Wednesday, June 30, 2010


A continuing theme presented in Mad Men is how people deal with the various roles society and happenstance have cast them in. Dick Whitman didn't like his lot in life. So, when the opportunity presented itself, he shed that identity and put on the Don Draper persona. While other characters haven't reacted so drastically, they are often equally conflicted by their assigned roles. This idea is often manifested by what they wear.

For instance, Season 2’s "Maidenform," involved a storyline where the Sterling-Cooper creative team established two distinct types of bra customers which they categorized as : "Jackie Kennedy" (black bra) and "Marilyn Monroe" (white bra).

This motif is even more apparent in Season 3 and demonstrated by the repeated use of uniforms and costumes throughout many of the episodes as I've outlined below.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One For the Road

Here's my last rant on the recent death of Robert "the conscience of the Senate" Byrd and all the fawning over the ex-Klansman which ensued.

Andrew Sullivan's comments caught my eye:

Speak no ill of the dead? Well, let me simply say that the racist, populist, larcenous bigot of a Senator - a man who robbed the American tax-payer to pave his state with baubles and bribes - is not going to be much mourned in these parts.
And John Howting's piece in Human Events sums up my frustration quite succinctly:

Good Riddance, Robert Byrd

Filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act for over 14 hours straight. To this day, the American left vilifies Sen. Barry Goldwater for voting against this legislation but where is criticism of Byrd? Goldwater had a strong pro-civil rights record coming out of the 1950s that included voting for civil rights legislation and working with the Arizona NAACP to desegregate Arizona’s public schools. Goldwater voted against the 1964 Act only because he believed that Title II was not within Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce and was also an abridgement of the 10th Amendment.

Robert Byrd did not have the same civil rights record, far from it he was a Klansman. And, Byrd was never able to make a legitimate argument that he rejected the 1964 Act on constitutional grounds alone because while he filibustered the bill he quoted The Mind of Primitive Man by Frank Boaz. He cited Boaz’s study which concluded that the white man’s brain weighed more than the black man’s brain and therefore the white man is smarter. He also insisted that the writers of the Declaration of Independence did not intend for their words to be taken literally because they must have understood that all men are not created equal ...that the darker man is clearly inferior.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

A Real Crock!

Well, it looks like 1 out of 3 for the 244th New Yorker "Cartoon Caption Contest."

I think my timely entry deserved to be in the finals:

"I hate to admit it, but this iCroc is all marketing hype."
Here are the actual winners:
  • "I feel a vibration. Can you call my cell phone again?" - Actually, that's pretty good.

  • "These executive desk toys are becoming a nuisance." - Are they picking winners out of hat now?

  • "Cancel my lunch date and get me a six-foot baguette." - Oh, I get it, he's going to eat the crocodile ...ha ha ha (sarcastic laugh)

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Tale of Two Dixiecrats

I hate to kick a guy when he's down, but Robert Byrd has always been a hot button of mine. As usual, notice how this one sentence is buried in the last paragraph: "A former member of the Ku Klux Klan, Byrd later became a champion of civil rights."

For the life of me, I'll never get how Byrd, a former Klan RECRUITER, got a free pass all his life for those activities, while Strom Thurmond who, for all his faults (and he had many), was NEVER in the Klan and actually fought against their violent activities. Yet, HE, not Byrd, is the one progressives still like to hold up as their poster boy for racism.

Rant over.


Sen. Byrd, 92, hospitalized; condition called 'seriously ill'

Longest serving U.S. lawmaker was first elected in 1952

Sen. Robert Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress, is "seriously ill" and has been hospitalized, a spokesman for the West Virginia lawmaker said Sunday.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Other Kind of Defibrillation

An 86-year-old bedridden grandma took an "aggressive posture?" Seriously?

From Courthouse News Service:
Police Said to Taze Grandmother

Police Tasered an 86-year-old disabled grandma in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she couldn't breathe, after her grandson called 911 seeking medical assistance, the woman and her grandson claim in Oklahoma City Federal Court. Though the grandson said, "Don't Taze my granny!" an El Reno police officer told another cop to "Taser her!" and wrote in his police report that he did so because the old woman "took a more aggressive posture in her bed," according to the complaint.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Optimizing Web Searches: Needle Meet Haystack

The Holy Grail of web marketers is to somehow find a way to get their site “ranked high” in search engines results. And by “high,” people usually mean being listed in the top three dozen results for a particular search (hopefully, within the top ten). Since the GREAT majority of users don’t look past the third page in any given search, anything short of that is a waste of time.

Ensuring that a site gets the desired search result requires an understanding of what those search engines are looking for. Site administrators used to try to “trick” search engine algorithms with tactics such as repeating words at the code level to get ranked higher. Nowadays, most search sites are smart enough to realize when these types of games are being played and may actually rank the offending sites lower or NOT AT ALL.

The real trick is figuring out what key words the average member of a web site’s target audience would typically enter when running a search and somehow incorporating terms those into the content of the web site itself. That’s easier said than done.

Search Engine People, an Internet marketing company that offers search engine optimization (SEO) services, uses a number of strategies to help their clients get ranked higher. For instance, they run predictive queries to determine the level of search traffic and then go after terms that have sufficient search volume. Along with that, they evaluate the conversion potential for the level of search traffic that is generated. High quality traffic is MORE important than simple quantity.

The other aspect of getting a site ranked higher is the type of content on that site. Quality content is one of the fundamental KEYS to attracting links from other sites which in turn secures superior search engine rankings. This is the only strategy condoned by Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

Also, with the advent of Universal Search, many types of content now exist, and provide opportunities to rank. Some opportunities are: text content, images/picture, videos, user ratings and reviews, user generated content, and press releases/news.

