Monday, December 16, 2013

Random Brain Droppings for the Multitude---both of you

Now, does that heading not feel personal?  I, once, jokingly said (well, more than once) on the air --"this is for our listener".   I was chastised for that---you do need a sense of humor---I am sure there is more than one listener so, perhaps, I should have used the plural.  That would encompass 2.
This will be short and sweet. Diabetics be warned.   

Starting with all the sweetness I have to thank The Kennedys for a most amazing and heartfelt performance last week at the Orangeburg Library.  I have never seen a more delighted audience and one that felt so enamored with the performers.

Since we are on the topic of performers; let me say that on 12/29 I will be hosting the year end TRADITIONS (WFDU 89.1 fm and streaming on the  web at and I  will NOT be presenting any top 10 recordings for the year.  I will, however, be presenting what I consider the most memorable recordings I have rcvd this year----could be more than 10 since there were a goodly number of them from some very talented artists---to whom I am only a humble conduit.  We will also recall the folks that passed away this year in our genre.   If you have any artists you think should be included in " the most memorable of this year" please do e mail me a request and a comment to 

As the year is rapidly coming to an end---well, "rapidly" is the wrong word.  It just seems that way. My delight to have attended some memorable moments with some memorable people---The Folksbiene Gala honoring Theodore Bikel (90 Bday coming up) and Fyvush Finkel,  the wonderful and talented guests on my radio programs this year----Andy Revkin,The Levins, and ever so many more truly wonderful and talented artists---AND --stay tuned as I welcome David Buskin ( in a reunion with Modern Man) shortly and also  Gathering Time to celebrate their newest release.

Finally, putting aside commentary of things I have read recently (items about the upcoming NYC mayor, my thoughts on the NSA and this nation, and ever so much more) let me just wish all a safe and not too cold winter to survive into the next year of things we can talk about---and listen to on that good ole crystal set

Friday, December 6, 2013


Lot's of hoopla for some films that have opened recently.  One is Enough Said w/  James Gandolfino ( his last performance) and the critics raved.   It was, to me, a pleasant film that could easily have been a T V sitcom.   Ms. Dreyfus' specialty---who I cannot abide.  

The film that intrigued me after all the advertising was The Book Thief.   I had not read the book ---which everyone is raving about and which was, to my knowledge, a "young/adult" tome.  Be that as it may.   It is a great story and, I assume, it was a wonderful book.  As to being a film.  That is another story.   First let me dispense with the positive---the photography is truly wonderful for a picture postcard. The film does not represent the horrors of war, the devastation, and the upheavals of the victims and their families.   It presents a nice sugar coated version of sad events.  Picture this---bombs are falling and our protagonist is playing his accordion in a bomb shelter to a rapt audience, people are conscripted into the Nazi forces and even though the protagonists truck is bombed and destroyed he, miraculously, survives and his home again---playing his accordion, the Jewish  person who had almost died in hiding miraculously shows up again near the end.   Nothing like happy endings for a subject that has been covered myriad times in films many times more realistic and well done---think of Judgement at Nuremberg among others.  

So many films have captured the horrors of war and all the sadness that is the aftermath to people and families.   It is a delight to know that the narrator "Death" in this film makes it all such a pleasant experience----SPOILER ALERT---the ending is almost too  much over the top to be believe.  I will say that I, personally, know of some folks that are akin to the ending of this film but that is still far from the real world of reality or even storytelling.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


If I do enough of these the old brain will shortly be empty.  Some believe it already is.  Anyway---moving on--

Let us start with the music programs I do on WFDU---SUNDAY SIMCHA & TRADITIONS.  If you are a member of that exclusive club known as Facebook please feel free to go there and "Like" us on that page.   I promise to consider you an acquaintance and not a
Amazing how definitions get re-invented.

I do hope that you will be joining me on Nov. 10 on TRADITIONS  as we commemorate Veterans Day in the 4 PM hour---call it Armistice Day if you want---we cover it all in 30 minutes ( with some great artists and music) when we go to one of our regular features.  In addition, the program starts with some brilliant new material that has, happily, dropped over our ever open transom.   Gathering Time, Kimmie Rhodes, and more will grab your attention.   As will some of the material on SUNDAY SIMCHA, which seems to garner much interest on the playlists.

Now a few misc. brain droppings on some of the current items before us these very strange days---seems like a person of my age grew up in a bubble of good fortune---Health insurance was affordable.   Medicare came along and, being of a certain age, I am in Medicare. A grateful nod now to LBJ for that. He was more than Viet Nam.   Social Security---FDR.   Oh, how certain politicos fought that.    Now the politicos, who do very little while accepting some great medical insurance benefits, are fighting the Affordable Care Act (let us not call it the negative "Obamacare") which, in the end, will be a benefit to the nation and be admired as Medicare and Social Security are now.   I said I lived in a bubble.   Today's health insurance is, basically, unaffordable given the premiums and the deductibles.   Would that this all could be organized and legislated as Medicare is under Social Security as a single payer program this nation would be the leader amongst the industrialized nations in a true definition of "Capitalism" and "Democracy" that works for the people and for society.

