Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Quiet on the Set

"Quiet on the set," hollered director Ed Woodley. "And somebody get that kid away from the phony hive!"

"Aw, Ed," said the prop girl/makeup person/producer Mary Carbone, "his dad's a friend of a friend and he loves movies." 

"Mary, we got eight days to shoot Revenge of the Stinking Stingers, a boozehound of a star, and a fake giant bee with a zipper you can see!"

"But, Ed, the script's almost finished and ..."

"Mary, science fiction movies don't get no respect and never will!  Now get him out of here!"

"You're right, Ed.  It's 1954 and we all gotta eat."

"Good.  Now cue the giant cardboard stinger!"

"Sorry, Mr. Spielberg, you have to leave.  Maybe one day you can get the boy in somewhere to see 'em make a real movie."


Thanks for a having a close encounter with my entry this week for the fabulous Friday Fictioneers, which returns us to the days when science fiction movies truly didn't get no respect. Wish I could build a machine to teleport the excess 31 words out of my story based on the prompt above, but frankly I didn't have no budget for it!

Strange how a funny thing happened to the movies when kids like little Steven Spielberg grew up and didn't put away childish things. We got big budget major star-laden sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and super hero flicks virtually to excess, as well as the many supernaturally talented contributions of the other fantastic Friday Fictioneers, which you all can beam into by clicking here.

I'll see you next week, I'm headed out now to see Revenge of the Stinking Stingers.  Love that giant stinger!

Monday, July 29, 2013

I'll Take That, Sir

"I'll take that, sir."

They're four simple words you've heard many times. You're in a restaurant, hotel, or theater and you've got something in your hand you wish to dispose of. It might be:

1) Leftover wrappings from the Big Mac and fries you just stuffed your face with.

2) Paper towels you used to wipe up a gazpacho soup spill.

3)  A tissue you just blew your nose in.

4) Toxic waste.

And so you ask the waiter, cashier, hotel clerk, or usher a simple question:

"Where is your trash can?"

You are sincere. You're willing to dispose of your refuse, and why not? It's your trash, and you’re responsible for its demise.

But instead of directing you to the nearest trash can, the service person utters those four special words, outstretches their hand, and willingly receives it.

Even if the refuse is glowing and pulsating, they never ask you what it is, never put on a pharmaceutical glove, and never even pause for a moment of prayer or supplication.

Why would any sentient being do such a thing?

·     Do students at hospitality schools have to pass a course called "Taking That, Sir 101?"

Does the course also include self-treatment for fungal infection?

Is the possibility of sterilization considered an occupational hazard if you want to work at Wendy's?

I was eating at a local restaurant and I got up to throw out my barbecued sauce stained paper napkin. Just as I was about to toss it into the trash a waiter ran up to me, got right in face, and said:

 “I’ll take that, sir.”

“No, thanks, I can do it.”

“Sir, no! I’ll take that!”

“But why can’t I do it myself?”

“And violate Restaurant Rubbish Removal laws?!  I could be fired!”

I handed the messy napkin back to him.

“And you could go to prison!”

They’re just four simple words.

But those who speak them provide invaluable protection for us all - physical, environmental, and apparently legal as well.

So here's to the unsung heroes of the food and hospitality service industries, whoever and wherever they may be.

May they “take that, sir” forever more!

(Maybe we ought to chip in and buy them some hand sanitizer?)


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Moving Day, Oy-Vey!


My son Brandon leaves for college in a just about a month, and that’s something that’s going to require a bit of adjustment.  That is, a bit of adjustment for him.  For me, it’s going to require a tsunami’s worth, that tsunami just about starting to hit right now.

“Going to college, big guy!” I said to Brandon the other day. “It’s going to be a bit traumatic, I’m afraid.”

“Oh, Dad, don't worry!  I’ll be coming soon for the holidays before you know it!”

“No, now I'm talking about the moving itself.  How are two klutzes like us going to handle it?”

It’s true.  In the best traditions of the Jewish people, both Brandon and I are about as handy as a pair of silk gloves at an engine tune up.  I get nauseous turning  a screwdriver, and Brandon for the life of him can't figure out why the central protagonist in the Hanukkah story Judah Macabee is called the Hammer since few Jews have ever seen one. 

Together we are the most unlikely father/son duo to have a shop in the basement since Prince William and the Royal Baby.

“You’re right, Dad,” said Brandon, “We’ll have to rent a U-Haul.”

