Make Your TSA Grope Memorable

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

Spring break is kicking off the travel season, and summer is just around the corner. The DHS and the TSA are already using this timing to further justify molesting American citizens and irradiating them with shocking, and shockingly expensive, strip-scanners in airports, on highways, and in bus terminals.


Canstock image.

Canstock image.


Our advice to you? As Holmes says, “Avoid the radiation by all means. We shouldn’t be irradiating our citizens. Situations like this make me long for the Cold War. At least back then, our government knew who we were supposed to irradiate, and we weren’t planning to offer those SOBs any patdown options.”

We realize this subject causes great stress for many travelers, and our entire goal is to sell books alleviate your stress. So not long ago, we spent the better part of our evening sipping 10-yr-old Guinda* and discussing some creative methods of reducing your stress and lightening up the travel season for you and all of your fellow voyagers.

We want to extend our stress relief to TSA employees, as well. After all, except for the child molesters and other perverts among their ranks, they are mostly people who are just as beleaguered by their duty to grab your crotch as you are.


"Two by two, hands of blue." ~Firefly TSA agents in Boston. Image by DHS, public domain.

“Two by two, hands of blue.” ~Firefly
TSA agents in Boston.
Image by DHS, public domain.


We’re offering these suggestions to help you make your TSA Patdown fun for you and memorable for your TSA agent. Let’s fill America’s airports with laughter and joy this summer. It’s win/win.

1. Pretend you don’t speak English. Whatever translator they bring you, pretend you don’t speak that language, either.

2. If you’re traveling with a church group, you should all simultaneously cry out, “Hallelujah, the rapture is coming!” and start speaking in tongues.



3. Let yourself relax and enjoy it. In fact, moan loudly with pleasure. After all, lots of folks enjoy a good groping, and your TSA agents are hard at work looking for all of your security sweet spots. Be sure to cry out with passion to let your TSA agents know how much you appreciate their security technique. When it’s all done, compliment them, and if it’s your first time, let them know it was everything you dreamed of. Meg Ryan gives us a great example for the TSA encounter.

4. Educate your TSA agent to the benefits of becoming an Amway salesman and refuse to move on until you have finished with your sales pitch.

5. If you are a melanin-gifted traveler, and you’re being groped by a melanin-challenged TSA agent, burst out singing Perry Como’s “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” with the broadest smile you can muster. (We recommend against any rap songs about killing authority figures.)

6. Tell your TSA agent that if her groping inspires an out-of-body experience, you will reward her with a kiss and a phone call on the morrow.


Man in kilt enjoying his TSA grope. Canstock image.

Man in kilt enjoying his TSA grope.
Canstock image.


7. For men, wear a kilt with no underwear. When they get to your genitals, have a bouquet of flowers pop out of your cod purse playing Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Then, in your best Mike Myers Scottish accent, exclaim, “Ah, Laddie, ye give such good grroope!”

If the TSA fails to offer you a complimentary groping and attempts to re-route you through a metal detector, remind them loudly that you paid full fare for this ticket, and you are every bit as entitled to a groping as any other traveler would be. And don’t worry. If you are a virgin, you will still be a virgin when they are finished. But if they offer the free cavity search, definitely turn them down.

Let’s fill America’s airports with laughter, song, and joy this summer travel season. It’s win/win. And remember, you’re in good hands with TSA.

All the best to all of you for avoiding all unwanted gropings.


The bottle we toast from on special occasions.

The bottle we toast from on special occasions.


*Guinda is a traditional Spanish drink made from cherries. It will give you a serious case of the warm-fuzzies.

Meet Flat Spooky

By Piper Bayard

My writing partner, Jay Holmes, is a senior intelligence operative. He’s also my Underworld Google, and you can imagine the questions that I come up with for him while I’m tapping out our prose. . . . How would the antag kill a man so that it takes around 10 minutes for him to die–not too much blood, but some gasping? How much will our protag think about his wife during a mission, and when? Exactly how would our protag get the captive bad guy to talk in time to save civilization as we know it? Suffice to say that Holmes’s knowledge and experience are comprehensive and unique.

