The Spanking Santa — Keeping Holidays Merry

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

The most wonderful stressful time of the year is upon us. Long lines, visiting relatives, and credit card bills that give bankers a warm, fuzzy feeling in their wallets. But fear not! Bayard & Holmes are back once more to help you navigate this cauldron of tension without beating anyone bloody with a turkey leg.

A spook and a belly dancer. Not us. Image from The Man with the Golden Gun.

We, a pragmatic author/belly dancer and a spook who solves most of life’s problems with sex, C4, or hollow points, are clearing our schedules so that we can assist you with your holiday survival questions. In fact, we’ve had a few pleas for assistance already.

Sarah Broogenstegler in Research Pod 3, Antarctica, sent us this desperate missive . . .

Dear Bayard & Holmes:

My husband Clyde and I love the Holidays. Unfortunately, six years ago, after a ten-year stint in Joliet Prison for a Ponzi scheme that bankrupted twelve hospitals, Clyde’s Uncle Harry started showing up uninvited on Christmas Day. We tried to be charitable the first year, but he drank all of our alcohol and mouthwash and fell in the punch bowl. It splashed on the Christmas lights and shorted them out. The ensuing fire nearly burned down the house.

Clyde is a pacifist and made me sell my .45 Colt automatic years ago. Rather than reintroduce firearms into our lifestyle to deal with Uncle Harry, we relocated to Antarctica. Last week, though, we got a radio message that Harry had somehow acquired our GPS coordinates and was hitching a ride with Greenpeace activists to get down here for Christmas.

I’m in tears! Please help!

Bayard & Holmes:

Dry your eyes, Sarah. We’re sending a bottle of Spanish sherry and our Little Holiday Helper to you at this very moment.

While the rest of the nation wasted summer days fretting over politics or battling squash bugs in their gardens, our talented staff here at Bayard & Holmes (us) created a tactical solution to the Uncle Harrys of the world. Today, we proudly unveil the new Bayard & Holmes Spanking Santa* and His Band of Merry Elves.

Spanking Santa and his Band are hand-picked, highly trained Allied combat veterans whose specialty is conflict resolution, and they are here to serve you. When Harry rings the doorbell on Research Pod 3, our Spanking Santa Team will arrive moments later, fully armed with state-of-the art wooden paddles and ready to give Harry the Over-the-Knee Session of his life.

image from Department of Defense

Yes, yes, we know . . . Harry was unarmed and you did let him in voluntarily. Not a problem! Santa’s Merry Elves are experienced federal witnesses. Once they’ve entertained the Judge with their sworn testimony as to how Harry threatened your lives—they heard it themselves—Harry will be carted off to spend the Holidays visiting his old friends in Joliet Prison.

It’s win/win for everyone. Harry finally gets the stable family life that he has always craved, and you get to laugh all night about how Santa “took him to the woodshed” like he’s always deserved.

On the same line, Charlie from the Shetland Islands asks . . .

What about my brother, Filbert? He loves being spanked and often pays pricey women in London to do that for him. Wouldn’t a visit from Spanking Santa just make him show up more often?”

Bayard & Holmes:

An excellent question, Charlie. Our Spanking Santa Teams are well trained to spot any “patients” who might be enjoying the medicine a little bit too much. For those tough cases, our Spanking Santa Teams are authorized to administer electroshock therapy. Let us know if Filbert likes that too much, too, and we’ll recruit him as a test subject at our laboratories.

Then there was this slightly awkward question from “Kelly” with no last name or return address . . .

Hey, can you send Santa over to spank me?

Bayard & Holmes:

Well, Kelly, we don’t know if you are male or female or some combination thereof, but we’re afraid that if you’ve been well-behaved and simply enjoy this sort of thing, you’ll have to convince your significant other to take care of that. We hope you have fun and remember to play safe. Use a Nerf paddle. We have some at a great low price.

Happy Holidays from Bayard & Holmes!

*Spanking Santa Teams come fully equipped for all contingencies. Video cameras and DVD copies sold separately.

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

Bayard & Holmes Official Photo

Piper Bayard is an author and a recovering attorney. Her writing partner, Jay Holmes, is an anonymous senior member of the intelligence community and a field veteran from the Cold War through the current Global War on Terror. Together, they are the bestselling authors of the international spy thriller, THE SPY BRIDE, now available on kindle and in paperback at Amazon and on nook and paperback at Barnes & Noble.

