Thursday, June 21, 2018

This guy broke the mold


Letter #19 in my Thursday thrashing Series.

Just when I think I have mined this vein and couldn't possibly find a bigger doucheweasel Republican, one comes slithering out of the swamp.

Today it's David Perdue, another dead ringer for the pedophile Senator from the Godfather.

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

6.19.18

Senator Perdue
455 Russell Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator,

You're a peach. 

That's not a just a semi-clever reference to your standing as Georgia's junior senator, I mean you're a peach. 

As in one of a kind.  
A standout.  
Unique in every sense of the word.

Let's face it, you're not one of the handful of US Republican Senators who normally grabs a headline or even gets digital ink on the interwebs. But yesterday, you changed all that. You bravely ventured into the dangerous waters of our current immigration crisis -- and yes, separating babies from their mothers merits the word crisis -- and you took a stand, albeit one that might be associated with a Vichy collaborator or a career minded colonel in the Third Reich.

At a Senate Press Conference designed to address  $15 billion in wasteful spending cuts, you said, "This (the spending) is the No. 1 topic in America today."

Adding that the situation at the border where young children were being pried away from their mothers by uncaring border patrol agents was simply, "...the current shiny object of the day."

 Bravo, Senator, Bravo.

You have given the word cavalier new meaning, new context and new resonance. That's no small feat.

Of course, this should come as no surprise. You literally have a Black Belt and a PhD in Cavalierness, stemming from your long storied business career. 

Following your time at Georgia Tech, where you were a brother at the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity --how surprising --you put in time at Sara Lee, Haggar, Reebok, and Pillowtex. 

You remember Pillowtex don't you, Senator?

You spent 9 months there. 

Enough time to give birth to a generous compensation package of $1.7 million. While simultaneously driving the company into the ground and pink slipping 7,650 workers. The closing resulted in the largest single-day job loss in the history of North Carolina. 

Peachy.

With that kind of financial acumen, is it any wonder you found your way into our esteemed halls of Congress?

It goes a long way towards explaining your indifference to the suffering of these brown "people", I use quotations marks because I'm not certain that you see them as fellow human beings.

I can just picture you and your wife and your two sons David Jr. (that's not cliché) and your other son Blake (nor is that) gathered round the huge 70 inch flat screen 4K TV in your palatial estate on Sea Island, downing a pitcher of mint juleps and watching the drama at our southern border unfold. 

I have no problem imagining you, perhaps in a seersucker suit or at the very least proudly wearing a flag pin in the lapel of your navy blue blazer, sitting in your leather club chair and taking no small amount of glee in the plight of a screaming mother who just watched her 17 month old daughter being hauled off to a Tender Age Shelter.

And then in a mighty display of cavalierism, I can hear you topping your colleague and fellow warrior of the Fourth Reich, Corey Lewandowski, issuing the following response...

"Womp. Womp. Womp."

Have a nice day, Assclown.



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




Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Clueless in Culver City


My wife hates me.

More specifically, she hates me when I get the final Jeopardy answer right and she doesn't. And neither do any of the three whiz kids on the show.

She will literally turn to me and say, "I hate you." I'm not sure if my excessive gloating has anything to do with these ill feelings, but this scenario has played itself out in our home many times.

I can't recall what the question was. Or even the answer. I have this amazing ability to warehouse a wealth of useless knowledge in my oversized cranium, but when it comes to short term memory, I turn to shit. I spent the better part of this morning looking for my reading glasses. Mind you, I have ten pair of reading glasses scattered about the house, but I needed to find my favorite pair.

The point of this long winded ramble?

I may know a little about a lot, but I certainly don't know a lot about a little.

In other words, I've come to view myself as a generalist. And this admitted superficiality has served me well in my career in advertising. It has allowed me to write, with faux authority, on any number of topics, everything from high performance automobiles to middle shelf scotch whiskey to lady's beauty products to billion dollar CRM software platforms.

And yet there are two topics of which I possess no knowledge. None. Not a sliver. More importantly, I never want to.

What is Blockchain?

and

What is Bitcoin?

I have attempted to school myself on both, but due to an Atavan I took back in 2014, found myself sleeping before getting past the first paragraph. I just  don't have the stomach or inclination to spend any of my time learning about these two...I'm so ignorant, I don't even know what you'd call them.

I'm also convinced that in five years time nobody will remember either of the two and they will be consigned to dustbin of useless technology. Of course, I don't want to be close-minded on the topic. If any of you have a concise, easy to digest explanation, I'm more than willing to entertain your submission.

Just Slack it over to me.




Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I Cannes't Even


It's that time of the year again.

