Thursday, December 31, 2009

THURSDAY--Another Edition of......:

The weekly flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon.

Nobody Asked Me But:

1) Is David Buskin right? You develop a Jewish accent when you age? I heard, recently, I have a New Yawk accent---Vots de madder you don like de way I tawk? (Great story behind that---email
for the story)

2) My idea for an employment agency might work---jobs that are all volunteer jobs with no pay. I have tested it on myself and it works really well.

3) When did the expression “Have A Nice Day” come into being? It is an automatic response from everyone and posted on buses—Peter Ustinov had the right response---“I Have Other Plans”.

4) Is it obligatory to say Happy New Year or Happy Holidays at this time of year?

5) George Carlin’s posthumous memoir is truly delightful and makes you laugh out loud. He played words like a virtuoso plays the violin.

6) Sherlock Holmes was classic so he should not be changed into an action hero. Some things should be sacrosanct . Imagine Hamlet hammering the hell out of his mother, Polonius, and everyone in his sight. “Yeah—Ma, this one’s for you==f+*(> with my dad, will you”.

7) Do you remember when the Mad Subway Bomber in NYC was news? Terrorists change their profile all the time and, for that reason, profiling does not work but a “Proton Screener”(if that is the term)does---its private enough and your private parts are still private---only the security person can have fantasies.

8) It seems almost as expensive to travel from the West Side of the Hudson to Long Island as buying food, film tickets, passport applications, and many other things. I recall the 25 cent toll(each way—now 5.50 each way) on the East River Bridges and the “very” expensive Geo. Washington Bridge at 50 cents (each way). Think, now, pensions, overtime, salaries (for people holding their hand out for tolls---like beggars but with pensions), and maintenance (low on the list).

9) Public transportation is one of the best things the NYC area has to offer but what was wrong with IRT, BMT, IND? Did we really need 1234ABCDZQL? It used to be fairly simple.

10) I have to recommend an amazing tour de force of a performance---Zero Hour. You will believe you are watching Zero Mostel in a performance both funny , serious, and meaningful. Check The Almost Daily Rooster for a clip from the official web page of the show.

11) As the ball drops for another year let me say to be of good cheer and hope this year will be better than the last and that your year may be filled with health, happiness, good cheer, good friends, tolerable relatives, and all the things you wish for yourselves provided you do not wish to be a mass murderer or a fanatic of any sort.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Request for That Laugh A Day

Good therapy is, as we now know, to have a laugh a day---have to keep those endorphins happy and moving. So---skip on over to THE ALMOST DAILY ROOSTER----some laughs await and some memories from where Monty Python et al evolved.

Hopefully you will be joining me and my co-host Ron Olesko this coming Sunday for our look back on the year in music---our and your musical niche. Not a top 10 or 20 but, rather, an afternoon of what we found truly interesting and probably have neglected some pieces. Feel free to e mail if you have some that you, after hearing the show, felt should be included.

A picture is worth at least 10 words---not really a thousand so to intrigue you to go to the link above:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

THURSDAY--Another Edition of......:

And a flip of the fedora to JIMMY C ANNON....

Nobody Asked Me But

1) I still remember a time when on Christmas Eve most restaurants, movies, etc; were closed. Times change and sometimes for the better----sometimes not so. Open facilities is a change for the better.

2) TV just seems to get less and less creative as there are more and more channels. Too much of a “good” thing?

3) A brief list of the “best of” in TV past and present: PRESENT: Curb Your Enthusiasm, House (silly but fun), Monk (now gone), Mad Men (season over), Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert (his audience reaction is an annoyance—controlled by him), Jeopardy (the eternal program with the blandness perfected host).

PAST: St. Elsewhere, Homicide—Life On The Streets, Married With Children, Sherlock Holmes (via BBC)---and then there was the Golden Age produced by gas operated cameras---Philco Playhouse, Studio One, and more.

4) The controversy about Pope Pius XII and sainthood has to make one wonder about one thing---who cares? If there is a God then who are humans to decide and if there is not a God---well---who cares?

5) I surely hope that newspapers are not relegated to the trash bin because of the internet. Google does not replace insightful commentary and instant communication is not an improvement over a slower and more insightful communiqué.

6) The best films are still the ones without the big special effects but excellent acting where the actors inhabit the characters---Merryl Streep is that perfect example.
7) Who cares about Tiger Woods and his affairs---other than the tabloids and the “great unwashed” (quote from an old novel on the topic) who buy those fish wrappers.

8) Lobbies of buildings really should be cleared to be able to use the space for all the holiday symbols everyone wants displayed---Christmas Trees, Menorahs, Kwanzaa, and I am sure Muslims will chime in at some point---

9) A brief start for a song that might be appropriate which some talented songwriter might finish—“Clear the halls of boughs of Holly and save your fa la las for some other folly. Blow the candles out and let the Macabees pout---all the while you can wear a smile knowing that---“Here Is Where the songwriter is needed.

10) I truly wish all a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah (however it is spelled), Joyous Kwanzaa( and do not deny that the candles are not similar to Chanukah candles---in this newest holiday creation), and happy whatever Athiests commemorate at this time of year---would not a Joyous Solstice suffice for all of us on this small part of space---the days are now getting longer---always things to look forward to.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

THURSDAY and another edition of....

And the weekly flip of the fedora to JIMMY CANNON

Nobody Asked Me But:

1) The end of the year always brings 10 best lists for the media when most things are subjective so why not just have hosts come up with “My Personal Favorites”---they may not be yours.

2)The Second City is 50 years old and I amazed at the amount of comedic talent they have given the world.

3) .If Hannukah is “The Festival of Lights” and Christmas celebrates a birth in a simple manger how come Hannukah only has a menorah and most neighborhoods celebrating Christmas can support a utility company with electricity used for all the lights?

4) .Perhaps Tiger Woods will find a product that is the opposite of Viagra that will let him endorse it if he uses it. Good for them both, it would seem.


5) .Some great artists and athletes leave the world too soon to lose the luster they have gained---then again some might not lose it at all---I am thinking of Arthur Ashe.