I am having trouble caring about the NYC elections since I do not vote there but do admit that those debates on TV were fascinating.  I tuned in to my local (Cablevision) channel and heard for a few moments  (accidental surfing) my local candidates.  Truly boring and not a debate---each made their statements and the local moderator knew nothing, it seems, about follow up questions.   The good thing was that I did decide how to vote---one seemed like a true nit-wit and the other had some pertinent facts to relate---all in about 45 seconds since I could not take more of this nonsense.  

It always amazes me how this wonderful new technology (that seems like a magic lantern to me) affects all our lives. Be it the things we can do with it, the Facebook experience, the Google experience (or is it Bing)  and how, through some research for free or for a cost people can find people they have lost contact with over the years.   Good and bad.    I speak from personal experience here---how many times have you finally avoided someone and then the person finds you on the internet---how do you, politely, tell that person to F##k off?  I did ===politely.  Hope it works.

Finally, a book recommendation----"Still Fooling Them"---Billy Crystal.  Truly funny and then as it moves on some great anecdotal material.   Amazingly talented and clever person.  One question though---he says that as you get older you forget things---I agree.  So, how does he do live shows and remember all those lines?

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Let's start with a book review.   You may or may not have heard of Adrian Schoolcraft.  He was a former NYPD patrolman.   He carried a tape recorder and he was upset (an understatement) about the illegal instructions he and his compatriots were given.   Suffice it to say that the book is Kafkaesque detailed description of what happened to him in the NYPD hiarchy and other such officers---it comes (according to the author---factually documented) from the top---read Commissioner and Mayor.   When it comes to to topicality just think of the recent arraignment of an officer who is now charged with being part of the attack on a motorist while he was part of a motorcycle gang---granted he was an undercover agent (so we await that explanation).   Seems that an officer should have aided the victim and not rushed in with the gang.  That is exactly what the book speaks of in different areas.   

SOUL DOCTOR is closing.   Most Bway shows do not recoup their investments and this one was, to  me, the most ridiculously name piece of work yet.   Think about it.  What did you expect when you read the title?   Due to my affiliation with WFDU and the show I produce--Sunday Simcha--I was able to see a wonderful presentation of SHLOMO--THE MUSICAL  I do not know if this had anything to do with the above but I was disappointed that the original never got to Bway.  It was authentic, well done, and the title was not misleading.   You did not expect a Rap or Blues singer who was formerly a doctor---you expected Shlomo and he was a delight to witness along with his music and his musical relationship with Nina Simone.

Since this blog is introduced as one about my radio programs and folk music I should mention that this coming Sunday (10/13/13) I have some wonderful guests in the studio---who later will be performing in New City, NY at the Borderline Folk Music Club.  In addition a Comedy Corner that does push the envelope and will have you laughing quite a bit---as the nostalgic one on SUNDAY SIMCHA  will as well.

Finally, on a local note here in Rockland County, NY.   The Nanuet Mall is now "The Shops in Nanuet".  Whoopee.   An open air mall---how original is that?   Only up scale stores now---granted the place looks like that it should have that as opposed to the totally tacky (to me---hey, its my blog) Palisades Mall.   They do have a wonderful FAIRWAY market---great place if you like paying much more than your local Shoprite, A&P, etc;  It makes Stop& Shop look like a bargain---which it is not.

So--back to a broader picture.    Do try WFDU on weekends---it is, as I say there, "the eclectic weekend sound of WFDU"  You surely do not want to miss the the fellow who follows me after SUNDAY SIMCHA---The Vintage Rock & Pop Shop.   


Saturday, September 28, 2013


  It has been a while but it is time for some more, as said, ill afforded, brain droppings.  After all, there is only so much of that small organ that can be spared.   Let me start with some thoughts on Medical/Prescription insurance.

I am truly amazed at Rx insurance (under Medicare).   Perhaps the statements that are sent to the recipient (me) should be more realistic or, perhaps, big Pharma gets a better deal than an individual.  No surprise there.    Here is an example---Omeprizole  (for me) co-pay 20.00 copay, United Health (carrier) .85.   I asked the pharmacy how much this costs for a 90 day supply without insurance------$485.00.   Seems like United Health gets a hell of a good deal---or they send out silly statements.

