Quinoa: a call to arms.

It's passover and there's strife in the Jewish community. An in-fight so bloody and controversial it is driving families apart at the seder table. It has created a clear dividing line between the will-haves and the will-have-nones.

At the center of the debate is, naturally, the hippest grain known to man: quinoa. 

Yes quinoa. This miracle grain is causing problems for people trying to keep passover across the country. No longer is it considered safe to consume during passover for fear that God himself (or herself) would disapprove.

And we wouldn't want that, would we?

After years of being enjoyed and having a protected status as a perfectly fine replacement food under kosher law this designation has been stripped of its rank. The rabbinic committee lined up each of those adorable little pearls and unpinned the Kosher for Passover medallion from their breasts.

Now I approve of this decision. We can't be too careful when it comes to consuming foods that show even the tinniest potential of swelling. That's why I only eat steaks during passover because I know those sucker are going to shrink after spending 30 minutes on a hot grill. Dried fruits are acceptable too but I don't really like the taste of those.

What I'm worried about is the soul and the dedication to passover of those who consumed quinoa in years past. They have, in the eyes of these Rabbis and God, sinned. They retroactively broke passover. Since 1998 people have blindly indulged on this thing. 

This goosefoot.

And while I'd never encourage anyone to self-induce vomiting I can't think of any other way to rectify this in God's eyes.

It is, after all, your fault. You did not err on the side of safety. You indulged and got fat off of what you thought was a loophole. And now you must repent.

And you, my true believers. The ones who chose the proper path. Who have become lean and strong on matzo and the memories of our ancestors. I beg you to bring up your gagging spoons and follow me to help those who are unwilling to help themselves. Leave your seders and march in the streets until this oversight has been rectified. When they go to welcome Elijah they will open the door and find you there!

Now go! 

Nothing will be right in the eyes of God until we take it upon ourselves to make it right. For the letter of the law is more important than the spirt of it!


Smash a bottle of whiskey. Walk out on your family. Leave all your troubles behind. It's the Weekly Linkly.

Just a reminder you probably shouldn't take advice from hastily-written blog titles.


  • Dick Tie Kickstarter. (Ties that looks like dicks. Not ties for yours. That's my Kickstarter that I'm launching it next month!)


Fuck the Poor. Simple and great. Don't care if it's fake or not.

Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton - Trailer.

The Ad Contrarian laying down knowledge at Ad Week Europe.

Exploring Off-Limits New York from Animal New York

Rise of the Patent Troll by 'Everything is a Remix' creator Kirby Ferguson

What does sound look like?

Now get! Get back to your family and ask them to forgive you and that they're more important than a smattering of internet links. Hold them and rock them and tell them you love them.

The last video about bravery in advertising you'll ever need to see.

Trott. Droga. Henry. Hegarty. All on a stage together. All talking about making 'brave' advertising. The challenges of making brave adverting. The necessity of making brave advertising. And how to make it happen.

It's like someone asked for my dream panel then made it happen. Only thing that could have made it better would have been having Gerry Graf there too but the whole place may have imploded had that happened.

Now go watch it if you know what's good for you.

Let's put an end to this silly collaboration dispute.

Recently there's been a schism about collaboration among advertising people. One camp (let's call them Followers of the Devine Light of Collaboration) promote collaboration as the *One True Path* to success. The other (The People's Army of Free Thought and Creative Independence) is quick to vilify the "c word" and denounce its usefulness entirely. 

While I understand what both sides are saying, I think this is a silly argument to have. In case you've somehow missed this spat here are the opening arguments.

Followers of the Devine Light of Collaboration feel the advances made during the 'Creative Revolution' (pairing an art director with a copywriter) were good but don't go far enough. Every single person inside of every single agency should be seen as creative and those creative souls must work together to create great work. It's hubris to assume so called 'creatives' are the only ones who hold the power to make great work. People need to learn to make less waves and hold-hands with everyone to reach a common goal. 

The evidence they offer is the success of Oreo's Super Bowl tweet from 2013 and quotes from industry 'thought leaders'.

The People's Army of Free Thought and Creative Independence believe involving everyone at every step of the process in creative work is idiocy. There are too many people who don't know what they're doing who try to wrangle some control over the work. Collaboration is dangerous, they say, because it waters down the final creative output. 

The evidence they offer is the current, piss-poor state of advertising work and quotes from their own thought leaders.

