Friday, June 28, 2013

Summertime for the Secular, or Jewish Enough?

Nobody's that desperate!

For we secular Jews who are long on Jewish heritage but short on religious practice, the summer can be a strange time. 

 There are no major Jewish holidays from June to September to ground us religiously, which tends to leave some of us feeling ... well ... not quite Jewish enough! 

"Charlie, glad you came over, " I said to my similarly secularly-oriented friend last Friday night. "What would you like to do?"

"How about we watch The Daily Show?" said Charlie.

"Nah," I answered.  "That John Oliver is good, but it just isn't the same without Jon Stewart."

"I agree.  Maybe there's a good film we can watch.  You know, I'd like to see a Judd Apatow movie, maybe Funny People is on HBO?"

"You mean the one with Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Jason Schwartzman?   Pity, doesn't look like it's on."

"Crap!  Well, we could catch some re-runs of Seinfeld.  They're always on."

"No, they seem to be off. "

"There's gotta be something to watch!" grumbled Charlie.

"Oh my God!"  I gasped. "I just realized something!" 

"What is it?"

"It's summer, and I don't feel Jewish enough!"

"You're right!  What can we do?"

"I'll check the cable listings again.  There's got to be a Ben Stiller movie on!"

"Yes, he comes out with one  every couple of weeks."

"I can't even find DodgeBall, the Movie!  No Ben Stiller movie.  What are the odds?"

"Larry King!  Check out Larry King!"

"Don't you remember?  He was replaced by Piers Morgan."

"Then look up Maury Povich!  Jerry Springer!  Donny Deutsch!"

"Charlie, nobody's that desperate for a Jewish experience."

"Well then put on C-Span.  Maybe we can luck into Chuck Schumer or Barbara Boxer.  I'd settle for Eric Cantor!"

"Oh no, look!  It's a meeting of the North Dakota Congressional Delegation.  You can't get more gentile than that. "

"I think I've got an idea, Perry."

"Anything! Out with it!"

"Why don't we go to synagogue?"

"You know ... that's a pretty good idea.  And look at this."


"When we get back, there's a Three Stooges film festival at 10:00!"


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Wheels on the Bus Go "Carp, Carp, Carp"

Who could  have ever expected what happened when the town of Paddington-on-Rye decided to commission a new crosstown bus?

On a whim, somebody had decided to paint the new bus with bright colors and add a face with eyes, nose, and mouth to the driver's end.  And when the bus came alive and began talking, the townsfolk knew they had a tourist boon like no other!

True enough, people came from hither and yon to see, hear, and ride the bus, and the town's coffers swiftly filled.  There was but one problem.

The bus had a personality like yesterday's underwear. 

"Driver, slow down, you're gonna kill us!"

"It's too cold, I don't want anyone climbing on me today!"

"Well, that's a goofy-looking crop of tourists, especially the buck-toothed lady in the print dress!"

It was determined it would take thousands of  dollars of therapy to cure the problem.

Either that or paint a smile on the front end.  


You're probably carping about it already, but I drove this story into the station at 158 words, well over the prescribed maximum of  100.  But you don't meet a talking bus every day, especially one as downbeat and jaded as this --- and that's a bus after my own heart!

I'm sure you'll be talking about the various other takes on today's picture prompt by the many other Friday Fictioneers if you park yourself right here at the official Paddington-on-Rye Talking Bus Stop.  No charge for unlimited parking.

The Wheels on the Bus Go "Outta Here!"

Monday, June 24, 2013

Top Ten Reasons Young Women Should Date Boomer Men


10) Gray hair on pillow almost assuredly isn't yours.

9) Very unlikely to have a tattoo inside his thigh with the name of former girl friend.

8) If you shout out another man's name during sex, odds are he can't hear you anyway. 

7) Where else can you find such an invaluable store of information about Iron Butterfly?

6) Hours on end relating his experiences to you during the Sixties far more effective and fast working than Ambien.

5) Not in the mood?  Just play "Hide the Viagra!"

4) Nobody does a better Dwight Eisenhower impression!

3) Little chance he'll cheat on you because who'd want him? 

