Wednesday, May 27, 2015

And That's How Evolution Works (FF)

"And that's how evolution works, class.  To adapt to the new climate beginning in the mid-21st century, mankind rapidly evolved in a number of ways."

"That's how we used to look, Professor Goldberg?   All covered with - what did you call it - skin, and without razor sharp teeth to ferret out food?"

"Exactly, Mr. Clifford.  And those awkward appendages called legs gave way to fins for better mobility."

"Look how ugly people used to be!  How did we become so facially attractive, Professor?"

“Because, Ms. James, we needed to repopulate the planet. That's why everyone evolved to be so smokin' hot!"

"God Bless Evolution, Professor Goldberg!"

"Class dismissed.  Go to it, hotties!"


I sincerely hope this post wasn't too sexually arousing for any of the other Friday Fictioneers.  I toned it down from the original more graphic version but when you have a picture prompt like the above,  toning down the sexual vibe is about as easy as getting climate change on the agenda of the Republican National Convention.

To help your mind evolve to a higher plane, click here for the offerings of the other Friday Fictioneers.  Go to it, hotties!

In the meanwhile, I'm sitting here on the internet. Waiting to evolve.

Friday, May 22, 2015

"To Gwen," A Facebook Tale

Like many of you, occasionally I find myself in the mood to seek out folks I've known in the past on Facebook and see if I can reconnect with them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and only occasionally do you wind up with a restraining order. 

I was in such a mood last Thursday, and one of the people I thought about was a girl named Gwen Grisbane who used to date a friend of mine, Bill Kirschbaum. I always thought she was kind of a cool person, so I decided to type her a brief friendly message and see if we could hook up again.


Hi, Gwen,

This is Perry Block, remember me?  We were in a few classes together in college and for a while you dated a friend of mine, Bill Kirschbaum.

Well, how are you? I was looking up some old - I mean, former - friends and acquaintances on Facebook and you came to mind. I always thought you were kind of a cool person, and I usually enjoyed myself when I was around you, which I guess was not as often as I might have liked.

So, did you ever become an actress?  Bet you didn't know I saw you in every performance of every play you were ever in at school, including Mourning Becomes Annoying and The Glass Menage-a-Trois.  You were always the best actor on the stage, especially in the scenes in which there were no other actors on the stage. I still have all the play programs you signed for me at home. Under glass. 

Do you remember when we were in D.C. Balin's Shakespeare class together?  I always liked it when you sat near me and I could gaze freely at your flawless profile and full sensual lips. The day you read from Romeo and Juliet you took my breath away, and I didn't get it back until a couple of weeks later! 

I have some wonderful memories of you, Gwen. Remember when a bunch of us went to Atlantic City together one summer's day in 1970?  I can still see you emerging from the ocean that magical afternoon, your blond hair flashing in the sunlight and your dazzling blue eyes bedeviling everyone they beheld. The droplets of ocean water clung to your supple amber skin like an army of ardent lovers, caressing and adoring your every pore. 

You were like a Botticelli angel, Gwen! An angel with a warm caring nature, a knock-out sense of humor, and a heart as big as you made my penis every time I was around you!

Oh, my Gwen!  Can I finally call you "my Gwen?" I so longed to call you that during the cherished time I knew you, but had not the courage to speak! You were more beautiful than Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, and Scarlett Johansson combined, but combined as just one person, not three people stuck together with six arms and six legs and three vaginas.

I love you, Gwen!  Let me shout it to the rooftops, or at least to the aluminum siding, I'm not that good at shouting! I will spend the rest of my life doing nothing but striving to make you happy, showering you with love and devotion, and never letting your Netflix subscription lapse.

Till that moment that our lips meet and hearts beat as one, dearest Gwen!!!


My destiny at last! I frantically began searching Gwen Grisbane's Facebook page for some news of my beloved - a picture, a history, a life that was waiting to be transformed by me, the one man who was born to love her! 

I found a post dated May 16, 2012. It read:

So delighted I have finally come out!  Misty and I are off for Tuscany and will not return. Nor will I return to Facebook. Goodbye.

