Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Advertising, You Need A Rabbi

As you might have guessed I'm not all that well-versed in Photoshop. Hence my rendition of Lee Clow as a Hasidic rabbi is a chorbyn billik.

But this post is not about my skills as an art director.
It's not even about my alleged skills as copywriter.

You see after 20 plus years in the business it has finally dawned on me that my success, more accurately my lack of success, has little to do with craftsmanship or mastery in the art of persuasion and much more to do with the fact that I never found a rabbi.

Many rabbis have walked in and out of my life.

I've worked for Lee Clow, Bob Kuperman, Steve Hayden, David Lubars, and John Doyle. All legends in the business. And while I was always respectful and appropriately deferential, I could not muster the necessary corporate obsequiousness that pleases the captains of industry and announces in no uncertain terms, "This guy is going places."

It's just not in my DNA.

Although, in retrospect, it would've been so, so easy. A smile here. A nod there. A meeting in which I didn't voice a contrarian opinion and instead laid on the falsified effusive agreeability.

Just once.

I should have found a rabbi and strapped my fate to those destined for greatness. But I didn't. I put my stock in false meritocracy. And now it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

Recently, through Facebook or some other social media, I discovered there's a young copywriter here in LA, with less than five years in the business, teaching a class on copywriting.

I don't know how that works, it took me 5 years to learn the basic tenets of noun/verb agreement.

Nevertheless I'm sure this neophyte will spout out all the politically correct talking points about brand positioning, strategic thinking and the finer intricacies of writing long copy. But if I were to impart some wisdom to these young copywriters looking to make it in the business, I'd say two things:

1. Find a rabbi.
2. Invest in a good ball gag.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Smile You're on Candid Camera

In case the resolution is too low, that is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized as Adolf Hitler.

It was published in an Egyptian newspaper. We've seen these kind of things before. The Nazis and the Holocaust are very sensitive subjects for Jews, so provocateurs use them to get a rise out of us. We tend to laugh it off. But the great uneducated masses, steeped in Arab/Islamic propaganda, tend to gobble this stuff up.

Years ago, the Iranians staged a state-sponsored Holocaust Cartoon Contest. As if squiggly lines on a page could somehow harm us. In a distinctively Jew Ju Jitsu move, several enterprising Israelis staged their own Holocaust Cartoon Contest. It was self-deprecating, more offensive and hence funnier than the Iranians could ever hope to be.

Why? Because, as the kids might say, that's just how we roll.
Put another way, "let the bygones, Zyklon B."

Last week, still steaming over the International Olympic Committee's refusal to honor the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Games, I stumbled across this little gem.

Note the violent and vile reaction of these three Egyptian actors when they were pranked and told they were being interviewed on Israeli TV. This isn't Candid Camera. This is Rancid Camera. The first fatty literally hauls off a heymaker at the woman posing the questions. Then, in an act of contrition, he offers to rub lotion on her back.

Take a good look at Swarthy McSweatsalot. I suspect most women would prefer another punch to the face.

Let's flip the table and play out an imaginary scenario. Only this time in reverse. Imagine it was an Israeli talk show interviewing Israeli actors. A caller phones in and spills the beans that the show is actually being broadcast on an Egyptian, or Jordanian or even Iranian TV. How do you suppose the actors would take that news?

I'll tell you how. They would roll their eyes, smirk and proceed to the next question.

Let the bygones Zylon B.

This, for those of you who may not be familiar with the history and the facts regarding the turmoil in the Middle East, explains why there is not now, nor will there ever be, a peaceful settlement by two peace-loving mature peoples.

Because only one side is mature and peace loving.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Magic Elixir of Death

I write a lot about stuff I don't like; people who litter, noisy neighbors, indefensible advertising agency practices, even the indiscriminate use of semi-colons. As if that weren't enough, I even keep a series about People We Need To Kill.

Taken in sum, this might give you, the reader, the erroneous notion that I am some kind of curmudgeon; a man who easily finds fault and finds little in life to actually like.

That is simply not the case.

One thing I like is when people, products or companies live up to their promise; perhaps it's because so few do.

Airlines promise the friendly skies, but they're not. Beer companies promise to make me more interesting, but they don't. And gadget makers promise to make my life more simplified, but now I have 20 different recharging devices.