Movie pic Inspector Cleusseau with spy glass

Actual top secret photo of Holmes on a mission.

However, because Holmes is who and what he is, there are times he isn’t available for those questions that come up almost daily in our projects. So I started interviewing for a part-time Underworld Google.

Meet Flat Spooky. You may have heard of Flat Stanley – the little boy who got flattened and now rides around in countless pockets, delivering event and activity reports to schoolchildren across the nation. Turns out Spooky is his cousin. Distant cousin. Twice removed. And even flatter.

 FS SF Born in back seat of Ford focus 5-3-14

Baby photo of Flat Spooky.

Flat Spooky was both conceived and born in the back seat of a Ford Focus in a public parking lot on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. His mother was a Russian honey pot, and his father once played an extra in The Bourne Legacy. Needless to say, Flat Spooky knows he has a lot to live down, and he is ever eager to prove himself a loyal American and a capable spook. After all, he has read lots of Tom Clancy novels, and he’s seen all of the Bond films at least twice.

When Flat Spooky found me on Twitter, he begged to ride around with me in my pocket in the hopes of some day meeting Holmes. He promised to give me his best shot at making up answers whenever I need them for our stories, so I put him in my purse. Little did I know what a personality I was taking on!


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

Spooky began his first day on the planet by driving across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco.

FS SF at Coit Tower 5-3-14

He wheedled me to take him to Coit Tower. Turns out, Spooky’s greatest desire is to experience the charms of a lady. He heard me say “Coit” and thought it might be short for something else. He was disappointed to find out I was talking about a building that did not house . . . entertainment specialists.

Frustrated, he convinced me to take him to Ghirardelli Square to redirect his passions. He indulged.


 FS SF in box with chocolates 5-3-14

And indulged.

FS with Ghirardelli chocolate bars 5-3-14

And indulged.

FS with two favorite things, America and chocolate

At that point, he was 86ed from the place for getting inappropriate with the merchandise.

Then, Spooky decided it was time to earn his chops as an espionage expert. He snuck up on this bear and swiped his ice cream cone. I pointed out that such behavior did not make him a spook; it made him a common thief or a DHS employee. No national interest was served, and this illegal activity was conducted on American soil. Category “No-No” for a spook. Spooky burped and tried to drag me into the ice cream store. We’ll have to work on those ethical concepts.

FS SF trying to eat ice cream with bear 5-3-14

I thought a bit of education was in order, so I took Spooky aboard the USS Pampanito, a WWII submarine museum at Fisherman’s Wharf. Spooky is now the only “person” to ever board a submarine and think that it’s roomy.

FS SF at CO's door on USS Pompadino 5-3-14   FS SF gazing into meeting room of USS Pampanito 5-3-14

The C.O.’s quarters — about the size of a decent closet, and a meeting room — a slightly more decent closet.


   FS SF on bunk in USS Pampanito 5-3-14

Torpedo bay with bunks. There were only half as many bunks on the submarine as there were sailors, and the sailors took turns sleeping.

FS riding trolley with Ninja seahorse 5-3-13

Then we rode a trolley, and Spooky met another flat, sentient creature, Ninja Seahorse. Apparently, Ninja Seahorse rides in the purse of historical fiction author Susan Spann, who writes about a ninja detective in her Shinobi Mystery series. Spooky immediately attempted to recruit this visitor from Japan as an asset by enticing him into a sushi restaurant.

 FS SF Spooky and Ninja going into Sushi restaurant

Bad idea. The chefs thought poor Ninja Seahorse would make a great appetizer, and the two of them had to hide in this spray painting to escape.

SF Spray painting on the street

The next day, Spooky, Ninja Seahorse, Susan Spann, and I went to Napa Valley. Spooky convinced me he was 21, and I let him have a drink. I should have known better. It started with a civilized flute of sparkling wine at Mumm Napa . . .