Oh. Gee. I really wanted to hook up again with Gwen Grisbane.

She was kind of a cool person.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Herbert, the Happiest Leaf (FF)

It's Herbert, the happiest leaf, the happiest leaf you know!

"Hi, boys and girls, I'm Herbert, the happy leaf.  Although I am sad that I only have one eye. My left eye was shot out by a deranged elementary school student with a pea shooter.”
Herbert, the happiest leaf, the happiest leaf you know!

“You know what else makes me sad, kids?  I'm a leaf. I don't have a body, I can't defecate, and I can't get it on with female leafs cause they’re only interested in you if you have a big trunk.” 

Herbert, the happiest leaf, it's the Happy Herbert Show!

“Some show! I introduce cartoons that aren’t funny while being munched on by aphids.  Kids, don't believe any of this happy crap. Life is one long struggle and then you die!”

Herbert, the happiest leaf, the happiest leaf you know!

“And, oh yeah, I didn’t get the damn Letterman gig either!”


I can't imagine why Herbert, the happiest leaf, is so unhappy. He's on national television, he's personal friends with Bill Murray, and he even provides oxygen for the atmosphere.  I'm afraid his show does suck, however, except for the presence of his house band, the Roots.

This tale of Herbert, the happiest leaf, is my contribution to the Friday Fictioneers this week based on the picture prompt above. If you'd like to plant yourself among the other Fictioneers' contributions, click here.

Oh, cheer up, Herbert!  You do have a fetching birthmark right under your nose.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Invention of Umbrellas

A Race to the Finish to Win World War II!

It is more or less a common household item today, but once it was the storied goal and subject of the most significant and secretive project in the history of the United States.  Both Allied and Axis parties raced to be the first to develop it, knowing its tactical superiority would all but guarantee victory in the worldwide conflagration known as World War II.

Thankfully the Allied powers prevailed and were first to create a fully functional working umbrella.  And with it,  the modern era of military rain repelment began.

Throughout history,  warriors have been continually plagued by sudden downpours of liquid H2O.  Falling rain produced slippery terrain for fighting, uncertain handling of spears and bayonets, and profoundly bad hair days.  In 480 BC, the Persian army overran the fabled 300 Spartans when an unexpected shower sent 283 Spartans off to their stylists for emergency blow drys, leaving only 17 bald Spartans at Thermopylae on the defense. 

Whole wars often turned on which side was able to keep its underwear drier while slaughtering and dismembering the opposition. Sometimes entire battles had to be cancelled and rain dates selected. Often many soldiers had pre-existing commitments and couldn't make it on the rain date, and if the sides were significantly uneven soldiers on one side would have to shirt up on the other. 

So devastating to the art of warfare was rainfall  that great military leaders have often decried its awesome and destructive  power:
  • "I came, I saw ... Jesus Christ, nobody predicted this!" Julius Caesar.
  • "Rain, rain, go away, and bring me a whiskey fast!" General Ulysses S. Grant
  • "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes.  Oh crap, just fire!" Colonel William Prescott
Rain continued to disrupt warfare into the 20th Century, greatly impacting the trench warfare of World War I as the unprotected battlefront trenches filled up with water like the pool at Jay Z's house.  As the Second World War began,  Hitler declared development of an effective rain repelment system the Number 1 priority of the Third Reich, along with a pair of convincing mustache extenders for his overly close cropped mustache.

The rain repelment race was on!

Enamored with new concepts of rain repelment, brilliant research scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer secured a meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt.  President Roosevelt's initial reluctance to fund the project was thwarted when a sudden downpour rusted his cigarette holder and extinguished his Lucky Strike. The highly secretive initiative then established came to be called "The Manhattan Project" because the President liked to drink those as well as smoke Lucky Strike.

Next, vast sums of money were appropriated and the best minds in America, some actually attached to bodies, were recruited to devise a method to avert raindrops, now referred to as an "umbrella." However, initial prototypes with goose feathers, fishnet stockings, and aldente spaghetti stretched over a metal frame proved unsatisfactory.   Hopes dampened, along with the volunteer troops standing under the prototypes

Then Oppenheimer hit upon the dazzlingly innovative concept of stretching canvas over the metal frame. Six months later when he determined the canvas should slope downward instead of upward - which had caused the canvas to fill up with water like the pool at Jay Z's house - the umbrella was born.  

