Thursday, September 20, 2018

Asshole #27


We are past the halfway point. Not quite the homestretch, but the finish line will soon be in sight.

Today, we're addressing Thom Tillis, the junior Senator from North Carolina and member of the sham Senate Judiciary Committee.

He's every bit as revolting as he looks.

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9.20.18

Senator Thom Tillis
185 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator,

I write letters.

I write lots of letters.

About six months ago, I decided to write a letter to each and every one of the United States Republican Senators. 

You are number 26. Or 27. To be frank, I kind of lost track. There are so many of you pasty old white men and you seem to replicate like some alien life form possessed of inferior intelligence and lacking all sense of integrity.

To be even franker with you, I would have preferred to write a letter to Senator Cruz, because Ted has been in the news quite a bit this. You don't mind me calling him Ted, do you? It's a bit colloquial but it's also a lot easier than writing out bloviating, swag-bellied hedge pig.

Earlier this week, Ted, desperately fighting off an opponent who is clearly smarter, likeable and human, suggested that if he lost the election Texas would go ahead and ban BBQ. This is pure nonsense. As roasting strips of animal flesh over an open fire is as endemic to Texans as grabbing pussy is to Republicans.

But dropping the meat in the dirt once this week wasn't enough for Teddy (again, a lot easier than writing lumpish, sheep-biting malt worm.) He also made the mistake of suggesting that the nation had rushed to judgment with regards to the Dallas cop who entered the wrong apartment and shot an African American man dead.

For Christ's sake, the man was in his apartment, probably watching Sports Center and chewing on a week old Slim Jim and Johnny Po-Po comes bursting through the door. Fire, Ready, Aim.

Maybe Theodore (fewer letters than Twatwaffle) should spend less time watching porn and more time boning up on the law. 

Clearly, he's no Senator Thom Tillis. 

When word got out that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had racked up a whopping $200,000 in unpaid credit card debt -- because he enjoyed going to baseball games -- you put your foot down and said the judge has "some esplainin' to do."

When Senator Durbin provided documentation of Judge Kavanaugh's contradictory testimony regarding past involvement with waterboarding and other extreme interrogation methods, you rose up with mighty indignation rarely seen in the Dirksen Senate Building.

And when Professor Ford came forth and described in shocking detail how Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee to sit on the highest court in the land and shape our culture for the next 30-40 years, had attacked her and attempted to rape her, you made a beeline for the nearest microphone and camera...

"This will not stand. This brave young woman has raised serious concerns. She has courageously come from behind the shadows and told us her harrowing story. Moreover, she has taken and passed a polygraph test. We have a duty to conduct a full scale FBI investigation. And, in the interest of serving our constituents, the American people, we must leave no stone unturned and put Judge Kavanaugh to the same rigorous standards and place him on the polygraph machine."

Oh wait; you didn't do any of that.

Turns out you're more like Senator Cruz than I had assumed. Just another frothy, beef-witted, barnacle-encrusted whey-face.

Best,


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




Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Today's Menu



Today is Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement. A day when Jews deny themselves all types of earthly pleasure and commit themselves to the Host of Hosts, praying, fasting, repenting, and repeating until the sun goes down.

That said, I'm pretty sure none of my Tribe brothers and sisters are reading the blog today. So, let's commence with the heresy.

It's no secret, I'm an atheist. Sometimes a militaristic atheist. It's just too self important of us to think that in the vast stretches of time and space that our minds cannot comprehend, our actions, our transgressions and our dietary practices have any significance.

And yet, perhaps out of habit or just out of respect, I will be fasting as well. I won't be doing any atoning because frankly I haven't done anything wrong in the past year. OK, maybe a little atoning. Nevertheless I will be abstaining from food (that's easy) as well as alcohol (considerably harder.)

I'll also be updating this blog throughout the day, so that you, my gentile audience, can get a sense of what Yom Kippur is all about.

Stay tuned.

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Day of Atonement
6:54 AM

I was awakened early by the growling in my stomach. It's been twelve hours since my last meal and nothing has passed my lips. Except for a chalky antacid, taken just before I went to sleep last night.

"...and the Lord said thou belly shall remain empty so that ye may know the discomfort and pain ye hast inflicted on others. And should thou experience a burning within thy belly thou shalt not find relief in a Minty Pepcid AC."

One Demerit

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Day of Atonement
10:37 AM

These are the bagels that will be toasted and schmeered with salty white fish salad and fresh lox in a little less than 8 hours from now. While snapping the picture I remembered that back in April I had made a bagel run and forgot to get my wife some fresh squeezed OJ. Moreover, afterwards I stubbornly insisted she never asked for fresh squeezed Orange Juice.



Not getting requested beverage -- One Demerit
Not listening to wife -- One Demerit

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Day of Atonement
12:41 PM

Just read passage from Stormy Daniels (star of Pussy Sweat and working with Pride II) and her description of the penis belonging to the President of the United States. Hunger level decreased by 37%.

Not Making Wisecrack about Yeti Pubes -- One Atonement Point

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Day of Atonement
2:01PM

Received new Woodward book and have plowed through three solid chapters of scheming, backstabbing and career opportunism.


Wishing Death Upon Another Human Being -- Two Demerit Points
Shamelessly Plugging My Own Book -- Two Demerit Points

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Day of Atonement
4:22 PM

Walked the dog to the bank to deposit check. She decided she had some "business of her own to conduct. Right in the middle of the crosswalk.


