Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wherein we revisit the phenomena of The Caganer


(The following is a reposting of a blog piece I wrote on August 3rd, 2010. I don't do many repostings from the past but I am very busy right now. Plus, many readers of Roundseventeen were not around when I first unearthed El Caganer and may not be aware of its existence. Tis the season.)


I may have in the past spoken harshly about being in the advertising business, but every once in a while I remember what drew me to this crazy business. 

Recently I found myself working on a Christmas promotion. 

I know we're still in the thick of summer, but like the snake who has swallowed a small moose, the process of getting work through the corporate pipeline can be long, slow and excruciatingly painful. 

In any case, without going into too many details about the assignment, I needed to research odd Christmas celebrations. 

And that's when I came across the Caganer

Now you may be asking why is there a man "having an exit interview with Mr. Brown" right outside the Nativity scene? I know I did.

Well, it seems it's an ancient custom from Catalan. Before the kids were born, my wife and I spent two weeks on the southern Iberian Peninsula. Now I wish we had been a little more thorough.

Being both scattological and inquisitive, I gave the Caganer the attention it deserved. All the more enjoyable because someone was actually paying me to do so.

Wikipedia offers several explanations about how and why the Caganer (loosely translated -- 'Shitter') appears in the the typical Catalan Nativity scene. My favorite: the idea that God will manifest when he is ready, whether we human beings are ready or not.

Wow, if the Messiah comes while I'm busy "launching a lifeboat off the S.S. Assitania", I'm going to tell him I need a minute or two.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A cold night in the forest


It isn't even Thanksgiving and I'm about to launch into a post about Christmas.

I figure, since everyone else has jumped the gun on Xmas and ignored the unwritten rules of decorum, why shouldn't I. That makes me the Jim Acosta of the blogosphere.

Here's my 2018 Christmas Story.

Last week, a friend sent me a link to a spot that's currently running on TV. It's a harmless little holiday spot that hardly merits any attention.



Innocuous, right?

Even a little charming. After all who doesn't like Santa Claus and puppies. But it's not easily dismissed when you consider a spot we did for Acura five years ago.



The two are almost carbon copies of each other. Even the editing and music are similar.

To be completely honest, I'm not all that upset about. I chalk it up to coincidence. Years ago, something like this might have burst a few capillaries, but I'm 44 now and have a certain jaded perspective on this kind of crap.

And this industry.

Also, recently, a reader of Roundseventeen accused me of being braggadocious. I'm certainly not going to get on my high horse over something like this.

No, what sticks in between my teeth like left over ribeye steak, is the fact that we spent an entire frostbitten night in the Angeles Crest Forest to shoot this spot. And the Mercedes people seem to have been able to shoot theirs during the much more manageable hours around sunset.

If you know me at all or if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how I feel about getting home to watch Jeopardy. And can imagine how an all night shoot at 7800 feet of altitude can turn my crankimeter up to 11.

To wit, at about 3:30 in the morning I was fading fast. The lighting crew was setting up an elaborate shot so I made my way over to one of the production trailers. There, I found a comfy couch as well as a plate of delicious craft service goodies. Within minutes I was fast asleep and might have missed the remainder of the shoot had I not been joined by one of the production assistants, who was also not a night person.

Thirty minutes into my deep REM sleep I was awakened. Not by a sound. But by a smell.

My erstwhile bunkie must have helped himself to some bad slices of salami. And the trip down his alimentary canal must have been quite turbulent. Suffice to say, he turned the tiny Airstream into a tiny Toxic Air Stream.

Trust me, I know my way around methane and this was like nothing I had ever smelt before.

In hindsight, I suspect the emission of gas was more than just an emission of gas.

And I can tell you from experience, there is nothing worse than sharting yourself. Although being asleep in a trailer with a total stranger who has sharted himself runs a very close second.

Bah humbug.








Thursday, November 15, 2018

Silence of the Lamars


It's Thursday.

You know what that means.

Another letter. Another doddering, useless old white man.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

11.15.18

Senator Lamar Alexander
455 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Lamar Alexander,

Six months ago I embarked on a writing journey. I set out to pen a letter to each of the United States Republican Senators. It's not an easy task as each week I am forced to go back over the list and take inventory, just so I don't duplicate my efforts.

