Thursday, October 29, 2020

All the Rage

I know you don't come here for book reports, but I'm going to share one with you anyway. Because with less than a week before the most important election of our lifetime, a country-saving election, I believe this book is a Must Read.

Particularly if you are among the 60 million people who sport the dreaded Red Hat.

I have spent the better part of the last 4 years raging against this monster. And make no mistake he is a colossal monster, a toxic flesh bag filled with ignorance, incompetence and psychopathic narcissism. 

I have laid out irrefutable facts concerning our current state of being, including:

* Our second GOP Recession in 12 years

* 3.1 trillion dollar annual deficit (highest ever in recorded US history)

* 7.2 trillion added to our US debt (also the highest in US history)

* 8 million cases of coronavirus (highest on the planet)

* More than 225, 000 Americans taking the Covid Dirt Nap. (a number that will soon soar)

And yet there are the stubborn (see cult membership) ones who will not give an inch and pledge their undying and dying support of this fishbrained fuckknuckle.

Through it all, I have heard the common refrain that, "You're just brainwashed by the MSM, the mainstream media." When asked for what media they choose to read, or more accurately, watch, because they don't read, they will cite sources that have little or nothing in the way of credentials.

Well Bob Woodward has credentials. And I have to believe even the most stubborn GOP stalwart would have to agree. Or maybe not. But there can be no doubt that he is an American treasure and literally defines the nature of investigative journalism.

For reasons that bewilder me, and indeed bewildered Woodward, Commander Assnapkin granted him unprecedented presidential access. Moreover, almost every one of the interviews and telephone calls have been captured on tape.

In other words, the book is factual. And it is unbiased as a Journalist with a capital J can possibly be.

So any of the Deep State bullshit holds no water here.

As I told my daughters last week while we were busy mailing postcards to voters in swing states, Democracy is not a spectator sport. It requires active participation. Likewise, voting is not to be taken glibly, it requires research, decision making and it is responsibility of all our fellow citizens. 

To that end, if you read one book this year -- normally this would be where I'd plug one of my four non bestsellers available on amazon -- make sure you read Rage. Read it this weekend. It's a fast and fascinating read.

Read Rage and you'll know firsthand the behind the scene antics of a clown who has no understanding of the office. 

A delusional silver spoon baby who claims he was "sailing, just sailing along, doing a great job", when in reality he wasn't doing the job at all. 

A craven, greedy, unAmerican Douchebiscuit who put his needs above yours, mine and ours. Correction, he never even acknowledged the needs of the country. Ever.

In short, and in the inimitable words of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, "A FUCKING MORON!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

On the shriveling nature of American Masculinity

If you were to get binary about it, there are two types of people in America during Covid -19: people who wear masks, and Maskholes. 

If you were to ask a Maskhole why (or she) does not wear a mask, as suggested by the CDC and in furtherance of the goal to reduce the spread of coronavirus, you would begin to peal away at the bank vault thick layers of stupidity that have corroded the brains of 60 million of our fellow Americans. 

To begin with, you'd discover a heretofore unknown world of dimestore science. Taken not from the recognized bastions of advanced immunology like the New England Journal of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic, but from strip mall chiropractors who know how to upload videos on YouTube and are apparently well connected in the deep dark denizens of Gab and Parlor. 

"Masks lead to carbon dioxide poisoning."

"Masks create mental disease."

"Masks are a violation of my Constitutional rights."

Each of these lame arguments are laughable in their own right. 

And more often than not they are spoken by the same clowns who often sat at the back of science class in high school and couldn't be bothered with learning about photosynthesis, compound molecules, or evolution. 

Though in hindsight, many of these mouth breathers are walking talking demonstrations that man has not evolved and in many cases has all the intellect of a clever capuchin monkey.

But what amuses me most is how the wearing of the mask has been sexualized. Much the way the pink pussy hat was demonized in 2017. I've had Trumpsters troll my Facebook profile and then demand to know why a grown heterosexual man would be wearing a pink pussy hat.

I wore the hat as a lark. And because I believe my wife, her three sisters, my two daughters, my nieces and my cousins, deserve equality and respect. If you believe that somehow makes me a "less of a man", that's your issue not mine. 

And the same goes for the mask. I can't tell you how many times my masculinity has been questioned or used as some kind of cudgel to make a point about machismo. Good night nurse! Are these people terminally locked in a high school locker room? 

If you're looking for male weakness why not start at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the wussy who called our veterans "suckers and losers" and wouldn't even stand up to Vladimir Putin about election interference or bounties on our soldier's heads. 

That's some world class pussiness.

These Neandarthals are so wrapped up in their own fragility and one dimensional definition of masculinity they can't help but to display their infantilized perceptions of the world on a public social media platform. 

We have devolved from what once was the Greatest Generation, characterized by rugged individualism, intellectual maturity and world leading self sacrifice to the Lamest Generation of insecure, intolerant, and ineducable asshats who see a mask as an indication of weakness, femininity and communist inclination.

