Friday, June 23, 2017

It is good to be George Clooney

One of the reasons I’d like to write a novel is that it would improve my chances of getting a novel published, having a novel made into a movie, and having a novel made into a movie starring George Clooney. Maybe I should take the main character I have in mind and describe his as looking like George Clooney, rather than a cross between Denis Leary and Eamon deValera. That way, I might get to meet George Clooney. (I know enough Worcester guys already, so I think I can safely take a pass on Denis Leary. And Eamon deValera, well, he’s dead and I wouldn’t want to have met him, anyway. And George Clooney was an altar boy, so he is naturally qualified to play a priest, which is what the main character in my non-existent novel happens to be.)

George Clooney, George Clooney, George Clooney. Since the death of Paul Newman, George Clooney has to be the star who’s doing the best job aging. (I know he’s not that old, but he is closing in on sixty.) Oh, George Clooney will never quite have the macho sex-appeal Paul Newman, but he’s pretty darned good looking.

There’s always the possibility that he’s a jerk in real-life, but he seems like an okay enough guy to me. (Okay. If you google “George Clooney jerk” you do get over a half-million hits. But this proves nothing. After all, when you google “Maureen Rogers jerk”, you get over 58 million hits. These aren’t all that me-ish. One that comes up on page one is the obituary of Luther Rogers, who worked as a soda jerk, and had a daughter-in-law named Maureen. The George Clooney jerk ones I looked through were mostly people annoyed because he’s an out-there liberal. I don’t know. He seems to be nice enough to his parents and sister.)

Anyway, in addition to being a cutie-pie, and perhaps not a jerk, George Clooney is a big old movie star. And a big old movie producer. And he’s got two Academy Awards to prove it.

He’s rich. Plus he has lots of fabulous houses, including one on Lake Como – and who wouldn’t want a fabulous house on Lake Como?

As if this weren’t enough, he has an impossibly glam and accomplished wife – Amal -  and, most recently, twin babies.

So life, if you’re George Clooney, is pretty good.

And that pretty good life has just gotten even better.

It seems that a few years ago, he and a couple of his besties – one of who is Rande Gerber, whose personal fabulousness includes being married to Cindy Crawford – were hanging around drinking tequila in Mexico, where they’d just bought themselves fabulous.

There came a point where George said to me, ‘Why don’t we just make our own?’ ” Gerber told Entertainment Tonight. “It was never meant to be a business. . . . It started out just us drinking it for years, without anyone being able to buy a bottle.”

However, after a few years, the distillery that made the tequila raised questions.

“They said to us, we have a situation. In the past two years, we’ve sent you 1,000 bottles a year, so either you’re selling it or you’re drinking way too much. Either way, you need to get licensed and get legit for the situation.

“We didn’t want to stop drinking our own tequila,” Gerber said. (Source: Boston Globe)

I do wonder what these fellows did with 1,000 bottles of tequila a year. Surely, no one who looks as good and alive as George Clooney would be able to consume that much. But I’m sure that George Clooney has a lot of friends to gift. And, hey, after my unwritten novel about the priest gets made into the movie he stars in, I may well become one of them. Not that I want a bottle of tequila. I’m holding out for an invite to Lake Como and, personally, I don’t even care if George, Amal, and the kids are there. Although I wouldn’t mind some fashion tips from Amal if she could get beyond be tall, be thin, and be rich.

So, all of a sudden George Clooney is in the tequila business with Casamigos brand tequila. Which, all of a sudden, Diageo wants to acquire. Diageo has reportedly: 

…made an initial consideration of $700 million to be followed by a further potential $300 million based on a performance-linked earn-out over 10 years, according to Bloomberg News.

George’s cut could be about $250M, which is probably more than Paul Newman ever made from Newman’s Own spaghetti sauce, lemonade, and cookies. (Newman’s profits went to fund his charitable foundation, by the way. George Clooney, by the way, has a foundation of his own: The Clooney Foundation for Justice.)

Whatever the sale nets for Clooney, talk about icing on the cake of life.

Yep, it’s good to be George Clooney. Wonder how he’ll like Worcester when he comes to film on location?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Uniformly Allergic

Oh, I suppose I should be writing about Travis Kalanick’s ouster from Uber. And how in reading about Uber it turns out that they’re even worse than I thought. And about how I really do make up for it by giving every Uber driver a big tip – so, hey, by the way, how’d I end up with a 4.89 passenger rating, rather than a pure 5.0; who was the jerk who gave me a 4.0????  - And how I’m finally going to switch allegiance to Lyft.

