Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm Due Back On Earth Now.

Having regularly driven back and forth on Interstate 5 the last few years I'm no stranger to the 700 mile long vein of right wing wackos that populate the middle of California. I'm treated to the bizarre outdoor boards they erect on their farms demanding that Obama produce a birth certificate, endless hand painted signs blaming Congress for a dust bowl, more outdoor boards reminding me rather graphically that Jesus spilled his blood for me and bumper stickers informing me that 'It Ain't Gonna Suck Itself.'

But there is one stop along this journey through fruitcake land where the other side of the wacko spectrum truly holds court. A place where, in the course of walking two blocks, I've had a guy in camouflage get nose to nose with me and yell "Eat a bullet motherfucker" and then, moments later, passed four middle aged men and woman dressed like Buddhist monks wearing pyramids on their heads. Only to be followed by an elderly woman who lifted her skirt to show me way more than I ever needed to see.

That place is Mount Shasta.

Don't get me wrong. Mount Shasta is one of the most amazing mountains in the world. And as I learned in the natural food store, it's the main reason why so many 'interesting' people are attracted to the area. I learned this during what started out as a relatively normal conversation in the supermarket with a relatively normal looking man in his 50's.

"Hi," he said.
"Hi," I returned.
"Do you live here in Mount Shasta?" he asked.
"No, just passing through. How about you.?"
"We're from Twin Falls. Just traveling. We're here for the meditation seminar."
"I like to meditate too." I said, " I just saw Jon Kabat Zinn in LA two days ago."
"I don't know who that is." he said. "We're here because the Ontarians are hovering their spaceship over Mount Shasta so the energy pathways are fully open."
"Really. Ok. Well I'm just going to get this lasagna and hit the road."

Maybe the left will get it's own Tea Party yet.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A River Runs Through It

People like to do different things in rivers. Some people like to fish in them, some people like to race down them in kayaks and some people like to dump toxic chemicals in them. Me? I like to float in them. Slowly. Languorously. Fortunately, there's no better place in the world to do what I like to do than on the Deschutes River as it passes through Bend, Oregon. The Deschutes is a long, beautiful river with many personalities but in downtown Bend it widens, shallows and slows to a perfect crawl. Then, when the temperature hits about 90 degrees, an inflatable armada shows up with anything in the garage that will float and takes to the river for a cooling 1 1/2 hour tour. You might see a giant duck float by or a swan. Friends will tie 10 floats together and catch up. Young girls and guys will position themselves perfectly to show off their tanned bodies to each other. I even looked once. Trailer trash will show up in their 'I'm with stupid' t-shirts and burn their flabby bodies to a bright red lobster color. Obama supporters will embrace Palin supporters. Dogs will sleep with cats. And life will be perfect for a brief, intoxicating moment. It's all true. Join me some time and I'll show you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Am Such A Pussy

Woke up feeling very manly today. Grabbed the dog and headed up to the trailhead at Black Butte for a rugged uphill hike to the summit. Parked the Jeep Grand Cherokee with heavy duty off-road suspension, put on my hiking boots, my special moisture wicking underlayer, my fleece vest and my Patagonia Goretex windproof outer shell. Switched on my solar powered Garmin 60XS GPS unit with the special Oregon geographical contour overlay. Strapped on my dual-bladder hydration pack and grabbed my cork handled Leki spring-loaded hiking sticks which are capable of absorbing 30% of the shock from my knees.

As I was locking up the Jeep a beat up old 1980 Subaru wagon with bald tires pulled into the space next to me. A woman stepped out of the car wearing slip on sneakers. She grabbed her baby girl out of the car seat, slid her shirt open and started breast feeding her. And that was how they went up the same trail I was heading up. I think she gave me a very quick condescending look as she left.

Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Violence Erupts In The Streets of Sisters After Laker Win

Ignoring the post game pleas of both the police and LA news commentator Rob Fukazaki, a Sister's man went on a wild celebratory spree that turned violent and destructive Friday evening after the Los Angeles Lakers clinched the NBA Championship against an especially ugly Boston Celtic team.

According to Millie Cyrus, owner of Alpacas n' Things, "I looked up and saw Mr. Monteiro run past the store wearing nothing but his Laker boxer shorts and a big smile. He seemed to be excited. Very excited. Really, really excited and it's been such a long time since I've had any. Gosh I wish he'd come in."

Mr. Monteiro was also witnessed trying to turn over a garbage can and set it on fire. "He pushed and pushed but he couldn't get it to tip over so we went out and helped him," said Bob and Mary Grace Coulterville, owners of Ear Expressions. "Sure, he was trying to burn down the town but he's still a neighbor and you help neighbors."

