Sunday, May 1, 2016

Yelp! I Need Somebody!

We Review the Reviews!

How do you know if a Yelp Review is worth your time? 
Trust Yelp Two We review the reviews.

1) Perspiring Dragon Chinese Restaurant Review by Claude Freebish, January 5, 2016. Reviewed by Lance Blifil. 

When I heard that renowned Yelp restaurant reviewer Claude Freebish had written a new restaurant review, I couldn't wait to feast on his tasty prose. Freebish's latest review is of the Perspiring Dragon, a new Chinese restaurant in the Milton Mall, and it is yummy good. 

I immediately felt a welcoming tone in the first paragraph and the second paragraph ladled out writing that was purposeful, not wanton, and hot but never sour. The main portion  of the review was the extra-large third paragraph that Freebish served up with obvious pride! My buddy and I split reading the paragraph between us and we still had trouble finishing it.

True, the review is marred somewhat by Freebish’s unfortunate inability to distinguish between asparagus and broccoli and use of “alot,” but these are small quibbles.

Will I go back to reading Freebish again? You bet!
Anytime I’m hungry for a great restaurant review.


2) Dr. Herbert Kropotkin Psychiatrist Review by Claude Freebish, March 13, 2016. Reviewed by Lance Blifil. 
When I heard that renowned Yelp restaurant reviewer Claude Freebish had branched out into a new area --- reviewing psychiatrists --- I didn't shrink from the opportunity to make a discrete appointment to read his first such review. That review is of Dr. Herbert Kropotkin and it is deeply analytical.

Freebish ushers us into the review with laid-back prose that makes you almost want to read the review lying on a couch, and the writing is so good you may feel guilty about Freebish reviews you read in the past that you didn't act upon. Oddly, the review seems to end abruptly; you feel that it ought to have continued for ten minutes more.

The review is additionally marred by Freebish’s inability to distinguish between Freudian and Jungian analysis and use of “alot,” but these are small quibbles.

Will I go back to reading Freebish for psychiatric reviews?

Yes, anytime I’m anxious for a Freudian psychiatrist review. But for a Jungian one, collect your unconscious and go elsewhere! 

3) Tara LaMara Hot Babe Review by Claude Freebish, April 5, 2016. 
Reviewed by Lance Blifil.
When I heard that renowned Yelp restaurant and psychiatrist reviewer Claude Freebish had branched out into a new area --- reviewing hot babes --- I got very excited to jump on his latest review. That review is of Tara LaMara , an extremely hot cost accountant, and it is smokin' well-written!

In the first two paragraphs, Freebish peels back all the layers and promptly has his hands firmly around his topic. Then he thrusts himself in deeply, penetrating the subject fully. You won't need to pump him for details as his writing slides quickly back and forth across the page until he comes full force to his conclusions! Oddly enough thereafter he seems to lose interest in what he's writing about.

True, the review is marred somewhat by Freebish’s well-known inability to distinguish between asparagus and broccoli and use of “alot,” but these are small quibbles.

Will I go back to reading Freebish again? You bet!

Anytime I’ve got the hots for a great hot babe review!

And coming soon:  Our Review Reviewer Lance Blifil reviews Claude Freebish's review of this year's Republican presidential candidates.  The paragraph on Donald Trump is totally nuts!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

In the Moment (FF)

copyright - Mary Shipman
FF- Friday Fictioneers

Why it happened or how it happened nobody knows, but on May 9th, 2013 at exactly 12:00 P.M. time stopped.

It simply stopped dead and refused to advance. Wherever an individual was at that moment was where he or she stayed.

The most unlucky among us were those who were taking inventory in a store, getting fired, or on a blind date.  The luckiest among us were those who were with family, friends, or Scarlett Johansson.

But luckiest of all was the United States of America. Because on May 9th, 2013 at exactly 12:00 P.M., one billionaire businessman named Donald Trump was in the bathroom and the door was jammed shut.


Now I realize there are logical inconsistencies with the post above. If time stops, it doesn't really matter where Donald Trump is as of three years ago because nothing further is going to happen with him or anyone else anyway.  

And even if I'm with Scarlett Johansson (just to pick me at random for this example), I'll probably be sick of her after 10 billion of the same moments with her. And it's remotely possible she might be slightly sick of me too.

But my artistic license is all paid up, so let's go with it. And if you click here, you can also go with the responses of the other Friday Fictioneers to the picture prompt above. That is, once time starts up again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016



As of April 25th of this year, my son Brandon is 21 years old. I'm proud that he is turning into a happy, healthy, and intelligent young man with a wide variety of interests and a well-adjusted and positive outlook on life and the future.

Just one thing.

Why can't he still be eleven?!

Though I do miss the days gone by, as a hardcore realist I must accept the fact that children grow up and move on and that life is a constantly changing enterprise. Also I must accept the fact that I don’t for a minute believe that nonsense I just wrote in the last sentence.

“Happy Birthday, Brandon!” I said via Facetime on the special day.

“Thanks, Dad,” Brandon replied.  “I was just on my way out.”

“Bet I know what you’re going,” I said with a knowing grin.  “Now that you’re 21 years old, you’re headed out to try drinking alcohol for the first time.”

“Umm … yeah … yeah, Dad.  That’s exactly it.”

“I knew it! I was just the same way when I turned 16 … I mean, turned 21!”

“Sorry I can’t talk longer, Dad. I’ve got some people waiting for me.”

