Friday, May 22, 2015

"To Gwen," A Facebook Tale

Like many of you, occasionally I find myself in the mood to seek out folks I've known in the past on Facebook and see if I can reconnect with them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and only occasionally do you wind up with a restraining order. 

I was in such a mood last Thursday, and one of the people I thought about was a girl named Gwen Grisbane who used to date a friend of mine, Bill Kirschbaum. I always thought she was kind of a cool person, so I decided to type her a brief friendly message and see if we could hook up again.


Hi, Gwen,

This is Perry Block, remember me?  We were in a few classes together in college and for a while you dated a friend of mine, Bill Kirschbaum.

Well, how are you? I was looking up some old - I mean, former - friends and acquaintances on Facebook and you came to mind. I always thought you were kind of a cool person, and I usually enjoyed myself when I was around you, which I guess was not as often as I might have liked.

So, did you ever become an actress?  Bet you didn't know I saw you in every performance of every play you were ever in at school, including Mourning Becomes Annoying and The Glass Menage-a-Trois.  You were always the best actor on the stage, especially in the scenes in which there were no other actors on the stage. I still have all the play programs you signed for me at home. Under glass. 

Do you remember when we were in D.C. Balin's Shakespeare class together?  I always liked it when you sat near me and I could gaze freely at your flawless profile and full sensual lips. The day you read from Romeo and Juliet you took my breath away, and I didn't get it back until a couple of weeks later! 

I have some wonderful memories of you, Gwen. Remember when a bunch of us went to Atlantic City together one summer's day in 1970?  I can still see you emerging from the ocean that magical afternoon, your blond hair flashing in the sunlight and your dazzling blue eyes bedeviling everyone they beheld. The droplets of ocean water clung to your supple amber skin like an army of ardent lovers, caressing and adoring your every pore. 

You were like a Botticelli angel, Gwen! An angel with a warm caring nature, a knock-out sense of humor, and a heart as big as you made my penis every time I was around you!

Oh, my Gwen!  Can I finally call you "my Gwen?" I so longed to call you that during the cherished time I knew you, but had not the courage to speak! You were more beautiful than Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, and Scarlett Johansson combined, but combined as just one person, not three people stuck together with six arms and six legs and three vaginas.

I love you, Gwen!  Let me shout it to the rooftops, or at least to the aluminum siding, I'm not that good at shouting! I will spend the rest of my life doing nothing but striving to make you happy, showering you with love and devotion, and never letting your Netflix subscription lapse.

Till that moment that our lips meet and hearts beat as one, dearest Gwen!!!


My destiny at last! I frantically began searching Gwen Grisbane's Facebook page for some news of my beloved - a picture, a history, a life that was waiting to be transformed by me, the one man who was born to love her! 

I found a post dated May 16, 2012. It read:

So delighted I have finally come out!  Misty and I are off for Tuscany and will not return. Nor will I return to Facebook. Goodbye.

Oh. Gee. I really wanted to hook up again with Gwen Grisbane.

She was kind of a cool person.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Herbert, the Happiest Leaf (FF)

It's Herbert, the happiest leaf, the happiest leaf you know!

"Hi, boys and girls, I'm Herbert, the happy leaf.  Although I am sad that I only have one eye. My left eye was shot out by a deranged elementary school student with a pea shooter.”
Herbert, the happiest leaf, the happiest leaf you know!

“You know what else makes me sad, kids?  I'm a leaf. I don't have a body, I can't defecate, and I can't get it on with female leafs cause they’re only interested in you if you have a big trunk.” 

Herbert, the happiest leaf, it's the Happy Herbert Show!

“Some show! I introduce cartoons that aren’t funny while being munched on by aphids.  Kids, don't believe any of this happy crap. Life is one long struggle and then you die!”

Herbert, the happiest leaf, the happiest leaf you know!

“And, oh yeah, I didn’t get the damn Letterman gig either.”


I can't imagine why Herbert, the happiest leaf, is so unhappy. He's on national television, he's personal friends with Bill Murray, and he even provides oxygen for the atmosphere.  I'm afraid his show does suck, however, except for the presence of his house band, the Roots.

This tale of Herbert, the happiest leaf, is my contribution to the Friday Fictioneers this week based on the picture prompt above. If you'd like to plant yourself among the other Fictioneers' contributions, click here.

Oh, cheer up, Herbert!  You do have a fetching birthmark right under your nose.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Invention of Umbrellas

A Race to the Finish to Win World War II!

