Trial Balloon

Federal Booty Administration

Posted at 4:56 AM on February 18, 2009 by Dale Connelly (22 Comments)

Received early today on a seawater-soaked cassette tape via carrier pigeon from Captain Billy, and transcribed by me in something approaching pirate lingo:

It has come t' my attention that there is a sudden an' immediate need for "shovel ready" work projects what can be put into action as quick as possible t' burn up fresh stimulus dollars.

While it don't take a genius t' figure out that a large portion of said dollars is likely t' go t' such mundane pursuits as buildin' bridges an' fixin' roadways, I proposes that at least a tiny share of this mighty windfall be diverted into a line of "shovel ready" work that could, if 'n th' winds of fortune be kind, pay for itself in short order.

Diggin' fer buried treasure!

As we pirates of th' high seas is well aware, th' whole world is awash in treasure what has been secreted underground in all manner of places, from delightful sandy beaches t' th' windiest peaks of th' most frozen mountainous terrain. Fugitives from justice such as ourselves has historically chosen t' submerge our winnings in th' earth rather than hand it over when authorities finally catches up. Tradition demands that a map be left an' that said map falls into th' hands of one who feels eerily compelled t' seek th' treasure, regardless of risk.

That someone is myself.

I has, over th' years, accumulated many maps markin' th' sketchy whereabouts of various fortunes, from th' famous Yellow Rubies of Jaundiced Jeff, t' th' Golden Trinkets of One-Eye Baines an' th' Legendary Lost Marbles of King Lumpy.
There is more diggin' t' be done than me boys of th' Muskellunge can possibly attempt. However, I am willin' t' share this information with th' government of th' USA in th' interests of puttin' millions of strong arms an' willin' backs t' work immediately.

Th' potential payback is staggerin', an I believes that indulgin' in th' fevered quest fer sudden, random wealth matches up pretty good with th' job skills an' experience of many millions of idle Americans, especially them what formerly held jobs on Wall Street.
An' as a gesture of my magnanimosity, I is willin' t' sign over all th' proceeds of this impendin' avalanche of money t' th' noble task of reimbursin' th' taxpayers!

All I asks for myself is that I be made overseer of th' entire effort, carryin' th' personal title "Secretary of Spoils", with jurisdiction over a new department - th' Federal Booty Administration. Me boys would, of course, hold all th' key offices in th' FBA, an' they would report directly t' me when they wasn't out scourin' th' countryside for all variety of booty.

T' hold a steady government job has long been my dream, an' if I can help th' American nation climb out of its current morass with a Booty Administration of which they can be rightly proud, then it is my privilege, nay, my duty, t' do so!

Awaitin' yer response,
Captain Billy (an' th' crew).

Heartlanders, you are at the head of the line.
Who would like to work with Captain Billy in the new F.B.A.?
I'm sure you all feel shovel ready, but what qualifications do you bring to this important task?


Comments (22)

Oh, I'm highly qualified. Cap'n Billy would love to have me. But do I have to show that I'm not a lobbyist or haven't cheated on my taxes and that I am of high moral character and things like that. If so I'll get back to you in a few days.

Posted by Roy | February 18, 2009 6:07 AM


Sign me up as long as I don't have to go to sea or wield a shovel. (I did enough of that on archaeological excavations.)

How about a paper shuffling job in a comfy office in Northfield. I'd keep track of how much of the stimulus money was spent and how much treasure was reported.

The local economy would be stimulated (through my spending on coffee and paper for reports) even if Capt Billy had trouble finding the X on islands.

Posted by Ken in Northfield | February 18, 2009 6:12 AM


i would venture any of us goat herds (or horse or chicken or insert other livestock) is pretty good with a shovel but has had her/his fill of shoveling and would prefer, like Ken, a warm place to situate and nothing to dig for. how about just giving us the treasure and we do nothing for it and then use the booty to buy out other goat farms (or more horses, chickens, cattle, etc.)? The Captain could buy out other um, entrepreneurs of the sea.

Posted by Barb in Blackhoof | February 18, 2009 6:38 AM


I'm with Ken and Barb on the issue of shoveling. As the mother of a teenager, I'm overly- well acquainted with shoveling. Any good paper-pushing songs for the morning?

Oh... good morning Heartlanders!

Posted by sherrilee | February 18, 2009 6:41 AM


Qualified or not, only one question lurks in my mind- Do any of the crew look anything like Johnny Depp?

Posted by Donna | February 18, 2009 6:42 AM


I'm with the non-shovelers...but I have an idea...how about training some truffle pigs to root for gold? Though I heard on the radio this morning something about a truffle dinner costing $5K -- maybe the treasure could turn out to be truffles!

Ah...any word on a pirate who looks like Johnny Depp, Donna? Let me know if you hear...I'm there!

Dale & Mike, thanks for John Hartford. another (musical) treasure.

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | February 18, 2009 6:56 AM


The world definitely needs another acronym... FBA!

Super busy. Missed the show and blog yesterday.

Not related to the theme here... but how about something from the Leonard Cohen "Dear Heather" album?

Have a great day, all!

Posted by elinor | February 18, 2009 6:58 AM


Good morning, everyone -

Seems that many of us pronounce "shovel" as "shuffle"! Dale and Mike, do you have "Freddie the Freeloader"? Maybe the Jon Hendricks and Friends version? Or "String of Pearls"?

