Friday, June 29, 2012

I Was Just Seventeen ...

by Perry Block 

 Yet another in that never-ending series of movies in which a parent and child switch bodies. This one, however, will cost you nothing and is mercifully brief!

As presented in three acts on the New York Stage
 at the Helen Hayes Theatre.
(No truth to the rumor that Helen Hayes actually got up and walked out.) 

Cast of Characters

Perry Block, 61 years old 
Brandon Block, 17 years old
Leona Bushman,  the Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade
First Teen
Second Teen

It's  morning about 7:30 at Perry Block's residence.   Perry sits in the kitchen at the PC with the television  on.  His 17 year old son Brandon enters the room to grab something to eat and head to school.

Brandon:  Hi, Dad.   Say, you don't usually watch The Today Show in the morning. 

Perry:  No,  I just wanted to get my last minute fix of  Ann Curry before they axe her for not being as smart or attractive as Al Roker.

Brandon:  I see. Anything interesting in the news? 

Perry: There was a bizarre story about some guy addicted to LinkedIn.  Pathetic! 

Brandon: What are they doing for him?

Perry: The doctors are gradually weaning him off LinkedIn and getting him addicted to Facebook and Twitter, like normal people.

Brandon: Hope it helps.  (pause)  Hey, Dad, have you seen this?

Brandon produces from his pocket as jagged oblong stone several inches long.

PerryThat looks oddly like Sara Jessica Parker's profile, only less equine.  Where did you find it?

BrandonOut back last night.  It was glowing in the darkness.

Perry:  Oh my God!  That could be a cosmic relic left over from the original Big Bang, some 15 billion years ago!  

Brandon:  Really? 

Perry:  Or it might have dropped out of some kid's Happy Meal. 

Brandon:  I picked it up because it  looks like the kind of object that could do magical things. Like cause people to change identities in those movies where parents and kids change places. 

Perry: (laughs)  If only that could be!  Even for a day. 

Brandon:  As they say, careful what you wish for ....

Perry: How many of those stupid movies did they make anyway?

Perry approaches the stone with a growing fascination. 

Brandon: Well, let's see: There's Freaky Friday, Vice Versa, Like Father Like Son, 18 Again, 17 Again, two remakes of Freaky Friday, the similarly themed  Big ... there must be thousands!  

Perry:  What if there were just one more?  (begins singing, if you could call it that)  I was just 17.   You know what I mean.   And the way I looked was way beyond compair-aire!  

As Perry sings (if you could call it that), the stone begins to glow a bright green.  Both Perry and Brandon begin to squirm, make goofy faces, and act weird.  Nothing new for Perry.

Brandon:  Dad, what's happening? I'm feeling faint ... feeling strange ...

Perry: I warned you about the sushi at Miguel's Little Touch of Tijuana!

The lights flicker on and off several times.  When they remain on at last, we witness Brandon with a smirk on his face and Perry looking like someone dropped the world's largest goldfish down his pants.     

Perry is now in Brandon's body (the audience sees Brandon).  Brandon is now in Perry's body (the audience sees Perry.)  I know what you're thinking --- what audience?

Brandon (as Perry):  I feel awful.  I feel neurotic and insecure.  I need therapy.  I need a blankie!   Dad, how do you feel?

Perry (as Brandon):  Ready to rock and roll!  


Perry (as Brandon)  walks through the hallways at the high school  looking  giddy as a schoolgirl!  Although he is actually a schoolboy --- that's just an expression.  We're not going to pull a gender swap on you too!

Perry (as Brandon) Wow!  Look at all these young people!  And I'm  one of them!

First Teen:  Hi-ya, Brandon!  How are ya?

Second Teen:  Bran, my man!  What's  goin' down?

Third Teen (Benji) :  Bran, over here!  Got somethin' to talk to you about!

Perry (as Brandon): Ah, to be popular again!  (pauses)  What am I saying?  I was never popular.   I was voted "Most Likely to Be Voted Least Likely."

Everywhere, from all sides, Perry (as Brandon) is eating up the attention and acceptance. 

Perry (aside) OMG, look at that one!  Why, she must be The Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade!   And ... and ...  she's coming this way!

