Thursday, August 31, 2023

I have a theory

"Everybody's got a plan, until they get punched in the face."

That's about the gist of every white paper I've ever read on the topic of advertising. I hadn't thought about my age old tussle with agency planners/strategists until earlier this week when I caught some Tik Tok or FB videos (I don't know the difference) about Killer Mike Tyson and how he took down so many of the world's best boxers with blazing speed and obscene sledgehammer power.

I also had the fortunate opportunity to meet with a new potential client who had several meetings with agencies and was left underwhelmed with their planning/strategery credentials.

Couldn't help to think back on the oh-so-many battles I fought with the "experts" in the room, telling me how the advertising should look and feel.

"Blue?" I cringed, "OK, got it. thanks."

That one is for my old Team One teammates, who often fought alongside me when challenging the royal wisdom of the Planning Department.

In my later years, the battles grew even hotter, when the age difference made it so apparently futile, I'd throw up my hands and walk out of the room. OK, we didn't really have rooms at Chiat, more like Yurt-like arenas, cordoned off with chiffon like veils that would have been equally at home at the Mondrian Hotel lobby on Sunset.

"Yes, of course. While shopping for tortilla chips people will scan the mile-long aisle of brightly colored bags and go with the one that celebrates memory-making moments with friends, family and loved ones."

Good night nurse, it's hard to listen to well-paid professional people talking that BS with a straight face.

BTW, I just discovered what I consider to be the best lime-flavored chips that no one, Particularly the folks at PepsiCo, have ever heard of. Salty, crispy and completely devoid of any fabricated "community-inspired, chip-eating"experience.

You are welcome.

You are welcome again:

The point is this, word choice and nomenclature are important. I was never sold on Planner or Strategist title. It's too declarative. Meaning once a brief has been decided on, or committed to paper, it was more like it came down from Mt. Sinai and been chiseled into stone. By a 27 year old Communications Major from the University of Colorado/Boulder.

For my money, these folks should be called Theorists. 

They have a theory on how to best solve a marketing problem. As such, they ought to be able to prove their theory. With passion. With focus groups. With unjustifiably-expensive quant and qual testing. 

You know, just like the creatives.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Right into your Skull

Last week I received an email from a friend I worked with about 30 years ago. In that time he has become one of the 8 loyal readers of RoundSeventeen. I really should do more to reward this small minyan who have stuck with me through so many of the ups and downs of my life. 

And persevered through my debilitating obsession with taking down our former president. BTW, it still makes my body shudder to think that empty headed, malignant monster was elected to the highest office in the land. And indeed the world.

But we're not talking about him today. We're talking about bone conduction technology.

My friend, let's call him Michael, was inquiring about my new swimming headphones that transmit music in a most unusual way.

As you may not be biologically-inclined nor received an A+ in Bio 101 at esteemed Syracuse University, I will dispense with the anatomical fancy talk and provide this helpful synopsis via Wiki:

Their main sounding principle is to convert sound into mechanical vibrations of different frequencies, and transmit them through the human skull->bone labyrinth->inner ear lymph fluid->spiral organ->auditory center.

Simple translation, the Allman Brothers, Santana, Little Feat and Led Zep, et al, emerge from headphone, bypass the auditory canal and goes straight to my slightly-warped brain. 

It's pretty amazing. Especially when you're cutting through a million gallons of salty/chlorine-y/and urine-y water at the Culver City Plunge Pool. Or, my go-to-pool at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center.

There are many brands of bone conduction headphones on the market. I just happened upon the most expensive ones, the Shokz OpenSwim Swimming MP3, seen here...

Please note that is not a picture of me. I have barely mastered the selfie photo on dry land and dare not attempt one in the water. 

I might have mentioned these headphones before, but I'll mention it again in the hopes that you will sally over to the Amazon Shopping Site (Full disclosure, I'm still one of their professional Affiliate Marketing Partners) and purchase one for yourself. This incredibly lightweight, yet sturdy gizmo is a game changer. 

