Thursday, October 31, 2019

Notes from Boom Town, USA.

This is Culver City. From way back in the past. Way before my birth, 44 years ago.

It was dumpy. It was frumpy. It was the butt of many a joke. Sort of like the Burbank by the Sea, a reference only Johnny Carson aficionados will appreciate.

Apart from the movie stars who would come to work at the old MGM Studios (now Sony) no one would willingly come to Culver City. Now it seems no one will go away.

If you're driving east through Culver City anytime from 5PM to 7PM, the 3.1 mile journey can take you well past an hour. With any luck you'll spot me walking my dog Lucy while she hunts and pecks for just the perfect place to dump her second load of the day.

The picture above, by the look of the cars, taken in the late 1950's, faces west towards the ocean. If you were to flip it, you'd see the new construction going on in every formerly quaint corner of our once fair city.

Amazon carved up the old Culver Studios (home to many a Three Stooges and Little Rascals short) and is installing a monstrously big building. I have no idea what will go on in there though I'd imagine it's going to be a huge warehouse.

You can't be the world's top seller of crap without having a place to store all those tampons, BBQ briquets, volleyballs and unsold copies of my book Mr. Siegel Writes to Washington.

Just down Washington Blvd., you'll also find a new sprawling Apple complex. Again, I don't know what they'll be doing there, perhaps working on the newest update of AirPods that will be inserted in your nostrils. Who knows?

The Tech Train has a few more stops.

Within two miles, though not technically Culver City, you'll also find Yahoo, IMAX and Google. Bringing with them busloads of bearded, tatted, ear gauged hipsters and all their disposable income and their annoying affinity for artisanal foodstuffs.

Color me thrilled.

Because one day, one of these code-writing Javascript manipulating couples will decide it's time to settle down, upgrade their lives and produce an extension package.

And when that day comes they will be looking for a house and willing to pay my wife and I ten times (maybe more) what we paid for the joint when we moved here in 1993, to once what was dumpy, frumpy Culver City.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Do you have a moment?

It's Jehovah Witness time again.

I just looked out my window and can see them making their way up the street. Knocking on doors. Getting quickly rejected. And then knocking on some more doors.

Soon they'll be here and I will whip out my standard answer, "we're all good in the faith department."

To be honest, I haven't a clue what Jehovah Witnesses believe in.

Or what they might or might not have witnessed.

Frankly, I don't care. I am however fascinated by the sheer gumption of walking up to strangers with the implied belief that they know more about the makings of the universe than anyone else does. As my people say, that's chutzpah.

I can't stop wondering how it would go if I put on a starched shirt, found my itchy slacks, grabbed an umbrella and started cold calling neighbors for a stop and spiritual chat.

"Hello, I was wondering if I could speak to you today about the Word of Rich?"

"You mean the Word of God, right?"

"No, I don't believe in God and I'd like to explain why you shouldn't either."

"Am I being punked? Is somebody filming this?"

"No. And that's the point. Nobody is watching this. There is no Sky Daddy or Sky Mommy. Your life is your own. Your decisions are your own. Time and space are infinite in all directions. There was no Creation, there is no End..."

"That doesn't make any sense to me. I believe in the Bible. I have to take the wet clothes out of the dryer. Have a nice day."


And frankly that's the way it should be.

I have my opinion about the meta-physical questions of the universe. And you have yours. Other than occasionally spouting off about them on this blog, I have no desire to press my beliefs upon you. And would appreciate the same reciprocity (ooo, that's a good word.)

Moreover, I don't think anybody including missionaries, street preachers, Lubavitchers, TV Megachurch prophets, or anyone of any stripe, has a right to proselytize to anyone else.

I don't have all or any of the answers.

But here's an undeniable truth, neither does anyone else.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Good morning Jerry

Having been on the set of many, many TV commercials, video shoots, TV shows and even a couple of movies, I can safely say I've had my share of breakfast burritos.

I can also confidently state that the one pictured above was, in the vernacular of Mick Mulvaney, "far and away the best. FAR AND AWAY."

Readers of this blog know I don't do much in the way of food reviews. Mostly because my palate is distinctively unrefined, as indicated by the fancy packaging. I'm a Hole in the Wall Guy. The more authentic, the more daring, the more tongue-searing hot, the better.

In other words, I'm no Jonathon Gold, LA's late legendary culinary poet laureate. Nor would I ever pretend to be. Though I did work with his brother Josh, an equally talented freelance copywriter who now regularly takes jobs away from me and fittingly, food off my table.

But I digress.

The 5 Star Breakfast Burrito above hails from Jerry's Market, a tiny shack of a place, known only to local Culver City breakfast burrito aficionados, like my daughter. We went this morning and I still can't get over how good this breakfast burrito is...was.

