Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The anticipation is killing me

It's Tuesday where you are, but it's still Saturday morning (when I write the week's blogs) for me and  the weekend can't go fast enough.

Why? You may ask.

Clearly, yesterday's announcement that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has brought forth the first, in what I hope are going to be many, indictments in the Shitgibbon/Russia investigation is cause for great excitement. At this writing we don't know whose name will be listed in big bold beautiful type:






But here's what we do know. Our Golfer in Chief is a control freak. He pens excuses letters for Donnie Jr. He feels the need to tweet at every criticism. And he gets two scoops of ice cream for dessert when everyone else gets one. You'd have a hard time convincing me that if there were election shenanigans going on with the Russkies, he'd most certainly have his tiny vulgar fingers in it.

Even if he somehow manages to squirm out of any indictments or impeachment himself, this promises to taint -- god I love that word -- his entire presidency. Because it calls into question his judgment. The astute among you know he has no judgment and yet one third of the country still swallow his horsecockery. Moreover they're convinced his presidency will go down as one of the greatest in the history books. Which is rather ironic since his loyalists don't read history books. Or, it seems, any books.

More cause for excitement? A good friend of mine, who was actually a client the first time we met (thus dispelling this notion that I hate all clients), has promised to introduce me to a small firm that is in need of some help. Best of all, this not about hawking a better butter replacement or some sugary brown fizzy water. This is about using my marginal and overly expensive ability to twist words around to actually do some good in this world.

Finally, there's the World Series. By the time you're reading this on Tuesday the whole thing could be over. Particularly if the Dodgers play sloppy and listless like they did in Game 3. What makes this World series different than all the others is that LA is playing.

You see baseball and my marriage have had a rocky relationship. Our anniversary was last week. And my wife will never let me forget how I, and half the men in attendance, missed major sections of the wedding by scurrying off to the bar at the Riviera Country Club to watch the nail biting, extra inning conclusion of Game 6 between the Blue Jays and the Braves.

This year, because the hometown is involved, I've got a pass on the excessive baseball watching. And even have my wife running around the house saying, "Los Doyers."

As if all that weren't enough, my Ryan Gosling look-a-like  handyman is bringing his crew and their sledgehammers to begin demolition work on the downstairs bathroom (see yesterday's post).

This is a lot to take for my heart.
Good thing I've been doing a lot of cardio.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Welcome to the Library

Last week, I said the magic phrase to my wife, the words every woman wants to hear...

"Happy 25th Anniversary."

No, wait that wasn't it, even though we did just celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The words that lit up her face, as I suspect it does for so many wives who crave a magic spark in their life, was more like...

"Let's remodel the bathroom."

I swear it was like bringing home diamonds, dipped in chocolate and buried in fresh cut roses. I had no idea of the power. Nor did I in any way comprehend the Pandora's Bowl I was unleashing.

No sooner had those mystical words left my mouth, did I find myself and my wife leaving the house. Headed to that most dreaded of all destinations -- the tile store.

If you haven't had the pleasure, might I suggest some deep roasted and heavily caffeinated coffee. Then, make sure you pack some additional Red Bulls, for when the tile store designer starts showing you herringbone displays. And then, just for safety, bring along some smelling salts, because you have never been lulled to sleep so effortlessly until you've started picking out the right grout colors.

That, it seems, is only the first Gate of Hell. Or more accurately the floorway. Because we haven't even talked about wainscoting. And why would we? Well, apparently getting the right wainscoting is very important to the overall aesthetic of the room, a room I might add where, if I'm lucky, I get to "launch a daily lifeboat off the SS Assitania."

OK, so tile is important.

Grout color is important.

Wainscoting is important.

And all require multiple discussions, visual comparisons and hours of angst.

Yet all pale to the biggest decision of all, the new paint color.

Hence last weekend's  -- during the World series, no less -- to the paint store.

I've spent the last 25 plus years partnered with art directors who painstakingly, and lovingly, sweat out every last visual detail. That's their job. They're professionals. But they wouldn't last 5 minutes with my wife and the robust conversations about richness of Pantone 185 versus the silky texture of Pantone 193.

