Tag Archives: Dave Grohl

The strange new sensation I felt last week, when I fired someone for the first time. A 10-year-old rocks with Foo Fighters on stage. And looking back at the 1968 Smith/Carlos Olympic protest, with echoes of today

Have you ever had to fire someone? It’s kind of an unsettling experience.

I’m 43 years old, and until last week, I don’t think I’ve ever had to tell someone they were no longer needed or wanted, and that I or the company I worked for wanted them to stop showing up to work, because we’d stop paying them.

I mean, I’ve been a part of discussions about firing someone, but never had to actually do it.
And like most people, I think, I’ve been fired myself. Twice, actually. Th e first time was from a temp job in college that I hated, a telemarketing gig that I was just terrible at. After the third day I told my Dad I was quitting at the end of the week, and then on Day 4 they called me at home and said not to come in to work, I clearly didn’t have the knack for the job, etc.

I just laughed. I wanted to be all like “You can’t fire me, I quit!” but didn’t even get the chance, the guy hung up the phone pretty fast.

I was also fired from my writing/editing job at SLAM Magazine but after the shock wore off I realized I was happy not to be there anymore. I hated the job and it led to many much better things in my life.

Anyway, I’d never actually had to pink-slip anyone, until last week. When we moved to Long Island in June we hired a new part-time nanny, and we had high hopes for her. She had glowing recommendations, seemed great in the interview, and had no reason not to think that she’d work just well with our two boys.

But from the start, there were problems. Her English wasn’t great, which meant we had communication issues on a lot of things. She still, months after starting, was asking questions about basic things about our baby son’s routines, and a few times she outright ignored or didn’t do things I’d asked for.

So finally a few weeks ago my wife and I talked about replacing her, and after finding someone new to replace our current nanny, it was time to let her go.

All last week I rehearsed in my head what I would say, trying to get on auto-pilot like George Clooney’s character in the fantastic film Up in the Air. I also felt bad for doing it; this woman was trying her best, she just wasn’t doing what we asked. Like I said, I’d never had to do this before.

When last Friday came, after I thought I had anticipated all reactions I’d get when telling the nanny she’d been let go, I was surprised by her reaction.

She had almost none.

I said my little spiel about how it just wasn’t working out, and she said “OK.” And then “fine.” And a little while later, “OK.” (She also, oddly, asked if I knew anyone else who was looking for a nanny. Ummm, not sure I’d recommend to a friend someone who I didn’t think was good at the job we’d hired her for.)

There was no protest, no demands of reasons or specific details. Just OK, fine, and there was no anger or hard feelings at all.

The whole conversation lasted less than five minutes, she took the envelope I gave her with two weeks pay It was so simple, so easy. And so strange.

I’d never want to have a job where I fired people all the time. Too stressful.

But for my first time, it went pretty OK.

**Next up today, one more reason why Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters are awesome. The other night in a concert in Kansas City, a 10-year-old local music whiz named Collier got to go up on stage with Grohl, and play a couple of Metallica songs (including “Enter Sandman” which strangely and happily has become a huge favorite of my 4-year-old. I’m doing parenting right, I tell ya!).

The kid is a really good guitar player! And Grohl is a mensch for what he does at the end. Really cool stuff.

**Finally today, Tuesday was the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous moments in Olympic history, when U.S. sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised black-gloved fists in protest during their Olympic medal ceremony.

Carlos and Smith, channeling the Black Power Movement, were immediately criticized and ostracized here in America, with newspaper columnists, U.S. Olympic Committee execs, and so many others being outraged at the nerve of these two athletes.

Of course, what many others saw was two men using their moment on the world stage to bring attention to the plight of African-Americans in the U.S., where their civil and human rights were violated regularly.

Smith and Carlos, with a half-century’s distance, are now looked on by many as heroes for what they did, as they should be. Their powerful protest continued the grand American tradition of protest, and athletes making their stands today, like Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James, owe a debt to Smith and Carlos.

Amid the media coverage of the anniversary, I thought this was very interesting: Writer Andrew Maraniss posted a clip on Twitter of Howard Cosell, from 1968, talking about Smith and Carlos (hat tip to my friend Dave for pointing me toward this). As Maraniss says, change the names and this clip is extremely relevant still today. Pretty brave stance for Cosell to take at the time.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” a fabulous show from the “Gilmore Girls” creator. Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters with a fabulous Christmas song tribute. And the Japanese company that uses a drone to tell employees to go home

You know some bands or singers only have one great album in them? How some writers who seem fabulous write one great novel, then the rest of the work is so-so?

I’d been beginning to think that was how it was going to be for Amy Sherman-Palladino. She’s the dazzling wit and brilliant comedic mind behind “Gilmore Girls,” for my money one of the best television shows ever. For so many years “Gilmore” entertained and dazzled me and millions of others, so naturally when it ended I couldn’t wait to see what ASP (as we fans call her) and her husband Dan would come up with next.

Well, next was “Bunheads,” which was execrable. And then a few more forgettable network shows, and then the, um, confusing “Gilmore Girls” reunion movie which was just mediocre.

So forgive me if I didn’t have any expectations for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the new ASP project streaming on Amazon that just came out. Set in 1958 New York, it’s about a young Jewish housewife, Midge Maisel, who is 26, happily married and raising two little kids when her world gets turned upside down: Her husband leaves her.

And like most women who had that happen to them back then, she turned to becoming a raunchy stand-up comic.

No, seriously, that’s the premise of the show. And after watching four episodes so far I can happily say that ASP is no longer a one-hit wonder.  Because “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is fantastic. It’s got a great star in Rachel Brosnahan, a terrific supporting team in Kevin Pollak and Tony Shalhoub, and really fabulous one-liners.

Midge is a survivor, who has been thrust into circumstances she never could’ve imagined, but every time you think we’re going to feel sorry for her, she comes out swinging. The show isn’t perfect; the husband character really ought to be totally written out (we’re only halfway through the first season, so maybe he does) but it’s charming, sweet and has a lot of heart.

Whew. Glad to see the woman who gave us Babette and Kirk and Lorelai has still got it. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Check it out, it’s fantastic.

**Next up today, because my wife is one of the biggest Foo Fighters fans alive she pointed me to this, and it’s quite excellent. Catch all the symmetry here: Dave Grohl had a huge admirer in David Letterman, and every holiday season on his show, for decades, Dave had Darlene Love come on and sing the beautiful “Christmas, (Baby Please Come Home”).

So on “Saturday Night Live” last week Grohl and Foo Fighters did a beautiful medley of their song “Everlong” which was Letterman’s favorite, but then segued into “Christmas (Baby Please come home) and finished up with the Linus and Lucy Christmas song from “Charlie Brown.”

Truly, a wonderful four-minute medley.

**Finally today, just a sign of how different our culture is from that of Japan’s. A hallmark of that culture is how hard its citizens work, and how rarely they take leisure time. So to try to combat worker exhaustion and fatigue, a company in Japan has started using a drone to fly around the office and tells people to go home.

I heard about this on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and thought it couldn’t be real. But it is:

To help deal with the negative health effects of overworking, an office security firm in Japan called Tasei has introduced a drone that flies around playing annoying music to pressure employees to leave.

The drone is called T-Friend, and at quitting time it will blast out “Auld Lang Syne” to try to get workers to go home.

It will encourage employees who are present at the drone patrol time to leave, not only to promote employee health but also to conduct internal security management.”

Wow. Kind of gives new meaning to the term “run out of the office kicking and screaming.” If I had a drone blaring music at me, I think I’d definitely leave ASAP. And then maybe move to another country.