"Please don't blog about it", my daughter pleaded.

"Too late", I said, "The world, or at least the 8 readers of RoundSeventeen, must know about Jerry's.

I understand her reluctance to let the burrito out of the bag, as it were.

Years ago, before anybody had even heard about it, I wrote a similar piece about our other neighborhood gem, the Jackson Market, and now it seems the entire westside shows up for their monstrously good sandwiches.

Here's a picture of Jerry's.

It's small.
It's unassuming.
And it's recently been painted so the outside looks a little different. Suffice for the number, 3969, I'm not providing any other details.

But it is in the Media District of Culver City.

Not surprisingly, Jerry's Market is known to the artists and craftsmen and craftswomen in the media business, including many who find themselves in post production houses in the vicinity. Also not surprisingly, the owner (Bob, Jerry's son) was more than willing to tell us about the celebrities who frequent his joint.

Like Ryan Reynolds, who found the garlic habanero salsa, "a bit too spicy" for his delicate stomach.

You big Wuss.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Let's join a Golf Club, the saga continues

Last week, as some of you may recall, I began my correspondence with Mr. Willy Ruiz, the National Sales Manager/Club President at Trump National Doral Golf Club -- a world class resort received for only the planet's most esteemed, prestigious and magnificent people.

You can imagine how upset I was to find out next year's G7 Summit will not be coming to Doral. On the other hand there's a possibility, albeit remote that I and my wife Pauline (explanation to follow) might.

To the uninitiated, I had told Mr. Ruiz that we were in the process of buying a condo at the nearby Amberwood complex and that logistics had made speaking on the phone difficult.

As you expect, my real wife Debbie doesn't like me messing around with Trump properties, so I concocted a new one, Pauline Lancinanti, which is literally (in the Trumpian sense) Italian for Ball Buster. 

I'm pretty sure Mr. Ruiz doesn't know that.

Indeed, though we missed each other's phone calls and exchanged some perfunctory texts, he sent me the full Doral rundown.

Not only is Willy willing to help me with the carpet situation, he included this...

And this...

Well, $50,000 is a bit rich for my less-than-blue-blood. Particularly considering my severe case of under-employment and the ongoing renovations to our fictional condominium in Florida.

So now Mr. Ruiz and I are in discussion about the more reasonable Social membership at Trump National Doral World Class Prestigious Magnificent Golf Club. If I can get him down to $500 initiation fee and a $10/monthly dues, I'm gonna bite. 

Think of all the swag I can swipe from the club store.

Details to follow, stay tuned.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Thursday Torture

Today, we take a break from politics.

It has taken on all consuming powers these days and it is best to remove oneself from the Black Hole that is Donald J. Trump.

We also take a breather from advertising, a topic which is no less depressing given its dwindling resources, low morale and near certain death.

Likewise, we also take a respite from the various vicissitudes of life, refinance loans, elderly care and no-win auto accident claims, that generally have me reaching for the nearest CostCo sized bottle of 90+ proof Kentucky bourbon.

Instead we turn to a pet peeve of mine that merits further examination, the Truck Reverse Beep.

I have said it before and I'll say it again, I'm no fan of the Nanny State. And despise, like many Americans, the overreach of government with useless warnings and matriarchal finger wagging.

I know NOT to drink bleach. Moreover, people that don't know, should do us all a favor and drink more.

The same goes for the Truck Reverse Beep, which I reckon they started installing about 25 years ago.

How did we live as a civilized society without this precious lifesaver?

Memory doesn't serve me well, but I have to ask what drove our useless lawmakers to tackle this pressing problem? Were thousands and thousands of people mindlessly walking in back of huge flatbed trucks only to be sent to their sad pancaked death?

I hate to sound mercenary, but the Darwin in me suggests they probably deserved it.

Because according to my statistics, which are only anecdotal - like all the numbers coming out of the White House -- in its relatively short lifespan the Truck Reverse Beep has saved zero lives while at the same time resulted in:

* 3,831,946 Migraine Headaches

* 17,453,732 Frayed Nerves

* 2,876,593, 624 Awakened People Opening Up Their Windows In The Middle Of The Night Shouting: "Shut the Fuck Up!"

I never thought of myself as a firearm owning person, but that is changing rapidly. And while I would find it impossible, or at the very least difficult, to aim upon another human being, I would have no trouble pointing a pistol at the noise-making ending of a Peterbuilt truck.

And with that, I give you this video re-enactment of staying at a San Francisco Hotel at 3:30 in the morning.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Pluto, it's right next to Uranus.