A  U-Haul?  How about a They-Haul?”

“Dad,  most people don’t hire movers when they go to college.”

“Yes, but most people are able to put batteries in a flashlight without electrocution risk!”

There is no question about what lies ahead: an insurmountable amount of insurmountably insurmountable work. There will be assembling and disassembling, wiring and rewiring, screwing and unscrewing, and kvetching and kvetching as there is no such thing as diskevetching, rekvetching, or unkvetching.

I dug out an old tool kit of random tools in the basement and tried to scope them out as best I could. I was pleased that I readily comprehended the pair of pliers and the wrench until I realized  that a pair of pliers and a wrench are not normally made out of red plastic, over a foot and a half long, and embossed with the name "Hasbro."

 Now these tools would have been easy to work; the others were all small and silvery and depressing.

“Dad, we'll muddle through," said Brandon.  "A lot of Jewish people  are somewhat unhandy."

“True, but how many Jews require a schematic to put on a tallis!”

And of course there will be lots and lots of packing, lifting, positioning, and repositioning, all of which is difficult for someone who’s wholly unable to fit his underwear in a suitcase without having to bump his shoes until the next trip. 

eHow will I ever figure out at what angle to pack the desk so it won’t scratch the bureau and smash the mirror --- as if I don’t have enough bad luck! How will I help carry the bookcase without mangling half a dozen toes? That's counting both my toes and Brandon's.

But all is not lost.

“Dad, I’ve terrific news!” Brandon said yesterday.

“I hope so, “I responded weakly.

“Turns out my roommate isn't Jewish!  Odds are all we'll have to do is get to school and we’re home free!”

Good enough.  

Looks like I’ll only need the big red pliers for the packing up.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

I've Looked at Clouds (FF)

FF- Flash Fiction

Ronald Lumley settled back in his seat, gave a sigh of contentment, and gazed through the round portal.

"Nothing more beautiful!" thought Ron.  High above everything else, the delicious white fluffy shapes billowed magnificently like mountains, sumptuously as a fleece yet softly and gently like puffs of smoke.

"Oh, miss?" he said to the uniformed woman walking down the aisle.  "When will we arrive?" 

"Almost any second, sir," she replied and continued down the aisle to the office of Dr. Kropotkin.

"So sad, Doctor!  Every time he opens a new bottle and gazes at the cotton, the same delusion!"


I've looked at this story from both sides now and am on Cloud 9 that at 108 words it did not billow too far beyond the 100 word goal for me this week at the Friday Fictioneers.

If you want to twist open the cap, pull out the cotton, and grab a handful of the offerings of the other Fictioneers, click here and I promise they'll  have you soaring too!  

Either in the sky or otherwise, your preference.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Royal Baby Speaks

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just received some amazing news about the the newly arrived  Royal Baby, the son of Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton.  The as yet unnamed Prince of Cambridge, the heir to the British throne,  has incredibly been born with the power of speech!  This is Anderson Cooper of CNN --- the Certainly Not the News Network --- speaking to you exclusively  from just outside of Princess Kate's vagina!"

"Royal Baby, Royal Baby, can you hear me?"


"Royal Baby, can you hear me?""

"You talking to me?


"You don't have to shout. I just wanted to make sure  you weren't talking to some evil twin popping out right behind me."

"So you are able to hear all right?"

"Yeah, pretty much all the amniotic fluid has drained out of my ears. Wouldn't hurt if you had a Q-tip though." 

"Tell me, Royal Baby, do  you  have anything to say to the world?"

"Well, two things come to mind --- antiquated and unnecessary."

"What does that mean?"

"Beats me.  I was hoping you knew.

"Royal Baby, how are you feeling?"

"I'm a baby, Mr. Cooper.  I have no frame of reference."

"Of course.  Now that you've been born, Royal Baby, anything you feel like doing?"

"Yes, there is, but I'm kind of embarrassed to tell you."

"Go ahead.  I'm Anderson Cooper of CNN.  You have to tell me!"

"Well, I don't want you to think I'm a pervert or anything."

"Again, I'm Anderson Cooper, Royal Baby."

"Well, I feel like sucking on a woman's breasts.  Weird, huh?"

"No, perfectly normal. You may feel like doing that for the better part of your life."


"Royal Baby, do you know who you are?"

"From all the  attention I've been getting, I think maybe I'm Kim Kardashian's kid.  Either that or I just married Justin Bieber." 

