Mad Men Live blog (not at all live edition)

Here at Ohio Needs a Train, we like stuff. We like stuff so much that sometimes we like to write about it. Last night was the fifth season premiere of Mad Men, a show that is no way boring about a guy who isn’t some other guy and also likes drinking. They’re in 1966 now! That’s the year that James Brown finally released the long-awaited James Brown and the Famous Flames Sing Christmas Songs, so obviously there’s a ton of stuff waiting around to be in the backdrop of this season. I could not be more excited. Unfortunately, shortly before it started the entire internet ran away from me like a fickle kitten, and I was unable to post this in time. Please excuse the tardiness, it’s the Ohio Needs a Train live blog, posted twelve hours after the event took place!

9:00 The firm no longer has the Lucky Strike account. I wonder if they still make Lucky Strikes? They did, like, seven years ago. It would be kind of sad to have that be a plot point if the company couldn’t even stay alive.

9:01 I wish the internet hadn’t retreated from me. I’d love to be able to google Lucky Strikes and see how they managed to fare without the advertising help of Sterling Cooper Draper Price. I mean, it’s not a real firm. There is no Don Draper. I mean, there’s also not a Don Draper. It’s Jon Hamm, the actor, who probably totally invested in Lucky Strikes. That’s a good idea.

9:07 I call my stock broker to see if I can invest in Lucky Strikes. He reminds me that it’s probably not a good idea to tie up so much of my money in vice stocks, especially with the rapid decline in smokers, and besides, it’s 9:00 pm and I’m interrupting Mad Men. I fire him on the spot.

9:09 Man. I could use a new broker. I hope the internet makes friends with me again soon.

9:30 I draft an angry letter to a local pizza place, which does not carry anchovies. What do they keep around for jokes about how nobody orders them? I think that every business needs to keep a close eye on its comedy potential. After all: circuit city was almost never intentionally funny, and now they’re closed. This is not a coincidence.

9:40 I call my back-up broker to see if I can arrange for some of the money in my Cayman Islands account to slowly make its way back up here through my shell corporations so I can revive the Circuit City franchise, this time to add mime gear to their inventory. My broker reminds me that the name is still owned and in use, and that no one else thinks mimes are funny. I fire him.

10:15 After a long time spent in the phone tree at Mimes Sans Frontieres to inquire about a tax-deductible donation to their wonderful organization to ensure that even the poor and underdeveloped are permitted access to all of the best miming equipment, I am connected with the president of the organization. Unfortunately, after seven minutes of aggravated shouting, I am reminded why traditionally my conversations with Monsieur Encarde Petit are held over Skype.

10:28 I call my accountants and have them add to my existing pledge with MSF, with a note in the memo field saying that it is specifically for top-shelf miming equipment.

10:31 I have a brief second of internet availability, which I squander looking up the actual price of a jaunty beret.

10:33 Monsieur Encarde Petit is not available on Skype, so I can’t ask him if there are any mimes that smoke Lucky Strikes. I bet he’s watching Mad Men as well. Everybody loves Mad Men.

10:35 I call my television agent and have him copyright a show called Everybody Loves Mad Men, about a chain-smoking mime who lives next door to his parents and has devoted his entire field of study to invisible womanizing, and also invisible drinking. I expect it will be a huge hit, and I can funnel the entire proceeds into MSF’s fund for fake microphones. The last time I saw a mime, his fake microphone was extremely poorly-maintained, and badly needed replaced.

10:38 Apparently this season is not going to be devoted to James Brown and the Famous Flames Sing Christmas Songs. Television writers are so stupid.

10:41 I wonder if James Brown ever considered the benefit of using a fake microphone. “Sweet Little Baby Boy” is split into two parts on side 1 of James Brown and the Famous Flames Sing Christmas Songs. That doesn’t make any sense.

10:47 I spend a long time in the phone tree of R.J. Smith, James Brown biographer. I bet he would know why they didn’t just record the song in one part, especially since there isn’t a side break to screw it up. He never does answer, which is typical. He’s probably also watching Mad Men.