I'm always wary of people who profess they know the one true method of making things. Telling people the exact method that will work for them. "This is the way I create so it must be the way everyone creates" is as intelligent a statement as saying that all third graders are roughly the same because they're small and can't write as well as fourth graders. 

Weird, bad example. 

Anyway, here's where I fall on the issue. The truth lies, as it always does, somewhere between these two waring factions.

I agree that too much fiddling by forces not directly involved or responsible for the work is dangerous. Just because someone has the ability to give their take on a piece of work does not mean that take is good or constructive. If you want evidence of this just spend some time in the YouTube comments. Everyone, every single person believes that he or she knows best. How could we not? We're the center of our own universes. However, if that same someone does not have to sign their name to a piece of work it gives them the permission to muck it up and walk away. 

Collaboration isn't the same thing as meddling. Meddling is taking responsibility for things you know nothing about. It's sticking your nose where it doesn't belong because you're bored or frightened or need to assert power over people. It's like the nice midwesterner who tries to help you with your car that's broken down despite having failed shop class in high school. It might be well intentioned but it's utterly unhelpful.

But I don't think across the board banning of collaboration is intelligent or even possible. 

Saying that a creative team cannot be anything different from the two person Art Director/Copywriter or three person Art Director/Copywriter/Technologist set up is also not 100% true. There are myriad ways that creative work can be accomplished. It all comes down to what's right for the assignment at hand or. Not to mention Scamp's recent post about a new age of agency that does everything because having everything unified together means means better work in general.

Expanding to other creative industries can help give perspective on this. If you look at disciplines like writing/creating movies and TV you can see there's not one 'true' way to make something great. 

For instance, in the UK most shows are written by a single creator or a couple of creators. Meanwhile in the states a comedy calls for a large writing room and a drama a slightly smaller one. Part of what informs these differences size/scope of the show (two people might kill each other trying to fill a 22 episode sitcom order). Part of this is the creator's preference.  Part is Hollywood going along with what's worked in the past.

Movies can also be a solitary act (Paul Thomas Anderson largely writes/directs/edits his movies on his own. Shane Carruth does everything from concept to shooting to music) or a collaborative one (such as the way Wes Anderson and Spike Jonze work with a collective of other creators to improve their  work). And even when a movie is done by a solitary creator there's a whole cadre of producers, crew members, and executives involved in some part of the process.

Even authors, probably last bastions of the solitary creator, have editors they work with to improve the work. They get input at the right point in the process and it improves the work. 

Bringing it back to advertising, is a creative team not collaborating? 

When John Hegarty recently gave his thoughts on creativity he warned against collaboration in the first point, then stressed the importance of a good partner in the last. Curious because if we accept the dictionary definition of collaboration: "the action of working with someone to produce or create something" then every single ad that has happened in history has been the result of collaboration. 

So I think it's time people on both sides put down their weapons  and realize it's all a matter of how the people involved like to work. And what makes the best work possible.

You didn't ask for it. But it's here. And you ought to know. This is the Weekly Linkly.

That's it. That's it! Give me one more. Just one more. Push! Push! Push! Yeah! All right, internet, you done good this week. Go towel off.



Man gives it all up to roller blade for a living.

Tiny Worlds

Edgar Wright on close ups.

Esther just wants to be a hot chick.

Kit Kat cops and robbers.

New York Lottery continues their string of excellent work. "This one's on Steve!"

Burger King - From Russia With Not So Much Love from Finch on Vimeo.

Archaic garbage systems are rubbish.

When I lived in Chicago I had a great apartment. This place was seriously amazing. Small six unit building.  Top floor. Two balconies facing downtown. Great appliances. Hardwood in excellent shape. And affordable. It was, quite frankly, too nice for someone just out of college. But I lucked out and got to live there and have a great time. 


I still miss that place.

But gloating isn't the point of this post. This is about the one thing about the apartment I hated. My one complaint about the best apartment I will ever willingly give up. 

It's about garbage.

You see, we had a huge dumpster just down the stairs from the apartment. Which was so convenient. Even on the most oppressive nights it was not big deal to rush down the stars, dart outside, and throw the garbage in the garbage. Each of the 3 buildings on my little street had their own one of those. So there was no way they were ever overflowing. It made polluting the world a breeze.

But every time I went to throw something out I noticed my neighbors were throwing out cans, bottles, and cardboard. Even though these things are perfectly recyclable. Nay, should always be recycled. My neighbors were throwing out this stuff, of course, out of convenience. While there were three dumpsters within 50 yards of each other the only recycling bins for the entire neighborhood were over a quarter mile away. Which doesn't sound like a whole lot but it is significantly longer than the trip down the stairs. Especially in a city blanketed by snow/ice/the wrath of God. The distance outweighed the number of shits people gave about recycling.

