Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Advertising Firm

New York, NY – Several former and current employees of ad agency Sterling Cooper have banded together to file a class action lawsuit against their employer.  The suit was filed Thursday by Abrahmson & Spadowski LLC, a law firm specializing in sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims.

“After doing extensive research, we feel that the environment at Sterling Cooper was extremely denigrating to the employees, especially women,” said Jacob Abrahmson, principle partner.  “The repeated incidents of sexual harassment, debauchery and assault lead us to believe that our clients’ rights have been violated in a way that is pervasive and severe.”

Peggy Olson worked at Sterling Cooper from 1962-1965.  She was subjected to brutal harassment on a daily basis.  “The men never even worked.  They just sat in offices drinking Scotch and chain-smoking all day.  Then when the alcohol ran out, they’d all get pretty liberal with the touching.  How the firm ever made any money is a complete mystery to me.”

According to the lawsuit, female employees at Sterling Cooper were subjected to daily humiliation ranging from disparaging comments about their appearance to outright sexual assault.  The complaint says that the women in the office were often locked into administrative assistant roles when actually their work included office management, copyediting and budget planning.  The plaintiffs contend that this systematic discrimination and harassment caused many employees to be severely under-compensated for their work.  It seems like top management was not only aware of the illegal activities, but actually encouraged and fostered the office culture.

Sterling Cooper’s lawyers will be going with the “they were asking for it / what’s the big deal?” defense.  They have contended that the existing office culture was one of fun and frivolity.   “I mean c’mon!” said John Haverton, a booze-soaked attorney representing the ad agency. “Let’s just be honest and say that women have a certain role in the workplace.  They are there to get men their afternoon martinis and, you know, just be a little eye candy.  What this suit alleges is that women actually have the capacity to positively contribute to an organization other than dolling themselves up and typing all day, which we all know is silly.”  Haverton then proceeded to drink a highball and cheat on his wife.

Don Draper, Creative Director and junior partner echoed the sentiments.

“Did some woman allow you in my office? Typical…”

Judges in the year 1960 have already dismissed the case, citing the fact that women are physically unable to read or write so they obviously couldn’t have filed a lawsuit.

Judges in the year 2012 have summarily awarded the plaintiffs 12 million dollars in punitive damages without ever having to hear the actual arguments.

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NCAA Imposes “Special Jurisdiction”; Imposes Death Penalty on Second Law of Thermodynamics

State College, PA – In a stunning power move, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced the NCAA decision to vacate the Second Law of Thermodynamics and all physical principle’s associated with it.

“I feel that for too long the world has allowed the quality of heat transfer to remain poor and chaotic,” said Emmert.  “The NCAA felt that the absolution of this core fact of human existence needed to occur in order for there to be a significant shift in our nation’s culture.”

The Second law of Thermodynamics states that entropy increases in a system over time, meaning that energy becomes random and less useful.

Some have said that the NCAA is over-stepping its jurisdiction.  Asked to comment on the NCAA’s ruling, renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said, “Why would I give an asteroid-sized crap about what they say?”

The announcement has spurred a flurry of criticism and bewilderment from the science community at large.  However, some are taking this new freedom and making the most out of it.  Dr. Andre Kovalev of Columbia University has already submitted a prototype for a perpetual motion generator.

“This machine will require no fuel whatsoever. And it will only be used to crack eggs.”

The NCAA ruling holds the laws of Physics accountable for the failure to provide humankind with malleable guidelines of the world they live in.  “Physics will never again be placed ahead of the interest of the NCAA,” Emmert said.  “I am all-powerful.  I dictate the will of the world.  Salvation is found only through me.  Praise me with sacrifices and flower petals.  Er…I mean, this was the only logical step we could take as an organization.”

What Watching the “Dark Knight Rises” in a Pittsburgh Movie Theater Will Probably Be Like…

The lights dim and a lull falls over the crowd.  The silence is broken only by the sound of clandestine beers being pulled out of cargo shorts and popped open.  The previews are over.  No one is going to want to see a Judge Dredd remake.  No one cares about who Kate Hudson is falling in love with this time around.  They want to see the Batman.  They want to see action.  They want to see Pittsburgh.