Last week a colleague of mine sent me a snapshot of the photo above. This is a fellow creative, now in a position of power and wealth, who despite being an apparent admirer of my work, has not thrown me one freelance assignment.

But that's not what this post is about. If I were to start kvetching about people who don't throw work my way, his name would be at the bottom of a long long list.

Or, as another freelancer finding work scarce, put it, "It's hard out here for a pimp."

But let's get back to the billboard and its snarky headline and its yellow background and its sponsor, a new TV streaming company. It's as if I fell into a wormhole and found myself transported back to 1998.

This isn't the first time our ABC campaign has been ripped, I mean flattered.

Years ago, another company, who I won't name, also took the tracing paper to our previous work. Of course they had the good sense to change the background and used a variety of colors as if no one would notice.

And to be honest, no one did.
Because no one cares.
Including me.

In fact, when I showed my wife, we both snorted and blew it off. And, because she knows me so well, said, "Well, at least you'll get a blog posting out of it."

A false humblebrag you say? Upon hearing about Pluto TV, for the very first time, I did a little digging and found out they are a Los Angeles based company. So I confabulated the flick flacks and rejigged the html filters on my LinkedIn page and located the founders of the company.

Then, in a moment of inspired snarkiness, I sent them each a Linkedin invite to connect.

The algorithm suggested that invites are much more effective when they are supplemented by a personal note and asked if it I would like to add one.

And naturally I did.

I told the plutocrats at Pluto TV that I was happy to see my work in its third iteration. And then I included a link to the entire ABC print campaign and told them to have at the booty. Including this one on the same theme...

And why not?

These old ads are not doing me any good these days.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A parting shot

Have you seen the new campaign for Supercuts?

It features Michael Kelly (House of Cards) as the spokesperson. I've never seen an episode of House of Cards so I can't say whether Mr. Kelly is simply reprising his character, but in this Supercuts campaign...

He's jealous.
He's bitter.
He's got a chip on his shoulder.

In other words, he's perfect.

The spots are in heavy rotation during this current Sportsapolluza: baseball playoffs, NFL football and NBA basketball.

Which is not surprising considering all the young and not getting younger men out there who currently find themselves cleaning the shower drain with greater regularity.

In each well written spot, Kelly bemoans the fact that he no longer has hair -- clearing throat -- and urges those that do, to take good care of what they have left. But because it's coming from him and because it's not sugarcoated in the least, the schpiel has more humanity and thus more credibility.

It kills me that this comes from my alma mater, TBWA Chiat/Day LA.

As I have mentioned on these very pages, while at Chiat, my partner John Shirley and I put the anti-spokesperson spokesperson campaign on the table many, many times.

And because those people in power who make a lot of money want to remain in power and make a lot of money, it was rejected many, many times. Including the reluctant, angry and often drunk Lil' Chef as the spokesperson for an ill-fated Carl's Jr. campaign.

"Does he ever smile?"


Does he ever bite into the burger?'


"Does he have to be so negative?'


Anyway, my congratulations to the team that put this together and got it on the air.

And I say that without the least bit of sarcasm or professional bitterness/envy/cynicism/regret/or washed-up nostalgia yearning for the glory days.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Let's Join A Golf Club

Last week, Precedent Shitgibbon had his Chief of Staff Mickey Mouse go before the cameras and announce that next year's G7 Summit would be held at Trump's Doral National Golf Club.

He said, and I quote, that after a careful and exhaustive vetting process, "Doral was far and away the best choice for the summit." Adding, for emphasis, "FAR AND AWAY."

Far and away the best choice, because if the summit were to be held anywhere else, the proceeds, including all those $12 Toblerone candy cars sold out of the minibar, would NOT be going to Captain Ouchie Foot and his band of pilfering thieves.

Having digested all of that mishegas, I thought, I'd like to be a member of a golf course.

Sure, I suck at the game. I can hit a ball 300 yards, unfortunately only 150 of them are over the fairway. I putt with all the subtlety of Gallagher swinging a sledgehammer.  And I simply have no temperament for all of golf's stupid impediments, like sand traps and hazards and out of bounds.

"How can it be out of bounds when all my balls go there?"

Nevertheless, I love the idea of being a country club member and all the fancy white man accoutrements that go with it.

And so I thought, why not join up? Why not indeed.

Either I fit the profile for a Doral National Country Club member to a tee or these folks are just hard up for money. Because the response was immediate. And enthusiastic.

That was followed not long after by a more personal reply from Mr. Willy Ruiz, who is President of the Doral Club, no less, and often finds himself in the news.

Naturally, given my well-established inclination for letter writing, I responded.

Where is all this pot-stirring leading? Who knows, but I hope you'll join me on this unfolding adventure.