To be frank, I thought I had written to you, as you have a very recognizable name. 

To be even more frank, I thought you were dead.

I'm only 44 years old but I seem to remember hearing about you when I was kid. Weren't you around for the Teapot Dome Scandal?

The other thing I've noticed about this continuing effort is that each week there is a fresh new scandal plaguing the Shitgibbon White House. This past week was unusual in that there were multiple debacles. Or as they might say in Tennessee, your home state, "Son, you done dropped the meat in the dirt."

You had:

* The Big Blue Wave

* The Jim Acosta First Amendment Affair

* The disgusting response to California wildfires (more than 50 dead)

* The refusal to attend a World War I Memorial Service in France

* And the indefensible snubbing of our soldiers by not visiting Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day. On VETERAN'S DAY!!!

I use the word indefensible because it appears that way to us. But, apparently that collective "us" does not include members of the GOP. And least of all, Senators of the Republican stripe. Because to a man, woman and shameless bootlicker, you have all remained silent. 

You'd think by now, two years into Captain Fuckknuckle's administration these staggering indiscretions would just roll off my back like the warm vodka-infused urine coming from a Russian hooker. 

These things make my blood boil.

But perhaps, as the senior senator from the great state of Tennessee, you've got other things on your mind and deserve special dispensation.

You see, I have a friend a colleague who attended Cocke County High School. He's a proud Cocke and a Volunteer through and through. And he is always sending me news clippings from the Newport Plain Talk. 

From what I can tell, it can't be easy governing a state where Moonshining is a course requirement for every high school graduate. 

Or where goats must be fitted for chastity belts. 

Or where the tailpipe of every parked car is vulnerable to a midnight defiling.  

I'm going to let you slide. After all, you've got your hands full Senator.

Or as my friend Greg Collins puts it, "Tennessee, now with 37% more Florida."

Best Regards,


Rich Siegel
siegelrich@mac.com
Culver City, CA 90232







Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Ruminati on the Illuminati


When we last visited Nigeria and my Illuminati recruiter, he was complimenting me for being smart. For not just sending money willy nilly to any Tom, Dick or Roland from Nigeria. He also said if I was no longer interested in joining he would not force me.

But I want in. I seriously want in.


But Roland is not keen on my unique solution.


And so the game is back on.




And on...


And of course, he obliges.


So, now it's time to up the ante.



And on that note I will leave you, until next week when actual money is exchanged.






Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Classic cars and classic car stories


Malibu is in the news this week so I thought I'd share a Malibu story.

Recently my wife and I went to Buelton to be with some friends who were celebrating their "44th" birthday. We had a great time. And since we're making a conscious effort to slow things down and not rush everywhere, we decided to take the long way, the more scenic way, home, via the Pacific Coast Highway.

On the way back, we stopped in at Coral Beach Cantina, a Mexican restaurant I had discovered in another lifetime when I was insanely dating a woman who lived way past Zuma Beach. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, now I remember.

As we sipped our humongous margaritas, a beautifully restored 66 Chevelle pulled into the parking lot. The owner got out of the car and looked strangely familiar. I assumed he was some character actor who appeared in a thousand movies but still enjoyed anonymity, like my neighbor M. Emmett Walsh.

On the way to the bathroom, I stopped at his booth to express my admiration for the car. He was more than happy to talk about it. And his 25 other collector cars that he has garaged. As he was going on about his Mustangs, Camaros and El Caminos, I was thinking...

"Was he crooked police captain in Beverly Hills Cop 3?"

"Was he one of the sleazy agents in Jerry Macquire?"

"Did he play Soldier #4 in Platoon?"

I couldn't place the face.

Then the burritos showed up and the waiter told us the mysterious Chevelle owner comes in all the time. Said he used to be coach of the LA Lakers. My mind raced.

It was Pat Riley.

His hair had turned white. He didn't seem as tall. And he longer sported the 28 inch signature waist that was once his early 90's trademark.

