a devastating crack at President Nixon’s sartorial ambitions for the White House police. The fact is that over the decades the word changed its connotation, and another and I think more accurate Web dictionary defines Ruritanian as “of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a mythical place of high, typically comic-opera romance: ’designed Ruritanian uniforms for the honor guard." Ruritanian came to connote slightly goofy, jokey escapism and a kind of Eurotrashy pompousness and triviality.

Any Euro-trash inadvertently harmed in the relaying of this information has a two second window to call me anything they like.

Hannah escapes from Valentijn and his horrible Nerissa and goes off to spend her teatime doing the Daily Telegraph crossword. Betty Debbie is a very serious about her crossword puzzles--Sunday NY Times being the gold standard. Here's an article about the Daily Telegraph's:

The original plan was for the crossword to appear in the paper for only six weeks, as a nod to a trend in America. But readers loved the crossword, and so it stayed.

A lot has changed since the early days of the puzzle. Back then, for example, the paper was just 18 pages long and cost only two old pence – less than an penny today. But through thick and thin, the crossword has endured. The Telegraph would not be the Telegraph without it. We know you love it, because when an IRA bomb exploded near the Telegraph offices in 1994, causing the paper to go out with a blank front page and a back page without a crossword, there were complaints from readers about its absence.

Mathilda's Wedding is singularly untethered to reality. Sure, Betty Debbie pointed out a William and Mary tapestry settee which could have graced a museum (subtle Dutch connection?) and tripod table with piecrust edges. But one settee does not a bedroom suite make...


  1. Hey, isn't Betty Magdalen's Betty Ross Brit Hub 2.0 a crossword guru (or am I getting them mixed up?)? Maybe he can make us a Neelsdom puzzle (okay, a really easy one).