Monday, May 28, 2012

Mad Men 5.11: Prostitution and Power

Masterful Mad Men 5.11 tonight had not one but two blockbuster stories, each about one of the two leading women on the show.  In both cases, the results were among the most profound and game-changing we've seen not only this season, but in the entire series.

Advertising as a profession could be considered a kind of prostitution - selling your creative soul to your client - but tonight that becomes literally true as the Jaguar client (or, actually, a major car dealer who is one of three who will make the decision as to what ad company will get the Jaguar campaign) lets Pete and Ken know that he'd be much more inclined to go with our crew if he could spend a night with Joan - in bed.  Pete brings this to Joan, who laughs in his face, and rhetorically adds that the company couldn't afford to pay her what she'd want for something like this.  That's enough to get Pete to call a partners' meeting.

The response of the partners is a keen tableau of where each man  is at.  Don, showing again that he has a well of decency in his core, walks out of the meeting, saying their ad proposal will be strong enough to get Jaguar.  Roger, showing again how despicable he can be, has no problem with offering Joan to the dealer.  It's not, by the way, that Don is always decent and Roger is always despicable.  Indeed, it's never knowing for sure where each man will go - with his decent or despicable side - that makes Mad Men so interesting.  Morse has no problem with making Joan an offer to do this, as long as it's made clear to her that she doesn't have to do it  if she doesn't want to.  And Lane, knowing there are no funds to offer Joan any money, cleverly gets her to ask for five-percent of the company - to become a partner.


Mad Men has dealt some great parallels in personal and professional lives this year, and tonight's was especially evocative.  The Jaguar tag-line that Ginsberg comes up with and Don pitches is that Jaguar is the one beautiful thing that a man could really own.  And owning Joan for a night is the price Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, etc have to pay in order to land Jaguar.  Except Draper doesn't want that, but Joan does - or, at least, she wants being a partner enough to spend the significant part of the night with the Jaguar dealer.

And as Joan moves up in the organization, Peggy moves out.  Don, decent about Joan, is as insensitive and rude as ever to Peggy.  She comes up on no notice with an account winning line for  Chevalier cologne - it was Ginsberg's account, but he wasn't around - and seeks some appreciation from Don.  What she gets is Don saying Ginsberg can go to Paris, and when she complains, Don literally throws some money in her face and says here, go to Paris.

This sets in motion a short chain of events that leads to Peggy taking an offer with Sterling et al's main competitor.  Given Joan's ascension to partnership, Peggy would likely not have been too happy with our company in any case, making this development an especially smooth piece of story line.

A story of two women.  Each seizing on opportunity to move up in their world, in which most of the cards are seriously stacked against them.  More power to both of them.

See also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party  ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust ... Mad Men 5.5: Ben Hargrove ... Mad Men 5.6: LSD Orange ... Mad Men 5.7: People of High Degree ... Mad Men 5.8: Mad Man and Gilmore Girl ... Mad Men 5.9: Don's Creativity  ... Mad Men 5.10: "The Negron Complex"

And from Season 4: Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..."  4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ... 4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking!  ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -

And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through



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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mad Men 5.10: "The Negron Complex"

Having delved into the meta-realms of unreal science fiction with Ben Hargove some five episodes ago, Mad Men 5.10 continues the enjoyable indulgence with "The Negron Complex," a fictitious spec script written for the real science fiction Star Trek - now known as Star Trek: TOS (the original series), back in 1966 of course just known as Star Trek.

Paul Kinsey, a real fictional character on Mad Men, is the author.  I've been wondering what happened to Paul, bearded with pipe in seasons past, a civil rights activist, dating an African-American woman (who leaves him), and to some degree the conscience of the previous firm.  He's joined the Hare Krishnas - his luck went from bad to verse - but has penned this script.  He was a fan of The Twilight Zone, so this makes sense.  (The Twilight Zone and Star Trek are two of my all-time favorite shows.)

Paul asks Harry to get the script to someone at NBC who might get it to Gene Roddenberry.  Harry (deftly played by Rich Sommer) still looks a little like Isaac Asimov to me, so this makes sense, too.  But the script apparently is a turkey - I have to take Harry's word for this - so what's Harry to do?

