Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Question of the week: Why no Mad Men posts?

Monday, April 29th, 2013

A reader emailed asking how come I’m not doing weekly posts on Mad Men as I did during the prior seasons.

The answer is simple: I’m just not interested in the characters anymore.

  • Don’s back to his drinking and womanizing,
  • Roger’s rambling (long gone are the days when he had the best lines) and oddness is bringing him close to the doddering fool edge,
  • Betty’s just another fat bored housewife waiting for Oprah to start broadcasting about weight loss, having lost all her elegance along with her natural blonde haircolor,
  • Peggy’s living with Frank Zappa’s little brother,
  • and, aside from a weirdo that turned up for a few moments, the agency doesn’t have any interesting clients.

At least Pete Campbell has his moments. Here’s an interview with Vince kartheiser.

The women’s clothes have gone, as they did then, from Dior-inspired to Mod, but not that well. For instance, adding upholstery beads and red sleeves to Megan’s gown made it ugly, not “of the upmost high style couture.”

Pairing it with your grandma’s 1950s mink stole doesn’t go with Megan’s character. Bill Blass and a mink jacket would have been a better choice. Better yet,
Megan’s coloring and build would look best in clothes inspired by Anouk Aimée (seen in 1965 in this photo, or in 1963), but then we’re talking real couture.

Let’s hope Megan finds Halston before the next formal event.

Back to the Mad Men, I’ve gone from underwhelmed to bored, and now have the show on if I remember, mostly while doing other things (such as making to-do lists). The WSJ still has their Speakeasy, and even their panelists are not posting right away.

Maybe if they brought back Sal and Conrad Hilton…

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ICYMI: Mad Men’s season 6 premiere

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Argentina: Feed a regime, starve a media

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Cristina Fernandez, viuda de Kirchner, is not happy that the country’s journalists are reporting about her smear campaign against Pope Francis, the real inflation figures ( >25%), and international investors’ loss of confidence in the country. Mary O’Grady has the story,

Kirchner Tries to Starve the Independent Press
Argentina’s government employs tax inspectors and advertising boycotts to punish critics.

There have been criminal actions against newspaper officials for editorials it didn’t like, attempts to gain control of the country’s domestic newsprint supply, and the passage of a law that politicizes the granting of broadcast licenses and the sale of spectrum. Then there was the September 2009 raid by some 200 tax agents on the daily Clarín, and the deployments of pro-Kirchner mobs to block the distribution of some newspapers that do not toe the Kirchner line.

Now Mrs. Kirchner is trying to financially ruin her critics in the press. One tool is the government’s $100 million-plus advertising budget—excluding the much larger budget for soccer broadcasts. An analysis by the daily La Nación (which publishes some Wall Street Journal content) of 2012 spending over 2011 shows a 65.3% increase in the purchase of space for public announcements and, more commonly, government propaganda in the country’s newspapers and magazines. Yet the four most important independent newspaper publishers—El Cronista, Clarín, La Nación and Perfil—all lost business from the government in 2012. La Nación lost a whopping 83%. El Cronista was down 48%, Clarín lost 37% and Perfil 12%.

The punishment doesn’t end there. At a meeting on Feb. 4 the minister of domestic commerce, Guillermo Moreno, mandated that supermarket chains would have to freeze prices for 60 days. According to a March 3 report in Clarín, Mr. Moreno also instructed those merchants present to halt the purchase of print advertising in Buenos Aires and the surrounding area media outlets. According to the Clarín report, he said the boycott would include companies that sell appliances and electronics.

The government initially denied that it had decreed any such thing. But according to Clarín, merchants told the newspaper that they are under strict orders not to buy advertising from the independent newspapers in and around the capital. Clarín said that failure to obey such commands, even though they are not law, can be costly. Businesses fear government reprisals in the form of tax inspections, the withholding of import licenses, and lawsuits brought in the name of consumer protection.

