Monday, October 31, 2022

A post about Islam


As the title indicates this is a post about Islam. But first, a word about Germans. Neither Muslims nor Germans have a great recent history with my people, so perhaps it's a natural lead in.

Last week my Audi S5 would not start. The battery died. If I had asked my neighbor for a jump start we'd have to find the battery on the damn car. Not an easy task. It's buried beneath the spare tire in the trunk. The boot, as the British would say.

Turned out the battery was the size of a carry-on suitcase. 

I've never owned a "performance car", how was I to know? The new battery, the Uberkockinfuffen 7000 cost me close to $400. It worked like a charm but the emergency ignition locking mechanism on the dashboard began to rattle. It seems the Germans are still out to get me.

That necessitated a visit to my local Fancy European Car Shop in nearby Palms. Having dropped the car off, I began the 2 mile walk back to my house, where I discovered my new replacement hip (also Teutonic) was fine for biking but needed to acclimate itself to walking. Note to self: stretch, you lazy bastard.

On the way back I also passed the King Faud Mosque, near the old NFL Films Headquarters. It was a Friday afternoon and the men had just started piling out of the mosque. From a distance, I could see a middle aged woman, in a hajib, and two young children standing on the corner. She was holding a sign and clearly in need of assistance.

Despite the exorbitant cost of my auto repairs, I decided I'd give her some money. Particularly since none of the exiting men were. This is not to disparage them. In fact, as you'll see, it's the opposite.

I opened my wallet and gave the mother of the two young kids what I could. She smiled at me.

"Inshallah", she remarked, and couldn't be more grateful.

I was tempted to tell her I was Jewish and was simply making one tiny gesture at reconciliation, but decided against it. Mostly, because that would have been self-serving, and moreover, stupid.

As I continued walking, I was directly behind a younger man in his 30's. As he made his way back to his car, I could see him carefully folding his prayer rug. And that's when (pardon the allusion) it went off like a bomb in my head. 

This was scene that harkened me back to my youth when the more religious Jews walking to and from temple, would carry their beautiful, velvet tallit bags. The words and the rituals might have differed in flavor, but it was the SAME thing.

In fact, as we were taught in Hebrew school, and just as Christianity is derived from Judaism, so too is Islam. And in many ways, much more directly. We learned of the 500-600 years in the Middle Ages when Muslims and Jews in Iberia, in the Fertile Crescent, in North Africa, co-existed peacefully. At least more peacefully than those who do cross fit and those who don't.

I was walking and nursing my bum hip so I had time to reflect on this a little more. And recounted the many times on this blog and elsewhere when I had spoken/thought poorly about our Abrahamic brothers. To be frank, I am ashamed of myself for doing so.

Indeed, in the time since then, I've become friends with an ad colleague, Mahmud (I hope Moody won't mind me mentioning his name). And like to think that our friendship/partnership has helped me evolve. And softened and changed my earlier hardline stances on the matter.

It's a continuing process. And if I can paraphrase Winston Churchill, "Show me a man at 64 who thinks the same way he did at 44 and I'll show you an idiot. Or a Red Hat." 

Put another way, as Ms. Muse likes to say, it's the emergence of Rich. 2.0.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Mmmmm, cranberries

Thanksgiving is about three weeks away so let's talk about cranberries.

This year, thanks to my overly documented widowhood (my apologies), I'll be handling the cooking duties on my own. With some assistance from my two daughters. And none from my brother, who will be dutifully watching the Detroit Lions lose another Thursday football game.

It will not be easy. As milestones go, this might be the most difficult as it was Deb's favorite holiday. Nevertheless, we will make the best of it and express gratitude that we have each other.

But back to the cranberries. Not the berries themselves, but the gelatinous goo that is made from them, as seen in the picture above. And seen quite a bit in the ad world last week thanks to the work of the in-house team at Orchard, makers of Ocean Spray Canned Cranberry Sauce.

If you haven't seen the spot, relax, you are about to:

Pretty amazing huh? Apologies to Mark Reed of Ogilvy fame, but this spot harkens back to the 90's, when absurdist theater was in vogue. And when advertising was, in my humble opinion, at its height.

I love everything about this spot and was surprised it only had about 15,000 hits on Youtube. I thought with all the free press and buzz it generated it would be closer to 15 million.

I love how the spot pivots not on the taste of canned cranberry sauce (which I prefer to the homemade stuff which we won't be having this year) but on the jelly-like texture and its tendency to wobble. Which some would argue is the least appealing aspect of this maroon coagulate.

In other words the data people were sent from the room.

"The wobbling scored a 73 in negativity in our quant testing."

"Yeah, leave."

I love how the tension builds. And especially how the metronome in the soundtrack gets us there.

I love the casting. The blended family is de rigueur these days, but this one feels more authentic and not so forced. Kudos to the art director who went with the subtle pale brown color palette in the decor and the costuming, all of which make the three purplish stars of the spot pop and do their thing.

I love the odd haircut on the Asian American man hosting this soiree. And know from experience that many clients would shudder and squeal about his less than normal look.