6) wonder if “server” farms have to have virtual farmers milk them or harvest them from time to time.

7) Who remembers the decade when banks were giving 10% + interest and you got a toaster for depositing funds. Now you get a toaster and they give you a bank---well, a failed one.

8) Some banks are too big to fail---is that like the fat cat being to large to die?

9) How many “apps” does a phone need before it is not a phone anymore? Probably the same amount of roads a man must walk before they call him a man---but at least he can talk while walking without crashing---just walk into traffic instead.

10) My hat is off to the woman who turned lemons into lemonade when she had a mastectomy and then started a line of T-shirts with uplifting and clever comments on them about Cancer.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I have to start with TRADITIONS this past Sunday. My thanks to the truly complimentary and interested callers to the program. Perhaps it seems to be a rushed conversation at times due to not having a "producer" (inside joke) and having two hands and only one brain. That being the fact I have to say that I appreciate the input and the requests---some of which will be addressed in January. Except for the video which is presented here since I was asked for more guitar music by Junior Brown:

The woman playing guitar ---or is it guit--is his wife. Some time back I saw him open for John Prine in a show that proved to be, well, "over the top".

Aside from the nice input I have to say I am looking forward to December 27 when Ron and I will both be present to present to you---I don't share a damned thing being a real Capitalist--our favorite recordings of the past year. Not "The Best". Music is subjective and even our picks as to our favorites may not always coincide. Surely, even some will be left out that we both had hoped to include. Are they Grammy nominees--probably not. Some--maybe. It matters not since, as far as I am concerned, Grammy matter not a whit when it comes to true talent in a meaningful musical vein.

This could of course lead me into a comment I made this past Sunday regarding venues. You can pay big bucks for name performers---mainstream performers--but you can have an evening (or day) finding performers you never heard of that will grab you even more and for a fraction of the cost-----hell, as I said, you might even win a backstage pass. That was the joke----they are open to the audience.

Now, to get to SUNDAY SIMCHA . This coming Sunday I will give you a quick preview of one item and then tell you of something that touched me quite a bit. As to the preview---on Traditions I thought about this piece and felt it was appropriate for Sunday Simcha---as well as Traditions. So it was played there as well. The Capitol Steps, you all know, are a group I believe has some brilliant satirical material and I am happy that WFDU has the exclusive airings of their quarterly presentations since I arranged that. The other Public (or "community" stations) do not present them. The piece you will hear on Sunday Simcha (in Comedy Corner) will be one you also heard on Traditions----Deck The Halls With Bows To Allah. Topical, satirical, and gentle as opposed to other outlets for wit. Satire was gentler in the Tom Lehrer days but this is a true successor to that---have a peek:

The Capitol Steps and their unique brand of comedic talent that it is a delight to be able to present quarterly on WFDU.

Getting back to Sunday Simcha again. I received some requests this week and also one note I must tell you of because it was truly a delight to receive. The young---and I say "young" because she made that point---lady was delighted that she discovered The Weavers while listening to the Hannukah program. Given her age she had never heard of them. She made me realize that I do believe I have hit on the proper mix---old and new, traditional and non-traditional. My belief is that we have to open ourselves up to listening, accepting, and enjoying music from different generations. I admit to not wanting to hear or play the work of Matisyahoo and that is my fault and narrowness. Admittedly. Just as I won't play "rap" on Traditions and, yet, Woody Guthrie was the original rapper.

Playing newer versions and older versions of songs that might be considered "traditional", playing Jewish themed music, and playing newer music created by Jewish composers/ artists seems to open people up to an acceptance of things that have evolved with time. Be it music, literature, and, as always, Comedy Corner.

There is always a place to enjoy---and"kvell" ---with the Sholom Secundas but we also can enjoy the newer things---I won't say "shticks" because that is not what this is about---say something like this:

An insightful discussion into the metamorphosis of "Shtick" to comedy into a newer world---and someday I would love to give you some insights into Richard Belzer into the other participants.

The last comment on that subject is Lenny Bruce---like Richard Pryor---a person before his time ( or perhaps of his time) and not fully appreciated then.

OK---we close with a few comments:

Oral Roberts died a brief time ago---sadly at his University they were never able to play any recordings because he was so effective that when anyone touche a record the hole healed.

Hannukah is the festival of lights and as Jon Stewart, so aptly, showed on his program of 12/14 it seems the Christmas Lights beat a few small candles in that realm. Yet---I am still hoping for the Miracle Of The Oil so that my gas tank will last for eight weeks and not one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

THURSDAY and another edition of......

With the weekly flip of the fedora to JIMMY CANNON

And apologies for the sloppy formatting since The Site Host seems to be having HTML Coding problems---enough of tech stuff---and read it as best you can-

Nobody Asked Me But:

1)Hannukah (spell it any way you prefer) is upon us and the reality is that it is a minor holiday made major to compete and add to the commercialism of the “holiday season”---aka Christmas. Kwanzaa has joined the crowd.

2) I, for one, am hoping the miracle of the oil works for me the next time I fill my gas tank and it lasts for 8 WEEKS

3) Avoiding some new Tiger Woods jokes is a priority---I have added too many to Facebook already---some my own and fairly double entendre. He won't get or need a Viagra endorsement

4) Many times Off and Off Off Broadway is better than Broadway and the same can be said of local venues that feature some great talent.

5) Last weekend with Buskin & Batteau, Kelly McKenzie, and Gathering Time (at 2 different venues) was truly more than one can get for the price of a seat at a “major” concert. I bet you could even win a backstage pass on Traditions.

6) Here is a great career move---picking up discarded tickets at the bankrupt OTB sites and winning mucho dinero as Jesus Leonardo has done to support his family. Who said you need degrees to succeed? A good back and a good eye seem to work for the Saviour’s namesake.

7) Wonderful piece on NPR about a child’s reaction to his peers comments because his parents are 2 moms. Hopefully the incoming governor in NJ heard it---I doubt he even gives a damn since sensitivity is not his strong suite. So it seems.

8) I have always wondered how this nation came to be so rich and powerful given the divisions in governmental debates today and have to surmise that the same occurred during the founding years. States v Federalism.