All my colleagues, well at the least the ones that are more talented, more ambitious and more skilled at climbing the corporate ladder, are feasting and gorging themselves (at the expense of other ad agency personnel who haven't had a raise or a bonus in a dozen years) in Cannes in the south of France.

Do you detect some sour Cabernet grapes?

Of course you do.
I've made no secret of my disdain for this lavish and useless bacchanalia of fedora hats, ill-fitting Speedos and Scaramucci-worthy ass licking.

In fact, I've gone through the past 10 years of RoundSeventeen and noticed I had a written a blog about Cannes each and every year.

I've poked fun at the not-so-prescient panels.

I've riffed on the gluttony.

I've done a number on the number of entries.

I've dinged the drooling fascination with all things digital including the Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks™.

And last year, I did an itemized bill for what the average Cannes goer spends in a day. If you're an account executive or a media planner working 73 hours a week and haven't had a weekend off since Bin Laden was killed, you don't want to look at those numbers.

In short, I've said and written about all I can say on the matter of Cannes.
I can't say any more.

Except this.

If the point of all this wining, dining, yachting, drinking, "thinking" and canoodling is to inspire clients and creatives alike. If its purpose it to help us break through and land on big ideas that fuel commerce and push our collective culture in a new direction. If Cannes is meant be the spark that ignites new thinking, new media, new possibilities that will propel our industry and change the vector of capitalism for decades to come, then I have one simple question.

Where is the work?


Monday, June 18, 2018

Russia, Russia, Russia.


Russia is in the news again.

When is it not?

As many of you might have noticed I have a Russia obsession. Partly because my father's family hails from that part of the world. Actually not sure if it was Russia per se, it could have been Poland or Ukraine or some other god forsaken shtetl in Eastern Europe that people would have paid good money to escape.

It's my understanding that back in the late 1800's, early 1900's, the borders of that region were quite fluid. Not that it matters, because to this layman, there was very little difference in the people who inhabited that snowy, ugly, grimy corner of the world. It didn't matter what flag they were under, they worked their shitty jobs, they ate bad potato soup, they got drunk on cheap vodka and they beat up Jews and took their hats.

But don't get me wrong, I still love the place.

And I'm not alone. I have to give a shout out to my fellow copywriting colleague Chris Puoy, who is in Moscow at this moment, researching and filming a documentary about his grandmother. I am in awe of his audacity on this one. I'm also indebted to Chris who, just a few weeks ago, connected me to a client for a remote freelance gig -- the best kind-- that has the potential to be a long running thing.

In appreciation, I have dug in and found some more pictures and profiles from the Russian dating Sites. This is for Chris as well as the world's premier soccer players who might be looking to sample the local flavor.




This is Evgeniya Shvedov. Don't let those flowers and that innocent face fool you, she's quite the tiger. Her last lover lost an arm and suffered a broken pelvis in a Valentine's Day evening gone wild, but as he was recovering in Leningrad Municipal Hospital, he told the doctors, "it was worth every minute of it."


Say hello to Gavrilla Bunin. She hopes to meet an American man who will sweep her off her feet, marry her and bring her back to the States where they will live in a bungalow style house, with a white picket fence, satellite TV and a backyard big enough to raise a pack of feral weasels.


This is Viktoria Kupchenko. Though eager to meet a young soccer player, Viktoria can be quite picky. When asked, she said she wants a player "with a good header. Someone who can pull off a bicycle kick. And he's got to have excellent footwork." Then she winked.


The lovely Ludmilla Tsarapkin. Two dozen roses, a red satin teddy, indoor plumbing AND indoor plumbing cleaning tools (lower left hand corner), Ludmilla's dating game is strong. Very strong.


Hello, I'm Klava Ryndenko. Clearly, Russian women have a fascination with toilets. But Klava is doing it all wrong. The stubby Donald Trump hands. The exposed rusty pipes. The stained polyester blouse. And the cigarette lighter on the vanity. Come on Klava, smoking is so 2009. Girl, you have to up to your game. See Ludmilla.







Thursday, June 14, 2018

Idaho's finest.


Thursday Thrashing.

Letter Number 18.

To Senator Mike Crapo, the jokes practically write themselves.

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

6.13.18

Senator Mike Crapo
239 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mike,

Let's get to the good stuff first: your name.

One might contend that you are the most aptly named US Senator (I know all 51 because I am currently on a campaign to hand write letters to every Republican Senator for no other reason but to amuse myself and vent my DefCon Level One rage.)

The truth is, Crappy, that honor goes to three of your colleagues, Senator GrASSley, Senator BarASSo, and Senator SASSe, all of whom demonstrate a level of ASShattery that befits their moniker.

But let's not diminish the crappy job you have done representing the fine cattle ranchers, farmers and white supremacists in Idaho.

