Friday, May 29, 2009

Dead dead dead.

Recently, a friend suggested that instead of tenting my house and fumigating with proven termite-killing chemicals I should look into “alternative pest removal options.”

Apparently some company in Simi Valley has formulated a safe, clean method of termite eradication using a unique blend of orange-scented, cinnamon-based organic compounds. They even describe it as "gentle as a butterfly."

Why don’t I just sprinkle my house with fairy dust?

For me it falls in the same category as homeopathic medicine.

If I get a brain tumor, I don’t want my doctor telling me to drink pomegranate juice, listen to sitar music and suck on the root of a rhododendron.

No, give me the hard stuff.

Call me old fashioned or just a stooge of the pharmaceutical companies, but when it comes to killing viruses or bacteria, I want my lethal chemicals in a physician-prescribed, impossible-to-open orange vial that they keep behind the bullet-proof glass.

I have the same compassion-less philosophy towards wood-eaters. There are basically two kind of termites. There are the ones boring tunnels through the rafters and floorboards in my house. And there are dead termites. I'm more interested in the latter.

Gentle as a butterfly, my ass.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Head Farcee

Several weeks ago I used the word “bloviate” in a posting. If memory serves, and sometimes it doesn’t, it was the very first time in my life that I have ever used that word in a written piece.

In honor of that occasion I am changing the masthead on this blog to read, “28,195 words. Rearranged daily.”

I was hoping to have an interesting visual to accompany this milestone so I Googled 28195. I thought maybe it would be the address of something interesting or the price tag of a new Bolivian automobile.

And while that didn't happen, the Internet did not disappoint.

The fourth image on the top row is none other than my favorite Persian punching bag, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Here the President of Iran berates his agriculture ministers, “Of course our wheat crops are failing, the Zionists are blocking our light with giant satellite-based sun shades.”

It should also be noted that Mahmoud is standing in the company of 10 men. Which means statistically, one of them is gay. My guess is it’s the dude in the brown blazer with the John Davidson haircut.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Achtung baby

Today is Wednesday. There was a time when Wednesday meant fight night. Not as in stay at home and turn on the pay per view.

I mean real fighting. Get up off the mat, strap on some foam wrist guards and shin guards, buckle up a leather head mask and start wailing on your opponent until one, or both of you, fall down from exhaustion.

I miss my karate training. I miss the camaraderie. I miss the bumps and bruises. I miss learning intricate maneuvers with exotic names like: Clutching Feathers, Sword of Destruction and The Grasp of Death.

I also miss the instructors, who were mostly African American. Though now with the benefit of retrospect, I can’t help wonder if these esteemed black belts took a little too much joy in dispensing so much pain upon a bunch of affluent, soft-bellied, white Westsiders.

Not that I blame them in the least.

If it were me and I had the opportunity to “train” some students named Heidrych or Hans or Dieter, I think I would be hard-pressed not to exact a small measure of retribution.

“OK, class push-ups. Drop down and give me 6 million.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Almost Life in Porn

Recently I threw my hat in the ring for a big time job as an Executive Creative Director. I learned the company had “decided to go in another direction.” After seeing some of their recent work on TV and on the radio, I decided it was a "less creative direction."

Another bullet dodged.

It got me thinking about how my career has been defined not only by the jobs and opportunities that have come my way, but also by the land mines and trapdoors I've managed to avoid.

Years ago, a fellow copywriter asked if I’d be interested in making a little side money.

What struggling young copywriter wouldn't want a little extra side money?

He went on to explain that I could make an easy $500 just by watching a videotape (there weren’t DVD’s yet) and writing a few paragraphs for the back of the package. Then he showed me the assignment he had for that day. The movie was “In and Out of Africa.”

It’s bad enough that I spend my days shilling soap or soda or gas-guzzling SUV’s. I can’t imagine what would have happened had my career trajectory been rerouted through the streets of Chatsworth, the Porn Manufacturing Capitol of the World.

“Deb, I'm not going to make it home for kid's birthday party. I have to do a rewrite on Acockalypse Now. I'm way behind on Lord of the Anal Rings. And I still have a briefing with the account people on Schindler’s Fist.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Toil and trouble

When Shakespeare comes up as a category on Jeopardy, I’m the first to admit I know nothing. My guess is Macbeth for every question. It’s the only Shakespeare I remember from high school.

And frankly, I don’t remember reading anything in college.

