Having Fun in Bed

By Piper Bayard

I always say the only thing worse than working out is not being able to, and that’s why I go to the gym. Even when we’re doing our best, though, those inevitable illnesses and injuries come along that keep us semi-bedridden for a while. I’m currently going through one of those times myself.

I find the challenge is to keep my spirits up and not give in to thoughts about how long it will take to recuperate, but rather focus on what I can do today. The most important way to accomplish this is to keep up a variety of character building, brain stimulating activities. These are some of the things I’ve found to pass the time during my breaks from reading and writing.

image by Poptart at wikimedia commons

10 Ways to Keep Occupied In Bed

  1. See how close I can roll to the edge of the bed without falling off.
  2. Practice burning the edges of satin ribbons with a lighter without turning them black. (It’s an oddly addictive activity. Don’t judge.)
  3. Make a genuine effort at levitating the dust off of the ceiling fan and into the trash.
  4. Howl back at the neighbor’s dog.
  5. Make prank phone calls from my cell phone to the house phone downstairs.
  6. Watch all episodes of Breaking Bad.
  7. Mourn the fact that there isn’t another season available.
  8. Repeat 6 and 7 with Game of Thrones.
  9. Pause to wonder if J. “R.R.” Tolkien and George “R.R.” Martin are related.
  10. Contemplate changing my name to Piper “R.R.” Bayard and writing high fantasy. Suppose Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston would star in the movie?

What do you do to keep your mind active when you’re stuck on bedrest?

Besides the obvious, that is. We do keep a PG-13 blog here. 🙂

All the best to all of you for staying gainfully occupied.

New US Outreach Program — Spooks without Boundaries

By Piper Bayard

First it was the NSA peeking up our digital skirts, illegally collecting and storing raw intelligence on Americans to paw through at will. Then the other four of the Five Eyes—Australia, the UK, New Zealand, and Canada—crowded up for a glimpse. Now I find out that Israel has its cameras under our hemlines, as well. When I consider how many other as-yet-to-be-revealed countries must be signed up for the Big NSA Raw Giveaway, I wonder if America unwittingly wandered onto the set of “Criminal Minds” during Rampant Voyeurs Week.  But as our government so glibly tells us, if we wear our Sponge Bob undies like a good little girls and boys, we have nothing to worry about.

Internet bugs Canstock

I know what you’re thinking—those World Order Conspiracy theorists just might be onto something, after all. Why else would our American government ditch the warrant system to illegally collect our own citizens’ electronic transmissions and share them with all of their corporate and political friends—none of whom loves us enough to help us hide the bodies? That’s the behavior of a bad boyfriend with a revenge porn account.

I don’t blame you one bit for that train of thought. But rest assured! You’ll be glad to know I did some checking with non-existent sources and found out nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, I’m betting you’ll feel as pleased with our government as I am when you hear the details.

Our government leaders, in their infinite wisdom and compassion, noticed that giving out candy bars in war zones somehow didn’t win America the Miss Congeniality prize they so coveted in the World Image Competition. They hired three out-of-work Carnival cruise directors, a retired circus clown, and the hostess from the local Hooters to get together and figure out what would make us more popular on the world stage. Their innovative solution is already rocking the planet.

These brilliant out-of-the-box thinkers looked to Doctors Without Borders and No Child Left Behind as guidelines and developed a new, all-inclusive friendship outreach program that proves America is now willing to put out for anyone who gives her an “I love you” and a promise of respect in the morning. The folks in D.C. and in the NSA have proudly dubbed it “Spooks Without Boundaries.” Their motto? No Country Left Behind!

The new program is rooted in the same fundamental progressive notion that makes Obamacare so successful—the conviction that candidates win votes with overblown promises of physical comfort and security. And why shouldn’t every government have the same illegal access to our phone calls and electronic transactions that our own government has? After all, if all of this intimate surveillance of Americans is keeping us safe—except from a couple of deadbeat potheads with a hotline to Chechnya Jihad Central—isn’t it only compassionate that we share this universal safety with those electronically less fortunate? Why should outdated Cold War ethnocentrism, phobia of al-Qaeda and its wannabes, or the rogue Israeli faction attack on the USS Liberty* affect our foreign policy decisions? With Spooks Without Boundaries, everyone, citizen or not, will be safe, because every government will have access to the personal transactions and communications of Americans.

