Monday, September 29, 2008

Large Hadron Collider - Out of Order

Today in Hawaii, a U.S. District Court Judge, dismissed a "doomsday lawsuit" to stop all operations of the particle accelerator at CERN in Europe. For details see my September 10, 2008 article, “Good News for Nerds - Aurora Over Switzerland?

As you already know, the Large Hadron Collider is located on the French-Swiss border close to Geneva, Switzerland. It has been down since the first week of operation. No one knows if a micro black hole was playing Pacman with a few critical bolts out of the accelerator, or it just overheated.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Day of Fall - Celebrate With a Great "Late for Work" Excuse

As of 11:44:16 EDT, Monday, September 22, 2008, the first day of fall kicked in. What better way to celebrate the occasion than falling behind schedule and making up some bizarre reason for being late for work.

I checked into the most popular excuses for being late and also polled a few managers to find out the most outrageous excuses they were given. Here are the top 10:

1. While rowing across the river to work, I got lost in the fog. (MSN, Careers)
2. My kid stole my car, so I couldn’t drive to work
3. The line was too long at Duncan Donuts
4. Someone stole my hub caps
5. My normal route to work was barricaded for a tailgate party and I stopped for pulled pork
6. The guy next to me was picking his nose at a traffic light and I was out of barf bags, so I had to pull over
7. I didn't have money for gas because all of the pawnshops were closed (MSN, Careers)
8. I was trying to get my gun back from the police (MSN, Careers)
9. As I left the deli, someone stole my cheese
10. I logged on to YouTube this morning and lost track of time

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pirates and Treasure and Kids - Oh My!

Today, I wanted to let you in on a terrific book for parents and grandparents, who are looking to raise pirates, “GUIDE TO PIRATE PARENTING, Cap'n Billy "The Butcher" MacDougall.” It takes me back to the time I went metal detecting on Marconi Beach off the coast of Wellfleet, MA, and saw the pirate ship “Whydah’s” mast sticking up about 200 yards off-shore.

Most people don’t know about the pirate ship Whydah, but I remember it from the late 1970s, when JFK Jr. was still in college and worked for an entire summer with a salvage company owned by Barry Clifford aboard the Vast Explorer out of Nantucket, MA.

They laid claim to the Whydah that summer and the company has been finding treasure from it ever since. Legend has it that if you go up there after a Nor'-Easter, you might find gold and silver and pieces of eight washed up on the beach.

Makes you drool, eye mate?

A few years ago, I met Tim Bete at the University of Dayton. He had similar pirating experiences in his childhood, but since he had to grow up and get a real job, he took the edge off of having to let go of Blackbeard and Captain Hook, and developed a terrific child-rearing methodology called Pirate Parenting. I recently sent him an e-mail to find out how the main character in his book was doing and got this reply:

In an effort to get more publicity for his book, GUIDE TO PIRATE PARENTING, Cap'n Billy "The Butcher" MacDougall (that be me) has agreed to star in the upcoming High School Musical 3. You can watch the movie trailer here:

Cap'n Billy

Here is the skinny on his book:

Title: CAP’N BILLY “THE BUTCHER” MACDOUGALL’S GUIDE TO PIRATE PARENTING: Why you should raise your kids as pirates and 101 tips on how to do it
ISBN: 978-1-58385-127-2
Category: Parenting/Humor
Type: Paperback
Size: 6 x 9, 123 pages
Cover price: $10.95
Publisher: Cold Tree Press
Publication date: April 2007

Guide to Pirate Parenting can be purchased at bookstores, or directly from the publisher or author.

Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction
How I Met Cap’n Billy and Why You Should Raise Your Children to Be Pirates

Part 2: Cap’n Billy “The Butcher” MacDougall’s Guide to Pirate Parenting:

Baby Pirates—Mapping Out Your Child’s Future

Belly Timber—Feeding Your Pirate

Sleeping Like a Seadog and Other Nocturnal Issues

Quelling Mutinies—Disciplining Your Pirate

Scurvy and Hook Injuries—Pirate Health and Safety

Your Pirate's First Ship—How to Convert Your Minivan into a Pirate Schooner

As Your Pirate Gets Older (The Teen Years and Beyond)

About the Authors
Tim Bete (pronounced “beet”) began his nautical adventures as a child sailing on Buzzards Bay off the coast of Massachusetts. At age 10, he longed for a small cannon to put on his grandfather’s 30-foot wooden ketch—a quick, two-masted vessel that is perfect for catching other ships so you can plunder ’em. His parents scuttled the cannon idea, saying he “would terrorize other boats with it.” That’s exactly what he had in mind.

Bete's parenting advice has been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines and Web sites, including The Christian Science Monitor, Atlanta Parent, Big Apple Parent, Northwest Family, and His first book, In the Beginning…There Were No Diapers, was a 2006 Foreword Best Book of the Year finalist.