Good grief, what, or who, have I unleashed?

It's all fun and games right. Well that is until we find ourselves standing before a magistrate, armed with our divorce lawyers, explaining the irreconcilable differences regarding the selection of the brushed nickel toilet paper holder.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Give Hate A Chance

By now you know I read a lot of love letters from AsiaDate.com

I have well over 1000 in my inbox.

To be honest, many of them start to sound the same.

"I listen to your heart. Together we can walk by the ocean and share our deepest emotions. I will kiss your fish and we will make a life together in peace, harmony and high quality."

Perhaps that's why I so appreciate a brave woman who dares to take the unconventional approach. A strong Chinese woman like Chengshu.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The art of the slow burn

I'm not big on prognostications.

Never had a stomach for folks who claim to know what's in store for the future. Most of them are uninformed. Most, it seems, have some hidden agenda. Plus, there's plenty of evidence that people who make predictions about the future of advertising are just simply full of shit.

Remember Vines?

Is anybody using FourSquare?

Do you Slack? Or know anyone who does Slack?

And despite all this, I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest the future of our business is infomercials. I'm not just saying this to be contrarian. I know the current talk is about 5 or 6 second commercials, pre-rolls and other such abbreviated horse-cockery.

Those people are idiots. And I've got the research and big data to prove it.

You see I  don't just consider myself America's Premier UnderEmployed 44 Year Old Freelance Copywriter. I think of myself as a focus group of one. And last week this focus group of one found itself mesmerized by a 30 minute long infomercial on the many wonders and benefits of wood pellet meat smoking.

More specifically, I found myself watching an entire half hour paid advertisement for the Traeger Grill. As a lifelong carnivore, I naturally have a built in interest in the preparation of briskets, Porterhouse steaks, pork shoulders and Santa Maria style tri-tips. But the folks at Traeger found a way to make my already watery mouth, even more water-ier.

Prior to this viewing I had never even heard of wood pellet cooking or automatic auger-controlled low-and-slow burning. But by the end of the show I was a bonafide expert. And it all made perfect sense.

Hell, if TV executives can make successful shows about people buying storage lockers or installing elaborate aquariums, it can't be that hard to hook people for 30 minutes and entice them with St. Louis Ribs slathered in tangy bourbon-based BBQ sauce. Mmmmmm, bourbon.

And that's the thing about these infomercials. They are incredibly persuasive. They inform, they entertain and they sell. And I've got a garage full of P90X, Insanity and Body Beast DVDs to prove it. I'm a sucker for these ads. And I'm most cynical man on earth, so says my wife.

I sincerely believe this is where the industry is going.

My friend Laura writes a blog on fashion and style and gets all kinds of free swag. But I don't want you thinking that I'm saying all this with the hope that the Traeger PR people will see this blog and comp me one of their $1000 grills. OK, maybe I am. But I still stand by my convictions about infomercials.

BTW, that new Traeger Timberline model with the wifi-enabled temperature control and 458 square inches of cooking capacity looks very cool.

And blogworthy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Little, tiny, microscopic data

Yesterday, I took the opportunity to delve a little deeper into my 23andMe report.

If you haven't done this test that examines your chromosomal contents. I suggest you do. It's a lot more enlightening than sitting down with an overpaid therapist who pretends to take notes and respond to every question with...

"And how does that make you feel?"

It made me feel like I was wasting my money and that Siri or Alexa could be more helpful.

Perhaps the most fascinating component of the 23andMe report is the section on my alleged DNA relatives. These are other people who have voluntarily spit into the plastic vial, in order to satiate a similar curiosity about their ancestry.

Turns out there are close to 1500 people in the US alone, who share some of the same ATCG combinations floating around in my body. Meaning we're related. Cousins. Or cousins of cousins. Or even cousins of cousins of cousins. That's so many mental images I don't want to think about.