9) Do you remember when flying was an adventure and fun? When Pan American was the flag carrier airline and an exhilarating experience to fly on---locally or internationally---it was always exotic. Right after great train travel and before airlines became cattle cars of the skies?

10) I am going to miss Monk and certainly not appreciate the newest Sherlock Holmes flick. You know, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Jeremy Brett was, to me, the best Holmes and respected his Dr. Watson. Well done and done over and over again on WLIW---thankfully

11) If you like old classic TV programs one of the quality ones was Homicide---Life On The Streets---beats the later models by a mile or two. I found it on BET---and finally realized why it was there. Great program with great actors in wonderful character studies---but why do they bleep out words that were not bleeped on terrestrial TV and are not offensive? Family Guy does worse---love that show as well.

12) Why do reporters have to stand in front of a building or in a rainstorm to tell us what happened in the building or that it is raining when the news reader can do that at his pretentious desk in his pretentious voice?

13) I have to wonder if Thomas Jefferson would have thought that “democracy” and “populism” were over the top with the internet and so much misleading content taken for fact.

Most blogs do not have the double-checking that goes into print reporting----The Star and its kin excluded from that bit of praise. Unless you believe that Oprah is dying, that Jesus came back and left again, and that poor alien baby which finally got adopted. If so then I have a bridge that I was commissioned to sell to a prospective buyer---care to make an offer.

Monday, December 7, 2009


The news is that this past weekend proved to be exactly as I expected. That would be being a member of an admiring audience to some great artists. Saturday evening was spent in what has to be a "folkie" heaven. The Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club is located, now, in a truly posh place in Fairlawn NJ that befits super stars and the artists appearing there should be in that category. But, what's in a name anyway---Folk and Superstar never seem to be in the same sentence===save for a very few exceptions (I can think of only 2 and Dylan is not one). The evening's superstars were Buskin & Batteau ably opened for by the newcomer Kelly MacKenzie. You can see them on The Almost Daily Rooster Page. How much easier can I make it?

In fact, if you click or clicked over there you will find another surprise which is explained there.

Sunday the Orangeburg Library presented Gathering Time and a truly yeoman like performance was presented by this greatly talented ensemble. An afternoon of music totally tailored for the audience. Shades of classic rock, touch of traditional, and their own compositions to touch the audience where it counts. I guess that would be their hearts---given the age of the audience I think that was a total risk. Joking aside---they were loved and surely know how to reach varied audiences. Their LI appearances for Harry Chapin Night and for Classic Rock night were light years away from this program.

More news can be found on The Almost Daily Rooster if you click over to it. If not---well, you missed a few things that may well not be of interest to you at all.

TRADITIONS: This coming Sunday (Dec. 13) we have one great story song set prepared along with a person--again, check the other page, that I had the pleasure of meeting after the Gathering Time Concert. He could be in the story song section but will be with some artists you have heard earlier in the year---think Calypso. Don't think the boat of Cousteau---and also don't sink the boat of Cousteau. Some satirical holiday music is in store since all the other material is in stores. Which this time of year is all about in this era---it seems. Ah, for the joys of the simpler days---or, maybe, it was just my childish simple mind.

SUNDAY SIMCHA: Sunday (Dec. 13) our Channukah Party ---spell it any way you like and always recall that, besides the miracle of the oil, how it is a minor holiday only meant to compete with the commercialism of the season. Kwanzaa is included in that. Actually, Mel Brooks captures it in his 2000 Year Old Man sketch which you will hear on the program. We shall, this Sunday, play the material so loved by all and leave Comedy Corner for the proper commentary. I will just add---Joyous Chanukah and keep those Jones' not that many steps ahead on your trek (or is it drek?) to Wal Mart, K Mart, Any Mart for just the right piece of material to spoil the little ones.
One last thought about the miracle of the oil. If only that happened to me---fill my gas tank and it lasts more than 8 days with just a few drops. The oil companies would zilch the formula for sure.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

THURSDAY --Another Edition of ........

And the weekly flip of the fedora to JIMMY CANNON

Nobody Asked Me But:

. 1) What a delight to look forward to Sat. Evening at the Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club in Fairlawn NJ and Buskin & Batteau. Two Troubadours of Total Talent==OK alliteration never eludes me---they are great and I hope to introduce them in a less than modest way.

. 2) Another delight is to look forward to Sunday at the Orangeburg Library and the appearance of Gathering Time in concert there and another never so humble introduction.

. 3) All these delights are probably bad for my cholesterol levels.

. 4) To the dismay of critics the film “The Blind Side” also toyed with my cholesterol levels and not with my tear ducts---too much “shmaltz” does that.

. 5) One can string together a whole bunch of important sounding statements—clichés—that say nothing. Think of some interviews on radio or TV that might go like this:

“Having said that, let me just add, that at the end of the day the results are what I anticipated and will prove to be fruitful in the long run”

. 6) Why do people always say “At the end of the day”? There must be night shift somewhere.

. 7) What a wonderful change in Presidential presentations about war commitments the Obama West Point appearance was.

. 8) From what nether region did Glen Beck arise and become the sage of the “great unwashed”?

. 9) It seems that Orwell’s “1984” was prescient and just a few years off in his description of unending war, electronic surveillance, and total control of populations.

. 10) I recall when a Bway show ticket was $25 for an orchestra seat. Even with inflation $300 on holiday weeks is a bit exorbitant but that is free enterprise for you. So, there must be people able to throw that kind of money around for a fleeting 2 hours.

11) If your tastes run to non-mainstream commercial programs you can have some really great moments for under $50.00. Think “folk”, “coffeehouses”(they really don’t have coffee), and house concerts (they do have coffee).

. 12)Seems like with all the security improvements since the JFK tragedy loopholes still remain if you look right and don’t “appear” fanatical.

. 13) Don’t believe everything you read in Agassi’s book. He hates tennis so much that he still tours in the seniors tour---mucho dinero there too.

. 14) It is a wonderful thing that there are still some places on radio that allow for free wheeling and eclectic programming. That includes most university stations (not all) and NPR.

