Monday, November 30, 2009


I'm not sure that it's worth $9.95 a month, but I wish I'd thought of it.

From USA Today:

Grandma has no computer? Still send her e-mail

A mailbox containing real mail with real family pictures is about as rare these days as a day without e-mail. But for those who don't use e-mail -- like many of our non-wired grandparents -- there's now a service that sends family news and digital pictures from your e-mail account to someone's snail mailbox for $9.95 a month.

...Sunnygram collects all of the e-mails addressed to her and mails out a weekly, cheery compilation of our messages (large font is an option) with embedded pictures.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

The Secret Service claims that the gatecrashers to last Tuesday's White House dinner weren't a threat to the president. Whew. For a second there, I thought the lax security was a problem.

From AP News:

Secret Service: Crashers posed no danger to Obama

The Secret Service maintains that President Barack Obama was never in danger at a state dinner after an uninvited Virginia couple got through security, but it wouldn't comment on whether anyone is screened for radiological or biological weapons.

...Michaele and Tareq Salahi went through the same security screening for weapons as the 300-plus people invited to the dinner Tuesday for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another Manic Thursday

Great list. Would these be retro-anachronisms? BTW, there's no mention of "Black Friday" either.

From Den of Geek:

Today... according to Freejack

Back in 1992, Freejack predicted what would happen on 23rd November 2009. Did it get it right?

Freejack is a 1992 sci-fi/action film that's based in the future. A future that we've arrived at today. This happens so rarely that we thought it fitting to put a microscope to the predictions that Freejack foresaw for November 23, 2009.

...contrary to all the scientific, medical and technological achievements, another look at the neon date sign shows what our 2009ers surely didn't fail to notice: that no one from the production team bothered to look up what day November 23rd 2009 actually falls on.

You'd think calendars and math were nonexistent in our Nineties.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

The 12 Scams of Christmas

To highlight the increased crime during the holidays, security company McAfee has come up with the "12 Scams of Christmas" ranging from bogus electronic greeting cards that deliver malware instead of cheer to fake charities that steal your money and your identity which are posted Larry Magid's CNET blog.

The 12 Scams of Christmas
(sung to the tune "The 12 Days of Christmas")

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

Twelve malware hackers

Eleven e-mail bank scams

Ten passwords stolen

Nine auction site frauds

Eight fake "at home jobs"

Seven holiday lyric sites

Six unsecured wireless shopping sessions

Five fake Cartiers

Four holiday e-cards

Three email friend requests

Two bogus invoices

And a charitable phishing scam...

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Grey Area (Mad Men 3.13)

After the trauma of the previous week's JFK assassination, Mad Men’s finale took a much lighter approach. Consistent with its title, Shut the Door. Have a Seat offered fans a comfortable chair (or Wentworth) to cool down in after the wild ride of Season Three. That’s not to say important things didn’t happen. They did. And there’s still a lot to be resolved (Sal’s future, most notably). But a lot of loose character threads were tied up. In some cases, I felt these threads were a little too neatly mended as much about Don, Bert and Roger getting “the band” back together seemed a tad contrived.

While all season, Duck Phillips has been trying to coax Pete and Peggy (and perhaps others) to jump ship and join him at his Grey, the ad agency he now works for, it is Don, Bert, Roger and Pryce who actually accomplish this feat. So, it seems worth mentioning that at various points in Shut the Door. Have a Seat, many of the key cast members are uncharacteristically wearing grey outfits. Betty, Peggy and Joan most notably (Betty is "jumping ship" from her marriage while Joan and Peggy join in the new ad agency venture).

Connie tells Don that ad agency McCann Erickson is buying Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe -- and Sterling Cooper along with it. He's terminating his arrangement with Don. "My future is tied up in this mess because of you," Don complains, referring to the three-year contract Hilton's lawyers insisted he sign. It's just business, Connie replies.

The first shot of the episode shows Don waking up. He’ll be facing many surprises this episode: Betty’s affair, the sale of PPL, Peggy’s bitterness toward him, the fact that he really likes the advertising business. Echoing the title, Hilton invites Don to “have a seat.” That invitation will be uttered a number of times throughout the episode.

Connie releases the hold he’s had on Don in the last half of the third season. It’s notable that there will be a later reference to Bobby losing Don’s cuff links. Since these cuff links were a gift from Hilton and, at the time, symbolized Don’s servitude toward Connie, Bobby losing them would seem to show that Don is free. This also shows a parallel between Don and the father figure of Hilton and Don and his own son Bobby.