I spent many years with a refurbished, waterproofed Apple Shuffle in a vain attempt to listen to music while knocking out a mile or two in the water. And the results were as unsatisfying as a Chris Christie campaign stump.

Here's an added bonus. This amazing MP3 player is amphibious. Meaning it works well on dry land. It often accompanies me on my many bike rides to the beach. And even on my walks, where it effectively drowns out the nonstop, yappy barking of the neighbor's dogs. In the realm of onomatopoeia, yappy is one of my favorite words.

If I haven't convinced you to buy the Shokz Bone Conducting MP3 player by now, I'm not sure I ever will. But know this, should you purchase the headphones via the upcoming link, you'll be adding 78 cents to the Rich Siegel Stay out of a Dirty Nursing Home Bank Account. So there's that.

And there's this:

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Character Counts

A few weeks ago, I came across a plea for money on FaceBook. 

It came from a friend, who had a cousin whose brother and wife live in Lahaina with their three children. All were affected by the fire. Being softhearted and genuinely empathetic to people going through hard times, I reached in my digital wallet and spilled out 50 bucks for the cause.

Why am I telling you this?

I don't need kudos. Or humanity points. I'm simply putting this out there because this shit counts.

We all go out of our way to help others. 

Keep in mind when I say 'all' I'm not including Prisoner 01135809, a "man" (???) who prides himself on his Christianity, his leadership and his loyalty.

Let's step back a moment and suppose the 4 separate indictments, the 91 criminal charges, the audiotapes of him begging, pleading and then threatening Georgia state election officials, the photos of the top secret documents being stored at his Florida Fleabag motel are all persecutorial manifestations of the Deep State. 

That the "evidence' has been manufactured by a cabal of evil, elitist communists. 

That the man who previously admitted to running a scam university, a scam charity, a scam campaign to execute the Central Park Five, a scam mission to show Barack Obama was born in Kenya, is completely INNOCENT.

Why then, one must ask, is this peacocking billionaire NOT funding, or even helping with, the mounting legal bills now taxing the very people that worked tirelessly keep him in office?

Why is Jenna Ellis staging Go Fund Me efforts to defray her exploding attorney fees?

Why is Kraken Lady, Sidney Powell being left in the lurch?

And why is America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, a pathetic schmuck who took a nuclear powered blowtorch to his reputation and legacy, now doubling up on his Cameo Birthday videos to stem the accounts payable hemorraghing?

Shouldn't the guy who spends more on Aquanet in a year than some families spend on groceries, rent and crayons, be footing some bills? Helping his friends? Manning up?

This immoral, sociopathic narcissism has become acceptable behavior for 75 million Republicans. Not only acceptable, but admirable.

We have regressed 75 years, and Made America Not So Great Again.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Let's all pray

 Does this ever happen to you?

You find an old framed photo of yourself crossing the finish line in a 10K race. It's from way back in the day. When you could slide into a 31 inch waist pair of Levis. And the drawer in your bathroom had all kinds of combs and brushes and hair creams and condoms that are all useless, now. 

You want to hang this momentous glimpse of the past and you've found the perfect nook or cranny in the house to accommodate your pitiful nostalgia. But the nook and/or cranny is on a piece of drywall where there are no studs. So you search for a left handed, zinc plated mollybolt. But can't find one. 

"Where are my damn mollybolts?" , you might scream at the three walls of the garage if you were short tempered and given to bursts of unnecessary drama.

You might not have one, but you can be sure Jeff Bezos does. And then, for the next three weeks your social media is flooded with ads for mollybolts. From Amazon. To Arnie Rollay's house of Mollybolts. 

It's all mollybolts. All the time.

That's the mystical algorithm at work. And while it doesn't possess the power to change elections, as many low informed, red hatted voters might suspect, it can be pretty fascinating to watch it work its magic.

Last week I received an email from the good helpful people at Glassdoor, who unlike the folks at LinkedIn, want to see me gainfully employed and storing away money so I don't end up in a dirty nursing home. 

