Yes, we’re talking Lawrence Welk today—the bandleader, accordion maestro, and variety show host—whose “champagne music” was a feature of Saturday night television in America in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Though many critics would dismiss his music as antediluvian, real musical insiders knew: his polkas rocked.
Despite appealing primarily to an older and more conservative demographic, The Lawrence Welk Show learned to keep up with the times—an important lesson in the entertainment business. Here’s a hard-to-find clip of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra accompanying the Velvet Underground. The clip is a bit grainy, but the power of the performance is unmistakable. That’s Lou Reed on lead vocals, singing “Sister Ray.”
Ok, it’s that time when I give myself permission to wander off topic…
Happy to hear that our new Papal Father is a Jesuit. (They educated me at Boston College High School, so you can blame them for anything you don’t like about this blog.) Unfortunately Pope Frank doesn’t have serious cred as a reformer (a topic for a separate post on the problems of patriarchy and autocracy in our organizations). But at BLFR we like to accent the positive: unlike his predecessor this pontiff has never bashed rock & roll as “the devil’s music”—which is the minimal standard we hold church leaders to at BLFR.
The Marissa Mayer furor (did the new Yahoo CEO sell out working mothers by demanding her employees work from home?) continues. This from a piece in The Boston Globe Magazine: “Mayer didn’t succeed by changing the rules of corporate America as she climbed the career ladder. She did it by winning at the old rules, by outsmarting and outworking everyone else in the office.” In fact, as a Google exec she may have set the company record for pulling the most all-nighters. Bottom line: she’s the last person corporate moms should be looking to for work-life balance.
Ok, it got your attention at least. But Rodman—the former NBA star (aka “the Worm”)—could win the 6th Man Award in US diplomacy if he could get his North Korean buddy Kim Jong-un to chill out on his war threats against South Korea and the US.
After his recent tour of Pyongyang, Rodman declared the 28-year-old basketball-loving Supreme Leader his new BFF. So if diplomatic relations disintegrate further between North Korea and the US, who better to intermediate the conflict than the Worm?
If you weren't paying attention, North Korea—the most repressive and gulag-ridden state in the world—just this week declared void the Korean War armistice of 1953, implying that the war has never ended. (I hate it when that happens.) The new South Korean President, Park Guen-hye, calmly responded that if attacked she would reduce Pyongyang to a plate of gimchi. (Well, her exact words were the North Korean government would be “evaporated off the face of the earth.”) Why aren’t world leaders taking the prospect of war more seriously? Apparently the South Korean military leaders didn’t even interrupt their weekend golfing to prepare themselves for total destruction, so maybe they know something.
There’s been a welcome workplace trend in recent years towards “telecommuting,” whereby employees can work from home. In what's called a “Results Only Work Environment" employees are evaluated only on their performance not their presence at work. Some studies show it increases productivity—and presumably workers achieve better work-life balance and reduce their carbon footprint. Reed Hastings the founder of Netflix now calls face-time requirements “a relic of the industrial age.”
But wait! After taking over as Yahoo CEO (while expecting a baby), Marissa Mayer recently stunned the business world by demanding that her employees begin working from the office starting June 1. There were immediate howls of betrayal from telecommuting moms nationwide who expected more family-friendly policies from an enlightened ex-Google executive and new mom. I've already read three critiques that reference the famous line from The Who: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”