Around the Block catches up on the not so good news


April wasn’t a great news month for the country and the world. May is starting out just as bad!

It’s been a while since the last Around the Block. Over a month in fact since my last post on March 30. That post was called, “Cruising, Covid, and Trump being Trump.” ( I checked back and found I was particularly prolific in March:

And since then, silence, nothing, nada.

Some readers have actually asked why Around the Block hasn’t been around for a while; most probably haven’t noticed. I, of course, have been trying to figure out why I went from the productivity of March to the nothingness of April. 

Perhaps it was the fact that, as alluded to in that March 30 post, subtitled,” What I learned about America and Covid from a cruise vacation and its aftermath,” I tested positive for COVID on that cruise. And, although my symptoms were mild (flu-like), COVID, combined with the two other subjects I covered in that column, “Cruising” and “Trump being Trump,” seemed to have both sapped my energy and also my drive and desire. 

Is that it? Or is there something else?

Certainly, it’s not because there hasn’t been anything to opine about in the last month or so. I mean we’re watching, in real time, 24/7, a slaughter in Ukraine which we in the West can’t seem to stop without triggering even more tragic “unintended consequences.”

And, while Joe Biden was taken to task for calling Putin’s actions in Ukraine a “genocide”,* given what’s going on, I’m not going to join the “dancing on the head of a pin” crowd. Make no mistake, Putin is engaged in an illegal, outrageous, catastrophic slaughter of innocent people.

*(According the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the following do not fall into the category of genocide: crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and mass killing.)

Or, could it be that I decided to focus my attention on all my other writing projects, (which some might say are too many)? Not a chance; the number of projects I’m involved in now is virtually identical to the number in March.

Maybe it’s simply ennui? 

What is ennui anyway?

Is my lack of output due to any of those things?

Or is it simply this: With every day, in every way, both the world and America sink deeper into disrepair or, for some of us, despair. Whether it’s Ukraine, or COVID, or GOP deceitfulness and lack of shame, or climate change inaction or racism and anti-Semitism or…

And, although I write and I post and I opine and perhaps even try to come up with solutions to the world’s woes, the question is, “to what end.” Does anything I write make a difference? Or mean anything? Or promote change? Or is all this simply misguided, but ultimately, useless catharsis on my part. 

I wonder to whom am I speaking? A few hundred regular readers who agree with me most of time anyway? I reach more in my occasional Op-Eds in the Palm Beach Post but those columns are not regular enough to make a difference. And aren’t there enough professional commentators, smarter, more clever and with bigger audiences than I, making some of the same arguments? Am I simply “pissing into the wind?” (Which, of course, would be a more appropriate metaphor if my stream was stronger…but that’s another problem!)

By the time you read this, you’ll know that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v Wade after 49 years. We know that because a preliminary, scathing and disrespectful draft majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, was leaked last night. I’ll let those professional, smarter commentators I alluded to fill in the details, but the horror of this decision can be summed up in these three points:

  • Roe v Wade has been the law of the land for almost 50 years;
  • It is settled law that has been reaffirmed several times in those 50 years;
  • This will be the first time in history of the United States that citizens have been stripped of a Constitutional right.

The justices who will vote to overturn Roe…Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch (whose seat was decetifully and illegitimately stolen from Barack Obama and Merrick Garland by Mitch McConnell), Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett are all Republican presidential appointees. All but Thomas were appointed by presidents who acceded to the presidency without a majority of the electorate.

In making this ruling, SCOTUS has inserted the United States of America in this distinguished group of countries:

Think about that.

When you add the Constitutionally undemocratic Senate to the mix, the only takeaway is this: the great American experiment, the world’s oldest “democracy,” is being ruled by the minority. Hungarian Prime Minister, Victor Orban, must be thrilled as he welcomes the United States into his “illiberal democracy” club.

So, what does all this mean for Around the Block and me? I’m not sure. Perhaps I’ll need to rethink what I write about and how often I post. Perhaps I’ll return to Around the Block’s satirical “News with a Twist” roots. Perhaps I’ll spend more time on those other projects.

You’ll know as soon as I figure it out. 

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.

5 thoughts on “Around the Block catches up on the not so good news

  1. 1) Welcome back! And I was afraid you might have fallen (been pushed) overboard on the cruise.
    2) If you pee in the shower and forget about gravity, you can convince yourself you have a great stream.
    3) Not ennui, but depression. Any American who is not depressed is not paying attention.


    1. It does not matter who is listening. It matters that someone is listening. The thing is, these days, we cannot reach many of the people who NEED TO LISTEN, because they’ve all got bananas in their ears. (Or is it a male Trump culter body part?) I am a nobody, writing to fewer people than you can count on your hands and toes, and I have asked myself those same “why” questions. But I keep on writing, because one never knows when one will say the right thing at the right time to the right person for they’re mind to go click! We never know what it might be, or when this might happen, but it ihs always a possibility. And if you are not there saying it, “whatever “it” is, the opportunity will be lost. So I keep on writing, despite the despair and the misgivings. We may not even know when it happens. But it will happen, for all of us who try!


  2. Seems like you’ve got a lot on your mind regarding how you want to move forward with your blog. You’ll find your way.


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