June 22, 2013

James Gandolfini


Thanks to Peter Franke for this wonderful memory:

We called him Jim when he was our bartender at Espace/Steak Frittes on 16th St in NYC.

He was doing understudy work on Broadway while working nights.

Chiat/Day was right around the corner and the restaurant was our hangout.

He was a super nice guy , nothing like the character he often played, that always remembered you and your drink.

I actually saw him on his last night there when he had sold a screenplay and was moving to Hollywood.

I've been expecting to run into him since he moved back to NY but it never happened.

Too bad, may he rest in peace.

October 10, 2010

The Exorcist


The post-production for this famously frightening film was done at 666 Fifth Ave., the same address as Chiat/Day's first New York office.

August 25, 2010

My motto

I have a Latin motto by which I live my life: "nullae bracae ante meridiem."

It translates loosely as "no pants before noon." In other words, there is nothing that gets accomplished before 12 noon that couldn't just as easily be done AFTER 12 noon.

This factoid erupts because I (in upstate NY) and our former CFO (Pete deVaux), who lives on Vancouver Island, were exchanging emails at (what for him) was about 5 in the morning. When questioned about this bizarre behavior, he replied ...

I've always had weird sleep habits. I get up between 4-5 which is why it was no accident that I was (virtually) the first one in the LA office which, of course, meant that I made the coffee."

I reported to Pete. He always thought I showed up on time in the morning because I had respect for my job and didn't want to get fired. In fact, it was simply the lure of coffee.

April 21, 2010

The Grand Tour

I am leaving Friday, April 23rd, on a VERY long driving trip across the United States. I will be gone for about six weeks. I will do my best to update the site as I travel, but if it comes down to eating an armadillo burger and updating the site, you know what is doing to win.


March 09, 2010



A clever new spoof site has emerged which chronicles fictional ads that somebody should have beaten to death with a club.

I'm not at liberty to disclose who, specifically, is behind the site, but they all worked on Apple while at Chiat.

(Check out the "Beatnik Lisa" ad and follow the link to a fake Wikipedia entry for Lee Clow.)

January 31, 2010

Eggs Benedict via Skype video



One of the many things I miss about living in NYC is that Laurie Coots would get together on occasional Sundays and enjoy Eggs Benedict. Now I live 125 miles north. What to do? Laurie came up with the idea: Skype Video. So we met online today at noon and each made Eggs Benedict in our respective homes and shared the experience via Skype Video.

Tasty! And fun!

December 05, 2008

The Mojave Experiment

This has to rank as one of the most bizarre campaigns ever created. The launch of WIndows Vista was an unmitigated disaster. The new operating system, designed to replace Windows XP, was bloated and annoying. To address this issue, Microsoft has created a commercial for a "fake" new operating system called "Mojave." In the commercial, they hold focus groups to demo the "new" operating system. Everybody loves it. The researchers reveal that the users are actually using Vista!

The focus group users are understandably overjoyed.

It's like the White House running a commercial about a fake President named "Rex Stevenson." Focus groups discover that "Rex" is actually George Bush! And guess what, they love him now!

November 22, 2008

Sign of the times

I find it amusing how many of you use your work address as your jay/day contact email address. It may be a sign of our financial times how many addressees "bounced back" after my last mass mailing.

Unless you feel impenetrable except by Kryptonite in your current position, please provide me with your home email address for use in future mailings.

alburty {at} jayday {dot} org

July 10, 2008

Jill Bolte Taylor


One of the great joys of working at Chiat/Day was the eclecticism of the ideas to which we were all exposed. There was amazing art all around us. I even remember being back at the Biltmore when Jay brought in Gloria Steinem to talk to all of us. (She and Jay had a fight in front of all of us, as I recall.)

In the spirit of that eclecticism of ideas, I present to you this lecture about a brain scientist who had the rare opportunity to observe a stroke: her own.

It's an amazing presentation. Watch here.

May 15, 2008

When It all began ...

There has been a lively discussion among some of the real veterans of C/D about when, precisely, it was founded. (This being its 40th Anniversary.) Here are some thoughts from one of the original employees ...

Steven, a continued thank you for keeping the Chiat/Day spirit and alumni club going. There is probably paperwork somewhere to document it, but the official first day of Chiat/Day was either the end of September or the beginning of October 1968. I actually was one of the original emloyees -- along with Jay and Guy, of course, and Hy and Mel & Mel (that's the point at which Keye and Donna, who were part of Faust/Day, left to open their own shop). There were many others -- I think we numbered around 25 folks, maybe a few more. It was the merger of Faust/Day and Jay Chiat & Associates. It was marked by an ad in what became Adweek (then MAC). Thanks, Mary Beth Neal (now Garber)

May 07, 2008

40th Anniversary Book

A request from Jessica (Schulman) Edelstein who, along with her husband Andrew, is putting together a 40th Anniversary Book about Chiat/Day ...

