Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Friday, June 29, 2012

Belly Dancers Attack!

These women may be a little long in the tooth, but I salute their patriotism!


Checked the Weather Channel earlier this afternoon, and it had us at 110. Degrees. The official NWS reading for Nashville, at the Airport, was 109. At one point I saw Smyrna listed at 112. Which makes this the hottest day on record. Not "this year." Not the hottest June 29. Not the hottest day ever in June. The hottest temperatures recorded in Middle Tennessee EVER. The old record was a cool and breezy 107.

On the other hand, we're so dry after a month without rain that the "feels like" is only 108. So I'm thinking about putting on a sweater.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Song for the Day: Zihuatanejo Edition

Last song before trial, first song after. Click.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Song for the Day

How am I doin'? Click here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Memory Lane

As is so often the case, early in my week, I'm having trouble getting Sunday's Mad Men out of my head. In a season full of remarkable moments, from "Zou Bisou Bisou" to Lane decking Pete to the pimping of Joan just last week, I'm not sure how the upcoming season finale can top Lane's "elegant exit" in this week's penultimate chapter. I would call it a shock, except that, as in all tragedy, the jolt comes from the arrival of a loss that is easy to anticipate and not from its supposed surprise.

I've read a few commentaries on line, but what I haven't really seen yet (although maybe I've just missed it) is reflection on the role of Lane Pryce's British identity in his demise. Mad Men has always been in large part a reflection on American identity, with "Don Draper's" identity-stealing reinvention from Dick Whitman at its core. In 1782 Hector St. John de Crevecouer, himself a man of many names, some self-chosen, famously wrote in "What is an American?", the first great exploration of the topic, that the American was a "new man" liberated from the tortured history of his or her European roots. To be an American is to be a self-creation, no more certain or enduring that an advertisement image. Like Crevecouer, Lane was an immigrant who longed to erase his past and to become an "American." Meaning, he wanted to rebel against his authoritarian masters in the mother company, create a new business (Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce), call shots on Madison Avenue, date black Playboy bunnies, and upend business lunches by drinking, shouting, and slapping a massive steak on his crotch--possibly the funniest moment in all of Mad Men's fine history.

But Lane's history will not let him go. He still owes taxes to the Queen, and, try as he might, he could not convincingly forge Don's signature on that check. As his wife Rebecca tells him when he stumbles home drunk after Don has demanded his resignation, he's had "a very good day that turned into a very bad day." Indeed. Over a breakfast of English muffins (that Lane informs us are "not really English"), Lane had been asked to become treasurer of a prestigious trade association. Even better, he is told that the group accepts him as truly "American," despite his obvious affectations. But when his embezzlement is uncovered, Don can only counsel him that he should start over, because what comes next is always better. Lane knows otherwise, since losing his partnership would force his return to England, where one cannot start fresh and reinvent.

Ironic, then, that his English wife has just bought him a new car from SCDP's new client, the English Jaguar, which Bert Cooper had labeled a "lemon" that "can't start." Lane finds that only too true when, in another darkly comedic moment, he tries to asphyxiate himself in the parking garage only to have the car lie there inert and lifeless. Better to go old school. And is there a more traditional way to go than to hang? Especially when Lane himself has been "left hanging" by the very partners who discover him, and for whom foregoing the Christmas bonuses was little sacrifice. Left hanging also by his divided identity: his head in America but his feet unable to complete the leap across the pond. If Don is the exhileration of American freedom, the English Lane is its "Pryce."

* All quotes are approximate, from memory, and hence "true" in the American sense