Mark Monteiro, a former Los Angeles resident and longtime Laker fan was finally apprehended after a high speed 3mph chase down Main Street in his buckboard. Sister's Sheriff Joe Bob Beergut who made the arrest said, "We haven't seen anyone going down Main Street that fast since the throttle got stuck on Clarence Twilly's electric cart. Mr Monteiro was in an obvious state of intoxication when we finally pulled him over and he was shouting profanities at someone named Red Auerbach."

After spending the night incarcerated at the ice cream shop Mr. Monteiro was released. His court date has yet to be set.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vote No On Rich Siegel

It has come to my attention that Rich Siegel's blog is funnier than my own and he has more followers. So... Are you all aware that Rich Siegel voted not once but twice to raise taxes, supported Obama's misguided Health Care plan, doesn't care if illegal aliens cross our border and kill our children, is responsible for the oil spill and once slept with a goat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guns and Roses

Homemade ice cream and leather purses. Shoes and frozen yoghurt. Tax returns and taxidermy.

One of the charming things about my little town is that all the businesses here offer an assortment of services. There's no such thing as specialization. I'm sure it has to do with the economy and being a seasonal town and trying to make ends meet and all but it is kind of strange.

Even the kids in town seem afflicted. As I was walking into the dry cleaners and dentist today I noticed a poster on the door announcing that the girls volleyball team and car detailing service were have a spaghetti dinner... with a Chinese flair. It was going to be held at the high school and urgent care center.

I'm probably making way to much of this. Anyway, I have to go to town for an oil change and prostate exam.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Butch and Sundance

I rarely give advice out about a career in advertising other than don't do it. Probably because, until recently, I only had one really good thing to pass along which was to re-type great books. Not only does this give you the ability to really see how great writing is structured but it also improves your typing. A rare one two punch of advice. But now I have another piece of advice to share. Ready, here it is.

Finding the right partner is the most important decision you will ever make in your ad career.

Great clients, shitty clients, the economy, mergers, new CMO's, weather, etc. Most things are out of our control but knowing that you get to face all of the weirdness and uncertainly and stress with someone you can count on to hold up their end or even carry the full load sometimes is a small miracle in a crazy industry.

I am reminded of this because I just spent a few days in Mexico with my partner in the ad world for most of my career, Rick Carpenter. It has been my great fortune that he was my first partner in the business back in 1980 and that we worked together for many more years after that. They were the most productive and enjoyable days I've had in advertising.

So don't think as much about what agency you're going to or what client you're working on or how much they want to pay you. Take a good hard look at who you're going to be working with and then make your decision.

I wish you half the luck I had.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Pillow People

It must be worth the effort. Otherwise, why would people do it. I'm talking about those people you occasionally see at the airport clutching a pillow to their chest like it was a loved one. Don't get me wrong. I like my pillow but I would never go to the trouble - and let's face it, embarassment- of carrying it around the world with me. There are lots of things I would like to have with me on the road like my mattress, espresso maker, 52" plasma tv, and lounge chair to name a few but I could never justify the effort for the the return. As my old friend Peter DeChellis used to say, "The juice ain't worth the squeeze." Are any of you out there a part of this strange and dedicated group of wackos? Can you help me to understand?

In the meantime, I'll sleep on it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Signs of the Times

I just spent the last month down in LA and I noticed a disturbing trend while I was there. It seems that City Council Members have taken to putting their names on every little thing they do.

One morning I went for a run on a small strip of grass between some high rise apartments and Admiralty Way and when I got to the end I almost ran into a huge sign announcing that the aforementioned square of lawn was, in fact, the 'Yvonne Burke Memorial Park'. You've got to be kidding Yvonne. I could mow this thing in five minutes with a push mower.

Than, passing over La Cienega a few days later, I saw the 'Honorable Councilman Kenneth Edelmen III Municipal Greenspace Arboritum.' Or some such nonsense

On the PCH heading south from Topanga I passed a beach. It was still called 'Palisades Beach' or something nice but just under that was Seventh District Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky's name in type maybe one point size smaller. Thanks for your discretion Zev.

Sure, it's nice that these beaches and green spaces are happening but isn't that their job. Who decided they could slap their names all over them. Hell, even Lincoln and Washington only put their last names on their monuments in Washington.

But I don't want to seem ungrateful so I'd like to suggest some middle ground. They can keep their names on all the little things they have done to help Angelinos as long as they also put their names on every pothole I almost disappeared into. Deal?