10:49 I wonder if R.J. Smith and Monsieur Encarde Petit are watching Mad Men together without me? That would be a real slap in the face, given the amount of time and money I’ve spent helping Monsieur Encarde Petit with his noble purpose. I’d probably charitably help R.J. Smith out, too, but he doesn’t appear to have his own foundation. If only the internet would stop receding like the ocean before Moses every time I wanted to use it, I would have the answers to all of my questions.

10:51 It occurs to me that James Brown is literally in a box right now. That’s probably why R.J. Smith and Monsieur Encarde Petit are together: they’re studying technique. I write on a post-it note to remember to google R.J. Smith’s interest in mimes, to see if we can work out some sort of funding agreement for this new undead mime initiative. I’ve got some ideas.

10:54 after conducting a thought experiment, I realized that we’d have to spend a ton of money on the marketing campaign for the undead mime initiative, because otherwise people would just go on and on about zombies some more, and I’d hate to think that I’d contributed a single iota to the constant cultural zombie discussion.


Well that was it, folks. As you can see, the internet and I have made friends again, and I’m happy to announce that as I write this, Mimes Sans Frontieres has begun their preliminary research into an undead mime program. I couldn’t have done it without you, Mad Men.

On the Loconess of Tacos

So. The Dorito Taco happened. And I have eaten one.

I suppose first there needs to be some establishment: there’s two foodstuffs here around which the opinions must revolve. First, the Dorito. I am not crazy about the Dorito. Oh, I’ll eat them. And at times in the past, I’ve been known to eat alarming amounts of them. It’s not that I don’t like them. It’s that I don’t sit around and think “boy oh boy what I want right now is a Dorito.” Doritos are a featureless food: I will eat them until they are gone, but they lack the snacknertia to compel me to go out and buy them. You need to, say, stuff them full of Taco-Bell-style taco fillings to get me to walk all the way over to Taco Bell1 to eat them.

And then there’s the Taco Bell component. I actually have a slightly different relationship with the foodstuffs of the Bell. Namely: occasionally I really want to eat said foodstuffs. I’m not really big on fast food such as it is, and I would wager that my relationship with it is not really any different than any other mildly-snobby food conscious person who, nevertheless, occasionally values convenience and salt. Taco Bell, for whatever reason, as the ineffable Bellness that calls out to me, reminding me that, in addition to convenience and salt, I can also have something wrapped in a tortilla.
I love something wrapped in a tortilla. Given my own devices, my way of disposing of leftovers is to plop sour cream on them and wrap them in a tortilla2. There’s something about the food, nestled into a pile by the warm loving hug of tortilla that fills me with joy. And with food, because that’s what food is for. Anyway, a hard tortilla lacks a little of the same joy, but it remains that it is still a little nest for my pile of food to sit in, a nest that I’m going to eat with my face. And yes, there are better places to get tacos3

AND EAT IT WITH MY FACE I DID. Look, the Taco Bell hard taco is fine. And by “fine” I mean “not something I can think of a single reason to order, but only because it’s kind of pointless.” As mentioned about, hard taco shells are just not as exciting as soft shells, mainly because they don’t conform to the contours of the interior food pile, but also for the secondary reasons that 1) they stab you in the goddamned gums all the goddamned time and 2) their very structural integrity is further threatened with every bite, threatening to render your food pile wrapped in a hug…a food pile without a hug. And food piles, like kittens, koala bears, and Jeff Tweedy, need hugs or they’re just terribly, terribly sad. Basically, the downsides aren’t big, but they’re present, and it’s easier to just get the paper-wrapped tortilla envelope of food that is the soft taco, rather than the brittle, treacherous, meat-dumping bitch that is the hard taco.

But tasting like Doritos is theoretically just the right value-add! After all: Doritos are crunchy. And while I don’t think I’ve ever scraped up taco innards with Doritos like I have with non-Doritos tortilla chips, I’m certainly not going to deny that it’s something so far outside the realm of possibility that it causes gibbering4. So it’s a good idea. And the hand-wringing powers that be are unhappy about what this portends for America’s obesity crisis and fuck them because IT’S A TACO MADE OUT OF DORITOS JESUS CHRIST. They’re like people who complain that pop music is ruined forever because of Ke$ha, and no one should ever listen to any of those people ever again.

