Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Semi-Recap of "Mad Men"

I learned something very important this year. If you are going to write a humor blog which has a weekly recap of a television show, make sure that show is one people actually watch, like 24.

Last year, I toiled over a weekly recap of Mad Men, which is the best television show about people that smoke ever in the history of the universe. To be honest, I probably should have won a Pulitzer, or at least a Noble prize for these brilliant pieces of comic blog-dom.

This year, I hate to announce, I will not do a weekly recap of Mad Men, unless of course, somebody wants to pony up some cash, then that’s another matter. However, since the premiere was last Sunday night, I am compelled to bring people up to speed about this show.

Mad Men is about a group of advertising executives that smoke and drink a lot. The main character is Don Draper who is a sexy suave identity thief who is married to the hot but clearly insane Betty Draper. Don’s secretary was Peggy, a nice Catholic girl who beds down men named “Duck” and had the slimy Pete Campbell’s baby. They all worked at Sterling-Cooper. Roger Sterling is a rich wiseacre while Bert Cooper is a simply an old man. That is until last year.

Last year (1963), Sterling-Cooper was owned by a British firm that clearly had no idea what advertising was. Before this firm could sell Sterling-Cooper out, Don and the guys broke out and created their own firm, Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce.

Meanwhile, Betty found out of Don’s real identity and divorced him to marry an aide to Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. This gentleman is willing to take on Betty, who is smoking hot while also loony as a Betsy bug and her kids: Sally, Bobby and Baby Gene.

That’s where we are at now: 1964.

Don has an interview with a one legged reporter from Advertising Age. The reporter decides to do what most people think the media does: writes whatever they feel like. The article comes out and make Don seem like a, um, not a nice man. This causes SCDP to lose a big account because Draper does not mention professional Jai Alai which causes them to pull out, leaving American Tobacco as 71% of their billings.

We see the new digs. It is brighter than the old place, but looks definitely smaller. Not as many people milling about. There is a new guy who does the old “John-Marsha” routine with Peggy who has a new hairdo and a spunky new attitude.

Pete, Peggy and the New Guy work on the boring subplot about a stunt to get a client’s name in the newspaper. Pete actually seems like he is working instead of sitting around wondering when the money is going to fall on top of him.

Roger is still his witty self. He sets Don up with a date with this girl he says looks like “Virginia Mayo”, which she didn’t. She sort of looked like a skinny Brenda Carlisle to me. Don appears to like her, but he just barely gets to first base with her.

Meanwhile, Don has to pay for his action now. He has a prostitute over for Thanksgiving and it was pretty graphic for basic cable. He should have gotten his money back, in my opinion.

While Don is doing the Hudson Hula in his apartment, Betty is meeting her new family for Thanksgiving. Since Don didn’t have a family, this is the first time Betty’s had to share Thanksgiving with another tribe besides her own. Of course, Sally, whose next family will probably be the Manson’s, shows out by not eating her food. Betty does her famous Betty parenting technique by trying to stuff sweet potatoes down Sally’s throat. Sally reacts by throwing up on the plate. What a way to impress the new family!

The client subplot has a bathing suit company coming in for a pitch but they do not sell bikinis and want to make sure everyone understands that they are a family company. Of course, in New York this means they make fun of you and Don ends up yelling at his customers because he didn’t give them what they wanted.

The show ends with Don doing another interview, this time with The Wall Street Journal and fades out with a hit song from the era that really doesn’t fit “Tobacco Road”, but it sounded pretty cool. By the way, it is 1964 and nobody mentioned The Beatles, Barry Goldwater, or Jim Brown.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Pony Tail Primary

Do you feel the excitement about Georgia’s election primary? Do you? Wake up! We’re supposed to vote on who will be the nominee in either the Democratic or the Republican Party in November for the various state offices.

As far as I can tell, there has been absolutely no buzz about this election. In fact, the only thing that is really going on is the four thousand “robo” calls a day that voters are receiving. I received one from Newt Gingrich asking me to vote for a local state Senator.

Getting a former Speaker of The United States House of Representatives robo calling was pretty impressive, considering the hot water this state Senator was in because of an underage beer bash that the cops raided and he tried to save the day with a ‘do you know who I am?’ rant at the police. Turns out, nobody knew who he was because, he is a state Senator.

Not that his opponent is that much better. His opponent is somebody who apparently is the second perfect individual that has ever lived on this planet, at least according to the local paper, The Marietta Daily Journal.

Speaking of the MDJ, when not spreading the word about how great this gentleman is, they are using their Journalist Investigation Badges on a school board race where one candidate has out of state car tags on his cars. Considerable ink has been used exposing this criminal thuggish behavior while saying nary a word about this gentleman’s pony tail.

That’s right, the candidate is a gentleman, a Republican gentleman at that, and he has a pony tail. I could accept that on a Libertarian candidate. But on a Republican candidate it seems a little weird to me. I can’t imagine Bob Dole running for President with a pony tail or George Herbert Walker Bush with a mullet. (Although, I could imagine George W. Bush with mutton chop sideburns, but that is far as it goes.)

This school board candidate is also one of those guys that have a thousand different businesses and it is not clear if any of them make any money. He is currently employed by his wife’s company, which evidently does not have a professional dress code that excludes middle age men’s pony tails.

His opponent is one of Cobb County’s professional full time education activists and at present time has the proper state car tags on her cars. Her profession is “event planner”, which, as she explained in a multi-page interview, involves planning events. At the current time, she in not employed by any of the major or minor event planning firms. She is, oddly enough, one of the numerous “guest” columnists of the MDJ that writes exclusively about the Cobb County Board Of Education.

