Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Schizophrenic Blogger

If  ever win one of those cutesy blogging awards people give out which enable recipients thereof to call themselves 'award-winning bloggers'* without ever having been within boobs-length of Seth MacFarlane, it ought for sure to be

The Schizophrenic
 Blogger Award

except for the fact they don't actually have one of those.

You see, seven days out of the week my blog posts are about as popular as the writing staff at The Onion is with the National Organization for Women.  I've got to hang bacon outside my blog if I want to entice anyone to enter, and once anyone's inside I've got to hurtle myself at their feet to get them to leave a comment, even if it's only "let the hell go of my feet!"

If I get any comments at all, I'm lucky to get: 

 I only clicked on yer link because I thought maybe there'd be pictures of cute kittens, loser!

But on the eighth day of the week, all that is blissfully forgotten. On the eighth day of the week glowing kudos-laden comments flow beneath my blog posts like riverlets of wine, albeit only the cheap kind in a carton you and I can afford.   On the eighth day of the week, I am suddenly ....  

What's changed? Frankly, my humor writing is still about as funny as a descriptive passage from "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad.  No, what's changed is not the writing but the fact that I am now a card-carrying member of the Friday Fictioneers.

The Fictioneers, under the direction of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, is an internet group of some one hundred writers who every Friday (or thereinabouts) write a 100 (or thereinaboutsword flash fiction story based on a picture prompt posted earlier in the week.  And in the incestuous community of the Fictioneers, most members write weekly comments to each other supporting and mostly praising each other's posts.

And so, on a random Friday, I may receive 20-30-40 comments in the nature of:  

Great piece!  Loved the way you wrote in English and didn't spill salsa all over the computer screen! 

What writing!  Brilliant from start to finish!  
(P.S. I'll write more after I've read it.) 

You're so funny!  'To get to the other side' joke slayed me.  Also you wrote in English, wonderful idea!

But a few days pass and I return to a regular blog post, and once again,  One is the Loneliest Number and most likely the onliest number that I'll ever do.  If there's a comment at all, about as good it gets is:

Thought this was kinda funny 'cept I was so wasted when I read it, man! 

 ... and so on through the week until comes another Friday and it's Roll Out the Barrel, We'll Have a Barrel of Fun 'til Monday when once again  Ah, Look at All The Lonely People but not to worry, Perry, because in a couple of days,  Happy Days are Here Again!  That is, until Monday next when Just Me and My Shadow demonstrate once more why I am uniquely qualified to win The Schizophrenic Blogger Award,  if only they actually had one of those.

But how long can I live his dual life, this two-face of a blogger's existence?   It seems that I must choose.  Do I remain within the cushiony comfortable bubble of the Friday Fictioneers  forever or do I fess up to the unaided reality of a mostly comment-less seven days a week blogging existence?  And,  as a result, probably get myself a straight job as a meat inspector for IKEA? 

I've chosen.  

And know what, blogging world?

You like me, you really like me!

*Not to brag, but I actually am an Award-winning blogger, having netted the Versatile Blogger Award and Stylish Blogger Award  a few years back. When I win me a third award, I'm putting it on my stationery, business cards,  and voice-mail!  

And I still won't get any comments ...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Adventures in Cheese Hating

Everyone has a certain food that they don’t like and for me, that food is cheese. I not only dislike the taste of cheese, I hate the look, smell, and feel of the greasy, gooey, godawful stuff.

I call it Fromage-a-Phobia.  

These are days of great tolerance in America. It’s perfectly acceptable to be an atheist, a Communist, in love with someone named “Trigger,” or even a fan of Kevin James. But it doesn’t seem to be OK to hate cheese. 

It got so bad that last week I landed in a psychiatrist's office.

"You What?!!" said Dr. Kropotkin. "You hate cheese?!"

"Yes, doctor.  My entire life has been an Adventure in Cheese Hating."

"So  you seek treatment for your perversion? I'm not sure that medical science has advanced far enough!"

"Speaking of advancing, doctor, I notice you seem to be advancing closer to the back door."

"Oh, the better to  hear you, my boy!"

"But you're actually farther away from me!"

"I'm ...umm ....  farsighted, except it's settled in my ears.

"Oh, sure. I guess grabbing that letter opener also helps you hear?" 

"Do you not like any cheese?!  Not even Gouda!"

"No, for me Gouda is bada!"

"But a cheese shop!  You must love the smells inside a cheese shop?"

"The only cheese shop I like is Monty Python's, because it has no cheese."

