Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sarah Palin and all other quitters...

Today marks the last day of Sarah Palin’s term as governor of Alaska and as the torch is passed to her lieutenant governor, I can’t help but wonder a few things about untimely resignation.

For starters, her announcement came precisely in the middle of the MJ death extravaganza, on the eve of the fourth of July and most notably, twelve hours into John Stewart’s vacation – a very deliberate day for a somewhat controversial subject to fly under the proverbial radar.

Secondly, (borrowing much material from John Stewart) while although her announcement was steeped in odd metaphors, to date she has given no specific explanation for leaving office with more than a year remaining in her term. Yes, she has said it is “out of the box,” “unconventional,” likened herself to a driving point guard and, perhaps most aptly, her desire to distinguish herself from a dead fish going with the flow. Don’t we all want to do that, really?

But beneath all of her bizarre explanations (or lack thereof), the fact of the matter is Sarah Palin is quitting. Indeed, our maverick former VP candidate is joining the ranks of disgruntled employees everywhere by saying, albeit publically, take this job and shove it. And in case you ever miss that, when someone quits a job to do NOTHING, as Ms. Palin has done, something is up. They might also, although probably with more eloquence and tact than the ex-Governor has, skirt the issue of the real reason for departures. Keep an eye out for those who do not wish to distinguish themselves from dead fish and simply go along with the flow.

Best of luck, Sarah Palin and all others who refuse to go with the flow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ray and the Bowl

Delayed by mourning of the untimely death of Jacko, the return of Manny and swarms of bees…

I first met Ray when my crazy friend Mike gave our other friend Sharon a burnt CD with the words “Shelter,” “Ray” and a bunch of letters that didn’t quite amount to LaMontagne. I ended up stealing the burnt CD because I couldn’t get enough of it – and if you have listened to Ray LaMontagne, you understand – until I finally did the right thing and bought one so Ray could get the royalties I had long cheated him out of.

Ray and I have been together ever since. Last night I was finally able to see him in concert at what might be one of LA’s finest venues the Hollywood Bowl. Wine, mangoes, chocolates, hummus and an array of Trader Joe’s cuisine shared with friends made for a truly amazing evening.

Ray, I last night discovered after some friendly banter back and forth with friends ending with our new imperative – Google it! – is a married father of two who does not live in LA (we were all wrong) but on a farm in Maine. But more compelling than our errors about Ray’s personal life is the true story (according to Wikipedia, mind you of the beginnings of his musical career. It seems that our somewhat younger but equally New Englander Walt Whitman, quit his job at a shoe factory after hearing a Stephen Stills (at 4 a.m. mind you!) to become a singer-songwriter. Very boldly, very brazenly and in a way that ought to be heralded as a torch to any and all of us in the throes of a quarter-life crisis he quite literally took this job and shoved it. On behalf of Ray fans everywhere, we are the better for his chutzpah.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Fourth of July

I love the Fourth of July. Not because I am particularly patriotic. Not because of any affinity to fireworks. Not because of all of the watermelon. Not because of Martina McBride’s “Independence Day.” Basically, not because of any of the reasons one might associate with the holiday. Instead, it comes from a subconscious internalized freedom (not political freedom) to celebrate the holiday any way I want. Other holidays, Christmas most notably, come with expectations both familial and cultural. Not only do all of our families expect certain things to happen in a certain order on Christmas – Madison Avenue expects our lives to be Norman Rockwell paintings for the entire month of December. Depressed people commit suicide over the holidays for a reason. And not usually, do you worry about the rise of suicides coinciding with the Fourth of July. Plus, the weather is a lot nicer in July than December.