2) Very receptive to your saying "not tonight, I have a headache" because he assumes everybody else feels as lousy all the time as he does.

And the Number One Reason Young Women Should Date Boomer Men, 

1) Far more likely than a younger man to appreciate you for your mind rather than your body, although the only reason I wrote this list in the first place was to lure you into the sack!


If you liked this post, you might also like 62 Reasons Why 60 is Not the New 40, 25 Reasons It's Great Not to Have a Significant Other, and When It's Your Turn to Speak, DON'T!

If you hated this post, I hope you end up with somebody even older and less appealing than me .... if that's possible!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Visiting Day from the NSA

Got any Pop-Tarts, Perry?

I must admit to conflicting feelings about the NSA Scandal involving the government snooping on the telephone and electronic media records of millions of Americans. On one hand, I value the right to privacy and am concerned about potential infringements of that right.  On the other hand, I appreciate the efforts of anyone trying to keep me from being blown up.

Then there's the matter of  Edward Snowden.  Here's a guy who feels it's necessary to violate the primacy of highly confidential information in the name of democracy.  Isn't that exactly what the National Security Agency feels as well?  So what's the difference between the NSA and Snowden, aside from Snowden's incredibly self-aggrandizing attitude?

That said, I was kind of surprised when I stumbled into my kitchen yesterday morning and  was promptly handed a bagel by an officious looking man in a dark gray business suit. 

"Morning, Mr. Block.  I know you don't like butter or cream cheese, so your bagel's lightly schmeared with strawberry jam, just the way you prefer it."

"Thank you very kindly.  Who the fuck are you?!"

"Agent Leonard Dawes of the National Security Agency.  
We've been monitoring your electronic communications for quite some time, Mr. Block."

"So that's why I always hear sneezing whenever I post on Facebook."

"That's Agent Carruthers.  Got to get him to start using a handkerchief."

"But why are you here? Why don't you just monitor my phone calls, like you do with everyone else?"

"We do, but there's only so much you can learn from heavy breathing."

"But I'm not a radical!"

"Oh, no? We have it on good authority that you participated in numerous peace marches in the late 60's and early 70's."

"But that was only to try to meet chicks and score dope!  I was about as political as The Brady Bunch!"

"Funny you should say that since we're also monitoring Greg Brady; all those flowery shirts, he had to be up to something!  Besides we also have it on good authority you voted for McGovern."

"He was running against Nixon!  I would have voted for Cheech and Chong against Nixon! Well, maybe only Chong if I'd have known Cheech was going to co-star in Nash Bridges."

"We've also been monitoring your blog, Mr. Block."

"Thank God, at last somebody reads it!"

"Oh heavens no, we don't read it!  We just check from time to time to see if anybody does."

"Well, how do I go about living with the man in the gray flannel suit in the same room as my major appliances?"

"Just ignore me, act like there's nobody here."

"That's kind of tough with a tennis racket, golf clubs,  and matching three piece set of Louis Vuitton luggage in my living room. Say, would you like some Coco-Puffs, Agent Dawes?"  

"Mr. Block, you shouldn't eat that sugary crap. Saps the strength for radical acts." 

"Not only that, but my dentist wants me to give up Coca-Cola!"

"That is tough, Mr. Block!  With you going through such trauma, think I'll let you slide and clear out."

"Thank you, Agent Dawes."

"Mr. Block, one bit of advice?"

"Yes, Agent Dawes?"

"Don't leave Twitter!"


Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Sentinel

The Sentinel had stood guard at the beach for as many years as anyone could remember.

In times of war, his rock steady gaze remained fixed on the horizon searching for enemy sea craft. When the hot sand was full of bathers, he scanned the beachscape for thieves, pickpockets, and other disturbers of summer's tranquility. If a beachgoer fell ill, he would quickly spot him or her and instantly summon aid. 

But there is no longer war, crime's eradicated, and illness has been abolished.

Yet the Sentinel still stands guard. What does he watch for? What is his mission? 

"There!  100 feet out, to the left!  An eight year old peeing in the ocean!"

The Sentinel had stood guard at the beach for as many years as anyone could remember.


