Saturday, March 3, 2007

Program Notes and Some Misc. Items

TRADITIONS: Over the years many of the requests have involved Railroad Songs. Myself---I have always loved them. From the early traditional ones to the ones by Hank Williams, Leadbelly, and so many others. One cannot ever forget the classic Steve Goodman piece---City of New Orleans.

So I do hope you will be there for the March 11 program. I will devote much of the 4 PM hour to RR songs---from Roy Acuff to Steve Goodman and more. If you have requests let me know---here or:

Additionally we shall be debuting--as we always do--some wonderful new work by some truly talented and creative artists.

Sunday Simcha: We are blessed with some wonderful new work by some very talented people that have new takes on old material. Always a delight. And comedy is over the top this week. I would he curious to know how many people recognize the songs that Mickey Katz is satirizing

Tabletalk: Spring has almost sprung--so can baseball be far behind. I welcome Jerry Amerac to the program on 3/11 to speak about his book about The Bambino---Babe Ruth.

Misc. Items: Noah Paul Stookey below:

A CD has come to me that I was totally blown away with. MUSIC TO LIFE 2006. It features so many meaningful pieces. Pieces to make us think and at the same time to appreciate as topical and contemporary music. No---not Disco, not Rap, not Music with a beat. More in the area of meaningful music that has been with us for years---from even before Phil Ochs and Pete Seeger. Music that speaks to us and is not "background". Not Muzak.

I am delighted that Erik Balkey is one of the writers featured on this---a guest on our program and a person who practices what he says.
Now I will add a few honest thoughts regarding the material. Much as I agree with most of the thoughts I will also admit that some of the thoughts are a bit simplistic but well intentioned. We, after all, know that there are many shades of Gray (Grey). There is not really and black and white to an issue---well, some anyway,. Some are B and W.
Noah Paul Stookey is the producer of this album. I am hoping that I might have the privilege---I use the word properly---of having him join me on TRADITIONS or TABLETALK to speak of this work. I met him some years back. I was not in my radio mode and he was not in his performing mode. A few years later he did a symposium at NERFA with Si Kahn and others.. Let me say that person is what he seems and someone I hope will join me on the program to expand and expound on his thoughts.

As we might say on Sunday Simcha---a real MENSCH

If you really like reading these long dissertations let me suggest the Maureen Dowd column in today's (3/3) NYT. Me--I like a Gore/Edwards ticket.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Some Program Notes--As The Title Says--and a few afterthoughts


The most joyous of Jewish holidays will be commemorated and celebrated on the program of March 4---the actual day of Purim. The picture is a classic of Queen Esther and Mordechai. I am certain that most of you know the story of Purim and how Esther foiled the evil Haman and had become a Queen. So---get your "greggers" out (I, as it turned out did not have one---but made noise anyway--you will see if you listen). We have a few surprises on the program and lots of music to celebrated the holiday. Remember March 4. 10 AM Eastern Time---and on the web of course.

The week after is the program that comes just before St. Patrick's Day. Now, you may say---so what. Well---on March 17 we are all--at least in the NY /NJ /CT area Irish. Self deprecating humor is a standard of Jewish humor. Since we are all Irish that day---well, tune in and see what is planned. Always remember---a laugh a day keeps one healthy---this one will keep you healthy for weeks to come. Either that or your condition is going to need much work---the doctor, as Lucy in Charlie Brown says, is in.

A More Important Topic:

Many of you have, surely, seen the various interviews and documentaries by and about Bob Woodruff.

Thankfully he has survived and seems on the road to a full recovery. The interview on NPR today with him and his wife---and her feelings was wonderful. Allow me, at this time, a few comments that relate to this subject. Aside from the joy of a good recovery, some things always seem to be left unsaid.

Bob Woodruff, and I believe he will be the first to say so, received treatment far and above what the average GI receives. ABC, his medical insurance, and notoriety surely kicked in.

This is not to denigrate the V A, but rather the Dept of Defense (DOD). Whereas the DOD admits to some number of casualties they do not include many of the injuries and the VA is treating them in the facilities in some more major areas. It is admitted that smaller units or areas do not have the facilities for this

This brings one to the scandal at Walter Reed Hospital.

Our pride and joy of a major military medical facility that, as it turns out, is warehousing injured veterans in--to put it mildly--less than humane conditions. Our leaders receive first rate care there. It is a wonderful facility. How is it possible that our people, who have been sent into "harms way" (and been harmed) do not receive the same.

Unfortunately we are always talking of the consequences of these sad matters. We talk of how to alleviate them. What is lost is what got us into this---as Laurel said to Hardy---"fine mess we are in".

