Sunday, October 31, 2010

Return of The Versatile Blogger Catch-All Category Award

It’s incredible! I still don’t believe it!

I want to pinch myself, but I’m not going to do that because I don’t want to give myself the wrong impression. I don’t even like me, let alone want to come on to me!

Several months back, I had the honor of winning the coveted Versatile Blogger ‘Non-Vampiric/Non-Ain’t our Family Wacky?' Catch-All Category Award
presented to me by none other than master thesbian Meryl Streep at Santa Monica's Eggland's Best Eggs Center.*

It was indeed a magical moment when the two of us were together: America’s foremost actress and me, America’s second most foremost actress!

Following the presentation, Ms. Streep took me under her wing and --- except for the disgusting smell emanating from under that 6 foot feathery appendage growing above her left armpit --- I was enraptured and beguiled as we walked back stage hand in hand where she proceeded to beat me about the face and neck and make off with the Versatile Blogger statuette, surrendering it only after being felled by a flying tackle from fellow acting great Robert De Niro!

My trophy secured, I headed straight to the after party where I imbibed so much alcohol that fellow attendee Nucky Thompson of Boardwalk Empire hollered “temperance, man, temperance!” Next thing I knew I awoke in a circus trailer in Kansas City MI in full clown make-up and regalia, having apparently traveled throughout the Midwest for the past three and a half weeks under the name “Squiggles.”

As the scotch and soda haze subsided, however, I realized that I had sadly failed to complete my official duties as winner of this most coveted award and now must make amends. However, being Jewish and not handy, I had to hire an Italian man to make my amends for me.

So herewith I offer those amends --- thank you, Tony! --- and execute in full my remaining Versatile Blogwinning duties:

1. Share seven things about yourself. I fear this may be kind of boring because my life is so mundane my superego regularly falls asleep when it's supposed to be minding my id.  Nonetheless:

1) I have somewhat of an unusual hobby for a Jewish person. Weekends I’m a Catholic Priest.

2) I am deathly afraid of spiders. Whenever I find a spider in my house, I immediately call my realtor and put the house on the market. In the last ten years, I’ve moved 37 times!


Make that 38!

3) Warning: I brake for animists.

4) I have always wanted to be referred to as The Lovely and Talented Perry Block.

5) I believe we have been visited by super intelligent extraterrestrials. But, believe it or not,
they didn’t even bring a bottle of wine, and after five centuries they still haven’t left!

6) I think you’re cute!

7) They threw me out of the University of Heidelberg! They called me mad!

2. Give the award out to other bloggers that you think are fabulous, interesting and deserving. Here's where I ran into a little bit of trouble. I've met many great bloggers that I really enjoy and respect out there on the
http://www/, and I didn't want to piss any of them off so they'd unfollow me!

So to everyone else I know and love that I didn’t pick, you are all first runners-up! If any of the winners should be unable to fulfill their official duties over the coming year, you will all be elevated to Miss Versatile Blogger Catch-all Category Award America!

And Now The Winners, and Everybody Hold Your Applause Until The End:

Make no mistake, folks, Marisa Birns --- Out of Order Alice herself --- is such a good writer, you won’t even want to get the Cliff’s Notes. Depth of character, rich atmospherics, and endings to make O. Henry smack his forehead that he didn’t think of them – Marisa masters it all and usually in 500 words or less.

Just read one of her stories; it’s like a Lay’s Potato Chip, you can’t read just one. And if I’m dating myself with that reference, you get the point anyway, Nimrod. This chick rocks!

If I had her talent and could write like her, you better believe I wouldn’t even talk to the likes of you. So c’mon and start reading Marisa before she decides not to talk to you either!

Peevish Penman. 
Peevish Penman is a compendium of short fiction, commentary, insights about writing, author interviews, and lots of other stuff that’s neat-o and groovy. In the words of site ringmaster Ms. Penman herself (Carrie Bailey), Peevish is an exercise in and about “futility, charming, international league of antiquarian booksellers, kumquat, mature, and octagon.” I couldn’t agree more.

A representative offering from the Pen of Peevish is The Nine Parts of Speech, an invaluable guide on optimal usage of the English language for writing excellence, which will simultaneously impart in you an intense appreciation for the talents of its inventive writer along with an equally intense longing to wash her mouth out with soap.

3) K.D. McCrite, Author.

