Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Time to recharge

If there is one thing I have learned about myself after 44 years on this planet, it's that I am an annoying creature of habit.

Actually, that didn't require much in the way of introspection, as my wife consistently mocks my consistency OCD. Often, with a scowl. And some snarky comment.

I make no apologies.

Because one person's consistency is another's persistence and determination, noble, at least to me, characteristics that have put food on my table and shekels in my bank account.

Take this blog as an example. I started RoundSeventeen more than 11 years ago. And shortly after I began making the posts public I announced that I would put up new material 4 days a week. Minus holidays, vacations and circumstances beyond my control, I have lived up to that self imposed oath.

And 10% of those of those posts are actually worth reading.

Likewise, with my rigorous and disciplined weight training routine. Way back in July I purchased a used set of weights from a very famous Hollywood producer. When I began, I could hardly bench 185 lbs. Last week, on two separate occasions, I put up 245 lbs.

Seen here is a stock photo I grabbed off the interwebs of what 245 lbs looks like on a bar.

That is no small feat for a man of my age and advanced girth. If I had someone to spot me and prevent the bar from falling on my chest, crushing my ribs and sending me to the hospital for some sweet, sweet morphine, I suspect I could go even higher.

The point is, consistency pays dividends.

A longwinded and somewhat haphazard way of saying, "it's time for a well-deserved break." 

Family and friends are coming from the four corners of the country. And the Thanksgiving table will be extended into the living room, just past Lucy's (my dog) sleeping pad. There promises to be lots of food, interesting cheeses, novelty hot sauces, smoked poultry, fine bourbon and simmering familial tension.

In other words, juicy grist for the R17 consistency mill.

Have a great holiday.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Hurry in while the deals last

Many of you will recognize this screen grab from a GMC truck commercial about their "Holiday" Sales Event.

I had posted this on my Facebook page last week, along with the innocuous observation that: I am inordinately bothered by the woman whose husband buys two GMC truck for Christmas and then immediately snags the black one. BTW, I beat Bill Maher to the punch who also wrote a lengthy post about this horsey piece of crap ad.

Anyway, it unleashed a torrent of comments. Mostly to the effect of, "Who buys a car (much less two) as a Xmas gift?"

It also brought up the perennial outcry about the never ending December to Remember spots with their infamous red bow.

A convenient jumping off point to bring up the glory of the past when I was the GCD on the Jaguar account and we effectively spoofed the red bow phenomena. This is one of my favorite spots from that era. It was initially rejected, so I convinced the director to shoot this during a lunch break, unbeknownst to the client. (excuse the poor resolution)

When we showed the client the work on film they loved it. But made us change "son of a bitch" to the softer and less pungent, "jerk."

All of which demonstrates the sheer ridiculousness of the contrived automotive "sales event." Pro tip: the deal you can get during the sales event will still be available the day after the sales event.

Which brings me to a little war story.

Last week, on one of my all too frequent trips to Palm Springs, my daughter tagged along. As we made our way through Ontario, just by the I-15 overpass, I told her about a road trip I had made nearly 30 years ago, in a car full of dealers and sales managers.

We were scouting a location for their upcoming Spring Tent Sale. Until this point I mistakenly thought I knew what advertising was about: breakthrough ideas, creativity, fame and fortune. I was as far from the truth as the Inland Empire is as far from Fiji.

If there's one thing dealer's love more than a year end sales event, it's a Tent Sale.

"Holy shit, we're gonna move some metal."

"We'll get a red and white tent that's 5 stories tall."

"The suckers will come in one end and drive out the other side."

They were literally drooling. Outside of a strip club in Atlanta, I've never seen grown men in clothes so excited.

This, for all the bloviation and pretentiousness and self importance, is what advertising is really about.

Or, as my friend and former copywriter Tom Parker so succinctly put it, "Sales rise when you merchandise."

Monday, November 25, 2019

Mercury, Schmercury.

I'm being told, from reliable sources on the Interwebs, that Mercury is no longer in retrograde.

I've also been told that while Mercury is in retrograde, life can go haywire, like riding a creaky Schwinn bicycle into an oncoming shitstorm.