THE SPY BRIDE Final Cover 3 inch

You can contact Bayard & Holmes in comments below, at their site, Bayard & Holmes, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Bayard & Holmes, or at their email, BH@BayardandHolmes.com.

©2016 Bayard & Holmes. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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Mothers are Born of Children

By Piper Bayard

image by Sam Pullara, wikimedia commons

image by Sam Pullara, wikimedia commons

It’s children who deliver mothers into the world. Before children, we are daughters, girlfriends, and wives. But until we love a child, we are not mothers. The part of us that grows into a mother remains a child until a child becomes more important to us than we are to ourselves.

Mother’s Day is the day we honor the women who were delivered by children. The women who love us more than they love themselves, whether they are our actual mothers and grandmothers, or the sisters and mentors who have come into our lives and taught us what love means.

Today, I not only think of my beloved mother, who smiles down on me as I love her grandchildren and laughs at me each time I use the klunky electric skillet I always teased her about. But I am also made complete with gratitude toward my children. The people who gave birth to the mother in me. I would not be me without them.

This one is for the babies. The ones who keep us forever young . . . Thank you.

To all women who love a child more than they love themselves, Happy Mothers Day.

All the best to all of you for staying forever young.

2016 Predictions from Terrorism Expert Mohammed Faqwahdi

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

We wanted to get some eclectic input on the holiday season and what we might expect in 2016, so we consulted with our Bayard & Holmes intelligence, terrorism, and asymmetric warfare expert, retired terrorist Mohammed Faqwahdi Al-Lansingi, a.k.a. Mo. We found Mo’s mobile command center and falafel truck near the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center.

 

Holidays at Rockefeller Center Image by Rob Young, wikimedia commons.

Holidays at Rockefeller Center
Image by Rob Young, wikimedia commons.

 

Hi, Mo. How’s business?

Hello, Jay and Piper. Business has been great! I’m pulling in more customers than Madam Flemstein’s whorehouse in Haifa. I can’t believe how much people tip at Christmas time. I wish we could have Christmas every month.

Sounds like you’re getting used to Christmas in America.

Well, it has taken a while. This Christmas thing, it’s so confusing. I want to be American, so I bought a Christmas tree. Then some Jews tell me you should only have a tree if you’re Christian, and the Christians tell me the tree has nothing to do with Christianity. I remember back in the old days, we only had six trees in all of Gaza.  So I’m always happy for any reason to have a tree, and I don’t care what religion it is.

Have you gotten used to Santa Claus coming around once a year?

It took a while. When I first heard some damn foreigner from the North Pole was going to break into my house, I thought he was a Mossad agent. Instead of leaving out cookies, I boobie trapped my doors with Semtex. Then I started seeing Santas everywhere. After a while I realized that Santa does not work for Mossad at all. I’m beginning to suspect that he works for a ruthless and cunning terrorist organization named WalMart.

Did you give your friends presents this year?

Oh, yes. I gave them all perimeter lights.

Perimeter lights?

Yes! Most of my neighbors use them, and they can get very fancy – red, green, blue, and some even look like icicles. I have them in three colors, myself. The HOA sends me a letter every year telling me to take them down. I don’t understand why. These Americans are so clueless with their security. Only my terrorist friends and rednecks and hippies understand that perimeter lights are for the whole year.

 

Actual photo of Mo's perimeter lights, taken on the 4th of July.

Actual photo of Mo’s perimeter lights,
taken on the 4th of July.

 

What did Santa bring you?

Santa? Santa doesn’t bring me anything. He just keeps trying to get me to sit on his lap when I go to the mall. I stay away from that guy.

But my neighbors – they gave me presents. The nice lady across the street gave me a fruitcake. In fact, I got seventeen fruitcakes this year. Like every other year, I glued them to the south side of my house. A few more Christmases like this, and my bulletproofing will be complete.

Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve?

No. I stay home. Evading all the drunks on the road on New Year’s Eve here is more dangerous than trying to sneak over the fence into Israel from Gaza.

We stay home for the same reason. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

My New Year’s resolution is the same this year that it was last year and every year since I came to America. I’m resolving to not go back to the Middle East. I love America. Everyone has indoor plumbing, the government doesn’t throw people off of buildings, and the only people at risk of being stoned are the ones who smoke pot.

As our terrorist expert, do you have any predictions for 2016?

