Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Come Blow Your Horns

I have always been of the mind that car manufacturers are missing out on a major innovation that would make driving safer and more stress free.

We’ve all been there. You’re waiting second in line at a red light.  Ahead of you is a 2008 red Dodge pickup truck on the rear bumper of which is affixed a bumper sticker which proclaims “I’m the NRA and I don’t like you!”

The light changes. The car ahead, however, does not move.

The driver of the vehicle you surmise is probably fantasizing about hunting quail with an assault rifle. It looks for sure like he is not going to move forward any time soon, and certainly not during the big hunt. 

You try to lightly tap the horn on the side of your steering wheel to nudge him into moving. But your judgment and hand/eye coordination fail you and instead of the intended short beep, your steering wheel gives forth with:




Frantically you seek to assure the driver ahead of you - whom you can now see is a broad-shouldered muscular fullback type of dude -  that you didn’t intend the explosive blast. You wave your arms back and forth frenetically as if to say “No, no, no – that’s not what I meant!  I meant a soft beep, a friendly beep, a cute adorable beep!”

But it’s too late!  He’s out of the car and over to you!  Muscles rippling! Tattoos bulging!  You passing out!

 “Y’know, friend,” he says, “that happens to me all the time too.  I always hit the horn too loud when I just want to tap it.”

So that’s it. He only wants to commiserate. 

“Yeah,” you say. “Ain’t it a bitch?”

“Sure wish somebody would come up with a fix for it,” he laughs, gets into his  NRA-mobile, and drives off.

Well, somebody has. 


Presenting my innovation “Nice Horn/Mean Horn.”

Cars will come equipped with two horns on either side of the steering wheel. One is for when you wish to pleasantly signal the distracted driver ahead that red has given way to green and the other is for when some malignant jerk almost crashes into the front end of your car and causes your air bag to deploy.

Never again will you accidentally upset a dawdling driver such that he exits his car and stuffs you into his gas tank.  Just hit the Nice Horn.

And never again will you accidentally sound a soft ineffective beep when you mean to assault a vehicular villain with a blaring blast somewhat akin to the voice of the late Ethel Merman.  Just hit the Mean Horn.

That’s Nice Horn/Mean Horn.

Wouldn't you like to have my nifty innovation behind the wheel?  Here's hoping someone at General Motors, Ford, Toyota, or even Matchbox Cars picks up on this and makes it a reality.

And don't forget, folks, my new book Perry Block - Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute is available on Amazon right now. It's all dressed up with nowhere to go ... except into your arms!  

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Taking My Book to the Streets

I’ve been attempting to promote my new book Perry Block- Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute and so far sales have been slow. So slow the picture of me on the front of the book has  fallen asleep.

That’s slow.

I’ve been attempting to push the book on Facebook and Twitter with scant success. True, a posting about my book is not as scintillating as a post about someone’s lunch, but it is dispiriting to work for a year on your ultimate life statement and have some guy post a picture of his heated-up frozen lasagna and get 78 likes to your three.

So I realize I can’t promote my book just on social media. This is going to require hand-to-hand combat.

I’m going to take my book to the streets!

"Say, friend, did you know there's a great new book called Perry Block-Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute."

"License and registration, please."

"Of course, Officer. You know, I think you might like my new book.  Are you a Boomer by any chance."

"No, I'm a police officer. Why were you going 60 miles an hour in a 25 mile an hour zone, sir?"

"I wanted to attract your attention. I saw you in my rear view mirror and I thought 'That looks like a law enforcement professional who likes to read humor!'"

"I prefer Restoration Comedy. Out of the car!"

Well, that didn't work so well. I took my $105 dollar ticket and went to a fast food drive-thru for a quick inexpensive lunch.

"Big Ass Burger, Fries, and a Coke, please."

"Yes, sir. Would you like anything else?"

"No, but you might like my new humor book Perry Block-Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute. Perfect for Boomers."

"I'm 18, sir."

"In that case ... could I have some ketchup packets, please?"

While choking down lunch, I had a thought.

"Rabbi Debbie," I said, entering her office in the synagogue,"could you help me promote my new book on Saturday?"