A tad more subtle than the late Hugo Chavez’s closing RCTV and 34 other TV and radio stations and his attacks on Globovisión, for sure. Plus she can always blame forces beyond her control, like the Vicomte de Valmont, with the extra bonus of blaming capitalism.

Something like that could never happen here, of course.

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The Bible and the locusts

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Last night I watched the new History Channel series, The Bible, and thoroughly enjoyed it, from the Irish-sounding Noah telling the story of the creation in the middle of the flood, to the ninja angels,

to the very awesome (in the old meaning of the word, “inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear”) Moses.

As you may recall, locusts were one of the plagues of Egypt. Lo and behold, here’s the Drudge headline this morning, right on time for Passover,

In case you want to blame that on the sequester, Kerry frees up $250M in U.S. aid to Egypt.

On the eighth day, God made a farmer

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Dodge Ram’s Super Bowl ad, featuring Paul Harvey,

Everything you need to know about Downton Abbey

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

in 5 minutes or less,

If they made a series about the “fiscal cliff”, would it be called Downturn Abbey?

The Peacock family

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

MSNBC, always entertaining!

Today’s blogging brought to you by Mr. Darcy

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

I believe one would be willing to put up with a great deal to be mistress of Pemberley.”

Bring it on!

Blogging on more serious matters shall resume shortly.

Colombia: “What do you believe?”

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The Colombians have one up on Tony Soprano, a soap based on real-life drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

Pablo Escobar resurrected in hit TV series in Colombia

“Pablo Escobar: Boss of Evil” is mesmerizing television viewers in this country of 46 million. But it is sparking a debate over whether the series does too much to humanize Escobar, who won legions of admirers by building homes for the poor but also blew up an airliner and coolly ordered the killings of thousands.

“It’s a false and paltry version that will end up converting the worst criminal into an idol,” said Rodrigo Lara Restrepo, whose father, Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, was assassinated on Escobar’s orders in 1984.

The creators of the biopic, though, come from families victimized by Escobar.

Juana Uribe, a producer of the series, is the daughter of Maruja Pachon, who was kidnapped for seven months by Escobar’s henchmen, a saga memorialized in Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “News of a Kidnapping.” Uribe is also a vice president at Caracol, the network behind the series.

Her co-producer is Camilo Cano, whose father, Guillermo Cano, was the crusading editor of the newspaper El Espectador who was killed by the Medellin cartel’s hit men in 1986.

The producers say that 19 years after Escobar was gunned down on a rooftop in Medellin, it is the right time to tell his story in a fictionalized but largely true-to-life account.

“This is a way of doing a little bit of catharsis because this is what we went through, and there is no Colombian who doesn’t understand that,” Uribe said. “I had the possibility to analyze and had an open door to tell the story. I felt like we had a responsibility to do this.”

Apparently, they have set out to show “all sides” of the psychopath.

The trailer for the show asks the question, “What do you believe?” over and over, as in (my translation. Please link to this post if you use it),

“They say Pablo Escobar paid his henchmen a million pesos for every policeman they killed. What do you believe?

“They say Pablo Escobar spent 150 million pesos in rubber bands to organize his bundles of dollars. What do you believe?

“They say Pablo Escobar spent over 5 billion pesos in fuel to transport his mistress in his private jet. What do you believe?

“They say Pablo Escobar built a system of tunnels though the city sewers to escape from the police. What do you believe?

Pablo Escobar: Boss of Evil.”

I’ll tell you what I know: Unless they show a corpse for every minute of Escobar, the series will glorify the image of drug lords the way the old Miami Vice series did in the 1970s.

Lawrence O’Donnell, horse’s a**

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Lawrence O’Donnell Mocks Ann Romney for Riding Horses to Combat Multiple Sclerosis. Transcript:

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, HOST: In tonight’s Rewrite, Mitt Romney rewrites the definition of an Olympic athlete.


BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST OF “FACE THE NATION”: I hear you’ve got an Olympic athlete in the family.

