Sunday, January 29, 2012

Defending Your Teeth

                                                     YOUR TEETH

"Okay, Celestia, who's next?"

"Next we've got a 66 year old Jewish guy from Philadelphia, a Mr. Perry Block. First person we've ever gotten up here who died by whining."

"Send him in."

"Where am I? What happened to the 57 year old twins?"

"Mr. Perry Block, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but YOU'RE DEAD!"  

"Dead? You mean, like an extended version of my weekends?”
"Not that bad, Mr. Block, but a lot longer.”

"Where am I?"

"Welcome to Judgment Dental, Mr. Block!"

"Judgment Dental!  Like in the Albert Brooks' movie Defending Your Life?  I love that movie!”
"No, no, Mr. Block! That's Judgment City.”
Where's Mr. Brooks? Where's Meryl Streep? Even dead, I want selfies!"

“No, Mr. Block, this is the first stop - Judgment Dental. Here we judge your dental care."

"Who are you?"
"I'm the Tooth Fairy.  And you'll notice I'm a chick and I look nothing like Dwayne Johnson."
"Good. Finally one place that guy's not!  What happens now, Tooth Fairy?"

Defending Your Teeth!  Ready, Mr. Block?”
“I’m ready.”
“Let's go to 9/27/88. Take a look at yourself up on the screen, Mr. Block, and tell me what you are doing?"

"Drinking Coca-Cola."

"You do that frequently?"

"If by frequently you mean as fast as my fingers can open the next can, it’s probably bordering on frequently."

"And here you are at nighttime that very same day, brushing your teeth."

"See! I'm brushing."

"Would you take a look at the tube of toothpaste you're brushing with? What kind of toothpaste is it, Mr. Block?"

"It's Crest with Chocolate Morsels."

"Do you think that's an appropriate decay preventing toothpaste, Mr. Block?"

"Well, you want me to be incented to brush, don't you?"

"Isn't it true, Mr. Block, that you didn't even own a toothbrush for an entire seven months during the years 1997-1998?"

"That's not true! My toothbrush was in the shop. I didn't get a loaner..."

"Let's look at 4/25/95.  Here you are attempting to gargle, Mr. Block. Do you want to describe what happened?"

"Excuse me, but shouldn't I have an advocate?  Where's actor Rip Torn?"

"Oh, sorry. He's trapped near the Inner Circle of Thought."

"I knew it! That movie was so accurate!"

"Mr. Block, again please, what about 4/25/95?"

"I went to take mouthwash and accidentally took a swig of aftershave."

"And promptly did a spit take into the mirror, didn't you?"

"Yes, and it got a much bigger laugh in the movie than here."

"Here's the final day we're going to visit: 1/27/12. Who is this man, Mr. Block? Why does he look so gleeful? Why is he rubbing his hands together?

"That's my dentist, Dr. Kropotkin."

"That's right, Mr. Block. You had the next appointment that morning with Dr. Kropotkin. He was rubbing his hands together because your mouth alone sent his three kids through college and bought him a condo in Boca."

"It’s true. Some people had to wait six months for an appointment. Me, he gave a Bat Signal."

"I think we've seen enough. Mr. Block, I'm afraid 
I have no alternative but to send you to ..."
"Tooth Fairy! Tooth Fairy!"

"What is it, Celestia?"

"We made a mistake! Mr. Block is not dead! That last whine turned out to be a high-pitched burp."

"Well, then, Mr. Block, you have a second chance. I hope you've learned your lessons."

"I have, Tooth Fairy! 
From now on I will brush with an effective decay-preventative dentifrice as part of a conscientiously applied program of oral hygiene and regular professional care. And after all these years I will finally look up the word ‘dentifrice.’ 
"That's what we want to hear, Mr. Block.  Good luck to you!"

"Tooth Fairy, before I go?"

"Yes, Mr. Block?"

"You got a Coke machine up here?"

So remember to take great Dental Care, folks.  You don't ever want to find yourself having to be ....


Note: I happened to watch one of my favorite movies, Defending Your Life, the night before a dental appointment.  Somehow this was the result. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

You're No Ronald Reagan!

And how many times can you use the words "Ronald Reagan"  in a sentence?