"No, Royal Baby.  You are the Prince of Cambridge, the heir to the British throne.  One day you will be nothing less than the King of England!"

"Is that as good as being a Kardashian?"


"So if I get to be the king, I'm going to rule a mighty nation?  Wage war, ensure peace, decide the fates of my countrymen?  Go on Crusades, sign the Magna Carta,  order the sea to retreat before me, marry a lot of chicks named Catherine?"

"No, pretty much you'll be playing polo and going on vacations where paparazzi will attempt to take pictures of your mother's breasts with telescoping cameras."

"There's that breast thing again!  Doesn't sound like I'll have much to do."

"Well, you're going to be the subject of the world's curiosity.  All eyes will be upon everything you do for the rest of your life."

"Don't I ever get any privacy?"

"If you want privacy, you might try getting yourself a show on the Oprah Winfrey Network or hanging out with Chevy Chase." 

"Say, what's this white stalk-like thing sticking out of my stomach?"

"That's what left of your umbilical cord, Royal Baby.  It's vestigial now, no longer serves a purpose."

"Gee, that reminds me of those words antiquated and unnecessary again. Not sure why." 

"Royal Baby, do you have a preference for the name you will ultimately be given?"

"Well, I've always been partial to the name Mohammed." 

"You may want to pick out a second best.  Finally, Royal Baby, anything else you'd like to say to the peoples of the world?"

"Yes, there is." 

"What's that?"

"That damn scrawl at the bottom of the screen is really annoying!"


Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Baby Boomer Looks (and Winces Somewhat Less) at Tattoos

Now that's a nice tattoo!
I'm  evolving.

When last this Baby Boomer looked at tattoos over two years ago,  I rendered forth a rather curmudgeonly view.  I looked, I winced,  and I looked away. 

But I also wrote that each generation establishes its own cool, and if we learned anything from the 60's, it's that we ought to respect each other's differences.  So, Gen X, Gen Y, and millennials everywhere, today I respect you and embrace you and your tattoos!  

Somewhat.  Kind of.

Most Boomers  take no shine to tattoos, and there is a special reason for this that most non-Boomers cannot appreciate. In the late 60's and early 70's, the world was generally divided into freaks (i.e hippies and pseudo-hippies) and greasers (motorcycle heads, uneducated bigots, and singer Wayne Newton).  There were also "preps," but they're irrelevant to this discussion; for more  on the subject see the movie "Caddy Shack" and/or the latest L.L. Bean catalog.  

Freaks protested the Vietnam War, read pretentious books like Steppenwolf, and smoked the very best dope their parents' monthly expense checks could afford. Greasers protested protesting the Vietnam War,  got no expense check and didn't know the meaning of "pretentious," and were frequently found engaging in a favored past time of yelling at freaks "why don't you get a haircut, you (expletive for a gay person)?!" 

The greasers were also the ones with all the tattoos, often in the form of a skull and crossbones, a crudely rendered Jesus, and/or  lots and lots of hearts and arrows with chicks' names etched through the center of them.

These were our youthful Baby Boomer times and our heroes reflected those times.  How many tattoos do you think the Beatles, Mick Jagger, the Who, Jimi Hendrix,  Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, and Jerry Garcia had collectively? Well, math isn't exactly my strong suit but .... let's see, carry the one, add the two, multiply by  15 ....  ah yes, the answer is zero!  And all of those seminal rock stars who survive to this day continue to be ink free.

That is why to many Boomers the concept that tattoos are now considered hip seems to make about as much sense as if big fat pimply guys who never shower and pick their noses in public were to suddenly be considered hip!

But  I have looked at tattoos once again and I have evolved.  And the fact is I now find some tattoos kind of pretty.  As a Boomer, I would never get one myself,  but one or two or even three strategically placed tattoos on a younger person are quite okay in my newly revised and updated book. 

For example,  I kind of like this one:

And this one is very nice indeed ....

And this one I love! (who wouldn't?)
But on the other hand,
if you think these are cool 
(and yes, that's Adam Levine) ...  

Don't forget that in far fewer years than you think, 
those will change into 

And  if you think THESE are cool, 

Don't expect me to ever share the best dope my parent's expense check will afford with you!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bob, the Nearsighted Tree (FF)

FF - Flash Fiction

Bob, the world's only nearsighted tree, had created something of a stir among the annual convention of the United Optometrists of America. Dr. Lance Feldman, the opthamologist who had  fitted Bob with glasses the size of a Schwinn bicycle, showed a brief video depicting the refraction he'd performed on Bob.

