Wednesday, June 30, 2021

I'm confused

Weeks ago, I started a new series here at R17 about things I will never understand. You may even remember some of the topics I touched on like phonographs, beets and the whole toilet seat up or down issue. 

Again, if I have to lift the seat in order to pee, why is the responsibility of putting down the seat thrust upon me? Is not the current toilet user responsible for his or her seat preference. I'd like my friends in the Woke community to come up with pronouns for this (Sheater/NonSheater/???)

Ironically, I don't understand why I haven't revisited this series about things I will never understand. But for this slow Wednesday where I am holed up at a UCLA medical center for wife's MRI mapping session, for 6-8 hours, I thought we'd come back to this robust series.

1. COSPLAY -- I am a grown ass man. A 44 year old grown ass man. I'm not given to Video games, Cartoons, Superheroes, or Cartoons about Superheroes. I can't begin to tell which universe Batman or Superman inhabit. And have no use for big metal hammers, flying capes or the ability to spit silken webbing out of my wrists. Unless of course if it would shut my neighbors yappy dog right the fuck up. 

Years ago, while touring the campus of the University of Oregon, I had to ask my daughters what was going on in one corner of the Quad, where some costumed kids were fake swordfighting each other. "That's LARP, Live Action Role Play." Holy shit, I thought, don't these college kids have any weed or booze?

2. LOUD CAR MUSIC AFICIANADOS -- At the risk of further cementing my image as a cranky old man, what the fuck is going on here? If I pull up at a red light or if I'm slowcrawling my way south on the 405 and suddenly my windows are shaking like a 4.3 earthquake, I want some answers. 

What is that crap you're listening to? And aren't you concerned all that vibration will do permanent damage to your car's suspension system? What I'd like to do is return the favor. Open my windows up and crank the stereo up to 11 with the dulcet sounds of Scottish bagpipe music. Sadly however, SIRIUS XM has not yet devoted an entire channel to the bellowing sounds of the highlands.

3. RED HATS -- You must have seen this coming. Particularly since today's Things I Will Never Understand is covering the subset of People I Will Never Understand. 

In just the past week, we saw the Michigan GOP rebuke the Big Lie and state unequivocally, "There was no widespread fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election." On top of that we saw Tucker Carlson go on national TV and call the sitting JCOS (A Trump appointee no less), "a stupid pig." And then we saw Rudy OFF-DUTY Giuliani lose his law license in NY State because he represented a clear and present danger to public safety,

On top of all that, we heard the SDNY is about to issue indictments on the Trump Organization, possibly, and more than likely including charges on Alan Weisselberg, who will most certainly flip on his boss, Captain Ouchie Foot.

And yet, for all that treachery, all that scammery, and all that bamboozery, millions of Americans are sticking to their guns -- no surprise -- and willing to lay down the future of our democracy in the service of a 75 year old, ignorant, sociopathic narcissist whose name shall replace Benedict Arnold in every textbook, including the ones printed in Texas.

I will NEVER understand these folks. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Who wants pizza?


Seems like everyone and their cousin Luigi is buying a pizza oven these days. It's the must-have backyard accessory, next to those spring loaded hoses for people like me who are too lazy to spool up the hose after watering my squirrel-nibbled tomatoes.

I'm not buying a pizza oven. Particularly not the Ooni-Karu 16, with a price tag well over $800.

Not because I don't love pizza, I do. I grew up in Queens,NY where prior to Starbucks, there was a pizzeria, sometimes two on every block. At the time, and we don't have to get into the year, you could buy a slice for 50 cents and Coke for another quarter. In other words, lunch would be a buck and a quarter. 

It's hard to believe that in those days school would let out at noon and hundreds of kids, ages 8-12 would be freed upon the mean streets of Flushing to cross Kissena Blvd and roam about the neighborhood without any supervision.

Today's helicopter parents put Nest cameras in kids bathrooms to monitor their proper stool manufacturing.

But getting back to the premise, I love pizza but pizza doesn't return the favor. Those calorie laden slices require hours and hours on the Peloton. So, at most, we order from local pizza shops -- I would never call them pizzerias, that's reserved for purveyors East of the Hudson -- maybe once a month.

The damage is always about $20 a pop. That includes tax and tip. And there's usually another breakfast to be had from the leftovers.

So, at twenty bucks a pop and at a rate of once a month, I might spend $250 a year on pizza. The number is actually closer to $100 a year, because we've recently been seduced by Dave's Hot Chicken.

If I were to purchase the pizza oven, I'd be spending $800+ for the rig, plus ingredients, plus one of those white floppy chef's hats (a must) and would be shelling out more than a grand. For pizza.

My pizza oven investment would not break even for another 10 years. With the current rate of our national political disintegration, I'm not sure this country is going to be here in 10 years.

Also, and this is just my slow metabolism talking, isn't the whole rationale for eating pizza centered around the notion of being just too damn lazy to defrost, marinate and cook a chicken or a fatty flank steak? Why do I want to stand next to a 900 degree blast furnace when I could throw twenty bucks at a kid to drive my dinner right to my front doorstep?

My hope is that my wife does not read this post and apply its strained logic and sensical math to my 2015 Audi S5 and its exorbitant monthly payments, considering how rarely it gets out of my driveway.