Leona: (flirty)  Hi, Brandon ....

Perry (as Brandon):  (clumsily trying to be flirty back)  Hullo!  No, no ....  I mean Helll-OOO!   No, no .... I mean  Hey There, Hi There, Ho There!  (idiotically going into the Mickey Mouse Club Theme Song from the 50's TV show.)

Leona:  Somthing wrong, Brandon? 

Perry (as Brandon):  No, just clearing my throat ...

Leona: Brandon, I wanted to say that being together yesterday was great!  I can't believe we did EVERYTHING!

Perry (as Brandon):  (clueless) Yes, it certainly was great!   Doing EVERYTHING is always so ... (pause)  wait a minute ... what?  

Leona:  I can't believe we did EVERYTHING! 

Perry (as Brandon):  That's right, of course.  We did EVERYTHING.   Umm ... what did we do?

Leona: (giggles) Silly!  You know.  EVERYTHING 

Perry: (high-pitched) You mean, EVERYTHING  as in EVERYTHING  EVERYTHING???!!!  

Leona: (playful) I was really hoping this afternoon we could ... you know, do some more! 

Perry (as Brandon)  More EVERYTHING?!!  No, no, Brandon can't ... I mean, I can't do any more EVERYTHING today!  Or any day!  I ... umm ... have to be in the synagogue!  

Leona: The synagogue?

Perry (as Brandon): Yes, yes, I'm becoming Orthodox!  Actually, an Orthodox rabbi!  I won't be available for the next six months ...  I mean, six years! 

Leona:  Brandon, are you feeling well?

Perry (as Brandon):  Just swell!  Gotta go!  Coming, Yahweh!

As Perry breaks away from Leona, he stumbles into Benji.

Benji:  Brandon, comin' over to my house later?  We've got another batch of that Great Shit we had last weekend. 

Perry (as Brandon):  (intriguedGreat Shit?

Benji:  Yeah,  remember?  Last week we had to scrape you off the ceiling it was so awesome!

Perry (as Brandon): (flusteredOh ...that Great Shit!  That awesome! Well, thanks so much, but I've got to cut down on my scraping!  Doctor's orders!

Breaking away from Benji, Perry is buffeted about by the other students in the hallway, finding himself face to face with two kids sitting at a desk in front of a poster that reads "FUTURE TEA BAGGERS OF AMERICA."

Perry (as Brandon):  And you two .... Don't even think about it!

Perry (as Brandon) races out of the school.  


Perry (as Brandon) bursts into house.  Finds Brandon (as Perry)  dressed in ill-fitting workout clothing attempting unsuccessfully to touch his toes.

Perry (as Brandon):   Brandon, we've got to switch back!

Brandon (as Perry): I'll say.   Being in this body makes a night in the Bates Motel seem like a weekend at the Four Seasons.

Perry (as Brandon): Well, you shouldn't expect to be able to touch my toes right away.

Brandon (as Perry): Touch your toes?  I can't even wave to your knees!

Perry (as Brandon): (changing tone) You've got some things to answer for, mister! 

Brandon (as Perry):  (surprised) Like what? 

Perry (as Brandon):  Like doing EVERYTHING yesterday afternoon with Leona Bushman, the Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade!

Brandon (as Perry): Doing everything yesterday afternoon with Leona Bushman, the Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade?

Perry (as Brandon):  I didn't do EVERYTHING with ANYBODY until I was twenty-fou ... umm,  umm .... I mean, a little bit older than you,  and it was a considerably worse looking ANYBODY that I did EVERYTHING with and probably a considerably worse EVERYTHING with ANYBODY that I did! 

Brandon (as  Perry):  (calmly)  Dad, we did EVERYTHING on the book report we've been working on together in the library this week. We were going to do more today for extra credit.

Perry (as Brandon): (deflated) Oh.  (picking up intensity again)  But stay away from that kid with the Great Shit so awesome they have to scrape you off the ceiling!

Brandon (as Perry): You mean, Benji?  His mom's dynamite chocolate chip cookies?  Why?

Perry (as Brandon): (deflatedOh.  (picking up intensity again)  But stay away from ...

