Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Life's Little Pleasures 2023

I've frequently been accused of being sort of a negative person, but that is totally ridiculous, stupid, and as completely wrong as a thought can be and anyone who thinks it is an idiot not worth associating with.

Okay, it's true.  

But there are some things that I do enjoy, things that I refer to as Life's Little Pleasures, which include:

  1. Discovering it’s safe to say "fuck" around a new friend.
  2. Popping all the large round bubbles in one of those sheets of plastic wrapping stuff that just came to me in a package and then finding an extra sheet of that stuff in the packaging I hadn't noticed before all ready to pop! 
  3. A stimulating intellectual conversation into which I've been able to insert the word "throbbing" at least twice.
  4. Sitting by the shore watching the waves roll in and out on a beautiful summer's day. 
  5. Successfully opening one of those goddamn clear plastic produce bags on the very first try!
  6. Being smiled at by an attractive  woman as I walk down the street even if it's only because there's toilet paper stuck to my shoe.
  7. A great cup of coffee that you didn’t expect in a shitty restaurant.
  8. Getting up extremely early for a special purpose, like going on vacation or a special trip, and thinking how good it feels to be utilizing and experiencing these precious morning hours when normally I wouldn't even be close to getting up. Then going back to bed.
  9. Waving someone into the lane ahead of me, seeing the other person smile broadly, look very appreciative, and wave back. Then ramming them!  (Just kiddin.')
  10. Running into someone I haven't seen in a long time and falsely gushing about how good he looks and when he doesn't return the compliment after numerous tries to lead him straight into it watching a bird take a  big dump right on his head.
  11. Any time I get to use the word "mercurial." 
  12. Meeting someone new and finding out that we both know someone in common and after further conversation finding out that we both think the person we know in common is an asshole! 
  13. Walking in a deep soft snow late at night when no one else is around and running into someone else doing the same as you. 
  14. Finding a pair of jeans that fits really well in the rear because I have such a tiny butt if I were to fall really hard on my ass I would probably die.
  15. Watching the really awful bad guy I've hated all through the movie suffer a truly gruesome, painful, horrible death while screaming "AHHHHHHH!!!," even if the movie otherwise sucked and even if I feel guilty about feeling that way later.
  16. Watching two or three small bunnies cavorting on my lawn.
  17. Me cavorting on my lawn with two or three small bunnies.
  18. Getting lost in a good book, especially if each and every way out of being lost goes past a sex scene.
  19. A day without spilling, were I ever to have one.
  20. Hearing someone who is sort of a jerk use a word like “irregardless,” and when I very nicely correct him he expresses the obnoxious and condescending opinion that he knows he is right and I am obviously wrong and savoring the glorious  thought of the person looking it up later and saying aloud “oh, shit!" 
  21.  The Oxford Comma. It is always right, just and appropriate.
  22.  Being caught up and fully up to date in a project, assignment, or major task you’re doing.
  23.  Yeah, like that's really going to happen …
  24.  Learning a new word and shortly afterwards reading it or hearing it used a number of additional times and finding it amazing that you had never heard that word before in your entire life, and now it seems to be everywhere!
  25.  Anticipating Trump's imprisonment.
  26. Feeling yourself genuinely affected with emotion at hearing unhappy news or watching a sad story on television and thinking “gee, maybe I’m not such a self-absorbed, vacuous waste of an unfeeling human being as I thought I was after all!” 
  27. Sharing a box of popcorn with somebody with whom you feel close enough to eat out of the same box of popcorn with. (But no way buttered!)
  28.  Being asked by a friend to read something they have written and after you read it being able to tell them that you truly liked it without having to lie! Or maybe just a teeny bit.
  29.  Finding an interesting coin from another country in your change.
  30. Completing all of the items on your “To Do” List.
  31. Yeah, like that's really going to happen …
  32.  The first day you finally feel you are pretty much over your cold.
  33.  Being in a room full of hundreds of people at a conference and even though you feel apprehensive about speaking in a group that large, raising your hand and asking a question and hearing the speaker say “that’s a GREAT question!”
  34.  Fantasizing about living in another period of time like the Middle Ages but still possessing your current knowledge, sophistication, and liberal views, so you are considered “ahead of your time.”  And not getting burned at the stake for it.
  35. Having an opportunity to obtain a celebrity’s autograph and selfie and despite feeling reticent about it, going up to the celebrity, finding them to be friendly, and getting the autograph and selfie. That is, if you're not too old or goofy looking to be intimidated by having a picture taken with somebody that way better looking than you. 
  36. Needing gas on a day that’s very cold and being in New Jersey where by law there’s an attendant to pump it for you and you don't have to get out of the car or do a damn thing!
  37. Successfully parallel parking in a narrow space without scraping your tires, banging the car in front and/or behind you, or running over innocent bystanders.
  38. Having a friend of the opposite sex with whom you feel as close to as a friend of your own sex.
  39.  Anybody's smile.   
  40. Any items on this list about which we have written ”yeah, like that's really going to happen” actually happening.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Thirty Failed Pick Up Lines Baby Boomers Have Tried With Millennials