Well if you know me and you know this blog, you know I have no tolerance for that astrological horse-cockery. There is no position of the stars and planets because the universe is not Earth-centric. Everything is relevant. And fluid.

Including, it seems, my previously stated position on the whole Mercury in Retrograde phenomena.

Case in point, my life.

Because in the last two months it feels like I've not only ridden a bike into a shitstorm, I've had three flat tires, a broken chain and I've misplaced my protective mouth mask.

For instance, I understand work is slow for most advertising freelancers, but for me it's not a case of the phone not ringing. It has. It's more a case of getting teased into nice long juicy gigs and then being canceled at the last moment. Often without an explanation. Professional courtesy has gone the way of White House integrity.

To make matters worse, the revenue from those now ghosted gigs could have eased the not so insignificant pain of dealing with my new role as a senior caregiver. It kills me to see my uncle in a shabby facility where the inedible food is served is mercifully served in microscopic portions. Money can't buy happiness but it can get you a decent plate of vegetable lasagna.

And I won't even begin to describe the agony of schlepping out to Palm Springs once a week (sometimes twice) to clean out his house to get it in some kind of rental form.

Then, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, my daughter in Denver took her eyes off the road, as many young people do, and plowed into a pick up truck. The other driver shrugged it off, but her new Mazda 3 was unrecognizably crunched into a Mazda 2.

The insurance company wanted to rebuild the car, with inferior parts, and I had to beg and plead for them to total the vehicle and send me a cash out check. Which they eventually did.

But, not only was Mercury in retrograde at the time, it appears Venus, Neptune and Jupiter were also in cahoots and wanted to get in on that good Let's-Fuck-With-Siegel action.

Because when I ambled down to my Wells Fargo branch they noticed the check had been made out to Richard (my legal name) and not Rich (the name I have been using for 44 years). They put an indefinite hold on the funds and sent my blood pressure into the stratosphere.

Lastly, to get things resolved in Colorado, my wife and daughter drove the aging Acura from LA to Denver to replace the Mazda 2. And naturally, somewhere outside Cedar City, Utah, a loose bolt came off the brake assembly, smashed through the grease boot and damaged the axle.

What in Carl Sagan's name is going on with my universe?

My friend and blogging buddy George Tannenbaum often says that work is Hell and that we have no other choice but to keep our heads down and plow through it. Well, life can be Hell, know in a first world, affluent white man kind of way. My only option is to stick my oversized nose to the grindstone and play the hand I'm dealt.

It's all about perspective.

Consider this. If you were on Luyton 726-8, one of the nearest stars to our planet, and you were looking through a telescope, Mercury would just now be going into retrograde.

Thankfully, we're all here on Earth.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Let's open the Photo Vault

It's a Photo Funny Thursday. Not by choice but by out of necessity. There's just been too much going on in my life for me to sit down and pen an actual post. Too many things that need not be discussed, but often require self medication.

We start our Photo Funny Thursday with the pie chart above. This is an old classic that has earned a permanent residence on my desktop. Every time I look at this monstrosity I am reminded how it is the perfect metaphor for Advertising 2019. Right down to the poorly appropriated shading.

Then there this...

Life has been handing me a lot of lemons lately. I can't make lemonade out of them because they look like this.

Here's one from Halloween.

At least I thought it was for Halloween. Turns out this neighbor leaves this out year round.


This was our minimalist contribution to the Halloween festivities.

Just before Halloween, my wife and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. I found the ideal anniversary card. As I've said on many occasion, the woman is a saint.

Spotted at my local gas station. A 1972 Super Beetle. The 70 year old owner, dressed like a college professor, told me the car had 380,741 miles on it. Adding, "I'll die before it does."

Speaking of older dudes, These were the spices (and hardly all of them) that we had to clear out of my uncle's house in Palm Springs. Frankly, I had no idea, and I was a restaurant short order cook, that Mother Earth created so many ways to flavor our food.

And finally there's this. Boy, shaving my body hair really has changed my appearance.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Simmer down Mr. and Ms. Creative Director

There's nothing that amuses me more than stumbling across an article or a post or even an interview with a Creative Director, or newly promoted Creative Director, who feels the need to pontificate about his or her critical role in the business.

For one thing, pontification is, by its very nature, nothing but a lot of hot air.

