Thursday, August 25, 2016

Man on the Cusp III

In less than a month I will be 66 years old.

I doubt very highly I'm going to be getting my kicks on Route 66.

Several years I wrote the line that "I am poised on the cusp of an age that I thought was exclusively reserved for people's parents." Frankly I am no longer poised on the cusp. I am so far over the cusp that I am now at the age exclusively reserved for people's parents even if people are 50!

My name is Perry Block. I am 65 years old, born September 12, 1950. I am a Truman baby. I hate all of these facts.

When I began my blog in 2010, I called it "Perry Block - Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute." But frankly I'm not Nouveau Old anymore. I'm Nouveau like the dinner specials at the House of Pancakes are Nouveau.  I'm Nouveau like striped bell bottom pants are NouveauI'm Nouveau like someone eagerly looking forward to the next Chevy Chase movie is Nouveau.

And I realize that although I am no longer cute, I still have long eyelashes.   What's the point? It’s like somebody pasted them on the wrong person.  Maybe I should donate them so that some eyelash-less young guy can be fluttering his baby blues ---yeah I’ll give him those too --- while I’m feeding pigeons on a park bench and muttering about how I used to have long eyelashes and how the government is poisoning our toothpaste

I used to love the classic movies from the 30's, 40's, and 50's, watching Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, and Bette Davis.  But now I can't help avoid the fact that all of the beloved stars I grew up with are ten feet under, maybe more if the soil's been shifting! I never thought Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, and two out of four Beatles would ever be described in the past tense. 

So I struggle anymore to block out thoughts of the inevitable whenever I watch Casablanca and search the TV listings for movies starring breathing folk like Keanu Reeves, Nicholas Cage, and Adam Sandler. 

That may be the most depressing fact of all. 

And what kind of legacy am I going to leave behind?  What will they write about me in generations to come?

Well, Perry never burned anything down. Some days he didn't spill the coffee. And remember how Perry took that courageous stand against the smell of cheese, once almost directly within earshot of an Italian? 

So what is a guy heading straight on down Route 66 to do?  Well, for starters …

1) I will set aside all my prior regrets, leaving ample room to create new ones. 

2) I will take a strong stand on the issues of the day, but cave in on any issues that come up at night.

3) I will rededicate myself to the great traditions of Judaism, especially the ones involving matzoh ball soup and copious amounts of wine.

4) I will live my life boldly, unafraid, and with total strength and confidence.  I’d like to talk to you further about it, but you scare me.

5) I will never take the easy road again unless it saves time and uses less gas.

6) I will not give in to fear of any kind except for the kind that involves spiders and anyone with a mustache. 

7) I will no longer worry about the Grim Reaper, although I’m hoping he will be satisfied if I make a major contribution to the Grim Reaper Foundation.  I won’t even request a personal meeting.

8)  I will listen to the wise counsel of others, provided it doesn’t require me to get out of bed before 10:00.

So, it will soon be time to see if I can truly get my kicks on Route 66.  And guess what, Boomers?  Although Martin Milner has met his maker, George Maharis is very much alive.

If only George Maharis had starred in Casablanca.  

My name is Perry Block. I am 65 years old, born September 12, 1950. I am a Truman baby. I hate all of these facts.


Friday, August 19, 2016

The Prisoner of Agenda

Of all of the contrivances of humankind we've stumbled upon since the dawn of civilization, none is more inherently absurd than the prosaic "To Do List."

Why?  Because despite its obvious utility, there is no more quixotic endeavor we will ever embark upon in our lifetimes. That's because no one --- not Leonardo DaVinci, not Albert Einstein, not even James Franco --- has ever completed one.

You probably compile each day's To Do List much as I do mine. You inscribe the day of the week at the top of the page, then begin listing the tasks you hope to complete, setting down the most difficult and challenging ones first, such as ....


1) Complete all work on Kropotkin File. 

2) Learn Esperanto.

3) Write the great American novel, making sure to create iconic characters named Huck, Atticus, and Dr. Sidney Horowitz.

4)  Deliver Ted Talk explicating Joycean imagery and Boolean logistics in both Ted I and II.

5) Usher in era of world peace and understanding.

Back when I was in school we were taught that when a task was finished you should make a cute little check mark and place it delicately to the right side of the task indicating its completion, then go off to have tea and dainty sandwiches with the duchess.

That is not, however, what I do today. What I do is I grind my pencil on the completed task back and forth and back and forth with a furious vengeance until the item is totally obliterated and forever out of my life. When I am done with all tasks on the page, it looks like a piece of blackened redfish.

The next grouping of items begins to diminish somewhat in importance ...

6) Report status of Kropotkin file to Kropotkin.

7) Terminate under-performing employee, making sure not to dance happy jig during termination meeting.

8) Discuss discrepancies discretely with Dickson. Say that fast five times. 

9) Attend fiscal budgeting meeting with Finance,  drinking gallon of Red Bull first.

10) Double Down on something. 

Why do so many of us put so many tasks on our To Do List knowing full well we could never hope to complete them all? Chalk it up as a triumph of hope over experience.

Even though yesterday’s list is as barren of check marks as a Hollywood Squares game board played by contestants totally baffled by Paul Lynde and Charley Weaver, we all have a need to believe about ourselves that tomorrow we’ll be sharper, quicker, and less hung over than ever before, and dad gum!, for the first time ever we’ll get everything on the list done!