The modern era of warfare debuted on D-Day, the 6th of June,1944, when thousands of Allied troops stormed the Normandy Beaches in France, each one clutching a flowery pink umbrella with tassels.  The color and styling of the new invention had yet to be worked out, but the dispirited and soggy Nazis quickly surrendered to the cool, calm, and dry as a Martini (which the President also liked) Allied forces. 

In honor of J. Robert Oppenheimer's great achievement, the phrase "oppening an umbrella" was coined  and remains in popular usage today. Sometimes it appears as "opening an

But why is his great discovery called an umbrella?

No clue.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Top Ten Reasons We'll Miss David Letterman

10) When will we ever get the chance to see Tom Hanks again?

9) If I want to have any fun anymore, I'm going to have to throw a bowling ball off the top of the Ed Sullivan Theater.

8) Aging Baby Boomers no longer able to reassure themselves with "Gee at least I'm holding up lots better than Dave."

7) Even as lame as they've been in recent years, Letterman Top Ten Lists way funnier than crap like this.

6) Hate to think of impeccably tailored Letterman sitting around the house in his pajamas playing Candy Crush.

5) Unless Lauren Hutton makes surprise comeback, that's it for gap-toothed celebrities.

4) Nagging fear that as soon as show is over, Paul Shaffer will write vicious tell-all book. 

3) Dave's Mom won't be coming to our house with pie anymore.

2) Without daily dose of Dave, Ryan Seacrest will seem hip.

And the No. 1 Reason we'll miss David Letterman, 

1) Jimmy Fallon.

And thank you, Dave, for 31 years of hip quirky late night entertainment with its own unique perspective and attitude.

We'll miss you. 


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Suddenly Silo (FF)

copyright Marie Gail Stratford

"Russell, "I said, "didn't that silo spring up overnight?"

"You're right, Perry, it wasn't here yesterday!"

"Why would anyone need to build a 'Suddenly Silo' in a remote area like this?"

"No idea," said Russell, "let's investigate."

Russell and I crept up to the silo and I hoisted him on my shoulders so he could climb to the top.

"Russell, what do you see?"

"Bunch of people in suits ... and there's Jeb Bush!"

“What's happening?”

“The people in suits are talking sternly and waving fingers at Bush. Now he’s talking.”

"What's he saying?"


My guest star, fellow Friday Fictioneer Russell Gayer, not only lends his esteemed presence to the piece, he also lends his somewhat backwater home locale as the perfect highly private location for Jeb Bush to prepare for his presidential campaign, which is not off to a flying start.

Always off to a flying start are the other Friday Fictioneers, whose takes on the above prompt may be found by clicking right here.

Russell and I for President and Vice-President?  We got the Suddenly Silo right here!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sam Kane P.I. in 'Where's Waldo?'

I've been living in Los Angeles for a good 5 to 6 years now, moving here by way of Cleveland Ohio.  I don't want to say Cleveland is boring, but I spent a weekend there once and it's still going on. 

How did I get into this racket? I used to be Sam Kane, Finder of Lost Combs, Brushes, and Hairpieces. That was good money at $500 a day plus expenses until people caught on that all they had to do was look behind the toilet, under the car seat, or somewhere embedded in the neighbor's Afro.  

So after a brief stint chasing down missing holidays, I’m working the missing persons beat. I'd like to say it's a living, but with three ex-wives and enough alimony to cause Sheldon Adelson to shout "OY GEVALT," that it could never be!

Well, I was sitting in my office on a Thursday afternoon that was so slow Chris Christie could have beaten it in a foot race when ... she came in.

"Mr. Kane?"

"Yeah, doll?"

"I need your help."

She was a good looking dame in a short skirt with legs that seemed to go on forever, or at least as long as the run of Game of Thrones.  She had the look of upper crust all the way, champagne, caviar, and sex with guys named Reginald.