K.D. McCrite, Author features the words of Kathaleen McCrite (a/k/a kd McCrite), a talented novelist and short story writer who has given birth (well, not literally, you idiot!) to one of the internet’s more intriguing characters in Mae B, the writer who doesn’t write.

That’s not oxymoronic. Mae B is a procrastinator and ditherer who knows she’ll achieve great things if only she could get around to stop procrastinating and dithering.

In other words, she’s just like every one of us, if a bit more colorful and acerbic. One of these days, Mae B. will shock the world and actually take pen in hand. Who knows what will come out? The tripe we expect? Or a masterpiece? Either way she’ll hopefully inspire us to sit down and do the same. Really good stuff, kd!

4) Gonepausal.
Gonepausal, with Gail Maria Forrest as major domo, is not so much a blog site as a full-scale cottage industry tending to the needs of those generations of women (and men) who would like to shave a year or two off their ages. (I need to shave an entire Zach Galifianakis off mine!)

Gail has a deep understanding of the hopes, dreams, and generally thwarted desires of those of us who’ve been coming around the mountain ever since the mountain first formed from volcanic rock. Whether serving up relationship insights for the gray-haired or clueing us in on the sex life of a post Ward-June Cleaver, Gonepausal should be required reading for any one of us who's ever looked in the mirror and wished we hadn’t.

It’s hard to fathom how Gail --- who is only 27 herself --- understands all us Boomers and other post 30-ites so well!

Melinda Roos --- Understanding the Human Condition.
Melinda Roos is a writer’s writer. I was going to say she is a writer’s writer’s writer, but you know what? That doesn’t make any sense!

What does make sense, however, is Melinda’s gift for inviting us to join her in reflections on the human condition and the simple yet energizing life experiences most of us seem to miss. Whether she’s writing about the intricacies of modern marriage or contemplating the miracle of riding a horse on a gray country morning, it’s difficult not to be transported into Melinda’s world, if only for a moment.

There’s one other thing you ought to know about Melinda. She loves the “rock group” ABBA! But before you gasp too loudly, maybe it’s just part of her overall love for life. And you don’t have to like ABBA to like and appreciate Understanding the Human Condition.

Congratulations to each and every one of you guys on winning The Versatile Blogger Award!

 Now, think there's any booze left at that after party?  

I hope so, because my superego's sound asleep and my id is in the clear!

* Not really. The Versatile Blogger Award, as it is in fact named, was actually given to me by author Julie Musil in her blog Writing and Blogging Between Carpools. Thank you again, Julie, for your kindness and your incredible lapse in judgment bordering on temporary insanity.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Editor, My Son

A Portrait of the Editor as a (Much) Young (er) Man

They say every good writer needs an editor. I don’t know if that’s also true for the bad and indifferent ones but --- whichever kind of writer I am --- an editor surely I’ve got.

And he’s 15 years old and I used to diaper him!This wouldn’t bother me if Brandon Block would approach my humor writing with a deft and gentle red pen. But he rips into my work like Ben Bradlee editing the latest tell-all book by Kitty Kelley!

“Dad, lose that entire concept!” snapped Brandon last week, peering over my shoulder at the locked-up Microsoft Word document pulsating on my PC screen. “It sucks!”

“Why, Brandon?” I asked. “The Lone Ranger needs a new companion and instead of a native American, he hires a Jewish man. Funny!”

“Not funny, Dad!”

“But, Brandon, instead of shouting a hearty ‘Hi - Yo, Silver!’ he shouts a hearty ‘Hymen Silvers!’ Funny!”

“Dad, totally lame.”

"Why???" I protested.

Because nobody knows who the Lone Ranger is! That character hasn’t been on TV in my lifetime!”

Well, like I said: All writers need an editor and I’m fortunate to have one with his finger well positioned on the cultural pulse. But my own personal Perry White is also driving me mesuganah!

My professional relationship with my hard-boiled editor began when Brandon started to show an interest in the humor writing I’d done on and off for over 20 years and in earnest for the last year. Normally secretive, I usually don’t share my work-in-process with anyone short of receipt of a Congressional subpoena.

But Brandon thought it was cool that his dad was writing funny, so I began showing my nascent humor pieces to him.

And he’s been slicing, dicing, and frying them up in a pan ever since!

"Frankly, Dad, this piece wouldn’t be funny to anyone if you were tickling them!"

“Dad, this reference to the woman you dated as 'Ernest Borgnine with lipstick' is your third ‘Ernest Borgnine’ reference in the last month! Try 'Jonah Hill in high heels.' More current, more funny!"

