The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Darth Vader Runs for Ukrainian Parliament

By Piper Bayard

Image from Ebay.

Image from Ebay.

 

Ukrainian “Darth Vader” Runs for Parliament

 

 

I don’t know about his stand on Putin’s invasion or light saber control, but he would definitely be responsive to terrorism.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Let’s kick off with a genuine potential apocalypse. Best article I’ve read so far on Ebola, via Tom Wyld. Six Reasons to Panic

The 12 Cognitive Biases that Prevent You from Being Rational, via Sonia Cywilko.

Celiac Disease Foundation’s 2014 Gluten-Free Halloween Treat Listvia Kristy K. James.

 

Malala Yousafzai at the Oval Office Image by US Govt, public domain

Malala Yousafzai at the Oval Office
Image by US Govt, public domain

 

Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai spoke out against the Islamic fundamentalists who would quash education. The Taliban came to her school and shot her in the head, but she survived and continued in her mission. Recently, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in advancing education. Via neuroscientist Nsikan Akpan, What Will Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize Mean for Girls’ Education?

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares some important cautions for those of us professionals who prefer to use Profile pages rather than Fan pages. Facebook Shut Down My Profile!

USA Today Bestseller Vicki Hinze asks, Cyber Security Awareness:  Are You Protected?

The Issue Box is a new site where people discuss the issues on their minds without having to leave any personal information. Mark Kaplowitz tells us all about it in Big Announcement!

 

The Spy Bride Risky Brides Boxed Set final Cover

 

At  A Girl and Her Kindle, USA Today Bestseller Peggy Webb tells us about Good Books and Good Friends, the writers behind RISKY BRIDES Bestsellers’ Collection. These outstanding authors generously gave Holmes and I a hand up by inviting us to include our debut novella, THE SPY BRIDE, in this collection. RISKY BRIDES is now available for ebook pre-order and will release on October 21.

Some great advice from Maureen Johnson for all of you writers out there, but it really applies to all endeavors of every flavor . . . Dare to Suck!

 

 

Question of the Week:

 

 

All the best to all of you for a week of making good choices.

Where in the World is Kim Jong Un? You Tell Us.

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

Someone’s missing, and it isn’t Waldo. Kim Jong Un hasn’t been seen in North Korea since September 3. Some are speculating about illnesses, diseases, and political coups.

Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol-ju image by NK government

Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol-ju
image by NK government

With the regular measure of concern that we demonstrate for Little Un, we tasked our special Bayard & Holmes operatives (us) with uncovering news of the AWOL despot. We are sad to be the bearers of bad tidings, particularly to the already-beleaguered North Korean people, but it seems there have been numerous confirmed sightings of their Dear Leader around the globe.

A police report places Little Un in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after he was caught at a local Hobby Lobby muttering about delivery systems and sneaking Estes rockets into his black tunic pants.

Image from EstesRockets.com.

Image from EstesRockets.com.

Prostitutes in Amsterdam complained to local police that he had stolen their clothing to use for cross-dressing anime cosplay at the upcoming London Film and Comic Con.

Several resorts in Macao, China, reported evicting a Korean man with a toothbrush haircut after patrons complained that every time he lost at the craps tables, he threatened to feed them to a pack of dogs.

Numerous Scottish children and tourists at the Edinburgh Zoo told of a man fitting Little Un’s description who accosted them to ask about the unicorn exhibit. He became agitated at the absence of such exhibit and attempted to swipe a stuffed unicorn from a toddler in a stroller.

The Unicorn in Captivity Tapestry currently at The Cloisters Image public domain, wikimedia commons

The Unicorn in Captivity
Tapestry currently at The Cloisters
Image public domain, wikimedia commons

A street artist in Los Angeles spotted Little Un preening in the window of a hair salon, slathering his locks with Bacon Lube and asking passersby where to find Dennis Rodman’s house.

With all of these sightings, we’re guessing some of you readers have seen Little Un, too. Please notify us of your findings in the comments below. Let’s keep an eye on Little Un and prevent his return to North Korea for as long as possible, both for us and for the North Koreans.

