After an 8-month absence, Jack Goldenberg returns with a new edition of his world-famous blog, 10 Minutes of Brilliance. The current blog features all the ingenuity and irreverence that captured the attention of over 20,000 loyal Readers in 2017. (Well, 20,000 before we shut down. Who knows how many are left?)
Today’s blog covers: 1. The Return of Stan and Harriet 2. 10 People Donald Trump Has Not Insulted 3. How Goldenberg Got his iPad Back from the Thief Who Stole It 4. The Brilliance of Simplicity 5. Look What Happened When You Weren’t Paying Attention 6. Five-Part Art Appreciation Course 7. Irony 8. A Final Few Words about Brevity
STAN: Hi Readers, I’m Jack Goldenberg. Welcome back to my stupid, boring blog. Oh, and did I tell you Readers that you suck?
HARRIET: Stan, why are you saying such terrible things and pretending to be Jack?
STAN: (WHISPERS TO HARRIET) Shhhh. Quiet, Harriet. I’m workin’ here.
(STAN RESUMES HIS NORMAL VOICE) Where was I? Oh, yeah. Hi Readers, I’m Jack Goldenberg. And you’re reading my boring, repetitive and redundant blog. Did I mention it’s also stupid?
HARRIET: But you’re not Jack. You’re Stan, Stan.
STAN: Ignore the little lady. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
HARRIET: It’s no use, Stan. Everyone knows you’re not Jack. All they have to do is look in the margin. It clearly says you’re Stan. Look. Over here to the left.
STAN LOOKS IN THE MARGIN AND NOTICES HIS NAME IS THERE.
STAN: Oh, damn. I see what you mean.
HARRIET: Besides, this is a terrible time to make fun of Jack. He needs to welcome all his former Readers back. He hasn’t written 10 Minutes of Brilliance in 8 months.
STAN: Eight months huh?. That’s exactly how long I’ve been away.
HARRIET: Well, of course, Stan. You couldn’t appear here without Jack’s help. Remember? You’re imaginary. Jack writes everything you say.
STAN: OK, Harriet, I’m going to tell you this one last time…
HARRIET: I doubt that…
STAN: Here goes. Listen carefully. Jack is imaginary. I am real. And I can prove it to you. I’m here now and Jack isn’t.
HARRIET: I’m not convinced. We’re both just virtual creatures created in Jack’s fertile mind.
STAN: Do I have a fertile mind?
HARRIET: Well, in a way. You are full of….Oh, never mind.
STAN: And stop telling me I’m not real. I’m as real as the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Donald Trump’s heart. And brain.
HARRIET: I can go along with that.
SFX: COMPUTER KEYS BEING HIT.
STAN: Hey, what’s that noise?
HARRIET: Sounds like Jack’s working on a new blog. Better scram, Stan. If Jack catches you here, he’s liable to write you right outta the blog.
STAN: I’m blowin’ this pop stand, Harriet. See you later. When he’s gone.
STAN RUSHES OFF THE BLOG JUST AS JACK ARRIVES.
10 People Donald Trump Has Not Insulted
The list of people, organizations, and countries Donald Trump has insulted is large and ever-growing. Just top of mind, and not counting individuals, this list includes women, Mexicans, the press, the judiciary, Gold Star parents, the Pope, the FBI, CIA and our complete intelligence community, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, NFL players, Africa, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and immigrants not from Norway.
But surely there are people Trump hasn’t insulted. Yet! Here’s the short list of people Donald Trump has yet to disrespect:
- Mother Teresa, Saint
- Vladimir Putin, beefcake and formerly head of the KGB
- The Marx Brothers, Karl and Groucho
- Vlad the Impaler, impaler
- Johnny Appleseed, folk hero and tree hugger
- Spongebob Squarepants
- A guy in Belgium
- David Duke, Imperial Wizard
- His family
- Uncle Ben, Rice Maker
Here’s How I Got My iPad Back from the Thief Who Stole It
Maybe I was good in a previous life. Or maybe I’m just lucky. But for all the potentially negative things that could happen to me and somehow seem to turn out right, I’m convinced I’m protected by angels. There’s no other way to explain how I got my iPad back from the thief who stole it.
STAN: OK. Here it comes, Harriet Another lie. Another story Goldenschnauzer will stretch beyond exaggeration. Sorry, Harriet, but I doubt Goldenheimer is protected by angels. It’s just another one of his “Liar. Liar. Pants on Fire.” stories that probably never happened.
HARRIET: Actually, Stan, it did happen. And if you can shut your pie hole for a minute, you may be a believer, too.
