Thursday, February 20, 2020

Brother, do you even attempt to raise heavy objects against the force of gravity?

Next week begins the NFL Combine. It also kicks off the NFL Network's "What-The-Hell-Do-We-Air-For-6-Months?" Season.

Faithful readers of this blog might remember that I purchased a complete 275 lbs. free weight set from an unnamed Hollywood big shot about about 7 months ago -- (whispering) Steve Levitan, a former copywriter who has done significantly better than me, or anybody I even remotely know.

Because of his many multi-million dollar film and TV projects, Steve didn't have time to work the weights.

I'm not burdened by any such nonsense, so I bought the hardly used rubber-coated set from him. Suffice to say, the work has been done and my preparations are complete.

I gave myself a unique goal. I made it my mission, and in retrospect I should have had this sponsored by Advil, to bench press more than the lowest ranked athlete at this year's NFL Combine.

Those of you familiar with the NFL Combine, know that rookies from college attend and compete in a number of skill set competitions, including the 40 yard dash, the Vertical Jump and as a measure of strength and stamina, the 225 lbs. Bench Press.

I'm slow. Can't jump. And I'm 44 years of age. So I chose the Bench.

The task is simple.

The players rack up 4 plates. And the NFL prospect goes about bench pressing as many reps as possible. As you might expect, some of the behemoth lineman can throw that weight up 40-50 times. The more spindly players are in the single digits. My territory.

A couple of years ago, an unknown running back, who is now managing an airport Cinnabon in Des Moines, was only able to eek out 4 reps. I can do 4 reps on a two cups of coffee.

In 2018, two players embarrassed themselves with 5 reps.

If there's a Metallica song on Pandora or I've had a fight with my wife, that's a cinch.

By the way, those two weaklings never took a snap in the NFL.

But when Christian McCaffrey, a Stanford graduate, went to the combine in 2017, he managed 10 reps. And he is a starting running back on what once was a premier competitive team. Last time I checked McCaffrey made $3 million a year. Christian is 5'11 and weighs 205. I'm a little shorter and have him by 10-15 lbs, depending on my intake of bourbon.

Suffice to say muscle mass looks a little different on him than it does on me.

Next week, I will be watching intently. Particularly the benching competition. I will match or beat the lowest score. And then, after repeated viewings of a Captain Ouchie Foot press briefing, topped by a reading of his daily tweets, I will make a beeline to my garage and anger-lift 225 lbs. ten times.

Beating a 23 year old NFL superstar who is almost half my age.

Then I will come back inside and inform my wife.

She will yawn, like you, and ask me to take out the garbage.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Book Review Part II

As the author of four very non-bestselling books it hardly makes sense for me to be out there pimping a book by two very well paid and respected authors. But as a very wise man, or wise woman, you never know with these well-worn maxims, once said, "A principle isn't a principle until it costs something." 

The principle here is that this book is a must read.

And so here I am, suggesting you part with $14.95 for this exhaustive compilation of Colonel Fuckknuckle stories that paint the picture of a very not stable genius, a "man/baby" who is one temper tantrum away from incinerating all of humanity and reducing our collective existence to a few trillion particles of space dust.

And that is no hyperbole.

Chances are you are familiar with many of the tales. Unless you're a Breitbart or Fox News aficionado, in which case you are more interested in the Christmas decorations created by our multilingual, Einstein-blessed first lady, Melanoma Trump.

But the authors, Rucker and Leonnig, paint an excruciatingly detailed look at these very troubling incidents. The three that stand out for me and demand your immediate attention are:

1. The Tank

2. The Pearl Harbor Visit

3. The Kirstjen Nielsen Imbrigolio

I was going to take the time to provide telling excerpts from the book to make my points. Then I remembered no one reads my political posts. And no one is paying for this. And those Harry's House of Catheter banner ads won't write themselves.

So, no. You'll have to do your own reading and your own research.

But there's a larger point to be had here.You see the authors are both Pulitzer Prize winners. Meaning they have that rarest commodity -- credibility.

And while Captain Ouchie Foot may use the bully pulpit to shout "FAKE NEWS, FOLKS" as he has done with all the other books that have documented the Pennsylvania Ave Shit Show. Not one of the associates named in this, or any other book, have cried foul.

Not one.

You would think that if any of them would have been misquoted or misattributed they would have booked a sofa spot on Fox & Friends and set the nation straight. But not one has, including:


I could list twenty more names but then I would be revealing my embarrassing familiarity with all things Trump and fuel the fire of my critics who claim I am suffering from TDS.

And perhaps I am.

But I am convinced the fate of our Republic now stands at DefCon1.

Furthermore, I believe after reading this book you will be convinced as well.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Advertising is back

Odd as it may seem, particularly when you consider the somewhat skeptical source, me, I believe the advertising industry is on its way back.

Indeed, we are witnessing its rebirth, in real time, right before our weary, let's-get-this-next-election-over-with eyes.

Of course I am referring to the meteoric rise of Mike Bloomberg.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist or even a very stable genius to see that his skyrocketing brand recognition does not stem from his charismatic personality. Or his youthful vim and vigor. Or his stunning Aiden Brody good looks (why hasn't my big aquiline nose worked the same magic for me as it has for Mr. Brody?)

What has put Mr. Bloomberg on the map and what might put Mr. Bloomberg in the big chair at the Resolute Desk, after they steam clean it to wash away the immoral, craven residue of the previous user, is nothing less than advertising.

Driven in large part by TV advertising.
TV commercials, in all their glorious intervals, 60's, 30s and even 15s.