Conrad further tells Don that he’d be a “prize pig” for the new owners at McCann Erickson. Don's dislike for pork products having been established, his dislike for the new company is well ingrained. Don furthers the metaphor by describing the McCann Erickson shop as a “sausage factory.”

Entering Sterling Cooper, Don flashes back to his youth: Archie Whitman defies the other members of an agricultural cooperative after the price of wheat collapses.

For Don, the situation at Sterling Cooper directly relates watching his father’s struggles with the farm “co-op” from years earlier. As a child, Don seems to have linked the death of Archie Whitman (kicked by a horse) with his decision to give in and sell his at the deflated market rate rather than store it in a silo until the price came up. This would seem to inform Dick/Don’s subsequent efforts to, like Archie's proposed “silo,” avoid “relationships.” However, by episode’s end, Don, a smile on his face, seems to have overcome this as he surveys the new team working together.

Don informs Cooper about the sale and proposes that they buy Sterling Cooper themselves. Cooper resists at first, but then sketches out a potential scenario: Roger would have to be included because Lucky Strike is the agency's biggest account.

Continuing the motif, Bert complains to Don about being woken up for an “emergency” meeting at Sterling Cooper. When Bert expresses reluctance about buying the company back, a frustrated Don tells him to go “back to sleep.” There’s a glass of milk on Bert’s coffee table that’s echoed later when Carla gives the Draper children milk before being putting them to bed. There's clearly a link between Don's efforts to sell Bert on the idea of a new agency and Archie Whitman's attempts to bypass the agricultural co-op.

Don and Cooper reveal their plan to Roger, and Don apologizes to Roger for belittling his contributions to Sterling Cooper. Don learned from his Hilton experience that he isn't an account man, he says. Don's problem, Roger explains, is that he doesn't value relationships.

Before Bert and Don enter Roger’s office, he is on the phone (presumably with Jane) discussing the JFK assassination. There’s a subtle hint about conspiracy theories to come when Roger comments that some high government official (possibly J. Edgar Hoover) is upset that the assassination “happened on his watch.” When Bert and Don do bring up the McCann buyout, Roger echoes Hilton’s pork reference from earlier. He compares Don to “golden pork chop” under new corporate ownership.

The next day, Lane tells Roger, Don and Cooper that McCann is buying Sterling Cooper, but not PPL. Cooper names a buy-back price, but Lane says that McCann offered more.

A lawyer describes for Betty and Henry the difficulty she would have obtaining a New York divorce. "That's why people go to Reno," he says. A Nevada divorce would require Don's consent, but little else. Henry asks Betty not to request a financial settlement. "I don't want you owing him anything," he says.

There’s an interesting bit of dialog linking the action at Sterling Cooper with that at the lawyer’s office visited by Betty and Henry. Just after Roger, Don and Bert discuss why they no longer want to be compelled to join McCann Erickson, the lawyer in the next scene is pointedly discussing “grounds for divorce.” Betty, who wants to leave Don, is wearing a grey suit. In an earlier scene with Don, while informing him of her desire to leave, she is wearing a grey turtleneck. This is not unlike the turtlenecks Duck was wearing when trying to woo Pete and Peggy. The scene at the lawyer's office also echoes the clandestine meetings Duck arranged for Pete and Peggy. For Betty, the idea of getting a “Reno divorce” must seem “tawdry.”

Don has another flashback: Archie, drunk, tells Abigail that he will sell his wheat himself. He heads to the stable. A young Dick Whitman watches as Archie's horse kicks him in the face and kills him.

The Whitman money is kept in a green jar while Don is pointedly shown eating out of a blue container. This is consistent with Season Three's use of green to symbolize a yearning for change (as with Miss Farrell’s maypole dance) while blue represents the status quo. In this case, IF the Whitman’s had more reserve money, Archie wouldn’t have been forced to sell his wheat. In effect, the pragmatic need to put food on the table (blue) outweighed Archie’s desire for something more (green). Furthermore, Abigail is wearing BOTH green and blue. This corresponds to the two paths which have been presented to the characters in Season 3.

