Heeeeeeereee's Johnny!!

Dear Faithful Readers and Unquestioning Disciples,

Your sycophantic devotion has been rewarded. Johnny Undercover will return 11/1/2009.

Brace yourselves...


Johnny Undercover, Miracle Worker

One of the weird things about being a PI is that, since your job is not that clearly defined, people assume you can do anything. Things like access Federal databases, turn water into wine (man, I wish), divide prime numbers evenly, etc…

Well guess what, spellbound disciples…I probably can. I have long held the theory that anything can be done if you throw enough money at it. Ahhh, but therein lies the quandary:

“If you throw enough money at it…”

So let me modify my previous statement. People believe you can do anything…FOR FREE.

F-R-E-E. How I hate those four little letters. So contrary to everything I represent and aspire to. Free is my antithesis…my Kryptonite…my Dr. Moriarity…Yang to my Yin, Cain to my Able, Yogi Bear to my pic-a-nic basket…

Understand me, mere mortals, nothing gets done for free. Nada por gratis.

Why the rant, you ask? Well, other than the recent change in my medications, I got a request for help.

For free.

Nice lady e-mails me. Seems her hubby recently opted to trade up to Wifey Ver 2.0. A few weeks ago she believed she had substantial assets. Turns out she has squat. Hubby, being the only one in on the plan (which always helps), has pilfered out ½ a million dollars over the past ten years via “business trips” to sunny Mexico.

Where he currently resides. With his new wife, who I won’t identify by name. Let’s just call her by her scientific classification…Whoreus Homewreckerus.

If you know anything about money laundering (or if you prefer, asset relocation), you’ve already heard enough. That money? The fruits of all she’s worked and toiled for? That representation of all her hopes and dreams for the future?


She asked me to look into it Pro Bono, and promised to pay double my usual rate for such services once she gets her divorce judgment. I didn’t even bother telling her the only thing I do Pro Bono is write fan letters to U2. No need to even give that speech, because she’ll never see dem dere pesos, no matter what I find out. Dey goooooooooonnnnneeeee…..

Which, by the way, I did find out. Starry Eyed and Adoring Wife took pity on her plight and demanded I find out SOMETHING to help her out, at least for her divorce case.


Know what I found out? He’s a pretty smart guy. He moved the money out in small increments via frequent, legitimate business trips to Mexico. My source in Mexico City advised me he’s listed as the owner of some prime oceanfront condos and various other real estate holdings throughout the country.

In other words…he won.

Sorry, I don’t like it any more than you. But for years she blindly trusted him to oversee the finances. She faithfully believed he was providing for a good future for her and their children. And she got screwed.

Darwinism 101, spellbound disciples. The strong and smart will devour the weak and naïve. They always have, and they always will until that Guy in the bible with the red lettering comes back and kicks all the bad people in the crotch.

That’s what it says, right? I kinda zoned out in Sunday School…

Could she get her share of that money back? Probably. Can she afford the long and protracted legal battle over international assets?


Anyways, the whole point of that story was to illustrate that ultimately in the end…I did it for free.


Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Okay, Faithful Readers. On some level, I understand that leaving you for months at a time is unacceptable.

On the other hand…you’ll get over it.

I got called up yet again to hurricane duty, so what can you do? Now I’m back in Big D for more spying and lying. Temperatures in Dallas are quickly gravitating from merely hellish to nightmarish, so I’m looking forward to getting back on surveillance.

Yes, I’ve always been a smartass. My father was a smartass, as was his father before him and so on and so on ad infinitum. Nature will always kick nurture’s ass. Nature fights dirtier.

So call off the search and rescue teams and tear up those suicide notes…Daddy’s back.


Everything I needed to know I learned from 'The Godfather'

[Starry Eyed and Adoring Wife has vowed to leave me if I subject her to one more Godfather I & II marathon. Maybe posting some of my favorite quotes will get it out of my system. Yeah...]

