I’ve made a few tweaks to this Saturday feature. Calling it Saturday Odd & Sods was so obvious that it didn’t occur to me until I had a Homeric insight yesterday. Homer Simpson, that is. D’OH.
In honor of the Mad Men series finale tomorrow, I have substituted the season-6 poster above for the usual Who in football helmets album cover. I’m either a substitute for another guy or the face, I’m not exactly sure which.
There will be some rather interesting Mad Men material after the break. But first this week’s theme song, which appeared in the pilot episode way back in 2007:
Mad Men Mania: Unsurprisingly, there are many swell Mad Men pieces out there as the show comes to an end. I’m already having worse withdrawal symptoms than Roger Sterling trying to simultaneously quit smoking and likker. I’ve been re-watching season-1 on Netflix and noticed that John Slattery is credited as a special guest star. I think they planned to kill off Roger the Sterling Silver Tongued Devil but he was too good a character to lose. Only John Slattery can hurl oysters and cheesecake and make it look cool. Time for some linkage:
Up North in Canada, Maclean’s Magazine had a two part interview with Mad Men jefe Matthew Weiner. The first part deals predominantly with Weiner’s use of symbolism and his ubiquitous literary references. In season-1 Bert Cooper is jonesing to get Don Draper to read Ayn Rand. Don is evasive, he’s too busy attending Beatnik poetry readings with his first Mad Men mistress Midge.
The second part of the Maclean’s interview deals with how Mad Men ends. Weiner is typically cryptic but he shoots down the Don as DB Cooper meme that’s swept the interweb and even ensared my pal Kevin. I thought it was interesting but Weiner consigns it to the dustbin of teevee history along with the Megan as Sharon Tate meme.
Remember the Sharon Motel in The Milk and Honey Route? Of course you do, it was just last week. I seem to still be in touch with my inner Homer. I only hope my skin doesn’t turn yellow. Anyway, Laist.com has a fine piece about La Crescenta Motel in the L.A. hills, which is where the Okie clip joint scenes were shot. In the immortal words of Bette Davis, “what a dump;” albeit a photogenic dump.
Thinking about the Mad Men Motel gave me an earworm, this cheerful Difford and Tilbrook ditty about murder, mayhem, and chicken bones at the Melody Motel:
Speaking of Los Angeles, LA Times teevee critic Mary McNamara has a piece up at popmatters.com called Now That Mad Men Has Changed The TV Landscape What Does It All Mean? Beats the hell out of me. I’m still too busy trying to read the finale tea leaves to focus on the big picture.
Finally, Vulture’s estimable Matt Zoller Seitz tries to divine the Mad Men ending by looking back at the pilot episode, Smoke Gets In You Eyes. I’m not quite sure if I buy it. One thing that’s for certain is that Weiner is going to throw us a curveball worthy of Bert Blyleven or a Niekro brothers caliber knuckleball.
I have my own theory, one that involves the creepy veterans at the Alva, OK Legion Hall. I haven’t seen it anywhere and don’t really expect the Perv aka Matthew Weiner to use it. Here it goes: Don spilled his guts about “killing his CO” in Korea. It’s easy to imagine Del, Jerry and the other Mr. Haney’s ratting out Don to the army. They don’t know the worst of it: Dick Whitman’s desertion and assumption of a dead man’s identity but they know too much for Don’s good. The army takes desertion very seriously, especially when there’s a war going on. It’s true that Don has stopped brooding about it BUT that’s when the Perv likes to lower the boom on the viewers. Do I think Don’s story will end with his arrest for desertion? No, but I thought I’d throw it out there. The Perv likely has something more oblique and devious in mind for the finale.
I’d like to thank our non-Mad Men fanatic readers for humoring me. I do have some other links to share, so it’s time to forget about Don, Roger, and the gang for awhile.
Drinking with Billy Martin: Salon ran an excerpt from Bill Pennington’s new biography about baseball enfant terrible, Billy Martin. Pennington made the mistake of drinking at the same bar with Martin and nearly got his ass kicked in 1986 by the man who was fired four times as Yankee manager by George Steinbrenner. Btw, he was also fired by the Twins, Tigers, Rangers and A’s. He was, however, never fired by a National League team. And they say there’s no difference between the leagues other than the DH rule…
Simbopalooza: Bill Simmons and ESPN have come to a parting of the ways. I know many people didn’t like Bill’s Sports Guy approach to sportswriting but I do. He was essentially an internet wiseass who made it. How could I not like him? Additionally, his Grantland web site and 30 for 3o documentary series were the best things about ESPN except for Keith Olbermann.
There were two interesting takes on this week’s Simbopalooza. First, Vanity Fair takes us Inside the Shocking, Abrupt Divorce of Bill Simmons and ESPN. I wasn’t as shocked as author James Andrew Miller but what do I know? I also don’t have three first names…
Second, Slate’s Jack Hamilton opines that getting shitcanned by ESPN is the best thing that happened to Simmons since they first hired him. I quite agree: Simmons’ writing has suffered since he became a multi-media mogul. Some of you might disagree with us and agree with the 5th Dimension:
B.B. King at 87: The Last of the Great Bluesman: After the great man’s passing, the Guardian re-posted a fabulous 2012 Observer profile by Ed Vuilliamy about the late, great Riley King. It was inspired by a documentary about B.B.’s life that I will be posting as this week’s Sunday Morning video. Stay tuned, y’all.
Harlem Gentrifies: The Guardian has an outstanding piece by Rose Hackman about demographic changes in what used to be called the capital of Black America. As a New Orleanian who is watching my city’s post-K gentrification, I feel Harlem’s pain.
Mary Elizabeth Williams: Her column has long been one of the best things about Salon and she’s on fire this week. One piece in particular caught my eye, Dudebros yelling at the camera: Your “F her in the P” heckling days are over. That’s “fuck her in the pussy.” That’s right, some morons yell that at women reporters when they’re on the air. I had no idea that this was a thing. I was horrified to learn that it’s happened twice to a friend of mine who’s a teevee news reporter here in New Orleans. I am, for once, briefly speechless; all I can do is quote Ashley Morris and shout in language the dudebros will understand: FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING FUCKS.
Saturday Standards: Jack Teagarden is best known as the trombonist in Louis Armstrong’s integrated post war edition of the All-Stars. Jack was the *original* Mr. T. I’m not sure, however, whether or not he pitied the fool. He was also known as Big T and the Swingin’ Gate. The 1961 LP Mis’ry and the Blues captured Jack and his band at their best: