Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Natural Selection (Mad Men 413)

A scene about half-way through "Tommorrowland," Mad Men's Season 4 finale, pointedly shows Bobby and Sally, on their California trip, having a heated "debate" in a restaurant about evolution. As with most spats between young siblings, things get heated and Sally knocks over her milkshake. At that moment, observing her calm response to the strawberry mess, Don seems to cement his choice of Megan over Faye. This illustrates a naturalistic (almost Darwinistic) motif that is developed throughout the episode.

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

A New Way For Apps to Crash

Oh yeah, this is a great idea. In fact, they should just project the driver's Facebook page RIGHT on their windsheild.

From The Detroit News:

GM moves on with in-car Facebook app

Feds slam driving distraction, but firms say technology is legal, safe

General Motors Co. still plans to roll out its new OnStar feature that allows drivers to listen to Facebook messages and update their status, despite pointed criticism from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

OnStar President Chris Preuss said the company is confident in the safety of the feature after conducting driving tests and has no plans to drop it. The application can also be extended to other social networking sites like Twitter.

"Not only is it safe — all things relative in the vehicle — it's actually a benign activity," Preuss said.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

New Brand FAIL

The "Screenshot of the Week" is of Kieth Olbermann leaning backward in one of MSNBC's "Lean Forward" ads. The perennial cable news ratings loser calls their new re-branding effort the "biggest campaign in network history". (h/t Jon Stewart @The Daily Show)
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Potpourri (Mad Men 412)

I had planned to post about the plethora of numbers which were thrown into "Blowing Smoke." But as that's already been discussed in the comments for Deb's post from yesterday, I decided to change directions a bit. The result is this collection of eclectic observations.

Full Post at Basket of Kisses...
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Binary Day: Part 000010

Today's date is 101110 (binary for 46). Yesterday's date was 101010 (binary for 42). Coincidentally, 42 years ago saw the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

So, to honor an event that won't happen for another 100 years, here's the scene from that film where Dave turns the HAL 9000 computer OFF (another great "binary" moment).

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Friday, October 08, 2010

A Taxing Prospect

The "Screenshot of the Week" comes from an October 7th Wall St. Journal article titled: "Delays to Tax Tables May Dent Paychecks."

Basically, even though Congress could take time to hear Steven Colbert's "testimony" on illegal workers, the whistle blew before a vote on extending tax cuts could happpen. As the article points outs, this affects MORE than just the "rich."
Treasury officials' most obvious option is the least attractive. If they publish tables based on expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which occurs Jan. 1, millions of low- and middle-income taxpayers who have paid little or no income taxes for a decade would likely see increases in January. Prof. Graetz estimates that higher withholding could take up to $10 billion a month out workers' pockets due to higher tax rates alone.

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Latex Free (Mad Men 411)

Peggy's relationship with Abe Drexler marks a point of personal growth on her part which is conveyed through her work on the Playtex account. Whether it be Pete Campbell, Duck Phillips, or Mark Kerney, Peggy's past involvement with men has been characterized by a noticeable level of detachment on her part. For a variety of reasons, something has always kept her from being, as Megan might say, totally in the moment. Abe Drexler seems to have awakened for Peggy an awareness of new feelings.

The Playtex campaign in "Chinese Wall" revolves around "touch" while Peggy and Abe's encounters are pointedly characterized by touching. Abe brushes sand off Peggy's arm in the car. Peggy runs her hands down Abe's back the next morning. And just as the women depicted in the Playtex ads take off their gloves to experience sensuous things, Abe seems to have allowed Peggy to take down emotional barriers which have hampered her previous relationships.

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Original G: (Spartacus)

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus. The 1960 epic set in ancient Rome boasts an all-star cast led by Kirk Douglas and includes: Tony Curtis, Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, Jean Simmons and John Gavin. Kubrick was called in to direct replacing Anthony Mann when creative differences with Douglas (who also was producing) caused him to be removed from the project. This may certainly explain why Spartacus doesn’t seem like a traditional Kubrick film. Unlike Kubrick’s other efforts (especially his later films) which tend to observe characters from a dispassionate distance, in Spartacus there's a stronger feeling of being ensconced in the narrative.

Full Post at Edward Copeland On Film...
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Closing Time (Mad Men 411)

Because I teach business courses part-time, I often watch Mad Men and imagine how I'd apply marketing concepts discussed in class to a particular episode. It's been difficult to do this in Season 4. At the risk of splitting hairs, Mad Men takes place in an ad agency, but it's not necessarily about an ad agency. Certainly, the writers do their homework and Men Men gets the advertising stuff more right than, say, Star Trek's regular disregard for the laws of the physics. But, episodes like "The Wheel" — a textbook example of how to sell a product's benefits (sizzle) rather than its features (steak) — have taken a backseat to the development of character-driven storylines. I'm just humbly pointing this out, not complaining.

That said, "Chinese Wall" could be screened in a "Techniques of Selling" class. The different sales calls it depicts are worthy of an academic discussion. One question I'd assign the class to consider while watching it would be:

How would you rank the salespeople depicted in this episode?

...Full Post at Basket of Kisses

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Friday, October 01, 2010

Licence to Pan (Mad Men 410)

When he surprises his daughter Sally with Beatles tickets in "Hands and Knees," Don Draper quips that he'll be wearing earplugs to the concert. Coincidentally, James Bond, another fictional 60's character had the same reaction to the "Fab Four."

In Goldfinger, 007 (Sean Connery) is assigned to observe international smuggler Auric Goldfinger. Bond (being Bond) has a tryst in Miami Beach with one of Goldfinger's sexy employees, Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton). At one point, he abruptly leaves the bed they're sharing to fetch another bottle of champagne after the first one loses "its chill." When the soon to be gilded Masterson playfully protests the interruption, the secret agent/gourmand explains:

My dear girl there are some things that just aren't done, such as drinking Dom Pérignon '53 above a temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That's as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!

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Step One: Don't Buy It

Did Christopher L. Hoyt, the author of How To Raise Your Daughter Without Reading A Book: One Dad's Rules to Live By, realize the irony of its title?

The editor?

Anyone involved in its publication?

I guess not.
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