Thursday, July 19, 2018

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Why am I camping?

I miss my remote control.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Genius from Montana

This is Senator Steve Daines.

He's from Montana. You probably don't know him but the FSB agents in Russia know all about this cheese monkey. He's one of their new Useful Idiots.

Read more about Steve in Thursday Thrashing letter #21.



Senator Daines
1 Russell Senate Courtyard, 
WashingtonDC 20510

Dear Senator Daines,

Or shall I address you as Senator Schrodinger? 

As you seem to have mastered the time/space continuum and now have the ability to be in two places at the exact same time.

Last week, you pulled off a miracle of science, perhaps the biggest breakthrough in physics since the splitting of the atom.

There are pictures of you and your wife at 4th of July fireworks celebration in Washington DC. There are also published pictures of you, alongside 7 other Republicans (The Prostrate Eight) at a conference table with your new Russian overlords in Moscow.

How can this be? Particularly since a cursory check of the airline schedule shows it be to be physically and logistically impossible.

This can mean only one of two things, Senator:

Either you're a boldfaced liar, like the other 20 Republican Senators who I have already corresponded with in my yearlong campaign of letter writing. 

Or, through the dint of hard work and good old fashioned American ingenuity, you and your lovely wife have broken through into the fifth dimension and now have the capacity to effortlessly defy the laws of nature that govern the rest of us mere mortals.

I have trouble believing the first choice, particularly in light of what we now know of the high character and integrity of Montana people. Watching your brethren at Precedent Shitgibbon's rally last week was simply inspiring.  

To see those hundreds of Montanans walk out of that arena when our Commander in Chief berated a national war hero like John McCain and then denigrate the charitable efforts of former President Bush, well, that just choked me up. It was so inspiring. You must be so proud of those good folks from Bozeman, Billings and Butte. 

That was American exceptionalism at its exceptional best. 

And so, there can only be conclusion, Senator Schrodinger. You have transcended time, eluded space and accomplished what Einstein, Newton and Neils Bohr could only have dreamed of.

Even more impressive is that -- and yes I've taken the trouble of reading your online bio -- your formal schooling never went beyond a bachelor's degree at the highly prestigious Montana State University.

Color me impressed.

If I didn't have to wait for the electrician to show up to replace a blown fuse, I come all the way up to Montana just to tip my hat to your achievement. Of course, with your new powers you could pop in to Culver City any time you'd like. 

Please do Steve, I'd love to shake your hand.


Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Damn, it's hot.

In case you hadn't heard, it's hot in Los Angeles.

How hot?

It's so hot, animals are looking for a brushfire just to find some relief.

It's so hot, you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. And you don't even have to take it out of the carton.

It's so hot, you could convince a Republican Senator there is global warming. Ok, let's not get crazy, those Russian-bought climate change denying twatweasels are beyond reproach.

In any case, it's one of those days that make me happy I sprung for the Trane 9000 Arctic Deluxe Series Z air conditioning units. Equipped with superconducting titanium coils and the hydroponic flick flacks for maximum cooleration, my house feels less like the windswept plains of the Serengetti and more like the meat locker of Applebees.

And make no mistake, I have none of the hesitant attitudes towards costly refreshing cool air that plagued my father.

You see we had air conditioning in the house I grew up in. We had air conditioning in the cars my parents drove. What we didn't have however was a father who was willing to crack open his wallet and let us see what would happen if we pushed the ON button.

Mind you, this wasn't the dry, slightly irritating heat of Southern California. I'm talking about the sweltering 100 plus degree, 100 plus humidity heat of upstate New York. The kind of heat that would melt spare tires in the trunk of the car. The kind of heat that would cause mercury to expand and break thermometers. The kind of heat that would make the Son of Sam believe he heard dogs talking to him.

If our dog could have talked he would have cornered my miserly father and said, "turn on the damn air conditioning!!!"

I'm not sure what all that thriftiness and self-flagellation bought my father, but I'm not having any of it.

It's 2 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon (I write these blogs in advance) and it's 97 degrees out. I'm gonna pour myself an icy pineapple/banana mojito and notch down the temperature to a comfortable 71 degrees.

Then I'm going to pass out on the couch and let that cold air keep blasting until I have to reach for a comfortable warm blanket.

