Friday, September 28, 2018

Fuck You Flake

To acknowledge the volcano-hot anger raging throughout the country, much of it directed towards this asswaffle, I'm reposting the Jeff Flake letter that I wrote way back in February.

Just before my birthday.

Just before I turned 44.



Senator Jeff Flake
Senate Russell Office Building 413
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator,

Another swing and a miss. 

Two days ago you stood on the floor of the US Senate to express your outrage (if you can call it that) over the recent remarks of Precedent Shitgibbon. The cameras never panned around to see whom you were addressing, but I know none of your GOP colleagues were in attendance. 

So your captive audience included some Georgetown interns (Fuck Georgetown, Go Syracuse) and a tiring Chuck Schumer, who was slouched in his chair more focused on his lunch deli meat selection than your passionless pleas. And who can blame him? 

This show of yours is old. And boring. And from all accounts will not be picked up for next year. 

Nor should it.

You're all talk. Actually, you're less than all talk. You're an empty suit clinging to the hope that history will somehow judge you better when the Mueller train comes sweeping through and cleans up the massive Republican corruption and complicity.

Here's a clue, it won't. 

Fancy words about treason, race baiting and proper presidential manners aside, you've done nothing but enable this sorry sack of maggot-infested rotting flesh. You voted to buy yachts and mansions for insurance company executives by siding with Precedent Shitgibbon on the healthcare disaster. 

And you were right there, by the side of Senators Cruz, Cornyn and Risch, when it came time to eliminate the estate tax and make permanent cuts for multi-billion dollar corporations while taking Hamburger Helper off the table of Joe Sixpack and Betty Bottle O'bourbon.

If anyone is treasonous it's you.

You occupy the office of a US Senator.

You take home the pay of a US Senator.

You get to take the floor posing as a US Senator.

You were elected to represent the people as a US Senator.

But you do none of that. 

You're as useless as a mannequin posing by the CD machines at the Sears in the Phoenix Town and Country Mall, which was shuttered in 2015.

Go away.

Also, Fuck you.


Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Another one of DC's Finest

Say hello to Senator John Boozman.

Oh I didn't make that name up, that's his real name.

Did I take a bunch of cheap shots at the good Senator?

You be the judge.



Senator John Boozman
141 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Boozman,

Dude, is that your real name?

Or some holdover from when you were a DKE fraternity brother at the University of Arkansas?

Frankly, I just can't get over how many United States Republican Senators have aptronyms.

1.    a person's name that is regarded as amusingly appropriate to their occupation

And believe me, I should know as I have made it my mission to hand write letters to each and every one of you buffoons and have already corresponded with Senator Crapo, Senator Blunt, Senator Ben Sassehole, Senator GrASSley, and Senator Joe BarASSo.

Are you seeing the pattern here, John?

At this point in the letter, there's an obvious easy path I can take.

"Hey Boozman, when you voted to kick elderly oncology patients off their affordable healthcare, were you on the floor of the Senate or did you phone it in from the Little Rock Tap N' Cap?"


"Hey Boozman, remember when that reporter asked you why you were in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy? And you replied, 'yeah, bring us some more topato skins. This time put some damn cheese and bacon bit in the topatoes."

But I'm not about to go down that well-worn path.

I'm sure by this point in your life you've withstood every alcohol-soaked punch line in the book. Besides, you and I share something in common -- a love of rice.

Yours is obvious, because Arkansas is the country's largest producer of rice. Mine, perhaps not so obvious. Years ago I was brought in to work at an advertising agency on one of their biggest clients, Uncle Ben's Rice. I was given the opportunity to steep myself in the fascinating lore of rice. For close to two years I studied its history, its cultural impact and even its proper cooking technique. I even wrote a small booklet on oryza glaberrima

Oh, who am I kidding? Rice is nowhere near as funny as alky jokes.

"Listen, Boozman, today could be YOUR day. A day to carve the Boozman name down in Congressional history. 

What if, and I'm just spitballing here, you showed up at the judicial hearings, waving a half bottle of Maker's Mark, left over from breakfast. And what if you interrupted Dr. Ford's testimony about sexual misconduct by shouting, "Booooring." 