Bete’s hobbies include pushing his luck and skating on thin ice. In his spare time, he’s director of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop (

Cap’n Billy “The Butcher” MacDougall (pronounced "MacDougall") has been hiding from authorities for most of his life. He lives on his ship, The Frightened Flounder, but can sometimes be found at the Crow’s Nest Tavern. His hobbies include plundering and rum.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good News for Nerds - Aurora Over Switzerland?

Now that the great minds of the world have gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, to discover the secrets of the universe, I can use mine to let you know what comes next.

The last time I looked, it was obvious that they really don’t know what to expect. Dr Aldo Saavedra, a particle physicist at the University of Sydney, actually said "It would be really nice if nature actually provided some very puzzling thing that theories haven't actually thought of."

Guess what?

The University of Alaska has been studying auroras for years and says that “the aurora is caused by radiation emitted as light from atoms in the upper atmosphere as they are hit by fast-moving electrons and protons. The kind of atom determines the color.” These are the same kind of electrons and protons that they are messing with in CERN, right?

As a grandmother and homework researcher, I theorize that the world will not end because of black holes; Higgs is actually hovering somewhere over Transylvania; and there will be a new Aurora over Switzerland and a 600 foot hole in the ground after the $4 Billion Large Hadron Collider blows up trying to find Higgs. What color the aurora will be is another story.

According to Wikipedia, “Different gases interacting with the upper atmosphere will produce different colors, caused by the different compounds of oxygen and nitrogen. The level of solar wind activity from the sun can also influence the color of the aurorae.”

Mary and Ian Butterworth, Imperial College London, and Doris and Vigdor Teplitz, of the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, have written a one page dummy book on Higgs Boson. You can read it at

The new phenomenon will probably not be called Aurora Borealis, which in Latin means "the dawn of the north", but I'm not sure if scientists have the kahones to call it what it is "Aurora Illigitimi Carbarundum." Regardless, get your cameras ready for the Alps.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Secure Undisclosed Location

The scene was tense; several off-duty police officers accompanied by private security guards were in the process of transporting an invaluable object to an undisclosed location. Bo Diddley, I mean, Bo Dieti, the president of the security company, marched in a clave rhythm down the hall to the vault. An armored car with an intimidating driver, who looked like Shrek, idled outside. They carefully opened the vault, and Bo Dieti handcuffed the object to his wrist for the trip.

What was it that warranted the security of a multi-million dollar Van Gogh?

A famous recipe, of course.

About 68 years ago, the world’s most famous recipe was created and locked up for safe keeping. No, it’s not the Baldwin Sisters' bootlegger father’s famous whiskey blend. It is Colonel Harland Sanders’ ingenious concoction and handwritten (in pencil) recipe containing the 11 herbs and spices that coat KFC’s famous Original Recipe chicken.

The recipe is so protected that some of the herbs and spices are combined at different locations in the Unites States and the only complete copy is secured in the corporate vault, until now.

As it was removed from the vault, the KFC CEO was experiencing mood altering endorphins, probably hitting the john every 5 minutes, as “the recipe” hadn’t seen the light of day in over 20 years. However, they successfully whisked it away, like Dick Cheney, to a secure undisclosed location.

I always figured one would have to have the taste buds of a catfish to figure out the recipe. Especially, after a few of my friends tried to duplicate it once for a cook out. We thought it would be a hoot to try.

We carefully selected our R&D team from among the ladies of our auxiliary.

Esther Jean was our taster. She really did have the taste buds of a catfish. She also had the strong genetic characteristics of a Rhode Island Red, although the locals claimed it was from all the corn liquor she consumed. So, we sent out for some Original Recipe chicken and let her have at it.

Talking with her mouth full, she identified paprika, cayenne, and a handful of other spices that didn’t make sense.

Ethel was assigned to beating the corn flakes that were inside of a large zip-lock bag, with a meat hammer. She was an old pro at this, since it was the only way she could get her teenaged son, who was prone to apathy and inactivity in the practice of virtue, out of bed most mornings. Trudy was doing the same thing to a bag of unsuspecting saltines.

We merged the corn flakes and cracker crumbs together along with a cup of corn meal into a very large bowl, while Sally was beating the glue - egg whites.

We also precooked the chicken in boiling water for 20 minutes before breading because Mabel, our coater, was a bit squeamish at the sight of blood.

The end result?

Three sticks of dynamite and Bam! Bam! Bam!

We went to Peachez and ordered buckets.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Conservatorship" and Paulson’s Bazooka

No, this is not an article about an upcoming book by Alan Greenspan titled “Beam Me Up Scotty.”

The two companies that are allegedly having a negative impact on the housing market, Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddy Mac (FRE), (aka the Clampetts) are going to be placed under house arrest and controlled by the Government.

What, all of a sudden the government has a project team of efficiency experts ready to hit the ground running?

This is really an experiment in positive thinking and a new project management initiative by Henry Paulson called “Conservatorship.” I think it should be put on the ballot in November.

