Thursday, May 27, 2021

Moore's Law

Years ago I had an idea. The underlying truth of that statement is sad. 

I had exited a meeting in Santa Monica and walked the three blocks back to my car parked on the street, because like George Costanza, I refuse to pay exorbitant rates to park in private lots or municipal buildings. The laugh was on me, particularly after I got a ticket for $55.

As I drove home, stewing, I thought why not develop a smartphone app. that could wirelessly reload a parking meter via the magic of the interwebs. Particularly since parking meters had evolved and were now taking credit cards. 

It was stunningly simple. And in my pathetic naive mind was a doable thing that could make millions and allow me to move from Culver City where I am surrounded by barking dogs and inconsiderate neighbors who like to burn Duraflame logs in the fireplace while emitting a cloud of toxic gasses and nasty fumes that negate my expensive scented candles.

Upon further minimal research I had discovered somebody had already beaten me to the punch. Good thing I didn't invest my Stay-Out-Of-Dirty-Nursing-Homes Money into that venture. I would have been snaked.

This all occurred to me while I was playing around with different backgrounds for my now daily mix of Microsoft Team Meetings. For this who don't know, Team Meetings is MS's version of Skype. Just as Hangouts is Google's meeting of Skype. And Zoom is Zoom's version of Skype.

Begging the question, whatever happened to Skype?

Not long ago, the word had been synonymous with video conferencing. So much so that it had, sadly like so many words, been VERBED. A practice hated by every writer I have ever known.

"I'll Skype you later."

"I Skyped her yesterday."

"Let's Skype and get Jaden, Brillo and Quicy on the call."

Now? No one Skypes. And don't be fooled by the colloquial nature of those Skyping Snippets. Because it was never easy or in many cases possible to just jump on a Skype call. There were codes and passwords and hydroponic flick flacks that needed to be reconfibulated every time one attempted to make the Skype connection. Often ending with...

"Ah screw it, I'll just call you on the phone."

RIP Skype. And let their demise as well as the demise of my Magic Parking Meter Re-Upper be a lesson. 

Before you invest any money remember new technology will always be killing off old technology. It will do so by making improvements and constantly designing a better easier interface. 

Except in the case of printers. If this fucking Canon MX 490 doesn't stop eating paper from the fucking feeder I'm gonna smash it to a thousand pieces and leave on the lawn of my Duraflame log burning neighbors!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Turn it off, turn it off

As I have often joked about myself, because I'm prone to self deprecation, I have a face for radio. I know that's an old cliche. But in true George Tannenbaum spirit, I've tacked onto that and added, I also have a voice for newspaper.

And in the odd and unexplainable chance that you'd like to hear me speak (the Toronto Board of Broadcast Production made that mistake years ago and I was terrible, though I did run up a substantial hotel bill with all manner of exorbitant room service) you are in luck.

A month ago Barry Fiske, a Chiat/Day colleague from back in the day and a fellow Syracuse University Alum wrote to me from out of the blue and asked if I'd like to be a guest on his podcast. Naturally I was excited. Then he told me there was no pay, so I was considerably less excited.

Nonetheless, I agreed and about a week ago went live with Barry and his partner and mishbucha, Phil Golub. 

We drank, we laughed, we shared stories.

Well, I shared stories. It is only after listening to the finished product that I realized I had spoken over my hosts and hogged the microphone. I apologize for that. 

Note to self, STFU.

I also noticed my annoying habit of laughing at my own material. Damnit, I'm such a bore.

If there are any other podcasters out there looking for a future guest let me know. I won't cackle at my own crappy jokes. I'll be quiet. And I'll listen.

Oh wait, that sort of defeats the purpose of a podcast, doesn't it?

Anyway, here's the link:

Thanks Barry and Phil

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Dead Horse Collection

The Arizona Fraudit is now in its 4th week. 

Since it's inception, it's been mired in incompetence. Which is  to be expected considering the firm Cyber Ninjas, was hired by Republicans. And had never done an official election recount. 


Imagine if the shoe were on the left foot and Democrats had brought on an inexperienced, admittedly biased and braindead team of fat retirees to recount 2 million ballots and insisted on tearing apart each paper ballot for the presence of bamboo or tabouli or marinara sauce or some other fakakta evidence of foreign intervention.

What the Fraudit lacks in integrity, it surely makes up for in grist for the Rich Siegel Let's Beat This Horse to the Ground Humor. 