No matter how long I stood sentinel over this post,  I could not get it down to the preferred length of 100 words for the Fabulous Friday Fictioneers. So I am presenting arms herein at 131 words, with picture prompt above and story based upon it below.

When you're ready to stand at attention and scan the horizon for the other Fictioneers, fix your rock steady gaze right here.

Well, I'm headed for the beach;  gotta go to the ... ooops!  That's a bit of TMI, I guess.  I'll be on guard for you guys next week.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Identical Pontiffs

It's now been over three months since the Catholic Church has officially had two popes with Pope Benedict  stepping down while Pope Francis has stepped up.  Although only one holds authority over the Holy See, for all intents and purposes we've now got two, two, two popes in one! to paraphrase a well-known breath mint/candy mint commercial from long ago. 

TV producers have predictably lost no time in exploiting this turn of events to  develop a sitcom based on the dual pope premise. Although the program's name is not decided --- candidates include The Odd PrelatesTwo and a Half Popes Minus a Half, and Two Broke Popes  --- the theme song is already fixed. 

And, I might add, well familiar to many Baby Boomers ... 
Meet Benny who's reigned most everywhere 
From Avignon to St. Peter's Square. 
But Franny's only seen the sights 
A guy can see from Argentine heights ---
What a pastoral pair!

But they're pontiffs, 
Identical pontiffs all the way. 
One pair of matching prelates, 
 Different as clergy and lay.

Where Benny adores a baguette, 

Worldly trappings and anisette. 
Our Franny wants to feed the soul, 
Austerity makes him lose control ---
Augustinian and Jesuit!

Still they're pontiffs!

Identical pontiffs and you'll find
They walk alike, they talk alike,
At birth control, they balk alike ---
You can lose you mind!
When pontiffs are two of a kind!

Here's hoping the new show will be a big hit and run for many, many successful years! 

Just like Seinfeld.


If you liked this post you might also like The Pope's Tweets,  That President!, and Meet the Beatles, Mr. Zuckerberg

If you hated this post, I'm afraid there's precious little in heaven or earth either of the two popes can do to help you.  And don't expect me to lift a bejeweled finger for you either!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Coca-Cola Cold Turkey

It's true.

Coca-Cola has been my constant companion throughout my life. I love the clean crisp kick to the throat that only Coca-Cola provides.

But at my last dental checkup, the inside of my mouth was termed so deplorable it warranted a full-blown response from FEMA.

"If you want to keep your teeth,” my dentist warned me, “you must give up Coca-Cola!"

"But why, doctor? You don't need teeth to enjoy Coke."

From those early days when Coke came in returnable glass bottles to the stupefying introduction and speedy crash and burn of New Coke to the modern day incarnation of multiple Coke products like as Vanilla Coke, Coke Zero, and Coke with Chocolate Morsels, Coca-Cola and I have been inseparable.
But medical science now tells us that my beloved beverage causes legions of ill effects even beyond tooth decay.  When you first drink a Coke, ten entire teaspoons of sugar blast your system.  That’s enough sweetness to power “Good Morning America” for six months.
Caffeine next floods your brain, leading you to stay up all night writing term papers, reorganizing every closet in your house, or driving to Nova Scotia. Ensuing chemical reactions fry your brain and body in a manner so bad for your health it’s a wonder there aren’t hazmat warnings on the side of the can.
So how to live without that incredibly refreshing pause that refreshes?
I could drink water Ice cold water may be okay if you’ve just hiked across the Sahara; otherwise a glass of water has all the allure of sex with a chick from a Norman Rockwell painting.

I could drink juice. Orange juice and grapefruit juice are indeed simpatico with pancakes and eggs and bagels, but after 9:00 AM?  Orange juice and corned beef?  To me, that just isn’t kosher!
I could drink Perrier with a twist of lemon.  I could wear a beret, sit in a corner cafe, and feign sophistication and savoir faire. Nah, my most profound perception about life so far has been how to get more Coca-Cola into it.
But I don’t want to rival father of our country George First in War, Last in Teeth” Washington when it comes to dental well-being.
So, I'm going Coca-Cola Cold Turkey!  
From now on Things will Go Better with water.  Or juice.
 Or even a beret.
Am I serious about this?