Wolf Blitzer:  Good Evening.   This is the 75th --- excuse me, 76th --- debate between the candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.  I'm Wolf Blitzer of CNN, and with me is is Brooke Baldwin, also of CNN.

Brooke Baldwin: Good Evening, Wolf. Good Evening, high cheekbones.

Blitzer:  Tonight there are only two candidates debating, former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Good evening, gentlemen. 

Mitt Romney:  Hello, Wolf.  G00d to see you, Brooke.  Nice cheekbones.

Newt Gingrich:  Hi-ya, Brooke! I've...umm ... admired your cheekbones for years!

Blitzer:  Governor Romney, first question.  As we all know, the revered patron saint of the Republican Party is former President Ronald Reagan.

RomneyGingrich:   Hallowed be His Name ...

Blitzer:  Now, Governor, the Speaker has asserted that although you purport to be a 100% devoted  Ronald Reagan conservative, you're in truth a Massachusetts moderate.  Your response?

Romney:  Wolf,  that's plain ridiculous!  I proudly espouse all the values, beliefs, and goals of Ronald Reagan's America!  Ronald Reagan is and always has been my personal hero. That's why I am,  in fact,  the one true heir to Ronald Reagan!

Blitzer: Speaker Gingrich, the Governor has asserted that you claim to be a Washington outsider even though you've been in Congress for almost 30 years.

Gingrich:  Wolf, that's plain ridiculous! I proudly espouse all the values, beliefs, and goals of Ronald Reagan's America!  Ronald Reagan is and always has been my personal hero. That's why I am,  in fact,  the one true heir to Ronald Reagan!

Baldwin: Well, you can both be the one true heir.  Each of you please explain why you are.

Gingrich:  Brooke,  Governor Romney wouldn't know Ronald Reagan  if he fell over him on his way to a pro-abortion rally!  I am the one true heir to Ronald Reagan,  who incidentally is  the greatest actor in the history of American cinema and especially brilliant in my favorite Ronald Reagan movie, Knute Rockne, All American, starring Ronald Reagan!  

Baldwin:  Governor Romney?

Romney: Brooke, Speaker Gingrich wouldn't know Ronald Reagan if he fell over him while bending over to pick up an exorbitant check from Freddie Mac!    I am the one true heir to Ronald Reagan, who incidentally is the greatest actor in the history of American cinema and especially brilliant in my favorite Ronald Reagan movie,  Bedtime for Bonzo, starring Ronald Reagan!  

Baldwin:   Speaker Gingrich,  how can you demonstrate that you are the most like Ronald Reagan

Newt Gingrich:   Brooke, if it's always been your desire to sleep with Ronald Reagan,  remember that as a 100% devoted Ronald Reagan conservative, I am the next best thing to Ronald Reagan!  Ready?

Baldwin: Governor Romney?

RomneyBrooke, if it's always been your desire to sleep with Ronald Reagan,  remember that as a 100% devoted Ronald Reagan conservative, I am the next best thing to Ronald Reagan!  So, now? 

Blitzer:  Gentleman,  Brooke and her cheekbones will give those generous offers due consideration. One more question: Each of you is kind of goofy looking --- you, Governor Romney, with your excessively greased and dyed hair and you, Speaker Gingrich, with all that hanging flab directly under your neck.  Looking like you guys do, why should either one of you be President?

Romney:  Wolf, yes, I regularly grease and dye my hair. Just like Ronald Reagan!   

Gingrich: Wolf, yes, I do have huge pendulous gobs of unsightly hanging flab under my neck. Just like Ronald Reagan!  

Romney:  You're no Ronald Reagan, sir!

Gingrich:  And you're no Ronald Reagan, sir!

Ronald Reagan (from on high) : I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E!  Hey, you two:

 Neither one of you is Ronald Reagan!    

And BTW,  they have no jelly beans up here.   Either of you two Ronald Reagan geniuses got any?


Love me, love my gobs!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cream of Wheat Weather, Whether or Not

So many issues ....

Every so many winters, I get a sudden hankering for Cream of Wheat. It's not that I actually like the stuff.  In fact, I find it kind of gooey and lumpy and pasty and gross .... but in a good way. 