"Haven't you ever eaten any cheese?!"

"Occasionally when I order something that even the wait person doesn't know contains some  cheese, like  certain soups or salads."

"What ... what .... happens then?"

"A spit take straight out of  the old Danny Thomas Show.  I could hit Danny Thomas and he's dead."

"I've heard quite enough! You... you ... "  

"Gee, now you've grabbed scissors too." 

"In your disrespect for cheese, sir, you trample on the traditions that form the heritage of America, those of God, family, and morality!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend your values.  I guess you're a conservative Republican?"

"No, no, I'm an anarchist! " 

"Gee,  you're almost out the door now."

"Sorry, I can't take a deranged person as a patient!

 Help! Help! Somebody help me!!!"

"What patient, doctor?  I just ducked in here to avoid the noxious cheese fumes from the cafe next door."

"Oh.  Okay, in that case I recommend Total Immersion Therapy." 

"What is that?" 

"Immerse yourself any place but here." 

"Thank you, doctor."

"And don't ever forget.  Gouda is GOOD-A!"


If you liked this post, you might also like Out of This World!,  One of these Days ... and of course, Fromage-a-phobia.

If you hated this post,  go gag on some gorgonzola!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Purim's Red Carpet

Sure Passover is more meaningful and at Hanukkah you get presents for eight nights if you work it right, but only at Purim do the Jewish people have both a Pageant and Carnival! 

And this year Purim --- the Feast of Esther commemorating the victory of the Jews over the evil Haman in ancient Persia ---  falls squarely at the same time as the 2013 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Annual Awards.  Ya know, the Oscars! 

nd so this year, we're ... 
 At the 2013 Academy Awards &
Purim Pageant & Carnival Celebration!

"Hello again, everyone!  I'm Lara Spencer from ABC's Good Morning, Insipid America! Tonight on the Red Carpet we'll  meet and chat with the A-Listers starring in the Academy Awards Purim Pageant and Carnival's retelling of the the story of Esther!

It's gonna be a BIG MEGILLAH!*
Vashti! Vashti!  Get over here!  Ladies and Gentlemen, here's Jennifer Lawrence as King Ahasuerus' ill-fated first wife Vashti!

"Hi, Lara!  Hello, everybody! My first year as Vashti, this is so epic!

"Yes, it is a big year for you, Jennifer, what with Silver Linings Playbook and The Hunger Games.

"Forget those, Lara!  Here at the Purim Carnival we've got Carnival Games!  Including bean bag tosses!"

"Of course, Vashti is banished by King Ahasuerus for refusing to appear naked in front of his drinking buddies.  See that kind of modesty starting a trend in Hollywood, Jennifer?"

"No way, Lara. Ever watched Girls on HBO? Next thing you know Jonah Hill's gonna be droppin' trou!"

"Well, good luck with the banishment, Jennifer --- I mean, the banishment from Hollywood if you don't win the Oscar!"

"And this next  face needs no introduction: The Legendary Bobby DeNiro!"

"Great to be back here as the King, Lara!  Haven't played  Ahasuerus since 1995 with Jimmy Woods as Mordecai!"

"How does the role of Ahasuerus  compare to your other great roles, Bobby?"

"I see King Ahasuerus as Don Corleone minus 75 IQ points.  Here's a guy with a hot wife in Vashti who wants to take off her clothes only for him, and he trades her in for a Jewish wife who wants to take off her clothes only for the alterations person at Bloomingdales!"

"So true, Bobby!  Tell me, are you going to make an uncomfortable rambling speech at this year's Purim Pageant?

"Of course, Lara, it's my trademark." 

"We'll look forward to squirming through that!" 

"Here's that guy  --- Mordecai!  And it's everyone's favorite perfect guy, Hugh Jackman!'

"Great to be playing a steadfast, stalwart, square-jawed, handsome, heroic, noble, save-the-day, Supermanish type, Lara!  Again." 

"Is there nothing you can't do, Hugh?"

"Make all the other guys in the world feel less insecure?"

"And now ... could it be ... yes, it's the annoying sound of hundreds of groggers!  Sounds like a swarm of bees that's just had lunch at Lance Armstrong's buttocks.  And here's  our Haman, none other than Christoph Waltz!

"It's wonderful to be here, Lara!  My first time out as Haman, so happy to be playing another great anti-Semitic villain."

"You've got big shoes to fill, Christoph, the role having been played by Mel Gibson for many years."

"Yes, it's a tough act to follow. And me with Jewish children yet!  If you don't mind, Lara, gonna go love me some hamentaschen!"