If done properly, good content will increase search engine rankings as well as establish a web site as an authoritative source of information on a given topic.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Vuvuzela is Verboten

My sentiments exactly.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Edith Shain RIP


Nurse in V-J Day kiss photo dies

A nurse famously photographed being kissed by an American sailor in New York's Times Square in 1945 to celebrate the end of World War Two has died at the age of 91, her family said on Tuesday.

The V-J Day picture of the white-clad Edith Shain by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured an epic moment in U.S. history and became an iconic image marking the end of the war after being published in Life magazine.

The identity of the nurse in the photograph was not known until the late 1970s when Shain wrote to the photographer saying that she was the woman in the picture taken on August 14 at a time when she had been working at Doctor's Hospital in New York City.

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Monday, June 21, 2010


I wish I hadn't neglected to submit my entry in The New Yorker's "Cartoon Contest" #243. I know I wouldn't have won, but I could have complained with more zeal.

My idea was:
"It's for you."
I was sure someone else got that in before me and made it to the top three. Instead, the "winners" were:
  • "That was the wakeup call from Hell." - huh?

  • "Terrormarketer." - groaaaaaaaan

  • "I think the collection agency is getting serious." - really?

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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Color Green

Revisiting my comments about past Mad Men episodes is often a cringe worthy exercise. Like chapters in a book, each episode is part of a collective whole. It’s easy to over emphasize many individual plot trees that ultimately turn out to be of minor significance in the forest of Season 3. That said, one motif I continuously harped on was the juxtaposition of the colors blue and green. I saw many examples as having a deliberate symbolic importance rather being simple arbitrary production design decisions. Specifically, blue seemed to represent traditional social mores and institutions in existence at the start of the sixties which, like the fall of Rome Gene reads about, give way in Season 3 and force the character to face change in their lives. This is often depicted by the use of green tones.

I received a range of feedback on this from some who thought that I “may have a point” to others who found me being “overwrought” in my analysis.

Now that I’ve had a time to fully digest and reflect on Season 3, I am more certain than ever in the merits of this read. So, forgive me if I take the time to yet again lay out my case for this interpretation. In doing so, I have selectively pulled relevent content from my recaps of the last thirteen episodes.

I realize that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and not EVERY use of either color applies equally. But, I’m still convinced that a definite pattern can be discerned.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Definition of Irony

If and when the current administration's Department of Justice prosecutes BP for the Gulf oil spill, expect the current administration's Department of the Interior to be called in as a defense witness. BP was a finalist for the 2010 "SAFETY Award for Excellence" which recognizes "outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance by the offshore oil and gas industry."

The announcement of the winner was postponed to an as of yet undetermined date.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Like Selling Ice to Eskimos

Here's a new definition for genius: selling running shows to consumers in the ever-growing baref00t jogging market.

Vibram Five Fingers is the most interesting/unusual looking in this new category of athletic gear.

The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.

That’s why we recommend wearing FiveFingers for exercise, play, and for fun. Stimulating the muscles in your feet and lower legs will not only make you stronger and healthier, it improves your balance, agility and proprioception.

Solar flashlight anyone?
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Monday, June 07, 2010

Original Teen Angst

Janis Ian's "At Seventeen" came up in conversation while celebrating my own daughter's 17th birthday. I had forgotten how impressive a song it is as nine stanzas are worked into a complicated melody.

And has there ever been written a more profound lyric than this?
We all play the game, and when we dare
We cheat ourselves at solitaire
Light years ahead of today's Taylor Swifts and Lady GaGas.

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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Some Things Never Change

A very observant Peter Sciretta posts in about the "Wilhem Scream" of props.

Look close and you may notice the same newspaper showing up over and over again in a number of television shows and films. Sciretta postulates that "it was created as a royalty free prop for television shows. Somewhere along the line, the prop became a reoccurring gag between propmasters."

Shots of Ed O'Neill holding the prop in "Married With Children" and then years later in "Modern Family" make a nice set of bookends for the piece.

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Friday, June 04, 2010


From CNet News:

Falcon 9 rockets into space in dramatic maiden flight

Powered by 10 engines and the vision of an Internet entrepreneur, an untried Falcon 9 rocket blasted off Friday and successfully boosted a dummy payload into orbit on a maiden voyage intended to help pave the way for commercial missions to the International Space Station.

In a major milestone for the commercial launch industry, the two-stage Falcon 9's nine first-stage Merlin engines, fueled by liquid oxygen and RP-1 kerosene rocket fuel, roared to life at 2:45 p.m. EDT.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

King of the World

Mock James Cameron's display of smug, self-importance if you will. When we're attacked by killer robots from the future, you won't be laughing!

From Reuters:

Director James Cameron says BP turned down help offer

Film director and deep-sea explorer James Cameron said on Wednesday that BP Plc turned down his offer to help combat the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Over the last few weeks I've watched, as we all have, with growing horror and heartache, watching what's happening in the Gulf and thinking those morons don't know what they're doing," Cameron said at the All Things Digital technology conference.

Cameron, the director of "Avatar" and "Titanic," has worked extensively with robot submarines and is considered an expert in undersea filming. He did not say explicitly who he meant when he referred to "those morons."

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Power of Christ Compels Her

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confusingly expounds on the importance of the "word" in her life.

Pelosi never REALLY explains what she means by "word." Could THIS be it?

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