Which brings me to the strangely named "Obamacare".   It may well be the blessing that no one admits to.  Think about it.   There is mandatory car insurance.   Forget collision---liability.   The medical costs for the uninsured cost us all many dollars in ER admissions, Medicaid when the money runs out for individuals, etc;  Surely, Medicare and Social Security had its critics and now, I believe, we all appreciate its creation.  In hindsight I do believe that "Obamacare" will also become one of those things that will be appreciated and one of his legacies.  It will be tweaked as many things are but the bottom line is that it will be there.  The, as was said in an earlier era, "knowthings" not withstanding.

One other "serious" thought.  There was a time when we so highly regarded higher education that certain places charged no tuition.  Think of CCNY of many moons past. Today we not only have exorbitant tuition charges (and even CCNY has a tuition charge--a smaller one) and, yet, there is deference or preference paid to the wealthy.   Having read the article in the NY Times (magazine) today I am shocked to find such preference.   Needy applicants are denied aid while the wealthier ones are granted aid and admission.   Seems like a sad real life ending to an old joke about the prostitute working for the Salvation Army and said we are for the needy and not the greedy.

Now---on a lighter note.   I do hope you will be tuning in to my 2 programs---SUNDAY SIMCHA & TRADITIONS.   I have some great guest coming up on TRADITIONS--check the Facebook page.  SUNDAY SIMCHA has garnered many e mails and requests and they are appreciated and honored.  Let me now add a Yiddishism for that---a Mechia---OK--such a pleasure.  Someday I will tell you how I came to do this program and how it has grown on me and on the station---and, how I loved Tabletalk but, for personal reasons, had to ease up the schedule a bit.

A last thought in this long piece.   My thanks to WFDU for being so open in its allowing what might be called "freeform" radio today.   Over 20 years now.  That is how long I have been there and done various program---TRADITIONS (my thanks to Ron Olesko) being the first.  Since this is not an obit (yet) let me add another Yiddishism to end this for the future of many years more on the programs---Alevai.


Friday, August 9, 2013

More Than Brain Droppings This Time---Deep Thoughts (Sorry Jack Handy for using the title)

A few days ago a fellow I know posted a link on Facebook for a video of Pete Seeger memorializing is wife on Freedom Now (the radio program ---and I guess video)   It was truly moving and I respect him for doing it and also for what he did on the rest of the program---his involvement with Native American causes.  Pete Seeger was married for almost 70 years to Toshi. she died shortly before that event.  He spoke of her strength and guidance and her talent in her own right.  

This all brings me to a personal memorial or, perhaps, remembrance of the lady that was married to me for 36 years and died at the tender age of 56.   It was a long sentence.  I could have said, " wife.."  Sounds too possessive.  I doubt Pete would have used that term.   Anyway, there is that great cliche about "behind every man there is a woman"--a strong woman(?).  If, as in Pete's case the spousal part helped him into his creativity and work I have to say so did my late wife.  

Whereas I may well have dawdled in the doldrums of everyday life she was always in search of an adventure.  Always getting jobs and connecting with people in a major way.   How, then, could I consider even staying in those doldrums?   She liked Opera, Shows, and more.  I mention that for one reason only.  I was quite narrow in that respect and went along---I liked Folk Music.    This brings me to the way she changed my life---her open mindedness.  She created a wonderful event for my 50th Bday. featuring The Sloop Singers.   It changed my life.  From there I was able to create some concerts that featured them and thanks to her telling me we needed a "name" we got Tom  Chapin.   Well,  more on that another time.  5 years of annual concerts led to my arriving at WFDU (I do want to acknowledge Ron Olesko for welcoming me aboard) after her untimely and too early demise.  

There are more tales and stories but the point, to me,. of publishing this is to recall and remember the greatest influence in my life.  One has to be thankful for the long  years that Pete had with Toshi and I can only be thankful for the short time I had w/---her name was Myrna.   I have a friend who is now 90 and his wife passed on about 2 yrs ago---he, too, has to count those blessings of so many years.  He does.  

Hopefully, you tune in to WFDU from time to time and get a sample of my 2 or 3 programs.   There is not a day that I do not attribute thoet to my late wife.  

Friday, August 2, 2013


Sometimes one reads a piece of writing in a magazine that just jumps out at you. August 8, 2010 is one such day and the  NY Times had a piece by one of their contributing writers that really did that bit of “jumping”   Probably not in the way she intended.  I could be wrong.

Starting on a very personal note---a while back I had some surgery (subdural brain hematoma)  which I was never worried about as regarding surgery because I was hoping, in a way, that if it were not successful I would just not wake up.  This had a lot to do with my own psychological situation, seeing non-functioning people in the Neuro-ICU,  and,  truly, without regard to the worry and upset it would cause my grown off-spring.   They would get over it and my estate was still intact and, who knows, what does the future hold anyway?. 