"I'd like the Bar or Bat Mitzvah boy or girl to say 'Instead of a new tallis, the gift I really want on this special occasion is Perry Block-Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute!'"

"That's not appropriate."

"I'm just trying to be fruitful and multiply sales."

"How is it going so far?"

"My book is to readers like roast pig is to Orthodox Jews."

At least the Rabbi bought a copy. But I'm not done.

I'm taking my book to the streets.

I'll probably see you there.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Hamill Town, An American Star Wars Musical


Lin-Manuel Miranda has done it again!
What has the creator of one of the hottest shows ever to play Broadway done?
Nothing less than double his remarkable success with the opening of his latest musical, a hip hoppin’ retelling of the Star Wars legend called Hamill Town!
Miranda's second tune-filled masterpiece presents a play within a play as the residents of a small Kansas community named after an actor who was box office poison for 40 years annually presents a thrilling Star Wars pageant.
Opening with a rousing tribute to the town of Hamill Town (Welcome All to Hamill Town), the townsfolk enact the tale of Alexander Skywalker, abandoned by his father and living on the forgotten spot planet of Tatooine. 
Longing for more, Alexander finds himself in the middle of the Revolutionary War against the Empire.  Befriended by the leader of the Revolution, Obie-Wan Washington, Alexander shares adventures with Chewbacca Adams, the Marquis de R2-D2, Jabba the Jefferson and his enigmatic rival Darth Burr, who may actually be his father. 
The play ends spectacularly in a light saber duel between the two as Skywalker sings "Who Lives, Who Dies,George Lucas Tells Your Story.

Once again the incomparable Miranda stars in the lead role and his voice is as strong and lyrical as ever as he sings:

I'm blasting into space
To save the human race
And through my veins does course
The Mighty Feder-a-list Force!

A revelation in the role of Darth Burr, however, is Nicolas Cage. Who'd have thought he could sing hip hop?  Who'd have thought he could dance? Who'd have thought he could act?

If you've got a trust fund, rich uncle, or are a porn star who's had sex with Donald Trump and recently received your lump sum payoff, get yourself down to the Helen Hunt Theater and marvel to Hamill Town!  

And good news! Word is that before long Lin-Manuel may have a third hit show on his hands, a musical based on the life of one of the beloved stars of the movie The Wizard of Oz.

Personally, I just can't wait for:I TOWN

Nels Noodleman is a nationally known and reviled theater critic who writes on the Broadway stage.  Whenever he's discovered writing on the stage, he's usually thrown out of the theater. Over the course of his checkered but mostly plaid career Nels has reviewed all of the major Broadway plays of the last half century. 

Someday he hopes to see them too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Groundhog Day II



Phil Connors                           Rita Hanson
Larry the Camera Man             Ned Ryerson
The Piano Teacher                   Sonny & Cher
Alarm Clock Clicking Sound


Phil Connors is in bed asleep in his hotel room in Punxatawney PA. 


SONNY & CHER (on the radio)
They say we're young and we don't know
We won't find out until we grow ...
I got you babe, I got you, babe... 

Phil gets up, yawns, and stretches.

It's Groundhog Day. I’ve got to get to work.

Phil leaves room, grabs two cups of coffee and Danish, and meets Rita and Larry at Gobbler's Knob.

Phil, over here, we're setting up for our shot of Punxatawney Phil.

Here you go, Rita and Larry! I've brought you coffee and Danish. 

Take your coffee and Danish and shove it, Phil!

Why, Larry?

It took 83 Groundhog Days for you to think to bring it to us, jerk!

But, Larry ... Rita ... how do you know that?

Phil, we know you're living the same day over and over again!  You're able to continuously improve yourself every day and you don't get any older. Who'd you have to shtup to get a deal like that anyway?

Well, I didn't actually...

Why did you get this arrangement?  Why not someone deserving like Abraham Lincoln? Mother Teresa?  Why not Larry and me?!

Get the hell out of here, Phil!

Perplexed, Phil goes back to his room and back to bed.  



SONNY & CHER (on the radio):
… I got you babe, I got you, babe... 

PHIL (startled)
Oh! Another Groundhog Day!

Phil gets up, leaves hotel room, and goes into town. 