And, I'm going to do it without feeling the slightest trace of guilt.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Coyotes of Culver City

Coyotes and Southern California. They go together like Precedent Shitgibbon and brain injury.

Normally, people jump to the image of an exploitive asshole, taking poor immigrants for every peso they've got. Loading them into the back of an beat up old Nissan Cargo van. Tossing them some Sparkletts water and some packets of stolen airline nuts. And then dropping them off in one of the ungodly neighborhoods of El Centro in the Imperial Valley. Pro tip: all the neighborhoods of El Centro are ungodly.

But the coyotes I'm talking about today are of the four legged variety, see above.

We've got 'em.
And by we, I mean Culver City.

There are coyote alert posters plastered throughout the neighborhood.

Apparently, they nest above the hills in Baldwin Park and venture down into the tonier sections of Culver City at night looking for cats. To eat. It all feels so lycanthropic, thank you Toby Barlow.

Moreover, there's a hardly a day goes by that one neighbor or another hasn't gone onto to tell the harrowing tale of the "disappearance" of Mr. Biggles, Schrodinger or Catrick Swayze.

It's heartbreaking.

But then again if you've ever watched a few hours of the National Geographic Channel, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that nature is a bitch. One minute you're watching a young impala make a miraculous escape from a bullet fast cheetah and enjoying some Serengetti schadenfreude.
Twenty minutes later you're watching one of the cheetah young cubs, dehydrated and bony (because his mother lost a kill), fall in a ditch and never get up.

As my neighbor, the great M. Emmett Walsh put it when I told him I think there are tree rats running along our mutual fence, "Hey, they gotta live too."

Rats gotta live.
Coyotes gotta eat.
We all live in the same neighborhood.

There is one notable exception however.

If you're the kind of person who disregards the warning at the bottom of the flyer and insists on actually feeding the coyotes, you represent the shallow end of the gene people. You're a candidate for the Darwin Award. You're the kind of douchebag neighbor who has a jet engine loud car alarm that goes off at all hours of the day. To you, sir or mam, I would suggest you ALWAYS feed the coyote.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Moving Backward

Have you seen the new charm offensive from the good folks at Uber?

I'm sure you have because they've gone decidedly old school with it and plastered the airwaves with big production TV commercials -- remember those?

This isn't going to be some chincy, online banner effort. Hell no. Uber wants you to know they're moving forward. And they want you to know their new tagline is Moving Forward.

I caught myself pondering all this. Why? Well, not because it was a slow day in the news. We don't have those anymore. But because it all seemed so familiar. And unsettling. Like a taste I knew but couldn't identify. Like the fragrance of a perfume an old girlfriend used to wear. Or was it my mother? I mentioned it was unsettling, didn't I?

I repeated the phrase over and over.

And then it struck me.

Uber's new tagline seemed familiar and well worn because Uber's new tagline was once Toyota's.

And I know this from years of experience, working on Corolla ads, Camry ads and the ubiquitous Toyotathon ads. By the way, there's a Toyotathon going on right now and you better visit your local Toyota dealer now because the savings and these amazing deals won't last.

(Editorial note: Please excuse me. My hands took over and involuntarily typed that urgent CTA. I had nothing to do with it. It was simply misguided muscle memory.)

Back in 2013 Toyota abandoned the Moving Forward platitude and went for something more declarative and robust, Let's Go Places.

All of which gives me a natural springboard to bitch about what all copywriters bitch about: taglines.

They suck.

Because more often than not they're poorly written word salads that mean nothing. Or look good on a coffee mug. Or fit nicely on a T-shirt handed out at a moral building corporate retreat.

These days, taglines come in the one word or the very fashionable two word variety. And instead of reflecting the core DNA of the company, they tend to espouse some bullshit zeitgeist conjured up by planners, all reading off the same research material. Giving us the standard tropes about Empowering, Progress, Future, Together, Innovating and then, even more Empowering.

The contrarian in me says taglines should be long. Excessively long. And repeated until they become memorable.

Most industries can't hold up one company with a great tagline. The overnight delivery business has two.

When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight.


We run the tightest ship in the shipping business.

Point is, if Uber can't come up with an original tagline, one that states who they are, what they do or even what they believe in, in a distinctive ownable way, maybe they shouldn't run a tagline at all. That's perfectly acceptable.

My other point is...

They suck.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July

We have 2047 kids in custody, snatched from their parents, awaiting trial.