That aside, we can segue into Therapists, Therapy, and how this all connects.

It is better if the reader has acquainted his or herself with the article but, suffice it to say that I have been involved with the situations the writer speaks of.  For many many years. 

It may well be that the writer and one of her references (Woody Allen) seem to find this a very affordable adventure into, frankly, pure pandering by people who are interested in money, self, aggrandizement, or a myriad of nonsensical motives that even the eminent Dr. Freud would, by now, have realized what pure BS this all was.  Proper meds today do help, and , frankly, insights that a Therapist might have are from his/her subjective history and amount to nothing but pure partial ----dare I say it---Bullshit.  I still do not know how the excrement of Bulls came to mean that. But I do know that most of the advice from the alleged experts is just that.

So, now let me surmise a few things.  The Therapist cares, The Therapist is competent (and we agree that they can be that—a reach for me).  Yet, the “bottom line” enters into this relationship with a patient so that, frankly, one has to say that patient’s best interests are not that “bottom line”.  The hourly fee is.  The hourly fee is earned by the papers on that wall that say this is a competent practitioner of the “art” (I won’t use “science”) of Therapy.

Perhaps we might all agree that there are truly ill ---call them deranged—people that are in need of medication.   Thankfully these things are available today.  What is also available is the total waste of time and money in talking and dealing with self aggrandizing  people with many documents on a wall that tell you how many Universities they have attended.  Those wall hangings do not tell you that the main interest is “the bottom line” .  Now, I admit, there are idealists.  But do let me single out some sub-specialties  that I would be very wary of---Psychologists and the Psychologist wanna-bes---MSWs.  There is a breed you had best stay away from  Any dealings with them only reinforce their own pretensions.   If you check it out you will find that many have earlier careers that led nowhere---from interior decorating to alleged teaching to house painting.  Now they feel qualified to teach life lessons. I seems a lot cheaper and, perhaps, more helpful to talk with your painter, mechanic, or decorator---and mostly a good friend.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


It has been some time since the last ill afforded excrement that has dropped from this old brain.  Time to alleviate that situation and either vex you or bore you once again.

First, let me mention the radio programs---TRADITIONS & SUNDAY SIMCHA.  I am always amazed by the amount of e mail and response I get for SIMCHA vs TRADITIONS.   I know where my priorities are and I am beginning to realize where the listener's priorities  are placed.   So be it and let us all be happy and what we do and what we listen to on radio----AND---thankfully there are folks like myself who still find radio the most personal medium. 

Since these are misc. brain droppings it will stay misc. (hate to spell that whole word out---but w/ spell check why worry).    I am always surprised by writers who prefer their good old Underwood over the computer.   I still have and IBM selectric and I hope the dust on it is not causing me allergy attacks.  OK, it was my wife's for her business---in the days of Word Perfect on the computer and the ability erase typing on a Selectric.    So, why love that old Underwood?   I just corrected this sentence and you did not even know that and I never used and eraser, white out, or "x"(on the selectric ).  Now is the time to show some pity for the inventors of "white out", special erasers (for typing), and all those folks who owned the nice little stationary stores that I loved with their wonderful paper aromas who now are gone and replace by the likes of the Office Depots, Office Max, etc; and have joined the great family of extinct Dodos.

Now to get personal about these misc. droppings from this feeble old brain.   One has to appreciate one's ability to stay alert, creative, and functioning as the years roll by.   One also has to realize physical limitations that are not apparent and are noticeable in much younger people and be thankful not to be afflicted by them.  An aside.   One gentleman I know is 90 yrs. of age and he is, many times my tennis partner.  He saves the day.  Bless him and his great health and stamina.   All that said one has to also realize that, sometimes, it is time to move on to a new chapter in life.   When I reach that moment I will post another bit of excrement from my old brain.  Until then, suffice it to say, we do our best.

One other thing worthy of note has to do with technology.   We meet so many people in our lives and, while Facebook is certainly not a place for true relationships, it does add a sense of community if you "friend" right folks.  I hope I have.

Perhaps some music is called for to keep with the mood---

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I don't know how many of you have heard of this truly wonderful radio program.   Locally it airs on WNYC on Sat. afternoons ( a delightful change from their previous Sat. programming that made me reach for the OFF switch as quickly as I could.  I know I was in the minority.)  To give you the name---The Moth Radio Hour and in that lies a tale that they will happily explain many times.   You hear wonderful stories wonderfully told  by the people who lived them.   I can guarantee that you will be mesmerized by the tales that are funny, sad, moving, and interesting.   I know that I have laughed heartily and also had tears in my eyes at some of these stories and, one in particular, always amazed me at how the teller of the tale could finish it among his own upsetting moments in this truly sad and moving tale.