. 15) Sometimes old TV shows are better and cannot be improved on---think Homicide—Life On The Streets. Still available in re-runs.

. 16) Who knows that Hugh Laurie is a stand-up comic and also appeared in a hilarious Brit-Com prior to his huge hit ---House?

. 17) Any interest in the bargain I can give you on 2009 calendars? If I had 1809 ones I bet you would pay big bucks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

THURSDAY---Another Edition of--

The weekly flip of the fedora to JIMMY CANNON

A bit early this week due to the upcoming holiday:

Nobody Asked Me But:

1) I finally figured out why I play tennis and don’t care for team sports.

2) Why do people say’’”...happy turkey day”? I bet turkeys are not happy.

3) Strange how having meat packaged so that (other than Tongue) it is not recognizable as an animal product makes you feel you are buying just another staple. Fish heads are the exception but they seem to be only in Japanese Gourmet shops.

4) Truly strange and amazing that a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome could be riding the subways for days on end and not be found. I suppose the old adage is true---“...all alone in a big city”.

5) How does Sen. Schumer find the time from facing all those cameras day after day to think about NY Maple Syrup? Amazing priorities and interests.

6) Why do people use debit cards? A cup of coffee (used to be 50 cents and now who know what at Starbucks for a fancy name) can cost a person many dollars in overdraft fees. Use Credit Cards and let the card company hold the bill for a month. Until they change the cycle rate to fool you.

7) When did advertising lose creativity along with network numbers and gain notoriety by “clicks” on the internet?

8) I will miss Carl Kassel of NPR but will be able to hear him on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (NPR). I doubt anyone will miss me that much-------someday.

9) Hopefully this weekly bit of work will gain some more readers in the year to come.

10) Vegan or Carnivore---I wish all a very joyous Thanksgiving and a pleasant day with friends and relatives (unlike the song from Loudon Wainwright)( also hoping not all your attendees feel the need to watch and talk sports) and my sincere sadness to those who do not have such things on this day.

11) Some days are just made for the many and sad for quite a few.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


My thanks for comments about today's SUNDAY SIMCHA program and also for the requests to put the wonderful and moving video of VILNE by Fraidy Katz on the website so that you too can be moved by this. Truly a well produced and executed piece of work to accompany a touching rendition of this song:

I hope you were as moved as I when viewing this.

Now for a few updates---

TRADITIONS: This coming Sunday (Nov.29) I will be joined for about 15 or so minutes by Elaini Newport of THE CAPITOL STEPS in anticipation of the Dec. 3 appearance at the Mayo Arts Center in Morristown, NJ
In addition we shall be spending some quality musical and witty time with BUSKIN AND BATTEAU who will be appearing at The Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club in Fairlawn NJ on December 5.
Which leads me to remind you all that those are a busy few days if you can spread yourself thin because on December 6 GATHERING TIME will be giving a FREE concert at THE ORANGEBURG LIBRARY in Orangeburg NY. Over 50% of the limited seats are already gone so I would suggest your calling the library at 845 359-2244 to reserve your Free seat.
To find out more about these artists just click on the names above and it will lead you to their websites.

SUNDAY SIMCHA: The November 29th program will be featuring some great voices that are new to the program---and some old favorites. Comedy Corner that day will be a wonderful nostalgia trip for some of you of a certain age---and will feature a trivia question that some of you might know---of a certain age---and the prize will be a Capitol Steps CD---their latest one--Obama Mia.

Finally a question that you can answer here or on e mail to If you saw the film An Honest Man---what was your opinion and what did you think it meant.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

THURSDAY--Another Edition of......:

And the weekly flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon

Nobody Asked Me But:

1) I am still amazed how Theodore Bikel does it---85 years and moving, memorizing, and writing like a 25 year old.

2) NYC parking rules are truly convoluted. Not safe parking unless you have a Thesaurus in hand.

3) Did Sen. Schumer ever pass a microphone or camera he did not love and can you recall a day or an issue on which you have not seen or heard him?

4) My heartfelt thanks for all the submissions of music and ideas for Sunday Simcha.

5) A grand opening night for Sholom Aleichem---Laughter Through Tears with some great talents in attendance---Fyvush Finkel, Sheldon Harnick, Alan Alda, Buck Henry, and many more—to view a really grand performance and then an ample festive table in the lobby. It sure was not “chopped liver”---which, sadly, was not served.

6) I still cannot find out how the strange scoring system in tennis came about.

7) Just when you think some artists have created their best work they top it with something else---find out more when we do our year-end review of meaningful moments in recordings this year on Traditions.

8) Just when you think there is nothing but trash (a mild word) on TV you find some channel (by accident) that has some classic programs you wonder why they are not still in production. Homicide—Life on The Streets is one I just found and feel that I can see some quality programming again---albeit old.

9) If every year the President symbolically pardons one Turkey why kill all those others. What did they do to you?

10) Thanksgiving is the one holiday everyone can celebrate without any religious or ethnic overtones and just have your fears of sitting with some family members you cannot abide confirmed.

11) I will never forget the Thanksgiving scene in the film Avalon. Lou Jacobi---the late Lou Jacobi stole that scene. He was sentenced to life with humor.

12) It is said that you can not re-live the past---or go home again. So why is all I hear in Shoprite are the same 1950s songs over and over and over and---------

13) Some things that I have to be thankful for this year in no particular order:
One year anniversary since surgery with no bad effects:

A wonderful and supportive family
A radio station that allows free-wheeling programs and programming. There is a difference
The comments and views of so many listeners to both programs
The wonderful guests who have honored me with their presence----too many to name.
The good health and on going “good” life of those I know, those I care about, and those I don’t know personally but are what are termed “mensch”.
For my Tennis compatriots who play across all age brackets and amaze me each time.

14) Why is it that every year we give thanks around Thanksgiving time for things we usually take for granted the rest of the year?