Fuck them and fuck their embarrassing incapacity for critical thinking.

The science fiction movie IDIOCRACY was set in the year 2505. And though it was wildly accurate, I'd suggest the year was wrong by 485 years.



Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The fallacy of loyalty

I came across a podcast the other day. 

It featured a legend of modern day advertising, pimping his new creative venture. I wish him all the best. Though he doesn't need my salutations. This is a guy who has enough award winning work for 10 portfolios. And, if you could measure how much additional value he brought to his agency's clients, it would easily be in the 10 figure range.

He wouldn't be hawking this new venture, if he hadn't been summarily told to grab a cardboard box, stuff it with his French trophy trinkets and vacate his seat at the agency's Long Table of Mediocrity™. Which, again, I hope turns out to be a blessing.

But as many friend and fellow blogger, George Tannenbaum, often writes, that while it's easy to wish good fortune on older creatives who've been shown the door, it's even easier to wish tsuris on the big ad agencies who keep finding themselves re-using staples and re-bending paper clips just to stay financially afloat.

And it boils down to a simple fact: while we showed them loyalty for oh so many years, they reciprocated the blood, sweat, tears and poorly digested late night pizza with pink slips and platitudes. 

Fuck Them.

How many times has an account coordinator swung by your desk at 6 PM asking, "Hey what do want for dinner tonight?" And then come around again at midnight,"Hey we thought we'd get some late night snacks, anything we can get you?" (yeah, get me outta here.)

How many Friday afternoons was there a pit in your stomach? Knowing your weekend plans, could at any moment, depending on the whim of some asshat with three homes and a driver, send out an email with the Subject: 5 Alarm Fire.

And how many end of year reviews went something like this:

"You've done a great job for us. You helped us land the Mahoney account. You helped us save Acme Flick Flacks. And you and your team have so many awards, we have to put up new solid gold shelving in our lobby."

"This is gonna be good,"you thought to yourself."

"Unfortunately, because of belt-tightening and holding company dictates, there are no end of year bonuses."

"What?" you blurt out.

"Yeah, and salaries have been frozen."

Cut to face of disbelief.

"But at least you're still working. At this great place. Some would call you lucky." 

Yes, lucky, that's exactly what you were thinking.

There's a chance this post will resonate with many of you. Because this is not just the story of the podcast guest. It is the story, or at least a variation of it, with all of us. We put in the hours. We made the sacrifices. We showed loyalty to companies that would not return the favor. Even if they could.

My suggestion to you younger folks: Get what you deserve. 

And get it before the changing free marketplace of ideas and innovation gives the ad agencies and their holding companies, what they deserve.

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Circle of Strife

The Circle of Strife.

I rarely use the headline of the post as the first line in the post, but on this occasion I will because I'm that pleased with myself. Pardon the indulgence. We'll get back to real writing, real funny writing shortly. In fact, I feel like it will be here momentarily. 

It's ready.

It's coming.

It's just around the corner.

Ahh, by now you see I've been mimicking the stall tactics of our favorite, Commander Assnapkin. Think about it, how often have you heard him say, "we're gonna have a big, beautiful healthcare plan, very shortly"? You've heard many, many times because he has said it many, many times.

Brian Williams of MSDNC put together a supercut of the president lying about healthcare that dates back to 2017. At the risk of being redundant, the clip went on for close to 90 seconds. And every time, it was posited, it was getting closer and closer. 2 weeks ago, while talking with Chris Wallace he said it was ready.

If it was ready why not show it us, particularly now with the polls showing him lower than Jeffrey Dahmer, Attila the Hun, Adolf Hitler and Lucifer? 

Ahh, but the astute Red Hat will argue, why roll it out now, when it will only get rejected by Nancy Pelosi and her hoard of communists? Quick aside -- it is fascinating to me to see a puppet president, installed by Vladimir Putin, the former head of the Soviet Union's KGB, label others as communist. 


And it is true, unless this new big beautiful plan was magically better than the current ACA, the democrats would likely reject it. Begging the question, why wasn't the plan rolled out when the GOP had the White House, the Senate and the toadie-filled house?

The more important point I wanted to make was how this is so revealing of Grandpa's Ramblemouth's Modus Operandi. He has never built anything. Never worked on anything. Never delivered on anything. And, more to the point, never paid for anything. 

He only promises to do all of the above. And then the stalling kicks in.

Ask the unpaid architects who designed the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. 

Ask the empty-handed painters who painted his shitbag hotels.

Ask the creditors and the banks who got pennies on the dollar because this inveterate liar has stiffed them for millions of dollars in unpaid notes.

The past is prologue. He pretended to be a billionaire so he could become president. And now he wants four more years of being president so he can use the office to make himself a billionaire.

There is no other agenda.

Just like there is no new healthcare plan.

Just like there is no check in the mail.