"It could be done," Lane says of the scheme to start a new agency, but they'd need Lucky Strike, plus additional accounts for cash flow. A telegram sent that day (Friday) wouldn't be read in London until Monday, giving them the weekend to secure accounts, assemble a skeleton staff and spirit away the necessary materials. "Well, gentlemen," Lane says with a smile. "I suppose you're fired."

Though it’s hard to make any predictions at this point, it would seem significant that the date of Friday the thirteenth is associated with the start of this new venture.

Don tells Peggy about the new agency and outlines what she must accomplish by Sunday evening. "You just assume I'll do whatever you say," Peggy responds. “I’m not gonna beg you,” Don says. "Beg me? You didn't even ask me," she says, declining the proposition.

As mentioned earlier, Peggy forces Don to “wake up” regarding his treatment of others in the office. This informs Don’s later decision to be part of team. Peggy’s remark about not wanting to let Don “kick” her around would seem related to Archie’s accident shown earlier.

Roger and Don visit Pete at home and offer him a role at the new agency. Roger admits that they need his accounts, but says that they also need his talent. "I want to hear it from him," says Pete, looking at Don. "You've been ahead on a lot of things," Don says. "Aeronautics, teenagers, the Negro market. We need you to keep us looking forward." A deal is struck: Pete will be made a partner if he delivers $8 million in accounts by Sunday.

Pete scrambles to find his pajamas when Don and Roger pay a surprise visit to his apartment. Ostensibly, it’s to support his claim of being sick. But, the hurried manner in which Pete throws on his robe is consistent with someone gathering themselves after being thrust awake.

Over drinks, Don tells Roger about the divorce. "So it's true," Roger says. "Henry Francis." Stunned, Don presses Roger for details. ‚ "I thought you knew," Roger says. "I’m sorry I told you, believe me."

Don wakes Betty that night and asks who Henry Francis is. "You never forgave me," Don says. "Forgave what?" she replies. "That I've never been enough?" She won't get a nickel, Don threatens, and he'll take the kids. "I'm going to Reno, and you're going to consent," she says. "You're a whore, you know that?" Don replies, grabbing her nightgown roughly.

An offhand comment by Roger forces Don to “wake up” to what’s really been going on with Betty for the last few months. And when Don does confront Betty about Henry Francis, he gets her out of bed. Also, at one point during the argument, Baby Gene wakes up crying as well.

Meanwhile, Don and Betty tell their children that Don will be moving out of the house. Sally takes the news hard. "Nobody wants to do this," Don tells a tearful Bobby.

Don is wearing an outfit (sweater over a white collared shirt) as was Lee Harvey Oswald when gunned down by Jack Ruby. Don seems to take most of the blame in delivering a damaging blow to his family. They certainly downplay the fact that the divorce is Betty's idea. Don is also being significantly hurt in the process. For this exchange, Betty is wearing a blue sweater (her usual color). In this case, she is putting up a front of normality for the sake of the children.

At Roger's behest, Joan arrives at the office, having already hired movers. She indicates what needs transporting and where to locate it. Don arrives with Peggy, and asks Joan to find him an apartment.

As mentioned earlier, Joan is wearing a grey sweater in this scene. This is an unusual color for her would seem to be linked with Grey, Duck's agency. Again, by poaching employees and clients, they are, in effect, doing what Duck had been attempting to do all season long.

"How long do you think it will take us to be in a place like this again?" Roger asks Don as they depart Sterling Cooper. "I never saw myself working in a place like this," Don replies.

At one point as the group rob the office, a box labeled "Velvetta" is shown being carried away. This could be a sly reference to the book "Who Moved My Cheese" which discusses how business people need to embrace change and be prepared to move to where the job is. The McCann deal certainly moved their cheese and they are taking it back.

"We've been robbed!" shouts Don's secretary, Allison, on Monday morning. Saint John calls and fires Lane. "Very good. Happy Christmas." Lane replies.

Following Allison’s discovery, there’s a quick bit of dialog where she expresses disappointment over the fact that Don didn’t leave a note. One usually associates “notes” with suicides not robberies. So, in a way, Allison’s remark may be linked to Mad Men’s imagery of a man falling down the side of a building. Making the act, in this case, deliberate.

The phone rings in a suite at the Pierre hotel. "Good morning, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce," answers Joan.

As mentioned earlier, the shot of the principle employees for Sterling Cooper Draper Price interacting in their new "office" is similar to the one of the co-op members in the Whitman kitchen. However, Don now reacts positively rather than negatively to this sight. Also, the hotel office HQ is quite similar to how Duck has been doing business for Grey all season.