15) Why are people nostalgic for the old “Underwoods” when typing on a keyboard into a computer is simpler, easier, and erasable electronically? That is my final thanks, I suppose, Keyboards and Computers replacing typewriters---and I still cannot understand how they work. As a teacher once told me---“...not your concern. You don’t look under a hood to figure out how the brake on the car works---you just use it. Use this”.
Words to live by. Bill Gates did not and look at him now---he looked under the hood.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Views and Reviews

Let's start with some brief announcements:

A little early for the seasonal songs of social insignificance---yet there are some that do hit a curmudgeon's heart. A bit early in the season but this is from a brilliant satirical group and the Little Drummer Boy will never be the same---nor will his "fahrcackede drum".

The Capitol Steps ---and their Alpha Female will be my guest on Sunday Simcha on Nov, 22 and again on Nov. 29 on Traditions (sharing the afternoon with Buskin and Batteau of musical and comedic fame).

The Capitol Steps will be appearing in Morristown, NJ at the Mayo Ctr. on 12/6--no time to hold the mayo that night and Buskin and Batteau will be at the Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club (Fairlawn, NJ) on December 5.

For a wonderful FREE concert let me urge you to call The Orangeburg Library to reserve you seat for Gathering Time on December 6 at 2 PM---seating is limited. The number is 845 359-2244.

As to the link to this piece from the Capitol Steps. A satirical Holiday piece was requested last Sunday and this was what I had from an advance copy of Barackin Around The Christmas Tree---topical and witty as always. Check it out---you deserve a laugh.

You can also check this site for more notes about some new recordings and items of interest---sort of like the FBI's "people of interest" but I never book anyone and most of those people want to be booked---well, for a paying gig.

I had wanted to put something up on the side bar from Buskin and Batteau but Googleness has prevented that for a time---you did not want to see some inane videos of people proud of their rather cute and inane toddlers. So here is a bit of the Brilliant Duo---just like Batman & Robin---well, one is Robin:

Now a few reviews---very briefly since life is short and one has to spread unwanted opinions in so many areas.

Seriously now. There are some CDs (recordings, if you will---pieces of art and creation, if you will) that I really want to submit to you for your enjoyment and appreciation of the creativity of pieces that should be in your collection---if you have such a thing. If not--well, just enjoy them on the air--well, the air which I send forth on alternate weeks-these will be brief and concise commentaries on a few new CDs and are only my opinion which, hopefully, you feel has some worth:

LIVE IN "65 ---The wonderful re-creation or presenting of a concert that Pete Seeger did in 1965. Whoever said you cannot go home again is wrong in the aural sense. What a delight to live, once again, a live concert with the "master" or audience involvement and a virtusoso on the instruments he plays. Those instrumetns inlude his voice and his persona.

UNTOLD -- This is a brilliant new 2 CD Set from John McCutcheon which I featured on the 11/15 presentation of TRADITIONS. While I the time was not available to play the stories from the WORD portion of the set we were able to play from the SONG section. Both of these CDs are ones you will not want to stop listening to. Dangling participle aside I have to add the WORD portion will have you mesmerized in his great story telling abilities and talent. My favorite--and they are all good--Robbery.

WE CAME TO SING -- I cannot say enough about this CD. What can you say when your favorite anthem writer, her talented companion, and one of your idolized artists get together and perform on a stage and a CD comes from that. I speak, of Emma's Revolution (Pat Humphries/Sandy O) and Holly Near. Topical, Traditional, and just great musical sounds are the thing that I would say is the reasoning behind having this CD---also, the meaningful material that will reinforce your beliefs if that is what they are and if not might make you think about them.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


My thanks for all the calls today with answers to Traditions Trivia questions (and glad you will receive some great CDs) and also for the nice comments---and 3 callers did ask an interesting question---was the show live and if so how come I was not at the N E R F A shindig. An answer in a moment.
First an answer to the Traditions Trivia queries--

1) The Steel Drum piece was Shake Shake Sonora ---which a listener got. Big hit for Belafonte years back. This was by Bob Lyons in Florida and just on the Pan. Check the Playlist

2) El Shadai---It is another Hebrew name for God as promulgated by certain groups. For more information you can search the web, call St. Thomas Aquinas college (in Rockland County) or listen to some great Pan music from an Evangelical group called El Shadai.

3) Mickey Katz---yes, to those who called and did not believe it, he is the father of Joel Gray.

My apologies for the short times on the phone---2 hands, one brain, and lots to do---OY I need a producer so badly. That is an inside joke.

For more information on today's program do check the playlist by clicking above.

Finally, to answer, as best I can the queries---well, 3, in fact, about N E R F A and me. Sounds like a song title===NERFA and Me. Would be a sad one, I suppose. So let me give you an honest and still a general answer.

I had attended for many years and---this is the honest part--each year they asked for volunteers for judging (among other things). Each year they told me that they had people from this area. This is the "being frank" part---they took offense to some blog comments and created a bit of a "to-do" to put it mildly. Given that and also given the economics of it---an expensive few days where the talent pays (who can ill afford it) and some of the attendees in media and presenting don't (who can afford it) I found that I can be just as effective with the submissions via mail, internet, and other media for talent as I could be there. My playlists will attest to that. Further honesty---aside from the philosophical differences I find it a little rich for my blood to pay the freight to attend something that I feel I can accomplish without attending. That said, I will admit to missing the camaraderie of old acquaintances and to not being the in the financial position to shell out the dollars for this weekend---when I know others do not.

Best now to check the playlist. Some great new material there and some great old material as well---and, also, do not forget to see, if you are in the NYC area, Theodore Bikel in his one man show. If you are in NJ don't forget 12/6 The Capitol Steps in Morristown at the Mayo Center.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Humor Par Excellance

Which is the heading you will see if you click over to THE ALMOST DAILY ROOSTER here on the link at the right. Suffice it to say you can read and see all about it there---and it relates to standards and Amos and Andy (as well as The Goldbergs).

Seems comedy is accepted on that site and this is surely comedy with a great point---one that seems to be being avoided in recent ===dare I say it---decades.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

THURSDAY--Another Edition of......:

And the weekly flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon

Nobody Asked Me But:

1) People sometimes say too much on those social networking sites thinking it is a conversation with some real friends---they are only virtual.