All of this serves as nice set-up for Harry to have another round of good sex in the office, as Paul's girl friend shows up to talk Harry out of helping Paul - talk Harry out of this by way of seduction.  Her motives are to keep Paul for herself and the Krishna movement.   But Harry, in a combination of rare selflessness and more comprehensible not liking to be manipulated, sends Paul out to Los Angeles (gives him $500 for air fare) to sell his script.   Alas, we know in our reality that no Star Trek episode titled "The Negron Episode" was ever made, but knows about alternate realities ... wait, no, that's Fringe.

Meanwhile, Lane takes some money from the company on his and Don's forged signature, and Joan gets about as angry in the office as ever we've seen her - justifiably calling a receptionist an "idiot" - and there's a priceless scene (Lane wasn't there either) with Joan and Don in a bar.   Good stuff indeed for our people living on the razor's edge.

Hey, check out my essay in this book about Star Trek:




See also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party  ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust ... Mad Men 5.5: Ben Hargrove ... Mad Men 5.6: LSD Orange ... Mad Men 5.7: People of High Degree ... Mad Men 5.8: Mad Man and Gilmore Girl ... Mad Men 5.9: Don's Creativity 

And from Season 4: Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..."  4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ... 4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking!  ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -

And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through




"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review



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The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Beach Boys in White Plains

I was driving by the Westchester County Center a couple of months ago, and saw the sign: "The Beach Boys, May 15".  The sign was simple and timeless and almost seemed unreal.  But its words were true, and so it was that my wife Tina and I were at County Center to see and hear the Beach Boys last night. I was 15 when I first heard The Beach Boys on the radio signing "Surfin' Safari" back in 1962.  I loved the song from the first time I heard it.  And here I was, 50 years later, on 15 May 2012, hearing The Beach Boys singing the same song and loving it even more.

I've always considered The Beach Boys easily one of top three groups in all of rock music.  Second only to The Beatles on most days, third after The Rolling Stones on some days maybe. The thing about the Beach Boys was their harmony - doo wop taken to symphonic, psychedelic heights, music of the spheres that no other group could produce.  The Beatles and The Stones usually had it over The Beach Boys on the lyrical front, but no one could touch their harmonies.

WFUV's Dennis Elsas of Fordham University introduced the group last night.  Pete Fornatale, a champion of their sound since the beginning, and also a Fordham dj, would no doubt have done those honors had he not left this world way too soon a few weeks ago.  Mike Love dedicated a song to Pete during the set - the newest Beach Boy song, "That's Why God Made the Radio," first heard on national radio just this last month.

Mike Love opened the concert with "Do It Again".  This was great opening choice.  As soon as Mike began singing I knew the evening would be remarkable.  And when The Beach Boys joined in with their effervescent popping harmonies, I knew the Beach Boys were truly back on that stage.

Dennis and Carl Wilson are no longer with us and The Beach Boys.  The group did two great numbers with each singing lead - from a recording - anyway last night.  Carl's rendition of "God Only Knows"  with the Beach Boys doing harmony right there on the stage last night was food for the soul.

So The Beach Boys last night consisted of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks, and some great back up musicians and vocalists including John Cowsill of the Cowsills.

Brian's voice was amazing in the mid-range.   Jeff Foskett, one of the back-up vocalists but in fact standing right up front on the stage with guitar next to Brian on piano, did splendidly on all the high notes and patented Beach Boy falsettos.   The high points of the three hour concert were pretty much everything,  but among the special delights were Brian's lead and the group's exuberant harmonies on "Heroes and Villains" (a song whose lyrics by Van Dyke Parks equals the lyrical sophistication of The Beatles - "you're under arrest!" -  this performance including the "Bicycle Rider" segment), Al Jardine giving a fabulous lead rendition of "Help Me Rhonda" (brought the crowd to its feet singing the chorus),  David Marks' crackling sharp guitar work on every song (he was part of the group in the early 60s), the car song set ("Little Honda," "409," "Little Deuce Coupe," and "Shut Down,"  segueing right into one another), "Be True to Your School," and, like I said, there wasn't a weak performance in the concert, only great performances and even greater.



The crowd was in the aisles half a dozen times - including in the above video - singing and dancing, including nonstop for the last 4 or 5 songs.  My wife thought the average age of the audience was about 55 - there were little kids and octogenarians there for sure.

It's a strange, wondrous thing to hear music you've loved all of your life come to life again, right before your eyes and ears.   The Beach Boys touring group took the time to get the complex harmonies and musical licks just right - an impressive, even incredible, accomplishment for songs such as "Heroes and Villains" and "Good Vibrations," given the modular way (different sections of the songs in different recording sessions) the songs were first recorded back in the 1960s -  and the band performed with even more vitality than I've seen over the years on television and more recently YouTube.  I usually tell people that I feel like 17 on a good day and 19 on a not-so-good day.  The good vibrations last night - theremin and all - made me feel 15-22 again, and it all felt good.

See also this CNN article about The Beach Boys, in which I'm quoted.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bones Season 7 Finale: Suspect Bones

One of the important things to always bear in mind about Bones is that although Bones is a genius, she's not the only genius in the world.  And when an evil genius takes umbrage at Bones, that genius can do a lot of damage.   In the past, the contest between Bones, Booth, and the gang versus the evil genius have made for some of the very best groups of shows.  Tonight's episode, which starts a story that will  continue beyond this season's finale, seems destined to continue that fine tradition.

This season finale is also the finale, at the same time, for another group of episodes with a very different theme, a theme unique in the series.  That theme was Bones and Booth together, married, openly in love, and bringing Christine into the world.   The theme is brought to an important new threshold tonight with the christening of Christine.

And that christening also serves as the conduit to a new kind of life for Bones, as temporary, one hopes, as possible. With the help of the irrepressible Max, Bones elects to go on the run rather than to jail.  As Max explains, once the system has you in its clutches, it's very hard to prove your innocence.  Bones can do better outside.  I agree completely with Max.

The evil genius who is framing Bones can only be beaten if Bones is at least somewhat free to investigate, which she can only do out of prison.  But Bones will need more than that - she'll also need the help of her Jeffersonian team.  As US Attorney Caroline Julian explains to Angela, who's justifiably angry at Cam for providing evidence that apparently points to Bones' guilt, Cam needed to keep the team operating beyond repute, so they could be of maximum help to Bones.

I've never liked Cam's officiousness,  but you have to agree with Caroline's logic.  The evil genius Peland - whom we met in an earlier episode - is very good at what he does.  Like a master chess player, he systematically sets in motion a series of events that remove Booth, Sweets, and even Caroline from the case, and their official  positions which can help Bones.

But Bones still has their counsel, and Max's too, and as she takes on Max's role of being on the lam, she'll have everyone back at work at the Jeffersonian on her side.  She and Booth will need all the help they can get to get through this.   I'm hoping it's a short time until the next episode ...

See also Bones 7.1: Almost Home Sweet Home ... Bones 7.2: The New Kid and the Fluke ... Bones 7.3: Lance Bond and Prince Charmington ... Bones 7.4: The Tush on the Xerox ... Bones 7.5: Sexy Vehicle ... Bones 7.6: The Reassembler ... Bones 7.7: Baby! ... Bones 7.8: Parents ... Bones 7.9: Tabitha's Salon ... Bones 7.10: Mobile ... Bones 7.11: Truffles and Max ... Bones 7.12: The Corpse is Hanson

And see also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ... Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ... Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra ... Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder ... Bones 6.20: This Very Statement is a Lie ... Bones 6.21: Sensitive Bones ... Bones 6.22: Phoenix Love ... Bones Season 6 Finale: Beautiful

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ... Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ... Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution



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The Plot to Save Socrates





"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book



Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mad Men 5.9: Don's Creativity

The biggest deal in Mad Men 5.9 last night was the pair of ads that our band of merry mad men and woman were working up for another new client, Snoball - the coconut pink marshmallow chocolate cake whipped cream (from outside to inside) concoction that you could bliss you out with on sugar with a just few bites if you weren't careful.

Anyway, Peggy's idea of three men lost in the desert, two dreaming of water, the third dreaming of the dessert, is knocked out in the first meeting.  I actually like that better than Ginsberg's idea of throwing a snoball in an authority's face, but that gambit as well as Don's snoball's chance in hell make it to the all-important client presentation.