Everyone has their share of ups and downs. Good days and bad ones. And I’m no different. But on so many occasions, even when things go wrong for me, they have a way of working themselves out.
When I was younger, I lost my wallet five times, but always got it back. With my credit cards and credit still intact. Once I left it in a NYC taxi cab and got it back with my three twenty dollar bills still inside it.
Sometimes, when I’m in Starbucks, I plop my coat down on a comfy chair to reserve it until I return with coffee. But I take my iPad with me when I order. I know some people think Starbucks is a gentrified place only frequented by upright caffeinated people. But I always remember the most pilfered book in the world is the Bible. So its best to be careful.
One day last month, I forgot my iPad was under my coat when I went to order. I didn’t realize it was missing until I got home. No worries. I was sure someone would find it and turn it in. But just to be safe, I used a Find My iPhone app to locate it. That’s weird. Apparently my iPad was now in a beauty salon a few stores down from Starbucks. I drove back to the salon to retrieve it, but it wasn’t there.
In fact, according to my trusty app, my iPad was now in a pizza parlor ten miles down the street. I was pretty sure I’d never see it again.
Next morning, I got a text from Verizon saying I had gone way over my 2 Gb data limit. Apparently, they said, I’d been streaming video for 12 straight hours. Without using wi-fi.
God knows what the thief who took my iPad was watching for 12 straight hours, but if wasn’t CNN, he was probably dead by now.
That afternoon, I got an email from someone at a car dealership who said he mysteriously found my iPad in his office . Unfortunately, I saw the email too late to reach the guy at the dealership. No problem. I’d call him in the morning. At this point, I figured he was my angel. Story closed.
No so fast. The next morning when I reached the man who’d found my iPad, he was terribly apologetic. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “God, I can’t believe what I did!”
“What’ja do,” I asked.
“I gave away your iPad.”
“What? Why would you do that?” I wanted to know.
He explained, “Yesterday, I interviewed a guy for a job at my dealership and after the interview, the guy came back two hours later. So I asked him, ” Michael, what are doing back here?”
“Oh,” said Michael, “I came back to pick up my iPad. I left it here.”
“At first I insisted, it couldn’t be his,” the car dealer’s Sales Manager said. “I traced it to a man named Jack Goldenberg.”
STAN: Did he mean Goldman?
HARRIET: No Stan, his name is still Goldenberg.
“I know. I know,” said the thief. “Jack’s my best friend. He loaned it to me. I’m so glad you found it. Jack would have been pissed if I lost it.”
“And so, mistakenly,” the Sales Manager said, “I gave it to him. I’m so sorry I did that.”
At this point it was a weird turn of events.What were the odds of a guy stealing an iPad, leaving it on a job interview, then coming back to retrieve it?
Give up? OK, I’ll tell you. 43,347 to 1. Although I’m sure the odds are a lot better if you have angels on your side.
“Do you happen to have his phone number and address?” I asked the Sales Manager.
“Sure. He was here for a job interview. I have all that. His name is Michael, but his friends call him Mikey.” Then he gave me his cell phone number.
I wasn’t sure what to do next. Should I rat on Mikey and call the police? Nah, too drastic.
Should I ring his doorbell and confront him? Nope, too dangerous.
So instead, I called him early the next morning. I was pretty sure I woke him up. “Mikey, hi, this Jack Goldenberg. (The fact I knew his nickname must have startled him!) You’re my angel, Mikey (you little thief). I understand you found my iPad. Thank you so much for being such a good Samaritan.”
“So glad I could help out,” Mikey said. “Would you like to come to my house to pick it up?” Right! And be shot dead when he answered the door? No way.
Next he coaxed me with another offer. “There’s a bar right around the corner from my house. We could meet there.” Sure, then his friends could beat me up and take my iPhone, too.
So instead, we agreed to meet at a McDonald’s in my neighborhood. When I left my house to meet him, my wife asked me where I was going. “I can’t tell you,” I said, “but if I don’t come back, you’re gonna need a new iPad.”
Anyway, long story even longer. I got my iPad back from the thief who stole it. To this day, I bet he still wonders how I tracked him down. Guess he never heard of angels.
The Brilliance of Simplicity: Alfred, Lord Tennyson Proves “Less is More.”
Everyone has heard the expression “Less is More.” It’s true in many circumstances, but especially when communicating. My favorite example of “Less is More” comes from the great English poet, Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Tennyson never said the words, “Less is More,” but he exemplified them. The story of Lord Tennyson’s college exam brilliantly demonstrates the importance of brevity. I’ve blogged about this story before, but it’s worth hearing again.