World Hug Canstock

With all of this free love going around, it has me wondering how long it will be before the NSA starts to share a little of it with America. After all, if Americans are so willing to toss off their privacy rights in the name of safety, why not give state and local police access to the benefits of PRISM and the other NSA toys? It would be nothing to track down meth labs, underage drinkers, and deadbeat dads, not to mention felons and bail jumpers. Why should Israel, the Five Eyes, and untold others enjoy that level of knowledge about us when we don’t?

And why stop there? The NSA is already swapping info with their BFFs, the international corporations. Why not small businesses, too? Just think how useful PRISM would be to collection agents, private eyes hired to track cheating spouses, or marketing firms sending targeted ads just for you. If we’ve already decimated American privacy in the name of homeland security, how long will it be before we enjoy the safety inherent in giving all of our information to our local police and small businesses?

Spooks Without Boundaries—it’s not just for foreign terrorists anymore! Write to your congressmen today and tell them you want Americans to enjoy the same free love we give to Israel, our allies, and others. After all, if we’re going to pass out tickets to foreign countries to peep at our privates, shouldn’t we see them ourselves?

* Recently declassified documents indicate that a rogue element of the Israeli government orchestrated the 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.

Related Articles:

British Spy Agency Taps Cables, Shares with US NSA (Info on Five Eyes)

U.S. Agencies Said to Swap Data with Thousands of Firms

NSA Shares Raw Intelligence Including Americans’ Data with Israel

NSA and Israeli Intelligence: Memorandum of Understanding—Full Document

What Makes US-Israeli Intelligence Co-operation “Exceptional”?

Epic Battles: Bacon Vs. Grumpy Cat

By Piper Bayard

The two most popular social media memes are Bacon and Grumpy Cat, but as Highlander fans can tell you, “There can be only one!” The time has come to decide, and the showdown is right here and now. Who will rule the Cyberverse, Bacon or Grumpy Cat?

Bacon

Bacon

BACON, give us ten reasons why you should be Ruler of the Cyberverse rather than Grumpy Cat . . .

1.  Bacon doesn’t need a litter box.

2.  You can wrap bacon around a filet mignon and get it back.

3.  Bacon doesn’t fight with your dog.

4.  Bacon doesn’t cough up hairballs in your house shoes.

5.  Bacon doesn’t pee in your laundry when it gets mad at you.

6.  If bacon wakes you up at 5:00 a.m., it makes you smile.

7.  Bacon never scratches your furniture.

8.  Bacon doesn’t leave dead animals in your bed.

9.  Bacon tastes good all by itself. If a cat tastes good, it’s probably because it was cooked in bacon.

10. Bacon doesn’t need to be neutered, because you can never have too much bacon.

And now to you, Grumpy Cat . . . Give us ten reasons you deserve to rule.

Grumpy Cat No

Well, there you have it folks. Time to cast your vote. Who is your choice to be the Ruler of the Cyberverse, Bacon or Grumpy Cat?

Here’s the good news. Enter the FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge, and you won’t have to choose! Reader prize includes BOTH bacon AND a stuffed Grumpy Cat to keep you fed and in good cheer during the post-apocalyptic devastation. They come with the Swedish FireKnife, barter goods, a signed copy of FIRELANDS, and an Eddie Bauer Go Bag.

No purchase necessary to win. Readers can enter now by signing up for the Bayard & Holmes Newsletter. If you have a copy of FIRELANDS, you can enter by leaving a quote or reference to the book for me here, on FB, or on Twitter. You can also enter by leaving reviews at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or Goodreads. Feel free to enter multiple ways. Each entry counts.

Swedish Fire Knife on the Dock

Bloggers can enter by blogging about anything to do with apocalypse and linking back to the original FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge posting. Your prize will be a feature at the Social In Worldwide, Inc., blog network with over 2 million Twitter followers.

See FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge for more details.

Drawings will be held at midnight, July 18–tomorrow night!

Field on Fire Canstock

Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?

FIRELANDS

Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle

Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,

and at iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.

Ok. I’ll Do It. I’ll Run for President.

 Okay. I’ll Do It. I’ll Run for President.

MyPhotos Piper Signing FIRELANDS at TFOB

By Your Next Commander in Chief, Piper Bayard

I don’t know about you folks, but I’m pretty disappointed in the self-serving, corporate-driven hairballs our political parties are coughing up for us these days. It’s always been my contention that, if you’re going to complain about how someone does their job, then you’d better be ready to get off your duff and do it yourself. So I will. Yes. I’m running for president.

Know up front that I refuse to affiliate with any political party. Ultimately, they are all more loyal to themselves than to the American people. The only party I will be a part of as your president is the Inaugural Ball. And since I am a dancer, I would be happy to provide the entertainment for that event in order to save you, the taxpayers, money.

MyPhotos 2014 Piper close up Bolder Boulder

As for my campaign, I am not asking for your money. I’m guessing in this economy, you need it. So how will I run? Social media. If Facebook and Twitter can make Betty White an icon among today’s teenagers, it can get me to the White House.

Know that as your president, I would not expect any remuneration beyond actual college expenses for my two children. . . .  Oh, wait. The annual $180k that the president makes would be less than that. NVM. I will happily accept the lesser amount.

Also, as your president I won’t spend your millions on my family vacations, and I will continue to shop the sales at Eddie Bauer and Dillard’s. I won’t even take the silver and furniture from the White House with me when I leave. That’s been done.

Along those lines, I will also not redecorate the White House with your money. (Unless I find some gaudy animal print lurking in an obscure corner. That will have to go.) However, I will certainly fumigate all locations where our current president smokes while tacitly approving schemes to ban the asthma inhalers people need to stay in the same room with him.

The pillars of my platform are encouragement of personal responsibility, the rooting out of corruption, and a good smack upside the head for all whiners who won’t shut up and get busy making this world a better place.

So let’s get the touchy stuff out of the way, shall we?

My race:

One branch of my family ran another branch of my family down the Trail of Tears, and a third branch married them when they got to the end. That makes my race American. Check my census form. You’ll find it written there.

My gender:

. . . Really?

My religion:

Baseball. Baseball is a forward-looking religion with no dogma and lots of hope. We adherents know that, with the last swing of the bat at the end of the season, spring training is just around the corner. People of all faiths are welcome at baseball games, as long as they behave and treat their neighbors with respect. If they don’t behave, they will be relocated near the bullpen to be used as targets for pitcher warmups.

The Cathedral of My Religion, image from Wikimedia Commons by “The Silent Wind of Doom.”

My past:

Yes. I have one. It is extensive and colorful. I learned a great deal because the person who is the same at 50 as they are at 20 has wasted 30 years. I’ve made exceptional use of my time. So you media folks just come to me. I’ll give it to you straight. And remember, great things grow in dirt and manure.

As an added bonus, unlike the current leading candidates, I am happy to release all of my tax returns, my school records, and my legal birth certificate, along with all of my fake ID’s from my youth.

My education:

Yes. I have one of those, too. It ranges from small towns to urban centers, and from the bread and cheese line to law school. In other words, I’ve got both papers and street cred. I’d say “I feel your pain,” but that one’s been done, too.

My qualifications:

I am not for sale to banks. I do not borrow money from the Chinese to give to my enemies. My retirement plan is not a Ponzi scheme, and to the best of my knowledge, I have successfully prevented trespassers from living in my home. That puts me ahead of our collective government right there. And no. I have never been president of my local PTA. However, I do manage a successful kingdom on a virtual reality game.

My stand on abortion:

I fully support retroactive abortion for all jihadis and skumbag phone solicitors. (I favor rehabilitation for any honest phone solicitors who are just trying to make a living like the rest of us.)

My stand on gun control:

I am 100% in favor of controlling guns. Aim and make every shot count.

