George Lois asks: Can you do better?

george lois can you do better

George Lois was a real Madison Avenue adman from the 1950s and 1960s, and after. He wrote a book some years ago called DAMN GOOD ADVICE, which is a combination memoir / self-accolade / idea book.



It’s a good read, and a funny one. I recommend it.



(Incidentally: if you watch “Mad Men,” you will be interested to know that George Lois is rumored to be the model for Don Draper, the main character in the series. George, in his book, hotly denies it. “And besides,” he says, “I was more attractive!”, and shows this picture:



george lois don draper



(So what do you think of someone who says: “That’s not me! And besides, I was more attractive than that!”? Hmm. I know what I think.)



Anyway: the book is full of good stories.



This one nags at me frequently:



A bigwig goes into a bar and says to the bartender, “Give me the best Manhattan you can make.”



Bartender does so, and gives it to Bigwig. Bigwig tastes it. “It’s good,” he says. “Can you do better?”



Bartender tries again. This goes on for several repetitions. Finally, after sampling Manhattan #5 or so, Bigwig says: “This is excellent!”, and then he glares at Bartender. “Why the fuck didn’t you make it like this the first time I asked?”



I have no answer to that.



What does “best” mean?



And why don’t we do it all the time?


Vintage drinking glasses

mad men glasses jpg

The TV series “Mad Men” has absorbed Partner and me for about a year now. We’re all caught up through Season Six. Each season covers a year of the 1960s (more or less), so we’re up to the end of 1968. We’ve seen the assassination of two Kennedys, the murder of Martin Luther King, the Love Generation, et cetera.

The show’s writing is excellent, as is the acting (by people like Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss and John Slattery and Robert Morse).

But, as with a lot of series set in the past, it’s possible to watch this show for the clothes and the sets and the accessories.

Bugles, for example. When I saw a minor character eating Bugles, I remembered when Bugles were new (in the mid-1960s), and I was amused and charmed, and astonished at the writers’ acumen at knowing that the product was introduced (with great fanfare) in the mid-1960s.

Also: in “Mad Men,” everyone drinks all the time. We see the drinking accessories: really darling glasses, clear glass with silver rims.

My parents had glasses just like them, with a big “W” monogram on them, in silver, naturally. I loved those glasses.

They recently showed up on a cutesy website: replicas of the “silver-rimmed Mad Men drinking glasses,” $25 for two (not including shipping).

Aha, I thinks, and went to eBay, and found two cute authentic Dorothy Thorpe roly-poly drinking glasses for $18 (including shipping).

They arrived the other day. They are perfect. They make me happy when I look at them, and they make a nice tinkling sound when I put ice cubes in them.

And they remind me of my childhood.

So, for your drink: will you have brown or clear?

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