But, no.

I’ll leave Travis Kalanick and his role in turning America into a nation of kabillionaires (1%) and dabbawalas (99%), for another day.

The topic du jour is American Airlines decision to dump its uniform supplier “following thousands of complaints by flight attendants who said the current outfits were making them ill.”

Twin Hill, which is part of Tailored Brands (“We Help Men Love How They Look” – yes Men’s Warehouse is part of this outfit), is losing the deal that has been letting them outfit 70,000 AA employees. Their contract won’t be renewed.

I’ve flown American plenty of times, but I haven’t a clue what their uniforms look like. I can make an educated guess that the pilots wear navy blue with white shirts. But the stews? The only stewardess outfit I can vividly picture is the Brannif space bubble uni of the 1960’s, before I’d ever stepped toe on an airplane. I can also vouch for Aer Lingus, likely due to some combination of having flown them a few weeks back and the fact that they’re uniforms are a pretty bluish green color. But I have no idea whether the Aer Lingus outfits are causing an allergic reaction.

American’s did, however, which propelled the company to take action:
American’s move could contain a controversy that has festered for months, as the number of flight attendants complaining of wheezing, fatigue, skin rashes and other ailments grew to more than 3,500 and pilots also reported adverse reactions. It marks the second time in two months that the world’s largest airline has made an unusual concession to workers, following an April decision to grant pilots and flight attendants mid-contract pay raises. (Source: Bloomberg)
Wheezing? Fatigue? Skin rash? Throw in suicidal thoughts and an erection that lasts for more than four hours, and it sounds like the warnings they make at the end of every prescription drug ad.

Anyway, of those uniform reactions, the only one I ever experienced was fatigue. But that will happen if, from second grade through high school, what you wore every day to school was a green jumper and a white blouse. (The only reason it wasn’t from first grade on is that our school didn’t require uniforms when I was in first grade. This would have made us the near-equivalent of the pubs (public school students) we feared and scorned, other than for the fact that our classrooms were behind the church altar. God forbid some six year old would have to go during a funeral. Forget about it!)

So, yes, I have experienced uniform fatigue.

But nothing like this.

Both American and Twin Hill did extensive testing and failed to find anything wrong with the uniforms. Something in the planes themselves? Power of suggestion? Hysterical maladies?

For its part, Twin Hall is doing the “fired, I quit”/the feeling is mutual thing:
“Twin Hill has determined that the reputational risk, management distraction, and legal and other costs associated with serving American in the future would be unacceptable to our business,” the company said by email.
Well, I’d say that reputational risk has already happened, but I get the management distraction. Better they focus on getting more companies to buy their employees logowear that will end up in the donation bin.


I’ll likely be flying American in September when I head down to Dallas to visit friends. I hope by then that the offending uniforms have been replaced. Bad enough we have to worry about being dragged off the plane for looking cross-eyed at someone, or for reading a book with a funny word in the title – fortunately, I’ll be done with Joyce Carol Oates’ The Book of American Martyrs by then. (I’d hate to have the passenger sitting next to me thinking I was up to something other than a compelling, intelligent read.) I really don’t want to have to worry about breaking out into hives if I somehow brush the jacket of a flight attendant.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Artisanal blue collar jobs. (Or, news that sounds like it’s from the Onion.)

These days, any news about blue collar jobs on a growth spurt is good news. Or is it?

Apparently not when we’re looking at a headline that reads “Manual Labor Goes Upscale One Craft Cocktail at a Time.” This appeared in Sunday’s Boston Globe, in the Ideas section. And the headline, of course, gave us a very strong clue that we were talking fedora here, not hardhat. Anyway, the article was an interview that David Scharfenberg conducted with sociologist Richard Ocejo, who’s written about “a group of well-educated and culturally savvy young men out to change the meaning of manual labor.”

Ah, we’re at a moment here. Manual labor has become – sigh – a thing. (Oh, for the good old days when manual labor meant a job.)

The article focused on jobs that lend themselves to artisanality – bartending, cutting meat, cutting hair – jobs that of late have a cool factor stemming for the recent interest in things that are “authentic.” No mention of coalmining, of course, which can’t be done in an urban setting – and may be a tad too dangerous and gritty.