 

Bayard & Holmes Intelligence, Terrorism, and Asymmetric Warfare Expert Mohammed Faqwahdi Al-Lansingi, a.k.a. Mo

Bayard & Holmes Intelligence, Terrorism, and Asymmetric Warfare Expert
Mohammed Faqwahdi Al-Lansingi, a.k.a. Mo

 

I do have a few predictions about what we can expect from the War on Terror in 2016.

  • The start up cost for a terrorism business is very low, so we will continue to see plenty of Islamic terrorism in the West this year. How much of it your American newspapers will actually report is another matter. I can’t help you with that.
  • The Russians will continue to avoid hitting any terrorists while they are bombing innocent civilians in Syria.
  • With all the money that Iran is spending in Yemen, the terrorists there will continue running wild; however, they won’t defeat the Saudis. But the Saudis won’t defeat them, either.
  • In Turkey, Erdogan will continue to pretend that all Kurds are terrorists and will bomb them at every opportunity.
  • NATO will continue to ignore Erdogan’s bombing of the Kurds.
  • Libya will continue to struggle with Islamic terrorists, but neither ISIS nor any other terrorist group will solidify any gains in that country.
  • Any terrorism that occurs in any part of the world will be used as an excuse by defense contractors to continue to justify fantastically overpriced defense projects.
  • In broader terms, you have to understand that wherever you have ridiculously corrupt and thoroughly incompetent governments, high poverty, and a few AK-47s, you will continue to see new terrorist groups popping up. Therefore, I don’t expect to see an end to terrorism in third world regions such as Detroit or New Orleans any time soon.

Do you have any predictions about the upcoming presidential election?

Yes. I predict that all of your media outlets will make countless billions on this election, just like they did on the last one. I also predict that whomever is elected will be blamed for violence in the Middle East, starvation in Africa, and all of the failed states in Latin America. Those are the two results we can always predict for any American election.

Thank you for your time, Mo. We’ll let you get back to your customers. Enjoy that big Rockefeller Center tree.

 

Canstock 2015 Dec 2016 with popped cork

Happy New Year from Bayard & Holmes!

 

Coping with Grief in the Face of Holiday Cheer

Bayard & Holmes

Today we are pleased to welcome Sally Carey. Sally is a veteran Bereavement Coordinator for Hospice of Covenant Care in Westminster, CO. She has served the populations of the Denver area, helping people heal from the loss of their loved ones, for over ten years.

In recognition that the coming holidays are often the most difficult time of the year, particularly when we have suffered a deep and recent loss, we asked Sally to share her tips on how to make it through the holiday season.

Canstock Grief Statue

Ho, Ho, Hum

Coping with Holiday Cheer in the Face of Loss

By Sally Carey

The holiday season, under the best of times, brings it own stressors and expectations, which we have all learned to manage or mangle, for better or worse, over the years. Congratulations on learning how to keep a grain of your sanity intact, hopefully without leaving too many bodies in the wake of seasons past!

But what do we do when we’ve had some serious, life-challenging or life changing event like illness, job and/or home loss, estrangement, divorce or separation, or even a death, and the happy, happy holidays are assaulting us at every turn of the channel?

I know the fantasy of a Hawaiian vacation or leaving the country altogether might be appealing, but most of us don’t have that option. We still have to figure out a way to get food and find shelter from the storm of good cheer while holding down the fort.

What can help?

The answers are as unique and varied as each individual, and each setback or loss. Regardless of that variety, one thing that does help is to make a plan.

Making a plan can give you a sense of control when coping with circumstances that have been spiraling out of control.

Plan your script. What can you comfortably say when greeted by those who may or may not know about your changes or loss? What are the words that honestly and gently express your feelings and experience?  Try rehearsing a few phrases so you aren’t caught off guard. Anticipate their responses and your rejoinders along with questions to ask them that can shift the focus. These might be no-brainer responses in better times, but you might not be functioning at your peak right now. Have some ‘planned and canned’ statements in your protective arsenal.

Next, lower your expectations about what you can comfortably do – physically, financially, and socially.

Refocus on your values of the season and give yourself permission to reconsider how you want to express those.  If that means changing a tradition like giving gifts to everyone, sending cards to millions, hosting dinner, etc., think about the purpose of that tradition and find a simpler way to accomplish the goal.

For instance, instead of giving gifts or sending cards, make a donation to a charity or cause that is meaningful to you or to someone who has died. Do it in the name(s) of those you would normally give gifts, and it is a win/win for honoring values and including others. Another bonus is that typically the receiving organization will send out cards to those you’ve identified as donors so you don’t have to do anything else.