Moroever, pontification about 'advertising', that is blowing hot air about blowing hot air, has got to be the least readworthy of ventures. Though I have often been guilty of such infractions, right here on these very pages.

But let's come clean.

We are not curing cancer here, folks. If anything, we're pimping shit that does cause cancer: fossil fuel burning automobiles, carbonated brown sugar water and USB-fueled sucky devices that allow our teens to blow big puffy clouds of strawberry mango flavored exhaust in their wake.

As if that weren't enough, there's the laughable delusional nature of the whole thing.

Creative Directors like to bloviate about how they steward brands, inspire creativity and thoughtfully map out a successful future for multi-billion dollar organizations.

OK Boomer.

Or Gen Xer.

Or Ambitious Millennial.

I hate to rain on anyone's Ego Parade, but today's Creative Directors are nothing more than glorified copywriters and art directors.

You're not the one steering the boat.
You're not even on the deck where the boat get steered.
You're tucked away in the galley.
You're pulling the oars like everyone else.
You've just been moved to a window seat and that salty sea air has gotten to your head.

And if you bothered to look at the org chart you'd see a Group Creative Director, an Executive Creative Director and a Chief Creative Officer. And guess what? They're all under the similar mistaken belief that they're the ones steering the boat. When in fact they are in steerage, just like you, only the company pays for their gym membership that they never have time to get to use.

It pains me to say all this, but I speak from experience.

A long time ago, I was promoted to Creative Director and foolishly believed I was handed the keys to the kingdom. My head swelled so much I had trouble getting in an out of my new Lexus. I was ready to make my mark on Los Angeles. The ad community. The entire ad industry. And I was ready to tell the world about it.

Thank god there wasn't any social media at the time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Hello Matey

I did the 23&me thing about two years ago. In that time, not one relative, distant or otherwise, has ever reached out to me.

Though to be honest, I can't blame them.

If I found out I were related to me, I'd be running for the hills. Once in the hills, I'd be looking for an airport. To take me to a place where there's a boat. A boat that could take me to a deserted island. Hopefully one with WiFi.

But that kind understanding has not reached Esher, England. Because quite unexpectedly, the 23&me folks forwarded me a message that simply read, "Hey cousin!"

This young woman, whose name I will not divulge, is a third or fourth cousin on my mother's side. She even shares my mother's maiden name. Meaning she hails from my mother's paternal side, who I know nothing about. Other than they were poor, not very educated and probably drank.

I can also assume they had a wicked sense of humor. My Scottish mother's family all have hearty, infectious and unstoppable laughs.

Though to be honest again, I never understood what they were laughing about. I wish these people spoke English.

In any case, the connection made me rather curious about 23&me and I returned to my readout to see what else was going on.

There, I discovered, 23&me had assembled a personalized chart of my genetic traits.

Hard to believe these scientitians can tell all that about me just because I spit in a little test tube more than two years ago. And this list is hardly comprehensive. For another $69 the good people at the lab can tell me 100 other things I already know and/or loathe about myself.

Given the accuracy/inaccuracy of the above findings, it's a safe bet I won't be writing them another check.

You see while I don't have dimples or bunions or even a bald spot -- I have a bald head -- I do love cilantro and won't eat a taco without it.

Morevover, on the very important issue of upper back hair -- in the top left drawer of our new bathroom we keep a fully charged Remington electric shaver on hand for the earliest signs of "sprouting."

Monday, November 18, 2019

Ode to the Pyramid

Years ago, seemingly in another lifetime, advertising made sense.

Clients and agencies understood that good work took time. And money. And most importantly, the right people working on the business.

In agency land there was an unwritten, unspoken, but undeniable hierarchy of top tier talent. Names like Fallon, Chiat, Weiden, BBDO, Crispin and Droga.

There were also agencies -- I won't name them -- who could be counted on to do the dreck. And do it in volume. These were huge places, driven by the bottom line, who were more than willing to say, "Yes" to everything and crank out anything the client wanted. Or what the client's wife wanted. Or what the client's husband wanted (woke alert.)

Similarly, on the production side, there was a corollary pecking order among directors. In fact it was so well delineated, you not only had A list directors, you had A+ list directors.