"The host's haircut registered many eyerolls in focus groups and scored an 81 in negativity among our female respondents."

"Didn't we tell you to Go!?"

And I love how this spot pokes fun at the consumer-dancing-for-joy motif that is ridiculously found in so many other lame spots that pollute our airwaves. 

Man bites cheeseburger, breaks into dance. 

Woman brushes teeth, breaks into dance. 

Kid gets a new backpack, breaks into dance. 

Dog gets a treat, breaks into dance.

Mostly what I love about this spot is that it was a spot and not an email or a banner or a landing page or some other micro-communication piece that has gone through 23 rounds of revisions, only to be seen by 22 people. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

When creativity mattered

Came across an homage to this campaign last week on 

I don't recall when the campaign ran on TV (remember that?) But I suspect many of my younger colleagues are unaware of this amazing body of work (more on that later).

Moreover, unlike the previous generation of ad practitioners, I don't believe the current crop of adlike object makers (ADLOB) are students of the past. And if they are, it's all digital centric.

"Remember that guy who came up with the CTA, Learn More?

"That was great, but what about Hurry, While It Lasts?"

"Call me old school, but I prefer the clean, minimalist muscularity of  Click Here."

I don't know why this campaign -- and don't get me started on the weird abuse of that word in these dreary days of advertising -- fell by the wayside. But I do know it's indicative of the fall of our industry.

Where is Dos Equis today? 

Does anyone recall their advertising in the last 5 years? 

10 years?  

I can tell you I was huge fan of these spots when they ran, mostly during sporting events. And found myself rewinding the DVR just to catch the brilliance of the written lines. Not only were they well-crafted, they were economic in their brevity. And they were fired, like a machine gun, one after another after another. I imagine the writer's room (for lack of a better phrase) was a gagfest that would rival anything in Sid Caesar's day -- again, you kids can start Googling.

There's no way to confirm this, but I suspect the culprit and the executioner of this Most Interesting campaign, came from inside the house. Meaning, it was the client. Suffering, as many of today's clients do, from lack of vision and short attention syndrome. 

And then there's the careerism. 

A new marketing manager enters the fray. He or she wants to make their mark, at the expense of the hard brand building that came before them. And boneheadedly puts his or her foot down. In this case, on the carotid artery of the industry's most fascinating-- and oldest -- spokesperson.

"Bring me a new campaign. I'm only going to be here 18 months (industry average) and I need a case study as a stepping stone to propel me to the next level. I'll be in the Hamptons this weekend, but let's see some new work by Monday morning. Chop, chop."

My intermitent-fasting stomach is already churning. 

But before I go, I invite you to enjoy this amazing body of work. And extend my kudos to the talented folk who once ruled the roost of the ad world.


Look, for my favorite 15 second spot on Rollerblading.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Deaf Con 3

This guy has been on a tear lately. His name is Kanye. Or Ye. Or Yeezy. Or Big Dopey AssClown, as I like to call him.

Lately, he's been spewing antisemitic bullshit whenever he finds himself in front of a microphone. And if it hasn't been clear, I'm not a fan of antisemites. 

Whether they're black, like Cheesey Yeezy. 

Or white, like Marjorie Failer Green. 

Or orange, like Captain Fuckknuckle.

I wrote about this talentless crapper about a week and half ago on my Facebook page and caught some flack from several readers who claimed this mentally deficient schmuck was a genius. The same guy who famously and unashamedly said, "I don't read books."  

You know, like most conservatives.

He may have some musical ability -- none of which are apparent to me -- but that doesn't make him a genius. The fact is, I don't care for rap music. Even this statement brought about some heat. And some pretty unfair inferences. 

Last time I checked, musical tastes were completely subjective. And not subject to broad brush painting.

I don't like country western music, Jackson Pollack paintings, the writing of Ernest Hemingway or whatever it is Rothko does that merits such high praise. 

What does that say about me? 

But as previously mentioned I don't like antisemites. Particularly when they are given a bullhorn and can spew their ignorant bullshit and incite violence and even more hate.

And so, I'm gonna jump on my little soapbox and fight back. 

I was particularly amused by his statement that, "we are Semite, we Jew, so I can't be antisemite." Schizophrenic syntax aside, what the fuck does that mean? 

It should be pointed out there there are tribes in Ethiopia that identify as Jewish. And when faced with political prosecution and extreme poverty, the state of Israel sent planes southward to rescue them and fly them back to safety. 

I doubt this shitbag, low-rent rhyming "genius" could find Ethiopia on a map. 

The genius billionaire also went on to claim that Jews have "suppressed the black voice" and "kept him down." He reportedly said that while driving his Bugatti Veyron back to his 50,000 square foot estate in Beverly Hills.

To be sure there are Jewish record executives who have exploited talent for their own monetary gain. Just as there are non-Jewish executives doing the same. In the record business. In the oil business. In the arms manufacturing business. In the Bugatti dealership business.

