The Maiden Bartender

You met one Iron Maiden fan, you met them all right? Iron Maiden fans wear out those mummy metal patches on their faded, torn jean jackets, even into their late thirties to inject a dark, mysterious, complex, weighty edge such diehard fanatic fans are incapable of generating on their own.  Granted, Bruce Dickenson the more exalted, replacement lead singer star of Iron Maiden, otherwise known as the human air raid siren, boasts a supernatural voice, which pierces through the clouds of Heavy Metal heaven. Still, it’s impossible to not grow tired of his rapid fire, Spinal Tap conjuring caricature of what an English heavy metal howler should like in Samuel Johnson’s speed metal phonics dictionary under Game Of Thrones horse charging music. At least, that’s’ what the Cruise Comedian, Michael Rocker thought, as he entered a colonial constructed, seaside, shipbuilding town of Mystic, CT, where Julia Roberts shot the movie Mystic Pizza, and entertained the grips on the set by fisting her mouth in between takes to ensure they made it her look the most flattering in the face of such frigid, east coast winter light.  

Now, Michael Rocker, a tall, athletic looking, preppy casual comic orders a drink and says, “Hey, what local IPA’s do you recommend? The bartender, a tall, striking, borderline statuesque dirty blond, sporting an Iron Maiden tattoo on her defined, yet not overtly chiseled deltoid replies, “I don’t know, that all depends, on how much hardcore bitter bite you can take. I mean, are you interested in merely quenching your thirst with a session filler beer? Or would you prefer  to get your hardcore freak on for Karaoke night with something boozier and more funktastic like a Fat Orange Cat’s Trippel IPA, stud.” The Cruise Comic says, “I’ll take the Trippel IPA, hot stuff,” as he tries hard not to lick his lips, wanting to inhale her on the spot.

Sitting next to the Cruise Comic at the bar, is a hunched, tired, lanky, dirty blond, long-haired guy in his late thirties, sporting bad acne spots, from a poor diet full of too much beef Jerky and cheap vodka tonics, reeking of stale, Newport cigarettes, stripping the minty cool flavor of any high schooler hoody appeal after the 1st drag whatsoever.  The Cruise Comic get’s the impression, the Newport cigarette guy who’s sporting a black Iron Maiden shirt under his faded, torn jean jacket, is here solo as usual, so he decides to sample some new jokes on him in preparation for his upcoming cruise tour heading to Jamaica for spring break the following morning. Cruise Comic makes eye contact with the Iron Maiden fan and says, “Nice Maiden shirt. You must know the wrestler and Fozzy front man Chris Jericho then? Maiden dude replies, “Duh, who doesn’t? Immediately, the Cruise Comic becomes engulfed with extreme annoyance, regretting his attempt to bond with this local in his attempt to play it cool with the hot bad ass bartender and snaps back with, “Be honest, don’t you think Iron Maiden is a poor man’s Judas Priest, with far less sing along, radio friendly hits, being forced to rely on catchy, merchandising gimmickry to radiate a cooler, far less Dungeons and Dragons nerdy veneer instead? And who is the Eddie mascot on Iron Maiden shirts supposed to be anyway? He looks like a cyborg mummy and a virile Crypt Keeper in his prime had a baby?  Run For The Hills is a good running song, for Daniel Day Lewis to crank up when he trained for his role in the Last of the Mohicans.”