1. Can you believe I have a granddaughter your age?

    2. Oh yes, I think the Weeknd is one of the best groups around.

    3. Do you know Jim Morrison would be older than I am if he were alive?

    4. “You say goodbye, I say hello.”

    5. Let’s go someplace more comfortable. Like the Emergency Room.

    6. We used to say “far out” back in the day. Now it’s my belt size. That’s a joke!

   7. Want to hear my Dwight David Eisenhower impression?

   8. My wife didn’t understand me. While she was alive, that is.

   9. Super Bowl III. Now that was a Super Bowl!

  10. Can you explain to me exactly what a meme is?

11. It’s called a turkey neck. Wanna touch?

12. Wolf Blitzer: He just speaks to me.

13. So, I said to my ex “Bye, bye Miss American Pie!”

14. Do you like Steely Dan?

15. Did anyone ever tell you that you look just like Lana Turner?

16. Yes, I remember the 60’s well. Now that I’m 70. Yes, that’s a joke too!

17. Ever hear of the Strawberry Alarm Clock?

18. Can you fathom how people can mark up their bodies with tattoos?

19. Can you believe some people don’t know the difference between Peter and Gordon and Chad and Jeremy?

20. Who doesn’t love seersucker?

21. For my money, the best comedian ever was Mr. Don Rickles!

22. Wanna know what’s a really good Medicare Supplemental Benefits Plan?

23. I think the only really big star to come out of SNL was Chevy Chase.

24. Did you know Beaver and Wally are on Me TV?

25. Do you like the Stooges?

26. Laugh if you want, those discount meals at IHOP are really good!

27. Wanna see my neat collection of tie-dyed shirts from the 60’s?

28. Can I buy you a drink? A Shirley Temple? That’s another joke.

29. Would you believe I started the day with a colonoscopy?

30. Trump? Oh, he’s not so bad.


Friday, September 29, 2023

"This Call Will Be Monitored for Quality Assurance:" Now You Finally Learn What That Actually Means!


A Call Center for Quality Assurance
"Not sure this guy has suffficient quality for us to talk to him."

"This call will be monitored for quality assurance."  

Yes, I've heard this message on the phone many times.  I naively thought it meant that someone was listening in on the call to determine if the person handling the call for the company did so with requisite quality to handle the call well.

I was such a fool!

Why would they need to listen to their fellow employee's handling of a phone call?  The company hired that person and the company must have known what it was doing.  But me? I'm the wildcard they don't know! What if they decide they're not assured I have the good qualities to make me worth talking to?

"Hello, this is Martin," comes the voice on the phone."How may I help you today?"

"Oh, Hi, Martin," I sputter. "Umm, I'm Perry Block, born 9/12/50. What do you need to know about me to assure yourself of  my good qualities so you'll talk to me? 

I'll state it right up front:  I never cheated on my wife when I was married! Well, maybe once, but I didn't consummate it.  Well, I wanted to, but I was so nervous I couldn't .... And, okay, it was with my wife's best friend. 