Producer Jack Woltz's tirade to Consigliere Tom Hagen:
"Johnny Fontane never gets that movie. That part is perfect for him, it'll make him a big star, and I'm gonna run him out of the business - and let me tell you why: Johnny Fontane ruined one of Woltz International's most valuable proteges. For five years we had her under training - singing lessons, acting lessons, dancing lessons. I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on her, I was gonna make her a big star. And let me be even more frank, just to show you that I'm not a hard-hearted man, and that it's not all dollars and cents: She was beautiful; she was young; she was innocent. She was the greatest piece of ass I've ever had, and I've had 'em all over the world. And then Johnny Fontane comes along with his olive oil voice and guinea charm, and she runs off. She threw it all away just to make me look ridiculous! And a man in my position can't afford to be made to look ridiculous! "

Don Corleone to Bonasera the Undertaker:
"What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you'd come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then they would become my enemies. And then they would fear you. "

Michael confronting his brother-in-law Carlo about Sonny's murder:
"You have to answer for Santino, Carlo...You fingered Sonny for the Barzini people. Ahh, that little farce you played with my sister. You think that could fool a Corleone?"

Don Corleone talking to Michael about his future:

Don Corleone: "I never wanted this for you. I work my whole life...I don't take care of my family, and I refused to be a fool, dancing on the string held by all those bigshots. I don't apologize,that's my life...but I thought that, that when it was your time, that you would be the one to hold the string. Senator Corleone...Governor Corleone. "

Michael: "Another pezzonovante."

Don Corleone: "Well, this wasn't enough time, Michael. It wasn't enough time. "

Michael: "We'll get there, Pop. We'll get there."

[And my absolute all time favorite quote...EVER:]

Sonny Corleone to Michael after learning he'd enlisted following Pearl Harbor:
"Whaddid ya', go to college to get stupid? You're really stupid!"

[Sonny Corleone, baby...Sonny F'n Corleone!]


At Least There Was No Wardrobe Malfunction

ABC has no ‘Satisfaction’ with Stones’ lyrics - Music -

In ABC's defense, the blasphemous and inflammatory lyrics to 'Start Me Up' might have incited violence against Danish embassies worldwide. Oh shit, too late...

In related news, much to Keith Richards' surprise...He's still alive.

The Terrorists Are Getting Smarter

"Oh, quit worrying, Honey. It's not like it's a bomb or biohazardous..."

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From Found Magazine again. Man, that @#$% fascinates me for some reason...

Never Duel With a Londoner

I had this e-mail exchange with Charles from London over the past week. Watch how deftly he extracts an answer from me in spite of myself. How we ever managed to outmaneuver the British, I’ll never know.

Charles is the Q, I’m the A. Good show, old man:

Q: “Mr Investigator, I read your blog in the UK. I’m curious, what is your position on the Iraq War?”

A: Hi. Actually, it’s Mr. Undercover. Investigator is what I put on all those tax returns I don’t file. Mt position on the Iraq War is approximately 2,000 miles West/Northwest of it. Dallas, TX. Present weather conditions 71 degrees, partly cloudy skies.

[Apparently redneck sarcasm doesn’t translate well across the pond, because he persists:]

Q: “Mr. Undercover, I understand your physical location, but what are your thoughts on the war? Did you serve in the military for example?”

A: Hello Again. No, I did not serve in the military. Unless you count the KISS Army, in which case I was a Commander in the Peter Criss Brigade. Even then, the Gene Simmons Marines got all the glory. Is there a reason you ask?

Q: “Yes. You seem to have political leanings in your writings. I wanted to know where you stood on the issue.”

A: Actually, the blog is mostly about my job. Any political or topical postings occur strictly because I find them amusing. I don’t find war amusing. Quite the opposite.

[‘Quite the opposite’? Note that I’m lapsing into British mannerisms throughout the course of the exchange. He’s already won this battle, my minions…]

Charles responds:

Q: “So you are against the conflict then?”

[Aaaaaaaahhh! Did I say that?]

A: Aaaaaaaahhh! Did I say that? I said I don’t find war amusing and therefore not appropriate material for what is basically a satirical blog. I leave warblogging to those better suited to discuss it. I can recommend a few if you like.

Q: “Not necessary. Easy enough to find those. Thought you might have an interesting take on it.”

A: Fair enough. Now that you’ve gotten me curious, what’s yours?

Q: “Mine? Mine can be summed up in one sentence. War is never the answer.”

A: That would depend largely on the question, I imagine.

Q: “That’s your position then?”

A: I guess so. [DAMN! I walked right into that!] Can I post these e-mails to the blog?

Q: “You’re going to do it regardless of my answer, aren’t you? Why ask?”

A: The appearance of civility. Take care, Charles.

Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You

I hate legal investigations.