I've reached out to a few of these people. And not surprisingly, none of them want to have anything to do with me. If I were in their shoes, and genetically-speaking I am, I wouldn't want anything to do with me either.

But here's where the whole thing gets marginally interesting. The brainiacs at 23andMe have taken all this scientific big data and extracted some useful/not useful insights into how it translates into behavior.

Take a look...

I've never claimed to be the brightest bulb in the package. Maybe the whiniest, but certainly not the brightest. But these charts have left me a little confused.

If for instance it says my relatives are 72% less likely to have sweaty palms, does the converse hold true? Meaning we're 28% more likely not to have sweaty palms?

I'm a little befuddled by the presentation. I do know that if we've ever met in public and shaken hands, there's a 99% chance you're gonna make a beeline for the bathroom and the CostCo-sized Purell.

It's not that I'm stricken with anxiety -- I'm 44 years old and frankly don't give a shit anymore -- but my hands and feet are like Niagra Falls.

I also have to question the accuracy of their findings. I like caffeinated soda, though I'm making a huge effort to cut back. I haven't skydived, but my brother and my daughter have. And despite my barrel-chested shape and excessive girth, I have run three marathons. As well as a number of Triathlons.

So what's the point of all this? It all comes down to accounting.

You see the 23andme report costs me $99. And now, since I've written about it on this blog. And this blog is nothing more than a vocational tool of self promotion. So, by the transitive law of twisted tax deductions, I can write the whole DNA exploration experience off on my 2017 tax returns.


Monday, October 23, 2017

5 Better Alternatives to Precedent Shitgibbon

Last week, former president George W. Bush offered a stinging rebuke of the current presidency. I haven't listened to it yet. To be honest I'd rather be watching the Pee-Pee tapes, which are now back in the news.

But these days, littered with lies, arguments with Gold Star families, and just the sheer failure of leadership, you take what you can get.

Nevertheless, it got me thinking -- never a good thing. About who I would prefer to see as our president. That narrows it down to between 7 billion and 8 billion other people on the planet.

But for the purposes of this blog and for the veneer of plausibility, I've culled it down to 5.

Many people don't like Mike Pence. I don't like Mike Pence. His biblical views aren't fit for a tribe of goat herders. I have many gay friends, colleagues and relatives. I suspect you do as well. I may have grown up in a homophobic hamlet in upstate NY, but I like to think my perspective has evolved. And for the life of me, I can't understand why what two people (maybe three) do behind closed doors has any effect on my life. It's not my business. It's not your business. And least of all, it's not the government's business. And yet, despite his farcical, Neanderthal theocratic outlook on life, it is far, far better than the Fucking Moron currently in the White House. And so, I'd be happy to salute President Mike Pence.

Recognize this assnugget? That's Louis Gohmert, a congressman from Texas who is widely regarded as the dumbest man in the House. Louis subscribes to the belief that if there's snow on the ground, there can't be any global warming. He's also had some choice comments regarding rape, guns and religion. If there were such a thing as an IQ contest, as alluded to by the twatwaffle in charge, Louis would easily lose to a stale after-dinner mint. Intelligence and goofy grin notwithstanding, I would still have no problem calling him President Louis Gohmert.

I'm sure you're familiar with this yahoo. That's Alabama's own Judge Roy Moore. He's currently running for senator. On a platform of misogyny, state's rights, unfettered access to guns and of course strict adherence to Judeo-Christian values. Though I'm sure if you cornered him, he'd be happy to omit the Judeo part. "Hell yeah, I want bacon bits on my ice cream float. Pour it on, you damn infidel." You might think, we'd be way too un-simpatico, and for the most part we are, but in addition to knowing religious laws (funny how this is a common strain among all these fuckknuckles) at least he also has a passing acquaintance with the laws in our Constitution. And that alone makes him marginally more preferable and it makes me ok with saying President Roy Moore.