I do much better in sports, sitcom theme songs and the sciences. In fact, had I not chosen a career in selling crap that people don’t need to people who don’t know they need it, I might have actually done something useful in engineering or medicine.

The point is, even someone with a game-show knowledge of physics and chemistry, knows there is something very wrong in placing the high voltage wiring within pissing distance of the urinals.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My friend from Africa

A couple of weeks ago I answered an email scam from a Sudanese Princess named Mary. If you will recall, she claimed to be deaf and dumb. (She didn't mention being very pale for a native of Sudan.)

I responded, telling her I was not deaf, but very, very dumb. And would very much like to assist her in the recovery of 8 million dollars.

Sensing an easy mark, Mary tried to reel me in and wrote back immediately.

A lot has transpired since our initial correspondence.

She now wants to meet me in person and learn all about my work as a cattle inseminator. And though she's a princess sitting on millions of dollars of inherited money, she can't afford to purchase a plane ticket and asked that I, Herbert Walker, a person of limited mental capacity, take care of her travel arrangements.

She asked that I immediately book her on a flight from Khartoum, Sudan to Topeka, Kansas (there are no direct flights) and stressed the urgency of the situation.

Here is my response:


Please do not be angry with me. As I mentioned we are in the middle of semen harvesting season and my arms are very sore.

I double checked with the airlines and they can get a faster route to Topeka, but you will have to travel to Kansas via Siberia. That ticket is more expensive and you will have to sit in the cargo hold next to a yak.
It might be cold.

I will leave the choice to you.

I will visit the Western Union tomorrow. Should I send $4,382.69 for the one ticket or
$7, 211.89 cents for the other ticket with the less-than-desirable seating arrangements?

Please let me know and send me more pictures of yourself so that I may make hand party.

Yours Truly,

Herbert Walker

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mmmmm serendipity

The Simpsons, TV’s longest running series, has been on the air for more than 20 years. They have touched on every aspect of the American culture.

Not surprisingly, life has in many instances come to imitate art. And situations or characters played out on the Simpsons, have found their way to CNN or the front page of the Time magazine.

But surely Episode 96 1F13, in which an inanimate carbon rod saves planet Earth and is given a ticker-tape parade (much to Homer’s jealous dismay), is so preposterous it is not likely to manifest itself in real life.

That’s what I thought until I read this in the Los Angeles Times:

The Mopey Mop

Though lacking in opposable thumbs, it now appears household cleaning utensils have joined the ranks of suicidal animals and nihilistic food products and developed higher thinking powers.

In this oft-played Swiffer spot, a jilted mop seeks to re-ignite his love affair for the local MILF.

He serenades her with song.

And woos her with foil-wrapped chocolate candies.

As if to say, "Please forgive my past transgressions. I live for you to dunk my head in dirty water once more. Let me be the one to lick your bathroom floors and remove from them the dirt, dead skin cells and errant fecal matter."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Desert logic

I hate to harp on this.

But apparently it's stuck in my craw.

According to the majority of those polled in the Arab street, the Israelis were behind the attacks of 9/11/01.

Which begs the question, "Why would a people -- a people given exaggerated credit for their cunning and craftiness -- risk losing their only true international ally and commit an act of war against the United States?

It's claimed the Israelis flew the planes into buildings to make the Arabs look bad.

Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't under the impression that they needed any help in this arena:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Publicis lost

Yesterday it was announced that Publicis had won the TGIF account.

I know they are an agency that does smart work and they probably put together a very compelling presentation.

But I have it on good word that the new advertising will look something like this.

Cue Loverboy.

Music Up: "Working for the weekend."

Open on tight shot of melted butter drizzled over juicy lobster.

Cut to tight shot of rack of ribs being turned over on flame grill.

Cut to cherry tomato in slow motion flying through a wave of water.

Cut to a sliced cucumber cutting through that same wave of water but going in the other direction.

Cut to a Caucasian, Latino, African American and an Asian woman at table, laughing as if they had just won the lottery.

Cut to cheddar cheese bubbling atop a burger.

Cut to fork digging into black forest chocolate cake.

Cut to Caucasian man high-fiving African American man.

Cut to title card: T.G.I.F.

Tagline: Food. Fun. Flair.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bite Me

Spotted this oddity on the way to work today. The Hot Dog is adorning his body with all types of condiments. It would appear he relishes the idea of being eaten.

This is not the first time we've seen food advertised in this manner. Remember Charlie Tuna and the efforts he made to be stuffed into a can of StarKist?

Not unlike the plumped up chickens posing as Foster Farms.

