Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Yesterday I reported on my recovery. A topic that can only be of interest to myself and my two daughters, who are tired of me using my ailment as an excuse not to walk the dog, take out garbage and other assorted Dad tasks.

Today, in other and much more important health-related news, I am sharing an update on my wife's ongoing battle with a very rare liver/bile duct cancer that turned our lives upside down, two days after the country went on Covid lockdown in March of 2020. 

The past year and a half has not been fun. But Cancer Queen and I and our two amazing effervescent daughters are making the best of it. 

They can't take away our ability to laugh.

About two months ago, the Radiologist on our UCLA Team (the best in the land for my money and the money of United Healthcare) called us out of the blue. Dr. Sid, short for Siddharta, suggested we look into the possibility of the relatively new Y90 treatment. 

In laymen's terms --because I'm no doctor, though as I often remind my wife, "I got an A+ in Biology as a freshman in college" -- the nuclear medicine team would prepare a special batch of microscopic glass beads containing radioactive material with a very short half life. The beads are injected into large arteries which are feeding the tumor. They then begin to embolize the surrounding tissue (tumor) and effectively kill it.

We thought long and hard over the wisdom of trying this procedure. It was not without its risks. But since the chemo had stopped working and my wife was bedridden 23 hours a day from the never-ending fatigue, we decided to go Y90.

That was a month ago, about the same time I was being filleted for my surgery. 

In the weeks that followed, Deb was down for the count. Not eating. Not reading. Not moving. Not doing much of anything. Sad confession, she wasn't nagging me either, so that was nice.

Last Monday, she went in for the very telling CT scan, which would inform us whether those tiny pellets had done what they promised to do. And two days later, Dr. Sid called us via a televisit.

He gave us a painfully lengthy preamble, much like the one you're reading right now. Admitting, that because of the complexity of Deb's tumor, this Y90 treatment was the trickiest one he had ever conducted, including the hundreds he had done at University of Washington, my daughter's alma mater.

Finally, with a big smile he announced, 

"It worked. The embolization has effectively killed 95% of the tumor!" 

Tears. Smiles. More tears. More smiles.

This fucking tumor, which has sunk its insidious tentacles into all our lives, has met its match.

As anyone who ridden the Carcinoma Train knows, we are not out of the woods. Yet. But the next steps can wait. In fact, our lead oncologist said we can have 2-3 months without any procedures or any chemo. And with increased energy and positivity, Debbie can slowly recover and get back to some normalcy. 

Nothing would make me happier. Even a little nagging.

Deb and I hope to celebrate by taking Lucy on a hike. Something we haven't done in what feels like 95 years.


Monday, August 30, 2021

Progress Report

I told myself I would not make my hip replacement regular fodder for this blog, but then again who am I to look a titanium gift horse in the leg?

It was 4 weeks ago today when a young surgeon stood in a Santa Monica hospital, turned to the nurse and said, "Gimme the big scalpel, the No. 10 Machete, and let's get this fat boy sliced open." 

Hours later, through the miracle of silicon substitute cartilage and the dulling effects of industrial grade opioids --- Mmmmm, opioids -- I was miraculously standing on two feet and, with the aid of a walker and PT therapist named Logan, walking the hallways in the Santa Monica Hospital OR recovery room.

The modularity of the human body still amazes me. 

We are in the truest sense of the word, the sum of all the parts. And sometimes those parts need to be replaced. I can't help but wonder what our nomad Neanderthal ancestors did to older members of the tribe when they couldn't keep up the pace of the hunt. 

I'm sure the first hip replacement was nothing more than the Alpha grunting something unintelligible to one of his underlings. Followed quickly by a large stone to the head of the limping straggler.

In any case, the rehabilitation is going fine. I no longer need the walker. I was given permission to sleep on my stomach. And, after watching my gait, the orthopedic surgeon gave me the OK to resume my Peloton work-outs. 

I think he was premature on that. Because after 20 minutes on the bike the next day (I should have done 10) I was sore and any progress slowed considerably. I so want to get back to normal that I have a tendency to overdo things. 

As in most things in life. 

If my reading of all the Internet material on 'hip replacement rehabilitation' is correct, I will be fully recovered in two weeks. And if I'm not, I will explore the possibility of supplementing my comeback with this new drug I've been hearing so many good things about -- Ivermectin.

I hear it cures Covid and builds bodies in 12 strong ways.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Space Force

There is a video I share often on social media.

I might have even shared it here on RoundSeventeen once, maybe twice, maybe even three times. Who knows, sometimes I forget things like how to spell 'trepidation' or if I got along with a certain person in one of my many past advertising lives. 

Nevertheless I'm sharing it again, because it requires repeated viewings.

The video is not actually a video but a slow push in on a composited photo consisting of billions and billions of pixels. And it was put to a haunting piece of music that perfectly captures the awe contained within.

When you watch this video, and I guarantee you won't just watch it once, you can't help but to put things in proper perspective. 

Suddenly, what seemed pressing, like the stack of unpaid bills on the kitchen counter, the barking dogs on my street, and the streets to the east and the west of my house, and my daughter's panoply of shoes strewn about the house like so many lost Legos, didn't seem so pressing. 

By the way, I tried to use the word panoply in some body copy last week and had my hand slapped, I assume for being too cerebral. The substituted word, plethora, met a similar fate.

Not to get too nihilistic, but the truth is when looking at this amazing piece it's hard to fathom anything really mattering at all. 

Not the fender swipe on our leased Mazda CX5. Nor an impending nuclear holocaust that would obliterate life on this planet, which would have Zero, to the power of a billion ones, impact on this unfathomably large universe. 

To believe that the Creator of all this gives a rat's ass whether I put cheese on my burger or whether two men decide to love each other or whether someone draws a cartoon of the said Creator is equally unfathomable. The astute reader will note I bagged on all three Abrahamic religions.

That is not to say that nothing comes of this. 

Pardon the dime store philosophy, but my takeaway is quite simple. This, along with my wife's cancer, serve to remind me that we live in the Now. Time and space may be infinite, but we are not. 

And though it can be a struggle sometimes, I'm pushing myself to be kinder, more generous and more understanding with friends, family and even co-workers. Because they have their own tsuris.

But that does not apply to cretinous social media Red Hats, who have given this particular point of Now in American history a black eye. They will continue to be the object of my scorn. Here's an actual snippet from a Cool Aid Kultist:


Sadly, the "writer" of this brain vomit went to my high school. Ugh. 

Now you know why that scorn that burns with all the heat of every Supernova star seen in the video.

And then some.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Eat your meat

Today we're doing another book review. 

"But we did a book review yesterday", I can hear you muttering. 

Yes, yes, I know that. But the truth is that in my current hip replacement rehabilitation I've been doing a lot of reading lately. 

In addition to polishing off the Precedent Shitgibbon Trilogy of Clusterfuckian Catastophres, I just finished Cameron Day's Chew with Your Mind Open. I would have teased this post with a cover shot of his book...

...but Cameron was kind enough to take his own advice and steal from himself (see his outdoor board above) thus saving me the awkwardness of leading with a weak come on. Sorry, Cam, book cover posts never do well, traffic-wise.

Obviously, I loved the book. 

And I'm not just saying that because of the homages he has sprinkled throughout his tome, including a very sly reference to this here very blog. If my two daughters wanted a pursue a career as a copywriter or an art director, and thankfully they don't, I would make this book required reading.

Whatever vocational path they finally decide on, they should read it, because Cameron, unlike myself, has a acquired a vault full of sage career advice, much of which revolving around the process of pushing ideas to the forefront and navigating that process with diplomacy and smarts.

Something I frankly sucked at. And still suck at.

"Why should we do that? Because I wrote it, that's why."

It should be noted that Cameron and I came up through the business at roughly the same time and followed roughly the same paths. We even worked at Bozell during the same shitty time when Hy Yablonka was trying make something good of the place, but couldn't. 

We both had colossal ego-fueled run ins with the same violent, unbalanced director, Cameron calls him Toby O'Toole. In my book, I went decidedly less veiled and called him Sonny Jay.

And we both started as juvenile young copywriters determined to make a mark on this business. In the years that followed, he has matured and accumulated enough wisdom to fill two of these books and help launch the careers of thousands. 

I began writing a crappy blog.

If the powers that be at the host of ad schools throughout the country including Miami, Richmond and even Syracuse were smart, they would put this book into the curriculum. 

It's that good. And that helpful.

And if Cameron hadn't thought about that and then decides to follow through on my suggestion and then scores multiple contracts with the aforementioned Ad universities, I should claim a finder's fee of at least 17%

At least.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

2020 Hindsight


I knew when it was announced a couple of months ago, three new books documenting Grandpa Ramblemouth's clusterfuckian final year in office, that I had better make room on my bookshelves.

This weekend I finished the last book in the trilogy. Though I have already pre-ordered Bob Woodward's new book, Peril, so you have that book review to look forward to.

This book by Michael Bender was not as titillating as Michael Wolff's Landslide. Nor was it as linear as Leonnig & Rucker's I Alone Can Fix This. Nevertheless it was equally jaw dropping in its depiction of the incompetence, lust for power and moral cravenness. And it did go deliciously into the weeds to suss out the dysfunctional dynamics of all the warring WH camps.