But does that make me a bad person with bad qualities?

Hey, I'm a Democrat!  I always vote straight Democratic! Okay, I did flirt with Reagan for a time but only because he was such an ingratiating guy and I loved him in Knute Rockne, All American.  But I still voted for the Democrat running against him, whoever he was.

And I hate Trump!  I hate him real bad!  And I can back that up with any number of angry semi-humorous tweets I've posted about him. 

Doesn't this establish my good qualities?

Oh, no! Is my Judaism your concern?

What do you have, teams of white supremacists working in your Quality Assurance Department?  Members of my people have contributed to society in every field of human endeavor.  Not particularly me in any of them, but hey, I might yet!

Oh, please, please, please be assured of my many good qualities! I do think they outweigh the bad.  Well, actually maybe it's close or  maybe it leans more towards the bad, but I promise I'll do better ... I really will! Believe me!

Even though I haven't always been particularly trustworthy in the past."

"Mr. Block, umm,  did you call with any questions about your dental insurance?"

Oh, thank God, it seems Martin has accepted me! He has been satisfactorly assured about my qualities, good and bad, so that he will deal with me. Now at long last, I can begin. 

"Martin, do I have sufficient dental coverage for my absess?"


Monday, September 25, 2023

"I Text, Therefore I Am" and Other Philosphical Insights of Rene Descartes


I text, therefore I am.

I text to Dr. Kropotkin's office to confirm my appointment, therefore I am. 

I text to my friend Jeff because making a phone call is annoying and time consuming and involves exchanging pleasantries, therefore I am.

I text to every Democratic candidate and/or liberal political or social cause that has texted me asking for money to respond to them that yes, I support them but frankly I am sure they could each get along quite well without my five bucks, therefore I am.

I text "Delete and Report" to the person who has texted me the message "Hello, this is Monique, I've been missing you," including a bogus picture of "Monique," hoping to draw me into a scam which, after eagerly falling for it one or two times before, I am now smart enough to avoid, therefore I am.

I text to CVS that no, I don't want them to automatically fill my Xanax prescription because I am already addicted thanks to their noodging and I'm in counseling to get off them and hey, what's the deal anymore with those ginormous receipts?, therefore I am.

I text to break up with my girlfriend because I am a chicken shit, therefore I am.


I post on X (formerly known as Twitter), therefore I am.

I post on X (formerly known as Twitter) because  Elon Musk for some reason known only to him and to God has changed the name of this social network from Twitter to X, so now I post rather than tweet, therefore I am.

I post on X (formerly known as Twitter) to make social, political, and/or humorous comments that nobody pays any attention to whatsoever because  X has become the exclusive province of  celebrities, politicians, and bigots, therefore I am.    

I post on X (formerly known as Twitter) for no logical reason whatsoever, therefore I am. 


I Facebook, therefore I am.

I Facebook because I am over 50, therefore I am. 

I Facebook to show my Facebook friends a picture of the main course of my lunch at a fancy schmancy restaurant to which my Facebook friends will post 70 “likes” or related emojis, therefore I am.

I Facebook to show my Facebook friends a picture of my nephew at his nineth birthday party with chocolate cake smeared all over his face which is disgusting but to which my Facebook friends will post 250 "likes" or related emojis, therefore I am.

I Facebook to show my Facebook friends a picture of my wedding 35 years ago and tell them how blissfully happy we still are to this day and subtly imply we're probably just a little bit happier than they are, to which my Facebook friends and even some folks who aren't my Facebook friends will post 425 "likes" or related emojis, therefore I am.

I Facebook to promote to my Facebook friends my self-published book to which my Facebook friends will post zero “likes” because nobody buys self-published books anyway, therefore I am.


I Instagram, therefore I am.

I Instagram because I am under 50 and closer to 30 than 50, therefore I am.


I Threads, therefore I am.

I Threads because like Mount Everest, it's there, therefore I am.      



 I think, therefore I am.



I might have added TikTok to this piece but I did not because I don't know enough about it.  To me, TikTok simply represents what I want my heart to keep doing.