Brandon (as Perry):  .... of course I have no intention of signing up for the Future Tea Baggers of America.  

Perry (as Brandon):  Oh. (mildly) Glad we had this little chat. 

Brandon (as Perry):  I've got an idea.  (approaches the stone and begins singing, if you can call it that)  I was just seventeen, you know what I mean ...

The stone begins to glow and in a instance the two are returned to their proper bodies. Each breathes a sigh of relief.

Brandon:  So, glad that's over!  Being 61 was about as much fun as looking 61.   

 Perry: Yeah, well ... hey! (shoots him a look)  Y'know, I didn't like being 17 either.

Brandon: You didn't?

Perry: I didn't particularly enjoy passing up on things I would have enjoyed because I don't want you to enjoy them.  At least, not yet.

Brandon: That didn't make any sense.

Perry:  It did to me.

Brandon:  Know what, Dad?  We ought to get rid of that stone.  Like Harry does with  Voldemort's wand at the end of Harry Potter

Perry: Well, let's not be so hasty!  Maybe we could ... umm ... try it again, but instead of with you maybe with one of your friends who's kind of riff raffy?

Brandon:  Nah, I'm going to take it and throw it in the trash dump, Dad.  And then I'm off to the library.

Perry:  Sure.  (a bit sadly)  Say hi to the Hottest Girl in All the Eleventh Grade.

Brandon leaves. Perry gives a peculiar look, gets out the telephone book, and dials.

Perry:  Hi, is this Benji's dad?  Hello, this is Perry, Brandon Block's dad.  Y'know, Brandon's been bragging  about the chocolate chip cookies your wife makes,  and I wondered ...   Oh! She does bake cookies.  Happy to send me some? Scrape me off the ceiling, you say?  Thank you so much.

Perry hangs up. 

Perry:  DAMN!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Firing My Muse

Like most writers, I have my own personal Muse.  

And sometimes when I sit down to write the Muse is with me and other times, quite frankly, the Muse is not.  The problem is the better times are when the Muse is not.  And finally I resolved to do  something about it.

"Muse," I called out yesterday afternoon.  "Could you come in here please?"

"I'm coming, Boss," I heard the Muse say from inside the kitchen. "Just makin' me a sandwich, be right there.  Hey!  We're outta beer!"

"That's not surprising what with the blow-out you had here last Saturday," I said.  "Say, did you ever replace the batteries to the vibrating  ..."

"I'll get to it, I toldja!"

With that, the Muse stumbled into the office, spilled a bit of coffee on the rug, and plonked down on the sofa.

"Really, Muse?  Pajamas?  At this time of day?" 

"Why not?  You know I don't work on a schedule.  I'm a Muse, I work when the Muse strikes me." 

"Then you must have an even lazier Muse than I do!"

"That's hilarious, Boss. Jokes like that show how badly you need me!" 

"That's what I wanted to talk to you about today, Muse.  Frankly you don't seem to be supplying me with much Inspiration these days."

"What the hell are you talking about, Boss?!!  What about my brilliant idea of people coming with information labels on 'em,  like food does?"

"You mean labels like Supplies Less than 2% Minimum Daily Requirement of Mental Stimulation or Better if Used With Eyes Closed And Bag Over Head?"

"Yeah, that's the one!"

"Oh, I tried it.  I got fewer page views than a book in Sarah Palin's house." 

"Boss, you're nuts!  How about all the Inspiration I'm constantly giving you in the shower?" 

"If you call turning the hot water on and off, goosing me, and making that sound like the phone's ringing Inspiration!" 

"So you want me to spoon feed you comedy, Boss?  Okay,  how's this:  Parody Mitt Romney's criticizing Obama's ideas while offering none of his own by having Romney sing Groucho Marx's Whatever It Is, I'm Against It!" 

"Muse, you gave me that one three days ago. Turned out so abysmally Groucho Marx disowned it!"

"It did sound familiar. But you're not bein' fair, Boss! Look at all the things I do for you!"

"Yeah ...  drink my vodka, eat me out of house and home, and supply me with ideas like How about we have Ginger and Mary Ann mud wrestling?"

"Any other criticisms you got?" 