And so, for your convenience and possible amusement, and because it's been a busy week here including an upcoming appearance on a podcast (details to come), I give you my entire Arizona Fraudit collection.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Unlucky at love

You know me, I love a good scam. That is, I love to scambait a good scam.

In case you forgot, scambaiting is the practice of giving scammers a taste of their own foul larcenous medicine. By stringing them along and raising their hopes of scoring a hit on some old plunker's retirement fund.

I began my scambaiting career years ago, when I decided, upon a lark, that I would respond to one of those Nigerian Wealthy Prince emails. You can read all about it in my still non-bestselling book Tuesdays With Mantu, My Adventures with a Nigerian Con Artist.

Since then the scam has morphed and the scammers have tried new tactics. Probably because everyone was reading my book, Americans got wise to the ways of grifters spending their nights and days fishing from Internet cafes in Lagos, Nigeria.

Instead of promising money from a wealthy prince, they began inviting notoriously gullible Americans (see Trump, See MAGA, See the Big Lie) to join the Illuminati. 

This was a brilliant move as it exploited our unexplainable affinity for conspiracy theories and their tales of dark, secret cabals, which by the ways is ALWAYS code for Jew.

What self respecting anti-semite or white supremacist wouldn't want to be a member of the organization that was pulling the strings all over the globe? Not to mention the cool hats and sex orgies, which in my twisted mind go together like Peter Hyam and movie comedies, you'll have to dig for that one.

You might recall, I have scambaited many, many fraudsters from the Illuminati, right here on these digital pages. And even gave thought to compiling the correspondence and putting out another book. But that fell into the category of 'been there/done that.' 

Though I must say, even in the rereading of past Illuminati dealings I found myself laughing uproariously, albeit at my own jokes.

Then last week, there appeared a new wrinkle. 

I received an email from Lilian. You might be saying, "who is Lililian?", I know I did. But here, read on...

My name is lilian N.This is a very joyful day of my life because of the help Dr.saguru has rendered to me by helping me get my ex husband back with his magic and love spell. i was married for 6 years and it was so terrible because my husband was really cheating on me and was seeking for a divorce but when i came across Dr.saguru email on the internet on how he has helped so many people to get their ex back and help fixing relationship.and make people to be happy in their relationship. i explained my situation to him and then seek his help but to my surprise he told me that he will help me with my case and here i am now celebrating because my Husband has changed totally for good. He always wants to be by me and can’t do anything’s g without my present. i am really enjoying my marriage, what a great celebration. i will keep on testifying on the internet because Dr.saguru is truly a real spell caster. DO YOU NEED HELP THEN CONTACT DOCTOR SAGURU NOW VIA EMAIL: He is the only answer to your problem and make you feel happy in your relationship.and his also perfect in

Lilian suggested I reach out to world renowned Doctor Saguru. And after reading how he helped Lilian get her ex-husband back with his magic love spell, how could I resist.

Dear Dr Saguru,

I just received this email from Lilian, a former patient of yours. Her letter could not have come at a better time. Particularly when I read that you are an expert in all matters of Love. And the Loins. 

As it is, my wife and I have two daughters, but I have always wanted a boy. Someone to play catch with. Watch football with. And play with. Someone who will also be able to change a tire on my F 150 truck and snake out the toilets when they get backed up.

But we have not had any luck fertilizing a seed. Would you have anything to help us with the FRUIT OF THE WOMB, as you call it? I eagerly await your response.

Dick Hertz

With that, we were off to the races. Minutes after reaching out to the good doctor, I received a response from the doctor who must have been on break between seeing all his important patients.

I have high hopes with this one. Stay tuned.


Thursday, May 20, 2021

The heat in the kitchen

This post is not some kind of influencer thing. Or me copping a few bucks on the side from the good people at Home Chef. Though if they wanted to throw some complimentary meals my way for singing their praises, I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

This is more about me returning to my roots.

Allow me to explain. 

Weeks after joining my current company I was made aware of some their excellent employee benefits. Including discounts that were just too good to pass up. And since the pandemic started more than a year ago, we have cut down on our trips to the supermarket.

That became alarmingly apparent when, as a last resort, dinner consisted of canned tuna fish, kidney beans, and loaf butt toast. And so, finding ourselves facing empty cupboards and a refrigerator full of nothing but beer and various flavors of habanero hot sauce, we took the plunge and became subscribers to Home Chef, a prepackaged meal delivery service. 

I should add a premium service.

From our first boxed delivery, we were sold. 