Mostly it reminds me of my childhood, my mother standing over the stove  cooking old original Cream of Wheat that took a good half hour to prepare, loading it up with milk and sugar, and then gently foisting it on me just before school.  I always felt well protected from Winter's Chill with Cream of Wheat inside my tummy, even though it did little to prevent me from getting regularly beaten up by half the schoolyard from Grades 1 through 5.

Cream of Wheat television commercials strove to present the same image as well.  As a freckle-faced youngster ate the the porridgely product and then ventured directly out into a raging blizzard, an airborne bowl of nutritious  steaming hot Cream of Wheat hovered directly over his head, guiding him and protecting him on his way to school while the jingle played:

That's Cream of Wheat weather we repeat,
So guard your family with hot Cream of Wheat ... 

And so it was  on a cold day last week that a familiar hankering for that wholesome goodness, nourishment, and marginal taste once again struck.   I bounded out of the house to the nearest SuperFresh and right to the aisle where Cream of Wheat 2012 was regularly being purveyed. 

But which Cream of Wheat to buy?  This is a product that has more speeds than a racing bike.

There's Original Cream of Wheat (takes 30 minutes), Quick Cream of Wheat (bringing it down to five), Instant Cream of Wheat (just one short minute),  Mix and Eat Cream of Wheat (it's there for you whenever you want it, baby!), and new It's Cooking in the Box Cream of Wheat

I opted for tradition but with a 21st Century attitude and selected the five minute variety. But as I lifted the box towards me, I saw something that truly surprised me.

They still have that old-fashioned black man on the box!  He's still got a chef's hat on, he's still smiling graciously, and he's still serving me a bowl of Cream of Wheat.   Me, a white guy!!!

This doesn't seem right, I thought.  

Just then my friend Sheila Farbman happened down the aisle. 

"Hi, Perry!  What ya getting?"

"Oh, hi, Sheila.  I was just .... um .... grabbing some Wheaties, Breakfast of Champions!"

"But those aren't Wheaties.  Wheaties are in an orange box."  

"Well,  Sheila, I don't think I ever mentioned this, but I'm a little color blind."

"But the size of that box is way smaller than a Wheaties box."

"I'm size blind too."

"I'm so sorry.  Well, let me help you then.  We'll just put back this Cream of Wheat..."

"Cream of Wheat!?  This is Cream of Wheat?   Thank God you came along!" 

When Sheila left, I grabbed back the Cream of Wheat box off the shelf and headed for the check out line. Sheepishly sliding the box over to the check out guy, I looked  upward and away as if I were considering writing a term paper on the ceiling tiles. 

"About this Cream of Wheat," he said ....

"Cream of Wheat!?"  I blurted out in a voice many octaves above that of the very young Wayne Newton.  "No, no,  no, I meant to buy Wheaties!" 

"What I wanted to say, sir, is if you want the Cream of Wheat, it's two for one today.  You could go back and get another." 

"Uh, no thanks," I sputtered and leaped out of the store like I was running from Geoff Treegoob, one of the toughest of the fifth grade bullies. 

First thing I did back home was some research.  Turns out some people do  think the Cream of Wheat man has outlived his time.  Others believe the image has been transmuted to stand simply for quality.  I guess it's not my call to make.

I will, however,  make the call about the stuff that's in the box.  I cooked it up in five minutes and scarfed it down in seven.  Tasted like Plaster of Paris .... but in a good way. 

And then, all of a sudden there it was!  That  airborne bowl of nutritious  steaming hot Cream of Wheat was hovering directly over me,  guiding me,  protecting me ....

That's Cream of Wheat weather we repeat,
So guard your family with hot Cream of Wheat! 

.... and unceremoniously dumping its contents on my head.

That's hot nourishing,  gooey, lumpy, pasty, and gross Cream of Wheat for you.  One breakfast cereal.  

So many issues!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Blame the Mucus!

Now who the hell is that guy?

I've been fascinated of late by a series of  commercials where a man suddenly and unexpectedly appears in an attractive young woman's bedroom sitting right next to her in bed.

That's a talent many of us would like to have. 