This is the same case as my building in LA. Except we don't even have a recycling bin. My roommate and I have to put the recycling in our cars and drive it to somewhere that will take it. A complete pain in the ass. I can understand why other people in this building don't even bother.

The problem seems to be that we've set up the system backwards. Or, rather, have failed to update the system in favor of practices we know to be environmentally responsible. The default option remains to chuck it all in the garbage because that's what's provided. Where if people had to take the garbage somewhere but recycling was convenient people would think more about the waste they create. 

If I have faith about anything in this world it's that people are fundamentally lazy. They don't want to think or exert effort over something as simple as garbage. So the options provided for them, and convenient for them directly impact their behavior. There would be some pushback if the system were reversed (there's always pushback when the status-quo is disrupted) but it seems, at least to me, like a valuable initiative to try out. 

Does anyone know if cities or municipalities are already doing this? I know that single-stream recycling has made things a lot easier for recyclers but I don't think anyone has decided to make recycling the default option. Let me know if I'm wrong. Or if you know who to talk to about trying this out.


The best dream I've ever had

I'm standing on the patio of  villa, uh, somewhere. Wherever this is it's beautiful. 

The patio looks out over a magnificent valley. It's enormous. The valley has cliffs jutting out all across the horizon. Like the whole thing was built into a giant earth bowl.

There's a lake, too. It's brilliant blue. Contrasting against the yellow, dusty cliffs. In the center of this lake is a small island. It looks tranquil. I don't have a clue how I got here.

There are other people too, that's certain, but I can't remember them. Who they are is completely unimportant. But they're here, enjoying the sights too. The villa is huge. More like a resort. Everything here is massive. I'm a speck of dust compared to the size of this place. But I feel, deep down in my fingertips, like I can control this place

So I descend the patio staircase down to the beach at the lake. But the lake has changed. It shifted around. Changing hues and water levels. And it continues to do so while I stand on the beach. Islands pop up and go away without disturbing the tranquility of the water. The surface of the lake doesn't move. It only changes when I look away for a second.

As I walk closer to the lake the feeling gets stronger. I do have control over this place. 

I look down and there's a paintbrush in my hand. So I begin to pain, better than you can actually paint or have ever painted before.  With the flick of a brush a boulder appears in the middle of the water. Like Bob Ross but creating actual landscapes. A flick again, then another, then another, then another. Boulders are popping up everywhere.

This is fun. Like Harold and the purple crayon. I beckon the others to come down and make their own changes. One of your more boring people makes a comfy couch and TV. But I don't care. 

I love this place.

A bunch of other stuff happens but its hazy and I can't remember what. Creation on this scale is exhausting. I feel as though I've  been walking around forever. Maybe it has been forever. There's no way to know. There aren't clocks or time or phones in this place. It's a nice change of pace.

By now the sunset has started. The lake is even more spectacular than before. It has become shallow. Very shallow. With light blue and pink water, like cotton candy, against sepia cliffs and sky. The main island in the middle has gone. Completely replaced by little islands that look like legs in a Dali painting. 

That's all optical illusion. Everything, including the water is flat and painted. No hopping between islands needed.

My friends have vanished into the periphery but I notice I'm not alone. A man with a beard and southern accent is standing next to me. It's Wayne White! He's here creating too. This is his place of landscape creation. He's throwing giant words across the lake, they fill the valley. 

I start flicking my hands to make large pieces of cherry pie, massive actually, fall out of the sky and embed themselves in the lake. Tossing them all over, having the time of my life. 

With frantic flicks I lay down squares of cherry filling like modular carpet. Square after square after square. Wayne is laughing. His son stands beside him, sullen. He starts to explain something to his son but you can hear for some reason. You venture closer.

Wayne pulls out a map unfolds is, and does a pinching gesture on the surface of it like it's an iPad. As he does this I can feel myself get sucked up in the air.

In an instant the world disappears and we're floating in the fabric of the universe. Somehow I've replaced Wayne's son as his son. He's explaining is explaining the world to me. He has images of the valley, the world, and the universe in squares on the paper to show off the minuscule nature of our existence. (Yes, exactly like the opening scene of Cosmos.)

He speaks, "You see, we are so small that we can't help not make a difference. So you can do anything you want. The sooner you realize that, buddy, you can do anything."