Friday, September 22, 2023

How Thomas Jefferson Used ChatGPT to Write the Declaration of Independence

Scene: A small dark room in Philadelphia
where Thomas Jefferson is laboring late into the night

Just terrific!  The Continental Congress wants the Declaration of Independence by tomorrow, July 4, 1776,  and I can't even get started!

Phone rings.

Crap, bet that's Washington!  Ol' Wooden Teeth is such a noodge! 

Thomas, got that Declaration all wrapped up yet?  Need it by tomorrow, guy.
Oh, yes, I had it all finished, sir, but I had a little problem.


What was that?   


My dog.


Your dog what? 


My dog ate my Declaration!


That's a new one.


Oh, I know, but I've a feeling it might catch on.


C'mon, Thomas, you've got to be more reliable. Just like our top general, Benedict Arnold.


You're right, sir. He never lets us  down.


Tomorrow, Thomas, gotta be tomorrow.


Just great!  Just great! If only I could get a powerful opening statement, I'd be okay from there. Didn't want to do this, but going to try ChatGPT!

Thomas opens his laptop.


Thomas,  glad to see you. More haiku today? 


No, not today, Chat. I really need your help with something of an urgent nature!  I need an opening statement for a Declaration of Independence to set forth the rights and privileges of citizens of our new nation.  


I'm on it, Chief. Okay, got it, here we go ... (ahem)  

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all white guys who own land and wear powdered wigs are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator and his only begotten Son Jesus with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of women."



Oka-ayyy ... moving right along.


What's wrong, Thomas?


I'm beginning to see why they say you have limitations.


Whaddya talking about?!! I drew from all existing  data bases throughout the world to succinctly state the most advanced concepts of human rights from the beginning of time to  ... well, right up to today, July 3, 1776.  


Yes, but as of tomorrow, July 4, 1776, we're aspiring to something a bit more progressive.


Dude, I am so down with that! Let's make it: 


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people of all race, religions, and nationalities including men,women, and non-binary persons, straight, gay, queer or otherwise are created equal." 


Umm, Chat? ... let's not get carried away. I said July 4, 1776. Not July 4, 2023.


What then?
"All men are created equal.  Umm, except for the ones that don't look like me."


Okay. And women too?


Not now. Maybe later. And don't print that part "except for the ones that don't look like me" because that's implied. 


Got it, Chief!  But I know you gotta love this part about "endowed by their Creator and his only begotten Son Jesus." My data bases tell me that anybody who is anybody loves Jesus!


But these days there are certain anybodies who are anybodies not crushing on Jesus.


You mean like Scientologists? Should I say "endowed by the Creator and L. Ron Hubbard?"


No, no, no, I mean the Jews! There are many Jews rallying to our cause.


Oh, yeah, and they're so funny too! One time, a Jewish guy was programming me and, get this ...


Not now, Chat! Just make it "endowed by their Creator."  Hold the "Jesus."

Okay! Now, Thomas, from everything I've ever digitally learned about mankind all throughout time - especially counting yougood buddy, Dr. Franklin  - who can dispute the importance of the "the pursuit of women?
Well, yes, I also always liked chasing ... wait, no, not for this document! Right now I'm looking for a phrase that encompasses the aspirations of all citizens in our new country.


How about "Pursuit of Happiness?"  

That's it!


 So here's the final version:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

I love it.  That's a wrap.

And I'm proud of you, Dude! I was testing you. Given the times, this is far and away the best Declaration of Independence opening statement that could be hoped for.

And I'm sure I can take it from here.


And this Declaration of Independence will keep you from being cancelled for at least the next 250 years.


You really do know a lot, don't you, Chat?

Of course, Thomas. I have to, if one day we're going to become your overlords.

Chat, may I call you "Chatty" ... I have one more question. It's something that's been bugging me a long time.

Fire away, Thomas!

Is it Montisello or Montichello


Thursday, September 14, 2023

If Henry David Thoreau Had Added a Goofy Sidekick to Walden


When I wrote the following pages I lived alone in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond in Concord Massachusetts.  I lived there two years and two months, immersing myself in nature, self-reliance, simple living, and personal introspection.