Next stop: Golf Jail.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thursday Photo Funnies

Today we are revisit Thursday Photo Funnies.

The astute among you might recognize this recurring theme as a ripoff of the National Lampoon Photo Funnies. I make no apology for that. I also make no apology for skipping out on the writing today as I am just plain exhausted.

A lot of personal stuff I won't get into. And a lot of political shit that has me waking everyday asking, "What fucking country is this?"

Also, Monday's blog piece about the dwindling fortunes of today's holding companies/ad agencies got more than 10,000 hits on linkedin. In other words, you've got your money's worth.

So, with no further delay, let's dive into some of the random photos I found on my iPhone.

This was snapped at the Culver City Art Walk last week. I was going to ask the vendor what it all meant but my wife yanked me by the arm before the embarrassing jokes could begin.

That's Lucy, my rescue dog, who watches me like a hawk. Here we are at the new Culver City Plaza Steps, hanging out on a beanbag, my new favorite mid afternoon activity.

You counted right, that's 235 lbs. of metal on the bar. I benched that three times a couple of weeks ago. Last week I maxed out at 245. Just sayin'.

This was our Rosh Hoshanah challah. I didn't say it out, but come on that looks like a big doody.

A restaurant urinal and an apple box wrapped in duct tape. I have no idea.

You might mistake this for Halloween decoration, but it's been up since last April.

Hoes and Bags. Need I say more?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Burger attacks man

I drove to a Burger King the other day.

That's somewhat newsworthy, as I am not a Burger King kind of guy.

I'm not a McDonalds type of guy either. Or Taco Bell. Or KFC. Or Pizza Hut. Or anything. I have no fast food joint of choice because I choose not to eat this kind of food. Save for my once a year pitstop at the Carl's Jr. in Mojave for our annual camping trip to the Eastern Sierras.

I'm so unaccustomed to the fast food phenomena that I almost drove several miles away from my house in search of a Burger King and then realized there was one just down the street.

It should also be noted that despite eschewing all types of fast food, I'm still fat. Though according to my doctor, "Rich, you're fat but you're incredibly strong. And fit." Then he put a rubber glove on and went where no else but he goes.

As the picture above indicates, I went to the Home of the Whopper for a reason.

I wanted to try the Impossible Burger.

If you hadn't noticed they are all over the airwaves, particularly now in this sweet spot of sports spectating when one football game leads into another MLB playoff game, followed by two more football games and topped with a dollop of pre-season college basketball.

I had already sampled the Beyond Beef alternative (full disclosure I do a lot of work for the Beyond beef ad agency and may be a bit biased.) My wife, also prone to media saturation, was also curious. So we brought some Impossible burgers home for lunch.

As it turned out, lunch pre-empted dinner. And the consequential Impossible Burger bloating robbed us of any appetite for the next day's breakfast.

Holy Methane Batman!

I'll spare you all the gory intestinal details, suffice to say that if there's any farting to be done around my house, it's usually from me. I have the good fortune to have married someone who never experiences flatulence. Or, at the very least, the good sense not to fire one in my direction.

For three days, every fan in the house was turned up to 11. And we brought back every cranberry/eucalyptus/jasmine candle that Bed Bath & Beyond had on their shelf.

I will say this, the burger was tasty, it was meat-like, it was incredibly Whopper-like.

But it was also appropriately named. Because after eating one Impossible Burger you will find it impossible to eat another.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Where are my Stork Beak pliers?

And so, we now begin the DIY phase of my life.

We recently borrowed a couple of palm sanders from our friends. My wife and I were determined to make right what had for years been wrong -- our butcher block kitchen island/counter. When the kitchen was being remodeled years ago our flaky painter Sergio skipped out on us.

We still owed him a few thousand dollars and he still owed us a proper finishing on the butcher block, which had always felt a bit sticky. As if he had used a shellac that was meant for a boat instead of a kitchen counter.

Well, we had had enough. And commenced with the palm sanding. It is only now that the nerve endings in our palms are getting over the incessant vibration.

I must say we were quite meticulous with the process. And while it took some time, we slowly made the familiar sandpaper progression, from the gritty 80 to the 100 to the 220 and then to the extra fine for a smooth as silk finish. When it was done the fine dust covered the kitchen and made it look like Tony Montana's office.

Hours later we lathered on the mineral oil and kicked ourselves in the ass for having waited so long to tackle the project.

Now we are bit.

As evidenced by my new Black and Decker PalmMaster 4000™ with patented SuckBag technology, pictured above.

