Dream Job Finally Emerges

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden of Wendell Willkie High School

Hey Mr. C.,

Just when I was starting to feel discouraged about finding work that matches the skills I’ve built up through years of ignoring my teachers and spending homework time playing video games, NASA has come up with a great idea that would suit me perfectly.

Here’s the job description:

You ride around in the International Space Station and use a laser cannon to shoot down space debris.  

Lots of little bits of rockets and satellite pieces and stuff are zipping around in low orbit at incredibly fast speeds,  posing a terrible danger to astronauts and other space missions.   Somebody with a sharp eye and quick reflexes has to go up there and save space for the explorers by knocking those harmful nuggets back into the atmosphere where they can burn up.

That could be a real job?  Are you kidding me?  Where do I sign up?  And please, please, please don’t say you have to be good at math to qualify for this.

That would be a horrible bummer if only the “smart” kids could qualify.   What do they know about shooting down space chunks?  They were busy studying their algebra while I was gaining useful eye-hand coordination experience playing asteroids.

Yes, I’ve been an aimless teenager that long!

Would you be a reference for me on my job application?  If anyone could testify that I’ve put in all the needed idle hours to be a good space debris field potshot specialist, it would be you!

And to tell the truth, everybody else I know is going to apply for this job, so the only one left to be a reference is you! Honest, I won’t forget it if you put in a good word for me.  Please?!

Your pal,

I told Bubby I would be happy to serve as a reference as long as he understands I would be honor bound to tell any prospective employer that he is certainly NOT a good student. But if the job requires this, I can testify that he is most definitely energetic and enthusiastic about using a space cannon.

Have you ever refused someone’s request to serve as a reference?

Pipeline Poem Worsens Word Spill

Header image by Robin Drayton

The news is full of  multiple pipeline projects as protesters try to have their say and slow moving regulatory processes grind on.

Constructing such things is a costly marathon for proponents and opposing them takes time, organization and stamina. Casual observers are sometimes at a loss to know which side should prevail.

The vast number of words generated in any major pipeline fight gush from multiple sources and flood the terrain with claims and counter-claims.

To help sort it out, I commissioned a relevant poetical work from Trail Baboon’s Poet Laureate, Schuyler Tyler Wyler, a well-known literary thief.

At first, STW refused the commission because, he said, “Nothing original can come from it” and “These pipeline battles always end the same way.”

But of course nothing original ever comes from a Schuyler Tyler Wyler poem.

After I showed him the money that could quickly be made, STW said (true to form) that he would do it if he could be allowed to dig another well known poem out of the deepest reaches of our shared language reserves, refine it to remove all the art, beauty and originality, and then ship it directly to me as quickly as possible with his own brand attached for immediate payment.

Because I was desperate and out of time to come up with a post for today, I agreed, even though I knew the result could be a horrible explosion or simply a foul, long-lasting mess.

Sorry, once again, Robert Frost.

Two pipelines converged in my neighborhood,
And sorry I could not protest both
and be one activist, long I stood
Bemoaning one as much as I could
For contents which I use, and loathe.

Then hating the other to be fair.
For though I’d use it just the same
a spill from it would sew despair,
and consequently foul the air
while no one would accept the blame.

Such strong objections did I raise
to both, that from my dual attack
each paused in the approval phase
and judges issued legal stays
while regulators walked them back.

But only for a moment, though
then did it all just recommence.
A lawyer’s herd did overthrow
my arguments, with piles of dough.
And that has made all the difference.

What have you spilled?

“Ursine Spring” Begins

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

H’lo, Bart here.

Got very excited about this video where a family of bears (my people!) confuses a bunch of tourists (your people!) on a bridge at Yellowstone National Park in Montana.

This is a great moment for bears everywhere, because it can mark the beginning of a change in the way people think about us!

Some decided the bears were chasing the people.

Others saw the bears as being frightened and cornered.

But I think these bears are starting a revolution, taking it to the next level in bear-human interactions. They’re stepping it up so we can become more like the animals I really admire – Border Collies!


Border Collies rock because they can get those sheep to do just what they want them to do just by running circles around them, which believe it or not, we bears are fast enough to do.

And you can tell from the Yellowstone video that all those people with the cameras are feeling sheepish. They know they’re not where they’re supposed to be.

They WANT to be in the corral.  They DESERVE to be in the corral.

Plus, Border Collies are dignified, lovable, respected, and recognized by everyone as being super-smart. That’s my dream for bears – that we can have that kind of status.

And at least two meals a day, which sheepdogs also get as part of the deal!

Let the revolution begin!

Your trusted, capable friend,

I think Bart is hallucinating, or the wild berries have both ripened and fermented at the same moment. The Yellowstone bears are frightened and Bart is no sheepdog. But we all can dream!

What animal do you most admire?

Ask Dr. Babooner

We are ALL Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

I’m an older person who enjoys his simple pleasures. I cherish my freedom to “live large.” I figure I’ve earned my leisure time. No one is the boss of me and every minute of every day is pretty much spoken for. I guard my schedule of planned relaxation quite jealously.

Sitting in front of the TV with a beer a jar of nuts is one thing I really enjoy. I know it’s not particularly healthy, but I view physical exertion the same way some people look at paying taxes – I don’t do it unless forced, and then with plenty of complaining.

I don’t socialize or do things with the extended family, because that’s not really part of my routine. I start the day with light beer, dry roasted peanuts and morning news shows and slowly transition to dark, hearty beers, cashews, and police dramas.

