Thursday, March 28, 2019

Senator Common Man

Meet Senator John Hoeven.

He's not like you or me.

Unless you work directly for a holding company. Or, your father, CEO of the Bank of North Dakota, left you with an estate worth more than $45 million.

But that enormous, unearned wealth is exactly what makes this Senator perfect for this administration. Doesn't it?

Senator John Hoeven, a man of the people.



Senator John Hoeven
338 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Hoeven,

I have a confession to make. 

For close to a year now, I have made it my mission to hand write a letter to every Republican Senator currently serving in the 115th legislative session. It's been an eye opening and educational venture. One in which I have picked up on the ticks, habits and peccadilloes of people like you. 

It's been informative in another way as well. Because upon turning over each and every stone, the natural habitat of the Republican Senator, it's been made abundantly clear, at least to me, that any simpleton could do a better job. 

I mean seriously, John, how hard can it be? You vote Yes on issues that are good for the American people, like: access to healthcare, education, care for the elderly, equal rights for all Americans, sensible immigration laws, environmental protection, fair administration of justice, and a host of other common sense policies.

And you vote No on budgets that increase tax breaks for wealthy fuckers, companies that want to pollute and the real recipients of government welfare, the booming industrial/military complex -- that thing Eisenhower warned us about.

It's kind of a simple binary task, isn't it?

Hell, I could get a Boy Scout from the local Culver City troop to build a two-button contraption for you. You'd simply have to hit the right button when it came time for you to vote. 

Truthfully, no one is expecting you to actually write any legislation. Or lead the charge. Or take a stand. Or really do anything that would require any moral fortitude.

After all, you're just a silver-spoon baby who took over daddy's bank and parlayed that wealth into a political position where you can push people around and, if you play your cards right, get approval for one of those "Cones of Silence" that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had installed in his office. 

You need one of those, John. You know, to conduct the super-sensitive and highly confidential business of governing North Dakota.

All of which brings me to my original confession.

I am not the brightest bead in the abacus. And I'll be the first to admit it. But it seems every time I turn around to write one of these letters I find a new Senator from the Dakotas. It's as if you're breeding like feral cats. Obscenely rich, pasty white feral cats.

I know there are only four of you, but if feels like it's forty. Moreover, that disproportional representation becomes even more evident when one hits the Google. 

My jaw hit the foundation holding up my house when I discovered the population of North Dakota was only 760,077. And the population of South Dakota was slightly more at 882,235. 

I can find more people in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium on any given hot summer night.

Call me crazy, but there is something seriously wrong when close to 10% of the upper chamber is controlled by four Senators representing a million and a half not- very-bright people. 

Apart from picking you as their Senator, what leads me to believe these people are not very bright?

They live in North and South Dakota.


Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Tale continues

It has been two weeks since our last visit with Michael John and the tale of my Illuminati membership.

To summarize, I told Michael John, my "recruiter" that I had mistakenly sent $125 in Bitcoin to a Pastor Mantu Abraham. Of course there is no Pastor Mantu Abraham. I think we can agree I would  be the last person on earth to invest in Bitcoin.

I also told Michael that the Pastor had sent the money to him and wondered when I will receive my Illuminati decoder ring.

So I push a little further.

I might have overplayed my hand as I don't hear from Michael John for a while. But I know how to lure him back in the game. And even squeeze in a little self promotion.

And it works.

What they won't do for $125.

Even though I misidentified the Rhino, they still want me in the Illuminati.

That good will cannot go unappreciated.

Rugulach, is there anything it can't do?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Rose colored glasses.

The great thing about today's post, other than the good news to follow, is that it gives me an opportunity to use some non-descript photo of people doing business. I love schlocky stock photography. Particularly of the commerce-themed variety.

And I'm not the only one.

Years ago, when I had a major player role in the game, when there was a game, we were doing a pitch for the world's leading producers of CRM software, that's Customer Relationship Management for you laymen.

In a moment that is seared in my memory, we had the opportunity to meet the CEO, a man whose net worth exceeded 5 billion dollars. After carefully reviewing and considering the work we had put upon the table, he had his, unique...thoughts about advertising.

"Why don't you show a picture of people shaking hands?"

"Or a manager leaning over the shoulder of an employee to check the computer?"

"How about a shot of someone answering a phone? That's people doing business."


Yes it was.

But I digress. Because today's post is not about the past, it's about the future. And I'm happy to report that there's cause for optimism. You see, I've recently been contracted directly -- without the aid of an ad agency -- to work for two growing clients.