As for that job line up: I can see that there can be a certain craftiness to concocting drinks made up of lilac infused vodka, eau de vie, and nasturtiums. And locavores with a cow raised on prem aren’t going to leave the prime-ribbing to just any old butcher. But an artisanal barber? Is that someone who specializes in man buns? Or “do’s” that look good with a fedora. (By the way, my father – who was bald – was the antithesis of hipster. But that man could rock a fedora.)

Here’s what Ocejo had to say:

These [new high-end craft] jobs are examples of how men can use their bodies to reclaim this lost sense of masculinity. But obviously, it’s very different from previous generations of manual labor — different from the blue-collar manufacturing jobs that President Trump and others were speaking about during the election. The people who are filling these jobs are people who have college degrees, have professional backgrounds, people who have other options — mostly because they have the cultural reference points that these jobs require. (Source: Boston Globe)

As it happens, my Rogers grandfather was a bartender, the proprietor of a saloon, in fact. I don’t think he would have considered himself a manual laborer. That would be more along the professional lines of his saloon’s clientele. And I’m guessing he didn’t spend a ton of time reclaiming a lost sense of masculinity. Before he had the saloon, he was a blacksmith. (Is that man enough for you?) And what was driving him was trying to lose the sense of being on the god-forsaken family farm in Barre, Massachusetts. As for cultural reference points, in taking up blacksmithing at the dawn of the automobile age, he missed the point that the horseless carriage was going to replace the horse. But he was savvy enough to pick up the cultural reference point that he and his brother could make a good living running a bar that catered to boyos in Main South, Worcester. I don’t imagine that he served a lot of craft cocktails. I’m thinking shots and beer to wash down hardboiled eggs and pickled pigs feet. Alas, the saloon went out with Prohibition. (Cultural reference point: a bunch of pious, self-righteous, pinch-mouthed prudes who didn’t want ethnic immigrant Catholics drinking.) And then my grandfather – something of a serial entrepreneur, I guess – owned a drugstore. And then he up an died when my father was 11.

As it happens, my Wolf grandfather was a butcher. (Yes, indeed, I’m a walking ethnic stereotype. My German grandfather was a butcher, my Irish grandfather owned a bar.) His cultural reference point was probably WWI, and, as he made his way back to his home town after his side lost, strapped to the undercarriage (or side, or top: no one left to ask) of a crowded freight car so he wouldn’t fall off, he was thinking: I’ve got to get the hell out of the hell of war torn Europe before there’s another war. So he got married, had a couple of kids – one was my mother – and made his way to Chicago, where he had a successful store centered around the meat counter, bought property, had four more kids, learned to like baseball, and didn’t spend one second worrying about his lost sense of masculinity.

There’s an inequality angle to this. Not having a college degree obviously means that you’re not going to be qualified for a white-collar job, but here we’re seeing an example of how not having a degree — not having cultural capital — can eliminate these traditionally blue-collar jobs.

Being shut out of jobs because they lack “cultural capital” – i.e., they don’t know about lilac infused vodka – should go over well with the traditional blue collar guys. (I don’t want to give them any ideas, but Trump 2020 might want to use Ocejo’s words in their campaign ads. Or at least in a tweet or two.)

The artisanal bartenders and butchers are, of course, setting up shop in the types of cities that attract hipsters – and those with enough scratch to pay $20 for a craft cocktail and $30 for a hamburger made of beef ground from a cow butchered by an artisan. Scharfenberg asked Ocejo if maybe we were running out of neighborhoods that can be gentrified and hipster-ized.

Not to worry.

There are poor neighborhoods everywhere. As long as there are people who are willing to be the pioneers and are willing to move there and live in substandard housing, then the amenities are going to follow.

Oh, those poor true blue collar schmucks living in substandard homes without dual vanities and walk-in closets. Lucky for them, there’ll be a hipster to buy them out so they can move to some lesser location where they can have an en suite master and an above ground pool.

Having grown up in one, I have few illusions about the charms of a blue collar neighborhood. But I sure don’t want to live in a world where all the bartenders and butchers are artisanal. Makes me want to pull out the man bun of the next hipster I see. And then jump in the cab of an F150 and scream my head off.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Here comes the sun? You are my sunshine? Good day sunshine?