Ned!  Ned Ryerson, the insurance man.  Come on over, buddy!

Fuck you, Phil!

Why, Ned?

It took you 126 Groundhog Days until you acknowledged me! And only because you were desperate for insurance against attack by people pissed off by the sweet Groundhog Day deal you got.  

All right, Ned, I'll buy more insurance. Life. Health. Pet. I'll insure a boat and I don't even have one, I get seasick!

And when are you going to pay me for the policies you already bought? Let me guess: Tomorrow? Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!

But ... but... but...


Get the hell out of here, Phil!

Very upset, Phil goes back to his room but almost as soon as he lies down ...



SONNY & CHER (on the radio):
… I got you babe, I got you, babe... 

PHIL (Flustered, hands over his head)
Another Groundhog Day!  They're coming faster than ever!

Phil stumbles out of room, sits down next to piano teacher, and starts playing.

Mr. Connors, I have to say your piano playing sucks.  Next to you, ABBA sounds good.

But this is just my first lesson with you.  I can't be expected to...

First lesson?  Try 137th lesson! Everybody knows you repeat Groundhog Day over and over again!

But I try to improve myself a little each day.
By playing piano? Why aren't you doing something to benefit humanity! At 1,237 Groundhog Days you should be Batman by now!

Well, I tried that, I looked bad in tights.

Get the hell out of here, Mr. Connors!

Crazed, Phil lurches back into his room. Almost immediately ... 



SONNY & CHER (on the radio):
… I got you babe, I got you, babe... 

PHIL (exasperated, arms flailing)
No! No! Not another goddamn Groundhog Day!

Phil staggers out of the room to Rita. He shows her a large ice sculpture of her face.

PHIL (hopefully)
Look, Rita, I've made a lovely ice sculpture of your face.

RITA (sneering)
Terrific, Phil.  You've received the greatest gift ever bestowed upon a human being, and you play in the ice and snow!

But it's for you!

2,034 Groundhog Day do-overs and you're building snowmen? Why aren't you at least Batman by now?

I may not be Batman, but I did save Brian Doyle-Murray from choking.

Big deal. What movies has he been in lately? 

But Rita, I love you!

Really?  Ever think it might have helped if sometime during all these thousands of Groundhog Days …

Yes, Rita?

You took a fucking shower?!

SONNY & CHER (walking on stage)


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Year of Airbrushed/Sandblasted Perry Block

One of my book signings, no doubt.

This year - 2018 - will be The Year of Perry Block.

That’s because this year my first book Perry Block – Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute hits the literary world, and soon I’ll be sitting around in cafes wearing turtlenecks, drinking latte, and discussing Sartre.
That is provided the literary world doesn’t hit back.

But first it is necessary for me to promote “Perry Block – Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute.” And I have been advised by my publisher that proper promotion will necessitate utilization of a recent high quality photograph of myself. 

Now I haven’t been much for taking pictures since they began presenting more wrinkles to the beholder than the plot of an Agatha Christie novel. So I sought the services of a professional photographer, locating a nearby practitioner of the photographic arts named Marv Clickson.

I told Marv that I was apprehensive about having pictures of myself taken at this age.

“Perry, with the airbrushing tools I have today,” he said, “we can truly improve on reality.”

“Are you sure for me we don’t need sandblasting?”

“Not at all.  Just leave everything to me.”

We set to work. First we shot a series of pictures of me in various shirts and sweaters.  We learned that - whatever may have been true in the past - blue, brown, black, green, red, orange, puce, and alabaster are no longer my colors.

In fact no color is any longer my color.

I managed to select one photo that I believed would cause no one to lose their lunch.

“Okay, Perry,” asked Marv, “would you like me to give you more hair?”

Now with all due respect to Mr. Clickson, posing that question to almost any male Baby Boomer in 2018 may be as stupid as question as anyone could ever possibly ask.

I responded.

“No, I cannot make you look like Kenny Loggins on the cover of the 1972 album Loggins and Messina.”

“Oh. Then, can you give me a couple more strands of hair in the front?”

He did.

Next we looked at my forehead, which thanks to a medical condition called vitiligo has lost its natural pigment and is now as white as network television in the 1950’s.