And last night, I received an email, from out of the ether, from a former Chiat colleague who has a bead on a third possible project.

What does it all mean?

For one thing it means we can pick up a few of those humongous and outrageously expensive Tomahawk steaks I so enjoy throwing on the grill.

More importantly, it represents an opportunity. I may be 44 years of age. And cynical. And jaded. And beaten to a pulp by this industry. But as my partner John Shirley used to say...

"That what I love about you Rich. Despite everything, you're still stupid enough to believe something good can come from this."

Misguided optimism notwithstanding, who am I kidding?

It's about those Tomahawk steaks.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Russia, in the news

There's an armory up the street from where I live.
I should say there was an armory up the street from where I live.

Years ago, in all their wisdom, Culver City would bus in all the homeless people from Santa Monica and put them up at the armory. The one that's less than 1/4 mile from my front yard.

I have nothing against helping homeless people. They need our help and deserve our help. Problem was, the homeless people have legs. Most of them do. And they'd use those legs. They'd wrap themselves in a blanket and start roaming around the neighborhood.

More often than not they would congregate by the ratty liquor store on Culver Blvd. And once, while on my way to work, I spotted an older woman who had dropped whatever she was wearing down to her ankles and began "launching a meat torpedo off the SS Assitania." 

I probably won't include that in the flyer when I go to resell my home.

The armory is no more.
It has been converted into a museum. The Wende Museum. Two weeks ago my wife cajoled me into going over for a visit.

It should be stated that I'm not a big museum guy. Save for the time we went to the Guggenheim and the entire place was filled with the works of Cai Guo-Qiang. He, of Flying Dead Wolves fame.

I'll give it up to Mr. Qiang. This and the holy shit things he does with gunpowder, were amazing.

On the occasion of visiting the Wende, I was pleasantly surprised as well.

Because on display, there was double feature: North Korea Propaganda Poster Art & a robust collection of Soviet Era Kitschery, including toys, telephones, trinkets and the tools of Russian mid 60's spy craft.

That's Captain Petrakov commandeering his Hovertron 7000. "Get out of my way Yankee, colonialist pig dog, Captain Petrakov is here to save the day and redistribute wealth in an equal manner that will render class meaningless and bring great glory to the Soviet state."

Feast your eyes on the Communicom Model 9KFWQ-34, featuring state the art advanced electromagnetic thigamajigs. Crafted by former scientists of the Third Reich, this Stasi-inspired telephonic device will speed us forward to unimaginable prosperity. "Hello, Watowsky, can you hear me?" 

The Vojitech/Bering Bullet. This underwater reconnaissance satellite was built to change spycraft as we knew it. Planted into reefs far below the Aleutian Islands, the Bullet was intended to pick up radio signals from unsuspecting American military personnel stationed in Alaska.

"Oh come on sarge, whale blubber on toast again? Fuck this place."

Though it was built from durable titanium, the VB Bullet was also plagued by design flaws (see vents) that rendered this submersible un-waterproof and not very submersible.

The exhibit ends May 15, unless the country comes under the complete command of our Russian overlords, in which case, comrades, it will be on display forever.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Senator Who?

This is Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer.

You don't find too many women in the US Senate. Much less of the republican stripe, as the GOP prefers their female folk to be pregnant, barefoot or at the very least making a sandwich.

But don't get ahead of yourself. Before you start thinking things are changing, it becomes abundantly clear they are not.



Senator Deb Fischer
454 Russell Senate Office building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Fischer,

This morning I am a little beside myself. 

You see, not long ago I decided to pen a letter to each of the 53 Republican US Senators. Not surprisingly there were very few females on the list. Everyone knows about Senator Susan Collins, she of the wavy voice I cannot listen to. 

And of course, there's Senator Murkowski from Alaska, she of the wavy moral compass who likes to talk a big game but often votes otherwise. Or as I like to say, "Senator Murkowski, now with 27% more Jeff Flake."

So you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Senator Ernst, Senator Hyde-Smith and now you.  That makes FIVE females in the Republican Senate Chamber, you know, if you don't count Ms. Lindsey Graham. 

But my shock is more than chromosomal.

As with every other senator, I've done a little digging and researched your past as Nebraska's finest. This has become my standard operating procedures with each of your colleagues. And absolutely necessary with the senators who don't get air time on CNN or don’t grandstand before the respective committees.  

By the way, I know he's not a senator but can one of you guys pony up and buy a blazer for Congressman Jim Jordan? I used to buy sport coats for my crazy uncle who lived in assisted living. The local Goodwill has a very nice selection.