As for the 40-year anniversary - Haven't heard of anything official planned as of yet by the agency, other than that my husband Andrew and I are still working out details for a 40-year book we hope to have done by October (or x-mas!). Since I've worked for the company in its various forms for 17 years and we have designed and produced a number of books for the agency over the years, we have been given blessings by Lee Clow and the agency to do one for the anniversary, although we must independently figure out how to fund it, which we are still working on. (No word on a party yet, but we think that buying up a bunch of seats at Dodger Stadium would be great!) Does anyone know the actual official anniversary date? I've heard April, I've heard October, can't seem to pin down a real date - maybe Chuck would know. We were aiming for October because that is when my understanding is that the deal was struck between Jay and Guy at the baseball game, but I could be totally wrong.

Since the real product of the agency "went down the elevator every night", we'd like this book to focus more on the people who made the place what it was/is and the real stories "from the inside" rather than a rehash of the work that has already been in so many awards annuals (and would be a rights usage nightmare). So If you want to put a shout out on your site for us, we are looking for approximately one-page stories that anyone is willing to share about their time at Chiat/Day. Only rules: tell us what made working at Chiat/Day different than any other place from your own personal point of view — the good, the bad and the ugly. Give us good stories, but please no naming people to protect the innocent (or guilty!) But you could write, "there was this one copywriter who drove everyone to the brink"...type of thing. Also, we are looking for behind-the-scenes and inside-agency-life type pictures with captions, dates, and people who are in them as best known. (Send stories and images to chiatdayat40[at] [Editor's note: Replace "[at] with the "@" sign. I never put full email addresses in postings in order to prevent spambots from finding them.])

Also, I've been helping to start and have been making art with the first Room 13 student art studio in North America here in Los Angeles. Room 13 is host to a growing international network of art studios: each one facilitates the work of young artists alongside a professional adult artist-in-residence. Our network of studios and artists who are involved with them, is growing all the time. Currently, Room 13 studios are established in Scotland, England, Nepal, India, South Africa and the USA. TBWA\ has taken this great program under its wing and is helping it to expand to even more countries. If anyone is looking for a great way to help young artists (in the Jay tradition) check out

Take care,

May 01, 2008

Virtual Office on steroids


Imagine the work you could get done during your morning commute using this motorized desk. It hits a respectable 87 mph. No word on mileage.

April 28, 2008

Tom Carroll and the Four A's


There is an article in this morning's NY Times about the efforts of the AAAA's to juice up its annual conference. And who better to lead that effort than the most charming man in advertising, Tom Carroll ...

Ms. Sawyer, who described herself as “probably one of the most vocal people at the last conference” about its shortcomings, joined almost a dozen other executives who met for informal, wide-ranging discussions about recasting the meeting to make it more appealing, particularly to younger managers, and increase attendance.

Those efforts were endorsed by the executive who is becoming the chairman of the Four A’s for 2008-10, Tom Carroll.

“The industry has changed dramatically, and it was time for the Four A’s conference to change its format and content fundamentally,” said Mr. Carroll, who is also the president and chief executive at TBWA Worldwide, part of the Omnicom Group.

February 07, 2008

The Future Channel


The Futures Channel is, according to its mission statement, an educational website for scientists, engineers, explorers and visionaries who are shaping the future, and today’s learners who will one day succeed them. My!

Somebody sent me a link from the website which plays a video which recreates the auspicious moment when TBWA Chiat/Day created the "Think Different" campaign. It also includes a brief tour of the binocular building.

You can view it by clicking here.

December 27, 2007

Commencement Addresses on iTunes


iTunes has started a new section called iTunes U, which contains free videos of classes and lectures from some of America's finest colleges and universities.

My favorite sub-section is the commencement addresses, including Steve Jobs' famous 2005 Stanford speech.

I can't provide you with a link because the iTunes store doesn't work that way. Just enter the store, look for iTunes U, then select Stanford, Campus Life, Commencement - Video. Steve Jobs' speech is #4.

Steve Alburty

November 21, 2007

Information Behavior Survey

Hi everybody, it's Eve Luppert. Do me a big favor, won't you, and help my lovely neice, Aileen, with a research project?

Dear Friends and Family,

Call it a blatant effort to take advantage of your love for me, but I’m asking for a favor. Most of you know I’m back in school to study library and information science. My first class includes the study of “information behavior” which asks questions about how we decide we need information, how we get it, how we give it, and when do we avoid it.

For this class, I am in a group assigned the task of studying the information behavior of musicians. As part of our field work, we have created a survey and I’m looking for participants. You would be doing me a tremendous favor if you would pass along this link to any musicians you know, and ask them to fill it out. Of course, for those of you who are musicians, please fill out it out too.

We are looking for both professional and non-professional musicians. There are only 11 questions and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. I assure anyone who takes the survey that we are not asking for any personal or identifying information. Your answers will be used for our educational purposes only. I’m happy to answer any additional questions at either this email address or my school one (

Thank you very much! I hope everyone is happy and healthy!



PS--Here is the link in its entirety should you need to paste it into your browser:, or you can simply click here.

September 04, 2007

Pecha Kucha

Picture 1
As long as we're on the subject of presentations, the newest trend is called pecha-kucha and comes from Japan.

Killer presentation

Let's hope all of your presentations are as exciting as this one by global health expert Hans Rosling. This presentation was given at TED, the creme de la creme of conferences.

