December 2008


Father Time could serve time for illegal actvities

Father Time could serve time for illegal actvities

    In a stunning development, the year 2008, Rod Blagojevich, Father Time and Bernard Madoff have all been arrested and charged with trying to alter the state of the universe and the natural order of things.

    In early December, the year 2008 became depressed that it would soon be coming to an end. Sources close to 2008 report that associates of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich contacted 2008 and offered it a way to extend its life beyond December 31.

    Allegedly, 2008 was told that if it paid $20 billion, Blagojevich would get the aged year “an immortality seat” so that it would not have to die on December 31st and give way to 2009. Blagojevich was caught on FBI recordings assuring 2008, “You wanna live forever, like those f****** dancers in that f****** film, ‘Fame’? Then pay me the m***** f****** money, now! F***, I love to say f***!”

    While 2008 gathered the required capital for the bribe, Blagojevich reached out to Father Time. In recorded conversations, Blagojevich offered Father Time “a cool f****** billion” if he’d just forget 2009 for another year and let 2008 keep on going. Father Time stroked his beard slowly and said that was asking a lot. Blagojevich upped the ante to “$3 f****** billion.”  Father Time stroked his beard while combing Blagojevich’s hair, and the deal was done.

Blago caught swearing!!!

Blago caught swearing!!!

    2008 did as instructed and paid the $20 billion in unmarked $5 and $100 bills to Blagojevich. “Don’t worry,” Blagojevich reassured the wrinkly year, “we’re gonna get you a f****** re-do! F*** 2009! 2008 is getting another f****** at bat!”

    Blagojevich took his $20 billion and doled out $3 billion to Father Time. Blago asked Father Time what he was going to do with his fortune (not relaying how much money he had made on the scheme). “Oh,” said Father Time, “I’m going to invest it and let time make my money lots more money.” 

     “F******-A,” said Blagojevich, “that sound f****** great. Deal me in.” Both men met separately with uber-investor Bernard Madoff and placed all their bribe money into his hedge fund with assurances they couldn’t lose a dime.

    “I know what I’m doing,” said Madoff. “Your money’s safe, sound and will grow like gangbusters. You just can’t lose– I’m the magic man, I am, I am!” Madoff said as he danced about wheelbarrows filled with cash and fluffed bills into the air.

"Magic Man" revealed as scam artist.

"Magic Man" revealed as scam artist.

    Then the hammer came down, hard. On December 12, Madoff was arrested after admitting he was running a Ponzi scheme and had been bilking investors out of billions for years. 

    When Father Time learned of the scam, he thought he had been set up by Blagojevich and Madoff, so he lifted his suspension of time. The year 2008 looked in the mirror and began seeing a lot more wrinkles, a receding hairline and he felt achy all over.

    Blagojevich became agitated after he heard the news of Madoff’s arrest. “F****** f*** f*** f***!” he said to an associate in FBI recordings, “I hate gettin’ f****** played like a f****** chump!”

      It appears 2009 will arrive at 12:00 EST tonight as scheduled.


    Christmas has come and gone and soon we’ll all be striking the holiday-decorated sets of our homes. Which always brings sadness to me because I feel guilty dragging our artificial tree out to the curb for garbage collection.

It looks so natural, so real, it seems a shame to throw the darn thing out!

It looks so natural, so real, it seems a shame to throw the darn thing out!

  It seems to me someone should come up with a greener way to deal with artificial trees. It not only seems wasteful, but it also harmful to good ol’ mother nature. 

   I know what you’re thinking– why not just burn the artificial tree? Well, I’ve tried that in the past and ended up with singed eyebrows and a stink I couldn’t get out of my clothes for months.

    So, I’ll do like the rest of America and throw my beautiful, expensive artificial tree on the trash heap of humanity. 

    I wish someone would come up with a recycling program for artificial trees. Maybe that’s what I’ll ask Santa for next Christmas.

    Ah, the classic Christmas movies: “Miracle on 34th Street”, “White Christmas”, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “A Christmas Story”… our family watched none of these on Christmas eve.

   We watched “The Deer Hunter” instead.

   The movie had come from Netflix well over a month ago and had been lazily sitting in the basement; a 3-hour monster lurking in its envelope. The time had come to unleash the beast.

   I was the only one in our family who had seen it, but it was so long ago that the memories of it were more a fog than concrete images. I did sort of recall the film was pretty intense. As I watched it, I thought maybe I hadn’t seen the entire film. Maybe I’d just seen chunks of it.

Where's Jimmy Stewart when you need him?

"The Deer Hunter" is a bit more intense than "It's A Wonderful Life"

      This was the film that made director Michael Cimino red hot. His next film was the legendary bomb “Heaven’s Gate” that cooled his career down quickly. “The Deer Hunter” was released in 1979 and won five Oscars, including best picture. 

     It’s a pretty terrific film, albeit one that could use some major pruning. “The Deer Hunter” is slow to develop. Scenes linger, linger, then linger a little longer. A mood is set, relationships are established, plot points are planted, but it all could be done tighter, would be done tighter if it were made today.

    This is a buddy film, a war film, a love story, a coming of age tale, a think piece, a tragic tale. Hmm, maybe it does take three hours to do all that.

    Most of the alleged Western Pennsylvania steel mill scenes (where the buddies live and work) were shot in northeastern Ohio, where I’m from. The Youngstown, Steubenville, Cleveland area do an excellent job playing Western PA. They’re as authentic as cold Rolling Rocks on a beaten bar. However, the scenes of “The Deer Hunter” tracking bucks with his rifle do not fare so well. The alleged Pennsylvania mountains are overplayed by the grandiose vistas of Washington state. Come on Washington state mountains, dress it down a bit–– the Pennsylvania mountains are not that beautiriffic. 