But perhaps Weazy ought to learn how rabbis and Jewish activists were the first to stand shoulder to shoulder with Martin Luther King in the fight for civil rights. And how white Ashkenazi, "Fake Jews" he likes to call us, are still allies and still working -- harder than most other "white" people -- to level the playing field.

Maybe someone could get this impossibly dumb genius some books and teach this hateful AssClown how to read.

I'm now officially at DefCon 1.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Blessing #25 -- The Wet Tuxedo


I got married in October of 1992. 

Unfortunately I always managed to get the date mixed up and joked with Deb that it was either the 22nd or the 24th. It's difficult to remember because our wedding day was also the day of the World Series. The decisive 6th game in a tense and exciting series. 

Not that I'm the biggest baseball fan in the world, but I should never have agreed to set the date during the Series. This was before the unprecedented ascendancy of the Super Bowl. And the Big Show was always the big ticket. Moreover, many of the guys at the wedding saw it the same way. 

In fact, after Deb and I were hoisted on chairs and paraded about the the room at the Riviera Country Club. And after much bourbon and beer had been consumed. And after I got permission from my new wife to have the bartender put on the TV, we caught up on all the action. But do not suffer from the idea that the occasion was dampened. 

It was not.

It was the best day in my young 34 year old life. Not only had I found a beautiful woman who would stomach my peculiarities and my growing hirsuteness in places I would prefer not to be hirsute, she unguardedly signed up for a lifetime of it. 

A head-scratcher, if there ever was one.

A few weeks ago, while cleaning out our jelly-tight closets of junk, crap and miscellany, I came across 3 videotapes of our wedding/reception. Shot by a couple of junior AV guys from the Chiat office who have gone on to great success in the field, thank you Sean and Jon. 

Sadly, or perhaps not, the video is on 3/4" cassette tapes, the industry standard at the time. I could have the  tapes transferred or digitized, but I suspect watching them would result in a pool of tears that would require repairs to my already old hardwood floors. And the rotting subfloors, installed in 1947.

I do remember the day was filled with laughter, joy, and the unbeatable warmth of friends and family who were genuinely happy to help us celebrate. It was, in a word, magical. I smiled so hard that day, my neck and jawline were hurting the following morning.

That was the morning Deb and I were to fly off to Tahiti and spend a week in Moorea. 

Prior to that morning, we spent the night at one of the more declasse hotels in Santa Monica. Again, this was before Lowes and Shutters and the fancy boutiques developed in the area. But, and this is where the title of this post comes to life, our 8th floor quasi-luxurious room looking out onto Santa Monica Bay, had a working jacuzzi on the patio. With what I hope had been clean water.

For reasons that still elude me, and while Deb was slipping out her modestly expensive wedding dress into a bathing suit, I found myself submerged in the 104 degree bubbly water while still attired in my rental penguin suit. 

"What are you doing?" said the newly-minted Mrs. Siegel, wondering if she had made a terrible mistake.

"Look it has variable jets," I countered while snapping off the top of another hotel minibar bottle of Maker's Mark.

And so began our 29 year adventure of insanity; laughing and loving and raising our two beautiful daughters that ended all too soon, almost a year ago.

Happy Anniversary Deb. 

Cue the sound of a fresh Kleenex emerging from the box.

And a belated thank you to Deb's father, Bob Weinblatt, may his memory be a blessing, who graciously retrieved and returned the Wet Tuxedo to Gary's Rentals, while we snacked on coconuts, drank Hinano Beer and skinnydipped on a deserted mile long beach on the other side of the world.

"Sir, why is this tuxedo all wet?"

"That's a headscratcher, Gary, a real headscratcher."

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Home, sweet home

I just sent in my voting ballot this week. In fact, I've already received electronic notification that my mail- in ballot has already been tallied. In other words, election integrity.

I love mail-in voting and frankly don't understand what the fuss is all about. I suspect if Republicans adapted to mail-in voting and started winning elections, they'd have no problem with it either. They only whine when they don't win.

The big issue in my little corner of the Earth concerns Single Family Residents and the current zoning laws. 

Some sage-burning do-gooders think R1 zoning is a remnant of a racist, elitist past. Really? At the time, Deb and I were just looking for an affordable home on the west side of Los Angeles. Also it should be noted, there's an African American family across the street from me. As well a young Asian American multi-generational family. And on either side of my house there's Jorge #1 and Jorge #2.

In fact, these Fauxtopiasts believe that by eliminating all zoning ordinances they can solve the current homeless problem, reduce climate change and bring about a fanciful world heretofore never experienced before.

And the guy in tent #2 with the plethora of stolen bicycles and sagging corner, agrees.

If they had their way, building developers would be allowed to purchase one of the single family residences in my neighborhood, and with my luck, it would be the one right next door, knock it down and put up a 4-plex or an 8-plex (again, with my luck, the latter) within spitting distance of my humble abode. 

And the theory -- and that's all it is -- is that sprawling apartment building would include housing for low income people. Because you know, as altruistic folks go, no one is more giving than speculative home builders.