And then, in your best drunk guy at a strip club voice you shouted "Hey Grassley put on some good music and bring out Candy with the big knockers. Come on Chuck, bring out Candyyyyyyy!!!!"

That would be epic. 

You would no longer be that bland guy from Arkansas with the big ears, you'd be a legend. What Gerard Finneran was to theatrical first class air travel, you'd be to unforgettable Senate Judicial hearings.

Don't let us down Boozman.

Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

This post is not about advertising. Well, sort of.

If you have kids that drive, I have two, you know they get tickets.

My daughters could start their own Instagram account showing nothing but the tickets they've collected. The interesting thing here is that none of them are for moving violations. And I'm pretty sure this is a gender-related phenomena.

They've never had a fender bender.
Never been pulled over for speeding.
Or reckless driving.
My younger one once showed up on a red light camera but she successfully fought that in traffic school.

Or so she tells me.

No, my girls rack up parking tickets.

Like moths to a flame, they are drawn to curbs painted red, broken meters and obtuse parking signs that require decoding by the CIA. I don't pay for their tickets. That's on their own dime. Which of course is a misnomer, since the funds are usually drawn from the money they had amassed at their Bat Mitzvahs.

In other words, if you were there for the Haftorah reading, the celebratory vuvuzellas, the Hora dancing and the dried out roasted chicken, there's a good chance your generous gift went towards the Santa Monica Police Department.

So, imagine my surprise, when, while taking out the garbage the other day I spotted what looked to be like a ticket on the windshield of my daughter's Acura.

That's the other thing about kids driving cars. They may be driving them too fast. Or parking in them in the wrong places. But they're definitely not keeping them clean.

And while I appreciate the clever marketing efforts of Culver City Auto Detailing, there's no way I'm paying them $45 to wash the car.

That's what kids are for.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Red red wine

Not long ago, my wife and I threw a birthday bash for ourselves. We were celebrating one of those monumental benchmarks. Within 6 weeks, each of us had turned 44.

For those of you who weren't there, you should know that space was limited.

For those of you who were there, you might remember that electricity was also limited as a local transformer box blew and the restaurant was forced to go with a couple of generators. But a rockin' good time was had by all.

In any case, we thank you for helping us celebrate. And though we specified no gifts were necessary, someone left us with this bottle of red wine. It was such an unusual label we decided to Vivino it and were shocked at the price tag.

In the words of Sally Field...

"Somebody likes me, somebody really likes me."

Though, let's be honest, it was probably one of Debbie's friends.

Well, last week, with the Yom Kippur penitence behind us and a Shitgibbon-instigated apocalypse surely in front of us, we decided life was too short to wait for the next special event.

We uncorked that sucker and were prepared to let it breathe in our fancy Waterford glass wine decanter. But my wife had used the decanter as a vase and it still had the aroma of week old tulips.

So we went au natural. And by we, I mean me and my daughter as my wife does not drink red wine -- the nitrates give her migraines.

I like that my daughter is now old enough to enjoy an adult beverage with me. I like it even better that she's a bit of lightweight (at least around me) and passed on a second glass of Honor and Prepare Cabernet Sauvignon.

So how was it?

I found it pleasant to the nose. So pleasant that I polished off the entire bottle. I also found it had a smooth fruity finish and a hint of chocolate that tickled the tongue like a mousy creme fresh...oh, who am I kidding, I don't do that snooty, snobby, wine aficionado bullshit...

"Gettt outtta my houze!"

Monday, September 24, 2018

Classic Rock

These days my media diet is kind of limited.

I'm either watching the news or indulging in some sports. When I'm not watching news and sports, I'm reading about news and sports, via the NY Times, the online version of the Washington Post and various books documenting the historical nightmare we are all living through.

I'm currently shuttling through three books, Jon Meacham's The Soul of America, David Frum's Trumpocracy and Bob Woodward's Fear, a heart-quickening page burner.

That said, one particular TV commercial has become inescapable. It features a luxury SUV and the earwormish song, "She's a Rainbow."