"So, Ms. Hot and Mysterious, what's your name?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Kane. My name is Lola Moldavia."

"Call me Sam, Ms. Moldavia. That way should we happen to be having sex later on you won't have to shout out "you're the best ever, Mr. Kane!"

"Mr. Kane, I don't like that kind of talk!  I have a serious request of you."

"Spill it, Sweetheart!"

"I want you to find Waldo."

Waldo!  I certainly knew the name.  Half the city was looking for him. The boys down at the detective division had started a special Waldo task force headed up by my old friend Sergeant Brian Meeks, and Marlowe and Spade were also on the case.

"What do you want with this Waldo?" I asked Ms. Moldavia.

"I have to find him!" she ejaculated.  "I just have to!"

I always like it when a dame ejaculates in one of my capers. Hopefully it portends good things for me by story's end. 

Ms. Moldavia showed me several pictures of the missing-in-action Waldo.  It was hard to imagine why a dame like her would expend a moment's energy trying to find a guy like him unless she was casting a remake of Revenge of the Nerds. He had a goofy grin and a penchant for red and white striped shirts that looked like Central Castings' idea of pirate garb for a Grade Z seafaring movie made in the mid-fifties starring Kerwin Matthews.

I took a healthy retainer from Ms. Moldavia, bade her adios, and set out to Police Headquarters to see if my buddy Meeks had uncovered any hot leads.

"Kane, I can't help you this time," said Meeks.  "Everything is hush-hush." 

"Meeks, I don't like to bring this up," I said sheepishly, "but you recall that I did once save your life."

"You mean the time I got my zipper caught and you took my pants off over my head?  Okay, Sam, I'll give you a little something."  


"As you know, Kane, Waldo likes to hang out in places where there are throngs of people.  Places like the beach, the opera, reunions of Billy Bob Thornton's wives. Usually red and white stripes are part of the scene. Odd, though, rumor has it he was last spotted in a department store where there were fewer people around than members of the Katherine Heigl fan club."

"Thanks, pal,” I called to Meeks as I began heading out.

"Sam?" said Meeks.

"Yeah, Meeks?'

"Be careful."

"Don't worry, Meeks.  I've been taking care of myself since I was 47!"

Later that day while having my afternoon java at Lou Fielding's place I told my favorite hash slinger about the elusive Waldo and how he liked to hang out in mobs of people where stripes are part of the decor.

"Well, you know, Sam," Lou offered, "there's an NBA Referees Convention in town this week."

"Yeah, but those would be black and white striped jerseys ... wait a minute, Lou! That's it!"

"What's it, Sam?"

"Lou, I could kiss you!" 

"Please don't, Sam.  Contrary to my character's stereotype I am gay, but I'm not coming out before Tom Cruise does."

I raced to the Convention Center and there before me was an ocean of black and white stripes as far as the eye could see. There were referees not only for hoops but for every major sport save baseball, chain gangs 
suitably attired, zebras, zebras on chain gangs, referees on chain gangs ---- where many of them belong --- and of course, more zebras.  Many more zebras.

"I tried to warn you to stay away," came a voice behind me.

I whirled about to see Meeks with his revolver drawn.

"You see, Sam, someone important doesn't want Waldo found."

Just then a bullet whizzed by me and Meeks hit the ground.  I saw the assailant at a distance, but even through the crowd I knew it was exactly who I figured it would be!

"Waldo, you bastard!" I screamed. “I’m taking you down!  And, by the way, that black and white striped shirt of yours needs major tailoring."

I leaped through a sea of striped humanity and dove at Waldo's ankles. I tackled him cleanly and slapped the cuffs on him.

"Who are you?" Waldo cried.

"I'm Sam Kane, Finder of Missing Persons, Lost Combs, Brushes, and Hairpieces!" 

"How'd you figure it, Kane?"

"I heard you were clothes shopping in a sparsely populated venue and let's face it, Waldo, you’re no fashion plate. When I learned about the referee conference, I realized you must have been buying a black and white striped shirt for the occasion and that I'd find your sorry ass here."