Thursday, October 22, 2020


It's the end of another week here at R17 and it has just occurred to me that every post has been about Commander Assnapkin (that's right, even at this late stage I'm creating new nicknames for him.) 

I like the way Assnapkin rolls off the tongue. 

There's a literary phrase for a word like Assnapkin. It's akin to onomatopoeia. I'm not sure what the phrase is. Maybe one of my better educated followers can tell me. It has to do with three syllable compound words that use certain consonants. Like: douchebiscuit, jizzwaffle, and shitgibbon. Come on, those are fun words.

Back to my original point. Today I'm laying off "our president", mostly because my rage level is through the roof. And because there's an annoyance that is more immediate at hand. Or at ankle, as the case may be.


We have them. The neighborhood has them. In fact all of Southern California has them. This is only noteworthy because in the past we didn't have them.

At first, I thought it was localized. I noticed I was getting bitten while I was in my garage lifting weights or digging through my mounds of shit to find a three pronged outlet adapter.

Then, a few weeks ago, when our friends, the Bombecks brought their Aussie Shepherd dog over to play with Lucy, we noticed we were getting bitten on the patio. 

Then in a passing conversation with the Garretts up on Culver Crest, my wife discovered the mosquitos had moved to higher elevations.

Then in an effort to stave off cabin fever boredom, my daughter started digging around the inter webs and found out that it's a thing.

No Murder Hornets. 

But mosquitos. 

Moreover this particular breed of Mosquitos have a very highly scientific name. They're called Ankle Biters. True story.

Which brings us to the difference in the sexes. You see, to deal with the nagging ankle biting mosquitos my wife sent me back to the garage to fetch the oversized Citronella candles buried amongst all our camping gear. I'm convinced Citronella does nothing. It's the burning Sage of home remedies. 

Nevertheless, and mostly so I don't have to hear her bitching about it, the candles are now on the patio. And they are uselessly lit almost 24/7.

My approach was somewhat different. I returned to the magic Bezos machine and purchased a can of deadly chemical laden repellent with enough DDT to down a bison. I also got me a Zapper.

It was only after I hung the Zapper and plugged it in that I read they are largely ineffective at reducing the mosquito population. 

Yet they are hugely popular. Why? Because of the mosquito-sized brain of the American male homeowner. Turns out, and they have research to prove this, the only reason men like these zappers is the sound of a pesky ankle biter meeting its demise and going over the mosquito rainbow.


"Yeah, got another one."

Truth is, it sucks in a ton of energy, is completely ineffective and makes a lot of noise.

Turns out this post was about Trump after all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A tip of the hat.

I know that when most of you see this hat you think, "there goes an uncouth, uneducated clod with no sense of taste or style."

But you'd be wrong.

Because this, my friends, is the 2016 version of the MAGA golf cap. And believe it or not it's a study in class, refinement and haute couture, particularly when held up to the newer, impossibly more obscene MAGA cap of 2020.

I'm not sure many people noticed the difference. I guarantee his followers didn't. But for some reason, perhaps because of the lagging ins the polls, the skyrocketing number of Coronavirus cases, the cratering economy, the epic melting down of a frail, stupid, merkin-sporting man, the Trump team decided some brand hat optimization was in order.

In short, "Make the LOGO Bigger!!!"

Giving us this monstrosity...

Good Night Nurse, does that not scream desperation?

This? From the man the media claims is a Masterful Brand Builder? Are you fucking kidding me?

I'm no graphics expert but I know atrocious kerning and horsey oversized type when I see it. 

Though it pains me to say, the 2016 MAGA hat was iconic, for all the wrong reasons. The 2020 version looks like the work of a junior art director whose only experience was designing Instie posts and Bake Sale banners for the Alpha Phi sorority at the University of Miami.

The hat is more cockwomblish than the man who inspired it. I feel like ordering it just to say I have the memorabilia that brought down the Fourth Reich. I could keep it the drawer with my two commemorative coins marking the unseeable romance between Kim Jong Un and Commander Assnapkin.
I can only imagine the scenario that brought on this sartorial abortion.

"Ivanka, your brother Eric wants to help out on this year's campaign, can you and Jared give him something to do?"

"Sure Daddy. Why don't we have him contact our people in Huang Wi and get us a new batch of MAGA hats."

"Perfect, then he won't bother me anymore and call me when I'm driving the tricky 15th hole, the dogleg left that keeps swallowing my balls."

"I'll take care it Daddy."

Cut to a month later.

"Hey pops, how do you like the new hats?"

"They look like shit, Eric. Send them back."

"I have a warehouse full of them."

"I don't care if you have ten warehouses full of them. Return them. And don't send them a dime my money."


Cut to:

"It's fun to stay at the Y...M...C...A."

Addendum: it gives me great joy to think of the Trump team boxing up all that Keep America Great swag and shipping it off to Africa or some third world country in southeast Asia, because it lost all its value when he dropped the Covid Meat in the Dirt.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Advertising's chef.