Corollaries to this CBD-induced theory, include the notion that by building affordable housing next to door to my once semi-quiet home means Culver City teachers, firemen and dishwashers at the local restaurants will be able to live in Culver City. This, they argue, will reduce commute times, pollution and the inherent class warfare that stems from unabated Capitalism. 

Sure, and Vladimir Putin will put down his arms, embrace America and start putting up Sizzlers all over Mother Russia.

I remember when I first came to California and fell asleep on a beach up in beautiful Malibu. Apart from the 3rd degree sunburn I suffered, I thought, "Wow, I'd love a house here beside the beautiful majestic Pacific and be able to enjoy the beach everyday." 

Sadly, I could not afford a home there on the salary of a short order cook. Or, even later in life as a semi-successful ad guy. But I didn't write a letter or petition the Malibu City Council to build me a home on the cliff, with an oceanfront view, a modern kitchen with a Wolf 36" six burner oven and a heated lap pool in the backyard! 

Because that's not how this works. 

That's not how any of this works.

I don't want to appear cold-hearted or indifferent to the needs of others. We, the country, have a homeless problem. And I have no idea what the solution(s) are. 

But I do know it doesn't include infringing on my rights as a hardworking taxpayer who has played by all the rules, made the right strategic decisions, and carefully maintained my home and its rising equity so that I do not have to spend my final drooling, incontinent days on this blue rock, clicking that Morphine button in a dirty nursing home with dirty carpet and even dirtier eating utensils.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Pumpkins of the past

One of the givens about grieving is the inclination towards nostalgia. It's often accompanied by tears, a shallowness of breath, slow movement and a pining to do things differently. Next time. Only the cruelty of life is there is no next time. 

Nor, it seems, is there a way to write anything meaningful this Wednesday morning.

And so, I am reposting something from the past. This was written in 2009. 13 years ago. But it seems like 13 lifetimes ago...

Jay Chiat would be proud

One of the things I love about Halloween is the celebration of the macabre. My youngest daughter Abby seems to share that inclination. 

After viewing some of the contestants on, Abby was set on re-enacting the drowning pumpkins display she had seen online.

We carved faces that approximated the terror of drowning, then placed the two pumpkins in old aquarium that at one time was the home to our pet turtle named Candy. Candy met her demise when our dog mistook the tortoise for a chew toy. 

I'll spare you the bloody details.

After submerging the pumpkins in 30 gallons of water and weighing them down with some leftover bricks, Abby wanted to give her own personal signature to the piece. And added the hand-crafted plea for "HELP."

Then in true "good enough is not enough" spirit had an idea that trumped her original concept. 

Making it darker. 

More subtle. 

And more deliciously twisted. 

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

We'll take your money now

Don't know if other Linkedin members have seen it, but now the "Church" of Scientology is pimping their wares on the professional's social media network. 

I'm the last person on Earth to stand up for some supposed social media etiquette. I post many of my political memes, rants and personal stories on the site. 

And will continue to do so despite the protestations of others. 

My reasoning is simple: writers write. And any communications I put out are an example of my "professional" skills, meager as they may be.

Additionally, for all I know the Southern Baptists and the good folks at Chabad are also on Linkedin trolling for members. In a world of so many competing brands (religions, included) I understand the need to advertise and get "the word" out. 

"Looking for a new god? A new and improved god now with 23% more Retsin? Let's chat."

"Put down that cheeseburger and let us introduce you to the wonderful world of Leviticus."

"It's One god. But it's Three parts. Why don't we go inside and I'll explain."

So why should the clean cut robotic people at Scientology be any different? Here's a screen grab from their officially designated social media charlatan: 

Did I watch the one minute video? No, I did not. 

I know enough about Scientology to --pardon the pun -- steer CLEAR of it. For those not in the know, David Miscavige is the CEO/President/Theta 1 Grand Puba of Scientology. He's just below Tom Cruise. I know this from watching Leah Remini and her riveting docuseries about leaving the "church" and the mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Miscavige.


In fact, if you were to utilize the R17 search button in the upper left hand corner, you'd see I have opined quite often on the topic. And even merited a nasty response and blocking from Kirstie Alley, a Shitgibbon-supporting Scientologist. 

Does it get any better than that? No, it does not.

Do I have anything further to say on the beliefs or practices of Level 8 Scientologists and their victorious return to Zebulon bearing the magical fruits of Theta X 23/B? Not a word. These folks are notoriously vindictive and so I'm gonna play nice. 

For the most part.

But I don't want to leave you empty handed. So compliments of another linkedin member/colleague, I'll leave you with this video, that has all the hallmarks of Scientology, but none (ok maybe a little) of the sour cultish aftertaste.

They don't want you to sign up for their religion. 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Info Wart

What is this thing?

I know it's not human. 

Oh it eats and breathes and walks and talks like a human. But no human I know would behave like this. No human I know takes such delight in the pain of other human beings. This thing takes in oxygen but expels a toxic sulfurous cloud of hatred 24 hours a day. No, this is not a human.

I know it's not American.

Americans I know are generous, compassionate, caring people who understand they have won life's lottery and want to share the blessings of this once great country. Americans I know smile at each other. Say good morning to strangers. Hold doors open for other Americans. And generally want to leave this world better than the way they found it. Maybe that changed in 2016, I'm hoping that was just an anomaly.

And I know it's not a man.

It peacocks around with all the facsimiles of a man, strength, bravado, determination, but those are only to mask its massive insecurity, ignorance and frailty. Because only a weak, pathetic imitation of man would take delight in the unimaginable pain of parents grieving the loss of a child. 

And not only revel in that, but hawk his snake oil weight loss and muscle building dietary supplements (which it obviously does not use) while these devastated mothers and fathers bury their bullet-ridden children.

Last week I watched a split screen presentation of a judge reading out the compensatory damages for each of these thing's defamatory offenses. Offenses which by the way resulted in harassment and death threats from Red Hat Ammosexuals who were convinced this shooting in Newton, Connecticut which mowed down 20 6 year old CHILDREN was staged to make gun nuts look bad. Newsflash: you people who love your AR-15's more than little kids don't need any assistance in that arena.

While the judge was parsing out the $1 billion judgment, this creature was jumping for joy and salivating over the climbing numbers. Not sure I've ever felt such disgust in my life.

I know a little about deep eviscerating grief. 

But nothing can compare to that of a parent who has suddenly and inexplicably lost a tiny child, who will never have a 7th birthday, a graduation, a marriage, or a life. And to have that grief compounded exponentially by a fat turdbag is just beyond the pale. This creature has for all intents and purposes become the lily-white spokes-hole of today's Republican Party.


Devoid of decency.

Conspicuously and spectacularly un-Christian, in thought and manner.

I don't know what this thing is. 

I only know it's alive. And wish it wouldn't be.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Me and my man Marty

In February of 2002, I was laid off from Chiat/Day. 

No big deal. Agencies and employees, like husbands and wives, often grow apart and find themselves going in diametrically-opposed directions.

I wanted to go in the direction of doing bigger, bolder, breathtaking work. 

The agency did not. 


So they gave me two options. An adequate sized severance check or a demotion and a healthy cut in pay. Retaining some of my dignity, and having all but cinched a deal with Y&R, I snapped up the check and within weeks started pimping my wares at the WPP-owned agency.

18 months and 15,000 miles logged on the 405 Freeway later, I had requested a bump in salary and was told...

"There's no money for raises, even for employees who almost single handedly brought in a $7 million piece of new business and stewarded record setting sales for our Jaguar client. No money."

At about the time I was told that belts needed to be tightened, there was stunning news that the CEO of WPP, one Sir Martin Sorrell, a crafty bean counter with no experience in the advertising field, had fashioned for himself a lucrative land, salary package...that topped $120 million for 5 years of "service."

In essence, the company wide salary freeze was nothing more than a pint size Shop-Vac of a man sucking up every available dollar for his own benefit as well as the benefits of his ex-wives who can't tear through his alimony checks fast enough.

In short, in Sorrell's case, very short, I now despise this carpetbagger. 

And here's where the beauty of age and a healthy WGAS attitude come in. 

Let's be honest, I and other bloggers who shall remain nameless, are in our sunset years. We've experienced agency bullshit and eaten so many bowls of corporate manure a la mode and dutifully bitten our tongues. 

Oh we might soaked some bridges in kerosene but never lit the match for some fear of retribution. Or damage to our collective reputation. Or, "I may never get a seat at the Long Table of Mediocrity™" again.

Fuck all that!

Sir Martin is now spewing his bullshittery and greedocracy on Linkedin. And I for one, plan to troll the shit out of him.

Other than his proven ability to creatively stack the finances in his favor, this is a weasel who has never had a hand or even one of his grubby little fingers in the making of an ad or adlike object in his life. And now he wants to preach.

 About dumbed-down, data-driven drivel, no less.

It's on, Marty. 

I will hound, deride and shame you every opportunity I get. Because you have no business in our business. And the only way to make me stop is to remunerate me with the raise you stole from my family in 2005, with compounded interest, in 2022 dollars. 

Though I might be willing to settle for a vacation home in one of the more posh neighborhoods in London.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Blessing #25 -- A mighty wind

I am a Pisces.

At one time I swam more than 5 miles a week.

I get in my hot tub every night of the week.

And I live a mere 3.2 miles from the ocean, which I can never get enough of.

Given all that and my indisputable affinity for H2O, I'm not at all a fan of boats. 

In fact when it comes to boating I'm like a fish out of water. And yet my two daughters spent many a weekend aboard a Sabbitt (Sp) or an FJ or some other fakakta name, I have no clue about. Indeed when they were learning how to sail and trained many hours in Marina Del Rey, I was not exactly Dad of the Year.

Deb would drive them there and spend the day cajoling with the other moms at the yacht club -- it sounds fancier and pricier than it is -- while the girls tooled around the bay learning how to tic and then conversely how to tac. I didn't see much value in going because it didn't feel like it offered any valuable support. 

You see them for two minutes as they un-moor, go away for three hours and then another two minutes when they return and tie a sheepshead knot and secure their "boat" to the dock. 

Hardly, quality Daddy/Daughter time. Like when I'd go to their soccer games and watch them sit on the bench.

But on one occasion, a nasty foul weather early spring day, I was coaxed out of my man cave to watch Abby (pictured above) compete in a regatta, which still sounds like a great name for a pasta dish.

The wind was howling. The waves, even on this side of the ocean break, were quite formidable. Many of the girls had a tough time getting out of the gate and navigating the rough seas. When it came time for Abby to emerge I could feel the goosebumps rising below my windbreaker. 

Deb grabbed my hand and said, "relax, she'll be fine."

But within minutes she wasn't. Sitting on my flimsy camping chair positioned on the edge of the swaying dock, I watched as a wicked wind slammed her topsail or her jib or her mainsail or whatever the fuck they call these things, into the drink.

I jumped out of my seat. 

No one else did. Not the other mothers. Not the training staff. Not even Deb. 

I watched helplessly from a 1/4 mile away while my daughter struggled to undo what Mother Nature had done. Was I panicking? You're damn right I was. 

I was seconds away from ripping off my multiple layers of clothing and diving in the chilly, oily water to save my little girl.

"Rich, just give her a moment," said Deb, "she's got this. Just wait, you'll see..." 

And before I could fully unlace my sneakers, Abby had righted the ship. And smiled. And waved to the people on the dock, including yours truly who had almost unveiled his unmanscaped simian body to an unsuspecting crowd.

"This is the important part of learning to sail, the adversity. The struggle is good. This is where they learn and gain confidence and know that they have it within themselves to move forward. You can't give that to the girls, they have to learn it, they have to earn it" Deb explained, after I put my clothes back on and re-tied my sneakers.

And of course she was right.

Important lessons now as my daughters and I continue to navigate the toughest waters of all, the loss of Deb.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Lesson learned

Ever have a name just pop into your head with no rhyme or reason? 

Of course you have otherwise -- like a good lawyer -- I wouldn't have asked the question.

It happened to me last week while contemplating my current position as the Old Guy in the PayPal Honey Creative Department. Truth is, I've got at least 20 years on my nearest colleague. Maybe even 25? 

"I remember walking to work through 10 miles of snow. And when and if we got there we had to lay type down with razor blades and rubyliths. And cut commercials on a Chem Machine. Oh you kids have it so easy." 

Fuzzy, delusional memories notwithstanding there was a time when I was asked to give an old timer a shot at this advertising thing. I believe he had some experience in the field. But was more widely regarded as one of Hollywood's top sitcom guys and cut his teeth on MASH. 

Does anybody remember MASH? 

Yeah, probably not.

Having grown up on that show, which enjoyed wide acclaim from critics and my parents (a tough crowd), I had great respect for this man (whose name I shall not reveal, despite the fact that he recently passed away.) 

Now that I am in his shoes, an older guy from the legacy media world working in a younger digital world with so many media tchotsckes, I wish I had handled the situation differently. I certainly see it differently as the altakocker being pushed further and further into non-relevance. 

I wish I had been more patient.

I wish I had taken the time to guide him and ease the transition.

I wish I had found a way to channel his proven wit and wisdom, earned on the toughest of writing battlefields, and made it work in advertising.

Note to 64 year old self: stop being so pigheaded.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Pump Me Up

I am a self-admitted gym rat. Always have been since moving to California.

I guess it should come as no surprise as my father was also fond of lifting weights, swimming and bulking up. Though in his case it might have been more about surviving the tough streets of the Bronx during the tumultuous late 40's and 50's. 

And pummeling anyone who called him a Dirty Jew.

Back in the 90's, when I worked at Chiat/Day, our offices were right next door to Gold's Gym, the Mecca of pec-building and calf-inflating. Not to mention endless self-pumping and mirrored self-admiration. I might have been a little intimidated by it all, if I didn't find the primming and posturing so damn funny.

Nevertheless, these were good guys, and gals (?), who were always there to spot, encourage and offer secret tips to packing on muscle. I also followed their nutritional cue and ate at the little Protein Palace up the street. This was Keto before anyone had ever uttered the word. 

There was nothing these folks could do to get enough protein. I think even the toilet paper in the bathroom was infused with amino acids to maximize intake.

I was always surprised by how few Chiat employees took advantage of the friends and family and feeble body discounts. And the unbeatable proximity.

Actually, it was beatable.

Years later I found myself freelancing at the Crispin Porter office in Santa Monica and they had a full gym right on the premises. Not only were they paying me an exorbitant day rate, they were paying me to burn calories and shed weight. 


Unfortunately they were not so receptive to any of our ideas for their client Infiniti. Not that I fostered any illusions that they would. I had worked on the Infiniti account for several years and knew they were notoriously unsophisticated in their marketing. Since their initial Rocks and Trees campaign, they have done nothing worthy of any notice.

Hence, the insider moniker, "Infiniti, Four i's, no vision." (unaccredited for discretionary purposes)

And now my gym-to-work balance couldn't be better. 