"What are you trying to write here, Dad, the operator’s manual for your new toaster?”

It isn’t that Brandon means to be harsh or insulting. He realizes it’s tough out there in The World of Trying to Get Stuff Published, and he just wants me to put my best foot forward.

I told him in that case I was going to need a third foot.

He told me that line wasn’t funny!

This afternoon,  Brandon and I were reviewing my latest piece on the History of Life on Earth, which posits that very little true progress has taken place in the span of time between the emergence of the first uni-cellular creature far beneath the primordial seas and the granting of a late night talk show to Carson Daly.

"Dad," said Brandon wearily, "that comma should be a semi-colon, you've used the phrase "lame butt" three times in one paragraph .... and Carson Daly?

" What about Carson Daly?" I asked.

"That's a totally wrong name.  You might think he's a yutz, but a lot of people like him. Now here's the right spot for Ernest Borgnine!"

I could take it no longer.

"Brandon,” I shouted. "Don't you ever like anything?"

“Sure, Dad. I liked Joel Stein’s last piece in Time very much.”

Joel Stein!” I sputtered. “Why that overrated ….!!!  Did Joel Stein ever diaper you?   

“Chill,” said Brandon, “it’s a joke.  And by the way, Dad ...

You’ve just got to develop a sense of humor!”


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Apologize, Apologize, Pull Out Your Eyes, Apologize!

          Sorry, so sorry ....

Virginia Thomas’ out-of-the blue phone call to Anita Hill asking Ms. Hill to apologize 19 years after Hill accused Thomas’ husband Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment has produced at least one big-time positive result.

 It shows how nobody’s apologizing enough these days.

All of us screw up, some more than others. You may screw up once a month; me, pretty much every hour on the hour. But whenever and wherever somebody royally blows it, an apology ought to follow as dutifully as Mary’s Little Lamb

Recognizing that Ms. Thomas was on to something, I began placing a few calls of my own. 

Hello, Mr. Klein. This is Perry Block. I’m sure you remember me, I was in your tenth grade chemistry class in Bala-Cynwyd Junior High 45 years ago. I’m so pleased that I’ve reached you and you’re not dead!

Well, Mr. Klein, you gave me a “D” in chemistry back then and I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology and a full explanation of why you gave me the grade I deserved but which messed up my grade point average and caused me to go to a lousier college than I should have.

You do remember me?  Yes, I did set fire to the drapes, my lab smock, and your seer sucker suit when I turned up the Bunsen burner full force, but I never understood those contraptions. 

What’s the point of cooking things over those little stoves if we’re not going to eat them?  Hello, hello, Mr. Klein?”

Undaunted, I placed my next call.

Nicole? Nicole Halaylos? This is Perry Block. Yes, that’s right – Perry Block, the uber nerd as you called me. 

Well, Nicole, I’m calling to ask that you consider giving me a full apology for what you did to me 32 years ago when you dumped me for, as you described it, ‘just about any other guy on the planet.’ 

Yes, Nicole, I’m extending an olive branch to you to let you know that I am open to a full, honest, and forthright admission of your disgraceful behavior on the evening of November 13, 1978 when you canned me right after we saw the movie Foul Play. You know, Chevy Chase’s much heralded movie debut?

Nicole? Nicole? Did your cell phone cut off?”

Frustrated now with the failure of my fellow human beings to fess up to their mess-ups and apologize, I made one more call. 

"Hi, there! George Clooney? Wow, you actually picked up the phone, that’s fabulous! 

George, may I call you that?  Great!  

George, I’m Perry Block and I wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider apologizing to me for being so successful in life whereas my life ….. No, it hasn’t completely sucked, but it’s fallen far short of the success you’ve had.

So give it some thought and pray about this and …. what? You’re very sorry?! If only there was something you could do?!”

No, an apology was all I wanted.

Just as long as you promise, George, that you’ll never do it again!” 


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This May Change Your Life!

Moved by a spirit of benevolence I did not heretofore know breathed within me, I am about to make a statement of epic proportions  which will undoubtedly shock you, captivate you, and may even change your life!

But I’m not going to make it here. A statement of this nature ought to be made where somebody might actually read it. is a web site that seeks to be the voice, forum, and rallying cry of all women throughout the nation who are a year or two beyond the age they'd prefer to be.  This is something to which I can certainly relate, as I am someone who is a millenia or two older than the I age I'd like to be. 

