Thursday, July 31, 2014

Acting Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

"There's a monster on the wing!   It's a gremlin!"

"What's that, sir?   What's the problem?" 

"There a gremlin on the wing of this aircraft!  We'll have to go to warp speed to destroy it!"

"Wait a minute, Shatner.  True, this episode of  Twilight Zone is about a gremlin, but that line's not in the script."

"Spock .... Bones!  We ... must... stop .... the .... gremlin ... or ... face .... imminent .... doom!"

"Scenery chewing again, Shatner?  Maybe the director can calm you down.
Calling Mr. Roger Kahn!"


"That's it, Shatner!  Time for you to boldly go...."

" …where no man has ever gone before?"

"NO,  jerk!  To the Unemployment Line!"


There's the Blog Post up ahead!  

Submitted for your approval is  Nightmare at 20, 000 Feet,  a classic episode of Twilight Zone starring a young, jittery William Shatner frantically trying to convince a plane's passengers and crew there is a deadly gremlin on the wing, and also the source for my Friday Fictioneers entree today.

Apparently Mr. Shatner's outsized ego and overemoting were well known even back in those days. You won't find an outsized ego in the bunch here among the other Fictioneers, however,  you can Takei it from me!

Live long and prosper, dudes.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

So, Do You Still Love Obama, Perry?

"So, Do You Still Love Obama, Perry?"  asked my friend George the other day. 

"Well," I said, "no doubt he's made mistakes.  He's done some good things and some bad things.  And though I tend to like it,  I guess the jury is still out on Obamacare."   

"That's amazing!" said George.  "I feel exactly the same way."

Now understand that both George and I are lifelong Democrats.  George has never  said a positive thing about a Republican other than complimenting Ronald Reagan on having good hair, and although I have occasionally voted for Republicans over the years, I have always thrown up afterwards.

"How are we ever going to figure out if we still love Obama?" I asked George.

"There's a group I know of that's having a meeting tonight. It's called the Still Lovin' Obama (?) Society."

That sounded like the place to get answers, so George and I headed for the meeting.  As we entered  the building we saw a large poster of Obama peppered with both big red kiss marks and pointy darts. Nearby a small group was plucking the petals off daisies. 

"We love him, we love him not. We love him, we love him not.  We love him .... "

"Strange group," I mentioned to George.

"Springing up all over the country!"  he replied.

As we entered and waited for the meeting to start, I overheard attendee after attendee muttering in hushed tones.
"....there's no doubt he's made mistakes. 

... He's done some good things and some bad things ...." 

I guess the jury is still out on Obamacare ...",   

The evening 's speaker approached the podium.  He was a lawyer, a doctor, a CEO,  a jet pilot, star of a one-man Broadway Show, and he did it all while balancing a chair on the edge of his chin. He had spent a lifetime studying foreign affairs, politics, health care, Persian bodily fluids, and the history of small kitchen appliances.  He began to speak and we craned our heads forward.

"Now we'll find out at long last," I said to George, "if we still love Obama!"

"No doubt he's made some mistakes ...." began the speaker.  

"SHIT!" I cried to George.  "He doesn't know either!"

"But the real question is not whether we still love Obama," he went on. "It's whether we love Hillary!!!"

He was right.  

Whether we still love Obama didn't matter anymore.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Fork People

Copyright: Marie Gail Stratford

"Who were the fork people?" I asked my friend Jeff as we sat in the cafeteria where he works.

"An ancient middle Eastern people. They were advanced in some respects; used tools, built cities, had an extensive language."

"Why are they called the fork people?"

"It's a euphemism.  Their language contained some very crude expressions.  Fork, for example, is a euphemism for ...."

"I got it!"

"Also, they are sometimes called the ship people, the bellship people, and .... 

"I got it, I got it!  But what finally became of the fork people?"

"They evolved into stand-up comics on HBO."


Not that there aren't some comics I really like on HBO, but there are a few who totally overuse the word "fork" to the point where it's annoying and unfunny. That's something you'll never find among the souls of propriety that make up the Friday Fictioneers.