We have new trade tariffs from China, Canada and Europe.

We have a denuclearized North Korea, renuclearizing.

We have a rising national debt, now at its highest level ever.

We have journalists being attacked by POTUS and shot by domestic terrorists.

We have domestic terrorists (Nazis) running for office.

We have a Supreme Court about to become a Supreme Kangaroo Court.

We have a White House staffed with crooks, liars and scumbags who need $1500 tactical pants.

We have daily assaults on our DOJ and FBI. (By a man who ran fraudulent Trump University)

We have Russian, Saudi and Israeli interference in our national elections.

And we have a President who is the subject of a Special Counsel investigation that has already produced 24 indictments, 5 guilty pleas and a campaign chairmen currently widdling birdcages from jailhouse popsicle sticks. Not to mention he has been the subject of 3500 other lawsuits including sexual assault.

We are a nation in distress.

Have another hot dog.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I'm on social media.

Someone, I can't remember who, sent me an email complimenting me on my mastery of social media.

They seemed to take special delight in how I had synched this blog to my Facebook account as well as my Linkedin account as well as my Twitter feed as well as my many Tumblr pages. They claimed, perhaps hyperbolically, that I hand spun social media to create an effective online presence bordering on, dare I say it, a Brand.

Not bad for a 44 year old Luddite.

And while I do go to lengths to stay on top of the current technology, particularly in light of our business, there had always been one piece of the social media puzzle that was missing -- Instagram.

Last week, much to my daughter's dismay ("Dad, that's so lame!") I fixed that. I whipped out my iPhone 7 and got on board the Instie train.

I started teaching myself the interface. The filters. And the little secrets to increase my Instie visibility. Naturally there's an agenda behind all this. It goes without saying that clients, big and small, want their advertising partners to be versed in all manner of media. And so I will be.

What I won't be doing however is conducting my Instagram account like the millions of others.

For one thing, I don't plan on following anyone.


Also, there will be no shots of meals, before or after.

No selfies.

No sunsets or beach shots or anything else that might pass for photographic pretension.

Here's a recent entry...

It's just going to be the odd shot I find myself collecting, married to a semi-witty caption, just to keep the brain synapses firing.

I would tell you how to find me on Instagram, but I haven't figured that part out yet.

Monday, July 2, 2018

No Country for Old Ad Men (And Women)

Had coffee the other day with an old colleague and fellow old timer -- there's a good chance this guy was even older than 44.

At one time in our careers, you could argue we were both on the A-Team. We were starters. We swung the heavy bats. We batted clean up and more often than not, cleared the bases. We were clutch.

At one time in our careers, you'd find us at the awards shows. Sitting at the good tables. In the front. Our smiles would be beaming. Mostly from the reflection of gold and silver trinkets gathered in front of our dinner plates. And juniors would flock to us for advice.

At one time in our careers, recruiters and creative service managers had our phone numbers, email addresses, online portfolios and escalating day rates, right at their fingertips.

You know the rest of the story. And you probably know the tenor of the rest of our little coffee clutch. Misery loves company. As well as the occasional blueberry scone.

If I may paraphrase Malcom X...

We've been marginalized.



And bamboozled.

We're not at the back of the bus.

We've been thrown under the bus by small minded bean counters and craft-despising holding companies.

We didn't land on Madison Ave.

Madison Ave landed on us.

And paved us over with hot, merciless asphalt.

OK, this is getting a bit strained, but you get the point.

Of course, I've got less right to gripe than others. It hasn't all been banners ads for Harry's House of Catheters. A few weeks ago I did a cool direct-to-client project for a high tech company.

Did some pitches for a bunch of creative guys who still appreciate the role of humor.

And I'm currently working on some political thing and another Black Ops project that I can't talk about.

And so, as I was telling my friend who was new to the world of mercenary advertising,

"That's what freelancing is all about. There's some good. A lot of bad. And a great deal of free time to spend in your garage lifting weights and finding the perfect containers for all the wing nuts, molly bolts and color-coded electrical wire caps."

Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Senator Dipshit

Thursday Thrashing letter #20.

Today: Senator James Inhofe -- Oklahoma's only Mensa.



Senator James Inhofe
205 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3603

Dear Senator Inhofe,

We're heading into the dog days of summer. Are you still making snowballs?