But I like to think I don't look a day past the First Crusade. 

Gonepausal is helmed by the imcomparable Gail Maria Forrest. (Just try to comp her; she'll always refuse.)  Gail's witty and engaging site includes a blog with running commentary for and about menopausal women plus special features such as “Great Moments in Gonepausal History” and “The Men’s Room,” where men get to take their shots, pro and con, at the not always quite-so-fair sex.

Gail was kind enough to ask me to do a guest piece for the “The Men’s Room,” and I was thrilled.  First because I realized it was a great forum for my epic announcement, and second because I wouldn't mind doing something epic with Gail herself,  so  if you wouldn't mind reading this and leaving  a positive comment it won’t exactly hurt my chances at going Gone, Gone, GONEPAUSAL! sometime soon. 

My statement, entitled To the Women of America, (also shown below), awaits you!



To the Women of America
These are among the most admired people on Earth, giants who have tirelessly and selflessly devoted their lives to giving to others.
Today we add another name to this pantheon of heroes.
Perry Block!
Selflessly as all the above, Perry Block is RIGHT NOW offering himself  to the Women of North America for free Dating/Relationship/Break-up Experience!
Here’s why you should leap at the chance to leap into Mr. Block’s arms:
First, the Matter of Looks.
Looks are VERY important!  And since Perry’s are fairly well moth-eaten, he can’t be too picky. So provided you possess facial attractiveness at least equal to or greater than that of actor Ernest Borgnine, you’re qualified for this offer!  
Dating and Relationship Experience
Dating Perry is sort of like participating in war games, Civil War re-enactments, or a conversation with Sarah Palin.  It’s not real. It doesn’t count.
Yet with Perry, you can stock up on every aspect of the relationship experience you’ll need when you’re out there in a legitimate relationship with someone half-way decent. When Perry zigs, you get to practice zagging.  When he parries, you thrust. When he makes an ass out of himself, you can laugh at him, not with him!
And when it’s all said and done, Perry’s self-deprecating nature will cause him to blame himself for everything! 
The Deed Itself.
Should you not be in the mood --- a highly likely prospect if ever you have to watch Perry eat or hear him sing --- well, that’s no problem.  
“I have a headache” truly resonates with Perry.  “I may be getting a headache” or even “Once upon a time I had a headache” are both equally effective. 
But let’s say for the sake of argument he does actually manage to round the bases, if you catch my drift. Should you exclaim during the heights of passion:
George Clooney, I love you!
he’ll convince himself that visions of Hollywood’s handsomest superstar were aroused in you by … get this …. his incomparable love-making!
Should you call out “You’re the 67th best lover I’ve ever had!” he’ll assume you just have lousy math skills. Even if you ask him to put a paper bag over his head, he’ll think it charming that at your stage of the game you still like to play Hide and Seek.
Time to Dump Him?
No muss, no fuss.  There must be 50 ways to leave this lover. For Perry, I’ll bet you can come up with a couple dozen more!  
You can do it over the phone, by e-mail, carrier pigeon, smoke signal, or even on Twitter, although you probably won’t be able to say all the mean cutting things you’d like to say in 140 characters or less. Play Donald Trump Board Room with him.  Leave him sobbing over his pecan pie; he hates pecan pie anyway.  Immediately turn around and have sex with his best friend!  That would be no problem, even if he had one.
You can even practice the good old “It’s not you, it’s me” line.    Perry will grade you on your delivery and provide you with a referral to that special incredibly na├»ve someone who’d actually buy into that never before in history true line.  
So what are you waiting for?  Perry Block believes it’s important to give back.  In this case, to give back what he never had in the first place.
Operators are standing by!
When else are you going to get the opportunity to spend a passionate weekend with Mother Theresa?
This has been a public service announcement from Perry Block. Who, at age 60, sure as hell approves this message!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


“Dad, you should hear the news on TV!” shouted my son Brandon.

“What is it, Bran?

“Vampires are attacking Philadelphia. They’re sinking their teeth into more than just cheese steaks!”

With that, the large window in the den shattered and a dark caped figure catapulted into the room. Then it crashed into the flat-screen TV and finally came to rest splayed out on the floor.

“Hey,” I said, “you’re going to pay for all this, dude!”

“I am not a dude,” hissed our uninvited visitor rising to tower over both me and Brandon. “And I am not a man.” 