2) I doubt that virtual friends would give you anything except a virtual hug, virtual loan, and any other virtual thing around---you could starve on a virtual visit because virtual food is not very nourishing---only virtually nourishing.

3) Mad Men has had its season finale on a perfect note and has shown that basic cable is doing programming superior (at times) to the ailing networks.

4) I am delighted that Theodore Bikel, The Capitol Steps (Elaini Newport—she is the alpha female), Buskin & Batteu, and myriad others (OK quite a few others) of great talent are stopping by on both SUNDAY SIMCHA & TRADITIONS.

5) Since Agassi has written a book of memoirs, Serena Williams has written a book of memoirs, and other athletes have done the same the question arises----why? They had a great and profitable career but are their personal lives really of any interest?

6) Veteran’s Day is over and we remembered the brave (and sometimes needy souls) who have served us in wars that were right and also wrong.

Bill Clinton and Geo. W. Bush will be participating in a conversation at The Radio City Music Hall for big bucks. Glad that GWB ---as Laurel of Laurel and Hardy said, “...fine mess you have gotten us into”--- will be making big bucks while the soldiers die in a misguided war that profited a lot of contractors who are friends of our own Darth Vadar.

Trivia question now: Who was the last President not to capitalize on the office with high priced speeches and endorsements?

7) N E R F A (Northeast Regional Folk Alliance) annual get-together starts today and I wish all a good and fruitful weekend and while I shall miss seeing many of you I will breathe easy in my incense scented home thinking of all the creativity that you are all producing and I will be happy to air when you contact me.

8) Why is anyone surprised with hidden bribery allegations surrounding the former Blackwater Group since everything the do pertains to clandestine activities? Surely our own ex-VP and caricature of Darth Vadar would understand.

9) I am looking forward to seeing Theodore Bikel in his newest work---Sholom Aleichem—Laughter Through Tears in the forthcoming week. Also The Capitol Steps in their performances in Morristown, NJ in December and again at The Town Hall in NYC in April.

10) Did you know that some fish are re-named to make them more appetizing---Orange Roughy is really Slimefish and you can check around for other anomalies such as the nice name for Sting Rays?

11) The case of the female astronaut who attacked her competitor in a love triangle has been adjudicated. She gets time served and probation and has to write a letter of apology. It seems that the excitement of space travel is still second to the excitement of sexual interludes.

12) Maureen Dowd is right---it is Goldmine Sachs and not Goldman Sachs. Their CEO actually claims they do things for the greater good while receiving millions (or is it billions) in bonuses. Who’s good are they serving? They do, however, donate to the NY Times Neediest---- I hope.

13) Archbishop Dolan criticized the Times (and M Dowd in particular) for the comments and coverage of the Anglican/Roman Catholic situation along with the coverage of priestly pedophilia (you have to love alliteration) and feeling not enough coverage on that subject was focused on the Orthodox Rabbis. Seems like guilt, to him, comes in degrees and conversion comes with the fact that his church is against homosexuality and the Anglicans are not.

14) A wonderful tribute to Mary Travers with a panoply of greats---music, politics, and humanity were there to speak and sing—at The Riverside Church. I only wish that I could have attended---a wonderful and idealistic person with a great talent fully deserving of such a wonderful tribute. If only she could have been there to appreciate it.

15) We are truly in a perilous time when wars (which we wish would not occur again and had hoped a U N would help us avoid) are now fought by zealots who do not value life as most civilized societies do. They are fought more like street fights with common thugs (with weaponry) in the name of some misguided 10th Century (for want of a better time frame) value in a 21st Century environment. They bring us back to the stone ages---and the sad part is that our weaponry—when push comes to shove---can blow us back to an even earlier Paleolithic time.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

LOU JACOBI---A Rememberance

I have to preface this by saying that in hosting two programs there are, sadly, myriad artists from different genres that need to be remembered. Folk, Yiddish, and more.

Those of you who listen to SUNDAY SIMCHA know that Lou Jacobi has, many times, been a mainstay of the COMEDY CORNER segment. He will still remain the same mainstay since that is the beauty of radio and recordings---no one ever really leaves us.

Lou Jacobi who's given name was Louis Harold Jacobovitch was born in 1913 and left us on October 23 this year residing, I believe, in an assisted living facility in The Bronx. In the span of 95 years he was featured in Film, Stage, Television, Recordings and, I would suppose, Radio was in there somewhere.

Those of you who listen to SUNDAY SIMCHA will mostly recall him from the comedy recordings. They were many in addition to the You Don't Have to Be Jewish series. There was also Al Tijuana and His Jewish Brass on Capitol Records. But, and more importantly, he was a first rate dramatic actor who appeared in such films as Irma La Douce, Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (etc;), and, to me, his great performance in AVALON.

His stage performances started in his birthplace---Canada at a very tender age and later appeared in such wonderful plays as, Come Blow Your Horn, Don't Drink The Water, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Tenth Man, and much much more.

The golden age of Television showed us his talents in some of the landmark programs of the time---Playhouse 90, The Man From U N C L E , and, I don't know if it is considered a landmark--probably not---The Dean Martin Show.

Since the commercials were myriad they won't be mentioned here. Suffice it to say---you never forgot that great face and the unique voice.

Lou Jacobi was pre-deceased by his wife by some 5 years and one has to believe that his demise at this time was a blessing to him.

For those of you who want to see some of Lou Jacobi in performance click over to THE ALMOST DAILY ROOSTER. Seems the reception to comedy there has been good so I shall post them there since Google has a bit of a bug in my putting them up on the side as has been done before. SO---to see Lou Jacobi in action---scoot on over and remember a great talent.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Some Other Things You Might Find On This "Blog".

This site is predominantly for the 2 programs I host---TRADITIONS & SUNDAY SIMCHA . More about them in a moment. Right now I would like you to click over to the link on the right side for The Almost Daily Rooster---or better yet just click HERE. The subject is comedy which is something dear to my heart when it makes a point and what you will see there does. Read more about it there and if you want more commentary on that subject let me know on that site.

