Thursday, January 17, 2019

Ground Rounds


This is Senator Marion Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

I'd bet half my net worth or fifty bucks, whichever is more enticing, that you've never heard of him.

Hell, the man is so unaccomplished, I'd bet the 38 people who live in South Dakota have never heard of him.

But I have.

Because contrary to my post of several days ago, no one knows more about Republican Senators than I do.

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

1.16.19

Senator Mike Rounds
Hart Senate Office Building, Suite 502
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mike,

Consider yourself lucky. 

Very lucky.

You see there's a good chance, owing to your anonymity and complete lack of achievement or charisma, you could have been the last letter in my personal campaign to write to each and every Republican Senator. As it is you're number 39 or 40.

Let's face it, there's no joy bringing up the rear of the line. But at least you can go to bed at night and sleep fitfully knowing you did not come in dead last.

The irony is, you're indebted to a Democratic colleague for having been spared that shame. Because last week when Precedent Shitgibbon (aka Mean Girl #1) mocked Senator Elizabeth Warren, you made it known that his tweets were harmful to South Dakota Native Americans who might have lost ancestors at the battle of Bighorn and Wounded Knee.

It was then, and only then, that 330 million Americans ever heard of you. By the way, why do you go  by Mike, and not your given name Marion? I think I know why.

Anyway, I've looked over your stunning record of standard Republican do nothing-ness and discovered you graduated from South Dakota State University, home of the Jackrabbits.

In light of your cookie cutter conservatism and inconspicuous incompetence, and to honor the mascot of your beloved alma mater, I thought it would be far more interesting to go down the SDSU Jackrabbit hole.

For instance, if you were to walk onto the campus you'd stumble across the Daschle Research Library, named after former US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. A Democrat. That's gotta sting, doesn't it Marion?

Going even further into the jackrabbit hole, did you know that SDSU was also the home of Gene Amdahl, father of Amdahl's Law?

For the uninitiated, this is one of the pillars of modern day computer architecture.

Evolution according to Amdahl's law of the theoretical speedup is latency of the execution of a program in function of the number of processors executing it. The speedup is limited by the serial part of the program. For example, if 95% of the program can be parallelized, the theoretical maximum speedup using parallel computing would be 20 times.

I don't want to get all geeky on you, but early in my career, before I started rage venting against the GOP schmucks on Capitol Hill, I wrote advertising for Apple computers. So I can hold my own in a discussion about parallel processing, sequential transformation and of course, confibulated flick flacks. 

Suffice to say that when the next plaque at SDSU is embossed it'll probably bear Gene's name and not yours. 

I'm not sure what the college Regents have in mind for you. 

What do you do for the man who sought to eliminate a woman's right to choose?

Or offered green cards to foreigners in exchange for shady investments in South Dakota beef processing plants? Mmmmm, beef.

Or opposed any legislation regarding the 3-D printing of handguns? Mmmm, guns.

But let's not ignore your stalwart support and leadership in Ducks Unlimited, an organization "committed to the conservation of wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, other wildlife."  Mostly so you can kill them, let's be honest.

Hey, there's an idea. 

The appropriately named: The Marion Rounds Memorial Duck Blind. A lasting testament to your deceitfulness, predatory inclinations and your homespun lack of vision.

Best regards,


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




















Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Logo, Schmogo



Today, we're doing something we have never done in the ten year history of RoundSeventeen -- we're introducing a logo.

This may seem a bit back asswards, especially for me, a 44 year old who has toiled in the ad business for who knows how long.

The truth is that when I started this blog, way back in 2009 when I still had a smattering of hair and we still had a president with a smattering of intelligence, I had no idea I had launched what will eventually turn out to be my most lasting legacy.

I gave as much thought to the name as I did to my official Google identity, Glasgowdick. Never thinking any of this stuff would stick.

The addition of a logo comes on the heels of a piece written by fellow cranky blogger, George Tannenbaum. He rightly noted that some companies see their fancy logo makeovers as some type of branding that will win the hearts and minds of consumers. All in lieu of making product improvements. Or, god forbid, stepping up to the plate with an actual brand message that will resonate.

I left a smart ass comment on the post suggesting that perhaps I needed a logo.

And voila, now I have one. Actually, I have some.

Because, completely unsolicited, I started getting submissions from art directors who either a) wanted some exposure on my crappy little blog, or, b) were luring me in to some complicated Illuminati recruitment scheme.

In either case, and because I'm a bit of a contrarian, I'm game.

Some of you early readers might remember that over the years I have gone through an entire carousel of various taglines for R17, including:


RoundSeventeen
Now with 23% more cynicism.


RoundSeventeen
Biting the hand that feeds it since 2009.


RoundSeventeen
At the corner of west coast optimism and Bronx-born nihilism.


It took quite a bit of experimentation until we landed on the current tagline, which has yet to be topped.

