‘Around the Block’ channels Rip van Winkle


Can my “Dream that not is a Nightmare” come true?

I have this recurring dream. It is a dream, not a nightmare. In fact, it is absolutely the antithesis of a nightmare. It is a happy dream where everything turns out alright, almost everybody is pleased and most people live happily ever after. Except the bad guy and his ilk. (Yes, even though this is a happy dream, not a nightmare, there is a bad guy in it.) And, because it is a happy dream, the bad guy meets his end while, as I said, everyone else lives happily ever after.

So, you ask, “What is this happy dream? Get on with it,” you say. “The suspense is killing us. And, given what’s going on now, we could really use a ‘happily ever after’ story.”

Bowing to pressure, and recognizing that, like blurting out a wish before blowing out birthday candles, revealing the dream might mean it won’t come true, I’ll still let you in on it.

The “Dream that is not a Nightmare” doesn’t appear every night. But it does come on the nights when I go to bed after a healthy dose of NyQuil (the kind with alcohol; I’ll never understand why anyone would take the alcohol-free version.)

During those NyQuil-induced sleeps, the dream reveals itself within minutes of my closing of my eyes. (I actually don’t really know if it occurs within minutes; I’m sleeping, after all. But it sounds good).

In my dream when I open my eyes after my fitful sleep (NyQuil helps you go to sleep – it doesn’t necessarily make that sleep completely peaceful), it is Friday, October 30, 2020, a mere four days before the Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. By waking up on the Friday before the election in my dream, I’ll have plenty of time to to cast, and have counted, my Florida absentee ballot and my vote for Joe Biden. But because I’ve been asleep for almost four months, there will have been a whole lot that I missed. And thankfully so. (In my dream, when I awake, I will not have missed everything, alas; the coronavirus pandemic will still be with us since Trump and his toadies were in charge all that time.) But, thankfully, I will have missed all the other bad stuff.

  • I will have missed the machinations of Republican, red-state governors, exemplified by my own governor, Ron (“What Me Worry?”) DeSantis as they do Trump’s bidding, no matter how misguided it is, and, in so doing, botch the handling of the pandemic in their states, actually overseeing its spread.
  • I will have missed Trump’s and his cronies’ vilification of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most trusted man in America regarding infectious diseases, in a fools errand attempt to show the President speaks truths while Fauci lies and makes mistakes. In fact, if my dream had morphed into reality just two days ago, I would have missed U.S. Trade Advisor Peter Navarro’s particularly poorly written Op-Ed on Fauci’s ineptitude, an Op-Ed written for no apparent reason given Navarro’s position within the administration. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/todaysdebate/2020/07/14/anthony-fauci-wrong-with-me-peter-navarro-editorials-debates/5439374002/
  • I will have missed White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s daily press “briefings.” The same Kayleigh McEnany (there couldn’t be another one, could there be?) who, when she took the job pledged never to lie to the press corps saying, “I will never lie to you. You have my word on that,” and then went out and lied through her teeth each and every day.
  • I will have missed the Trump children continuing to abuse their positions, saying and doing things so outrageous, but with such frequency and audacity, that we’ve become inured to their actions…including this one, when just yesterday, Ivanka Trump, Presidential adviser and first daughter, posted a photo of herself on social media holding up a can of Goya black beans (the owner of Goya opined, “We’re all truly blessed to have a leader like President Trump…” – I guess he’s in that 33% saying Trump is doing a good job handling the pandemic). Ivanka’s actions prompted concerns that she was using her government position to endorse a private business in violation of Federal ethics laws that prevent federal employees from using their positions “to endorse any product, service or enterprise.”
    • “You’re about to get dinged for a violation of ethics rules that apply to you as a White House staffer,” Liz Mair, a Republican political consultant, tweeted.
    • Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. attorney in Alabama, also weighed in, tweeting: “You’re kidding me, right? No ethics left in this White House on issues big or small.
    • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), responded in Spanish, writing on Twitter: “If it’s Trump, it has to be corrupt.”
  • But most of all I’ll have missed hearing Donald Trump!

I will have missed Trump’s over 60-minute press briefing cum political rally speech and overall incoherent rant, delivered in the Rose Garden yesterday afternoon.

(In case my dream became yours and you slept through Trump’s “performance,” here are some cogent take-aways courtesy of Peter Baker of the New York Times):

What followed instead was an hour of presidential stream of consciousness as Mr. Trump drifted seemingly at random from one topic to another, often in the same run-on sentence. Even for a president who rarely sticks to the script and wanders from thought to thought, it was one of the most rambling performances of his presidency.

He weighed in on China and the coronavirus and the Paris climate change accord and crumbling highways. And then China again and military spending and then China again and then the coronavirus again. And the economy and energy taxes and trade with Europe and illegal immigration and his friendship with Mexico’s president. And the coronavirus again and then immigration again and crime in Chicago and the death penalty and back to climate change and education and historical statues. And more.