Last week, you did something very few Kool Aid, Republican Senators, ever do. You voiced a contrarian opinion and risked incurring the wrath of Precedent Shitgibbon. 

I don't want to misconstrue the facts, so here's the direct quote...

"I am angry by reports that show we have long suspected: former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt ignored the law to help big refineries at the expense of farmers and ethanol producers. The EPA gave 'hardship exemptions' to profitable refineries, releasing them from their biofuel blending obligations. According to projections, this could cause the ethanol industry to lose billions of gallons in demand."

Here, here, Senator Kudos to you for finally putting your foot down. Though it must be noted you only raised your voice when there was possibility of millions of dollars not coming your state's way. Meaning you had no problem with Mr. Pruitt beforehand?

What could have possibly clued you in to this scoundrel's scurrilous ways?

His unjustified first class travel?
His unauthorized use of military transport for personal use?
His generous doling out of raises to staff assistants?
His leased condo from a known lobbyist?
Or, maybe the $53,000 Cone of Silence he had installed in his office?

None of that seemed to bother you?

And while we're questioning the motives and credentials of this now defrocked Cabinet member, has it ever occurred to you, or the sheep sitting to your left and your right, to have another look at the swampy hedgepigs that were also handpicked by Captain Fuckknuckle? 

I'm not talking about the ones who have already been convicted of crimes and await sentencing with the Special Counsel (Cohen, Flynn, Gates). I'm talking about the taintlickers who serve in the White House as we speak.

The list is long and ludicrous.

But I've got my eye on Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.

Before he cashed in his cronyism, this scumwaffle was a US Attorney who cut a deal with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who just happens to be a close friend of your Dear Leader. Epstein was charged with rape and assault of many underage girls. But instead of serving a lifetime in prison, Secretary Acosta gifted him the Maralago Discount, so he did 13 months of house arrest under electronic supervision. 

You've not said one word regarding Secretary Acosta.

To summarize:

Wealthy & subsidized Nebraska corn farmers getting screwed -- Not cool
40 underage girls getting assaulted and raped -- Cool

Maybe you need to turn in your Woman Card.


Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hire Her.

Three weeks from now, I will make the final payment on my youngest daughter's college tuition.

Perhaps it needs to be pointed out, both my daughters earned their way into school. There were no faked Crew shots. No cajoling of admissions officers. And no bribes. Why would I bribe someone to take more money from me?

In any case, between the Willows Community School, St. Monica's Catholic High School, University of Washington and now the University of Colorado, it has been a long, long, long, haul.

As I tell every new parent, fund those damn 529 accounts. Fund them well.

Two months from now, Abby, will be leaving Boulder and coming home, effectively doubling the amount of dirty dishes in the sink and raising the decibel level in our humble Culver City home and effectively countering the noise of the overhead jets on their flightpath to LAX.

Since she will have a degree in Media Arts/Production and will (sadly) follow lightly in my footsteps, I thought it would be a good idea to use this platform to promote her platform.

Give it a look.

I think you'll find the sour lemon does not fall far from the tree.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Hunting We Will Go

The ad agency world continues to devolve, crushed under the weight of fleeing clients, lost revenue and an inclination towards self destruction rivaled only by today's GOP.

As a result, myself, and an army of under-employed freelance copywriters and art directors have been forced to find grazing grounds elsewhere.

At times it has been frustrating.
Other times it has been eye opening and not at all unpleasant.

For instance, not long ago I did a job for a Japanese producer who acts as a liaison between American creatives and Japanese clients seeking remote marketing expertise. Not only was there no negotiating on the price,

"You tell me what is fair and we will pay you your full day rate." (Damn, that's music to my ears.)

 But it even got better.

"There will be no revisions, because client respects you and your creative choices." (I wish this guy would call me more often)

But in many cases the hunt is downright comical.

Like that time the digital agency recruiter rejected my services because I didn't have any social media experience. I suppose if you ignore this blog, my hijinks on Linkedin, my daily homemade Trump memes, my Kim Jung Fun tumblr, my Shitgibbonfiles tumblr, and the book I published stemming from a year's worth of email correspondence with a Nigerian Con Artist, you could say I was lacking in that area.

And then there's Pharma.

I'm well aware of the connotations regarding Pharma/healthcare/well being advertising. There was a time when this was regarded as the last pasture for 44 year olds like myself. Get tagged with being a pharma guy, they say, and you'll never be called up for the Big Show again.

Even if I had a fuck to give, I wouldn't.

Newsflash to this big, mythical and rhetorical THEY: There is no more Big Show.

