Saturday, August 25, 2012

I Really Miss Ross Perot

This was emailed to me today - seems like the candidates (all of them) could send their personalized version out via YouTube and redirect the hundreds of millions spent on poo-slinging campaigning to paying down national debt, taking care of senior citizens, feeding hungry people, etc., etc. I know, I know ... not gonna happen, but the same old spew is getting boring.

Originally posted at (via Richmond Times-Dispatch),

The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins.

No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign. Instead of focusing on the big issues that are important to the American People, it has fired a relentlessly negative barrage of distortions, misrepresentations, and flat-out lies. 

Just look at the Other Side’s latest commercial, which take a perfectly reasonable statement by the candidate for My Side completely out of context to make it seem as if he is saying something nefarious. This just shows you how desperate the Other Side is and how willing it is to mislead the American People.

The Other Side also has been hammering away at My Side to release certain documents that have nothing to do with anything, and making all sorts of outrageous accusations about what might be in them. Meanwhile, the Other Side has stonewalled perfectly reasonable requests to release its own documents that would expose some very embarrassing details if anybody ever found out what was in them. This just shows you what a bunch of hypocrites they are.

Naturally, the media won’t report any of this. Major newspapers and cable networks jump all over anything they think will make My Side look bad. Yet they completely ignore critically important and incredibly relevant information that would be devastating to the Other Side if it could ever be verified.

I will admit the candidates for My Side do make occasional blunders. These usually happen at the end of exhausting 19-hour days and are perfectly understandable. Our leaders are only human, after all. Nevertheless, the Other Side inevitably makes a big fat deal out of these trivial gaffes, while completely ignoring its own candidates’ incredibly thoughtless and stupid remarks – remarks that reveal the Other Side’s true nature, which is genuinely frightening.

My Side has produced a visionary program that will get the economy moving, put the American People back to work, strengthen national security, return fiscal integrity to Washington, and restore our standing in the international community. What does the Other Side have to offer? Nothing but the same old disproven, discredited policies that got us into our current mess in the first place.

Don’t take my word for it, though. I recently read about an analysis by an independent, nonpartisan organization that supports My Side. It proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that everything I have been saying about the Other Side was true all along. Of course, the Other Side refuses to acknowledge any of this. It is too busy cranking out so-called studies by so-called experts who are actually nothing but partisan hacks. This just shows you that the Other Side lives in its own little echo chamber and refuses to listen to anyone who has not already drunk its Kool-Aid.

Let’s face it: The Other Side is held hostage by a radical, failed ideology. I have been doing some research on the Internet, and I have learned this ideology was developed by a very obscure but nonetheless profoundly influential writer with a strange-sounding name who enjoyed brief celebrity several decades ago. If you look carefully, you can trace nearly all the Other Side’s policies for the past half-century back to the writings of this one person.

To be sure, the Other Side also has been influenced by its powerful supporters. These include a reclusive billionaire who has funded a number of organizations far outside the political mainstream; several politicians who have said outrageous things over the years; and an alarmingly large number of completely clueless ordinary Americans who are being used as tools and don’t even know it.

These people are really pathetic, too. The other day I saw a YouTube video in which My Side sent an investigator and a cameraman to a rally being held by the Other Side, where the investigator proceeded to ask some real zingers. It was hilarious! First off, the people at the rally wore T-shirts with all kinds of lame messages that they actually thought were really clever. Plus, many of the people who were interviewed were overweight, sweaty, flushed, and generally not very attractive. But what was really funny was how stupid they were. There is no way anyone could watch that video and not come away convinced the people on My Side are smarter, and that My Side is therefore right about everything.

Besides, it’s clear that the people on the Other Side are driven by mindless anger – unlike My Side, which is filled with passionate idealism and righteous indignation. That indignation, I hasten to add, is entirely justified. I have read several articles in publications that support My Side that expose what a truly dangerous group the Other Side is, and how thoroughly committed it is to imposing its radical, failed agenda on the rest of us.

That is why I believe 2012 is, without a doubt, the defining election of our lifetime. The difference between My Side and the Other Side could not be greater. That is why it absolutely must win on November 6.

This reminded me of a story I used in speeches I wrote for candidates - decades ago. 

A high ranking U.S. Senator who wants to be President meets a young Harvard law student who has a reputation as a genius speech writer. He hires the young man to write speeches for him, and soon his ratings are soaring. The speech writer drops by his office and asks for a raise based on the good vibes. The Senator says “You are writing very good speeches for me, but a speech is just a speech unless it is very well delivered. I need the best speech you have ever written for the AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles, and I need it Friday. Let’s see how this speech goes and then we can talk again about the raise.