“’We could go on for days,’ he said at one point, and it sounded plausible.

At times, it was hard to understand what he meant. He seemed to suggest that his presumptive Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., would get rid of windows if elected and later said that Mr. Biden would ‘abolish the suburbs.’ He complained that Mr. Biden had ‘gone so far right.’ (He meant left.)

Even for those who follow Mr. Trump regularly and understand his shorthand, it became challenging to follow his train of thought.

OK, you’ve got the picture. But what does my dream reveal when I awake on October 30, 2020 with all this stuff, thankfully, behind me?

Here’s what. In my dream I’d have mailed in my ballot. I’d have gone out and bought one bottle of Macallan 12 Year Double Cask (for it’s smoothness and character) and one bottle of Johnnie Walker Double Black (for it’s assertive smokiness). I’d have imbibed a “wee dram” of each for the next four days and then, on November 2, 2020 I’d have sat down in front of my largest screen TV, turned on Fox News and watched the election results while relishing how Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Jeanine Pirro and the other gang of fools squirmed and lied and impugned the election as they tried to put a spin on a Biden landslide and a Democratic tsunami.

Now that’s a dream worth sleeping four months for! After all, if Rip van Winkle could sleep for forty years and miss the entire American Revolution, I can sleep four months and miss the remainder of the Trump convolution.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

6 thoughts on “‘Around the Block’ channels Rip van Winkle

  1. Very good Rip…uh, I mean Teddy.

    My only critique of your ‘Commentary’ is rather than your choice of Macallan 12 Year Double Cask, I’d go for their 18 or 25 year old offerings…under the anticipated circumstances, certainly worth the price. 😉 …and a wee dram might just turn into an evening’s event. I’m in!

    Ya gots to know what’s important. O:-)


    1. I knew I should have consulted you before I posted. You’re in; I’m in. Where and when? And don’t tell me Zoom! Faltig, genug, enough, with Zoom already!


      1. No, no, no…I’m with on the ‘Zoom thing”, especially as many of those using it (even businesses and organizations), don’t really have a clue bout how to use it properly, maximize its impact…and BTW, how did ‘Skype’ miss this boat? They were (among) the first. Sheesh. Guess that would fall into the category of strategy, marketing and scaling.

        As we move toward The New Abnormal…The New Normal…The Next Normal, it’s impossible to pinpoint the ‘where and when’…and I’m keeping an eye out (nothing personal 😉 ) for opportunities. We’ll figure it out. Still thinking / planning our ‘Avventura Siciliano’, and don’t know exactly how it will unfold. Need to deal with that ‘passport thing’, finding the ‘exceptions to the rule’…there always are some.

        Meantime, keep posting those good words and thoughts. As Werner Erhardt said when someone accused ‘est’ of being “just semantics”…”Well we have semantics, or we have nothing.”

        Ciao bambino,


      2. Skype/Microsoft I can kind of understand as Skype was always awkward. It’s Google that surprises me. Months after Zoom became the new age “Kleenex” they decided to expand “Google Meet” from a biz only to a consumer thing. So tell me, when was your last “Google Meet” call.

        Avventura Siciliano sounds great. Sharon (and my 2 daughters) now have Polish passports (long story) which gives them complete EU privileges. If Trump is reelected, we’re moving to Portugal…cheap, friendly, most people speak English and the wine is superb. Maybe we can meet in-between — Corsica? Sardinia?

        Ciao, bambino — or as we say in Porto, Olá criança.


      3. As Zoom (I believe) is still an independent (although publicly owned) company, I can imagine that Google will offer them significantly more than its market value, and subsume it into their fold. It’s their general strategery 😉 Easy peasy.

        Need to update my write-up of ‘Avventura Siciliano’, taking into account what the specifics of ‘The Next Normal’ will be…and I’ll do that as soon as I have a clue about that.

        Never been to Portugal…want to go. For all of my time in Italy, I’d never been to Sicilia before February…want my next adventure to be someplace I’d never been. The year prior, had a look around Puglia. Not quite the right place.

        Had also considered Portugal as a possibility…so will be happy to meet up there, or anyplace ‘in between’ So many places, such little…uh…well, I guess as much time as we have. Want to make it all count. ‘Quarantining’ ain’t helping all that much. 🙂

        Ciao ragazzo.


  2. Hi Ted:

    We both read the same “failing” NYT and I also read Peter Baker’s article. I, too, “missed” that rambling dementia -filled display in the RG by choice. My current diversion is binge -watching 6 seasons of Madam Secretary on Netflix. Interestingly, last night’s episode from Season 5 was on a measles pandemic. The TV administration rose up to the crisis as you would expect. Now I think I’ll pop a couple of Tylenol PM tonight and most nights till November 3.


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