Take for example, Johns & Gorman. (Full disclosure, I'm friends with Gary Johns and Jeff Gorman and we all share Chiat lineage)

These hugely talented guys were at the top of their game. In fact, in a brilliant ju-jitsu marketing campaign, they would run ads in production magazines daring creatives to send them storyboards.

In essence this inverted the bidding process and positioned Johns & Gorman as super premium directors. The Delta Force, as it were. Moreover, in addition to iconic creative work they did at Chiat, they have an impressive body of directorial work to warrant such swagger.

I know I run the risk of being the old 44 year old who pines for the glorious days of the past, but contrast that meritocratic approach that twists the law of supply and demand with the shabby, low rent, free for all approach that is all too prevalent today.

If for instance, you were to post a job listing on Linkedin for a copywriter/art director team, and further stipulated that the job was paying $18/hour plus all the LaCroix you can drink, your inbox would soon resemble a Lexington, Kentucky Walmart parking lot on Triple Discount Coupon Black Friday.

That's where we are at these days.

It's pathetic.

And it's funny.

But mostly, pathetic.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The law will prevail

Last week, an Alabama man living in alternate binary universe, fueled by caffeine, rage and crystal meth, took a long sharp blade and slashed a polyurethane balloon, striking what he called "a decisive blow for good over evil."

Today that man is facing fines, which even in "the bestest booming economy ever in the history of mankind", are still hefty.

He's also facing significant imprisonment, though one can argue this man has been been living a life of mental incarceration, with three hots, a cot and a daily toxic infusion of Sean Hannity and Red Hat propaganda.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, another more significant and rewarding filleting is taking place. Not by a trailer park, mac & cheese gorging, duck hunting hillbilly but by a Harvard/Stanford educated Juris Doctor who eats, breathes and sleeps the US Constitution.

And this time the cuts are not being made haphazardly. Nor is there any of the previous untargeted flailing about by a witless schmuck sporting a MAGA hat and a crop cut T-shirt that reveals a hog belly and a lifetime ingestion of cornpone and nuked over hush puppies.

No, this time, a skilled legal surgeon and his colleagues, are using a scalpel, carefully and methodically slicing and dicing their way through this cancerous monster and working to remove the malignancy that is ravaging this country.

With that I am cutting today's normally wordy post down to size.

So I can get back to the impeachment hearings and watch Adam Schiff take a hot branding iron to the ample ass of Captain Ouchie Foot and mark for all of history to see not just the worst president of the United States of America, but the worst fucking person to ever walk the planet in 2019.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

No Sale

It was inevitable.
And every author, published or self published knows it.
The Death Spiral down the Amazon sales chart that follows the initial surge upon a book's release.

Even a stirring endorsement by our scholarly president cannot prevent the ill fated fall.

Last time I checked, my book Mr. Siegel Writes to Washington, was the 1,569,733rd best selling book, out of an inventory that is roughly estimated at over 4 million.

Just for shits and giggles, let's look at some of the other books that are selling better than my yearlong political ouvre.

Coming in at 1,438,745, there's...

We live in puerile times. The president is a self admitted pussy grabber and porn star banger. We have a Supreme Justice who, when he was a younger man, apparently liked to "boof", get black out drunk and accost young girls. Plus, there's seems to be a gentlemen's club on every corner in every city of our fair country. It's no wonder why this definitive book on stripping is burning up the charts.

At 1,289,53, there's ...

Am I going to take the time to "delight my guests with fancy folds and simple surface embellishments"? Probably not. When I go to the bathroom, I've got business to attend to. And after that business has been attended to, there are scented candles to be lit and hasty exits to be made.

Even the kids book are beating me up...

It's been a long, long time since I read children's books to my daughters at bedtime. I wish this series had been around then. I'll bet the Berenstain Bears are more entertaining than Midnight Moon and Tzundl the Tailor.

Also soaring past me on the sales chart...

I might even pick up a copy of this for myself. Since my uncle has moved into an assisted living home, I now have all kinds of woodworking and shop tools at my disposal. It's funny how he, and my father, both NY Bronx born Jewish accountants, found their inner carpenter and excelled at woodwork later in life.