Need I say more?
No, I need not.

Because this spot is in the heaviest rotation. And even when it's not on TV, it's in my god damned head, with that cloying little piano riff.

Make it stop.

Not only do I want them to stop airing this mind numbing spot, I want the ad industry to stop appropriating rock music and slapping it to some well shot car porn. It's hackneyed. It's lazy. And it's devoid of any persuasive value.

When I see agencies do this, and believe me I've seen it done a lot (The Who, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac) I see the white flag of desperation.

AGENCY: "OK, you don't want to buy any of our real ideas, what if we spend a few million dollars and get a really cool soundtrack?"

CLIENT: "Now you're cooking with gas."

It's sad. Like those middle aged men I see shopping by themselves at the supermarket. They don't know how to cook or prepare a meal so they resort to microwavable or pre-made meals that require all the effort of pushing a button. "Alexa, nuke my penne aribiatta  for 3 minutes."

Now, allow me to climb down off my soapbox and proceed to smash said soapbox over my own head. Because I not only write this critique from experience, I am guilty of the same infraction.

Years ago, when I was at Y&R, we found ourselves in danger of losing the Jaguar account. The dealers were particularly unhappy with our attempts to "build a brand." Or, "carve out mind share."  Or, "tap into our authentic DNA." They wanted to move some metal and wanted a classic rock song that would do the trick.

(please pardon the low resolution, this version of the spot was retrieved from YouTube and is NOT in my portfolio)

The dealers loved it.
Consumers loved it.
And sales went up.

Shows you what I know.

And to prove that no good deed goes unpunished I spent the next six months crammed in a dark edit bay, recutting 37 versions of this schlock and listening to this crap song over and over agin, until I no longer loved my car.

Or my job.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Asshole #27

We are past the halfway point. Not quite the homestretch, but the finish line will soon be in sight.

Today, we're addressing Thom Tillis, the junior Senator from North Carolina and member of the sham Senate Judiciary Committee.

He's every bit as revolting as he looks.



Senator Thom Tillis
185 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator,

I write letters.

I write lots of letters.

About six months ago, I decided to write a letter to each and every one of the United States Republican Senators. 

You are number 26. Or 27. To be frank, I kind of lost track. There are so many of you pasty old white men and you seem to replicate like some alien life form possessed of inferior intelligence and lacking all sense of integrity.

To be even franker with you, I would have preferred to write a letter to Senator Cruz, because Ted has been in the news quite a bit this. You don't mind me calling him Ted, do you? It's a bit colloquial but it's also a lot easier than writing out bloviating, swag-bellied hedge pig.

Earlier this week, Ted, desperately fighting off an opponent who is clearly smarter, likeable and human, suggested that if he lost the election Texas would go ahead and ban BBQ. This is pure nonsense. As roasting strips of animal flesh over an open fire is as endemic to Texans as grabbing pussy is to Republicans.

But dropping the meat in the dirt once this week wasn't enough for Teddy (again, a lot easier than writing lumpish, sheep-biting malt worm.) He also made the mistake of suggesting that the nation had rushed to judgment with regards to the Dallas cop who entered the wrong apartment and shot an African American man dead.

For Christ's sake, the man was in his apartment, probably watching Sports Center and chewing on a week old Slim Jim and Johnny Po-Po comes bursting through the door. Fire, Ready, Aim.

Maybe Theodore (fewer letters than Twatwaffle) should spend less time watching porn and more time boning up on the law. 

Clearly, he's no Senator Thom Tillis. 

When word got out that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had racked up a whopping $200,000 in unpaid credit card debt -- because he enjoyed going to baseball games -- you put your foot down and said the judge has "some esplainin' to do."

When Senator Durbin provided documentation of Judge Kavanaugh's contradictory testimony regarding past involvement with waterboarding and other extreme interrogation methods, you rose up with mighty indignation rarely seen in the Dirksen Senate Building.

And when Professor Ford came forth and described in shocking detail how Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee to sit on the highest court in the land and shape our culture for the next 30-40 years, had attacked her and attempted to rape her, you made a beeline for the nearest microphone and camera...

