Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Free At Last (Mad Men 406)

I had previously posted that the Glo-Coat television ad shown in "Public Relations," Mad Men's season opener, represented Don's perception of his life. The boy, a proxy for Don, was "imprisoned" by his domestically inclined mother (Betty).

This idea is continued at the Clios banquet depicted in "Waldorf Stories." Don comes up to the podium to accept an award for the ad. He then victoriously trots past a screen running the Glo-Coat spot for the audience. At that moment, we see the mother in the ad "releasing" the boy from his kitchen table prison. The timing as Don runs across the shot just as the housewife pulls back the chair seems intentional. The resulting visual effect is of Don being set free just like the boy.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Photo Finish

The best part of this article are the comments it's generating. People are discussing whether or not "the explosive ring" emanating from the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope matches "the position of the equitorial (sp) trench."

From Neatorama:
Astronomer: Star Wars Explosion More Realistic Than Star Trek Explosion

On the left, you can see the destruction of Praxis, the moon of the Klingon homeworld. It blows up in the beginning of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. On the right, you can see the end Death Star from the 1997 re-release Star Wars: A New Hope. One astronomer, Phil Plait, argues that the rings appearing in both explosions show a poor understanding of physics, but the one appearing in Star Wars is somewhat more plausible.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Incendiary (Mad Men 405)

One quick bit of business in "The Chrysanthemum and The Sword" has Sally and Bobby watching television as Don dresses for his date with Bethany. On the air, a news anchor covering the murder of Unitarian minister and civil rights advocate James Reeb reports the following (emphasis added):

The body of the 38 year old Unitarian minister was cremated within an hour of his death last night.
The shot then cuts to the kids and Sally's quick, yet discernable, reaction to the news. This is noteworthy in that it harkens back to a moment from Season 3's "The Arrangements" where Sally, distraught by the death her grandfather and again watching the news, sees a televised report about a Vietnamese monk immolating himself in protest. Clearly, Sally's feelings of abandonment by Don (the new bachelor) are similiar to those she felt after the death of Gene.

The use of fire as a motif is not uncommon for Mad Men.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Demand a Recount

Apparently a rolling stone can gather moss as evidenced by Rolling Stone Magazine's questionable decision to put "A Day in the Life" at the very top of their 100 "Greatest" Beatles songs list.

Rolling Stone’s Top 10 are:
  1. “A Day in the Life”
  2. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
  3. “Strawberry Fields Forever”
  4. “Yesterday”
  5. “In My Life”
  6. “Something”
  7. “Hey Jude”
  8. “Let it Be”
  9. “Come Together”
  10. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

IMHO, the fact that "Help" and "Hard Day's Night" didn't make the top 10 invalidates the entire list for me.

From ABC News:

A lot of pleasure and some questions, [but] the No. 1 surprised people the most,” said John Dioso, deputy managing editor for Rolling Stone and editor of the Beatles’ edition, when asked what the feedback has been on the issue so far. “People are entitled to their opinion, which is the fun part about doing these lists. But at the end of the day, it’s a very subjective list.”

Dioso said it took as many as four weeks for staff members to compile their lists of the greatest songs, which were then considered for the final issue. After weeding out certain requests, the group ranked the remaining songs based on criteria such as musical innovation and historical importance.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Puzzles (Mad Men 405)

The opening shot of "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" shows Miss Blankenship doing a New York Times crossword puzzle (in pen, no less). I painstakingly listed the words in the squares she had filled in thinking they may somehow relate to the storyline.
  • leaks
  • bores
  • plans
  • cars
  • dogs
  • glee
  • burt
  • utah (I think)
  • tired

Given time, I suppose I could somehow tie most of them to the narrative. For instance, Don comes up with a "plan" to stage "leaks" which, to their "glee," results in SCDP winning a promise from Honda to promote their "cars."

However, I think the crossword puzzle is better viewed as a symbolic template upon which much of the action takes place. Like doing a puzzle, the characters in "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" find themselves forced to use incomplete (and often confusing) information to map out their next move.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fahrenheit Four-Fifty-FUN!

Because "Fuck Me, Harlan Ellison" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Polar Opposites (Mad Men 404)

An area of character development established in “The Rejected” is the idea that Peggy and Pete are beginning to follow diverging cultural paths. A device that drives this point home and links their storylines is the use of two different poles in the set design. While the window motif taken from the focus group scene (discussed in my previous post) allows characters to see aspects of others more clearly, the pole blocks their view thus creating uncertainly and discomfort. It's interesting how Pete and Peggy deal with their respective impediments.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pain of Glass (Mad Men 404)

One thing that struck me about "The Rejected" is how the focus group motif is used in a number of different places. Of course, the actual Pond's focus group moderated by Dr. Faye Miller is the centerpiece of the episode. At this event, Allison, one of the participants, has an emotional melt-down in the aftermath of her sexual encounter with a now distant Don. Don nervously watches Allison's reactions as the group dynamic plays out. And while Allison can't really see Don, she is quite aware of him through the glass partition which divides the watchers from the watched.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Dream On

RIP Elvis (he died 33 years ago today). Yeah, he spiraled into a pathetic self-parody at the end. But if there's a better LIVE performance of a song than this one, I can't think of it.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Critic's Corner (Mad Men 403)

As part of Don and Lane's "distraction" in "The Good News," the duo heckle the screen at a showing of Gamera. This got me to thinking that a great spin-off for Mad Men could be a movie review show based on Mystery Science Theater 3000 called "Mad Men Flask Theatre 1965." In it, a drunk Don and Lane would provide esoteric pop-culture references to the period flicks they pan.