They said they had a perfect job for me. 

Given my calm demeanor, my accumulated years of life learning and my special relationship with the Lord, can you blame them for reaching out to me? 

Faithful readers of this blog know I dropped to my knees and seized upon this possible calling when approached two weeks ago for a different church position. And for reasons known only to the man/woman/deity/spaghetti monster above, the clergy decided to "move in a different direction."

But neither I, nor the angels at Glassdoor, are put off by the decision. Like the mollybolt incident, I now find myself deluged with job openings, most of them part time, at churches throughout the land.

It would take a month of Sundays to answer them all.

Nevertheless I threw my proverbial mitre hat in the ring. I penned what I think is a very convincing argument for taking my application to the next step. Though in hindsight, I missed a golden opportunity to expand upon my love for Maryland. When I was a young boy I was huge Johnny Unitas fan. And followed the Baltimore Colts religiously. I'm still reeling from the 1969 Super Bowl loss to the lowly NY Jets. 

Why Lord, Why?

Here's the short cover letter I'm hoping will catch the attention of the powers that be at Colesville Presbyterian...

Pray for me, won't you?


Thursday, August 24, 2023

FREE Money?

 It's been quite a long time since I took on an internet scammer. But this guy, J. Micheal Weirsky, a NY Yankee fan from the Garden State thought he'd get the best of me.

BTW, this happened on Twitter, via an unsolicited DM. That's a first for me. My other scamming expeditions happened via email, Facebook and LinkedIn (a platform where I have been banished, eternally.) 

Here's his profile so you know who I'm dealing with...

And here's his feel good pitch.

How incredibly generous of J. Michael. And how incredibly fortunate that of the millions and millions of Twitter/X users, I was selected. Probably because of all my charitable work.

J. Michael is undeterred and presses his case. Eager to fleece a widower who is down on his luck, fending off high utility bills and has already lost a huge sum of money (I didn't) to a different scammer.

He's ready to have the 50 Large delivered right to my doorstep! J. Michael is like an angel sent from the Lord above. Of course, I have other ideas.

BTW, did you know that my brilliant daughter Abby and her friends are responsible for the word Cheugie? Do some Googling. 

Apparently he can Venmo me the money BUT there is a charge. Here we go.

He wants $100. I could suggest he simply deduct the $100 from the 50K and just send me $49,900. But I don't want him thinking I'm smart. OK, there's little risk of that.

J. Michael believes he has a live fish on the line.

He's already spending the $100 in his head. Can you smell the greed?

Oh, I'm still here.

I took the picture. Of course I didn't take a picture of teh back of the card where all the data is. And then I made him wait. And wait. And wait.

Then this Angel from above, the man doing the Lord's work sharing his lottery winnings with poor souls throughout the land, blew his top.

Finally, to show there were no hard feelings, I offered up a blessing of my own...

My book, now nearing its 20th anniversary publishing date, is still available where juvenile, anti-scamming books are sold.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

What if...

Dateline: November 5th, 2024

7;07 PM Voter turnout for this historic election is at an all time high. Having tamed inflation, substantially grown the economy, helped Ukraine push back on Russia adventurism, and successfully guided the nation out of a deadly pandemic, President Joe Biden has built an early, some would say insurmountable lead, over his opponent, twice-impeached and four-time indicted ex President Trump.

9:13PM Unlike years in the past, the GOP has embraced early voting and mail in ballots as a strategy to increase voter participation. As those ballots are counted, President Biden's lead is slowly shrinking.

11:47 PM Though the votes are still being counted in several states, President Biden clings to his lead and suggests the voting be STOPPED. IMMEDIATELY. He then goes on to prematurely declare, "Frankly we won this election. By A LOT!"