I work from home. And my gym is upstairs, in what used to be my daughter's room. In the form an overused Peleton which affords 20 minute high intensity workouts whenever I damn well choose. Or my garage which I plan on finishing off with drywall and those cool rubberized floors, previously only available to really rich people. 

But I have found a loophole. 

I just read an article, complete with credible medical evidence, that exercise followed by a shower, can actually produce an increase in creativity. And while I'm hardly at my most creative in my current position, it can be safely argued that this "home improvement" is in furtherance of my career, even in its quickly-dimming sunset years.

So, thank you readers and fellow US Taxpayers for subsidizing my fitness regimen. When the new Rogue rack gets installed and bolted to the floor, and I successfully muscle up 300 lbs. on the bench, I'll provide further pictures.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The forecast is for rain.

Call me crazy, but why does Florida need federal assistance to recover from hurricane damage? 

I don't mean to be coldhearted, I think the residents should be helped from the disaster that struck last week. However, shouldn't the people in charge of governing the state be better prepared for the storm? 

Even ex President Shitgibbon knew when a hurricane was going to strike the Sunshine State.

And Ian certainly won't be the last.

So why, must I ask, did the governor, a despicable prick if I've ever seen one, not put away some money for a rainy day. Or in this case, a Class 4 Rainy Day?

This is especially egregious in light of his cheap political stunt just a few weeks prior, where he shipped 50 LEGAL Venezeulan refugees on a privately chartered plane to Martha's Vineyard at an astounding cost to taxpayers of nothing less than $12,000,000.

Because yours truly likes to use facts to make a point, I took the liberty of looking up the average price of a gallon of gas in Florida. It's roughly $3.73. But to make things even more legit, let's round it up to $4.

The $12,000,000 DeSantis pissed away to steal GOP primary votes from ex Precedent Shitgibbon and his xenophobic Floridian followers would have purchased 3,000,000 gallons of gas to fuel ambulances, firetrucks and generators. It may seem like a small petroleum based drop in the bucket, but in reality that money could've saved a life. Or lives.

Additionally, the cost to build the average home in Florida is $250, 000. Guess what? The 12 million dollars wasted on a stunt to "own the libs" could have been better used for 50 families to once again own a roof over their heads.

If I were a resident of the Sunshine state that generates so many memes for its blatant stupidity, I'd be fucking livid. Moreover, I'd be voting with my feet and my mail-in ballot to kick these ill-prepared asshats out of the office they simply don't deserve.

Frankly, I don't understand how it all works. 

I've worked my entire life to stave off landing in a dirty nursing or suffer the consequences of a rainy day (or a slew of rainy days) by wisely storing away some money that could've been used for jetskis, bigger screen TV's or a closetful of blazers. I'm sure many of you have as well. It's the responsible, and expected thing to do.

Why can't our leaders, including those who steward ad agency holding companies, do the same? 

Maybe we should stop calling them Public Servants? 

They only thing they serve is their own craven egos.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A walk among the trees

Upon the often-wise recommendation of Ms. Muse, I had breakfast at Mary's Market, tucked way back in Sierra Madre, at the foothill of the San Gabriel mountains. I think they're the San Gabriels. I can never keep my Southern California mountains straight.

In any case, it was quite idyllic. The market springs out of place, perhaps because it resembles part of a an old hippie house more than a restaurant. And because it sits under some huge trees, including some very aromatic eucalyptus. Someone should bottle this stuff, put it in a tiny bottle and then sell it to suckers as they walk in the entrance at Bloomingdales.

Mary's is not unlike our own Jackson Market in Culver City, which also sits between single family homes and duplexes and was grandfathered in close to 100 years ago.

As of late, I find myself drawn to breakfast places. Perhaps it's nostalgia, as I spent many years as a short order cook at Denny's (and the like). Or perhaps it's because I believe a dining experience for two shouldn't cost more than 40 bucks. It used to be 20. Or even 15.

In any case, Mary's did not disappoint. 

Any restaurant worth its salt should be able to cobble together a decent meal of eggs, bacon/sausage/ham, potatoes and toast. It's just not that difficult. 

Nor did the company or the environment. We literally sat at a table across the street from Mary's and right beside an urban river, a catchall water basin from the foothills, that was still running, albeit slowly.

I also like going out for breakfast because until I've had 4-5 cups of coffee in the morning and a few good anti-Shitgibbon rants on social media, I'm kind of worthless. Unlike dinner, which I don't mind making at all. Because it means my work day is winding down, my two-a-day workouts have been completed and my gargantuan bottle of Bulleit bourbon is handy. 

Plus, it gives me an opportunity to put my homemade Chimichurri sauce on all kinds of new seafood and savor the few calories I've earnestly earned.

If I had one knock against Mary's it would be the help. 

Not the crunchy, granola-slinging, tattoo-bearing waitresses, who had their own special charm and even offered my dog Lucy a poached egg. But the new kid behind the counter. Maybe he was new to the gig. Or maybe he'd been chomping on some "medicinal" gummies before we got there.

In any case, you gotta step up your game, Spicoli.