OK, we're reaching the part of the barrel, where the brine water gets a little foamy. Tiny shavings from the wood cask float amongst the bubbles. It's here we find former Vice President Dick Cheney. It's no secret he has got a mean streak wider than the plains of eastern Wyoming. He's cunning. He's evil. And he's a master puppeteer. But, shown a map of the world, he can easily point to North Korea, Iran and Niger. The current taintlicker would have to whip out his Geography for Dummies handbook to do the same. All hail, President Dick Cheney.

Yes, it's that fucking bad. Good morning President Scott Baio.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Learning about Loofas

When it comes to AsiaDate.com women, I like the ones that get straight to the point. They don't dilly dally around with all kinds of useless narrative. They dive right into the deep end.

And speaking of watersports, say hello to Molly.

She's clearly into the wet stuff.

Oh and Game of Thrones, too.

You'll see.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Bitch on the Pitch

It's October and I've been watching a lot of baseball lately.

This is only notable because I don't watch baseball any other time of the year. I find it slow and tedious and nap worthy. But after 1162 regular season games the post season games are here. And now it all means something.

October is also when I rediscover my love of the game. Baseball is rarely physical or brutal like football. Nor is it fast and athletic like basketball. So much success at baseball relies on strategy. Careful attention to details. And pinpoint execution. (Advertising managers should be forced to take a seat behind home plate.)

In many ways it's a thinking man's (or woman's) game.

Watching the pitch count. Putting up the right or left handed batter. Stealing a base at the right moment. Shifting the defense. Managing the pen. Having an endgame. It's all so beautifully choreographed. It's like a chess. It requires patience, 3D level thinking and the willingness to change on the fly.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of watching baseball is witnessing the cat and mouse game between the pitcher and the hitter. The guys in the broadcast booth do a damn fine job of mapping out the scenarios. And if I'm partial to one, that would have to be Ron Darling, who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the job.

But for Christ's sake can someone, somewhere, somehow, tell me the difference between a 4-seam fastball and a two seamer? Or the difference between a curve ball and breaking ball? A slider? A hanging slider? A cutter? A split finger fastball?

Knuckleball, I got, because years ago I saw a little piece narrated by Phil Niekro, the King of the Knuckleball, explain its unusual corkscrew motion.

I wish the brass at Fox or TBS or ESPN would take note and provide some onscreen guidance here. Because this situation raises its ugly head every year at this time. And I can't imagine I'm the only one in America who is Googling 'Change Up' pitch while watching Aaron Judge go down swinging for the 800th time.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe there is no difference at all between all the aforementioned pitches. Maybe it's all jargon (ad people know all about that.) Maybe it's just fancy names meant to confuse and bewilder the viewer. After all when a ball is hurtling at you at the speed of a meteor, the nomenclature is irrelevant. Maybe the powers that be just want to keep us uninformed, confused and clueless.

After all, that's how we got Precedent Shitgibbon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"Did you bring your Cassio?"

I like cheese.

The kind you can melt on a sandwich, making almost anything edible including liver, Jewish brisket and 3 day old tilapia.

But I also like the cheese that shows up on TV.

And no one does cheese better than Cellino & Barnes, who in addition to being top notch injury attorneys specializing in twisted ankles, sidewalk cracks and slippery handrails, are also the undisputed champions when it comes to late night television advertising.

Turns sideways and let me place this ear worm in your head.

That is a work of art.
Cellino and Barnes may be the Gilbert & Sullivan of our times.

There's so much craftsmanship that has gone into this jingle. And I know, from experience.

 I've told this story many times, but years ago my partner and I had to do a spot for Outback Steakhouse. I can't remember whether I wrote the jingle (if I did, it was involuntary) but I do remember recording it at a jingle house on West 57th Street, in the house that Crackerjacks/Rheingold/Marlboro built.

These were skilled musicians, who having unsuccessfully plyed their wares at smoky Greenwich Village jazz bars, turned to the more lucrative world of jingle-making. Their attention to detail was both impressive and, given the nature of the final product, horrifying.

I can't help but to imagine the same pride and professionalism went into the Cellino & Barnes sessions.