Weeks ago we had a landscaper come out to the house to tidy up the front yard, plant some flowers and lay down some very attractive brown mulch. He suggested I purchase a bottle of RoundUp to keep the area free of weeds. Simply spray a little on each weed and they'll die and disappear.

Sure, sure, I thought as I plunked my $15.99 down on the counter for this supposedly lethal herbicide. The directions on the bottle said results could be visible within 6 hours.

They lied.
The results were visible in FOUR!

Crabgrass, dead.
Dandelions, dead.
Dark leaved Mugwort, dead.

I didn't even have to arch my cranky back to dig them up. They died and receded into the earth the same way the Wicked Witch's feet did under the weight of Dorothy's tornado-tossed house. Had I been three feet tall and hailed from the Lollipop Guild, I might have broken out into song.

That's how much I now love my RoundUp. That, and because I also hate weeds.

I hate weeds almost as much as I hate corporate cronyism and political corruption.
And yes, I know that makes me sound like a curmudgeon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Food For Thought

The more astute of you are likely to cry foul.

"Rich", you'll say, "aren't you the one that is always railing against imbeciles using their iPhones while driving?"

But the more, more astute of you will recognize this as the 405 North, otherwise known as America's largest parking lot. And this picture was snapped at the height of rush hour when literally nothing was rushing.

For the uninformed, this is a grease truck. It isn't everyday you see one of these hauling away old restaurant lard.

Naturally it reminded me of a classic episode from the Simpsons when Homer discovers that certain companies will actually buy old grease. He then steals the stache being hoarded by the school's janitor, Groundskeeper Willie. The outraged Scotsman catches Homer and proclaims, "That's my retirement grease."

It also reminded me of the many years I spent working in the restaurant industry. If I never come within 10 feet of another deep fryer I will go to my grave a happy man. Next to the always malfunctioning HP All-in-One OfficeJet, the deep fryer could be the worst machine man has ever assembled.

I still have vivid memories of the large white bricks of lard that would come delivered in blue vinyl bags. Even at its freshest, when the fat was in a semi-solid state, it would emit an odor that was the diametric opposite of appetizing.

Perhaps that's why I was drawn to take this picture and would risk a moving violation ticket from the CHP.

The Orwellian sign reads: Inedible Waste Shortening, a Non-Hazardous Product.

Not sure why the word Inedible was necessary.

I don't know many people who would make the mistake of uncapping a truck full of used restaurant grease and then helping themselves to an impromptu breakfast snack. But if someone was willing to uncoil the green hose, turn on the pump and start lapping up the contents, I'd be willing to pay to watch it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On Bloodsucking

Last week I did a voice over recording session with Sam Trammell. Before I showed up at the studio I had never met Sam Trammell and had no idea who he was. I only knew that the agency liked the tone of his voice and that he was allegedly very easy to work with.

And he was.

It was only after the recording session did I come to understand that Sam was one of the stars of HBO's hit series True Blood. That would not have changed things one bit. I'm not all that impressed by actors, particularly when I'm intimately aware of all the hard work done by writers.

Which do you think is more difficult, reading a page of gripping dialogue or writing a page of gripping dialogue? I rest my case.

I don't watch a lot of television in the first place, so it's not that surprising that I didn't recognize Sam. Even if I did watch TV, there's a good chance True Blood would not make it onto my DVR playlist. I'm just not a vampire kind of guy.

I read the original Dracula by Bram Stoker. And when I say read, I mean I listened to the audio book while commuting to my job in Irvine, CA. It was quite enjoyable. Once. I don't need to read it again. Or indulge in any of the thousands of variations on bloodsucking, immortality or 18th century forbidden romance.

Frankly I don't understand the fascination with vampires. And walk in the other direction the minute my teenage daughters mention Twilight.

Years ago, my world and the underworld had another close encounter. I was brought in by an agency to write a promo campaign for The Vampire Diaries. As you've probably guessed I was completely unfamiliar with the show. Consequently I had to immerse myself into this pretentious crap and familiarize myself with America's newest heartthrob Ian Somethingorother.

I like to think I came up with some interesting ideas, but ultimately I lost out to a younger team of two women.

Their campaign was splashed all across the country.