I went back to the booth to introduce myself. Not because I was a huge Lakers fan, I'm more a college basketball guy. But because Coach Riley and I actually worked together when he was the local spokesman for your Southern California Chrysler Plymouth Dealers.

"Oh yeah, those," he said reluctantly.

Either Pat didn't want to talk about shitty commercials or he didn't want his chimichangas to get cold, so I wisely made quick departure.

I wonder if Coach Riley has a blog and whether he is writing about our chance encounter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: The 71 Mercury Cougar convertible was spotted at a gas station in my neighborhood. It triggered today's memory and is not affiliated with Pat Riley.

I hope my old colleague, and everybody else I know in Malibu, came through the fires unscathed.


Monday, November 12, 2018

The Alternative Worlds of Advertising


If there's one thing I hate in advertising, it's artifice.

It's hard not to turn on the TV these days and see it manifested in so many condescending, offensive, lazy, insipid and hackneyed ways. I'm sure if I turned to my online thesaurus I could run up the score on the previous sentence.

There's so much artifice in advertising it has literally become the baseline. We may not even notice or recognize it. But being of an overly cranky nature, I have.

Let's start where all logical discussions of TV advertising artifice start -- Pizza Hut.

They were not only the first people to stuff their crusts with cheese, shrimp, and garlic-like substance, (idea for Pizza Hut, stuff the crust of your pizza with more pizza.) These culinary genii seemed to invented the very notion of the Bite & Smile.

In fact, and I know this from working on the account at several different shops, on page 38 of the Pizza Hut How to Make a TV Commercial Manual it clearly states,

"...following the excessive cheese pull, the actor or actress, preferably a member of an ethnic group to demonstrate our appreciation for diversity, must eat the pizza and flash a grin exposing at least 22 pearly white teeth."

But they are hardly alone.

Who sprays a bathroom with Febreeze and lights up as if they had won the Powerball Lottery?

Who Swiffers a room and acts like they've discovered the mysterious secrets of tantric sex?

Who jerks their head around in whiplash fashion just to get a look at the sexy new Jaguar/Toyota/Nissan/Audi/Acura/Mercedes Benz?

Who throws their wallet in the Hudson River to make some incomprehensible point about insurance premiums?

Who reaches for their Tresiba/Crestor/Lyrica/Rexulti/or Viberzi to treat their Irritable Bowel Syndrome and then breaks into a Busby Berkeley-worthy song and dance?

OK, maybe that last example of artifice was not the best as I fully empathize with the notion of instant colonic relief.

Nevertheless, it's all so overdone and overwrought. It's as if they set out to discover human Untruths.

It's the kind of crap we see 364 days a year. The day we don't see it is the day of the Super Bowl. That's when America is treated to commercials they actually like. You'd think all these Harvard MBA's and C-Suite execs would do the math on that, but they're too busy pimping digital advertising and reconfiguring open office plans.

There's one more advertiser who deserves to be called out by name.

Perhaps you've seen the oddly excited people who populate the Wayfair commercials. I don't know what it's like at your household but furniture shopping is never the joyous, orgasmic experience as portrayed in these cloying spots.

If anything, it's 180 degrees from that. And the simplest addition to our rag tag collection of furniture exacerbates any aesthetic differences my wife and I might harbor. We once got into a fight about where to place a new ottoman and didn't speak or eat together for a week.

Also, if I ever find myself going through their website on an iPad, see they don't charge any sales tax and then reflexively do a fist pump while blurting, "GAMECHANGER!", I will call it quits and would urge any of my friends or readers of Roundseventeen to put me out of my misery.



Thursday, November 8, 2018

Our newest skainsmate


A recount has been called for, but since the Republicans hold all the cards and they're not ashamed to deal from the bottom of the deck, this Einstein will be our newest senator.

From one flew over the cuckoo's nest to the Russell Hart Senate Building.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11.8.18

Senator Rick Scott
716 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Scott,

Welcome.

Or shall I say Congratulations and welcome. 

Because you have not only won a seat in the US Senate you've earned a spot in my upcoming book -- tentatively titled Mr. Siegel Writes to Washington

You see I've made it my goal to hand write letters to all the US Republican Senators, none of whom are distinct and all of whom strike me as white privileged douchewaffles.