I'll skip the temptation to go off on that rant for the umpteenth time and end with a nod to the Help Wanted ads placed by the various Pharma agencies.

You see I have no qualms about helping you with your next project or product launch. If the check clears, I'm good to work on anything you've got. Unfortunately I have no "oncology, cardiology or pulmonary disease experience".

Nor can I show you any previous work in my portfolio about Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Though, if pressed, I'm sure my wife could provide some amusing anecdotes.

Monday, March 18, 2019

You can learn a lot by learning.

This past week I was working at home. This has worked out well for me as I can earn a day rate, while in the comfort of my home. And I can have the bandages on my split finger changed daily by my wife.

I don't know about other writers, but for me, I like to write a little. And goof off a lot. It's just a pattern I have developed. Perhaps attributable to my very short attention span and my constant need for Internet distraction.

In the past 7 days I have found myself obsessing over Linkedin videos. There are quite a few of them. There are linkedin videos from Linkedin influencers -- linkfluencers--  encouraging other people, many of them, other Linkfluencers as well, to make more Linkedin videos. And thank god they have.

Once I started watching, I could not stop.

No literally, I couldn't stop.

I'm assuming the same algorithms that tell the motherboard when you are shopping for underwear or a reasonably priced safe used car for your daughter and then flood your feed with nothing but tighty whiteys and slightly-used Honda Civics, are working overtime to expose me to so many videos. I might have caught the Linkfluenza.

Here's what I've learned in the last 7 days:

1. Smile. Who would've thunk it, but when interviewing for a new position or presenting work to a client or even meeting a significant other's parental units, it's always a good idea to smile. That's solid advice from people who know.

2. Exude confidence. Again, this was quite an eye opener. Even more so that considering that most the people pumping out these vapid linkedin videos were in their early twenties and pardon me for saying this, do not have much to point to that would warrant their seemingly boundless confidence.

3. Get outside my comfort zone. This is a very popular trope. And has many variations. At least as many as the number of sorority houses one might find on a major college campus. Despite the urging of these Happy Kathys, I have no plan to get outside of my comfort zone. It took me 44 years to find it and if I venture outside of it, who knows if there will even be any parking?

4. Fail, and fail often. This is some of that new age thinking that I just can't stomach. To me it makes as much such sense as Mercury being in retrograde. Or Annualized Day rates. I did enough failing in junior high gym class to last a lifetime. I'm all about succeeding. And winning. And not failing. We failed in November 2016 and look at the dystopian ditch it got us into. Fuck failing. And fuck Donald Trump.

....and finally, the last thing I learned from watching Linkedin videos.

5. Stop wasting time. Quit burning precious minutes watching preening, bloviated self important millennials and their mindless vocational banality. Sure it's easy to make fun of their shit but those banner ads for Harry's House of catheters are not going to write themselves.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Dumb is Strong with this One.

I would gleefully give a thousand dollars to any R17 reader who can identify this clueless clodhopper without the aid of the Google.

This is Senator Kevin Cramer, letter #48 in our Thursday Thrashing Series. A man with no discernible ability to listen or employ the kind of logic one might expect from a smart third grader.

Or a dull fifth grader.



Senator Kevin Cramer
B40C Dirksen senate office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Cramer,

"To me, it's a lot to do about nothing,"Senator Cramer said of the Michael Cohen hearing before the House Oversight Committee.

Well, look at the big brain on Kevin.

What do they put in that bison meat in North Dakota that turns all its residents into verifiable Mensa genii?

It took me 9 months and about 47 weekly letters to US Republican Senators to finally find one who merits some intellectual respect. A man of letters. The Albert Einstein of the Plain States.

I probably shouldn't tangle with a graduate from Concordia College in Morehead, Minnesota. And God knows I'd be a fool to mess with someone who has a Master's degree from the University of Mary in Bismarck, but I'm a headstrong kind of fella.

A lot to do about nothing, Kev?

The man who was the personal attorney and official "fixer" for our Schmuck in Chief tells tales about bank fraud, tax fraud, insurance fraud, hush money and election fraud, and it's a lot to do about nothing?

But, as you and your brain dead colleagues have so astutely pointed out, he's a liar. A confirmed, scurrilous, moral-free, conniving, oily-palmed liar. 

Yes, and he sat at the right hand of Captain Fuckknuckle for more than a dozen years! 

Either our president was complicit in that myriad of illicit activities. 

Or, and I don't know if you or any of you in the Senate have considered this, he is the worst judge of character of any human being that has ever taken a breath of oxygen in the entire history of mankind.