Where have you seen Kim Jong Un, and what was he doing?

The Bison Bomb

By Piper Bayard

American bison public domain, wikimedia commons

American bison
public domain, wikimedia commons

 

It began as an innocent, good willed attempt at providing supper for my family. Ground bison. Presumably completely dead and with no ill intentions toward me, my hair, or my kitchen.

I cooked it up around 1:00 p.m. and pushed the pot to the back burner. Little did I know that this simple act would trigger a chain of events that would lead to a Facebook status, a blog post, and an hour of kitchen rehabilitation.

Around 7:00 p.m., I returned to the scene. I noticed the innocuous-looking, room-temperature bison in the pan and decided to finish the spaghetti for the next day. I put the pan on the front burner and turned the heat to medium-low.

Five minutes later, I was cutting up red bell pepper and watching Criminal Minds over the kitchen bar. On the show, the unsub snuck into a man’s house, pointed a gun at him, and forced him onto the floor. The man was pleading for his life, the .40 Smith & Wesson mere inches from his head. Suddenly, BOOM! My bison exploded right on cue.

A hot air bubble? A build up of hydrogen sulfide? A Satanic connection to TV reruns? We will never know. But it rocketed ground up grazing undulate from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. Bison on the bread box, bison on the microwave, bison in the water pitcher, bison on the appliances, even bison on the ceiling and light fixtures. We won’t discuss the bison in my hair. Total revenge of the bison.

The incident brought to mind the Al-Qaeda attempt at online media that they made a few years back with an article called, “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” So here you go all you Wannabe Jihadis. Take this advice from a mom. Get yourself some bison, follow the instructions above, and be sure to put your faces down into the pans where you’ve got a good view so that you can let us know exactly how these explosions happen.

What do you say, folks? Why do you think my bison explode?

Happy cooking!

Which Despotic Dictator are You?

By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

Psychological tests have inundated social media lately, giving people the opportunity to find out everything about themselves from which Lord of the Rings character they are to which weapon they most resemble. However, in all of this, no one has asked the genuinely important question–the one that matters more than all of the rest . . .

Which Despotic Dictator Are You?

Have you ever read the headlines and wondered which world-manipulating, power-hungry psychopath you most resemble? Then this test is for you! We here at Bayard & Holmes consulted our team of psycho/social experts (us) to develop a short quiz that will help you determine the answer to that most pressing of questions . . .

Canstock 2014 Despotic dictator

You see a pretty young woman on the beach. What do you do?

  1. Take your shirt off and hand her a picture of yourself practicing judo. When she doesn’t respond, you accuse her of being a warmonger and invade her country.
  2. Charge her with prostitution and feed her to dogs.
  3. Drool at her from your wheelchair while your assistant accuses her of being a white supremacist.
  4. Kidnap her, try her for indecent exposure, and have her publicly stoned to death.
  5. Send your aid over to arrange a liaison. After she rejects you, introduce legislation limiting the size of women’s breasts.
  6. Start a conversation with her about what a beautiful day it is and ask her if she would like to get a cup of coffee.

You hear an annoying barking dog. What do you do?

  1. Have photographers film you as you hunt down the poodle with an AK 47 and then have a photo taken of you posing in a Poodle trophy coat.
  2. Send your chef over to collect it for dinner.
  3. Turn your hearing aid off and go back to sleep while accusing the dog of being a white supremacist.
  4. Send your guard with an invitation for a romantic candlelight dinner for two. When the dog declines, you have it arrested and publicly stoned to death.
  5. Your own annoying voice drowns out the sound of the dog.
  6. You bring your dog inside.

You have an afternoon to get away from it all. What do you do?

  1. Quickly remove your shirt and arrange a photo shoot while grumbling about warmongering Ukrainians.
  2. Celebrate the 114 gold medals you personally received for your participation in the Sochi Winter Olympics.
  3. Keep napping. When awakened by bad dreams, scream about white supremacists.
  4. Smoke hash and drink some more black market American whiskey and fantasize about the woman you saw in the bikini.
  5. Write a speech about the legislation you are drafting to limit breast size.
  6. Read a Bayard & Holmes book.