Opening Scene.  The camera pans across PPG place.  The black plate-glass architecture spires up from the ground.  A yinzer yells out, “My buddy works on the second floor there.  I been in that building!”

Cut to: the Liberty Bridge.  Cars rush over the steel cantilevers establishing a day shot.  Another yinzer yells out, “Man that’s where my mum almost got into that car accident with the black dude driving the Clark Bar truck.”

Bruce Wayne enters the scene.  Christian Bale plays him perfectly.  He’s barely keeping together his facade of debonair.  Turmoil broils beneath him.  He walks through a crowded street.  The people in the city are busy with their day.  A yinzer yells out, “Holy crap!  I think that’s my brother’s girlfriend right there in the background!  She works ‘dahn at Sammy’s, you know that place by the courthouse where they got them pastrami sandwiches?  We always park there for Pens games.  I’m pretty sure that’s her!  I gotta text my brother.  He’ll flip his wig.”

Heinz Field.  Steelers Wide-Receiver Hines Ward catches a ball and out runs an explosion.  The special effects leave people in the theater breathless.  Except for one dude from Hampton.  “I always hated Hines Ward.  Dude tried to hit on my sister when we were down at Levels on the Southside.  Total jag.”

And the movies goes on, slowly with nostalgia and recognition.

Boardroom of the Cauliflower Council

Dr. Phineas Blakenship stared with a vacant mind out of his office window onto a small park below.  The afternoon sun in Omaha was baking the playground equipment, reflecting aluminums and plastic yellows back onto the building of the Cauliflower Council.  His eyes transfixed on the dirt.  The same dirt from which sprung his life’s obsession.  Normally a very focused individual, Dr. Blankenship now seemed at a loss, awash in a cloud of worry on this bright day.“Well?” said a voice.  “Are you finally all out of ideas?”

“It would finally appear that way, Margret,” he replied, snapping out of his hypnosis.  “I feel as though for the past thirty years I’ve done my damndest to keep Cauliflower relevant.  But it’s been like ice skating up-hill.  And now,” he trailed off.

“We’ve been through these patches before,” replied Margret, head of Sales.  “It’s not like we haven’t overcome the same obstacles we’re facing now.”

The numbers for Cauliflower were bad, down twenty-nine percent compared to last year.  No one in that building in Omaha knew what to make of it.  Product development said it wasn’t their fault.  Marketing said it wasn’t their fault.  Even the Sales team seemed to avoid culpability.

“It’s different now,” Dr. Blankenship turned and faced the rest of the meeting participants.  “I feel like we don’t have one fresh idea.  No one has made an innovation in Cauliflower for at least a decade.  We need something to spark us back to life.”  He thought for a moment.  “If I have to hear from those bastards over at the Broccoli Trust what a banner year their having, I’m going to lose control.”

The Broccoli Trust was the much more successful branch of Brassicaceae, INC, a global conglomerate representing cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale, amongst others.

“Jim, give us an update on marketing.  The yearly reports should have just come out.  How’s the competitive landscape out there?”, asked the Doctor.

Jim was a disheveled ex-farmer who came up from the fields of Nebraska.  He was promoted to his position mainly because of his passion and knowledge of cauliflower, but he was rigidly tied to the classic traditions of the vegetable.  If you suggested anything besides steaming the cauliflower to prepare it, Jim would do his best to hide that he was deeply offended.

“Let’s see,” he said as he pulled out a large binder.  “Asparagus has been maintaining its dominance.  Beets seem to be making a small comeback.  They’re up twelve percent to last year.  And as everyone knows, avocado is just on fire right now.”

“What are they doing that we can replicate or draw from Jim?”, asked Marget, folding a new shet over on her legal pad.

“They’re putting it on everything,” he replied coldly.  “Those avocado tramps somehow got in good with the bacon people and then BOOM!  They’re making a big splash.  It’s a damn abomination if you ask me, putting it on sandwiches.  Sandwiches!  Even the big three are starting to get scared.”

