Archive for June, 2007

Money Limerick Contest Results – And The Winners Are…

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Thanks to all of you who participated in this, my third limerick writing contest. (And yes, I’ll be running another contest later this summer.) Once again, your enthusiasm and creativity has made this a fun experience for me and, I hope, for you.

The response to my money-related limerick writing contest exceeded my wildest hopes and set a new record – 94 limericks were submitted. And the overall quality of the entries was very impressive — so impressive, that I’ve decided to expand the prize money pool enough to award an extra prize.

And speaking of prizes, I’m awarding a First Prize ($25 in PayPal cash), a Second Prize ($15 in PayPal cash), a Third Prize ($10 in PayPal cash), and six Honorable Mentions. And the winners are…

FIRST PRIZE goes to Max Gutmann (author of There Was a Young Girl from Verona: A Limerick Cycle Based on the Complete Dramatic Works of Shakespeare) for a limerick that made me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I re-read it:

Can the money you’ve got be called loot?
Here’s a test: did a guy in a suit
Grunt “Da big guy sez T’anks”?
Did you “find” it in banks?
Did a lady say, “Take it, don’t shoot”?

SECOND PRIZE goes to Shawn McBurnie for this very amusing (and all too true) limerick:

Let me tell you, it’s not what you know.
I work hard, but I’ve reached a plateau.
I’ve a dozen degrees,
Which astounds the trustees—
Would you like that for here or to go?

THIRD PRIZE goes to mephistopheles for this funny limerick:

A drunk who was drowning his sorrow
Had requested some cash he could borrow,
And polite as can be,
Bowed and thanked both of me,
And avouched he’d repay us tomorrow.

And six HONORABLE MENTIONS go to (listed in submission order):

Jesse Frankovich:
The more of my money I bet,
The more in return I shall net!
But, of course, should I lose,
I’ll be singing the blues
As each bet, I regret, becomes debt.

Chris Young:
There’s a dieting guru called Valerie
Who garners the healthiest salary.
Her food range (extensive)
Is so darn expensive,
It works out as £10 per calorie.

Stephen Gold:
This accrued lunch expense is so high…
Do you think that your limit’s the sky?
To the counters of beans
All your bean-feasting means
It’s a fine time to bid you goodbye.

Chris Doyle:
A Switzerland bank says I’ll earn
All the interest with little concern
That the Feds can acquire
The date of my wire,
So soon I’ll have money to Bern.

Doug Harris:
“Being rich = happy”. Not I!
My disposable income’s run dry.
Some say that great wealth
Is just bad for your health
Maybe so, but I’d give it a try!

Rebecca Zugor:
My credit card spending is vast –
Not sure how much longer I’ll last.
To help pay these bills
Leave me lots in your wills.
I need cash in a flash, please die fast!

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks again to everybody who participated. (You can read all of the entries right here.)

And please stay tuned — I’ll be announcing another limerick contest very soon right here in this blog. And if you have any contest topic suggestions, feel free to post them in a comment to this post.

Cashing In With “Doggie da Vincis”

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Cashing In With “Doggie da Vincis” (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

A dog trainer needed some cash,
So she dreamed up a plan—made a splash:
Teaching dogs how to paint
Abstract art. Great they ain’t,
Though their pictures make mine look like trash.

According to a June 2007 AP news story, Mary Stadelbacher, a dog trainer from Salisbury, Maryland, taught three dogs how to hold a paint brush and paint abstract art. The “doggie da Vincis” are being featured in a Salisbury University art gallery and also have a line of greeting cards.

I must admit to being conflicted about this story.  On the one hand, it strikes me as utterly absurd and makes me feel bad for artists who paint actual art.  On the other hand, those dogs sure as hell paint a lot better than I can.

(You can find more of my dog and animal related verse and humor here and my money humor here.)

Fantasy “Dear Editor” Letter

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Fantasy “Dear Editor” Letter (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

My writing is great, you should know,
Yet you turn it all down. What a blow!
Your taste is awry,
Else you surely would buy
My submissions. I’m through. Keep your dough!

(I wonder how many magazine and book editors have gotten letters like this.)

An Arresting Affair

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

An Arresting Affair (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

A gal in New York was arrested
For strolling outdoors while bare-breasted.
But courts say, “No fair!
You can not make gals wear
Shirts and blouses, cause men go bare-chested.”

Yesterday, CNN reported that Jill Coccaro has received a $29,000 settlement of her civil rights lawsuit against New York City. She’d been arrested for topless strolling and was detained for twelve hours, despite a 1992 New York State appeals court ruling that women have the same right as men to remove their shirts.

(You can find more of my legal verse and humor here, my feminist humor here, and my New York humor and limericks here.)

UPDATE: August 26th is Go Topless Day, sponsored by

A Lamb On The Lam

Monday, June 18th, 2007

A Lamb On The Lam (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

A lamb on the lam in the City
Of New York, which most clearly has pity:
The lamb escapee
Said, “You ain’t eating me!”
He was pardoned, and so ends this ditty.