Then a tremendous clap of thunder woke me up. It felt profound. But maybe this is just an example of my ego feeding itself. Either way, it was a pretty phenomenal dream.

(I should really consider taking an art class some time.)

Weekly Linkly

There was almost too much good stuff on the internet this week. Somehow I found the way to host it all here. Spoiler: it was science.

  • Patatap. A cool musical/visual thingy you can play around with.
  • Crazy, sprawling, excellent Dan Harmon interview. Parts one, two, and three.

Sponsored Tweet trolling:


Mark Dention critiques the D&AD press ad offerings for, er, D&AD.

'The Last Belle' from the director of Triplets of Belleville.

David Foster Wallace: "I think it's significant that we don't want things to be quiet ever anymore."

New Nike golf ad. Poking fun at sports tech luddites.

Lee Clow on Chiat and Day (the men, not the agency, but also how the men made the agency.)

Beautifully animated Talib Kweli music video for  'State of Grace'.

Sand castles etched onto a single grain of sand.

'Bibo' the saddest short film about a robot you may ever see.

Parody as legitimacy.

I'm currently taking a sketch writing class and it has me thinking about parody. Parody and satire have always fascinated me. I can still remember buying my first Dr. Demento CD and listening to it over and over. Thinking how funny it was that people could make funny music. That popular songs could be turned into something that said something about eating/life was a world shattering realization at that time in my life.

This left such an indelible impression on me that when a couple of friends and I were enrolled in an after-school math program we used to ignore the lessons and write parodies of rap and Gorillaz songs. (One of the reasons I'm horrible at math to this day.) I'm fairly sure those notebooks are still somewhere in my parent's house but will never surface due to shame and embarrassment. And whenever I see a trope my first instinct is to make fun of it or see how I could twist it into something strange.

I've always liked parody because it didn't allow anything to be too precious. You can't take yourself seriously when you don't take anything else seriously. At least I cant.

The other thing I love about parody is that it's a form of legitimizing. What I mean by that is that when a trope or an idea is deemed interesting/compelling enough by someone else to do a parody of it that's when an idea really sticks. To steal a phrase from Dave Trott it's an idea that's "made it into the language." Now sometimes it's the negative aspect of something that's being parodied but we don't have to get into that now.

This is all a very long way of saying that I've assembled a smattering of my favorite parodies (ad and otherwise) to keep here as a resource.

And tons other I've either forgotten or can't find on the internet. If I miss any of your favorites let me know in the comments.

Chartreuse and goldenrod and periwinkle.

The other night I was out at a bar talking to someone who is involved in the sketch/comedy/screenwriting scene (not a well known person, just a person). We were talking about the way we come up with ideas for our respective disciplines. Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, the methods are similar even if the projects seem different on the surface. It's all about making it through the surface level shit to the stuff that's really inventive/surprising. The guy I was talking to filled up six legal pads trying to figure out the plot for his latest movie. Or so he told me.

He also told me a tip he'd received from a SNL/UCB writer when they were on a stand up show together. The tip stuck much better than the name of the person who said it. So sorry I can't attribute properly. What he was talking about pertains to how much people at the top of comedy writing push their ideas. This is what my writer friend said he was told by the SNL writer:

"Ask people to name a color. They'll start with the easy ones; black, white, blue, red, green, maybe yellow. Then they'll pause. And the colors will get a little crazier; purple, gold, pink, brown, grey. Then they'll pause again. And the colors will get crazier again this time with things like goldenrod and periwinkle and chartreuse. We're trying to get to the colors after the fifth pause."

As he said this I could feel it being seared into my brain. Could feel myself nodding along in agreement. Even through the slight haze of a couple, couple of drinks* I knew this was good advice. It also says a lot about the benefit of being persistent. 

I think that's an excellent way to think about making any creative work. It's so simple. It's so distilled down into the most basic thought. It's a statement of purpose among statements of purposes. It's also a good reminder that making anything good takes a lot of thought and a lot of leaps.

It's the same principle as coming up with a hundred tag lines or a hundred ideas. Luke Sullivan mentions this in 'Hey Whipple' and numerous other ad luminaries have said it too. John Cleese talks about this in his talk about creativity, too.The best way to find something unique is to keep digging. To fight the urge to step away when you find something halfway decent. 

Pushing until you're on the edge of finding something divorced from the thing you're trying to say but still having it connect just enough. It's about exhausting the obvious. That's the sweet spot.

*Probably the reason I don't remember the name of the person quoted, just the quote.