December 11, 2006


Brunette Screaming

Adultitis is a common condition occurring in people between the ages of 21–121, marked by chronic dullness, mild depression, moderate to extremely high stress levels, a general fear of change, and, in some extreme cases, the inability to smile.


October 31, 2006

Visual Thesaurus

This is one of my favorite reference sites on the Internet. It's a traditional thesaurus, jazzed up with a very compelling interface.


October 26, 2006

Strategic Vision

Needing to produce a great analysis on some topic for your client? Try this handy-dandy essay generator. Simply type in any phrase ("strategic vision," for example) and just push the button!


October 12, 2006

Telework Manifesto

Why aren't more companies taking to telecommuting?


April 20, 2006

Peeps sculpture


Eve Luppert sent this to me for posting ...

The Seattle Times sponsored its first annual Peep sculpture contest. Entries range from the Last Supper featuring peeps (above) to peeparonie pizza and peeparatzzi. Enjoy the photo gallery you'll find at this link.

FYI, if you are in Seattle they are holding an exhibition. You know, like the Mona Lisa, you can't really "get" great art until you see the real thing.


April 16, 2006

Airport Video


A short film made up entirely of airport graphics ...


(Thanks, Bud, for forwarding this to me.)

March 09, 2006

Christmas Bike

from the Dede Dalton McMahon collection

The red Huffy bike Jay gave all of us one Christmas.

March 08, 2006

Christmas invitation


The cover illustration for an invitation to one of Chiat/Day New York's Christmas parties.

March 07, 2006

Moleskin diary


I am addicted to Moleskine notebooks, as are many others. There are whole blogs out there devoted to their joy. Rumor has it that Hemingway and Van Gogh used them. The journalist Bruce Chatwin would buy them by the case before he set off on his trips.

Here's a woman in Germany who has created a wonderful little slide show of her Moleskine diaries.


March 06, 2006

My buddy, Phil, wins Oscar for Best Actor


Let me take this opportunity to congratulate my dear friend, Philip Seymour Hoffman (or "Phil," as I get to call him), for his Best Actor Oscar win. Yes, Phil and I worked on a play together here in New York two years ago. (Oddly enough, I ran into Phil at a theatre benefit about a year ago and the silly nut pretended like he only sort of remembered me. That Phil! Always the crack up!)

I will direct you to this entry on the website from June, 2003, on how I came to know Phil ....


March 02, 2006

Chiat/Day Buys Regis-McKenna


This is such a hoot! There's a podcast out there called "This Day in Apple History. Listen to the episode for Feb. 21 and travel back to 1981, when Chiat/Day bought Regis-McKenna. Find out how, even in 1981, "Chiat\Day and Apple cuddle more closely than a mother and a six-month-old breastfeeding baby."


(If you don't have an mp3 player installed on your computer, you can read the text version here.)

February 28, 2006

Ave Maria Town


It's the latest thing in housing developments: a mini-theocracy!

It's an idea delivered to us by Domino's Pizza's founder, Tom Monaghan. "You won't be able to buy a Playboy or Hustler magazine in Ave Maria Town. We're going to control the cable television that comes in the area. There is not going to be any pornographic television in Ave Maria Town. If you go to the drug store and you want to buy the pill or the condoms or contraception, you won't be able to get that in Ave Maria Town."


February 22, 2006

New jayday website hosting platform


I have moved the hosting of this blog to LivingDot. Well, I say "I moved," when in fact I merely paid for the hosting service and then immediately became a slobbering child trying to figure out how to make the new site look like the old one. Thanks to Robin in LivingDot's excellent tech support department, you see the site before you, perfectly replicated. (Thanks Robin!)

The reason I moved the site to this new hosting platform was to enable a feature which allows all of you to comment on all entries. In the past, I was forced, because of spammers, to block the posting of comments to all but the most recent entries. Now you should be able to comment on any entry on the site. I did this to foster an even greater sense of community among all of you alums.


February 07, 2006

Floor plan


from the Dede Dalton McMahon collection

Here's some fascinating trivia. It's the floor plan for 79 Fifth Avenue in New York in one of its many incarnations. What amazes me is how close I was permittted to sit near Jay. I could have taken him out at any moment with a well-aimed stapler.

View entire floor plan for all four floors.

January 27, 2006

Joo Chiat


Honestly, the things you run across when you are Googling ...


January 20, 2006

Spinning Hamas


Here's a challenging client: Hamas. Although Hamas is often the sole provider of humanitarian care to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East, they also have this nasty habit of launching suicide bombers against Israeli civilians. Love the carnage, hate the bad press.

So Hamas has now hired a "spin doctor" to help give the organization a softer image. Here's a sample of the new way of positioning the untidy business of blowing people up, offered recently by a Hamas official: "Sometimes we are innocent enough to react in a way that the Israelis use the reaction against us."

Isn't PR wonderful?


December 20, 2005

Christmas in LA


There may not be a lot of updates to the site over the Christmas holiday, as I am on the road. For the next few days, I'm in Los Angeles, visiting old friends and sampling all of my favorite gut-bomb food. Here's Randy's on Manchester Boulevard, my first stop after leaving the airport!

I'll be having lunch on Wed. the 21st with Laurie Coots and her son Christopher at Chaya in Venice Beach at 12:30 p.m. if you'd care to join us!