And now you're one of them. 

To be more specific, you are letter #32.

But don't let that low number fool you. I have plenty of fire and brimstone in me. And so rest assured, you, a newcomer to this 'esteemed' club, will receive the same colorful, pungent and humiliating dressing down as some of your more luminous colleagues like soulless Mitch McConnell or spineless Jeff Flake.

Believe me, it's not hard to build up a head of steam in your case, particularly considering your clay-brained, unchin-snouted approach to gun legislation.

Following the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida (where you were governor) that saw teenagers mass murdered on their way to Math or English class, you mosied on up to the NRA donation trough and begged for more money by endorsing Precedent Shitgibbon's call for armed teachers.

In other words, Ricky, the solution to our nation's gun problem is more guns.

What kind of twisted backwards logic is that?

When Russian Politburo officials did a post-mortem on the catastrophe at Chernobyl, did they turn to each other and say, "You know what would fix the core meltdown at this poorly designed and poorly engineered nuclear plant? More nuclear plants."

And when Nazi Party Members took inventory of the Hindenburg, I'm pretty sure those smart Germans didn't turn to each other and say, "You know what our Zeppelins need? Candelabras."

I mean, Jesus Fucking Christ, what is it with you bald-pated horn beasts?

I can only surmise that while other babies were being breast fed you were being raised on a steady diet of turpentine and DDT.

Or, that instead of cleaning your ears out with a Q-tip you opted for the needle nose pliers.

Or, that while some students were preparing for their college SATs, you were still trying to navigate the opening questions on the MCA, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. (number 3 is the camel, Rick)







I don't know where this dain bramage comes from.

I only know that now that you're in the US Senate, you're gonna fit right in.

Welcome home, Rick.


Best regards,


Rich Siegel
siegelrich@mac.com
Culver City, CA 90232









Wednesday, November 7, 2018

God bless the Illuminati


I hope you are enjoying this Illuminati rabbit hole as much as I am.

When we last spoke, Roland Kings, my Illuminati "handler" told me there were no secret handshakes. I think he's holding out on the good stuff. Naturally he kept hounding me to wire him money but I know how to stall and keep the correspondence going.



Roland doesn't get many takers to his scam emails, so he obliges.


He's also curious about this rival offer.


So I muddy the waters even more to keep him guessing.


You would think a picture of a Corgi playing the saxophone would make him scratch his head and start to wonder if I was goofing on him, but you'd be wrong.




So it's time to take it up a notch.




This seems to have set him off.



For two days, I do not hear from Roland Kings, official Recruitment Officer for the Illustrious Illuminati. I feel like I have lost a friend, albeit a scamming, lying, fuckwad who is only interested in getting rich off the labor and dreams of others (sounds like our President.) 

But when all seems lost, it isn't.

Tune in next week for the continuing adventures in reverse Illuminati scamming.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Questionable Art of Self Promotion


It's a slow news day.

I don't want to write about politics. Because I wrote about politics yesterday. And today, at least 60% of the nation will be on pins and needles and ayahuasca awaiting the results of today's elections.

So I'm going to turn the attention of today's post on myself.

Last week, I made the mistake of posting the piece I wrote about Chiat/Day's 50th anniversary on Fishbowl. For those of you not in the industry, Fishbowl is a forum where ad people from every stripe of the business can leave their anonymous comments, anecdotes and gripes. But let's be honest, since it's anonymous, it's mostly gripes.

Well one unnamed Fishbowler, an Associate Creative Director, no less, took issue with my blog piece, writing:

"Rich has a habit of taking bragging to an embarrassingly high level. I'd expect someone of our pedigree to be a little more nuanced."

Wow, I know I should just let that go but the truth is I wouldn't know where to find the High Road on a map, so let's take apart this anonymous comment.

And let's start with the notion of pedigree.

Dear sir/madam, we work in Advertising. With a capital A.  In the pecking order of artistically inclined people, we are the Dalits. The Untouchables. We're not authors. Or painters. Or artists. We don't write books. Or compose music. We don't contribute to Western Civilization in any way, shape or form.