The last items on the list are generally on the order of ...

11) Arrange weekend staring contest.

12) Fantasize about being friends with Samuel L. Jackson.

13) Collect all loose paper clips.

I don’t know about you, but comes the end of the day and what have I accomplished from my list? Well, I’ve got all those paperclips in outstanding order and believe me, Samuel L. Jackson is great to play golf with but you got to watch him carefully around the greens.

So what now? Well, at the top of my list I do as follows:



And this, I’m afraid, will ever be the state of humankind unless and until someday somewhere someone comes up with perhaps the most important invention humankind could ever hope to devise.

The Self-Completing To Do List.

Until then, we are all hopelessly Prisoners of Agenda.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Scientists Hail Discovery of "Trump is an Asshole" Gene

A dramatic announcement was issued this morning by a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Applied Science Department that they have isolated the human gene known familiarly as the "Donald Trump is an Asshole Gene." The discovery is being hailed as the greatest advancement in science since the discovery of virtually everything else.

The gene creates the normal despising of Donald Trump that is innate in all rational human beings. Researchers believe it developed in early man over 600,000 years ago in response to the existence of a creature known as the orange-crested douchebagius, which humankind came to learn was combative, stupid, and known to cover its mostly hairless head with profusions of orange leaves. 

It is believed further that  in some unfortunate modern humans the gene malfunctions causing the afflicted individual to - while realizing that Donald Trump is indeed an asshole -  believe he is a charming asshole. This aberration occurs in a small but vociferous percentage of the population today, estimated to be roughly in the range of "too many."

The race is now on to develop a method to reverse the impact of the mutant gene and restore those suffering from its malicious impact to normalcy. It is important that great care be taken that any treatment developed not impact the functioning of a nearby chromosome which houses the "Hillary Does Lie, But Let's Face It She is Running Against an Asshole Gene."


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Donald J. Trump's Guide to Handling Sexual Harassment

Let Donald Trump 
Teach You How to Handle This
(I mean, teach the woman how to handle this!)

Sexual Harassment is one of the most serious problems facing the American workplace today, along with obnoxious CEOs who think they're smarter than they actually are and want to be President of the United States.  No employee should be forced to work in an environment charged with sexual intimidation, lewd talk, or unwelcome touching or fondling even though I've gotten very excited while writing this sentence.

Donald's J. Trump's Guide to Handling Sexual Harassment, co-written by harassment expert Roger Ailes with foreword by comedian Bill Cosby, will serve as the definitive guide as to what a woman who believes she has been sexually harassed should do to safely and effectively handle the problem. 

So, at last a comprehensive guidebook for all you babes out there!

Sexual Harassment Defined.  
Did you know that men as well as women can be sexually harassed?  Go figure! A woman can harass a man, or a gay guy can harass a man, or a very near-sighted straight guy can harass a man.  Or a woman can harass a woman such as you've no doubt seen in many movies on cable TV late at night.

Our focus for purposes of this guidebook, however, shall be exclusively on men harassing women, especially the hot ones.

There are two types of sexual harassment as follows:

1) Quid Pro Quo Harassment --- where the perpetrator offers job or other related benefits to the harassed person in exchange for sexual favors.  (Some of the stupider harassers may ask for party favors.) Typically the harasser will promise a raise or elevation in job status in exchange for his own raise or elevation. (Rim shot!)

2) Hostile Work Environment --- this takes place when unwelcome conduct by another worker (who is not necessarily a big shot like me or Mr. Ailes but who may even be a lowly schlemazel - Yep, my Ivanka taught me that word!) is so severe or pervasive as to create  an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, which is .... amazing, so amazing! Examples of hostile environment include a pattern of unwelcome sexual jokes unless they are funny, running butt-naked through the Finance Department, and smirking at the world "thighs."

Not all offensive behavior rises to the legal definition of harassment.  For example, if a guy grabs your boobies, that's probably harassment unless:

1) He doesn't shout "timber!"
2) You are a B cup or less.
3) No annoying goody two-shoes is around to witnesses the behavior.
4) He is Donald Trump.

What to do When You Believe You Have Been Sexually Harassed.
First, check your company's Sexual Harassment Policy. As regularly as they ignore them, all companies today have a Sexual Harassment Policy.

Sample Corporate Sexual Harassment Policy

At XYZ Company we take a very strong stand against sexual harassment. Whenever we receive a complaint we will investigate as soon as we get around to it and in the most thorough manner possible give the nature of the other more important projects we may have at the time. 

You should then report the offensive conduct to the Company's Human Resources Department.  Be explicit about the dates, times, and exact details of the behavior including the degree and amount of slobber produced by the offender. Although Human Resources will keep your comments strictly confidential, they may giggle if they spot you while walking through the hallways.

Harassment Investigation.
A prompt and thorough investigation will then be conducted by HR and all juicy details will be explored. HR staff will be hosed down if necessary.

Human Resources will make a final determination as to whether harassment has taken place, which is usually based on whether a reasonable man would want to harass you given what you got. If harassment has been found at the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate disciplinary action will be imposed upon the offender up to and including a week of having to clap out the erasers. 

Should Human Resources find there has been no harassment and/or the conduct does not stop, I would like to think you would find another career or find another company if that was the case.

Make sure and ask your billionaire father to help.

About the Author

Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther, and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims  -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.