The ingredients were fresh. The menu, diverse. And the preparation, simple but not without flair. Sure, some of the meals took close to an hour to prep and cook, but they, everything from Pan-Seared Chicken and Shallot Sherry Beurre Blanc to Country Fried Pork Medallions and Pepper Gravy, were delicious.

Over and above that, the dinners got me back to the kitchen. 

You see long before I started my career in copywriting, some 8,931,762 words and 227 Tent Sales ago, I was in the restaurant business. Starting as a Fry Boy at Jack in the Box (where Rte 59 and Rte 45 meet in Spring Valley, NY) all the way to up Sous Chef at Charmer's Market in Santa Monica.

Here for posterity, are all the kitchens I worked in:

Jack in the Box

Dairy Queen

Brockway Dining Hall


Uncle Sam's Bar


Valle's Steakhouse

The Vineyard

Good Samaritan Hospital

Red Barn

Sutter's Mill

The Good Earth


Merlin McFly's


Cheesecake Factory

Hop Singh's

At My Place

The Golden Spoon

Charmer's Market

Holy shit, my brain hurts. There were probably a dozen more places but I'm on limited coffee intake and can't remember them all. Suffice to say, I knew my way around the kitchen. And knew many ways to sneak off into the walk in fridge to stealthily drink free beer or do whippets when the new whip cream arrived.

In any case, I want to thank the Home Chef people, and again if they want to throw me some free meals for the free digital ink, all the better. 

Last week, I made a demiglaze sauce. I can't remember the last time I did that. 

No, literally, I can't remember.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Seller's market

A house in my neighborhood just sold for over $3 million. 

For discretionary purposes, it's the not the house pictured above. But if you squinted it could easily be mistaken for it. 

And when I say in my neighborhood, I mean if I teed up a golfball on my roof and took a good full swing and accounted for my nasty slice, I could easily knock out a window in the entryway turret. 

It's 2021, why are people putting in turrets? And what self respecting architect would agree to such a medieval monstrosity?

Moreover, and the buyers should've been made aware of this, that excessive vicinity to the Siegel house should have knocked the price down into the high two's. 

But it's a seller's market and if people want to overpay to live near me and thus inflate the price of my decaying California ranch home, with the creaky wooden floors, plaster crevices that are getting wider by the day (thank you tectonic shifting) and the screaming neighbors with their unruly barking dogs, who am I to complain?

When we purchased the house more than 30 years ago and for less than 1/10th of the $3 million tag, you could not have convinced me of its outrageous potential. Even after we added a second story and doubled the square footage for our growing family, I was still hesitant about sinking money into our humble Culver City abode.

But, my wife was right. And I say this grudgingly, she always is. 

Well, except for the dated black and white linoleum we used to line the floor in our laundry room, almost always right.

Before you make overly-rosy conjectures about my net wealth, you should know there was a refinance, to expand my growing real estate empire, and the bank owns a chunk of my home. And will for a good long time. I should never have gone with that low rate 100 year loan.

Moreover the equity is in the floorboards and the non-functioning air ducts that fail to cool my daughter's bedroom during the hot summer nights.

In other words, my wallet isn't stuffed with "fuck off money." Yet.

Meaning when I get a request to dumb down the copy or lose a joke I took great pride in or even insert a headline that ends with a preposition, I'm more than happy to oblige.

Until a house in the neighborhood goes for 4 mill.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Home sweet home

You probably heard, but thanks to the diligence, competence and ability to get shit done (as opposed to rage tweeting while 'launching a lifeboat off the SS Assitania') of President Biden, who put more than 200 million vaccine shot in the arms of Americans in little more than 100 days in office, life is getting back to normal.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I went to an actual dinner party. 

And we sat inside. 

And had drinks. 

And ate food. 

And laughed. And told stories. And enjoyed ourselves. Without the aid of any hideous KN95 masks.

Last week I went to the supermarket, where masks were still required. And even though I snagged two beautiful tomahawk steaks, on sale for just 8.99/lbs., I could not wait to exit the store and rip off the mask. Somehow knowing it's no longer necessary caused the elastic straps to dig into my ears like a bound medieval prisoner being drawn and quartered. 

But now there's the looming issue of returning to the office.

Let me go on record and state unequivocally, I prefer to work at home. Those of you familiar with my misanthropic ways will not be surprised. And colleagues who I work with via MS Team Meetings, will no doubt be relieved.

I read a recent article that stated that given a choice of a $30,000 raise or the option of working at home, many employees at Amazon, Facebook and Google, would choose the latter. 