Sweet and Carbonated Dreams, Perry!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Piano Man

No, it wasn't just the ill-chosen socks and shoes for the 2013 tour. 

Somebody really doesn't like Billy Joel!  


Yep, Mr. Joel apparently didn't manage to get this one fan feelin' all right. Too bad for the Piano Man but not too bad for me, who landed this week's contribution to the Friday Fictioneers just the way it are at 19 words.

Check out the the other Fictioneers by clicking right here; all of them are entertainers who get it right the first time and will no doubt get you high tonight.  So, don't make me wait!

Think this post was something of a cheat? Keep it to yourself, it's my life!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

U. S. Open House

The U.S. Open Golf Tournament is being played this week at par five distance from my front door, and this is surprising news to most people. The fabled Merion Golf Club is not in Merion at all,  a neighborhood where much of the blood is so blue you could use to sign the Declaration of Independence, but rather directly adjacent to modest Havertown PA, where I live.  

Many feel this is the greatest thing that's ever happened around these parts, but I'm not so sure. Traffic is jammed, roads are closed, and restaurants and businesses operating at SRO capacity. What's so Open about all that?

Still, opportunities abound to pick up extra money in and around the tournament, and some folks are renting their homes out for the week to tourney attendees looking to save money on  a hotel. Since my house is so close to the course, I decided to jump on that option myself, but there was a problem. Most people renting out homes find someplace else to live for the week, but I frankly can't afford that.

So, me and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Lumpkin from Sioux Falls ND are spending the week together at my humble abode in humble Havertown!

"Hey, Frank!  Clara!  You guys going over to the course today?" I hollered yesterday morning, sitting at the breakfast table in my stained blue bathrobe and several days' old underwear. 

"Yes,  Perry," said Clara.  "That's kind of the reason why we're here, you might remember, to see the Open."

"I knew that!" I replied.  "Say, you guys think you could  pick me up some pop-tarts on the way back?  No rush!"

They seem like such a nice couple, the Lumpkins, but frankly I didn't know how to plan for their stay beyond doing a little light dusting, cleaning the crapper, and stocking up on Miracle-Whip.  You see, the Lumpkins are of the gentile persuasion, and I wasn't sure of their tastes, especially when it comes to alcohol. 

"Since you guys aren't Jewish," I said to them, "I figured maybe you like to drink it up.  What  kind of booze should I get for you?

"Perry, neither my wife nor I drink alcohol." 

"Go figure. And I do drink!  Hah, so much for stereotypes!"

The Lumpkins have been spending all day and a lot of the night over at Merion, so they're hardly ever at the house.  I can't figure out why they're never around,  except that these two must love golf almost as much as Tiger Woods loves bimbos!

"Say, Frank, are you guys any good at golf yourselves?" I asked the two of them yesterday evening. "After all, at your ages and with Clara's stout build, it's got to be difficult to get around an entire 18 holes!"

"Perry, I am a scratch golfer, and Clara is a  7 handicap." 

"I'm not bad at golf either," I said. "On the 16th at City Line Mini, I can get it through the windmill in under three strokes! Get it? The Windmill! LOL!"

Today the Lumpkins announced they'd be moving over to a hotel for the rest of the Open. They don't even want back any part of the money they paid for the rest of the week.

Once again, go figure!

"Sorry to see you go, guys," I shouted to the Lumpkins as they hastily packed their bags and sped off to a waiting cab.  "Should you see Tiger Woods,  please tell him there's a room open if he's interested. Free Pop-Tarts!"

"Oh, and Frank, Clara?  Make sure and tell Tiger that at La Maison Block, bimbos R welcome!"


Sure I can keep my mouth shut, big guy!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Brandon Block IS The Graduate

It's hard to believe, but my son Brandon Block is The Graduate.  This spring he's graduated from high school and is headed off to college in the fall.  I'm a little concerned, however, that he may be taking his role as The Graduate just a wee bit too much to heart.