If you know me, and after eleven years of posting on this blog and revealing my most telling secrets, you ought to, you know that when I'm in for a dime I'm in for a dollar.

To that end I've been digging into the HBO documentary series Agents of Chaos. 

It's a fascinating look at the dark hands of the Russian Mafia and their masterful puppetry of American politicians.

Last week, they delved into Yevgeny Prigozhin, Putin's Chef.

A man who looks very much like you'd expect a Russian overlord of crime and evil. I won't go into all the sordid tales of his Eastern Bloc mischief, because I'm not a journalist, I only play one on the inter webs. 

And because it's way too complicated and admittedly, not very funny.

What did catch my eye was how Yevgeny, had my poor shtetl ancestors stayed put in Belarus, I could've been named Yevgeny, made a fortune for himself by ripping off American intellectual property. He saw the worldwide success of McDonalds and thought, "I'm going to recreate that here in Mother Russia only not with hamburgers and fries but with blintzes."

He created BlinDonalds. A fast food chain that reached to the upper tundra of Siberia and made Yevgeny a billionaire. You know, in addition to selling weapons, black market drug dealing and high end Russian prostitution...

"You vant I wear fishnets? 5000 rubles."

The astute among you know that I have a certain fascination for blintzes. In fact it wasn't long ago I wrote about my dream of leaving the lucrative, fabulous and glamorous world of advertising to hawk blintzes.

You can read about it here.

Turns out, when it comes to retail or escaping the clutches of advertising, I'm always one step behind. 

Not to mention a few hundred thousand dollars shy of what I'd need to launch a proper venture. It appears I will be knocking out email blasts and instagram ideas for Harry's House of Catheters til the day my cold hands are petrified with rigor mortis around this dirty keyboard.

All of which makes me so happy for a colleague, though we've never met, who has managed to turn corporate downsizing in his favor -- Mr. Mark Tripp. If I ever get some free time I will hunt him down and try one of his delicious burgers. You should too. Maybe for reprinting this article he'll comp me one.

Congrats Mark. Really.


Monday, October 19, 2020

"It's a 6 star resort Bob."

There's a point in Bob Woodward's new book, RAGE, where Precedent Shitgibbon has invited the author down to Mara Lago. 

Why he would extend such hospitality and warmth to a seasoned journalist who had previously ripped the president a new escape hole for his digested KFC chicken wings, I'll never know. But then there's so much about this walking fleshbag of malevolence I will never understand.

As they make their way over the grounds, meticulously landscaped and tended to by undocumented workers from Guatemala, they reach a foyer where Captain Ouchie Foot proudly directs Woodward's attention to a plaque on the wall.

"Check this out, Bob. Mara Lago is the only 6 star private country club/resort in the world. In the world." 

Woodward grins. Bites his tongue about telling the president there's no such thing as a 6 star resort. And makes a mental note to himself: 

"Oh this guy is a major fucking loon and has totally created his own fantasy world. This is going in the book."

That's just 2 pages in an opus of 426 pages detailing the colossal clusterfuck we all find ourselves living in.

I'm only half way through the appropriately titled book and I can tell you I've never been so angry or disheartened in my life. Sure there's an election coming up. And yes, he is way down in the polls. But if you believe Woodward and his well documented tales of dysfunction and deceit, you know that is all meaningless.

Because this hogbellied flapdragon has at his disposal ALL the levers of government. And when it comes to pushing his agenda or serving his eternal money grubbing purpose, he will stop at nothing, not even an edict from the Supreme Court or the Constitution, to get what he wants. 

Not for America. but for himself.

Last week, someone on Twitter listed me among several giants as a digital warrior fighting this critical battle. And while it's true I have spent considerable time and energy in this fight, I have neither the gravitas nor the sizable platform to make any difference. All I've managed to do is piss off some miscreants from my high school who never cracked open a book and now see themselves as Qanon-fueled pundits with a PhD in Political Science.

But whatever I lack in credentials, or decorum, Bob Woodward has. In spades. 

For many of us, the book will be preaching to the choir. Though to hear and witness the cockwomblitude from inside the Oval Office and feel the frustration of Mattis, Tillerson, and McMaster firsthand is something else.

If you know a wavering Red Hat, make them read this book. Or, if they can't read -- and that's a distinct possibility -- get them the audiobook. 

Or simply read it to them before they go to sleep.  

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Say goodbye to the boondoggle

I know I've said it before but I'll say it again, "advertising just ain't as much fun as it used to be."

And by 'used to be', I'm clearly referring to a time long, long gone. 

Like in this picture when I (the one on the left) still had hair. This picture was snapped while filming some Earthlink commercials in NYC, a few weeks before the 9/11 attacks. I'm almost positive we were booked on the same American Airlines flight #11 from Newark to LA as one of the ill-fated planes. I don't know which flight the chimp was on for his return home.

We were shooting commercials in the basement of an old church and had two full sized chimpanzees on the set. They were siblings. And quite inseparable. 