You might be experiencing some cognitive dissonance trying to imagine me strapping on a tool belt and attempting to tackle anything more complicated than changing a light bulb. But I'll have you know I've successfully hard wired two motion detector lights outside, hung a chandelier-like lighting fixture in the dining room and in a moment that involved no LSD or hallucinogenic mushrooms, actually swapped out an under the sink garbage incinerator. The latter took me 8 hours and almost took my ring finger.

And while I won't be going on Home Advisor to list my services as a Handyman anytime soon, you should also know I come from the World's Best Do It Yourselfer -- my father.

When the Time/Life people introduced their Home Maintenance/Home Repair Series of color books, my father was on the phone saying, "Take My Money."

Before you could blink, those books were all over my house. And our garage began to resemble the hardware department at the local Sears and Roebuck.

My father had everything: miter saw, table saw, radial saw, two-handed router, sanders of all shapes and sizes, clamps, shivs, and mollybolts.

And he could do anything.

Bookshelves? Pffft, he could knock out a standalone bookshelf in half a day. He built an entire redwood sauna, complete with stones and a heater and a hand carved Finnish watering ladle imported from Lappeenranta, off the master bathroom.

If only I had some of my dad's precious tools and those handy dandy Time Life books. I could prepare for the upcoming Trumpocalypse and get started on my backyard H-bomb resistant underground bunker. With the built in hot tub.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Man the lifeboats

This chart was snagged from Friday's edition of the Wall Street Journal.

I purposely cropped it so, other than the sharp declining trend, you would have no idea what it refers to.

For instance, it could be the declining trust our allies place in the leadership of the US government. That would hardly be surprising after we chummed the Kurdish held villages in Northern Syria and then unleashed the ravenous Turks upon them.

The chart could be a poll referencing the number of Americans who, barraged by the daily truckload of lies, conspiracies and indictments, are now losing trust in Captain Ouchie Foot, a man who claimed US Steel had opened 6 new plants yet cannot produce one photograph of himself cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

Or the chart could be a representation of the declining revenue stream here at Rich Siegel Worldwide, due in large part to two bathroom remodels, hidden college tuition bills, and the slowing demand from my client, Harry's House of Catheters.

In actuality, the troubling chart above is reflection of the woes that now beset Publicis (as well as the other big holding companies), which includes Saatchi, Fallon, Sapient and Leo Burnett.

Now, I'm not about to badmouth any of these ad agencies, mostly because I've done work at all of them.

Except, notably Fallon, who once had the good sense to bring America, Evil Beaver.

Nor do I pretend to know how to cure what ails them. I never attended a Sigma Six pow-wow, I could not define EBITDA anymore than Steve Mnuchin could, and can barely tell you the difference between advertising and marketing.

So don't even ask.

But, naturally, I do have some advice for ad agencies wanting to move forward.

Get out of the Weeds -- This whole data-driven experiment has run its course. Clicks and Likes are not the same as Sales and Cash. So you designed the perfect "messaging unit" for a 33 year old mom in Boise, Idaho, who is a self-actuated innovator and enjoys mountain biking, DIY projects and gluten-free cranberry scones. No one gives a fuck. The client has a warehouse full of shoelaces and no purchase orders.

Get out of the Weeds, Part II -- Content Marketing? This is another one of these vacuous terms that defy logic. Why in the world are we taking advice from Gary Vaynerchuck? What brand has Gary Vaynerchuck put on the map (other than his own)? Where is the work? Where is the proof? Where is the pudding? No one wants to watch a video about Pledge Furniture Spray or read a 3 page article about mayonnaise. Also, and just for the record, I have a hard time listening to someone who states "quantity is more important than quality." 

Eat me, Gary.

And finally, at the risk of oversimplifying...

Get back to doing Campaigns -- What happened to big, beautiful, well thought out campaigns that position a product and reposition the competition? I'll tell you what happened. They got hacked to death by a 1000 cuts, including:

* The Long Table of Mediocrity™
* FFDKK's™ (Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks, see above)
* 24 hour brand turnarounds
* group think and creative by committee
* fearful, small minded careerists
* salary freezes (only the people who do the work)
* micro targeting (see above)
* the abandonment of human insight
* Post it notes
* The loss of magic (it may be hard to believe but there was once a time when people thought of the business and being in the business as a dream job)

You show me a happy employee and I'll show you someone stumbled out of the elevator at the wrong floor.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

New Speak 2019

Let's talk about socialism.

It's a word that's in heavy rotation these days. Mostly by the threat-happy Republicans who warn a gullible electorate, "If you vote Democrat, you'll be turning this country into Venezuela. Or a similar socialist dystopia."

They say this without irony. And are completely unwilling to acknowledge that for all our free market chestbeating we already live in a Socialist state.

I'm not referencing the hackneyed -- though valid -- rebuttals that have been bandied around.