You are going to watch any movie or TV show that you want. Which one is it?

  1. Star Wars. You put on your Darth Vader helmet and practice saying, “Ukraine, I am your father.”
  2. My Little Pony. You watch fifteen reruns and then declare rainbow colored ponies to be the new national animal.
  3. It doesn’t matter. You’re going to sleep through it anyway and dream about killing white supremacists.
  4. Lawrence of Arabia. For the 58th time. Somehow, you’re still shocked, surprised, and angered that Lawrence somehow escapes with his life at the end.
  5. Godzilla. When it’s over, you write a speech asking the U.N. to outlaw all Japanese monsters.
  6. You sit down with your family and watch your Disneyland vacation video.

What is your fantasy vacation?

  1. Winning the Kentucky Derby while riding shirtless on the back of a bear.
  2. Spending a week in South Korea.
  3. Taking a long nap anywhere but Zimbabwe.
  4. Enjoying two weeks in a brothel in Tel Aviv that caters to clientele with special needs.
  5. Staying a week in Windsor castle while the royal family is away and trying on all their clothes and tiaras.
  6. A family trip to Belize.

 If you scored . . .

5 – 7   You are Vladimir Putin.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin image by www.kremlin.ru

Russian President Vladimir Putin
image by http://www.kremlin.ru

You are unashamedly aggressive and love to be in the limelight. You are never as sensitive as you appear to be in photos. You can change your religion, your wife, or your politics in a heartbeat if it suits your ambitions. Put your shirt back on.

 

8 – 11  You are Kim Jong Un.

 

 

You are misunderstood. People accuse you of being paranoid, but it’s not actually paranoia because everyone really does wish you would drop dead. You have plenty of power, but no skill to achieve anything with it. Find a new barbor.

 

12 – 16   You are Robert Mugabe.

You have become a peaceful person in your old age, but that’s because you can’t stay awake long enough to sustain an argument. Please do Zimbabwe a favor and go back to sleep. Don’t wake up.

 

17 – 21  You are the Iranian Mullah of the Month.

You suffer from Reality Deficit Disorder. You think you are educated, but that is just the hash talking. Everyone who knows you wants to keep you happy, but only so you won’t torture them and their families. Put down your AK47 and step away from the chickens.

 

22 – 26  You are New York Mayor Bloomberg.

 

Image by Midtown Comics, altered by Nightscream, wikimedia commons, public domain

Image by Midtown Comics, altered by Nightscream,
wikimedia commons, public domain

 

You are the first percentile, but only in finances. Some of your ideas are impressive, but only when we compare them to the rhetoric of Hugo Chavez. You’ll get our soft drinks when you tear them from our cold, dead hands.

 

27 – 30  Give it up. You’re not cut out for this profession.

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Bride Ties Baby to Wedding Dress

By Piper Bayard

Meme Bride ties baby to wedding dress

Woman Ties Baby to Wedding Dress,

Drags Her Down Aisle

As a mother who sat her kids in a roasting pan and pulled them around the living room, I can’t honestly think this was anything but a good time for a baby. She appears to be secure and not getting any rug burns. But one question does come to mind . . . Was she the something “new” or the something “borrowed”?

Big thanks to historical mystery author K.B. Owen for pointing me to this gem.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Peace Day and the Fallen Project. A group in Normandy remembers D-Day with a beautiful tribute. They draw 9,000 figures in the sand on the beach to represent the 9,000 that died during the Allied Invasion of Nazi-Occupied France.

Via Professional Organizer Judith Houlding of Space Editing, What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades. It’s long been my contention that we no longer need Code Talkers. At this point, we can convey messages in the ancient style of cursive writing, and even the NSA won’t be able to figure them out.

A courageous post and fantastic comments discussion from Jamie Gold. The Danger of Political Correctness for Diverse Books

Canstock 2014 Ginger child

And speaking of diversity . . .  Ginger Problems that Normal People Don’t Understand.