I took the liberty of looking over your Wiki page, because let's face it no one in America, with the exception of some ammo sexual Neo-Nazis in Coeur d'Alene, knows who you are or what you've done.

Let's just say I was not disappointed in the least. When it comes to being a crappy person, you sir are more than worthy of the title.

And I'm not just referring to your 2012 arrest for drunk driving as well as your encore DUI performance when you got arrested again in 2013. (Mmmmm, vodka)

Which is odd considering you describe yourself as faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Drinking and driving doesn't seem so saintly to me. If you were smart like our current EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt you would have had a special bulletproof limo built for your late night binge drinking escapades.

I also see that you supported a bill that would make it illegal for a 17-year-old girl to cross state lines and get a legal abortion. Funny, I was under the mistaken impression that one of the tenets of Republicanism was the notion of smaller government and less intrusion into our civil rights.  How could I have gotten that so wrong?

What I find most impressive, Senator, is your "who gives a crap" attitude towards gun violence. 

In 2012, when 20 families in Sandy Hook, CT were busy burying their 6 and 7 year old children who were mowed down by an AR-15, you promised to filibuster any attempt by the Democrats to institute any sane gun control laws whatsoever. So noble.

But your empathy knows no bounds. 

In 2017, you introduced the Hearing Protection Act. Making it easier for pistol aficionados to purchase and use gun silencers. You're not just out there at the forefront to safeguard the rights of gun owners, you're manning the front lines to protect the hearing abilities of anybody who might find themselves within gunshot range. 

Because the opportunity to listen to the patriotic musings of Toby Keith or Trace Adkins surely trumps the rights of sloppy kindergartners who might want to play with the Legos and do figure paintings in a safe school environment. 

That's the type of forward thinking that is emblematic of today's GOP, and more importantly, just what one would expect from a guy named Mike Crapo.

Have a nice day,




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



  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

That'll be $23.


"There's a new coffee shop opening in my neighborhood."

The most commonly heard phrase of the 21st century.
Followed closely by...

"That new coffee shop in the neighborhood is closing."

Followed even closer by...

"Holy shit, did you see what that dim, frothy twatweasel tweeted this morning?"

But let's get back to the coffee shop and the silliest of all endeavors, the journey into retail.

Years ago, while planning my erstwhile escape from advertising, I considered sinking my savings into an entrepreneurial adventure. I was planning on opening a tiny shop somewhere in WestLA, maybe on Robertson, in order to attract customers from all the adjacent affluent neighborhoods.

The idea was quite simple -- I would sell brisket. That's it, brisket. Oh we'd have some of the accompaniments like mac & cheese, cole slaw, potatoes, beans and rice, but the main attraction was brisket, which we would sell to go, by the pound.

Here's the hook, you could have your brisket Texas style. Cooked low and slow, just the way they serve it in Austin. Bubba's Brisket.

Or you could have your brisket Brooklyn style. Slathered in onions, veggies and schmaltz, just the way your nana would serve it. Bubby's Brisket.

Hence the name, Bubba and Bubby's Brisket Factory.

Not a bad idea. But the math wasn't there. Just like the math is not there for 99% of all retail.

Between the initial investment, the cost of equipment, the cost of raw material (the brisket), the cost of labor, the cost of insurance, the cost of operations, and the cost of marketing ( I know firsthand how those ad types can rake people over the coals) I figured that to make anywhere near a profit, I'd have to charge $159 for a single slice of brisket.

I knew I could make good brisket, I just wasn't convinced people would spend that much for it.

I'm convinced what's bad news for brisket is also bad news for sellers of books, biscuits, baskets, and all manner of brick a brack. You have to sell a lot of shit just to make a nickel.

I wish the folks opening the new coffee shop in my neighborhood the best of luck. But unless I wake up one morning and see a line of waiting customers that stretches all the way to Boyle Heights, I'm thinking today's cup of java will soon be replaced by tomorrow's Harry's House of Canned Hams.




Tuesday, June 12, 2018

down for the count


The weekend festivities -- celebrating my daughter's college graduation, not the TrumpKim Summit/PhotoOp -- have sapped me of all my energy. 

We will return to the regularly scheduled ranting, raving, bitching, moaning, griping, sniping, and stream of consciousness blurting, tomorrow.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Graduate and the Daduate

(10/12/13)


On October 12, 2013 we visited the University of Washington In Seattle.

The campus was empty as many of the students, most of them drunk, went down to Husky Stadium to watch their football team get trounced by the University of Oregon. My daughter fell in love the place. And decided this was the one for her.

(6/10/18)

Four and a half years and approximately 70 mortgage payments later, she received her Bachelor of Arts from the School of Public Health, the number #1 rated school in the nation.

Do my wife and I have nachas? You're damn right we do.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

You sir, are no Kennedy.