November 6, 2024

8:24 AM Ex President Trump has narrowed the gap significantly. And recaptured states that were previously called for Biden, including Georgia, Arizona, Michigan and Nevada. President Biden's spokesperson calls for an immediate press conference at the Hyatt House of Pancakes in Baltimore Maryland. A small gaggle of confused reporters hear the spokesperson ramble on about the election being jigged. And something about Jewish space lasers and Chinese made toaster ovens.

November 10, 2024 

All three networks call the race for Ex President Shitgibbon, who is scheduled to return to the White House on January 20, 2025. President Biden takes to Twitter/X and begins whining, "The election was JIGGED. I won. And you know it."

November 12, 2024

While President-Elect Trump dances around the country in the biggest victory lap ever staged, President Biden summons his lawyers, cronies and even Roger Stone (who will work for anyone as long as the check clears). They begin strategizing and quickly assemble "alternate electors in various swing states."

President Biden sits down with Kamala Harris and begins a series of conversations about how the Constitution grants her certain magical superpowers.

December 17, 2024

The electoral votes are tallied by Congress. 

Ex-Precedent Trump -- 306

President Biden -- 232

December 18, 2024

President Biden addresses his supporters via Twitter/X and tells them to gather at the White House Lawn on January 6th, 2025. "It's gonna be wild!"

December 27, 2024

Operatives from the desperate Democratic party gain back door access to county election offices in various states. They use false IDs and copy sensitive election data from the machines in a failed attempt to alter the results.

Other Biden loyalists assemble highly edited security camera footage showing voters (on a cheaply made video loop) casting votes over and over and over again. Claiming Trump supporters jigged the election.

73 cases are brought by Biden attorneys to courts throughout the land, all the way to the Supreme Court. All fail. Miserably. As a result, not one vote or elector is changed. Not one. Several of Biden's attorneys are subsequently disbarred and brought up to the bar on career-ending ethics charges.

January 6th, 2025

An angry crowd gathers on the White House lawn and hears President Biden say that if they don't fight to save their country, they're not gonna have a country anymore. The mob marches down Pennsylvania Ave, storms past barricades, attacks police officers, smashes windows, defecates in offices and smears it on the Capitol walls and holds the building and the certification process hostage for most the day.

President Biden watches it all on TV while eating ice cream.

At the very last minute Kamala Harris yields to the very persistent President Biden and voids the certification of the Electors, throwing the election to the states, who vote 26-24 to keep President Biden in office. 

January 20, 2025

President Biden is sworn in for his second term.

75 million Republican heads spontaneously, and gloriously, combust.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Toy to the World

Upon the suggestion of George Tannenbaum, author of, my friend and former client Claudia Caplan and I wrote a piece in the vein of the Brett Stephens/Gail Collins from the NY Times. You can see that first article here. We (and apparently some of George's readers) enjoyed it so much, we decided to collaborate again via the magic of Google docs. 

Here for your amusement is the second in what we hope will be an ongoing series. Enjoy... 

RS: Last week you and I found ourselves on the same side of an issue – we were both banished from LinkedIn. Through some magical formula that you refuse to divulge, you managed to get back on. I remain afloat. Lost at sea like Tom Hanks in the Federal Express movie.


This week, we are on opposite sides. 


You have no interest in seeing Barbie, like the other 8 billion people on the planet. I loved the movie and had the temerity to suggest you plunk down your $23 for a ticket, take out a second mortgage for some salty, sweet snacks and treat yourself to 2 hours of finely-hewed cinematic camp. 


For our viewing audience, feel free to justify your reluctance. And I will surgically counter each point (I hope) and persuade you into an unforgettable Kidmanesque experience.

CC:  It probably starts with freelancing on the Barbie account at Ogilvy LA when my son was a mere toddler.  I worked on “Barbie International” and I have to say that the creative folks were like no other ad creatives I have ever encountered.  They had zero cynicism. Total Kool-Aid drinkers.  They had conversations that went on for hours on themes like, “Would Barbie say this?”  “Would Barbie do this?”


