mad_men_xlgUpdate 27 May 2012: When I first posted this in 2007, I asked the question “Where are all the Mad Women?” and tonight’s episode of Mad Men, “The Other Woman” answered that. “Finally, someone beautiful, with talent and a caring heart, takes an almost impossible step toward a career, and a life well lived.”

Here’s is the original post from October 25, 2007:

This TV series from the producers of The Sopranos has certainly succeeded in providing an opportunity for one former Austin ad man to reflect on what was happening in our little part of the advertising pond in 1971 (which is like 1960 in Austin years). Ed. Note: This was originally posted in the Reader Forum of the Daily Texan, student newspaper of UT Austin. More about Mad Men at Mad Men Mad.

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2011 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Editor’s Note: The following excerpt of an upcoming paper to be delivered by an aspiring Peer of Human Studies, to the Review Board of Tralfamadorian University, Universal Date – 312456, was intercepted by the SETA Observatory Radio Telescopes in Puerto Rico, at about 0100 hours, 28 October 2011.

“The dedicated student of human nature will often look for valuable indicators of these most fascinating creatures, by surveying some of the peripheral aspects of their culture. From their literature, folklore, superstitions, and from the games they play or follow in their spare time. In observing two of these phenomena occurring in the later portion of the 10th month of their solar year (marked by the time of 1 complete orbit of their world, Earth, around their star, Sol), this scholar found a curious and, I believe important, link.

‘Baseball’ and ‘Halloween’ exhibit a previously unknown, or at the very least, under-explored relationship. The members of this Board will recall, from both my previous presentations on these two items, that they seem to stem from very different parts of the spectrum of Human Culture. That is, Baseball being a Game played by children and adults with a small, hide covered orb (or ‘ball’ thus the name), and Halloween, described as a pseudo-religious, fairy-tale inspired celebration of a ‘Ghosts, Goblins, and Gremlins – Shop at WalMart’ endeavor for children and low intelligent adults, primarily as an excuse to eat massive quantities of sugar and sharp metal-laden confections – candy.

After close observation and review of the activities of the latest (Game 6) of the seven games of the World Series held last night in the City of the Arch (which artifact has puzzled Tral historians for some time), I propose that the World Series (of Baseball) is in fact the ritual and celebration that leads up to the annual night of offspring sacrifice known as Halloween.

What is most disturbing, and what inspired the thesis I present here today, is that events of Game 6 actually support the existence of Gremlins (or Angels or Devils, depending upon which Movie or Theatrical Performance is referenced). See Damn Yankees, Angels in the Outfield, or Gremlins in the Bullpen, for reference.

What else could explain the baubles, bumbles, and ‘whacky antics’ of two groups of very talented and professional adult Baseball Players, to whom this Human Society has paid millions of dollars (in a very bad economy), to ‘turn the perfect double play’ ?

Gremlins exist, and while this is not the first time that they appeared in World Series Games (See the 1986 World Series), this 2011 World Series is without a doubt, the most extensive showing of the ‘little devils’.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration, I remain,
Honus W. Doubleday, Humanist Studies, University of Tralfamadore

Post Script: Be sure to watch tonight’s Game 7, and observe a possible answer to the true purpose of the building of the St. Louis Arch, which was completed 46 years ago, on October 28, 1965. Is it some sort of time capsule Trojan Horse, spewing out 100’s of Baseball Ghosts (the Dean Brothers or Satchel Paige), to play their part in this scariest of Human Endeavors. I will update this post with the chilling answers. “So it goes.”

A Thousand Lifetimes

My part of the country has been suffering under a ‘heat dome’, with over 60 days at plus 100 degrees and zero rain. Driving in to the city this morning, there was a tease of weather that delivered 18 raindrops on my windshield. Not that driving into town at 5:30 AM, dodging the usual morons isn’t philosophical enough, but today I was listening to a freshly downloaded bonus track mp3 release of Glen Campbell’s “Ghost on the Canvas”. An incredible journey…

“A Lineman for the County” was an amazing introduction for me to Campbell’s voice and music, in a time of my life when AM radio and driving cars gave me a voice that sounded good, as long as I sang along with the blaring single speaker in the ’63 Chevy I drove around Austin in 1968. A freshman at UT Austin, I had no TV but went to the Student Union Building to watch the Smothers Brothers, and saw the too clean cut GC singing.

Glen Campbell on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

Now Glen is 75 with Altheimer’s, and I’m older, too, thinking about my ‘never-ending farewell tour’, and how tenuous our mental awareness is. It scares us, as it should. Those of us in our 60’s are ‘holding on to hope,’ and rooting for another victory by the medical community, over another demon of aging.