The obvious play on words still leaves me shaking my head. I don't want VD, why would I go out of my way to catch it?

I don't like to turn away business and pride myself on the ability to write on any number of topics. But I also take great stock in my honesty.

So, if you're an ad agency or an agency resource manager and you have a gig that requires some writing about vampires, you probably don't want to put it in the hands of this fat, bald married guy in his late 30's.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Good Luck, Brandon

One reason I like to freelance at TBWA Chiat/Day is that they pay overtime on weekends. This is a good policy, as Saturdays and Sundays are worth more than the other days of the week.

I wish they would recompense the staffers who are asked to work weekends and nights, but that's no longer my battle.

About a month ago, I was at the Playa Vista office on a Saturday morning. As I was on my way to the car to pick up some lunch, I was stopped by a black homeless guy with a big duffel bag slung over his shoulder.

"Is this the way to Inglewood Ave. library?" he asked.

This was odd. As you can see from this map 5353 Grosvenor is not exactly a place you expect to encounter homeless people.

It butts up against the Marina Freeway and the street is literally a dead end.
Clearly this guy was lost.
And I was about to find out how lost.

He was a young guy and appeared quite lucid so I decided to have a chat with him.

Turns out he, Brandon, had moved here from Arizona -- I didn't think black people lived in Arizona -- I also didn't think there were black men named Brandon -- and he wanted to get to the library to research a project he had in his head.

"But what are your plans?" I asked, "cause you can't live on the streets forever. You have to think long term and what you want to do with your life." 

I might have come off a little preachy but he seemed in need of some paternal advice and fate had brought the two of us together. And since my daughters never listen to me, I seized the moment.

We talked some more, because I rarely take the time to actually chat with homeless people and I was genuinely curious about how someone finds themselves in this kind of position.

Then I did something I also rarely do, I told him to get in the car and I gave him a ride to Inglewood Ave. Before he got out of the car and because I was feeling particularly generous that day (being on golden time and such) I peeled off forty bucks to make his day a little easier.

My wife thinks I'm crazy and rolled her eyes, as she often does, when I told her of what had transpired.

And now I'm beginning to regret my actions. Not because I put my life in jeopardy, truth is I was much bigger than this guy and could have cleaned his clock had he decided to turn on me. Besides, helping less fortunate people is never the wrong thing to do.

My regret stems from the fact that it's now been more than a month after the encounter and I still can't get the Brandon B.O. out of my Lexus.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The presidential campaign is picking up steam. With the wars in the Middle East winding down, gas prices falling, and morality issues being cleared from the table (rightfully so) it looks like it's all going to come down to the issue of jobs.

Democrats and Republicans agree, there aren't enough of them.

I disagree.
I think there's too many.

We don't need to add more people to the payroll.
We need to remove more work from the workplace.

Admittedly, I can't speak with any authority about other industries, but in the ad agency world I know from which I speak.

As you may or may not know, after 20+ years on the inside I now work as a freelancer, bopping around from agency to agency. I get to see all their differences. Some have in-house coffee from Starbucks, others from Peets, and still others from Dunkin Donuts.

And I get to see their similarities. This list is considerably longer.

Despite all the company whu-ha about "our dynamic and proprietary storytelling process", "our ability to surround the consumer" or "our unmatched creativity and global resources", all ad agencies are the same. The holding companies have seen to that.

This parity allows me to point my fat, clubby finger not at any one individual agency but at the industry as a whole.

And lately -- as my fellow blogger George Tannenbaum has pointed out -- it's less about the work and more about the work of the work.

Within the last 6 months, I've seen decks about decks, videos about videos, and sat in meetings about other meetings. I don't know how it works, but there must be profit in all this process.

It now takes a hundred people to do the work of ten.

I'm not a process/bureaucracy/let's-build-consensus-kind of guy. I'm not really interested in the opinions of junior planners, junior account people or junior clients. If they had valuable input they wouldn't be juniors, would they?

That's why I enjoy doing this blog.
I write it.
I publish it.
You read it.
Sometimes I'll even double check it for typos, but that's it.
Of course in the four years I've been doing this, I haven't made a dime. Not one red cent.