Stupid kids. I'll take both. And I deserve it.

I am much more productive at home. With the door closed, the Bose noise cancelling headphones on, and my piping hot 2 &1/2 cups of coffee within reach, I can do whatever it is I do, faster, better and with more creativity than I could ever hope to achieve at the office Long Table of Mediocrity™. 

I am just not cut out to work in this kind of setting.

I marvel at anybody who is.

Moreover, I like doing my other 'business' in my own bathroom. I have the toilet paper I like. The hand soap that leaves my white collar skin soft and moist. And the Chesapeake Bay candle, lemongrass and eucalyptus, that I bought for Mother's Day, is uniquely soothing and invigorating. And I don't say that about a lot of stuff.

Most of all, I have no desire to start commuting again. Since purchasing my prized Audi SE5 three years ago, I have put a little more than 3000 miles on the car. Apart from the layer of soot and grit that accumulates on all cars in Los Angeles, the car is pristine and has not one door ding on it.

I'd like to keep it that way. So you can find me on a video conference call. Even though the camera does add ten, maybe 15, lbs.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

I don't understand Republicans. Seriously, they must be the healthiest, disease-free, care-free, preternaturally-fittest people on the planet.

During the pandemic, I'm sorry, they prefer Plandemic, they eschewed the wearing of protective masks.

"Masks, feh."

"Masks are nothing more than political theater."

"Masks are gay."

Now they are taking a pass on the vaccine, the same vaccines, it should be noted, that were pimped by their favorite, President.

"Vaccines, feh."

"Vaccines are nothing more than political theater."

"Vaccines are gay."

If I didn't know better I'd they were immortal, surprisingly not unlike vampires. I know their idiotic policies like Trickle Down Economics, American Nativism, and White Supremacy refuse to die. And I suspect most Republicans will trot out the Big Lie about a "stolen" election for the next 1000 years. 

These deductions regarding Republican super human health stem from one key observation: Republicans have never come in contact with or ever had to utilize the American Healthcare System. For if they did they would surely abandon ship.

I can say with absolute certainty, and the possible exception of "doctoring" in far-off places like the jungles in Laos or the failed state of Somalia, that America, the richest country on the planet also has the shittiest healthcare system in the universe.

It should be noted that for years, healthcare chores in the Siegel household fell on my wife's broad and capable shoulders. I took care of everything else, utilities, insurance, taxes, etc, but had no space in my brain for the complexities of doctor bills, deductibles, HSAs, etc. 

But now, that I am back in the full time employed world and have generous benefits through PayPal -- perhaps the most employee-focused companies I've ever worked for -- I am now in a pitched battle with the stack of healthcare bills that grow exponentially on my kitchen counter.

As I look at the bills and my responsibility to cover deductibles from OSCAR, our previous insurer, and UHC, our current insurer, as well as out-of-pocket expenses that must be covered before the 100% coverage kicks in, I can feel the synapses in my lower cortex shorting out, as if I were watching a Christopher Nolan movie.

It is a Gordian knot of numbers, processes and medical terminology that would baffle Einstein. 

Or one of those savant kids I see on Youtube that can undo a Rubik's cube with their tongue. There are times when I literally want to sell my house, put the profits in a big pile of cash and invite the accounts payable folks from the UCLA Medical Center to come over and just take what they need.

But even more confusing than all that, even more mindumbing to point that I want to scream from the rooftop of my overpriced home, is the fact for half this country, that's just the way they want it. 


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Me and the Grey Lady


In 2017, Grandpa Ramblemouth started using the phrase, "The failing New York Times." It was at that time I decided to cancel my subscription to the LA times and throw my hard earned dollars at the Old Grey Lady.

Because I'm on the West Coast, my insatiable hunger for news was going to triple in price. However, if it helped their subscription rates and furthered the cause of respectable journalism, I was all in.

Lately, however, I have been employed full time. And as any full time working from home employee knows that means being on-call from early in the morning to the early hours of the evening. Should that red light ping on my Slack I feel compelled to answer it immediately, lest my co-workers suspect I'm goofing off, writing blog posts, or worse.

Even after 44 years, it's incredibly hard to shake the Jewish Guilt complex.

As a result, many of the delivered newspapers never get out of their blue plastic wrapped and end up in the recycle bin. So this past Sunday, while my wife was enjoying her Mother's Day nap, I grabbed some leftover lox and bagels and whitefish salad and commandeered the dining room table to go through the Sunday NY Times. 