I would love to know why you went to the Big Pink Money Suck in the first place.  Your girls are much too old to need dad to take them to the movies.


RS: An excellent question. And given our shared disdain for pop culture and mindless TV, one I had anticipated you asking. To be sure, I never had any intention of wasting my hard earned money – caveat: we’re both copywriters so hard earned is a bit of a stretch – on Hollywood garbage. I may be the only man on the planet who has never had Covid or watched a Marvel superhero movie in the theater. 


All that changed. Not when my daughters thought I’d love it. But when Ted Cruz, Ben Shapiro and Lauren Boebert decided they hated it. That’s when I knew I had to don my Pink Gap T-shirt and head to the Regal Theater in downtown Pasadena.  


That’s the power of my Red Hat revulsion. Their South Star is my North Star. If Donald Trump came out and said he hated broccoli, I’d start eating it by the bushel. Well, maybe not. I hate f*cking broccoli.

Give me more on the XX-chromosome  POV. 

CC:  I just think there are movies that seem to capture a certain zeitgeist, particularly about women, and then we look back at them and cringe at how tone deaf they really were.  Kramer vs. Kramer and An Unmarried Woman come to mind.  So hip, so edgy, so wrong.  And even though I have not seen Pink Hell and will not, that’s the sense I get of it. 


On top of that, I sincerely wonder if your average 10 year old girl gets the irony or if this is just a way to up her style game before she goes to the Taylor Swift concert.  Mattel has pulled off something they haven’t been able to do in decades.  They’ve made Barbie relevant again.  They were getting killed by “cooler” dolls like Bratz and by the fact that older girls wanted nothing to do with Barbie and they were becoming toys for tots.  Now they’re hip again because of this extended infomercial.  Mattel executives are high-fiving themselves all over El Segundo.  I can hear the meeting now:


“Just let them goof on us.  I’m tellin’ ya it’ll work.”

“Yeah.  Be all feminist and shit.”

“But still pink and cute.”



Don’t get me wrong. I respect Greta Gerwig.  I absolutely loved Ladybird.  But this drek has done a billion dollars at the box office – even though it will never see one penny of mine.


RS: What I’m hearing you say (a disarming phrase I’ve learned from my therapist and have subsequently overused) is that you take umbrage at the crass commercialism. This strikes me as odd, as you and I have both achieved a certain level of comfort by hawking everything from fizzy brown sugar water (Pepsi) to cardiac arrest-inducing cheeseburgers (Carl’s) to overpriced well-disguised luxury ‘Camrys’ (Lexus’.) 


As for the zeitgeist, here again we come from two differing perspectives. I’m the father of 2 daughters. My late wife had 3 sisters. And a mother-in-law, who was attached at the hip to a childhood friend from Minneapolis. Let’s not forget my dogs Nellie, then Lucy. When they all gathered at my house for holidays, I was the mayor of Estrogenville. Ergo, I have the cauliflowered ears of an aging boxer who has been pounded over and over again about the ills of the Patriarchy.


We men have had it our way for a long time. And we haven’t done a very good job. Even as I write this, I am sitting in my “Man Cave” aka my Mojo Dojo Casa House. Frankly, it’s high time we Kens get off our high horses – an inside joke for those who’ve seen Barbie – and turn the reins over to the ladies. 


We can start by putting Fani Willis in charge.  


CC:  I have four stepdaughters, four step sisters and a half sister and only one lonely son.  But who’s counting?  As to work toiling in the vineyards of crass commercialism, that’s what it was!  There was no hiding it.  There was no lying.  In our day there wasn’t even “brand purpose,” whatever the hell that is. (And thanks for the nod to my BMW “Lexus is a Toyota” work).


I just don’t see Barbie as a role model in the vein of say, Hidden Figures. Yes, men have been in charge for way too long and look at what a lovely job you’ve done. 

RS: For the record, I only account for 65 out of 4.5 billion of those years.