"You never leave the house and even drive that damn thing."

Monday, June 28, 2021

They're turning me into a NIMBY

If you've been reading RoundSeventeen with any kind of regularity or even if you're new to these pages and have only been reading for a week, it should be self-evident that I like a good fight.

I've been fighting the stupidity, greed and even more stupidity of the advertising agency world, ever since I made my departure from it in 2004. 

I've been fighting the con artists and fraudsters of the world ever since I received my first email from a Nigerian prince who magically selected me to help him extrude $12 million from his humble abode in Lagos.

And I've been hellbent for leather -- do people still say that? -- fighting that maggot-infested maltpie who pretended to be president of our once great nation during his Reign of Fatuity. Though in the past week it seems his self-destructive tendencies have relieved me of my duties.

But now I find myself locking horns in a new battle. 

It seems the do-gooders and sageburners of Culver City have worked themselves up into a tizzy about the lack of affordable housing in our fair city. This is by no means a new rant against an unfair world. Back in the late 1980's and early 1990's my wife and I also bemoaned the exorbitant price of home ownership.

We spent a month of Sundays, away from NFL football I might add, lookie-looing into open houses all across West LA. And each week we scratched a new neighborhood off our list of possibilities:

Cheviot Hills -- No way

Pacific Palisades -- Uh-uh

Mar Vista -- Too pricey

Santa Monica, even South Santa Monica - No can do

Marina del Rey -- Yeah right

It wasn't until we found the shittiest house in dumpy, frumpy Culver City (this was before all the overdevelopment) that we had decided if we pool our scant savings together, eat ketchup sandwiches for a year, paint and repair and pour sweat equity into the home, that we might be able to make this happen.

But apparently that's not the path others want to take. 

They would like to up zone our quiet, modest neighborhood and take huge swaths of R-1 homes, that others like myself sacrificed for, and turn them into R-4 zones, allowing developers to swoop in and put in high-density housing, if they promise to make a certain allotment for low income earners.

One need only read the shady dealings of one Donald J. Trump and his coldhearted father, land developers in NYC, to see how those promises can be skirted and exploited for cash.

Well I'm not having it. Because, if successful, this will eat into my stay-out-of-a-dirty-nursing home retirement money. It will lower the value of my property. 

As you might imagine, I've already tangled with a few of these nudniks who want to mess with the most valuable asset I and my family own. And though I am not unsympathetic to young families who would like to own a home in Culver City, particularly teachers, firemen, and other public service workers, I would provide them a map of our fair city. 

And instruct them to look into more affordable homes in the surrounding areas:



Ladera Heights



That's how things work. Always have and always will.

Also, ketchup packets are free at almost any fast food restaurant.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Continuing Erotic Adventures of Dr. Saguro


As some of the faithful followers of this email chain might recall, I had last told Dr. Saguro of my desire to have not one baby boy, but two. Moreover, my wife, Mrs. Dick Hertz, was already counting of the success of Dr. Saguro's Magic fertility medicine and had begun purchasing baby stuff for the arrival of the boys.

And even though I had slyly cut his fee by about 17%, Dr. Saguro was still willing to take the money and go through with the deal. In fact, he was growing quite impatient with my stall tactics.

Nevertheless I resisted.

I'm not sure why I introduced a western theme into the picture. Then again, why not? It might be because I've been watching Django Unchained (an underrated Tarantino flick) on all the assorted HBO channels.

Dr. Saguro was not amused.

And so I threw another curve ball into the mix.

And, just as I expected, he snapped at the latest bait.

Well, if Quinton Tarantino didn't throw him, neither would Sir Mixalot...

Now we're cooking with fire.

Who knows where this latest twist will take us, I only know it will provide many laughs. Thank you Doc.

Tomatoes -- 3, Rats --1

Things happen.

Unexplainable things.

Let me back the truck a little to explain. Last year, in fact for the last couple of years, we have not had much success with our annual garden of tomatoes, cucumbers, and gut-exploding hot peppers. As I explained to a colleague this week, I do not suffer from Jew Stomach and can tolerate as well as enjoy the most fiery fruits to arise from the ground.

The poor bounty is hard to explain, since, at the nagging of my wife, I had gone out of my way to water the veggies with painful regularity. That it turns out was my first mistake. 

The helpful clerk at the nursery advised me to water three a week instead of my previous fourteen. And low and behold, with July not yet upon us, the garden is bearing fruit. Or shall I say vegetables. We have two cucumber plants doing amazing. My Serranos and Habaneros are already turning color and turning my intestines into a blast furnace. And one of on my tomato plants already has more than a dozen orbs getting bigger by the day.

As I was checking one of the larger tomatoes at the bottom, steam started exploding from my ears. Turns out, it had been nibbled on by a squirrel. Or worse, one of the many Norwegian Tree Rats that scurry about the neighborhood in the wee hours of the evening.

Upon further examination, I had to pluck three green unripened tomatoes that been ravaged by some sneaky rodent. That was three days ago. And I am still fuming about my bounty being pirated.

No sooner had I got done griping about the theft and complaining to my wife, producing the expected eye roll, did I see this infographic come across my computer screen. It is the perfect summation of my agricultural woes.

Like I said, things happen.

That is not to say I haven't exacted my revenge. I have.