And if I may indulge in a little professional pandering, brilliant tv commercials, spearheaded by Hawkfish and a colleague and one time employer (freelance), Mr. William Gelner.

Have you seen the spots?

Of course you've seen the spots.

Thanks to another rebirth, the large TV media buy.

The campaign for Michael Bloomberg is inescapable. I see the commercials more often than I see the Pepto Bismettes singing "Heartburn, Nausea, Indigestion, Upset Stomach, Diarrhea."

The brilliance of the campaign is its laser focus on ousting our current slow-witted dictator. And, more strategically, how they have taken the words and actions of Captain Ouchie Foot and turned them on themselves.

This for example.

Moreover, Mr. Gelner and his team of skilled copywriters and art directors have barely scraped the fecal iceberg. The truth is, Grandpa Ramblemouth has been writing and working on the Bloomberg campaign for the past 3 &1/2 years.

Tweeting, speaking, and rambling on in incomplete sentences that prove beyond a shadow of doubt that he is monumentally unfit for office. Take my unpublished contribution for another example.

Additionally, the massive TV campaign has been augmented with an omnipresent footprint in social media. This, kids, is how you create synergy.

When Bloomberg ads show up in my FB or Twitter feed, they resonate. Not because some data mining kid named Quinn is spouting some bullshit about microtargeting and personalized messaging, but because these ads sit on the big broad shoulders of T-E-L-E-V-I-S-I-O-N.

Say it with me.

Should the campaign require any additional help, I am standing by at the keyboard. In fact I've already got the first line to 50 new TV commercials ready at the wait:


Thursday, February 13, 2020

A little Q & A

If you've ever stepped foot in Trump World, as I often do to tangle with the troglodytes and Red Hat Neanderthals, you know there's something called Qanon.

Or Q.

Or just brainless miscreants who think they've got the whole thing figured out.

They don't.

In case you didn't know these are the same Mensas who cooked up the PizzaGate "scandal". Including wild tales of Hillary-inspired pedophilia that took place in the basement of the pizza parlor that doesn't even have a basement.

These people are architecturally-challenged.

Moreover they seem to be obsessed with pedophilia, child pornography and human trafficking. As if those were the worst attributes one could ever pin on a person. You know other than being a Trumpster.

Not only did I find myself facing off with a Qanon follower recently and all her WWG1WGA nonsense, last week the failing NY Times did an in-depth profile of these paint chip eaters. Among the more interesting tidbits was their numerical fascination (Nazis shared the same mental affliction) with the letter Q, which happens to be the 17th in the alphabet.

Naturally, as the author of R17 and as someone who has tried unsuccessfully to gain entry into the Illuminati and the Bilderbergs and the Free Masons and the Trilateral Commission, bells went off. I knew I had to sign up.

The application has been filled out and FEDEXED in.

The 4Chan profile has been assigned.

And the XXL Q T-shirt(s) are on their way to my Culver City Berghof.

Spike Lee had his Black KKKlansman. This will be my Quixotic Qanon Quest.

You may be wondering, "why?"

Why affiliate with certifiably insane glue huffers? Why pal around with jingoistic jack holes? Why insert yourself into an organization that makes the Klan look like the smart people in the room?

The answer, as all answers, can be found in the Godfather. When Don Corleone wisely tells his son Michael,

"Keep your friends close. And your enemies closer." Adding, "and your loony lobotomized political opponents even closer, because those people are fucking funny." 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Fishing for rejection

To be a successful freelancer (16 years now) is to be a shark. One must always be moving forward. Feeding on anything that moves. And sending out overdue invoice notices.

To that end, I do a lot of hunting on linkedin and the various associated employment boards.

Consequently I get a panoply of job listings in my feed and my already stuffed mailbox. By the way, if someone wanted to make a shit ton of money they would figure out a simple way to unsubscribe to all these awful, poorly laid out, immediately trashed political emails. And also by the way, Tulsi Gabbard can go back to the dacha from which she came.

Last week for instance, I was alerted to the fact that a day spa in Orange County was looking for a Masseuse Therapist. It was only paying $21/hour. And, as I mentioned, it was in Fountain Valley behind the Orange Curtain. Years ago, while working at Y&R/Irvine, I did the daily 405 commute thank you very much. It almost killed me. And others as well.

And as I used to tell my wife, "I was one sig alert from going on a mass rampage."  

I don't know what would be worse for me, getting thrown in the klink for my uncontrollable road rage or working in Orange County.

Mind you these job boards (Glassdoor, Indeed, Neuvoo) also carry links to legitimate full time job opportunities in my chosen field, advertising.

And though most of these openings pay half of what I was making as a staff Group Creative Director 16 years ago and offer half or none of the benefits I once enjoyed (an office would be nice), I like to throw my name in the hopper.

Why do I engage in such a hopeless and oft-times frustrating experience?

Why do I toy with Illuminati and Nigerian scammers?

Why do I fight with Trumpsters online in the hope that one day I can, through the clear and indisputable presentation of the facts, get them to see the not-so-orange light?

I suppose it's because I have a sado-masochistic streak. A guilt-induced need for self-flagellation.

"Bad Rich. You've been a bad boy Rich. Now go sit in the corner and wait patiently for the Ad Industry to come to its senses."

Mostly, I do it to amuse myself. 

Let's face it, I don't want a staff gig. I don't want a seat at the Long Table of Mediocrity™. Nor do I want to spend my time conceiving, and fighting for, FFDKK's, Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks™.