Later, Betty sits on a plane with baby Gene on her lap and Henry Francis beside her. Sally and Bobby watch television with Carla. Don exits a cab in front of a Greenwich Village apartment building. Suitcases in hand, he enters the building.

After the heavy scene with Don and the children and what must certainly seem to her as the “tawdry” manner in which she’s dissolving her marriage, Betty sits on a plane to Reno contemplating the larger journey ahead with a less than enthusiastic expression on her face . Conversely, Henry Francis, in the seat next to her, seems fast asleep. It’s been pointed out that Francis is really awake and looking down at something. However, that his posture could be taken as sleep bookends with the first shot of Don sleeping at the episode’s beginning.

Suitcases are commonly used in Mad Men to symbolize a character's life. So, it's significant that the last shot of Don shows him carrying a suitcase as he embarks on a new chapter in his own life.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Miss Charity Umar

Does anyone reply to these emails?????

How are you hope fine,
I Want to introduce
my self to you before
i go further,
My Name is charity Umar
from southern part of sudan.
Please i want you to write
me back Because
i will like to have
an a good relationship
with you,so that
we will know each other
very well. so will
you write me back in my
email address
i have an important
discussion that
i will like to discuss
with you urgently,
so I am look forward
to hear from you soon!
Thanks and God bless,
Miss charity Umar.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Rude Awakenings

Just posted this to Basket of Kisses. Full recap hopefully up later.

After the trauma of the JFK assassination last week, Mad Men’s finale takes a much lighter approach. Consistent with its title, Shut the Door. Have a Seat offered viewers a comfortable chair (or Wentworth) to cool down in after the wild ride of Season Three. That’s not to say important things didn’t happen. They did. And there’s still a lot to be resolved (Sal’s future, most notably). But more loose character threads were tied up than left dangling. In some cases, I felt these threads were a little too neatly mended as Don, Bert and Roger get “the band” back together. But, perhaps more on that another time.

A common element running throughout Shut the Door. Have a Seat was the idea of losing one’s blinders of blissful ignorance to the shocking light of reality. This is done by literally depicting many of the characters being jolted out of a deep sleep.

...Read More at Basket of Kisses.
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Good Morning Pirate Radio

Because nothing says "anti-Establishment" like a six-figure ad campaign. Is it me or does it seem like these movies were separated at birth?

Pirate Radio:

Good Morning Vietnam:

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Friday, November 06, 2009

So Shall It Be Written, So Shall It Be Wrong

The results for The New Yorker "Cartoon Caption Contest (213)" demonstrate why I don't enter much anymore.

My submission was just as good as the "winners" (if I do say so myself):

"THIS time make sure to get the film rights and TV residuals."
Two of the finalists seem to miss the point that it's MOSES doing the writing:
  • "It needs a feisty female detective." - sucks

  • "They ignored your first ten. What makes you think you'll do any better with these?" - okay, I suppose

  • "Dear ... diary ... She's ... finally ... asleep.... Oops." - me too, zzzzz

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

No More "Politricks"

I'd vote for Ms. Russell in a second! BTW, I loved her in "His Girl Friday" and "Picnic."

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Black and White (Mad Men 3.12)

The question of how Mad Men would depict the Kennedy assassination (if at all) this season was finally answered in the The Grown-ups. Echoing their own confusion, the characters watch the breaking news while suffering the poor reception of their black and white 1960’s era television sets. In Mad Men’s universe, the JFK assassination seems to be the point at which the old and new social paradigms established in the last eleven episodes finally and violently collide throwing characters into a state of flux that forces them (Betty and Pete in particular) to make major life decisions.

Appropriately, there are a number “tantrums” presented in The Grown-ups. Roger’s daughter Margaret, whose about to be married, has a few of them. One could argue that these tantrums are part of the “growing pains” the characters endure after the JFK assassination. Because, in a very real sense, that event did force a dramatically different, more mature perspective upon a blissfully complacent American society.

The Color Blue and The Gypsy and the Hobo depicted Betty as torn between choosing to remain in her established life of domestication (represented by blue) or moving into a new one without Don (represented by green). At the end of The Grown-ups, prompted by the events in Dallas, she seems to have opted for the latter. The last shot of Betty shows her shedding her blue scarf after telling Don that she no longer loves him. Likewise, Pete Campbell, who has shed his tie for a turtleneck, will finally decide to follow a path that radically deviates from the one he had been on.