And finally, coming in at 683,492, there's...

Maybe I should also buy a copy of this page turner...oh wait, it's already on my bookshelf.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Closing the book on Trump Doral

My attempts to become a member of the World Class Super Premium Ultra Fantastic Trump National Doral Golf Club have fallen on deaf ears.

It appears this will not be happening.

However, I never planned to move to Miami in the first place. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from when my father dragged our asses there a long time ago. A cramped, cigarette-smoke-filled Winnebago, in the middle of August, at a crappy campground on the alligator-infested edges of the everglades, is no sane person's idea of a "vacation."

But that's OK, because located just 3.2 miles from my house, is the lovely Rancho Park Golf Club, seen here.

Rancho Park has everything Doral doesn't: charm, accessibility, and $3 a bottle Bud Light Breakfast Beers.

This is my grandfather's kind of course, you know if my grandfather weren't escaping Russian pogroms and hightailing it to America to drive shitty taxis all around the Bronx, and actually played golf.

In fact once you enter the unguarded gates at Rancho Park, it's easy to imagine yourself stepping back in time. As well as escaping Los Angeles. If not for the Spanish tiled roof on the clubhouse, you'd swear you were in Milwaukee, circa 1967.

Here's the course.

Here's the driving range.

Here's the cafeteria, aka restaurant.

And here's the Men's Locker Room...

Actually, I didn't take any pictures of the Men's Locker Room. A grown 44 year old man snapping pictures of ancient creaky lockers and perma-stained ceramic urinals, is well...not a good look.

You'll just have to take my word on it.

In short, there's nothing fancy or pretentious about Rancho Park. Even more ironically, given its location, about two long well hit drives from toney Century City, there's nothing remotely Los Angeles about the place.

In other words, Rancho Park is my kind of golf course, you know, if golf were my kind of sport.


UPDATE: there's a chance the good folks at Doral are onto me.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Culture shock

My wife and I have spent the better part of the last two weeks moving my uncle from his home in Palm Springs to his new "home" at the ______ _____ assisted living residence in Santa Monica.

I dare not print the name of the place because sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

I will say however, that since my life now encompasses a disturbing and growing familiarity with assisted living homes, senior care, and inedible vegetable lasagna, I am thoroughly convinced that our euthanasia laws need to be revised. Because I am not destined for that kind living.

But I digress.

What is it with old people and power strips? It seems every time I open one of my uncle's boxes, there's a power strip chord. There are so many of them I often find them coiled up with each. It's like turning over a rock and uncovering a nest of snakes.

Indeed sometime they are attached. The power strips have their own power strips.

I have never seen so many in one location. Nor was I aware of the great power strip variety that are available to the avid power strip shopper, as my uncle seems to be.

There are the long straight versions (as seen above). These can accommodate 6, 10 and even 12 inputs. There are also the squattier boxy versions, presumably for when you don't want your power strip extending too far into your living space. There are even accessories for your power strip, including the power strip octopus...

This little doohickey gives your power strip even more power options.

My wife and I had thought we'd seen it all until we went out to the Palm Springs house to clean up what was not brought to the ______ ______ assisted living home.

There, behind desks, beds and furniture destined for storage, we unearthed the mother lode of power strips. My god they seemed to replicating. He literally has enough to start a small brick and mortar store, Uncle Ron's Power Strip Emporium.

If you find yourself in the Palm Springs area, please feel free to give me a call and help yourself to as many power strips as you'd like.

I also have a shit ton of HP photo paper.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Resume, the extended version

There's a new meme flying around Facebook. I just caught whiff of it this morning (I'm writing this on Monday morning) and have no idea if it will take off or not. I think it should because it's inherently interesting. And simple.

The idea is to list, in chronological order, your life journey via the jobs you've had.

I like to think I can spot an easy blog posting when I see one, so I'm going to refrain from posting my lengthy job history on Facebook and do it justice here on Roundseventeen.

Keep in mind this recollection is highly dependent on my failing memory as well as my copious intake of coffee.

Here goes:

Newspaper Delivery Boy (Two routes)

Grill Man (Jack in the Box on Rt.59 in Spring Valley)

Landscaper with Jim Gallagher (RIP) for Dr. Lawn

Cafeteria Worker (Brockway Dining Hall, Syracuse University)

Pot Washer (Good Samaritan Hospital) (Worst. Fucking. Job. Ever.)