Had I been in college I probably would have bookmarked snippets in order to support my opinion. But I didn't, so we'll have to rely on my sketchy, getting sketchier, memory.

One gem that stood out in my mind was the preparation for the June 19th, 2020 rally in Tulsa, OK, wherein the lily white staff conveniently ignored the significance of that date to the African American community. 

It's not that they didn't know, they didn't, nor had they known, would they have even cared.

In discussing the venue and the wisdom of having the rally during an upswing in Covid cases, the attractive but obviously evil Hope Hicks, one of Shitgibbon's closest advisors, said of the people planning to attend the rally...

"These are grown adults (many of them very grown adults). They know there's coronavirus out there. They can make their own decisions. And if they want to take the risk, it's on them." 

Equally telling is how all three books provide a glimpse of many of the same situations: minimizing the danger of Covid, election night results, and the dangerous propagation of the Big Lie -- a divisive issue that still lingers with us until Mike Lindell, MyPillowGuy™ can come up with the next devilish scheme.

I know some of you share the same concerns of my wife and my daughters, "Dad, you're over-the-top obsessed with this. You gotta let it go. You're gonna drive yourself crazy."

To which my only retort would be... 

"I've been a resident of Crazy Town for the entirety of my life, all 44 years, I'm not getting any cardboard boxes or renting a U-Haul any time soon. So you just better get used to it."

In other words, the Trump mudslinging will continue. Moreover, I still have plenty of weapons grade painkillers from my hip surgery. 

It could get wild.

Monday, August 23, 2021

How bout them Cowboys?

I don't know if I've posted about this before. 

When you write a daily blog (OK, M-Thurs.) every week for the last twelve years, it's hard to keep track of what I written about and the dwindling number of topics I haven't written about. But I love this show.

Hard Knocks is on Tuesdays at 10 PM, on one of my 753 HBO channels. Each year the producers follow the travails of 93 aspiring football players as they put themselves through training camp, hoping to secure one of the 53 prized spots on the roster.

But don't fool yourself into thinking there are 53 openings. There are not. 

Many of those slots have been filled by veterans who already have multi-million contracts and sponsors showering them with even more millions of dollars. Those guys are the least interesting characters on the show.

I like the rookies. The undrafted. The kid who flew in from Poland or East Africa and is willing to give it his all, just for a chance to make the practice squad.

I think of it as Football, Unmasked. In that we see, hear and feel the real life drama of the faceless guys we see on Sundays with their clownish end zone dances.

It's all narrated by Liev Schrieber, whose voice seems custom fit for this type of show.

This year, they're following the Dallas Cowboys, one of my least favorite teams in the league. The "owner", Jerry Jones, has a Big Daddy plantation vibe about him that I find repulsive. 

And they're Dallas. 

Dallas, Texas. 

Enough said. 

(Apologies to my few Lone Star state friends)

Having been a fan of this show for the past decade, I know what's coming. Nevertheless, I allow myself to get sucked into the personal stories that make each of these gridiron warriors more than a number and a replaceable name tag on the back of a jersey.

The last episode in the miniseries is always the toughest. That's when the cuts come. As well as the obligatory and half-hearted farewell speeches by the coach who has to hand out the walking papers.

The biggest takeaway from the show is that football in the NFL isn't always what it seems. It's more dimensional. More personal. And more human. I suppose, with the exception of the Republican Party, you could say that about most organizations.

I'm surprised the genii at HBO have not thought to do a similar treatment for baseball, basketball and hockey.

I'd watch.



Thursday, August 19, 2021

No more cold pizza

There's been a spew of How to Succeed in Advertising By Trying Really Hard, Eating Lots of Bowls of Shit and Staying Late Every Goddamn Weekend books recently.

Weeks ago I reviewed Junior by Thomas Kemeny. I understand Luke Sullivan, will be re-releasing an updated version of his book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This. And yesterday I received my copy of my friend Cameron Day's Book, Chew with Your Mind Open. 

I haven't had time to dig into Cameron's book so I won't short shift him here with a high school type review.

If I were to do my own version of one of these how-to books it would be incredibly short, not to mention highly acerbic. I would simply advise youngsters coming into the business to do everything 180 degrees from what I did.

Truth is, I don't have the wisdom or the answers to any of this mishigas

If I did, my career, even in its current state of rapid decline, would not be spent... oh, I think in the interest of preserving my 401k plan, I'll stop right there.

But here's one truth that I have come to know after all these many years in this business: doing crappy work is infinitely harder and more time consuming than doing good work. Infinitely.

As an added axiom, I know many of these books will tell you that every assignment is an opportunity, something I might have believed in my early days at Chiat/Day. But as a natural born contrarian, I'm here to tell you, that little nugget is nothing more chocolate covered cowshit.

There are bad assignments, particularly in the data-fueled world of 2021. 

If, for instance a young copywriter, working on a supermarket account is told, "we need you to do a banner ad for "Iceberg Lettuce, now $1.29 a Head." There's simply not a lot of wiggle room there. 

Particularly when the mandatories include:

* Must mention Iceberg Lettuce 

* Must state the price, $1.29

* And must not exceed 6 words

I'd have much better luck writing a Super Bowl spot for this than a pithy banner ad. In fact, I could have 3 great Super Bowl spots written around this absurd premise before I could come up with 3 viable alternatives to: "Iceberg Lettuce, now $1.29 a Head."

It cannot be done. Nor, I'll add, should it.

Sometimes Sisyphus, and all you aspiring copywriters, it's better to let that mighty 12 ton rock roll right on down the hill and smash through the front doors of a Chick Filet. Or a Hobby Lobby. Or the local RNC headquarters.

End of rant.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

I owe, I owe...

Opened my Wells Fargo statement today and discovered the IRS had just cashed the check for the remaining balance of my 2019 taxes. 

That's right, I said 2019.

Turns out that because I had withdrawn a significant amount of cash from my IRA to finance the remodeling and reaping of my uncle's house in Palm Springs --- a thousand bucks for a shower head? --- I had an unusually large tax debt. 

In fact when my CPA told me about this, back in March 2020, just as we were going into Covid lockdown and weeks after we found out about my wife's illness, I thought, "I wonder if arsenic has a bad aftertaste."

I consulted my brother who is also a CPA, though not my CPA, who suggested I pay off as much as I can and suffer the IRS penalties. Which turned out to be a great idea considering the alternative of withdrawing more money from my IRA and incurring a 33% surcharge in the form of future tax obligation.

Wouldn't you know it, my CPA just emailed me the great news about my 2020 tax returns. With an equally large and equally unpayable debt that I now owe Uncle Sam.

As you might expect, I am thoroughly chuffed. Chuffed, if you don't know is English slang, meaning excitedly happy. But I contend the Brits have it all wrong. Chuffed is a word that sounds like pissed off, peeved, outraged, etc. 

But I digress. 

Yeah I'm not happy about going 5 digits deep into new debt. Especially when I know fuckers like Bezos, Branson, Musk and Shitgibbon himself, have jigged the system in their favor and pay next to nothing in taxes.

Nevertheless, I have a grown-up's understanding of how things work and will happily, ok maybe happily is the wrong word, pay up. 


Because I enjoy living in a country with paved roads and semi-stable bridges. 

I take comfort that we have the world's most sophisticated defense systems, working 24/7/366 to fend off enemy attacks, except the internal ones.

I know that our standard of living, including access to Dave's Hot Chicken, on demand Netflix and mammoth taxpayer-funded sports coliseums in every major city, is not FREE.

You gotta pay for this shit. We all gotta pay for this shit. 

Just not all at once, so sayeth my brother.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Cold Turkey

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm going through some withdrawal pains. 

Not from the copious amounts of opioids I've been 'forced' to take to deal with the post-op surgery to replace my hip. 

Truth is, they don't help that much and only tend to make me sleepy, which does allow me to make up for the deficit I incur every night when I'm strapped into a foam rubber stockade to keep my legs from crossing. 

Stupid orthopedic rules.

Nor is the withdrawal related to alcohol, which has been off the menu for the past two weeks. Ditching the nightly bourbon and/or beer has been incredibly easy. And I've noticed the clothes even fit a little looser.

My withdrawal is more innocuous. 

I miss my exercise.

You wouldn't know from my girthy stance and excessive poundage, but I am seriously addicted to exercise. Borne from my triathlon and marathon days, I would often do two to three workouts a day. I'm now paying the price for all that pavement pounding as evidenced by the dwindling of the cartilage in my hip joints and my knees. All of which are looking forward to titanium and carbon fiber implants in the not so distant future.

As of late, my workout routine, and when I say routine, I mean 7 days a week, consisted of weightlifting in the garage. And relentless Peloton riding in my daughter's abandoned bedroom. 

The Pelotoning had gotten to the point where I was often in the top 10% of most classes I took. And I took special pride in beating the results of anyone younger than 44 years of age.

If I had my druthers, I'd hop on the Peloton this second and knock out 14-15 miles with Sam Yo, my favorite instructor. Or do a solo ride through the streets of Sydney or Singapore. If any of you have a Peloton, I strongly recommend the ride through Singapore. You'll see 8 cops within the span of 4 minutes. And the streets look cleaner than a hospital operating room.

Of course, I don't have my druthers and won't until Dr. Sassoon gives me the green light and I can get back to my addictions. 

Healthy. And not so healthy.

Monday, August 16, 2021


If ever there was a Roundseventeen Person of the Weeks -- and in the twelve years that I've been pumping out this tripe there's never been -- the award would have to go MyPillowGuy™ Mike Lindell.

When Mike goes to meet his Pillow Maker in the sky what do you think will get top billing on his tombstone? Michael Lindell or MyPillowGuy™? I hope when I go my daughters will simply inscribe my marker with Rich Siegel and not their trademarked name for me ______ _______™.

In any case, you couldn't escape MyPillowGuy™'s antics last week even if you wanted to. And why would you want to? Not when this self-made Foam Rubber Billionaire was staging his "Cyber Symposium" and had all the goods on the rigged 2020 election. 

Surely, this would change the trajectory of American Democracy and demonstrate to the world the power of rugged American individualism.

Imagine, a twice married, ex-gambler, former crackhead who pulled himself up by the sham-straps to make his mark in millions of trailer park bedrooms and leveraging that money, and power, to tilt at the windmills of the Establishment Body Politic. 

It truly is a story for the ages.

Except it turned out to be less Melville and more Benny Hill. 

Only 4 minutes into the live-streaming of the 72 hour marathon, there were technical glitches. I've never staged one before, but I suspect technical glitches don't make for good optics at a "Cyber Symposium". Thus taking what could have been a world class event -- from Sioux City, South or North Dakota (does it even matter) -- down a couple of notches.

But MyPillowGuy™ pressed on, announcing, with all the meth-fueled toxic masculinity he could muster, that there would be no breaks, not for eating, not for peeing and not for shitting (that's what the microphone was for).

Then, after a longer preamble than a Rachel Maddow blockbuster show, he brought out the "evidence." 

Packet Captures he called them, appropriating some election mechanics terminology to give it the sheen of credibility. On the 6 big screens that lined the massive staging area, all 38 attendees of the "Cyber Symposium" feasted their eyes on this...

There it was!!!

Look at those shameful Sevens. And the devious Threes. And the flip-flopping Sixes and Nines. 

How could anyone look at this and deny that there was skullduggery afoot? Clearly, the Democrats and the Wachowski Brothers, had stolen the presidential election of 2020.

At this writing, MyPillowGuy™ had still not brought his overwhelmingly convincing case to the Supreme Court, but that can only be a matter of time. The justices are busy on other issues and the fight to make America right understandably takes time. But I'm sure, as you no doubt are sure, that when Mr. Lindell Goes to Washington, he will score a 9-0 ruling and what was stolen will soon be returned to its rightful owner.

Until then, remember you can score a 10% off promo code on the MySlipper™ Slip ons, now with more than 1/2 inch of comfy Mike's patented comfy padding. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Good riddance Guv

I know that as an older white male with standing membership in the Patriarchy, I shouldn't say this, but the truth is I don't care about Andrew Cuomo and his indiscretions. 

This will set off alarm bells with my two grown daughters, who are now in the workplace and who must now navigate the unwanted attention of old hound dogs, but I have great faith in their deflective abilities as well as their inclination to deliver a stinging clap back.

The sooner the Cuomo story dies and falls to the back section of The NY Times, the better.

The explanation for my apathy couldn't be simpler. It's akin to the unpolished brass on the Titanic. And you'll have to excuse my hyperbole here, but this country is truly on the precipice.

In the last week we have seen notes, testimony and stories come from the post election White House that have set my hair on fire, you know if I had any hair.

To wit, here is what the the loser of the 2020 election told the Attorney General:

"Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressman."

That's not just impeachable, that's indictable.

What the losing candidate wanted to do was take the election apparatus out of the legal hands of our courts with their ridiculous constricting laws and regulations and place it squarely in the hands of public opinion. He wanted to re-litigate the election results in the court of public opinion.

With a jury of his fishbrained peers who believe noise windmills cause cancer, hurricanes can be nuked, steam engines are better than digital technology, Covid can be cured with pool chemicals, and a host of other stupid shit that simply defies reality.

These recent revelations detail a man out of control. A man so desperate to undo his landslide his loss, re-inflate his ego, and regains the reigns of power that he was, and still is, willing to take down 243 years of democracy with him.

It is mind-blowing in every sense of the word.

And what's worse is that for all that bald-faced unAmerican authoritarianism, there are 75 million cultists willing to grab a torch and a pitchfork and follow him down this path that has been marked off and pre-tamped down by Vladimir Putin.

Go away Andrew, we have bigger fish to fry.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

I can feel it coming...

If you were to sit me in a room with a pen and pad and ask me to describe the difference between sales and marketing, there's a good chance you'd come back 15 minutes later and I would've written an essay about the hot ghost peppers I'm growing in my garden and how they burn at both ends.

That's how bad I am at businesses-ease. 

I don't speak it. Mostly because even after 35 plus years in the corporate world I don't understand it.

But I do understand communication. And how messages are received by the people we spend so much time courting. Similarly, I know that just because a proposition or pitch message is clear doesn't make it effective, or persuasive, and certainly not disruptive.

Sadly however, we live in an age of truncated attention spans, data driven data, and a complete misunderstanding about how the business to consumer messaging model works.

I see it every day and I hear about twice a day from my handcuffed copywriting colleagues who have been reduced to keyboard monkeys. Copying what's written on the brief and pasting it directly onto the ad, banner, tweet, or whatever mishigas messaging unit that befalls their fate from the Big Wheel of No Cost Media, that day.

This goes a long way to explaining another phenomena.

Every week, we the art directors/copywriters/creative directors get together for a chit chat. We call it a brand pod. In essence, it's a video conference call that sadly attempts to recreate the camaraderie once found in the now deserted hallways of America's corporations.

And every week someone poses the question, "Did anybody see any advertising efforts worth talking about?"

Followed by 15 seconds of awkward silence. 

And not because we were all on Mute.

It's hard to talk about breakthrough advertising out there when there appears to be so little of it. We did  agree that the Credit Karma spot about the couple needing a bigger yard was done quite well. You can't miss it, it features a little girl on a swing who keeps hitting the fence because the current yard is way too small.

Is there a point to any of this? 

Not anymore than there was point to Cadbury running this ad.

Maybe that is the point. 

Here's my completely anecdotal best practices tip of the day: For advertising to work, it has to be unlike other advertising that's out there and not working.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Day-o, Day-ooo

Today's post is a book plug.

I know I've been doing quite a few book plugs recently, but this is different, because I haven't read the book yet. Frankly, I don't see why that should stop me.

But I do know the author, Cameron Day. I suspect most of you who read this blog know that he is the son of Guy Day, one of the founders of Chiat/Day. 

When I met Cameron, many, many, many years ago, I don't think I did that math in my head. I only knew this was a tall, skinny kid in my Carson Roberts Workshop and that he too aspired to be a copywriter. Moreover he was incredibly outgoing and I didn't know that many people in the biz.

Also we became pals. And upon graduation from the workshop he got a job right away at Hamilton Advertising in chic Beverly Hills. I got a job writing Help Wanted ads in a sweatshop agency located in the Crenshaw district. 

He quickly became my frenemy. 

Meaning we were friends but we always competed with each other to win more awards, score better jobs and command more industry respect. I think we stopped keeping score when he grew a Samson-like mane of hair and I became a lifelong customer of the Pitbull Head Shaver.

Last year, from his sprawling ranch in Austin, Cameron decided to leverage his extensive experience in advertising and put together a book, Chew With Your Mind Open. I look forward to chewing as soon as possible. Mostly because I know Cam's writing style is sharp and tangy. And I know from mutual friends there are anecdotes from the LA ad community involving people I know. 

Some, I even like. 

Confession: Cameron is doing a kickstarter to fund the publishing of the book. I'm not at all sure how this works. And with the massive ingestion of painkilling medicine, I'm not sure I can figure it out.

But you can check it out and throw some money at what promises to be a fast and fun read. 

Here's the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/advertising-guide/the-advertising-survival-guide-chew-with-your-mind-open

Maybe this plug will earn me a comp copy?

Monday, August 9, 2021

44 and so much more

 Old Man take a look at at my life, I'm a lot like you are.

Apologies to Neil Young, but the Great Long Decay has kicked into overdrive this week. With the replacement of my hip last week with the brand spanking new Smith & Nephew RC3 Multihole Confibulator, I have had a frightening look at old man incapacitation.

For instance, I now have a walker. With a handy dandy pouch in front to carry my important papers like my will and trust and Do Not Resuscitate orders. 

Actually, since I'm a left coast elitist, I don't have one walker but two. One for each floor of my house.

As the top picture indicates, I have enough pills to gag a Brontosaurus. Each pill comes with its own regimen, though given the off the charts pain in my thigh, I've ignored the instructions on the Oxytocins and have started chewing them like they're chiclets.

