“With your feet in the air and your head on the ground.”

From the internet:

Schizophrenia: the insanity virus.

The return of literary magazines?

Bill Clinton to be in The Hangover 2.

How the CIA used modern art as a weapon.

Darren Aronofsky’s Wolverine sequel to be called simply The Wolverine.

Carey Mulligan considered the front runner for Daisy in the Baz Luhrmann/Leonardo Dicaprio adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

The reign of right-wing primetime.

J. J. Abrams’ Undercovers canceled.

Thankfully: Satoshi Kon’s last movie to be completed by Madhouse.

The future of reviews.

Previously on Counterforce: Gravity Girls.

Pictures in this post by Stephen Morris, from here.

Six x-rated comics you can read without shame.

Six steps to being the coolest person at media/tech parties.

My crush is engaged! :(

Facebook’s “gmail killer” coming on Monday?

Aaron Sorkin’s four big problems with the WGA.

Natalie Portman wasn’t the “Deep Throat” for The Social Network.

…but she has written a new “raunchy comedy.”

Kanye West’s “media trainer” reportedly quit within a week.

According to John Lennon: Yoko does not sweat.

The words “Thom Yorke” and “photobomb” are always funny in the same sentence.

“Try this trick and spin it, yeah.”

After the tragic death of Party Down, Rob Thomas (no, not that cunt) has a new FOX sitcom.

When Tyler Coates met Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Iain M. Banks on uploading oneself and living forever.

Jonathan Lethem on They Live.

Caveman science fiction.

Embarrassing Moments” by Megan Boyle.

We wouldn’t have this pithy little thing you call “civilization” if it weren’t for beer.

Psychic wars.

A comprehensive glossary of GIFs.

Can we see into the future?

I walked with a zombie.

from here.

Meanwhile on the internet:

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while…

Steven Spielberg commits to next direct ROBOPOCALYPSE.

…which I think we’ve mentioned before in some context.

The trailer for Strange Powers, the documentary about Stephin Merritt.

Julie Newmar on The Monkees.

Shocking news: James Marsters and the rest of the rest of the cast of Buffy The Vampire Slayer are so much cooler than Luke Perry.

There is so much fucking water on the moon.

from here.

Liam Neeson to replace Mel Gibson in the celebrity cameo department in The Hangover 2. The downside to that? There’s a sequel to The Hangover.

Why I want to fuck J.G. Ballard.

The replacement cover for the “banned” cover to Kanye West’s new album is ugly.

An interview with Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino.

This site hits far too close to home.

The School of Night.

The comic above: That’s Cyanide & Happiness, which I found over at The High Definite, but after you’ve read that, I’d highly recommend checking out Part 1 and Part 2.

What your favorite movie characters would do if they were attacked by zombies.

Inside the minds of Daniel Clowes and Johnny Ryan.

Conan O’Brien announces who his first week of guests will be.

Interesting video concerning New Zealand actors and The Hobbit, which just cast Martin Freeman in the titular role.

Life on Earth could be transformed by NASA space technology.

Incredibly creepy website promoting Black Swan.

And below, from here:

A man from a town with no name.

Right off the bat, let’s lift a shadow off this evening: The only people for us are the mad ones and there’s nothing nearly eloquent enough to explain our excitement about the return of Mad Men tonight (and the return of us gabbing about each new episode afterward) with the fourth season premiere, “Public Relations,” but August is going to start us off with…

August Bravo: One of those guys is going to leave New York with a VD.

Is it me or shouldn’t this episode have been titled “Don Fucking Draper,” right?

from here.

Marco Sparks: Seriously. That would have been a great title for the season premiere of the show for rich people and rich minds alike.

August: Seriously. This episodes taps into the psyche of Don and who he is now. Maybe who he always was.

Marco: I feel like every single season we’re told that there’s a larger question hanging over that particular year or story arc, and there is no resolution, not clearly. There’s milestones. There’s totems on that timeline. There’s road blocks and rest stops, but that probing question only gets more complicated, more faceted…

But it’s nice that no matter how despicable some of Don’s actions can be, he’s still one of our better role models for men on television. Right? Well… no, probably not. There’s obviously a very masculine energy to him, a complicated creature of intrigue and overflowing with a talent that can’t be denied and a certain enviable confidence. But it’s a weird time for men now, not unlike the 60s in some regards, and it’s hard to find good male role models in this day and age…

from here.