"Very clever, Kane. You think maybe ... I should have taken a medium?” 

"No, but you are taking the fall."

"You can't do that, Kane.  You'll spoil the game."


"Sure. Everyone wants to find me, but once they do, they just want me to turn around and hide again."

"It's ... it's a game?"

"It's called Where's Waldo? Google it, gumshoe."

"Well, what's in all this for you, Waldo?"

"World fame and a paycheck fatter than Governor Christie.”

Made sense to me. So after I thought it over, I sprung Waldo loose and he vanished into the mega-striped crowd.

"I’m sorry, Sam,” said Meeks, holding his arm and catching up to me. “My eight year old wanted to be the one to find him first. Who is Waldo anyway?”  

"The stuff that dreams are made of.  Low-level gamer dreams anyway."

There’s just a bit more to the story.  Before I cut Waldo loose I wrung a little concession out of him. Whenever and wherever I want, I get to find him. I always know "Where's Waldo."

And there are more than a few folks who show great appreciation for this unique talent of mine. 

You can ask Ms. Moldavia, if you doubt it. 

(Yep, it portended good things for me by story's end!)


  My thanks to writer and friend Brian Meeks for his gracious cameo in this story.  And my thanks also to Waldo who ..... crap, where did he go now?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Spring Slake (FF)

PHOTO PROMPT – © Madison Woods

"Say, Brandon, it sure was nice of your dad to spring for a keg of beer for our Annual Finals Time/Spring Bash!"

"Yeah, Kyle, my dad does some nice but weird-ass things sometimes."

"I understand your father is known as The Internet's Least Successful Humor Writer."

"True, I'm afraid he's almost as unfunny as @ShitMyDadSays."

"OMG, I didn't think anything could be that unfunny!"

"Well, let's tap the keg, boys!"




"Look, here's a note from my dad:  Hope you guys enjoy this keg of Listerine.  Now gargle, spit, and get back to work!"

"You know what, Brandon?  Now that's funny!"


I thought it was time for a post to show off my advanced parenting skills, but unfortunately this isn't it.  Well, maybe it is; we'll see what kind of grades these guys ultimately get. Better yet, we'll see how many cavities.

Now all of you should go study the many other takes on the above picture prompt by the other Friday Fictioneers.  Just tap the keg right here, and drink up!   

Happy Annual Finals Time/Spring Bash!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Batman v. Superman v. WTF?

The recent release of a trailer for the upcoming movie Batman v. Superman has gotten a lot of people looking forward to seeing the film, and I guess I’m one of them.

I say “I guess”  because I’m sick of superhero movies.  We've reached the point of such superhero saturation that the new movie will also feature Aquaman, a superhero so insipid his greatest power is the ability to order mackerel to defecate on the bad guys should they happen to fall underwater. 

I've always liked both Batman and Superman, however, but pairing them together in the same movie is kind of strange.* Superman is the most powerful being in all of time and space. Batman?  He has as many super powers as you and I except he looks a lot better in tights. 

Frankly, Batman is only a big cheese in a universe in which there is no Superman.  So what does Batman have to offer the Man of Steel in a world in which they both exist?


Superman:  Great Scott, Batman!  Lex Luthor has catapulted a huge Kryptonite boulder right in our path!

Batman:  Great Scott, Superman, you're right!  Umm ... are you feeling sick, by any chance?

Superman:  No, Batman, I'm sitting here playing strip poker with Wonder Woman. Yes, I'm feeling sick! Hurry, remove the Kryptonite and put it in the lead containment box!

Batman:  Of course, Superman.  But first, we've got a few things to discuss.

Superman:  A few things to discuss?  

Batman:  To tell you the truth, Superman, I'm sick of being the junior member in this partnership.  I want a broader role.

But, Batman, I only need you whenever there’s Kryptonite around. That's the job: you pick up the Kryptonite, you put it in the box, and then go take study hall.

Batman:  Yeah, for which you pay me the grand sum of Superhero Minimum Wage!