Maybe it's just the Creative Director in me, but this is an extremely flawed strategy. If you were a food product and/or animal, with the ability to reason, to walk and to talk, why on earth would you make an effort to get into the slaughterhouse?

Wouldn't you do the opposite? Wouldn't you get yourself a publicist? Make an appearance on Leno?

I'm more inclined to believe the crafty cows urging us to eat at Chik Filet. That makes sense to me. Here we have a species, using their anthropomorphic gifts to further their own self preservation.

Though I have to wonder, if you're a cow with the wherewithal to fashion a TV spot, buy a media plan and produce a fully-integrated advertising campaign, wouldn't you bother to spellcheck your work?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Slap happy

Yesterday my wife bought an expensive etagere for the girl's bathroom because they were running out of storage space for their growing number of toiletries. (Naturally she had to explain to me what constituted an etagere.)

She could have bought an inexpensive etagere at Bed Bath & Beyond which would have been appropriate considering the economy and such.

But she decided on Nordstrom's more stylish model which required 4 hours of complicated assembly.

I got so angry, I almost felt like slapping my wife.

But then I remembered two things:

I’m not 7th century Neanderthal.

And I don’t live in Saudi Arabia.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Those whacky Pakis.

As Pakistan teeters on the brink of total chaos, I can’t help but feel a little shadenfruede.

I don’t like to see anybody get hurt, but let’s remember these people are stridently anti-American who, by and large, still subscribe to the belief that 4,000 Jews stayed home from work on 9/11/01 because the attacks were orchestrated by agents of the Israeli Mossad.

This, despite the fact that 500 Jews died in the WTC attacks, representing close to 18% of all the victims.

For the record, Jews account for only 2% of the US population.

Of course there’s something larger, more nefarious going on here.

It’s this whole notion of an all powerful, all knowing, all Jewish conspiracy that has a Matrix-like control over every aspect of our daily lives.

Sometimes, out of curiosity, I’ll visit, a white supremacist website just to see how incredibly dominant my people have become. Apparently, we pull all the strings in the White House, command the media, rule over the Federal Reserve, and even manipulate the scores in hockey games.

If there’s any truth to this massive Jewish World Domination, I can see why Joe Skinhead would be pretty steamed.

But of course, I’d be even madder.

Because I have not been invited to any of the meetings.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Domo Arigato

Recently I had lunch with a Japanese producer. We went to K-Zo, my favorite sushi restaurant in Culver City. The minute we walked in, the producer, Tommo, started jabbering away with the head chef as if they were secret members of the Yakuza.

Tommo suggested that instead of ordering from the menu it would be more fun and adventurous to let the chef serve us what he deemed to be his best fish of the day. Apparently this is customary in Japan.

(I don't see that catching on in New Jersey. "You, gonna order for me? Fuhhhgeddaboutit.")

Not wanting to offend, I agreed. And dined on an eclectic collection of slimy, chewy, smelly fish I had never seen, with names I had never heard. I am convinced these were new species found only in the deepest, darkest trenches of the Mariannas.

It was about as foul an eating experience as one could possibly imagine.

But even so, it does not compare with the visceral ugliness of biting into a soft, ripe banana and discovering a hard, vein-like nub, wedged between your teeth.

We can put a man on the moon and genetically engineer watermelons without seeds, can the folks at Chiquita please start applying themselves and put nub-free bananas on our dining tables?

Self-loathing in Culver City.

The other night I was watching TV with my daughter. We were live, so I couldn’t zip past the commercials, something even a freelance copywriter should not admit to doing.

In any case, there was an insipid Verizon commercial that caught my daughter’s attention. It started with a family at an ice cream store. In an attempt to belittle the competition’s sparse coverage, the announcer pointed out the 10 sprinkles on some ice cream. Followed by the contrived dumping of a bucket of sprinkles across the entire counter to indicate Verizon's vast coverage.

My daughter grabbed the remote and rewound the spot to see if there were actually 10 sprinkles on the ice cream.

There were.

I assured her there was also 4 hour pre-production meeting regarding the placement of each of those sprinkles.

“Should we have 3 orange sprinkles and 2 green or should we go with 2 orange and 3 green?” asked the Senior Planner.

“Is anybody else bothered by the placement of the sprinkles,” said the Brand Manager, "It's looking alot like the shape of Arizona. We don't want people thinking we only cover Arizona."

“The pink sprinkle is way too close to the other pink sprinkle. Won’t that imply an endorsement of homosexuality?” said the astute Account Director.

