Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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

A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon 

 For those who do not know the name---a sportswriter for the NY Post---when it was a newspaper & not the dead fish wrapper that it is today---columnists like him---Max Lerner, Frank Kingdom, James Wechsler, Earl Wilson, Leonard Lyons, etc; were published unlike what the paper has become---NewsCorp is now working on turning the WSJ into the same ---SO---the unfortunate thing in the end is---I suppose---the greed by Dorothy Schiff (NYPost) and the family that owned WSJ for selling to money hungry right wing Cretans.

1)      Year end surely needs some Best of” or “Most memorable”—so here are some in no particular order:     
a.      Another wonderful year of music and commentary on
TRADITIONS (and sharing this mutual interest w/ Ron Olesko) and SUNDAY SIMCHA.
b.      Meeting and “discovering” people and music that I had never expected to find or meet.
c.       Still appreciating the only station that I know of that allows the freedom of choice and commentary that we all have---WFDU and the 2 folks who create a family like atmosphere. 
d.      My raise this year at WFDU---from $0   to $00---hey---not everyone gets another 0 added.  Do they?
e.      Realizing that I am happy with some older technology that is only a   few years old---stop the world I am getting off.  (OK---I did not invent that)
f.        The loss of some people of talent and substance some young and some fully lived:
                                                              i.      Kate McGarrigle
                                                            ii.      Tuli Kupferberg
                                                          iii.      Irwin Silber
                                                          iv.      Susan Reed
                                                            v.      Richard Holbrooke
                                                          vi.      Jerry Bock
                                                        vii.      Lynn Redgrave
                                                      viii.      Jimmy Dean
                                                          ix.      Ted Sorenson
                                                            x.      Les Paul
                                                          xi.      Fess Parker

                                                        xii.      And, of course, as always,  the famous many others.

2)      The blizzard was a few days ago and the boroughs (outside of Manhattan---I hate calling them Outer Boroughs) can wait until hell freezes over (it did) for snow clearance.  Shades of days of yore---the difference---Mayor Lindsay was highly criticized and the Imperial Highness  Bloomberg fields questions with proper pronouncements of the “situation”---one that had better technology and forecasting than the unfortunate—and much maligned Lindsay.   Yet---Manhattan, as always, was prioritized.   Draw conclusions if you will===they cost nothing.  Living in Manhattan does.

3)      Do you think now---in hindsight---that making NYC a unity of the 5 boroughs was a good idea?   Would Bklyn and Bronx and Staten Island---even Queens--- fared better?   Outer Boroughs---the expression alone tells a story.  Shades of Tom Wolf---Center of the Universe.

4)      May I suggest a subscription and a donation to TDF (theater development fund)---they truly do make tickets to overpriced Broadway (and other) venues affordable and accessible.

5)      A laugh a day will keep you in better stead than an apple a day---the doctor never gave a damn for the apple if you believe that old tale and it did not keep him away since he never made house calls to you---only you.  Marx Bros. films, Family Guy, Married, With Children, and such---can truly do a better job in “keeping the doctor away”.  Feel free to pick others---these work for me.  After that you can make an appointment with the MDs automated voice mail---good luck.  Stick with me on this!

6)      Getting into and out of “The Center of The Universe” becomes more expensive tomorrow—for a change.

7)      In 1960 did anyone contemplate the possibility of a $25,000 house (which was $5,000 20 years earlier) being $500,000 today? My old RE prof. did---probably talked of it while I slept through the course.  He had a great quote---“buy in 1960 dollars and sell in 1999 dollars”—OK—randomly selected years.   I believe he stated that through my nap.

8)      Does anyone wonder how many people line-up to view the apartments that sell for over 5 Million Dollars (advertised each Sunday in the NY Times Magazine)?   Probably people who know the street will be plowed and the limo will get through.  Which brings us to the question of ---3 classes in NYC---Upper, Middle, and Lower---how did we get rid of Middle?   OH---gone to Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and suburbs where their commuting costs can eat up any savings.  An essay on that subject could well be forthcoming by popular demand---by the entire crowd in the phone booth requesting such.  Seriously—one should write a PhD thesis on this subject.

9)      Strange how things work out----Jane Jacobs beat Robert Moses in his attempt to “ruin” Manhattan but the net result was its out-of reach real estate for the average person and not the thing she envisioned.  Perhaps that is why she ended up in Canada.

10)  A New Year is coming and a time to hope for the best and to reminisce about our past year(s)----for me---I would rather look ahead.  The past is history (there is a cliche of the many I can use) and some of it seems from another life. 


Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Year End of Traditions

The Snow is Falling---the Wind is Howling and if I were Cole Porter I would write a song and make a fortune.  I am not he so I will just add a few thoughts to the wonderful show that my co-host Ron Olesko put together after I called him and told him of my storm dilemma.  I thank him (who lives closer) to trekking in and doing our joint annual program (and ---as on the other posting---no joints were involved===hey---repeat a joke if you think of it--they all do.

Ron has been doing this program for some  30 years now---I would have said 30 odd years but some were not really odd--and for the past 17 years we have always done a year end show together---we missed this one but Ron tried to cover for us both.  My thanks===may I say--Mille Grazie (just love saying that) to him and also to the great 3 hours he created for us all.  I was, like you, and entranced audience member.

The one thing that was not covered and we would have done that was a remembrance of people we lost this year---and may I add at this point we lost Phil Ochs years back but on Dec. 19 would have  been is 70th Birthday---John Lennon was a tragic loss--Kate Wolf was a tragic loss---Harry Chapin was a tragic loss---all at young ages and, surely, we commemorate the past and the present losses.  It is the nature of things---of, perhaps, the cycle of life,  It can sometimes be tragic and sometimes full and fruitful.  It always ends.

So to memorialize--in this new era of electronic possibilities a few videos of  people I would like to remember (Kate McGarrigle can be seen on the Playlist page and in wonderful remembrance in the NY Times Magazine of 12/26/10):

Susan Reed passed away this past year and while this video shows her in a younger day I knew her as a charming person of talent in Nyack, NY who ran a wonderful crafts shop and appeared in local concerts with such luminaries as Pete Seeger. Her history is quite interesting and worthy of investigation

The next piece is about the late Irwin Silber---the founder of Sing Out magazine (publication) and a wonderful piece of documentary and history---he passed on this year and his achievements and history should be remembered---

Let us now go back to the one person that you may all well recall and who is also posted on the Playlist page---Kate McGarrigle---

Thursday, December 23, 2010

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

A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon


1)     I was so glad to see so many happy people---young and old—at the Buskin & Batteau (w/ Marshall Rosenberg) concert at Orangeburg a few days ago.  The lads are fairly talented you will all agree---I am sure.

2)     Don’t you just love the fact that you can have the opportunity for a “free dinner” from Chase Bank if you have the lucky number but you cannot get them to modify a loan---or, worse, after they are bailed out they now buy tax liens with that money and dun (and increase the interest and fees) on home owners?   Ebenezer does live and was the most realistic character in Dickens novel.  By the way---Bank of America is the worst offender---and the all use screen names---not the corporate ones for those internet auctions. 

3)     The phone booth for this blog got so crowded (and some of you did not shower) last week we actually moved it into a larger area----a triple Porta Potty

4)     My cholesterol levels must have hit a new high the other day after viewing Breakfast At Tiffanys ---all that “schmaltz” to go along with the blood sugar levels from all the sweetness.  Truly a dated and “nothing special” pic.   That said---S O B is still good and truly funny---Blake Edwards in full stride.

5)     How many people feel that the next generation and those following will not know what a true Bway experience is after seeing and believing that things like Lion King, Spiderman (if it ever sees the light of day—and hopefully the injured will), or Phantom of The Opera?   Seems that a Bway experience should not be an enhanced imitation of a film but, rather, an experience to be had as true “theater” where the actors transport you and not some special effects.   It’s not film.

6)     Traditions on WFDU this Sunday will be a real---how shall I say it---“heimische” afternoon(should have used that for Sunday Simcha).  Ron Olesko and I will be together for a live year end program---no Auld Lang Syne (at least from me) but some 10 recordings of things that we really liked this year---and having to fore-go other good ones they will be posted later.   A remembrance of some of the people that left us this year and a few other items---hope you will be joining us. 

7)     If you were a Barney Miller fan you will mourn the death of Steve Landsberg---Sgt. Dietrich at age 69.

8)     A great definition of theater on NPR earlier today by a drama critic”...if you want to see a circus go to the circus but if you want an experience that will have you thinking and feeling about what you saw afterwards----that is a theater production”.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

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

A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon.


1)        The Charlie Brown “I want a dog for Christmas” episode was on the other day and it was a delight---and I am glad to see that Snoopy has evolved and matured and developed into Brian (on Family Guy).

2)        The show for Solstice at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is spectacular and I am sorry that we do not have tickets to offer our loyal listeners of Traditions on WFDU this year. 

