Peter Paul Block

Petercam Shot Top Ten Reasons You're Here:
  1. We went to school together.
  2. You're interested in my music.
  3. You did an online search relating to one of my interest areas.
  4. You remember me from radio days.
  5. You're a relative doing genealogical research.
  6. You saw me on Facebook or Twitter.
  7. We served together in the Naval Security Group.
  8. You're looking for somebody else.
  9. Pure and total serendipity.
  10. You're investigating me for criminal prosecution.

Who Do I Think I Am?

I'm just your average American Aquarian vegetarian Libertarian panentheist autodidact INTJ single guy living up in the trees of Southern Oregon, managing my own kind of inquiry into the things that interest me.

I'm a singer-songwriter, a spinner of tales, a cat and dog lover, an avid hobbyist, and a sociable guy with latent hermit tendencies that have been emerging since I moved to the Pacific Northwest.

I strive to understand the things that fascinate me, to experience the things that compel me, to engage the things that challenge me, to contribute the things that validate me, and to be who I am now in the moment with earnest and joyful lucidity. I am here now. And I am aware of it. And it is good.

Then again, from the perspective of Alan Watts--which I consider at least as worthy as any other--I may have just described something that is nothing more than a consensus illusion that is called Peter Paul Block.

I am not my mind. My mind is trying to find me.

It was my mind that just said that. But it was talking about me.

My Video with the Reversible Song

Turn It Around -- This is something I dreamed up in 2010. It's a seven-minute philosophical training film. It's a YouTube video with no graphics and no color and 11,000 hits. It's a dare to myself that I won. I decided I would try to write a reversible song. That is, a song that means one thing in one direction and the opposite in the other direction. (Not to be pedantic about descriptions, but this is not a palindrome. A palindrome is identical in both directions. Which this isn't.) Then once I managed to pull that off, I gave it a non-reversible intro and outro to give it more meaning. That's how it's seven minutes long. That's me singing lead and playing guitar. This video won the 2010 Mensa Creative Urge Award for Video. (I also won Best Performer for "I'm Pretty Sure It's Our Last Date," which I sang to the tune of Floyd Cramer's "Last Date," and Best Singer-Songwriter for "Alien Rustlers," a comedy song about ETs and cattle.)

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Annual Sporting Event: The Reno Air Races
Annual Pseudo-Sporting Event: Flugtag
Webcam: The one on top of the America Plaza Building in San Diego that you can pan and zoom
Pet Field of Inquiry: Anomalous Properties of Pyramids
Joke: The one about the guy about to jump off the bridge...
Comedian/Comedienne: Vanda Mikoloski
Good Advice in a Small Package: The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian, Published by Pocket Classics
Philosophical Essay: Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Out of Print Book: The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang
Work of Metaphysical Speculation: Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch

TV Show (Broadcast): None
TV Show (Cable): Slings and Arrows
Entertainment Delivery System: Netflix
Male Radio Personality: John Ziegler
Female Radio Personality: April Winchell
Finger Food: Hummus and Veggies

Current Novelists: Scott Turow and Neal Stephenson
Recent Novel: Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
20th Century Novelist: Ernest Hemingway
Classic Novel: The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
Story of Genius: To Conquer the Air by James Tobin
Political Commentator: Shelby Steele
Features Writer: Kara Platoni
Club or Group: Mensa
Political Party: The Libertarian Party

Endangered (Dying) Communications Medium: Morse Code
Last Resort Communication Device: Pocketmail Composer
Gizmo I have: Tascam PocketStudio PS-5
Gizmo I covet: Pogo Radio YourWay LX
Controversial Research Scientist: Dr. Hulda Clark

American City other than San Diego: Portland, Oregon
City in the World: Heidelberg, Germany
Mexican Village: Tecate, Baja California
Poet of Technical Virtuosity: Edgar Allan Poe
Literary Commentary: Philosophy of Composition by Edgar Allan Poe
Love Poems: The Life That I Have by Leo Marks and Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
Poem by a Young American Hero: High Flight by John G. Magee, Jr.
Standards of Character: [If] by Rudyard Kipling

Modern Composers: John Barry, Maurice Jarre, and Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyricists: Paul Francis Webster and Stephen Sondheim
Film Critic: Roger Ebert
Transcendental Philosopher: Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lecturer/Guru: Alan Watts
Intellectual Babe: Ann Coulter
"Intellect Irrelevant" Babe: Jessica Biel
Comedy Actor: Jeffrey Tambor
Dramatic Actor: Benicio del Toro
Comedy Actress: Tea Leoni
Dramatic Actress: Jennifer Connelly
"B" Actor: Bruce Campbell

Classification Quizzes: The MBTI and The World's Smallest Political Quiz
Logical Conundrum to Unleash on Proselytizing Christians: Prayer Is a Waste of Time
Writing Guru: John Truby
Concise Writing Advice: From Ernest Hemingway
Verbose Writing Advice: From Norman Mailer
Some of My Writing Advice: Essays
Reasons For Not Eating Refined Sugar: These
Reasons For Not Eating Dairy: These
Diet for Getting Healthy: The Evo Diet
Wise Old Man: Wayne Green
Another Old Man, Possibly Wise, Maybe Just Twisted: Ralph Ren\E9
Weird Science: Eagle Research
Cool Catalog: Johnson Smith Company's Things You Never Knew Existed
Cautionary Tales About: Gmail, The Patriot Act, The War on Drugs, and Fluoride
My Favorite Martian: Michael Ellegion, space dude and spokesalien for the Galactic Overlords
Paradox Geek and Mind-Twister: Douglas Hofstadter
What I Would Say If Asked to Say Grace at a Meal: Something Secular Like This

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My Favorite Joke

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said "Stop! don't do it!"