Another week, another disastrous 7 days in Trumpworld.

Which brings us to letter #18 in our Thursday Thrashing series.

It's a Kennedy.

But not the good kind.

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6.7.18

Senator John Kennedy
SR 383 Russell Senator Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Kennedy,

You are an enigma. 

An enigma wrapped in a riddle and stuffed inside a Louisiana crawfish.  

You have the Kennedy name, synonymous with the New England Dynasty of Democrats. And yet you identify yourself as a Republican and stand shoulder to shoulder with 51 other spineless creatures in the US Senate -- all of whom are receiving a personally hand written letter from yours truly. 

In light of your feckless nature and all too common wishy-washiness, you sir are Letter #18.

Most puzzling, are your momentary glimpses of sanity.

When asked about the President's proposed military parade, you poo-pooed the idea, adding, "confidence is silent and insecurity is loud."

When the scuffle arose about the President using the term shithole countries you paused and said, "this is childish behavior. This is why aliens wont talk to us."

And none of us will forget -- thanks to the Internet and the viral video -- your grilling of a Precedent Shitgibbon nominee, Matthew Petersen, for a federal judgeship.

In that legendary 4:48 interview it became painfully obvious that Mr. Petersen lacked the credentials for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. In fact, he lacked the credentials and wherewithal to argue a traffic ticket in a municipal courthouse.

I suspect that had Jimmy Kimmel taken his cameras out on Hollywood Blvd and conducted one of those embarrassing interviews where passersby cannot even identify the combatants of World War II, you would still find a majority of people who better meet the criteria for that judicial position.

He was that fucking bad. And you brought it to light. Thank you.

You would think that if the president, who regularly boasts of hiring the best people, nominates someone like Matthew Petersen it would raise a red flag.

That was no minor miscalculation.

Did it not send a message to you?

Did it not make you wonder about the Precedent Shitgibbon's judgment?

Or his understanding of the gravitas of the position?

Now compound that with this week's obvious lying about the letter he dictated in response to Don Jr.'s meeting with Russian Intelligence officers.

Pile on the incomprehensible ramblings of the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who speculated (out loud) about the possibility of assassinating former FBI Director James Comey.  Let's not forget the time candidate Trump fantasized about shooting a New Yorker on 5th Ave.

As if all that weren't enough, yesterday we had the president suggesting he could pardon himself, thereby placing himself squarely above the law.

I would think even paint chip eating Matthew Petersen knows that's a ridiculous legal contention.

Which brings us to the biggest mystery of all Senator Kennedy, why are standing with this dim, frothy huggermugger of a president and more importantly, why haven't you called for his impeachment?

Best regards,



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

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reflect your passion



I rarely do this.

I rarely write about topics that have been covered, and covered eloquently I might add, by other bloggers. With the exception of stealing liberally from George Tannenbaum, Bob Hoffman and the brilliant Dave Trott across the pond.

But last week Pam Fujimoto, writing for June Cleaver is Dead,  noticed what many of you might have noticed. An abortion of a spot for Meguiar's Car Wax that is currently airing during the NBA Finals.

You can read her piece here. And see the spot here.

The truth is, I was going to write about this as well, Pam just beat me to the punch.

I was going to throw shade on this commercial because it is so noticeably lacking in craft.

The premise is terrible.
The production is terrible.
The casting is terrible.
The editing is terrible.
The direction is terrible.

Mercifully, they crammed all this terrible into a 15 second spot and chose not to torture us for the other 15. (Clearly, that ad space was sold to the makers of Transitions Lens'. That fucking ear worm music is lodged in my head and probably won't leave until they hand the NBA Championship trophy to the warriors, again.)

I also have a personal interest on this as well.

You see I have a little history with the good folks at Meguiar's. Mind you this was from way back in 2004. Somehow, through any one of a million connections or thru sheer hustle, my partner and I wrangled a meeting with Meguiar's.

We put on the crispest khaki pants and the most gentile button down shirts in our closets and ventured south of the Orange Curtain. They seemed impressed with our credentials, our experience and our grown-up approach to advertising. They even signed us on for a project.

The presentation of the work two weeks later did not go as well. How did Jean Robaire put it? Oh yeah, "they looked at us like the family looked at Woody Allen in the movie, Annie Hall." 

We still got paid, so no harm, no foul.

Just out of curiosity I did a little research on the agency that is currently doing their "creative" work. It's a tiny little digital shop in Wisconsin.

Malcolm Gladwell famously said you need to put 10, 000 hours before you can claim expertise in any particular area.

And just to put things in perspective, in 2004 when Jean and I were presenting professional work to the marketing department at Meguiars, most of the employees at this unnamed digital agency in Wisconsin did not have 10, 000 hours invested in any particular craft.