I couldn’t resist writing a limerick about the seven-month-old lamb that escaped a live-animal market in The Bronx, New York and led police on a several block chase before it was captured. Animal lovers will be glad to know that instead of being returned to the market, it was delivered to an animal sanctuary.

(You can find more of my animal humor and verse here and more of my food humor and poetry here.) 

Married To Money

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

Married To Money
By Madeleine Begun Kane

He’s a cheapskate, so stingy with cash,
That he threw an embarrassing bash:
When his daughter was wed
He paid eight bucks a head,
So no band, booze, or blooms — only hash.

I have lots more money humor here.  And don’t forget to enter my money-themed limerick contest with money prizes. Okay, not a lot of money, but still…

Limerick Writing Contest With Money Prizes … and the Topic Is…

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

If you’ve followed my previous limerick contests, you know that it’s just about time for another one.

So here’s my challenge: Write a money-related limerick (earning it, spending it, saving it, investing it, winning it, wasting it, being taxed on it, etc.) and post it here in a comment to this post, no later than Wednesday, June 27, 2007. (You may enter as many limericks as you’d like.) I’ll announce the winners on Thursday, June 28, 2007.

The first prize will be $25. The second prize will be $10. Both prizes will be paid via PayPal.

So, what exactly is a limerick? It’s a five line poem with an AABBA rhyme scheme and a very specific meter exemplified by these winning entries. (For more information about limericks check out these fine sites: Encyclospeedia Oedilfica and OEDILF.)

I’m looking forward to reading your entries! 

Update: This contest is now closed, and the names of the winners and their winning entries are here. Thanks so much for your many excellent submissions. 

Victory In My Battle Against Feed Scraping Content Thief (Updated)

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Last week when I was bitching about’s stealing my humor blog’s content, I had no idea I was dealing with a “feed scraper” site. All I knew was that I was being ripped off — every time I posted in this humor blog, my entire post appeared on within minutes.  Needless to say, I was a very pissed off blogger.

So what did I do?  First I posted comments at demanding that its thievery stop.  At least I tried to.  But not surprisingly, my comments never appeared there.

Next I reported its copyright violations to Google AdSense, via a link at’s site.  The following day I received an email telling me how to formally report a Google AdSense DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) Infringement Complaint. 

Unfortunately, the procedure involved tons of time-consuming work, requiring me to assemble all sorts of documentation of’s  many infringements.   Then (I’m told) this documentation is forwarded to the alleged infringer.  And after that, heaven-only-knows-what happens.

I responded to Google’s email with a request for some accelerated action.  My justification was that in this post, had reproduced this post, in which I called it a content thief.

I didn’t receive any response to my email, but apparently it got their attention.  How do I know?  Because today the Google AdSense text ads disappeared from the top of’s site.  Hallelujah!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. While I was waiting to hear from Google, I did some research on how to deal with RSS feed scraping content thieves.  And I found some great resources,  including:

1. AntiLeech, a plugin that “helps prevent content theft by sploggers” and  a detailed article explaining the benefits of AntiLeech Splog Stopper: Fighting Back Against Content Thieves;

2. An interesting article with the enticing title How to stop rss scrapers from stealing your content plus revenge; 

3. A tutorial, Blocking bad bots and site rippers (aka offline browsers);

4. An article entitled How you can stop dirty feedscrapers in 3 easy steps; and

5. This article about Attacking scrapers and content thieves legally.

I found the material posted at all of those links very informative, and I’m planning to give that AntiLeech plugin a try.  But I was feeling a bit lazy and I was looking for some instant gratification.  And, happily, I found it: A commenter named Robert posted the following suggestion here:

Alternatively, to curl up even less unproductive work, add this line to .htaccess:
Deny from
Which would even allow you to block a whole range of IP addresses in case it proves necessary…

Armed with this simple-sounding solution, I decided to try it.  My first step was to identify’s IP.  So I checked its trackback data, which identified its IP as  I then confirmed the IP number by pinging, using my computer’s Run function:  ping  Next I checked my logs and verified that’s IP was routinely showing up there.

Now that I had the infringer’s IP, I added this code to my .htaccess file:

Deny from

Finally, I FTPed the revised .htaccess file and, like magic,’s content thievery came to a halt: has been freed from the slings and arrows of’s feed scraping infringements.

Of course, that low-life feed scraper is still taking material from other sites like Comedy Central. Hey Comedy Central!  Try this. You’ll like it.

UPDATE WITH ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: As I learn about additional good resources on this topic, I’ll be adding them here.  Feel free to make suggestions via a comment to this post.

a: What To Do When Someone Steals Your Content is a must read.

b: is a source of many fine tools, including a “DNS Lookup” tool — helpful in ascertaining IP addresses.

c. Plagiarism Today is an excellent source of information about plagiarism, content theft, and copyright issues online.

UPDATE 2: seems to have disappeared.  I can only hope it stays that way. 

UPDATE 3: is now resolving to a different domain — But the IP is the same, so my blog should still be protected from its feed scraping.

Yoga For What???