Which one of the Presidential candidates will be able to pull off a Franklin Roosevelt and drastically improve the economy so that everybody’s pot can be in a Beverly Hills mansion? By the time they get done screwing up “Conservatorship,” nobody’s fannie will be in Beverly Hills, and Freddie will be Kruegered on NASDAQ (FKED).

I point out a statement Paulson gave Congress in July, at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, "If you have a bazooka in your pocket and people know it, you probably won't have to use it."

So, I guess either McCain or Obama will have to wave some magic wand to deflect the consequences of Paulson’s bazooka, because Congress has been acting like a bunch of slugs in a salt ring.

No comment from Federal Reserve incumbent, Ben Shalom Bernanke. You can be sure, however, that the government will be the 800 lb. gorilla in the room at the title insurance company office the next time you buy or sell a house.

I'm no accounting expert, but I never thought conservator and bazooka were synonymous, and is it really Fannie and Freddy driving the housing market into the pits, or Banking Industry and government mismanagement? Do they fully understand the concept of diverse portfolios?

They lie to us, just like the oil industry.

Every time I turn on the news I hear things like, the price of oil is up “on news of [you can fill in the blank with the excuse of the day, bon appetit!].” On what? I figure it’s the fact that they can raise the price of oil like a dog scratches his balls – because he can.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Is Chad Johnson Really Ocho Seis?

Cincinnati Bengals Receiver, Chad Johnson, has legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ocho Cinco (Spanish for the number 85) in his home state of Florida. I don’t know why he had an issue with the name Johnson (unless it had something to do with a Madeline Kahn "it’s twue" statement), but kept the first name “Chad.” After all, he is from Florida and it is election time. There must still be something in the bit bucket, right?

Ocho Cinco and his coach, Marvin Lewis, have asked the media to immediately begin referring to him by this legal name and the NFL approved the name on his jersey – another battle won. As you probably recall, two years ago, he was fined $5,000 for putting “Ocho Cinco” on his jersey during a game because it was not legal.

"Is that a 'yes' or the number of your intelligence quotient, uh?" Ben Jabituyam, "Short Circuit."

Ocho Cinco has lead an impressive football career and is a popular NFL player, always giving stellar performances, but he has had issues with both the media and his teammates, making him really “ochenta y seis” (86) to some people. Strong rumors indicate that he would like to be traded to the Washington Redskins. Understandably, Joe Gibbs is glad he retired and I can’t repeat Coach Jim Zorn’s gestures.

Now, you understand what we are all in for during this 2008 football season. Ocho Cinco was so overly confident about his prowess as an athlete, during a recent interview, that he claimed he could even beat Michael Phelps in a swim match.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Asian Elephant in Detox

Tonight I had a choice between writing about Republicans or Democrats, but I really hate politics, although I did watch Sarah Palin’s entire dynamite speech. Anyway, I asked myself what would be more interesting to my readers, a story about the first Republican woman VP candidate, or the first elephant that ever got hooked on heroine? Xiguang the elephant won.

I found this story out on the BBC while I was Googling for a rebuttal against Democrats, who question Palin’s foreign policy experience. I also found a video that proves Pablo Picasso is reincarnated as an endangered Asian Elephant. I just love the credibility of Internet research.

Who is Xiguang, you ask?

Xiguang is a four-year-old Asian Elephant that was ambushed by elephant traders when he was only a year old. They fed him bananas laced with heroine for a year to keep him calm and controlled. They let him loose when the food bill topped the $5 Million mark. No one knows the long-range goal of the ROI.

A Wildlife conservation group found Xiguang with a monkey on his back in the southwest of China. They must have interrogated him, because they reported to the BBC that he was first captured by the traders along the Chinese-Mynmar border in March of 2005 and kept drugged for a year. The conservation group took him to an animal protection center in Hainan Island, China, and treated him with methadone injections until he was clean.

When he returns home on Saturday, he will reside at the Yunnan Wild Animal Park in Yunnan province, Kunming. As you can see from the above photo, his mother is pissed.

Sources are still not certain if he was originally abducted to restore the Sistine Chapel.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fashionable Kicking Dribbling and Bloopers

No, this is not an article about an upcoming Steven King book titled "Seppuku." A German optician, Stephanie Berndt, has really designed these stunning contact lenses for the cool fashionable soccer mom to wear to soccer drills and events. Sources claim that she wasn't drinking a warm dunkels when she created the lenses.

It is no longer challenging enough for people to cart their kids to scheduled sports events at inconvenient hours after school and on weekends, hoping for a little Houston Dynamo (I can still remember kicking an empty cow juice can around whenever we pleased). Nor is it enough that soccer moms get into fist fights because somebody scored a goal with their back side, instead of a kick. Now, they also want to make a championship fashion statement, hopefully away from flying balls.

Today, dedicated moms and daring goalies can travel to Munich and buy a pair of these for around $55.00 and keep the ball on their eye.