Anyway. It was presented in a condom5. That was neat. It was a cardboard condom, and it was vaguely insulting. I don’t really know what eating Doritos and not getting dust on your fingers would be like, but I don’t think that Taco Bell suddenly needs to jump into the business of showing me. I wore pants, per their rules. That means I have a way to dispose of Dorito dust. They’re not thinking anything through, and they’re claiming it’s for my benefit. So fuck them. I don’t need their condoms6.
So there is, in keeping with Taco Bell’s general policies, a regular and supreme version of this new sensation. I dutifully ordered one of each, mostly because, in case you jumped into reading this in the middle, sour cream is an important part of the whole mechanism, but also Taco Bell’s tomatoes are soul-destroying in a way that does induce gibbering7. I sauntered8 back to the table, and sat down in front of my Doritos, and then immediately lamented that I wasn’t drunk. Since it would take too long to get drunk and still have time to eat these and then get back to the ONAT Compound East before the self-timing locks on the doors would’ve shut me out, requiring that I order the maintenance robot to open it back up for me, I decided to man the fuck up and put them in my face.
And so did I eat them.

Taco Bell has spent however many million dollars advertising these things. They have covered their stores, their signs, and even the tacos themselves (via their cardboard condoms) in materials reminding people, in a vaguely forceful way, that these are the marriage, the fruit, the offspring of a Dorito and Taco Bell. But they neglected to tell the foodstuff that. Oh, they dyed it a shade of orange that one only finds in a noisy foil bag. They branded it, they dressed it up, they made it pretty, but halfway through, what did I have? I had a pile of taco food in the papery embrace of a cardboard condom (the taco shell broke, because it’s still a hard taco shell), which is, I daresay, a worse experience. It maybe suggested Doritos a little more than it would if I had just thought “doritodoritodorito” real hard before I bit into a standard-model hard taco, but not much more. It did, of course, leave a thick layer of orange dust on my hands9, as implied, but that thick, orange coating only served to remind me of the vast chasm between the majesty I was promised, and the sad, broken shards of my dreams, split like a taco by the mouth of outrageous fortune, and leaving my semi-meaty innards behind, even the vaunted sour cream not enough to maintain my own integrity.

1 Please note that the intervening distance between the ONAT Compound East and Taco Bell includes a gruelling, awful, tree-lined, breezy walk through a cloudless, seventy-five-degree day. These are the things I put myself through for you people.
2 this is not an oversimplification, nor is it overstatement. It’s really what I do.
3 Seriously, don’t you people start with me. I have more opinions about burritos than most people have about every other issue put together, and I will not be accepting any guff.
4 On Ulthar, no man may taco a Dorito.
5 just like Ke$ha should be!
6 probably shouldn’t say that about Ke$ha.
7 It occurs to me that I have absolutely no idea whether you could order a Locos Tacos Supreme with no tomatoes, because I’ve never tried. I probably should try that sometime.
8 it was more of an amble, but until Ke$ha starts offering well-protected sexual favors to amblers, I’m going to have to lie about my swagger periodically. You’ll have to learn to live with it.
9 Really, at this point the similarities are such that I think Ke$ha is going to have to go after them for copyright infringement.

DJ Mix – In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion

Long time, no post, but here you go, my latest mix.  This one is a compilation of funk songs that start slow and build in tempo until the end.  Hope you enjoy.

1.  Watermelon Man – Herbie Hancock
2.  Hickky-Burr – Bill Cosby & Quincy Jones
3.  A Gritty Nitty – The Pazant Brothers and The Beaufort Express
4.  September 13 – Deodato
5.  Conquistador – Maynard Ferguson
6.  Black Markey – Weather Report
7.  Fat Albert Rotunda – Herbie Hancock
8.  Stomp and Buck Dance – The Crusaders
9.  Weird Stomp – Booker T. & The MGs
10.  Spank-a-Lee – Herbie Hancock
11.  Panhandler – Billy Cobham
12.  Wiggle Waggle – Herbie Hancock
13.  Kilimanjaro Cookout – Buddy Rich
14.  The Traitor – Herbie Hancock
15.  Super Strut – Deodato
16.  Sassy Strut – Buddy Rich Big Band
17.  Some Skunk Funk – Billy Cobham
18.  Nite Sprite – Chick Corea