Contrary to that old maxim about not being able to build a better a better mousetrap, some clever engineers in China who work wonders with molded plastic have done exactly that. 

And thanks to the algorithmically agile folks at Amazon, I now have in my possession two KatSense Covered rat and Chipmunk Traps™.

And they work. 

Even on the oversized, overfed bullies of the litter.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

No Cannes Do

I miss Cannes.

For the second year in a row the legendary Cannes Festival to celebrate the finest in Advertising has been canceled because of Covid. With the exception of the endless back-patting, linkedin updates, humblebrags, tweets and retweets, I don't know how we are going to be able keep abreast of all the groundbreaking work that's out there.

Let's be clear, when I say I miss Cannes it's not because I miss going there. I never did. Not because my work didn't merit the honor, I'm happy to say much of it did. My absence was more personal. And stems from the fact that a certain sodden agency president and I butted heads too often. 

Mostly because my logical, sane points of view were expressed while I was sober and his never were.

As a result, I never made the invite list.

So what do I miss about Cannes? The opportunity to skewer it for all the obnoxious pretension and the ridiculous pomp and circumstance  and fabricated fawning given to a bunch of ads and TV commercials.

To demonstrate that utter disposability, consider the fact that that my sister-in-law can tell you the names of Academy Award Best Picture going all the way back to Citizen Kane.

Or, that my brother can rattle off the names of every Super Bowl winner starting with the Green Bay Packers back in the time when players would smoke ciggies during the halftime show.

I defy any of my colleagues, including the many ad nerds I know, to tell me what and who won the Grand Prix in 2005. Or 2013. Or even as recent as 2018.

In short, this shit just does not matter. Except to the event organizers who were, and will be next year, more than happy to collect the exorbitant entry fees, in all the various categories:

Automotive, 30 second TV spot, 4 door sedans

Automotive, 30 second TV spot, 2 door coupes

Automotive, 30 second TV spot, hatchback




Zoo, Public, Onsite posters, Mammals

Zoo, Public, Onsite posters, Marsupial

Zoo, Public, Onsite posters, Predatory Birds

And as if all that were not enough, I'll miss all the tone-deaf pictorial evidence, flashed across social media, documenting all the obscene naval-gazing debauchery by advertising's cool kids. 

I guess it's just as well they canceled the event. Because after 18 months of being locked down in our homes, there's no way all those Cannes-goers would fit in their white Euro-tight Capri pants.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

E=mc (squared)

I spend a lot of time looking out my window. 

It is, I suspect, the nature of my occupation. In between the clicking and clacking on the keyboard come long stretches of daydreaming, procrastination and observation. These are not luxuries, these are, and any writer will tell you, necessities.

Ideas need to stew. And boil up. And release steam. Because in the rising steam, synapses can fire and make new an unexpected connections. As well as strained metaphors that make no sense at all.

Yesterday while watching my neighbor wash his car for the 8th time this week, despite our state's mega drought, I noticed the Mexican nanny who has worked across the street for as long as I have lived in this house. For discretionary purposes, let's call her Maria.

Not only did she help raise the three kids, she has spent considerable time at my house. We hired her to help out during our large family gatherings on Passover and Rosh Hashanah. Maria is one of the kindest, sweetest people you will ever meet on this planet. She still speaks little English and I am always amazed how she can navigate life in LA.

I noticed Maria had a little hitch in her walk. It was immediately recognizable because I have the same hitch. And I know a bad hip when I see one. 

Unlike me, Maria will not be having that bum hip joint replaced by UCLA Health, the finest medical team in the land. Also unlike me, she will not be getting Vicodin on the side from my cranky uncle who has enough industrial medicines to fuel a Kentucky Derby winner.

Maria will more than likely suffer in silence and deal with just one more of the adversities that life as an undocumented worker in the US will face.

Before any of you gear up to spew some nonsense about coming into this country the legal way, let's contrast her life with another immigrant woman. 

This one...

She came to the United States in 1996 on a tourist visa. She later obtained a working visa doing "runway modeling" and soft core pornography. In 1998, she started "dating" Grandpa Ramblemouth and later applied for US citizenship under EB-1, a special grant reserved for people who are highly acclaimed in their field.

Maybe she cited her excellent girl-on-girl scene with Irena Slovenka in the smash hit, Czech Girls Take Cash Only. But I fail to see how Ms. Goldigger is highly acclaimed in any field.

Nevertheless, in 2001 she got her Einstein Visa and later brought her parents into the country via chain immigration, you know, the policy Republicans have been railing against since they started wearing white hoods. 

In my mind, there can be no clearer demonstration of the unequal application of the law. A lasting testament to the systemic racism and white privilege whose existence so many in this country want to deny.

Monday, June 21, 2021

The man on the moon


Yesterday was Father's Day. 

Who am I kidding? I'm writing this on Saturday morning but you won't be reading this until Monday morning. Unless you have some of that special plutonium metal from the movie Tenet that inverts time and have come back here from the future. Why would you want to do that? 

I'm still trying to wrap my pea-brain around the plot of that Christopher Nolan spectacle. And I've watched that damn movie three times. But to its credit does have a 747 ripping through a warehouse.

I don't know what's in store for my Father's Day, nor does it really matter to me. The attention and the gifts will be nice, but the truth is I'm not wanting for anything. And things I do want, can't be ordered online for one day delivery -- health and time.

It's not until you reach the ripe old age of 44 that you begin to develop an astounding appreciation for each.

In year's past, I used to joke that the only thing I wanted for Father's Day was to be left alone. Away from diapers, crying, fighting, screaming, and the endless demands of children used to having their endless demands met by a dad who swore he would never spoil his kids and then did. 

But like the protagonist in Harry Chapin's Cats in the Cradle, that is no longer the case. And now with my oldest daughter itching to get out of the house and move into her Santa Monica apartment with furniture she built by herself, she is the one that yearns to be left alone.

It's a vicious push and pull, repeated in my family and, I suspect, in millions of others. 

I cannot do the phenomena justice, but Dr. Sherwin Nuland, a gifted writer did. This book comes with my highest recommendation. You will laugh, you will cry, you will wonder if there's any whitefish salad left in the fridge.

The fluid relationship I had with my father can best be demonstrated with two anecdotes. 

While in college, I had to wear a dental plate to fill in the gap of my missing two front teeth. It was a temporary thing, called a flipper, that stuck to the roof of my mouth, like dentures. On one rambunctious evening, my college buddies and I found ourselves hurling snowballs from the open windows on the 6th floor of Sadler dormitory. We'd pelt pizza delivery guys from 75 feet above and laugh uncontrollably from the excessive alcohol and other forbidden substances.

That's when my flipper popped out of my mouth and landed in three feet of snowdrift at the base of the building. "Oh shit", I thought, and ran to the payphone in our lobby to call my father. Did I mention it was at 2AM?

"My flipper came out and fell out the window", I panicked.


"What am I, a fucking dentist?"


That was when he and I were at each other's throats and would go months without speaking.

Later, much later in life, when his health was failing and he was wilting away in a San Diego hospital, I would drive down to see him on weekends. 

The cancer had mellowed him out. Almost to the point of being unrecognizable. You have to understand that he was a hard-charging NYC bull that never backed down from adversity. And took great pride in his Bronx-bred pugnaciousness. But in this battle with cancer, he found himself a worthy opponent.

As I spent time with him in his propped up hospital bed, nurses and doctors would come streaming in to check his vitals. And on each visit, he'd introduce me...

"This is my son. He's a writer. He makes a living from the luft (yiddish for air). Last month he ran the LA Marathon. He has a resting heart rate in the high forties..."

It only took him a lifetime to get there, but it was, sadly, the happiest I had ever seen the old man. 

Happy posthumous Father's Day, dad.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Inside Scoop

My daughter and her friend have just rented a new apartment. It doesn't look like this. Yet.

Right now it's relatively empty but getting filled with each new Gluckenflibber and StickleGrocken that I assemble from the good folks at Ikea. 

Starting from scratch is never easy, nor inexpensive. So my daughter and her roommate are scouring the internet for 2nd hand stuff. And actually purchasing it.

That means I have to go into a lot of people's homes. A lot of strangers, that is.

Which, if you haven't guessed is a lot different than going into the homes of friends or family. Normal people, that is.

Last week we ventured down to Inglewood. And parked outside the California Cool Coco Market, a funky bodega worth of a funky camera angle.

The outside of the apartment building we entered was equally funky. With all manner of toys, broken chairs and Big Wheels strewn about the courtyard. A little disconcerting considering we were there to buy someone else's couch. 

But we were pleasantly surprised. The couch seller's apartment was surprisingly clean and well kept. And the white couch, with the exception of one small stain on the ottoman, was surprisingly white.

A friend of mine who did house calls for a technical equipment company would tell me all kinds of horror stories about going into stranger's houses. Including the time he had to replace a modem that was inconveniently located in the house's "Sex Room." 

"I'm going back to my truck for my HazMat suit."

Finally, on this awkward topic, there is a house in my neighborhood that scares the bejesus out of all the neighbors. The owners are confirmed hoarders. 

Weeks ago, I was walking my dog Lucy and noticed a truck from Best Buy had parked in their driveway. I walked past it on the way to my destination, Lucy's favorite pooping spot a few blocks over. When I was returning, I saw the Best Buy delivery guy rolling his dolly out of the house and back into his truck.

He saw me looking at him and rolled his eyes. I was not within earshot of the home owner and so I casually remarked to the guy...

"Is it as scary as I think it is in there?"

"Oh no, it's scarier."

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Letters, we get letters

In re-reading yesterday's post and laughing myself silly at my own juvenile sense of humor, I had a revelation.

Over the years, mostly since I started this blog, I've done quite a bit of letter writing. Not in the interest of furthering a friendship or receiving any heartwarming return mail or even just to touch the heart of a loved one -- not exactly my strong suit.

No, my letter writing has been for the express purpose of eating up time, and hence, money, of dirtbags who spend their time fishing for American suckers to defraud. An evidently growing market of millions, who lack the necessary critical thinking tools to spot a conman or a conwoman (see 2015 - 2020).

It started in 2005, when I went about scambaiting Nigerians who have made millions of dollars with the infamous 419, otherwise known as the Spanish Prisoner Heist. Many of these emails were chronicled in my book Tuesdays With Mantu, My Adventures with a Nigerian Con Artist.

Still available on Amazon, by the way. 

After that, I began developing an interest in the Illuminati. This was a natural inclination, since the Illuminati represented a classic mix of conspiracy theory politics and unabashed grifting. Which is really quite redundant.

Following that, I began to branch out and started corresponding with Russian and Asian Mail Order Bride companies, posing as a lonely man in search of a mail order bride. This was inspired by a gun-dealing neighbor of mine who had met both his unsavory wives via the US mail service.  

Some of you might also remember my series of email exchanges with the President of the Mara Lago Country Club. That was fun because I got a first hand peek at the shady operations of an official Trump Organization. 

Mara Lago offers two types of memberships, the Premier, with an initial fee of $200 K and a yearly dues of $50,000, for unlimited use of the facilities and preferred T-times. 

And the Deluxe Membership, for $15,000, which does not include any golfing privileges but does include access to the pool, the pool bar and the club restaurant. Bread and/or breadsticks are served a la carte.

I also inquired about membership at Precedent Shitgibbon's Bedminister Club in New Jersey, where I had hoped to stage a faux Bar Mitzvah for my faux nephew, Ira Cohen. That was short lived as I suspect New Jersey have a much more sensitive radar and know when someone is yanking their chain.

"Get outtahere, you fucking hard-on."

I even put out feelers for Grandpa Ramblemouth to join us after Ira had read his Haftorah portion and speak at the reception, when he let it be known through his now-defunct From the desk of website.

And now, if you read yesterday's post, I'm going hard at Dr. Saguru Udo, who claims to be a Medicine Man based in Turkey -- I love turkey, especially BBQ turkey.

If I had it in me, I'd take all the unused Nigerian correspondence, mix in the best of the Illuminati, sprinkle in some mail order bride missives, top it off with my shenanigans with Captain Ouchie Foot and end large with my ongoing adventures with Dr. Udo, and have myself a knee-slapping book worthy of $8.99 of your hard earned money.

But at this point, I'm too lazy to do all that copy and pasting. 

Maybe, my daughters will do it when I'm done and feeding the worms? 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

More fun with Dr. Saguro

It's been a couple of weeks since we had an update on my correspondence with "Doctor/Medicine Man", Saguru Udo, who promised to help my wife re-enter parenthood and bring two bouncing baby boys into this world.

At that time I had asked "Dr.Udo" for some documentation of his medicinal credentials. He obliged.

He seemed a little perturbed that I questioned his Curriculum Vitae. 

At this point, "Dr." is laser focused on getting his money. He didn't even notice that I offered more than he asked for.

Now I know there is nothing I can say to him that will tip him off that I am the one doing the scamming. So I upped the ante.

Dr. Saguro Udo is not fazed at all.

Neither am I.

Here come the wiring instructions.

I can't imagine why it "so urgent" that he get the money right away. After all, my wife and I have waited for a baby boy for more than 29 years.

For me, this is the best part of the scam baiting process. The delay. 

The slimebag on the other end thinks he is dealing with a genuinely interested fool who is ready to hand over some hard earned cash. And that slime bag wants that cash. Not sending him that cash must be so frustrating on his end. He thinks its coming, he just doesn't know when.

But when this all over, he will remember the name Dick Hertz and his expectant wife Mrs. Gina Hertz.

Monday, June 14, 2021

We're going Glamping

We are booked.

In little more than a month, my wife and I will step foot in our rented 21 ft. Coachman DX LX RV, don't quote me on the nomenclature. We will be heading up to our annual campaign spot just outside of Independence, CA off rt. 395, the most scenic highway ever built with American taxpayer money.

Unlike years past, where we shlepped tents, camping kitchens, sleeping bags, air mattresses, outdoors shower facilities, pots and pans, and just about about everything you can imagine that would fill an Acura MDX to the gills, and then some, we're camping with style this year.

Why? Why not?

It's been a brutal year and a half, for more reasons than I'm willing to discuss, and we deserve it.

We deserve a real toilet, a real bed, a real shower, and real good justification for not going to a Four seasons hotel for a long weekend, which we would do if we were smart, but we're not, so we're glamping. Of course there's always the added joy of making our tent-bound friends jealous.

This is not to say there is no trepidation with taking the Rig, that's technical RV jargon, out into the wild. You see I am still haunted by the ghosts of Winnebago nightmares from decades ago. If I were going to a therapist, these dim memories would have been long vanquished. But I don't visit a therapist and so they still reside in the basement of my amygdala.

Way back when, my chain-smoking parents thought it would be a good idea to rent a 30 foot Winnebago and pack our entire family, including three bratty kids, a noisy dog and a cranky grandfather, for a 1000 mile long trek from NY to Miami. In August. Did I mention my grandfather was a chainsmoker as well?

As first time RV'ers, we had no idea that all the accoutrements of a week long trip needed to be battened down as if we were swashbucklers in the Mayflower. Before we reached the New Jersey border, the floor of the RV was littered with sneakers, knives, forks, kosher salt, and the remains of hundreds of already smoked cigarettes, Camel, no filter.

Also, you coop 6 noisy New Yorkers in a box on wheels that is really not much larger than a jail cell, you're gonna have some major blowups. Particularly when one of those occupants, my father, had already spent a year of his life in a real jail cell and was somewhat prone to raging claustrophobia.

By the time we passed through the gates of Disneyworld, the Crappiest Place on Earth, I think it's safe to say that each of us were scouring the Winnebago for an escape hatch. Did I mention it was August? It was hot but it was suicidal heat.

But this will be different.

Now when we pull up to our campsite, I won't have to pop open the rooftop Yakima, nor string up the tent, nor assemble the kitchen, nor solve the puzzle of our showering facilities, nor crack open the bear box and load the 75 lbs. coolers into searing metal container.

I'll just back the 21 foot Coachman up, set my luxury camping chair up by the shaded mountain stream and pop open a dozen or so Einstock, Iceland's finest white ale.

Serenity, Now!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Punching the clock

It only seems appropriate that after 17 years of running Rich Siegel Worldwide, a global ad agency with offices in the den, the family room, the now spare bedroom and occasionally the log-launching room, that I finally hang up my cleats.

17, after all does have a certain significance for me. 

This does not mean however that I will no longer click and clack on the keyboard to keep a roof over my head and to put food and expensive whiskey on my table. After all, I still have a family to feed and I harbor a strong penchant for premium red meat, in the form of briskets and Tomahawk steaks. 

I also like to keep the liquor cabinet adequately stocked with smooth white rum, Kahlua for the every so often White Russian, and expensive Bulleit Rye, for the very often viewing of the nightly news and the day by day destruction of our fine Republic by the Republican Party.

Yesterday, I made this act of resignation official by changing my Linkedin page. Wherein I also announced my new position as a Creative Director at Honey, part of the PayPal family.

Although to call it a new position is a bit of a misnomer, since I've been on this job officially for 4 months now. 

I think it's smart to wait to announce these kind of things, don't you? After all, I could have joined and in no time worn out my welcome as the cranky old man and then shown the virtual door on one of my many Zoom calls. But that didn't happen. And I'd like to thank the kids, and to me anyone under the age of 44 is a kid, who have put up with my shenanigans.

And it turns out I like this new job, though more than once I feel overpaid for carrying out some menial creative tasks. I like it much the way I liked my 8 month freelance gig at Dollar Shave Club.

And why not?

I'm working at home.

I'm working with smart people.

I'm helping the company in ways I never thought I could.

But the thing I like most about it is the gathering more than the hunting. Tracking down freelance gigs can be a tiring affair. And many of my colleagues will attest to this. It also doesn't help that the gazelle you've been tracking and sneaking up on is also in the crosshairs of 183 other freelance copywriters. Many who know what an Instagram carousel ad entails. And will work for $30/hour.

And so again I am a salaryman. The difference now is I can still snag 20 minutes in my backyard hammock without the boss ever knowing about it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Going Bionic


Assuming I get all the preliminaries, including a full physical, a Covid test, and cold turkey withdrawal from my nightly bourbon & bourbon libations, I am scheduled to get a new hip joint sometime in August.

As surgical operations go, I'm told this is the equivalent of removing a hangnail. 

In fact, given my excessively good health -- I've never even spent a night in a hospital -- I will be sliced open in the morning, my hip joint will ripped from its socket my mid morning, I'll be stitched up by noon, asleep on generous doses of Vicoden by 2PM and carted home by my wife who is dreading this more than me, by days end.

With the new hip joint in place, I'm told I'll be good as new. If not better. And that's music to this 44 year old's ears.

So the question remains, which hip joint will I receive? Naturally, I did my homework and looked into all my options.

I'm liking #3, the C-STEM™ AMT MARATHON™ Cemented Cup. Because let's face it had I not spent all those years running 10k's, triathlons and marathons, I would not be in this the-cartilage-is-gone, bone on bone situation.

I'm also digging the cool hollow framing. It reminds me of those sleek European bridges you might see in Seville, Spain or even Melbourne, Australia. 

However, I'm not sure I like the idea of having cement placed inside my body. The last thing I need is extra weight that nudge my BMI numbers into the Embarrassment Zone.

I'm also partial to # 7, the CORAI™Revision PINNACLE Multihole. The reasoning here could not be simpler. If a balljoint is supposed to have one hole, I have to believe that a balljoint with multiple holes is even better. And since the good folks at United Healthcare are picking up the tab for this affair, I figure it's time to go luxury.

Then again, there's something to be said for #8, the RECLAIM™ GRIPTION™TF, clearly the hip replacement preferred by 9 out of 10 manly men. Hell the name sounds like one of my father's old carpenter tools, "Hand me that Gription. And my coffee cup filled with scotch." 

And it's got all those gnarly looking green screws popping out of it. I like the thought of the doctor replacing my hip and then needing a sanitized Phillips Head screwdriver to finish off the deal. 


I'm not looking forward to the surgery. But I am looking forward to the recovery period. And my legitimate prescriptions for Vicodin...mmmm, Vicodin.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Never Again. Maybe.

Oh how I hate this place.

Years ago, we added a second story to our modest California ranch bungalow, to be honest I don't know what'd you'd call this style. Though with all the modern boxy houses going up around us, it stands out as something more original.

We finally had a bedroom for each of our daughters. Had we been smart, they would have shared a Jack and Jill bathroom, but the hipster architect we hired at the time talked us out of it. It wasn't pleasing to his aesthetic. 