And so, it is in that same spirit that I will file these logo submission, gauge their popularity, and rotate them in and out with illogical randomness, the same way the Dodgers do with Matt Kemp.

Also, if you're a young art director and want to get in on this to show your wares to 8 very influential readers, sent your submission to: siegelrich@mac.com





Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Everyone knows better than I do


If you've seen Precedent Shitgibbon on TV -- and how could you have not -- you know that he knows everything about everything.

"No one knows more about taxes than I do."

"No one knows more about ISIS than I do."

"No one knows more about construction than I do."

That's just the tip of the iceberg. There's also construction, campaign finance reform, global warming, etc. I'm sure despite having no formal background in oceanic studies, no one knows more about icebergs than he does. That 239 lbs. man is 239 lbs. of pure brain power.

It got me thinking.
Mostly because I have never used that phrase, "No one knows more about ________ than I do." 

Ever.

In fact, though I will gloat like hell when I kick my family's ass at Jeopardy, I am well aware of the myriad of things that everyone knows more about than me.

Everyone.

European Royalty. I have no stomach for any of this crap. I couldn't tell you the difference between Louis the 14th and any of his 13 predecessors. I don't care if Henry had eight wives. Eight dogs. Or eight throw pillows. I'm not interested in who married who and whose cousin begat whose other cousin to become the Duke/Earl/Lord of Prussia. Oh and I don't give a shit about Prussia and couldn''t find it in on a map.

"Everyone knows more about European Royalty than I do."

Greek Mythology. At one time I was actually fascinated by all the greek gods and their incumbent stories. I gobbled up the lore of Zeus, Athena and Prometheus. But that family tree grew too tall and I eventually fell off. Apparently I knocked my head on one of the branches and came away with amnesia. (Amnesia? Isn't she the Greek Goddess of Hamberders?)

"Everyone knows more about Greek Mythology than I do."

Auto Mechanics. This one is particularly embarrassing as I have been writing about cars for close to thirty years. Don't get me wrong I have a general idea of how a car works. And can even perform some perfunctory maintenance operations, like changing the oil, fixing a flat and even putting on my own tire chains (which is not to be underrated).

But if you were to ever spot me on the shoulder of a road trying to troubleshoot something under the hood, you should know I'd have the hardest time picking out the alternator from the carburetor. From what I understand from my local guy, today's vehicles don't even have carburetors anymore.

"Everyone knows more about Auto Mechanics than I do."

The list is long and humiliating.

Allow me to peel off another layer of this humble onion. Because even on shit I'm supposed to know, I don't.

For instance, though I consider myself to be a very good chess player and I am currently beating a Russian guy named Yuri, but I have yet to successfully lure an opponent into the Danish Gambit.

And as readers of R17 are no doubt aware, my mastery of the English language and the arcane rules of grammar is fuzzy at best. And I have no idea, nor will I ever, regarding the proper use of the em-dash.






Monday, January 14, 2019

Sales rise when you merchandise.


Though I have now completed two solid weeks of Keto, it is safe to say these are not the salad days.

At least not in advertising.

We, meaning ad people, are at the front lines of a consumer-based economy and are often the canary in the coal mine. And right now something smells stinky. As someone who has been a mercenary for 15 years, I could have told you about the financial collapse of 2008, in 2007.

Between the trade wars, the skyrocketing deficit and the volatile stock market, I'm getting that same tingling feeling.

As if the impending recession were not enough, the ad industry itself is dissembling.

Holding company agencies can no longer sustain a non-AOR model. Cheap, ineffective digital platforms are getting more expensive but not more effective. And the powers that be, continue to impose sweatshop conditions on helpless art directors and copywriters.

"Jeff, this is your new partner, Olivia, you two are going to be sharing a computer."

"We're sending out for midnight munchies, did you guys want to order anything? Or would you prefer to wait for breakfast?"

"The CEO just bought a new yacht. And we've all been invited to a barnacle-scraping party."

In short, it's not pretty out there.

And though I am loathe to bring up the age issue, let's be 100% completely honest, creative directors can be a little hesitant to bring in 44 year old former creative directors.

As a result we've been, in the vernacular of Gary Vaynerchuk, "hustling our fucking asses off." 

Finding direct work with small and large clients, doing projects for production companies, and even creating brand activation events for PR firms.

To keep the revenue stream streaming, we're going back to our roots. Old school. We're putting our money where our mouth is and trusting the persuasive and disruptive power of words and images.

Because when the going gets tough, the tough get advertising.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

No country for old men


This is confused Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. Photographed here as he was coming out of the janitor's closet, which he had mistaken for the entrance to Senate commissary.

But let's not be too harsh on the guy.

Besides governing the most powerful country on the planet, there's only so much an 82 year old man can do.

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

1.10.19

Senator Pat Roberts
109 Hart Senate Office building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Pat,

News broke last week that you will not be seeking reelection to represent Kansas in 2020. That's sad.

