Photo by Edward F. Palm)

About Me

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Palm's Progress/"Up in the Air"

{Garrison Keillor, St. Louis, 2004]

Weighed in today at 183.6.  Yesterday, I ran 2.5 miles, plus another .5.  I covered 4.1 miles in all, counting my walk to and from the trail.  Of course, I went out just in time to get caught in the worst downpour of the day.  The weather was pretty lousy today as well, so I decided to make it a recovery day and to get caught up on my Strayer work.
         Over the weekend, my wife and I rented the George Clooney film "Up in the Air."  I was surprised to discover that it really is a good, thoughtful film.  I was expecting just a vapid comedy with a happy ending--as in "cold-hearted loner mends his ways and becomes a person who needs people'."  But that's not quite the way it works out, and it's not really a comedy at all.  No wonder it was an Academy Award contender.
        While I was running Sunday ( I did 3 miles), I listened to "A Prairie Home Companion," which was originating from the Paramount Theater in Seattle.
         I met Garrison Keillor in St. Louis.  Maryville University long ago joined forces with a California promoter who needed a Midwestern University to front for a high-power, public lecture series.  While I was with Maryville, we brought in such luminaries as Walter Cronkite, Benjamin Netanyahu, Terry Gross, Amy Tan, Rudy Giuliani, and Benazir Bhutto.  And then there was Garrison Keillor.
        I must admit that he gave a wonderful performance--holding forth, and pacing back and forth across the stage, for a hilarious hour and a half.  But, as our public affairs person told me later, he had not read his contract closely, and he didn't realize that he was on the hook for a reception with the university staff and selected guests after the show.  You would think he would be gracious about it, but he wasn't.  It was evident from his sullen demeanor that he was there at the reception only because he had to be.  Of course, he was 63 at the time, and he was tired.  But still . . .
        Here is what Keillor said when the person who introduced me to him volunteered the information that I am a retired Marine officer and an academic:  "How original of you."
        My brush with Keillor reminded me of some advice one of my professors gave to us, an eager group of English majors:  "Study literature, but don't seek to meet the writers you admire.  They'll only break your heart."
       Of course, there are exceptions.  Amy Tan could not have nicer.  She is a down-to-earth, unaffected person who genuinely likes to meet and mingle with people.
       Garrison Keillor--not so much.
        Amy Tan has two little dogs she dotes on and takes with her wherever she goes.  Say what you will about "people who need people."  I prefer people who need dogs.              

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ed, Garrison does not look like a happy camper. Sarge