Maybe I need to hire an assistant?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Susan Glenn, RIP

The ad world is buzzing about this new spot from BBH/NY. It is a commercial for Axe deodorant. And it features the unmistakable Kiefer Sutherland. It also features something you don't see a lot of in today's commercials, great writing.

Oh and let's not forget, Susan Glenn.

Never heard of her? Neither had I. And that's what is so miraculous. That the tale of Susan Glenn ever got told.

First watch the commercial, then I'll explain my bewilderment.

As I mentioned last week, I have been in this business a long, long time. And I can think of a million reasons why a great spot like this could die in the C-suite. Or in the boardroom. Or more likely, inside the hallowed hallways of an ad agency. (In fact, that's more likely the case, because good ideas like this rarely make it out the front door. And if they do, they are compromised beyond recognition.)

Of course, a million reasons is a little hyperbolic.
So let's make it 10.
On third thought, let's make it 5.
Because by the time I get to reason #6, the point will be made and you'll be bored.

1. The Writing. Clients, and supposedly the public, don't have the stomach for big words like goblinesque. Or pyrotechnic spectacle. Way too many syllables. And what's with the metaphors? "A peasant before a queen." That registered a 29 in quantitative copy testing. Client wants that removed.

2. Branding. In this minute long commercial we don't get to see the product until the very end. And when we do, the logo/product is only up for 3 seconds. 3 seconds!!! The client wants branding up front. Within the FIRST three seconds. Client wants us to consider a guy actually putting on the deodorant. And smiling. Would it hurt to have someone enjoying our product?

3. Sex Appeal. Yes, Susan Glenn is stunning and she radiates a unique beauty but why are we shrouding that beauty in flannel shirts and a long mumu dress that would look more appropriate in Amish country? Current wardrobe choice makes her look a bit hippy. Not Woodstock hippie. Big around the waist hippy. Client requests new wardrobe supervisor.

4. Negative and Dated. Many people in the focus groups stated that they did not like the other girls throwing things at Susan. And while they understood the story was being told as a flashback they didn't like the older cars and said it made Axe seem old fashioned. Client pointed out that in the brief, the tone was supposed to be modern and contemporary. Also, one focus group attendee was offended by the earthquake, stating that the '94 Northridge earthquake left her home in ruins. And while no one was hurt they did have to replace the sump pump.

5. Who the hell is Susan Glenn? Though he "likes" the concept, the CMO is still pushing back on notion of Susan Glenn. "If we're going to use a celebrity like Kiefer Sutherland why can't we use another one for the girl? What about Sophia Vergara? She's hot."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sleep Right

Yesterday I wrote about an adventure in Las Vegas that happened a long time ago.

I have since been back to the city on several occasions.
Never for pleasure, always for business.
You see, I'm not a big fan of Vegas.

I don't like to gamble much, probably because I work too hard for my money and can think of better ways to spend it.

I like to drink, but not in the company of hipster douchebags or visiting sorority girls throwing a bachelorette party for a soon-to-be-divorced bride. Anyone who gets married in Vegas is destined for unmatrimony, in my humble-but-deadly accurate opinion.

And I'm not a fan of what passes for entertainment in Vegas: cheap magic, hackneyed stand up comedy and overpriced titty bars.

Mostly, I don't like sleeping in that town.

Oh they will accommodate fanatical non-smokers like myself, but try as they may they cannot remove the smell of cigarette smoke from the hotel ventilation and air conditioning systems. About a year ago I was staying at the ultra-modern Aria hotel, the newest and plushest hotel on the strip. Despite a fascinating array of technology including a computer-controlled tissue dispenser, I still woke up the next morning and smelt as if I had slept in an ashtray.

The only thing hotel rooms in Las Vegas have going for them are the Black Out Curtains. With triple digit temperatures and 24 hour a day neon displays blaring from every corner, these curtains are an absolute necessity.

I would like to install them in my home but ran into some serious interference from my wife, who suggested that money would be better served in the kid's college fund.

And so it has come to this.

Last week I purchased a sleeping mask, not unlike the one pictured above. Or the one you might remember worn by Desi Arnez in the old I Love Lucy show.

You can laugh all you want, but the fact is, these masks work.