…I mean, right?

Though it’s interesting to watch the new era of Don Draper. The single Don, a man living a sadder life perhaps? It’s like watching an actor without a real role. Don’s always a little more in his zone when he’s lying to a woman effectively and it’s got to be hard for him when the possible new girl in his life sees through a little of the old tricks of his. But, Don being Don, and knowing the ways of the world like he does, and being in advertising after all, he relies on kindly women from the oldest profession who can give him what he wants, a literal expression of what has happened to him thus far: A good slapping around.

August: No need for the hooker to take off her brassiere, she already knows what Don wants.

Marco: Even if perhaps Don himself doesn’t.

August: I’m not sure a lot of people could have imagined Don throwing himself down to this level. But I don’t think it’s like that.

Marco: I’m sure the events of his life sure haven’t helped. The confusion at work as they build a new company. The constant struggle to move out of the darkened corners of invisible anonymity in the creative department to becoming the poster boy, the handsome cipher, the face of the company.

It’s 1964 at this point, it’s Thanksgiving, and Don isn’t finding himself a whole lot to be thankful for. This new found freedom isn’t necessarily good for him, it sure as hell isn’t glamorous in any way, and divorced guys are seemingly considered basically damaged goods. And I think a lot of people came up with a lot of reasons for why Don like or wants or needs a bit of the rough stuff in his sex life, specifically being slapped, but the very first thing I got out of it was a reminder of Betty slapping him back in the season finale last year.

August: Life is just slapping him around at this point. I think it’s about what he said earlier. Every day he works is an investment for the company. He has no time to pick up women and seduce them into copious amounts of sex, to play that particular game that he plays so well. He has work to do.

Marco: Cause in every single way, Don is the star of this show.

I love the use of “John And Marsha” by Stan Freeberg, one of the kings of early satire, and the song is both a lovely inside joke when it comes to the world of advertising and a nice joke on soap operas. And it only becomes so much more meta when you consider that that’s really what Mad Men is.

August: Johnnnnnn.

Marco: Marshaaaaaaa.

August: In the metamorphosis from Sterling Cooper to Sterling Cooper Draper Price I’m glad they’ve updated from their shanty of an office in a hotel room to an actual floor, which unfortunately enough for Harry Crane doesn’t have more than one story, with their name on the door. Sorry Pete, guess they did end up having a lobby. But still no table…

Marco: I think we’re all holding our breath in anticipation of more Joan. And the possibility of Joan and Don… you know. That’s the difference, in just some regards, between a show like Mad Men and True BloodTrue Blood is all soft core fan service (at some point everyone on that show will have fucked everyone else on that show for our amusement) and Mad Men is cerebral teasing all the way. It’s about dangling and snatching away at the last moment.

I especially think that’s true in light of this episode of Mad Men, which is all about not being able to close certain deals and not wanting to close others. You gotta love Don’s orchestrated “fuck off” to the prudes manufacturing sex in swim wear and thinking they’re better than they are.

August: I enjoyed the ruse Peggy and Pete conjured in order to garner press for the ham company. Didn’t go as planned, but that’s life I guess.

Marco: “It was going great… until it wasn’t.” Is this the beginning of real publicity stunts as prominent and regular tools for advertising?

August: It’s hard out there for the boys and girls in America. Especially in the 60’s. 1964, if I’m not mistaken?

Marco: It certainly is.

August: Sad to see no one from the old Sterling Cooper in the episode, but I’m sure we will in due time.

Marco: Like your beloved Ken Cosgrove.

August: Ken had cool hair. Terrific few parts of the episode? Don and Roger bickering back and forth about the one-legged reporter and his inability to write a real story. Maybe they should talk to a whole reporter next time? Ha-ha. Roger sure as shit was the comedy relief in this episode as a lot of things/people were so morose.