The good news is you'll be around long enough to be included in my book of letters to every Republican US Senator. In fact, you are letter #38. 

I think.

It's hard to believe an energetic and youthful 82-year-old man like you would give up his powerful seat in senate. Frankly, I don't know how they will continue on without you.

I'm sure the good homespun folks in Topeka are planning to honor you for your legendary service. But in case they get sidetracked by a tractor pull or another red golf cap rally to genuflect at the feet of Captain Fuckknuckle, let me take this opportunity to go through some of the career highlights of Senator Pat Roberts.

Let's start with the issue you and many of your colleagues believe is a non-starter. You famously once said, "There's no question there's some global warming, but I'm not sure what it means. A lot of this is condescending elitism."

That's me; I'm one of those condescending elitists. If by elitist you mean college educated people who rely on the word of scientists as opposed to Sunday morning preachers who would rather turn the wheel over to Jesus.

But Pat that was not the only time you stuck your oversized foot in your mouth. Perhaps in the goal of achieving symmetry, you tried to insert the other foot as well. 

Remember when you were discussing the American Healthcare Act and Alice Olstein asked if you were in favor of removing certain mandated coverage? To which you replied, in superb cavalier manner, "I wouldn't want to lose my mammograms."

That's genius, Pat. 

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

But Pat, your bone headedness is legendary and will speak volumes about your time in the Senate long after you have fed the worms.

You were against same sex marriage, no surprise there.

You voted against the Feinstein Amendment, which would have banned suspected terrorists from buying guns. Because, you know, even terrorists have 2nd Amendment rights.

And you were a full-throated supporter of the Patriot Act, giving the president authority for warrantless surveillance, except maybe when the president is black and he's trying to fend off Russian intervention in our elections. 

We can't have that.

Let's also talk about what you didn't do. 

For instance, remember when Precedent Shitgibbon could not take time from his busy day, making phone calls and eating KFC, to visit the Arlington Cemetery? On Veteran's Day? You, a former Marine Captain, said nothing. 

Semper Fi -- Always faithful.  
Well, almost always, right Pat?

One last item I noticed on your Wikipedia page that your birthday is April 20. 

I'm sure you're not aware of this, but 4/20 is a day revered by marijuana aficionados. It also happens to be Adolf Hitler's birthday. 

There can be no doubt as to which way your sentiments lean.

Best,


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











Wednesday, January 9, 2019

I give you the Finger


Last week I corralled my partner into a road trip. We had already come up with 3 ideas for a TV campaign. And coming up with two more the client would never run could be done on the ride home.

So we gathered up my new toy (available on Amazon for less than 30 bucks and headed down to Palos Verdes.



This got me wondering.

About the origins of the Flip The Bird phenomena. As well as other hand gestures that have been with us since the invention of the wheel.

"The Wheel works. The Wall works. The Fuck You Middle Finger works."

According to Wikipedia (if you were looking for a more scholarly treatise you're reading the wrong blog), the Middle Finger dates back to the classical Greek era. Apparently, the image of the extended middle digit, nestled on each side by a folded knuckle resembled a phallic figure. But then, what in ancient Greek culture didn't? And it said, in no uncertain terms, "Fuck You."

In the Athenian play, Eirēnē, written by Aristophanes, the gesture was a form of mockery, equivalent to (and I'm quoting here), "I fart in your face." 

I like that. 

I like other hand sayings as well.



This one also comes from Greece, no wonder these people were always at war. The signal is also used in Africa and in Pakistan. It is called The Moutza and can be translated in progressively more vulgar ways:

"To hell with you." 

"I rub shit on your face."

or

"I'm going to violate your sister."




This one hails from India and Pakistan. But if you were born in the Bronx, and grew up in NYC, you've no doubt seen this. Often accompanied by the words, "Ba fangul you."

Translation : (see middle finger).

Naturally, and in accordance with the Rule of Threes, I saved the best and most interesting hand signal for last.  

This one is said to come from Saudi Arabia. Flash this inflammatory insult to the wrong person and you'll find yourself at the unfriendly side of a bone saw. 

The literal translation is, "Your mother is a whore. And bones so many guys, your father could be anyone."

Geez Louise. It may be time to have another look at my Bucket List and reconsider that vacation in Riyadh.

Let's leave today's post on a more pleasant hand signal.







Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Opportunity is knocking


Between grousing about Precedent Shitgibbon and grousing about people who can't see his incompetence, his flagrant disregard for anyone but himself, and his monumental unfitness for the position, I had an idea.

A marketing idea.

Not unusual, as this is what I do for a living. And this is what I have been overcharging clients and agencies for since, well....it's not important when this 44 year old got in the business. Suffice to say, it's not in my nature to give this stuff away. For free. Especially when I'm looking at one more semester of my daughter's college tuition and last year's property taxes are looming.

But, sadly, like so many ideas I've put on the table, it will be ignored.

So I offered it up on social media. I even tweeted it to the Wells Fargo people.

The government is shutdown. And both sides are dug in. Meaning there doesn't look to be any progress in getting the budget -- which had been approved unanimously by the US Senate -- approved. Meaning 800,000 federal workers will be working but won't be wage earning.

So I thought what if a bank, a big bank, a big bank with a big reputation in need of repair, stepped up to the plate and instead of "talking the talk" decided to "walk the walk." How? By advancing paychecks for workers affected by the #TrumpShutdown.

They could sign workers up online. The agreement would state that all monies advanced by Wells Fargo would be reimbursed by the funds forthcoming when the #TrumpShutdown is over.

Several astute colleagues on linkedin told me that USAAA and smaller credits unions are already doing something similar to help people cope with the #TrumpShutdown. And yes, I am purposely writing that as many times as possible. After all he owns the #TrumpShutdown and should be given full credit for the #TrumpShutdown.

To which I say, "so what?"

One doesn't preclude the other.

Maybe it's the old school ad guy in me, but if I were in charge of the Wells Fargo account, I would have the ad agency get TV spots, billboards and distinctively old school full page newspaper ads going immediately.

I would announce in the biggest way possible that Wells Fargo is stepping in to relieve some pain caused by the #TrumpShutdown.

I would even go on social media to let young people, who may be selecting their first bank, that Wells  Fargo is not the same institution that may or may not have sold bogus goods to their parents.

I would put these wheels in motion and seize the brass ring.

Oh, and if the #TrumpShutdown should somehow miraculously resolve itself, I would keep all those materials handy. Because it won't be long before we're facing #TrumpShutdown2.




Monday, January 7, 2019

"Mmmmm, unprocessed hamburger."


I love these old style butcher infographics.

And have always wanted to use them as the basis of an ad campaign. If I were to get one dream client it would be a high end local steakhouse like Cut or Meat on Ocean, or STK, or even one of the bustling beef chains, like Ruth Chris.

It would be a magnificent merging of two of my passions.

"Where the elite meet to eat meat and make banner ads that never get clicked."

This is particularly so now, as I complete my first week of Keto. Warning: if you thought vegetarians, crossfitters and new non-smokers could drone on about their recently discovered lifestyles you might want to grab some bacon strips to munch on and take a seat. This could be a long haul.

I have yet been able to slip into my 33" waist dungarees that I saved from 1984. And again in 96. But I am already noticing a difference in how I feel.

As regular readers of R17 know, and perhaps because of my New York roots, I'm not big on airy-fairy or spiritual or metaphysical. Don't come near me with anything that smacks of astrology. I don't want to hear about planets in retrograde. And the only sage that gets burned at my house is when it's added to thick ribeye steaks that are searing in the cast iron pan at a Mercury-hot 550 degrees.

Nevertheless, I am feeling great.
Lighter. More energetic. Cleaner. And clear-headed.
It might help that I've also abstained from alcohol for the past seven days. If I were a betting man, and thankfully that is not one of my vices, I would say the dry period will end way before the Meat-and-Cheese-and High Fatty Food Period ends.

I know Big Data is all the rage these days, but I'm doing the Keto thing without looking at numbers. I don't like scales. I'll get the number when I visit my doctors office for my annual bend over and check up.

For me, the gauge of Keto's success will be when I can get down from my XXXXXL T shirts to a more manageable and svelte XXL. (Please note the Trumpian hyperbole in the last sentence.)

I also plan to lace up one of 15 pairs of ASICS running shoes in my closet and tempt the gods of Plantiar Fascitis. 

I was hampered by bone spurs (real bone spurs, in both feet) years ago and forced to give up my 3 mile a day habit. But I think with careful management, intermittent stoppage, new fangled orthotics and some edible THC gummies, I can revisit my days as a runner.

After all, these are amazing fantastic times we live in.

When a deferment-accumulating, draft dodging, unabashed con man, sitting amongst a table full of ex-warriors and Purple Heart recipients, and with a total straight face claim, "I could've been a general, a great general, but who knows." 

Anything is possible.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

West Virginia, Mountain Mama, take me home, country road.


We're back with another Thursday Thrashing letter to start the new year. I know many of you thought I was crazy when I set out on the task to write a letter to all 53 of US Republican Senators. then again, many of you are not aware of my outsized discipline (except when it comes to alcohol, sweets and meats.)

But, we are in the home stretch. With about 10-15 more letters to go. Pffft, that's nothing.

Today's letter goes out to the junior Senator from West Virginia. If you've ever seen the documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, you know how difficult it would be not to reference the many...how shall I put this...cultural anomalies of the Mountaineer state.

In fact, as you'll soon see, it requires the type of self restraint that I'm simply not possessed of.