This fellow, however, is bit different.  He's wearing a t-shirt with the word "MUCUS" written on it,  and the reason he's materialized is to beat the rap that he's responsible for the woman's nasal congestion. 

Go Ahead, Blame the MUCUS!"   he says  to her cynically.

After explaining that Advil's the answer to the real problem, swollen membranes or something like that, you'd think the guy would make his move.   Sure, in  one commercial there's a husband present and in the other a young daughter, but the husband's fast asleep and the daughter just about ready for bed.

But apparently this Mucus guy has even less cool than you and me!

Well, I'm proud to tell you that I --- Perry Block --- have been cast in a new television commercial that follows along the same lines as the one for Advil.   And hopefully I'm going to handle things a whole lot slicker than Mr. Mucus!


Very attractive young woman is sitting up alone in bed in scanty negligee looking very nauseous.

"Oh, I feel so sick! It must have been all that lasagna.  Washed down with the bottle of chianti.  Followed up by the linguine, the keg of beer, and the Moo Goo Gai Pan, then the Cherry Fudge Ripple ...."

 Suddenly in bed right next to the woman as if by magic, I appear.

"Go Ahead, Blame the VOMIT!"

"You ... you're the VOMIT?'

"Sure. See, it's written right here on my T-shirt and ... "

"No, I was just startled.  Of course, you're the VOMIT!  It's perfect casting!"


"But I'm so sick!!!  You mean, it's not the ...."

"It's not the VOMIT. You're sick to your stomach because you've been watching the American political process on television."  

" I have, that's true."

"All those inane candidates!  Taking positions they don't believe in, making promises they can't keep. Everything driven by money and ego, not leadership!" 

"But then what do I do,  VOMIT?"

"I recommend new improved Off Switch!  Just flick it.  Then read a book, go to a museum,  or see a concert (Not ABBA though!)  Do something constructive."

"So  I can breathe .... easy!  And not puke!  Why,  thank you, VOMIT!"

"You're welcome.  And now that's out of the way, doll, what's say you and I ...."



Friday, January 13, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree, Dead Christmas Tree!

We'll never forget 'ye, soldier ...

I've  just never known what to make of those people who leave Christmas lights up and blazing outside their homes until deep into January. Are they still feeling joyous on January 27th or simply slothfully procrastinating the inevitable? 

Frankly I know little of the ethos of the outdoor Christmas light.  When my children were young, we did celebrate secular Christmas (i.e. jolly bearded old fat guy, si; serious bearded young skinny guy, non!),  but I had a strict rule about lights outside the house. 

While the inside of the house could be lit like the Vegas Strip, the outside had to be as dark as a small town in North Dakota after 8 P.M.  I realize this was somewhat hypocritical, but flashing red and green lights and dancing candy canes in front of my house at holiday time was to me the equivalent of installing a ten foot high neon sign proclaiming:


Still,  I do understand the melancholy nature of the annual take down and/or disposing of seasonal decorations.  Every year I sadly espy the multiple discarded Christmas trees lining the sidewalks in front of homes all throughout my neighborhood, lying there like so many dead and dying soldiers from a nearby raging battle. Yesterday I paused to pick one up and comfort it in last moments: 

"What happened, Christmas Tree?  Oh, God, you're hurt bad."

"Yes, it was so sudden, unexpected ....."

"Cigarette, Christmas Tree?"

"What are you, crazy?  I'm made of wood,  idiot!"

"Oh, that's right!  And I don't have any cigarettes, anyway."

"It was so strange.  One moment, I was all adorned with decorations and lights, people were sliding presents under me,  and children were gathered around me singing: 

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree   
How lovely are your branches
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree ... "

"Yes, Christmas Tree?"

"The next minute, it was 'Herby, get that disgusting mangy thing  the hell out of here, it's dropping  needles all over the goddamn carpet!'"

"Christmas Tree, can I write to anybody for you?  Notify anyone? Give a special locket to someone?"

"You can get your foot off my stem."

"You know, Christmas Tree,  the Jewish people respect your kind.  We even have a special holiday for trees called Tu Bishvat."

"Does that mean that if the Jewish people had a tree like me they wouldn't toss me out  like I was so much rubbish or even less than rubbish, like the original cast album of Mamma Mia?"

