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Madder Men

So last night we learned that Don is from Pennsylvania by way of Illinois.  Hey, I know that road!  For more about Don and the gang, check out Lauren Goodlad’s essay in today’s Chronicle of Higher Ed.

I’d do some Monday-morning Mad Men-blogging myself, but I’m tired.  What’s worse than housepainting?  Cleaning the garage, of course!  (It’s basically a big storage shed—you can’t get a car in there, or, if you did, you wouldn’t be able to get anything else in there.) And what’s worse than cleaning the garage?  Why, cleaning the garage after workmen have torn up your rotten parking bay that was full of pits and undulations that filled with water after every rainfall and turned into treacherous ice patches in the winter, replacing it with a gently sloping surface that drains water into the backyard, in a process that left every single thing in the adjacent garage/shed—rakes, brooms, bicycles, lawn mower, gardening implements, containers of motor oil and Armor All, stray golf clubs, assorted boxes and plastic tubs—covered with a layer or two of fine concrete dust.  So every last item had to be taken out and wiped down before I could get to the fun part, namely, sweeping a garage/shed floor covered with the detritus of many rains (because everything used to drain into the garage after a rain, see “rotten parking bay,” above).  Removing the two bags of concrete and the shattered remnants of the soapstone basement sink—approximately one trillion tons, give or take a pound—was a bit of a strain on ye olde neck bones, but it had to be done.  Though I admit I did, once or twice, think back to the conversation I had about eight years ago with the elusive Janet Lyon, in which I said “um, the house doesn’t have a functional garage, and that parking bay is a mess, and it’s really going to suck when it snows,” and Janet said, “oh, don’t worry, it won’t snow.” This being central Pennsylvania and all.  Oh, and the three steps leading down from the rotten parking bay to the backyard consisted of rotting railroad ties with large metal spikes sticking up through them.  I do wonder who thought that was a good idea.  But it’s all fixed and safe and sane now, and I will get some rest.

Posted by on 08/31 at 10:04 AM
  1. I believe it’s been established that real men keep the rotting railroad ties with large metal spikes in a pile on the lawn for a year. The personal injury lawyers chipmunks will love you.

    Posted by  on  08/31  at  01:50 PM
  2. Ah, the chipmunks.  It was in chasing the chipmunks that Lucy the Dog tore up a little patio on the other side of the house from the garage/parking bay, leaving a path of a couple dozen scattered bricks and a tunnel that I said must have been the work of the Shawshank Dog.  It’s been a house-maintenance-heavy kind of year, it has.

    Posted by  on  08/31  at  03:29 PM
  3. I am fairly certain (99%+ certainty) that none of that work provided anything good or healing for your neck.  If i were your MD, i would have asked you “What the xxck were you thinking?” But i suspect your RPT will make that clear. Please get well. 

    As for “that” tv show that i watched early this AM, i chose to look for the classic middle, and upper-middle, class drugging of that period, other than the alcohol and cigarettes (although the stealing daughter was right in there).  Perhaps it was just a SoCal thing, but i grew up in a 50s-60s world full of lots and lots of pills, ostensibly prescribed for every condition (much like snakeoil).  By the time i was in high school in 1962, i could rely on regularly visiting my mother’s medicine cabinet for something to take (help?) me in any direction desired (we referred to them by their colors and knew their efficacious effects) .  When i read about the current worries of ADD/ADHD, anti-depressant, mood stabilizing, and painkiller drug over-prescribing, i laugh at how much more cavalier things were in that Mad Men period. I gather the producers aren’t quite comfortable yet with showing all of that??

    Posted by  on  08/31  at  05:36 PM
  4. I think the producers are comfortable with a great deal, spyder—the idea of having the members of the Old Guard do blackface at a Long Island club while the Young Turks smoke dope in the office was pretty amazing.  As for those other, more mainstream drugs, like mother’s little helpers—I wonder.  Speaking of which, the bet around here (courtesy of Janet) is that Betty’s pregnancy is going to involve DES or thalidomide, with all that implies.

    And about my poor neck:  you can hire people to make you a new, functional parking area.  (In fact, I have to, because I have no idea how to do it myself.) But you really can’t hire people to clean your garage.

    Posted by  on  08/31  at  06:25 PM
  5. I haven’t seen the show, but it’s probably not so much that the producers were not comfortable with showing mother’s little helpers as that they don’t have a clue.  This is the outfit, after all, who guessed that Ann-Margret in the movie version of “Bye Bye Birdie” was some sort of sex symbol rather than the occasion for a country-wide belly-laugh.

    Posted by  on  08/31  at  08:21 PM
  6. Michael, please next time (?) hire people to do what you tell them to do to clean your garage.  Become the guy who points and relaxes.

    Yes that blackface scene was quite powerful, given the more recent examples in our last couple of years.  I still think those ‘helpers,’ which included a cornucopia of wonders, should be displayed in each episode.  Unlike the blackface and cigarettes, the proverbial “take two and see me” drug mantra came from that period of time (and we live with it today).  I suppose if they could pull off a thalidomide storyline (perhaps polio??), they could also have some LSD therapy mixed up in there.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  01:28 AM
  7. the elusive Janet Lyon

    What is the deal with “elusive,” anyway?  You usually seem to have found her with little trouble.