All of it.

I spent a good lazy hour with her and landed crumbs from my toasted Everything Bagel in every section, including the Book Review. I even treated myself to a Diet Coke, which I no longer drink on a regular basis, which will supposedly extend my longevity and makes my wife happy. I think.

I read the piece that George Tannenbaum has pointed out earlier this week, The Oldest Productivity Trick Around by Amitava Kumar. I gobbled up the opinion pieces, including two pieces about Liz Cheney. 

One by Frank Bruni and another by Maureen Dowd. I prefer Bruni's writing over Dowd's. She can be a little obtuse and too cool for the room, whereas Bruni is much more straightforward and lawyerly in his essay construction. 

And I'm not just saying that because Ms. Dowd poo-pooed our ABC campaign almost 25 years ago.

I saved my favorite section of The NY Times for last. Just as I timed my last bite of whitefish salad to coincide with my last sip of Diet Coke. Serenity Now.

Ironically, the section of The NY Times that I enjoy most, is not written by any of The NY Times staff. The Metro Diary comes from everyday New Yorkers, like my former self. They're not writers, not journalists, not influencers, they're just people telling Big Apple stories both ordinary and extraordinary.

The storyettes are funny, moving, profound and most of all authentic. They are New York.

I will leave you with the last one because it is so indicative of the material you will find in the Metro Diary. Every Sunday morning. Bagels or not.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

My DSC teste-monial

I posted this on Linkedin last week and because I got busy introducing some Trumpsters/Red Hats to the notion of facts and the real world, forgot to put it up on Facebook.

I know from the reaction of my advertising colleagues that it's worth a laugh, albeit a very cheap one. And as any blogger will tell you it's always good to have a daily topic drop into your lap.

Let me preface this with the disclaimer that I had no part in the rest of this email blast. 

When I came on to Dollar Shave Club, a year ago, they were in the midst of launching Ball Spray. For the record, I'm no longer at DSC and have moved over to Honey (

Much of the Ball Spray work had been done when I arrived, but I can't tell you how much fun it was to ballstorm new ideas with Matt Knapp and Matt Orser about this unique product.

It was in one of these sessions that I blurted (gotta give me restraint points) the notion that we should use the word Teste-monials. How do you say no to that? If there were a category at Cannes for Cheesy Scrotal Wordplay, I'd be a cinch for a Gold Lion.

Thankfully, it didn't take much in the way of arm-twisting to convince the brass at DSC to man up and use the phrase.

Perhaps even more rewarding was the fact that I was being paid to make dick jokes. Which required an extensive search of euphemisms for one's Crown Jewels, including, but not limited to:

  • Nads
  • Nards
  • snow globes
  • meat clackers
  • sweasticles
  • Rocky Mountain oysters
  • manberries
  • ballslaw
  • yarblockos
  • kangaroo apples
  • turkey skin handbag
  • trouser barnacles
  • South Jersey Sandbag
  • dirty potatos 
  • Mediterranean Leg Tits
On top of that, there were times when our zoom calls often required other employees, namely women. You might imagine that in these woke times that would cause a problem. But our mission was clear. We had to sell Ball Spray and the DSC brand dick-tated (sorry) that it be done with a sense of humor.

In essence, we had been given carte blanch to spew (sorry again) whatever juvenile thoughts came into our arrested developed minds.

Even better, and to this day I wish I had taken screen grabs, when one of our sophomoric lines mades it past reluctant executives, it had to pass muster with legal team.

I relish the days when I would receive an email from the lawyers asking, "...when you say 'kangaroo apples' or 'Mediterranean Leg Tits', where exactly is that phrase coming from? Was it used in a movie or a TV show?" 

That's some unintentional comedy gold. 

Thank you Kunkel, Steinberg & Gallagher. Thank you

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Critical Dance Theory

Last week, someone on Facebook asked if anyone remembers learning square dancing in school? I suspect you have to be 44 years of age, or older, to answer in the affirmative.

The question got me thinking. Particularly in light of arguments springing from the right side of the political aisle objecting to "Critical Race Theory". I would bet 90% of the equity in my house that the majority of Trumpsters and the Red Hat Brigade have no idea about the tenets of Critical Race Theory.


Just as I, and probably you, have no idea how, or why, square dancing magically wormed its way into the American public school curriculum. 

It doesn't take a Werhner von Brian, rocket scientist to the Nazis, to see the cultural whitewashing going on here. Particularly when you find out that Henry Ford, America's favorite billionaire white supremacist had a hand in all those dos-e-does and allemande rights.