If you want to check out the terrific PG-rated writing of the Fictioneers, click here.  If you want to check out the one filthy dirty one, click here.

Just funnin' you.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One, Two, Three!

"Why do you have a goat in your living room, Frank?"

"Well, you know how many archived files I have from over the years.  I didn't want to lug em' out to the curb and try to find somebody to take them."


"I got me Old Tessie here.  She'll eat all the file boxes one, two, three! and then I'll sell her to the zoo."

"I see.  But, Frank, I think maybe ...."

"Maybe what?  It's a brilliant idea!  Get rid all the old stuff one, two, three!" 

"Sure.  But, Frank...."

"But Frank, what?! "

"But, Frank, not only is your carpet full of one and two!, but  I think old Tessie three! is anorexic!"


Anybody want to buy a goat cheap?  She's on special this week. 

Old Tessie was the subject of my weekly submission to the Friday Fictioneers but now fortunately she's enrolled in an Eating Disorders Clinic and doing quite well, except she can't keep down tin cans as yet.   Click here to see what the other Fictioneers  wrote about Old Tessie, although I doubt they named her Old Tessie or even bothered to clean up after her.

One, two, three!, I'm gone!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Fabulous Fabled Fountain of Middle Age


March 14, 1496
It has now been over 18 weeks since we set sail from Spain on my ship the Nina Totenberg. The weather has been foul and stormy, and the men are growing restless.

Who can blame them? On several occasions, the 24-hour buffet has run out of mousse, the rock climbing wall’s been down for days, and four members of the El Cordoba Mets were unpardonably late for the meet and greet. Plus I never could handle the Special Dinner with the Captain with even a modicum of rakish aplomb.

March 21
The going continues rough. Oh, how different it all seemed back when the crew and I first set sail those many weeks ago! Then it was that I, Captain Ponce de Leon-Errol, had stood proudly among my men, ready to lead them in a heroic quest for the fabulous fabled Fountain of Middle Age!

Why not seek the Fountain of Youth instead? Well, frankly, why push it? Uncontrolled overexposure to the Fountain of Youth and you and I might wind up attending Selena Gomez concerts and swooning over the Biebs.

March 27
The weather continues severe, and I fear greatly we are off course. Steering by the stars is quite difficult, though far more reliable than MapQuest.

There is no land within sight! We seek Florida in the New World, yet judging by my calculations there is a high probability that we are not in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida at all, but rather in a bathtub in the home of a man named Mitt Romney.

April 1
Yes, the fabulous fabled Fountain of Middle Age has always attracted and fascinated me! You can’t say enough about a phenomenal and miraculous Wonder of the World that is at heart just another sorry underachiever—y’know, kind of like you and me.

As the legend goes, at the beginning of time two magical fountains were created. One had the fantastical power to enable a person of any age who bathed in its munificent waters to become 18-24 again—a miraculous transformation provided you can handle the constant besiegement by advertisers and marketers. This was the Fountain of Youth.

The one with too much chlorine and no lifeguard on duty was the Fountain of Middle Age. This fountain had the power to shave a couple of years off your age if you caught it on a good day. It may not sound like much but if you’re 61 years old and you can roll yourself back to 54, you can still call yourself “middle-aged” and set your sights on a marginally better class of women.

April 11
Still no land!

My first mate tells me the men are threatening mutiny. I don’t like to hear that, so I ask my second mate. My second mate tells me the men are threatening mutiny, so I ask my third mate. I am well into mates with double figures before I’m told that the men still rally ’round me and would never ever think of mutiny!

April 12
Put down a mutiny today.

April 21
When I was certain of my goal to lead an expedition in search of the Fountain of Middle Age, I sought the protection and financing of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. After all, they had expelled the Jews from Spain so they had to have good business sense.

I made my entreaty with dignity, logic, and careful reasoning. When that failed, whining worked spectacularly. Having secured the backing of Ferdinand and Isabella, I raised a crew of men eager to sail with me. Their median age represents the kind of person who finds reruns of Murder She Wrote radical and shocking.

April 30
“Land on yonder starboard bow!” cried the lookout today. Tomorrow we head for shore, drop anchor, and continue our quest for the fabulous fabled Fountain of Middle Age, just as soon as I figure out which side is the starboard bow.