Cabinet appointments:

As for my cabinet appointments, I don’t give a rat’s touchas about anyone’s race, religion, species, etc. I only care if they are best qualified for the job. I will not sell out my country by pandering to special snowflake organizations and appointing their love children to positions of influence.

I will appoint my writing partner, Intelligence Operative Holmes, Secretary of Defense. He has the experience and the moxie for the job, and he, like me, loves America more than he loves corporations, power, or money.

George Stephanopoulos, image from Wikimedia Commons by Tulane Public Relations

Since Holmes can’t be identified, I will recruit George Stephanopoulos to sit in his chair at all meetings. That’s because George has experience, and he’s hot. Seriously. It makes no sense to me, either, he just is. And if Stephanopoulos is not available, I will simply stand up a cardboard cutout of George Washington. Never hurts to have a little Founding Father action in the government process. Holmes will still be in the meetings, but no one will know if he is the guy in the general’s chair or the guy serving the sandwiches.

Yes. Sandwiches. Refer back to my stand on expenses. They can be paninis, but no steak and lobster bisque at the taxpayers’ expense unless we are hosting foreign dignitaries.

All internal disputes will be settled with dancing competitions so if you’re interested in applying to be my vice president, start practicing your moves. Carrie Ann Inaba will screen all applicants. But please understand, my first choice for vice president is General Colin Powell. Do not take that as an evaluation of either your dancing skills or his.

While I am president, Congress shall make no law that it does not, itself, live by. “Leaders” who are not subject to the laws they make are not leaders, they are rulers. There is no place for rulers in America. Any Representative or Senator who demonstrates behavioral issues will be sent to The Slapping Medicine Man.

As your president, my first and only loyalty will be to you, my fellow Americans. I have no other mission or interest but to strengthen this country and her people. So let’s all come together and prove that America really is still a country by the people, and for the people, and that our presidency does not simply go to the highest bidder. Tweet, blog, Facebook. Hey. It happened for Betty White. :)

You will find my stand on the issues below. I now open the floor to your comments and questions. One at a time, please. No pushing or name calling, and don’t say anything you can’t say in front of your mother. (My policy for press conferences.)

To join in the discussion, see Okay. I’ll Do It. I’ll Run for President over at Bayard & Holmes.

Piper for President — Doesn’t Take Crap. Doesn’t Dish it Out.

My Stand on the Issues

Foreign Policy

For decades, America has been Simba the Lion masquerading as Pumbaa the Warthog in an effort to “win hearts and minds.” No one respects a lion pretending to be a warthog. I say we’re in it to win it, or we stay home. The hearts and minds will follow. America is a lion with claws and teeth and courage. It is not a dancing, singing, farting warthog.

Middle East Policy

I have excellent reason to believe that the majority of the problems in the Middle East are caused by gender disparity. Since the Middle East has a dearth of women and an overabundance of men, and Latin American countries have more women than men, I would recruit Latinas to relocate. They would have an excellent mellowing influence, and they would foster some fantastic fusion restaurants. See How Latinas Can End Jihad.

Economy

As much as is possible, I will replace welfare programs with work programs, because imitating a kennel dog waiting for its dinner develops bad habits and is damaging to the soul. I have been unemployed, and I have received government cheese. While it’s the tastiest cheese ever, handouts are far more depressing and demoralizing than honest work of any kind.

Tax cuts and cookies for corporations that keep their jobs in America. No tax cuts or cookies for corporations that only keep their paperwork in America.

Image from Wikimedia Commons by Thamizhpparithi Maari.

Education

I will dismantle the Department of Education. Instead, I will use the nearly $100 billion it wastes every year to build more schools, hire more teachers, and provide an Educational Exchange program for troubled youths. In this exchange program, any “troubled youth” who would rather be a thug gangbanger than take advantage of the privilege of going to school would be sent to a third world country in exchange for a disadvantaged child who only dreams of getting an education instead of walking five miles every day for a bucket of water.

Immigration

America is our home. I will show the utmost hospitality to those who ring our bell and are willing to wipe the dirt off their feet before they enter.  Trespassers will not be welcomed with open arms and open wallets. However, they are welcome and encouraged to apply for the Educational Exchange program.