Via Angela Ackerman, co-author of the outstanding Emotion Thesaurus Series, 22 Pictures Where I Have Absolutely No Idea What’s Going On.

None of us does it alone. Elizabeth Fais asks, Who’s Your Yoda?

Via the awesome photographer Penelope Beveridge, Water Photography Competition Winning Images are Revealed.

As the temperatures rise, I think most of us can relate to this playful horse.

Campaign Style Poll of the Week

All the best to all of you for a week of creative play with children.

Flat Spooky — Lovesick for NYT Bestseller Allison Brennan

By Piper Bayard

Flat Spooky is a wannabe spook whose mother was a Russian Honey Trap and father was an extra in The Bourne Legacy.  He came home with me from his birthplace in the back seat of a Ford Focus in San Francisco to be my Spook Consultant when Holmes is tied up with his other work.

FS SF driving across Bay Bridge into city 5-3-14

Flat Spooky driving across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco from his birthplace on Treasure Island.

Once he got to our house, he immediately began practicing his stealth techniques on our dog, Parker. Parker was not amused. In fact, he ran out of the room before I could get a picture.

When Flat Spooky disappeared the other day, I finally located him curled up on the couch with his new best friend, Grumpy Cat, and one of his true love Allison Brennan’s books.

Flat Spooky with best friend Grumpy Cat and Allison Brennan's book, STOLEN.

Flat Spooky with best friend Grumpy Cat and Allison Brennan’s book, STOLEN.

 

He was incredibly excited when I found him. . . .

Spooky:  “Look! She has a plain dot at the end of almost every sentence. She’s thinking of me!”

Me:  “That’s called punctuation. It’s in every book.”

Spooky:  “But it’s in HER book!”

 

Dead Heat by Allison Brennan

In an attempt to explain, we took a “look inside” at Allison’s new Lucy Kincaid novel, DEAD HEAT. It didn’t help. He was only more convinced of her adoration.

It was clear he needed to get out more. So I took him on a hike in the mountains to practice his forest stealth technique should he ever be called on to hunt down the Taliban or kidnapped adventure tourists who waste our military’s time and resources on a fairly regular basis by doing things that their mothers and common sense warned them not to do.

Flat Spooky hiding in a cactus.

Flat Spooky hiding in a cactus.

 

 

The first thing he did was run ahead on the trail and hide in this cactus to try and see if I would spot him. It wasn’t the best choice, as he quickly discovered that getting into cactus is much easier than getting out of cactus.

Spooky:  “Will Allison still want me with all of these cactus prickles?”

Me:  “She didn’t want you before.”

Spooky:  “She does want me! You saw all of the dots. You can’t deny it!”

 

Flat Spooky spying on the trail below.

Flat Spooky spying on the trail below.

 

His next move was to hide in a tree to spy on the trail below us in his hopes that Allison would walk by.

Me:  “She doesn’t live in this state.”

Spooky:  “She travels.”

 

Flat Spooky discovers wind limitations.

Flat Spooky vs. Wind

 

Then a wind kicked up. I took him home and put him to bed. A few hours later, I checked on him and discovered he had comforted himself with a bag of chocolates . . . My chocolates.

 

Flat Spooky raids Piper's stash.

Flat Spooky raids Piper’s stash.

 

He is now in the dog house eagerly awaiting the arrival of DEAD HEAT. Parker is not amused.

How do you suggest I deal with this little guy’s crush on Allison Brennan?

Summer Camp Cheerful–Attitude Adjustment for Adults

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

Inspired by the HAMAS and UN summer camps in Gaza, we are asking, “Why should Palestinians have all the fun? For that matter, why should kids have all the fun?”

Summer should be a time for fun and relaxation for everyone, but we all know people who do their best to prevent any fun or relaxation from occurring. Camp Cheerful is the answer.

image by U.S. Navy

image by U.S. Navy

Situated in a Caribbean location of incomparable beauty and perfect climatic ambiance at the eastern tip of Cuba, with swimming and diving opportunities in Guantanamo Bay, Camp Cheerful is the perfect getaway for those fun-challenged individuals in your life.