With a few notable exceptions, most Americans get that coal mining, like buggy whip making and switchboard operating, is a profession of the past. Fewer people and industries want to use coal – it’s dirty, it’s expensive – and a lot of the coal that’s being extracted is being extracted by machine, not men.

While natural gas  - frack on! – is one of the fuels currently making sure coal stays buried in its seams, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance outlook, here comes the sun.

Solar power, once so costly it only made economic sense in spaceships, is becoming cheap enough that it will push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast.
That’s the conclusion of a Bloomberg New Energy Finance outlook for how fuel and electricity markets will evolve by 2040. The research group estimated solar already rivals the cost of new coal power plants in Germany and the U.S. and by 2021 will do so in quick-growing markets such as China and India. (Source: Bloomberg)

If the forecasts pan out, fossil fuel pollution may actually start going down in 10 years time.Woo-hoo!

And it’s not just solar. The costs associated with wind energy are plummeting as well.

We hear a lot about tipping points – are the ice shelves goners? Well, this would actually be a good tipping point.

But it got me thinking about another tipping point, that probably occurred shortly after Loretta Lynn warbled “Coal Miner’s Daughter” nearly 50 years back now. And that’s the end of songs about coal mining. Not that these coal mining tunes romanticized coal mining.

“Sixteen Tons”? Hardly.

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and a deeper in debt.
St. Peter don’t you call me ‘cause I can’t go.
I owe my soul to the company store.”

Owing one’s soul to the company store? That doesn’t sound like much fun. What would a contemporary song reference? I owe my soul to Visa or Mastercard? I owe my soul to my payday lender?

Then there was “Working in a Coal Mine”?

Workin' in a coal mine
Goin' down, down, down.
Workin' in a coal mine
Whew! About to slip down.

I guess if you were lucky the only bad thing that would happen to you in a mine was that you slipped. You could have contracted black lung (if you lived long enough). Or gotten yourself killed in “The Springhill Mine Disaster.” Terrible as it must be if all you ever wanted to do in your life was be a coal miner, or if coal mining is all that you can imagine doing (whether you want to or not), the loss of jobs coal mining jobs… Well, the disappearing act isn’t a completely bad thing.

Even the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” wasn’t exactly an advertisement for the wonders of the coal mining life. Forget Daddy and black lung and cave ins. Mommy ended up with bleeding hands from scrubbing the coal-dust covered overalls on the washboard. Sheesh.

But while the coal mining songs weren’t exactly romantic – unlike, say, songs about cowboys and truck drivers – there were at least songs.

Are there going to be pop tunes about guys working with solar panels, working on wind farms?

Oh, there are plenty of sun songs. “You Are My Sunshine.” “Here Comes the Sun.” “Good Day Sunshine.” And plenty of songs about wind. “The Wayward Wind,” “They Call the Wind Maria”…

I suppose just as the coal-fired plants are being converted, we could convert a song or two so that they applied to those working in the renewables industry But I doubt they’ll hold a candle to the coal mining songs.

Kind of reminds me of Tom Lehrer’s classic tune, “Folk Song Army.”

Remember the war against Franco.
That’s the kind where each of us belongs.
Though he may have won all the battles.
But we had all the good songs.

Coal mining didn’t have all the good songs, but they sure had some of them.

Guess they just don’t make work songs like they used to.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rachel Borch, I salute you!

I come from a family of story tellers, and there are many stories we enjoy in the retelling. One of our favorites involves my brother Rich and his buddy Bill, then in their early twenties, driving out Route 9 and, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the road, coming across a foaming-at-the-mouth raccoon lurching around. Fortunately, Rich and Bill were in a car at the time – I wouldn’t have put it past them (especially Bill) to have wrestled with the beast – so they just drove to the local police station to report their sighting. (This is not our absolute favorite Rich and Bill story. That would be the time when, as students, they ran a Christmas tree lot out near UMass. That was until a mighty wind blew up and scattered their merchandise all over Western Mass.)

But their rabid raccoon tale is zip, zilch, nada when compared to that of Maine’s Rachel Borch.

Ms. Borch, who is 21 and, as far as I can tell from a google through Facebook, a student at Eckerd College in Florida, was out jogging the other day in the woods near her home in Hope, Maine. When what to her wondering eyes did appear – directly in her path – but a raccoon. A not mouth foaming, but definitely aggressive, raccoon which bared its teeth and came charging straight at her. The charging tipped Borch off. This wasn’t just any old raccoon. It was a rabid raccoon.