If you’re one of my regular Readers–Mike, Robin, Bingo, Ross, Robin, David, Barry, Lesley, Jeff, Geoff, Ernie, Julz, Lisbeth, Annie, Liz, Flynn, Yuri, John, Victoria, Tommy, Susan, Patricia, Debbie, Jay–please skip this part and go onto the next piece.
STAN: Sure it’s worth hearing again. But the real reason is Goldman just doesn’t feel like writing anything new here. I’m tellin’ you, Harriet. Goldfarb’s nothing but a lazy, no-good bum.
HARRIET: You mean Goldenberg, Stan Jack Goldenberg.
STAN: Yeah, he’s a lazy, no-good bum, too.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. The story takes place when the nineteenth century Victorian poet was only 16 years old. Tennyson was in his sophomore year at Cambridge University and he was taking one of the University’s toughest courses, comparative religions.
His final exam was a long, grueling affair, a 6-hour ordeal with only one essay question on it. Tennyson’s professor handed out the exam booklets and announced the question.
“The Bible says Jesus turned water into wine,” the professor said. “Please explain in detail how he did it.”
“You have six hours to answer that question as completely as possible,” said the professor looking at his pocket watch. “Begin now.”
Eleven of the 12 students opened their exam booklets and began feverishly answering the question. The 12th student, Alfred Tennyson, sat there with his exam booklet and both eyes closed.
“Five hours to go,” the professor announced about an hour into the exam. “Keep writing.” Eleven of the students picked up speed and wrote faster and faster, completing their first booklet and now writing in a second. Tennyson just sat there with his exam booklet closed.
As every hour went by, the assembled students wrote so much, their hands hurt. Many of them filled up 3 or 4 booklets explaining how Jesus turned water into wine. Still, Tennyson just sat there.
“One half an hour to go,” the professor announced. “Start to finish up, class.” He glanced over at Alfred Tennyson. He still hadn’t picked up his pencil. The professor couldn’t understand why Tennyson hadn’t written anything in his exam booklet. He was supposed to be a brilliant student. Was he so stumped by this question that he couldn’t think of anything to write?
“One minute to go,” said the professor said, as he gave a cold hard stare to young Tennyson.
Finally, Tennyson opened his exam booklet for the first time.
“Thirty seconds. Time’s almost up.”
Tennyson picked up his pencil and started to write. There was barely enough time to write one sentence. But that’s all he needed.
“Time’s up! Hand in your booklets,” the professor admonished his class.
All 12 students, including Tennyson, handed in their exams. When the grades were awarded one week later, most ranged from a B minus to B+ Only one student, Alfred Tennyson, aced the exam, and got an A for his efforts.
When he was asked how to explain the miracle of how Christ turned water into wine, Tennyson’s one sentence reply was simply, “The water met its Master and blushed.”
Look What Happened When You Weren’t Paying Attention
You must not have been paying attention. Recently, when you looked away from Life In Front of You, something very unusual happened. They changed the meaning of several words. As a public service, here is the new meaning of:
1. Coffee (n.), The person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), Appalled over how much weight you’ve gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Negligent (adj.), Describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
5. Gargoyle (n), Olive-flavored mouthwash.
6. Flatulence (n.) Emergency vehicle that picks you up after you’re run over by a steamroller.
7. Pokemon (n), A Rastafarian proctologist.
8. Oyster (n.), A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish words.
9. Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
10. Circumvent (n.), An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
5-Part Art Appreciation Course
As a 10 Minutes of Brilliance Reader you are, quite literally, Brilliant! Why else would you hang around here? But along with having an exceptional mind and insatiable curiosity, you understand that increasing one’s knowledge is a never ending process. It continues right up until the day you die. And possibly up to three weeks after that!
To satisfy my Readers thirst for knowledge, we’re proud to present this 5-part, condensed Art Appreciation Course.
Brevity Revisited: Less is still More.
I just saw a headline that tells a unique and magical story about a Girl Scout and her Girl Scout cookie sales. The 11-word headline is so powerful, you don’t need to read the whole story to appreciate what happened in its entirety. You can just see it in your mind. In the interest of brevity and proving that Less is More, here’s all you need to know.
The headline reads:
Girl Scout sells 300 boxes of cookies outside California marijuana dispensary
That little girl was one smart cookie.
Now say goodnight, Stan.
STAN: Goodnight, Stan. Goodnight, Harriet. Good night, Golberg.