Ford saw the introduction of square dancing as a way to stem the influx of jazz, blues and subsequently rock n'roll, into American culture. 

Have you ever wondered why we were never taught swing dancing or tango or anything other than the goofy dance steps preferred by nice, white, "cultured" people, the ones with the pitchforks and later, tiki torches.

And Ford, who applied his assembly line theory to bigotry, blamed America's missteps to the influx of immigrants and of course, my people.

This got me thinking, dangerous, I know. About all the other ways my early education was slathered in undeniable whitewash. 

For example, we made many class trips to the Revolutionary war historical sites in upstate New York. And heard tale of Mad Anthony Wayne, the battles in nearby Pennsylvania, and even places where George Washington slept. But for reasons that are just now becoming apparent, learned nothing of the Lakota tribe of Indians, and their descendants, that made up the majority of the surrounding area of Hillburn, NY. 

Even more shameful, we heard nothing of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and his ties to the town.

To this day the sugarcoating continues. It was just last week when we heard esteemed representatives from Louisiana, shamelessly step up to the microphone and rationalize the 3/5ths of person clause and speak, with no sense of irony, about the "good parts of slavery."

It makes my blood boil. 

And it spills over the top when I realize that it has no effect on half this country who are content to Grab Their Partner, Roll Away to a Half Sashay and Weave the Ring. 


I apologize for today's lack of of humor, but once I get on my high horse, I have to go with it.

Also, for a fascinating, alternative look at the American narrative, I suggest you watch the incredible docuseries on HBO, Exterminate All the Brutes

It is an eye-opener.

Monday, May 10, 2021

My addiction

It's not easy for me to admit this but, I am an addict.

Before you get ahead of yourselves and start guessing the nature of my addiction, I will let you know you can rule out the usual suspects: 

* drugs (though I still enjoy the temporary euphoria from half a Vicodin for my cartilage-free hip joint)

* alcohol (though I'm on a first name basis with Jack, Jim and Noah -- all makers of fine bourbon, I'm of Scottish heritage and built for this stuff)

* sex (this is a family friendly blog, you can insert your own joke here)

* tobacco (I indulged in cigars decades ago, but have no affinity for tobacco whatsoever)

* exercise (this would be your best guess, though my girthy body shows no evidence, I work out twice a day and have been doing so for years)

No, my vice, and the picture above should've provided some clue, is caffeine. Administered through a hot cup of black Joe every morning. For as long as I can remember. 

And since this particular posting is of the full disclosure nature, I should tell you my morning cup of java was often followed by my post lunch cup of non fat latte. And countless re-ups in between.

In all, I was draining 10-12 cups of coffee a day!

Exacerbated by the Pandemic and the work from home mandate, which by the way, I love and makes my grizzled misanthropy so much more palatable to my work colleagues.

"12 cups of coffee in a Day!", I can hear you shouting.

Sadly, yes. But it must be noted I have a cast iron stomach and an amazing narcoleptic ability to fall asleep whenever I find myself in any inclined position. 

Or so I thought. You see, once you reach the ripe old age of 44, Father Time begins sending you reminders of your human frailty. These come in the form of aches and pains which often manifest themselves in odd grunts and groans any time I exit a chair, climb out of bed or tumble out of my backyard hammock.

When those weren't enough to dissuade me from my coffee overconsumption, Father Time activated the dormant acid reflux mechanism in my gastro-intestinal tract. This triggered a new addiction. To soothing mint flavored Pepcid AC. 

At any given time you could find 50-count jars of the magical chewable chalky tablets in my office, in my bathroom, in my nightstand and even in the console of my beloved Audi SE5, a constant reminder that I might be too old to be driving this throaty sports car.

And when that wasn't enough, Father Time reminded me the gastro-intestinal tract has two openings. I will spare you the ugly details, suffice to say I have been getting my money's worth from the Tushy Bidet I installed in my daughter's bathroom.

The message has finally been received. And course correction has thankfully taken place.

I haven't gone cold turkey. But I have limited myself to 2 &1/2 full size cups a day. And it has made all the difference in the world. 

The heartburn is gone. 

The achiness has subsided.  

And even my bidet-inflated water bills have gone down.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Shit I Don't Understand Vol. 2

There's a well known maxim in business, "always be the dumbest guy in the room." 