LEAD SINGER: Something's not right.

SINGER A: Maybe we should try a C flat?

SINGER B: That downbeat isn't cutting it for me.

SINGER C: I have an idea.

LEAD SINGER: Lay it on us, daddio.

SINGER C: What if we try it like In...jur...ee Attorn...eys  888...8888.

LEAD SINGER: It's 3 o'clock in the morning, what have we got to lose?

I don't know if that's how it happened. I only know that somehow the gods of creativity smiled upon Cellino & Barnes that day. And millions of Americans, who might have had a head-on, T-bone or rear end collision, finally knew where to take their legal woes.

Update: Sadly, Mr. Cellino and Mr. Barnes are no longer on speaking terms. They've decided to take their ambulance chasing legal expertise and go their separate ways. Should Cellino or Barnes return to recording studio to go solo and write a new jingle, it's safe to say they're going to have a hard time topping themselves.

Monday, October 16, 2017


"What a fucking moron."

Somewhere a White House historian, charged with documenting the daily life and activities of the presidency must record the news of the day, is entering that phrase for posterity's sake.

Oh Precedent Shitgibbon can call it FAKE News and Liddle Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can offer half-hearted denials, but just as "four score and seven years ago" and "ask not what your country can do for you" are part of our national lexicon, there can be no question that 100 years from now, teachers of American history will be telling their students of the time when the President wanted to quadruple our stockpile of nuclear weapons and his most senior cabinet member responded with...

"What a fucking moron."

In fact, when this dim, fishbrained twatwaffle is laid to rest, and is peacefully enjoying his dirt nap, you can be sure vandal after vandal will work tirelessly to evade the security guards to spray paint on his tombstone...

Here lies a Fucking Moron.

I don't like Rex Tillerson, but I can empathize with Rex Tillerson.

Truth is, I don't like any of his cabinet, including Kelly, McMaster and Mattis. Because if they had any integrity, any intelligence, any semblance of a spine, they'd invoke the 25th Amendment, take away his nuclear football and kick this fucking moron to the curb.

But, having worked in advertising, I think we can all empathize. Because there's a good chance you too have worked for a fucking moron(s).

I know I have.

And you know when that happens, it makes winning new business incredibly difficult. Because potential new clients can sniff out incompetency and tend not to want to place their enterprise in the hands of a fucking moron.

While winning new business is difficult, keeping it is even more so. Because clients already on the roster, see and experience the fucking moron and all his fucking moronity on a daily basis.

And finally working for a fucking moron is simply no picnic.

Because everything you do, everything you work for, every ambition you hold close to your heart, can come crashing down like a 100 foot tall Jenga tower when one gin-fueled slip of the tongue passes the lips of your fucking moron.

Of course, there isn't a day that goes by that I am not grateful for living through what Rex and HR and Kelly and Mad Dog are living through now. Because having worked for a fucking moron, I decided a long time ago to venture out on my own, so that I never have to work for a fucking moron ever again.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

One Rong Make it Right

We're now on the fourth month of our Thursday AsiaDate Series.

I usually have to read through a dozen or so letters before I find one worth a reply. Today, was a little different.

I struck gold on just the third letter.

At least I think I struck gold.

You be the judge.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dick's Pics

When you self impose a regimen of near daily posting on Roundseventeen, as I have for the past 9 years, there are going to be days when inspiration is as hard to find as a considerate, environmentally- aware neighbor.

I could write about not having anything to write, as many writers have and will continue to do. Instead, I choose to turn to my trusty iPhone, where there is always a treasure trove of digital photos that need occasional airing.

Here then is your mish mash of Dick's Pics:

From the recent shooting of a Zach Braff show, 
when an art director had to turn my California bungalow house into a row home from Queens, NY.

From up the street on Culver Blvd., 
where an apartment building architect was clearly tripping on acid.

From my backyard, 
where I am working as hard as I can on that new anthem piece for Tire Barn.

From Lone Pine, California.
Not sure if this was an appeal for animal companionship or dinner.