We make TV commercials. Outdoor boards. Full page newspaper ads.

Actually, we don't even do that anymore. We make banner ads. We takeover web pages. We gamify, crapofy and shitofy ideas that no one wants to play, see or have any part of.

Exhibit A.

So when you say pedigree, I say cover up those tatted sleeves, fill in those ear gauges and take those Capri linen pants down to the Goodwill store because we're not rock stars and this year no one is going to Cannes.

As far as your assertion that I brag. Or even brag excessively. I beg to differ.

In fact I took the liberty of running the entire blog, all 10 years worth, through the Narcissicon 9000 and found Roundseventeen to be only .0038% braggadocious, noting the repetitive and distinctively self deprecating:

281 mentions of ear hair 

457 mentions of expanding girth

97 mentions of ungodly sartorial sense

193 mentions of excessive drinking (Mmmm, bourbon)

395 mentions of writing banner ads for Harry's House of Catheters

In other words, or in the 2,138,963 words that have been written here, I have gone out of my way to take the wind out of my own sails. I'm not saying there haven't been a few humblebrags, but I'd suggest they are few and far between.

But allow me to make one boastful remark. 

You see, if I take issue with something or want to voice a contrarian opinion or even to throw a little professional shade, I don't do it anonymously. I have the balls to put my name behind my convictions.

That's about as pedigreed as I get.










Monday, November 5, 2018

Dem's Fighting Words


I HATE this man.

More accurately, I hate this sad 239 lbs. sack of diseased camel haggis.

I hate him with the force of 100 Pacific Tsunamis.

I hate him with the heat of a 1000 Wolf-Rayet stars.

I fuckin' HATE him.

On this, I could not be clearer. But I also couldn't be more disappointed in myself. And others who feel the same way.

"We've become weak. Nobody wants to hurt each other anymore."

Last week, with the multiple pipe bombs threats and the killing of 11 elderly Jews who were worshipping in their temple (I guess 'Religious Liberty' only applies to nice white Christian folk) we crossed a rubicon.

Blood was spilled.

And all the witty internet memes and fancy well written op-eds in the NY Times and Washington Post will do nothing to bring back those lives. Even tomorrow's voting, should it go in the direction of humanity and democracy, won't change that.

In short, the rhetoric is not working.

"He should be roughed up." 

Am I suggesting someone actually lay a glove on the President of the United States? Not exactly.

Because frankly, considering all his transgressions against women, hispanics, African Americans, Jews, minorities, anyone who is not a "real" American, considering how he has divided out nation, and considering the irreparable damage he has inflicted on our nation and trampled over the Constitution, I'm not sure a simple back alley beating will suffice.

"I'd like to punch him in the face" 

and 

"beat the crap out of him" 

and have him

"carried out on a stretcher."

Whoah Rich, I can hear you whispering, "Maybe it's best you don't actually write that out and keep the little voice inside your head, inside your head."

If the FBI (who Shitgibbon regularly denigrates) come knocking at my door and tell me I shouldn't be talking like this, I'll gladly point out that neither should their president.*




*All quotes in bolded italic have been lifted from Captain Fuckknuckle's Nazi rallies.








Thursday, November 1, 2018

Pat the Asshat


Sometimes current events dictate the direction of my Thursday Thrashing letters.

This week for instance we're reaching out to Senator Pat Toomey, the Junior Senator from Pennsylvania.

Maybe you heard his forceful, heartfelt rebuke of the President for engaging in hate speech and fueling the fires of antisemitism...oh wait, no you didn't.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11.1.18

Senator Pat Toomey
248 Russell Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Toomey,

Happy Day After Halloween.

Hope your holiday was filled with pumpkin pie and little chocolate candies. Though I suspect, in light of the coldblooded mass murder of 11 Jews, inside a temple no less, your Halloween was filled with ghouls, ghosts and many visits to the bathroom to wash the blood off your hands.

Oh yeah, Senator, there can be no doubt you are an unindicted co-conspirator in this latest bloody pogrom.