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

1.3.19

Senator Shelley Moore Capito
117 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Capito,

Last week, my surging Syracuse Orange football team put a beat down on your West Virginia Hillbillies...oh, I'm sorry, Mountaineers, at the 2018 Camping World Bowl. 

I believe the score was 138-0. 

I might have the exact score wrong. But as a senator working with the Trump administration I'm sure you've come to realize the futility and unimportance of specific numbers. The same goes for words, facts and truths. They're all fair game and up for subjective interpretation.

Nevertheless, when it came to time to award the prestigious Camping World trophy, they handed it to my team. Not yours, who were already in the locker drowning their sorrows in rotgut moonshine. 

And so when it came time to pen this week's letter to a Republican US Senator (part of my mission to write to each and every one of you sycophantic overachievers) I knew I had to seek out the representative from the Cornpone State.  

You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the legendarily progressive people of West Virginia had sent a member of the fair haired sex to represent them in Washington DC.  

My lord. 
What's next? 
Are they gonna allow womenfolk to drive automobiles?

Most shocking, or perhaps not, was your complete silence and conspicuous invisibility during the raucous Bret Kavanaugh hearings. I'll remind you, his confirmation brought to the forefront a host of women's issues. I suppose you were more focused on your local constituents and their access to proper foot coverins' -- aka shoes, above the Mason Dixon line. 

For readers who will be seeing this letter in a forthcoming book, it should be noted that you, Shelley, have only been in the US Senate since 2015. So it would be unfair to lump you in with the Hatchs, McConnells and Grahams of this world, who have spent decades in the Upper House while accomplishing so little. 

Though they have successfully pinned their legacy to future face palming historians who will look back at this administration and think, "WTF?"

Besides Shelley, you, a Dukie, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican and a former Cherry Blossom Princess, and me, a half Jew, half Scottish wiseass from the Bronx, NY, have something very unique in common. 

Both our fathers are convicted criminals and have spent considerable time in prison.

How weird is that?

My father was caught smoking marijuana in 1947 while serving in the US Army. They arrested him, court martialed his Jewish ass and threw him in jail for a year at Camp Gordon in Georgia.

Your father pleaded guilty to five felonies including extortion and taking more than 1/2 million dollars in illegal payments from the Maben Energy Corporation. He spent close to three disgraceful years in a cushy federal prison. And another few months in supervised home confinement.

But here's the thing, Shell. 

Marijuana is now legally sold in many states and my father's transgressions would barely register a glance from authorities.

Your daddy, however, would still be in the clink. As corruption, illegal campaign contributions, extortion and lying under oath are still felonies. Well, at least as of this writing they are. 

Before this is all over, Captain Fuckknuckle may request that you and your cronies rewrite the laws to his benefit. 

And if past is prologue, naturally, you will.

Best,

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







Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy New Year


Happy New Year everybody.

And good riddance to 2018, a year, I'm sensing, most people would like to forget.

Apart from my oldest daughter gradumecating from college (that's one less tuition bill) and putting my fat ass into a new car, the incomparable Audi S5, there were not a lot of high points in the past 12 months.

Business was off. Maybe the coal mining industry is flying high, but friends and colleagues in the ad industry have had little to cheer about. People are working more hours. For less pay. And the Long Table of Mediocrity™ has grown even longer. And even more mediocre.

The stock market is in the toilet. 2018 was the worst year in the last ten. Fortunately, I sensed the uneasiness and when the market was at its highest (or near highest) point, quickly snatched my $387 of profit and walked away. As I have mentioned many times in the past, there's no way I'm living out my golden years in a dirty nursing home.

And perhaps most telling of all, we are still living under the fat, stubby clueless thumb of our very own dictator, Precedent Shitgibbon, who, in a strange manifestation of his fetishized love of the military took the time to tweet out that four star General Stanley McChrystal was a "big, dumb mouth."

In what world is that acceptable?

Oh yeah, the same world that tolerates this douchebag blaming other people for the death of two innocent children.

The same world that normalizes his politicization of the DOJ, the press, the intel community and even the troops serving on the front line.

The same world that shrugs its shoulders at his ignorance, his narcissism, his thuggish nature and his kryptonite aversion to the truth.

The same world that looks the other way at his indiscretions and his illegal attempts to cover up those indiscretions that are literally caught on tape.

The same world that turns a blind eye to him obstructing justice in plain view, playing footsie with autocrats and handing Code Word intel to our number one adversary.

People ask why I am so fervent and prodigious in my hatred for this fish brained gudgeon. Furthermore, they ask when I plan to stop my vitriolic campaign.

The answer is simple.

Impeachment.
Or aneurysm.
Whichever comes first.


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Dick is in the box


I still have a few senators who still haven't received letters.

But we are in the homestretch.

This week's Thursday Thrashing letter goes to North Carolina's Richard Burr.