    I won’t get into the story except to say some pals from the steel mills enlist to fight in Viet Nam. It does not go well. Lives are forever changed. War is indeed hell.

    If you haven’t seen “The Deer Hunter”, check it out. Classic performances from Di Nero, John Cazale (what a mug on that guy, the quintessential character actor), John Savage, Christopher Walken (before he developed his odd speaking inflections) and Meryl Streep. 

    No, it won’t become a Christmas tradition to watch it in our house, but it does get the Netflix envelope back into the mail.

   Merry merry and happy happy to all.

     I wish I could have sent every person in the world our family’s special 2008 Christmas card, but I didn’t have all your addresses and I was pretty low on stamps. So, here it is on the worldwide internets for your holiday viewing pleasure. Thanks, and merry happy happy to you and yours from us and ours.



xmascard_31FLIPS OVER TO THE BACK (written by son, Jack)


   I missed the deadline for Cannes but wanted to release this film in time for Oscar considerations.

   Come enjoy a little film, eh?

   Our agency recently created an interesting campaign for the National Blues Foundation in Memphis (including selling Robert Johnson’s soul on e-Bay– some Frenchman bought it for $80, a bargain). I had little to do with any of the work, except for being smart enough to hire talented people. This stuff is definitely lint worth collecting. To see the full magilla of coolness, catch a ride to

      If you’re like me, you’re married to my wife and have two sons. You are also earning your daily bread by toiling in the mine shafts of advertising creativity. And if there’s a wilder, more woolly boolly, hurly-burly business, well I’d sure like to know about it!

      This ad game is chock full o’ interesting people with fascinating stories. Here are some of the true snapshots of this business known in the industrial waste management industry as “advertising.”

      An account guy and a copywriter were on their way to a client meeting in New York. The writer was carrying a portfolio case stuffed with fourteen campaigns; the fruits of six months hard labor. The writer stopped at the entrance to the plane and said, “No, I can’t go! This plane is going to crash unexpectedly and everyone in it is going to die, die, die, I tells ya–– die ’til they’re dead!”

       The account supervisor tried to reason with him. “Come on, this flight’ll be perfectly safe, and the little bag of nuts will be fresh and delicious.”

You're not going to believe this story...

You're not going to believe this story...

      “No,” said the trembling writer, “I have a premonition of impending doom! Feel my spine, it’s chilly! And look, my goosebumps are breaking out in hives. Let’s take a later flight.”

       “Don’t be preposterous,” the account man said as he wrestled the portfolio from the writer’s hands, “We have exit row seats.” He dashed on board as the writer nervously watched the plane back away from the gate. The writer had tears streaming down his face as he shouted, “Does anyone have a Kleenex?! I’m drowning here! Kleenex, please!”

      As you probably guessed, the flight did not crash. In fact, the plane arrived twenty minutes early (tragically, the little bag of nuts were stale). The writer who had the premonition was fired for insubordination, and stealing computers. Thus, his vision of impending doom had indeed come true!

      There was a happy side to this story, however. The client hated all fourteen campaigns in the portfolio case, but he and the account guy came up with some ads and had a pool of art directors “jiffy-them-up!” The account man was promoted and well-moneyed for his efforts.

      There’s the famous story of the movie theatre owner who spliced subliminal ads for soft drinks and popcorn into a feature film. The audience watched the entire film and felt the subliminal scenes added little to the plot, although they considered popcorn a good character and wished the soft drink could have had an action scene.

      Oh, and what about the tale of the writer who had writer’s block for 31 years– he didn’t produce one single good idea for over three decades! He invested well, however, and eventually retired to a small mansion in the south of France. Talk about embarrassment…

       What about the short lived campaign featuring “Harry the Happy Hemorrhoid”? Maybe he wasn’t the best spokes-creation for Ritz crackers, but he was a spunky little fellow!

       There’s the legendary story of the agency that tried to buy the rights to the Beatles’ classic song  “Yesterday” and change the lyrics for a Pick ‘n Pay Shoes campaign. “Pick ‘n Pay… all the shoes I want and where my socks will stay/ how I love that place in a podiatry sort of way/ oh, I believe in Pick ‘n Pay… why, she paid re-tail/ I don’t know/ she wouldn’t say/ I said, ‘save-on-a-terrific-selection-of-the-latest-styles-and-colors- in-quality-footwear-including-sensible-yet-fashionable-pumps’/ oh, how I believe in Pick ‘n Pa-a-a-a-a-y!/ Pick ‘n Pay…”

      At the eleventh hour, the negotiation for the song rights were called off when it was discovered the entire production budget was $4,100. 

       Then there’s the famous story about the art director who worked simultaneously at two large Chicago ad agencies, without either knowing about the other. The wiseacre was discovered eventually, however, after 39 years. It seems both his retirement parties were scheduled for the same night. 

      Finally, there’s the incredible story of the creative director interviewing a young writer and discovering samples of his (the CD’s) work in the guy’s book! “Hey,” said the irate creative director, “this is my resume… these are my ads… and this bottle appears to contain my urine samples!”

       The embarrassed writer quickly gathered his materials, stuffed them into his portfolio, produced a trombone and blasted “Wah Wah Wahhhhhh!”  as he dashed out the office.

       It’s a wacky business, this ad game, but it’s safer than catching knives dropped from buildings.

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