There might be some intermittent napping in there as well.

Still, my relatives pester me about doing things to prolong my life, citing studies like this recent one that claims people could live five years longer if they would just do three hours of “moderate” exercise every week.

I don’t doubt that any of this is true, but do the math – that’s six full, 24-hour days of exercise each year. And let’s assume you get your five year “extension”. You’d have to continue this exhausting habit to stay alive – no coasting. Six times five is thirty. You’d be stuck doing another month of exercise until the grim reaper finally allows you to quit!

In the meantime, think of all the TV that would go un-watched, the peanuts that would be uneaten, and the beer that would remain un-drunk!

Dr. Babooner, why should I change my comfortable and abundant lifestyle just to spend more time (literally) on a treadmill?

Bud Planters (not my real name)

I told Bud Planters (not my real name) that his “routine” is actually a steep downward spiral but he’s free to live five years less than he might if that’s his preference. But I couldn’t figure out two things.

  1. How did the mental fog lift long enough for him to do the math on excise and write this letter?
  2. How did he wind up with relatives who care whether he’s around an extra five years or not?

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

No Post Today

At least one baboon was alarmed at the apparent absence of a post yesterday, though she relaxed when I pointed out to her that it was located at The Baboondocks.

But it reminded me how we skate so close to the edge here at Trail Baboon.  The daily post (with Sundays off) is such a relied-upon accessory, one must wonder what might happen if the post didn’t materialize.

Like today.

Yes, because yesterday was such a busy day, I decided late last night that I simply wouldn’t be able to post today.  I was exhausted and  I was all too aware that this morning would bring a day-long chore that cannot be postponed.

My apologies, baboons.   Time ran out.

I briefly thought about quickly writing a post about how there was no post, hoping you’d catch the irony of it and my laziness would seem like inspiration.  You’d be mildly amused, and I’d get away with an easy win.

But I quickly realized you’d see right through that gimmick. Besides, I just don’t have it in me.  Lying takes energy!

So please forgive me for falling down on the job this time.  I hate to deliver less than a sub-par performance, but occasionally events conspire to create failures and disappointments.

No post today!

What th?

Song for a Blue Sunset

Header image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M University

Like everyone else, I’ve started my pro/con list for traveling to Mars.


  • Forced long term travel.
  • Close quarters with near strangers.
  • No breathable air.
  • Certain death.


  • Reduced gravity.
  • No mosquitoes.
  • Blue sunsets.

That last one was verified in striking fashion by the latest photo from Curiosity Rover – an image of a cobalt disc poised over the crisp outline of a mountain range that only happens to be Martian.

It immediately hit me that the first Earthlings to set up camp there would have the opportunity to write a batch of songs about topics that have long been over-explored back home with the distinct advantage of a fresh set of unique experiences.

A blue sunset, for instance.

Then, somewhat less immediately, it hit me that I could only think of three songs that were specifically about a sunset.

  1. Sunrise, Sunset, of course. But it’s a shared billing.
  2. Canadian Sunset is obvious, but it has as many words as Mars has Canadians.
  3. Red Sails in the Sunset comes to mind but it has too much longing for home to be an effective Martian anthem.

Fortunately, the Kinks took care of everything when they did this:

And the beauty part – the song is already about a pronounced distaste for crowds and a fondness for chilly evenings in close company with a special friend – and both are Mars journey prerequisites!

Although the “special friend” is an accessory you  will have to pack or make along the way.

As far as the song is concerned, all you have to do to Martianize it is substitute “What a blue” for “Waterloo”.

Done and done. Going to Mars may not be so difficult after all!

Recall a remarkable sunset.

Words To The Woods

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a cell phone in the woods.

H’lo, Bart here.

Out of hibernation for sure now, and looking for food. Still a little early, though.  SO HUNGRY waiting for the berries to arrive.

The fishing opener is good, ’cause stuff gets left on shore. Sometimes chips and even burgers and hot dogs and stuff like that!  Drunk fishermen are the best kind.  Bears and fish say so!

But you can’t count on people to leave food out.  In July, yes.  Not so much in May.

That’s why I got excited to see this article about self-publishing and how there’s a lot of great opportunities to make extra $$ as a book editor.

All writers need a smart, caring, sometimes brutal, roaring rage-filled editor.  And I’m a pretty good one!  You wouldn’t expect it – me with the big paws and doing all my writing on a smart phone.  But that means I’m always cutting words.  Most writers generate a ton of blah-blah-blah that needs to be gobbled up!

Yes, I’m a Nounatarian and a Verbivore.

And it’s all done online, so you don’t have to worry about making a face-to-face impression on your clients if you have bad breath or don’t look very professional or you happen to be a wild animal who lives alone in the woods .

Some writers complain that with self-publishing, the freelance market has been flooded by unqualified people claiming to be editors and proofreaders.

Maybe so.  I’m not going to dwell on it, though.   Here’s my deal.  I edit your book, you don’t have to pay me in money.  Just ship a loosely secured bag of groceries to a campground address I’ll send you once I get your manuscript.   That’s all there is to it!

Maybe your book is good.  If so, my job is easy and your big payday still comes.  But if your book is an aimless, pointless mess, it can hardly hurt things to slap a sticker on that cover that says “Edited By A Wild Bear!”

Your pal,

How are you at proofreading?


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