So when some startup in El Segundo actually sent me a rejection letter, in essence stating that my 30 plus years as a copywriter/creative director wasn't what they were looking for, I could only laugh.

I'm still laughing.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Who wants choooowdah?

I've been to New Hampshire. Have you ever been to New Hampshire?

We were there years ago, many years ago, in Portsmouth, to film a stupid car commercial. I won't divulge the name of the company suffice to say the premise of the spot was to introduce a new vehicle with more than 400 horsepower. And to do that we staged a ridiculous demonstration that involved the car on a dynamometer and an entire seaside village being run off the power of its big bad engine.

If I'm not mistaken this was only after we asked the residents not to use their microwave ovens, portable heaters or televisions.

It was a shameless charade. Much like tonight's New Hampshire primary.

Who do I like in tonight's contest?

Who cares who I like?
Who cares who you like?
Who cares what the voters in Portsmouth including the lady that served us that great homemade clam chowder, likes?

One Democratic candidate will eventually prevail. And the sooner the better, so we can stop with the bickering and the divisiveness and start with the unifying and the dismantling of our current fascist regime.

Bernie? Great.

Kobluchar? Perfect.

Warren? Why not?

Biden? Fine.

Buttigeg? Works for me.

Yang? Yes.

Bloomberg? Sure, whatever.

I'm not picky right now. This country will figure out a solution to healthcare, only after we've exhausted every other option.

Similarly, our scienticians will solve the climate change issue.

And one these candidates might even get around to addressing our crumbling infrastructure.

The point is there is a larger issue, one that is more pressing that all the others. We have to restore the Republic. We have to let the grownups back in the room. And, as Bill Maher has presciently suggested, we have to be prepared for the fight of our lives when Grandpa Ramblemouth refuses to accept the decision of the voters on November 3rd and threatens to call in the military, the police and the bikers.

You know, his tough guys.

If failed candidate and confirmed loony lady Marianne Williamson wanted to serve her country, she should start gathering up her crystals and burnt sage and put a nasty, pus-filled coronavirus hex on Captain Ouchie Foot.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Dear Stupid Democratic Candidates

These 4 words were made famous by Bill Clinton in 1992. He correctly identified the issue that drives American voters to the polls.

If I were to give advice to the 127 candidates currently vying for the Democratic nomination, I would suggest they relearn this time tested formula. I'll explain why after I debunk the current crop of issues on the table.

Americans don't give a damn about climate change. 73% of them see a Senator cart a snowball into the halls of Congress and think, "Global warming? What global warming?"

Americans don't give a rat's ass about the Rule of Law, civics, and the impact of shitty judges sitting on our federal courts. For most, the Constitution begins and ends with the 2nd Amendment.

And if I may continue this elitist rant, Americans could care less about foreign policy.

Hell, I'd bet all the equity in my house that more than half of our greatly informed citizens could not point to Syria, Afghanistan, Madagascar or North Korea on map. And I'd win that bet. The blue dots represent the educated guesses of the MAGA Hat brigade.

Let's be honest, if Americans wanted to see the world, they'd book a flight to Disney's Epcot Center. And dine on Italian food at the local Olive Garden.

Americans care about what's in their wallet, what's in their bank account and the extra $341 they found in their 401K plan this year.

And this is where the genius of Grandpa Ramblemouth comes in. He knows he can fool people who don't understand high minded terms like habeas corpus, emoluments and ethical standards, simply by telling them the economy is the biggest and bestest it has ever been.

I'm here to tell you it's not. And if the Democratic candidates were smart they would focus on debunking this happy hill of horseshit.

Let's start with GDP, widely regarded as one the best indicators of the economy's strength. He promised, by waving his magic wand, that we could be enjoying (winning) 6% GDP growth. And he was just a little bit off.

2017 -- GDP growth was 2.4%
2018 -- GDP growth was 2.9%
2019 -- GDP growth was 2.3%

Shitgibbon's best year was the exact same at President Obama's best year, 2015, when GDP was 2.9%!

If we were to average 5% GDP under Captain Ouchie Foot, again as promised, GDP growth in 2020 would need to be 12.4%. Even if US Steel opened 60 new plants I don't see that happening.

Let's look at deficits.

With the permanent tax cuts for corporations and the now dwindling tax cuts for consumers, our deficit is currently over $1 trillion. And the projection for the next ten years is even worse. I'm sorry, didn't I hear Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin say the tax cuts would pay for themselves? And during these bestest, strongest economic days since the invention of the American Wheel, shouldn't the numbers be going in the other direction?

Wait there's more.

Because a look at our collective national debt is even worse. It currently stands
at $23, 270,000,000,000.00. And with the purchase of new steam powered aircraft carriers, stealth jets that don't fly, and border walls that can't stand up to a strong breeze, our debt is not going down anytime soon.

Here, look at all the pretty red numbers:

But let's acknowledge one thing, the stock market has risen. Though as many found out in 2008, that euphoria can disappear like the last tablet of Vicodin in the medicine cabinet.

It should also be noted that under Obama, the Dow Jones Index nearly tripled. From a little below 7,000 to close to 20,000 when he left office. I don't remember hearing the Red Hats hooping and hollering about their 401K's when that happened.

Maybe black ink only matters when it's produced by a white president.

The point is, the economy is not Captain Fuckknuckle's strong point. Like his hair and his amateur clownish makeup, it's his weakest.

I wish the Dems would recognize this.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Half a book review

First a word about the title: He's not.