As I explained to Ms. Muse, there's a certain rhythm you have to develop as a restaurant worker. Those of you who know, know. It takes speed, grace and an efficiency of motions. I'm hoping that the next time I visit Mary's, Spicoli has found his. 

Or that Mary's has found someone else.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

A word (or 500) on DEI

Today I am going to walk on eggshells and, unlike many other days, choose my words extra carefully. Because as the image would indicate, I'm talking about DEI -- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

It's important to be particularly thoughtful when discussing these topics. 

Some others, I won't name names so as not to bring additional eyeballs to his repugnant posts, see this precaution as an unnecessary evil. This former colleague would prefer to live in Bro-Land, where the mighty, white Christian American male is free to insult and denigrate others. 

As the father of two grown daughters making their way in the corporate world, I'm happy that time and space is coming to a close. And it can't happen fast enough. I have learned quite a bit from my daughters  about the male patriarchy and the insidious ways it self generates. 

Oddly enough, I've also felt the sting of the non-DEI era. 

At the height of my career I was once yanked from a presentation because my pitching and presentation skills were deemed, "too NY deli."  If I had my wits about me, I would have contacted a good lawyer, or even a mediocre one, and proceeded to lay my hands on some of that sweet, sweet ill-gotten holding company profits.

Similarly, I've been privy to conversations that were racially insensitive, to say the least. And misogyinistic, in a way that would set off the whole trunkful of fireworks had my daughters been within earshot.

And so, yes, I'm in favor of DEI. 

Apologies to Apocalypse Now, "with extreme prejudice."

This morning, when I get on my first Zoom call, there's a good chance that in addition to being the only white male, especially one over 60 years, I will be looking at a grid of women (many), people of color and people with various gender and sexual orientations. 

If we go back thirty years, I dare say the optics would be different. 

Very different.

If you were to go back to the time of my birth, you'd find no representation from our better half. And water fountains clearly marked for White and Black.

And so no, I don't find the swinging of the pendulum upsetting or malignant in the least. And frankly can't believe the ignorance it takes to double down on stupid, and take such a vocal stand against DEI.

This is not to say the Wokeness Police can be a little overbearing. They can. 

Not long ago, I suggested a CTA (Call to Action) that simply said "Duuuuuuude." That's about as innocuous as one can be. And certainly less offensive as my other alternative, "Smash That Fucking Button."

However, someone much younger than me and more in touch with today's zeitgeist said it was a red flag, so I changed it to "Learn More." 

It's only taken me 64 years, but I'm learning you have to pick your battles. 

You win, duuuuuuude.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go

Good Morning Monday.

This is an unusual Monday morning for me. It's my first day back to work in over a week. Not sure you'd call my last 10 days off a vacation. The proper vernacular these days is PTO. Though I did enjoy an incredible trip to Morro Bay and the underrated (thankfully) coast of Central California.

By the way, for an unusual breakfast of usual breakfast items like bacon, sausage and eggs, served on a gluten-free waffle made of blue corn tortilla, I suggest you hop in your car and visit The Hidden Kitchen in Cayucos, CA.

This time off was the most I've taken in...I don't know how long. With the exception of my bereavement period, which I'm told doesn't count as time off. 

What made it even more unusual, and perhaps this too is a sign of the times or my advanced age for a full time worker, I did not think about work or my hardworking colleagues at PayPal Honey (I hope I got that nomenclature correct) one time. Hence, I did not crack open my company issued MacBook Pro 15 to check in on emails, slack or the latest balance of my incredibly modest (and shrinking) company equity.

This differs greatly from the past when I was employed in the agency world. 

There, my work traveled with me. 

To the sunny beaches of Mexico. To the sunnier beaches of Kauai. To the overcrowded and obscenely expensive slopes of Mammoth. To the smokey cafes of Paris. And to the I-Can't-Believe-We're-Eating-Dinner-At-Midnight restaurants of Spain and Portugal.

Wherever I went, so went the pressing briefs of the day. The fluid and evil office dynamics. And the constant worry that I would be discovered for the writing fraud I am and be tossed out the door; only to land on my fat keyster and end my life in a dirty nursing home where they're always stingy with the much-needed morphine.

I wish I could reclaim those lost hours of unnecessary worry. Is it too late to put in an expense report to Neil G. for some proper remuneration?

Maybe the magic is all in the packaging. 

Because it was PTO and because I work remotely, it was much easier to make the transition from working to not working. And because it wasn't an official vacation, I didn't feel the pressure to immediately switch from over-caffeinated mode to over-Mojito mode. Once more, because what I currently write (lots of CTAs and email blasts) has little or no bearing on the success of the company, I'm much less concerned about being "found out."

I suppose I could get used to the idea of not working, god knows I've earned it. 

But then there's the prospect of ending up at a place like my uncle's next to last residence...

...and the realization that I haven't earned quite enough.


Update: Just realized today would have been my father's 90th birthday. He was the hardest working man I've ever known. But passed away too early and never enjoyed the fruits of his labor. I won't make that same mistake. Hopefully.