AMONG THE MANY entertainments of Mad Men is the train-wreck thrill of watching its talented, pretty characters self-destruct in spectacular fashion. They smoke too much, drink too much, work too much, and sleep with the wrong people over and over and over again. But what secondary character Ken Cosgrove did in Sunday’s episode makes Don’s, Peggy’s, Roger’s, Pete’s, and Joan’s transgressions look like harmless, impish fun.
UNLIKE THE HOUSEHOLD in which I grew up, we’re not a watch-TV-every-night kind of family. When it is on, we try to make our viewing a communal activity. Although it’s tempting to let the girls zone out in front of Nickelodeon or Disney Channel while we attack our respective to-do lists, J. and I are cognizant of the fact that our jobs keep us from parenting as actively as we’d like. Relegating the TV to babysitter status is not something we’re keen on.
CHARLES M. Schulz gives us Linus Van Pelt as the moral center of his seminal holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas. Especially compared to his sister, Lucy, a sociopathic bully (“I oughta slug you,” “I’ll give you five good reasons,” etc.) if ever there was one, Linus — gentle, counseling, scripture-quoting Linus — is the one who sets all of us on the right path. Linus is the voice of gentle, moderate decency, the single soul among the consumerist gaggle gathered in the schoolhouse auditorium who can see Christmas for what it is — and what it should be.
Except Linus is a douchebag.
THE FOLKS who research happiness say that regular reflections on gratitude improve one’s mindset. I wouldn’t mind an improved mindset, so I probably ought to think more often about what I’m thankful for. Many of my Facebook friends have spent each day this month posting about the things for which they’re grateful. But the best I can do right now is to offer this list today, Thanksgiving Day, about my gratitude, as I did last year.
Eric Taylor, head coach of the Dillon High School Panthers, will be named to replace Andy Reid, according to multiple sources.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie declined comment, as did Taylor, reached at his home last night. Taylor abruptly hung up the phone when asked whether his extremely attractive wife, Tami, might happen to have a thing for early middle-aged bloggers.
While Taylor lacks the innovative football mind Lurie said he was seeking in his next coach, he is considered a superior motivator, an appealing trait for a team with numerous underperforming, high-priced free agents.
NOT LONG after I became a dad, contemporary, grown-up pop culture began fading from my radar. And so year-end best-of lists (movies, TV shows, songs, books, etc.) of the kind published over the last week hold much less sway with me these days. It’s hard to get excited over such things when you have lots of conversations that begin with “Remember that episode of Victorious when … ?”
Though I no longer read the content of such pieces, I have noticed that alongside the best-of lists, papers and magazines are running worst-ofs. This stinks.