In fact, most of them had not yet entered the 9th grade.






Tuesday, June 5, 2018

He's talking about doody


If you've been following this blog for any amount of time now, even just a week or so, you know it's quite rare for me to go out of my way to shower praise on any single piece of advertising.

Today is one of those days.

Let's face it, most of the shit you see on TV is just that, shit. Which makes for a perfect transition and brings us to the Kellogg's 10 Day All Bran Challenge. Because it's about shit but paradoxically is not shit.

Before I unload this crowning achievement in commercial-making, let me tell you why I found this piece so refreshing.

1. Simplicity -- This spot has simplicity in spades. It's the Royal Flush of simplicity. There's a guy, holding up the product, telling us in uncomplicated, easy-to-digest language why he is so pleased with the All Bran cereal. And it's done with one long take. There might be 6 or 7 cuts, but it's really nothing more than one long sentence broken up into little pieces, and ending with a satisfying crescendo.

2. Demonstration -- This time tested trope has fallen out of style and frankly it's a shame. Years ago, I was lured to go work for Team One Advertising. It didn't take much luring. Their demonstration spots for Lexus were the best in the business. The folks at Kellogg's have given them a run for their money.    And the degree of difficulty was tenfold. It's one thing to do demonstrate the efficacy of gold plated air bag terminals. It's a lot harder and significantly more challenging to spit out a concept that illustrates the constipation-busting power of All Bran.

3. The Sell -- Unlike so many efforts these days that try to push out some type of socially redeeming message or pretend to save the world, the folks at Kellogg's offered up no such phoniness. They didn't ask you to tweet. They didn't ask for any hashtags. And most importantly, they didn't concoct some stupid strategy bent on starting a movement.

Well, maybe just one movement.

By now the anticipation must be killing you, so with no further ado doo...




Round Two: The producer of the spot was kind enough to provide an even better version:

https://vimeo.com/206239904/f792341238

Ahhhhhhh!

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Medium is the Mess


Years ago, while permalancing at Chiat/Day  -- by the way, there's nothing better than permalancing -- my partner, Jerry Gentile and I were summoned to the Disney/Pixar compound in Glendale.

Even for someone as jaded as me, that's cause for excitement. It's better than a trip to the 99 cent shopping center in Pico Rivera.

Once past the heavily-guarded gate, we were given the nickel tour of the campus. As you can imagine, all your favorite Disney/Pixar characters were there: Woody, Buzz, Nemo, Milan, and a bunch of others I could name if one of my daughters were around to remind me.

There were also all the obligatories you'd expect from a place of employ that dared to call itself a campus: ping pong tables, pinball machines, jelly bean dispensers and brightly painted golf carts. All part of the kiddification of America's work sites.

After touring the grotesque architecture, we met the execs, all seemingly wearing button down shirts festooned with Pixar character on the pocket. They had been in discussion with the executives from Energizer (our client) and decided it would be cool, and apparently worthwhile, to do a commercial featuring their characters from the movie Cars alongside ours -- the Bunny.

To what end, I didn't have a clue.
And with what resources? Again I was clueless.
Because this all took place 6 months before the movie's release and in accordance with Pixar protocol they would not release any footage to us. Nor any idea of what was in the script.

In other words,

"Do something fun and maybe even funny with the Energizer Bunny and the main character from Cars. Tiffany will take you in the PlutoMobile golf cart back to the parking lot. Thanks."

I have no idea how we solved this Gordian Knot. Moreover, nor does the moviegoing public. Whatever we did was long forgotten. Or more accurately, ignored. Which is really the point of this longwinded story.

Because with summer upon us I'm seeing more and more of these worthless co-branded movie promotions:

Mission Impossible/Burger King

Deadpool 2/Liquid Plumber

Superfly/Hellman's Mayonnaise

I'll say what no one in any of those countless meetings between lower level studio execs and agency sycophants sniffing an opportunity to earn revenue for their holding company overlords, are willing to say,

"It's a fucking monumental waste of money."

There isn't a soul on the planet who comes away from viewing one of these celluloid abortions and thinks to him or herself, "Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom looks like a great movie but first I should make a trip to my nearest Hyundai Dealership and check out the new 7 passenger Santa Fe."

Not a one.

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

Addendum: I did get to direct Owen Wilson, the star of Cars, in a voiceover session. And was pleased to discover his nose is significantly larger than mine.




Thursday, May 31, 2018

ORRIN, ORRIN. ORRIN, CAN YOU HEAR ME?


("Sir, the Japanese already surrendered.")


It's Thursday Thrashing.

Letter #17.