MITT ROMNEY: Isn’t that something? Yeah, it’s not me. It’s my wife, of course. She’s the athlete, but in this case, it’s not her personally, but she along with two other people purchased a horse and have trained it up.


O’DONNELL: She’s the athlete. That’s what Mitt Romney just said. She’s the athlete.

Betsy links to the story of how Ann Romney got involved in dressage

In Utah, Romney worked to develop a routine. Josh Romney, the third of the Romney sons, was living in Salt Lake City at the time, and mother and son met regularly for lunch, often at a bagel shop near Josh. “We spent a lot of time just trying to talk things through,” he recalls. Mitt Romney juggled the household chores and running the Olympics. On his drive home, he would sometimes stop at Albertson’s, a grocery store in Park City, to pick up dinner. One favorite meal was rotisserie chicken, accompanied by side dishes of broccoli and pita bread.

Through all this, Ann Romney wondered how long her ability to walk, even with difficulty, would last. She recalls thinking, “I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up in a wheelchair, pretty sure I’m going to be really bad.” She resolved to take action and made a decision: “I want to do things that I love so much in life before I can’t do them anymore.”

So Romney bought a horse, Buddy. Romney is quick to tell me that Buddy wasn’t an “expensive” horse. “Having him,” she says, “was like the coolest thing in the world.” Buddy was a trail and first-level dressage horse, and he was Romney’s companion in those days. “I was pretty lonely,” she admits.

Buddy’s stable was a 35-minute drive from the Romneys’ Utah home. Once at the stable, Romney would spend hours and hours with Buddy, grooming him and cleaning out his stall. Still very weak, she could barely ride the horse: “I could only ride, like really ride, for like five minutes” before getting too worn out.

But Romney’s affection for Buddy transformed her outlook on life and gave her a reason to push herself to climb out of bed each morning. “I noticed that I had this euphoria afterwards — it kind of got me out of that fatigue place for a little bit, just for a little time,” she says of her riding. Slowly, she began to feel slightly stronger.

Time passed. And then Mitt Romney nominated his wife — without telling her — to carry the Olympic torch, citing her as his personal hero. It would be an arduous task for her: Those who carry the Olympic torch run for a quarter-mile before relaying the torch to the next person. For weeks beforehand, Romney practiced, building up her strength.

“She was able to jog the whole thing,” remembers Josh Romney, who was there with her, running alongside his mom.

“I literally ran,” Romney says, describing how she carried the torch, with friends and some of her sons present. “My kids were all surrounding me,” she says. “And they were all crying because they knew what a miracle it was that I came [to Utah] barely able to walk and now [here] I was, three years later, torch in hand, the Olympics were a success, I was back on track, I was regaining my strength, and off I ran with this torch into the city.”

O’Donnell’s fussing about Mitt’s tax deduction for the Olympic horse as a business expense, which is fully allowed under current tax law. Let’s remind Larry that MSNBC deducts Larry’s make-up, hair, and most probably on-camera wardobe – his dressage – as a business expense, too.

And, as an update,
Which End Of The Horse Is Lawrence O’Donnell?

It is bad enough that MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell mocks Ann Romney for riding horses to treat her multiple sclerosis. But then shows what an ignoramus he is by saying that “dressage (competitive horse riding) does not appear in any of the more traditional courses of treatment” for MS.

Actually, for many illnesses riding horses is a legitimate therapy technique. It’s called “hippotherapy.” Wikipedia has a nice description of it, and there’s even an group called the American Hippotherapy Association.

Type in “hippotherapy” into the search engine PubMed, and you get back dozens of peer-reviewed studies showing the benefits of hippotherapy. There are even four medical journal articles showing the benefits of hippotherapy for multiple sclerosis patients. One of the articles explains how hippotherapy works:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) leads to changes in balance due to the breakdown of a number of neurological processes. Hippotherapy utilizes the movement of the horse to provide sensory feedback and has been used as a therapeutic intervention for different neurological conditions.