Sunday, March 25, 2007

Howard Finkelstein Coke Commercial

Are you one of those small-minded individuals complaining about the anti-Semitic "Howard Finkelstein" Coke commercial that gets played ad nauseum on American Idol? Shame on you. You clearly don't appreciate the marketing genius that is Coke.

If you haven't seen the commercial, here's a synopsis:

A man and a woman are having dinner in an elegant restaurant. He puts a surprise gift on the table in front of her. She looks down, excited, only to discover it's a Coke cap.

"I should have married Howard Finkelstein," she says, disgusted.

Then the commercial cuts away to a shot of an ugly, dorky, frizzy-haired guy wearing braces and 70s-style glasses, grinning like he stupidly thinks he's hot stuff. For the slow, the name "Howard" flashes on the screen.

The not-so-subtle subtext here is that if the woman knew her husband was going to be so cheap, she may as well have married the Jew-boy. The sub-subtext is that Jew-boys are ugly, frizzy-haired geeks.

But the commercial has a happy ending, as the bottlecap magically morphs into airplane tickets to an exotic locale. The woman then throws her arms around her husband in inappropriate sexual abandon, happy that she didn't marry Howard Finkelstein, who they cut away to again for comic affect. He's so clueless he's still grinning. Hahaha. Those Jews. They really don't get it. What a kneeslapper.

Only the brilliant minds behind today's edgiest young ad agencies could have produced something this stunning in its visual impact, entertainment value and subtle poke at cheapass Jews. Here's the scene I imagine as the crack creative team at Young, Younger and Dimwad conceptualized these 30 seconds of historic genius ...

Dramatis Personae: BRAD YOUNG, agency founder, age 25; MADISON YOUNGER, VP/Account Executive, age 22; TY DIMWAD, copywriter, age 15.

BRAD: Coke wants us to come up with something funny and edgy for their new bottlecap promotion.

MADISON: And it has to like, rock? They're like our biggest account?

TY: I've been tinkering with some ideas to get across how big the prizes are and how little you have to invest.

BRAD: Brilliant!

MADISON: You're like a genius?

TY: I didn't tell you my idea yet.

BRAD: We're listening.

TY: (He closes the Nintendo DS he's been playing, then gets up and starts to pace. BRAD and MADISON follow him with their eyes.) So I think we want to say that with this giveaway, even a tightwad can win a great vacation.

BRAD (steeples his fingers) Go on.

TY: So there's woman, we'll call her Shirley Finkelstein, and she's having a birthday party. Her husband comes in with a present and as she opens it she says, "It better not be something cheap like last year, Moishe." Of course, she's all pissed off when she sees it's a Coke bottlecap, but then she looks inside and ... it's two plane tickets to Hawaii!

MADISON: I love it! It's like way cool!

BRAD: Me, too, but ... I don't know. The whole Jew thing could be touchy.

MADISON: I hadn't thought of that?

TY: Okay, what if it's not Shirley and Moishe, but some other woman who almost married Moishe?

BRAD: What religion is this woman?

TY: (Looks at the ceiling for inspiration) She's no religion, all religions, she's ... everywoman.

BRAD: (Leans in) I like. Talk more.

TY: So her husband--who's clearly not a Jew--gives her a Coke cap. Are you with me? I mean, it's not anti-Semitic if the cheap guy's not a Jew, right?

(BRAD and MADISON nod. TY continues ...)

So she's so disappointed when she sees the bottlecap she says, "I should have married Moishe!"

MADISON: (Jumping from her chair) Rad!

BRAD: Love it! But I don't know if the name Moishe will play in Middle America.

TY: (Waves his concern away) No prob, boss. We can change it to whatever you want, like Donald. Donald Finkelstein.

BRAD: (Sucks air and looks worried) Coke's chairman of the board is named Donald.

TY: It's doesn't have to be Moishe or Donald. It can be any name. Pick one.

BRAD: (Excited) How about Howard? I had a Jewish roommate once named Howard.

MADISON: Howard! Howard! Oh, that's just so cool? Maybe we can get Howard Stern to play the Jew!

BRAD: (Looks at TY) What do you think?

TY: We could try. If not, we could always get a lookalike.

BRAD: (Stands and pats TY on the back.) Excellent. You did it again, Ty. I love you, man.

TY: (Goes back to playing his Nintendo DS) Love you, too, boss.