There are countless and disturbing examples of the enormous amount of vacant space located inside this man's cranium.

On their way to an Asian conference, Air Force One made a refueling stop in Hawaii. Eager to grab some good press, the Chief of Staff suggested that the President, First Lady and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, take an hour to go visit the memorial at Pearl Harbor, the place that made December 7, 1941, a Day That Will Live in Infamy.

Captain Ouchie Foot agreed. However, while standing atop the remains of the USS Arizona, our pro-military gung-ho president turned to General John Kelly and said something to the effect of,

"Tell me again what happened here." 

Frederick Douglass died there, asshole.

That's one anecdote in a book chock full of them.

Here come the disclaimers. I'm only at page 221, in other words halfway through the book. I would be further along but the turning of each page raises my blood pressure. And the neck throbbing lasts an hour. So, in essence this is only Half a Book Review.

A 50% book review if you will.

Furthermore, it should be noted the authors work for the Washington Post. Some would argue that's a left leaning newspaper, so I'm willing to discount 10% of their account and chalk it up to Libtard bias.

On the other hand, they're both winners of the Pulitzer's Prize whereas Precedent Shitgibbon has only won a bowling trophy from his youth at the New York Military Academy. As well as the phantom Man of the Year Award from some fictional group in Michigan.

So I'm going to add back 5%.

Let's recap the math:

50% of book read

minus 10% for acknowledge media bias

plus 5% for exemplary author accreditation

That leaves me qualified to comment on 45% of the book.

But we're not done, because I'm also going to discard many stories because they are based on the recounting of employees who are no longer in the White House and might have a grudge to bear with Grandpa Ramblemouth.

So let's keep subtracting...

John Kelly -  5%
Rex Tillerson - 5%
Rence Preibus - 5%
Scaramucci - 10%
Steve Bannon - 5%
HR McMaster - 5%
General Flynn - 5%
Michael Cohen - 4%

In other words, if we take just 1% of this book at face value and put in context all the events that have happened since it was first published a few weeks ago, it is safe to say, without any hint of hyperbole,

"We are right and truly fucked."

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Good bye Sebrina Jean

As some of you may recall, I have been corresponding with Ms. Sabrina Jean, an esteemed banker with the AlRayan bank, somewhere in the Middle East. Sabrina had invited me to help her get $14 million in "loot" out of her bank and promised to share 40% of it with me.

I'm no stranger to the art of negotiation, so I insisted on a clear 50%. This didn't seem to faze her. And she sent me detailed instructions to follow in order to secure the "loot."

Naturally I sent my details to the AlRayan Bank. Sadly however I did not receive a response.

Well, I gave them a good what for.

If you know me at all, you know I can be quite persistent. And merciless when it comes to beating a joke like a dead horse.

If there's one thing I've learned about these Mugus (fraudsters), they don't like when others move in on their territory.

So I took one last shot.

It's now been week and  I have not heard from the bank or from Sabrina. Or even Sebrina.

Clearly, it was not meant to be. But that's the way things go in the world of online romance and online scambaiting.

It may be time to stir things up with the Illuminati.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Shabbiest. President. Ever.

Came across this photo the other day on social media. I'd give it proper attribution but the truth is I snatched it up so fast I forgot who unearthed this little gem.

That is the President of the United States of America, arguably the most powerful man on the planet, that is if you put Mitch McConnell in the proper turtle sub-species of platysternon megacephalum.

If you didn't know better you'd swear it was some slimy, amateur Bob Crane wannabe dimestore pornographer.

"Ok honey, look over at me. You have to smile at the camera. Do you want to be a star or not? The door is locked from the inside and only I have the key."

If you can't picture those words coming out of his mouth you haven't been paying attention. And if you have been paying attention you don't need this jaw dropping photo to confirm this man is the...

Shabbiest. President. Ever.

I have compiled quite the collection of invectives to capture the artless, motley minded nature of this lumpish, cream-faced fustilarian. In many ways it's been like an advertising tagline exploration. It takes hundreds and hundreds of iterations, tweaks and start overs to get to the perfect tagline.

For example, I was in the office when the Apple team landed on Think Different. And I can tell you that tortuous exercise took months. My partner and I would often walk by that war room and thank our lucky stars we were busy on ABC and TV is Good. That tagline took 20 minutes.

But I digress.

The point is Shabby is the PERFECT word to describe our newly crowned, flabby boy/king.

It is an attribute that he has exhibited in gaudy excess in civilian life.

And to no thinking man or thinking woman's surprise, it has followed him right into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

 Check out ponderous Abe Lincoln in the portrait. Wonder what he's thinking?

"I deliver the Gettysburg Address and you deliver Big Macs, Whoppers and Filet O'Fish samiches?"

Then again, maybe shabby is just what we deserve. We have eschewed substance, intelligence and quality in almost every phase of American life.

Our airports are shabby.

Our mcmansions are shabby.

Our celebrities are shabby.

Our infrastructure is shabby.

Even the worth of our word and the promises we make is shabby.

And worst of all, our collective culture, knowledge and understanding of the world we live in is monumentally shabby.

Half of all Americans can't point to Ukraine on a map. The other half think Auschwitz is a new imported IPA. And the other other half believe 2.3% GDP and $23 trillion debt is the sign of a booming economy.

We should just change the name of our country to the United Shabby States of America.

Or, better yet, welcome to Shabbyville.

We can hang the sign on our new front door.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Taking orders, writing checks

This year has gotten off to a good start. I had three separate bookings in January. From three separate clients. In years past that would hardly be newsworthy.