Instead of hosting a dinner, you could make a date to do something enjoyable together in the near future. You could also ask someone else to host it this time as a gift to you, or you could tone it down to a ‘cider and cookies’ gathering. It could be that this year, instead of any dinner, you prefer to go to a prayer service. Invite others to join you and maybe have coffee afterwards. A change in tradition does not mean you are forsaking a tradition forever. It just means you’re making it work for you this year.

If you are missing someone who has died, make a plan to remember & honor your loved one—a lit candle, some pictures on the mantle, a prayer service, a gift to their charity, a day of service or creating a service project in their name are a few ideas.

In doing this, you are creating new ways to maintain your enduring connection with the one you are missing. There aren’t any road maps for that challenge. Search your heart and maybe connect with other folks who have done this. You can also turn to your local grief support groups or hospice bereavement counselors to get ideas that are specific to you.

Most people want to avoid public tears and runny noses, so plan on how and when you may need to safely release your difficult thoughts and feelings before going out in public.

If you are “keeping a lid on it,” you will probably blow your cover at a less than ideal time and place. Letting yourself have the private down time for reflection and feeling and maybe falling apart will help you have control when you need it.

If you are out and about, always know where the nearest bathroom is in case you have to hide and wipe your tears and nose. Believe me. It’s not a pretty sight to be sniveling and snotting while asking for directions to the restroom! Your car can be a good safety zone too. It also helps to go places with a trusted person who can whisk you away and make explanations or apologies at the drop of a tear.

Go ahead and make some plans for limited sociability, but also make a Plan B, which could be to only stay a short time or to allow yourself a last minute cancellation.

Also, have an escape plan. That is, plan for a bit of escape in the form of pleasure and comforting activities. You need to balance sadness with enjoyment however you like to create that. And yes, it is fine to turn off the holiday music, TV, or annoying people. Find something else to help you tap into the love and kindness that is your well-spring any time of the year.

If you know someone who may be missing a loved one, simply inviting them to share their thoughts and feelings without trying to ‘fix’ them is a real gift.

Many feel they cannot share their sadness, as it isn’t ‘fitting’ with the season of happiness and joy.  Listen to them and honor their feelings. Letting them know they are normal even if they feel ‘out of it’ can be invaluable support for them. If you ask them to share some of their memories of the person or holidays past, it may bring up a tear or two, but it will surely affirm the value of their loved one and offer a treasured opportunity to share that with someone who cares.

The holidays during a time of loss can be devastating. But make a plan for handling people, give yourself plenty of down time, and remember that traditions altered are not traditions abandoned. And in all things be patient with yourself. This, too, shall pass.

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Our deepest thanks to Sally Carey, and many prayers for everyone working through grief, just trying to make it through December.

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Obnoxious Relatives? Call the Spanking Santa!

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

The most wonderful stressful time of the year is upon us. Long lines, visiting relatives, and credit card bills that give bankers a warm, fuzzy feeling in their wallets. But fear not! Bayard & Holmes Holiday Survival is back once more to help you navigate this cauldron of tension without beating anyone bloody with a turkey leg.

A spook and a belly dancer. Not us. Image from The Man with the Golden Gun.

We, a pragmatic author/belly dancer and a spook who solves most of life’s problems with sex, C4, or hollow points, are clearing our schedules so that we can assist you with your holiday survival questions. In fact, we’ve had a few pleas for assistance already.

Sarah Broogenstegler in Research Pod 3, Antarctica, sent us this desperate missive.

Dear Bayard & Holmes:

My husband, Clyde, and I love the Holidays. Unfortunately, six years ago, after a ten-year stint in Joliet Prison for a Ponzi scheme that bankrupted twelve hospitals, Clyde’s Uncle Harry started showing up uninvited on Christmas Day. We tried to be charitable the first year, but he drank all of our alcohol and mouthwash and fell in the punch bowl. It splashed on the Christmas lights and shorted them out. The ensuing fire nearly burned down the house.

Clyde is a pacifist and made me sell my .45 Colt automatic years ago. Rather than reintroduce firearms into our lifestyle to deal with Uncle Harry, we relocated to Antarctica. Last week, though, we got a radio message that Harry had somehow acquired our GPS coordinates and was hitching a ride with Greenpeace activists to get down here for Christmas.

I’m in tears! Please help!

Bayard & Holmes:

Dry your eyes, Sarah. We’re sending a bottle of Spanish sherry and our Little Holiday Helper to you at this very moment.

