Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted, Brian, and Don

Good news --- I’m blogging.

Bad news -- I’m blogging about nothing.

Ted Kennedy died. Hard to believe that the last of the Kennedy dynasty has died. Ted was not one of my favorites -- he seemed a little smarmy, and I don’t appreciate his career Senate seat. If we look back at the founding fathers ideas, I don’t think that making Congressman your “lifework” was part of the original idea. I think you were supposed to “serve” and go back to your real job. One of the many problems with our current government -- but I’m not getting started with that….


The Kennedy family had a certain tainted royalty about them. We held them up high for some reason, but their beginnings were humble. I remember at one time, after the assassination of RFK, spending a whole summer reading everything that I could about them. They were tragic -- so much sadness, but they had money and press -- a combination that made them very readable in a tabloid kind of way.

Photogenic in that Massachusetts way (my father would say the women were “horse farm” looking) , the Kennedys were a clan -- father was a bootlegger, mother was a matriarch who stood by her man no matter what he did, but is biographysized as a stoic, no-nonsense disciplinarian with her children, one son died in a blaze of glory as a war hero, and two other sons killed by assassins -- that’s the stuff of fiction -- a Hollywood like saga made for TV movie.

They were legendary. They will be written up as so, but I am not sure that history will paint them in a beautiful light. I’ll give them this --- at one time, we Americans could not get enough of them.


I’ve been watching the Braves. They are wearing me out. Chipper looks tired, I don’t know their names, and in HD, they all look like they are wearing Maybeline lipstick # 42. I love baby faced Brian McCann though -- he’s like the all American boy success story -- or at least for this season.

I have also been watching Season 1 and Season 2 of Mad Men. It’s quite the rage right now -- written up in magazines and newspapers as the “drama” of the year… winner of Golden Globes and Emmys -- but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s campy, realistic, and depressing. You don’t want to watch too many episodes back to back, or you might find yourself wanting to go out and buy a pack of Lucky Strikes and a case of scotch.

The anti-hero is Don Draper -- which has to be a play on the word “dapper” -- an ad agency’s creative director and whose ability to pull “ideas” out of the air is rather “whatever,” but he has a certain charm in that American “rags to riches” boy story --- he’s a philander, a bully, and a liar, but for some reason, I love him. The fictional ad agency that sets the drama’s background, Sterling and Cooper, is full of interesting people whose lives intertwine at work and after … most of them not necessarily wholesome activities.

This is not for the young. It’s totally an adult show. It’s a ugly look at American life in the 1960s-- where money should buy happiness, but it mostly buys them drinks and terrible decisions with sometimes rather tragic consequences . There is not a contented character on the show -- unless it’s Peggy Olson, but she has had her own “issues.” (I’m thinking Jimmy Olson of Superman fame -- but I could be making too many connections.)

I dunno. I just know I’m hooked.

Other than that -- I’m still reading.

I haven’t read anything really worthy of blogging -- I read a collection of Chris Adrian’s short stories, which made me go “huh” at the end of them, and a novel titled The Pleasing Hour. I’m still thinking about whether I liked it or not. I think not.

Adrian is a little confused -- he’s a doctor and a divinity student. His stories did not indicate the latter. I wonder what divinity school he attends?


I looked up today and realized that this is the third week of school. I keep waiting to miss it. I’ll let you know when that happens.


Meanwhile, I’m busy. Very busy.


  1. I am still dragging through White Oleander but I keep it in my car so it gets read only when I am stuck there. Could take years. If that doesn't depress me enough, I will get a copy of Mad Men on cd.

  2. I still don't know how I feel about "Anti-Heroes." To some degree I can empathize, if not sympathize, with them and I believe that's the allure in their archetype. They're human, fallible. But on the other hand, I think authors must be careful on how they construct them. I enjoy the anti-hero who is fallible, trying to do some good in the world but can't seem to get their intent to match their ends or their immediately noticeable qualities seem paradoxical to their behavior when placed in moral situations. However, something like Capote's In Cold Blood makes me cringe, for the man tries to make the reader fall in love with men who are monstrous in their behavior while their immediately noticeable qualities seem "okay." I'm going on a serious rant here...let's just say anti-heroes are useful when they're consistent with "hero" in some moral sense, and dangerous for readers when they are used as tools to make the reader fall in love with evil. I think the Kennedy's are a perfect example of a misused anti-hero type.

    Blah blah blippity blah

  3. *Gasp!*
    Gillham's alive!
    We had Open House today, and I stayed at school from 7:40 AM to 8:30 PM.
    What do you twirl when you say, "*twirls*"?

  4. OMG I love that you said I school is 3 weeks in and I am waiting to miss it! Chipper Jones eh, I remember when Chipper was a rookie with the Braves. Hubby and I were watching ESPN the other day and they were talking about Chipper and I turned to hubby and said god how long has he been with the Braves. Yeah I felt old :P!

    Loved your take on the Kennedys! I remember Eddie Q talking about the Kennedys when Emily died. It reminded me of him! :)


  5. I sent a card to Robert's family when he died. Robert was always my hero. But yesterday I read about a book coming out in September that will provide proof that Robert and Jackie had a 4 year affair after JFK's death - that it was Jackie who gave the order to take RFK off the respirator - not Ethel or Teddy. I guess the whole Kennedy clan of men had so many foibles. But, you know what, I remember Chapaquidick (or however you spell it) so well, and I have never been an admirer of Ted, but I was still so saddened by his death! I wonder why? Perhaps because I grew up with them? Can anyone enlighten me?

  6. I couldn't agree more on the Kennedy's. Ted Kennedy would not number one on my list either. However, I watched a few broadcasts these past few days and he did have some redeeming traits that I found quite adn=mirable. He attended every funeral for every soldier from Mass. who was killed in the war in Iraq. He was a surrogate father to his nieces and nephews never missing a birthday, graduation or wedding. And I believe he also reached out to the families from Mass. who lost loved ones in the 911 tragedy. these are aspects of Ted Kennedy I never knew but now that I do I admire the compassion this man had.

    I have only watched the first season of Mad Me. IA. Somewhat depressing, dark, etc. I do not get a happy feeling while watching this show. I always intend on watching but never follow through.

    Great blog. I enjoyed it.

  7. Now this is commenting.

    *inserts dancing banana*

  8. I have always like the "anti-hero" myself. I enjoy a good yarn where the good guy is really not so good but he does have some decent qualitities about himself where he rises to the occasion and does something remarkable.

    On Ted Kennedy, I think it's interesting that he outlived Mary Jo Kopechne by 40 years and cost him, I believe, being the President of the United States. Too bad his death can't take Michael Jackson out of the news.

  9. First and Foremost, you're not allowed to say "inserts dancing banana" ever again.

    Now. The Kennedys. Hmmmmm...personally, the whole idea that the entire family was somehow "cursed" is just absolutely ridiculous. I was just chatting up my trainer at the gym the other day while watching coverage of his death. He said "That family's been through a lot. Think they're really cursed?" I scoffed (which was difficult to do properly given the fact I was already panting on the dreaded treadmill.) Cursed, schmursed... I said "Big O, they cursed themselves by their own hands, with all their shenanigans. Extra-marital affairs, drugs, their politics. They doomed their own futures and took the world along on that tumultuous ride."

    Yes, it's somewhat endearing that Ted reached out to fallen soldiers' families-as a representative of our government, chosen for the people by the people, should do.

    But he sure did have a lot of making up to do for letting a woman drown to her death alone while he gulped in deep breaths and retasted the sweetness of life forty years ago.

    We'll see what his son Patrick will reap...