So the speechwriter burns the midnight oil for a couple of midnights and delivers the speech to the Senator on Friday. The Senator is called for a roll call vote and picks up the speech just before he is taken to the airport. When he sits down in his first class seat, a major donor sits down next to him and they talk all the way to LAX, where he is picked up and taken directly to a fundraising cocktail party.

He is introduced at the Convention and opens his speech for the first time. “Good evening,” he says. “I am so pleased you invited me here to speak to you about rebuilding America. You are not going to hear the typical political speech from me. I have produced a visionary program for America that will put your members back to work with higher pay, better benefits and the assurance that their jobs will be permanent. I’m going to tell you how we can pay off the national debt, reduce taxes, save Medicare and Medicaid, get our troops out of harms way and bring them home from far away places with strange sounding names. I’m going to clean up the graft, get Wall Street going in the right direction, get the economy moving, strengthen national security, return fiscal integrity to Washington, and restore our standing in the international community. You are not going to hear from me the same old promises and the same old disproven, discredited policies that got us into our current mess in the first place.
The Senator turns the page. In big letters is written … ALL RIGHT YOU CHEAP SON-OF-A-BITCH, YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Eye of the Beholder Presents - The Phoenix

presented by Eye of the Beholder Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

In case you were wondering about my art gallery, Eye of the Beholder, we are still in business although for the moment we are operating out of our warehouse.

This beautiful ironwood sculpture is currently listed on eBay and is available to view by appointment (in Scottsdale, AZ).   

I became acquainted with the artisan, Jonathan Sorrell, early this year when we represented him and sold several of his works in our gallery.  Jonathan is as remarkable and unique as his art and I am very proud to call him a good friend.

Jonathan is currently plying his amazing woodworking skills on cactus cadavers, which we will feature as soon as they are completed.
We have other works by various artists we will be showcasing online in the next few weeks, and currently have several pieces showcased in the new Philadelphia Sandwich Company in Old Town Scottsdale (4225 N. Craftsman Court).

For more information about The Phoenix, contact the artisan, Jonathan Sorrell, direct at

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm David Stern and I approved this message

The year that Bill Clinton was inaugurated, Margaret and I bought a condominium in Arizona. I promised her I would not get involved in politricks.  Like a good politician I broke my promise and became President of my Home Moaners Association. At my first meeting I introduced my wife as the only homemoaner who didn’t vote for me.

During my career in advertising and marketing I had been involved in 38 political campaigns and won 34. That did not include my two runs for Mayor of Seattle. In the State of Washington a “political consultant” could get away with crossing aisles. You didn’t need to declare yourself a Democrat or Republican. When I had a winning streak of 11 going, I got a call from the Republicans and was hired by the State Attorney General who came in second in the Primary to help save his political life. We won and handled the advertising for his winning U.S. Senate campaign in 1980.
The Reverend Bill Welsh gave a “classification talk” at my Rotary Club. “I am asked by fellow members frequently why I became a Pastor,” he said. “To tell the truth (we do that occasionally), I did it because my father was a Pastor and he wanted me to follow in his footsteps. But he gave me very good advice; never discuss politics or religion.
When I got to Arizona I invoked the old adage: God gave us two eyes, two ears and one mouth and we should use them in approximately that proportion.
I did the best I could with that for a long time, but now I have a convenient need to confess something;  Margaret used to regularly buy The National Enquirer and Globe.
After they exposed OJ Simpson’s Bruno Magli shoes, I developed an affection for those publications (which my mortified children wanted their mother to bring home in a brown bag), and I recently decided I could easily spare some e-ink inventing writing for one of them. 
A presidential election year is an excellent time to start wielding my tabloid-of-terror pen.  I don't even have to get creative - even I can't make up the stuff the current crop of politicos bestow on us.  Yes, Todd Akin, I'm referring to you - today, anyway (so many choices - so little Flog-o-sphere).  Of course I can work in the outer-space-alien love child angle to Obama's campaign and throw in a couple Elvis sightings (are you paying attention Rupert Murdoch?), but those seem so mundane and believable.  Sorta like being put back in chains, y'all.
Frankly, I think there needs to be a new political party - the Really Really Really Independent Party with the top ticket of those two great Americans, Usain Bolt and Bjork.  Bolt can out-run anything and Bjork - she can render pretty much anyone speechless (both very useful skills when one must deal with the media and constituents).  In case you are wondering, they were both born in Honolulu.

