Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mammoth Bound

Shutting down production here at roundseventeen. The ink wells have been drained. The hot type set on the shelf to cool off. And the ruby lithe paper all put away until we resume the daily nonsense in 2010.

The girls and I are headed up to Mammoth Mountain for skiing, tubing and lots of family dysfunctional bickering that will leave us scarred for many, many years.

Hope everybody has a a great holiday.

For those of you who believe, I wish you Season's Greetings.
And for those of you who don't, a hearty, happy, heathenous, Reason's Greetings.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holy Smokes

I must have passed this sign at the local Mini-Mart about 1000 times, but never noticed the sky rocketing price of cigarettes. Probably because I've never partaken in such a filthy, disgusting habit.

But God bless those that do.

Let's say a carton of ciggies is 50 bucks. A carton is equal to 10 packs.
If you smoke a pack a day (which I'm told is light) that requires about 30 packs a month or 3 cartons. 3 cartons at 50 bucks a pop is 150 dollars a month. Or 1200 dollars a year.

Now consider the fact that the state adds on a disincentive tax of about 25% and we're talking a good 300 to 400 dollars a year that every smoker puts into government coffers to pay for my roads, my trash collection and my sewer maintenance.

Plus, it can be argued, smokers pay higher health insurance rates, fund cancer research and generally subsidize healthcare for those us smart enough not to light up.

So thank you for smoking.

And remember, smoke 'em if you got 'em.
And if you don't got 'em, by all means, buy more.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I know it's snowing and cold all along the East Coast, but here in Los Angeles it' s perfect December weather, 75 degrees and sunny. So naturally I found myself down at the beach. A lot of surfers were out today to catch some high rollers.

One dude was coming out of the water wearing his wetsuit. Before he grabbed his board to go back to his car, he unzipped the back of his wetsuit and rolled the top half down, exposing his hairless chest. That's when I noticed something that I had never seen before.

His nipples were very close to each other. Not like just a little close but really close. They couldn't have been more than 6 inches apart.

Had I been quick enough, and sly enough, I would have snapped a picture of his odd nipple placement with my iPhone. Sadly I did not. And I apologize to readers of this blog who have come to expect that level of professionalism.

But to give you an idea how unique this beach sighting was, I did a little internet research. You can go on the web and find men who like horses. Women who dig midgets. Couples who are into trampolines and chocolate.

That's the beauty of human sexuality. There's a little something for everyone.

What you won't find however is, men with nipples too close to each other.
Go ahead google the phrase.
I did.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Help me

You won't hear a lot of country western music at my house.

You'll hear classic rock, like Zepellin, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen. You'll hear jazz like Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins . You'll hear Britney Spears, the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.

But you won't hear country western.

Which makes my 12 year old daughter's obsession with Reba McCintyre so fascinating. For some reason or other, she is myopically focused on Reba. As you can see from the way she doodled all over her copy of Orwell's Animal Farm, she's also got a thing about OMG, extra fiber, stupid and lubriderm.

Naturally, I'm very confused.

And she's only 12 years old.
I can't imagine that in the coming years it's going to get less confusing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is it safe?

I spotted this in the parking lot of the supermarket the other day. Not quite sure that dentistry is an impulse buy. I'm trying picture the scenario that would deem this service necessary.

Mom comes out of the grocery store.
She starts loading the goods into the back of her minivan.
Then gets a nagging feeling she forgot something.
She checks the bags.

"Asparagus, check.
Milk, check.
Kitty Litter, check.

No, everything seems to be there...oh, wait, I have that impacted molar with the nagging gum abscess. I better get a route canal. Look there's a brightly colored Winnebago conversion ready to attend to all my immediate dental needs.

Hope the ice cream doesn't melt."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Things Jews Don't Do, PT.3

Three weeks after graduating Syracuse University in 19#*, I packed a duffelbag, got on a plane and moved to Los Angeles. For a month I literally slept on the roof of a frat house at UCLA (But that's another story.)

With a fresh sheepskin in hand, it was time to start a career. Unfortunately it took me a few years to figure what that career would be.

In the goofing off period in between, my father had secured me a job at his company's west coast distribution center in Gardena. That's where I joined a crew of ex-felons and card-carrying Crips and Bloods.