“Sure, sure, go be with your little friends. But let me make a suggestion: Start your drinking experiences with something simple and basic, like the drink they call beer.  Do you want me to spell it for you?”

“Is it b-i-e-r, Dad?”

“No, it’s not,” I laughed.  “I’ll text you the proper spelling.  In six months or so we’ll step up to vodka. That’s spelled v-o-d…”

“Thanks, Dad.  I’ll look forward to it. Gotta go!”

“One more thing, Bran.  Though it's over a year away, I’d like to talk to you about where you’re going to live when college is over.”

“Oh, I don’t know yet.  I’ll have a job of some kind and a place of my own, I guess.”

“That’s just it.  A place of your own is very expensive. I know of a place that’s very inexpensive.  In fact, it’s free.”

“What kind of a place is free?”

“Our basement!  And utilities are included too.”

“Dad, a basement is a last resort if a kid doesn’t have a job.”

“Well, I’m going to encourage you to think of it as your first resort! With pool table, vintage TV that works if you kick it, and close proximity to a laundromat that doesn’t require coinage.”

"Well, Dad, we’ll see."

"Okay. I'll throw in a Jacuzzi. I'll call the contractor right now.”

“I hope he shows up before I'm married with children.”

“One more thing, Bran.  I’m looking at a picture of you when you were about 5, the one where you’re sitting in the green chair. Here I’ll show it to you.”

“Sure, I remember that one. So?”

"Be HIM!"

"Excuse me?"

"Be HIM!  The Brandon in the picture."  

"Oh, I see.  You asked me that once before."

"Be HIM again! I miss him." 

“I’m sorry, Dad. I don’t think I can actually become him again." 

“I didn’t really think you could. No harm asking."  

"Talk to you soon, Dad.”

"Yep. Enjoy the bier!”

My son Brandon is now 21 years old. I must accept the fact that children grow up and move on and life is a constantly changing enterprise.

And frankly, it’s enough to drive me to drink!


If you liked this post, you may also like Bedtime Story,  Why Can't He Be Seven?, and Brandon Block IS The Graduate.

If you hated this post, I hope whenever you order a beer they always serve you bier!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

What's It All About, Afikomen?

  I would have helped her look.

The Passover holiday which begins this year on the eve of Friday, April 22 is a truly magical time.  

Jewish families gather together to enjoy a lovely and traditional evening meal known as a Seder while recounting the ages old story of the very first Passover which celebrates freedom and features the needless deaths of thousands of people, including children, at the hands of pestilence, plagues, and the arbitrary whim of an often tyrannical and brutal Old Testament God.

Looks like somebody got up on the wrong side of the cloud!

But despite all this, Passover is probably the most fun of all the Jewish holidays, and one of the traditions that makes it so is the hiding of the Afikomen.

So, what's it all about, Afikomen? 

The Afikomen is half of a piece of matzo which has been broken in two early in the Seder and set aside to be eaten as a dessert after the meal. The name "Afikomen" comes from the ancient Hebrew and means "that which makes a dry and shitty dessert." 

The procedure is as follows: The leader of the Seder, known alternately as the Trebek or the Sajak, takes the middle piece of matzo out from a stack of three matzos and breaks it in half.  Nobody yells at him for this because the matzo is supposed to be broken, but his wife may yell at him later about other stuff. (Optional).

The Trebek or the Sajak then wraps the larger piece of matzo in a napkin, teaches it to answer to the name “Afikomen” and leaves the table to hide the Afikomen somewhere in the home. This enables the children, who may have become restless during the Seder, to engage in a little harmless fun ransacking the house.  It also provides the adults the opportunity to talk dirty.

To find the Afikomen, the children will search high and low, over and under, and to and fro.  They may also search hither and yon, but only if the house is zoned for it. They will empty cabinets, turn over lamps, and smash fine glassware. They will sack the house in the same manner as Alaric sacked Rome, and some may even bring in Alaric to consult. 
Here are some great places to hide the Afikomen:

1) Inside a book, especially if the Kardashians are your Seder guests.

2) Between the living room sofa cushions. Even the most intrepid youngster fears thrusting his or her hands into the change, chapsticks, combs, dentures, and whatever manner of man or beast is already lodged within. Frankly so do I.
3) In the sock drawer, where the socks may educate the Afikomen as to how to mysteriously vanish and turn up six months later wedged between the washer and dryer and covered with dust.

4)  Under the hood of the car. What Jewish person, adult or child, is ever going to look there?

When at long last one of the children locates and retrieves the Afikomen, he or presents it to the Trebek or the Sajak and in return receives a present, traditionally the tidy sum of one dollar.  With the changing times, however, that traditional present has changed. It is now a blender.

There's nothing like the delight in an 8 year old's eyes when he or she snags a four speed Waring blender!

Much as I enjoy the customs of Passover, there is a tinge of sadness of days of Afikomens gone by.  I'm no longer the child scrambling eagerly through my parents' house seeking the elusive matzo nor am I any longer the Trebek or Sajak -- or even the dad --- seeking the perfect hiding place for the next generation of Afikomens for my own kids. 

So, what's it all about, Afikomen? 

It's about memories, family, and tradition.  And for most of us, a hell of a lot better and sweeter desert at the end of the Seder than the Afikomen!


 If you liked this post you may also like It's a Miracle!, In Search of Big Eli , and The Year We Built The Sukkah. 

If you hated this post, I hope you find yourself crossing the Red Sea, and just as you are almost fully across you hear a thundering voice echoing from on high majestically intoning "looks like you're shit out of luck, dude!"