Superman: But that's all the job's worth. Frankly I could get Aquaman to do this. 

Batman:  Aquaman? That's a low blow.

Superman:  Batman, please hurry!  I'm so nauseated I feel like I've just seen a Val Kilmer movie!

Batman:  Cool your pecs, Clark!  I want a raise and a company match in the "Strange Visitor from Another Planet 401 (k) Plan!"

Superman: But Batman, (cough, cough, cough!) aren't you a millionaire as Bruce Wayne?

Batman: Ever heard of Bernie Madoff, Superman?

Superman:  Okay, okay!  What do you want? 

Batman:  Let’s make it 45 bucks an hour, a 6 % match, and a health care plan that covers having the shit kicked out of you by Bane.

Superman:  Sure (cough, sputter) sure, whatever you say!

Batman:  And I want you to help get the Superhero Minimum Wage raised.

Superman:  Great Scott, Batman, that'll ruin the economy and cost superhero jobs! What will Kochman say?

Batman Kochman?! Great Scott, Superman, you’re a conservative?

Superman:  I am. For me truth, justice, and the American way is the Second Amendment, Fox News, and "let's impeach the Muslim President."

Batman:  Superman:   I quit. 

Superman:  You quit?  Batman,  where are you going? 

Batman: Maybe you can get Kochman to help you out at Superhero Minimum Wage.

SupermanGreat Scott, Batman, I'm turning into a plate of Kryptonian Goulash!!!

Batman:    Great Scott, Superman, I'm sorry!  Looks like maybe I am the hero Earth needs after all.  


*Back when I was a kid, Superman and Batman were always paired in World's Finest Comics, which was anything but. The stories were silly and the artwork often second tier. Even when I was ten, I didn't buy it.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Fine Bromance - Part II

"So, you finally found a fine bromance," I said to my friend Mark as we sat in one of our favorite Center City haunts. "Tell me all about your new fella."

I have to admit I’d been surprised when Mark told me that he was looking for a hot bromance. I knew his marriage was on the rocks, but I was skeptical that a serious platonic relationship with another guy would make things better.

"He's everything I've always dreamed about in a bromance!" Mark enthused.

Dreamed about in a bromance? This is a guy who used to have wet dreams about getting through the summer without his lawn getting crab grass.

"What’s his name?” I asked. "Where did you meet him?"

"His name is Roger," Mark said. "I met him at my daughter's ballet class.”

"He was taking ballet with 14-year-old girls?"

"Of course not. He owns the school.”

“How did you two get to talking?”

“I asked him where the bathroom was.  He said ‘straight down the hall and to the left, you need a key.’  I tell you, it was magic!”

“Sounds almost as magical as an evening with Penn and Teller!” 

"We went to a sports bar and talked for hours,” Mark said happily. “I knew he would be my one true bromance.” 

One true bromance? The closest I ever got to one true bromance was with Ernie the Mechanic the six months he was trying to figure out how to stop my Pinto from clanging.

"So what have you two guys done together since?"
"What haven't we done? We've been to ball games, concerts, museums, poetry readings. Last week we went up to an exhibit of futuristic art in New York."
“I remember when your concept of futuristic art was a drawing of the Jetsons.”
“Yes, life is good, Perry, life is good!”
"But has all this helped your marriage?"

"No, Roger has helped me to see it was time for it to end. My wife Jane fully agrees and we’ve begun our amicable divorce.”
“Mark, if you’re happy, I’m happy.  I’m just not sure I’m sold on the idea of bromance.”
Just then a great-looking blonde entered the bar.

"Oh my god, Mark, look at her!" I gasped.

“Perry, that’s Jennifer!”
“Who’s Jennifer?”
“My new girl.”
“Jennifer," Mark called to her. "Come meet Perry!"
"Hi, Perry," cooed Jennifer. "Hiya, Markie!”
"Mark, how... how ... did you two meet?"

"Through Roger.  He’s taught me a lot about the ladies too.”

"Can we leave now, Markie?" sighed Jennifer.

"Sorry, Perry.”
"Mark, can I ask you something?"


"Does Roger have a brother?”