While the rest of the nation wasted summer days fretting over politics or battling squash bugs in their gardens, our talented staff here at Bayard & Holmes created a tactical solution to the Uncle Harrys of the world. Today, we proudly unveil the new Bayard & Holmes Spanking Santa* and His Band of Merry Elves.

Spanking Santa and his Band are hand-picked, highly trained Allied combat veterans whose specialty is conflict resolution, and they are here to serve you. When Harry rings the doorbell on Research Pod 3, our Spanking Santa Team will arrive moments later, fully armed with state-of-the art wooden paddles and ready to give Harry the Over-the-Knee Session of his life.

image from Department of Defense

Yes, yes, we know . . . Harry was unarmed and you did let him in voluntarily. Not a problem! Santa’s Merry Elves are experienced federal witnesses. Once they’ve entertained the Judge with their sworn testimony as to how Harry threatened your lives—they heard it themselves—Harry will be carted off to spend the Holidays visiting his old friends in Joliet Prison.

It’s win/win for everyone. Harry finally gets the stable family life that he has always craved, and you get to laugh all night about how Santa “took him to the woodshed” like he’s always deserved.

On the same line, Charlie from the Shetland Islands asks . . .

What about my brother, Filbert? He loves being spanked and often pays pricey women in London to do that for him. Wouldn’t a visit from Spanking Santa just make him show up more often?”

Bayard & Holmes:

An excellent question, Charlie. Our Spanking Santa Teams are well trained to spot any “patients” who might be enjoying the medicine a little bit too much. For those tough cases, our Spanking Santa Teams are authorized and prepared to administer electroshock therapy. Let us know if Filbert likes that too much, too, and we’ll recruit him as a test subject at our laboratories.

Then there was this slightly awkward question from “Kelly” with no last name or return address . . .

Hey, can you send Santa over to spank me?

Bayard & Holmes:

Well, Kelly, we don’t know if you are male or female or some combination thereof, but we’re afraid that if you’ve been well-behaved and simply enjoy this sort of thing, you’ll have to convince your significant other to take care of that. We hope you have fun and remember to play safe. Use a Nerf paddle. We have some at a great low price.

What survival issues are you struggling with this Holiday season? Remember. No question is out-of-bounds, but some of our answers might be!

*Spanking Santa Teams come fully equipped for all contingencies. Video cameras and DVD copies sold separately.

In the Time of Gathering, Some are Better Off Alone

By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

This is the week of the mass American pilgrimage. Thanksgiving, more than any other holiday, is the day we Americans travel home. It is the one holiday we all share, no matter what our religion. The day when we gather as families.

Some of us will have genuinely happy reunions. The stuff of Norman Rockwell.

 

Image from Office of War Information, 1942, wikimedia commons.

Image from Office of War Information, 1942,
wikimedia commons.

 

Most of us will have mixed days. A bit of hassle and a family fuss getting out the door. Then we will roll our eyes at Uncle Freddie’s bad jokes and Aunt Marge complaining that the dressing is dry. But once everyone settles in for the football, it will all be good.

For some, though, Thanksgiving will be a gut-wrenching ordeal — an endurance test of dysfunctional abuse that demoralizes and convinces us that we deserve nothing from life but the crumbs of inadequacy and failed expectations.

Most people who persist in that brutal existence do so from habit and from the fear of change. But a brave few walk away into the unknown with the conviction that whatever lies ahead, it cannot be worse than the hell they left behind. They quit showing up for the beatings.

 

Canstock 2014 Girl Alone with Suitcase

If you are having joyful reunions this week, we celebrate with you. Such family experiences are the source of strength that sustains us through life’s turmoil.

If you are biting your tongue in between hugs and laughter, we admire you for your tolerance and commitment. Such commitment is the foundation of civilization.

If you are suffering, our hearts and prayers go out to you in the hopes that one day, you too will get out.

And if you are one of the ones who walked away, we salute you. You will be alone this week, or with close friends, or with people you barely know who have unfamiliar traditions. If you have persevered down your lonely path, you may even be with a new family by now, making Norman Rockwell jealous.

We know what it took for you to walk away, and we count you as our family. Your “not being there” didn’t come for free, and we honor the price you pay each day. It never gets easy, but it does get better. This song says it all.

 

 

Wherever you are in Life’s pilgrimage this Thanksgiving, we wish you peace.

Happy Thanksgiving!