And by the way, if it's the latter, he's also the same man we have entrusted with our national security and who is conducting closed door, one-on-one, secret negotiations with Xi Jinping, Kim Jung Un and Vladimir Putin. 

If there's any doubt how those talks are going we can simply look at the debriefing statements or question the translators. Oh, my bad, there were no debriefing statements and the translators have been sworn to secrecy.

I'm going to go with the assumption that Mr. Cohen was telling the truth and that this was not "a lot to do about nothing" as you so eloquently put it.


Well for thing, he has nothing left to lose. If he were to willfully lie to Congress he would be facing additional time in prison. 

Moreover, in addition to his oral testimony, Mr. Cohen brought documentation. 

He produced financial statements, personal (and incriminating) notes from Precedent Shitgibbon, as well as canceled checks (signed inside the Oval Office for god's sake) as reimbursement for the money he paid to silence Stormy Daniels, star of Pussy Sweat and Porking with Pride II for which she was awarded AVN's Best Oral-to-Anal-to-Oral Boy Girl Award. 

I choose to believe Mr. Cohen.

You, on the other hand, choose to trust the narrative of the man who has told more than 9000 lies since swearing to uphold our Constitution.

Why don't we turn to a trusted third party, a man who is the CEO of the world's biggest technology company, Mr. Tim Apple?

Or was it Tim Cook Apple? 

Or was it back to the original Tim Apple?

Best regards,

Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Illuminati Confuserati

Say what you will about the Illuminati, but they sure do have some talented folks working overtime in the graphics department.

When we last visited with Michael John, my Illuminati recruiter, I told him I had mistakenly sent $125 in Bitcoin to a Pastor Mantu in Lagos Nigeria. I had also created a fake yahoo account from this imaginary pastor so that I could suck Michael John even further into my scam.

Please keep this helpful diagram on hand as you navigate the correspondence.

Michael seemed uninterested in my problem and simply wanted his money.

Why the rush cowboy?, I asked. 

At which point, Michael John actually sent an email to the very elusive Pastor Mantu, he of the Church of Christ Congregation in Lagos Nigeria.

Naturally, Pastor Mantu responded.

It should be pointed out that Nigerians refer to American suckers as Mugu.

Brother Michael John is not pleased. Not pleased at all.

And so I asked if he could go visit the Pastor and retrieve the money in person.

But he will not oblige. Then I inform Michael John that Pastor Mantu has seen the light of day.

Of course pastor Mantu did NOT return any money since Pastor manta does NOT actually exist.

This so angers Michael John that he calls my fake Pastor Mantu, Pastor Mutu.

Which brings us up to date in what could be the final correspondence. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Interview with a CFO

Normally the task of interviewing big ad agency Mucky Mucks falls on the able shoulders of my friend and fellow blogger George Tannenbaum. You might remember his insightful chat with the CESUWCWHOHPO (Chief Executive for Screwing Up Weekends for Creatives Who Otherwise Had Plans Officer) and the much shorter interview with the curt CFYO (Chief Fuck You Officer).

In any case, I've been asked to interview Bernie Beiglebaum, a real live CFO for a real live major Holding Company.

ME: How is the ad agency world these days?

BB: It's great. Are you kidding? I've only spent 1/3 of the big Christmas bonus from December.

ME: You got a bonus?

BB: We all got bonuses. And by all, I mean the people on the 59th floor. And the cost-efficiency consultants in the Cayman Islands.

ME: What about the ad agency people? The ones who make the ads? The pre-roll spots, the 72 X 128 banners, the brand activation events, and the Instagram carousels.

BB: You're going to have to speak English, son.

ME: Let's get down to it, how do you make money in 2019?

BB: Well, revenue is stagnant. And it appears it'll remain stagnant. So the trick is to upsize profits.

ME: How is that...

BB: It's simple, you shave every possible expense. No one gets an office anymore, that's a needless footprint expense. We put in long tables. And we eliminated natural light. We find spaces without windows.

ME: Huh?

BB: It changes bio-rhythms, so employees lose track of time. It's a Las Vegas casino trick. Colorful carpetting, no windows, no clocks, before you know it people are logging in ridiculous hours. We even bring in cheap shitty food to keep them at their desks longer.

ME: So you basically force them into sweatshop conditions in order to maximize labor and billable hours.


BB: I'm sorry, was there a question?

ME: Let's talk about this new phenomena... annualizing day rates.

BB: This was a little bit of genius. We get freelancers to agree to a day rate. Then we take that rate and figure out what they'd get paid if they were a full time employee, there's some major tax benefits for us. Then, we divide that annualized rate by the number of hours they'd work in a year.

