The Purfuit of Happineff

02Jun09

For several years, people have been telling me “You should blog.”

“Why the @#$% should I blog?” I’d reply.  I got a range of answers, including:

  • “You should write about instructional design and eLearning – as a way to market yourself.” 

My eyelids grow heavy just thinking about this – perhaps that blog would provide relief from insomnia.  Mainly though it sounds like unpaid work and I’ve got enough of that already!  Suffice it to say, this didn’t interest me in the least.

  • “You should write about wine… you know so much about it.”

Hmmm… I guess they think that I drink a lot or something.  Just what the world needs – another aspiring Robert Parker.  Anyway, my fellow Great Western Bank alumnus, Allen Meadows, set the bar pretty high with his burghound site http://www.burghound.com – it didn’t hurt that he was better connected and better capitalized either.

Nevertheless, I’ve decided to start the dorn blog.  My focus will be the things that I know better than anyone else on the planet – my observations, thoughts and experiences.

[Memo to self:  Investigate cost of outsourcing blog to ghostwriter in Bangalore]. 

I’m hoping to take a light, humorous approach.  I guess my readers (if any) will be the judge of that.

 So… why now?  I’m not exactly sure, but 2009 is the year when many of my friends are turning the Big Six-O (some would say the Big Six-Oh-No).  Perhaps that has put me in a philosophical frame of mind – specifically, I’ve been pondering that great American pastime – the Pursuit of Happiness.  However, whenever I see or hear that phrase I always think of a bit from Stan Freberg’s classic 1961 comedy album Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America: Volume One – The Early Years, which has been a favorite of mine since it came out.  In one sketch, Thomas Jefferson is trying to get Ben Franklin to sign the Declaration of Independence.  In the late 18thcentury, it was common to use a long “s” – which looks like a lowercase “f.”  As Franklin reads the document, he questions the phrase “Life, liberty and the purfuit of happineff.”

[here’s a link to a Real Audio clip of the bit] http://freberg.westnet.com/sounds/persuit.ra

I seem to recall acting out this bit in an assembly at Ross Grammar School.  It wasn’t until today, preparing to write this blog, that I looked at the actual Declaration of Independence.  As you can see…
 Declaration_Happineff

…it says “pursuit of Happinefs,” which isn’t nearly as funny.

So what can we learn from this? 

  • Don’t over analyze a joke.
  • As Carleton Young said to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Our founding fathers said we had an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.  Sadly, there’s no guarantee that we’ll catch up to it.

Perhaps this blog will help me – and you too, dear readers – to pursue and maybe even attain a little happiness.

Later…

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6 Responses to “The Purfuit of Happineff”

  1. 1 Deirdre Steinberg

    Hi Dorn: I’m so glad your are doing this. You always were an excellent and gifted writer with a wicked sense of the absurd. Remember, “Can’t get no FM, huh!” at Santa Cruz. You and Jon Campbell really put one over on me then. I look forward to reading more of these blog entries. Love, Deirdre

    • 2 m.j. dorn

      Thanks for the praise – “wicked sense of the absurd” sounds so much nicer than “dirty mind.”
      Technically, the song was “Can’t get no FM, huh?” – I think “Can’t get no FM, huh!” was by James Brown. BTW, were you aware that, after John Campbell’s father died, his mother became “close personal friends” with George Tyra?
      I spoke to John Campbell the same day that I posted the blog – it was his 60th birthday! Pete Klotz sent me his phone number on Facebook.
      Thanks to the internet, everyone from our past can now reconnect with us. By the way, didn’t I loan you 5 bucks back in 1970? With compound interest, it’s now worth more than General Motors.

  2. 3 JIm Laffan

    I take issue with everything you said! You’re not even 60 yet! How dare you leave wine reviews to a retired, rich asshole who has a button on his website that turns everything he says into French? Assassinez ce cochon odieux, instantanement! Give us those tips on marketing yourself– I can’t GIVE it away on Seventh Avenue! What’s your secret? Actually, I’m just an itinerant Asian voyeur trolling for online kiddie porn who arrived here by mistake because of the remarkable coincidence of your last name with a Laotian slang word for pudenda. Now that I’m your guest, are you interested in authentic Rolex watches or extending the length of your penis? May I share your web address with other foreign born nationals at my call center who might use your site to learn English or launch ninja attacks on the Pentagon webserver? Translate please: “@#$%” Are you pretty? I am awaiting to see more of you blogging soon! Love, Deirdre (already I am learning how to write in your language!)

    • 4 m.j. dorn

      Well, JIm, I take issue with you capitalizing the second letter of your first name – and don’t use Thomas Jefferson’s line from the Stan Freberg record: “It’s in.” If you have to tell me it’s in, it’s not in [that’s what she said].
      And don’t call Allen Meadows an asshole on my blog… Mai je besoin d’une faveur de lui un jour.
      As for tips on marketing yourself: If you can’t give it away on 7th Avenue, raise your price. I will walk before they make me run.
      Coincidentally, Laffan is remarkably similar to the Gaelic word for pettifogger.
      Actually, I was interested in extending the length of my knock off Rolex watches, but was told that if they lasted longer than 4 hours I would need to seek medical attention.
      For a complete translation of “@#$%” please call my 976 number.

  3. Outsourcing to Bangalore — what a concept!!! Did I mention that during my last (2 week-long) visit to the hospital in April, I had a bad reaction to a pneumonia vaccine, spiked a 105 fever and when asked if I knew where I was, I responded “Bangalore.” OK, it didn’t hurt my case any that the two nurses who asked that question were Indian! Seriously, great to see you are blogging. I find blogs much easier to deal with than Facebook (which I think sucks) or Twitter.


  1. 1 “I’m An Adult Now” — The Pursuit of Happiness « DJ MJD's Back Tracks

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