December 15, 2005

Cute Overload


Hey, it's a slow news day here at jay/day central, so just to keep you entertained, here is what is undeniably the cutest website on the Internet. (Diabetics: make sure you have insulin handy.)


December 03, 2005

The List of Lists


Everybody and their brother is coming out with a list of the year's best whatever. Here is one-stop shopping for all of those lists.


November 10, 2005

TV Interview

Don't ever do a TV interview if you've been out drinking all night.

View (requires Quicktime)

November 01, 2005

National Novel Writing Month

2005 Participant-1

I'm sure there are many "one day" novelists out there in the jay/day community, as in "one day I'm really going to write a novel." Well, that day (or rather, that month) has arrived.

November 1 is the start of National Novel Writing Month. Your goal? To write a 50,000 word novel between now and November 30th. I'm participating, and so is Eve Luppert. Any other jay/day-ers who would like to jump over the cliff with us?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

To find out more, visit NaNoWriMo's website here.

Here is a copy of the Novelist's Pledge. Print it out, date it and sign it. Pin it up on the wall for everyone (especially you) to see.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your novels!


October 02, 2005

Christian mime


Somebody has to stop these people.


September 12, 2005

Creativity Now


As I mentioned a while back, the hip magazine Tokion is sponsoring a conference called "Creativity Now." It's being held Oct. 15th and 16th at Cooper Union.

The conference is an series of panel discussions on an eclectic variety of topics. Some of this year's themes include Independent Music, Iconic Advertising, and The Future of Content. I notice that two Chiat/Day alums are going to be on panel, Steve Bassett and Eric Grunbaum. Film-maker Todd Haynes will be on another. And prize-winning author and essayist Robert Kaplan on yet another.

I went last year and it was really amazing.

You will find a complete listing of speakers, as well as information on how to obtain tickets here.

September 08, 2005

Little Buddy

Olivia Shea, Bob Denver, and Jim Brown. Photos by Jon Farley.

You all think of me as the "computer guy," or before that, the "print production and traffic guy." But before I came to Chiat/Day, I was heavily involved in the THEE-A-TUH! ("Theatre," for those with no flair for pronunciation.)

I directed scores of plays and musicals in my hometown at the nation's third largest community theatre, Spokane Civic Theatre. (In fact, I first met Eve Luppert when I cast her in a small but pivotal role in "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds." Eve, please use the "comment line" below to share with us the opening lines of your big speech from that play.)

I know we are all mourning the passing of Bob "Gilligan" Denver this week at the age of 70. In the summer of 1974, I actually directed him in a production of Neil Simon's "The Star-Spangled Girl" at Civic Theatre. It was just as awful as it sounds, and Bob was pretty much a drunk and a deadbeat. But I am a grateful for the experiences because it's one of those great oddball life experiences you get to drop at a dinner party.


Continue reading "Little Buddy" »

August 18, 2005

Square America


Ok, it's mid-August. Nobody is at work anyway, so I'm just going to be posting some completely stupid fun stuff that may or may not have anything to do with Jay or advertising or alums. Here's our first diversion: a collection of "vernacular photos" of people doing completely ordinary things, like sleeping or chewing gum.


August 13, 2005

Bob's Cube


Here's a fun website. Just poke around with your cursor. (Will probably not work if you're using an older computer or use AOL.)


August 02, 2005

A word about email addresses

Every time I do a mass mailing, I get dozens of "bounce backs" (emails that cannot be delivered because the recipient has left their company.)

Folks, this is advertising. A job's existence is as ethereal as fudge left on a desk. If you receive the jayday mailings at your work address, please consider writing to me (see address below) and giving me your HOME email address. I don't mind sending the mailings to both a work address and a home address. It's really no trouble.

Also, some people complain that they cannot view this site properly. AOL users, especially. It's because your browser software is not very current. This site uses something called "style sheets," which are only supported in browser versions issued within about the last two years. If you haven't updated your browser software in two years, chances are this site is unreadable by you. (It occurs to me that if you can't view the site, you aren't reading this message! Oh well, I tried.)

Steve Alburty
Your jayday host

P.S. The other fun thing I find out when I send out these mailings is who is on vacation and when they're coming back. This is information of admittedly useless value, but I find it somehow comforting to know when you're all out there enjoying yourself. As I used to say to Jay every time he left on a trip, "Bring me a present!"

August 01, 2005

Office Guns


This conference room ain't big enough for the two of us.


July 26, 2005

Date Lance!


This clever billboard is actually a recruiting campaign by a software company's human resources department.


July 13, 2005

McLellan Anagrams

Just for fun, I took White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan's phrase "ongoing investigation" and put it through an anagram-processor. I came up with ...


You can see the others here.

The phrase "no comment" generates ...


.. among others

June 26, 2005

Buy Blue


For the truly committed ...


June 05, 2005

Harvey Wallenburg


Now that the identity of Deep Throat has been revealed, the time has come to shed some light on one of the most enduring legends of Chiat/Day New York: the story of Harvey Wallenburg. In a posting to this website on April 30th, Ed Ronk referred to this as his all-time favorite Chiat/Day story.