With the wheels coming off the cart, the quick-thinking production manager jumped in, “Let’s look at the back-up ice cream cup.”

My daughter turned to me with a not-so-subtle look of disappointment, “Wow Daddy, that’s really stupid. I know you didn't do that commercial, but is that what you do for a living?”

I snatched the remote from her hand and said, “Let’s check the score on the Laker game.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Urologist, I think I'll keep him.

I love my Beverly Hills Urologist.

Every time I stop in for a visit he hands me sample packets of the Blue V – that’s what he calls Viagra. Or Levitra. Or Cialis.

Though highly unnecessary, they put the recreation in recreational drugs.

While I’m there, he often regales me with sordid stories of his A-list clients. “You should have seen the descending testicle on So-and-So.” Or, “You think your prostate is enlarged, you should have felt the cantaloupe inside What’s-his-Face.”

Of course he never names names.

But an entire wall of his office is adorned with signed and framed 8X10 celebrity glossies, the kind you’d see at Canter’s Deli. So as I’m hunched over waiting for the inevitable, I try to match the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere.

I’m sure the casual dispensation of prescription pharmaceuticals and the less-than-discreet storytelling don’t paint the picture of the perfect health-care physician. But I’m sticking with my guy.

Because while he may have the ethical maturity of a 14-year old boy, he stands 5 foot 2 and weighs 130 pounds, which means he's also been blessed with the hands of a 14-year old boy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mondays wth Mary?

Since Tuesdays with Mantu, My Adventures with a Nigerian Con Artist, I have resisted the urge to scambait. But this proposal, which came to me from a friend in Detroit, was just just too damn tempting.

Dear Sir,

I am Mary Johnson 21yrs female, of the late Wazirim Johnson former Managing Director an Oil sector in Sudan and he nationalize in Romania and get married to my mother who was a australian woman.

While i was still in Romania
, my father died in the civil war that happen in Sudan some few years ago and the rebels killed my Mother because of my fathers investment.

This same inccident made me to become deaf and

Me being the only daugther,he secured this amount of money on my name $1.5 milloin ,but now due to the war in Sudan The money moved to a finance company in west africa.

I want a partner who can assist me to transfer this money into a foreign account for safe keeping so i can come over to your country for my education and future investment because at my age and as a student, i am not allowed to operate a foreign account.

I am willing to offer you 25% share of the total money when it is transfered to your account.

Your sincerely

Mary Johnson

And so I yielded to the temptation to outwit witless Mary.

Dear Mary,

It was so comforting to read your email. And to know there are others like me.

I am not deaf, like you, but do have a rare genetic disease making me not just dumb,
but Very Dumb.

I am so sorry to hear about what happened with your parents. I will gladly assist you with the transfer of the money, but could not in good faith accept 25% of the proceeds.

I don't think any Very Dumb person would.

Yours truly,

Herbert Walker

I can say with 100% certainty that she will take the bait.

Ben Hurl

Saw this advertised on Facebook the other day.

It's called the Exmovere Chariot, an inventive mobile device that resembles the Segway. The Chariot, also called a "wearable robot", was designed for amputees or wheelchair-bound people.

"Oh no," I can hear the reader shout, "back away from the keyboard. Repeat, back away from the keyboard.

You are on thin ice here and, in case you hadn't noticed, the weather is getting warmer.

Yes, the machine looks like an electric shaver turned on its head, but any attempt at humor will result in a sure political correctness disaster.

You do not have the writing chops to pull this one off.
Hit the delete button now just as you did weeks ago with another proposed entry entitled: 'African-American, Please.' "

Friday, May 1, 2009

Stache gaff

Lately I’ve been freelancing for a company that requires employees to carry a badge.I never had to wear a badge before.

I kind of like it. They don't give these badges out to everyone...uh, actually they do give these badges to everyone.

Mine is rigged up to this pant-attaching keychain and has a springy retractable string I like to play with when I get bored in meetings.

But I was just looking at the picture on my badge and noticed that my mustache was crooked. Not a just a little crooked, either. The entire left side of my face seems lower, like I had just come from the dentist’s office with a jowl full of Novocaine.

So I started going through my iPhoto files and found very few pictures where my mustache wasn’t lopsided.

Once again my wife, who has long since abandoned any effort to alter my appearance, my wardrobe or even my choice of deodorant soap, is proven correct.

I need to start listening to her more often.

Or at least, once.