To be honest, I did a Google search and re-watched your snowball escapade in the halls of Congress. I had to convince myself someone could actually be that stupid. Holding up a snowball as evidence to debunk global warming is akin to holding up a rock and suggesting there is no intelligent life on Earth. 

Though, in your case, I'd be inclined to accept the premise.

Damn, you are one dull-witted son of a bitch. 

I'm kicking myself in the pants for waiting this long to get to you. See, I've been writing letters to every Republican in the US Senate and surprisingly, your letter has been preceded by 19 others. Which gives you some clue as to the monumental cluelessness of your brown-nosing colleagues.

If I may indulge in some further transparency, I'm going to take it pretty easy on you Senator, even though the 20,000 regular readers of my blog love when I take the thrashing stick to one of you clods.

The reasons are twofold.

You simply haven't done much in your 20 plus year career in the Senate. Rubberstamping Precedent Shitgibbon's idiocy hardly counts as an achievement.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I find myself beat down today. 

Watching our democracy and the vanguard of the free world circle the toilet bowl is quite draining. I'm sure it doesn't bother you to see our Supreme Court legitimize religious discrimination, but it cuts deeply into my Hebraic roots.

And I'm sure you're equally indifferent to the plight of Central American babies snatched from the arms of their asylum-seeking mothers. White privilege, like an American Express Black Card, is something I will never understand.

Besides Senator, when all is said and done your legacy has been cemented in time. There is nothing I can say or write to detract from it. You are now, and will always be, that guy with the handful of sooty DC snow. 

And a century from now when your great, great grandchildren are scouring our dystopic landscape looking for fresh water and maybe a few cockroaches to eat, they might stumble upon an old history book that somehow escaped the tsunami of seawater that arose from the melted ice caps. 

And in that tattered history book they will see how you bravely fought off the big bad Nobel Prize winning scientists and climatologists with their fancy data and dire global warming projection models and they will read how you slew them like David did to Goliath, with your powerful, perfectly-formed snowball.

Nice work, Jimmy, nice work.

Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

In the Bowl

I find myself surfing around on FishBowl quite a bit lately.

For those of you who unfamiliar, FishBowl is the mobile online app designed specifically for people in the advertising community. It's where they can go to bitch, moan, gripe and snipe at each other behind the ever-protective one way glass of anonymity.

I'm 44, have been in the business forever as well as a devil-may-care attitude, and frankly don't need the shield of invisibility.

Fishbowl was preceded by the once wildly popular, but since they eliminated the often ribald and hilarious comment section, they get fewer check-ins than the scooter riding staff at FourSquare.

To be sure, the anonymous comment section at AgencySpy was their raison d'ĂȘtre. It would be as if Red Lobster stopped selling lobster.

"Hey boss, what do we do with all these nutcrackers?"

The discussion threads on FishBowl are quite interesting and wildly diverse. Judging from the unseasoned tone of the questions, I'm guessing most of the people posting are new to the business and in their twenties.

"My copywriting partner has the worst spelling. Plus, he makes grammatical errors all the time. I often have to fix his work. Should I say something to him or just buck up?"

"My art director has a weird odor. I don't know if it's because she's from another country but it's hard to sit next to her at the table. It's like a cross between garlic and Round Up Weed Killer. Does anybody else have a smelly partner?"

"I just got offered a job as a Creative Director in NYC. The job offers unlimited vacation days and pays $65K. Does that seem right?"

If that doesn't tell you about the sorry state of our business, perhaps this will.

There's an entire section of FishBowl cordoned off for people experiencing Mental Health Issues. I'm not making light of anyone's problems, but in my day, people eschewed established fields like accounting, healthcare and management and opted to get into advertising because they had, and celebrated, their mental issues. I know I did.

One last note.

There is a preponderance of questions from current agency staffers asking if they should go freelance.

And never the other way around.

I wonder why that is.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

101 Secrets to Writing Funny

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret.

I'm not a writer, I only play one on the internet. Here's another little secret, every other writer in the world, even the ones that are famous and make shitgobs of money, have the same inadequate feelings of fraudulence. It goes with the territory.

It also stems from the fact that much of what we do falls into the category of, "I don't know what I'm doing, I'm making this up as I go along."


Nevertheless, as one perpetuates this little sham year after year you begin to discover some of the hidden little scaffolding that makes it all work. Particularly when it comes to humor.