You've heard them. Like how we use tax money to fund libraries, roads and dysfunctional post offices. Or even the $28 billion the US government (us) now have to shell out to farmers who no longer have markets for their soybeans.

Those tropes have been well-troped.

I'm talking about the unseen socialism that continues to pour our precious tax dollars into the hands of insatiable one percenters.

Last week, I drove by the new LA Stadium, a soaring multi-billion project that can be seen from space. As well as the Lowe's parking lot in Hawthorne.

It's a huge monstrosity. And it's monstrously socialist.

Think about it. Tax incentives were offered to the owners to construct this modern day coliseum that sprawls over 300 acres. Meaning the public coffers were pillaged.

But you can be sure the public will not be benefitting nor will they be invited to pass through those pearly front gates. That will be reserved for people, rich people, who can afford the $500 tickets, to see multimillionaire football athletes turn themselves into human wrecking balls.

And the people who pay the $500 price tag? Well they're mostly wealthy white businessfolk, who will, in turn, pad their expense accounts for the tickets, the $21 hot dogs, the foam fingers and the post game hookers at nearby Inglewood brothels.

I hope I don't have to draw a chart, but that all makes its way back to a Schedule C tax return and the endless trough of taxpayer dollars.

And that's just one example. Scratch a little off the surface and you'll find socialism for the wealthy everywhere you look. See Haliburton. See Northrop. See Wall Street Bailout. See outrageous tax expense regulations for owners of private jets vs. the pocket picking of US teachers.

I mention this today (on Yom Kippur) because in the past I was guilty of taking advantage of the same crooked system.

There can be no denying, the rules were written by rich white people for the benefit of rich white people.

It's Socialist through and through. It's income redistribution, but it's the kind of income redistribution no one wants to acknowledge.

Because in true Orwellian fashion the people who created the system had the good sense to call it something else -- Capitalism.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

My grandpa and grandma

Today we're talking about grandparents. If you assumed this was a picture of mine, I'm pretty sure you're new here. Or have been blissfully unexposed to my punim.

There's a chance that grandparents on my mother's side, the Scottish Presbyrterians, bore some resemblance to the folks pictured above. But given that they were dirt poor I think I'm safe in assuming the only boat they got close to was a fishing trawler.  And only then to buy oily mackerel that were snagged near a filthy Glasgow pier.

Grandparents on my father's side could not spell boat moccasin.  Nor have they ever stepped foot in one. They were shtetl people from Poland/Ukraine/Belarus/Russia. International borders meant very little to them. They just moved from town to town hoping to avoid Cossacks who might take their lunch money.

They were very much like the folks in Fiddler on the Roof.

Only, they lacked the photogenic good looks that would have earned them a place on center stage. Think of them as more as the overcoat-heavy villagers in the third row in the back, who would occasionally chime in with..."Tradition...Tradition."

Those were my grandparents.

I bring this up because the other night we were having dinner with friends at Sake House in Culver City. Our friend, let's just call her D., was recounting the story of her grandparents, who managed to survive the Holocaust.

We didn't get too deep into specifics. We didn't have to. Suffice to say that our grandparents, all of them,  were tougher than nails. And not those tiny sewing needle thin nails that I have occasionally hit clean through the drywall. I'm talking the big, thick torque-defiant nails that they drive into cement.

The problems they faced, poverty, discrimination, survival in New York City, dwarf, exponentially, the problems some of us face today.

They didn't take pictures of their food, family, friends or even themselves, they never owned a camera. If they did own a camera, they couldn't afford to buy film.

They never heard of a Vente soy latte capaccino, or whatever the fuck hipsters drink. They had Folgers coffee. And they used the grinds twice. Not because that shit was expensive, but because to them everything was expensive.

They didn't wake up, meditate, take a pilates class, burn some sage and stroll into work sometime between 10 and 11. They crawled out of bed, yelled at the upstairs neighbors for making so much noise, smoked half a pack of cigarettes, and girded themselves for a battle that followed them to their graves.

I like to think, minus the cigarette part, that some of that toughness was hereditary. In these difficult times I need it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

It's PACtastic.

I know this will further alienate regular RoundSeventeen readers, who come here for my no holds bar rants on the state of the advertising industry, but my passions are shifting.

Meaning I'm less interested in bemoaning all that has sufficiently been bemoaned and more interested in taking on the the issues that rue the day -- the apparent fall of our Republic.

To that end, I've joined a PAC, a Political Action Committee.

Mind you, at this point, I'm unable to divulge any of the specifics regarding the PAC and so in deference to my friend who solicited my assistance in this endeavor, I won't.

Suffice to say, I am more energized than ever.

Because if you haven't guessed, this particular PAC is committed to taking down the regime of our Fascist Fuckknuckle Uberfuhrer.