Recognizing that this was all out war – woman vs. beast - Ms. Borch tore off her headphones and tossed her phone down.

What felt like a split second later, the furry animal was at her feet. Borch said she was “dancing around it,” trying to figure out what to do.

“Imagine the Tasmanian devil,” she said. “It was terrifying.”

The path was too narrow for Borch to run past the raccoon, which had begun lunging at her. With adrenaline pumping, Borch suspended her disbelief.

“I knew it was going to bite me,” she said. (Source: Bangor Daily News)

Ms. Borch had the presence of mind to realize that her best self-defense bet was to try to hold the animal down, and that, if she was going to get bitten, her hand was the optimal place.

So, here was Rachel Borch, screaming and struggling with a raccoon that just did not want to let go of her thumb. She then “noticed that when she had dropped her phone, it had fallen into a puddle in the path and was fully submerged.”

This was Ms. Borch’s Eureka moment. Realizing that she wasn’t going to be able to strangle Rocky R with her bare hands, she thought that maybe she could drown it. So she managed to drag the raccoon, its jaws firmly clamped on her thumb while it used its paws to scratch her arms and hand, over to the puddle.

Borch said she held it there for what felt like an eternity until finally it stopped struggling and “its arms sort of of fell to the side, its chest still heaving really slowly.”

She then bolted for home.

Borch remembers looking back once to see if the raccoon had started chasing her again.

“It felt like [Stephen King’s] ‘Pet Sematary,’” she said.

Now that’s a true Mainer. She’s just fended off a rabid raccoon attack and she’s alluding to Maine’s own Stephen King.

She raced the three-quarters of a mile home. Her mind was racing, too:

Borch, who was screaming and unsure of how rabies affects humans, remembers thinking, “Oh, God, what if I just start foaming at the mouth and can’t find my way back?”

She got home safely and her mother drove her to the ER.

Her father, no slouch himself when it comes to presence of mind and cool under pressure, went into the woods to get the dead raccoon, which he:

packed it into a Taste of the Wild dog food bag and handed it over to the Maine Warden Service.

Talk about Taste of the Wild.

Anyway, the raccoon tested positive for rabies.

You survive rabies if you’re treated. You don’t if you aren’t.

Borch has received six shots so far, including the rabies vaccine, and immunoglobulin and tetanus injections. She is slated to receive her last injection this weekend.

These shots are quite painful, I understand. I once had a colleague who was bitten by a feral cat. It was unknown whether the cat was rabid, but to be on the safe side, Jerry had to go endure the shot series.

“If there hadn’t been water on the ground, I don’t know what I would have done,” Borch said of drowning the animal. “It really was just dumb luck. I’ve never killed an animal with my bare hands. I’m a vegetarian. It was self-defense.”

Rachel Borch may call it dumb luck. I call it pluck. Presence of mind. The ability to think fast, cool and smart under horrific pressure. All I can say is that, in time of crisis, I wouldn’t mind having Rachel Borch by my side. Plus she’s going to have a hell of a story for her friends and family.

Rachel Borch, I salute you!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Boston Globe was my original source for this post, but I drew on a more complete article rom the Bangor Daily News.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer Fridays

I have one client that has a nice summer Friday perk: the office closes down at 2 p.m. They’re not alone:

The summer Friday is on an upswing. In a survey of more than 200 employers, the CEB (formerly the Corporate Executive Board) found that the share of companies offering this perk has jumped from 21 percent in 2015 to 42 percent in 2017. (Source: Bloomberg)

This is a great little bennie.

Traffic around here is insane in general. But it’s insane in particular in the summer.

Sure, once school is out, the daily commute becomes a little less grinding, as in any given week it’s likely that at least 10 percent of the regular commuters are on vakay. But those Friday’s…Just brutal. People heading to the Cape. People heading to NH. People heading to the Berkshires. People heading to Maine. People heading into Boston. People just plain heading home. (Mostly it’s people heading to the Cape, the location that takes up the most headspace in Massachusetts vacation consciousness. Earworm alert and cue Patti Page singing “Old Cape Cod:” If you spend an evening, then you’ll want to stay. Watching the moonlight on old Cape Cod Bay. You’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system…

There are a number of things I miss about being in a corporate setting full time. But that summer Friday commute ain’t one of them.