This one goes out to the very honorable Senator Orrin Hatch, who once said Precedent Shitgibbon may be the greatest president in the history of the United States. You know once you get past the Russian election interference, the obstruction of justice, the budget busting, the swampy corruption, the attacks on the free press, the emoluments violations, the misogyny, the racism, the shady finances and the porn star banging.

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

5.31.18

Senator Orrin Hatch
104 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Orrin,

First let me say that in deference to your somewhat advanced age (84) I have decided to write this letter using extremely large type. I didn't do that for any of the Republican US Senators I have been writing letters to and as letter #17, I hope you will appreciate the gesture.

Similarly, I'm not here to berate you. As I might have done with some of your colleagues. Maybe. Just a little.

In fact, while researching your biography I found, much to my disappointment, that you plan to retire in January of 2019. It's my sincere hope that I can get you to rethink that decision. 

Our country finds itself facing many, many dilemmas: corruption, campaign finance abuse, foreign intervention into our elections, and a blinding lack of moral clarity. Now, more than ever, we need energetic, fresh-thinking, 84 year old problem-solvers like yourself.

Stay Senator, stay.

Remember last week (perhaps one of your aides could jog your memory) when the FBI and the Department of Justice turned over classified information to congressional leaders and proved there were no spies implanted in the Trump campaign? Who could forget your fiery speech and impassioned defense of the Rule of Law? 

Stay Senator, stay.

Remember when our own president had a hissy fit on live TV when he found out that law enforcement agents, with warrants in hand, raided the offices of Michael Cohen, and called our brave men and women in blue, "storm troopers" and described the incident as "an attack on our country." And again, you could not wheel yourself to a microphone fast enough to stand beside the people sworn to our safety and security. It was inspiring.

Stay Senator, stay.

And of course there was Charlottesville. That's in Virginia, one of the original 13 colonies. A young woman lost her life there. She was mowed down by an alt. right, Neo Nazi, one of the "very fine people" who was there to exercise his 1st Amendment right. But you, Mr. Hatch, would have none of that. History will long remember your principled filibuster in the halls of Congress, wherein you demanded our President retract and apologize for such a disgraceful characterization of this hideous murder. Your courageous stand will be written about in textbooks, discussed in classrooms and held up as shining example of steely leadership and American exceptionalism.

Stay Senator, stay.

I took the trouble to further research the menu at the Senate Commissary and was shocked to discover they don't have any offerings designed for 84 year olds. Many items require cutting and chewing. A man with your distinguished service should have the option of softer, less arduous foods. It would be my honor to send you a Magic Bullitt Blender that can "blend, liquefy, mix, grate and grind." 

In short, if you'll continue to provide this nation with the responsible stewardship that has become the signature of the Republican Party, I'll happily provide the means to puree your next plate of liver and onions.

Stay Senator, stay.

Best regards,



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



HELLO ORRIN. ORRIN. CAN YOU HEAR ME, ORRIN?


("Sir, the Japanese already surrendered.")


It's Thursday Thrashing.

Letter #17.

This one goes out to the very honorable Senator Orrin Hatch, who once said Precedent Shitgibbon may be the greatest president in the history of the United States. You know once you get past the Russian election interference, the obstruction of justice, the budget busting, the swampy corruption, the attacks on the free press, the emoluments violations, the misogyny, the racism, the shady finances and the porn star banging.

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

5.31.18

Senator Orrin Hatch
104 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Orrin,

First let me say that in deference to your somewhat advanced age (84) I have decided to write this letter using extremely large type. I didn't do that for any of the Republican US Senators I have been writing letters to and as letter #17, I hope you will appreciate the gesture.

Similarly, I'm not here to berate you. As I might have done with some of your colleagues. Maybe. Just a little.

In fact, while researching your biography I found, much to my disappointment, that you plan to retire in January of 2019. It's my sincere hope that I can get you to rethink that decision. 

Our country finds itself facing many, many dilemmas: corruption, campaign finance abuse, foreign intervention into our elections, and a blinding lack of moral clarity. Now, more than ever, we need energetic, fresh-thinking, 84 year old problem-solvers like yourself.

Stay Senator, stay.

Remember last week (perhaps one of your aides could jog your memory) when the FBI and the Department of Justice turned over classified information to congressional leaders and proved there were no spies implanted in the Trump campaign? Who could forget your fiery speech and impassioned defense of the Rule of Law? 

Stay Senator, stay.

Remember when our own president had a hissy fit on live TV when he found out that law enforcement agents, with warrants in hand, raided the offices of Michael Cohen, and called our brave men and women in blue, "storm troopers" and described the incident as "an attack on our country." And again, you could not wheel yourself to a microphone fast enough to stand beside the people sworn to our safety and security. It was inspiring.

Stay Senator, stay.