"This will not stand. This brave young woman has raised serious concerns. She has courageously come from behind the shadows and told us her harrowing story. Moreover, she has taken and passed a polygraph test. We have a duty to conduct a full scale FBI investigation. And, in the interest of serving our constituents, the American people, we must leave no stone unturned and put Judge Kavanaugh to the same rigorous standards and place him on the polygraph machine."

Oh wait; you didn't do any of that.

Turns out you're more like Senator Cruz than I had assumed. Just another frothy, beef-witted, barnacle-encrusted whey-face.


Rich Siegel
Culver City,CA 90232

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Today's Menu

Today is Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement. A day when Jews deny themselves all types of earthly pleasure and commit themselves to the Host of Hosts, praying, fasting, repenting, and repeating until the sun goes down.

That said, I'm pretty sure none of my Tribe brothers and sisters are reading the blog today. So, let's commence with the heresy.

It's no secret, I'm an atheist. Sometimes a militaristic atheist. It's just too self important of us to think that in the vast stretches of time and space that our minds cannot comprehend, our actions, our transgressions and our dietary practices have any significance.

And yet, perhaps out of habit or just out of respect, I will be fasting as well. I won't be doing any atoning because frankly I haven't done anything wrong in the past year. OK, maybe a little atoning. Nevertheless I will be abstaining from food (that's easy) as well as alcohol (considerably harder.)

I'll also be updating this blog throughout the day, so that you, my gentile audience, can get a sense of what Yom Kippur is all about.

Stay tuned.


Day of Atonement
6:54 AM

I was awakened early by the growling in my stomach. It's been twelve hours since my last meal and nothing has passed my lips. Except for a chalky antacid, taken just before I went to sleep last night.

"...and the Lord said thou belly shall remain empty so that ye may know the discomfort and pain ye hast inflicted on others. And should thou experience a burning within thy belly thou shalt not find relief in a Minty Pepcid AC."

One Demerit


Day of Atonement
10:37 AM

These are the bagels that will be toasted and schmeered with salty white fish salad and fresh lox in a little less than 8 hours from now. While snapping the picture I remembered that back in April I had made a bagel run and forgot to get my wife some fresh squeezed OJ. Moreover, afterwards I stubbornly insisted she never asked for fresh squeezed Orange Juice.

Not getting requested beverage -- One Demerit
Not listening to wife -- One Demerit


Day of Atonement
12:41 PM

Just read passage from Stormy Daniels (star of Pussy Sweat and working with Pride II) and her description of the penis belonging to the President of the United States. Hunger level decreased by 37%.

Not Making Wisecrack about Yeti Pubes -- One Atonement Point


Day of Atonement

Received new Woodward book and have plowed through three solid chapters of scheming, backstabbing and career opportunism.

Wishing Death Upon Another Human Being -- Two Demerit Points
Shamelessly Plugging My Own Book -- Two Demerit Points


Day of Atonement
4:22 PM

Walked the dog to the bank to deposit check. She decided she had some "business of her own to conduct. Right in the middle of the crosswalk.

Touching money on Yom Kippur -- One Demerit Point
Picking up poop in the middle of crosswalk -- One Karma Point


This will be the last update, as we are in the homestretch and plan to eat as soon as possible so that I can provide my body vital calories and stop it from going into shock.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

That's my friend David.

We don't do enough to honor our own. And by that I mean the ad industry offers little in the way of recognition to those who have contributed so much. So today I'm going to try and remedy that.

Last week, my friend, my former boss and one of my mentors, David Morgenstern passed.

For those too young to remember, and currently that's everybody in the advertising community, he was one of the folks responsible for the birth of West Coast creativity. A phenomena that traces its roots back to Chiat/Day and Needham, Harper & Steers (now RPA.)

Let me throw the Honda Pilot in reverse back to the 1980's.

While Jay Chiat was busy putting together his team of pirates, Larry Postaer was equally busy assembling a cast of incredibly-skilled copywriters and art directors who would sweep every award show.