So stop for a moment and think. Who has taken a head start on ruining your summer? Is it a hard-drinking relative? A thoughtless, annoying neighbor with three barking dogs? Perhaps there’s someone in your professional life who doesn’t even wait until summer to spread the agony of her own miserable existence, insisting on sharing the “joy” with everyone around her. Camp Cheerful is just the place to send them to ensure happiness this summer–for you.

All campers will be cheerfully greeted by our Certified Happiness Specialists. We’ve recruited some of the finest soldiers and marines with experience in great vacation resorts like Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, and East Los Angeles. These healthy and enthusiastic men and women are well prepared to assist our campers in achieving life-altering experiences.

Camp Cheerful Happiness Specialists at Play image by GySgt Michael Walker, US Marine Corps

Camp Cheerful Happiness Specialists at Play
image by GySgt Michael Walker
US Marine Corps

For your summer enjoyment, all campers’ activities will be live-streamed on the Internet. Our Certified Happiness Specialists have prepared several thrilling activities guaranteed to keep our campers busy all summer long. We’ve updated some of the more traditional, boring summer camp activities to make them far more interesting, and we’ve created a few completely original activities, as well.

After enjoying a morning of rigorous exercise and fasting, the campers will be treated to a thrilling round of bobbing for apples. To make this game a little easier for tired campers, we’ve attached a five pound diving weight to each apple, allowing the apple to settle conveniently at the bottom of the five foot barrel. Our loving camp staff will assist each camper in entering the barrel after securing their wrists with the lanyards the campers wove themselves in arts & crafts class. What could be more cheer-inducing and fulfilling than using their own handiwork in such a practical application?

Feeling more cheerful already, aren't you?

Feeling more cheerful already, aren’t you?

Many children have memories of the humiliation caused by their failure to ever hit the target on the archery range in summer camp. To avoid that emotional distress, our campers will reverse roles and will act as targets as our staff demonstrates proper archery technique. For safety, each arrow tip will be replaced with steel blunts, and campers will be required to remove all eye wear.

And what summer camp would be complete without a broad array of aquatic activities? Like any good summer camp, we stress safety first. Campers will learn important water survival techniques, such as how to use chicken blood on their swimming trunks as a shark repellant, how to safely tread water for four hours over sharp coral reefs, and how to spend a long day of swimming in the bright Caribbean sun without relying on the crutch of sunscreen. And don’t worry. No life vests allowed!

Camp Cheerful Swimmer getting more cheerful all the time.

Camp Cheerful Swimmer getting more cheerful all the time.

After a scrumptious lunch of cold gruel and a thirst-quenching draught of water from the local sacred spring of Baca Podrida (translation “Rotting Cow”), the staff will choose the Distinguished Camper of the Day, who will then serve as the star in a thrilling round of Pin the Tail on the Jackass. Given the larger size of some of the campers’ rear ends, the players will be allowed to use nail guns, rather than thumb tacks, to ensure the firm placement of the tails.

Most campers look forward to horseback riding as part of their summer camp activities. In spite of the lack of horses in Guantanamo, we have no intention of disappointing our campers. So we’ll be saddling up the campers for competitive steeplechase exercises. To help encourage those young foals to do their best in clearing those quicksand bogs and barbed wire fences, the “horse” that finishes last will be subjected to an extra round of Pin the Tail on the Jackass.

During our evening campfire time, campers will learn thrilling new songs that they will likely remember the rest of their lives. We’ve contracted with some of the world’s leading songwriters (us) to come up with unique songs that our campers will cherish for a lifetime. A Hundred Broken Bottles of Beer On My Head; Row, Row, Row Your Boat Across the River Styx; I Wanna Go Home (But They’ll Kill Me If I Try), and the trademark Camp Cheerful Song, If You’re Happy When You Suffer, Clap Your Hands.

Please notify us now of who you’re intending to send to Camp Cheerful this year, and we will reserve our special 3’ x 7’ dog kennels luxury suites for their vacation pleasure. Enroll your camper today!

Who would you like to send to Camp Cheerful this year and why?

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