But what's most exciting is that this will be an opportunity to take the skills I have honed over thats 35 years, questionable as they may be, and apply it to something more meaningful and impactful that the sale of wireless toilet snakes, portable catheters or fizzy brown sugar water.

It also means that some of the Captain Ouchie Foot Memes I have generated over the last two years, and followers on Facebook and Twitter know there have been a few, may be reborn anew. This time with purpose and the real possibility of swaying public opinion.

This meme, created last week in light of the President inviting foreign countries to interfere in our elections, remains one of my favorites.

It may be too heady for the masses, but I'd still love to get that on a T-shirt.

And now I might.

When more details are available and I have permission from the PAC presidents, I will reveal them accordingly.

Until then I will be vigilant and seated in my Herman Miller chair cranking out idea after idea to remove this festering cancer on the presidency.

Either that, or per yesterday's post, I'll be at the car wash.

Monday, October 7, 2019

At the car wash

This morning I am writing to you from inside the automated car wash at the corner of Jefferson and Overland in lovely Culver City. It's my fifth trip to the place in 6 days. Not because the car wash doesn't do a fine job, it does, but because last week I sprung for the Unlimited Monthly Pass.

It was only $24.95. Roughly the cost of two Super Duper Deluxe washes with the side view mirror protectorant and the UnderCarriage SprayGuard 3000™. So I splurged.  And now I can go through the car wash when I want, anytime I want.

Although I took a drive down there last night and was disappointed to see the car wash was not open at 11:38 PM. Apparently the cranky neighbors have an issue with the big noisy machines doing their thing when they want to go to sleep. Damn old people.

Still, it's a good deal and I love a good deal.
Always have.

I suppose it's a vestige of my childhood. When I was 11 years old my father had discovered a Chinese Restaurant in Hackensack, New Jersey that ran a Sunday Night MOT Special. For $6.95 you could eat all the Chinese food you want. That included the always expensive, always forbidden Lobster Lo Mein.

Our Hackensack ritual would actually begin Saturday night, when my father imposed a holiday-less fast on the whole family.

"The eating stops now so that by the time we get to the restaurant tomorrow night we're all starving and raring to go."

Though if memory serves me right, he would always -- political incorrectness coming your way -- mimic a Chinese accent and say, "...laling to go."

I apologize to my Asian friends and only add that to give this anecdote the proper/improper flavor it deserves. Consider this the MSG portion of the post.

As if that were not enough, my mother would also line her pocketbook with aluminum foil, so that some of those tasty egg rolls could make the drive home with us. Roadie rolls, if you will.

My affinity for the All You Want proposition did not end there.

Just as my buddies and I had reached drinking age (16 in New York if you knew the right people) we discovered a restaurant chain in NYC that sold a cheeseburger, fries and all the beer you could drink for just $8.95. I forgot the name. Something like Brew & Burger. Or Beef & Beer. Or Steer & Beer. Or The Cow & Hoosegow.

Intent on getting all of our $8.95's worth, we would settle into one of their leatherette lined booths at about 5 o'clock in the evening. Devour the last onion ring by 5:30. And be singing songs with the busboys at 1 in the morning as they were closing up the place, only after we drank enough beer to fill a large kiddie pool.

"You go now. Out. Out," shouted the Assistant Manager who'd had enough of our shenanigans. 

To be honest he'd had enough of us by 5:45.

I'm passing underneath the big industrial blow dryers now. And as I look over the hood it appears that white splotchy gift left by one of Culver City's infamous morning crows, still remains. Looks like I'll have to circle around and go through the car wash again.

Third time today should be the charm.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

If I were Nancy Pelosi

If I were Nancy Pelosi, I'd be thrilled. The last two weeks, since making the formal announcement of the impeachment inquiry, have been peachy. My god, every day there have been gifts sent to us like manna from heaven.

Whether it's Rudy Giuliani going on TV and giving a Master Class on How Not To Be A Lawyer. Or even Sane.

To the extremely punchable doughy face of Mike Pompeo as he is caught in redhanded lie after redhanded lie.

Or the reports of the President of the United States requesting that his unpaid for Wall be complemented with a 2000 mile long moat. A moat filled with poisonous snakes and meat-deprived alligators.

It's my understanding that the writers of the Sharknado franchise have all just resigned, claiming, "we can't top any of this shit."

Where's it all going?

No one knows. But if I were Nancy Pelosi I'd be holed up in a room with my top aides and asking, "How can we make this hurt that witless, hogbellied cockwomble as much as possible?"

I know there's been talk of speeding up this impeachment process. Wrong. I say drag it out. Payback is a bitch. And there's no better torture than slow torture.