And of course there was Charlottesville. That's in Virginia, one of the original 13 colonies. A young woman lost her life there. She was mowed down by an alt. right, Neo Nazi, one of the "very fine people" who was there to exercise his 1st Amendment right. But you, Mr. Hatch, would have none of that. History will long remember your principled filibuster in the halls of Congress, wherein you demanded our President retract and apologize for such a disgraceful characterization of this hideous murder. Your courageous stand will be written about in textbooks, discussed in classrooms and held up as shining example of steely leadership and American exceptionalism.

Stay Senator, stay.

I took the trouble to further research the menu at the Senate Commissary and was shocked to discover they don't have any offerings designed for 84 year olds. Many items require cutting and chewing. A man with your distinguished service should have the option of softer, less arduous foods. It would be my honor to send you a Magic Bullitt Blender that can "blend, liquefy, mix, grate and grind." 

In short, if you'll continue to provide this nation with the responsible stewardship that has become the signature of the Republican Party, I'll happily provide the means to puree your next plate of liver and onions.

Stay Senator, stay.

Best regards,



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


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Confessions of a dog lover


I love dogs. I really do.

If I didn't I wouldn't have spent months combing the websites of local shelters looking to bring just the right dog back into our lives. And fortunately we have found the right one.

But what I really love are quiet dogs.

And not the ones that live on seemingly all sides of my house. They bark. They bark loudly. And they bark at all kinds of inconvenient times of the day. Like 1:30 at night when I've fallen asleep. And at 5 AM when I want to stay asleep.

This dilemma has sent me to back to the internet. This time to find someone or something that can put an end to this auditory waterboarding.

That journey took me all the way to China.
And the website of a company called Nice Stuff.

After 6 weeks of customs, complicated Chinese Trade regulations and all manner of asshattery produced by the bumbling Shitgibbon administration, I'm happy to say my Training Dog Banish Dog Maching Device has arrived.

I'm looking forward to giving the Training Dog Banish Dog Maching Device a whirl.

But only after I stop laughing at the enclosed instruction manual, which I will partially enclose for your smile time happy amusement.



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

That time we were filming on a porno set


Today's post has a little bit of everything: celebrity-adjacency, pornography, self promotion and tangy lime chile sauce.

It begins last Thursday when I decided to walk my dog over the California Grooming, best pet groomers west of the Delaware River. My dog Lucy had been shedding like an alpaca in heat. The hair had been clumping up in corners all along our hardwood floor. It had gotten so thick it was choking our poor little Roomba™.

As I was about to enter the little store on Overland Ave, just an 1/8 of a mile from my home, there was a man approaching from the south with two large Aussie Shepherds. That man was none other than Joel Murray, Bill's younger brother seen on the right.

"Hey, I know you."

"You do?"

"We worked together. Years ago. You did the voiceover for our El Pollo Loco commercials."

"Oh hell yeah. I remember those. That was a fun campaign. What happened to that?"

It was at that point our dogs started growling and nipping at each other and I didn't get to elaborate on the unexplainable fuckwadian stupidity that governs the boardrooms of corporations all across this once great nation.

I won't bore you with the story, but I will take this opportunity to beat my chest. Because in the ONE year that we had El Pollo Loco, our work resulted in a 13.1% annual sales increase. Plus or minus all those other accounting terms like EBITDA, amortization, cost of doing business, etc, etc. 13.1%!!!, and yet they decided they'd rather work with some hacky boutique shop in Torrance.

And yes, I realize the words boutique and Torrance have no business being in the same sentence.

Even more amazing is how we got to such stellar results. You see after we won the account, we were told the production budget for the entire year was little more than $250, 000. Moreover, because of the constant need to promote specials and menu items, El Pollo Loco needed to be on the air all the time.

Fast forward to my partner John Shirley and I at the studio of Terry Heffernan, one of the best food shooters in the business, at his spacious studio in Potrero Hill in San Francisco. There, we spent 36 hours shooting chickens and chickens parts on Fire Department approved indoor grills.

In between MEDIUM TIGHT SHOT LEGS and THIGHS and EXTREME TIGHT SHOT BREASTS, Terry took the opportunity to point out the rather large and vibrantly painted green door at the back of the studio. He went on to tell us that this was the very studio where the famous Mitchell Bros. shot Marylin Chambers in her 1972 porn classic Behind the Green Door. (Don't forget to scrub your browser history)

Anyway, with an entire library of chicken-on-a-grill footage, this is where the talented Mr. Murray comes in. The writing staff at Y&R, myself included, wrote hundreds of scripts. And Joel Murray, younger brother of Bill, recorded close to 75 spots, most of which aired during Jeopardy.

Sadly, those spots are buried in a storage locker somewhere in Pacoima.