This has never been a problem for me. For while I may excel as stupid things like trivia contests or Living Room Jeopardy and know a little about a lot of things, there's are many more things I know nothing about. 

And I'm not ashamed to admit it. I am sincerely dumb.

A few weeks ago I started a new themed series here on R17 about Shit I Don't Understand. And as I stated at the onset there will be plenty of shit to come.

So let's get started.

Vinyl Records

If you haven't already guessed that's an election microscope photo -- whatever the fuck that means -- of a turntable stylus gliding across the groove of a vinyl record and magically reproducing music, anything from Rachminanoff's Piano Concerto #3 to Led Zeppelin's repetitive but majestic Kashmir. 

How does it do that? How does dragging a pointy needle across 8 cents worth piece of heated molded plastic recreate music? I know it has something to do with electromagnetism or something I might have learned about in Physics 101 while at Syracuse University, but that class was at 8 o'clock in the morning and it was always snowing, so I opted for Jewish Fictional Humor on Tuesdays and Thursdays at a more civil hour in the afternoon. In a building close to my dorm.

In that same vein...


This is also above my intellectual pay grade. In its most primitive form, there's a magic piece of chemically treated paper, film, that's tucked inside an enclosed dark box. And for a split second an aperture opens up, allowing light to enter the camera through a lens, which then imprints the fleeting light onto the film which is then later treated with more chemicals to reveal a photo, seeing exactly what the human eye can see. Like a man on a horse. Or a naked lady putting on her knickers. 

What kind of satanic wizardry is this?

And finally...


There's a good chance you're reading this blog while on your cellphone. Maybe you're on a train in NYC -- isn't it nice we're returning to normal -- or maybe you're on the west coast, sitting in your bathroom and "launching a lifeboat off the SS Assitania", but have you ever given a moment's thought to the smartness of your smartphone. 

Not only are the words I wrote last Saturday morning ringing through your head on this fine Thursday morning, but if you wanted to reach out to me and file an objection about my crass language and imagery you could do so in a microsecond. And even more astounding, I could receive it in less time than it takes for me to say, "I object to your objection" and colorfully regale you about the overreach of wokeness and woke culture.

I do hope you are enjoying Shit I Don't Understand, because believe me, this is just the tip of the Siegel Imbecile Iceberg.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Cheugy Wednesday

There is a very real possibility that I was the first father in America to have ever been called Cheugy. 

Unfamiliar with that term? 

Want to know its origins? 

And how I earned that distinction? 

Well, I'm glad you asked. Here's a link to last week's NY Times article that explains this new (though for me it's really more than 10 years in the making) phenomena.

If you can't get past the paywall, I'll provide a more personal account. The word was coined by my daughter's childhood friend, Gaby. A whip smart girl of Persian descent who now works in software development. I mention her ethnicity for a funny anecdote, I'll explain later.

Growing up, Gaby and my daughter Abby were tied at the hip. So when my daughter heard the word Cheugy, she began using it. Overusing it, really. Everything we did, or bought, or ate, or read, or watched on TV was Cheugy. 

Teenage girls, at least mine, have a fondness for mocking their parents.

At the time, I had always assumed it was a widely used word of their generation. It is only now after years and years of alleged cheuginess, am I finding out the word was just a secret code between Gaby and Abby.

When my daughter went off to college in Boulder, she started spreading the word like some new variant of Covid. And because she's more than equipped in the ways of social media, it caught on. The girls in her sorority started using it. Their friends started using it. Soon, the trendy shopkeepers on Pearl Street started hearing it. And on and on it went.

Until last week when a Taylor Lorenz, a University of Colorado alumni, caught wind of it, via a Tik Tok video, authored by one of Abby's college friends. The rest is cheug history.

For a short while, cheugy trended on Twitter. Rolling Stone picked up the story. An editor from the Atlantic reached out. Buzzfeed covered the story. And last night, Trevor Noah chimed in on cheug life. And now the girls are trying to figure out what to do with their newfound fame.

As a veteran of internet semi-virality (#CaptainOuchieFoot) I'm trying to manage my daughter's expectations.

"This will all blow over in a couple of days, trust me."

"Oh Dad, stop being so Cheugy."

Time will tell.


OK, now my favorite Abby and Gaby anecdote:

Years ago, my daughter and I got into a heated argument. We tend to get into many arguments. Mostly, as my wife contends, because we are so much alike. Upset over our inability to move past the acrimony and come to a peaceful resolution, Abby asked Gaby what she should do. 

With insightful cultural acuity, Gaby texted back...