Take one of last weeks cases, for example. The Subject (not the Claimant, that’s only during insurance investigations) is embroiled in a lawsuit against his former employer for breach of non-compete agreement. Apparently, the Subject formed his own consulting company, taking a large portion of his former company’s clientele with him in the process. Business is an ugly business, Spellbound Disciples.

Lawsuits were filed. Countersuits were counter-filed. Hilarity ensued.

I have been giving the comically vague task of “Finding out whatever you can”. The main goal, of course, being to catch the Subject engaging in activity in violation of his non-compete agreement.

I started out with a little surveillance, just to make my client think some real PI work took place. Given that the Subject is currently working out of his house; however, I knew there was virtually no chance of following him to an office and documenting him meeting with clients. Which means dumpster diving.

You’ve heard the term, right? Subject puts trash out. I pick trash up and sift through it for evidence. Think of it as "CSI: Garbage Dump".

Did I ever mention I was the first college graduate in my family? Never underestimate the importance of higher education.

So I swing by his pad around 3:00 in the witching hour and make off with my ill gotten booty. The logical question for a discerning Gentle Reader to ask is, “Just how legal is taking someone’s garbage?” The answer is: Very.

Well, more like: Sorta. Trash retrieval is actually fairly established case law. You threw it away, implying you surrendered legal claim to it. I took it and had my merry way with it. Further affiant sayeth not. Still, the question always comes up in court, causing the lawyers to confer with the judge in hushed, lawyerly tones for about fifteen minutes while everyone else looks at you and thinks about how you dig through trash for a living.

In my defense, I think the philosophical question of garbage is largely chronological. Sure, right now it’s filthy, dripping, disease ridden garbage, but in 500 years scholarly types would refer to it as archeological evidence.

Doesn’t matter now. I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it. Won’t be on this case, though, because I’ve made the following discovery:

This guy is a paper shredder.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of coffee grounds and dirty diapers I dug through to discover that. Industrial model cross shredder, to boot. Probably ran close to $200 at Office Depot.

You dig through entirely too much trash if you can recognize the shredder model by the confetti it produces, wouldn’t you say?

This leaves me with a grudging new respect for my opponent. When (not if) I catch him, it won’t be some dipshit error like throwing away faxes to his clients or a CD ROM full of marketing materials. It’ll be the result of some actual investigative work on my part.

If I sound bitter about that, it’s only because I am.

I used to investigate identity thieves for credit card companies, mainly because the cops refused to do it. ID thieves in those days were friggin’ idiots. Dumpster dives used to yield treasure troves of smelly, soggy evidence. There would be three or four discarded social security cards or driver’s licenses while they attempted to come up with a master forgery. We would carefully piece together evidence to present to the police detectives, who would promptly tell us they had real crimes to investigate and please QUIT BRINGING THEM MORE DAMN WORK!

I’ve always made friends easily.

Back to my current case. He’s definitely won this round, but the war goes on. He doesn’t know that I was born with only two advantages in this world:

1. I’m too stupid to know when I’m beaten


2. I have no concept of overkill.

One of those two tragic personality disorders will eventually be his undoing. Believe it.


There was a dream that was 'American Idol'. This is not it. This is not it!

{I had to print this article in its entirety instead of linking it. The Dallas Morning News is one of those annoying subscription based sites.}

Apparently, Spellbound Disciples, the two or three of you out there that watch ‘American Idol’ were led to believe that judges Simon Le Bon, Paula Ragu and Tito Jackson were actually in Austin screening contestants.

According to, they opted not to go in person due to the “fallout” from Hurricane Katrina.

In fairness to them, Austin was, like, completely obliterated by Hurricane Katrina [self-righteous, ironic smirk goes HERE]

Here's the article:

Idol in Austin? Not quite
04:46 PM CST on Friday, February 3, 2006
By MANUEL MENDOZA / The Dallas Morning News

There really is a place called Austin – in fact, auditions for American Idol were held in the Texas capital in October. Oh, they weren't?

Viewers of Wednesday's Idol episode were deceived to believe judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson were in the city by the lake after producers initially screened potential contestants last summer. But because of the fallout from Katrina, the Fox show decided not to return, instead flying the hopefuls they wanted to put in front of the judges to San Francisco, the network confirmed Friday.