ME: You divide by 2000 hours? Like a full time employee working 40 hours a week?

BB: No, we divide it by 2080 hours so it effectively lowers the day rate and saves us millions of dollars.

ME: But that would be like an employee working 52 weeks a year.

BB: Exactly.

ME: So the freelancer doesn't realize he or she has been cheated out of money until a month after the gig has been completed?

BB: I told you it was genius, didn't I?

ME: That doesn't seem to be fair.

BB: Fair? Pfffft. That's funny. Anybody ever tell you, you're funny kid.

Monday, March 11, 2019

I Hate This Business.

If you asked me what was wrong with the advertising industry, a rather reflective microcosm of American business, there's a good chance I could go on for hours, if not days. More accurately, years, as this blog has been published regularly since 2009.

If I were to be completely arbitrary about it, I'd say it all started when they took away our offices.

When I first started in advertising I was writing help wanted ads. Or as my buddy Jim used to put it:

Eng. Wanted, no exp. nec.
(Engineer wanted. No experience necessary.)

Yup, they actually paid me to write shitty ads like that. And to accomplish that Herculean feat, they gave me an office, with a door, a desk and a window looking out onto Ventura Blvd, where I could see the goings-on of several top notch falafel and schwarma restaurants. I also had a few nice offices in Mid Wilshire, Century City and Brentwood.

Then, in a move to save a few scheckl's, some genius decided writers and art directors didn't need offices. Neither did Media Buyers. Producers, Or Account Executives. The only people who required offices and the incumbent quiet, privacy and space to be productive, were ad agency C-Suiters who were eyeing cushy positions with the ad agency holding company.

And so we were thrown into the open office plan. And introduced to the Long Table of Mediocrity™.

After they took our offices, they took away our time. Nights, weekends, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, were all company property.

"Come on people, we have to work harder. We're not curing cancer but we are doing a 15 second Super Bowl pre-roll that could make history and get us on the USA Admeter."

They took away our space.

They took away our time.

They took away our fun. ("all business travelers will fly Spirit Airlines and stay at the Red Roof Inn.")

They took away our pride. ("everyone is Creative.")

And now they are taking away our money.

Not long ago, I did a gig for a big agency (and by the way I actually enjoyed working there and the people who run the place are incredibly smart.) I won't be so stupid as to name them but I've got a name for their parent company's accounting and business practices -- BULLSHIT.

You see we had agreed to my normal day rate. The job lasted a little more than 3 weeks, 18 days to be exact. That included a Saturday and MLK Day. When the check arrived however, I was only paid for 15 days. How does that work, you may ask.

I know I did.

Well, using their infinite imagination to screw workers out of rightfully earned money, the payroll department at this big holding company "annualizes" the day rate. I have no idea what that means. And I'm guessing you have no idea what that means. I believe "annualize" means funding next year's party in Cannes and renting the big yacht with the waterslide.

The short of it is I got shorted money. And I got holding the short end of the Fuck You Stick in favor of this unnamed holding company.

Let this little anecdote serve as a cautionary tale to my fellow freelancers, who will no doubt see that you can't spell 'annualize' with A N A L.

Let this also serve as a warning to the bean squeezers at the big holding companies. This is why the industry is circling the bottom of the porcelain bowl, that icky part with the hard-to-remove brown stains.

It's also goes a long why to explaining why almost every text with every other colleague in advertising ends with:

Thursday, March 7, 2019

This is one for the book.

"You can't make this stuff up."

It's a phrase you hear often these days. Mostly because it's true.

But if you think you've seen everything, you haven't. Hold onto your hat and read about this ass clown, Senator Josh Hawley.



Senator Josh Hawley
B40A Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator,

Bless you Josh. Bless you.

I'm coming towards the end of my yearlong campaign to write a letter to each of our esteemed Republican US Senators. And frankly I thought I'd be running out of steam. Having using up all the good indignation on the high profiles spunkbiscuit senators like Graham and Grassley and McConnell.

To be even more frank, I thought at this point in the juncture I'd be scouring through backwoods newspapers like the Arkansas Argonaut or the West Virginia Pennysaver in search of anything remotely unsavory about your sorry lot, just to get across the finish line.

But then you showed up. 

And showed up in such a big way. 

Last week, you made national headlines. The Big Show. You were on the main ticket. And that's no small feat considering the numerous debacles that competed for our attention: the Michael Cohen testimony (on three separate congressional committees no less), the complete cave in to North Korea's Dear Eater and the collapse of the denuclearization (Ha) talks, and Captain Fuckknuckle's two hour grievance-polluzza at CPAC.