Lane informs Pete that Ken has been appointed Senior Vice President in charge of Account Services. Although Pete makes his clients feel their needs are being met, "Mr. Cosgrove," Lane explains, "has the rare gift of making them feel as if they haven't any needs."

There seems to be a concerted effort in The Grown-ups to link Pete Campbell with that of Lee Harvey Oswald. Pete’s reaction to the coverage of Jack Ruby killing Oswald’s is quite interesting. By remarking to Trudy such things as “Why even have a trial?” or “Just throw him over to the mob,” Pete seems to empathize with Oswald.

When Pete is first shown, he’s sleeping on his office couch. Because the heat isn’t working, Pete (whose eyes are closed) is cold and clutches at the front of his overcoat. This initially creates the impression of a child. However, his posture also mimics Oswald’s from the famous still photo of the shooting. More significantly, his rifle (Meditations in an Emergency) is prominently placed in the background during the exchange with his secretary. Pete angrily points out to her that the hot cocoa she’s brought him is made with water rather than milk. This sort of distinction is echoed later when an anchorman from a real period news clip repeats Oswald’s vehement claims that a Marxist is totally different than a Communist.

Just before Pete has his fateful meeting with Pryce, there’s a shot of a man entering the office wearing a red plaid hunting cap. This man carries packages into the office. On the day of the assassination, Oswald entered the Texas School Book Depository carrying a package that he told co-workers contained “curtain rods.” The man with the red hat can clearly be seen behind Pete as he makes his way to Pryce’s office. Pete makes a passing, almost angry glance at Ken who, arguably has more of the "Kennedy charisma" which sets up the Pete as Oswald parallel.

Margaret, agitated by Jane's attempts to befriend her, calls Roger and demands that Jane not attend the wedding. Mona convinces Margaret it’s just pre-wedding jitters, and gets her daughter to accept Jane's presence.

This is one of the aforementioned “tantrums” Margaret displays in the episode. She is upset that the new earrings Roger’s wife Jane bought for the wedding are also blue (as in the wedding tradition of “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”). Having Margaret say, in effect, that something blue cannot be “new” is consistent with the color's use as a motif throughout all of Season 3.

Mona plays the role of “grown-up” by angrily telling Margaret “go to your room!”

Margaret also alludes to an Indian custom where women whose marriage plans fall through are set on fire. In The Arrangements, Peggy’s ad for a roommate elicits a crank call from a coworker posing as a prospect whose been disfigured in a fire. Later in the same episode, Sally watches a television news story about the Vietnamese monk who famously immolated himself in protest. So, it’s worth noting that that because Margaret’s marriage ceremony is subdued by it’s proximity to the JFK assassination, one could argue that, in a sense, she isn’t truly married and thus “burned” symbolically. This may also apply to Don, who has marriage problems of his own, and complains at one point how hot it's gotten in the Sterling Cooper offices.

Also note that Margaret is wearing a blue dress for this scene. She feels trapped by having to go to the wedding and only commits reluctantly after Roger’s threats. This is consistent with the idea of blue representing confining institutions, not new ones (the institution of marriage being the ultimate confining institution in Mad Men).

"You're screwing things up," Roger tells Jane, who insists that she is just trying to be nice to Margaret. Angry that Roger won't take her side, Jane locks herself in the bathroom.

Interestingly, Roger seems to have some sort of feline fetish. Jane is wearing an outfit with a leopard-skin collar as was Annabelle Mathis (an old flame of Roger’s) from The Gypsy and the Hobo. Roger will later refers to his ex-wife Mona as a “lioness.”

Trudy arrives home at midday to find Pete, who says that he got fired and is going to call Duck. "Wait, and see how it goes," Trudy counsels.

Just as with the first scene, Pete seems childlike. The manner in which Trudy takes his bowl away seems more like a mother and son than husband and wife.

Pete visits Harry. "There's no future for me here," Pete says.

Pete and Harry are so focused on their individual situations that they’re blinded to the assassination reports occurring right under their noses. It’s as if they suddenly have to confront the wave of change that has always been out there, but never really recognized.

Don, meanwhile, argues with Lane for rejecting a potential replacement for Sal because he is too expensive.

As noted earlier, Don complains about it being too hot. With his marriage in trouble, he may be symbolically feeling the heat of a male version of the Indian custom Margaret mentioned earlier.

Pete and Harry's conversation is interrupted when their coworkers burst in to watch news of the assassination attempt.

Again, much is made in The Grown-ups about the poor reception received in the black and white televisions watched by the characters. This is certainly the case in Harry’s office. Not only is the reception grainy, the verticle hold causes the picture to jump. This serves to underscore the confusion the characters are feeling by the events in Dallas.

Betty sits at home watching television. "They just said he died," she tells Carla. The two cry.

Sally acts like the "grown up" here and consoles Betty. The JFK assassination is an emotional event that serves as a catalyst for Betty's decision regarding her marriage.

Margaret's reaction, "It's ruined" (another tantrum), refers to how the assassination has destroyed her wedding plans. However, in a way, it also applies to loss of the of innocence percipitated in American society by the event.

"Did you give me a hickey?" Peggy asks Duck. "I don't think so," he replies before switching on the television. The two learn that Kennedy is dead.

When Peggy enters the room, she comments on the smoke. This may correspond to the complaints about it being too hot at Sterling Cooper or, like the Indian custom, foreshadow problems for the Peggy/Duck relationship. Peggy is wearing a green blouse. A picture hanging over the bed is of a green field of grass. This reinforces the idea of change being forced upon the characters.

Don arrives home and hugs Betty. He asks why Sally and Bobby are watching the coverage. "Am I supposed to keep it from them?" she says. "Take a pill and lie down," Don says. Everyone will be sad for a while, he tells the kids, but it will all be OK.

On the radio in the background can be heard part of a speech by Governor Rockefeller. This is a subtle reminder about Betty’s love interest Henry Francis who works for Rockefeller.

Pete and Trudy debate whether to attend the ceremony. "It's business," Trudy reasons, but Pete convinces her staying home would be best.

Trudy still wants Pete’s job to work out even though by Pete’s own admission to Harry it’s clear that he has no future with Sterling Cooper. Nonetheless, Trudy is still convinced that Pete should maintain his ties there. She is wearing a dark blue dress. This is consistent with Mad Men’s use of blue to symbolize individuals trying to fit into a traditional construct. Visible just over her shoulder is a green vase (Mad Men's color for change). The Grown-ups forces Trudy to confront that construct.

With many no-shows at Margaret's wedding reception, Roger encourages the guests to sit wherever they please. Henry Francis arrives late. Betty watches from across the room as he receives pecks on both cheeks from a young woman who addresses him as "Daddy."

In The Color Blue, Roger Sterling quotes his ex-wife Mona comparing Don and Betty to the figures on top of a traditional wedding cake. It’s perfectly consistent with Roger and Mona’s dry, cynical, and often spot-on sense of humor. But the observation also pointedly highlights the false premise upon which Don and Betty’s marriage has been built. From that standpoint, the lack of a wedding cake at Margaret’s reception in The Grown-ups is notable. In the context of the episode, this event is depicted as part of the turmoil resulting from the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. However, that there is no cake for this wedding would seem consistent with how the last few episodes have significantly eroded the foundation of the Draper marriage. Because of Don’s lies coming to the surface and the strong emotions evoked in Betty over JFK’s death, the balustrade of their relationship no longer exists and they aren’t the same “couple” anymore.

Roger searches for Jane and finds her in the reception hall's kitchen watching the news. He wants her present for his toast, but she refuses to join him.

Although Pete and Trudy decide to skip the wedding, many of the other Sterling Cooper staff members attend. From the reception hall’s kitchen, they watch a news report of Oswald being led into the Dallas police station. If one accepts that Pete is a stand-in for Oswald, he certainly couldn’t be in both places at once. Oswald has clearly been smacked around by the police. This is not unlike Pete’s perception of his treatment at the hands of Sterling Cooper management. Among the chatter of wedding guests at their tables can distinctly be heard the comment “He wanted attention, he didn’t fit in.” This ostensibly refers to Oswald but could just as easily apply to Pete.

Betty whose playing at being Don's wife wears a light blue outfit. On her way out, she regards Don and Henry who happen to end up standing next to each other. Betty is clearly being given a choice between the two men. Don has a confident smirk on his face that indicates how clueless he is about Betty's internal struggle regarding her marriage.