Health Care

I will rewrite Obamacare in a way that serves the public rather than special interest groups and insurance and pharmaceutical giants. I will also set up a hotline for reporting each and every fraud that is perpetuated by a medical culture that thinks it has won the lottery every time someone with insurance walks through the doors of an Emergency Room.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

 

Planking–It’s Not Just for Pirates Any More

Pirate’s Chest Planking at the Putt Putt

Blame it on Shawna Coronado. I’m going to, anyway.

When I first heard of planking, I thought it might be some sort of arid region form of waterboarding, or a type of pirates’ Russian roulette. But Shawna set me straight, and now I’m hooked. Yes. A planking junkie. I now look at the whole world as a planking opportunity. There are few things that I will say will change your life, and planking is not among them, but it’s a hoot, nonetheless.

I call Shawna Coronado the Green Queen. She is the author of Gardening Nude and has a great blog about gardening and living green called The Casual Gardener. Stop by, and she’ll teach you everything from edible front lawn gardens to building renaissance-style castles with discarded water bottles. More or less.

Shawna Coronado, image from flowergardengirl.wordpress.com — You’ll have to find the nude gardening pictures for yourself.

When I saw Shawna’s planking pictures up on her FB page, The Planking Files, I was mesmerized. What could this brilliant athletic feat be? Shawna took me by the hand and guided me to the wooden plank path of enlightenment.

I personally believe planking is a direct result of the economic downturn. It is the sort of fun, harmless, and quirky thing people do when they don’t have enough money for a movie. For those of you as ignorant as I was about this soon-to-be-Olympic-sport, planking is the act of pretending you are a wooden plank. Generally, you get a friend or family member to take your picture as you do this.

I was a bit shy about it at first so I practiced in my living room.

Ok. Time to go outside. Still feeling unsure of my technique so I started with a dirt road in the country.

Emboldened, I moved over near an oil well.

Planking by the oil well got me to thinking about our oil economy and things we might be able to do to change our ways, so to focus, I went to a nearby labyrinth.

All that contemplation made me hungry. I stopped off for some fresh Colorado Western Slope peaches at my favorite vegetable stand.

And on to the Leanin’ Tree Museum to enjoy some of the finest Western art in the world.

That was exhausting in a very pleasant way. Time for a plank beside the river.


Ahh. All refreshed and ready for a bit of excitement down at Pearl Street, Boulder’s outdoor mall.

As I planked through the day, some folks stared, and some folks laughed, but most just ignored me. For some reason, none of them jumped into my pictures.

Have you ever gone planking? Do you have any planking pictures you’d care to share?

My deepest gratitude to Shawna Coronado for inspiring a great day with my daughter and photographer.

All the best to all of you for exploring the Joy of Planking.

Piper Bayard—The Planking Pale Writer of the Apocalypse

Moving Past Potter

By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

Childhood’s end. The final Harry Potter. As Holmes and I look around, we find that, with Deathly Hallows, Part II out in the theaters, we are surrounded by fans in various stages of the Kubler-Ross grief process.

  1. Denial – “No. This can’t be happening! On that YouTube video J.K. Rowling talked about Pottermore and said she’ll be sharing information she’s been hoarding all these years. There must be another book.” *re-reads whole series while telling himself next book will be out before he finishes number seven for tenth time*
  2. Anger – “What do you mean there’s no more books? What do you mean Pottermore is just milking more money out of us for the same old stories? How can this be happening to me?” *gives spare copy of book two to niece and says he never wants to see it or speak to it again*
  3. Bargaining – “Let’s start a petition. No, . . . I know. We’ll kidnap J.K. Rowling like in Misery and tell her she can have her freedom for seven more Potter books.” *slips in through niece’s window and steals spare book two back*
  4. Depression – “Dear God! Why live?” *puts on Gryffindor robes and curls up in fetal position around all seven books*
  5. Acceptance – “It’s real. It’s happening. Harry Potter is gone. I must find healthy ways to fill the void and move on.” *extracts books from soggy piles of Kleenex covering bed and puts them on shelf next to VHS tapes of Star Trek movies*