Harvey was a chocolate rabbit, given to me in 1982, for Easter, by our office cleaning lady, Alice Lovely. Within days, some scum-sucking employee stole Harvey. I flew into a rage (or so I am told.) And then, a few days, later a ransom note was found in my office mailbox. Over the next few weeks, the story consumed the type of energy normally reserved for a new business pitch. There were more ransom notes (even one including a portion of Harvey's ear), and memos from me to the kidnappers threatening retaliation. At one point, Harvey was even stashed in the hospital room of Jay's uncle, Phil Dunker.

There were many culprits involved in Harvey's theft: Geoffrey Roche, Ken Segall, and his wife, Susan, among others. In 1992, Ken located all of the old memorabilia he still had on the caper and sent them to me in a "10th Anniversary Edition of the Harvey Wallenburg Papers." ("Harvey" became "Harvey Wallenburg" in honor of the Swedish diplomat who vanished during World War II. Oddly enough, his name was actually Raoul Wallenberg, which demonstrates that the kidnappers were not only cruel, they could not spell.)

After Ed Ronk's posting, I located Ken's memorabilia and I have scanned it for presentation here. The rabbit shown above is not Harvey, alas. I'm not sure Harvey was ever actually located. I like to think that the chocolate bunny above is one of his sweet progeny.

Read the pages of Ken's "Papers" in the order shown to see the entire story unfold.

This should keep you busy for days.

Steve Alburty

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May 27, 2005

Happy Memorial Day

Have a great holiday, and be SURE to surf here next week, as we will have some big, big stories. I cannot disclose what they are, but they both involve alums - one real, one fictional. Hmm. Very intriguing. Need another clue? Here are their anagrams:


See you next week!

P.S. I bought the "Antigone Rising" CD at Starbucks. (Featuring C/D alums, Cathy and Kristen Henderson. It's good!)

May 10, 2005

Where do you come from?


This project is so fascinating it just took my breath away. For $99.95, the National Geographic Genographic Project will send you a DNA swab kit. You mail the swab back and they will then analyze your genetic code and trace it back to your ancient ancestry. And I mean ancient.

This is not about finding out where your great-great-grandparents came from, this is about tracing your genetic origins all the way back to the first appearance of our species.

Visit the National Geographic website and then click on the link at the bottom which says "Interested in learning more? Find out how to become part of the Genographic Project and discover your own deep ancestry."

March 24, 2005

Travis Winfrey

I got this email from Laurie Coots back on March 12th and thought I should share it with the jayday community ...

A big thank you to everyone who was involved in my drama last night.

Apparently when I got out of the cab from the office late last night, my wallet fell out into the street.

It was found by this amazing kid named Travis Winfrey who lives in Harlem, is 18, a model and an actor, and is NEVER on the East Side.

He saw that I was from California and found my little important contact numbers card and called Lee. Lee called Tom, who Ive just found out was asleep and dreaming that Kathleen had lost her credit cards. Tom started calling me at all my numbers thinking that my purse and keys had been stolen and I wouldnt have a place to sleep.

Meanwhile I was at the 24 hour gym, completely oblivious to the fact that I could have been so screwed had my wallet fallen into the wrong hands lots of cash, all my credit cards, not to mention my Starbucks card and Eros doggie daycare ID card. In other words, my life.

When I got home from the gym at 11:30, I got caught up on all of the messages and talked to Travis. He met up with me today in the office, where my team and I gave him a standing ovation and I gave him an iPod and a check for his trouble. I thought he was going to cry he was so happy.

I just wanted to share this because it was a life affirming, pay it forward moment.

March 08, 2005

Brainstorming areas


Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools website is one of my favorite sources of suggestions for products and services that are extraordinary. He has been featuring several ideas for brainstorming surfaces, and since you're all people with stormy brains, I thought you might enjoy these product ideas.

Visit Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools.
See the item shown above.

February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day!


An assortment of creepy images for the second spookiest holiday of the year.


January 25, 2005

Muay Thai


Here I am in a Muay Thai kickboxing training session with Emyr Dakin, US Welterweight Champion. Emyr is one of the partners at my incredible gym, Five Points Fitness. The reason my face is so red is that I was totally out of breath. The most ambitous aerobic exercise I've ever done until now has been to raise my arm and shout "Taxi!"

I am telling you here that Five Points Fitness's Muay Thai kick-boxing tournaments are becoming the in thing to do with the downtown NYU/Village Voice crowd. The next match will be Feb. 4th at the Great Hall at Cooper Union.

What does this have to do with the JayDay website? It's my way of encouraging you to come experience something totally out of your comfort zone. I also think that some clever marketer out there is going to want to figure out how to play a major sponsorship role in what is a hip new "underground" event.


Continue reading "Muay Thai" »

December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!


In celebration of Christmas, I thought I would share with you one of my all-time favorite radio broadcasts. This American Life is a Public Radio International program put out by WBEZ in Chicago. This week they replay two classics and you can listen to them over the Internet:


David Sedaris reads Santaland Diaries, his chronicle of employment during two Christmas seasons working as an elf in Macy's department store on New York's Herald Square. This is the piece that made Sedaris a star when it was originally broadcast on NPRs Morning Edition.