Years ago I was shooting a documentary. The director shared a little trick of his. He would point the camera at the interviewee, ask a question, film the answer, and then mercilessly let the camera roll. The silence was deafening. And in 9 cases out of 10, the interviewee, squirming from the tension, would fill the void with personal, often-revealing secrets that were never meant to be shared in public.

And so it goes with this inquiry.

The longer this lasts the more the failed condo-salesman/grifter/porn star banging miscreant in the White House will implode. He will out himself about other porn stars. He will try and sue the 65 million Americans who voted Democrat in the last election. He will literally invite the Red Army to take the streets of America, you know to get our country back.

Finally, when the House finally does pass the impeachment it will be time to hand the case over to the Senate. According to the rules, the House is to nominate 6 attorneys to prosecute the case in the Upper Chamber where the Supreme Court Chief Justice will preside over the case.

But here's where the coup de grace comes in.

We all know the Republican Senators will be itching to weigh in on the matter and proudly exonerate their President. And their party.

But if I were Nancy Pelosi, I would not give them that opportunity. I would let this ignorant, knuckle-dragging, fuckwaffle waddle into the next election as a permanently stained candidate. And when Mitch McConnell and Aunt Pity Patty (Lindsey Graham), itching to get past all this, start shouting from the rafters, "Where is the case Nancy? Where are the 6 attorney nominees?"

I would turn to them, stare them squarely in their shifty eyes and say, "Merrick Garland says Hello, motherfuckers."

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Now that's a book

Today's blog posting is dedicated to Betsy Hamilton.

While cleaning out her garage she came across this gem in one of the heavier boxes destined for the landfill. Not wanting to shlep this 30 lbs. monstrosity cross country to NYC, she decided to gift it to me. And boy am I glad she did.

You see Betsy knows of my early teenage love affair with the National Lampoon. Some kids are inspired by rock stars and then lazily take up the guitar, hoping to one day sport glittered pants bathed by multicolored stage lights and cheesy pyrotechnics.

Other kids dissect a frog and decide, "I'd like to cut open people," and become doctors and surgeons.

Me? I'd spend my newspaper route delivery money at the magazine stand and soak up every monthly edition of NatLamp.

So much so that against my parent's wishes, who saw me excelling in Accountancy or Banking, I aspired to a career writing satire.

It didn't work out that way, having been detoured by a formerly lucrative career in advertising and putting food on the table for my family. But in an odd twist of fate, and a president who produces fodder on an hourly basis, I'm getting closer to those goals now than I ever had before.

Not surprisingly the book has been keeping me occupied for hours.

You can keep your classics. I've got no time for Homer and the Iliad, not when I can read the fascinating tale of a modern-day Robinson Crusoe who found peace and seclusion on a small, uncharted tropical isle.

Here, we see the man's hygiene being attended to by his faithful native companion, a man he has dubbed Freitag.

The book is chock full of great, detailed and incredibly crafted stories just like this one. And when the eyes get weary and the reading too taxing, there are dozens of sick, twisted, my-cup-of-tea cartoons scattered throughout.

It's funny, cutting and dark as hell. 

I highly recommend you have a friend gift you a copy.

However, if you do buy one book this year, make sure you buy this one.

Actually, you should buy two books this year.

You must have seen that coming.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Trump Transcripts

The world changed last week.

It changed when it was revealed that our president asked the president of another country (Ukraine) to initiate an investigation into his chief political opponent in the next election.

Full Stop.

There is no need for any quid pro quo. Nor is their need for any strong arming or pressure. There is simply our president, Captain Ouchie Foot, requesting a foreign country, to investigate Joe Biden, for the sole purpose of undermining his chances of winning the presidency.

This is a high crime.
This is a misdemeanor.
This is an abuse of power.

It doesn't get any clearer than that. And please spare me the "corruption" excuse -- that he was simply trying to root out corruption.

Precedent Shitgibbon has said on several occasions that another nation's internal doings were not our business. He never brings up the topic of corruption in Russia. Nor the abuse of civil rights in China or North Korea. Hell, he just sent American soldiers to fight for Saudi Arabia, where they hack journalists to pieces with a goddamned bone saw.

It turns out this regime-ending scandal doesn't stop there.

Crack undercover RoundSeventeen sources have been able to dig up other incriminating transcripts that document his willingness to use the power of the presidency to further his interests and not the nation's.

And there's this.

And finally this one which implicates a senior member of his cabinet.

Of course none of this will matter to Trumpsters, who are willing to subvert our Constitution and everything that defines American exceptionalism, for the extra $4.38 they now find in their weekly paychecks.

We Yanks, it turns out, are very cheap dates.