The 47 percent dogs

Now I’m not saying that these three dogs registered to vote and cast ballots, but they clearly are wearing “I voted” stickers*. 🙂

They are also members of the 47% Club. They have never paid rent, are on food stamps and get feee medical care. You get three guesses on who they voted for.

The first two guesses don’t count.

All in jest, of course, but here’s hoping you voted today!

*They did not really register to vote nor did they cast a ballot. That would be illegal. Even in Ohio.

Happily ever after; why the dogs were humping in Mad Men

Humping dogs from Mad Men

Humping dogs from Mad Men

A while back, a friend of mine asked me what I thought was the purpose of life. “To ensure the survival of our species, nothing greater,” was my reply. To him, that sounded incredibly sad but for me, it is incredible pragmatic with a sense of ultimate clarity of purpose.

I still believe that and believe also that it can be expanded out to cover the whole condition of the human animal with this simple formula:

Step one; create.
Step two; develop and nurture.
Step three; release, let go.
Step four; repeat.

Whether we’re talking about raising kids, writing a book, building a bridge, mentoring a protégé, composing a song or any of the thousands of things human beings do, the formula remains the same. Create-nurture-release-repeat.

Where people get hung up (yeah, pun intended) is when they become scared of step four or hang too long onto step two and never pull the trigger on step three or never even start step one. Throughout season five of Mad Men, this has been the theme; the journey each character takes through each of these steps on the way to letting go and starting over, to sharing their creation with the rest of the species to ensure its survival. Some made it through the formula while others got caught up in the tentacles of one or more of the steps.

When Matt Weiner puts a two-second scene of two dogs humping out on the sidewalk, you bet we’re gonna notice. You bet we’re gonna write about it. While some have called the scene “completely unnecessary” and put in as a “cheap attempt at soliciting a reaction,” I disagree. Two seconds of airtime is just way too expensive to just “throw in a couple of dogs shagging each other” for the heck of it. I say the scene sums up the meaning of the season perfectly.

Hear me out.

It would be easy to say the humping dogs symbolizes that the old Don is back, but that is missing the mark. I think the dogs humping in the parking lot symbolizes nature’s way of forcing a species to start something that they will need to nurture (nurse), let go and repeat. Dogs do this in a care-free, almost matter-of-fact way. To a pair of dogs in a parking lot, the act of copulation is neutral; it has no moral value. Its only purpose is to ensure the survival of their species.

The activity will eventually result in a litter, which will be nursed along until the pups are ready to be nudged out on their own. The mother’s job will be over and they will go forth and be “successful” on their own without her. She will then repeat the process with another litter.

This is Don’s role. When he was younger, creating, nurturing, releasing and starting over was easy, especially when it was only him. But these days, the formula includes other people. As he is aging, he is also forming attachments that are harder and harder for him to let go. But in true Don Draper stoic style, he finds a way and when he does, he closes the door and moves on even as he cares deeply and honestly about everyone with whom he gets involved.

When Don watches Megan’s screen test, he is not going through the act of falling in love with her all over again or realizing she really is perfect for the part. What he is doing is realizing he has fallen in love with the two-dimension, celluloid version of Megan. The “real Megan” is far more complicated, far more damaged than stylized, acting Megan. In that moment of clarity, Don realized he had hung on to her too long. He realizes that for her to grow, he needed to let her go on without him. That light-headedness was not the smoke in the room, or the sadness in his heart, but relief. He does the right thing even if nobody will ever know he did, even if the right thing looked to the outside world like two dogs humping in a parking lot.

Real life has no happily ever after. It just has a never-ending cycle. But it is it’s purpose.

The complete and authoritative guide to social media

Social Media Icons

My buddy Neil Hedley wrote a blog post yesterday that I just had to comment on. That comment turned into a blog post for me. (yay!)

This came on the heels of a post by Bonnie Stewart on Salon.com about Klout. And here on her blog earlier. Neil Kramer penned this little rant today and Saxon Henry threw this out for discussion on her weekly Adroyt.com salon last month.

It occurred to me that perhaps the online community needed a dog to strap up and take the lead position in this runaway social media sled, so here goes. The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Social Media.*

Your Blog: This is where you live. This is yours, all yours. This is home. EVERYTHING happens here. You own it. Start here; end here.

Twitter: Random crap that pops into your brain during the day. A place to huck your stuff (like blog posts, new books, other writers’ new books, shout out to friends who got mentioned in the press.. except in the police blotter.. leave that out 🙂 )

Facebook: Ugh. Post as little as possible, push to blog, Comment rarely, never more than 2 responses deep. NEVER engage in an argument there.. ever.

LinkedIn: Only post what you want people with money to see. Only reply to posts in groups to establish your authority on a subject.

YouTube: Only to host your videos so you can embed them on your blog. Don’t spend any time customizing your “channel” and never, never care about comments there. Never.

Google Plus: Post for the purpose of smashing keywords into the Google search engine. Push folks to your blog. Comment rarely. No social goal, only SEO/SEM.

Foursquare: Check in if you have B2C clients or sponsors; need an alibi for the police; want to annoy your son who is a chef by checking into chain restaurants.

That’s it. You need nothing more social than that and probably never will. Ignore any other advice you get about social media.

For every other connection that is worth a damn, use the phone or email.

Would a dog lie to you?

*Not responsible for a drop in revenues, self-esteem or any other “in real life” assets you foolishly attached to any of your social media identities. If you ever want to know what is real, take your dog for a walk. Nothing else matters.

Puppies of Mad Men

Midge drawing puppies for Gramdmother's Day in Mad Men

Midge drawing puppies for Gramdmother's Day in Mad Men

I was transferring some rather large iTunes libraries and one of those little buggers is bound to start playing in the background. Season one, Episode One Smoke Gets in your Eyes was the one that started playing.

By the time I figured out it was playing, it made it all the way to the scene where Don knocks on Midge’s door and she shows him the greeting card she is drawing for Grandmother’s Day. It was a puppy! I missed that scene.

Anyway, it got me thinking that if Mad Men started off with a puppy, there has got to be a ton of other puppy references throughout. So I am going to find them and add them here.

If anyone wants to join in on the project, just holler below in the comments and let me know which episodes you will be watching. Post the time dogs or puppies are referenced and we should have a list in short order.

Hey, it’s research!

Season 1, Episode 1, 3:42

Is it hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk?

We all got ourselves scared silly by the apocalyptic weather reporting around here and after obsessively checking to make sure the water dishes were full and the hammer to bust out a car window was safely stowed in the van, we just plumb ran out of things to do.

And then our minds started to wander.. And wonder.

Being the scientifically inquisitive dogs we are, we decided to test that myth of a sidewalk being hot enough to fry an egg.

The MythBusters Adam and Jamie would be so proud.

Enjoy our experiment.

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Ideas through fear – a #letsblogoff thingie

I’d like to wax romantically about how I get my ideas strolling along on dog walks, but that would be a lie. I spend most of my time watching out for speeding cars, white reverse lights and kids on bicycles who think dogs know to move over to the right.. or left.. as they weave in and out along the sidewalk. Walks are for the vigilant. I spend most of my brain power strategizing on how to carry 200 pounds of dog should anything unfortunate happen.

So, dog walks are not really fertile idea grounds. Neither is the time spent mowing the lawn, shopping for groceries, strolling the mall, walking in the park, standing in the shower — all of those stereotypical settings people go on about. Sure, I get ideas in those places from time to time, but mostly not.

….