The episode not only failed to reveal what really happened, but also went out of its way to imply the judges had gone to Austin to decide which contestants would go on to the next round. For instance, as footage of Mr. Cowell arriving somewhere other than Austin was played, a woman who didn't like him was shown running away from him – in Austin.

"Upon reflection, there should have been a line in the show" explaining that the second round of auditions were not held in Austin, a Fox spokeswoman said.

But in the weekly Idol conference call with the media, executive producer Ken Warwick said, "It wasn't a big deal."

"Clearly that didn't happen the way it [was shown]," he said. "We have to produce an entertainment program to begin with. We didn't mention it on the air, to be honest, because we thought it wasn't a big deal. ... It was not deliberately done to mislead anybody. We had nothing to gain by misleading people."

My Business Card

From Found Magazine.

You do read Found Magazine, right?

The contributor says she found it taped to her door in the 70's. Apparently she kept it for 30 years for just such an occasion.

Kendra Moore and Co. will take ANY job...

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Seeing Red

Malkin has a great piece on a New York Daily News story about the President’s body language during the State of the Union address. She points out that the article “quoted a single source, Karen Bradley, ‘a certified movement analyst at the University of Maryland, College Park,’”

Needless to say, the article contains a smarmy analysis of the President’s body language from the “Certified Movement Analyst”. There's really nothing like a good, certified movement is there?

Most telling is the link to her biography at the Democracy Cell Project. Apparently, “Karen Bradley spent the 2003-4 electoral season choreographing volunteers and developing her political awareness, mostly by listening to fellow travelers.”

Fellow travelers? Waaaaaait a minute. Where have I heard that term before? Lemmee think….

Oh yeah, Freshman Year. ‘History of Communism’ course.

Wikipedia (yeah, I know) defines the term here.

As long as we understand the foundation on which she developed her political awareness.

The Perfect Case

Aye, laddies and lassies, tis’ a fine morning here at Stately Undercover Manor.

The one year old is systematically torturing the family poodle, who is not quite smart enough to avoid him completely. She has what’s commonly known as Battered Poodle Syndrome. Her rationale is that if she can just keep the house clean enough, maybe he won’t try to pull her ears off today.

The four and a half and three year old are playing a game I’m pretty sure is called “Smell My Butt”. The rules are somewhat vague, but points appear to be awarded on a sliding scale directly proportionate to how close you get your butt to the other contestants face. Actually managing to fart in the other players face results in either an immediate disqualification or an immediate world championship, depending on if yours is the lucky face or not.

Starry Eyed and Adoring Wife yells from the other room that I shouldn’t be laughing at this game, much less helping them keep score. By the tone of her voice, I can tell she does not yet suspect I taught them the game in the first place.

Inevitably, I corral the Little Godless Heathens in front of the 57 inch rear projection babysitter unit. Today’s distraction is Sinbad, which is a cartoon that apparently only my children watch. Sinbad is voiced by Brad Pitt, by the way. To show his appreciation for their support, Brad actually dropped by to watch with them today. Then I went to the bathroom for two minutes (okay, forty five minutes), and when I came back he had adopted them.

Heh. Jokes on him.

With my children’s minds safely in the care of Hollywood, I commenced to writing my investigative report from yesterday’s case. Yesterday’s claimant was what PI’s refer to as “The Perfect Claimant”.

Let me explain.

You see, our clients aren’t really that concerned with what type of video evidence we obtain on their claimant’s, as long as we get something. They don’t like reports that say the subject was home and inactive all day (even though that happens more often than not). Makes the client think you stayed home to watch the Showcase Showdown.

So why was my subject yesterday a Perfect Claimant? For the following reasons.


  • Was active, but not tooooo active. She made brief but documentable appearances throughout the course of the day.

  • She drove slow. Real slow. Have you ever been to South Florida? That slow.

  • She lived in a neighborhood still under development. PI’s love lots of construction activity nearby. Lets us blend in comfortably without nosy neighbor interference. God forbid your subject should live near an elementary school, because you’re screwed.

  • She appeared to actually be hurt. It’s great to catch your subject working on the side and all, but Oy Vey the paperwork.
  • She was blissfully ignorant of my presence. She had a strange vehicle behind her for over two hours, and had no clue about it. Great news for me, bad news for her if she ever has a real stalker.
And there you go. So, having justified both my existence and invoice, I shall now indulge my taste for the classics. Something old…

Hennessey, maybe.

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