But seriously, one of the things I noticed about the movie list Don and Lane have to choose from is that each of them arguably parallels Lane's storyline in the episode (about being a stranger in a strange land and the toll it's taking on his marriage). Send No Flowers, of course, is a direct reference to Sandy's flower order mix-up. But the others seem pointedly related to him as well.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dick + Anna '64 (Mad Men 403)

Don painting over a water-stained wall in Anna’s house is a device used in “The Good News” to advance the storyline of his visit to California and (apparently) close that chapter of his life. Ostensibly, the discoloration is the result of a leaky roof. Anna tells Don that she has fixed the roof but not gotten around to removing the stain.

The morning after finding out that Anna is dying, Don starts to paint over the stain. Anna correctly points out that covering just that small corner, rather than the entire room, with fresh paint isn’t really going to solve the problem (the newer paint won't completely match). However, the act serves both as a metaphor for Don’s feelings of helplessness in dealing with Anna’s illness as well his coming to terms (albeit perhaps temporarily) with his former identity

Full post at Basket of Kisses...
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Friday, August 06, 2010

Maalox Moment (Mad Men 402)

There's a lot of discussion regarding Lee Garner, Jr.'s shameless bullying of Roger Sterling in "Christmas Comes But Once a Year." But I'll add my own two cents anyway. Roger strongly encourages Joan to wear her sexy red dress with "the bow on the back" because he thinks it will appease S-C-D-P's biggest account. So, there's poetic justice later when Lee forces ROGER to put on a red outfit.

And am I the only one who cringed a little when Joan tells Roger to wipe his mouth after an overly submissive phone conversation with Lee Garner Jr? Instead of kissing his rear end, I got the distinct impression that Roger serviced a different portion of the Lucky Strike heir's anatomy.

On the other hand, to paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes Maalox is just an antacid.

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You Get What You Pay For: Paid Search Marketing

According to a study by DoubleClick, 41 percent of US customers used search engines to research a purchase. Only 10 percent used a print ad and 9 percent a TV ad. So, effectively using search engines is clearly an important element of modern product marketing.

Simple free search engine listings (also known as "organic rankings") can take a long while to percolate and generate the desired web traffic.

Paid search marketing, such as pay per click (PPC) or cost per click (CPC) advertising, is a more proactive approach to driving customers to websites. It leverages the three major paid search programs; Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and MSN AdCenter. Typically, queries entered into the “big three” search engines yield a variety of results including: articles, websites and relevant documents along with so-called “sponsored links” placed at various places on the page.

A paid search advertising program lets businesses bid on certain key phrases or create targeted ads which yield more favorable search results and increase the likelihood that customers will click over to a given website.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Uh, Never Mind

Make of this what you will, but the BP "disaster" may be turning into another "killer bees" story.

A June 2, 2010 New York Times editorial said, "The spill, the worst in United States history and growing more damaging by the day, cries out for accountability and appropriate punishment."

Today, the New York Times reports:

U.S. Finds Most Oil From Spill Poses Little Additional Risk

WASHINGTON — The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.

I'm just saying...
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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Vertigo (Mad Men 402)

When Mad Men’s promo poster was released in June, there was much speculation about what it may have been hinting at for Season 4. For instance, TV Guide noted that the image could represent Don Draper’s fresh start as a single man in a new ad agency. After Don embraced the role of de facto figurehead for S-C-D-P at the end of “Public Relations,” I thought the poster was highlighting the fact that the fledgling company had pinned all its hopes on HIM. I realize it’s still too early to predict anything with certainty, but after watching “Christmas Comes But Once a Year,” I’m struck by notion that the poster might actually foreshawdow a Season 4 storyline about Don Draper standing on the precipice of an emotional abyss. Allison’s exclamation that she “feels dizzy” while succumbing to Don’s sexual advances, evoked in my mind a similar motif developed in another story about a man on a ledge, Alfred Hitchcock’s "Vertigo."

Full post at Basket of Kisses...
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Sunday, August 01, 2010

This Weekend's OTHER Wedding

In case you missed it...

From Geekosystem:

Today Is Lisa Simpson’s Wedding Day

Yesterday, someone famous got married, and it was supposedly a pretty big deal. But today marks the date of a wedding that we’ve been anticipating for the past 15 years: Lisa Simpson’s, as foretold in Simpsons Season 6.

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