CC: Ok, you get a conditional pardon. But the planet is on fire as is our electoral system. The only people on the Supreme Court with a lick of sense are the ladies.  I have never seen a Marvel Universe movie, but I’m guessing that no one has the superpower of wearing a cute sundress.  It just gripes my cookies that real women are uninteresting but an 11” piece of plastic has it dicked.  

But go ahead, your job is to convince people to do stuff.  Persuade me to go see it.  Right after I walk on a million little plastic high heels in my bare feet.  


RS: I don’t understand “gripes your cookies”, but I do understand your hesitation and concerns, because frankly they were mine as well. But a little cognitive dissonance goes a long way. The movie is not about Barbie and Ken. It’s more about Ken than Barbie. And Ryan Gosling chews up the scenery like Chris Christie at the Golden Corral Dessert Bar.


The dolls are simply the vessels. They represent the separated worlds we live in. And yes, the messaging is overwrought. And superficial. And fashioned for the Tik Tok crowd. But so what? It’s funny. Moreover, Ms. Gerwig manages to take inside-the-park potshots at so many classic movies including (spoiler alert): The Godfather, 2001, A Space Odyssey, Grease, The Shining, West Side Story and even Boogie Nights. That alone is worth the price of admission.


Approach Barbie the way I have approached life for 65 almost-happy years, with severely diminished expectations.


I Kensure you, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

CC:  (Puts fingers down throat)




Monday, August 21, 2023

When the Chosen, were not.

Editorial Note: If you are easily offended by humor regarding religion or have a thing against agnostics/atheists/heathens, you might want to skip past today's comical journey in heresy. 

Last week, while mining the internet for job leads -- I'm semi-retired but still have to put expensive Atlantic Caught Salmon on my table -- I was sent the following email from the good people at Glassdoor, home of the disgruntled ex-employee one star review.

Other than a quick smile, I thought nothing of it. I regarded it as a mistake. The same kind of AI mistake that resulted in my permanent banishment from LinkedIn. The algorithm giveth and the algorithm taketh away.

I screen grabbed it for posterity. And then shared it with my Team One Group Chat, a a funny talented bunch of writers (and Neal) that share cutting barbs and all manner of snarkiness throughout the day. 

Much laughter ensued. 

And then -- surprisingly it never occurred to me -- someone made a brilliant suggestion. It might have even been Neal, but probably not.

"Please, please, fill out the application. For God's sake, do it."

Who am I to deny the will of the lord, the mighty Host of Hosts? Besides, as a prankster who has engaged Nigerian Scammers and turned it into a book, applied countless times to join the Illuminati, and even submitted a letter and application for club membership at Mara Lago, this seemed like a natural course of action. 

And so I did.

First the complete job listing, in all its glorious detail.

And then  my application which included the rarely written Cover Letter. I usually eschew the damn cover letter because I have better things to do, like pushups or watch Tik Tok videos. But in this case, perhaps moved by divine inspiration, I went the extra mile. For science.

You might be thinking, "Oh that's funny and all (including the way Rich cleverly skirted the TOS police) , but Rich doesn't have the cojones to actually submit that." But you'd be thinking wrong. 

As I have often stated, I've reached that pleasing point in life when I just do not care what others say or think about me. Although it still stings that after a heated online political dispute 7 years ago, I received a DM from a dirtbag high school classmate that read something to the effect of, "You were an asshole in high school and your(sic) still one now."


I did submit the letter and all the requested details. And unlike many job applications which disappear into the internet ether, this one instigated an instant response.

But the Worship Director Bug has already bitten me. 

Maybe I'll take a walk down the street and see if there are any openings with the Lutherans.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Breathing fire.

Today concludes my weeklong review of books I've read. 

To be clear, and due to my ongoing attempts to get back on LinkedIn, I have not read the Carl Sagan book. To be even clearer, I have read Dragons of Eden, just not recently. It was a book my former college roommate, a science-y guy with an interest in civil engineering, chess and weed, suggested I read.