Don't you feel all warm inside now, filled with hope for America's future? Let's all join hands and sing ...

I'd like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love,
Grow apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves.
I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,
I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company

UPDATE: Thanks to vp's blog, you can now view the commercial online.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Local press

Thanks to Sue Henderson for coming with me (on one of the iciest days of the year) and snapping the picture!

Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New interview today

Writer Kelly Spitzer posted an interview with me today on her Writer Profile Project blog. You can read it here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Visit BRAVA!

Today on BRAVA! my featured guest is mom/sculptor Helene K. Sherman. Check it out:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

By Melanie Lynne Hauser

Today I have the pleasure of blogging about one of my favorite GCC authors, Melanie Lynne Hauser. Melanie has a brand new book out called SUPER MOM SAVES THE WORLD, which is a follow up to her previous novel, CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM. The first book, which I had the pleasure of reading, is so kickass that a movie studio came along and gobbled up the rights. Alas, that means I can't do one of my GCC Does Hollywood blog entries for her, as it could land Melanie in hot water that her all her superpowers couldn't save her from. So instead I'll give you some highlights and my own 5-star recommendation to buy and read this book.

According to the press release, here's what it's about:

It's six months after the Horrible Swiffer Accident that left her a superhero, and Birdie Lee is still adjusting. For starters, she's hearing voices and having lustful thoughts about Mr. Clean. Then there's the fact that her daughter is suddenly sporting a bright pink streak in her hair, courtesy of her new friend Vienna (and if recent history has taught us anything, we all know that a girl named after a foreign city is going to be trouble). Birdie's son is experiencing his first case of puppy love, her nerdy scientist love interest has just proposed marriage, and her annoying ex-husband is suddenly less annoying. Which can only mean he's up to no good.

But things get even more sinister when her hometown of Astro Park gets Little League fever in a big way. Rabid parents, performance-enhancing Gatorade and a domed stadium on shaky - potentially explosive - ground are just the beginning of Super Mom's problems; throw in a ticked off school janitor and a corrupt mayor, and Super Mom has her hands full. Can one superhero — one mother — struggle to keep her teenagers in tow with one hand while saving her hometown from disaster with the other — while trying to find time for herself as she plans her marriage to her very own Super Man? Only if she’s Super Mom!

And if you don't trust me when I tell you that Melanie is a funny and powerful writer, read what other folks have to say:

Smart, zany, and touching... (Karen Quinn, author of The Ivy Chronicles) Never has there been a more appealingly down-to-earth heroine or a superhero with more enviable powers. (Pamela Redmond Satran, author of Suburbanistas) Hauser's quirky characters sparkle brightly as a newly Swiffered floor, and her writing shines like freshly polished glass. (Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Queen of Babble)

“(Super Mom Saves the World) provides a welcome break from the proliferation of urban mommy books. For those who rely on Fresh Direct and nannies to run a household, this will read like a foreign text. The women in Hauser's world clean their own toilets, volunteer for the PTA and bake a mean tuna casserole.” Kirkus Reviews

“Hauser's sequel to Confessions of Super Mom (2005) is an amusing and sharp critique of the thankless job mothers perform as they juggle home and work. Every mom will want to be Super Mom.” Booklist

SUPER MOM SAVES THE WORLD is available at your favorite bookstore, as well as from,, BookSense and other online booksellers. To learn more, visit Melanie's website at

And now here's a bonus. Click below to hear the super adorable Melanie read an excerpt from her first book ...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Call for submissions

Writer friends, here's a heads up. My pal Jordan Rosenfeld is looking for 300-word essays from writers on the topic of Revision (I'd enter myself, but I'm too busy ... er ... revising). For more information, head on over to Jordan's blog.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Book & Author Tea: The Recap

What a great day I had! As far as I'm concerned, the first ever Book & Author Tea, sponsored by the Long Island Women's Agenda and Long Island Woman Magazine, was a smashing success.

The program was the brainchild of Debbi Honorof, former board member of LIWA and currently the book review editor/reporter for Long Island Woman Magazine. I met Debbi when she interviewed me for the publication. She's a terrific lady and we became fast friends. Shortly after that she told me about this idea she had for doing an event for Long Island women authors. The next thing I knew, the event was organized, complete with corporate sponsors (Stony Brook, Astoria Federal Savings, and NEFCU), a venue, an impressive roster of authors I was honored to be among, and a kickass publicity campaign. Is that not amazing? I'm just in awe of Debbi and so proud to be her friend.