If they were separated, they would let you know it in an awesome display of raw strength, banging on their cages and howling louder than a jet engine. The trainer allowed us to pick up the large 75 lbs. monkey, but had warned us not to look in the eye of the chimp, lest he mistake it for an act of aggression. Furthermore he pointed out that the chimp had the strength of 10 men. I don't know what I was benching at the time but I didn't want to press my luck.

The Director on these Earthlink commercials was Chris Smith, who has a slew of must-see movies to his name (including one of ours, HOME MOVIE) and was one of the Executive Producers on last summer's monster pandemic hit, "Tiger King."

I mention all this because part of the joy of working in advertising is the call of the wild world of adventure. Through advertising I traveled quite a bit. Stayed in places I never thought I would. And had experiences that made all the shitty parts of advertising (focus groups, salary freezes, office politics, and The Long Table of Mediocrity™) somewhat bearable. 

That, it seems, has all gone away, like so many empty bottles of useless Minoxidil. 

Thanks in large part to Grandpa Ramblemouth's cockwomble handling of the Covid virus.

A few weeks ago I was in production. An astounding statement all on its own, considering how few copywriters and art directors actually get to say that. I might have mentioned that the entire production was done remotely via Zoom meetings and the magic of modern day technology.

Sadly, the same applies to post production, which again was another one of those unspoken perks of the biz. It's all being done remotely.

That means no royal treatment at the edit house or the sound mixing facility. You ad veterans know what I'm talking about.

"Our chef is doing hand curated omelettes this morning. Would you like one made with free range eggs, dry aged cheddar, and select premium mushrooms we have flown in from a secret French village that is so hidden it escaped the clutches of Nazi Germany?"

"Yes I would. And can I get a Diet Coke with that?"

Well, that's all going by the wayside. Because if clients can get quality work produced without busting open the piggy bank for the lavish treatment of Creative Department divas, you can be sure they're not going back to that once we 86 the Covid.

There will be no more:

Banana/strawberry smoothies

Mid Afternoon massages

And late night sushi platters from Nobu

I don't know. If I were a kid coming out of college I'm not sure I'd consider a career in advertising. I hear there's good money to be made in HVAC repair.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

From across the other pond

Like you, I have been homebound for the past 8 months. Choosing to safely ensconce myself in my humble abode in an abundance of caution. Not so much for my sake, but for my immunocompromised wife, who has left the house even more infrequently than I have.

"Oh what I wouldn't give for 10 minutes at the supermarket, just to stroll the aisles and compare prices of spaghetti sauce from Ragu and the fancy stuff from Barilla."

Also, like you, I, we, have been doing a great deal of shopping online. Feeding the insatiable Bezos machine and guessing the contents of the many packages that arrive on our doorstep, almost hourly. 

"What is it? What is it?"

"I don't know, I forgot what I ordered."

Unlike you, or perhaps you have the same affliction as me, I have a penchant for gadgets. Once you purchase one gadget, the algorithms kick in and you are subject to ads for many gadgets. Mostly of the useless variety. 

For instance, because of the architectural geography of my house, my daughter's bedroom is quite a distance from the air conditioning fan in my attic. By the time the cool air travels along the duct ways and makes its way to her room it's exhausted and barely one degree cooler than the sweltering Santa Ana heat.

As a result I hear a lot of griping and whining. 

Not only about our shitty expensive after-market air conditioning, but also about my poor remodeling sense. Word to the wise: anyone contemplating the addition of a second story should do their homework on rudimentary plumbing, electric and framing concepts.

In any case, I took the plunge and bought a portable air conditioner for her room. The cube-like device was small, efficient and looked cute, a must for any 24 year old woman. The ad, and I don't know why I believe any advertising considering my knowledge of weasel words and hyperbolic embellishment, said the $59.99 magic machine would lower the temperature in the room by ten degrees -- it didn't.

When it arrived, three weeks late, from Wuhan, China (no joke), I was disappointed to say the least. It was constructed from cheap plastic. The box it came in weighed more than the device. Moreover it was hardly advanced state of the art engineering. 

Once I had it assembled, I placed the ice cold water in the "Temperature Reduction Manifold Tray". I turned on the device by "Activating the Laboratory-Tested Circuit Connection Switch" and waited for the "Refreshing Enjoy Cool to Air" wizardry to happen. 

My wife and daughter had a good laugh as I lowered my head and requested prompt return instructions from Amazon.

That is not to say, the endeavor was a complete waste of time. Asian gadget aficionados like myself know there's always a treat from these type of purchases. Sometimes it's the hilarious broken English copy on the outside of the packaging. 

Or, in this case, it was the unusual (pictured above) customer satisfaction card, which I filled out in excruciating detail. For no other reason than it makes me laugh.

Speaking of laughs involving correspondence with faraway Asian companies, who can forget my many responses to the mail order bride spam I was receiving in my mailbox?

Let's revisit one of my favorites...