But times have changed. Every copywriter in the world who has ever written, "see your retailer soon, these deals won't last" or "offer not valid in Tennessee" is now freelancing and actively trying to take the top ramen noodles and ketchup packet soup off my table.

When the going gets tough the tough get busy with the idea making.

And this year I've taken my feverish anti-GOP sentiment and married it to my equally zealous interest in paying my bills, maintaining my credit score and socking away enough money to keep me out of a dirty nursing home.

It's a Billing/Tithing Program.

I know I should have come up with a clever name for it, but as I mentioned I've been busy.

Here's how it works: every time I get booked on a job, I set aside a small portion of the earnings to donate to Democrats looking to unseat one of the 53 useless GOP Senatorial jizzbiscuits in the Upper Chamber.

Last week's booking resulted in a check to Amy McGrath, who is aiming to take out the Turtle, Moscow Mitch.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a check to Mark Kelly, who is infinitely more qualified than Arizona's fascist hack, Martha McSally.

And we started off the year with a check to Jamie Harrison, who, with any luck, will kick Ms. Lindsey Graham to the curb.

Admittedly, this is a little gimmicky. Not like slipping into a furry suit and filming a youtube video or, god forbid, doing a white man rap, to drum up some new work type gimmicky, but if I've proven anything in my 16 years as a freelancer, when it comes to self promotion, I'm kind of shameless.

So there you have it. Book me for your next copywriting/concepting job and I'll make a significant donation to the democratic candidate of your choice. But don't wait.

These deals won't last.

Offer not valid in Tennessee.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

A few words on insignificance

If you're like me, you're still shaking off the effects of Kobe Bryant's passing. The news of his death was made even more horrific when we heard his daughter was aboard. And then, impossibly, grew even worse when it was revealed there were 9 people on that ill fated helicopter.

As a husband and father of two daughters it naturally rattled me. Put things in perspective. And, as these type of events always do, made me confront the notion of my own mortality. And yours too.

Because that's the way this script ends. For all of us.

That and the fact the counter guy at Wing Stop will always forget to put the Blue Cheese dressing in the To Go bag is a certainty.

Everything else is a question mark. And it's why at this point in my journey, and for a growing number of young people, I have discarded the trappings of religion. The Abrahamic Theories, including the flavor I am most familiar with, just don't cut it for me.

I'm not sure they ever did.

If they work for you, fine. I mean no offense.

I prefer science. And reason. And perhaps even a little nihilism.

This is my personal choice and I know I don't need to argue my case, but I have a blog to write, so I will.

That's why I'll start with the simple and remarkable eloquence of Carl Sagan.

Consider those well-chosen words and tell me how silly we are to believe that God has blessed America, or chosen a people, or given one human being the right to pry a child away from its mother and stick her in a wire cage.

Maybe you're not a word person.

Maybe like my old Chiat Day partner John Shirley you prefer images.

"I'm a picture book guy."

Take three minutes out of your day, consider the possibility that there was no creation. That the universe always was and always will be. That time and space are infinite in all directions. It's incomprehensible right?

So is this:

Now, someone's going to have to explain to me why I can't eat bacon.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Super Bowl Blues

We're now just 5 days away from the Super Bowl. And I must admit, I'm looking forward to this one.

For one thing, the New England Patriots will be noticeably absent. Thank god. I despise that team. I despise them even more because they are Precedent Shitgibbon's team.

Plus, I enjoy watching Patrick Mahomes, the new rising star of the Kansas City Chiefs as well at Jimmy Garopppolo of the San Francisco 49ers. And while I don't have a dog in this fight I do have some  California pride and will be pulling for the boys from up north.

As a still-working industry professional, I'm also looking forward to the commercials.

This year I could not help notice the pendulum has swung the other way and fewer companies are putting out teasers or previews of their hard labor.

I've never been a fan of that practice and still remember the birth of the Super Bowl commercial phenomena with Apple's tour de force, 1984. Had they teased or previewed that spot it would have lost all its magic.

Same for Monster's "When I Grow Up"

Or Dodge's "God Made a Farmer"

Or VW's "The Force"

So far, I've only seen one full 60 second Super Bowl spot, for Hyundai's Sonata. It was wicked good. Though, full disclosure, I should mention I worked on that assignment last year, and though I had a few scripts in the running, none made the cut. And that smarts.

But like my ass, my skin is abnormally thick.

Or, in the words of Bill Belichick, "Next week, Cincinnati."

And so it goes.

Another Super Bowl is upon us.

And another year will pass when I don't have a spot in the big game.

Like Philip Rivers or Mathew Stafford, I have to come to terms that the chance of it happening are dwindling, much like the presidential brain cells of Grandpa Ramblemouth.

In fact, unless there's a surprise 3rd round of VC funding for Harry's House of Catheters, I'll probably go to the Dirty Linen Nursing Home without a Super Bowl spot to my name.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Mr. Peanut's days on Earth are limited.

As you might have heard, and if you work in the industry, I'm sure you have, the agency stewarding the Mr. Peanuts brand plans to kill off their long running spokesperson.

Am I heartbroken? No.

Do I have a filbert in this fight? No.

Do I even care? Not in the least.

But I do have extensive experience in the matter of brands brining, broasting and butchering the very same golden goose that laid advertising's golden eggs.

Take Taco Bell for instance.

During the late 90's, my buddies from Chiat Day, Chuck Bennett and Clay Williams, gave birth to Ginger, the Taco Bell chihuahua whose catchphrase (Yo Quiero Taco Bell) went viral before going viral was even a thing.