The bartender can’t help but chuckle, doing her best to not let Cruise Comedian know it. Still, she decides to interject, knowing fighting words were just thrown down in this normally peaceful waterfront town and says, “Hey, Eddie, don’t listen to him. He’s not sophisticated enough to understand the intricacies and sweeping historical, majestic sweep that went to Power Slave and the other 40 records of English speed metal mastery at it’s finest. Next vodka and tonic is on me babe, don’t sweat it.” Cruise Comedian is turned on by the bartender’s friendly infused fiery cheer, especially knowing this was her way of pleasing a local and flirting with him big time and says, “She’s right Eddie, that’s your name Eddie just like the Iron Maiden mascot, wow. I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m just putting Iron Maiden down to feel better about myself. That’s what hack cruise comics do.  I think Poison, Motely Crew and Cinderella rock out just as hard and boast infinitely catchier, kick as metal pop anthems, which ooze forceful, heartfelt personality versus sounding like systematic howling knights on horseback but what do I know Eddie. Didn’t mean to offend your hardcore fanatical Maiden sensibilities bud.”  Eddy’s face become ensnarled in acne scar shades of red as he clenches his callous hardened, burn laden hands and says, “Dude, I’m a dishwasher on a cruise ship, I don’t need to take this shit.” The Cruise Comedian says, “I’m a lowly Cruise Comedian hack comedian, so it’s a wash mate. Looking forward to docking in Jamaica though. This is my impression of Ziggy Marley being interviewed by High Times Magazine for their annual 4/20 issue.  “Ziggy, your dad had 11 kids, but I thought ganja drained your life blaster dry. Ziggy replies, “Fake news man.” Cruise comic finally scores a tension diffusing laugh. Eddie says, “That was a good one. Perhaps, I take my obsession with Iron Maiden a tad too seriously at times. Thing is, you get pretty cagy as a cruise ship dishwasher, all alone with Iron Maiden tunes of wanton destruction stuck in your head.” Cruise Comic says, “No problem dude, I was being a big dick prior, sometimes my riffing veers into full fledged asshole land faster than I’d prefer to. Do you smoke your mind with the crystal specked bud? Eddie the dishwasher says, “Yeah, I mean, what loner burnout Maiden head in high school didn’t. You never outgrow the soothing lift the green gives a loner burnout at heart.  Cruise comic says, “Did you know 4/20 was Hitler’s birthday? I haven’t felt this betrayed since Sly Stallone snuck Mel Gibson into Expendables 3.” Eddie the Dishwasher says, “Oh, so you’re Jewish. That’s why you’re so annoying and pushy with your material. Well, nobody’s perfect except Beth the bartender.”

Beth the bartender commands the stage and clenches the mike to belt out Run for the Hills on the Karaoke stage with incredible, hardcore edge feeling to make a jaded, English metal resisting, cruise comic willing to give British speed metal another shot. All that was missing was a hardcore female touch and some added funktastic feeling with some sexy metal sass to match.

The End

Michael Kornbluth

The Talking Mozzarella Stick

“Pizza isn’t everybody’s favorite food because the universe loves melted Gouda. Nobody today, is waiting online to inhale entire pizza pies drenched in smoked cheeses like gouda, unless you’re a hardcore Dutch dude from Amsterdam in lower Manhattan on holiday, because working Europeans get 5 weeks of a paid vacation and have nothing better to do than try the new Gastro pub in town, Crackers and Brews, which offers state of the art mini pizza’s on in-house made crackers, to leave more room inside for perpetual IPA poundage soon after. Mozzarella will always be the most popular cheese in New York, because you’re not melting sharp Vermont cheddar cheese on a Veal Parm hero in NOHO either. Mozzarella is the king of NY cool dominance like Laurence Fishburne and Westley Snipes in New Jack all wrapped up into one. Am I being too talky, again boss?” Boss says, “There’s no practicing schtick in the dressed-up Mozzarella hawking game off St. Marks place, especially knowing you can practice your routine at a plethora of open mikes throughout the east village and Brooklyn, that ANTIFA hasn’t planned to take over yet in your own spare, non-billable time, where you can continue to make jack shit, spewing semi-coherent streams of thought, that never amount to as much hilarity mountaintops as you think.” Talking Mozzarella Stick says, “Alright boss, I’ll stick to the script and only ask girls who pass me by, “Have you ever been sticked by Big Buster before? Because you know I have but his name was Dave from Long Island, not Big Buster, which reminds me of a fat white rapper who had no role models to emulate really. Beastie Boys always rocked skinny, jeans dragging off their ankles and shit. Vanilla Ice always opted for the flaptastic, fly guy silk sweats. Anthrax was the backup thrash metal band for Public Enemy on Bring The Noise and they’re scrappy skinny yet muscular metal white boys from Queens, the former breeding ground for Dee Sider from Twisted Sister, Nasty Nas, Black Sheep, 3rd Bass. I know the list is a greatest hits one that keeps you guessing whose even bigger on the list next. Art Garfunkel, the angelic sounding Jew and Paul Simon both hail from Queens, which stings the Republican gentile who’s jealous of creatively successful Jews, who didn’t take the Bernie Madoff route, I totally get it. But to round out the list of all-time great artists from Queens, you also have to include the consistently funny and transcendent Cyndy Lauper while also giving a loving, gushing shout out in honor of  showrunner and comedic writer, ball busting great, Doug Ellen behind Entourage, who made the legendary show on HBO infinitely cooler than Wahlberg’s producer name credits it on it. Doug Ellen is the funnier, cooler, version of John Favreau, until he started to produce, direct and write every episode it seems for the first season of Mandalorian, asshole. Look, I think John Favreau deserves a shot to reimagine Boba Fett’s backstory for Disney just for teaming up with Vince again on Made alone, even more than Richard Linklater for making Dazed and Confused the pitch perfect film to come out my senior year in high school among my old school pinko brethren buds of old. But still, asshole, if you’re creatively competitive at all, knowing John Favreau directed Elf, all the Iron Man’s and wasn’t too shabby in Rudy or PCU either. ” The big boss in charge of founding and running Mozzarella Man, says to his mouthy, unknown, unrepresented wannabe standup comedy star, “If you love John Favreau so much, then write your screenplay about being Vince Vaughn’s non-successful twin brother, because you look like him in a pre-good living, insomniac fashion and leave me out of it already.” Michael Kornbluth