"Better this way or better this way?" asked Dr. Feldman.

"The first way," said Bob. "Now I'll be able to clearly see squirrels coming and can way better hide my nuts!"

"Sharper or less sharp?"

"Sharper!  Hey, bet I can finally totally check out the hot tree next door and imagine her without bark!"

The assemblage applauded warmly. 

"If only other trees talked," sighed the doctor, "I might one day be able to realize my dream. To find a tree with astigmatism!!!"


A tree may grow in Brooklyn but it can't outdo the tree in our story above --- based on the picture prompt also above --- unless it can sing and dance as well as talk.  And though it took an excessive 130 words to tell his story, I doubt that any tree can keep up with Bob, 20/20 vision or not. 

Bob, the Nearsighted Tree represents my weekly contribution to the fabulous Friday Fictioneers, and he joins me in inviting you to branch out into the work of the other Fictioneers and leaf through their many offerings by clicking here.

I think that I shall never see a Fictioneer post lovely as a tree!  I doubt that, especially if the tree is wearing Schwinn size glasses like Bob!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lovin' that Liebster!

It is with extreme humility and utmost respect that I today accept this long overdue award presented to me by Marian Allen, author of the terrific blog Fantasies, Mysteries, Comedies, RecipesTo say I have been waiting a while for the Liebster Blog Award is a bit of an understatement; frankly even Susan Lucci calls me a loser and doesn't return my calls.  

What is the Liebster Blog Award?  Beats hell out of me! I thought I was getting a whole main lobster out of the deal,  but it looks like what you mostly get is so many follow-up requirements the last of them are way more likely to get accomplished by the executor of your estate rather than by you personally yourself.

I am, however, indeed proud to say that receipt of the Leibster Blog Award signals my achievement of the Triple Crown of Blogging! Were it the Triple Crown of Horse Racing I'd be a lot more famous but also expected to have sex with four legged creatures, and that's where I draw the line.  No, the Triple Crown of Blogging for me consists of the Liebster Blog Award and my two previous blogging awards, the coveted Versatile Blogger Award and the coveted but only if you're really into coveting Stylish Blogger Award.  Together these three  awards mean that for the first time I now have more awards than readers!  

And for that, I thank thee, Marian Allen. 


The following are the many requirements and responsibilities attendant on copping the Leibster Blog Award which I shall complete in full but please don't rush me.
1) State Eleven Random Facts About Me
2) Answer Eleven Annoying Questions Posed to Me by Marian Allen
3) Nominate Eleven Bloggers for the Award and Stick Them with the Same Onerous Requirements You've Got
4) Ask the Eleven Bloggers Eleven Questions, and No Multiple Choice!

I will nominate the eleven winning bloggers in a upcoming blog post after I have the time to carefully and thoroughly select only the very finest and outstanding bloggers who are willing to pay off and pay big for this Leibster thing.  I'll pose their questions at that time as well; enough payola and I'll make 'em all softballs!

And now, my first two requirements completed in full and wrapped up all pretty-like:

Eleven Random Facts About Me 

1) I am a former professional nose model, specializing in the "after" picture.  I cannot understand why I went bankrupt.

2) In the event of the Zombie Apocalypse, I am a certified last responder.

3) I am actually "the Batman."  And when my career is finally over and I no longer have to worry about you being at risk of reprisals by my enemies, I'm going to sue the crap out of that Bruce Wayne guy!

4) Hello, young lovers, wherever you are .....  nothin', I just always wanted to say that.

5) I am terrified of spiders.  People say that spiders are beneficial because they get rid of other bugs, but I'm rooting for the other bugs!

6)  My breath is kissing sweet.

7) I think "blog" is the ugliest word in the English language. Calling someone a "blogger" sounds to me like an excellent way to insult an English guy. 

8)The best advice I've ever received about writing was given to me by my eleventh grade English teacher Mr. Barton.   It was "don't, you suck."   I've always remembered it.

9) I believe that you and I were married in a past life. What a damn shame all those migraines you used to have! 

10) I've never been able to snap my fingers, something that totally ruined my up-and-coming career as a doo-wop singer in the 1950's.

11)  I brake for animals.  But I'd speed up for you!

Marian's Questions Answered 

 1) How long have you been blogging?    
       About half an hour.  I'm due for a break.