They put Honda on the map. With smart simple advertising that in many cases resembled art. That team read like the roster of the 1927 Yankees and included Bob Coburn, Gary Yoshida, Gail Bartley, Richard Kile and David Morgenstern, among many others.

I can read off those names because I knew each and every one of them. Because Needham Harper and Steers was where I started as a mailroom clerk. Mailroom clerk is a euphemism for everybody's slave.

And the Creative department would take full advantage of having a man servant. I would move their furniture. Retrieve their dry cleaning. And take their precious, company-paid Civics and Preludes to the car wash.

Naturally, I despised each and every one of them. And was painfully envious of their cushy 10-4 jobs. Their cozy Westwood offices. Their Tony Jacklin golf clubs. And their obscene expense accounts at Monte's Steakhouse.

"I'll have your most expensive steak, stuffed with your second most expensive steak."

But that envy was also inspiring.

And years later, I found myself working for David again. Not as a mailroom clerk but as his junior copywriter at Abert, Newhoff & Burr. On a leaner than lean staff that only included myself and my partner Tris. This is where I got to see David differently.

Mind you, I sucked as a junior copywriter. But David must have seen something in me. He was more than generous with his time. He would edit my copy like a newspaper guy. Always shortening. Always tightening. Always finding a better, quicker and more impactful way of saying things. And always with a soft-spoken smile.

David was an easy-going Midwestern Jew. And I discovered they're not like their NY brethren. They don't yell. They don't fight. They're not abrasive. And they're pleasant to be around. Not surprisingly, I married one from Minnesota.

We stayed in touch over the past few years via social media. He'd become a big fan of this blog. And loved my Kim Jung Fun tumblr, often dropping me little notes about how hard he was laughing about that day's posting.

Last year, while visiting my sister-in-law in Northern California, we found ourselves eating lunch in Healdsburg. On the spur of the moment, I called David to join us. True to his generous spirit he did. He got there too late to enjoy the ribs and BBQ brisket but in time to help me drain a pitcher of beer and spend an hour laughing and telling war stories.

I had the good luck to call him a friend.

And that's the thing, if you met David, you liked David.

It's that Simple.

Monday, September 17, 2018

At your service

I am done with the Stealerships.

If you're any kind of regular reader of this blog you know I've not had much luck with dealership service departments. Last summer, my daughter's Volvo broke down in Las Vegas and the local dealership tried to clip me for $312 for a new battery. The same battery sells for $118 at Pep Boys.

More recently, Beverly Hills Lexus tried to make off with a hundred of my hard earned copywriting dollars to replace a gas cap. A $100 GAS CAP!

For a hundred bucks that gas cap ought to climb out of its hole every night and robotically wash the car like some automotive Roomba.

I probably shouldn't have been visiting these places in the first place. But I'm a sucker for faux luxury environments. I'm easily seduced by their bright lights, their clean floors, their leather club chairs and their pandering service, "Can I get you a newspaper and a latte, Mr. Siegel?"

These upscale service departments are a far cry from the garages of my youth. Dirty, ramshackle, open air huts strung out along the length of Route 59 that cut a swath through Rockland County. They've all been converted into jerry-rigged yeshivas, that are now, impossibly, even dirtier and even grimier.

All that is in the past.

Because I discovered Larsen Automotive which is less than a mile from my house. There, I met Nick Larsen, who had been operating the shop at the corner of Overland and Jefferson for quite some time. Much to my dismay, I had simply never noticed it. Which is not all that shocking considering it was only last week that I discovered my wife doesn't like onions.

Life has a way of hiding in plain sight.

To say I'm overjoyed would be an understatement. Work that the Beverly Hills stealership wanted to do would have cost me close to $4000. Nick and his crew did the job for a third of that, including a cleanup of the Mass Air Flow Sensor, which had been causing erratic acceleration.

Now, the 2007 Lexus LS 460 is running at, or near, factory release standards. Had this been the case a year earlier, I probably would have averted my second mid life crisis, not bought the Audi S5 and dumped the lethargic Lexus on my unsuspecting wife.