4 Jews Enter A Greek Temple

Gimmel, a high school wrestling star for Jerusalem High, turned professional Bookie for the Maccabees stands in prayer, lip synching some horse-shit prayer in honor of some half horse, half man freak Centaur, who also happens to be hung like an Arabian. Shin, the local tailor, adjusts his fancy schmancy Tallis like a stressed-out Rodney bombing with new material at Dangerfield’s and says, “Gimmel, have you ever been Hellenized? Because you know I have. How else do you explain my fear of getting electrocuted to death since Zeus jammed a thunderbolt up my wife’s snatch because she called the Goddess of Wisdom Athena, fake news deep compared to the Lord, our God, not the God of Loud Rain.” Gimmel elbows Shin in stomach and says, “Stop making me laugh Shin, you’ll arouse the wrath of Gelos, the personification of laughter, because despite his Greek God status, he isn’t endowed with the funny Jew bone to bang out room shaking laughter with either. Nun, a Kosher winemaker enters the Greek Temple after wining and dining a Greek senator who threatened to take over his family winery if he didn’t erect a marble sculpture fountain of Dionysus, connected to underground barrels of pricy Cabernet Sauvignon, which spill out of his golden chalice cup every other 2 seconds. Nun spots his friends Shin and Gimmel whispering to each other, lip synching up close near the holy side of the Greek Temple where the Golden Menorah used to light up the 2nd Temple before Antiochus took over after Alexander The Great died and turned the Second Temple into a headshop for Greek Gods, where they now sell bundles of Incense Sticks for 5 shekels and a gram of Hashish. What a country, Judea had become.

Nun lines up next to friends, Shin and Gimmel, engaging in fake news Greek God prayer and whispers to his old school Jerusalem High wrestling buds, “What are you 2 doing here again? You’ll get crucified if the Greek priests overhear you kvetching about you having zero interest in worshiping Pan the Goat Boy during the never-ending 2nd Temple period. But you have to bitch because we already paid our synagogue dues before King Antiochus turned our JCC gymnasium into a members only gay bathhouse for Greek senators to bask in endless leisure, admiring each other’s flappy rounds of mound. ”

Hey, the Kosher Dairy Farmer, enters the Greek Temple with a Chalef knife, whose incredibly sharp edge ensures a painless, Torah commanded, gentle as can be death for cows later converted into Brisket stew. The Negev Desert sun glares through the newly refurbished stain glass window designs of nymphs playing tug of war with Hercules cock.  But this blast of holy powered light nearly blinds the Greek Priest leading the service as the Negev desert light bounces off Hey’s Chalef butcher knife and refracts into his Greek God loving eyes. Which I’m sure reminds the Greek Priest of the time he wanted to poke his eyes out after getting black out drunk from a 3-day Theatre Festival in Athens, only to wake up next to Medusa’s sister, who rapes drunk, Greek Priests at will because in her presence, black out drunk or not, you become automatically frozen stiff.  As the Greek Priest rubs his eyes in extreme agony, Hey, The Kosher Dairy Farmer, with his Chalef knife held high in the air, yells, “Maccabees rule. We’re the chosen people for a reason bitches.”

8 days later, the magnificent band of Maccabee warrior brothers reclaimed the Greek Temple and turned into the grand 2nd Temple of old, without barely breaking a sweat, because the Lord was on their side. I bet you 8 million Shekels Hermes ran for the hills away from Zion, as fast as he could, refusing to give Zeus that message. Happy Hanukkah!