At one point, this roomie impressively combined all three of his passions and spent a week at the Syracuse University Industrial Design Shop and using his imagination and some carefully selected pieces of green see-thru PVC pipe, fashioned his own two foot high bong. It had a very clever 4 hit rotating head made from a repurposed garden hose nozzle. And because of its unique shape, it was appropriately named The Check.

We put it to good use during many late night round robin chess tournaments. Ah, wasted youth, literally and figuratively.

While I don't remember much from those days, I do recall devouring Sagan's primer on the evolution of human intelligence. It will be interesting to re-read the book. 

Not through the lens of a pretentious and inordinately naive college freshman but with the Lenscrafter-assisted eyes of an old man who probably shouldn't have been lifting inordinately-heavy weights and now needs some outpatient repair surgery in the upcoming months  -- and that's all I say about that.

As I mentioned, I haven't read the book yet, but I did skim thru it. 

And if I have any hope that you will purchase this fascinating journey through humanity's short existence (relatively) I feel I should give you a bit of taste. Especially if I claim the book had a formative influence on my life, which it has.

In skimming through the chapters, I can see why. 

Sagan touches on all the keystones that have shaped my thinking -- my abandonment of religion and my curiosity about the human condition. In no particular order they include: language, biology, Greek mythology, and the fascinating and unusual cerebellum connection between sex and smell.

Oh, now you're interested?

Here is sample. It's from the introduction, which oddly begins with a conclusion. One, not written by the author, but by a gentleman named Charles Darwin, maybe you've heard of him:

The main conclusion arrived at this work, namely, that man is descended from some lowly-organized life form, will, I regret to think, be highly distasteful to many persons. But there can hardly be a doubt that we are descended from barbarians. 

The astonishment which I felt on first seeing a party of Fuegians on a wild and broken shore will never be forgotten by me, for the reflection at once rushed into my mind --such were our ancestors. These men were absolutely naked and bedaubed with paint, their long hair was tangled, their mouths frothed in excitement, and their expression was wild, startled and distrustful. They possessed hardly anyarts, and, like wild animals, lived on what they could catch; they had no government, and were merciless to everyone not of their own small tribe.

Oh, like Trump Rally.

To get your page turning copy, click here

Wednesday, August 16, 2023


Three days, three book reviews? One might assume this MOSL, Man of Semi Leisure, has hung up his copywriting cleats in order to spend his sunset years burying his head in a book.

Well, you know what they say about those who assume. Actually, I don't because 9 times out of 10, MY assumptions are correct. 

The better conjecture, at least in this case, is that I'm hawking books for no other reason than to beef up my credentials as a newly-minted Amazon Affiliate Marketer. And using this blog (now no longer available on the esteemed LinkedIn platform) to rack up those sweet, sweet penny commissions.

Today's book review is about The Swimmers. 

It's only an odd coincidence that all three books feature covers in the Blue/Teal Azure color scheme. Even more interesting is the two books on swimming were both penned by Asian women.  I don't know why that is. 

Could it be, as I have often suggested, that swimming is a uniquely meditative athletic actively, suited more to the tranquil Eastern hemisphere as opposed the hectic Western hemisphere, birthplace to the Rat Race and the 3 AM mandatory Zoom Conference call?

I'm not particularly given to reading novels. I'm more of a non-fiction or short story guy. Perhaps it's my annoying short attention span. Or my distaste for purple prose. 

Not sure why so many authors go to extraordinary efforts to describe the hair thin threads used to sew button holes. Or the numerous knots in a piece of pine some lazy beaver gave up on. 

It all seems superfluous. And gets in the way of me reaching the last page -- and getting back to mindless Tik Tok videos of dogs chasing their tails. 

Yes, I'm a product of the aforementioned Western Hemisphere.

Perhaps if I were a fan of prose, it would appear more in my writing. But I'm certain none of us wants that.

As it turns out the The Swimmers is less about swimming (disappointing) and more about the decay of aging that we all must confront. Decay in our parents. Decay in ourselves. And decay in the culture at large. 

