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March 17, 2012

Putting the "Ness" back in March Madness, I decided to take a trip to Scotland to catch the monster of the deep.



This March, I have decided to take a departure from my usual tradition of watching college kids play baseball and formulating charts on my dry-erase board. I am going to make this March Madness the maddest, March-est Ness-est ever. I’ve decided instead of following hoops this season, I will be travelling to Scotland for two weeks to catch the Loch Ness Monster. Hopefully I can write this off in April. What lies ahead is the journal of our attempt at catching the elusive beauty of the deep.



I have assembled a crack team of monster finders. They’re not quite the Navy SEALs, but they were unavailable, I asked. Studying movies to get ready for the mission. Don’t know any good ones about the Loch Ness Monster though. I watched “Risky Bus-i-Ness” – the title was very misleading. Though I enjoyed it because it starred a young Tom Cruise.



We arrive in Scotland – the land of bagpipes and plaid and Gerard Butler. Did you know “loch” means “lake”? Narrows it down a little bit.



I ask a local man if he knows where the Loch Ness Monster is. He laughs, and lifts up his kilt. It took me a while to get it, but the insinuation was soon clear.



To finance our expedition to find the Loch Ness Monster, we’ve decided to sell T-shirts. They say, “I SAW THE LOCH NESS MONSTER” and it features a silhouette of Nessie (the nickname that we have made up for the Loch Ness Monster, just narrowly beating out Loch Ness-a Carlton and Sandra Bul-loch) standing on two rolling hills. None have sold yet, but that’s because these men are busy wearing sweaters and kilts to match. Also – I hate to say this – but could there possibly be any truth to the rumor that Scotsmen are cheap?



One of the crew pointed out to me that maybe nobody is buying the T-shirts because the silhouette looks somewhat phallic and there are a few typos on it. “No,” I tell him. “Lake is spelled like that in Scottish”. I put a single googly eye on each silhouette of Nessie to hopefully clear that up and stem any further inappropriate conversation about the male anatomy. Only one though, to make the supply of googly eyes last for more shirts. Also, this is a little known fact, but the creature of Loch Ness is actually a one-eyed monster.



How much does it cost to rent a submarine? Going to find out, because if we’re going to explore the depths of Loch Ness, we’re going to explore the DEPTHS of Loch Ness.



WHAT?! THAT MUCH?! THAT MANY THOUSAND?! THAT SETTLES IT, SCOTSMEN REALLY ARE THAT ... you know, I’m not even going to go there.



Some of my favorite Scottish movies that I have watched since getting here – “A View to a Kilt”, “Natural Born Kilters”, “Plaid Boys”.



Watched “Plaid Boys 2”. Gosh darn it, Martin Blawrence is hilarious. He’s a Scottish Martin Lawrence impersonator.



One guy I met in a pub told me that he has seen the Loch Ness Monster before, but he was smoking something out of a bagpipe, so I don’t know.



Just realized I haven’t put much thought into what I’m going to do with the monster if we catch it. I imagine it’s edible but maybe my kids can use it as a slide for a bit. If it has humps on its back, I am recording a video of it, looping the footage, playing “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Pease over that, and uploading it to Youtube.



A guy told me I would never find Nessie, because the loch was suffering from “Empty Ness Syndrome”. I punched him. He bled. I didn’t get arrested, though. The cop in town was too busy smoking out of a bagpipe.



You know who would have been really helpful finding the Loch Ness Monster – ironically, Eliot Ness. He caught Al Capone, who might have been fat, but he was way less chubby than the Loch Ness Monster probably is. Easier to spot, is what I mean. Al Capone was an infamous bootlegger who looked like James Gandolfini. Rent “The Untouchables” if you are so curious. Al Capone probably was untouchable, or so his wife says. Ba-dum-cha! He also died of syphilis, which I think is funny, because to men today, that is barely a speed bump on the road of life. That’s like, a minor trivial tidbit that happens to you once a week. Thank God I live in this time. 



We were supposed to go into the water today to find it. But apparently you are not supposed to go in the water for up to one hour after eating haggis, and we have been eating it pretty consistently on the hour since we got here. We keep getting offered it. Remember Paul Haggis, who did “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash”? I hope he comes back soon with a decent passion project. If Nessie fell and cracked her neck on a stool, that would have to be a very big stool. Heh heh. I said “crack”.



All in all, not a very interesting month. A Sasquatch dropped by for a beer, and I could have sworn that one guy said his name was Jimmy Hoffa, but not much else. Though we had some beers, heard some jokes about penises, and there was some uninformed vaguely racist conversation. Isn’t that what March Madness is all about?