Undaunted by all this hoo-ha, you managed to snag some digital ink for yourself. Or, in the popular vernacular: Nevertheless, he persisted. 

Allow me to fill the reader in.

For two weeks, marshals had been attempting to serve you with a subpoena and compel you to turn over evidence for some ongoing litigation. But, being of the GOP stripe and reptilian by nature, you managed to slip their grasp. 


This is where it gets juicy. Following your well publicized appearance at CPAC -- America's favorite gathering of tin foil hat wearers and tiki torch bearers -- and just as you were walking off the stage, you GOT SERVED.

Damn, talk about getting cock blocked? I bet you were ready to put on your Alex Jones muscle shirt and slam some shots of Jaeger with your armband brothers just to work off the adrenaline. Instead, you had to speed dial your attorneys and start working on Stage II of Operation Obfuscation.

I'm sure no one reading this has any idea why you might be in hot water with Johnny Law.

Let's fix that shall we?

According to many articles in the Kansas City Star (who am I kidding, I only read one article, after all I'm not some lawyer I'm just some poor schmuck making fun of Republican Senators and we all know how easy that is) you violated the state's Sunshine Laws while campaigning for office.

More specifically, while you were the Attorney General, the state's chief law enforcement officer, you found a way to communicate with your campaign staff in a way that would avoid scrutiny by any investigators or journalists. 

How did you do this, Mr. Hardcore Republican, Federalist Society member who often used the Hillary Clinton cudgel to bash his opponent? 

You willingly set up a private server and conspired to hide and destroy incriminating emails.

Good night nurse, are you fucking kidding me Joshy?

The God of Political Irony shall forever be in your debt.


Rich Siegel
Culver City, CA 90232

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Illuminati Bitcoin Chronicles

When we last left our Illuminati adventure, my "handler" Michael John, agreed to accept Bitcoin as payment for my Illuminati Initiation items which included many oddities that could only be purchased in Africa.

Naturally, I jumped on the opportunity to use my cryptocurrency.

I attached a receipt to prove my good intentions. Hint: I just screen grabbed one off the internet and doctored it up. I also intentionally changed one letter in the long recipient code.

You can imagine his frustration and anger when the money did NOT arrive.


You can sense the steam erupting from his ears.

So now I let out a little line and let the hook sink in deeper.

Clearly, our story has taken a turn. And I have introduced a new character, a completely fictional character. So to keep this all crystal clear, I have prepared a diagram that will help you the reader follow along.

Michael Jean, my Illuminati Guy, is not happy the money went to another Nigerian. He doesn't care about the $125. He wants his money. Can you blame him?

Unfortunately, that money has already been spent.

The only way this can possibly be resolved would be if Michael Jean somehow reached out to Pastor Mantu Abraham. But that would never happen. Or would it?

Tune in next week when Michael Jean writes an email to Mantu Abrahim and pleads with him to give up the $125.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The West is the best.

I moved to California a long time ago. Let's not quibble about years or numbers. It's a story I've told many times before.

I graduated from Syracuse University. Came home, lived with my parents for three weeks. And then, not knowing what I'd do with my life other than to pursue a career in writing, bought a one way ticket to the Golden State.

I had hundred dollars in my pocket. Knew nobody. And didn't have a place to stay. So I took a bus to UCLA, where one of the frat houses agreed to let me live on their roof until they could rent me one of the boarding rooms.

There was a mattress.
A place to shower.
I was sleeping under the stars.
And my whole life was in front of me.

I had arrived in heaven, via Delta Airlines and the Brown #83 bus line.

I know the place has its detractors, but I love it here. And so it strikes me as strange when I see those detractors showing up in my Facebook feed.

Not long ago, I stumbled onto a discussion among folks from my hometown, Suffern, NY. There, a bunch of provincial knuckleheads were droning on about how they would never, ever, ever live in "this hellhole."

Really? I thought.

Because on any given day, I can walk three miles to the beach. And in the middle of winter, take off my shirt and work on my tan. For the sake of small children and the rest of humanity, I choose not to take off my shirt, by the fact remains that I can.

Should I decide to head east, within 2 hours time (1 & 1/2 if I sneak intro the carpool lane or hijack my unsuspecting daughter) I can be at 10,000 feet of elevation and skiing down the black diamond runs at Big Bear.

Who would want to live like that?

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that much of the disinclination towards California is cultural. Particularly now during these politically divisive times.