I'm currently in the smack dab middle of my yearlong letter writing campaign to each of the Republican US Senators. I don't think I've ever been so eager to unload on one of you soulless, worthless, pasty white face motherfuckers.

You see Pat, you watched this hateful tragedy unfold and then had the temerity to remain silent. 

Sure, there were the empty tweets about "thoughts and prayers" and "standing in unity with our Jewish brothers and sisters" -- you know the boilerplate Hallmark crap -- but not a peep, not a goddamn word about the Soros fear-mongering, the caravan conflation, the good and noble work of the HIAS or the tribal scapegoating spearheaded by your Commander in Chief, Precedent Shitgibbon.

NOTHING.

I would imagine your conscience is bothering you. But then I took a look at your online bio and came to the conclusion that you don't have one.

I suppose I should tip my hat to you.

You had all the makings of a moderately successful Assistant Manager at a Pathmark. I mean if they were handing out trophies for Mediocrity you'd be standing next to a shoulder-high, gold plated beauty that would require its own particleboard cabinet. They would have retired your blue polyester vest and immortalized your name at the Pathmark Headquarters in nearby Iselin, New Jersey.

But no sir, you leveraged your marginal intellectual abilities, your khaki-pants blandness, your toothy grin, and your Allegheny-sized forehead into a position of power.

Moreover, unlike Senators Flake or Sasse who lamely attempt to exhibit some moral backbone, you've wisely decided to choose the better-paved path of rubberstamping each and every despicable act of Captain Fuckknuckle.  

Senator, you've elevated sycophancy to a high art.

It takes a special kind of man to carefully align his political positions in perfect lockstep with an erratic, ill-informed, narcissistic, constitutionally-ignorant, bloated, swag-bellied hedgepig, but you were more than up to the task.

You managed to knock millions of people off healthcare. Give more than a trillion dollars to the super wealthy instead of rebuilding our nation's infrastructure. Stood up against gay people who had the audacity to demand equal rights. And took enough NRA money to earn membership in their Golden Crosshairs Club. 

And as far as this latest incident...so what if 11 old Jews had to bite the dust, right? "Blood and Soil", isn't that the new catchphrase of the GOP?

I don't know you Senator, I only know what I read in the Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post and NY Times, but you strike me as someone who likes to be recognized for breaking new ground in non-achievement.  

I noticed you were an Eagle Scout. And even though I have no power invested in me, I'd like to bestow these three new merit badges that you can proudly add to your sash:



  


Best,

Rich Siegel
Siegelrich@mac.com
Culver City, CA 90232

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Did someone say Illuminati?

If you've been following at all you know I have had quite a few back and forth with Roland Kings, who had invited me to join the Illuminati.

It's not a real invitation at all but just the latest twist on the Nigerian Scam, which I know quite well.

I can't do a total recap, suffice to say I told Roland I had to fly to Los Angeles to get my dog Mantu a vital operation, in other words anything to delay sending the $299 for my Illuminati initiation kit.


I used the invitation from another scammer to throw Roland for a loop. He wisely chose to focus on me and my dog Mantu.


To calm my fears about the other invitation, he even had a friend of his, Dan Perry pose as an attorney and try to calm my fears. 


To keep this concise and moving along, I disposed of Jam Berry as quickly as possible.


Roland is laser focused about getting his money. And can you blame him?



Of course I've turned Nigerian procrastination into a high art. (Well, I like to think I have.)


I love how Roland keeps it personal, as if he really cares about my short legged furry friend.


But he's not getting any of my money until he starts divulging some secret Illuminati rituals, you know the good stuff.



And that gets us mostly caught up. Tune in next week for stories about Steve Guttenberg, Pebble Beach Golf Club memberships and transexual concubines.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

50? Damn, that's old.


I went to a party last week.

I don't go to a lot of parties. Particularly when the World Series is in full swing. And especially when the party is a semi-black tie affair and my only good blazer is now a few sizes too tight in the chest because I've been lifting everyday and can now bench my own weight. Nearly.

But this was no normal soire. Somehow my name was added to an exclusive list of invitees. And so I raided the medicine cabinet, put on my dancing shoes and suited up.

And I'm glad I did.