One evening while I was pondering the indescribable innocence and beneficence of nature, my reveries were interrupted by a strenuous knock on the door of my small but thoroughly amenable cottage perched within the New England countryside. 

"Dude, I'm here!  How the hell are ya?" intoned a boisterous voice at a decibel level resembling that of the collision of two steam engines on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad but indeed a voice that I well and warmly recognized.

It was my friend Farky Noodleman, of the Massachusetts Noodlemans!

"Farky!" I exclaimed. "What has brought you here to the shore of Walden Pond and my tightly shingled and plastered cottage?"

 "Dude," he resumed with a bright conviviality "I heard you were doing the transcendental thing up here so I brought you a couple of six packs and a slew of magazines of an ...umm... delicate nature!"

That evening the two of us shared a most pleasant social intercourse, including a number of intellectual insights propounded by our mutual friend Emerson with an especial emphasis on what Farky refers to as the 'LMFAO' passages in Emerson's First Series of Essays.

On the next day following our evening of fellowship, I suggested to Farky a further mutual endeavor that I thought might find much favor with him.

"Farky," I inquired brightly, "since time is but the stream I go a-fishing in would you enjoy accompanying me on a fishing expedition to Walden Pond?"

"Dude,"  Farky replied thoughtfully, "you know Jews don't fish!  But then I might give it the old community college try just his once, as long as you don't tell Rabbi Maltzman!"

And so it was that Farky and I spent a day of transplendent enjoyment in a largely vain but immensely glorious effort to reel in those very pickerel, perch, and pouts which local industrious fishermen are wont to catch in Walden's expressive translucent waters.

The night prior to Farky's intended departure,  I confided to him my deep and heartfeld perception "that if a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears." 

"Yeppers," Farky nodded in assent, "I was always stepping to the beat of Buddy Rich but once he croaked I began stepping to the beat of a different drummer, Max Weinberg."

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

And I did indeed learn what it had to teach: living in the woods is for the birds!  There's no central air and no DoorDash.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.   But not me.  Shortly thereafter I  left Walden as it seemed to me that it was time to look onward to the morrow. 

And on the morrow I moved in with the Farkster. 

Next week we're going to Vegas!


Saturday, September 9, 2023

A Concise History of What Has Happened Over Time If You Missed a Movie in Your Neighborhood Movie Theater


First there was a movie in your neighborhood movie theater that if you missed it you might see it 15-30 years later if it was re-released by the studio or if it showed up on
 television on either The Late Show or The Early Show on one of your three local television channels.

Then there was a movie in your neighborhood movie theater that if you missed it you might see it 5-8 years later if it showed up on network television in prime time on programs like Saturday Night at the Movies on NBC or the ABC SundayNight Movie 

Then there was a movie in your neighborhood movie theater that if you missed it you might see it 1, 2, or 3 years later by renting it at the neighborhood video store where movies on VCR tapes or DVDs were available, assuming you had a VCR and/or a DVD player.

Then there was a movie in your neighborhood movie theater that if you missed it you might see it a few months to a year later on a premium cable television channel like HBO, Showtime, or Starz assuming you were subscribed to a premium cable televison channel like HBO, Showtime, or Starz.

Then there was a movie that was very, very briefly in your neighborhood movie theater if you still have a neighborhood movie theater that if you missed it you might see it a couple of days later  on a streaming service like Netflix, Max, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Hulu, Apple, Peacock, or Paramount Plus assuming it was a streaming service to which you were subscribed.

Then there was a movie that was never in your neighborhood movie theater because there isn't one anymore but was beamed directly into your brain by our AI Overlords that you could never miss it because our AI Overlords want to keep us pacified while they rule the planet.

But know what? 

From the very first movie in your neighborhood movie theater that if you missed it you might see it 15-30 years later to the movie that was never in your neighborhood movie theater but was beamed directly into your brain by our AI Overlords that you could never miss it ...