And yet, I'd bet a better part of my life savings that these same red golf cap wearing people who have nothing but disdain for "Hollywood" and "show biz libtards" spend an inordinate time watching TV, going to the movies, and otherwise consuming the media they so clearly abhor.

You're welcome.

Also, in another example of cognitive dissonance, this lambasting of California was taking place on Facebook. Guess what my narrow minded numbskulls, Facebook as well as Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and all manner of social media, were created and developed right here on the West Coast. Not to mention Avocado Toast. And the double cheesy crunchy Gordita.

This place, this big beautiful place, is the world capitol of innovation and imagination.

Who would want to live like that?

And finally, like everywhere else on Earth, California is defined by its people.

Here you will find the best and the brightest. And they're not all white. Last week I finished a job working with my partner from Bangladesh. We were working for a creative director from Germany. And one from England. The woman who called us in was from Australia. Every morning was like a mini meeting of the United Nations. We'd swap stories. Gain new perspectives. And be better people for the experience.

Who would want to live like that?

I do.

Monday, March 4, 2019

They're called dumbbells for a reason

As I write this, it is early Saturday morning, two days after my birthday. And it is only now that the tidal wave of adrenaline is being flushed from my body.

If you have visions of a wild Las Vegas bacchanalia with booze, strippers, capucin monkeys, yodelers, perfectly seared tomahawk steaks and latex clad Norwegian accordion players, you are obviously new to this blog and don't know my life.

Let me tell you about my life and my birthday.

It began as all great February 28ths begin. With the annual preparation of the Keto King breakfast, eggs, applewood bacon, fresh avocado and fresh strawberries. My wife, who the pope really should consider for beatification, had laid it out beautifully. And it included a special NY Times edition detailing the Michael Cohen testimony.


Lunch was also scheduled with my friend and Chiat partner, John Shirley, who should also receive some kind of prize for putting up with my shit for so long.

After breakfast I decided it would be smart to earn the extra calories I'd be consuming on my big 44th birthday. And this is where it all went terribly wrong.

Towards the end of the workout I was dropping a 45lbs. dumbbell from a horizontal bench press. Unfortunately there was already a dumbbell on the mat next to the bench. The larger, heavier weight, in a gravity-induced freefall, sandwiched my hand. And the sharp edges on the dumbbell caught my ring finger, splitting it open the way a skilled butcher would butterfly a rib roast.


Before I could leave the garage and get to my house, I had lost a pint of blood and had already began considering new nicknames for myself: Rich Siegel, The Nine Fingered Freelance Copywriter.

Naturally, my wife (again, she should be considered for sainthood) said we should go to the Emergency Room. And naturally, I resisted.

Ice. Duct Tape. And that Siegel Stubbornness that has served me well for so many years was the cure for this predicament, I thought.

Fortunately, cooler, and smarter heads prevailed.

We opted for the Cedars Sinai Acute Care clinic, just a few blocks from my house. The lobby was packed with flu-bitten grown-ups and typhoid children who were as loud as they were sick. But because they operate on the triage system and because I was painting the floor red, I got to skip to the head of the line.

Once inside the room, a team of young physicians and technicians pounced on my finger. Soaking. Cleaning.  Examining. The lead doctor said the bone looked good. And the tendon, which was visible to the naked eye also looked good. However, she did say stitches were in order.

This is where it gets painful.

I don't know if you've ever had a Digital Block, that's where Lidocaine is injected directly into the finger to numb it in preparation for suturing, but I'm here to tell you it's not something you'd wish on a shitty landlord or a sleazy car dealer who sold you 1971 Plymouth Duster.

The Digital Block makes Dustin Hoffman's dental probing at the end of Marathon Man look as a harmless as an ad agency status meeting.

I'll spare you the gory details, suffice to say that due to my excessive girth, it required THREE injections with the thick Number 27 gauge needle by the wonderful Lebanese physician's assistant, who may or may not have been exacting some type of sadistic semitic revenge on me.

We were in that little room for the better part of the afternoon. And in between the sewing and the putting of Rich back together again, we chitted and we chatted. And when I wasn't screaming like a baby, I cracked wise with the nurses and technicians.

Not surprisingly, we all laughed quite a bit.

On the way out the door, our physician's assistant said something you don't expect to hear from someone who was elbow deep in damp cotton swabs and my type A+ blood, "I like you guys."

Later, as we were retelling the story to my incredulous daughter, my wife said, "oddly enough, it was all kind of fun."

In an odd way, it was.

Happy birthday to me.


I will post the aftermath of the day, which you may or may not want to see.

Scroll down.