"Yeah, why do I have a fat middle-aged bald guy as my Muse anyway?  Why don't I have a Muse looks like Sharon Stone?"

"Maybe Stephen King has a Muse that looks like Sharon Stone.  You're lucky you don't have a Muse looks like Sly Stone!"

That does it, Muse!  You're fired!"

"Aren't you forgetting something?  You can't fire me!"

"Why the hell not?"

"I'm Union."

"Crap!  You're right, I did forget."

"Want me to call the union rep right now, Boss?" 

"Nah, you win.  Tell me your idea again about the Jewish zombie who won't mix brains with dairy?"

"Sure.  And, by the way, I've been meaning to talk to you 'bout you springing for a much better diversity of investment funds in my 401 (k)!"


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Whatever It Is, I'm Against It

And,  Mitt?  Tell'em Groucho sent ya!

Welcome, I'm Bob Schieffer of CBS News and this is Face the Nation!  Today's guest is Governor Mitt Romney, Republican candidate in the 2012 Race for the Presidency of the United States.

Romney: Thank you, Bob.  "Race for the Presidency," eh?  Think you just coined a really neat new term!

Schieffer:  Uh ... sure.  Thank you ... I think!

Romney:  You're like a working class poet or something, Bob! 

Schieffer:   Um,  thanks again!   Now, Governor Romney, I'd like to ask your thoughts about the President's decision to stop deporting certain illegal aliens who came to the United States as children.  

Romney: Bob, let me answer that this way: 

I don't know what he has to say
it makes no difference anyway.

Schieffer:  Governor Romney, why, you're a Groucho Marx fan, I didn't know!  But tell me, please:  what are your views about the President's new Immigration Policy?

Romney:                                                 No matter what it is,
or who commenced it.
I'm Against It!  

Schieffer: Ha-Ha.  I think!   Then let's look at ObamaCare, which you oppose.  But isn't it modeled on the same health care program you yourself brought to Massachusetts? 

Romney:                                  Your proposition may be good, 
but let's have one thing understood,
Whatever It Is, I'm Against It!

Schieffer:  Let me phrase that another way then, Governor Romney.  What are your views on ObamaCare itself? 

Romney:                               And even when you've changed it,
or condensed it,
I'm Against It!  

Schieffer: Governor,  you seem to be against all the President's policies without offering any of your own.  Why is that?

Romney:                  For months before my campaign was born,
I used to yell from night till morn. 
Whatever It Is, I'm Against It!

Schieffer:  So you decided on this campaign approach long ago?  How would you describe  your approach?

Romney:                                                 As I've kept yelling 
since I first commenced it,
I'm Against It!

Schieffer: Thank you, Governor, it's been enlightening.  You know,  I had no  idea you were such a huge Groucho Marx fan. 

Romney:  Actually, Bob,  I'm more of a Harpo Marx fan myself.

Schieffer:  Harpo Marx?  You mean the brother who spent his entire career saying absolutely nothing?

Romney:  There you go!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Perchance to Dream

To sleep, perchance to dream.

To stay up, perchance to snack.

Aye, there's the rub! And no fair making an X-rated joke out of that line, because this post is about dreams, not sex.   

I had that awful dream again last night, the one I've been having ever since I was a small child. In fact, I've had it so often and for so long that I'm now collecting royalties from other people whenever they have it!

In the dream, I am going in to take a final exam.  I have not attended class all semester, have not studied, and don't even know for sure what the subject is I'm taking the test in.  I am fraught with guilt, insecurity, and an extreme sense of deep and abiding  fraughtness!  

At that point I awake and experience inexpressible joy that it was all just a horrible dream. Then I do not sleep for the next six months committing Wikipedia to memory until I'm ready to ace that sucker!

Why do we dream at all?  

It is indisputable that dreams can tell us a great deal about the dreamer, such as that he is asleep at the moment.  One man dreams he is being chased by Nazis, another dreams he is being chased by a giant man's pants zipper.  What does it all mean?  

Absolutely nothing,  except either way both guys are being chased by really big pricks!