For 5 years Ginger had us in tears, laughing at her latest escapades and scarfing down Chalupas and Gorditas like they were going to run out of ways to combine meat, beans and rice.

Then in 2001, perhaps in a post 9/11 malaise, the genii at Taco Bell decided they'd had enough of this little dog and the million dollar merchandising she spawned. They wanted Ginger dead. And guess who they put in charge of sending her over the advertising's Rainbow Bridge?

Here's her final low-res appearance on TV (credit goes to John Payne, Gary Pascoe and John Shirley):

As if that weren't enough, I also had a hand in the long, slow death of the Energizer Bunny.

Here was another storied advertising icon that wore out its welcome with the MBAs in the C-Suite. Instead of interrupting commercials, breaking the fourth wall and delivering advertising that stood out, the Energizer brand stewards turned their back on the magic that once was and forced us to do stupid shit with the Bunny that neither I, nor anyone else in America, can recall from the last 15 years.

Instead of chasing big entertaining ideas, client meetings often devolved into head scratching minutiae:

"Why is the bunny wearing sunglasses indoors?"

"We should have a jingle. Why don't we have a jingle?"

"I don't like the way he's twirling his drum sticks. Can we make the twirling faster?"

You know, the kind of discussions low tolerance cynics like me just love to sit through.

Why do brands recklessly abandon the ones that brought them to the party? I haven't a clue. But after 44 years on Earth I'm finally learning that in addition to Life not being fair, Life also makes little or no sense.

For instance, come this November 3rd, 62 million Americans, most of whom will depend on Social Security and Medicare to guide them through their sunset years, will zealously pull the lever for a supposed billionaire president who promises to take those benefits away.

I give up.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Alternative Insults

Hillary Clinton got it all wrong. The people, and sadly there are many of them, who support Precedent Shitgibbon are not a basket of deplorables. They're not. They're worse.

They're comically, existentially and painfully Unaware, with an uppercase U.

I've been giving it a lot of thought lately, you know when I'm not writing banner ads for Harry's House of Catheters or FEDEXing letters to the Secretary of Veteran Affairs in Washington DC in order to secure benefits for non-combat veterans (more on that as the fight continues.) By the way, someone from Robert Wilkie's office actually called me. Twice.

Here's what I'm talking about. Getting in line with their fearful leader Captain Ouchie Foot, the GOP and the entire Red Hat Brigade often take to the airwaves or to the ether of social media and, at the top of their lungs, scream Fake News.

They claim it's a Hoax. With neck veins throbbing, they howl about:

Adam Schiff, "LIAR!"

Nancy Pelosi, "LIAR!"

Jerry Nadler, "LIAR!"

Lev Parnas, "LIAR!"

Rachel Maddow, "LIAR!"

Chris Cuomo, "LIAR!"

Purple Heart Recipient, Colonel Vindman, "LIAR!"

Democrat Human Scum, "LIARS!"

Given that they make no attempt to hide their disdain for their opponents, I can only assume that they believe there is no lower life form on Earth than being a truth-twisting, honesty-averting, Pants-On-Fire, no good dirty rotten Liar.

And yet, quizzically, it is this same repulsive attribute that they admire so much in the One they call Chosen, he who inhales KFC, the highest paid golfer in the world, a semi sentient, Adderall-adled 239 lbs. sack of shit with a fat vulgarian finger on the nuclear launch codes.

They love how he lies.

They are hypnotized by his lying.

They walk the Earth, roam the interwebs, and gather at shabby rallies, to repeat the lies he's already told. And hang on his every word, hoping to scarf up newer, bigger, bolder lies.

It is beyond Orwellian.

And so, just as Hillary Clinton got it wrong calling them Deplorables, the Deplorables got it wrong, and continue to get it wrong, calling us, the critical thinking people, Liars.

If they really wanted to stick it to us in the most painful way possible and twist the knife until we could bear it no longer, they'd pull out all the stops and call us....

"Damn, Truth Tellers!"


Thursday, January 23, 2020

A NY Minute

Some ideas are good enough not to pursue.

What do I mean by that? Years ago, I bolted from a lunch meeting to run up Wilshire Blvd. to stick more quarters in the parking meter. As I was walking back to the restaurant and my now cold Monte Cristo sandwich, I began checking my iPhone 3, it occurred to me there ought to be an app for this kind of thing.

It made perfect sense.

Imagine being a distance from your car, discovering you hadn't put enough money in the machine, whipping out your smart phone and magically filling the meter via the ether. Not only was this a brilliant idea, this could have been the key to my early retirement.

"Beverly Hills is the place I ought be. Swimming pools. Movie stars."

It's a good thing I didn't mortgage the house and hire a team of under-the-table Belarusian software engineers, because with a little digging I found out some hard-on in Boston had already beaten me to the punch.

It wasn't the first time this had happened to me. And it won't be the last.

As someone employed in the business of coming up with ideas, these delusionary visions of instant wealth and fame have haunted me my whole life. I'm the modern day Ralph Kramden of get Rich Richer Schemes.

Not long ago I had the idea for a book. It was to be a compendium of micro-stories, submitted by fellow or ex-New Yorkers, all pertaining to life in the Big Apple. The twist was that each vivid tale would have to be told in 150 words or less.

Anyone who has ever recorded a radio commercial knows that 150 words is the absolute maximum copy one can squeeze into a 60 second commercial. Hence the title of the book was going to be NY MINUTES.