Cafeteria Worker (Brockway Dining Hall, Round Two, cause you just can't get enough of mashed potato wars in the dishwasher room)

Accounts Receivable Clerk ( Brownell Electro, my father's company)

Short Order Cook (Denny's, Carrier Circle, Syracuse, NY)

Bartender (Uncle Sam's, Syracuse, NY)

Bartender (Sutter's Mill, Syracuse, NY)

Forklift Driver (Brownell Electro, Los Angeles Warehouse on the border of Gardena and Compton, only non-convicted felon on the loading dock)

Kitchen Manager (SH Kickers Steakhouse, West Los Angeles. Catered Film Wrap Parties, met OJ Simpson, Craig t Nelson and the cast of Poltergeist before they all died)

Short Order Cook (The Golden Spoon, TGIF, Cheesecake Factory, Merlin McFly, Charmer's Market, At My Place, Hop Singh's)

Mailroom Clerk (Needham Harper & Steers)

Media Estimator (Needham Harper & Steers)

Junior Copywriter (Bernard Hodes Recruitment Advertising, wrote Help Wanted ads)

Copywriter (J.Walter Thompson Recruitment Advertising, wrote more Help Wanted ads)

Copywriter (Bear Advertising, left after one week when the owner used the N-word)

Copywriter  (Abert Newhoff & Burr)

Copywriter (Bozell Advertising)

Copywriter (Chiat/Day Advertising)

Sr. Copywriter (BBDO)

Associate Creative Director (Team One Advertising)

Creative Director (Chiat/Day Advertising)

Group Creative Director (Young and Rubicam Advertising Irvine, 53 fucking miles from my house)

Freelance Copywriter (Rich Siegel Worldwide. Best. Job. Ever.)

That's a lot of jobs crammed into my 44 years of life. No wonder I'm so damn irritable.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Pass the bacon

Lately, the facebook algorithm machine has been putting me in touch with people from the old country. And by old country I mean Suffern, NY, which by the way is featured prominently in the new Martin Scorsese film, "The Irishman."

I suspect this reconnection trend is due to my increased political arguments with folks from the old neighborhood who seemingly stopped educating themselves the minute they were handed a high school diploma.

From what I can tell there is trouble afoot in Suffern. And I'm not talking about the football team's inability to score once in the Red Zone. I'm talking about the Hasidim.

At one time they were concentrated in Monsey, the neighboring town. And by the way if you get a chance read Beware of Dog, written by fellow ad guy Shalom Auslander, who grew up in Monsey and paints a vivid, if not prescient picture of the changes taking place in Rockland county.

I'm not about to wade into the Hasidic issue. As I mentioned on a Facebook thread, I don't know enough about the ins and outs, the problems, the conflicts or even the possible resolutions.

Suffice to say that if some of the more religious Christian zealots in the region took the time to get to know their elder Abrahamic brothers and sisters they'd find they have a lot in common:

* A slavish devotion to Scripture

* An unfathomable and fact-free belief in some Messiah thing

* A backwards archaic view of homosexuality, chastity, marriage and virginity

* An unrealistic halcyonic view of the past

In fact, one might say that these people are like peas in a pod. You know if it were not for the Hasidim's unreasonable refusal to eat pork and pork products. I bet a few racks of baby back ribs slathered in tangy sauce from Copper Top BBQ in Big Pine, CA, best barbecued meat in the west, would change all that.

Let me walk the plank a little further and provide those who would accuse me of Jewish self-loathing with even more ammunition and suggest the Hasids have a major PR problem. And so much of it stems from their outdated and unappealing shtetl wear.

One doesn't normally come to R17 for fashion forward advice, but today we offer it freely.

To wit, what if the Hasidim looked like this:

I see a Bravo Network show, or at least a fascinating episode, in all this...

Queer Eye for the Hasidic Guy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

World Class Prestigious Fabulous Doral Trump National Golf Club, revisited.

When we last visited Mr. Willy Ruiz, Sales Manager and President of World Class Prestigious Fabulous Doral Trump National Golf Club in Florida, we were discussing the lower cost Social Membership.