Posted by Gail in Wisconsin | February 18, 2009 7:12 AM


Dear Cap'n Billy,

I am writing to apply for a position in your soon-to-be-formed Federal Booty Administration. As the parent of a small child, I have the skills you need. I am among the recently laid-off and could start immediately.

I have experience in the following: digging in the sand, digging in wet mud, searching for small and large lost items in unlikely places, on-the-fly repairs on a variety of items, and dealing with surly characters in need of a nap (or dinner).

My background as a parent, paired with my desire for work, make me an excellent candidate for the F.B.A. I look forward to talking with you about how my skills can benefit your organization.

Sincerely,
Anna (from Minneapolis)

Posted by Anna | February 18, 2009 7:25 AM


Good Morning!

Well being a dog guy, I have more experience with baggies than shovels so I would have no trouble joining the shovel brigade.

I think I could also offer some power options since I have a very high energy Border Collie who I could train to do some serious power digging. While I might regret having taught him this skill down the road, I know he would be up for the challenge, after all, he really enjoyed learning to walk up the stairs backwards.

So I have decided that I will be forming the contracting firm of Spade & Paws for the Cause. While the pooch and I are willing to do the heavy lifting we will need a small army to handle the government paperwork so I will extend an offer to Ken, Barb, Sherrilee and Cynthia as paper shovelers in this new venture. That counts as shovel ready doesn't it?

Posted by Mark | February 18, 2009 7:41 AM


Aggghhhrr good morning to all,
git me a shovel……….

Sign me up! I’ll roll up my sleeves to dig us out of this mess…….
Oh, that’s not what you meant oh well, that’s ok, I’m still on board.

Dale, how about Tom Waits Hoist that Rag?
In the beginning I know he’s digging but I think it’s for gold; still booty.

Have a great day everyone......Kate

Posted by Kate | February 18, 2009 7:52 AM


Oooh, finally a job where I can put my valuable experience of being the "finder" in the family to good use! I've always had an uncanny knack for finding things which are lost to everyone else. It has to do with a fairly accurate photographic memory. And just being aware of things around me. I also have project management skills, from actual business projects to being able to manage a family. Am currently employed, for which I am thankful every day, but would be willing to take a government job - the FBA sounds like a great place. I also can bring along a computer programmer if that will help.
What are the benefits? Full medical and dental, disability, all of the federal holidays? Any special benefits out of the ordinary? And do we get to take on pirate names (I'm thinking I'd be the Lavender Wench)?
Also, I own two cockatiels, who aspire to be pirate birds - they'd be willing to sign on also.
Have a great day Heartlanders. I thought the snow would be depressing (I want winter to be over NOW), but it does clean up the gray piles of snow and ice nicely.

Posted by Lindi | February 18, 2009 7:59 AM


thanks for the leonard cohen! great choice from the album. whitman and byron in one morning of songs. :-)

Posted by elinor | February 18, 2009 8:24 AM


Dale and Mike,

Thanks for Freddie the Freeloader, and perfectly followed by Minnie the Moocher! Great start for my 8:30 budgeting meeting!

Posted by Gail in Wisconsin | February 18, 2009 8:24 AM


wow - what a great morning! loved all of the music and the creative, funny comments. thanks Dale, Mike and all you clever bloggers. what a great crew the Captain has.

Posted by Barb in Blackhoof | February 18, 2009 8:33 AM


The Federal Booty Administration!!! What an interesting mind you have, Dale. Hope you keep us laughing forever.

Posted by Jane in Stillwater | February 18, 2009 8:48 AM


Thanks, Dale, Mike and Jasper, for "Beach Combing". Great voices combined - never thought of those two together until I heard it the first time, and then I was happy to hear them.
The Lavender Wench!

Posted by Lindi | February 18, 2009 8:57 AM


Nat King Cole singing "Stardust:" it doesn't get any better than this. Thanks, Jasper.

I imagine Captain Billy will have to weed out a lot of applications from people who interpret "Federal Booty Administration" to mean something totally different.

Posted by Kris in Minneapolis | February 18, 2009 9:28 AM


The comment was made and the song was played.
I'm a day late and a dollar short. Oh well. I did the research and am turning in the paper, even though it's late.....

Quote: "Bethany, I'll try to get Accentuate the Positive into the show tomorrow (Wednesday). Any thought about what would be a good companion song?"

The Best Is Yet to Come - Tony Bennett
Blue Skies - Many artists, including Ella and Eva Cassidy
Better Things - Dar Williams
Getting Better - The Beatles

Posted by Another Mark | February 18, 2009 9:47 AM


Captain Billy seems to be in a mighty generous mood lately. Give all of his precious maps away to help the needy and downtrodden? Hmmm that seems a little out of character. It looks like our favorite pirate has found the booty without using a map; being the head of an agency. What a perfect pirate’s life. He and his crew will not only have the minions in FBA to terrorize, they will have lobbyists and owners of big business trembling and showering him with gifts. Captain Billy will be able to fix up the Muskellunge and stock its larder with pork placed in ay bill that passes through.

I am thinking that Captain Billy is a little too good for this position. He will probably soon get feed up with dealing with the underbelly of Washington and return to his honorable occupation of sailing the seven seas. After all, a pirate can only reform things so much.

Posted by Susan H. | February 18, 2009 10:15 AM


did someone say Johnny Depp?!?

Posted by Kay H | February 18, 2009 10:23 AM


Hmmm, Captain Billy versus Captain Jack Sparrow. Wonder who would win?

Posted by Jennifer | February 18, 2009 12:51 PM


February 2009
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28


Master Archive