“Can we make my forehead sort of George Hamilton-colored but only as of the start of the tanning season, not as of late August?”

He did.

“Now, Perry," observed Marv, "your eyes possess dark circles deep enough for an archaeological dig. But I can take care of that."

He did.

We traveled south to my nose.

I told him what I would like have done with it.

“Perry,” he said sympathetically, “I can do many things but photographic technology just hasn’t advanced far enough to tackle your nose.  I can remove your nose hairs.”

He did.

My new profile photo emerged, and I must admit that it – and I - looked pretty good.  Aside from a sort of airbrushed/sandblasted quality that makes it appear as if you are looking at me through cheesecloth.

One more airbrush, though, and I’d be a Playboy Playmate.

If only Marv Clickson could manipulate my picture throughout the book promotion instead of me having to do it, there’s no telling how soon I’d be sitting around in cafes wearing turtlenecks, drinking latte, and discussing Sartre.  Or my picture would.

After all this year - 2018 - will be The Year of Airbrushed/Sandblasted Perry Block.


Monday, January 8, 2018

The Boy Who Didn't Like Tom Hanks

(Note: This short sketch is adapted from the post of the same name presented herein July 13, 2017.)

Dramatis Personae

Perry – Handsome young leading man type.  Hey who’s writing this, you or me?
Farbman – Perry’s nervous and upset friend
Brandon – Perry’s son

The Scene - Perry and Farbman are sitting at lunch. Farbman looks tense and unhappy, idly moving his fork around his plate.

Farbman, I’ve never seen you so upset. You haven’t even touched your
second dessert!

I touched it.  I can’t eat it, but I touched it.

I haven’t seen you this upset since it was announced Jimmy Fallon was taking over The Tonight Show.    

It's my son Bruce. In all my days, I never thought something like this could ever happen!

What is it, Farbman? Did he vote for Trump, forsake Judaism, listen to ABBA?

If only it were one of those things! No, my son Bruce told me ... he told me ... he told me he doesn't like Tom Hanks!

Told you what?

He told me he doesn’t like Tom Hanks!  

Pause.  Farbman begins to weep.

PERRY (Slowly and deliberately)
He … doesn’t …like … Tom Hanks? America's most likeable celebrity? The nicest guy in Hollywood, a welcome presence on screens both large and small?

(Loud sobbing) Yee-ess!

Farbman, how did this all come about?  

It was last Saturday night. I was watching Cast Away again and Bruce came into the den.

Bruce, I said, Tom and Wilson the Soccer Ball are beginning to bond. It’s so beautiful! Come sit down and we’ll watch together.

Uh, I’d rather not, Dad, he said. 

Why, Bruce? I asked.
It's time I told you, he said. I don’t like Tom Hanks!

What are you saying, Bruce?! I shouted.

I’ve never liked Tom Hanks, he said. And I never will!

 (Loud sobbing)

He doesn’t like Big?

FARBMAN (through tears)

Saving Private Ryan?


Turner and Hooch?

Not even! (Blubbering)

PERRY (Trying to calm him down)
Farbman, try to understand! Bruce has no choice in the matter. He was born not liking Tom Hanks.

How could this happen to me?  I who have seen Forrest Gump more times than Sally Field has popped Bonivas!

Farbman! This isn’t about you!  People’s attitudes are changing. It’s a more inclusive world now with room for everyone. Straight. Gay. LGBTQ. THD.


Tom Hanks Dislikers.

FARBMAN (calming down)

Sure. I’ll bet in 10 years or so Tom Hanks Dislikers may even be able to marry each other.

Perry, what should I do?

Just tell Bruce you love him and support him no matter what.

I think you’re right. I do feel better. Thank you!

No problem, Farbman.

They shake hands and Farbman walks off.

Poor guy. Poor, Poor guy!

Brandon enters.

Hey, Dad, I’m staying home tonight. Want to watch a movie? `

Yeah, sure, Bran. How about something with Tom Hanks? 

Great, Dad! Everybody likes Tom Hanks.

Why don't we watch Sully?

Um … I’d rather not, Dad.


It's time I told you. I don’t like Sully Sullenberger! 

Perry begins crying hysterically.

The End


But of course.