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

I love animals, so I can understand why pet owners sometimes get a bit carried away.  But this takes the kibble:

Yoga for What???
By Madeleine Begun Kane

There is yoga for doggies, I swear—
Caught a canine-filled class on the air;
Watched the owners and pets
Stretch and pose in their sweats—
Cosmic moolah they must have to spare.

UPDATE: Happy “International Yoga Day!” (June 21)

UPDATE 2: I finally have proof that I didn’t make dog yoga (doga) up.

School Daze

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

I’ve been out of school for far longer than I care to admit.  But I still have nightmares that go something like this:

School Daze (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

I crammed for the test—studied madly.
But, alas, I’m afraid I did badly
Cause I choke under stress.
I go blank. I’m a mess!
Take a do-over test? Yes, please. Gladly! Is A Content Thief (Another Update)

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007 keeps publishing my blog posts without permission and ignores my requests (via attempted comment posts) to remove my material  and stop stealing my humor posts.  Right now dozens of my posts are at that site, mostly in a section labeled Limericks. 


UPDATE: Ha! Ha! Ha!  The thieves even stole this post!!!  Their theft is clearly automated:  Here’s their repoduced copy of this post:  (I’m deliberately not linking to them, so you’ll have to copy/paste to see it.)

I wonder if an actual person will notice it and remove it.

UPDATE 2: My updated  post appeared on as a second post.  Does that mean that this second update will trigger a third post there? Stand by and I’ll report back.

UPDATE 3: So far, this post hasn’t been stolen for a third time.  Is’s bot slacking off?  Human intervention, perhaps?  I don’t think so, because the first two versions are still on’s front page.  Surely a human would notice and remove posts accusing the site of stealing content.  Stay tuned for further reports about’s copyright infringement of my posts.

Weird News Snark (New Regular Feature)

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

I’m introducing a new regular feature today — Weird News Snark.  How regular?  That totally depends on news craziness … and Mad Kane laziness. 

So let’s get started:

And you think you’ve got mother-in-law problems?

Private’s platoon sergeant is his mother-in-law, too.

At long last, a good reason to attend your reunion. 

ORONO, Maine —  Fifty years after taking school sprit to new heights with a paint brush, a University of Maine graduate has received a pardon from the school administration.

Where’s the beef?

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – Guessing about the contents of a cow’s stomach is a thing of the past for University of Arkansas researchers – all they have to do is reach in and take a sample. The university’s Animal Science Department has surgically implanted 4-inch-wide tubes, called cannulas, in the sides of 12 cows.

Yeah, but what were they smoking?

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (AP) – More than 1,680 guitar players turned out, tuned up and took part in what organizers say was a world record rendition of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” – a song that was the first many of them ever learned.

“Creative” U.S. Lawyers Have Nothing On The Germans.

BAUTZEN, Germany (AP) – Three German teenagers have been spared paying hefty damages after a court ruled it could not prove an ostrich farmer’s claim that their festive firecrackers made one of his birds impotent.

This never happened when Jimmy Carter was president. 

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A woman was held up during a fill-up. The woman was pumping gasoline Sunday morning when a man stuck something in her back, told her it was a gun and ordered her to start filling up his sport utility vehicle instead of her own car…

Freedom’s for the birds.

BEIJING (Reuters) – Four highly endangered red ibises have been taken back into captivity in China, after two days of free living made [the birds] lose their appetite…

Perhaps those birds could use this fellow’s dietary aid.

A man in southeast China says 40 years of swallowing tree frogs and rats live has helped him avoid tummy ache.

Motor Boating Just Isn’t Our Speed (Humor Column)

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

My husband Mark and I were never meant to own a motor boat. Why not? Any couple who can’t figure out how to open their car hood, should probably stick to something propelled by oars. And we surely would have done just that, had the prior owner of our weekend home not made it a package deal. If we wanted his irresistible house, we’d have to spring for his 120 horse power boat — perfect for anyone whose idea of relaxation is charging across a rocky three mile lake at the speed of screams.

OUR FIRST TIME OUT: My husband — a man who can build a wood stove fire in a flash, who whips up gourmet feasts in fifteen languages — couldn’t figure out how to unhook the boat’s cover. Refusing my help, he struggled for an hour. Victorious at last he hurled the cover off, in the process spilling gallons of water all over the boat.

By then I was ready to bail out. But Mark handed me a pail, and we spent the next 45 minutes heaving water overboard. Once all the water was safely under the boat, it was time to begin boating. I optimistically climbed onto our 16 footer, while my husband worked the knots from ashore. A former boy scout, he did this rather well. So well, that the boat (free at last) started to drift without him. ….   (Motor Boating Just Isn’t Our Speed continues here.)

Chance Meeting (Wedding Anniversary Limerick)

Monday, June 4th, 2007

My wonderful husband Mark and I are celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary today.  Happy anniversary Mark!  This limerick is my gift to you.  (How’s that for getting off cheap?)

Chance Meeting (Wedding Anniversary Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Our encounter took place on a train—
A chance meeting, though far from mundane:
A lucky converging,
With love soon emerging—
Once strangers, now wedded-bliss twain.