3)        You have to wonder how this nation got to where it is given all the self interest when you hear the NPR report on the banks (under assumed—screen—names) buy up real estate tax liens with their bail out money and then dun the homeowners while adding fees and interest.   Henry F. Potter would have been proud---you fans of “holiday schmaltz” will know what I mean.

4)        Speaking of NPR, one has to admire Richard Holbrooke’s last words---and then all the spinning by the pundits.  When were words just words with no other meaning than the ones spoken?

5)        New Years celebrations are coming up and I have to wonder why so many people feel they need this forced gayety and artificial moment of memory which, as Shakespeare said on a different topic---signifies nothing.   Sometimes the comfort of a warm home can be enough---and one’s thoughts.

6)        Lots of commemorations for the untimely death of John Lennon recently.  It would have been his 70th Birthday around this time---well, here is someone we should also recall and remember since he would have been 70 on December 19 and left us way too soon=-=-==PHIL OCHS.

7)        There are always some words that remain in your head like those a prof. at college years ago—“...invest your earnings in real estate in these 1960 dollars because they will be worth a lot more in the 1990s”.   So—how did he know that and I thought that nothing ever changes-----THEN—I see the front page RE ads in the NY Times magazine for condos---1 bedroom starting at 1.5 million.  That is why he was a prof.

8)        Here are some words to live by that appealed to me more---from a long departed aunt who also had some published medical monographs---“...reach outside your own circle to find an answer you are not sure of...”

9)        Have any of you sharing this virtual phone booth not showered today?

10)  I find that most people call the radio program(s) to mention errors---that is good.  Lets me know they are out there and the choir being preached to is alert----great comment from my guest Si Kahn===”.. My father was a Rabbi and he never preached to a Lutheran Choir but he did preach to his choir and if many people do that in an inclusive way we are all home free.”


Thursday, December 9, 2010

THURSDAY and Another Edition of...............

A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon.


1)        I was truly saddened by the news of Elizabeth Edwards (nee Anania---probably a better way of recalling her) who survived a long battle with cancer and a marriage with class until the end of both.

2)        It’s just wonderful that there are people who can honestly say when being told of some bad acts by others----“.. it’s over and move on now since they are not going away and neither are we.  Tolerance is a word that comes to mind---with great effort.

3)        I am always delighted, honored---and truly surprised at my good fortune---to have met and engaged in conversation and friendship (with many) with so many people because of TRADITIONS & SUNDAY SIMCHA.

4)        Facebook was a stroke of genius to its creator and a truly misleading thing to those who think they really made “friends”.   “Sounding Boards”, “Customers”, and “Targets for Ads” would be a better term.

5)        Advertising has changed from the days of “Mad Men”---a whole new and abbreviated way of communicating.  Some truly technically and electronically creative and yet not literarily creative.   The  question is would the real BBDOs(Batten Barton Durstine Osborne), Y&Ms(Young & Rubicam), O&M (Ogilvy and Mather), DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach) haver rolled with it or just their initials since they are long gone and we now live with a world of initials.  As Shakespeare said –“...full of sound and fury signifying---NOTHING”.

6)        If TV is a “ wasteland” as Newton Minnow once, so famously said, it has truly changed----into  a “barren desert”.  That applies to the “networks”—Cable is getting more creative---and, ecologically important given all their re-cycling---of older material that had some merit when the networks were still a “wasteland”.
7)    The seat countdown for the Buskin & Batteau (with Marshall Rosenberg) is shrinking rapidly---only 20 left at this writing---and they are FREE.  Best to call 845 359-2244 so see if you can still find a place to park your fanny for this event.
8)   NYC is really cracking down on unpaid parking tickets so a helpful  hint and I am not Heloise----plead not guilty via mail and you will either be fined 50% less that billed or--if you can back up your story--have it dismissed.


Friday, December 3, 2010


When Interview (late night TV) did have something to say---intelligently----

Take your choice---whatever you like---they are all good. Just like today's are note---by the way---The Cavett interview is interesting because he puts Johnny Carson into perspective vis a vis his popularity and his own audience. So true.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

THURSDAY---Another Edition Of........

A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon.


1)  It does make one wonder if this might better be posted on the Playlist page---after all nothing is secret anymore when it comes to “views” in this internet age and that is where the views are..

2)    The Playlist page has some interesting new entries and some videos of some truly wonderful artists that it has been my honor and privilege to either play or interview.

3)    Does the season give you same feeling it does me?