By blocking out all the extraneous nighttime light, from my neighbor's flood lights or even a Full Moon, I have been sleeping like a bear. With less nocturnal visits to the bathroom and more vivid REM activity in the early morning hours. Just this morning there was an interesting, if not indecipherable, dream about a dolphin, Penelope Cruz and a giant carniverous adding machine.

And my wife, who is always concerned about saving money for college, is happy too. Thanks to the surprising effectiveness of the sleep mask, we're not spending half as much money on Maker's Mark.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This one doesn't stay in Vegas

Came across this in my files the other day and thought I'd share.

The year was, well, it was long time ago.

My high school buddy Jamie and I were in Las Vegas. This was before the Disneyfication, when Sin City offered plenty of opportunity to sin. After an all-nighter at the famed Crazy Horse and after showering dozens of skanky strippers with dirty dollar bills, we found ourselves enjoying a $1.99 buffet breakfast at the Stardust Hotel. 

As he was wont to do, Jamie started chatting it up with the buxom blonde waitress. I would say she was young, but no one stays young in Las Vegas. She was jaded beyond her years and was immune to his small talk. So he redirected his attention to the blank Keno cards sandwiched behind the menus.

On her next visit to refill our coffee, he handed her a completed a Keno card and a five dollar bill that somehow didn't make it to Tiffany's underpants. Ten minutes later she returned with our soggy scrambled eggs, cold brittle bacon and news that Jamie had hit 7 out of 15 of the numbers -- or whatever it is that signifies a win in Keno.

In other words, he was suddenly $900 richer. 
And the waitress was suddenly friendlier. 

Jamie could not believe his luck. If memory serves, we quickly got up from the breakfast bar and made a beeline for the other bar. The one that served alcohol.

By 10 AM we were completely soused. 

And at 11 AM we found ourselves across the street at the Las Vegas FlyAround. 

For the uninitiated, the FlyAround looked like a huge cylindrical water tank. At the bottom of the tank was a 6,000 horsepower jet engine blowing air straight up. The inner walls of the tank were lined with cheap foam rubber. And visitors to the FlyAround were taught how to leap into the stream of jet-blown air and enjoy the phenomena of weightlessness. 

It's more difficult than it sounds. 
It's a lot more difficult when you're blowing .27 on the breathalyzer.

When we weren't being tossed against the padded walls, Jamie and I were laughing so hard our bones hurt. When we exited the tank, we were offered the opportunity to purchase a Polaroid picture (yes kids this was way before digital cameras) of ourselves at  zero G's. Normally I don't splurge for trivialities as such, but flush with Keno cash, Jamie snapped up the pictures.

And I'm glad he did.

Because now it occurs to me, I like the way I look in a jumpsuit:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kearsage or Bust

This is not a postcard.

You can't walk into a Bishop souvenir shop and buy a picture like this for a couple of bucks.
It has to be earned.
You have to be willing to hump it up 5 miles of steep switchbacks, from the Onion Valley trailhead at 8100 feet above sea level to the Kearsage Pass at 11,700 feet above sea level.

OK, the truth is you could do a Google Image Search and drag a picture like this directly onto your desktop, but my buddy Paul (that's him in the lower left hand corner) would have none of that.

Last year's Kearsage attempt was foiled by inordinate snowfall and the overconsumption of Bacardi rum the night before. This year there was no shortage of Cuba Libre's, but we did have an unusually dry winter, which left the path to the top obstruction-free.

This is not to suggest that it was a cakewalk.
It was not.

My oldest daughter is susceptible to altitude sickness. And at 10, 800 feet she was ready to turn around and go home. Not just back to the Upper Grays Meadow Campground. But back to Culver City, where she could snuggle in her own bed and snapchat with her friends.

But like all Siegels, she is blessed with ungodly determination.

Despite the throbbing headache and a pulse rate in the three digits range, she wiped her brow, downed a Strawberry FruitUp Roll and put one foot in front of the other until the Kearsage Pass became the Kearsage Passed.

It also helped that our intrepid leader Paul, a teacher by trade, is blessed with childlike enthusiasm and superior motivational skills.

If you hadn't guessed I'm very proud of my daughter, as well as my other daughter and my wife, for completing this very strenuous 10 mile hike. It took well over 6 hours and we burned an estimated 3000 calories.