Fear not, Potter fans! Here at Bayard & Holmes, we see your suffering, and we’re here to help. We have the following suggestions to help you move beyond Harry Potter and begin to live again:

  • Develop a taste for brandy.
  • Set up a telescope in your window and get to know your neighbors.
  • Put on a gas mask and play with your household chemicals.
  • Run through an airport in your skivvies and say it’s ok, that you’re a US Airways passenger.
  • Take the foot stirrups off of your broom and use it to sweep your porch.
  • Practice fantasizing about a date with a member of the opposite sex. Someone not named Harry, Ron, or Hermione.

If you find that it’s just impossible to find a new normal in a Potterless world, we have some great news for you. The Potter series isn’t really over! We have discovered through special intelligence channels involving owls, invisible ink, and a shoe phone that J.K. Rowling has hidden many magical stories and prophesies in the existing books. But they can only be discovered by the most worthy of fans who are willing to start with book seven and read the entire series backward. Out loud.

Had we bothered to read book seven backward in time, we would have known about Professor Trelawney’s prediction of the Rupert Murdock scandal. In chapter four of book six, we would learn from Draco Malfoy that there won’t be peace in the Middle East in this year century. In the second chapter of the third book, Harry has a revelation while playing quidditch that the Chicago Cubs don’t win the World Series in this or any other decade. And in book one, chapter twenty-four, Hermione finds a forbidden missive that says Tina Fey will win the 2012 Presidential Election, and Sarah Palin will be hired as her body double to fool any potential assassins.

Where are you at in your Harry Potter grief cycle? What prophecies have you discovered while reading Harry Potter backwards?

All the best to all of you for keeping your head out of the oven.

How Latinas Can End Jihad

By Piper Bayard

Statistically speaking, Middle Eastern countries have waaaay too many men. It just so happens that many Latin American countries have waaay too many women. Mexico, Ecuador, and El Salvador, to name a few. The answer is obvious. Men need women, and women need men. Recruit Latino women to marry Middle Eastern Men.

This calls for a list.

Top Ten Reasons to Recruit Latino Women for Middle Eastern Men:

Image from Wikimedia Commons by AlexR.L.

10.     Latin America is the Chill Out Tourist Mecca.

Mecca meets Mecca. Who better to teach jihadis to chill?

9.       Every Arab’s Rolls Royce calls out for fuzzy dice and hydraulic breaks.

Image from Wikimedia Commons by Jarek Tuszynski.

Picture it. Cheech and Chong have their way with the sheiks’ stables of automobiles. Cool.

8.       No more dull, monotone bhurkas.

What could J Lo and Sophia Vergara do with that fashion statement?

Image from Wikimedia Commons by Nitin Madhav, public domain.

7.       Latino women do everything other women do, and they do it in 4 inch heels.

That’s the kind of heap-big mojo that would bring jihidis to their knees.

6.       Kick-ass cooking.

Green chili falafel with goat tamales in red sauce. Yum!

5.       Camel piñatas

Let’s give these boys a healthy outlet for their violent tendencies.

4.       Great soap operas

Juanita Jamila, la Habibi de la Hafla

“Por favor, Señor Achmed! You promised you would have the chick peas today! If I cannot make my special salsa for the hafla tonight, my evil landlord will kick my family out in the street! We will be homeless! Aaahhhiiiiii!”

Juanita Jamila wails and crumbles to the ground, dissolving into tears. The handsome Jose Abdul rushes to her side.

“Juanita Jamila! My beautiful desert flower! I will save you! I will run your landlord out of town on a rabid camel, and your father will then allow us to marry!”

3.       No Middle Eastern guy named Jesus ever bombed anyone.

2.       Pictures of prophets in Latino culture inspire peace, not death threats.

1.       What do you get when you cross Latino culture with Middle Eastern culture?

Shakira at Rock the Rio image by Andres Arranz

Shakira at Rock the Rio
image by Andres Arranz

Need I say more?