4)    Since we have Christmas, Hannukah (or any way you want to spell it) and, lately, Kwanzaa has anyone ever thought this is the religious and PC way of inclusion for all?  Religion has nothing to do with it---just another way of showing tolerance when, in fact, religions divides people. 

5)    Stan Freburg had it right----his comment in the comedy album about the U S A (you could have heard it on Traditions/WFDU) about the Thanksgiving feast and “...tolerating an Indian today”.

6)    It is time to stop with reality since this is the “feel good time of year” and negativity makes it the “feel bad time of year” for retailers who truly feel some holy spirit moving them---I think it is called Mammon.

7)    December 19 would have been Phil Ochs 70 Birthday---we all remember and mourn John Lennon on what would have been his 70th---try to recall a talented rebel who cared about our society and was as much a musical royal as anyone.  If there is a Phil Ochs song night in your area don’t miss it---they happen many times and in many places and I am happy to say I was there when they began when his sister, Sonny, created it all.

8)    In thinking of Hannukah I think of the Macabees and their other name---Hasmoneans—frankly, a great sound for a song.  Beats Macabees by a Hasmonean mile.

9)    My daughter makes great “latkes”---and she does the most amazing dishes for most holidays.  I do like her latkes because they have just the right amount of oil to last me for 8 days.

10)                      Either I have overstayed my welcome in “life” or I damage retail businesses. A partial list of stores I really liked or, at least, patronized---Lafayette Electronics,  Circuit City, Alexanders (ok—I did not like it), Gimbels, The Automat, and I won’t even mention Jack & Dora’s Candy Store (who’s lamppost I and friends helped stay upright by leaning on them many evenings).  All gone!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THURSDAY--Another Edition of....

A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon

     (early but only topical for this week—honest opinions for the less than honest holidays)

1)        I thought we would spend some time on holiday thoughts this time around---given the time of year—along with some miscellany.

2)        It seems that the glow of the season gets tarnished as you get older.  From a time of awe it evolves into a time of practicing diplomacy and tolerance.   Sort of like childhood dreams and adult reality.

3)        As one gets older one can more readily empathize with Ebenezer.  Dickens knew his people.

4)        I have the feeling, many times, that Karl Marx had it right when he talked about “...the opiate of the masses” but for the wrong reasons and moments.

 5)        Do you recall when, as a child (if you are of that age), the stores and the windows were a delight and you could go in to a toy department (say, Macy’s) and play with the toys?  Now, they are carried in specialty stores and all pre-packaged and you get to see them on the TV ads. 

6)        There was a time when the family got together for Thanksgiving dinner and then had conversation (OK some  sit and watch TV/Football) and now there is a whole segment that finds a real familial feeling in getting up at
      3 AM to go maniacal shopping in keeping with the spirit of familial gathering. 

7)   Since materialism seems to have overwhelmed us in the holiday period and it is all about retail sales why not just call it what it is and forget about the “tradition”---commercialism. Which those who do not fall for the cliches (i.e. the rich and smart).  I know---it is hurtful to the naive who truly believe the Pilgrim story and that people like The Donald and those of his ilk are moved and touched and become one of the masses for these days.  The celebrants (unlike those in the Christian Mass who feel a part of the body of Christ) eat turkey while those mentioned usually have jetted off to a sea side resort (they own) and dine in a fine restaurant.

8)  I truly had tears in my eyes when I heard the NPR report that ended the most touching piece they did a while back on the USS Kirk---the thanks and the meeting of the recipients of the caring of the Kirk’s crew and the crew after all these years and the awarding of an honorary crew membership to the sadly deceased infant they cared for---and was appreciated by the Vietnamese family that the Kirk rescued.

9) Peter Ustinov had it right.  When people said to him---Have A Nice Day---he said---I Have Other Plans.  Frankly, the holidays bring that out in me---the damned music ad nauseum in stores, the ubiquitous “happy Thanksgiving/Christmas”---they say it but do not care---and neither do I.  Just say—“thanks”.

10) One final thought---I am not a hypocrite.  Join me on Sunday 11/28 on Traditions when we commemorate Thanksgiving in a non-hypocritical way---along with a great guest---SI KAHN.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Some of the few readers of this most insightful blog---in my ever not very humble opinion---may recall how impressed I was with the bio of David Susskind.  Another impressive person is Harry S Truman who you can see on in an interview with Susskind.  Truly impressive and think about this---do you think that there is a talk show host today capable of such and interview and that any recent ex Pres.  would sit for something like this?   A true treat of what things were like.   True---times have changed and the Pres. has to be in an auto that is labeled THE BEAST---and given the tragic events of 1963 rightfully so.   Time have changed but the openness and the honesty of someone like HST still has to be surpassed.  Ex Presidents today make fortunes from speeches and memoirs---and who knows what else.  HST famous comment after his presidency---" is not for sale" and he never did make a nickel off his tenure.