They taught me how to drive a forklift. And for longer than I care to remember, I hauled pallettes around and packed up trucks with industrial grade wire spools.

Once I sent out a truck with 200 spools of 20 gauge wire. Unfortunately the purchase order was for 20 spools of 200 gauge wire.

I never mastered the forklift like my heat-packing brothers.
But I was never as bad as this guy:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tony Not OKaye

A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to a column written by ad legend Ernie Schenck. The column was a celebration of the fiery spirit that once raged throughout the ad world but has since been tempered by a recession, the holding companies and rampant political correctness.

One of the lunatics cited by Ernie was Director Tony Kaye, who literally self-imploded with the post-production marketing of American X.

While Ernie's experience with Tony Kaye was nothing less than stellar, my experience with him was...less than stellar, that is. We were shooting a spot in Riverside and had what should have been a minor disagreement over the placement of a telephone in the shot. He wanted the phone in one place. I wanted it in another.

The disagreement turned into an argument. And the argument turned into something I've never experienced in my professional life. The angry words brought the shooting to a halt. With a full crew, a gaggle of account people and a slew of clients all watching, Tony grabbed a folding wooden chair, swung it high above his head and then proceeded to smash it onto the concrete floor.

The swinging/smashing/splintering of the wooden chair went on for a good 3 minutes until there wasn't a piece of that chair bigger than a matchstick. This was all accompanied by a fitful tantrum of words that would make a sailor blush.

When it was over, Tony walked off the set.

He came back 5 minutes later and acted like nothing had happened. He asked the lighting director to get ready for the next shot and was prepared to continue the shoot.

At this point the gloves were off and I intervened, telling him that we were not going to shoot another frame of film until he apologised to everyone on the set. I told him human beings don't act like that with other human beings. I called him an arrogant asshole. I told him that his station in life did not entitle him to behave boorishly.

Then I delivered the most crushing blow of all. I reminded him that he was like the other pimps of capitalism on the set that day. And that he was nothing more than a director, a director of television commercials.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Larry Flynt is right.

Larry Flynt is suing his nephews for trading off the esteemed family name and producing pornography that is an inferior product.

In an article published in yesterday's LA Times, Daniel DeCarlo, attorney for the Flynt nephews countered the claim with, "consumers of porn are careful and discerning when it comes to choosing products. Because they are well-versed with the brands that are out there, and carefully study the box before making a purchase, there is little chance that the nephews' line will be confused with Larry Flynt's films."

If you'll pardon the intentional pun, that argument is not going to stand up in court.

I'm not a purchaser of pornography, but years ago when my wife and I were trying to conceive, I did find myself at, how shall I say this, a "seed collection laboratory." In order to facilitate fertilization I had to fill the turkey baster with well, basting material. Fortunately the lab was wise enough and generous enough to provide a huge selection of films to assist in the process.

I can tell you first hand (again pun intended) that there was not a lot of careful discernment in my selection. Truth be told, they're all pretty much the same.

I don't know how other men pick their porn, it's generally not something we discuss with each other, but I usually go by title. And I'm a sucker (pun not intended) for a funny title. Something like "In and Out of Africa", "Forrest Hump" or "Free My Willy." And of course the all time classic, "Lawrence of A Labia."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Office

Yesterday I was browsing several websites on contemporary design and stumbled across this photo of my old office. So I thought I'd share this highly-glamorized shot of my former abode.

This picture was snapped before my partner and I were given the reigns to the Taco Bell account back in 1999. Before the gentlemen in the bottom cubicle (with pirate flag) left the agency and went on to lucrative careers as directors.

The offices, by any account, are an amazing place. A visual candyland that always stirs the "ooohs" and "ahhhhs." I spent close to 15 years with TBWA Chiat/Day and had a great time, but make no mistake, it is an office. A place where work gets done.

Sometimes at night.
Sometimes on weekends.
Sometimes on wedding anniversaries.
Or worse, during the seventh game of the World Series.

Let's also not forget that the work we're talking about is the ridiculously sublime work of advertising. A world of talking chihuahuas, animated mucus membranes and shameless actors who once had promising movie careers but now find themselves pitching discounted monthly phone plans.