NOW--TRADITIONS --You have heard Richard Berman many times on the program and we shall finally have him live in the studio---in just a very few weeks. Stay tuned to find out when. Other great guets coming---including Elaine Newport of The Capitol Steps---after all does folk not spoof and report current events. She and her group are brilliant.
SUNDAY SIMCHA -- Cannot be left out in the cold since we have some wonderful new CDs that arrived and also, shortly, and honest review of Theo Bikel's latest presentation.

NOW---back to comedy---you know where.

Some Other Things You Might Find On This "Blog".

OK---Thursdays we do the Nobody Asked Me But... piece which, hopefully, opens up some thoughts that you might agree with or not agree with. Predominantly it is focused on the radiio programs---TRADITIONS & SUNDAY SIMCHA. More on that in a moment.

Right now the subject is comedy and, basically, comedy that makes a point or is just damned good. So, check the right side of the page and click on the link---or, better yet, just click

Thursday, November 5, 2009

THURSDAY--Another Edition of:

And the weekly flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon

Nobody Asked Me But:

1) One has to wonder why people run for public office and yet people try to avoid Jury Duty.

2) There was a time when you had a problem with a company you contacted them but now Google just tells you to contact their forums to communicate with other people with problems. Gives new meaning to “blind leading blind”.

3) If the nation has grown to where it is with unity and team spirit it is strange how segmented it has become on issues like Medical Insurance and abortion that could, possibly, tear it asunder and that would certainly delight certain groups.

4) Henry Ford, not a nice guy, started the first auto manufacturing company and it is still there while the others have come and gone and---golly, after the stockholders got screwed (GM)—come again. Almost a sexual experience.

5) Al Gore is doing nothing different than Bill Clinton. Speeches make money and so do good ideas ala Al Gore. Chris Smither was right---Harry Truman where are you now (when we need you again)? We do have the budget bargain blowhard---GWB giving bargain basement lectures on “motivation”.

6) Mary Travis will have a tribute on Nov. 9 at Riverside Church. It’s always sad the recipient of the tribute cannot be there to participate---my daughter is right in her hopes for me---why not have a Funeral Rehearsal. Hell, they have Wedding Rehearsals.

7) I surely do hope that people recall when Jimmy Cannon was with the NY Post it was a “good” newspaper---a tabloid version of the NY Times. Now to get my caught fish ready for wrapping for shipment in the latest incarnation of Alexander Hamilton’s newspaper.

8) The series is finally over and the newest shopping mall in the Bronx—aka Yankee Stadium—is now closed for business (except for rentals) and I wonder why people root for “home” teams that are just big businesses. How about rooting for GE, Ford, Goldman Sachs---the real winners.

9) The cleverest lines on TV are delivered on shows like Family Guy and Married With Children (which lives on in re-runs) but should not be viewed by impressionable kids.

10) People enthuse after every election and the “pundits” read great meaning into it all---from all sides. Next year they do it all over, and incorrectly, again.

11) It is still the best system in the world---and we don’t have to color our fingers purple. Who thought up that nonsense?

12) Most new technologies are great improvements and then you find there are also downsides. Take Cell Phones. Perfect example.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Folk Music and Campaigning

Sort of a misleading title in fact. More about what is Politics and whatever does it have to do with Folk--meaning People. People, after all, are the heart of folk music. That probably means we have to consider everything popular "folk"music; and that is probably correct to a great extent. Some people expect the twanging guitar or banjo for Folk and Piano and crooning for Pop and who knows what for Rap---and so on. I don't want to mislead you---this is not about music. It is about people--Folk if you will. It probably should be on The Almost Daily Rooster but, honestly, more people visit here than there so I say---why not here.

The band Chicago had a song a while back about Harry Truman and Christ Smither had So Long Harry Truman . By now you must realize that I have been thinking about him at this election time of year and how he relates to "folk" not music--just "folk"--"people".

Unfortunately I cannot post either song here due to copyrights but why not view the real thing:

You know what---he was the real thing. Even though at the time no one did imagine how strong and effective he would be. I include myself in that group.

I am surely not equipped to give you a full bio but just a few thoughts at this time of year and at a time when we so desperately yearn for leadership, honesty, and the common or human touch. It is possible for me to give you some brief insights into him, his humanity, and mostly his honesty. They will be brief and, hopefully, you can read more about him in a wonderful book by Merle Miller--"Plain Speaking".

In recent yesterdays and, even, today's we have seen "dithering", "lying", "potential votes counted", and so much more that would have never been done by HST---Harry S. Truman.

Think about these few interesting items---after seeing the picture of an honest man relishing an unexpected victory---well, unexpected by the polls:

Those of a certain age will recall the Chicago newspaper headline of DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN that printed before the results were in and that was what was fully expected. A NY D.A. was going to beat HST. Wow!. Think of it---a digression---can you think of Giuliani as Pres.?

Back to HST now. We spoke earlier of his honesty, determination, humanity, and lack of dithering.

As to the lack of dithering you must think only of Hiroshima and, while he surely had sleepless nights, he made a decision. No dithering there to explain his hope for the saving of many U S Military lives. You must also think of his determination in recognizing the state of Israel against the advice of his consultants because he felt it the "right" thing to do. Determination also in de-segregating the Armed Services. Hell, you cannot do everything at one time. The rest had to come later but groundwork was laid.

Another thing that has to be recalled is his involvement in the Korean Conflict (not war---technical thing) and his shutting down of a recalcitrant general. Recalcitrant is a mild term for the potential disaster he might have caused. Again--Merle Miller's writings will fill in the details much better I am doing.

When he left office he drove back to his home in Missouri with his wife, Bess (never a happy White House occupant), without any Secret Service escorts at that time and stopped at local eateries on the way.

True, it was a different time. The point, however, is he never wanted or received the pomp and panoply that later Presidents either expect or receive--or both. It is sad that now Presidents do have to travel in a "bubble" that seems like they are "pressing the flesh" but, in truth, cannot. JFK has changed all that. Sadly.