Sure---I said random thoughts---here are some really random ones we can fill in at a later date if anyone likes:

1)  Facebook.   Why do people feel they have to post their most personal thoughts there?   Sadly, some of them truly have not other life and for that reason it does serve a purpose.  I only hope that those posting people do not believe these are "friends".  Friendship implies more than some electronic companion to fulfill your emptiness.
2)Thanksgiving.  The holiday is almost upon us and it is the one and only holiday that can be celebrated by all religious sects, ethnicities, and Americans who enjoy it for its familial camaradarie.   Though, admittedly, Louden Wainwright III has a different take on that..   It does lead to the problem of a festive occasion and has to allow for the foibles of some attendees which can lead to tension provoking problems.  As a child it seems or seemed as a more festive occasion as most holidays did.  When you mature and age you do find the problematical things in these "festive" occasions---and, yet, the preparers of the festivities are to be applauded for their wonderful completetion or the occasion.
3) Chirstmas/Channukah.:  Almost upon us and seem to start earlier each year---as a child it was a magical time.  In aging and maturity, given our new methods of communication see the above comments---basically the same story.  

I do believe that all of you folks that fit into our small phone booth deserve a symbolic picture:


Thursday, November 18, 2010

THURSDAY---Another edition of...

A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon


1)     You really have to suspend belief in Congressman Rangel’s innocence when he speaks of not being able to afford his lawyers and yet somehow amassed enough money for a whole bunch of rent-stabilized apartments, condos in the Caribbean, and other business ventures there.

2) is where you can see the funniest and most memorable of the great David Susskind shows---How to Be A Jewish Son which includes the great Mel Brooks joke about the translation of the old Jewish curse---May you Eat Trolley Cars and shit transfers.

3)     Seems that Justice Thomas’ wife has more to say than he does.  She seems to be a very “vocal” majority to his “silent”  minority of opinion on the Supreme Court.

4)     There was an interesting piece in last weekend’s NY Times Real Estate section about people sharing “bargain” lodgings in NYC.   There was a time when the joke was about Puerto Ricans living 20 or so to a room---now they glamorize people sharing a room in NYC (of about 300 Sq Ft)  for a rent of about $600.00 .  Let me see if I remember my definitions---Puerto Ricans lived in slums (or made them  slums) but these folks are “romantics” who want to be in the “Big Apple”===I do believe either the core of the apple  is rotten or the OED needs updating for its definition of “romantic”.

5)     Too bad old P T Barnum is gone since he would love to meet these folks since he defined them so well---and they were born every minute.

6)     Why do judgmental and opinionated people become psychologists or social workers (and why do social workers have practices since they are not psychologists or psychiatrists---and why the word practice---kind of meaningless for non- accomplishers).   Same goes for lawyers and MDs---must be a better term---how about “successful participants in ________”

7)     W is opening his presidential library so---no jokes about only one book.  But the crayon work depicting his ambitions is not to be dismissed.

8)     I wonder if I have it right---GM declares bankruptcy and wipes out their share holders and now is issuing stock in its new company and is limiting who can get into the IPO (even the ex-employees that were wiped out) save the large institutional investors.   The Government (read tax payers) bails them out and to repay them they are issuing the stock.  Given that would it not be appropriate for the tax payers to have equal access to purchase (though why pour good money after bad given their track record is questionable) the shares.  
9)     Washington Mutual is long gone---a gift (basically) to Chase---Country Wide went to Bank of America---and, GM gets bailed out.  (a disclaimer here---I owned shares in Wash. Mutual---and surely like my new wall paper courtesy of Washington---not Mutual).  So, if Capitalism has to do with the opposite of Socialism then what happened to Laissez-faire in the interim?   Warren Buffet and his Letter to The Ed. in the NYT not withstanding.   I would have weathered the Wash. Mutual troubles but the government did not want me to do that---what a blessing---putting me into the decorating business with new wall paper.

10)                      I have a Chase credit card now and what a thrill to know that they have horrific interest rates but, according to the ads, may well pick up my check at a restaurant.  Really warms the heart to know of the personal touch Chase has with me.  I avoid restaurants because I do not believe Chase is there as my host---ads not withstanding.