Due to the Woodward and Bernstein investigation of the Pony Tail Man’s car tags, this little fact has been left out of articles about this race. It seems like this is a rather important matter to point out to your readers. The only thing I can say to the people of this district when it comes time to vote: good luck because you are going to need it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

At The End Of The Day

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, the bottom line is that the whole universe revolves around LeBron James. You don’t get to vote on it. That is just the way it is.

Just in case you do not know anything about LeBron James, here goes: James is a twenty five year old professional basketball player who played for the Cleveland Cavaliers (or “Cavs”). He is consider by those that know this sort of thing, as one of the best professional basketball players currently playing and he is probably one of the best that has ever played professional basketball. In 2009, he led the Cavs to the Championship Series, losing to the Kobe Lakers. This season, the end of his contract with the Cavs, he took them to the playoffs, but they got boot in the early rounds.

If you have followed sports at all since 1974, you know that the off season is when players chase the big bucks, going to other teams, leaving their former teams high and dry.

Since James is such a good player, there was a demand for his services and several teams went after him to pay him what he is “worth”.

[The term “worth” is an economic term, not a social or spiritual term. James earns more than a school teacher because a lot of people can teach but not a lot of people can play professional basketball at his level.]

There were some people; I prefer to call them “morons” who thought, at the end of the day, James would stay in Cleveland. He is a local yokel, growing up in Akron. To them I say: have you ever watched The Weather Channel? It is cold up there about 7 months out of the year and everybody has last names like Jabbernakczakowski.

A guy like James, who doesn’t have a “ring” (the championship ring), needed to go not only to the highest bidder, but to the team that had the best chance to win a championship. This knocked out New York, who for some reason has forgotten how to run a NBA franchise. Atlanta? Please. There is some kind of law that states Atlanta must have at least one mentally ill sport franchise and currently it is the Hawks. Chicago has a good young team, however there’s that Michael Jordan comparison. The only real team left was Miami who upgraded their team with Chris Bosh and locked up their franchise player Dwayne Wade.

It is interesting to note that James wanted a recruiting process because he went directly from high school to the NBA and was never recruited (poor baby) by a college.

Have you ever watched an announcement from a high school athlete regarding the college scholarship signing? The kid is at a desk with a row of hats: USC, Penn State, Notre Dame and UGA. The sportscaster will say, “Okay, Tater, which school are you signing with?” Then Tater whips out a Florida hat and says, “At the end of the day, when all is said and done, the bottom line is that Florida gives me the best opportunity to use my talents to win a championship”. That’s what LeBron wanted.

So, at the end of the day, Thursday to be exact, when all was said and done, James signed a multimillion contract to play for Miami. A place where it never snows and they don’t have any state income tax. It took an hour on primetime ESPN to do that.

I do worry that in the next generation of athletes, there will be one that will want to do his free agent “decision” as a Broadway musical, or at the very least, an episode of “Glee”. [“Where do you think he’ll go? The Pistons? The Bulls?”] But at the end of the day, when all is said and done, the bottom line is that we’ll see.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Not Your Father's Church Camp

This blog has been away at camp: Church camp specifically. More about that part later.

The camp was located at Orange Beach, Alabama. It is part of the Obama/BP Uh-Oh Zone from the oil leak in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

Orange Beach is located east of Mobile, Alabama and west of Pensacola, Florida and I am happy to announce that I have seen a tar ball. It was really more like a tar blob. If you are a pelican, you ain’t getting this stuff off. I can report it looks like uncooled fudge that your (or any other mother) would make. I can also report that it is …..oil. Back to you, Walter.

As many of you may know, I am one of those awful Evangelical Christians and as such, go to Evangelical Christian things like church. You may remember church, it is open every Sunday.

In case you haven’t been paying attention in the last twenty years, church is a little bit different than what you may remember. Mainly, it is louder.

There is something church people call, “the blended service”, which the, um, older saints attend. In “the blended service” the congregation sings these odd songs called “hymns” from a “hymnal”. The congregation sits and stands and then listens to a sermon from a man wearing a tie.

However, a lot of Evangelicals attend a “contemporary service” which has more guitars, and drums, and everybody stands for a good forty minutes. The preacher doesn’t wear a tie and usually doesn’t tuck his shirt tail in.

My mother spent a good portion of my formative years making sure my shirt tail was tucked in at church. Now, apparently, the Lord doesn’t care about that as much as he did in 1967.

The camp was not a camp in the “traditional” sense of camp either. For one thing, everyone slept at a condominium and not in a cabin and the food was a whole lot better than what I remember camp food being.

The camp service singing was led by Charlie Hall. Mr. Hall, even by today’s standard is unique looking. He has a goatee that stretches down to mid-sternum which he ties with a bead. He is bald headed and has a tattoo. Back in my camp going days, we would seriously wonder if such person was human, much less Christian. Yet he sang these very Christian songs in a Bono-esque type voice backed by a tight band.

The camp pastor was Dr. David Platt, who is a young man. I have ties older than David Platt. Platt is a very intelligent passionate preacher that has an earned doctorate and to top it off, seems like a great kid. It doesn’t hurt that he is a graduate of The University of Georgia. Just saying.

Despite being a history major, I’m not one of those guys that lives in the past. I learned long ago, that sometimes the present is better than the past and that the future can be better than the present.

I can say that about the kids we took down to Orange Beach. They will make the future better than the present. These kids listened to the sermons and took notes.

Honestly, kids now days.