The second is by David Rakoff. Although less known to the general public than Sedaris, his humor is just as wicked. His story is about his experience playing Freud (yes, Freud) in the windows of Barney's department store.


The link above requires Real Media Player. If you dont have it, you may download it for free here.

Enjoy! And happy holidays.

Steve, your webmaster

P.S. If you enjoy the program and would like to hear more, its main website is

December 13, 2004

Messy Desk contest


How many times can you remember Jay screaming about a messy desk. Oh, how he would have loathed The Messy Desk Contest.


October 05, 2004

Alburty Goes to Venice


Steve Alburty is taking a well deserved vacation from the jay/day website and has asked me to fill in as web editor (ok, Eve won't do it. You know how balky she can be). From October 11-November 6, please do NOT have a baby, get married, take any pictures, get a new job or any event that will require me to actually have to do any web editing. If you just can't control yourself, please send me an email at and I will post it.


July 28, 2004

Word Count


Word Count ranks the 86,800 most frequently used English words in order of commonality. I, for one, was disheartened, but only slightly surprised, to discover that the word "yeah," which comes in 115, is way ahead of the actual word "word," which lags at number 487.

"God" is at 376, just one rank below the word "began" at 375, which strikes me as rather impudent. I mean, if you began the whole concept of began, you'd think you'd get more mention.

Speaking of which, "egg" (3,622) comes before "chicken" (4162). What a relief to have that one finally sorted out.

The word "like" is like, you know, a champ, coming in at like 67 or something.

The word "Steve" comes in at a paltry 2,316. Obviously, ny name needs to hire a press (749) agent (2327).

Of all 86,800 words tracked, what is the most infrequently used word? See if you can find out.


July 19, 2004

Downloading for Democracy


The Internet is proving to be a powerful force in this year's presidential election. It's not only a superb organizational and fund-raising tool, it's letting ordinary citizens have a powerful, worldwide voice by disseminating (and, in some cases, exposing) information that can affect how millions vote. Case in point:

Thad Anderson, a second-year student at St. John's School of Law in Queens, New York, has launched a website that makes hundreds of government documents available for "sharing," just as Kazaa allows users to swap mp3 files. According to this article in Wired ...

The documents include such items as recent torture memos related to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, a Senate Intelligence Committee report on what the government knew before it invaded Iraq and a document showing how the Bush administration suppressed information about the full cost of its Medicare plan until after Congress passed the plan.


July 13, 2004

The Senate

I've had great fun this morning calling various members of the U.S. Senate. My message? "I'd like to thank you all for setting aside your work on the war on terrorism, the war in Iraq, the CIA failures, the economy, health care, the budget deficit, etc. and focusing on the REALLY important issue facing this country: gay marriage."

HELLO?!?! Can we grow up here and stop throwing political chum into the waters to deflect votors' attention away from the real troubles in this world?

The conservative Family Research Council has identified the following Senators as the high-profile fence sitters. Pick one at random, give them a call, and let them know how you feel.

July 08, 2004

Language Map


Ever have one of those days when you wake up and think, "Gee, I feel like speaking Hindi. I wonder where I could go in the U.S. to find the greatest concentration of Hindi-speakers? The Modern Language Map knows. This website provides a fascinating glimpse into language demographics.


May 13, 2004

Muay Thai


In my continual quest to get outside of my comfort zone, I will be attending a competition of Thai boxing this Friday night at the old St. Patrick's Cathedral, 268 Mulberry Street. The event is being sponsored by my new gym, Five Points Fitness. Why don't you join me? (The last match I attended was crammed to the gills with SOHO and NoLita hipsters.)

Not only will you be able to see a bunch of sweaty men and women kicking each other mercilessly (yes, people outside of advertising do this too), there will be demonstrations of Thai food and Thai culture. Tickets are $25. (Ringside is $50) Call (212)226-4474 for information. Doors open at 7pm, with the first bout at 7:30.

April 01, 2004

The best of mates


Are friends the new family?


March 29, 2004

Money and politics


Ever wonder how much money it really takes to be a politician these days? The Center for Responsive is a non-partisan, nonprofit research group which tracks money in politics and its effect on elections and public policy.


March 16, 2004



Oh Mel, schmel.


March 14, 2004

Quotations from Chairman Jay


"I want to see everything that goes out of here."
"Do I have to see everything that goes out of here?"

March 04, 2004

My pet fat


I thought the idea of making a fetish out of 1 oz. of body fat to be used as a diet motivator was totally disgusting, until I realized that the way I finally quit smoking was putting a pack of cigarettes into a jar and keeping it on my coffee table until it had coagulated into a disgusting blob of tobacco juice.


February 27, 2004

Quotations from Chairman Jay


#3 in a continuing series:

Heard in the halls:

"Chiat's hit the fan."

February 25, 2004

Quotations from Chairman Jay


#2 in a continuing series:

"Don't bring me problems. Bring me solutions."

"Why did you solve that without seeing me first?"

February 22, 2004

Quotations from Chairman Jay


Many, many years ago, an art director at Chiat/Day named Yvonne Smith put together a hard-bound collection of all of the funny, bizarre, inconsistent, passive-aggressive, and brilliant things Jay had said over the years to various employees. She called it "Quotations from Chairman Jay" and I am proud to say that I have an original copy of that little red book.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting the entire collection, page by page. We begin with the editor's note:

To compile the following quotes, people were asked if Jay Chiat had ever said anything strange to them.