"No, we'd still do it. We'd just feel guilty about it." 

It was then that I decided to knock on the door of one of the several homes in my neighborhood that still had outdoor Christmas lights all aglow like a tiny tot's eyes and find out what was truly going on with the residents within.

I knocked. 

Would a fashionably dressed man and woman in their mid-thirties answer the door and graciously bid me enter?  Would they offer me champagne, wish me a belated Joyeux Noel, and usher me into their den where a  glorious and fully lit and decorated Christmas Tree yet held sway, captivating and illuminating the minds and hearts of all who would enter?

The door opened.  A short bald fat guy in a T-shirt stood in front of me.

"Help you, Mac?"

From off in the distance, I heard a woman's voice shouting "Herby, I told you to get that disgusting mangy thing the hell out of here, it's dropping needles all over the goddamn carpet!'"

At long last, I had my answer.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Campaign without End

Ron, weren't you only 37 when all this began?

Doesn't it seem like the Presidential campaign has been going on forever?  

We've had flavors of the month,  brain farts, flip flops, vacant stares, family values, invented people, $10,000 bets, Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, Bachmann in Bachmann out; Cain in, Cain out;  Cain in, out, in, out, in, out - allegedly!;  and lots and lots of Jesus.

And the actual election is still almost a year away. 

I know what you're thinking.  

We've just got to find a way to make this process longer!    Here's a few ideas:

Hopefuls Must Declare Candidacy Within Two Months After the Last Presidential Election.   Imagine the fun watching candidates scream about how lousy the last President has been when the last President hasn't even had a chance  to be lousy. 

Hold Primaries in Other Countries.   C'mon, Ron Paul,  explain your views on foreign aid to Israel and Egypt.   Rick Santorum, you're eager to tangle with Ahmadinejad, let's see you earn his vote.

Rick Perry,  let's see you campaign in Great Britain, where you're required to speak English!

You Moderate the Debate.  Why should Wolf Blitzer have all the fun?  Got a  microphone, rec room, and ample supply of dumb ass questions?    

~ "Mr. Santorum, why do you always have a facial expression makes it look like you've just inhaled next to Russell Brand?"

~ "Mr. Paul,  you'd be the first President with two first names since Chester A. Arthur.  How would you like to wear fake muttonchops if we could get 'em to match your fake eyebrows?" 

~ "Mr. Gingrich,  you've been married three times and had multiple affairs. How do you do it  when guys who don't have a face like Kirstie Alley's butt can't get chicks?"

All Candidates Must Host SNL.   Could the show possibly be any less funny? Is it possible for even Jon Huntsman to do a decent Jon Huntsman?   Beauty Part: Boy, would this elongate the process! There are only about three new SNL episodes a year and Alec Baldwin is contractually obligated to host all of them.

Candidate Term Papers.   Each candidate must read Middlemarch by George Eliot and write a term paper, twenty-five pages, double-spaced, with footnotes.  (Note:  Any candidate who properly identifies George Eliot as a woman will be immediately eliminated from the race.)

Send the Candidates into Space. 

Bring the Candidates Back from Space. (Optional)

Feel free to add your own ideas to these humble few and know what?  Before long we'll have Presidential campaigns running almost as long as geological periods of the Earth.

Which all  goes to prove what the only conceivable thing worse than the current process for electing a President of the United States of America would be.

One additional minute of it.


Sunday, January 8, 2012


Perry Block stumbled out of bed and made his way into the bathroom. 

Everything was getting so out of hand, he thought! 

He'd put on his slippers and robe to head to the bathroom and now everything was indeed out of his hands and on his body.

It was exactly 4:00 A.M Thursday morning.  Lingering for a moment in the bathroom, Perry paused to take a long hard look in the mirror.  He didn't like what he saw! 

There was a smudge on the mirror's lower left-hand corner.  He took a towel and wiped it off.  

Perry sat on the corner of the bed and thought of Angelique.  He knew she would soon be bidding him "goodbye" and "farewell." 

He'd told her he found her habit of saying "adios" extremely annoying, and she'd promised from now on she'd always say either "farewell" or "goodbye" instead.   