From Fossil Falls on Rt. 395.
Paul's wife shouted, "be careful." But I don't think she meant it.

From University of Colorado.
My brother imitating Buzz Aldrin.

From the Denver Museum,
where the stairwells were more interesting than the art.

OK, there was this.

From my garage,
a rare Albino preying mantis surveying his kingdom.

From the very, very, very, unself-aware Gary V.

From the past,
some juvenile ad work.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Advanced Branding 444

Last week, I did a short gig at an ad agency office. This has become quite the rarity these days. Even though I'm quite the eye candy, many creative services manager opt to have me work remotely. They're probably trying to avoid having all the women, and some of the men, so inevitably distracted.

Suffice to say, it was a little unusual walking into an office. Where I usually hear murmurs of...

"Damn, I can't believe he's 44."

That's not all I hear.

Last week I was approached by three or four never-seen-before colleagues who were testament to the phrase, your reputation precedes you.

"Hey it's the Roundseventeen guy."

"Oh, you're the curmudgeon. It's good to put a face to all that crankiness."

"Dude, I love how you slam planners. And I'm a planner."

"Keep writing about these shitty open office plans. These suck."

The last comment was whispered to me in abject fear that someone higher up the food chain would hear of her real estate gripes.

But here they were, these young kids, reciting chapter and verse all the themes I've been hammering away at for the past 9 years:

Holding company madness

Salary inequality

Impossible deadlines

Planner horsecockery

Group Unthink

Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks™

Hourly check ins

and Myopic Bean Counters

I'll be honest, it was quite flattering.

If only I could've bottled it up, brought it home and showed it to my wife, who might reassess her feelings about "all the goddamn time you're wasting on that goddamn blog instead of fixing the goddamn garbage disposal. This place smells like a landfill."

But I digress.

How quaint, I thought, if we could do the same for our clients. That is, through the process of repetition, humor, empathy and thematic messaging, build for the folks who spend billions and billions of dollars on advertising, a reputation that precedes them.

I'll expand on this at a later date, right now I better get running to Home Depot.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Shitgibbon, from dooooowntooooown.

Last week, you might have seen this photo op of Precedent Shitgibbon tossing paper towels to the Puerto Rican proletariat. As one of my Facebook friends pointed out, he could have simply stood by the flatbed truck and handed them out, but in all his wisdom, our fucknuckle in charge decided to stage it like some vaudevillian event.

I have no doubt that some, or at least one, of his brighter aides, and by definition anyone other than Precedent Shitgibbon is brighter, tried to dissuade him from this notion.

I find myself trying to picture how that conversation might have gone....

AIDE: So, Mr. President you'll stand beside this large flatbed truck and hand out care packages to the Hurricane victims, say few nice respectful words, blah, blah, blah, and then we'll move on. We'll have you back aboard the Air Force One in 20 minutes.

PRECEDENT SHITGIBBON: Care packages? Crackers, peanut butter and carrot sticks?

AIDE: Not good?

SHITGIBBON: They have no pizzazz.

AIDE: Pizzazz?

SHITGIBBON: This is something Obama would do. I need something that's gonna pop for the cameras.

AIDE: Pop?

SHITGIBBON: How about this? We go inside an air conditioned room, cause this heat and humidity are killing me, I stand by a table flanked by 200 rolls of Paper Towels.

AIDE: Like Bounty? Or Viva? 

SHITGIBBON: I like the ones with big, brawny guy. You know, the one that looks like me.

AIDE: It's kind of last minute but I'll...

SHITGIBBON: And then I shoot the paper towels to the people.

AIDE: I'm not sure I understand, Mr. President.

SHITGIBBON: I know you don't. Look, this is an opportunity to show the world I have big hands.

AIDE: You mean a big heart, right?

SHITGIBBON: No, I mean big hands. If I shoot the paper towels like a free throw or a three pointer the cameras will be focused on my big hands.

AIDE: So you want people to think you have big hands? And that you can shoot like a basketball player?

SHITGIBBON: Most basketball players are African American. 

AIDE: Right.

SHITGIBBON: And most have big hands.

AIDE: Right.

SHITGIBBON: And what else do most big-handed African American players have?

AIDE: Big bank accounts?


AIDE: Uh....big penises? 

SHITGIBBON: Bingo. Put the table over here. We'll have the cameras over there. And I'll shoot the paper towels from here. Oh, is it too late to get a headband?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cockblocked by Elmer

Fellas, how many times has this happened to you?

You come across The One.

The Perfect One.

Your soulmate.

Not just for this lifetime, but for all of eternity.

And then, from out of nowhere, almost as if the devil himself was playing with your emotions, there comes the Other Guy.

In this case, Elmer.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

On Space and Treif.

Unlike the narcissist in the White House, I am very self aware.

I know people come to Roundseventeen to watch me bloviate about the demise of advertising and go down in a glorious ball of self immolating flames. They don't come here to see me wax poetic about the nature of the cosmos.

Too bad.

Last Sunday I watched a fascinating piece on the Hubble telescope and the images it has been beaming back to earth for the past 25 years. It's jaw dropping. Particularly when the photos are analyzed by super smart galactic physicists and contrasted with the ramblings of the Aussie-born ark Builder Ken Hamm, who insists the word of Genesis are the truth and that the Earth is only 6,000 years old -- a few years older than Jackie Mason.

It also got me thinking about my own theory regarding the time/space continuum.

I don't pretend to know much about astronomy, physics, or even the Biblical teachings of some very learned goat herders who scribbled down their incoherent thoughts on papyrus some 3,000 years ago.

Here's what I do know.

With regards to space, it is infinite. It is infinite in both directions. There are no endpoints. If you could strap yourself into a rocket ship that travelled a million times faster than the speed of light and aimed yourself in the general direction of the Milky Way, you would never reach the outer boundary of the universe.

There's no wall.
There's no border.
There's no nothing.

And even if there was, what do you suppose would be on the other side? The mind reels.

Similarly, if you were to split an atom -- a feat accomplished by crazy Pakistanis and deranged North Koreans alike -- you'd find yourself on another never-ending journey. Beyond the protons, elections and neutrons are smaller subatomic particles. (You can look up the names, I have some banner ads I have to get back to)

Here, too, the journey into deep small space would never, ever end. And I would hope you packed plenty of snacks and extra underwear.

If you find yourself scratching your head, you're not alone. Our brains are simply not equipped to come to grips with this notion of vastness or for that matter, infinity. In some ways it's like our own Electoral College.

That's one half of the time/space continuum shattered.
Which leads me to the concept of Time.

It seems reasonable to me that if Space exists with no boundaries on either side, so does Time. In other words, Time will never end. Nor did Time ever begin. like space, it's infinite coming and going.

"I see where you're going with this, Rich."

Meaning, perhaps it would be wise to rethink our understanding of cause and effect. Yes, a toaster oven didn't just come to be. Someone had to design and make it. But the cosmos is not a toaster oven.

Maybe it wasn't created. Maybe there was no Big Bang. Maybe it was just always here and will always be here. And maybe there just is no God.

Now I'm looking at the photo again. I see thousands and millions of stars. And billions and billions and trillions of mile of space. If there is a God, I find it hard to believe he or she is worried whether I put bacon bits on my salad.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The good old days of advertising

It goes without saying that I'm one of those cranky old creatives who says, "Advertising was better in the old days."

And it was.

Not just because our media choices were limited (and thus more effective), but because our traveling arrangements were not.

Allow me to explain.

Last week, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tim Price had his ass handed to him for not flying commercial. He opted for the infinitely more comfortable and infinitely more humane private jet. Which, if you've had the pleasure, is the only way to cruise the skies at 40,000 feet.

My first journey aboard a private jet came unexpectedly.

We were shooting a commercial with Joe Pytka (BTW, the worst million dollar commercial I ever wrote) and the location manager was unable to find something to Joe's liking. Pytka fixed the situation by chartering a private prop jet to fly us back and forth between Los Angeles and the Four Corners Monument Valley -- recognizable from many John Ford early westerns.