But back to the music, and how an icon of my life is making a journeyman effort to leave us with a legacy of words and music that will hopefully carry us to our end, as well. All of the 18 selections in “Ghost” are marvelous, and “In My Arms” really celebrates the music. But my favorite, “A Thousand Lifetimes”, has the line that speaks to me and mine, so well.

“Every breath I take, is a gift that I will never take, for granted.”

Warren Zevon left us with “Enjoy Every Sandwich”, as an epilogue and reminder to ‘live today’. And now Glen Campbell gives us more songs to sing along with as we spread our lunch, on the next thousand picnics.

Ghost on the Canvas - Glen Campbell

Marvin Argyle Everett

On this Father’s Day 2011:

On this day, observing the most amazing times and events in our history, two things strike me as important: The legacy of my father, and the 24nd annual cycle since we started our Fantastic Journey.

Dad’s Day

Marvin Argyle Everett A note here about Marvin Argyle (1909-1990). He instilled in me the burning curiosity that got me here, and taught me the most important lesson in my life: “You don’t have to know all the answers. But you do have to know how and where to find them. Look it up.” He was a crossword puzzle freak, knowing at least 17 different 3 letter words for a river in India. Here’s a picture of him from a half a century ago. He would have loved the Internet, since he was the living analog predecessor of Google. I’ve often thought that if I had invented a gozillion dollar search engine, I would have named it marvinargyle.com ’cause he knew something about everything. Happy Father’s Day.

Originally posted June 21, 2009

The Marv in the Moon

On December 21, 2010 we will see a total lunar eclipse on Winter Solstice, an event that has not occurred since 1638 CE.

Marvin Argyle Everett

Decembers always seem to bring transitions, and Saturday, December 11, 2010 will mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of Marvin Argyle Everett (1909-1990), who could have been one of my favorite characters in any number of Robert Heinlein’s marvelous stories. There’s more about “Marv” in a post I did in 2008, called Papyrus 2.0. These two very different individuals provided much of the fabric from which I made my coat of many colors, through my childhood and into manhood.

Marvin Argyle Everett was not a scientist, writer or politician. He was a teacher and factory worker who knew more about the science of making soap for Procter and Gamble than all the junior execs who came through on their way somewhere else. He gently asked them not to step in his pile of floor sweepings in the Dallas P&G plant, while they queried him on the operations of the saponification process section he ran for over 20 years. He was also a Sunday School Teacher for the Men’s Class in the Baptist Church in our town for more than a decade or so. He taught me how to find the answers for all but the most technical or philosophical questions. He did not teach answers but taught how to find them, which is a distinctively different process.

From the juvenile sci-fi books of Heinlein, and more exactly the later adult stories, I learned to open my mind to explore galactic alternatives to the sodden life in South Dallas County in the 50’s and 60’s. From Podkayne of Mars,  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,  The Glory Road and Stranger in a Strange Land, I imagined that my ‘boy hick’ would someday travel the stars, and meet the Empress of the Seven Universes. Little did I realize then that all these tales would come true, not in some distant world, but right here in Parker County. Together my heroine and I conquer worlds of villains, from the comfort of our stone cottage.

Robert and Virginia Heinlein on the set of Destination Moon, in 1949

Marv would not have agreed with very much of what Heinlein had to say in his stories, but in my cooling tower of a brain the two provided me with all the number crunching, text processing, emotional roller coastering that I have needed to build a pretty damn good picture of life.

The enigmatic nature of the literature of Heinlein is that his heroes were often misfits, orphans, accidents, or inconvenient additions to whatever world in which they found themselves. This underdog mythos speaks volumes to most of us nerds, geeks, and generally Animal House denizens, who wind up on the Supreme Court or running the Olympics. Wow! Dinkum good.

These tidbits of fact and fict I pass on to you, who are smart enough to find this needle in the haystack of a Web 2.0 bloggers’ universe. Ha! TANSTAAFL I say to you! Marv would say, “Big Joke!”

Notes from Tom Clifton, about the photo in Flickr:

The Tektite habitat at the bottom of Lamshure Bay, St John, US VI. Photo by Ed Clifton 1969. I have included this photo in the Meteor, Meteorites, and Tektites pool for obvious reasons. What might not be obvious is why it was called Tektite. This is second hand, so I apologize if I missed something:

The story behind the naming the habitat goes something like this. The original design came out of GE’s space division and someone at GE figured that it could work as an marine habitat. When working on what to name it, they came across the definition of a tektite as something from space that lands on the ocean floor.

Tektite Habitat ~ Originally uploaded by Tom Clifton Continue Reading »