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Do unto others

Whenever I get in "discussions" with Trumpsters, and stupidly, I allow myself to get in many, there's always a common refrain I hear over and over again, particularly with folks from my appropriately-named hometown, Suffern, NY.

Perhaps you've heard it too. 

Because Republicans, who are no longer Republicans but just pure Trumpsters, are blood-boiling mad about the notion of people wanting "Free Stuff." If you're dealing with a Red Hat you're gonna get a bloody earful about Democrats just wanting to give away Free Stuff. 

You know like healthcare, education, food for poverty stricken children. 

All those damn giveaways that will inevitably turn our country into Venezuela. And take us down a nightmarish path to socialism, communism, homosexuality, pedophilia, human trafficking and book reading.

Because I know my hometown, like you know your hometown, I know these statements to be nothing more than thinly-veiled racism. 

Trumpsters don't mind giving away Free Stuff, they just don't want to give it to poor people. Particularly poor people of color, who they uniformly see as welfare queens, thugs, deadbeat dads and drug addicts, all  of whom are conveniently labeled "other" people. 

Red Hats hate Other People.

They have no problem however giving away Free Stuff to rich people, corporations and industries that have their tentacles securely wrapped around public servants of all political stripes. Indeed they're often brazenly proud of the giveaways and boast about it to score political points.

"We're saving our great American farmers with billions and billions of dollars."


These are farmers who lost soybean contracts when Grandpa Ramblemouth initiated an easy-to-win trade war that was not so easy to win. And now taxpayers are paying through the nose to keep these idle farmers afloat. FREE STUFF.

You think the government subsidies end at the edge of Booger Jones cornfield in Des Moines Iowa? 

Think again.

Perhaps you recall the TARP program. A 700 billion dollar bailout of our beloved banks, including the purchase of "toxic assets" that were made toxic by the bank's own greed and negligence. FREE STUFF.

What about the pharmaceutical industry that continues to raise prices, fatten profits and gorge themselves, because they can. A simple EPI pen that cost $150 twenty years ago now commands a $700 price tag. The pen nor its cost, nor efficacy, have changed, but the price certainly has. Why? Because the drug companies have lobbyists, strippers and on-demand escorts in Washington, DC working on their behalf, not ours. FREE STUFF.

Admittedly, I'm a guilty party in all this. 

When I was in the agency world, I often travelled in business class, stayed at expensive hotels and drank on the company dime, many times on two dimes. 

And all those expenditures, including the $18 minibar bag of cashew nuts and the fistful of airplanes bottles of mid-shelf whiskey, were all conveniently written off. As Travel and Entertainment expenses. In a tax system written by and for the exclusive benefit of rich white men. FREE STUFF.

If Americans were ever honest with themselves, they'd see the hypocrisy. And that when it comes to caring for the neediest among us, the richest country on the planet is woefully the poorest.




Monday, October 12, 2020

Wakey, wakey

We start today's post with the iconic NIMBY poster. Only because I could not locate a meme for NIMFY, Not In My Front Yard, which I will explain momentarily.

I became acutely aware of the NIMBY phenomena years ago when the city of LA was threatening to revamp the old Red Line trolley and install a light rail system that would extend from Santa Monica all the way to downtown. The fact that a previous line existed and that the land had been properly zoned speaks volumes of the wisdom of our 20th century ancestors.

The fact that the Red Line and the notion of mass transit in a city of more than 20 million people had been abandoned, speaks volumes about the idiocy of modern day Angelenos as well as the avarice of Big Oil and Big Auto manufacturers.

Long story, short, the neighbors in Cheviot Hills, a ritzy neighborhood, that had always been a bit too rich for my blood, with their pools and their abattoirs and their Tony Jacklin golf clubs, started raising a stink. A big stink. These are, by and large, limousine liberals, who talk a mighty game about wealth equality and conservation, but didn't want any of that if it was going to be in their backyard.

But it was. And it is. And guess what? The light rail system is a huge hit. And none of the imagined ills of a mass transit system so close to their precious neighborhood, came to fruition.

But let's talk about my front yard.

Because last week, I woke up to my front yard looking like a landfill. There was garbage everywhere. I stood on my steps in a bit of shock, as Carlson Park, my neighborhood, is about as sleepy, and clean, and non-eventful (except for my neighbor's damn car alarm) as any west Los Angeles community could be.

After we cleaned it all up and scrubbed our hands with half a bottle of anti-bacterial soap, I retreated to my office to check the security cameras. It didn't take long.

Turns out a crazy, vagrant guy, white, thin, mid fifties wearing camoflouge pants, had rolled his big duffel bag up to my next neighbor's yard. He boldly strung a hammock between two palms trees and and looked like he was going to camp out there for the night.

Then the apparent schizophrenia kicked in and at about 2:30 AM he found some more desirable sleeping arrangements on the strip of grass in front of my house. That's the legendary Siegel luck.