"And now all the way from the Princess Diaries to Queen Esther herself --- Anne Hathaway!"

"Oh, Lara, it's wonderful to play the Queen at Purim!" 

"Gorgeous gown, Anne! How have you been preparing for this big role?"

"Married me a Jewish guy this past year, Lara, and for the last month I've done nothing but play Hang Haman!"**

"That's our great Purim Pageant cast, Ladies and Gentlemen!  The Pageant is going to be starting momentarily; for those of  you who want to watch the actual Academy Awards, it's on line somewhere, look it up.

And tomorrow on GMIA, we'll have exclusive coverage of me, Josh Elliott, and Christolph Waltz rockin' those Carnival bean bag games! 

You won't wanna miss it!

Now if you don't mind, folks, gonna go love me some hamantaschen!

If you liked  this post, you might also like Purim: You Are Who You Eat,  Go Down, Twitter, and It's A Miracle.

If you hated this post,  I hope you have a lousy Purim!


Not a Member of the Tribe? 

Big Megillah --- a big deal
**Hang Haman --- Purim version of Hangman. Yep, we make it personal, folks!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Her Golden Laugh

That summer Ginny, Mark, and I were best friends and nothing thrilled us more than a late night excursion to Hoskins Farm, the broken-down haunted farmhouse beyond the lake.

We three would stumble our way to the darkest part of the house and I’d say "Hope something happens" in a spooky voice and Ginny would laugh her golden laugh.

Mark moved away, Ginny amazingly said “I do,” and last thing I expected was a call "Coming to town, let's do Hoskins.”  Once again we three stumbled our way to the darkest part of the house and once again I said "Hope something happens” in a spooky voice.

"Ah, but tonight something will" said Mark, closing his fingers around my throat, and once again Ginny laughed her golden laugh I'd not heard since the summer Ginny, Mark, and I were best friends.


Picture prompt above, story below, 142 words (a lot), and for some reason this week I decided to go eerie instead of funny.  Of course many people think I am normally eerie instead of  funny, but this week at least it's intentional.

This post is my contribution to the Fabulous Flying Friday Fictioneers and White Picket Fence Painting Brigade for the fourth week of February, 2013.  But don't you go painting any fences when you can click over to a whole haunted house full of stories from the other fictioneers.  You'll find funny, eerie, and everything in between.

Enjoy, and let me hear your golden laugh! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Pope's Tweets II

Been following the Pope on Twitter?  Since he's announced his retirement, the Pope's Twitterstream has been kind of bittersweet. 

Bittersweet and awesome!

Here's a sampling of his latest tweets:

@Pontifex  Why am I resigning?  Just got a load of one of the "Requirements of Position" on my Job Description: "Must be infallible."  JESUS CHRIST,  that's ridiculous!

@Pontifex  Also my allergy to incense kicking up something awful.

@Pontifex Sick and tired of working Christmas!

@Pontifex What should you call me? "Your Holiness" for now.  "Your Holinessless' in less than  a month.

@Pontifex Can I still speak ex cathedra? Yes, until God cuts service end of the month.  It's sort of like when you don't pay your Comcast bill except Customer Service is even farther away than India.

@Pontifex  Hoping I still get to hang with God somewhat.  I got the old "I'll call ya," but you and I both know how that goes.

@Pontifex Note to job applicants for position of Pope: be ready for question "what do you see yourself doing 5,000 years from now?"

@Pontifex  What will I miss most about being Pope.  The kickass clothes, dude!

@ Potifex  Now that I'm stepping down, how do I feel about gay marriage? Actually some of my best friends are gay and married, however, they're all married to Jesus.

@Pontifex  Would I ever consider becoming Jewish?  No way! That guilt trip is just too much!

@Pontifex Does God have a secret identity?  Naturally I'm sworn to secrecy, but, boy, will Lois, Perry, and Jimmy be shocked!

@Pontifex Am I able to do "you know what" at the end of the month?  Technically I'm allowed, but at this stage of the game the hottest thing I'm able to fantasize about is Mother Teresa without her cross.

@Pontifex Does God really spend time on NFL football?  That's so ridiculous!  Of course, occasionally he does rig things for the Saints.

@Pontifex What do I plan to do in retirement? I've already been offered two television commercials: one for reverse cathedral mortgages and the other is "Help, I'm falling from grace and I can't get up!"

@Pontifex  Facebook or Twitter?  I suppose Twitter, although I still can't get over the feeling that the word "Twitter" is dirty.