FS SF Mumm Napa sparkling wine with Ninja Seahorse 5-4-14

but before long, Spooky was in his cups with Ninja Seahorse and an electrical plug of dubious origins who called herself “Polly” at a vineyard that could have been named after a porn star. Susan and I had to drag them out and send them to bed. Without Polly.

FS SF drinking with Polly Plug and Ninja Seahorse at Black Stallion 5-4-14

 The next day, Spooky had his first hangover, made more intense by the fact that his entire body is only a head.


FS SF eating hangover toast 5-5-14

Susan and I convinced him to come out with us for a bit of coffee and some hangover toast while Ninja Seahorse curled up in a corner of his aquarium and imbibed salt water. Suddenly, just between threatening to barf and begging the waiter to turn down the sunlight from the window, the love of Spooky’s life walked through the door.

FS SF falling in love with Allison Brennan 5-5-14

New York Times bestselling thriller author Allison Brennan. Spooky froze, enthralled and speechless. Then he threw himself at Allison’s feet and professed his undying love. She politely explained that she is happily married and has five children, but Spooky was not to be deterred. So Allison held him up to her heart for a picture. Spooky fainted.

Now, he’s back in my purse, pining after Allison, eating chocolate, and standing ready to answer any questions I might have for him while Holmes and I write our spy thrillers.

This little guy may be too much for my patience. He’s already filled my purse with chocolate wrappers.

How do you suggest I civilize this little wannabe spook?

Caption, Please

By Piper Bayard

One of the fun parts of my job is all of the traveling I get to do. Needless to say, Holmes and I are careful where we meet up, and it can make for some interesting sites along the way.

How about a caption for this one? Please keep it clean, and don’t insult anyone’s religion. I know that will be a challenge with this one, but you are clever people, so I’m sure you’re up to it. Have fun!

image by Piper Bayard

image by Piper Bayard

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Driving School for Dogs

Though it is for a good cause, it’s too bad we don’t put this much effort into teaching humans to drive. Maybe the “click and treat” method should be employed in human Drivers Ed classes.

Perhaps we could get more people to adopt orphans and foster children if there was a program like this to show people how awesome those kids can be with time and attention.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

The Three Stages of Author Marketing by historical fiction author Susan Spann over at Writers in the Storm this week. Look for Susan’s debut novel, CLAWS OF THE CAT, next July.

Claws of the Cat Cover

Heather Konik over at Prawn and Quartered is one of the most astute people I know. How Bob Costas Got it Wrong

Sometimes it seems we can never do enough. Pack Your Bags, We’re Going on a Guilt Trip by the ever-clever Best Selling Author Kristen Lamb.

What have been your turning points? Life-Defining Moments by Award Winning Best Selling Author Vicki Hinze.

KM Huber shares her journey to digestive health. At a time when so many of us are going gluten free and making other dietary changes to avoid that daily handful of pills that seems to accompany middle age in the West, it helps to hear how persistence can get you there over time. And Then, You’re There

Dating Guru Blake Eastman Decodes Body Language

Five Things Really Smart People Do

Black Panther Magnus Manske wikimedia

Image by Magnus Manske, wikimedia commons

Black Panthers sightings have been common throughout the South for decades, yet scientists still don’t believe. Black Panther Folklore by Catie Rhodes.

And in case you’re wondering what to get those ladies in your life this holiday season, don’t forget we now have Bic Pens for Women. Hysterical video from Ellen Degeneres that comes to us thanks to mystery writer Kathy Owen. Thanks, Kathy! Good thing I can type. Not sure I could handle one of these.

And now for our Campaign Style Poll Daddy of the week.

All the best to all of you for a safe week behind the wheel.

Piper Bayard–The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse

One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Dreamers

By Piper Bayard

My parents sat us in front of the TV on that July day back in 1969 and said, “You will want to tell your children about this.” We watched Neil Armstrong take the first walk on the moon, not understanding how remarkable it was, but thinking it was incredibly cool just the same.