Touching money on Yom Kippur -- One Demerit Point
Picking up poop in the middle of crosswalk -- One Karma Point

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This will be the last update, as we are in the homestretch and plan to eat as soon as possible so that I can provide my body vital calories and stop it from going into shock.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

That's my friend David.


We don't do enough to honor our own. And by that I mean the ad industry offers little in the way of recognition to those who have contributed so much. So today I'm going to try and remedy that.

Last week, my friend, my former boss and one of my mentors, David Morgenstern passed.

For those too young to remember, and currently that's everybody in the advertising community, he was one of the folks responsible for the birth of West Coast creativity. A phenomena that traces its roots back to Chiat/Day and Needham, Harper & Steers (now RPA.)

Let me throw the Honda Pilot in reverse back to the 1980's.

While Jay Chiat was busy putting together his team of pirates, Larry Postaer was equally busy assembling a cast of incredibly-skilled copywriters and art directors who would sweep every award show.

They put Honda on the map. With smart simple advertising that in many cases resembled art. That team read like the roster of the 1927 Yankees and included Bob Coburn, Gary Yoshida, Gail Bartley, Richard Kile and David Morgenstern, among many others.

I can read off those names because I knew each and every one of them. Because Needham Harper and Steers was where I started as a mailroom clerk. Mailroom clerk is a euphemism for everybody's slave.

And the Creative department would take full advantage of having a man servant. I would move their furniture. Retrieve their dry cleaning. And take their precious, company-paid Civics and Preludes to the car wash.

Naturally, I despised each and every one of them. And was painfully envious of their cushy 10-4 jobs. Their cozy Westwood offices. Their Tony Jacklin golf clubs. And their obscene expense accounts at Monte's Steakhouse.

"I'll have your most expensive steak, stuffed with your second most expensive steak."

But that envy was also inspiring.

And years later, I found myself working for David again. Not as a mailroom clerk but as his junior copywriter at Abert, Newhoff & Burr. On a leaner than lean staff that only included myself and my partner Tris. This is where I got to see David differently.

Mind you, I sucked as a junior copywriter. But David must have seen something in me. He was more than generous with his time. He would edit my copy like a newspaper guy. Always shortening. Always tightening. Always finding a better, quicker and more impactful way of saying things. And always with a soft-spoken smile.

David was an easy-going Midwestern Jew. And I discovered they're not like their NY brethren. They don't yell. They don't fight. They're not abrasive. And they're pleasant to be around. Not surprisingly, I married one from Minnesota.

We stayed in touch over the past few years via social media. He'd become a big fan of this blog. And loved my Kim Jung Fun tumblr, often dropping me little notes about how hard he was laughing about that day's posting.

Last year, while visiting my sister-in-law in Northern California, we found ourselves eating lunch in Healdsburg. On the spur of the moment, I called David to join us. True to his generous spirit he did. He got there too late to enjoy the ribs and BBQ brisket but in time to help me drain a pitcher of beer and spend an hour laughing and telling war stories.

I had the good luck to call him a friend.

And that's the thing, if you met David, you liked David.

It's that Simple.





Monday, September 17, 2018

At your service


I am done with the Stealerships.

If you're any kind of regular reader of this blog you know I've not had much luck with dealership service departments. Last summer, my daughter's Volvo broke down in Las Vegas and the local dealership tried to clip me for $312 for a new battery. The same battery sells for $118 at Pep Boys.

More recently, Beverly Hills Lexus tried to make off with a hundred of my hard earned copywriting dollars to replace a gas cap. A $100 GAS CAP!


For a hundred bucks that gas cap ought to climb out of its hole every night and robotically wash the car like some automotive Roomba.

I probably shouldn't have been visiting these places in the first place. But I'm a sucker for faux luxury environments. I'm easily seduced by their bright lights, their clean floors, their leather club chairs and their pandering service, "Can I get you a newspaper and a latte, Mr. Siegel?"

These upscale service departments are a far cry from the garages of my youth. Dirty, ramshackle, open air huts strung out along the length of Route 59 that cut a swath through Rockland County. They've all been converted into jerry-rigged yeshivas, that are now, impossibly, even dirtier and even grimier.

All that is in the past.

Because I discovered Larsen Automotive which is less than a mile from my house. There, I met Nick Larsen, who had been operating the shop at the corner of Overland and Jefferson for quite some time. Much to my dismay, I had simply never noticed it. Which is not all that shocking considering it was only last week that I discovered my wife doesn't like onions.

Life has a way of hiding in plain sight.

To say I'm overjoyed would be an understatement. Work that the Beverly Hills stealership wanted to do would have cost me close to $4000. Nick and his crew did the job for a third of that, including a cleanup of the Mass Air Flow Sensor, which had been causing erratic acceleration.

Now, the 2007 Lexus LS 460 is running at, or near, factory release standards. Had this been the case a year earlier, I probably would have averted my second mid life crisis, not bought the Audi S5 and dumped the lethargic Lexus on my unsuspecting wife.

Over and above all that, when I bring the car in to see Nick, I see Nick. He has his name on the business and so he goes out of his way to greet each customer. He's candid. He's friendly. And more than willing to explain what he did and what he didn't do.

In other words, he does business the way I do business.

So I don't get the "free" loaner car. I don't get the latte. And I don't get the faux sycophancy that passes for service in Beverly Hills.

And I don't miss it one bit.








Thursday, September 13, 2018

That's right, he's a US Senator



You probably don't recognize Mike Lee, the junior Senator from the great state of Utah. And by junior, I mean he's 138 years younger than Senator Orrin Hatch, who took office when Brigham Young was writing about Magic Underwear.

But do not be fooled by his relative obscurity.

Senator Lee made a name for himself at last week's Judicial confirmation hearings.

Read all about the GOP's rising new brilliant star...

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9.13.18

Senator Mike Lee
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Mike Lee,

This country is full of naysayers. 

Negative Nancies who have little or no faith in our government. People who are so upset with what they perceive as corruption, incompetence and outright horsecockery in Washington, DC, they view politicians as lower than a NYC pizza rat.

I might have applied for membership in that club, but after seeing your rigorous interrogation of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh this week, my outlook on our future is decidedly more optimistic.

For the past 6 months or so, I've been writing letters to every Republican US Senator. You are letter #27. But if I can be quite frank with you, I had you inked for somewhere in the low 40's. That is, until I caught your Clarence Darrow-like performance on C-SPAN.

I'm no lawyer; I'm just a lowly advertising copywriter who delusionally sees himself tilting at windmills. And though I'm a little better versed in the law, thanks to the nightly antics of our merkin-sporting Shitgibbon in the White House, it should be noted I'm just a rank legal amateur.

Nonetheless, I know juris-brilliance when I see it. 

And since this letter is not only directed at you but will be published on my blog (20,000+ monthly viewers) and eventually a book, I'll take the liberty of transcribing what can only be described as a seminal moment in our nation's history. 

Because given the opportunity, and dare I say, the privilege of passing judgment on a candidate who will sit for a lifetime on the highest court of our land, taking his place beside judicial luminaries like Justice Marshall, Justice Frankfurter, and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, you went with this...

LEE: I have a very important question for you. (Scratching head for emphasis)

KAVANAUGH hunches over in anticipation.

LEE: I notice that you take a lot of notes. And I respect that. Um...um...Because you're paying close attention. (DRAMATIC PAUSE)  You use a Sharpie. And it's not a fine tip Sharpie. It's uh...regular Sharpie (making childlike circular motion) That might smudge and make a mess...why do you prefer that pen?

AUDIENCE chuckles.

LEE: (drawing on his deep legal background) I'm just dying of curiosity.

KAVANAUGH: (stunned by the surgical precision of Lee's interrogatory skills) Uhhh.... so I can see it. It's nothing scientific.

AUDIENCE chuckles again

LEE: That is a perfect mic-drop moment.

Ipso facto. 
QED. 
Sunset.

Take that Kamala Harris and Patrick Leahy and Cory Booker. That is how you conduct the people's business. 

Forget all that Roe v. Wade nonsense. Or campaign finance reform. Or what constitutes an assault weapon and what is simply a gun with a high capacity magazine that can mow down 20 schoolchildren in less than a minute.  The good folks of America, the real people, want to get to the bottom of the writing utensil mystery. 

Thank you Mikey. I don't know why people hold Harvard Law School in such high regard when it has become painfully clear, that your alma mater, Brigham Young, has produced our nation's finest legal scholars.

There can be no doubt this highly charged electric moment will find its way to the silver screen. Perhaps the next generation's Henry Fonda or jimmy Stewart will bring your stellar insight to life in a performance that will live on for the ages.

Who knows, maybe this epochal moment is only a preview of greater things to come from Senator Mike Lee?

Lee 2020?

Best,

Rich Siegel
siegelrich@mac.com
Culver City, CA

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Bonus material from the senator's website...




Wednesday, September 12, 2018

To blog or not to blog


My wife is of a cool, calm demeanor. Never loses her temper. And is quite deliberate about all her decisions. Particularly ones that regard work and career. Why she took a chance with me remains as mysterious as the whereabouts of DB Cooper and the Ark of the Covenant.

Not surprisingly, she often reads this blog, shakes her head, looks at me and says,

"Seriously?" 

Or, "Really?" 

Or, "we're both gonna end up in a dirty nursing home, I hope you're happy about that."

You see, she's not a big fan of my refreshing candor. Of course that's what I call it, she characterizes it as stupid, bull-in-a-China-Shop, brutal fucking honesty.

"Keep biting the hand that feeds you and there won't be any hands left." 

to which I will reply...

"I don't bite the hand that feeds me. I bite the whole arm."

I'm 44 years old and I'm afraid it's a little too late in the game to change my ways and not call it as I see it. Besides, in 2018 the three indisputable truths that I have been harping on for the last ten years are even more indisputable:

1.) No one likes the Long Table of Mediocrity™.

2.) No one is paying attention to Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks™

3.) No one has come up with anything more persuasive than the written word

To wit, last week I received a phone call from a fellow Creative Director who runs his own little independent agency. And has done so for years. We had never met, though I was familiar with his work and he was familiar with mine.

More recently, he was familiar with RoundSeventeen and had become a regular follower.

In short, he put my partner and I to work on a juicy assignment. Obviously I can't get into the details on the project. But I can make some observations on the process. Because in contrast to what my wife thinks or says about this blog, some people, smart people, if I may go Trumpian here, the smartest people on the planet, like what they're reading and are prepared to act on it.

Meaning, the blog not only attracts work, it attracts the right kind of work from the right kind of people.

Take that Debbie.




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Happy New Year



Can you believe 5779 is already here?

Seems like it was just yesterday we were tossing sourdough baguettes in the Santa Monica Bay, blowing our shofars and welcoming in the year 5778. Time flies when your country is circling the toilet bowl.

I'm sure many of you are completely unaware of the Jewish New Year celebrations. After all, it seems awfully weird that the start of a new year would coincide with the end of summer. That hardly puts a smile on anyone's face. But if you're familiar with our customs, you know there's not a lot we do that screams unadulterated joy.

There's no fireworks.

No dragon costumes.

No shots of slivovitz.

No, we put on our stiffest most uncomfortable clothing, sit in a hot temple (in overpriced seats) and abuse ourselves with a tortuous cocktail of self flagellation and ancient Hebrew prayers written by goat herding amateur poets from five thousand seven hundred seventy nine years ago.

But that's just to get the party started.

Because a week from now, we'll put on those same monkey suits, go back to temple (some of us will even walk there because agony is the coin of our realm) and sit for an eternity without the benefit of breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a much needed Tic Tac.

Why?
Because that's just the way we roll.
And have been, for close to 6000 years.

But what makes it all so stunningly hilarious is the insane belief that some Sky Daddy is not only watching over us, but is actually monitoring it all from his gold-plated throne in the sky.

Moreover, he, or she, is taking notes on whether I fasted the appropriate 24 hours from sundown to sundown without so much as nibbling on a cheese stick. Or even a few fingers worth of Maker's Mark to take the edge of all that atoning.

That simply defies all rhyme or reason. Particularly when you allow your mind to be blown away by this (please adjust to highest resolution settings):




As one like-minded snarky atheist commenter so succinctly put it, "how cute of us to think we matter."

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to dip an apple slice in honey.

And then wrap it in some hot bacon.





Monday, September 10, 2018

44 Regular


My crazy uncle passed away this weekend. That's him on the right, seated next to my father on the left.

I use the term crazy uncle literally, figuratively and lovingly. Because let's face it, we all have a crazy uncle, some more than one. Typically they have weird views about aliens, vaccines and Alex Jones. And they drink excessively, eventually turning Thanksgiving into a food free for all.

My Uncle Jackie was crazy in the other way.

He was mentally challenged. Semi-functional, in a limited way, but never all there. And, as you might expect from a Siegel, it manifested itself in somewhat hilarious ways.

About a dozen years ago, he showed up at my mother's funeral armed with a notepad and a ballpoint pen. When the coast was clear, he would hound dog any woman at the service, scribble his phone number on a scrap of paper and tell her to call him the she wanted to 'get busy.'

It was shocking at the time.
It's hilarious now.

Uncle Jackie spent his last years at an assisted living apartment in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He loved it there, but I will tell you they put the grim in grimy. As my friend from North Jersey eloquently put it, "Atlantic City was built in the key of Sad."

For a while Jackie and I had a regularly scheduled phone call every Thursday Night. The call would never last more than two minutes and it was always be the same.

JACKIE: Hey Richie, how you doing?

ME: I'm fine Jackie, how are you?

JACKIE: Fine, fine. Just enjoying the apartment. Enjoying the TV. You know.

ME: That's good. Do you need anything?

JACKIE: Winter coats. It gets really cold here.

ME: I sent you three winter coats last week.

JACKIE: Oh yeah.

ME: Do you need anything else?

JACKIE: Some winter coats.

I suspect he had similar calls with other relatives as well. When they cleaned out his apartment to move him to hospice care, he had enough winter coats to clothe a small Eskimo village.

My uncle was 84 years. He drove a NYC gypsy cab for a while but never held a real job. Never married. And other than his small home grown haberdashery, never had a dime to his name.

But my Uncle Jackie had something else, a Zen-ness about him. He did not possess the hard-edged, Bronx-born warrior-like mentality that is quite common in my family. Instead he had the remarkable ability to stay quiet when everyone else was yelling and fighting. And always with a smile. A smile I won't forget.

I will miss my uncle.

Does anybody need a winter coat?




Thursday, September 6, 2018

Time to roll this blunt


Letter #26 in our Thursday Thrashing Series.

This cartoonish face belongs to Senator Roy Blunt, who quite bluntly has no business holding elected office.

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9.6.18

Senator Roy Blunt
260 Russell Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Blunt,

You Republican Senators make it so damn easy.

Allow me to explain.

Approximately 6 months ago I set out on a letter-writing mission to correspond with each and every Republican US Senator. With the exception of last week's posthumous letter to Senator McCain, in which I thanked him for upholding some standards of integrity, each missive has called attention to your collective and embarrassing dereliction of duties.

Upper house members, such as you, are responsible for acting as a check and balance on the Executive Branch. From what I can see, it's more like,

"Hey the balance in my savings account is low, I'll have Precedent Shitgibbon write me a check." 

And oh how you aptly named senators have risen to the occasion. There's been Senator Crapo. And of course Senator Chuck GrASSley, Senator Ben SASSe, and Senator John BarASSo. I scoured the Wikipedia page hoping to discover Senator Douchebag.

But before I could be disappointed, I ran across your name.

In that spirit Senator, I'd like to depart from my normal composition and just get right to the fecal-throwing bluntness, if I may.

* You, and your 50 rim-licking colleagues, will go down in history as the most complicit congressmen and congresswomen to ever hold office.

* You, and your ilk, will be marked as collaborators. What Vichy was to the shame of France, you will be to the shame of our once great nation.

* You, and your colleagues, exhibit an unprecedented contempt for the Rule of Law and have no business being in a building that actually makes the law.

* You, and your cohorts, have failed in every measure of moral leadership. Whether it comes to calling Nazis, "very fine people." Speaking up about hush payments to porn stars and Playboy bunnies. Remaining silent in the face of "shithole countries." Disgracing the honor of Senator McCain and his years of service and sacrifice. And turning the other way when, just a few days ago, the President of the United States chided the Department of Justice for daring to prosecute two Republican congressmen for corruption and fraud.

Allow me to be extra blunt, senator.

You suck at your job.

It kills me that my tax dollars put food on your table and provide healthcare for you and your worthless enabling family, including your three children, who not surprisingly grew up to be corporate lobbyists. Healthcare that should be going to people more deserving. And by that I mean any of the 8 billion other oxygen-breathing humans on the planet.

Perhaps I haven't been clear or even blunt enough.

You, Senator Sycophant, with your phony grin and your Neanderthal views on reproductive rights, same sex marriage, "religious liberty" and easy access to assault weapons, are a rotting sack of maggot-infested camel shit.

Put simply, if you want to Make America Great Again, resign.


Best regards,



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



Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Calling the game.



If you know anything about Syracuse University, and as a proud alumni I do, you know the school pumps out a plethora of sports broadcasters.

I'm not sure how a skill like color commentating a baseball game joined the ranks of chemical engineering or pulmonary surgery as a legitimate field of collegial study, but apparently it has.

If you get anywhere near a football or basketball game this fall, you're likely to hear from one of my fellow Orangemen: Bob Costas, Marv Albert, Dick Stockton, Mike Tirico, Sean McDonough and many many more. Truth is, you can't throw a bocci ball and NOT hit an SU sportscaster.

You're also likely to hear one, probably more, of these esteemed graduates refer to the school on the hill, just east of lovely Route 81 and south of the picturesque carrier Circle, as "the Harvard of Central New York."

(momentary pause to wipe the coffee off my computer screen, as every time I hear that phrase my body convulses and I am thrown into an involuntary spit-take)

I've never been too Harvard.

Never taken a class at Harvard.

And don't know anyone who has.

Although years ago, Rob Schwartz and I did work for two guys who were show runners for THE SIMPSONS. They were actual Harvard Lampoon fellows. I could tell from the way their noses arched to the sky when I told them I had gone to Syracuse, that my school was nothing like theirs.

And oddly enough, I would not begrudge them their well-earned snobbery.

Harvard is a school of unmatched scholarly rigor. Their reputation is worldwide. Admittance there is impossible.

To get in to Harvard, you need a track record of community service. You must demonstrate character and an unblemished moral code. Most of all, in order to keep pace with the demanding schedule and grueling work load you must have an aptitude and a voracious appetite for learning.

To get into Syracuse, you simply needed to show the tuition check would clear.



Tuesday, September 4, 2018

KISS


This goes without saying, but pictured above you'll find the schematic for the AA8V Twinplex Regenerative Receiver.

I have to say that of all the Regenerative Receivers, the AA8V Twinplex is my favorite. Not only for its elegant antenna coupling but also its magnificent regenerative powers which far outperform any of its Twinplex predecessors.

Not coincidentally, the schematic for the AA8V is remarkably similar to the marketing plan of almost any product or service found on the brick and mortars shelves of our now-dieing malls or on the pages of our soon-to-be government-regulated interwebs.

Swap out the 10-140 pf bandset break for "Communications Strategy" and replace the detour for Headset with a well-placed pyramid for "Purchasing Funnel", add some pretty colors and some meaningless references to "Psychographic Demo Optimization" and "Brand Loyalty and Engagement" and you've diagrammed yourself an MBA-worthy 2019 Marketing Plan.

With a few minor additions like SnapChat and a snazzy Instagram Scavenger Hunt and you've got the legitimate blueprint for a viral sensation.

It looks like a mess.

Because it is.

This obsession to overcomplicate is not just found in our Post-It Note-festooned planning conference rooms. It has found its way into our thick and obtuse executions.

Every day I see spots on the air with convoluted storylines, addy motifs and indecipherable logic.

Mind you, I'm 44 years old, meaning I've been in the business for an eternity. If I'm scratching my oversized hairless head wondering what I have just seen, imagine how those less savvy and unfamiliar with the AA8V Twinplex Regenerative Receiver might be.

A wise man, or a wise woman, once said that if you want to effectively communicate with the American consumer you have to abide by K.I.S.S. -- Keep It Simple Stupid.

Precedent Shitgibbon understands that.

American marketers, not so much.







Thursday, August 30, 2018

Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?


Today's Thursday Thrashing letter is a little different.

It's a letter to a Republican US Senator.

But it's not thrashing.

In fact, this was written before I decided to embark on my mission to write to each and every Republican Senator for a good tongue lashing. This was penned in the very early days of the Precedent Shitgibbon administration.

My concern was hardly unwarranted. Look how far we have sunk since then.

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2.2.17

Senator John McCain
218 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator McCain,

Integrity.

I don’t need to tell you how important it is. And how it determines a man’s character. 

I may not have agreed with you on many policy issues, but I have always been an admirer because in addition to your military service you have always exhibited integrity.

Character. Honesty. And perseverance, are important to me as well. 

They're the kind of attributes I hope I've instilled in my two daughters, currently at the University of Washington and at the University of Colorado. But I’m going to be brutally honest with you, watching the transition of power at the Federal level over the course of the last two weeks has given me great concern. 

And considerable heartburn.

Because I know, and you know, and I’m betting many of your colleagues know, the man in the Oval Office is seriously lacking in integrity. 

And grace. 

And humility.

I don’t need to cite examples of his shameful indiscretions. I’d prefer to keep this missive to two pages, not twenty.

Am I overreacting? Possibly. There hasn’t been a day in the last fortnight when I haven’t awoken in the morning, turned on the news and thought, “Holy shit what has he done now?”

I suspect millions of Americans, in blue states and red states, are waking up the same way.