2) Why did you choose the topic(s) for your blog?      
        You mean, the chronicles of an insecure Baby Boomer fraught  with aging angst and unsure of his next  moves in life? Gee, why did I choose that?

3) How do people find your blog?
       Somebody's found it?

4) Do you feel comfortable promoting/advertising your own stuff? 
        Oh yes, very comfortable as long as I'm doing it on a laptop sitting on the crapper.

5)  What’s your happiest earliest childhood memory?
            Same as yours!  Now do you think you could ask some questions with a little bit of taste and propriety?   

6) If you could have any critter, real or imaginary, as a pet, what would it be? 
           A flying monkey. 

7) What would you name it?
        Dorothy.  That would be poetic justice for the little bastard! 

8) Why would a woodchuck chuck wood?
         To get chicks.  If it works, lead me to the nearest woodpile!

9) Vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore?
           You!  C'mere, Ms. Delicious!

10) What are you reading (not these questions, silly! what book?)?
          Book?  No, just these questions.  (See, not so silly after all!)

11) What is your superpower?
          Flying,  of course.  But at all times under the supervision of Captain Sully Sullenberger.

Impressed?  Of course you are!

After all, I'm a Leibster Blog Award Winner.  And I'm lovin' that Leibster! 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Goat Tester

Ever since he had seen the movie Carrie in 1976, Hector had been terrified to go near a grave.  It didn't matter whether it be the grave of someone long deceased or one recently departed, a person from history or his late Aunt Edna, Hector would always shake with fear.

So when he learned the promised job in the new town was that of headstone polisher, Hector began to quake with terror. "Not to worry," said his new employer, "we will get you a Goat Tester."

"Baa, Baa, Baa" said the Goat Tester on Hector's first day at work.  "Baa, Baa, Baa, Baa,  BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Hector scribbled a frenzied note to ask for a new Goat Tester in the morning.


There's nothing like a good Goat Tester, as my submission for this week's Friday Fictioneers based upon the picture prompt above quite clearly proves. You may want to get yourself a quality Goat Tester as well for your next headstone polishing gig, that is, provided Hector's employer has any to spare.

When you're ready to approach the entries of the other Fictioneers, all of whom are very much alive and totally above ground, you may stealthily creep up to them, hold your breath,  and click here.

Have a pleasant week, don't rent Carrie, and I'll see you soon.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Desperately Seeking Larry

My two year absence?  No good?

When last we saw Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm several years ago he was wandering the streets of Paris with good friend Leon. Even in another language, Larry's famous social maladroitness was tres magnifique! And then the scene faded out and Larry David faded away.  

And since then, I've been desperately seeking Larry!   

Larry David as depicted in Curb Your Enthusiasm is a Jewish gift to the world. 
He is a rich, successful guy who screws up worse than we do.  And watching him make a bigger idiot out of himself than we ever could makes us feel lots better about ourselves! 

What about watching some other comedies, you ask?  That would be fine were there Two and a Half LarrysSaturday Night Larry, or America's Got Larry.  But no such shows exist, leaving me --- you guessed it --- desperately seeking Larry.

So how about you, friend?  Are you too desperately seeking Larry?
Top Ten Signs You Are Desperately Seeking Larry

1) Whenever anyone asks how you're doing, you invariably say "Pret-tay, Pret-tay Good!" even if you are in fact doing "Pret-tay, Pret-tay Lousy!" 

Seriously considering naming your next child "Marty Funkhouser" or at the least nicknaming him "The Funk."

3) Just launched a drive to have Larry replace Ben Affleck as Batman.

4) If only you didn't have such a thick bushy head of hair!

Hum the theme to Curb so incessantly you are being sued for copyright infringement by HBO. 

6) Own a black cat so you can pretend it's Richard Lewis.

7) Whenever you suspect someone of lying, you stare at them, tilt your head, the insinuating Curb music plays, and before long you know you're the fucking liar!

8) You've retained Jeff Green as your agent even though you're unemployed.

9) You refuse to respond to actress Cheryl Hines' constant begging for hot sex because how dare she dump Larry!?

10) So what did you think of this top ten list? Oh. Even the Seinfeld finale was better?


And so, Larry David, here we all are, each of us awaiting your return.  Please hurry back so we need desperately seek you no longer.  

You see, you're our social safety net.

Without you around, whenever we mess up, we mess up alone.