Some are obvious.

For instance, certain vegetables are funnier than others. Cucumbers are funnier that romaine lettuce. Zuchinni is funnier than kale. Brussel Sprouts are funnier than anything in my entire refrigerator.

Some are less obvious.

Take numbers as an example. There's nothing inherently funny about numbers. Nothing. Nada. Zero. But, as crazy as this may sound, odd numbers are funnier than the even ones. How do I know this? For one thing, I told myself that. Here's a note I sent to myself five months ago...

Also, Dick Sittig, a legend in the ad business told me.

About nine years ago I was freelancing as his place. (Note I didn't say eight years ago, which might have been more accurate, but I chose nine.) He shared his three rules of comedy writing, of which was, "when you have an opportunity to write a number always pick an odd one."

And since at the time he was driving a brand new 2009 BMW 7 Series and had won 531 advertising awards, I figured the odds of him being correct were much better than 51-49.

It's why this blog is Round Seventeen not Round Sixteen or Eighteen. And it's why if you go back and pick any one of the 1953 posts on this site you'll find a zillion odd numbers and maybe a handful of even ones. Maybe.

It's a little detail, that accounts for .00027% of all the content found here, but it's part of the craft -- such as it is.

Of course, had I been paying attention I would have saved this article for a more appropriate date and not published it on 6/26/18.

I'm such an idiot.

Monday, June 25, 2018

"The flogging will continue until I go to Cannes next year."

You have my sympathy.

You've always had my sympathy, assuming most of you work at an ad agency and have become accustomed to the daily floggings, the unproductive meetings, the flip flopping strategies and the ceaseless demand for FFDKK, Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks™.

Today, however is special. And not in a good way. Because today they're back. And by they I mean the Adverati, those privileged few in our industry who will now be sporting farmer tans due to the excessive time spent in the Riviera sun.

Not only will they be bringing last minute trinkets for the homebound staff (you), jump drives full of blurry photos documenting their Cannes debauchery, and rip roaring tales of stinky cheeses and champagne-fueled yacht rides, they'll be returning with something far more ominous -- Inspiration.

Oh god save us all.
(Again, not me, you.)

"I saw this Instagram flip book put together by a team in Malaysia that was just amazeballs."

"The work they're doing in Lichtenstein would blow you away. They figured out how to make 1/2 second commercials."

"These guys in Israel, I didn't even know we had an office in Israel, are doing 3D printing. In the sky!"

Even worse, is the expectation that you will take their inspiration and spin it into next year's Lion Gold. That expectation will be married to the exhortation to work harder, work longer and push the limits. Why work 75 hours a week when you could be working 85? Why go home at 9 o'clock at night when fame and fortune are just around the corner at 10 o'clock? And weekends?

"You don't need to take weekends off. We met a team in Yemen that hadn't had a weekend off since Bush was in office. And their offices had just been bombed by militia rebels."

Anyway, best of luck muddling through the Pep talks and the Ra-Ra memos.

I hope it won't take up too much of your time because those banner ads for Pepcid Maximum Strength aren't going to write themselves. And the planner working on the Tempurpedic Labor Day Mattress Sale wants to show the client 20 different CTA's.

Happy Lion Hunting.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

This guy broke the mold

Letter #19 in my Thursday thrashing Series.

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

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



Senator Perdue
455 Russell Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator,

You're a peach. 

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

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

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

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

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

 Bravo, Senator, Bravo.

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

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

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

You remember Pillowtex don't you, Senator?

You spent 9 months there. 

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


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

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

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

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

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

"Womp. Womp. Womp."

Have a nice day, Assclown.

Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Clueless in Culver City

My wife hates me.

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

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

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

The point of this long winded ramble?

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

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

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

What is Blockchain?


What is Bitcoin?

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

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

Just Slack it over to me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I Cannes't Even

It's that time of the year again.

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

Do you detect some sour Cabernet grapes?

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

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

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

I've riffed on the gluttony.

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

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

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

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

Except this.

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

Where is the work?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Russia, Russia, Russia.

Russia is in the news again.

When is it not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Idaho's finest.

Thursday Thrashing.

Letter Number 18.

To Senator Mike Crapo, the jokes practically write themselves.



Senator Mike Crapo
239 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mike,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But your empathy knows no bounds. 

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

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

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

Have a nice day,

Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232