It is more or less a common household item today, but once it was the storied goal and subject of the most significant and secretive project in the history of the United States.  Both Allied and Axis parties raced to be the first to develop it, knowing its tactical superiority would all but guarantee victory in the worldwide armed conflagration known as World War II.

Thankfully the Allied powers won the race, and were first to create a fully functional working umbrella.  And with it,  the modern era of military rain repelment began.

Throughout history,  warriors have been continually plagued by sudden downpours of liquid H2O.  Falling rain produced slippery terrain for fighting, uncertain handling of spears and bayonets, and profoundly bad hair days.  In 480 BC, the Persian army overran the fabled 300 Spartans when an unexpected shower sent 283 Spartans off to their stylists for emergency blow drys, leaving only 17 bald Spartans at Thermopylae on the job. 

Whole wars often turned on which side was able to keep its underwear drier while slaughtering and dismembering the opposition. Sometimes entire battles had to be cancelled and rain dates selected. Often many soldiers had pre-existing commitments and couldn't make it on the rain date, and if the sides were significantly uneven soldiers on one side would have to shirt up on the other. 

So devastating to the art of warfare was rainfall  that great military leaders have often decried its awesome and destructive  power:
  • "I came, I saw ... Jesus Christ, nobody predicted this!" Julius Caesar.
  • "Rain, rain, go away, and bring me a whiskey fast!" General Ulysses S. Grant
  • "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes.  Oh crap, just fire!" Colonel William Prescott
Rain continued to disrupt warfare into the 20th Century, greatly impacting the trench warfare of World War I as the unprotected battlefront trenches filled up with water like the pool at Jay Z's house.  As the Second World War began,  Hitler declared development of an effective rain repelment system the Number 1 priority of the Third Reich, along with a pair of convincing mustache extenders for his overly close cropped mustache.

The rain repelment race was on!

Enamored with new concepts of rain repelment, brilliant research scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer secured a meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt.  President Roosevelt's initial reluctance to fund the project was thwarted when a sudden downpour rusted his cigarette holder and extinguished his Lucky Strike. The highly secretive initiative then established came to be called "The Manhattan Project" because the President liked to drink those too, as well as smoke Lucky Strike.

Next, vast sums of money were appropriated and the best minds in America, some actually attached to bodies, were recruited to devise a method to avert raindrops, now referred to as an "umbrella." However, initial prototypes with goose feathers, fishnet stockings, and aldente spaghetti stretched over a metal frame proved unsatisfactory.   Hopes dampened, along with the volunteer troops standing under the prototypes

Then Oppenheimer hit upon the dazzlingly innovative concept of stretching canvas over the metal frame. Six months later when he determined the canvas should slope downward instead of upward - which had caused the canvas to fill up with water like the pool at Jay Z's house - the umbrella was born.  

The modern era of warfare debuted on D-Day, the 6th of June,1944, when thousands of Allied troops stormed the Normandy Beaches in France, each one clutching a flowery pink umbrella with tassels.  The color and styling of the new invention had yet to be worked out, but the dispirited and soggy Nazis quickly surrendered to the cool, calm, and dry as a Martini (which the President also liked) Allied forces. 

In honor of J. Robert Oppenheimer's great achievement, the phrase "oppening an umbrella" was coined  and remains in popular usage today. Sometimes it appears as "opening an

But why is his great discovery called an umbrella?

No clue.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Top Ten Reasons We'll Miss David Letterman

10) When will we ever get the chance to see Tom Hanks again?

9) If I want to have any fun anymore, I'm going to have to throw a bowling ball off the top of the Ed Sullivan Theater.

8) Aging Baby Boomers no longer able to reassure themselves with "Gee at least I'm holding up lots better than Dave."

7) Even as lame as they've been in recent years, Letterman Top Ten Lists way funnier than crap like this.

6) Hate to think of impeccably tailored Letterman sitting around the house in his pajamas playing Candy Crush.

5) Unless Lauren Hutton makes surprise comeback, that's it for gap-toothed celebrities.

4) Nagging fear that as soon as show is over, Paul Shaffer will write vicious tell-all book. 

3) Dave's Mom won't be coming to our house with pie anymore.

2) Without daily dose of Dave, Ryan Seacrest will seem hip.

And the No. 1 Reason we'll miss David Letterman, 

1) Jimmy Fallon.

And thank you, Dave, for 31 years of hip quirky late night entertainment with its own unique perspective and attitude.

We'll miss you.