True, Angelique wasn't pretty.  She was gorgeous.  And yes, the two of them had gone through some serious sexual problems together.  But now that Angelique had gotten used to having fantastic sex with Perry 6 or 7 times a night, those problems had  faded away.

Perry's professional life had lately been fraught with emotional strifegut-wrenching conflict, and a couple of horrific major disasters!

As a top Hollywood producer, his pictures covered a wide range of genres indeed, all of which had earned him millions of dollars.  In the last year alone his two disaster movies, Pee Wee's Big Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Wendy's, had been especially profitable.

The phone rang.  Perry picked up the receiver.

"Perry Block?"

"Yes, that's me."

"This is Death."

Anguish.  Despondency.   Hopelessness.

"Perry," whimpered Death, "I am in anguish!  BTW, I'm despondent and hopeless too." 

"Why's that,  Death?" 

"Because you've beaten me! You'll never die."  

"You've got to get a hold of yourself, Death!" said Perry. "It isn't as if somebody didn't die.  Except me."

"Perry, would you --- kind of --- take me under your wing?"

Perry penciled Death in for a half hour appointment a week from Friday, right before he was scheduled to go snorkeling with Scarlett Johansson, and hung up.  

On the other end of the phone, Death felt reassured that he'd soon be seeing Perry Block.

At long last, his bitter despair began to lift.  


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Perry's Headline News, Part II

I can hardly believe that only a few months ago I was thrilled that there was a person in the Presidential race with the same last name as my first one.

I was prepared at that time to fatten up on the succession of glorious headlines that would elicit the mistaken impression that I am indeed one hell of a very cool and dynamic guy!

But Reality has o'erstripped my hoped-for vicarious glory. Recent headlines about the self-same candidate have accomplished anything but provide reinforcement to my always fragile sense of self-worth:

Perry Confuses Ass with Elbow at Debate

Perry Protests Unfairness of Question as to Own Name

Perry Declares he is Ronald McDonald Conservative 

 Perry Calls Perry an Idiot, Then Remembers He is Perry

 Perry Stands with Back to Podium at Debate, Shows Best Side

Will somebody please get this guy out of the race before he does any more permanent damage to my psyche?

In the meantime, I'll focus my self-deceptive and delusional attentions on headlines about Katy Perry.   Heck, not only am I MTV's Artist of the Year,  I've just dumped that annoying Russell Brand! 

And, all my hits aside, ya can't help but dig the way this 61 year old Boomer dresses!

Hot as Hell, ain't I?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Earning the Epilogue

It's called the Epilogue. 

And anyone who's ever watched a cop show on TV knows exactly what it's all about.

The Epilogue is the last minute or so of a cop show  when all danger having finally passed, the lead actors sit around and drink coffee,  reveal any heretofore unexplicated clues to the mystery in the prior hour's proceedings, and share a hearty laugh as to how the bad guys almost ripped  'em a new one in the action-packed good vs. evil concluding confrontation just before the last commercial.

The Epilogue provides a crucial moment for the audience to relax and kick back,  serene at last in the knowledge our heroes are none the worse for wear and will be back battling the forces of darkness again next week .... same time, same station, same lack of anything else constructive for us to be doing.  

As all Boomers know, the cop show format featuring an Epilogue was made famous in the 1960's and 1970's by a man name Quinn Martin.    Every Quinn Martin Production like The Streets of San Francisco,   Cannon,  and Barnaby Jones was divided into a  discernible Act I,  Act II,  Act III,  Act IV, and Epilogue and always had a  hokey title like "Death on Toast,"  "Fate Plays the Bongos,"  or "Paper Cut of Doom."

And, of course, the most famous of all Quinn Martin Productions  featured a brooding actor named David Janssen who went through four years and 120 episodes seeking an elusive one-armed man without ever once cracking a smile in a program called: 

The Fugitive
A Quinn Martin Production

Forty-four years after The Fugitive went off the air,  I walked into my den and sat down with my son Brandon, who was at that moment watching a cop show. 

"Dad, what are you doing?" said Brandon.

"I'm watching Psych, along with you," I answered.