That night we all rewarded ourselves with some well-deserved chocolate cake. I refrained from the dessert and chose a different kind of treat: 750 mg of Vicodin.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Independence Week

And we're back from the woods.

There are many reasons to go camping at 6,000 feet above sea level in the high Eastern Sierra Nevada's.

The opportunity to reconnect with nature, family and friends.
The chance to breath invisible air.
And the freedom to urinate anywhere, at any given moment.

Another reason to visit Independence, CA is to experience the annual 4th of July Parade and Town Picnic, wherein elitist, West Los Angeles, socially-liberal Jews like ourselves get to stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow Americans, who might not share the same uh...let's say, enlightened, philosophy on life.

There was for instance, the pig-tailed 15-year old girl, who sauntered through the picnic grounds, corn cob in one hand, a Dr. Pepper in the other, while sporting a T-shirt that read God Bless America. As she passed by we caught a glimpse of the back of her T-shirt which read Straight and Proud.

I never realized that my heterosexuality, the orientation of more than 7 billion people on the planet, was a source of pride, but now I do. Proof that you can learn something everyday.

Even more impressive than this young girl's burgeoning womanhood was the fact that her homemade T-shirt was all spelled correctly. Believe me that is not to be taken for granted.

This year, the picnic festivities featured the first-ever Independence Spelling Bee with more than 30 contestants, from ages 9-73. The first gamer, a 10th-grader from Lone Pine, who did not appear to be under the influence of any drugs, stepped up to the front of the stage fashioned from old truck pallets and proceeded to spell the first word of the contest, H-A-R-P-U-N-E.

"Harpune, an instrument used to kill whales."

But the grand prize for meth-adled ignorance belonged to a mullet-wearing dad in his late twenties. He had been out of prison long enough to father two children, an infant cradled on his shoulder and another 3-year old replicant of himself holding his right hand. The toddler looked like he had never owned any decent foot-coverings and had never sat in a dentist's chair.

Fortunately the kid did not have any tattoos.

But scribbled across the father's blubbery arm were these three telling words:
eet. fuk. kil.

(recreated above, using an internet Tattoo generator.)

I can only assume the misspelling was intentional. Meant as some ironic statement about the need to simplify our lives in an overly complex world. A wry commentary about the devolvement of the species due to entangled global economics and the escalating rise of technology which is now exceeding the parameters of Moore's Law.

I'm pretty sure that's what Mullet-head had in mind.

As I moved in closer to snap a picture of his existential ink, I saw him eyeing the crowd and heard him grumble something to his buddy:

"Damn, I thought this were America."

Now I don't know what he saw to elicit such a visceral reaction. But unless he spotted Hitler at a picnic table sharing some corn nuts with Joseph Stalin and Osama Bin Laden, that's about the most un-American thing one can possibly say.

Unless he was going for irony again.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

ZOG 101

(reprinted from 3/10/10)

On occasion I like to check out stormfront.com to see what white supremacists have to say about the events of the day.

I suppose you can file that under, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

In any case, the third grade educated pinheads have a lot of interesting things to say about the state of the economy, the war on terror, global warming, etc.

Most, if not all, lay the blame for the world's ills at the hands of the Jews.

And all subscribe to the belief that Jews literally control the world. So if you'll grab some scrap paper -- a must I tell my daughters before doing any math homework -- we can take a look at the numbers and demonstrate how this canard is indeed a canard.

According to wikipedia, there are approximately 7 billion people on this planet. 13 million of them claim to be Jewish. That works out to be a minuscule .19% of the world's population.

Of these 13 million Jews, more than half of them are females. All due respect to women out there, but I think we can agree that if Jewish women were in control of the world, fellatio would be a capital offense.

So that brings the number closer to 6.5 million.

But simple demographics tells us that of that 6.5 million, 25% are under the age of 18. I don't think anybody seriously believes the world is being controlled by a bunch of 12 year old schlubby boys who can't even climb up a rope in gym class.

That leaves us 4.9 million able-bodied Jews. Or does it? We must deduct another 20% of those males who are over the age of 65. Let's face it, if old altacocker Jews were controlling the world, a lot less cold soup would be making its way back to the kitchen.

So now we're looking at 4 million Jewish men, between the ages of 18 and 65, lording over the entire universe. Which in and of itself is laughable. I know we're clever and crafty, but seriously.