Monday, August 20, 2012

POLITRICKS – Infection or Congential Defect?

Politics is not an art. It’s not a science. It’s a disease. And, fortunate or unfortunate I was born with it. My great-times-four grandfather was the Mayor of Danzig, Germany (now Gdansk, Poland). His name was Danziger. I don’t know if the town was named after him or he after the town.  I have no pictures of Grandpa (x4) Danziger, but I believe this was his synagogue.

My cousin, Bailey Gatzert was the eighth mayor of Seattle, serving in 1875 and 1876. He was the first Jewish mayor of Seattle, narrowly missing being the first Jewish mayor of a major American city (Moses Bloom became mayor of Iowa City, Iowa in 1873).  

In 1952, when I was 15, Adlai Stevenson was the Democratic Candidate for President and my Uncle, Bernard Reiter, ran for the Seattle School Board. His campaign was handled by Bill Speidel, Seattle historian, newspaperman and a public relations consultant who handled primarily Republican candidates, including the campaign in Washington State for Nelson Rockefeller’s 1968 run for President. Speidel became my first politricks instructor. His unique  office was heated by a standing pot-bellied stove. “Your first assignment,” he said, handing me a tabloid sized brochure for Al Stephan, my Uncle’s opponent, “is to pick up all of these you can find, bring them back here and put them in the stove. This is how we heat the building.”
So I was working for a Republican and volunteering daily at the Stevenson for President headquarters. I got the bug.
In 1959 I ran a one-issue write-in campaign for myself for President of the Senior Class at the University of Washington urging “the abolishing of Class offices due to lack of interest.”
While living in New York City I became involved briefly in the John Lindsay for Mayor campaign before returning to Seattle where I worked professionally on the campaign to re-elect Warren Magnuson to the U.S. Senate. When I opened my own ad agency, I was asked to handle the mayoral campaign for a long-shot. He had a miniscule budget. The two finalists spent $35,000 each and Irving Clark, Jr. spent $5,000 and came in third. Our cost per vote was extremely low and the phone began ringing off the hook (phones had hooks in those days) with underfinanced underdogs. Incidentally, Irving Clark, Jr. a young attorney, was best known for having his picture in Time Magazine swallowing gold fish while in law school at Yale.
When I had an 18-game winning streak going, politics became an important part of our business.
Along the way my mother decided to run, first for Precinct Committeeman, then for the new expanded King County Council, where she served three terms.

The 1988 abduction and murder of a dear friend, Diane Ballasiotes, triggered off my own run for Mayor of Seattle in 1989.  Diane had left her job at a Pioneer Square advertising agency one evening at 5:30 and disappeared. The missing-person posters her friends nailed everywhere described her as 5 feet-5 inches, 110 pounds, 29-years old, with curly shoulder-length auburn hair. A Parks Department employee found her body a week later, while looking for garbage being dumped in another part of town. Eugene R. Kane, Jr. was serving a 12-year sentence for assaulting two women in Yakima and Kittitas counties when he walked away from a downtown Seattle work-release center and abducted Diane. Kane was turned in by his father when he showed up at his parent’s home in Diane’s blood-filled car. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
I met with the Chief of Police and King County Attorney who both told me “there is not enough room in the jails,” and began a search for a candidate for Mayor who would vow to clean up the growing crime, gang and drug problems in Seattle. When I couldn’t find one, I ran myself. I didn’t win, but came in third out of 13 candidates and made a point.
In the mid 1990’s when Margaret and I made Scottsdale our permanent home, I promised her I would stay out of politics. I kept that promise.
However, I didn’t say I wouldn’t write about the current presidential campaign. 

Tune in tomorrow for more about my illustrious political career and my sourly-happy observations of the feces-throwing-fest called Romney vs. Obama 2012.

Friday, August 17, 2012

North Scottsdale Arizona Condo For Sale (really!)

I listed my condo for sale today - it's a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom single level unit in Avian at Grayhawk in North Scottsdale, Arizona.  

All the important details and photos are at and on the multiple listing service 

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Math and Secretly Eating With Your Fingers

When I turned 50 years old, my eldest daughter was half my age.  When I recently turned 75, she had gained on me and is now two thirds my age.  When I turn 100 she’ll be three quarters my age.  I haven’t done the math, but I’m pretty sure by the time I’m 125, she’ll be older than me.