Over and above all that, when I bring the car in to see Nick, I see Nick. He has his name on the business and so he goes out of his way to greet each customer. He's candid. He's friendly. And more than willing to explain what he did and what he didn't do.

In other words, he does business the way I do business.

So I don't get the "free" loaner car. I don't get the latte. And I don't get the faux sycophancy that passes for service in Beverly Hills.

And I don't miss it one bit.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

That's right, he's a US Senator

You probably don't recognize Mike Lee, the junior Senator from the great state of Utah. And by junior, I mean he's 138 years younger than Senator Orrin Hatch, who took office when Brigham Young was writing about Magic Underwear.

But do not be fooled by his relative obscurity.

Senator Lee made a name for himself at last week's Judicial confirmation hearings.

Read all about the GOP's rising new brilliant star...



Senator Mike Lee
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Mike Lee,

This country is full of naysayers. 

Negative Nancies who have little or no faith in our government. People who are so upset with what they perceive as corruption, incompetence and outright horsecockery in Washington, DC, they view politicians as lower than a NYC pizza rat.

I might have applied for membership in that club, but after seeing your rigorous interrogation of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh this week, my outlook on our future is decidedly more optimistic.

For the past 6 months or so, I've been writing letters to every Republican US Senator. You are letter #27. But if I can be quite frank with you, I had you inked for somewhere in the low 40's. That is, until I caught your Clarence Darrow-like performance on C-SPAN.

I'm no lawyer; I'm just a lowly advertising copywriter who delusionally sees himself tilting at windmills. And though I'm a little better versed in the law, thanks to the nightly antics of our merkin-sporting Shitgibbon in the White House, it should be noted I'm just a rank legal amateur.

Nonetheless, I know juris-brilliance when I see it. 

And since this letter is not only directed at you but will be published on my blog (20,000+ monthly viewers) and eventually a book, I'll take the liberty of transcribing what can only be described as a seminal moment in our nation's history. 

Because given the opportunity, and dare I say, the privilege of passing judgment on a candidate who will sit for a lifetime on the highest court of our land, taking his place beside judicial luminaries like Justice Marshall, Justice Frankfurter, and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, you went with this...

LEE: I have a very important question for you. (Scratching head for emphasis)

KAVANAUGH hunches over in anticipation.

LEE: I notice that you take a lot of notes. And I respect that. you're paying close attention. (DRAMATIC PAUSE)  You use a Sharpie. And it's not a fine tip Sharpie. It's uh...regular Sharpie (making childlike circular motion) That might smudge and make a mess...why do you prefer that pen?

AUDIENCE chuckles.

LEE: (drawing on his deep legal background) I'm just dying of curiosity.

KAVANAUGH: (stunned by the surgical precision of Lee's interrogatory skills) Uhhh.... so I can see it. It's nothing scientific.

AUDIENCE chuckles again

LEE: That is a perfect mic-drop moment.

Ipso facto. 

Take that Kamala Harris and Patrick Leahy and Cory Booker. That is how you conduct the people's business. 

Forget all that Roe v. Wade nonsense. Or campaign finance reform. Or what constitutes an assault weapon and what is simply a gun with a high capacity magazine that can mow down 20 schoolchildren in less than a minute.  The good folks of America, the real people, want to get to the bottom of the writing utensil mystery. 

Thank you Mikey. I don't know why people hold Harvard Law School in such high regard when it has become painfully clear, that your alma mater, Brigham Young, has produced our nation's finest legal scholars.

There can be no doubt this highly charged electric moment will find its way to the silver screen. Perhaps the next generation's Henry Fonda or jimmy Stewart will bring your stellar insight to life in a performance that will live on for the ages.

Who knows, maybe this epochal moment is only a preview of greater things to come from Senator Mike Lee?

Lee 2020?


Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA


Bonus material from the senator's website...

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

To blog or not to blog

My wife is of a cool, calm demeanor. Never loses her temper. And is quite deliberate about all her decisions. Particularly ones that regard work and career. Why she took a chance with me remains as mysterious as the whereabouts of DB Cooper and the Ark of the Covenant.