Here are a few samples and if you like this head over to WNYC (or some Public Radio Station your area)

If you get to the story of the suicide hot line do think of something I love playing on our air---David Buskin's Suicide Hot Line

As long as we are on radio recommendations I cannot urge you more strongly to not miss the program that follows my SUNDAY SIMCHA--THE VINTAGE ROCK & POP SHOP.   The host and the material is not to be missed.   It is what radio is all about---or what it used to be all about.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Hopefully you will be sticking around for the end which is where there will be some program updates.   Prior to that some random "brain droppings" as mentioned.

1)   Check out the cover of this week's New Yorker.  It says it all about the NYC bike program.   A great metaphor for the NYC population.
2)    Speaking of NYC I must relate a nice conversation with a fellow---dare I say a suberbanite of good intellect.  She pointed out how one of her children thinks that kids in the suburbs (and she --the daughter-- is a brilliant author) feel privileged and yet she, who lives in a posh area of NYC doesn't think that her kids are.   So, some thoughts about that---membership in posh athletic facilities,  being driven to them, etc;  Sounds like privilege to me.   There is a privilege in the suburbs---going to a tennis court and playing and not waiting for hours and no charge (OK you did pay taxes), lack of parking problems, and being in close proximity to what many think of as the center of the universe.  I think that is called Xenophobia (actually that has to do with nations---but you get the point.)   OK enough NYC bashing. 
3)   I have stopped giving any donations to PBS.   Think about it---fundraisers without end that seem, to me, to occupy more time than commercials on the Networks and re-hashed music with guys with bad toupees singing their annoying golden oldies..   NPR has the decency to do fundraisers just 2 or 3 times a year and present programming even more meaningful than PBS---though I admit that today people want visual.  Would that they stay tuned to radio---I love the WNYC slogan---Never Turn It Off.I am delighted to say that my station (WFDU) has one fundraiser a year---one. Period.   Then there is another station on the left side of the now defunct "dial" that seems to have one every other week.   Granted, that station has NPR affiliation and that costs mucho dinero.   It also precludes freeform programming.
 4)  On a positive note I must say you really should read "FDR and the Jews".   It is a very readable and insightful book that opened a lot of memories to me and explained some things I knew not of---and gave me a whole new take on Eleanor and her evolution to the "heroine" she became
 5)   Back to the beginning in more detail---The NYC Bike Program.   Hoboken (which, admittedly, is smaller) has it right.   Not the complex inane set up of NYC.   Great advtsg for Citibank  and that about covers this fiasco---think about this---bike lanes were around under Koch (not well rcvd) and now there are bike lanes that make left turns (for cars) hard and dangerous to all and parking in the middle of a street.  A few thoughts about who is going to partake of this fiasco---CEOs---no---Mid level execs--not unless they shower at work---tourist---sure --they will think it the in thing for a month, the average citizen---will take a subway, a bus, or rent a bike (if  one is not owned) from a bike store.   Mayor Bloomberg's idealism is ever so wonderful and I can only assume he will be pedaling around town soon---only in  a rickshaw w/ pedaler  I am certain.

OK--You have stayed for the bitter end of this so a few program updates and notes---

JUNE 2----SUNDAY SIMCHA  will present one of our funniest Comedy Corners yet---and many listeners had requests---they will be fulfilled .  

JUNE 9---TRADITIONS will be visited via tel. by a terrific talent with a new and very autobiographical CD out now. DEBORAH HOLLAND.   I do hope you will join me for this---she is an amazing talent who personifies the strength of the female gender.  In addition we will also present the regular features and the new addition of Comedy Corner.

I do believe we need a sample of one of the artists in one of our regular features----

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Starting with the programs and the music a few updates and comments.   On Mother's Day (with the apostrophe) as opposed to Mothers Day---surely we think of our own---I interspersed some material throughout the program.  I am delighted to have rcvd a note from a listener how moved she was by the Joe Heukerrott piece (MOTHER). Unfortunately he never released that CD (his last one to date).  It contained some other wonderful pieces including "SARATOGA SPRINGS", which was a perfect description of a weekend we all spent there back in the 1990s when he performed at Cafe Lena.

That is age for you.   I said--"..back in the 1990s..".   The millenium seemed beyond the horizon and we all were not going to get any older.   Well, not to be too morbid, we did but one of our group did not.  Nuff said there.

So, I was delighted with the audience reception of the Mothers Day (no apostrophe) program for all the other material as well.   Memorial Day will soon be upon us and I hope you will enjoy the offerings on TRADITIONS that day---one piece is a perennial and think about what that will be.