Our young lives were filled with Tang and Quisp and astronauts, and since each generation believes the world springs fully formed at the moment of its own birth, we took the moon walks for granted. After all, they happened every few months, and at our age, there wasn’t really a time before. We were certain people would be living on the moon by the time we were adults, using it as a base to explore the rest of the solar system.

And Star Trek? Why not? Even Russians and Americans eventually set aside the space race fueled by the Cold War and shared the International Space Station. Space wasn’t only the final frontier. It was the place where humans stood together in the face of the unknown Universe. The very essence of Star Trek made real.

I am only now fully feeling the possibility that there will be no more moon walks in my lifetime. In fact, I’m fond of saying, “We put a man on the moon with a slide rule. Why can’t we do it again with all of these computers? I’m not seeing any improvement here.”

But Neil Armstrong and the other brave astronauts of those years planted a seed in the minds and hearts of humanity that not only stands for the wonders we can find in the night sky, but for what is possible here on earth. My parents were right. I do point to that moment and tell my children, “Anything is possible if we choose to make it so.”

Image from NASA.

Thank you, Neil Armstrong. R.I.P.

All the best to all of you for keeping the fire burning.

Things I Learned on Vancouver Island

By Piper Bayard

That’s it. I’m in love with Canada. Genuinely a land of Northern efficiency and Southern hospitality.

We spent most of the past two weeks on Vancouver Island, in Victoria and on the shore outside of Sooke. The full moon reflecting off the Strait of Juan de Fuca was worth the trip in itself. The best of both civilization and the wild in a land where vast tracts of mountain forest drop straight down to the sea.

I learned many things in this place where earth, sky and water converge.

This calls for a list.

Things I Learned on Vancouver Island

  1. It takes approximately 39 hours for Americans to add “eh” to their vocabularies.
  2. Poutine (French fries with gravy and cheese curds) is a food group.
  3. Residents of the Vancouver Island coast have driveways so steep you could use them to teach raccoons to climb trees.
  4. The ocean can transform from surreally perfect glass to “Oh, hell! How’d I end up on Deadliest Catch?” in approximately 30 minutes.
  5. The waves of an incoming tide will mesmerize you like online games and, like online games, can leave you wondering where you put the last five hours of your life.
  6. Seeing a killer whale up close in the wild is worth every bit of the sandblasting rain you endure to get to it.
  7. A fifteen pound halibut can win two throws out of three against a six foot woman.
  8. Snorkeling in Victoria Harbor is an excellent argument for snorkeling in the Caribbean.
  9. The friendly common greeting and farewell of Canadian island children is to moon arriving and departing guests as the ferry passes.
  10. Canadians do not consider it friendly for ferry passengers to moon the children in return.
Overall, it was a pocket of time with my family so precious that a part of me will always live there. Click on the tab Vancouver Island 2012 above for a few of my favorite photos. And yes. It was overcast most of the time, but that didn’t bother this desert refugee one bit.

Have you ever been to The Great White North? What fun and interesting things have you learned in your travels?

I’m happy to say that HOLMES IS BACK! We will be publishing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while we work on our spy thriller, Blood Truffles, so keep an eye out for more current events, history, and side-stitching sarcasm.

All the best to all of you for a week of beautiful moons.

Victoria Has No Secrets — Bayard & Holmes Cyber Smack US Airways CEO

By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

US Airways CEO Doug Parker has earned the honor of having his otherwise pathetic existence being mentioned on our web page. Doug’s claim to infamy is based on the fact that he collects a $2.8 million paycheck as the CEO of US Airways.

US Airways recently got some attention in the media, and like most of the attention that it has received since its merger with America West in 2005, that recent attention was negative.