"Who are you?” asked Brandon.

I am the Legendary Jewish VampireVlad the Retailer!”

“Oh, I see,” said I. “So Count Drekula, what is it you cannot tolerate?”

“What do you mean?” snarled Vlad the Retailer.

 “A regular vampire recoils at The Sign of the Cross. What makes you recoil? The Star of David? A mezuzah?  Curb Your Enthusiasm?”

“Foolish human,” scowled Vlad. “Don't you realize that I am over 800 years old?”

“Then why aren’t you living in a 550 Plus Community in Transylvania?”

“I do not cast a reflection in a mirror! Does that not terrify you?”

“No, but if you saw yours at 800 years old, it would probably terrify you.”

“Want some Manischewitz?”  Brandon offered.

“I never drink … wine!" Vlad and I said in unison.

“You are one derivative bastard,” I laughed.

 Over the next several days, the Armies of the Undead continued their horrific invasion of Philadelphia, and I went to bed earlier and earlier. I suppose it was all for the best because it was never crowded at the bowling alley, and I had the opportunity to begin an exciting new hobby --- whittling.

About a week later I was in the kitchen with Brandon when the window above the sink shattered, and a dark figure leaped into the room and directly onto all four lit burners on the stove.

“YEEOOHHH, that’s HOT!!!” screamed the Legendary Jewish Vampire, Vlad the Retailer.

"So we meet again, Noseferatu!"

“I give up!” said Vlad. “I’m used to inciting the kind of fear in humans that Bernie Madoff feels whenever he hears the words ‘your new cellmate really likes you.’ Why do you not fear me?”

“Fear you? I’m sick to death of you!”

“What do you mean?”

Because we hear almost as much about vampires anymore as about Betty White herself! 

“That’s right,” Bran agreed, “there was ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ ‘True Blood,’ ‘Twilight,’ ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter’ …”

“Tell me, dude - I mean, Legendary Jewish Vampire: how did a klutz like you ever become a vampire?”

“One night back in 1247,” related Vlad, “I met a lustrous blonde shiksa who expressed interest in sampling kosher food. In this instance, me. Little did I know she was a vampire! I stole a kiss. She stole my jugular!"

“Do you ever snack on fellow Jews?” Brandon asked

“I prefer Asians.”

“So you like Chinese!” I said. ”Then you’re just like all the rest of us Jews.”

“Sorry I tried to put the bite on you guys,” said Vlad. “Gotta go now; I told my Aunt Tessie in Boca I might stop and see her before I return to Transylvania.”

And then, bat wings fluttering in the night, he was gone.

How can I be friendly with Vlad the Retailer?

Sure, Vlad is one of the Walking Undead, and I wouldn’t want to be too close to him after sundown on Yom Kippur.

But for a blood-sucking creature of the night, turns out he's a mensch.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Presenting the Great Elvis Cut-Off!

No, not this kind of Cut-Off!



I am a child of the Fifties.


For a long time, I wondered why many others who grew up in the 50’s, as I did, worked in an office that was decorated like this …


Whereas, I always worked in an office that was decorated like this …


Then one day, I heard of something called:



Not THAT kind of Cut-Off!


I’ll explain…


is a specific date in time, unknown to the world until last year …..



at the University of Edinburgh 

... cracked the mystery that had long bedeviled mathematicians, 
social scientists, and
 guys who decorate offices.


It solved at last




(Do not bother looking below; 
it's not that kind of cut-off!


If you’re a Baby Boomer born

 12:00 NOON 
FEBRUARY 24, 1948, 

whenever you see
 this man ....


You will …

Always, Always




But if you’re a Baby Boomer born 

 12:00 NOON
FEBRUARY 24, 1948, 

whenever you see
 this man .…


You will …

Always, Always




And when you see these guys,

 you will

Always, Always


So naturally whenever I see this man


I will …

Always, Always



And we never quite understood 
why these guys whom we thought so highly of would say that 

whenever they saw 



They would

Always, Always 

Always,  Always,  Always, Always 

Always, Always





I will

Always, Always 

Always,  Always,  Always, Always 

Always, Always




And whenever I,

 being born on the far side of 





I will 

Always, Always 

Always,  Always,  Always, Always 

Always, Always









Although those of us born on a date well beyond


may never own a

or a 


or even a 


We've come to kind of like






Go Figure!


And that’s 
the latest news
scientific findings






The End.