The party was a celebration of the birthday of Jay Chiat, the 50th anniversary of Chiat/Day -- the agency he founded-- and the formal retirement of Lee Clow, the agency's spiritual leader, my former boss and unlikely friend.

I met Jay once. In the Men's Room at the old building on 340 Main Street. We shook wet hands at the sink and I told him how happy I was to have joined the company just a week ago. (Note: I have a Groucho Marx attitude towards organizations or clubs, but Chiat/Day is the notable exception.)

My second encounter was a little more ominous.

The agency had just installed an e-mail system, Quickmail. And naturally we were all in awe of this incredible technology. Not only could we send instant electronic messages to each other, the messages could also include pictures!

My friend in the NY office immediately sent me a picture of an incredibly endowed woman in a bikini. And being a natural born wiseass I replied, "Check out those fun bags." Or something to that politically incorrect effect. Only, I managed to hit the wrong button and replied all, forwarding my juvenile response to every employee in the organization.

Seconds later, I received a Quickmail from Sharon, Jay's assistant, "Jay wants to see you. Call me."

I called.
I apologized.
I begged.
And I received that rarest of Chiat/Day commodities, a second chance.

Had it gone the other way, the entire vector of my career could have veered off course and right now I could be involved in some pyramid marketing scheme for Peruvian vitamins or mobile pet grooming franchises.

At the party, I had a chance to reconnect with old colleagues...er colleagues...none of us like to be called old. I also got the opportunity to meet and shake hands with the luminaries of our business. The original creatives that made Chiat, Chiat.

Not only was that an honor but it was also a pleasure, considering so many of them told me how much they enjoyed my work. To the point where Gerry Graf said, "that ABC campaign made me mad. Mad because I wish I had done it."

Keep your money and your fame and your fancy vacation homes on perfectly groomed Aruba golf courses, if there's one thing writers want, it's to make other writers jealous.

When I came to California, I knew I was going to be a writer. I thought it would television or movies. And I did a little of that. But I fell into advertising. And I fell under the spell of Lee Clow. I had seen him speak at some seminar and knew I wanted to work for him at Chiat/Day.

It only took me 10 years to make that happen.

So when it did, I vowed to make the most of it. I bought into the creedo. I made it my mission (minus the whole late nights and weekend crap, I'm going home to watch Jeopardy.) And I made it my goal to do the kind of work Lee loved.

There were hits and quite a few misses. But not long ago I got a call from Lee's assistant Kristen. She said he wanted me to come in and work on a pet project for him. He specifically asked for me.

Kristen added, "Lee said get Rich on this. He always makes me laugh."

I'll take that.

Although it would've been so much funnier if he had called me Brian.









Monday, October 29, 2018

Out of Jail


I'm a guilty self loather.

I've always had many reasons to look in the mirror and growl with disgust. I eat too much. I drink too much. I have a short fuse. I haven't done nearly as well with my career as I thought I would have. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

And my wife would be happy to add to the list.

"Don't forget the ear hair, the reluctance to put down a toilet seat, the inability to compose a wardrobe, the refusal to put in a fire pit, ... "

"The readers at Roundseventeen don't have all day."

All that was before I became afflicted with a debilitating addiction to social media.

Lately I've been kicking myself in the gonads for the inordinate amount of time I spend on Facebook. Particularly to vent about our ongoing national presidential nightmare, which is now working overtime to wipe their hands, bloodied by 11 members of my tribe --Who didn't see that coming?

I knew it was time to kick the Facebook habit, but couldn't find the strength to.

And then there was Zuckerberg Miracle.

Turns out some old bitty in Idaho reported me for making an abusive comment on the Facebook Page of Senator Steve Daines, he of the Prostrate Eight who went to Moscow on July 4th to bow down to our new Russian Overlords.

It was a stupid comment. And in retrospect, in no way lived up to what I consider my high standards of artful political smackdown.

And so the powers that be in Menlo Park (Facebook headquarters) did me a huge favor. They threw me in Facebook Jail. Not for 3 days, as I've grown accustomed to for other infractions, but for 30. 30 days.

Holy Shit!!!, I thought.