Today, for instance, I saw a quote from Steve Bannon, our proxy president, stating that in a few years we will be at war with China. 

That is not very comforting.

I lived through the Watergate era. And I witnessed the amazing checks and balances built into our system of government by the wise forefathers. And unlike Mr. Trump, I can even name some of those forefathers. 

That’s where you come in because I am clinging to the faint hope that Congress and the judicial branch will hold the administration’s feet to the fire.

The viability and very future of this nation is in YOUR hands. You sir, have integrity. And it’s never been more necessary than at this very moment.

Thank you,

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




Wednesday, August 29, 2018

You're Out of order


As I sit down to another morning of manifestos, anthems and banner ads that will never see the light of day but do put food on my table, I can't help but wonder "what if?"

What if, during my college years, I had been less interested in alcohol and more interested in attending classes that I was actually paying for?

What if, instead of floundering around in the food industry and skating by on my excessively good looks I put my oversized nose to the grindstone?

What if I had followed a different path, not one driven by taglines, weasel words, and clever slogans, but by torts and courts?

In other words, what if I had become a Lawyer?

No one knows how farfetched that idea seems better than me. Particularly considering my problems with authority, my inability to navigate office politics and my total disdain for anything that resembles convention.

And yet in the months following my graduation I began exploring the possibility. Mind you, I was an abysmal student at Syracuse University. I graduated with a 2.0000017 GPA. I'm surprised they even rented me a cap and gown for the ceremony which I have no recollection of, thank you Jack Daniels.

So the prospect of gaining admission to any respectable law school was nil.

Fortunately there were plenty of non-respectable law schools willing to take my money. And so, for 6 months I hit the law prep books. I taught myself how to read case law (I think that's what they call it.) And on a hot sweltering weekend I subjected myself to the rigors of the LSAT tests.

Weeks later my scores came back. And I kind of shocked myself. I had done surprisingly well.

So well in fact that while I failed to gain admission to Murray's Law Emporium and Car Wash, I was actually waitlisted at Southwestern Law School, once attended by Donald Sterling, Los Angeles' most famous racist.

Of course, that's not the road I chose. Nevertheless it's hard not to consider the possibilities. Particularly now that night after relentless night we are all being schooled with the intricacies of the law, compliments of one Unindicted Co-Conspirator, Precedent Shitgibbon.

The Law lost out.

After all, how could I have turned down the lucrative and glamorous world of advertising? Especially when Needham Harper & Steers was paying their entry level Mailroom Clerks $9800/year.




Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hurt so good


If I may borrow a phrase from White House Chief of Staff and America's highest paid Eunuch, General John Kelly, my wife and I are in the barrel -- I think I'm using that phrase correctly.

Not long ago, my wife left her part time job repping the Harvard Business Review. Trying to sell ad space in print is difficult. Trying to sell ad space in a magazine with no pictures, no cartoons and no levity whatsoever is like trying to peddle lawn sprinklers in Hawaii.

Now that she is home she has plenty of time to monitor my excessive coffee intake, hound me about taking out the garbage and inquire about the last time I shaved or took a shower.

But there's also a downside.

You see when she departed her job she also left behind our prized medical care. Hence, the barrel reference.

Contrary to what you might have heard, shopping for health insurance is no picnic. Indeed it is 180 degrees from retail therapy. And in no small fit of irony, sorting through all those options and payment plans can induce headaches, ticks, twitches, spasms and, my favorite, irritable bowel syndrome.

"Should symptoms persist, rush immediately to Canada or some other Democratic Socialist country with universal healthcare."

Making the matter worse, the sales materials read like the IKEA assembly instructions, in their original Swedish.

"Det finns en 20% sambetalning plus en $5000 självrisk."
"Du kan välja någon av våra godkända läkare, er ... veternarians"

"Kanske borde du extrahera din egen njursten."
In short it's a lot of money. It's thoroughly confusing. And because there are so many options and so many life impacting decisions to be made, I completely shut down. I told my wife that it was in her wheelhouse. Just like our wedding. 

In fact, just as I told her oh so many years ago, I said the exact same thing.

"I'll write the check. Just tell me when and where to show up."

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Lost Art of Cutting


I'll be the first to admit it, when it came time to cut our first TV commercial, I had no idea what I was doing.

NONE.

My partner and I were shuffled off to the Antioch Building at the old Chiat/Day compound in Venice. (I have worked in four separate Chiat/Day offices, this by far was my favorite.) The editor, a friendly bloke from England, showed us the monstrously-large Chem Machine, a Guttenberg Press by today's standards. And on this machine, he cut tiny strips of film.

I won't bore you with all the details, suffice to say, it was here that I began to understand the fundamentals of storytelling via film, now HD video.

It's a process with no finish line. Like BBQ'ing the perfect brisket on the smoker. Or navigating an unwinnable argument with my wife or daughters.

In other words, there's always room for improvement.
Sadly, there's also lots of room for devolvement.

I saw an ad for Carl's Jr. the other night. It was 15 seconds long. And 14 seconds too long. There must have been 63 cuts in this indecipherable mess. A cacophony of cheese melting, burgers flipping, tomatoes slicing and mouths chewing. All topped by a non-linear mish mash of words spoken (?) by Oscar-winnning actor Matthew McConaughey.

What's the idea here?

Where is the persuasion?

How does this million dollar effort, and I'm being conservative on that, cut the mustard with the various levels of corporate bureaucracy that must have given it its approval?

It's bewildering.

I know as a 44 year old man, I'm not exactly in the target audience for this type of advertising. But as an overseasoned veteran of the business, I'm also pretty sure I know how to look past all that and judge a spot on its merits.