Or, actually, not.  Don deliberately leaves the artwork for both his and Ginsberg's candidates in the taxi.  Since Don of course is at the client meeting, but Ginsberg is not, Don's presentation makes the sale.  I thought Don's was the best, and Ginsberg's the worst (of the three), but of course Ginsberg doesn't see things that way.  He complains to Don, who disses Ginsberg with a retort that Ginsberg and his talent or lack of never even enter Don's thoughts.

The whole incident gives us good insight into Don's current personality: he's still competitive enough that he wants to his creativity to win, and will use any method to so, though I suppose there was some merit to his point to Ginsberg that coming in with more than one candidate is "weak".

Otherwise, Betty's back and as nasty as ever, and Roger continues his destruction of Jane.  Roger won't be even a semblance of a human being until he gets together with Joan, and I'd say there's almost no hope for Betty.

Meanwhile, Pete fantasizes about his paramour, and is furious when the New York Times Sunday Magazine section neglects to mention him in a major article after a long interview.   Welcome to the club - this happens with interviews all the time.   One anachronism alert: my wife, who reads the Times Magazine section more than do I, noticed that the 1966 copy of the magazine depicted on the show sure looked like a more current size and layout. I'm not 100% sure, but she may well be right.

See also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party  ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust ... Mad Men 5.5: Ben Hargrove ... Mad Men 5.6: LSD Orange ... Mad Men 5.7: People of High Degree ... Mad Men 5.8: Mad Man and Gilmore Girl 

And from Season 4: Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..."  4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ... 4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking!  ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -

And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through




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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fringe Season 4 Finale: Death and Life

The Fringe Season 4 finale promised to answer some big questions and it did.   We see how September got shot, and, even more important, that his dire words to Olivia that she dies in all possible futures is true.

But, of course, she doesn't die, and therein resides a couple of problems with this episode.  Not that I wanted her to die - quite the opposite - or that something in the story if truly followed obliged her to die. No, it was rather the way she died and then didn't die that didn't work.  Shot point blank in the head by Walter - a powerful scene - but Walter is able to bring her back to life by removing the bullet, which allows her Cortexiphan drenched brain to quickly regenerate.   Although this was logical enough, it seemed more like a gimmick that a profound development.   And a one-time gimmick at that - Olivia ends the episode with her Cortexiphan powers depleted.

And there's also this:  We knew Olivia had to survive, because we met her daughter  in that excellent future episode a few weeks back.  If Olivia had died last night, she and Peter could not  have had a daughter.  

Still, there were some good touches last night.  It was great to see Bell and Walter interacting - and, in fact, I liked this Bell better than the one who took his leave of us a few seasons back.  He seemed more vibrant.  He walks out of our reality on the assumption that Olivia is dead - I assumed to over there, in the alternate reality?

I was glad that Astrid did not die, and the set up for next season was good.  Broyles promoted to General, Nina working in Fringe, and the nice increase in funding that Fringe received.  These elements almost seemed liked happy endings for a series that was concluding, and they likely were.

But Fringe will be back for one concluding season, as our heroes fight the Eternal Bald Observers, and I'm looking forward to more great television.

Hey, check out my essay The Return of 1950s Science Fiction in Fringe in this  anthology





See also Fringe Returns for Season 4: Almost with Peter ... Fringe 4.2: Better and Worse Selves ... Fringe 4.3: Sanity and Son ... Fringe 4.4: Peter's Back, Ectoplasm, and McLuhan ... Fringe 4.5: Double Return ... Fringe 4.6: Time Slips ... Fringe 4.7: The Invisible Man ... Fringe 4.8: The Ramifications of Transformed Alternate Realities ... Fringe 4.9: Elizabeth ... Fringe 4.10: Deceit and Future Vision ... Fringe 4.11: Alternate Astrid ... Fringe 4.12: Double Westfield / Single Olivia ... Fringe 4.13: Tea and Telepathy ... Fringe 4.14: Palimpsest ... Fringe 4.15: I Knew It! ... Fringe 4.16: Walter Likes Yiddish ... Fringe 4.17:  Second Chances ... Fringe 4.18: Broyled on Both Sides ... Future Fringe 4.19 ... Fringe 4.20: Bridge ... Fringe 4.21: Shocks

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate ... Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, Tron ... Fringe 3.20: Countdown to Season 3 Finale 1 of 3 ... Fringe 3.21:  Ben Frankin, Rimbaldi, and the Future ... Fringe Season 3 Finale: Here's What Happened ... Death Not Death in Fringe 
 