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

12.27.2018

Russell Senate Office Building, 
217 Constitution Ave NE, 
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Burr,

Or do you prefer Richard Burr?

Or the more colloquial, Dick Burr?

Senator, I don't know if you've noticed this, but you and many of your colleagues, Boozman, Crapo and Blunt, have some strange surreally appropriate surnames.

I know this because I have been writing letters to each and every Republican US Senator as part of a my own personal mission. It goes without saying that I have taken great joy pointing out the foibles and failures of the upper house.

It's like shooting fish in a barrel.
Flat fish, like flounder or halibut.
Flat dead fish that don't move or show any signs of brain function.

You walk those underground tunnels and maybe even share a chicken salad sandwich with these folks at the congressional commissary, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

But I'm going to afford you something I haven't made available to any of your senatorial coworkers -- the light touch.

I'm going to go easy on you, Dick.

For one thing, it's only a couple of days past Christmas. And though I don't officially celebrate the holiday, I do enjoy the downtime and the opportunity to indulge in some day drinking. Particularly when there's a bottle of Noah's Mill bourbon within sneezing distance.

The other reason, and this one is far more disturbing and such an anomaly that it has quite frankly thrown me for a loop, you've actually done something right.

By most accounts you and your Democratic partner Senator Warner, have run a truly bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee.

I like to think I play fair and that, in these contentious times, is something. I'm sure Congressman Devin Nunes, your house counterpart, is jealous. Actually, I don't think that clueless soap dish of a man can even spell bipartisan.

And just last week you did what heretofore seemed impossible from someone of your stripe. You put country before party and submitted to the Special Counsel's office a list of witnesses you now suspect lied before your committee.

Hit me in the face with a hot waffle iron.

I never thought I'd see the day.

In light of all that, I'm going to leave this letter on a pleasant note and wish you a Happy New Year.

I'm also giving fair warning to next week's letter recipient. There's a good chance I'm going to go off on him or her like an angry, defective Russian-made knockoff pressure cooker.

Best,

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






Wednesday, December 26, 2018

I love brown people


I took this picture months ago at my local Pavilions supermarket. It was about lunchtime and this mariachi band was on break enjoying the latest in Asian cuisine from Panda Express.

"Este es Kung Pao Pollo es muy bueno."

"Me gusta los lo mein noodles."

"Que dice su cookie de fortuna?"

I love that the band shared in the irony and so willingly let me photograph them. I also love how this one shot so captures the blending of cultures that define American Exceptionalism.

At least until now.

Because as I write this, the government is still shutdown until a great big beautiful Wall is built on the southern border.

Oh, and it's Christmas morning, and the nation's faithful are basking in the warm, loving words of scripture while simultaneously tithing their paychecks to fund the Wall and angrily demand that we not only deny entrance to these poor, brown refugees (fellow Christians by the way) but that we snatch up their children and lock them away in camps.

WTF!

When Precedent Shitgibbon kicked off his campaign he said, "Mexico is sending us criminals, rapists and drug dealers. And some, I assume, are fine people."

I've had the good fortune to meet only the fine people.

When I moved to Southern California, I got work as a head cook and kitchen manager at a local steakhouse. The guys at the back of the house taught me Kitchen Spanish. We would curse at each like drunken sailors. And laugh just as loud. Valentino, the sous chef, taught me how to roast a whole pig, which we served at catered events, mostly wrap parties for movies. These guys were skinny, wiry, and hummingbird quick. Moreover, they worked harder than any white man or woman I've ever met. If you ask me, this country needs more of these people not less.

Years ago, while employed at my first ad agency, I was invited to an authentic Mexican wedding in Pacoima. There were more than 500 attendees. The affair dwarfed anything I've ever seen in New Jersey or New York.  I hate to make sweeping generalizations like Captain Fuckknuckle, but from what I could tell these were hardworking, joyous people who were contributing to and were part of the American dream. (Though I was not fond of the cash bar and dropped a C-note before it was over.)

Finally, I'm taking the advice of my two woke daughters and not mentioning the many gardeners and nannies we've had over the years. But instead broadening the discussion to cover the whole of Southern California which is now close to 50% Hispanic. Some, find that alarming. I find it comforting and count many Hispanic people among my friends and neighbors.

Therein lies the difference.

I see them as people.
The folks sporting the red golf caps see them as something less.

Perhaps, on this fine Christmas morning, they need to be reminded of other poor, brown people who only wanted a better life for their children.


















Thursday, December 20, 2018

What are the odds?


Meet Louisiana's junior Senator, Bill Cassidy.

He's the recipient of Thursday Thrashing Letter #37.

I think it's 37. It's getting up there.

Enjoy.

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

12.20.2018

Senator Bill Cassidy
520 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 

Dear Bill,

Bless you Senator.

Finding you was like hitting the Etymological Jackpot.

Allow me to explain. Several months ago I set out on a mission to write letters to each of the Republican US Senators. While picking one off week by week, I noticed a weird phenomena. You see many of your colleagues sport illustrative names that are apropos to what a Republican Senator in 2018 should be.

For instance, there's Senator Crapo.

For another instance, there's Senator Boozman.

Let's not forget Senator Blunt.

Nor Senator Flake.

Last week I wrote to Senator Moran. (see accompanying picture.)



You see where this is going, right Bill? 

Most intriguing however was the number of Republican senators who lived up to their name in the most form fitting way possible:

Senator GrASSley

Senator BarASSo

Senator SASSe

That's the holy trifecta of ASShattery. 

Or so I thought. Because then I stumbled upon you. And judging from your distinguished record of non-achievement, I suspect stumbling is how most people find you.

But in ways too many count I am so happy that considering the plethora of ass-happy senators, you Senator CASSidy were the one I found last. Sort of like saving that best piece of chocolate-frosted cake for the end.

I took the liberty of running down your bio on Wikipedia. 

You can just imagine my delight when I read about your life in the great state of Louisiana and that before you were in public service, you were in the service of private parts. 

More specifically, you were an accredited gastroenterologist.



You were literally in the Ass Business. 

Or is it the Business of Ass?

Color me amused.

Between the daily antics of Precedent Shitgibbon and the assbackwards enabling by you and your asinine Vichy-minded colleagues, you have all secured quite a special place in the annals of history. 

I'll leave it right there, Senator, as I feel a sudden urge to wash my hands.

Best,

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

PS. Let there be no mistake, I fully recognize the juvenile and sophomoric nature of this missive. Let it also be noted for the record that in the last month your president has referred to a woman he bedded down as a "horseface", called a US attorney a "sleazebag" and a US Senator, a "dick." If you want to blame anyone for the coarsening nature of the current political climate I suggest you look up the street towards the fusty, knotty-pated, mewling hedgepig who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. 







Wednesday, December 19, 2018

For your safety


Today's blog posting that spoofed Russia and Russian dating sites has been removed so as not to offend or do deadly harm to anyone.

We will return tomorrow.

Hopefully with kid-friendly comedy and satire that will not incur any damage.

Warm regards,

Management

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Wild, Epic Tales of Gilgamesh and Dorothy Parker


As I might have mentioned a few weeks ago, I'm trying to do a lot more reading. Not just of the NY Times and the Washington Post, but of the classics.

And so I turned to the most learned man I know on the topics of books, reading and writing, my friend and fellow blogger George Tannenbaum. Like me, George was born in the Bronx. So he is not only wise to the way of the writer, he's wise to the way of the street.

That is to say, he can be fancy but also fucking funny.

At the top of his all time reading list is a book called Gilgamesh. It's actually less of a book and more of an epic poem. To be frank, I had never heard of it. Nor did I have much interest in investing my valuable time, time away from online chess, Shitgibbon memes and banner ads for Harry's House of Catheters, to read poetry.

But I was wrong.
And I'm man enough to admit I was wrong.

The story of Gilgamesh is fascinating. Once I accommodated myself to the lyrical storytelling I found I could not put the book down. In fact, I gave myself an entire rainy afternoon to the tale and read it cover to cover.

There is something very pleasing in the discovery of a new writer. So much so that I indulged my curiosity and made further inquiry into the work of a writer I had heard much about. But of whom I knew so little -- Dorothy Parker.

I would often come across anecdotes or more likely, quips, from Ms. Parker, and always thought, "Damn, she has a sharp tongue and is so damn funny." 

So I visited her Wiki page.

You can imagine my surprise to find that Dorothy Parker was originally Dorothy Rothschild. Moreover, she was Jewish on her father's side and of Scottish descent on her mother's.

Just like me.

And I can tell you from exposure to both cultures, that is an extremely odd combination. With the possible exception of their legendary thriftiness and dark, cynical sense of humor, the Jews and the Scots could not be more dissimilar.

Nevertheless, I am proudly in the same gene pool as Dorothy Parker and Mark Knopfler. Not in the deep end of the pool. More like in that little gutter that runs along the walls and collects all the debris.  That's where I am.

Yesterday, the Amazon Prime guy showed up with my copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker, a collection of poems, satire and stories. It's literally 627 pages. And though I haven't had the opportunity to dive in yet, I will leave you with this telling sample:


THOUGHT FOR A
SUNSHINY MORNING

It costs me never a stab or squirm
to tread by chance upon a worm.
"Aha, my little dear, " I say
"Your clan will pay me back one day."

Monday, December 17, 2018

Freedom of Screech



Dear neighbor with the randomly-activated car alarm,
How blessed you must be to own a 2006 Toyota Camry.
Guard it at all costs,
Not many cars come with built in cassette player,
And cupholders, three.