But again, I'm glad I did not commit resources, or even effort, in to this endeavor.

Three years ago, with the ascension of Grandpa Ramblemouth, I decided to embark on a subscription to the failing NY Times. I have been a religious reader ever since. I have my favorite parts. I devour the A section. As well as the opinion pieces. I go through the Sports. And I give the Business section a good once over, some of that heavy duty finance talk goes way over my head.

I also discovered Sunday's Metropolitan Diary.

Here you will find a quilt work of stories that define New York City, my birthplace, to a tee. You can almost feel the burn of a folded slice on the roof of your mouth. You can hear the stomping of your upstairs neighbors as they traverse the apartment in their lead boots. You can picture yourself on the #7 line, wincing from the smell of urine and aghast at the old woman seated across from you, busily clipping her toenails while eating from a tub of day old egg salad.

It's that vivid. I invite you to give the Metro Diary a look.

And I leave you with my own personal iconic NY Minute story:

I was in Manhattan on a job finding mission. This was when portfolios lived not online but in big, heavy leather cases. I was working my way up 9th Avenue. I know, what self-respecting ad agency situates themselves on 9th Avenue? I couldn't locate an address I had scribbled on a scrap of paper.

Hell's Kitchen is not an area where you want to look like a lost tourist. Or anyone carrying something of value. So after aiming around, fruitlessly, for 45 minutes I came upon what I took to be a soft-spoken old man donning an expensive looking black overcoat.

"Excuse me sir, do you know where I might find this address?", I said and slipped him the scrap of paper.

He put on his old man reading glasses, looked at the address, put the mental picture together in his head and replied, "I think it's down two blocks, make a left and it's the first building on the right."

In addition to looking very distinguished, he was about as gentle and helpful as a stranger can be.

Then, seeking a little affirmation, I held out the scrap of paper one more time and said, "Are you sure?"

He squinted at first, almost as if he didn't hear my question.

And then he snapped at me, like a frothing un-neutered Rotweiler...

"What am I, Rand-Fucking-McNally?"

It was perfect.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Some principled work

I have a confession to make: I am a whore.

Sure, I work in advertising and that goes with the territory. But sometimes the shame is too much to bear and the only way to cleanse myself is to come clean.

The little cartoon character pictured above is named Eddie.

I know this because on several occasions I was asked to work on the Principal Financial Group and make ads with Eddie. It was never something I enjoyed. And as an old mentor once wisely said, "This is work. It's a job. It doesn't have to be enjoyable." Plus I had two kids in out of state colleges, each with a proclivity for expensive cold brewed coffee.

So I stuck my oversized aquiline nose to the grindstone -- I laid on my back in the vernacular of prostitutes -- and did my best.

Eddie holding logo as a shovel.
Eddie using logo as a snowplow.
Eddie flying logo as a kite.

I should've doubled my day rate, because let's face it doing bad work is twice as difficult as doing good work.

I bring this up only because I was so caught off guard by the new campaign for Principal. It's the kind of work I'd actually enjoy doing. Moreover, it's the kind of work I suspect we'd all enjoy doing. And viewing.

It's thoughtful, concise, impactful storytelling that manages to hammer out some real estate in the consumer's minds. In other words, it's everything Eddie wasn't.

Maybe it's because I'm 44 years old and have to start paying more attention to the inevitable retirement phenomena, but these two spots hit home.

And because I've recently taken on the role of a senior care giver, this one hit a nerve:

Is this going to sweep up the awards at Cannes? Probably not.

But it is, as my friend George Tannenbaum has often noted, refreshing to see work that is authentic, intelligent and respectful.

We now return you to your regular diet of pedantic banner ads, annoying e-mail blasts and Super Bowl commercials featuring talking armadillos.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Timely timeliness

Yesterday, Martin Luther King Day,  we commemorated a man who pushed us forward and added to the lore of American greatness.

Today, the Senate begins the trial of a sad 239 lbs. sack of diseased flesh who has set us back and done irreparable damage to the notion of American Exceptionalism. A notion that is not defined by, though many in the Red Hat Brigade claim so, a rocketing stock market fueled by tax cuts given to wealthy people.

Ronald Reagan's "Shining City on Hill" was not a gated community of McMansions with private pools, floor-to-ceiling flat screen TV and a plethora of imported stainless steel kitchen appliances. Our greatness was defined by President Reagan as being a Beacon of Hope. A beacon of hope does not square with throwing asylum seeking children in cages, cutting people off healthcare, punishing students who can't afford a school lunch, or looking the other way when a supposed "ally" hacks a journalist to death with a rusty bone saw.

As if all that were not damning enough, today the Upper Chamber considers the high crimes and misdemeanors committed by our impeached, cockwomble 45th President. And again there is little hope that justice will prevail and that he will be held accountable for extorting a foreign country for political dirt on his opponent, an outrage literally described by our founding fathers.

Assuming Senator Manchin and Senator Jones (West Virginia and Alabama, no comment) do not succumb to the spine thieves on Capitol Hill, it will take an additional 20 GOP Senators to sack up and do the right thing.

I'm here to tell you, "Don't hold your breath."

Many of you know I recently published a new book (pictured above.) I have spent the better part of the last two years writing letters to these "stalwarts of civilized deliberation."

I also did my homework and researched these slithering, slime-bellied creatures and can tell you with no hesitation, they are greedy, craven, power-obsessed trough hoggers who are focused like a laser on one thing and one thing only --hint: it's not their constituents-- the furtherance of their political careers.

Think I'm exaggerating? Let's go excerpting.