"Why shouldn't I?" he said.

I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!"

He said, "Like what?"

I said, "Well... are you religious or atheist?"

He said, "Religious."

I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?"

He said, "Christian."

I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"

He said, "Protestant."

I said, "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"

He said, "Baptist!"

I said, "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

He said, "Baptist Church of God!"

I said, "Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!"

I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God Reformation of 1915?"

He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God Reformation of 1915!"

I said, "Die, heretic scum," and pushed him off.

--Emo Phillips

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My Music

I've been writing songs for 30 years, but they've only gotten any good in the past five years. I think that's mostly because I've stopped expecting it to be easy. I now understand and accept that writing a decent song is hard work. I have more discipline as a craftsman than I did when I started.

Stylistically, my music tends to fall in the range of pop, folk, and country. I keep revisiting the mannerisms of the country idiom, even though few of my songs could ever be played on country radio. They don't align with the prescribed sensibilities of country music. There are only a few things a country song can be about and only a few things you can try to make the listener feel about the subject matter. If you're off the reservation, it ain't a country song--even if it's played like one. A good example of this is my song "Alien Rustlers."

It sounds country instrumentally, but the lyrics disqualify it for country playlist consideration. Cattle mutilation by extraterrestrials is too weird for the average country music listener to embrace. Even country music fans who listen to Coast to Coast AM would see it as a country music parody.

But I'm quite influenced by some kinds of country music. As an exercise I wrote lyrics for Floyd Cramer's "Last Date" and sang them over Floyd's famous instrumental recording. The result was this recording of "I'm Pretty Sure It's Our Last Date," a demo just for demonstration purposes (since I don't have permission to use the melody commercially). And here is my best attempt to sound like a cattle rancher more than a little pissed off at the ETs thinning his herd. It's called "Alien Rustlers."

As well as writing songs that may one day appear on my own album, I'm also experimenting with new kinds of choral music thanks to my partnership with Posse Cogitatus, a rural male vocal ensemble that has been performing some of my songs and providing harmony vocals on some of my recordings. They perform in my video "Turn It Around," which won Best Video in the 2010 Creative Urge Awards. Here is a recording of Posse Cogitatus performing my song "Pamela Hall," which is about terror in the dentist chair--or a meditation on the thin line between fear and infatuation, phobia and fixation, courage and good strong painkillers.

Go to SongRamp

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Radio Days

When I was 14, I lived near KOWN 1450 AM, a radio station in a shopping mall in Escondido, California. The on-air studio was glassed-in on the mall. I spent hours with my nose pressed against the glass watching the deejays. And that was how I fell in love with radio.

There was a young air personality at KOWN who I especially enjoyed. His air name was Jerry Peterson. He was incredibly good at talking up intros and sounding like he was having fun and everything was effortless. I could tell from watching him through the glass that it wasn't easy, that he must have worked hard to get so good. He looked like he was about 16 years old. I wanted to be him.

He is now Gene Knight, one of the legends of West Coast radio. After some amazing years at some of the most celebrated rock stations in San Diego, Gene is now on the air weekday afternoons at KYXY 96.5.

In 1990, when he was doing mid-days at B100, I had the privilege of meeting Gene and telling him what an inspiration he was to me.

Here's a quick summary of my on-air radio career.

Period Station Frequency Location Air Name Format
Oct '80 - Aug '81 KBOO 90.7 MHz FM Portland, OR Peter Block Alternative
Aug '81 - Jun '82 KRKT 99.9 MHz FM Albany, OR Jerry Barnett Country
Jun '82 - Oct '82 KERR 750 kHz AM Polson, MT Jerry Barnett Country
Oct '82 - Apr '83 KRKT 99.9 MHz FM Albany, OR Jerry Barnett Country
Jul '83 - Jul '84 KUKI 1400 kHz AM Ukiah, CA Peter Block AC*
Aug '84 - Dec '85 KZST 100.1 MHz FM Santa Rosa, CA Peter Block AC
Dec '85 - Dec '86 KREO 92.9 MHz FM Healdsburg, CA Peter Block Top 40
Jan '87 - Mar '95 KZST 100.1 MHz FM Santa Rosa, CA Peter Block AC
Aug '89 - Oct '89 KEZR 106.5 MHz FM San Jose, CA Peter Block AC
Jan '97 - Jul '97 KFGY 92.9 MHz FM Santa Rosa, CA Splash Gordon Country

(*AC = Adult Contemporary)

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Other Peter Blocks

I'm not Peter Block the Cardiologist in Atlanta.

I'm not Peter Block the Film Executive in Los Angeles.

I'm not Peter Block the Management Consultant in Cincinnati.

I'm not Peter Block the Chiropractor in San Jose.

I'm not Peter Block the Flautist.

I'm not Peter Block the Failed Actor.

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Writing Advice

From Norman Mailer

"I think it's bad to talk about one's present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension."

From Ernest Hemingway

"If you talk about it, you lose it."

From Me

Writers Write. Others Don't.

You're in the Wrong Workshop!

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Secular Mealtime Affirmation

Before me is my most vital link to the good Earth. As my mind seeks truth and my body craves sustenance in the fruits of the field, let me continue in the ebb and flow of nature's silent wise exchanges with reverence for the rewards of others' labor and with appreciation for my privileged place in the circle of generosity.

Let this food, through me, find a fine and fitting purpose. Let me serve as brave crucible of all that is worthy within me and as glad curator of all that is beautiful and good around me. Let me take this food with gratitude for the gift and with awareness of the result, by my thoughts and actions, of its power and meaning.

I accept this food from its source; I return what I can in the ways that I can. As this meal honors me with another day of living, with health, and with pleasure, I now honor this meal humbly with complete acceptance of its blessing.

--Peter Paul Block

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