Now back to Don, who has always been the main character of the show, I guess the protagonist, if you will, who really made this episode what it was. I think he feels this is temporary, this won’t last with Betty…

Marco: Henry Francis just feels like he’s about to get hit by a car or walk off the top of a skyscraper any moment now, doesn’t he? His patheticness almost makes Betty look even more cruel and horrid. It leaves where she ends up because of her frustrations from the past few years even more unchecked. Just as the kids are scared of their mother, I can’t imagine Francis not growing bored of her and then where will Matthew Weiner deliver her( and us)?

from here.

August: Will Don get back with her? Will he want to? The man with no key to his own house. I love his ability to take the jabs by his attorney and Roger in this episode. Usually so defensive, I think he’s just too shot down. Or just doesn’t give a shit anymore.

Marco: I’d be hurt if Benjie Light doesn’t have a few words to share with us about Betty, but I like where they’re taking the kids here, story-wise and post-divorce, the way they’re building on what we’ve seen so far concerning Sally and Bobby Draper. Sally, of course, is going to rebel and be repulsed by the way her little life is going so far and Bobby is going to grow up to be fucking creepy. If they ever do an episode flashing forward to where all the characters ended up, I want to see Bobby Draper, with his new striving to be liked by everyone now, as a politician.

And since they cast Matt Long as Peggy’s little partner, I’m wondering just out of curiosity since I never actually watched Jack And Bobby (and I don’t believe that anyone else did either)(though I think John Slattery was on there too), but didn’t Bobby end up being the one who grew up to become President?

August: No need for Don to try to defend his failing marriage, he’s got other things to worry about. Like mentioning jai alai…

Marco: Fucking jai alai.

August: …in his news story. Maybe that interview with the Wall Street Journal will make it all better?

Marco: Or so much worse. Is this the beginning of Don getting so much bigger in his own mind? Don Draper as Dirk Diggler?

August: His bitterness towards Henry and Betty was no surprise, after all, they’re living in his own house, rent free.

Marco: I hope that Betty becomes the new Don in that house.

from here.

Especially since Henry’s idea of recapturing the magic between involves them fucking in the car, seemingly echoing back to when they had to sneak around? Only one episode in and I already feel like these characters feel like they can’t handle the a-changin’ times around them and they’re flirting with the soft seduction of the past and all of it’s elements, the moments when they felt happier or more dangerous.

August: I couldn’t tell you where this episode may take us, as far as the new season is concerned. I’m just hoping I get to see more of Pryce.

Marco: And Joan. And maybe more Trudy/Alison Brie? And maybe we can slowly grasp our way towards something resembling that eternally elusive question that this show constantly is hanging over us…

August: Who is Don Draper?

Without your permission.

Mad linkage:

A visual representation of Ice-T telling Aimee Mann to eat a hot bowl of dicks in their recent twitter spat.

The entire archive of Twitter is going into the Library Of Congress. Seriously.

Think gene patents are controversial now? Just wait.

Steampunk Indiana Jones French hotties.

Psychedelic information theory.

Steven Seagal sued for allegedly keeping sex slaves.

Mel Gibson is splitting with his new girlfriend and Larry King is cheating on his wife with her sister.

Street Art pictures from here.

Conan O’Brien going to TBS. “Very funny.”

Does our universe live inside a wormhole?

The fair Ophelia! Nymph in thy orisons/Be all my sings remember’d…

From the Herald Sun on November 25, 2008:

Andre Tchaikowsky, a concert pianist and composer, never achieved his dream of becoming an actor, so he bequeathed his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

It has sat in a box in the props department, untouched, for 25 years. Now, it has made its stage debut at a Hamlet production in Shakespeare’s former town of Stratford-upon-Avon, starring TV’s Doctor Who David Tennant.

“It was sort of a shock tactic, though of course to some extent that wears off and it’s just Andre in his box,” production director Greg Doran said.

The pianist, who died at 46 of cancer, left the rest of his body to science.

His skull was almost set to star as that of “poor Yorick” in an earlier production in 1989, but after a month of rehearsals the lead actor declared he was uncomfortable handling “real human remains”.