This might be a good point to offer some thoughts about WFDU and the fact that you will find nothing like it anywhere else on the radio dial---of which are none.  No dials.  Just buttons.  Think about it. What station do you know that is like WFDU that allows knowledgeable people ( in their genre of material) to do a program of their own creation?   No censorhip, no input, no criticism.  Merely acceptance of creativity.  The closest I can come to this is WNYC ---very programmed but variatal, WQXR---very programmed but within a given genre.  Other than WFMU can you think of another station that offers you Jewish (Yiddish) programming and some intense Gospel as well?   Why that is I know not.  Why I do it I do know and appreciate the support of the management of  WFDU.

One last programming thought.   As much as I do love TRADITIONS and SUNDAY SIMCHA there is now a program that follows SUNDAY SIMCHA that I urge you to tune  in for.  THE VINTAGE ROCK &POP SHOP.  I even said to the host--Ghosty---you are a great lead in to TRADITIONS.  You will not only love the program you will adore the host.

So now for a few varied brain droppings of no particular significance----

  1) Have you noticed that PBS (Channel 13) keeps putting up pop-up about 50 YRS.   There is more history than that---when it was the local WNET (NY/NJ) it did some truly classic programming including "The Play of The Week" that introduced us to some great works of drama
2) If you are watching a program on the boob tube--especially a serious one---are you not annoyed with the constant pop-ups for the next program? 
3)  The wheel was a great invention---the DVR as well.   Woe to the advertisers who are truly wasting the big bucks.   What would Don Draper do?   Probably shtup another encounter.
4)  What started as a really good program has now evolved into a truly annoying 2d rate Soap----Mad Men
5) The recently published book "FDR & THE JEWS" is a really terrific piece of writing that opens up a whole new view of FDR---and Eleanor.  Eleanor truly surprised me.  No spoiler alert--just read the tome.
6)Summertime is almost around the corner so I think that a bit of music by Kate Campbell is called for


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Some Updates and Memorandums Not Always About The Music

Is it memorandi?   Let me know.

A request from some listeners to TRADITIONS to add a Comedy Corner to the program along the lines of SUNDAY SIMCHA has been made and I will certainly be honoring it.  It will start on 5/12 with some material from The Smothers Bros., Alan Sherman, and Modern Man.   It will be oriented for a more diverse audience than the every loyal Sunday Simcha folks.   Here is something along the line of humor that will not be on the program---truly some brilliant material and the kind of thing we no longer see on what is now truly---the boob tube.

So, a few brain droppings now.  Merely random thoughts along the lines of Nobody Asked Me But...

1) If you are from New Jersey would it be "nobody axed me....'?
2) Privacy.  I went to my local ATM machine and it said the team wishes me a Happy Bday.  I never knew I had a team and since I do why are they not sending me some cash from their vast stock. If they sent it I would keep it and, as Charlton Heston said---they would have to pry it from my cold dead hands.  OK--I care not about guns.  Dollars---whole other thing.
3) Do we ever wonder about where our clothing is made?    A recent survey showed that people chose, when the price was equal, the items that were made in humane conditions (there were signs next to each item).   Sales fell off when prices went up on the "humane" items.    The supply chain is long but, perhaps, one should ask the major marketers---you all know who they are---to investigate their supply chain.  Does alleged fashion have to equal death and poverty for y'all (love the southern dialect) for style.
4)What a delight and wonder to have a new non-powerful king in Belgium to collect many ducats to be there.
5) Deanna Durbin died.   Those of you of a certain age may recall her---me, all deaths are sad but I do not think it worthy of a great obit  in the NY Times.
6) I do believe, since we speak of obits, a clip from someone who was a giant and who I and Jerry Treacy (WFDU) hade the honor of chatting with years back at The Great Hudson River Revival (Clearwater)\

Sunday, April 14, 2013


In fact it is rather hard to spare these brain droppings since I have only a limited supply of them and it is running short.   That said, there are a few things I really want to mention and we start by keeping it in a musical vein and then  move on---

Hopefully, you were tuned in today to TRADITIONS and our celebration of Tom Lehrer's 85th Bday.   Aside from the wonder of this artist I am amazed as how topical his music (and it is gentle satire) is to this day.  As is the music of Phil Ochs.  It says more about our society and humankind  and the intransigence it has for unity and civility.

Another musical note is the big fanfare for the song by Brad Paisley about Racism.   Pure nonsense. It only works with the aid of a "rapper" when there is a perfect song that, frankly, I and mainstream media, do not give airplay---Grant Peeples--Nigger Lover.  Say the words and then listen to the song---it is amazing.   It is also a hell of a lot more meaningful.     I will air it if enough of you make requests---see how cowardly I am. .Due to the title. It misleads us about the content.