My daughter thought it would be funny to order me one of those old men pill boxes. So with the help of the Bezos Bots, I'll have that in my hands by the end of the week.

I also have a Reacher Stick. 

It's a shame I had to spend 9.99 to buy one of these when I could have just absconded one from my uncle's house in Palm Springs. 

When we cleaned out that house for his move into Assisted Living, there appeared to be a Reacher Stick in every dusty corner of the house. Right next to the 138 extensions cords, the countless collection of drill bits, many in their original Home Depot packaging, and reams upon reams of printer paper, as if he were going to write a novel. 

I must assume it would have been a novel about Reacher Sticks, extension cords and drill bits.

Finally, because the inconvenience of getting rebuilt one joint at a time was not enough, the orthopedic surgeon at UCLA sent me home with my own personal stockade. It was explained to me that for the healing process to go well I had to avoid bending down or crossing my legs in any fashion.

The ban on leg crossing was delivered with the same force of a Munich edict of 1938 banning Jews from blowing their oversized noses or some other indignity.

And so every night, when I must sleep on my back, my wife has to Velcro me into this contraption.

Which as you might imagine makes my 5-6 trips to the bathroom an unmatched nocturnal adventure.

Although it does give Debbie that momentary sense of satisfaction when she can whip out her Kathy Bates impression from the aptly named movie, MISERY.

Someone shoot me.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Phone Tree

You don't expect ideas from a 44 year old freelance copywriter to get produced these days. 

Especially when the ideas are...how they say...digitally native.

For some reason today's kids think we old timers don't catch on and can't master the emerging media landscape. Never giving a thought to the fact that the media landscape has always been shifting and evolving since the first cave painting -- A bison, we caught and ate a bison.

Since I left Dollar Shave Club back in January, my buddies have been over there making the DSC Phone Tree happen. And let me be clear, the idea for the phone tree, like most things at DSC, are born from creative pods. A few writers, art directors and project managers shooting the shit to the effect of...

"What can we make for zero dollars, using existing assets and placing somewhere on the dark corners of the inter web?" 

Matt Orser, Mad Mat, who runs the US office thought a Phone tree would be fun. And so did the rest of us, including Mad Mat Knapp in Australia, and so we began clicking and clacking on the keyboard.

Here's a little teaser to give you an idea about how it works: https://vimeo.com/521592431

Keep in mind there's a lot more where that came from. We wrote up a question and answer for the entire product line. So if you have a few hours to kill you might want to poke around. Call 1-855-DSC-CLUB

It's better than being placed on hold with the DMV. And, for you guys with annoying hairy nipples, it can be quite informative.


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Election was rigged

Oh no, another book review.

I know, I know. These are probably my least popular posts on RoundSeventeen, following closely behind that time I wrote about coming up with a 100 euphemisms for making a doody. But I'm recovering (hopefully, because I'm writing this in advance of Monday's surgery) and blissfully enjoying the weapons grade narcotics I have been given by the surgical staff.

Admittedly, I'm not that great with book reviews. Never have been. 

I know there's a format for these things, but I never bothered to learn it. It's kind of useless to learn a 1-2-3 step process when as a high school student you refuse to adhere to the first step: Read the book.

If memory serves, and often it doesn't, I did manage to deliver colorful book reports even when I hadn't cracked the binding. I chalk that up to my youthful energy and my innate ability to get an easy group laugh. All of which explains how I skated through high school, college and even my early days as a copywriter. Never putting in the effort I know I should have.

But I digress.

I tore through this book. Making quick work of its leviathan 517 pages. I'd cite you specific passages but there are far too many to recall. What's more interesting is the way the authors craft the timeline from the beginnings of the Covid crisis and weaved their way through the failure after failure, through the campaign missteps, the post election debacle and the Insurrection that bent our Democracy to the breaking point.

Three characters stand out:

Alex Azar, the sycophant Secretary of Health who selfishly put his career above all else, including the lives of 600,000 Americans now taking the Covid Dirt Nap.

Bill Barr, a devilish snotweasel who was willing to carry Precedent Shitgibbon's dirty water until the very end when, sniffing the events that would follow, made a hasty weeble wobble for the exit door in Late December 2020.

And JCOS Mike Milley -- an unsung hero, who single handedly held down the fort and stood in the way of our collective demise.

If I could make Trumpsters read one book, this would be it. But they don't read. And even if they did they'd chalk the whole thing up to "Fake News", "Lamestream Media" or some other sobriquet popularized by imbeciles in right wing media to erode any notion of TRUTH.