Back at their apartment, Roger deposits a drunk Jane in bed and calls Joan. "I had to talk to you," he says. They discuss the assassination. "You're really upset," she says. "What's that about?" he asks. "Because there's nothing funny about this," she replies.

Joan, reminisces about "old" times with Roger on a blue phone.

At home the next morning, Betty screams when Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, is shot on live television. Don tries to put his arm around her.
"Leave me alone," she says, pushing it away. "What happened?" asks Sally. "Nothing," says Don.

Don is in the kitchen making a drink (an old fashioned?) when Oswald is shot. Now it is Don and Oswald seem linked in that Don is wearing the same sweater and shirt combination that Oswald wore when killed. Betty's later revelation that she doesn't love him anymore will certainly come as a surprise blow to Don.

Later, Betty wakes a napping Don. She’s going for a drive "to clear my head," she says.

Henry and Betty meet in a parking lot. He enters her car. "Where does your husband think you are?" he asks. "I don't care," she replies. "You don't have to answer me now, but I want to marry you," Henry tells her. The two kiss.

Betty is driving her father's black Lincoln. The same type of car that Kennedy was killed in. It seems significant that Henry pulls up in a white vehicle. One could argue that the shot of the black and white cars side-by-side parallels the characters watching the history unfold on black and white TV sets. White is also the color of the car in the Aqua Net ad featuring passengers in a convertible similar to the Kennedy death car. Thus, both cars have a connnection to the assassination.

"Why even have a trial?" asks Pete as he and Trudy view a slow-motion replay of the Oswald shooting. "Just throw him over to the mob." Sterling Cooper's management doesn't care about Pete, Trudy says. His clients will follow him if he leaves the agency.

We last see Pete and Trudy in their apartment. Pete is wearing a turtle neck very similar to the one Duck wore during their brief lunch meeting from The Fog. This suggests that a bitter Pete has decided to join Duck. Also, after a news commentator has declared “Oswald dead,” Trudy suggests that Pete should gather his clients and take them to the new agency. Pete’s potential salvo against Sterling Cooper portends further disruptions in the Mad Men universe.

"I want to scream at you for ruining all this," Betty tells Don when she returns home. She's upset about the assassination, he responds. "I don't love you," she says. "I kissed you yesterday. I didn't feel a thing." She'll feel better tomorrow, Don says. "You can't even hear me right now," she says. "You're right," he replies, walking away.

Don, still wearing the same style of clothes as Oswald is further associated with the Kennedy assassination by Betty's remark blaming him for "ruining all this." Certainly, Oswald's actions contributed greatly to ruining America's innocence and forced it to "grow up." Note that Betty also uses the same word "ruin" that Margaret used to describe her wedding day plans.

As pointed out earlier, Betty very deliberately discards her blue scarf after her confrontation with Don as if to shed herself of a role she no longer desires to play.

The office is mostly dark when Don arrives. Only he and Peggy have come in. Peggy asks if Don wants to watch President Kennedy's funeral with her. He declines. Don walks into his office and pours a drink.

Don regards the photo of the white convertible in the Aqua Net ad. In the context of the scene, he and Peggy hope that the image of a moving convertible doesn't strike too familiar a cord with consumers when it airs. This is the same color as the car driven by Henry Francis. Thus, symbolically, Don is again being cast as Oswald while he regards the vehicle as did the shooter in the Texas School Book Depository. Pete is pitted against Ken and Don (though he doesn't know it yet) is being pitted against Henry Francis.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Patsy

Posted this to Basket of Kisses yesterday. Hopefully, I'll have my complete re-cap up today.

The question of how Mad Men would depict the Kennedy assassination (if at all) was finally answered in the The Grown-ups. While I was only two in 1963, from what my parents have related to me over the years, the episode really captured the feel of those few dramatic days in November.

The scene where Don and Betty watch Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on live television struck a particular cord with me. When my father saw it happen, he called out “They shot him!” to my mother who was in the kitchen (the reverse of Don and Betty). According to my mother, the exact quote was ”They shot the son-of-a-bitch” (but that’s a minor point).

Pete Campbell’s reaction to the event is quite interesting. By remarking to Trudy such things as “Why even have a trial?” or “Just throw him over to the mob,” Pete seems to empathize with Oswald. In fact, I detected a deliberate effort in The Grown-ups to link Pete Campbell’s story with that of Lee Harvey Oswald.

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