See also reviews of Season 2: Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best






"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

"Daddy, this the best book I've ever read!" -- Molly Vozick-Levinson, age 12 at the time

"cerebral but gripping" -- Booklist
 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bones 7.12: The Corpse is Hanson

Yes, the corpse was Hanson on tonight's hilarious Bones 7.12 - not Hart Hanson, the brains behind the real Bones, but Hanson Stephens, fictitious head producer of the fictitious Bone of Contention movie based on Temperance Brennan's characters.  Given that the real Bones is based on Kathy Reichs' characters - that is, a real human being writer's characters, in contrast to Temperance, who of course is fictitious, too - not to mention that Stephen Nathan is a real producer of the real Bones - tonight's episode was one fine meta-meta-show indeed.  Bertrand Russell would have been proud, and it's all the fault of Hart Hanson (also a real person) and Kathy Reichs (also mentioned as the fictitious writer of the episode).

Well,  if that's too heady I probably should stop this here, while I'm ahead, but there's more.  Bones objecting to the shoddy science in the movie, a podiatrist we've seen before on the show now on the set as the technical adviser, a superb Hodgins fictitious character in the movie, and of course a murder victim - Hanson.   The investigation into who killed him - conducted by Bones and Booth - seems to have something to do with Cherie, the seductive blonde playing Kathy (Bones' counterpart) - I thought I was watching Smash for a second - but the real murderer (oops, maybe true murderer would be a better word) has other motives.

Booth has some of the funniest lines and set-ups in the episode.  He enjoys the comparison to Steve McQueen, loves the donuts, and I always like how one thing he never kids around about on a case is the FBI - at least, not to someone not really on the team.

And - as icing on the cake - it turns out Hansen's is not the only dead body on this show.  Cam starred in a vampire movie years ago, fro and all ala Blacula, and she gets a stake through the heart at the end of Invasion of the Mother Suckers, to the delight of all of our real characters back in Washington, DC.

I don't know where to score a copy of that movie, but I'll be first in line for Bone of Contention when it opens in the summer of 2013.

See also Bones 7.1: Almost Home Sweet Home ... Bones 7.2: The New Kid and the Fluke ... Bones 7.3: Lance Bond and Prince Charmington ... Bones 7.4: The Tush on the Xerox ... Bones 7.5: Sexy Vehicle ... Bones 7.6: The Reassembler ... Bones 7.7: Baby! ... Bones 7.8: Parents ... Bones 7.9: Tabitha's Salon ... Bones 7.10: Mobile ... Bones 7.11: Truffles and Max

And see also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ... Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ... Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra ... Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder ... Bones 6.20: This Very Statement is a Lie ... Bones 6.21: Sensitive Bones ... Bones 6.22: Phoenix Love ... Bones Season 6 Finale: Beautiful

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ... Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ... Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution




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The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book



Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mad Men 5.8: Mad Man and Gilmore Girl

Two fine stories on Mad Men 5.8 last night -

Megan, after a great run in the "beans, beans, the musical fruit" and new Cool Whip campaigns, decides to quit her job in advertising!   Her heart and soul are in acting.   One round of applause from an audience is worth all the Heinz beans accolades in the world.   Peggy tries to talk her out of it - which makes sense, given that for Peggy the advertising work is the job of a lifetime.  Don is understanding - he'll miss the sexual energy in the office, for sure, but he'll have a happier Megan at home, and he does have a decent streak that shows through sometimes.  The whole segment is a noble statement on the fatuousness of advertising.

Meanwhile, Pete sleeps with the Gilmore Girl (Alexis Bledel), aka the guy on the train's wife.  This is a daring move for Pete, who likes it so much he calls her, wanting more than a one-time tryst.   She demurs, but Pete persists, arranging to come home with Howard (the train guy - who's also an insurance guy) on the pretext of wanting life insurance.  Once in Howard's home, Pete even manages to grab a kiss from Beth/Rory.   She leaves the room with a migraine, but later encourages Pete with a heart drawn on a misty car window.   All in all, good show for Pete, and the second sex-out-the-blue thread for Mad Men this season, following Roger's flirtation from afar earlier this year.

And just top off this excellent episode, we get the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," ending up the show, playing into the credits, replete with a nice shot of the Revolver album cover, of which I have many.  The show has migrated beautifully into the 60s, and I'm enjoying this season more than any other.