Not surprisingly, she often reads this blog, shakes her head, looks at me and says,


Or, "Really?" 

Or, "we're both gonna end up in a dirty nursing home, I hope you're happy about that."

You see, she's not a big fan of my refreshing candor. Of course that's what I call it, she characterizes it as stupid, bull-in-a-China-Shop, brutal fucking honesty.

"Keep biting the hand that feeds you and there won't be any hands left." 

to which I will reply...

"I don't bite the hand that feeds me. I bite the whole arm."

I'm 44 years old and I'm afraid it's a little too late in the game to change my ways and not call it as I see it. Besides, in 2018 the three indisputable truths that I have been harping on for the last ten years are even more indisputable:

1.) No one likes the Long Table of Mediocrity™.

2.) No one is paying attention to Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks™

3.) No one has come up with anything more persuasive than the written word

To wit, last week I received a phone call from a fellow Creative Director who runs his own little independent agency. And has done so for years. We had never met, though I was familiar with his work and he was familiar with mine.

More recently, he was familiar with RoundSeventeen and had become a regular follower.

In short, he put my partner and I to work on a juicy assignment. Obviously I can't get into the details on the project. But I can make some observations on the process. Because in contrast to what my wife thinks or says about this blog, some people, smart people, if I may go Trumpian here, the smartest people on the planet, like what they're reading and are prepared to act on it.

Meaning, the blog not only attracts work, it attracts the right kind of work from the right kind of people.

Take that Debbie.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Happy New Year

Can you believe 5779 is already here?

Seems like it was just yesterday we were tossing sourdough baguettes in the Santa Monica Bay, blowing our shofars and welcoming in the year 5778. Time flies when your country is circling the toilet bowl.

I'm sure many of you are completely unaware of the Jewish New Year celebrations. After all, it seems awfully weird that the start of a new year would coincide with the end of summer. That hardly puts a smile on anyone's face. But if you're familiar with our customs, you know there's not a lot we do that screams unadulterated joy.

There's no fireworks.

No dragon costumes.

No shots of slivovitz.

No, we put on our stiffest most uncomfortable clothing, sit in a hot temple (in overpriced seats) and abuse ourselves with a tortuous cocktail of self flagellation and ancient Hebrew prayers written by goat herding amateur poets from five thousand seven hundred seventy nine years ago.

But that's just to get the party started.

Because a week from now, we'll put on those same monkey suits, go back to temple (some of us will even walk there because agony is the coin of our realm) and sit for an eternity without the benefit of breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a much needed Tic Tac.

Because that's just the way we roll.
And have been, for close to 6000 years.

But what makes it all so stunningly hilarious is the insane belief that some Sky Daddy is not only watching over us, but is actually monitoring it all from his gold-plated throne in the sky.

Moreover, he, or she, is taking notes on whether I fasted the appropriate 24 hours from sundown to sundown without so much as nibbling on a cheese stick. Or even a few fingers worth of Maker's Mark to take the edge of all that atoning.

That simply defies all rhyme or reason. Particularly when you allow your mind to be blown away by this (please adjust to highest resolution settings):

As one like-minded snarky atheist commenter so succinctly put it, "how cute of us to think we matter."

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to dip an apple slice in honey.

And then wrap it in some hot bacon.

Monday, September 10, 2018

44 Regular

My crazy uncle passed away this weekend. That's him on the right, seated next to my father on the left.

I use the term crazy uncle literally, figuratively and lovingly. Because let's face it, we all have a crazy uncle, some more than one. Typically they have weird views about aliens, vaccines and Alex Jones. And they drink excessively, eventually turning Thanksgiving into a food free for all.

My Uncle Jackie was crazy in the other way.

He was mentally challenged. Semi-functional, in a limited way, but never all there. And, as you might expect from a Siegel, it manifested itself in somewhat hilarious ways.

About a dozen years ago, he showed up at my mother's funeral armed with a notepad and a ballpoint pen. When the coast was clear, he would hound dog any woman at the service, scribble his phone number on a scrap of paper and tell her to call him the she wanted to 'get busy.'