From my careful reading of the contract, the $15,000 package, as well as the $500 a month dues, does entitle a member to the many fantastic, remarkable and big league amenities at this one of a kind club, that one Yelp reader says, "Feels like a nice Ramada Inn."

If you will recall I was also trying to wrangle a commitment from Mr. Ruiz, who promised to find me the same carpet used in the Doral lobby for our fictional condo at the Villas of Amberwood.

That help never came.

What is it with people these days? Mr. Ruiz probably could have closed the sale and had my $15,000 check in his grubby hands if he had just met me halfway. Instead I got this.

He really wants to talk to me on the phone. So I called his number several times and hung up immediately. If I get on the phone I will start laughing immediately and the whole mission, as it were, would be blown.

So I retreat to stalling technique #37.

The astute among you, or at least those of you who watch Better Call Saul,  will catch the CC Mobile reference.

But I fear the picture of me and my hot headed wife, Pauline Lancinanti (Ball Buster, in Italian) prancing through the hallways at Exclusive, Incomparable, Preeminent World Class Trump National Doral Golf Country Club, has proven too much for the elitist snobs at this place and he has failed to return any further inquiries.

And so, I am left to play the only card I have left, my Trump card, the promise of more money.

The bad news is I don't believe I will ever hear from Mr. Willy Ruiz ever again.

The good news is Captain Ouchie Foot has golf clubs all over the world. 

"Hello Turnberry, this is Angus McWillywilly...."

Monday, November 4, 2019

Make Me A Sandwich

Never mind your Baby Boomers, your millenials,  and your X'ers, Y's and Z's, let's address the Sandwich Generation.

We don't get much airtime.

In fact, we don't get any.

And no one is out there designing a car, a sneaker or even a smartphone app for us Sandwichers.

If the photo above doesn't sufficiently illustrate the definition of the Sandwich Generation, allow me to elaborate.


Sandwichers have the unappealing responsibility of not only taking care of their children with their insatiable appetite for expensive technology, but also of their elders with their mind bending inability to understand technology.

And so, having spent the entire weekend moving my uncle into an assisted living situation while simultaneously dealing with the finer intricacies of auto insurance brought on by the totaling of my daughter's new car (she's fine), I feel compelled to put in a few words for the long forgotten sandwich people.

My uncle can be, oh how shall I put this, unfiltered and brutally honest. In other words, he's a Siegel.

Nevertheless, despite his orneriness, I love him and insisted he take one of the nicer ($$$) rooms at _______ ______ ____. (I already have a choice list of nicknames for the assisted living home, none of which I will share here.)

And here's why.

In my early years, he would drive up from New York City to take us skiing at all the local places, like Sterling Forest and Mt. Peter. And on the occasional treat, we'd venture further north to Bellayre, with their fancy schmancy chairlifts. Since then I've been a lifelong skier, and despite my girth and barrel chested stance, can cut quite a path on any diamond or double black diamond run. Ok, on some.

In my later years, my uncle taught me something more important -- a tolerance for gay people.

Not that I was very intolerant, but I clearly needed to evolve. I'll bet most bible-thumping, right wingers would find a gay person or two at their Thanksgiving day table if they ever bothered to put the hate on the shelf and shake the family tree.

The evolving is a work in progress.

Because it's also shifted my view on others who have found themselves on the short end of America's caning stick: women, brown people, black people, even fetishists out there who might, in the privacy of their bedroom, do odd things with catcher's masks, dustbusters and peanut butter. All of which is their business, none of which is mine.

I've pent up and reserved all my antipathy for one particular class of people -- contractors.

You see with my uncle now safely ensconced into his new Santa Monica abode, I've got to fix up, renovate, remodel and manage his home in Palm Springs. How hard is it for a painter or a plumber or a carpet installer to make a 10 AM Thursday morning appointment and then show up for a 10 AM Thursday morning appointment? If I did business like these guys did business I'd be an underemployed freelance copywriter....oh wait.

One of these days I will enjoy the rewards of all this.

But right now I've got to run to Best Buy to get my uncle a new mouse to plug into his 2006 Tandy 100MB computer.