At 6:30 in the morning he was awakened, as we all are, by a murder of crows who fight and yack at each other for a good 20 minutes. They always seems to arrive and wake me up just as dream Cardi B. is about  to motorboat me with her ample frontage.

Vagrant, homeless schizoid Guy was not happy. And as you are about to see, he was keen on letting the crows know exactly how he felt.

Here is the video.

Was I upset? Initially, very. But I've come to chalk it up as just another adventure of life in the big city. 

Sadly, my NY Times got wet and I missed out on a recipe in the Food section about Habanero-infused Strip Steak. Fortunately, the recipe was also available in the online version of The NY Times, but when I tried to commit it to paper, my Canon MX490 Series got jammed.

2020 sucks.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

We're all becoming Art Directors

Despite Precedent Shitbibbon's call to arms, commanding us not to let Covid dominate our lives. There's a very good chance it will. For some time to come. 

In the long term, who knows when we will return to large venue items like concerts, football games and multiplex movie theaters. Those might be quaint reminders of a past no longer possible because our Dear Leader dropped the Covid meat in the dirt and allowed the virus to spread from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.

Selfishly, this is the silver lining in the cloud, as I have never been a fan of being a fan at any large scale event and tossing myself into the mosh pit of unwashed humanity.

We may not be returning to restaurants, for indoor dining anytime soon, either. 

Again, this is a blessing. I can't tell you how many times I allowed my wife and daughters to select a restaurant of their choice, only to show up to a crowded lobby and wait times over an hour. I don't want to wait an hour for ANYTHING.

DAUGHTERS: "It'll be worth it, this place got 5 stars on yelp and the dumplings are magical."

ME: "If the dumplings were magical I'd be eating them by now."

In the short term, Covid is having a much more immediate and some would say positive effect. It's turning us all into Art Directors and sharpening our environmental aesthetic awareness.

Think about it. We used to get dressed up for work. Now we dress our rooms up for a full day of Zoom calls.

We know our co-workers are studying our bedrooms, our dens, our live in kitchens. And we know this because we are studying theirs.

And so every morning starts with the fluffing of the pillows, clearing the hubris of our daily lives, and throwing it all into a corner, where the unopened Sunday NY times from May23rd, sits with my cold Peloton shoes and the dog bed that should have been replaced in 2018.

Having spent a lifetime working with Art Directors, I like to think a little of their prowess has rubbed off. I have a passing sense of negative space, composition and color awareness. What little skills I have have been sharpened with my continuing use of Apple Preview (a poor man's Photoshop) and my continuing manufacturing of Trump memes.

Having a rudimentary sense of art direction is not a bad thing.

It's just not something I'll ever get paid for.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

TV is not so good

You know how it goes. 

One minute you're gathered in the living room, surrounded by the ones you love, just as you have relentlessly been for the past 7 months, preparing to enjoy some forced familial camaraderie before tearing each other apart in Jeopardy. 

The next minute the TV screen goes black. 

The seasoned DirecTV customer knows to spring into action and remove the flash card from the receiver box, press the red reset button and allow the hydroponic flick flacks to reconfibulate themselves and align the dish with new azimuth satellite coordinates. 

15 minutes later, I thought we'd be back in time for Double Jeopardy.

"I'll take 17th Century Cheeses of Eastern Europe for 400, Alex."

That's how it was supposed to go. 

But this is 2020. And that's not how it went.

Way down in the left hand corner of the $2200 Pioneer 9000 K Series with Hyper Pixelation GlideScan™, the blue light indicating the TV was on was accompanied by a solid little red light indicating I was fucked.

This was quickly confirmed by the Interwebs. And the many dissatisfied Pioneer TV customers (BTW, they no longer make TVs) who spent upwards of $700 to repair the powerless motherboard, which was, as the red light informed me, DOA.

This brought on a whole new set of issues. 

"New FlatScreen Entertainment Centers for 600, Alex."

In days of yore, replacing a color television was cause for excitement. It was also mindlessly easy. You cleaned out some space on the hi-fi console, plugged the big Philco in, adjusted the rabbit ear antenna and you were set.

Anyone familiar with the terms HDMI, multiple inputs, and high speed Optical Cable Connector, knows the operation is considerably more complicated. And before any of that could happen, I had to solve the Gordian knot of wires and tentacles that held the old TV in place like a prisoner on the execution table.

What I found amongst the rat's nest was mindbending, including some phone jack gizmos that allegedly used my phone line to connect the old TV to the Internet. They never did. 

And a gaggle of red, white and green analog cables that I believe were left over from my college days. Not to mention enough dust to choke a Serengetti Elephant.

Long, boring story and two completely sweat soaked t-shirts and twenty four hours later, I had the new Samsung Crystal UHD 8 DSeries|8000 up and running. 

Sadly not in time for Jeopardy, but just in time for Wheel of Fortune.