@Pontifex Will I stay on Twitter?  Of course.  Beginning first of the month my new handle is @Benny_CoolPope.

@Pontifex Notice how some of my tweets are over 140 characters?  Yep, there are a few privileges to being Pope!

@Pontifex I've truly loved being your Pope!  Small favor?  Could several hundred thousand of you write me a nice letter of recommendation?


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Just a Couple of Presidents Talkin' on President's Day

"Happy President's Day, George!"

"You too, Abe. 
Happy Us Day!" 

"Imagine the two of us sharing a holiday, George!  Me and you, the first and second most important Presidents in U. S. history."

"That's right, I  ... wait a minute!  Who are you calling first and who second?"

"Well, clearly I'm first!  Which one of us had a world class motion picture out this year directed by Mr. Steven Spielberg and starring the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis, the male gender's answer to Meryl Streep?"

"Well, I've been in movies too. And more filmstrips than Jack Hanna!"

"Terrific.  And by the way, I've also been played by  Henry Fonda, Raymond Massey, Jason Robards, and Academy Award Winner F. Murray Abraham. Who you got --- Jeff Daniels?"

"Well ... he's really good in Newsroom."

"Yeah, with Sorkin writing his lines!  And, George, there wasn't just one but TWO big movies out about me this year!"

"You're counting the stupid vampire movie!?"

"And I suppose you have a project in development with Judd Apatow?"

"I'm Number One! With that beard, you'd be lucky to get a part in a feminine hygiene commercial, if you catch my drift!" 

"With your teeth, you'd be lucky to get PoliGrip!  Bet you'd really gum the scenery too!"

"You couldn't deliver the Gettysburg Address without half a dozen Marco Rubio moments!"

"Then again maybe you could take an acting class, and learn how to act teeth!" 

"HEY, GEORGE & ABE:  You two need to cut this crap out!"

"Why, it's Bill Clinton!  Hey, Bubba!"

"Slick Willie!  Elvis has re-entered the building!"

"You two guys need to work together on this.  Accordin' to my standards ...

"According to your standards, Bill, my life was about as exciting as winter in Valley Forge. You, Abe?"

"Absolutely, George! Four score and seven had nothing to do with the number of babes I got to ..."

"No, no, no, guys! I just have two words to whisper to you both.  And they are ....."

"OMG, you're right, Bill!  Abe, you and I are both Numero Uno!"

"Right you are, Georgie!  Let's go get ourselves a drink and some dinner.

"Good deal, Abe.   And maybe later --- if you can hack it --- we'll take in a show!"


Folks, what I whispered to Abe and George were the words:

Hillary Clinton!

I figured they'd rather spend the next four years sharin' first place than arguin' in 2016 who's gonna be second and who's third!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bedtime Story II

"And then Plastic Man stretched out his arm dozens of feet to snatch the child out of the path of the runaway bus!"

"That's a boring superhero, Uncle Phil."  

"But don't you see, Billy?   He could bounce himself like a ball, mold himself into any shape."

"Phooey!  Tell me a good bedtime story about Superman or Batman, not some lame nobody hero!!!"

"This is a good story. Plastic Man saves the city from Disastro, the Evil Accounting Major."

"NO! And I wanna glass of water too!"  

"Okay, Billy.  Coming right up."

"Good, because .... Wow, Uncle Phil, how'd you do that?!!!"

"Never you mind.  Y'see, Billy, Superman doesn't happen to be your uncle. Now do you want to hear the story or not?"


Picture prompt above, story below, and not too horribly off the prescribed 100 word limit at a precise count of 124.  The reason this post is called Bedtime Story II is to distinguish it from Bedtime Story, a piece about my futile attempts to roll my  teenage son back to age 6 and me along with him back to --- well, younger --- by reading him one last bedtime story.   

This is my weekly contribution to the Fabulous Friday Fictioneers and Plastic Man Fan Club for this Friday, February 15, 2013.  I could read you a story now, but you'd be better off bouncing on over to the other fictioneers' talented offerings by clicking the link above.

Goodnight, everybody.  No, you can't have a drink of water!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Short Sweet Story of St. Valentine

     "For me? 
      Aw, shucks!"

A long time ago in the the second century in the city of Rome there lived a bishop named Valentine.  Bishop Valentine was a generally good man and certainly no bishopric, but he is remembered today more for a unique talent he possessed than for any positive shepherding of souls he may have achieved.

Valentine was a master maker of world class chocolate.  And since the greatest love of all is love of chocolate (Source: Anybody, except the late Whitney Houston),  he was adored by every man, woman, and child in all the land.