As to non-musical comments I do want to mention and mourn the passing of one of the great comics and wits of our time---Jonathan Winters.   I cannot commemorate him on the air due to format but for those of you old enough to recall his work you surely recall his genius.  For those too young and only remember his role on Mork & Mindy that is too bad--- a sad coda for a creative consumate artist.  Perhaps, in a positive note, he was trying to help his protege (Robin Williams) on a failing show.

On a personal note I want to mention how saddened I was to see the piece in the NY Times today regarding the Bronx and the "crashing" of the justice system there.  I grew up there and had always hoped that it would recover.  I thought that, to some extent, it had.  I won't go into the piece in the NYT  but it certainly makes one wonder.   It also makes you realize that "justice" does not work equally there or in Manhattan (for example).   Forget Law & Order.    Once again one has to wonder how we, as a nation or as a state got to where we are given the division and pandering to self interest.

Finally, it brings me to my growing up in a "bubble" that I have created in my thinking recently.   It was a time of reasonable (for the time) medical insurance, Social Security on the horizon, and schools that were safe and the fear of mass killings seemed non-existent.   Times do change.  Now, it seems, that the above items are all in play.    Sometime I will post another piece of those fond memories but for the meantime let us leave that thought stand and realize that  things do not have to be the way they are.    Yes, life was simpler then.   Perhaps that is part of the problem.  Perhaps alleged progress is part of the problem.  The bottom line (now I realize how effective was the naming of that defunct bistro) is that are we to allow us to be less involved with every new technology that comes down the pike and every new fad and focus more on core and simple values that seemed to have strengthened us before.  They have also instilled our core values in us.    Instant gratification as delivered by electronics is not part of that.  Diplomacy amongst nations is hurt by all this as well---but, that is another topic.   Thought and patience is required in our new and multi media world.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I do hope you navigated over from the Playlists---which were non-existent for Sunday Simcha this week.  Since I realize that the Playlists page gets more viewers I hope to get you here since I did not have a play list to offer---and, frankly,  playlists make no sense.  They are out of context of what was talked about---on both programs.  That is honesty.   You do, however, get to know what was played if that is of interest to you.   You do not, however, get the context.  That said, I do appreciate that you view them and see what was presented.  You  may, however, listen to the archived program for 2 weeks--- go here.

Now for a couple of the "brain droppings" that certainly are more sanitary that the bird droppings we  have heard of.

The world---or more certainly the Catholic world has a new  Pope.   The question to me that arises is why does this make it the most newsworthy item of the moment for various media.   Would the world or the media be this concerned by a new leader in the Muslim(well, a disclaimer there--leader or terrorist?) world, in who was the Chief Rebbe in Israel, etc;   I doubt it.   The Catholics of the world have a new Pope.  The rest of the world is still going along its merry way.   The media, as usual, is creating "hype" that is truly , as it is said, "over the top".    My hopes, certainly, for his success as Pope and leader of the Catholics.   

Is it not amazing how seriously we have all taken this.  So, on a lighter note, let me refer you to some other thoughts-- 

This coming Sunday is St. Patrick's Day and on that day we are all honorary (at least) Irish---well, at least most of us.  If you tune in to TRADITIONS this Sunday during the 4 PM hour you will have  the opportunity of hearing a truly funny bit of music from some old favorites which will explain the "some of us" line---equal opportunity skewering for many nationalities is in store.  On SUNDAY SIMCHA I will presenting  a Comedy Corner segment that, I do believe, will have you splitting your sides laughing (sent any bills for torn pants or shirts somewhere else).  The comic you will be hearing was an acquaintance of mine who died at a tragically young age.  He was just on the cusp of true fame after having won so annual "stand-up" awards and appearances of quite a few of the late night talk shows of the time.

The National Yiddish Theater (Folksbiene) is still continuing presenting wonderful programs in Yiddish (w/ English super titles) as it has done for almost 100 years now.   SUNDAY SIMCHA will keep you posted on what they are doing and when.  Just last Sunday some of our listeners and I (seperately) attended a wonderful afternoon of music put on by the creator of GHETTO TANGO.  Zalmen Mlotek is the musical director and guiding force of Folksbiene.

Here is a video of a discussion and some scenes of an earlier production---both Mike Burstyn and Zalmen Mlotek have been guests on SUNDAY SIMCHA.   If they ever present this again it is not to be missed---it has already been brought back 2 times by popular demand.


Thursday, March 7, 2013


I do hope I will be seeing many of you this Sunday at The museum of the Jewish Heritage in NYC (Battery Place).  Should be a great show and we have played much music from it on SUNDAY SIMCHA,   

A few thoughts about some of the artists that have appeared on both of my programs---SUNDAY SIMCHA & TRADITIONS.   I want to offer my thanks for being able to play, for you, such wonderfully talented people.  As someone once said to me---" and your voice are so wonderful radio--"  NO--it is the talent I able to present and the wonderful conversations with the truly talented people that appear on both programs.

