1. Don’t feel bad, Joan, I Couldn’t See Paul Newman, Either
Thoughts (and prayers?) on last night’s episode of “Mad Men”, which revolved around the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
— “And as soon as they build the 2nd Ave. subway line, this place will quadruple in value.” HA! Great line by Matthew Weiner and his writers, as the year was 1968. It’s now 2013 and the city has only just gotten around to, in the past three years, constructing that line. The Upper East Side has a strict line of demarcation, by the way. If you live west of Lexington Ave. –some would say Park Ave. — you are the upperest of crusts. If you live east of it (3rd, 2nd, 1st, York), you have the Manhattan apartment equivalent of obstructed view seats. East of 1st Ave? You almost need to take a bus just to get to a subway line.
— The guest shot by William Mapother was brilliant (I’ll never forget the words of Tecumseh now). Mapother, whose cousin is Tom Cruise, was a classmate of this blogger’s in college. Ranking the top five Notre Dame Class of ’88ers, I’ll go with:
1. Nicholas Sparks (member of school track team).
2. Heisman Trophy-winner Tim Brown (member of football team).
3. Non-Heisman Trophy-winner-but-famed-skinny-suit-designer Thom Browne (member of school swim team).
4. William Mapother.
5. Dean Kramer (close friend who somehow has managed to work for the same employer — the U.S. Dept. of Treasury — since one month after we graduated)
— Awkward Hug Week: Joan and Dawn; Peggy and her secretary; Henry and Peggy; Don and his son, Bobby, at least when Don puts his arm around the lad’s seat rest (and yet, there’s a shimmer of “That boy’s got a future in advertising” pride in Don’s eyes when his son displays enough insight to tell the black usher that “people go to the movies when they’re sad.”).
— Great idea to interject “Planet of the Apes” into the episode with MLK, Jr. When you think about the racial unrest running rampant in 1968 and the release of this film, which is a thinly disguised allegory of the white-black dynamic in the United States and a possible future “overthrow” by the former slave class, well, I would have enjoyed reading Roger Ebert’s review of that film. What? You say that I can? I love you, internet (Ebert: “It is not great, or significant, or profound.” I beg to differ).
I’m a little younger than Bobby Draper, and I don’t think that my mom had banned us from TV for one week, but my dad did take my brother and me to a Charlton Heston film in the early 1970s that also took place in the future and also had a surprise reveal at the end of the film. Any idea what that film was, and what the famous line from it is? (Don’t you all go running to IMDB right away).*
— A “Planet of the Apes” aside. The climactic scene reveals the upper torso and head of the Statue of Liberty, but I am almost certain that it was filmed at Point Dume, just north of Malibu, Calif. Point Dume is a highly picturesque spot that has provided the backdrop for many a TV or movie scene, but I consider this one from PotA its most iconic.
— Finally, Roger Sterling (John Slattery) is my favorite “Mad Men” character and he has been criminally under-utilized so far this season. And yet, in the few scenes Slattery has had this season, he’s made the most of them. “He could really talk,” says Roger as his way of broaching the assassination of MLK on the day after it took place (which would have been Friday, April 5). “I thought that would save him.”
— Here is ABC’s “Special Report” from the night of MLK’s assassination. The internet: incredible.
And yes, the U2 song has always had it incorrect. MLK was murdered at around 6 p.m., and not “early morning, April 4.”
* The film was Soylent Green (1973) and the line was, “It’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people.”
2. Hot Spurs: San Antonio 4, Los Angeles 0
My pal Arash Markazi reported that the Lakers actually handed out white towels to denizens of the Staples Center before Game 4. L to the OL (yes, I am aware that the Lakers traditionally wear white at home on Sundays, but still). The story, at least from Disney, has been LA’s first-round elimination and Kobe Bryant’s uncertain future, but as Charles Barkley said on TNT, “The Spurs are the best organization in the NBA.” Amen.
It’s not even surprising to those of us who follow the hoop that while San Antonio won its two home games by an average of 11.5 points, it won the two games at Staples by an average of 26 points. This is a coldly professional team, one in which players who might die on the vine on other benches suddenly step in and become valuable contributors. No one will ever confuse LA’s defense with that of the ’89 Pistons, but what I constantly marveled at yesterday was how many easy buckets the Spurs scored. And not just by their starters. The Spurs provide a clinic in passing in the halfcourt, while the Lakers looked like a bad version of the And-1 Tour.
Kudos to the TNT producer who ran the shot of the front row of Staples Center being almost entirely vacated with one minute remaining in the Lakers’ final game of the season. One picture said it all.
It’s looking like San Antonio versus Golden State in the next round. That could be the most entertaining series of the entire NBA playoffs, Finals included.
3. “How do you like my new entrance music?”
President Barack Obama (’44…not to be confused with Jackie Robinson’s “42”, though the parallels are obvious) takes the podium at the White House Correspondents Dinner to the strains of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (which, let’s face it, is fitting for him) and jabs, “Rush Limbaugh warned you about this. Second term, baby.”
Here’s video of his entire speech. And if you don’t watch the entire speech, at least click onto this link that shows the “real” photo of Barack Obama skeet-shooting. As he tells the audience, “The one you saw was photo-shopped. We felt we had to tone it down a bit.”
Too many good lines to include here on my own, so just read this roundup. Still, I’ll mention how Conan O’Brien compared news media to a high school cafeteria: “Fox is the jocks; MSNBC is the nerds; bloggers are the goths; NPR is the table for kids with peanut allergies; Al Jazeera is the weird foreign exchange student nobody talks to — and print media, I didn’t forget you: You’re the poor kid who died sophomore year in a car crash. Cheer up, we dedicate the yearbook to you.”
4. Hot Spur: The Prince of Wales
Welshman Gareth Bale, 23, wins both the Professional Football Player of the Year Award and the PFA Young Player of the Year Award. The forward for the Tottenham Hot Spurs. Bale, who has 19 goals, is the third-leading goal scorer in the English Premier League or, if you prefer, the 2nd-leading scorer among players who have yet to bite someone (we’re looking at you, Luis Suarez). The overall leading scorer, with 25 goals, is Robin Van Persie of Manchester United). Bale now becomes the second-most renowned Gareth that the UK has produced this millennium, after Gareth Keenan, the assistant general manager at Wernham Hogg (“No, that’s assistant TO the general manager.”)
5. Michael Jordan ties the knot.
MJ married his girlfriend of five years, Yvette Prieto, at the Bear’s Club in Florida. We actually attended a wedding there two years ago, but our wedding did not include the “largest wedding tent in history.” The 40,000-square foot tent is actually larger by 5,000 feet than Jordan’s home. Immediately after the ceremony Cirque de Soleil set up shop there for the next six months (my backup joke was, “After the ceremony Charles Barkley wore the tent home as a blazer.”)