All reflected in a mysterious, and growing, crack at the bottom of a pool. Though Ms. Otsuka's observations on the various shapes and sizes and affectations of people who yearn to be in the water are uncanny. And telling.

At a 175 pages, The Swimmers is a quick and enjoyable read. I wish I could say the same for Steinbeck's East of Eden, which weighs in at a mindbending 700 pages. And gather's dust on my nightstand. which is thankfully removed by my new cleaning lady, who is affordable, friendly and willing to attend to my baseboards with no further instruction. 

And the last thing I need in my life right now are decaying baseboards.

To purchase your copy of The Swimmers, click here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

On Swimming


Another day, another book review? If you're sensing a theme, you'd be correct. 

Relax dear reader, I'm not going into the book reviewing business. I'm far too illiterate for that. I may be the most illiterate writer you've ever come across. Except for my friend Cameron Day, author of three wonderful books, who is also a self-admitted illiterate.

Truth be told, I'm not too keen on the differences between a simile and a metaphor. And prefer to toss around terms like analogy far more often anyway. Mostly for juvenile etymological reasons. 

I once had a 2 page center spread scheduled for the Book Review section of the NY Times. 

But to my everlasting chagrin, the ad got pulled at the last minute because of some ignoramus O&O regional ABC folks in Florida -- you know, the Free Speech State.

No, I'm reviewing books in the hope of selling books. As I mentioned, I recently became an approve Amazon Affiliate Marketer, a Bezos Ho, if you will. And so I'm now actively seeking opportunities to send people to their site and smash that Buy Now button. I've only been at this for a week and have already accrued (book reviewers like to use fancy words) a whopping $00.00 in earnings.

OK, Rome wasn't built in a day. Though maybe I should have gone into MLM for vitamins. Or aluminum siding. Or put my savings into crypto.

These type of mental meanderings are actually covered by author Bonnie Tsui in her opus to swimming. It is a sport unlike any other, in that you are in an aquatic environment. Free from forces of gravity. And forced to breath in a way no other athletes do.

This in turn has a unique physiological effect on the brain. And alters thought patterns. Not surprisingly, because of the pressure water puts on the skin and the organs, blood pressure is also effected. Positively. As is oxygen intake.

Years ago, when I was afflicted with a nagging bronchitis, my doctor was pleased to hear of my daily swimming regimen. It will help you heal faster. Though, to be honest, I preferred the industrial strength purple cough medicine he prescribed. 

Mmmmm, euphoric side effects.

I picked up this book, Why We Swim, on the recommendation of my former colleague/copywriter who hasn't aged a day since I met him, Mark Abellera. He is relatively new to the swimming thing. And has marveled at my ability, as a much older man, to knock out 1500 to 2000 meters at a stretch.

I'll tell you, as I told him, as Bonnie often describes in the book, once the stamina is achieved, any length is possible. Swimmers, that is regular swimmers, often slip into a zone. Time and space and crumbling stucco on the side of the house and neighbor's dogs that refuse to stop barking, just magically disappear.

I don't know this for a fact and it is purely anecdotal, but you will find more books written about swimming than you will about any other sport. Find me a fascinating tome about lacrosse and I'll eat my swim cap. 

OK, that's not fair, I'm bald and don't own a swim cap.

One of my favorite chapters in the book reaches back centuries and reveals the special swimming techniques developed by Samurai warriors. The good ones, the ones that survived battles, had to cross raging rivers and lakes, often while wearing heavy armor, in order to defeat their foes. 

These special techniques were handed down through the generations. And in the early 1930's a crafty coach brought them to the Japanese Olympic Swim Team. According to lore, they cleaned up in Berlin. In my book, any Nazi defeat is a good defeat.

If you're considering swimming or know someone who is already a Chlorine fanatic, I suggest this book is a must have. As are a good set of bone conducting headphones (more on that at a later date.)

Put on your reading goggles and buy this book, here.