May 1
We have anchored in Florida at last and are trudging faithfully inward toward the Fountain’s location as described in myth and lore. It is said to be 
by a forest, under a bower, near a gnarled tree. Don’t laugh. I paid plenty for that snippet of myth and lore.

May 8
We have found the fountain at last! As we emerged from 
under a trestle, by a brook, near a cesspool (I’ve got to find myself a new myth and lore distributor), I saw a large body of water filled with paunchy 50-ish gray-haired men. I thought at first I had stumbled upon a convention of Young Republicans. Then I saw the sign that proclaimed:


My heart leaped with joy as I splashed into the curative waters. I felt the years melting… melting… melting away! Well, maybe just melting. Scant hairs were regrowing. As for my waning sexual potency and desire, did I mention the scant hairs regrowing?

May 9
It is a miracle! A dream come true! I am almost sorry I snuck in and stiffed them on the fee.

May 11
Been looking in the mirror the last few days. Frankly I don’t like what I see. My skin looks plastic, my mouth doesn’t look natural, I look like Joan Rivers in a ruffled collar. Just what the world needed: A fabulous fabled Fountain of Middle Age that gives bad face jobs!

Maybe I’ll sue. If only Ferdinand and Isabella had left some lawyers in Spain to help me out with that. 


And don't forget, folks; this post also appeared in the prestigious  McSweeney's Internet Tendency on July 7, 2014. Make sure & go there and click "like."  Then I'll meet ya at the Fountain!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Purr-fect Storm

"Boy, it was one terrible storm last night where we live!"

"I heard!  It was all over the news.  Power lines down,  roads impassible, some people had to abandon their homes!"

"You should have seen the storm clouds!  Looked like the end of the world. No wonder the sky burst forth!"

"So what happened to you guys?   Did you have a flooded out basement?"

"Worse.  Way worse."

"What did you get?!!"

"Three German Shepherds, two Siamese, and one very ornery Schnauzer." 

"God, I hate it when it rains cats and dogs."


And I hate it when I'm this late to the punch with my Friday Fictioneers entry for the week, but at least I brought this one in at a very respectable 91 words, thank you very much.

I was pleased to be featured yesterday on the prestigious humor site McSweeney's Internet Tendency, which printed my piece "The Fountain of Middle Age."   You see, the fabulous fabled Fountain of Middle Age is the best fountain a Boomer can hope for; I plan to inject the waters intravenously.  Watch me drop way down in age all the way to 57!

You can check out the work of the other far more youthful Fictioneers by clicking here. Hey, everybody out of the Fountain of Middle Age!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Misbegotten Right to be Forgotten

As many of you know, Google has begun removing certain links from its search results under a European court ruling establishing the so-called "Right to be Forgotten," which requires search engines to remove links that are shown to be outdated and irrelevant.   A very serious matter ....  and one which gives me a really great idea!      

"Hello, is this Google?"

"Yes, sir.  How may I help you?."

"Wow, I can't believe I got through!  I'm a big fan!  You may not believe it, but I use Google almost every day!"

"That's gratifying, sir."

"I want you to know I would never use Bing!  I never even liked Bing Crosby!  You're probably too young to know the name."

"I know it, sir.  Now what can I do for you?"

"I was reading about the Right to be Forgotten law.  There's some posts on my blog I'd like to be forgotten. Very forgotten."

"Well, you have to have a reason under the law, sir, to have search information removed."

"Oh, I do!  I do! I have a very good reason."

"Could you tell me your reason?"

"Sure.  I'm a humor writer and I want Google to stop searching for my blog posts that aren't  funny."

"Excuse me?" 

"I don't want Google to lead anyone to my posts that suck!  I have enough trouble getting readers as it is."

"Sir, you can't just ask us to remove links without justification.  The links must be outdated and irrelevant." 

"You want outdated?   I've got jokes about Tammy Faye Baker!"

"OMG!  What about irrelevant?"