See also Mad Men Season 5 Debut: It's Don's Party  ... Mad Men 5.3: Heinz Is On My Side ... Mad Men 5.4: Volunteer, Dream, Trust ... Mad Men 5.5: Ben Hargrove ... Mad Men 5.6: LSD Orange ... Mad Men 5.7: People of High Degree
And from Season 4: Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..."  4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists" ... 4.10: Grim Tidings ... 4.11: "Look at that Punim" ... 4.12: No Smoking!  ... Mad Men Season 4 Finale: Don and -

And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through



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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 


 




Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fringe 4.21: Shocks

Having closed the bridge between the two realities last week, how could Fringe have topped itself this week, in 4.21 the first of a two-part season finale?  Fringe did this in at least four ways:

1.  First,  let's bear in mind that the two realities we've been watching this season are not the two realities of previous seasons.  The two Season 4 realities are realities in which alt-Peter was not successfully rescued by Walter and drowned in Lake Reiden.  Our (alt) Peter did indeed come back to our reality, as an adult, in mid-season, but differences between the two realities of Season 4 and earlier seasons can continue, and indeed are ...

Take William Bell, for example.  He apparently died in the Season 1-3 two realities.  But he need not have died in Season 4's, and indeed he did not.   And, he's not only alive, but apparently the evil mastermind behind David Robert Jones.  (I never took seriously the report that Leonard Nimoy was never going to play Bell again - an actor can change his mind.)  Bell tells Jones that in order for Bell's plan to succeed (presumably, to become creator and master of a new universe), the "bishop" on the chessboard has to be removed (killed).

2.  When I first heard that, I just had a feeling that Bell was talking about Jones removing himself, but my wife pointed out that Walter is a Bishop, and she had a point.  For that matter, Peter is a Bishop, too, and it looked as if Jones was planning to eliminate Peter - setting a trap for him and Olivia - and indeed comes close to overpowering Peter when Olivia helps Peter dispose of Jones.  In his dying breath, Jones realizes that he, Jones, was really the bishop to be eliminated.

3.  The way that Olivia helps Peter against Jones was also cool and noteworthy - Cortexiphan has now given Olivia telekinetic powers (moving objects at a distance via sheer mental will and direction), and she directs Peter, on a nearby rooftop, to literally beat Jones.   He falls back into an electric grid and is electrocuted.


4. But there's one last stunner.  When Bell's bad guys get the drop on Walter and Astrid (whom Walter has a little earlier called "Alex"), she pivots into ass-kicking FBI mode - great to see - knocks down a bunch of villains - and then is apparent shot dead.  


I certainly didn't see this  coming, and have to hand it to Fringe to still surprise and shock, just when you think you have it figured. Looking forward to Part 2 next week.

Hey, check out my essay The Return of 1950s Science Fiction in Fringe in this new anthology








See also Fringe Returns for Season 4: Almost with Peter ... Fringe 4.2: Better and Worse Selves ... Fringe 4.3: Sanity and Son ... Fringe 4.4: Peter's Back, Ectoplasm, and McLuhan ... Fringe 4.5: Double Return ... Fringe 4.6: Time Slips ... Fringe 4.7: The Invisible Man ... Fringe 4.8: The Ramifications of Transformed Alternate Realities ... Fringe 4.9: Elizabeth ... Fringe 4.10: Deceit and Future Vision ... Fringe 4.11: Alternate Astrid ... Fringe 4.12: Double Westfield / Single Olivia ... Fringe 4.13: Tea and Telepathy ... Fringe 4.14: Palimpsest ... Fringe 4.15: I Knew It! ... Fringe 4.16: Walter Likes Yiddish ... Fringe 4.17:  Second Chances ... Fringe 4.18: Broyled on Both Sides ... Future Fringe 4.19 ... Fringe 4.20: Bridge

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate ... Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, Tron ... Fringe 3.20: Countdown to Season 3 Finale 1 of 3 ... Fringe 3.21:  Ben Frankin, Rimbaldi, and the Future ... Fringe Season 3 Finale: Here's What Happened ... Death Not Death in Fringe 
 
See also reviews of Season 2: Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best


                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, Garden.com, eMusic




The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...



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