Of course, it was Sigmund Freud who first referred to dreams as "the Royal Road to the Subconscious."  Further research since Freud's day, however, has shown that the Royal Road to the Subconscious is actually Interstate 47, which leads to Schwenksville PAI'd wondered for years why my psychiatrist Dr. Kropotkin was always asking me "So how do you really feel about Schwenksville?" 

We often hear that dreams only occur during REM sleep, but we now know you can dream during non-REM sleep as well,  provided none of us tells the sleep researchers. 

Is it true that people only dream in black and white? 

Another myth is that most people dream only in black and white. Personally I always dream in full Eastman Color, although the quality is faded and badly in need of restoration.  I also tend to dream a great deal in French with English subtitles.  This can be extremely annoying, especially when they pull the caption away before I've had a chance to read it.

Once I went through an entire evening dreaming in Japanese dubbed into English.  Got to the point I didn't even need the dubbing to know what was being said was "LOOK! GODZILLA!"

I've also had a few random dreams in Italian dubbed into English, which is kind of nice except when people's lips move too much for what they are saying. This happens especially whenever I'm dreaming about the late actor Steve Reeves playing Hercules.  

Can dreams foretell the future?

I don't know about this, but it makes a good argument for not sleeping with someone who continually moans in his sleep "Oh no, another film with Nicholas Cage!"

There are on file a handful of unexplained instances which seem to strikingly indicate the existence of clairvoyancy in  dreams.  The noted Midwestern psychic Edgar Carsick once awoke in great panic after dreaming about an ocean liner, swirls of rushing water, and frantic cries for help. His dream unmistakably pointed to an unspeakable catastrophe involving a cruise ship, a chilling prophecy that came all too horribly and tragically true shortly thereafter.

The very next day Mr. Carsick paid twelve bucks to see The Titanic 3D.

Does the movie Inception accurately portray the true nature of dreams?

The movie Inception showed that other people can actively participate in our dreams, although I've never seen actress Ellen Page floating around anywhere in mine, not even one lousy goddamn time! Then again there are probably laws even in the Dreamworld that would have my ass hauled into court for even thinking about doing nasty things to someone as young as Ellen Page, if not to Ellen Page herself.

Inception revealed a whole new aspect, depth, and dimension to our dreams.  It certainly has me scared to death to play dreidel anymore come Hanukkah time. 

All this talk of dreams is making me kind of sleepy.  

So goodnight, everybody ....

OH, NO!  



Saturday, June 16, 2012

How Low the Mighty Pre-Tweeters have Fallen!

Lord, I'm worried about the Beaver!

These days Jerry Mathers a/k/a Beaver Cleaver, whom millions of Baby Boomers grew up with in the late 50's and early 60's, holds forth on Twitter under the Twitter handle @TheJerryMathers.  

But holding forth I'm afraid is about all that he holds. 

@TheJerryMathers has 2,371 followers. 

It's true that the 60+ year old Jerry Mathers, with a face like a bas relief map of South America, is hardly handsome.  But that same face sat at the dinner table for six full TV seasons with Ward, June, and Wally, and by extension also with me.

What would explain such an iconic figure having such a low number of followers? 

Has @Eddie_NiceDressMrsCleaver found a way to siphon all the others off? Is @PerezHilton falsely tweeting that @TheJerryMathers was infected with a fatal computer virus in Vietnam?   Or is it just the singular sad fate bound to befall those fallen celebrities whose salad days were back in the day when the only people who tweeted were in the fife and bugle corps?

How Low the Mighty Pre-Tweeters have Fallen!

Chevy Chase                  

@Chevy _ Once Chased

I'm Chevy Chase and You're Not.  Umm, wanna switch?  No? DAMN! (#Team Followback)

  • 169,895 TWEETS
  • 58,453 Following


Did you know @NotTheRealBillMurray follows me? #taughthimeverythingheknows

Hey: Let's start a Facebook Campaign for me to host  Saturday Night Live! 

What happens in Vegas stays there.  Apparently after I made Vegas Vacationthat's what happened to my career! 

In Maryland, you say?  Named after me, you say? 

Anthony Michael Hall took my call today!  #Greatdayin the morning! 


Ms. Pac Man                 


I'll eat you for a quarter!

  • 75,345 TWEETS
  • 23,087 Following


How do I stay so beautiful and young looking? Easy!  I eat the brains and suck the blood of Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Sue!

Sure miss the days of the good old Joystick! 

Used to be thousands of unpopular guys in singles bars with their hands all over me all night long each and every Friday & Saturday night!  Oh, for the 1980s! 

Madden?  Madden?  You don't need no stinkin' Madden! 

Now I know how Pong must have felt!


Dennis Miller                


I used to be funny and cute.  At least I'm still narcissistic.
763,888 TWEETS
  • 1,884,453 Following

 I sensed a need for a witty & intelligent comedian who expresses a Right of Center political viewpoint. Until one comes along,  a hack like me will have to do!

 Alleged comedic lines overburdened with half-baked,  unclear,  &  no longer relevant pop culture references.  That's me! 

 It was like a Game of Thrones vibe w/a Sandra  Bernhardt rump roast as if Barney Frank & Nancy Pelosi had copulated on Coldplay's rye toast.  That's funny, huh?

@RogerAiles @RupertMurdoch  Love, look at the three of us ....

Obama rama bama MAMA!  That's funny, huh?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lie to Us Too, Please!

"Hi Perry!  Call us!"

It never fails to amaze me how out of touch so many younger folk in the media are when it comes to we older Baby Boomers.

Recently I was struck by an article appearing in Social Times, a MediaBistro blog,  that purported to herald the good but highly shocking news that people in their mid-60's and above are actually "venturing" online, dipping their toes in the Internet as if it were the Atlantic Ocean on a February day at the Jersey shore.

Accompanied by the charming picture above and bearing the heart-warming heading, "Hello, Grandma!  Study Shows 53% of Senior Citizens are Online," the piece includes such not- so-bon mots as ....

"Now we can hear all about how much we've grown while the ad bots show our grandparents pictures of sugary cereals our moms said we're not allowed to have so they can stock up for the next time we visit ...

(Popular websites include) an online tool for seniors to store and share their medical information with doctors, caretakers, and family members ...

It appears that today's online elders were yesterday's professionals who picked up a few skills at the office before they retired."

Now I understand at last:  No wonder I always have the urge to drink a glass of warm buttermilk and make purring noises whenever I go on Twitter!

Although the writer is a good journalist who's already kindly corresponded with me about the piece,  most of her Boomer-related comments therein are as totally clueless as the hero in a USA Network cop show until everything's wrapped up in the last eight minutes balance of risk-free gunfire and over-the-top joshing around.

Yes, 60 is not the new 40.   But 60 is the new 6o, and we are not your father's Oldsmobile!

Advertisers and marketers certainly don't get this.  They forget that we Baby Boomers are the Woodstock Generation, not the Woodworking Generation. Most of them approach the Boomer market about as subtly as Mayor Bloomberg approaches a Big Gulp.

This is how most of today's marketers and advertisers see we older Baby Boomers:

And this is how we older Baby Boomers (hold onto your hats, Gen X and Y!)  see ourselves: 

Don't laugh. 

Yes, it's true that few of us look like Sam Elliott or Kathryn Bigelow.  How many of you look like Zac Efron or Scarlett Johansson?  Last time I checked Mark Zuckerberg was under 40.  So is Jonah Hill.  Yet young people in the media are almost always depicted as beautiful with gorgeous hair, terrific thin bodies, and  super smokin' hot libidoes.

That's a complete lie. 

So, lie to us too please! 

We are not your father's Oldsmobile.  We envision ourselves more like his Lexus.  Since you don't depict young people as they really are,  please be kind enough to be equally as mendacious when it comes to we aging Boomers.

Lie to us too, please!

And if you lie capably and effectively and depict we 60-ish Boomers as we see ourselves ---  not as you see us --- we'll buy boatloads of whatever the hell it is you're selling, even if its Metamucil, Depends, or Reverse Mortgages for every oldster's humble abode from  sea to shining sea.

But if you depict us like this ....

you'll be lucky to sell us one sad single solitary stick of gum. 

Even if, God forbid,  that's how we actually do look! 


Note:  Sam Elliott is 67 and director Kathryn Bigelow is 60.   I've been told frequently I look like both of them.