"Dad, this is the Epilogue.  Shawn and Gus are wrapping up tonight's case along with O'Hara,  Lassiter,  and Corbin Bernsen without the cheesy toupee he wears earlier in the show."

"Yes, I can see that, Brandon.  And for the record,  I think that's a pretty damn good toupee they give Bernsen in the  show!  I'd kill to actually have real hair like that!"

"Yes, but Dad, listen:  Where were you when the show started 55 minutes ago and the two models were murdered by the deranged marionettes?" 

"I was making myself a tuna fish sandwich ...."

"And where were you when Shawn and Gus went undercover at the Disgruntled Ventriloquists Annual Convention run by guest star Ted McGinley?"

"Well ... umm .... I was eating the sandwich ...."

"And where were you when Shawn and Gus were battling the  master puppeteer who  commits murder while throwing his voice and drinking water so his puppets are blamed, not him?   My God, Dad, Gus was almost choked to death by a sock puppet!" 

"I'm .... I'm so sorry, Brandon!   But .... but ... so what?"

"Dad, you haven't earned the Epilogue!"

"Excuse me?"

"You didn't go through any of the tension, drama, or conflict of the episode.   You can't just swoop in and watch The Feel Good Part of the Program when you made no commitment whatsoever to rest of the show!" 

"Oh.  Uhhhh,  what should I do?"

"Well, Shawn, Gus, and the others haven't all had their final good-natured laugh yet.  Just leave the room now,  and I'll call you when it's okay for you to come back in."

"When  do you think that'll be?"

"When we get to the end credits, of course!   And next week, Dad, watch the show!  Then you'll deserve the Epilogue."

And so,  all these years after Richard Kimble finally found his one-armed man and learned to smile once more, I've learned something new about the Epilogue.  

 You've got to earn it.

I guess in television, as in life,  nothing ever comes easy. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Fahrenheit 451 + 10

Montag was alone, sitting by a brook on the outskirts of the settlement. 

Sure, he was helping to keep knowledge alive in the dark times by memorizing and becoming a book. But after these ten odd years, a dark sadness had descended upon him, sapping his spirit and diminishing his soul. 

A tall man with a ruddy complexion and piercing eyes approached him. 

"Hello, my friend.  Why are you so morose?"

"Oh, hullo,  Great Expectations.  I'm kind of bummed out because I'm just not getting anywhere with the ladies.  You ever have any problems like that?" 

"Me?  No,  not at all,"  said the tall man.  "I'm Great Expectations.   I intrigue the hell out of women!   Y'know, I've been diddling Madame Bovary for the past three months!"

"Well, it's sure different for me.  Ever since I joined the Book People and selected a book to become,  women don't take me seriously. Hell, they treat me like a child!  

"Well, what do you think the problem is, Goodnight Moon?  

"The problem is I can't compete with the more macho books!  Last night I went to a single's bar with Captains Courageous and Last of the Mohicans.  We ran into two chicks,  Anna Karenina and Tess of the d'Urbervilles."


"Right away Captains Courageous pairs off with Anna Karenina and hasn't been home since. I spent the whole evening playing Ms. Pac Man while watching Tess of the d'Urbervilles  grind into Last of the Mohicans on the dance floor!" 

"Well,  maybe some woman will admire you for your warm sentimental values as opposed to manliness."

"That only goes so far, Great Expectations.  Can you imagine: 

 Ride me, Goodnight Moon! 
 Give it to me, Goodnight Moon! 

It just doesn't work."

"I just had a thought, Goodnight Moon.   A new woman recently joined the group;  name's  Dr. Zhivago.  She looks a bit like a young Julie Christie." 

"I've seen her!  That Dr. Zhivago's babe-a-licious!"

"Well, I'll introduce you.  Straighten yourself up,  clean up your punctuation, and remember to stay in proper tense at all times."

"Okay, okay!  Y'know, if all goes well, Great Expectations,  one day Dr. Zhivago might become Mrs. Dr. Zhivago Goodnight Moon!" 

"Let's not rush things, Goodnight Moon.   But should you happen to get lucky,  do me one favor?"  

"What's that, Great Expectations?"

"For God's sakes, don't shout out:

Goodnight, Mus-s-s-s-h-h-H-H-H!!!