How am I going to make it a whole month without taking Captain Fuckknuckle to Pound Town?

What about all those self validating Likes and Loves and Laughing Face Emojis?

And if I can't pimp my blog what kind of crushing effect will this have on the web traffic?

Turns out those concerns are of no concern at all.

In the time I haven't been on Facebook, I polished off several books, made donations to Democratic contenders in this next week's election, started a correspondence with Roland Kings who promises to make me a full brother in the Illuminati with access to the Egg of Wish, and put together a new business proposal that is already starting to pay dividends.

I'm back on Facebook now.

That is until I get thrown in jail again.

Considering my Defcon 1 Level of Hate for the current administration of fascists, that can happen any minute now.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Murder most foul.


This administration continues to devolve.

We've gone from gross incompetence to mass White House defections to porn star banging to bowing down to our new Russian overlords. And in the last two weeks we have now added murder.

Nice.

In any case here is the latest in my Thursday Thrashing letters.

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10.25.18

Vice President Mike Pence
The White House
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mike,

About 7 months ago, I decided I was going to embark on a letter writing campaign. I would compile a list of the 51 United States Republicans Senators and week-by-week I would pick one off and tell him, or her, exactly what I thought of their cowardly, Vichy-like behavior, in terms that were anything but uncertain.

Technically, you are NOT a U.S. Senator. 

But for reasons that still confound me, the authors of the Constitution mandated that you preside over the Senate in case there were ever a tie. Mind you, these are the same forward thinking clods that said, "The Negroes were only 3/5th human""Women can't vote" and "citizens should have unencumbered access to military grade weapons." So there's that.

I chose you this week for a special reason. And it has little to do with your party or your politics. And more to do with your piety, or lack thereof.

You will recall that at the 2016 Republican National Convention you took to the podium and proudly announced that you, "...come before the American people as a Christian, an American and as a Republican. In that specific order."

You remember saying that, don't you Brother Mike?

Of course you do, because your by-the-book Christianity is part and parcel of who you are. It's why Mother won't let you dine with another woman. It's why you view homosexuality as an abomination. And it's why you don't eat cheeseburgers or visit Red Lobster. 

Let's not forget laying down with another man, mixing milk with meat and eating shellfish were all explicitly forbidden in the same passages from Leviticus.

But this week Mike was so god damned special. Oooops. 

Because this week we saw the Mac Daddy of all sins, MURDER, play out on the international stage. An American resident, a columnist for the Washington Post, and father of four American children, Jamal Khashoggi was butchered at the hands of the Saudi Secret Service.

I'd have to whip out the Charlton Heston movie and skip past all that plague crap and get to the good stuff when God torches some bushes and splits the Red Sea with the breath in his nostrils, but I'm pretty sure if you look at those two stone tablets, Murder is right up there near the top. 

Granted, Jamal Khashoggi's skin was a few shades darker than white. Probably closer in complexion to that of Jesus than anyone in the Hoosier State, but still an innocent, olive-skinned man lost his life for nothing more than speaking his mind and fighting for freedom of the people.

Yet, in light of all this, your boss, Captain Fuckknuckle, is willing to absolve the Saudis of a murder most foul, because of an arms deal that will pump 17 trillion dollars into our economy and provide jobs and a Lamborghini for every man, woman and child in the Western Hemisphere -- his words, not mine.

And you're going to look the other way. Just as you looked the other way when he committed:

* Gluttony ("Give me two buckets of KFC tonight, that rally made me hungry.")

* Adultery ("it's not really cheating, she has a horseface.")

* Bearing False Witness (See 1946-2018)

In fact, in just a few weeks from now, I can picture you at the Thanksgiving Table expressing your gratitude to our Lord and Savior, for blessing the United States with a leader of such fortitude, grace and character. If hypocrisy were turkey stuffing you'd have enough to fill a Black Hole. 

I may be some atheist, hedonistic, alcohol-loving Jew, but the truth is I'm more Christian than you'll ever be. Nevertheless if I get to Hell before you do, I'll save a frosty, minty mojito for you.


Best,

Rich Siegel
siegelrich@mac.com
Culver City, CA 90232