Lately the kid's been kind of listless, mostly just lying around the pool and drinking beer

"Brandon," I said, "what's going on?  It's perfectly understandable that a young man who's done excellent work might want to relax a bit, but you're taking this to extremes."

"I'm a little concerned about my future, Dad," said Brandon. 

"I am, too," I replied, "especially considering we don't have a pool."

"Some guy at the graduation party suggested  I go into plastics."

"Plastics!  This isn't 1967!"

Brandon's odd behavior continued.  One day soon after, he walked into the kitchen with a startling announcement.

"I hope you won't be too shocked, Dad, but I'm having an affair with Mrs. Robinson, the wife of your business partner."

"Frankly, Brandon, I am shocked.  Because I don't know anybody named Mrs. Robinson, and I don't have a business partner!"

"Nevertheless, I'm having an affair with Mrs. Robinson.  It began one night in a hotel where I also had an amusing interaction with a desk clerk played by actor/writer Buck Henry."

Now I was really concerned!  I was so concerned I discussed the situation with my psychiatrist, Dr. Kropotkin, but what he said was not all that reassuring, especially when he asked me if I could get him Buck Henry's autograph.

Then came the bombshell.

"Dad, I'm going to marry Elaine Robinson."

"Isn't that kind of a half-baked idea, son?"

"No, it's completely baked."

"No, Brandon, I mean it's half-baked in that  She's a fictional character! None of these people are real, they're characters in a movie!!! 

"Nevertheless, I am going to marry Elaine Robinson."

Two days later, I received a phone call that was the final straw.

"Who is this?  Mike Nichols? Mike Nichols who?!  Brandon did what?!  Disrupted Elaine Robinson's wedding and ran off with her?!!  He wants me to meet him where?!!!"

I  sped to the address the man had given me, ran into the house, and incredibly there they all were: the late Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson, the late Murray Hamilton as Mr. Robinson, the young Katherine Ross as Elaine Robinson, Dustin Hoffman as no one in particular, and even Buck Henry!

"Brandon, how is this possible?!" I exclaimed. "How can you actually be The Graduate?"

"Everybody's The Graduate at some time or other, Dad.   Life's like that.  And  then we move on to another movie."

"I think I get it," I said.  "And this is your time. What movie's next for you?"

"Who knows? That's all part of the deal."

"Hey, Bran, if it turns out to be Casablanca?"

"Yeah, Dad?"

"Can you get me Bogey's autograph?"


Autographs anyone?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Tigerzetrunk

"Perry, come quickly!" 

"What is it, Harry?"  I shouted back.

"Out in the garden, something you've never seen before and won't see again!  A mythic creature!"

Racing outside, I saw the astounding animal!

"Incredible!" I cried.  "It's part zebra, tiger, elephant and more!  What is it?"

"It's called a Tigerzetrunk.  Legend has it that Odysseus first saw one on his travels and it hasn't been seen since!"

The tigerzetrunk looked up shyly, saw us, and ran.  I snatched a quick picture with my cell phone before it sped off into the bushes.  

"Wait til they see this!"  I said to Harry.

"Doubt anyone will believe you, they'll just think you photo shopped it."

"You're probably right, old friend," I said.  "Well, goodbye, Bigfoot, check you later."


Whether or not you believe me, it's all true!

That is, it's true that this is my weekly submission for the Fabulous Friday Fictioneers, with the picture prompt up top, the story below, and 124 words in praise of the equally fabulous tigerzetrunk therein.  Don't believe me?  Consult the views of the other Fictioneers with a mighty mythical click right here.

Yep, the tigerzetrunk sure was cute!  Just ask my friend Harry. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Begun, The Drone War Has

Oliver Cornish leaned back in his cubicle at Retrogressive Insurance Company, chucked a crumpled-up piece of paper at the trashcan, and nailed the shot cold.

"It couldn't be any other way," he thought.  "Not today."

Today would be a very fateful day in the til now rather lackluster life of Oliver Cornish, a man so stuck for special distinctions he was overjoyed whenever he was followed back on Twitter by spambots.   Indeed today would be a very fateful day in the life of Oliver Cornish, because Oliver Cornish had planned everything carefully and deliberately.