"Irrelevant? What would you call a post that has Mitt Romney singing "Whatever It Is, I'm Against It" or the Lone Ranger hiring a Jewish sidekick named Hyman Silvers?"

"About as irrelevant as humility is to Ben Affleck!  And I agree, sir, every damn  bit as unfunny as you indicated!"

"So where do I file my Right to be Forgotten Petition?"

"You don't. That only applies in Europe, not the U.S."


"But, sir, why don't you just delete the unfunny posts?"

"Fraid I can't do that."


"If I only leave the good stuff, my blog will be shorter than Parade Magazine!"


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lord and Ruler of the Sea

"Thank you so much for the interview, King Neptune! It isn't every day one gets an exclusive with the Lord and Ruler of the Sea." 

"You're welcome.  I love to meet the gentle-fish of the press."

"Tell me, King Neptune, how did you come to be Lord of the Seas?"

"Six years ago  I overthrew democratically elected President Fishman in a watery coup. 
My legions of sea creatures slaughtered his shrimp army and he swam into exile."

"I remember.  And since then you've run a brutal and vicious dictatorship."

"Thank you very much.  It's good to be the king."

"I'm sure.  But it's even better to be a shrimp assassin posing as a reporter!"


Will the shrimp assassin succeed, or will he wind up smothered in cocktail sauce on King Neptune's table later that evening? That's the question posed in my Friday Fictioneers entry for the week. Ooops! Maybe the word entry (entree) gives it away a bit too much.

To feast upon the entrees of the other Fictioneers,  grab some cocktail sauce, and click here.

Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

When Everybody Knows Your Name

Making your way in the world today takes .... wait a minute!
This post has nothing to do with Cheers!

Every person of a certain age has had them.

For our purposes I'll call them Boomer Moments, although they often go by another name that's far less savory to many of us over 60.

A  Boomer Moment is a moment in which you forget something you actually know as well as the back of your hand.  For example, you may forget your cell number, the name of a favorite actor, or the name of the capital of Nepal, assuming you knew it was Kathmandu in the first place. I often forget the back of my hand too.

I also forget names.  This includes the names of people I've known for years as well as the names of people I've recently met.  Between those two groups of people,  I'm lucky if I can string together the first and last names of people I was married to.

"Hello, Perry," shouted a cheerful fellow across the room at a social function I attended recently.

"Hello .... why, hello ....  you!"   I called back, feigning recognition. The face was familiar but the name had managed to elude my brain, escape my skull,  and get itself cleared for take off to parts unknown.

"How ya doing, guy?" Mr. You said, now approaching me.  "How are Brian and Brandon?"

Terrific.  This dude even knew the names of my children.   Even if I could buy a vowel or two or three, I couldn't get his!

"They're fine.  And how's your family?"  I inquired, asking the obvious reciprocal question.

"Oh, Perry, come on!"


"You know I'm not married and have no children."

I know he's not married and has no children? I didn't even know if he was air or gill breathing!

"Perry!"  shouts a guy  from behind the crudite table.   This fellow I've known for 25 years, been to his house, and even had the hots for his wife, un-acted upon of course.  At least I think they were un-acted upon. 

But what the hell was his name?

"Heyy, you!"  I shot back , and over he bounded. 

"How's Brandon enjoying Johns Hopkins?"  Mr. You No. 2  asked, warmly pumping my hand.

Marvelous.  Another nameless guy wholly familiar with my entire Facebook profile.

"Don't believe I know you,"  said Nameless Guy No.1

"Nope, never had the pleasure," said Nameless Guy No.2

OMG! They expected me to introduce them!   Who's going to introduce me to each of them!

"Well, guys, umm .... you two really ....  I'd like to ......"

Suddenly I shifted tack. 

"You know, friends, why bother with names?  As the Bard so wisely put it all those many years ago 'What's in a name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'"

There was a pause.

"Isn't that just like you, Perry?" laughed Nameless Guy No. 1. 

"Yep, always forgetting names," chortled Nameless Guy No. 2. "Don't think Perry's ever gotten mine right in 25 years!"

They really did know me!  And I couldn't muster  a single initial between the two of them.

No doubt about it. 

I hate me them Boomer Moments!