The flight was loud and little more than 90 minutes each way, which gave me ample time to beat Joe at chess. Pytka does not like losing. Which made winning all the more sweeter.

My second trip aboard a private jet came not long after that, when my boss Lee Clow said my partner John Shirley and I were going to fly to Tampa to meet the most obnoxious woman in advertising, the CMO at Outback Steakhouse, a client often referred to as simply Outhouse.

This was a tiny 4-seat Lear Jet that, because of its diminutive size, had to fly at 48,000 feet above sea level. Here, the sky starts going from blue to a darker shade of outer space. The rest room aboard the Lear was nothing more than an empty pickle bucket stuck in a makeshift closet.

My favorite private jet experience came in 1999. When the new business team at Chiat/Day boarded a Gulfstream IV to fly to Incestville, North Carolina. Maybe I have the town's name wrong. In either case, it was in the deepest part of Appalachia and thus precluded us from going commercial. At least that's how it was explained to our financial overlords at Omnicom.

Dear lord, this was living.

We each had a big comfortable leather bucket seat. There was ample room to walk around. There was even a bar onboard stocked with top shelf liquor, just the way some of the top brass at Chiat liked it.

"I'll have a Rob Roy and my colleague here will have a Tom Collins."

But perhaps the best amenity onboard the Gulfstream IV was the flight attendant. I knew her from a past life when I was a short order cook and she was a waitress who would regularly ignore my late night advances.

I'm sure that as she was serving me a third platter of crackers, hummus and cubed cheddar snacks, she was thinking to herself...

"Damn, he's like a big macher now, I should have grabbed him when I had the chance."

Or, maybe not.

Monday, October 2, 2017


Hundreds of faithful Roundseventeen readers...er...

OK, dozens of faithful Roundseventeen readers...

Alright, the truth is no one but my wife -- who doesn't read Roundseventeen -- has said anything about my ongoing battle with Volvo. In fact, when she did mention it, it was more in line with, "would you forget about that damn car and get the goddamned pergola in the backyard fixed?"

I'm happy to say that I'm an accomplished multitasker.

I can write moving manifestos for Tire Barn.

Track down a handyman to replace the water damaged wood beams in the pergola.

And wage a Quixotic war against these two-armed automotive bandits at 7705 Sahara Blvd. in the city of sin.

I'll spare you the lengthy recap of how this all started and invite you to read my colorful Yelp review for all the gory details. Suffice to say it started with Volvo cars of Las Vegas wanting to charge me $335 to replace the battery. Their sister city in Florida has a much more reasonable price.

Naturally, when I found this I took every opportunity to display the disparity on every Volvo Facebook page I could find.

Moreover I found out last week that the Jewish Family Services Organization, the folks I donated the vehicle to, were able to fix the car for a little more than $200. Granted they used a refurbished air compressor, but that number pales to the $2700 the good people at the Nevada Volvo dealership
 wanted to charge me.

In fact, if I am working the calculator they way I should be, the markup from the honest people at Volvo Cars of Las Vegas is close to 973%.

As the Big Lebowski might have said, "This will not stand. I cannot abide."

And so I don't.

I've filed a complaint with the BBB in Las Vegas, who not surprisingly, are quite familiar with the hardworking people at Volvo Cars of Las Vegas. I've reached out to Michelle Mortenson, the consumer investigative reporter at KLAS channel 8 in Las Vegas. And I've established a Linkedin connection with the CEO of Volvo Cars, USA, Lex Kerssemakers.

Lex has been most interested in how Lane McEnaney, General Manager, plans to resolve this situation.

By the way Lane, there's a good chance the CEO of Volvo Cars USA didn't know your name before this incident, but he definitely knows your name now.

As I wrote in my original Yelp review, voted the most useful review of Volvo Cars of Las Vegas, these folks have stepped on the wrong pitbull's tail.