"Whatever you do, don't apologize first. American dads are soft. Trust me. He'll give in. And beg for forgiveness. You'll see."

And of course, she was right. 


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Thought of Train

Last week Uncle Joe gave an impassioned speech in Philadelphia in support of trains. 

I didn't actually catch the address. Nor do I feel compelled to. I know our new president won't spill any Code-Word intel, lash out at some reporter(s) or rage about TV ratings (seriously, who gives a dead rat's ass about TV ratings anymore). 

I also know what Uncle Joe did say would make sense, that it was discussed with his top advisors, none of whom gradumecated from Trump University. And that whatever he was proposing was for the good of the country and not for the sake of Ivanka's inheritance.

But to be completely honest, I have this nagging fear that in the middle of whatever Joe is talking about he'll freeze, have a senior moment and then in a completely rando-moment, ask if the microwave popcorn is ready yet.

Thankfully that didn't happen. Yet.

Turns out Uncle Joe was suggesting an idea that I have been railing about for years -- high speed trains. For optics sake, I wouldn't have staged the speech in front of a 1963 F7A 4528. That looks like it was refurbished from the train in the opening of Welcome Back Kotter.

Earworm Alert!

It is beyond my comprehension that this country does not boast a network of high speed bullet trains. You know like they have in places like China or India.

Apparently there is an Acela train, capable of 125 mph, linking NYC and Boston. But that's it. 

Years ago, my wife criss-crossed Europe on high speed trains, including a 5 hour skip from London to Glasgow, where I found myself in the bar car glugging drinks purchased for me by a group of over-served Scotsmen happy to meet a Scottish Yank. A Jewish one at that.

Given a choice of trains, planes and automobiles, I will take the train on every opportunity. Particularly those with a bar car. Sadly we just don't have as many trains as we should.

I suppose that's just the America we live in. We'd prefer to have trillions of dollars worth of tanks, planes and armored vehicles that will likely never get used, so we can bully the rest of the world and threaten to wipe out countries with our "super duper tippy top weapons."

We also enjoy pouring billions of dollars into a magical Wall intended to prevent brown people from entering our country, the same brown people who pick our fruits and vegetables, paint our houses, provide daycare for our kids, clean our homes and myriad of other shitty jobs that Americans see themselves as too good for. Or more accurately, are just too damn lazy to do for themselves.

When we could be using our resources to build trains, provide healthcare, make higher education more affordable, address poverty, repair our infrastructure and raise our standard of living like they do most first world countries.

But I guess that train has left the station.

Also, Fuck Trump.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Good Morning Pittsburgh

Because of my less than storied career in advertising, I've had the opportunity to step foot in almost every major city in North America: Boston, Chicago, Miami, Austin, New Orleans, San Francisco, Atlanta, 2 Portlands and even Boise.

In all my 44 years however, I never had the pleasure of Pittsburgh, PA. 

That changed last week, when my wife and I visited for a 4 day jaunt. 

Now when somebody says, "you have to go out to Pittsburgh", one doesn't typically jump for joy. Or perhaps that's just my jaded coastal elitism raising its ugly head.

But I'm here to tell you, I loved the place. First of all it's in western Pennsylvania, some of the most beautiful land on god's green earth. On this early spring trip it was particularly lush and verdant. Having grown up in upstate NY, I miss the forests, and the hills, and the lakes. 

During my misspent youth there were many days when my buddies and I would head up to Sebago or Greenwood Lake, rent a rowboat, pack a cooler of beer and laugh out loud until the beavers started complaining.

Pittsburgh is also just the right size. 

Big enough to be considered a major city, small enough to feel a distinct uncity-like civility. Unlike LAX, the airport was clean, quiet and uncrowded. The freeways, or turnpikes, were similarly sparsely populated. I don't think I tapped the brakes once on the 20 minute drive to the hotel.

And the people, at least the ones near the University of Pittsburgh, where we were situated couldn't have been nicer. Sort of a cross between Mid-western aw shucks and east coast streetwise. 

It was also the first time in more than a year that my wife and I, both double vaccinated, had the opportunity to enjoy a meal in a restaurant.

If you look between the railings on the left, you can spot the owner, old man Girasole. He even paid us a personal visit, while holding a huge goblet of red wine.


"Excuse me."

"Paisan?...are you Italian?"

"Ah, no. Jewish."

"Ahhh, that's good too."

If the world works its wonders and karma does the right thing, we will be returning to Pittsburgh very soon.