And officially letting people out early is pretty much just reflecting the reality that anyone who can is already scooting out before 5 p.m. And those who don’t feel “empowered” (one of my favorite corporate words) to get up and go and just pretending to work. Too smart to use the company laptop, they’re playing games or ‘net surfing on their personal smartphones. Or they’re lounging around with colleagues talking about their weekend plans.

“It’s not like people are really killing it at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon in the middle of the summer,” said Brian Kropp, an HR practice leader at CEB. And a lot of employees tend to leave early on Fridays during the summer anyway. (Electricity consumption in New York City dips around that time by as much by 4 percent in the summer.) Companies that allow summer Fridays are simply taking advantage of a simple reality. “By formalizing it, it sends a clear message that we care about you,” said Kropp.

“We care about you.” Awwwwww. I’m tearing up.

But the truth is that where there is competition for workers, the perks will start to get packed on. And letting folks out at 2 p.m. on Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a perk with zero cost, and the upside of making employees plenty happy.

Of course, if you’re around here and you’re heading to the Cape, getting out at 2 p.m. won’t buy you much. The Sagamore and Bourne Bridges will be backed up. Route 6 will be a nightmare. You might as well wait until 8 p.m. to leave. Or take Friday completely off and head down on Thursday. Summer Thursdays, anyone?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Make it in Massachusetts. (Rimshot, please…)

Yesterday evening, my walk took me through the Boston Public Garden where, as it happens, there’s a concert every summer Wednesday at 7 p.m. The group performing was the Saxyderms – five brass players (mostly saxes) and a drummer. (The roots of the Saxyderms trace back to Tufts University. So, given that the Tufts mascot is Jumbo the Elephant, the name makes punning sense.) 

I hung through a few of their numbers – very entertaining: I’ll be back. But didn’t get close enough to see what kind of cymbals were part of the drum kit. I’m guessing they were Zildjian, a local company that, in Norwell, Massachusetts, makes about 2/3rds of the world’s cymbals.

Now, this isn’t a huge market. But still…

Zildjian has been making cymbals for nearly 400 years. Not in Massachusetts, of course. Yes, there were Europeans here starting in 1620 – they landed in Plymouth a few years before Zildjian was founded in 1623 – but the Pilgrims don’t strike me as the sort of folks in any need of any instrument of joy and pleasure. They were plenty content with a set of stocks and a dunking zildijianchair. I don’t recall ever reading about musical entertainment at the first Thanksgiving.

No, Zildijian immigrated its cymbal business to the Boston area in the 1920’s.

Sarah Hagan works at Zildijian, and has what I can only imagine is a very cool and interesting position. She’s director of artist relations. And, among the artists she relates to (or that Zildjian has related to) are Ringo Starr, Ginger Baker, and Buddy Rich. How’s that for gear fab, fab gear.

Her top priority is showcasing the Zildjian brand on stage. She works with 2,500 artists worldwide and is constantly scouting and signing new performers to endorsement deals. Hagan also represents the company at music trade shows, drum festivals, and awards shows. (Source: Boston Globe).

Hagan is herself a drummer, and still has the first set of Zildjian cymbals she got as a kid.

She’s a local, and grew up near the Zildjian factory and pretty much always wanted to work there. When she joined the company, she was familiar with the product, but along the line got to learn about the manufacturing process.

Making a cymbal from the Zildjian alloy is a very skilled process and involves the work of many master craftsmen. Our cymbals are made out of copper, tin, and silver, and the cymbal passes through 15 sets of hands as it’s hand-crafted.

Hagan also gets to drum on the job, either officially “testing cymbals in the drummers’ lounge, or pre-show at a venue.”

Then there are the informal times:

“Lunch breaks here are fun — sometimes employees get together and have a little drum jam.”

This sounds like the perfect job, and how often does that happen?

I have a former colleague who played bass guitar in rock bands from high school on – through college, through B-school, throughout his quite successful career in the tech world. After he left his last tech company, he became CEO of a Massachusetts cool guitar company – among his artists were Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Joni Mitchell. The company was eventually sold, and the product line is in some sort of limbo. But when my colleague was at the guitar company, it was a perfect fit. He was definitely in his element, and I had the pleasure of getting a tour of the factory. The one thing that sticks out in my mind was that they used pizza ovens to bake the paint on the instruments.

I never had a job that was perfectly consonant with their personal interests, but I sure enjoy knowing that they actually do exist out there.

Rim shot, please.