Of course the protagonist in the book, in this case the antagonist, is clearly Grandpa Ramblemouth, who is nothing but consistent. Dropping the meat in the dirt at every turn. Flipping every crisis on its head to score cheap political points. And always, I mean ALWAYS, putting one life, his, above 330 million American lives.

Ironically, my favorite part of the book is the Epilogue, which I normally don't read. But in this case it's a must. 

After the manuscript had been submitted, our former SOTUS, Schmuck of the United States of America, invited the authors down to Mara Lago, where he now presides over the Omelet Bar and misguided Floridians hosting wedding receptions. And after a calamitous year, perhaps the worst in all of American politics, he pathetically plays on the same old song like a turntable endlessly spinning towards the label.

It's downright laughable in the signature Trumpian way we've all come to know all too well.

"The election was rigged...I won...massive widespread fraud...I should be on Mt. Rushmore."

I can't wait until this asshat is feeding the worms.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Chew, Chew!

The Meal Train is firing up the locomotive again.  

I should explain. Shortly after we discovered my wife's cancer, our friends and family began a Meal Train. 

Gents, I know you know nothing about this but this is one of the countless things women do when confronting a crisis. They gather, they discuss, they dissect a problem and then, without ego or the detrimental effects of excess testosterone, they devise and implement a solution.

This is why they are our better halves. 

And this is why we should elect more women, though not like MTG, Lauren Boebert or that cow's ass Elise Stefanik, to office.

But I digress. The Meal Train is a scheduled day of the week where a dinner, either cooked at home or from a local restaurant, arrives at our doorstep so my wife, fatigued by chemo and radiation, nor I, hobbled by the implantation of the Smith & Nephew Titanium 700KSeries Hip Replacement joint, have to do any of the cooking.

We love the Meal Train. Especially when it involves a broasted chicken from some famous take out place in Los Feliz. Or Beth and Colin's Buervos, a South African sausage treat. Or even if it's In and Out Burgers from the place conveniently located on Venice Blvd, near the intersection with Culver Blvd.

As we like to indulge in gallows humor at the Siegel household, I've often told my wife, while stuffing my face with Louisiana Hot Wings from Wing Stop...

"These meals are great, you should've got cancer years ago."

While the food is great and the price absolutely can't be beat, each dinner comes with an incredible dessert. And that is the undeniable and sweet knowledge that we are surrounded by people who care and who clearly love us very much.

Well, they love Debbie.

Monday, August 2, 2021

He's a Fucking Monster

Been doing a lot of reading lately. 

That's a good thing. But I'm afraid it's also by default since we find ourselves in that strange vacuous period between sports seasons. The NBA basketball season ended, spectacularly, and now I have to wait for football. 

I know I could watch baseball, but mid-season games are a yawn and a half. Wake me up when the pennant races -- are they still called that -- are drawing to a close.

I could entertain myself with the Olympics, but without fans and without a guide to the events, I could find myself watching plate spinning or horse grooming until something interesting comes on. I can list on one hand the events I might have a slight taste for: 100m dash, the 50m freestyle swim, the pole vault and the shot put. 

Due to my unusual girthiness and squatty build I had a natural affinity for shot put in high school. And you know how high school girls are drawn to shot putters.

In any case, I plowed through Michael Wolff's expose of the sordid adventures of the White House during 2020 and into 2021. I now have bandaids on the tips of my fingers from turning the pages so quickly. The book is chock full of jaw-dropping event after another.

You'd think by now I would have had enough of this stuff. I know my wife and daughters are dog tired of hearing me ranting about the house with...

"And then Pompeo did this."

"Then Rudy says let's just say we won."

"Tell them to stop counting the votes. Tell them I said so"

It took me two nights to polish off the 300 page opus. And I'm not a fast reader by any means. But let's be honest, while Wolff can turn a phrase, he writes in a lightweight tabloid style that is more suited to the NY Daily News or the Trump proxy-owned National Enquirer.

I brought the book with us on our camping trip last week and handed it off to my buddy Paul, a school teacher. Despite the two mojitos and a Sour Watermelon gummy (available only to persons 21 years or older) he blasted through the numerous escapades in a single 95 degree afternoon. 

By the end of today I will have finished off I Alone Can Fix This, a 500+ page shot put of a book, written by Pulitzer Prize winning authors Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. This is far more meaty expose of what could have been the last year for American Democracy.

But again, no less jaw-dropping.

In fact, in light of the fact that I'll be orthopedic surgery today, getting my new hip, I may ask the doc to reinforce the tenuous connection my lower mandible now has with my skull.

Fuck Trump!!!