    But you really can’t hire people to clean your garage.

    As spyder implies, you certainly can.  It’s not like the old joke about friends and noses.

    Of course, it’s also one of those jobs that one could plausibly feel needed to be done by oneself.  Because one knows what to throw away, and knows what to keep.  My father has a hard time delegating such packing and sorting tasks, too, and he’s even wearing nitroglycerin packages these days.  For his heart problems, not for his secret identity as the Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight.  Then again, he does live in Arizona, and does think that the Muslim communist in the White House is leading us into ruin… Never mind.  If I keep this up, I might stop being my normal happy-go-lucky self.

    So, this Mad Men is a television program, then?

    And Professor, do try putting off some of these tasks for a little longer.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a blown nerve, but I assure you it’s not pretty.

    Posted by  on  09/01  at  09:45 AM
  8. I love coded grumpy spouse blogging.  And humorously complainy house-maintenance-sucks blogging.  I feel less alone in the world now.

    Posted by bitchphd  on  09/01  at  02:17 PM
  9. Though the grumpy spouse blogging should probably be leavened by the acknowledgment that Janet’s wishful thinking about snow in central PA is as nothing compared to her former-cardiac-ICU-nurse caretakin’ when it comes to illness and/or injury.

    Also, house maintenance sucks.

    Posted by Michael  on  09/01  at  03:06 PM
  10. I thought i had asked this before somewhere on this site, but i can’t find it so i must have been dreaming.  I am still confused about how the extremely conservative talking heads (yet never ever a floating one--something about the density of rock) so constantly insist that communism, socialism, fascism, hitlerism, racism, totalitarianism, stalinism, etc., are all one and the same???  And to think that they are making this claim now about the future of edumacation in the USA.

    Posted by  on  09/02  at  06:30 PM
  11. Drop out for Jesus, dude.

    Posted by  on  09/02  at  07:55 PM
  12. Delurking to say congrats on the new parking area, and on cleaning out the “garage.” By cosmic coincidence, we also had a house-maintaining summer which included emptying the garage, boiler room, and sundry storage areas, AND I managed to work in an MRI and physical therapy (torn cartilage, right wrist, from moving a 25’ ladder alone). Aren’t you glad it’s the fall?

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  01:07 AM
  13. I guess with Jesus you can skip the turning on and tuning in part of the equation.

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  05:58 AM
  14. I assume you are back indoctrinating the kiddies. Cal Thomas has your marching orders:

    Here is the way I believe it works at liberal universities. Some professors require their students to repeat back to them on test papers and in theses what the professors believe. Unless students hate Republicans, revile George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, renounce God, support abortion and gay rights, they can sometimes expect a lower, even a failing grade.

    But if they listen to The Dixie Chicks, “A"s all around! Woohoo! Take that Diane Sawyer.

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  08:55 AM
  15. Fiorentina!  Great to hear from you—and I think we now have conclusive evidence that big ladders are the devil.  We haven’t even gotten to the boiler room yet—that’s next.  I hope your wrist has healed....

    So that we can get back to indoctrinating the kiddies!  Don’t forget to make them revile Cal Thomas as well as God, Reagan, fetuses and heterosexuals!

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  09:11 AM
  16. Here is the way I believe it works at liberal universities.

    Someone needs to call OSHA, because that “believe” is way over its loadbearing limit.

    Also, “liberal universities”?  I’d say Marlboro Bard, and Sarah Lawrence largely fit the liberal label, but they’re not universities.  What institutions does Cal have in mind?  Anywhere evolutionary biology is taught?

    Now, as for “conservative” universities: Though I suspect that not even George Mason University’s economics department works in quite the manner Cal describes, socially conservative universities most certainly do.  Unless you explicitly endorse their version of God, morality, and politics, you’re going to have a hard time staying enrolled at, e.g., Liberty or Regent, let alone getting good grades.  And since this is Cal “Christian Coalition” Thomas talking, we can put the whole thing down to a mix of projection and envy.

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  09:20 AM
  17. And of course I meant “Marlboro, Bard” rather than invoking the image of Shakespeare with a cigarette.  If only there were some way to preview comments before posting them.

    We haven’t even gotten to the boiler room yet—that’s next.

    I hope you’re not serious.  If you are, you need to make cleaning out your boiler room an extra credit project for one of your classes.  Along with the Reagan Revilement*, naturally.

    *Not one of Robert Ludlum’s… Wait, I’ve already used that one.  Thanks, Preview!

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  09:26 AM
  18. Hugo Chávez Obama! Leave them kids alone! 

    This is an abuse of power and an attempt by the Obama Administration to indoctrinate young Americans into supporting his socialist agenda. Parents should be extremely concerned.

    I also asked Gordon about an Internet campaign that has risen up, encouraging students to skip school on Tuesday [the day of Obama’s speech]. Does she support students skipping school, or walking out of the address or the activities? Gordon replied: “That decision is up to the parents, not the RPOF.”

    Aargh. NBC’s First Read got to the headline before me (sans the Hugo reference). My mind is going, I can feel it.

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  10:08 AM





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