Dear neighbor with the randomly-activated car alarm,
Thank you for letting the alarm do its deed.
By allowing it to sound for 13 minutes,
you protected your vehicle,
and every car on the street.


Dear neighbor with the randomly-activated car alarm,
What was I thinking, sleeping at 4 AM?
There's a woman on C-SPAN
fielding questions about internet spam.


Dear neighbor with the randomly-activated car alarm,
How lucky are we to have you nearby,
"But I didn't order ten pizzas",
you'll say to the delivery guy.


Dear neighbor with the randomly-activated car alarm,
I hope a small meteor falls on your house.
Not one big enough to hurt you,
Or your family,
No, 
actually I hope it does hurt you,
you rude, 
inconsiderate, 
self-absorbed fucktangle!!!


Thursday, December 13, 2018

The crimes are getting bigger and the letters are getting longer


Me: No cheap jokes about his name.
Me: No cheap jokes about his name.
Me: No cheap jokes about his name.
Me: No cheap jokes about his name.
Me: No cheap jokes about his name.
Me: No cheap jokes about his name.
Me: No cheap jokes about his name.
Me: No cheap jokes about his name.
Me: No cheap jokes about his name.
Me: No cheap jokes about his name.

Here's your Thursday Thrashing letter to the junior representative from Kansas, Senator Jerry Moron.

DOH!

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

12.13.18

Senator Jerry Moran
Dirksen Senate Office Bldg. #521
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Moran,

Can you smell it Senator? 

I can smell it. 
65% of Americans can smell it. 
It's the sweet, fragrant aroma of retribution...er...I mean, impeachment.

Last week, your president (from this point forward to be referred to as Individual #1 or Clueless, Hogbellied Gudgeon #1 or Fusty, Fishbrained Twatwaffle #1) was named in a federal sentencing memo as an unindicted co-conspirator in the commission of criminal violations of Federal Election Campaign Laws.

That's not just a mouthful. That's a mind full.

Think about it Jerry, the Ill-tempered, Ill-informed Imbecile #1 sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the schmuck who could, with one too many Diet Cokes and the flick of an undersized stubby finger, blow the planet to smithereens, is a legitimate criminal.

While you ponder that, let me explain that I've been writing letters to all 53 of the United States Republican Senators. You're number 36 or 37, to be honest, I've lost count. Sorry. 

But this letter is special. Why is this letter different from all the others? Well, for one thing, sometime in the near future this letter will be published, with all the others, in a book. And as a service to my readers I feel the need to mix things up.

So today, unlike previous letters to your colleagues, I'm not going to harangue you about all the shitty policies you've endorsed and or the fascist, hypocritical legislation you've supported.

You see this letter is not about what you've done. It's about what you will no doubt do.

And what makes me so prescient? I'm not. But you see Senator, not only are you exceedingly vanilla and excruciatingly uninspired, you are also painfully predictable.

Torturously so.

Therefore, to know how you will proceed with the upcoming impeachment trial for Captain Fuckknuckle #1, we need only to see how you voted in the impeachment hearing for a previous president, Bill Clinton.

And here's where it gets so interesting.

While you were a member of the House representing the great and scholarly state of Kansas, you unsurprisingly voted with the Republican majority to impeach Clinton for lying about his dalliances with Monica Lewinsky.

Not only were you quick on the draw to whip out the impeachment bomb, you, Senator Moran, felt the need to pile on and do a little grandstanding, telling a reporter from the Washington Post...

“Having to make a choice, I choose to be on the side that says no person is above the law; that this is a nation of laws, not men; that telling the truth matters; and that we should expect our public officials to conduct themselves in compliance with the highest ethical standards.”

Lordy, if that could all fit on T-shirt, I'd commit those beautiful, articulate, inspirational words to ink.

If I were to understand that correctly, I assume you would apply those same "high ethical standards", when it comes to time to judge He-Who-Consumes-No-Information-But-Buckets-of-Crispy-Kentucky-Fried-Chicken.

Because, let's be honest, banging a porn star and then doling out $130,000 (a week before the election) to hush the horsefaced one (his words, not mine) is certainly not kosher. Nor is money laundering, obstruction of justice or conspiring with Russkis to steal an American election.

Therefore it goes without saying and it's a simple slam-dunk that you will vote FOR impeaching the 45th Precedent of the United States of America. Right? Because you said, "no man is above the law" and that "telling the truth matters."

You said that.

But who are we kidding, Jerry? We both know, we all know, you're NOT going to do the right thing and vote for impeachment. You're simply not. I'd bet one of my two semi-functioning testicles on it. And here's why I'm so confident.

Like all Republican senators, your unwavering, unfathomable, and partisan, patriotism-free predictability is surpassed only by your equally predictable hypocrisy.

Have a nice day, Senator Hypocrite.


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

PS. I believe I am due some credit/points for my restraint and for not reaching for the easy joke by calling you Senator Moron, which I'm sure you've never heard before.