But I did take the time to re-record some of the scripts when I was pursuing, naively, a career in voiceover work.

I still get a kick out of this incredibly simple but effective work that despite its poor resolution still holds up today.








Monday, May 28, 2018

Exit through the Gift Shop


You know me.

I can be pretty damn resourceful.
And persistent.
And relentless to a fault.

Last week, the interwebs were abuzz with word of a commemorative coin honoring Precedent Shitgibbon and Supreme Leader Kim Jung Un for their upcoming (?) historic summit. I had to have one of these beautifully minted coins and so I did what I think anyone would do, I wrote to the White  House Gift Shop.


Please note I purposely misspelled the North Korean leader's name. Why? Because I could and because writing the word Dung to a White House official seemed funny to me. That's why.

You can imagine my shock when Ms. Allen, who does not want her face shown on linkedin -- in fact, none of the employees at the White House Gift Shop want their pictures shown -- responded to my email.


It isn't everyday that I get a response to one of my many emails, texts and letters. In fact, it's never. So I wasn't about to let this go.


Did I say I got a response from the White House? I'm sorry, I meant to say I got multiple responses from the White House.


And of course, since I have nothing better to do with my life than to troll the White House Gift Shop, the most powerful gift shop on the planet, I felt it was time to expand my wish list.




I am still waiting on Rachel's response. In case you're curious, here is the jacket I am referring to. 



And while it may to late to obtain for this upcoming father's day, my birthday is coming in February and there's plenty of time to make my 44th birthday extra special.

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

UPDATE: Yesterday I received an unexpected late response from Rachel Allen, the Director of the White House Gift Shop. Which as you can imagine, thrilled me to no end. 



I hope to continue these adventures in White House Gift Shop Chain Yanking. Here is my extremely deferential response. If she writes back to me again, my head might explode.










Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Ass in Sasse


Thursday Thrashing Letter #15.

Meet Senator Ben Sasse. A PhD from Yale as well as a degree from Harvard.

Arguably the smartest man in the US Senate and also one of the most despicable.

Get in the barrel, Ben.

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

5.24.18

Senator Ben Sasse
B40E Dirksen Senate Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Sassy,

Congratulations, you are letter #15 in my ongoing campaign to handwrite letters to each and every one of the Republican United States Senators.

It's my general understanding that you, Senator, are one of the good ones. And by that, I mean I am employing extreme relativism. It's as if I were being given a choice to pick up dog shit at a kennel.

Would I choose the 110 lbs. St. Bernard that almost fainted while depositing his breakfast, lunch and dinner, and gave birth to a promising sinkhole?

Or, would I opt for the constipated Chihuahua that really is nothing more that a rat in a dog suit?

You sir, are the rodentially-related Chihuahua.

You may be asking, "What have I done to deserve such antagonism?" For that, let us turn to the pages of Exodus and the Hebrew's celebration of their passage, whereupon one son turns to his father before the ceremonial Passover meal and says,

"What makes this day different from any other?" (OK, he says night but let's look at the bigger picture shall we?)

Because on this day, your president, your Commander in Chief, the head of your political party has launched a scorched Earth attack on our Justice Department and the FBI. The likes of which this world has never seen.

He has undercut and undermined one of the cherished institutions that has served this nation (unlike our bone spurs impaired leader) protected this nation and put in place the guardrails that keep our democracy on track.

And you, Sassy McSassy have said and done nothing.

NOTHING!!!

Even more appalling is the fact that you are a graduate of Harvard University. And a doctorate in History from Yale University. You are a man of Letters and yet you choose to ignore your checks and balances responsibilities and enable this authoritarian to run roughshod over our Constitution.

You know better.

I know you know better.

Your constituents in Nebraska know better. Ok, maybe they don't. They're still trying to figure out how the expansion strap on the back of their MAGA cap works.

There can be only one explanation for your non-response.

You want to get re-elected. You want to get re-elected so bad that you are willing to ignore your senatorial responsibilities, the oath you took and all manner of common decency just so you can go back to your cushy job in DC.

Are the Monte Cristo sandwiches at the Senate commissary that good?

You are what we in the corporate world call a Careerist. You've put your ambitions, your cravenness and your political aspirations above all else. Moreover you've done it at a time when our nation desperately needs backbone and fortitude.

At this point in the letter, as I have done with the previous 14, I normally craft some kind of funny, stinging crescendo of a paragraph that mellifluously trips off the tongue and amuses both the letter recipient as well as the 20,000 readers of my blog where all the letters are reprinted every Thursday. But today, my rage is running on the redline and will therefore issue you a special dispensation.

Instead, I'll leave you with this: 
 
Трахните тебя
 
 
 
Rich Siegel
siegelrich@mac.com
Culver City CA 90232