It was shocking at the time.
It's hilarious now.

Uncle Jackie spent his last years at an assisted living apartment in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He loved it there, but I will tell you they put the grim in grimy. As my friend from North Jersey eloquently put it, "Atlantic City was built in the key of Sad."

For a while Jackie and I had a regularly scheduled phone call every Thursday Night. The call would never last more than two minutes and it was always be the same.

JACKIE: Hey Richie, how you doing?

ME: I'm fine Jackie, how are you?

JACKIE: Fine, fine. Just enjoying the apartment. Enjoying the TV. You know.

ME: That's good. Do you need anything?

JACKIE: Winter coats. It gets really cold here.

ME: I sent you three winter coats last week.

JACKIE: Oh yeah.

ME: Do you need anything else?

JACKIE: Some winter coats.

I suspect he had similar calls with other relatives as well. When they cleaned out his apartment to move him to hospice care, he had enough winter coats to clothe a small Eskimo village.

My uncle was 84 years. He drove a NYC gypsy cab for a while but never held a real job. Never married. And other than his small home grown haberdashery, never had a dime to his name.

But my Uncle Jackie had something else, a Zen-ness about him. He did not possess the hard-edged, Bronx-born warrior-like mentality that is quite common in my family. Instead he had the remarkable ability to stay quiet when everyone else was yelling and fighting. And always with a smile. A smile I won't forget.

I will miss my uncle.

Does anybody need a winter coat?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Time to roll this blunt

Letter #26 in our Thursday Thrashing Series.

This cartoonish face belongs to Senator Roy Blunt, who quite bluntly has no business holding elected office.



Senator Roy Blunt
260 Russell Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Blunt,

You Republican Senators make it so damn easy.

Allow me to explain.

Approximately 6 months ago I set out on a letter-writing mission to correspond with each and every Republican US Senator. With the exception of last week's posthumous letter to Senator McCain, in which I thanked him for upholding some standards of integrity, each missive has called attention to your collective and embarrassing dereliction of duties.

Upper house members, such as you, are responsible for acting as a check and balance on the Executive Branch. From what I can see, it's more like,

"Hey the balance in my savings account is low, I'll have Precedent Shitgibbon write me a check." 

And oh how you aptly named senators have risen to the occasion. There's been Senator Crapo. And of course Senator Chuck GrASSley, Senator Ben SASSe, and Senator John BarASSo. I scoured the Wikipedia page hoping to discover Senator Douchebag.

But before I could be disappointed, I ran across your name.

In that spirit Senator, I'd like to depart from my normal composition and just get right to the fecal-throwing bluntness, if I may.

* You, and your 50 rim-licking colleagues, will go down in history as the most complicit congressmen and congresswomen to ever hold office.

* You, and your ilk, will be marked as collaborators. What Vichy was to the shame of France, you will be to the shame of our once great nation.

* You, and your colleagues, exhibit an unprecedented contempt for the Rule of Law and have no business being in a building that actually makes the law.

* You, and your cohorts, have failed in every measure of moral leadership. Whether it comes to calling Nazis, "very fine people." Speaking up about hush payments to porn stars and Playboy bunnies. Remaining silent in the face of "shithole countries." Disgracing the honor of Senator McCain and his years of service and sacrifice. And turning the other way when, just a few days ago, the President of the United States chided the Department of Justice for daring to prosecute two Republican congressmen for corruption and fraud.

Allow me to be extra blunt, senator.

You suck at your job.

It kills me that my tax dollars put food on your table and provide healthcare for you and your worthless enabling family, including your three children, who not surprisingly grew up to be corporate lobbyists. Healthcare that should be going to people more deserving. And by that I mean any of the 8 billion other oxygen-breathing humans on the planet.

Perhaps I haven't been clear or even blunt enough.

You, Senator Sycophant, with your phony grin and your Neanderthal views on reproductive rights, same sex marriage, "religious liberty" and easy access to assault weapons, are a rotting sack of maggot-infested camel shit.

Put simply, if you want to Make America Great Again, resign.

Best regards,

Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232