It was at this point that I finally understood what it meant to be a client and to have wacky kids show you their wacky advertising ideas.

In any case, we had two empty rooms and two eager daughters who wanted to sleep in new beds, with new dressers and new desks and new knick knacks that every little girl must have, And so we made a weekend visit to the local Ikea in Carson. 

It was hell. 

Actually, it was the appetizer for Hell.

Because I think I spent the next 48 hours doweling, jigging, and Allen wrenching these Swedish pieces of shit together. A good third of the time included, "Where'd I put that damn Allen wrench?"

I swore I'd never do it again. In fact, on the drive home I rattled off a song:

"Never going to Ikea again,

on the weekend, the weekend."

To this day, my daughters remember all the lyrics and can even mimic the tune.

Like the Cosa Nostra, Ikea has a way of dragging me back in. My oldest daughter, who just got a new job, is leaving the nest. Rachel and her friend have signed the lease on a fancy schmancy apartment in Santa Monica. You can even see the ocean, if you open the window from above and stand on top of the toilet.

And this weekend, in fact right after I conclude this blog piece (written on Saturday morning), I will load up the car with tools and fill up my pocket with Alleve as well as some Petra Cannibis-Infused mints and begin the Swedish jigsaw puzzle once again.

Am I looking forward to it? No I am not.

I am dreading it almost as much as I am dreading the thought of her leaving the nest.

But here's the thing I most appreciate about parenthood, my kid's joy is more meaningful and resonates greater than any joy I have for myself. And admittedly other than a good football game on TV or a freshly toasted Everything bagel with good lox and sharp onion, there isn't much in that vault.

OK, I put it off long enough, time to go make the Grundtal Norrviken.

Monday, June 7, 2021

The One

Meet Shaini Candace Goodwin, aka the Dove of Oneness or the One of Doveness, does it really matter?

I suspect, as most readers of this blog are sane, rational human beings who come here for the snark and a dose of rational thinking in an irrational world, that you have never heard of her. I know I hadn't until I started trolling the Facebook Group: Kayleigh McEnany Fan Club page; a collection of nutters, fascists and no-rabbit-hole-is-deep-enough-to-bury-me-in conspiracy theorists.

I'll try to keep this as top line as possible.

Many of the folks on the KMFC page believe President Trump, and in their world he is STILL president, will be reinstated in the White House sometime in August. 

This is simply a rehash of previous broken promises. Remember it was all going to come to fruition on December 14th. Then again on January 6. Than again again on the day on the inauguration, when these braindead Red Hats thought black vans would sweep through DC and arrest every Democrat with a soul and a triple digit IQ.

Now the date is mid summer. And to back up their ridiculous, and thoroughly unconstitutional claim, they needed some rationale, you know to give their followers the necessary gravitas for this ridiculous pronouncement. And that's where NESARA/GESARA come in.

For those who don't know, like myself, NESARA stands for the National Economic Security and Recovery Act. GESARA is the same thing only on a Global basis. From what I could glean from this article, and keep in mind I have a third grader's understanding of the monetary systems, and crypto and all manners of currency, NESARA would be a a huge financial reset.

The thought is that while in office President Trump secretly signed this into law and it would be enacted if he lost the election. NESARA would effectively usher in a new crypto currency and the debt incurred by every American would be wiped out, including:


* Cars

* Jetskis

* Dirt bikes

* Home Brewery machines

* Winnebagos

* Four wheelers

* speedboats

* waterbeds

* Massaging barcaloungers

It's not all unlike the jock in high school who ran for student body council President promising Free Pizza and No Homework. In other words, it's easy to see why this harebrained notion would have great traction with the Red Hat brigade. 

Hell, if someone were to come in and remove all my debt, including the 700 bucks I spent on a stupid elliptical that doesn't ellip any more, I'd throw in with the schmuck.

And because the mother of Shaini Candace Goodwin, the Dove of Oneness, raised no fool, she has, like the cicadas exiting their burroughs, arisen from her 17 year dormancy and re-appeared to feed off the frenzy of fuckknuckle jackfuckery.

I might just have to dig into this NESARA thing a little more and see if I can establish email contact with the One of Doveness via my many fake email accounts.

Who should I be:

Dick Gozinya

Phil McCracken

Holden McGroyne

Boris Bitchyokokoff


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Pitching like a pro

You'd think after a spectacularly unsuccessful career in advertising/TV/publishing and film, and at the ripe old age of 44, I'd be good at pitching ideas. But the truth is I suck.

It wasn't until recently that I have discovered, as in so many things, that I had been doing it all wrong.  And I didn't know that until my wife purchased me a yearly subscription to the Masterclass series.

Recently, I started taking classes with Daniel Pink, a NY Times Bestseller and former speechwriter for Al Gore, who discusses, quite elegantly and rigorously, the basics of salesmanship. Again, you'd think I'd know a little about that stuff but it turns out I know more about HVAC repair. And I know nothing about HVAC repair.

I'm halfway through his course and stumbled upon a 25 minute treatise on pitching ideas. As I mentioned on a podcast last week, I had the good fortune of walking into so many business pitches with the likes of Lee Clow and Steve Hayden. 

The way they command a room is simply masterful. As such my partners and I rarely had to do any actual convincing. We simply had to be jovial and enthusiastic. And we had to hit our punchlines and crescendos the right way. It worked.

But there were many, many more instances when we were not accompanied by these ad legends. And our schtick often fell flat. Followed by excessive drinking and even more excessive self loathing.

Well, as they say, recognizing the problem is half the solution. Other solutions, proffered up by Mr. Pink, who eschews the notion of a vaudevillian song and dance, include starting each pitch with a question as opposed to a declarative statement. This was put to great use by Ronald Reagan of all people, who in 1980, asked, "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?"

The question invites collaboration, which has always been a dirty word in my book. But now I'm burning that book and trying new things.

Another winning technique suggested by Mr. Pink is the rhyming scheme. Turns out our brains are hardwired for this. And its visceral nature pays dividends. Think back to the OJ Simpson trial and the remarkable effectiveness of, "If the glove does not fit, you must acquit."

At the end of the class, Mr. Pink addresses the changing landscape of advertising and how so many of our interactions no longer happen on TV or in print but come via email. 

And as someone who is unashamedly paying bills and putting food on my table thanks to this medium, my ears and note-taking pen perked up. Because our success in this arena depends on one thing...

Winning email subject lines -- and lets face it these are like headlines from a different era -- rest on two pillars:

1. Utility
2. Curiosity

With so many emails filling our mailboxes everyday, the trick is to blend the two in a way that makes that itchy finger on the mouse make the click. 

I'm getting better at it. But I want to get great. Because if I can, who knows maybe I can stick around the ad thing for another twenty years and retire at 64. 

Wish me luck.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Fuck this bitch

Maybe you saw this story last week, before Memorial Day and before Precedent Shitgibbon turned one of our most sacred American traditions, honoring soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, into a shabby juvenile display of toddler grievance (his signature move).

This pleasant enough looking woman, Gigi Gaskins, owner and proprietor of HATwrks in Nashville, decided she would ride the coattails of her hero Marjorie Taylor Greene and exploit the worst human tragedy of the 20th century to pimp a few flat brim hats and fashion accessories.

Gigi is an anti-vaxxer, anti-Covid, rabid trump supporter, just like MTG. She thought it would fun to misappropriate the gold Jewish star my people were forced to wear in Germany during the 1930's before they were shipped off to crematorium in the 1940's.

How fucking quaint.

And judging by the fact that her instagram post got 238 Likes, one can only assume many of her fellow hillbilly Volunteer customers agreed. 

These are people who blissfully unaware that 75 years ago 1 out of every 3 Jews living on the planet was systematically murdered. Had my ancestors in the Belarussian town of Grodno, near the border with Poland and Lithuania not hightailed it out of there in 1903, I would not be writing this today.

Similarly, had the USA pursued an America First immigration and isolationist policy, the one preferred by Gigi, her fellow Tennessee Volunteers and their xenophobic ex-president (god I love saying that), there's a good chance 2 out of every 3 Jews might have met a similar fate.

Perhaps this is why I am sympathetic to the plight of Guatemalan and Salvadoran mothers who want to protect their children from the violence of Central American drug cartels, who by the way are fueled by American dollars and tooth-challenged Americans who supply the Demand for what they are selling.

I would have loved to write a scathing Yelp review of Gigi's shitty little business. But since she was trending on twitter, the social media police closed off all comments on her page. I found there is more than one way to skin a Nazi.

So I did the next best thing and left a glowing Yelp review of one of Gigi's local competitors in the Nashville hat buying arena.

Fuck you Gigi. 

Don't mess with the Jews.


Update: Since this writing I've also left a hatWorks review on Google maps...

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Dr. Udo, Medicine Man

When we last checked in with Dr. Saguru Udo, he was promising to restore my fertility so that the Mrs. and I could fulfill our dream of raising a healthy baby boy. 

I know many of you are thinking that at 44 years of age I'm a little late in the game to be resuming familial duties. Moreover, shouldn't I be happy that I have raised two healthy, beautiful young women who are succeeding at their chosen careers? Of course I should, but I picture myself watching football games with a son and having half time farting contests. Can't a man dream?

Let's remember my hope of bringing a penis-packing baby into this world can only occur if Dr. Saguru can deliver some magic love potion via the inter webs.

Before the good doctor can help me on my way to changing diapers and waking my wife up to bring out the "juice bar", there are some niceties to be exchanged.

His English is not all that good, but for our purposes they work fine.

I let a few days go by, mostly because I was busy, but also because scambaiters, like fisherman, occasionally need to let out a little line, to really set the hook. The idea is to make them show their desperation.

Which jettisons us into the visual part of our presentation. 

And believe me it gets better.

I have no idea what Habs are, but Dr. Udo has them.

I wasn't about to give him my real home address so I gave him the address of TV's favorite misfits, The Munsters. 

And their TV address as well. 

And a picture.

Because, why not?

And now comes the request for money.

Slow down there Dr. Seed Good.

If he wants my money, he's gonna have to work for it. And by that I mean he's is going to have to endure my hijinx. Which he is more than willing to do.

And then he sends this. And I'm not sure it gets any better.

Not only do my wife and I have one of Turkey's premier medicine men working on getting us a boychick, he's been in the doctoring business since he was 9 years old.

How lucky am I?

Stay Tuned.