Saturday, May 29, 2010


A brief prelude to our TRADITIONS program for May 30 to let you know that here we will commemorate Memorial Day as, one hopes, it should be commemorated. Song and Story and not bargain sales and other such moments of total missing of points.

As you know Si Kahn will be joining us for a period that will prove to be memorable in commemorating the day and also so shall the music for most of the program. I do promise we will end with a family reunion and barbecue---that is what our heroes fought for---though, one has to admit it has been a long time since we defended anything---that's for a later commentary.

Now let me give away the ending of the program right here---we will forego the theme and just play TAPS---but here is the entire history from this brilliant fellow and is also the person who performs it for us in the most moving way----

Thursday, May 27, 2010


The weekly flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon


1)      Some performers can go on forever and some just don’t know how to leave gracefully with all fond memories of them intact.

2)      If people open their minds for entertainment not in the large venues they will have just as good (of better) of a time than in the large expensive venues.  Opening of minds can mean closing your wallet for overpriced tickets.

3)      Richard Clarke’s new book shows us the danger and the promise of the possibility of “Cyber War”---no bombs needed.  The world has become a video/game console and we are the players.

4)      I don’t know what guns, bullets, ships, and planes cost but it has to be more than “1”s and”0”s.

5)      It seems that NYC bus drivers are friendly and courteous and NYC Subway booth attendants are surly and clueless to the system. Could be the lack of daylight.  OK—there are a few exceptions in both categories.  Very few.

6)      Pensions are an important thing and people have worked many years for them but some police (NYC and Suburbs) have really gamed the system and we are all paying for it.  Overtime in the last year or so as a basis for some to get even more than their salaries---in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Their services are a necessity but the taxpayer generosity is not.

7)      One has to wonder why investors (landlords) buy rent controlled or rent stabilized apartments in NYC knowing full well that they cannot get the market rate---without a fight (and usually an ugly one).  The note just handed to me gave the answer---“greed” and “lack of honor”.

8)      It’s said that “...they don’t build them like they used to..”  but it seems that cars last a lot longer but you don’t really drive them anymore---the computer does.  And the computer sometimes tells on you at inspection time and also when it forgets to slow you down no matter what you do.

9)      I never watched “Lost”. “24”, but did watch “Law & Order” (which I will not miss---since it will always be there in re-runs) but of all those programs the only series that ever held an interest to me (and is in re-runs on Centric) was “Homicide—Life on The Streets”   Non-formulaic (as Law & Order is ), with a great cast, and created by the wonderful Baltimore aficionado, Barry Levinson.

10)                    Are “friends” on Facebook not really “acquaintances”---if that ? 
     11)    When Si Kahn joins me this Sunday on TRADITIONS I guarantee meaningful music and memorable moments.


Monday, May 24, 2010


A few suggestions for TRADITIONS and SUNDAY SIMCHA  will be posted later this week.  Interesting themes and guests to talk about.

 Now for the thoughts regarding entertainment and I surely hope I am not preaching to the choir here.  If I am just post "Amen" and  I will know it was the choir.

An interesting weekend of entertainment--or something that purports to be entertainment-- that drove a few thought home.  Friday evening was a delightful evening with some great performers--Buskin and Batteau (ably abetted by Marshal Rosenberg on percussion).  The venue a nice hall in Garden City, NY fully filled (approx. 150) with a wonderfully enthusiastic and receptive audience. The lads delivered, as always, a performance that goes down as great musical mastership along with great and pointed humor. 

We'll skip a video here and move on to the next evening at The Theater at Westbury aka The Westbury Music Tent (or something like that but now a Live Nation venue---heaven help us).   A relative generously purchased tickets for a performance that evening featuring Don Rickles and Joan Rivers.  Admittedly I did not expect her wholly inappropriate (  a polite term) appearance.

Starting with the performance it has to be said that Joan Rivers should stay home and practice speaking without an obscenity as every other word and also try to make some humorous points that are not is the worst taste one can imagine---from deaths in Haiti, the suicide of her husband, and descriptions of her gynecological problems among others.  Enough said about her since the alleged headliner was Mr. Warmth---Don Rickles.

It is a sad thing when a good performer---I won't say great since that is reserved for others--is too lame (in all aspects of that word) to appear on a stage.   A sad sight to watch him flounder about the stage and have one pray he does not fall.  Routines that are old hat that then evolve into tributes to people like Sinatra, Martin, and then morph into a tribute to troops in Iraq with a singing of Yankee Doodle Dandy ala James Cagney.  Sad!!

Sadder is that the audience asked for an encore and he then stayed on and on and on.  Seems like either he did not want the evening on stage to end or, my thought, he was waiting for handlers to help him off stage---there are no wings at this venue--you have to go up an aisle.

Best Don Rickles stick to the voice-overs he does for Toy Story  and leave the live stage looking like a winner and not a replica of the character Olivier portrayed in The Entertainer.

As to the venue.  That is one disaster waiting for a tragedy to happen.   One narrow road leading in and inept parking attendants creating a total traffic mess.  Leaving can take hours and no access for emergency vehicles at that time.

Which, if you stuck with me this long, brings me to the final point.   Individualism or Herd Mentality.  Terrific talents in a small venue at reasonable prices or highly hyped entertainment with either fading "legends" (in their own minds) and highly hyped current performers for astronomical ticket prices.  You have to make that choice and you may well be surprised at the real enjoyment you will get at the former rather than the latter.

Well, maybe a video is called for after all----Buskin and Batteau---you really do not want to suffer the other option.