Of those 4 million powerful men, one million are dentists. Now dentists may be good at scraping enamel off your molars, but they are definitely not world domination material.

So now the number is closer to 3 million.

But we're not done yet.
There are Lazy Jews.
Dimwitted Jews.
Alcoholic Jews.
Dyslexic Jews.
Incompetent Jews.
Apathetic Jews.
Self Pitying Jews.

And Jews that work in Advertising (I know if Jews who worked in Advertising controlled the world there'd be a lot less dipshit clients.)

When all is said and done, the number quickly gets whittled down to about 4, 963 potentially omnipotent Yids. As a percentage that works out to an infinitesimal .000000512.

So here's the thing, if 4,963 guys named Goldberg, Feldman and Cohen have been able to wrest control over all of mankind and command the fate of every living being on the planet, I don't think we should curse them or begrudge them their rightful title.

In fact, from where I sit in my cozy home, with my healthy family, HD DIRECTV, a fridge full of food, and a medicine cabinet filled with the finest painkilling medicines, I say Hail Morty, Hail Bernie, Hail Shlomo.

Is there any way you guys could get me a faster internet connection?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dropping the kids off at the pool

(reprinted from 4/20/09)

Not so recently, I was hired to come up with a new campaign for a huge Health Insurance Company. During the briefing, the Creative Director and I exchanged some small talk. He told me about a little pet project he had going on the side.

I won’t divulge the details, suffice to say that he was looking for new euphemisms. Pithy phrases, either in the present or past tense, that could replace the always-popular  “I have to go cut some Lincoln Logs.”  Or, “I just dropped the kids off at the pool.”

Seizing the opportunity, and looking for a good reason not to write about health care insurance, I set my nose to the grindstone:

“I have to go un-eat lunch.”

“There’s been a prison break at the South Gate.”

“I have to remove to a tree stump.”

“I’m self-administering a route canal.”

“Launching a lifeboat off the S.S. Assitania.”

“Stepping up to the loadium.”

“I have an exit interview with Mr. Brown.”

“I have to go fertilize the Pacific.”

“I just dumped all my shares of Hometown Buffet.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jay Chiat would be Proud

(reprinted from 10/29/09)

One of the things I love about Halloween is the celebration of the macabre. My youngest daughter Abby seems to share that inclination.

After viewing some of the contestants on extremepumpkins.com, Abby was set on re-enacting the drowning pumpkins display she had seen online.

We carved faces that approximated the terror of drowning, then placed the two pumpkins in old aquarium that at one time was the home to our pet turtle named Candy. Candy met her demise when our dog mistook her for a chew toy. I'll spare you the bloody details.

After submerging the pumpkins in 30 gallons of water and weighing them down with some leftover bricks, Abby wanted to give her own personal signature to the piece. And added the hand-crafted plea for "HELP."

Then in true "good enough is not enough spirit" had an idea that trumped her original concept.

Making it darker. More subtle. And deliciously twisted.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Number Two Part Two

(reprinted from 8/3/10)

I may have in the past spoken harshly about being in the advertising business, but every once in a while I remember what drew me to this crazy business.

Recently I found myself working on a Christmas promotion. I know we're still in the thick of summer, but like the snake who has swallowed a small moose, the process of getting work through the corporate pipeline can be long, slow and excruciatingly painful.

In any case, without going into too many details about the assignment, I needed to research odd Christmas celebrations. And that's when I came across the Caganer.

Now you may be asking why is there a man "having an exit interview with Mr. Brown" right outside the Nativity scene? I know I did.

Well, it seems it's an ancient custom from Catalan. Before the kids were born, my wife and I spent two weeks on the southern Iberian Peninsula. Now I wish we had been a little more thorough.

Being both scattological and inquisitive, I gave the Caganer the attention it deserved. All the more enjoyable because someone was actually paying me to do so.

Wikipedia offers several explanations about how and why the Caganer (loosely translated -- 'Shitter') appears in the the typical Catalan Nativity scene. My favorite: the idea that God will manifest when he is ready, whether we human beings are ready or not.

Wow, if the Messiah comes while I'm busy "launching a lifeboat off the S.S. Assitania",
I'm going to tell him I need a minute or two.