Let's look at Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, I'll bet you've never heard of this circus clown:

P.127 -- A reporter named Alice Olstein asked Roberts if he was in favor removing certain mandated healthcare coverage. To which Roberts replied, "I wouldn't want to lose my mammograms." 

That's genius, Pat. Pissing on the graves of thousands of mothers, daughters, sisters and wives who lost their lives to breast cancer, just so you could make a cheap joke and score a few political points in the name of Tea Party austerity. Fuck You Pat.

Or how about this gem from Senator Jerry Moran, also of Kansas. Why are all the brightest people from Kansas? During the Clinton impeachment, Senator Moran found a soapbox and opined:

P.115 -- "I choose to be on the side that says no man is above the law; that this is a nation of laws, not men; that telling the truth matters; and that that we should expect our public officials to conduct themselves in compliance with the highest ethical standards."


Why don't we hear from a Senator you do know? Like Rand Paul, he of the punchable face topped by the squirrel merkin. When Mike Pompeo was being vetted for the Secretary of State position (only to be usurped by Rudy Giuliani), the Senator raised some strong objections.

P. 34 -- "Mr. Pompeo, the President does not have the authority to bomb Assad's forces. Our founding fathers gave the authority to Congress, and actually they're uniformly opposed to the executive branch having that power." 

These asshats sure know how to pontificate. Too bad all their posturing gave way to obsequious prostration before our new Fuhrer, Grandpa Ramblemouth. Rand Paul voted to confirm Mike Pompeo.

Do not listen to the pundits who blather on about 4, 8 or even a dozen US Senators who, behind closed doors, want to do the right thing. These worthless douchebiscuits forgot what the right thing was the minute they placed their sweaty palms on a bible and swore an oath to their 401K, Constitution.

It is a sad day in America when 53 US Senators can't muster up the courage, fortitude and patriotism of this fucknuckle...

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Let's go to the photos

It isn't everyday that I pass by a lone brassierre laying on the sidewalk. Fortunately we live in a special time when the President of the United States is explaining the proper operation of a dishwasher and we all walk around with portable cameras in our pocket.

And so, because I have been extremely busy this week and need a blog entry, I am turning to an old standby, the Thursday Photo Funnies.

You might remember the loser who bought two GMC trucks for Christmas, only to have the black one snatched up by his ungrateful, gold digging wife. Turns out Chumpy McChumpface was not happy taking the red one and returned it to the dealership.

What the hell are those, you may ask. Those are lemons from the tree in my backyard. I'm convinced my house was built on top of a pet cemetery and the ghosts of old dogs are out to get me.

Speaking of dogs, we saw this one at a tile store in Indio, in the furthermost stretches of the Southern California desert. There's a lot of weirdness out there. I wish I had the good sense to snap a picture of the owner, who also had his beard braided.

Here's the entire clan. The four of us don't get together as often as I'd like. But when we do we abuse the alcohol. OK, I do.

Speaking of family, I snapped a picture of this kitschy album cover on my daughter's desk. The crabapple does not fall far from the tree. 

This was spotted on a transformer box. If you know me you know I am fascinated by transformer box art. This one was particularly satisfying.

A 1969 VW beetle. The old guy who was driving it told me it had more than 300,000 miles on it. Adding, "I'll die before it does."

Also from a different era, pre-iPhone, a Flip video camera, given to me as a gift by my friend Laura Sweet, for hooking her up with a sweet gig. It still works.

The sad, cheap obligatory Hanukkah display at an office building where I was working recently.

And finally, one last shot of my two college graduates who hate being photographed by me. But humiliating them is my job.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

You Are What You Read

This week we are witnessing not one instance of Presidential horsecockery, but many. Enough to keep future historians up late at night sucking down pots of coffee and hooking themselves to IV's of liquid Aderral.

Today, for example, Captain Ouchie Foot will sign an agreement with China.

If you listen to his hyperbole, it's the biggest, bestest deal for the United States since "Seward's Folly." And if you listen to those who genuflect at the cankles of this fat fascist pig, it's nothing less than biblical in its impact.

Only it's not.

Details are unimportant to the Red Hat Brigade, but details and facts matter. The signing is simply a truce in the Trump-inspired Trade War. An agreement not to escalate the tension and impose more tariffs, which are paid for by the deplorable proletariat.

Speaking of War, it turns out the drone hit on General Solemmani was NOT because of any "eminent" (sic) threat on the US or four of our embassies. Or even one of our embassies. The administration has walked back all that Reichstaggian claptrap back in favor of,

"Well, he was a really bad hombre." 

Welcome to the world of 7th grade global diplomacy.

If all that Three Card Presidential Monte Card chicanery were not enough, consider this: it turns out that because our tax codes --the ones written by rich people for rich people -- are so arcane, Grandpa Ramblemouth can now write off the $25 million fine he had to pay for running a fraudulent real estate school, Trump University, Home of the Fighting Commission Takers.

Fuming about this obvious double self dealing, crack RoundSeventeen reporters interviewed several of the "students" who were scammed by the Trump Empire and collected some of the textbooks used by the "professors" at the esteemed Trump University.

The Trump University textbook titles, telling as they are, included:

The Rent is Too Damn Low

Slumlording 101

Asbestos, God's Gift to Property Owners

An Illustrated Guide to New York's Great Italian Concrete Pourers

Contracts, Schmontracts

Toothpaste, The Smart Man's Spackle

1001 Ways to Evict a Tenant

Rent Control, A Globalist Plot Financed By George Soros