"I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat:

S H _ _ T   M E   N _ W


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

I coulda been a contender

As my fellow bloggers will attest, particularly those who maintain a rigorous daily schedule, there are times when we find ourselves staring at a blank MicroSoft Document page and have not the slightest clue what to write about.

Other times, topics fly in from the ether, completely out of the once-blue sky, seemingly, almost heavenly sent to the rescue.

This is of the latter nature.

Last week, I opened my Facebook Messenger app. I rarely do that and only answer texts that pop up on my Facebook page. But this time I'm glad I did. 

I received a heartfelt and hilarious text from a guy I went to high school with about 183 years ago. OK, that number is hyperbolic but the sentiment is not. This was a guy I hardly spoke three words with while I was in high school. 

And not a word since the graduation (I can only assume he graduated.) 

Here it is in its entirety.

Wow, I thought, my words -- and I don't know which ones -- have moved this "man" to action and compelled him to break a many decades long silence just to send me this eloquent and grammar-mauling expression of his thoughts. 

How nice.

It would have been nicer had he not done so in chickenshit fashion via Facebook Messenger and then spinelessly fled the scene robbing me of an opportunity to respond. I can only hope that someone from my hometown will relay this message back to Chris, notice how I thoughtfully blocked out his name. 

That's me taking the high road.

"Hey Chris, just wanted to thank you for reaching out. So good to hear from you after all these years. I'd love to reconnect but since you blocked me on Facebook, that's not possible. Would love to hear what you're (note the proper usage) doing. Or not doing. 

In any case, I wanted to thank you. It's not often one gets described as Monumental. I can't imagine what I've done to merit such praise. I'm flattered.

Your random one line colorful communique simply made my day. Though incredibly brief and lacking in all punctuation, your message magically managed to tell me so much about you. And so much of the wonderful achievements you've accomplished in life since the halcyon days of high school. 

I feel like I already know you my friend. Kudos. Your command of the language and lyrical economy of words make me believe you should consider a career in writing."

Monday, October 5, 2020

Happy Monday

Political posts here on R17 never do well. Never. Despite my obvious passion for the topic. And despite my relentless flaying of Commander Fuckknuckle.

Nevertheless, I'm going to proceed because frankly I no longer pay attention to the web traffic on these posts nor am I some kind of slave to Likes/Shares. Besides, with the consequences of the #RoseGardenMassacre, I feel I would be negligent not to address the coughing, feverish, on-his-last legs elephant in the room.

I know some of you are more kind-hearted and spiritual than me -- actually all of you are -- and look down on any gloating or the taking of satisfaction in the GOP's current demise. 

Too bad, I do not subscribe to that type of magnanimity. 

Frankly, the super spreading of Coronavirus at an event attended by the GOP high command to stack the court in the Republican's favor when (not if) the president contests the election thereby consolidating power for our authoritarian overlords, is packed jelly-tight with Irony, with a capital I. 

Enough Irony for 10 Trump presidencies.

First there's the arrogance of it all. Watch the video of these maskless Caucasian power mongers, embracing, kissing and exchanging hugs with each other as if the virus was not allowed into their little exclusive party and had to witness the naked debauchery from beyond the red velvet rope. 

Sorry, descendants of the DAR, John Birchers and grandsons of the KKK, that's not the way immunology works. Despite Scopes v Board of Education, science trumps faith-based beliefs 7 days a week and twice on the Sabbath of your choice. 

Second, there's just the sheer stupidity of it all. 

I know the GOP cannot resist the opportunity to "own the libs" or to glorify their Dear Leader, but if people like Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows and Ron Johnson had a functional brain stem, they might know that gathering in large numbers, without the aid of a "politically correct" mask might not be the wisest move. Particularly in light of Dr. Fauci's caution to social distance when possible. 

It was possible, but these fishbrained sycophants, eager to please the spray painted one they call the Commander in Chief, would not look kindly about any type of wise precautions.

But perhaps the sweetest morsel of all comes from the purpose of this hospital bed filling debacle. 

Think about it. Against their own 2016 precedent, the GOP bulldozed ahead with a Supreme Court Justice nominee with about a month to go before the election. And instead of letting the "American people have a voice" they turned the decision over to 53 rubber stamping Republican asshats, some of whom had a front row seat at the affair. 

And now at last count, three of those worthless taintlickers Ron Johnson, Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, have tested positive for Covid. Effectively derailing the fast tracked confirmation of their handmaiden jurist for who knows how long.

It's an imbroglio wrapped in a quagmire and stuffed into a Clusterfuck. And it's all of their own doing.

It is, in a word, and as the picture above indicates, PERFECTION.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Talk to the manager

There will be no blog posting today.

Sorry. But I've just completed 4 grueling all nighters and have a date with the sandman.

This is the first time in a long time that I have missed my self imposed deadline.

So stifle your complaints, your bitches and your disappointment. 

I will remind you that what you get when you get it when you come to Roundseventeen, is a tin roof. 

It's On the House.

It's free.

See you next Monday.