Michael Kornbluth

Tofu The Terrible Slayer

Matilda, Singing Rose Kornbluth, was in no singing mood today. Every day, she’d wake up singing,” Good day sunshine” by the Beatles even if she got up at the crack of dawn again or decided to work in Norway away from her mom and dad throughout an entire darkened 5 month winter as a 9-year ski model for Northface, knowing in a post-corona universe, she was used to doing remote learning away from school anyway. But this drab Thanksgiving morning was different, because she had to act thankful for eating Tofurky Roast again, despite the spirit of Tofu The Terrible terrorizing her dreams since she described soy dogs in her school lunch cafeteria blog as “Rubber dog link nosh toys.”

But how could Matilda Singing Rose Kornbluth act grateful for eating a Tofurky Roast, since her 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Right, made it clear how the native American Indians weren’t responsible for teaching the Pilgrims how to turn soy milk into white blocks of semi-firm bricks of soy with higher levels of estrogen to feminize John Smith’s sturdy stock of sailors with. Also, Thanksgiving this year post-Corona wasn’t feeling particularly festive, knowing Matilda was suffering from PTSD from wearing all of those Corona masks to death. Matilda was now having nightmares of being terrorized by the masked man, Tofu The Terrible who ruined every favorite meal she’d dream of. For example, if Matilda had just won the Gold Medal in the Hardcore X Games for Equestrian Riders within the Under 10 Years age bracket, having to complete jumps through rings of fire with an occasional baby dragon on her tail. She’d normally celebrate with her best friend Shannon in her dream over their favorite treat Jellybeans for a sleepover party soon after. But now all that appeared in her dream were pasty, slimy soybeans in the place of jellybeans because Tofu The Terrible was punishing her for calling soy dogs on her cafeteria food blog, “Not good enough to pass for rubber dog toys.” And Matilda hated pet dogs because they ate dog food with minced horse meat inside. Matilda had always been a hardcore vegetarian loyalist, yet she greatly offended the spirt of Tofu The Terrible, a ferocious Chinese vegetarian warrior from the Ming Dynasty, who even got Genghis Khan into Mapo Tofu over Jasmine Rice, a fiery, dish loaded with super scary Sichuan spice. The smell from the grounded up Sichuan peppercorns would make most grown men cry, making their lips tremble in fear at the prospect of having to try one more bite, knowing Genghis Khan would be hoarding all the Sake rice wine for any temporary relief for themselves soon afterwards.

Matilda was convinced she’d never enjoy the food she loved in real life again such as her Dad’s fried Icelandic cod in a barbeque aioli without tasting anything but mushy, dog drool instead.  

Now, it was time for everyone at the table to give thanks for Thanksgiving, which Matilda had been dreading from the start, because she was consumed with nightmarish visions of Tofu The Terrible ruining all her favorite foods in her dreams and in real life, such as her Dad’s star side dish creation, caramelized cauliflower potato  gratin, combining cave aged Gruyere and Raclette cheese from the Swiss Alps, which  injected the dish with an extra scrumptious, creamy fresh finish.

Matilda’s Dad, a Stay At Home Comedian Author, Podcast Host and self-taught semi gourmand Chef could tell his daughter was dreading her turn to participate and says, “Matilda, you look like you’ve seen a ghost. Is Tofu The Terrible ruining the taste of your Jellybeans again?” Matilda perks up, shaken out of her petrified, frozen comatose and says, “How did you know about Tofu The Terrible Daddy?” Matilda’s dad says, “I helped you launch your own lunch cafeteria blog on WordPress remember? Your last piece Tofu Brownie Blues, was about how Tofu The Terrible threated to shred everyone’s masks at school, unless the Brownie Girls started selling his special batch of Tofu Brownies at the next school bookfair instead.” Matilda says, “Do we have to eat the Tofurky Roast this year?” Dad says, “No, try this veggie Barbeque Pita instead.” Matilda takes a reluctant bite but is moved by her Dad’s gesture of goodwill. She says, “Yummy daddy. Her Dad says, “I fried up cubes of semi-firm soy inside that bad boy. The sautéed onions and peppers keep the memories of mushy dog toy food at bay. Tofu The Terrible was dead in Matilda’s head and she started singing again while giving thanks and praises at Thanksgiving, singing, “Soy Dogs still suck, Tofu The Terrible to, but you’re no longer so bad, since my daddy came to my rescue.”

The End

Michael Kornbluth