As stimulating as it all may or may not appear, I'm here to tell you there isn't enough bright yellow paint or cool architectural angles in the world that can take the under-achieving sting out of..."Oh shit what are they going to put on my tombstone?"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Worst. Mom. Ever.

Last week the Los Angeles Times ran a lengthy expose on the tragic death of 6-year old Daevon Davis.

Davis was brutally murdered by the ex-boyfriend of Daevon's mom (and I use that word lightly), Tylette, a 23-year old mother of six...uh, make that five...children. It also detailed the years of drug abuse, neglect and total irresponsibility of the entire Davis clan.

When asked why she let her daughter run around at night and have so many unwanted pregnancies, Tylette's mother responded, "The girl needed her leisure time."

The Davis family is no stranger to tragedy. One of the uncles or cousins or brothers, (I couldn't keep track) was killed in a scuffle with the LAPD. They claimed he was an innocent choir boy on his way home from bible study, so the family sued and now they are awaiting a huge court settlement.

The story put my wife in tears.
It sent me directly to the keyboard to fire off a letter to the newspaper.

This weekend the LA times printed my missive, almost verbatim. Of course, with the demise of printed media, their circulation is not what it used to be. In fact, this blog actually has more regular readers. So for the 7 million of you who no longer read the newspaper, here goes:

(Re; Abuse begets abuse in a family's brutal legacy, 11/30/09.)

The Lord does not close a door without opening a window. Thankfully, this poor family has a $2.6 million dollar judgment pending. And as Tylette's mom stated, "...we can buy a 6 bedroom house so all my grandkids can live under one roof and Tylette (recently arrested for trying to stab her current boyfriend) can get custody of her children again." I only hope the Davis family saves some of that taxpayer money for the essentials of living: whiskey, cigarettes and crack cocaine.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A real butterball

This year's Thanksgiving was extra special. Due largely to a 20 lbs. butterball with thunderous thighs and an infectious laugh.

Of course, I'm not talking about the turkey but the newest addition to the family--my nephew Jack. Next week my sister-in-law and her husband will be signing the final adoption papers and naturally, we are all thrilled.

I am particularly excited because Jack has shown a special fondness for me. OK, he's actually more fascinated by my mustache. But I'll take it as evidence of a special bond between us.

We both also happen to have been born on February 28th. And plans for a special double party are already underway.

Which means for the first time in a very long time, I can actually look forward to my birthday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kirk the Jerk

Recently, anthropologist and part-time child actor Kirk Cameron has been visiting college campuses to distribute his doctored version of Darwin's "Origin of Species."

The never-nominated thespian disputes the theory of evolution and is proselytizing the notion of Intelligent Design. He cites the teachings of his good friend, another intellect-free do-gooder, Ray Comfort.

In his now famous youtube video, Ray, a high school dropout from New Zealand (apparently he failed sheep sheering) contends that the banana, with its ridged sides and pull-tab opening is the perfect example of how our Creator put forth food on this planet designed for easily accessible human nutrition.

Though he conveniently skirts the issue of foods that defy any sense of intelligent design.

The coconut for example is just as prevalent as the tropical banana. However, coconuts are typically found a good thirty feet above the jungle floor. If one were to follow Ray's logic, wouldn't our Intelligent Designer in the sky have made some similar accommodations?

Instead of hanging coconuts on trees, he could have dangled them on bushes. Or, and this would have made life much more interesting, the Creator could have given humans the necessary equipment to easily access the white coconut meat, such as long giraffe like necks and rock-hard hands shaped like ball-peen hammers.

Of course, ball-peen hammer-hands would have made it incredibly difficult for Kirk to eat banana. Much less read and rewrite Darwin's book.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Who wants candy?

I love my daughters. I really do. I know if the situation arose, I would take a bullet, albeit a small caliber bullet, for them.

Like I said, I love my daughters.

But there are times, when I don't love them quite as much as the first day we drove them home from the hospital. Like when it's time to take out the garbage or make the beds or clean up the bathroom.

If you're a parent, you know exactly what I'm talking about. And if you're not a parent, well then you probably won't understand why I take so much joy in these Ally Bank commercials that are currently airing...

I know the premise of this commercial is rooted
in the cruel treatment of children.
But if you ask me, I think cruelty to children has taken a bad rap.