One person --well, perhaps two-- who never, to my mind had the authority to do it---but fabricated things. Freud would have had a field day with Geo. W. The father--agree or disagree---diplomatic. The son---you fill it in.

Think of this---Rumsfeld as Secty of Defense. Bush the elder---despised him for good reason. Bush the elder knew when to stop. He knew the differences ( I believe) between the Shiites and Sunnis. This is our problem---lack of understanding, lies, and the stubborness of a recovering drinker. One who some people mistakenly believe knows what the ---hell---he is doing.

Back to Woodfuff. He survived. Many are maimed and the people conducting this ill advised fiasco never served in any unit---JFK did, HST did, DDE did--they knew the risks and importance. GWB and DC know how to avoid service, make money, and pontificate about other people's lives.

Now back to your regular program.

Sorry to have usurped the bandwidth for some personal pontification but I have to say that this may be one of the only outlets that this can be said---unless PBS wants to hire me.

We will try to stick to "folk" in the future. I also believe that people who love "folk" and topical material as I do will also feel a connection to my comments.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Some Oscar Afterthoughts & More

As you see this is the team that won for best documentary. So a few thoughts that are far afield from 2 of the radio programs (Traditions and Sunday Simcha, at least) .

You have to credit the academy and the public for embracing a film that might have been deemed as too much of a lecture. Al Gore has pursued what he perceived as important and has opened the mind of the public. Something that, to me, is something I would not have expected. I suppose that old expression"...never underestimate the public taste" proved false in this case. Important matters came to the fore.

Some "pundits" today wondered if he might run once again for President. They thought that if he did he would, once again, revert to "Wooden Al". I fear that as well---yet---and yet-----given our choices let me give you a thought for a ticket that might just pull it off----Edwards/Gore. Or Gore/Edwards. Either way. Both have substance and Edwards---what charisma! No baggage like some of the candidates and seems to have some idealism which has been missing for many years. We may not ever be able to re-capture that simpler and straightforward time; but, this could be close.

As to the Award ceremony. Ellen DeGeneres was really the perfect choice for these times. Low key, informal, and truly clever and putting the ceremony into the context into which it should be received---a commercial TV event like any sports event. The days of "awe" for this event are long gone---it is a fashion show and the networks make the most of it. As the novel of years back said--"...for the great unwashed". After all there is so much more in this world to think of and the media is so abundent with other news that this, surely, cannot be more than a glitch on the mind of anyone that follows more interests than idolizing film folks. And those nice dresses---and the men, of course, wore the tuxedos so that they could emulate The Dance of The Penguins. Give them credit for that.

Some of the smaller categories---where but in some obscure theater in a large city like NYC will you see the contenders for ---short documentary, short animation, etc; ? It is a shame because they are creative. Where we used to have that or travelogues or cartoons we now have commercials. Is it not great that you can see a commercial at home and then have the privilege of paying close to $10 to see some at your local multi-plex ( read movie "palace"?).

Ellen DeGeneres at least did do a few nice lines about the cost of the junk food you pay top dollar for at the movie house when you go in to see the film.
I admit to not watching the entire proceedings. Tedium sets in fast. But I must say that the acceptance speech by Forest Whittaker (which I did see) was most moving---and a well deserved award. Helen Mirren as well. Class will out.
My comments regarding comparing films stands. How do you compare a film like The Queen, The Departed, and Little Mary Sunshine. The listing of these titles should show you the inanity.
As usual my choices from the last post for acting prove that I should not be a booker---we will get to folk music in a moment---I admit that all the winners were excellent. I am just partial to Judi Dench. Alan Arkin won for a supporting role and, frankly, spoke most honestly about "scorekeeping" and how silly it all is. Obviously he does not represent "folkies" (whatever that means) but he did start out in that music. Perhaps honesty comes from that well.
That brings me to the folk and radio portion of this essay. Booking. Probably hurting any chance I have of ever being a booker. By the way---do you know that there is only one letter "h" differentiating "booker" from "hooker"?

Tom Chapin and ----

The problem is that I would, probably, book people that I felt appealed to me, showed loyalty to their calling, and such. I admit to doing that in the 1980s and also realizing I needed a person of some "name recognition" at the time. Happily, I found that in a person I also realized was also one who fulfilled all my feelings mentioned before. Tom Chapin! Sad to say, without him I doubt we could have sold tickets for the benefit we were holding---featuring---The Sloop Singers. Right. Who?
In truth --talented individuals with some great writing talent amongst them.

My point in all this is to point out that idealism is a wonderful thing and, sadly, has to be tempered with reality. Which brings me back to Al Gore, Global Warming, and following the things you believe in.
How the concerts started and why---well, that is another story and you can request it. You know ---just like on the radio.