Digressing aside now. One other thing which one might find in his brilliant bio by Merle Miller; HST's belief that the Presidency should not be demeaned by commercialization. He refused speaking engagements for monetary reimbursement---OK ---paid speeches (you have to appreciate my trying to raise the level of writing)--with the explicit comment that the Presidency is not to be used for profitable gain for a President. Shades of ---pretty much all of our latter day Sainted Presidents---well, GWB does sell seats for only 5.00 or so---what a bargain. The point is---not 5.00 or 1,000,000,000 it is the sanctity of the Presidency. HST realized that.

We end with a humorous thought. The man was able to live with his wife who despised being a 1st lady, move back to his home in Independence (after that long drive with his wife) and live with his mother in law there who never did appreciate his presidency.

So--as Chris Smither wrote---Farewell Harry Truman. Where are you when we need you?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

THURSDAY--Another Edition of:

The weekly flip of the fedora to JIMMY CANNON

Nobody Asked Me But:

1) Do people really feel like insiders when they pay exorbitant prices at Yankee Stadium for food and “chachkes” that they could get at local establishments for a fraction? Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig sure missed out on some good shopping as their memories from the Park fade.

2) Aside from the promised replacement of the playing fields for the local community and promise of a business bonanza for the neighboring businesses what else did not come to be after all the interest free bonding that the city allowed for this big private business? Oh—right—the City’s luxury box with 12 seats---it won’t seat the population---it will seat I wonder who.

3) Gilbert & Sullivan –well, Gilbert—were correct with their song from The Mikado---Things Are Seldom What They Seem.

4) I am finally thinking Hillary and not Bill when the headlines speak of “Clinton in so and so and says such and such”. Old habits die hard.

5) Instead of giving GMAC a second bail-out all that money could go to pay off the mortgages of many potential home foreclosures and seems like a good idea since GMAC produces nothing except for problems.

6) Soccer seems a lot more exciting than what is called Football in the U S. Broken legs are better than brain damage in the comparison as well.

7) Is it possible that many well qualified people are overlooked for employment for lack of the paper trail of education?

8) What a wonder how no one ever dies on You Tube. They are always there to entertain and delight us from whatever place they are now in---thanks to people who post the videos/spinning discs/etc; and one has to wonder why they post them one also has to thank them for—as Bob Hope said—“.....the memories”.

9) It’s probably a good idea that people are tuned mainly to the commercial stations when they are at work since they don’t have to concentrate on mindless musical mishmash since the station on the left side of the dial (with the exception of 93.9) require comprehensive listening.

10) Sad to see that Bill Cosby got the Mark Twain American Humor Award that he has twice turned down because Richard Pryor received one earlier and Cosby disliked his profanity. The bible does say something about judging lest you be judged. Pryor was a classic wit and used profanity for a purpose and did not use profanity when there was a different purpose. Blandness does have its place and so it is probably proper to see that Bill Cosby getting his award after all. Is there a Nobel Prize for Blandness?

11) It is called The World Series; so, are Philadelphia and New York the World?

12) Does anyone remember when kids hit each other with socks filled with chalk for Halloween and didn’t trick or treat (you know before commercialism and fixed rules of decorum)?

13) Today is the day the Internet came into being---well, in embryonic form.

14) I wonder if people vote “for” candidates or “against” other candidates.

15) What would be wrong with Medicare for everyone since we all have found out the hard way how large corporations are dealt with by the government. Don’t call it Socialism---call it Self Preservation for the Citizenry that the government, allegedly, represents.

Monday, October 26, 2009


There are some record labels that bring us new material that is meaningful and also keep alive artists and genres that might be neglected or forgotten by different generations. Appleseed Recordings is a leader and one of the few that are in that group. Smithsonian Folkways is another.

Circuitously we are getting to the subject which is a wonderful new issue from Appleseed Recordings -- Pete Seeger "Live In '65". Recorded in February 1965 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, PA and restored to ---well, what do they say, "living color". It is a 2 CD set that brings you all the feeling of being at an early Pete Seeger Concert---the music, the commentary, the lightheartedness , and the amazing charisma of Pete Seeger. It is a wonderful mix of his blend of topical and traditional music captured in a live concert in his prime.

The restoration of these old tapes has been lovingly re-created and the quality of the audio is as if you are in the auditorium In fact, if you were to put this 2 CD set on you player and just sat back and listened you would be transported to another place and another time and realize what a good concert and what meaningful music is all about.

When I say "good music" I realize it is in the eye of the beholder. Still, recalling the chain that leads us to what we may call meaningful---the Ochs, Paxtons, etc; does not negate what is popular---and even Pete Seeger recognizes that by singing some Hit Parade pieces---OK they were from the 1840s. In fact, that was pop music and is now "folk". Would not Woody Guthrie's Talking Blues be a pre-cursor to Rap (which I do despise) if one is honest?

The bottom line to all this is that this CD from APPLESEED is really something to own and to just enjoy and, perhaps, realize that it is the roots for some of today's music and it got its material from earlier roots.

Moving on to some Program Notes and Updates Now:

On November 1 I am hoping to be able to air a brief conversation with Theodore Bikel on TRADITIONS and I will surely air it on November 8 on SUNDAY SIMCHA in anticipation of his one man program at the Baruch Auditorium of CUNY which will run from Nov. 8-Dec. 13. THEODORE BIKEL will be appearing in his own creation of a one man show (with music form others) entitled--SHOLOM ALEICHEM--LAUGHTER THROUGH TEARS.

A show not to be missed.


As to TRADITIONS----Many of you may know that I usually play a segment that has to do with Story Songs---songs that talk of life's meanings and challenges. One of the major factors in that is RICHARD BERMAN. He will be, finally, joining me for a nice segment on Nov. 15. Some live and some recorded music from this professor and insightful musical innovator.

Not to leave SUNDAY SIMCHA out in the cold---THEODORE BIKEL joins me on Nov 8 and I do hope that you will be tuned in for a very special program on November 1. That day our Comedy Corner will be filled with some 29 minutes of the CAPITOL STEPS in their quarterly send-up of the political foibles of our "leaders". I am also proud to say that this program and WFDU are the exclusive outlet for the quarterly bits of humor and wisdom from this brilliant group.