The overwhelming response was, "Yes."

And from the forward ...

"You might not actualy meet Jay Chiat for months, even years. But his personality and energy greatly affect the environment in which you work. If you can cope witht the complexities and contradictions of a sensitive/insenstiive/articulate/vague/concentrated/dissipated Scorpio who feels no compulsion to conceal any of his feelings, your chances for survival are greatly enhanced. (By at least fourteen days.)"

- Introduction, Chiat/Day
Employees Handbook, Circa 1977

And now, for the first page ...

"No one is indispensable."

"Sharon, where are my car keys?"

January 22, 2004

Lunar New Year


Today is Lunar New Year, sometimes referred to as "Asian New Year." I'm staying with my amazing Korean American friend Terry Hong and her family in D.C. (Hi Gregor, Schuyler, and Jinwon!) In their honor, I present this link to a fascinating collection of photographs from Asia.

Visit the AsiaGrace online photo collection.

P.S. Terry is standing here saying "Tell them the photo was taken on the Billy Goat Trail along the Potomac in case they want to go there!"

December 30, 2003

Happy New Year

Yes (yawn) the link below leads to an animated greeting card. But this one is actually good!


December 24, 2003

Slow Down, You Eat Too Fast


Now that American cows are going mad, perhaps this would be a provident time to learn more about Slow Food USA, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating the food traditions of North America.

Our century, which began and has developed under the insignia of industrial civilization, first invented the machine and then took it as its life model.

We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes, and forces us to eat Fast Foods.

- from the manifesto of the 1989 Slow Food International Congress


December 14, 2003

Saddam Captured


Saddam Hussein, who ran the Baghdad office for thirty years, but who had fled when asked to resign, has been caputured in his virtual office near Ad-Dawr (Arabic for "Ads Suck.") When seized, Saddam appeared disshelved from having pulled multiple all-nighters as he desperately tried to change his strategy. He was caught with a laptop, on which was found a Powerpoint presentation entitled "BRAND CHANGE: 'bin, Baath, and beyond."

November 28, 2003

Greener cars


The end of the year is when people traditionally buy new cars. Use the Greener Car website to see how your choice helps or hurts the environment.


November 24, 2003

My that Turkey is moist

At my house Thanksgiving happens one to two ways...the first is that during the general hysteria no one turns on the oven and we have dinner around 10:30 PM. I am sorry to say that some of us are drunk by this time, so we don't much mind.

The other is that some smark aleck person turns on the stove when they should (which no one is prepared for) then becomes engrossed in coversation (probably something I am saying..because I am drunk and facinating at this time), and the turkey is only remembered when the smoke gets to the TV room.

Well Jones Soda now offers Turkey and Gravy Soda. Perfect for any holiday meal. And the proceeds go to Toy's for Tots. They've sold out in the stores, get your case today!

Gobble gobble!

November 20, 2003

A plug for Five Points Fitness


An old friend of mine, Kevin McGrath, has opened a new gym called Five Points Fitness. It's on Broadway, between Howard and Grand, just a few blocks south of SOHO and NoLIta.

I went to visit it today and take the traditional gym "walk-through." Just look at the improvement in my physique! That's the old me on the left, holding my favorite objects: a cocktail glass and a cake plate. That's the new me on the right. And that's just after the walk-through! Imagine what I'll look like when Kevin's finished with me.

If you're looking for a new gym and a great personal trainer, contact Kevin ...


(He's one of the funniest people I've ever met.)

Visit the Five Points Fitness website.

September 25, 2003

On vacation


The Jay/Day website will not be updated (at least by me) until Oct. 8th due to the editor's vacation in Washington State.

September 05, 2003

Global Rich List

How does your salary compare to that of everyone else on the entire planet?

Find out here.

September 03, 2003

Shut up!


Since Eve has started a train of thought about Southern colloquilisms (see below), I thought I'd follow a related track. Just how many times has Fox's Chris O'Reilley used the words "shut up?"


September 02, 2003

Well Shut My Mouth

Southerner's really to have a gift for turning a phrase. I am impressed with how long a southern will take to reply to "How are you?" Here are some I've heard with my own ears

"I couldn't be any better if I were twins."

''If I felt any better, it would be against the law"

and my all time favorite:

"I couldn't be any better if I were a peach hangin on a tree in July."

Last week I was watching a southern cooking show, where the hostess exclaimed,

"It tastes so good, it's gonna make your tongue slap your brains out."

August 26, 2003

The Hayflick Limit

Companies often find that the culture they had when they were small is more difficult to maintain as the company grows. I ran across a new term - in, of all places, biology - that may be useful as a metaphor for explaining this phenomenon.

Cells must divide and multiply so that the body can grow and repair itself. A scientist by the name of Leonard Hayflick discovered that there is a limit to how many times they can divide. That number, which is now called the "Hayflick Limit," is around 50.

Is there an "organizational Hayflick limit?" It's just a thought.

August 13, 2003

George Bush Action Figure


No, this is not a joke. It's an actual toy you can buy for your children.