But the townsfolk were concerned.  

What if Bishop Valentine were to stop making chocolate and spend more time shepherding souls? True, that would save countless folk from hell and damnation but what good was that without chocolate covered marshmallows! 

And what if his prices were to go up?  That would cause recession, raise the deficit, and necessitate cuts in government entitlements at a time in history when the only government entitlement was a seat at the Coliseum that wasn't on the field. 

So the people of Rome developed a special custom to show Bishop Valentine how much they loved him. Every year on his birthday, February 14, each resident of Rome would buy a red rose and present it to Valentine while simultaneously offering to him deep personal words of great affection:

"Roses are red, 
Violets are blue,  
I love you, Dear Valentine, 
And your Mr. Goodbar too!"

"My Sweet Valentine,
 So  forever divine, 
 Just dip my nuts in your chocolate, 
And always be mine!"

"Oh, Darling Valentine,
I am your fan,
You always melt in my mouth 
and not in my hand."

One year, however,  a humble Roman named Minimis actually forgot Valentine's Day. 

Remembering finally that it was February 14, Minimis hurried over to Valentine's Chocolate Shoppe clutching a red rose, but got there minutes too late.  Minimis flung himself upon the street and began sobbing.  He felt he would never again taste the Bishop's exquisite chocolate.

"Chocolate!  Chocolate!" cried out Minimis. "At this point I'll even take the stuff the Jewish people put in their Hanukkah Gelt, which tastes worse than eating actual coinage!"

At that moment, a pretty young girl named Dee was passing by. She had expressed her adoration for Valentine earlier that day and was carrying with her a box of  assorted chocolates from the good bishop. Dee took pity upon Minimis and bade him sample a sample from the sampler. 

Enthralled by her gesture, Minimis took the lovely rose that he had intended to give to Valentine and presented it to Dee.  And as he did, he spoke the words that he had planned to say to the bishop:

"Be My Valentine,
 Our hearts entwine,
  Slurp a chocolate covered cherry,
 Right off my vine!"

Minimis and Dee smiled at one another.  They looked into each other's eyes.

And then the two of them had sex like wild animals! 

Nothing Dee Minimis about that (Ouch!)

Soon all throughout Rome couples on Valentine's Day began following the example of Dee and Minimis. One of the two would give chocolate to the other and receive back a rose.  The other would give a rose and receive chocolate.  They would refer to each other as "their Valentines." 

And then they'd go at it with of  the fury of gladiators who like each other a little too much at the end of the day,  provided they were still breathing. 

In a year or two the smarter couples began dispensing with the roses and each person would both give and receive chocolate.  And then do it even longer!

In just a few years no one gave roses to Valentine any longer.  This actually suited the good bishop just fine because the chocolate business was booming better than ever, and truth to tell, St. Valentine --- as he came to be called ---  actually hated roses.  


They always tended to give him bishoprics.

I think this is where we came in. 


If you liked this post, you might also like Like Sex for Chocolate, The Invention of Birthdays, and Cupid, Draw Back Your Bow

If you hated this post, well then,  No Chocolate For You! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Snow ...

Twitter announced today that starting in August it will discontinue Saturday delivery of Direct Messages (aka DMs) to its worldwide network of tweeters (aka tweeps). This development matches the recent decision by Facebook to eliminate Saturday delivery of its once popular but now dismally performing poke, poking, poker, and pokee products

"We're in the same boat 
the U.S. Postal Service was in," said Larry the Bird, CEO & Official Logo of Twitter, "when it discontinued delivery of all mail other than the Burpee Seed Catalog on Saturdays due to losses caused by folks like us. Now we're the ones struggling to compete with new technologies like RealTalk!"

RealTalk works by providing an occasional electronic prompt advising users to:

Get up and fucking talk to someone!

RealTalk users then rise from a seated position and seek out another human being within their home (i.e. a family member, friend, evil intruder) or elsewhere (friend, acquaintance, hot one night pickup) to engage in fully interactive interpersonal two-way communication.

"It's damn tough to compete against technology which enables you to see, hear, and talk directly in real time with another human being without even needing a PC!" moaned Twitter's Bird.

Welcome to the New Age of Communications, Twitter!    

And hopefully neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night can prevent it from one day dawning.

If you liked this post, you might also like A Short History of Humanity, Lick the Living, from the Postal Service, and A Short Primer on Poking.

If you hated this post, you know what you can kiss? Bingo!