“Potato, Celery and Carrot aren’t scared of anyone,” Dr. Blankenship interjected.

“Dr. Blankenship, as much as I disagree with it, you just can’t put carrots on a sandwich.  That has them scared.”  There was a murmur of approval from the team.

Marget perked up.  “I say we go right after the bastards.  We mount a smear campaign on avocado.  What’s with that skin?  It looks like a Dragon’s pimple.  And that big seed in the middle?  Hello?  Choking hazard.  Cauliflower doesn’t have that.”

“An avocado is colorful though,” said Rick, the free-spirited, creative-type in product development.  “Those deep shades of green.  They just scream attitude.  Like, whatever man.  I’ll be you’re guacamole, but you’re going to have to mash me first.”

Everyone looked confused.  “We can’t focus on attacking just one other vegetable,” Dr. Blankenship argued.  “That will just leave a bad taste in the consumer’s’ mouth.”

“You mean like Rutabaga?” Jim quipped.  They all laughed.  Stupid Rutabaga.

“Rick, we tried different colors of Cauliflower,” Margret said softly.  “Green, Purple, Orange and none of them have moved the needle at all.  Let’s face it, we’re just a white vegetable when it comes down to it.”

Jim jumped in, “I blame it on Obama.”  The group groaned as a whole.

“We need the young and hip crowd,” said Dr. Blankenship.  “We need to show our product in a light that will capture that 18-26 year old male with disposable income.  We need hipsters and nerds.  Can we get a musical group to endorse them?  What about the Black Eyed Peas?”

“We looked into that,” reported Janice from advertising.  “They’re too expensive and they’re already on a retainer with the Pea people.  Pretty obvious really.”

Dr. Blankenship turned back to the blinding light of the window.  “We need to show Cauliflower in a new light.”  Some sprinklers had started to spray the office park grass.  The blinding sun cut through the mist, fracturing the white light and sending colors flying into all directions.  Beet Red to Broccoli Green to Eggplant Violet.  Fractured dimensions reassembled back into white light.  White Cauliflower light.

“You know what the kids are into these days?” Dr. Blankenship asked rhetorically, a glint of hope in his eyes.

“Pokemones?”

“No.”

“Is Bieber fever still something that people say?”

“Yes, but no.”

“Well, what?” Margret snapped.

“Drugs,” Rick answered.

“Exactly, Rick.  Drugs.  Youth loves drugs.  Rick, what’s the trippiest thing about Cauliflower?”

“It’s like ghost broccoli?”

“No.  Think about the shape.  Cauliflower grows in fractal patterns.  It’s geometry is detailed and complex and natural.”

“So what?”

“So if the avocado people can partner up with the bacon folks, why can’t we get in with the marijuana people and get pot heads hooked?  Think about it.  Pot heads get the munchies all the time.  If we can convince them that Cauliflower is not only a healthy alternative to Bar-B-Q Fritos (rich in dietary fiber, folate and Vitamin C) but also that the patterns in the florets can reveal some type of deep inner truth about the Universe.  I’d say we’re sitting on a white gold mine.”

The team, aware of the moral and legal implications was still excited.

“I’ll call some contacts in Mexico, see if we can get a meeting,” said Margret.

“I’ll work on some data to see how we can cross-market the products in a grassroots campaign,” said Jim.

“I’m going to go do some more research on marijuana,” said Rick, the most excited of the bunch.  He stood up from the table, felt his jacket pocket for a lighter, and left.

Dr. Blankeship smirked.  He returned to the window and squinted his eyes.

Cauliflower: It’s like, whoa man. Whoa.

They Used Me…

There’s a portion of Deadspin.com that is dedicated to covering professional wrestling.  It’s a bold move and I appreciate bold moves.  They say, “Go to Hell credibility,” by publishing fan submitted stories of awkward, funny, disappointing interactions that fans have with their favorite pro wrestlers.  I recently submitted one and the editor decided to use it.

You can read it here.  It shouldn’t be that hard to guess which one is mine.