(Somebody resuscitate Eve with some smelling salts.)

July 25, 2003

The Office Museum

Pencil sharpener imposters! A 14-ton Underwood typewriter! The gripping saga of the history of the paper clip! Take a walk down memory lane in the online Office Museum.


June 21, 2003

Happy Birthday, Lexy!

It's not only Jay/Day, it's Lexy Tanner's birthday!

June 16, 2003

Business Dads

Only 364 days until next Father's Day! To that end, we present a book about how businessmen can be better Dads.



After you've spell-checked your presentation deck, you might want to run it through "Bullfighter," a piece of software developed by Deloitte Consulting which scrubs your document jargon-free.

Offenders? Words like`leverage,' `bandwidth,' `touch base,' `incentivize,' `inoculate,' `bleeding edge,' `robust,' `synergize' and `envisioneer.' "

Before you say, "oh, those silly consultants, they're always using buzzwords," read the handout you give clients which tells them what differentiates your agency from your competitors! ("Brand stewardship," anyone?)

Deloitte website
New York Times article (free registration required)

June 12, 2003

Trains to Beacon

If you're thinking of taking the train to the Dia:Beacon on jayday, here's the schedule for Metro North on Sat., June 21st. (The museum is adjacent to the train station and the museum is open from 11 am until 6pm.)

Continue reading "Trains to Beacon" »

June 09, 2003

Voting the President off the island


People under 45 watch almost no politics on television. A new study by Oxford University has concluded that the only way to interest the electorate in democracy is through the model of reality TV.


June 06, 2003

Me and Phil


Since I built this website, I may be permitted the occassional personal plug. If you live in New York and like great theatre, go to the Union Square Theatre to see "Our Lady of 121st St.", starring a truly gifted ensemble directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. And when you look in the Playbill, notice that there is a thank you to one 'Stevan Alburty.'

Continue reading "Me and Phil" »

May 29, 2003

The World's Oldest Company

The CEO of what may be the world's oldest company grants the first interview ever given to the foreign media in 1400 years. When this company talks about surviving tough times, it isn't talking about the NASDAQ bubble, it's talking about the feudal wars.


The Hipster Handbook

This website is s-o-o deck.


Enron and Kyoto

The death of Enron has started generating books on its demise. One of them poses an interesting question: could Enron have survived if Pres. Bush had not withdrawn from the Kyoto treaty?


May 27, 2003

What will Kate buy today?

Kate Bingaman is a second year grad student in design at the University of Nebraska. She is on a mission to track and photograph everything she buys during grad school. Kate's look at her consumption habits begs several interesting questions: Are we what we buy? Are we defined by our choice of brands, movies, books, and foods? Why do we buy what we do? What is the history behind each object purchased?


May 26, 2003

Hey hey, hey ho! Citigroup has got to go!

The "corporate accountability movement" is gaining strength as activists push some of the nation's largest companies to implement social change.


May 19, 2003

I Eat, Therefore I Think

An essay on the philolosphy of food by Roger Scruton, author of A Short History of Modern Philosophy. The change from hard-won to take-away diet (from game to play) has changed the spiritual as well as the social complexion of humanity.


May 18, 2003

Jane's memorial speech

Susan Goodman has provided a copy of the speech Jane Newman gave at Jay's New York memorial:
New York, May 29, 2002

We have come here today to reconnect and pay tribute to Jay Chiat who died on the 23rd April 2002.

When we were at 79 Fifth Jay once wrote in one of his wills that when he died he wanted nothing maudlin or sentimental just a party to celebrate his life. I think he would be very pleased with this.

Although no one person here will know everyone in the room (except possibly Adelaide) we all have at least two things in common. First, we all worked at the New York office of Chiat/Day at some point between 1981 and 1995.

Second, I think everyone here will agree that their life would not be as good as it is, if it hadnt had Jay Chiat in it.

Continue reading "Jane's memorial speech" »

Welcome to the launch!

Welcome to the launch of the jay/day blog!

Today is also the opening of one of the many benefactors of Jay's patronage - Dia:Beacon, the largest museum of contemporary art in the world. Here is a beautiful aerial photo of the museum, which shows its proximity to the Hudson River and the Metro North train station.


May 16, 2003

Disappearing Inc

"If a company can show it has email policies in place that effectively delete all email after, say, 30 days, that will dramatically reduce the amount of data available for discovery and, hence, the discovery cost."

This is a company I've been following for awhile. There is something about a company that makes a profit by deleting e-mails, and thus destroying evidence that I find creepy in these Enron Days.


Continue reading "Disappearing Inc" »

The Company


My favorite book these days is The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea. There are many books out there about various companies (Apple, IBM, Ford, etc.) but no one to my knowledge has pulled back and looked at the history of companies in general. It's a short read (a quality I appreciate more and more as I reach my matron station in life) and was written by two senior editors at the Economist.

May 15, 2003

Shirk work!

Ok, I'll admit it. During the days of the virtual office, I spent many a morning at the gym. But I was THINKING about work, so that counts, doesn't it? Here's an article from the Wall Street Journal on some clever high-tech ways to make people think you're actually in your office.

(Requires subscripton to the online WSJ