But I digress.   In my 75th year, the two-thirds-my-age daughter invited me to spend time with her at her home in Santa Monica, with the visit highlighted by a “dining in the dark” experience at the Opaque Restaurant.   

Just imagine, that you cannot see for an hour or two, that you are abandoning vision in exchange for a new, multi-sensual dining experience. Opaque is enhancing our senses of taste, smell, touch, and hearing by abandoning one that we often take for granted – this is “Dining in the Dark.”

Many years ago she had taken her mother and me to The House of Blues.  Opaque is “the House of Black.”  I was delighted and we had a wonderful time; first walking Venice Beach in the bright sunshine, then dining in the dark. What is Opaque? Just imagine that you can not see for an hour or two, that you are abandoning vision in exchange for a new, multi-sensual dining experience. Opaque is enhancing our senses of taste, smell, touch, and hearing by abandoning one that we often take for granted - this is "Dining in the... more

We were warmly welcomed in a lighted lounge area where I ordered a mixed green salad, filet mignon (rare) and warm chocolate lava cake (we were celebrating my birthday after all).  My lovely girl opted for salmon instead of filet. 

We were introduced to Mike, a blind waiter, and musician; our personal guide, who took my hands while Two-Thirds put hers on my shoulders.  We were then led from subdued light into the pitch dark dining room. We were alone in the dark, the first customers, and it was as quiet as Sarah Palin's elocution coach.  Mike moved my hand to a chair, then the corner of a table.  He did the same with Two-Thirds and we were easily seated. 

The chefs are sighted (I didn’t hold that against them) and the food and service were exceptional.  Minus sight, the aromas, tastes and textures combined with the incomparable service rendered the dinner unforgettable.

70 year old memories surfaced.  From the time I was 5 years old, I watched my mother operate a noisy, clunky, XXL Braillewriter, transcribing words to dots so the blind could read.  I became acquainted with many blind people she assisted and I developed an admiration for their adaptability (which I was sure I could never achieve).   The dining-in-the-dark experience deepened that appreciation even more.

We ate everything, although sharing proved to be a bit of a challenge (an incomplete pass of a small plate landed on a water glass, confirming my doubts about my adaptablility).  Mike efficiently came to our rescue and we were quickly reseated.   A few minutes later, we were served the sensational chocolate lava cake.   

It was then we learned others had joined us in the dining room; a chorale of voices began singing Happy Birthday.  We joined in, until they sang, “Happy Birthday Dear David” which was when I realized that Mike (or someone) had put the word out about my daughter turning two-thirds my age.  Somebody yelled, “Speech!”

“Thank you,” I said.  “It’s nice to hear all of you.”

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Today's Thirteen Cents Worth

I received a check a few days ago from Cox Communications refunding me thirteen cents on an account I recently closed.   First class postage is forty five cents, although it did come with a pre-sorted stamp on the envelope which I believe gets a price break.  I assume someone got paid to presort it, someone else got paid to put it in an envelope, the envelope cost something, the check cost something, then there was the payroll for the person who decided a check for thirteen cents should be issued and mailed and of course the payroll for person who cuts the check.  Interestingly, the check is drawn on The Bank of New York in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   

I’ve been contemplating what to do with my windfall.  A penny saved is apparently three pennies earned (thanks to the price of copper), but a paper check for thirteen cents?  My daughter’s birthday is next week … I could give her the check and tell her to go ahead and spend it all in one place.   On second thought, I would like to remain on speaking terms with her.

Mean Eileen did a Google search using “what will thirteen cents buy?” as the keywords.  The search produced a book titled Thirteen Cents which is available on Amazon for only $17.90 plus shipping.

My accountant advised me that I can probably take a deduction for most of the thirteen cents should I decide to donate it to a bonafide charitable institution.  It depends on who gets elected President and whether Congress is controlled by Rs or Ds.  He charged $50 for that advice.

I held the check in one hand and my increasingly large Cox bill in the other and found myself wondering how much less my cable bill would be if Cox stopped sending out thirteen cent checks.  

Mean Eileen suggested that perhaps it was a Cox Communications charitable gesture – like a teeny “cash mob” - to our struggling US Postal Service, which posted a 5.2 billion dollar loss for its most recent fiscal quarter.   They claim that a big chunk of that loss could be cut if Congress would allow them to cease Saturday mail delivery.  Did I mention my thirteen cent check was delivered on Saturday?

If the USPS had been thinking ahead, they could have hung on to some of the thirteen cent stamps they issued in 1977 – they’re going for twenty five cents now.