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 ...  


Saturday, September 2, 2023

Looking for a Wonderful Pet? Try a Climate Change Denier!


I have a new pet, I want you to know. And he is a sweet, loving, terrific addition to my household, just what I’ve been needing.

Last month I adopted me a climate change denier.

My climate change denier is so thoroughly clueless, so totally out of touch with reality and comprehesnion of truth that he thinks a schlub like me is the most important being in the world.

And to him, I am.

How could any creature of a sentient nature be so ignorant? He’s a climate change denier. He’ll believe anything!

When I come home each evening my climate change denier — I’ve named him Lindsey — is thrilled to see me. He leaps up and down, licks my face, and barks out “Climate change is a hoax, daddy!”

And I nod my head in assent. Why not? He's my little cutey wooty climate change denier.

I pat him vigorously on the head and massage him behind the ears and he licks my hand. As I plop down on the couch, Lindsay plants himself at my feet, rear end wagging back and forth with joy and looking at me like I am a great big juicy liberal bone of contention!

“Who’s a good climate change denier?” I say affectionately, “Who’s a good little climate change denier? Who’s the best climate change denier in the whole wide world?! Yes, you are! Yes, you are!”

I know what Lindsey wants now. I reach beside the couch and pick up the "Vivek Ramaswamy Chew Toy" and squeeze it.

“Climate change is nonsense” it squeaks, “and Biden is a tool of the Left."

“Go, get it, Lindsey” I shout and toss the Vivek Ramaswamy Chew Toy across the room.

Lindsey chases it gleefully, scoops it up in his mouth by its prominent teeth, and trots it back to me, dumping it in my lap. Oh, god, it’s fun!

When it’s time to go for a walk I put a leash on Lindsey and out we go. After all he's been cooped up all day with no one to spout his ridiculous paranoid theories to. When we pass other climate change deniers out for a walk he pulls on his leash and barks gleefully at them “Climate change models are all unreliable,” and the others growl back:

“Right! There’s no valid correlation between rising temperatures and CO2 emissions,”


“So true, all we’re talking about are normal variations in world temperature,”


“Damn environmentalists out to get Trump, Gaetz, and all the rest of our glorious leaders!”

When Lindsey finds a desirable spot, he does his business, preferring highly littered areas around gas stations, dry cleaners, or any restaurant offering plastic straws. A gentle tug and we return home.

Later when I climb into bed Lindsey climbs in beside me, nuzzles up to me and murmurs:

“Humans aren’t causing climate change, Daddy. There's just no woof ... I mean proof."

Then Lindsey falls softly asleep at my side. And I get a warm and fuzzy feeling like nothing else you can imagine.

Do the right-wing diatribes become a bit annoying? Of course, but if you’re looking for a wonderful pet, I’d still recommend you consider a climate change denier. Where else could you find a faithful companion so gullible as to believe you and I are worthy of such unconditional love?

Then again maybe consider a dog. I hear they don’t have any opinions at all.


Lindsey  just loves his
 Vivek Ramaswamy Chew Toy