There were about 120 attendees at today's event, which is extraordinary considering the fact that the cost was $55 a seat. (In my experience, it's hard to get people to show up for a free reading, let alone one with a pricetag!) Erica Garay of LIWA welcomed the crowd and introduced Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, who made the opening remarks. (In case you don't know, she's a local hero here on Long Island. In 1993, after a crazed gunman on the Long Island Rail Road shot and killed her husband and injured her son, she was thrust into the limelight and later into activism in gun control, which led to a political career. As a personal aside, my sister was on that train, in another car. But that's a story for another day.)

Debbi Honorof then moderated a panel discussion among fiction authors Cynthia Baxter (REIGNING CATS AND DOGS MYSTERY SERIES), Carol Hoenig (WITHOUT GRACE), Victoria Lustbader (HIDDEN), Alyson Richman (THE LAST VAN GOGH) and yours truly (SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA). We each got to read a small snippet from our books, answer questions from the moderator and then took questions from a very literate and engaging audience.

That was followed by Erika Duncan, founder of Herstory, explaining her bold and fascinating women's writing program.

After that we signed books and chatted with the attendees, before Debbi interviewed the inspiring Brooke Ellison about her memoir (MIRACLES HAPPEN). Brooke read a passage that was so powerful and poignant it seemed like everyone in the room was moved to tears.

Following Brooke's reading, Debbi interviewed Delthia Ricks, author of BREAST CANCER BASICS AND BEYOND, about writing nonfiction.

I hope the folks attending the event had as much fun as I did. I met wonderful people--from sponsors to authors to attendees--and am so grateful to have been included. If the event is repeated next year, I urge everyone in the area to attend. It was unforgettable.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Announcing a brand new promotion! I'm calling it the "I Want A Freaking Character Named After Me!" Drawing.

It's your opportunity to curse like an angry housewife and have a chance to be immortalized in print ... all with one simple email.

Anyone who's read Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA will have an easy time entering. Here's how it works ...*

1) Send an email to me at win (at) ellenmeister (dot) com

2) In the subject line, type in Maddie's favorite multi-syllable curse (you know the one--it's three words all strung together)

3) In the body of the email, type in your name as you'd like it to appear in my next book

That's it! After May 31, 2007, all entries with the correct curse phrase will be entered into a drawing. One lucky winner will get a character named for them in my next novel.

Good luck ... and happy cursing!

* One entry per person, and you must be 18 or over.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Book & Author Tea ... THIS SUNDAY!

If you're in or near Melville, Long Island this Sunday, I hope you'll join us for the first ever Book & Author Tea, an exciting fundraiser for the Long Island Women's Agenda (LIWA). I'm thrilled that I was asked to sit on a panel with these esteemed Long Island women authors, and I hope you can come!

Here are the details:

Sunday, March 11, 2007
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Melville Marriott Hotel
$45 LIWA Members – $55 Non-Members

Opening remarks: Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy
Featured authors include:
CYNTHIA BAXTER, “Reigning Cats & Dogs” Mysteries
BROOKE ELLISON, The Brooke Ellison Story
CAROL HOENIG, Without Grace
ELLEN MEISTER, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA
DELTHIA RICKS, Breast Cancer Basics & Beyond
Plus...a presentation by ERIKA DUNCAN, Founder of HERSTORY WRITERS WORKSHOP
Moderated by DEBBI HONOROF, “Book Corner” Columnist, Long Island Woman

For more information or to register, click here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Good morning, sunshine!

Actual breakfast table dialogue with Precious Girl, age 9:

"What do you want for breakfast, Precious Girl?"

"Nothing. I'm too tired."

"Can I get you some Cheerios?"

"No. I'm not hungry."



"How about a waffle?"

"I'm not hungry. I'm too tired."

"I'll make you a slice of toast with butter and salt."


"What do you want, then?"

"Nothing. I'm not hungry."

"The bus is coming soon."

"I don't care. I'm not hungry."

"I'll let you have Trix yogurt."

"I don't want anything."

"Are you sure?"



"Better get your coat on. I hear the bus."


"I said the bus is coming. You have to go to school now."

"Without breakfast?"