On June 15, a US Airways pilot had Deshon Marman, 20, arrested because he did not pull up his pants above his boxer shorts in a timely fashion. An employee at the boarding gate in San Francisco asked Marman to pull up the baggy pajamas he was wearing because he was exposing his boxer shorts to God and everybody, none of whom cared to see them. According to his mother, who was traveling with him, Deshon’s hands were full of his luggage so he was not able to comply immediately. Instead, he boarded the plane, then pulled up his pants and sat down. As a result of his “defiance” of an order from a US Airways employee, the plane was evacuated, and he was taken away in handcuffs with the whole Reality TV treatment. Click here for more.

We have no problem with US Airways not allowing people in sagging pajamas to fly on planes that other members of the general public are paying to share. We’re personally sick and tired of people running around in public in their pajamas and underwear, and we’re glad US Airways showed a little bit of respect for the rest of the passengers by booting this youngster from the plane. But the story doesn’t end there. . . .

We have since found out that on June 9, six days prior to that incident, a middle-aged man dressed only in scanty women’s lingerie and a see-through shrug was allowed to board a US Airways flight in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Several passengers complained about the cross-dresser’s lack of clothing, but their complaints were ignored, and the panty-clad fellow was allowed to complete his flight.

Yes, really.

We see a double standard in this. If flying in scanty women’s underwear with no pants or skirt meets US Airways’ minimum requirements for attire, why was the young football player booted for having his boxer shorts exposed? While many people are offended by the overt display of boxer shorts, more people are offended by people walking around in any public place in nothing but their underwear, regardless of whether it is gender appropriate.

From our point of view, US Airways showed a lack of respect for its passengers when it allowed the Florida cross-dresser to board the plane without sufficient clothing. Had he chosen to fly in a black evening gown, an Ann Taylor ensemble, or any clothing similar to that worn by any other passenger, male or female, we would mind our own business concerning his personal dress preferences, and we would fly on the same plane without complaining.

We suspect what occurred here was political correctness run amok. While we would not want any cross-dresser to suffer any negative discrimination simply because they choose attire from the “other” side of the department store, we also don’t think that being a cross-dresser should earn anyone any special entitlements. Shame on US Airways for such spineless discrimination against it’s non-cross-dressing passengers.

The young man traveling in baggy pajamas was smart enough to contract an attorney. We don’t know how US Airways defense team is going to explain away the comparison to the cross-dresser. At this point, it looks like a jury will have the chance to sort that out.

Normally, we wouldn’t automatically blame the CEO for what could be the conduct of a few employees who are ignoring corporate policy, but US Airways has a long and distinguished record of bad customer service. Just so you don’t think we’re being too harsh with Douggie Parker, we’d like to point out a couple of the more heinous incidents at US Airways that we can recall.

  • In May, 2009, a blind man was dragged off a flight, jailed, and told he was faking his blindness. His crime? He was asking too many questions about why the flight was delayed. Click here.
  • US Airways booted a man with cerebral palsy from one of its planes in October, 2010, saying the man was too disabled to fly. Never mind that the man is a professional motivational speaker who has flown thousands of miles without his disability being an issue. Click here.
  • In January, 2011, they left an elderly stroke victim stranded in her wheelchair in the rain. Click here.

Since such an outstanding record of passenger abuse is evidence of a top-down problem, we are awarding US Airways CEO Doug Parker with a Cyber Smack. This prize includes weekly commutes as a normal passenger on his airline. To make his travel experience more entertaining (for the rest of us) Douggie will be required to negotiate the TSA checkpoint not once, but four times for each flight, and he will be required to fly in a wheelchair, with a mask covering his eyes. He will also be seated next to Rosie O’Donnell, who will be clothed in nothing except men’s underwear.

If Doug Parker proves to be more intrepid than we assume he is, and he actually survives a year of flying on US Airways without being killed or committing suicide, perhaps the experience will help him develop some compassion toward his passengers.

If you’ve suffered the misfortune of flying US Airways at some point in time, please share any special messages you may have for Douggie below in the comments.

Have you had any Close Encounters of the Troubling Kind with your airline carrier? Are there any airlines or airline employees you would like to give a Cyber Smack?