Or, maybe I don't.

Maybe I've come full circle and again have no idea what I'm doing or what appeals to audiences. Because the other night, my 21 year old daughter had a bunch of friends over and they were all gathered around an iPad to watch youtube videos.

There was oooing.
And ahhhing.
And screeching. Lots of screeching.
And there was no tearing them, or the 6, 738,941 other youtube viewers, away from this compelling video.

I present this with many qualifiers.
This is not for the squeamish or easily confused.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUDy8MyQPDo




Thursday, August 23, 2018

Halfway Home


Today is letter #25 in our Thursday thrashing letters.

We are half way home.

Today we reach out to South Carolina's own Tim Scott, who prides himself on bringing the president along with his progression in the area of racial enlightenment.


Pffft.

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

8.23.18

Senator Tim Scott
717 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Scott,

I'm a white guy.

You're not a white guy.

Consequently, I'm going to tread lightly here, a lot lighter than I have in my previous 24 letters to Republican Senators.

Who am I kidding,? No, I'm not.

You see, although my skin is white, sometimes a bit more olive-like if I've been hiking or swimming with any regularity, I'm also a member of The Tribe. And in the eyes of many of your hooded South Carolina constituents, I, like you, are colloquially referred to as "mud peoples."

Don't believe me, take a look at stormfront.com or vanguard.com or any of the thousands alt. right, all white websites who have spent the entirety of the 18 month Shitgibbon administration drooling over their alleged supremacy.

It pains me that I have to point this out to you. You seem to be blissfully unaware of your excessive melatonin.

Last year, for instance, you were nowhere to be seen or heard from when immediately after the incident at Charlottesville, Captain Fuckknuckle declared, "there were very fine people on both sides."

Really?

Where were the very fine people on the Nazi side?

While one stormtrooper was plowing through the crowd in his Dodge Challenger were the "very fine people" off in a different part of town, refilling the tiki torches with fresh kerosene?

Did they stay back at the Comfort Inn to iron the khakis and polo shirts of their fellow fascists?

Maybe they were preparing snack trays and juice boxes?  You know kicking antifa ass and bullying the local synagogue can really sap one's energy.

Face it Tim, you dropped the meat in the dirt.

And last week you picked up that year-old, filthy meat and decided to throw it on the grill and eat it. After our fat, frothy flap dragon tweeted out some half hearted pabulum -- "I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence" -- you demanded a soapbox so you could applaud his bravery and proudly proclaim...

"The President is showing signs of a better direction for the nation."

Good night nurse, are you playing the part of Stephen in Django Unchained II?

You're not convinced he's an out and out racist after the debacle with the Central Park Five, the housing discrimination suits, calling Africa a bunch of shithole countries, singling out NFL players, calling Omarosa a "dog", playing the low IQ trope, and literally standing at a press conference and saying out loud, "Where's my African American?"

You need to wake up and smell the Strange Fruit

Get with the program, Tim.

Or is it Tom?


Best,

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









Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dazed and confused


You're looking at a movie set.

The movie is currently playing in theaters and you may even recognize this as the location for Eighth Grade.

Of course, now that the lighting, equipment and make up trucks have all shipped out, the set has been broken down and returned to its original function -- the Suffern Middle School, my old school.

I haven't seen the movie, and probably won't.

I don't have much desire to revisit this period in my life.  Just looking at the building brings back a flood of memories. Mostly in the form of odors.

I can smell the anxiety. I can smell the tuna fish casserole wafting from the cafeteria. And I can smell the bathrooms, an unpleasant combination of disinfectant and stale cigarettes.

I also remember failure. As if being 13 weren't difficult enough, the powers that be at the school thought I would be a good candidate to skip a grade, at least in Math. They placed me in one of a very few advanced classes, Algebra with Mr. Scotto.

He was kind of a rough and tumble squatty little Italian guy who did not suffer fools very well. Never sugar coated his feelings. And every once in a while would take his high performing students to Yonkers Raceway for an introduction to Statistics. Yeah sure.

After one short month in the class, it became apparent I was not going to be putting $5 down on the Trifecta. So much so that an after school conference with Scotto and my father was in order. My father, an equally squatty rough and tumble guy from the Bronx was not having any of Scotto's suggestion that I didn't belong in the class.

It wasn't pretty.

They went toe to toe.

Aquiline nose to aquiline nose.

And in the end I was given a month to either fix it or get the fuck out. Pretty sure that was a verbatim quote.

I fixed it. Completed the entire advanced math regime in high school. And went on to take two years of Advanced Calculus in college. Then wisely decided words have more magic than numbers.

It was in Eighth Grade, in the building pictured above, that I learned perhaps one of the most important lessons of my life: you gotta do the work.

But I'm still not interested in seeing the movie.





Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bring out the Kitsch


You are what you read.

And as child I read, or paged through, many of the books in my living room.

Among them, many coffee table books on Kitsch.


I'm not sure my mother knew what to make of them. Nor am I convinced my father fully comprehended the full irony of these campy collections. Nevertheless, the books were filled with funny crappy art and a pleasing supply of 60's go-go girls in bikinis.

And since they were on the table, they were free for the taking.

I have to believe this, as well as a lifetime agonizing over ads including advertisements for Toytotathons, PearleVision Two For One Bogo Sales and Harry's House of Catheters, have left me with a ripe appreciation for the absurd.

Hence my purchase 63 days ago from the White House Gift Shop.

My Korean Peace Talks Summit Coins have arrived. And as you can see from the picture they even included a semi-embossed Certificate of Authenticity of Origin, which frankly strikes me as redundant and Orwellian.

Nevertheless coins # 29458 and #29459 are safely in my possession.

Just as the fifty-plus nuclear missiles and ICBMs are still in the possession of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un. Despite protestations to the contrary ("The talks were a Huge success. The hugest success in the history of the planet. Bigly win. MAGA MAGA MAGA."), it's widely agreed that the summit talks were nothing more than a photo op.

If you read the press releases from the official newspaper of North Korea -- and I do -- you'd see the North Koreans calling us stupid, gangsta-like, and impudent.

They like that word, impudent.

Face it folks, that fat fucker with the funny hair (Kim), is not going to give up his nukes.

All of which makes the coins, which will now constitute the bulk of the Siegel family heirloom, priceless and invaluable. They are a 3.4 ounce testament to every failed effort of our incompetent, golf-playing, pussy-grabbing, democracy-demolishing dickhead at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Suffice to say, I love these coins. And the only thing that would have made the purchase even more satisfying would have been a typo on the certificate.

Or even better, on the coin.





Monday, August 20, 2018

Jury Doodie


Today I'm going tell a story I've already told on this forum. But I'm not doing it because I've run out of material or because it's a slow news day. I'm retelling this tale because this morning, some of us, are eagerly awaiting the verdict of a small trial taking place in Virginia, The United States of America vs. Paul "Manport" Manafort.

Who knows how this thing is going to go? Juries are funny. I know, from experience.

You see, whereas many of you look to avoid jury duty, I cherish it. I love watching our system in action.

A few years ago I was summoned to the courthouse in Inglewood. And unlike many of my peers, I answered all the questions truthfully, dare I suggest, even eloquently. Suffice to say I found myself "in the box."

After the case had been presented by a skilled district attorney, we were hustled off into the deliberation room. As soon as we sat at the big round table, and believe me I was disappointed it wasn't one of those long rectangular tables as seen in 12 Angry Men, things got interesting.  It began with an elderly black woman who turned to me and said...

"We need a Jury Foreman, it should be you," as she gently jabbed me in the shoulder with her long pink fingernail.

"Why is that?" I replied. 

"You sound smart."

And that was good enough for me.

I did what any newly-selected Jury Foreman does, I took a straw poll.

It was 11-1 guilty. But before I could get a word out to interrogate the one Not Guilty holdout, the lady with the pink fingernails shot out of her chair with the kind of energy one would not expect from a 73 year old woman.

"Boy, I'm gonna come across this table and slap the stupid out of you. That guy robbed the 7-11. The DA showed us security camera video of that guy robbing the 7-11. And when the cops chased him down five minutes from the store, that motherfucker in the blue shirt and tan shorts was sucking on a Big Gulp from the goddamn 7-11. I want to get home to watch my soaps. You best be changing your damn vote."

Pretty sure I heard the bailiff outside the door chortling up a storm.

In any case, the hold out could hold out no longer and immediately changed his vote.

But there's no guarantee there's not someone equally brain damaged sitting on the jury in Virginia.

In fact, considering 63 million Americans voted for the shitstain currently in the White House, there's a good chance there's more than one.





Thursday, August 16, 2018

Getting on the bandwagon


We're suspending our regularly scheduled Thursday Thrashing letter to a US Senate Republican for a special posting on RoundSeventeen.

As you might have heard, today newspapers across the country are taking a pause to stand up for themselves. They're calling for an end to Precedent Shitgibbon's attack on the media and his calling them "the enemy of the people."

I'm jumping on that bandwagon.

Not because I have anything useful or helpful to add, I don't. But simply to express my wholehearted support for our First Amendment and the freedom of speech. Other than my friends, family and 2015 Audi S5 with the 335 horsepower supercharged engine, it's the most precious thing in my life.

It's simple really, I like being able to say what I think and think what I like. And having grown up exclusively in America I can't imagine life any other way.

Of course that's not true for all the inhabitants of the planet. Maybe that's why so many of them want to come here?

There's a lot of talk about American exceptionalism. Particularly from people who wear flag bikinis, keep multiple pocket constitutions, fetishize over guns, and look for every opportunity to shout U.S.A., U S.A..

But if you ask me the thing that makes America exceptional I'd tell you it's the thing that made America in the first place -- the love of liberty. And that starts with the unfettered, unrestricted, unbridled freedom of the press.

And now it's under attack. On a daily basis.

Last week I saw a poll that found more than 40% of our fellow countrymen -- I hesitate to call them American -- are fine with the notion of the president of somehow "handling" or "curtailing" the rights of the press. Funny how for these strict Constitutionalists, the First Amendment takes a broken back seat to the Second. Give those people some free swastika armbands.

Speaking of the Third Reich, in many European countries it is not only forbidden but illegal to deny the Holocaust, say you don't like Jews (though for many it simply doesn't need to be said) or to print or publish anything than can be deemed hateful or Nazi-like. You can be sure that stuff makes my blood boil with the heat of 1000 suns.

And while I may be a fan of the Europeans and their universal health care systems, their free college education, their abundant mass transit and the host of amenities they wisely offer to their people because they understand progress, I simply abhor their laws abridging freedom of speech. Don't have a stomach for it and can easily see how laws like that can put a country on a slippery slope.

In fact given a choice to live in a country with clearly superior standard of living or a country with clearly superior liberties to do and say as I please, I'll take the latter.

U S A!
U S A!
U S A!

Oh and one more thing, FUCK YOU Donald Trump!!!!!!!!!!!