"Mr. Riley,  a word with you?" said Oliver Cornish, entering the office of Morton Riley, President of Retrogressive Insurance Company.  

"You again, Cornish?"said Morton Riley, a man who always referred to company employees by their last names because he didn't want any employee whose first name ended in "y" or "ie" to think he actually liked them. 

"Mr. Riley," said Oliver Cornish, "I you to give me  a promotion to Senior Vice-President, a raise to $450,000 a year,  and the key to the Executive Washroom."

"Cornish, why would I do that? You are a mediocre employee.  Here's your last performance evaluation; look at these ratings:  Fair ... Fair ... Poor, and they relate to  NameJob Title, and Date! "

"Why?" said Oliver Cornish.

"Begun, the Drone War has." 

And with that, a large silvery object with wings appeared at the window of  Morton Riley's office and hovered steadily.

"You'll never get away with this, Cornish!"

"Of course I will, Mr. Riley.  The way things are going for him President Obama will be blamed, not me."

Morton Riley relented and agreed to everything Oliver Cornish wanted.  Oliver Cornish punched a few keys on his cellphone, the drone vanished, and  in a moment so did Oliver Cornish.


Fifteen minutes later Oliver Cornish entered the office of Amanda Mayfair, Director of Human Resources at Retrogressive Insurance Company.

"You again, Oliver?" said Amanda Mayfair, a woman so hot that even exclusively gay men fantasized about her.

"Amanda," said Oliver Cornish, "I want you to go out with me tonight to a inexpensive dinner and a second run movie, and then back to my apartment for an evening of come what may!"

"Oliver, why would I do that?  I find you about as appealing as a Nicolas Cage film festival!"

"Why?" said Oliver Cornish.

"Begun, the Drone War has." 

And with that, a large silvery object with wings appeared at the window of Amanda Mayfair's office and hovered steadily.

"You'll never get away with this, Oliver!"

"Of course I will, Amanda.   The way things are going for him President Obama will be blamed, not me."

Amanda Mayfair  relented and agreed to everything Oliver Cornish wanted.  Oliver Cornish punched a few keys on his cellphone, the drone vanished, and  in a moment so did Oliver Cornish.


Twenty-five minutes later Oliver Cornish  entered the office of Giles Random, Executive Vice-President of Random Shack Publishing.

"You again, Mr. Cornish?" said Mr. Random, a publisher so discriminating he had told J.K. Rowling to keep on rolling, Hemingway to be on his way, and Thomas Wolfe to go home again.

"Mr. Random, I want you to publish my book A Tale of Two Zip Codes, pay me a six figure advance, and work out a movie deal in which I have a co-starring role and film credit that reads "And introducing Oliver Cornish."  

"Mr. Cornish, why would I do that? Your novel  is terrible, has no definable point of view, and is a blatant rip-0ff of Dickens. Just look at your first sentence: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, take your pick?!!" 

"Why?" said Oliver Cornish.

"Begun, the Drone War has." 

And with that, a large silvery object with wings appeared at the window of Giles Random's office and hovered steadily.

"You'll never get away with this, Mr. Cornish!"

"Of course I will, Mr. Random.  The way things are going for him President Obama will be blamed, not me."

Giles Random relented and agreed to everything Oliver Cornish wanted.  Oliver Cornish punched a few keys on his cellphone, the drone vanished, and  in a moment so did Oliver Cornish. 


Indeed today had been a very fateful day in the life of Oliver Cornish, because Oliver Cornish had planned everything carefully and deliberately. Once he had read that drones had become available to everyday citizens, Oliver Cornish had begun forming his strategy.  As he walked home, Oliver Cornish felt well satisfied that  he had successfully utilized the latest technology to dramatically alter his life and fortunes.

And with that a large silvery object with wings appeared.  It hovered for a moment, then it plummeted straight at Oliver Cornish. 

All that was left of Oliver Cornish was his cell phone.

"I don't care if I am blamed for this," said the President of the United States down in Washington D.C.  "This guy just pissed me the hell off!"

"Amen to that," said the Vice-President.

" And you know what else, Joe?" said President Obama.

"What, Mr. President?"

"Ended, the Drone War has."