I thought of the above story, amongst several other things, because of this dream I had a while back. The same dream that I seemed to have in a slightly updated from a few nights ago. In both of these dreams, each delerious on magical oneiric energy, I was an actor who had been cast in a high school production of Hamlet. I wasn’t younger or back in high school in this dream. I was me, just as I am now, almost ten years removed from the hustle and the bustle of the high school game. I had been cast as the Prince of Denmark in a high school play in which all of the other cast members were high school students. It was wild, but naturally a little weird as well.

At whatever point in the dream that was “now,” it was a few hours before the curtain rose and there was a rally going on at school, one of those “school spirit” boosters in the auditorium (that all of us cool kids would skip), so the masses were at that, and the more theatre-ish crowd (and you remember how weird all the drama kids were at your high school)(no offense if you were a drama kid back in high school, but let’s no bullshit, you know what I’m talking about better than anyone)(and what I’m talking about is at my high school[s], the drama kids were the ones prone to orgies, boring orgies in which they spoke lines from Hamlet and screamed and argued over which era of the Beatles’ albums their friendship was currently at, but that’s a story for another time, obviously) were all hanging out around the back stage area and it’s peripherals. Some of the kids were assembled in neat little cluters, either talking about which set of tights made their package look nicer or worried about a zit here and there or whether or not whatshername from their Science class would go with them to the prom, or at least give them a handjob in exchange for weed. A classy bunch, to be sure.

Somewhere at this point in the dream, as I was just wandering around and taking note of things as I am wont to do, I had (of course) forgotten all of my lines. For this play that we had rehearsing for several weeks now. The dream “me” had forgotten the lines, I mean. And there I was, about to go into this performance, struggling the to think up all of the lines from Hamlet that I could remember, that actual “me” could remember, that is (which, to be fair, is probably a good deal more than your average person remembers).

And so there I am, sitting there in this dream, trying to think of how I’m going to play all of these scenes that were awaiting me, which choices I wanted to make in the performance (and Hamlet is a role with nothing but choices attached), how big I wanted to take certain parts of it, and trying to think about which moments needed to be quieter, more restrained. Also, there was the question of how overwhelmingly masculine or how little boy-ish the main character to be, rewinding my memory back to Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and Mel Gibson’s Hamlet, excellent examples of both of those almost in the extreme. Even the Ethan Hawke Hamlet made it’s way through my grey matter, a film that had some decent parts, both as a film by itself and as a retelling of a classic (but all of the stuff in the film that I liked was with my favorite character in this story and not with the title character).

I was even straining to remember Kurosawa’s version of Hamlet, The Bad Sleep Well, and Olivier’s Hamlet (or even The Lion King), both I saw both of them so long ago that it was harder to recall anything. But all of it was in a jumble as I paced back and forth, furiously attempting to remember which choices those actors made in those steps into the roles and ponder which ones I’d like, or duplicate, and which I absolutely abhored and would prefer to go a different route altogether in…

I know, I know. I dream weird dreams. But can you believe that none of my fellow high school “actors” would go over some last minute rehearsals with me? Fuckers. I hope whatshername doesn’t go to prom with them. I hope she goes with the captain of whatever team or one of those assholes from the FBLA. The same goes for the hand job.

Anyways, as bizarre and frustrating as it was, it was an awesome dream, if I can sound like (more of) a nerd for a moment. Very cool stuff. I mean, the dream itself was tense and manic, a lot of running around and panicking while at the same time trying to explore so many options in my head, but… it was exhilarating as well. Incredibly so.

Ah, what dreams may come…

‘Why couldn’t Ophelia Save Hamlet? That’s another of my questions actually.’

‘Because, my dear Julian, pure ignorant young girls cannot save complicated neurotic over-educated older men from disaster, however much they kid themselves that they can.’

‘I know that I’m ignorant, and I can’t deny that I’m young, but I do not identify with Ophelia!’

‘Of course not. You identify yourself with Hamlet. Everyone does.’

-from from The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch (via Tyler Coates).

from here.

As I mentioned above, or as you might have inferred from above, Hamlet is by no means my favorite character in his eponymous tale. It’s Ophelia. Someday I hope to see a version of the story from her point of view. I especially mention this because when I had the dream that I shared with you again just recently, the girl playing Ophelia in the high school play stood out to me as perfect casting. And it was a shame too because if Hamlet hadn’t come around and fucked up her life, Ophelia might’ve been happy.