You may note that I never "share" them with you---I present them.  The difference, and the point. is these are the talents and I am honored to present them to you.  Hopefully you appreciate them as I do.  

For some future references----I am planning to have some interesting guests on both TRADITONS & SUNDAY SIMCHA---as they say TBA.   You know that, recently, we have had the filmakers of KOCH and HAVA NAGILA (hope you saw this---a joy)   

NOW---if you have any suggestions for St. Patrick's Day music (TRADITIONS) do let me know---I have a few and we do start with Allan Sherman---our one listener who finds such selections objectionable is not a listener I hope to attract---I want to attract out listeners w/ a sense of humor and an appreciation of variety,

One final thought regarding TRADITIONS.   Many years back there was a fellow on the station---Larry Hopper.  I do not claim any Hank William expertise.  Only a love of his talent.   Should you want an hour devoted to some rarities and some popular items let me know---we will, as it is said, work it out. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Some Updates and Coments

I am glad you skipped over here from the Playists.   Frankly,  I could have put this on that site but why dilute what should be only for the playlists and the commentary.   So---let me present a few thoughts and observations about some upcoming events and about both of the programs----

I do hope you will be coming down to the Museum of The Jewish Heritage on 3/10 (2 PM) for a terrific show that will be musically directed by Zalmen Mlotek---Ghetto Tango.. I will be there.  Please stop and say hello---or goodbye---whatever your choice.  

Some comments now about the 2 programs---SUNDAY SIMCHA & TRADITIONS.  A joy to be able to present them both to you on, probably, the only station left that allows such free-form and creative radio---WFDU.   Your support of that and the programs was truly appreciated.

I do now have a few questions which I hope you will be able to respond to--

1) SUNDAY SIMCHA----I am truly appreciative of the support and the folks tuning in (I could have said "listenership) but this sounds nicer.   I get more e mails and comments on that program than I do at TRADITIONS.  My question---Why?   You also get more freebies in the form of CDs there.
2)  TRADITIONS----Many times I ask for requests---comments, etc;   Nada.  I assume you like my choices of music and also the features.  Should you want to comment---please do.   Here or my e mail at

The only other item is to say what I always do at Sign Off Time----Stay in Touch and Stay Well---I am your Jewish Mother---do not disobey that edict.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Some Updates and Videos of Interest

If you will click on the playlist link you will also see this video along with the commentary about Playlists once again being published on 2/24---and, I suppose, for eternity---however long we are granted on this earth.  Playlists in the hereafter are problematical.

At the end of this fairly brief missive there will be some videos from a trailer of a film I do not think you should miss---HAVA NAGILA, THE MOVIE.    See PLAYLISTS for more on that and my guest for Sunday Simcha on 2/24

A few other comments and suggestions--briefly.

March 9  The Acoustic Cafe will be featuring Buskin & Batteau---Nuff said---it is in Park Ridge NJ and they are 2 artists that are not to be missed.

March 10   Museum of The Jewish Heritage---Ghetto Tango.  A brilliant piece of work that I have featured many times on Sunday Simcha.  This features the original music director (Zalmen Mlotek)  with a whole new cast.

I will have more updates at a later time.  Suffice it to say that these few are so good they should keep you busy for a while.

Some other random thoughts---

I mentioned in a conversation I had with one of my interviewees that some of the most enjoyable and memorable musical moments are at local concerts, at house concerts, or coffee houses.  All these venues are personal and affordable.   They are truly more enjoyable the hyped performances in stadiums with the truly overpriced  tickets.

The second thought on that subject is---you have now overpaid and for that pleasure they add the following--a service fee (whatever service you got I know not),  a facilty fee (let them pay their own rent)
and---best of all---when it comes to Lincoln Ctr(Opera, Ballet,etc;)  all of the above AND--a donation requested to support them  Can they not live on over priced tickets and fees?   That is, truly, insulting.   Better to give to Cancer Research or some other worthy cause.   The "Geshrei from Rome " does not do it for me---check w/ me to know what I mean there if you have not figured it out/

OK---some videos now of that terrific film--


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Some Updates and Some Varied Comments

Let's  start with some of the guests that I have on SUNDAY SIMCHA.   This Sunday we will be presenting the 2d half of my interview with Neal Barsky.  He is the filmmaker of the well recvd. documentary about Ed Koch---how timely is that? it is, truly, a film that will grab you and make you see the whole thing.  Trust me on this.   We follow in about 2 weeks with a conversation with the film maker of a truly brilliant film---HAVA NAGILA ==THE MOVIE.  You will be totally engrossed.      It will be in NYC in March---March 1 to be exact.   

These are the kind of things that, in addition to the music, I present to you each week on SUNDAY SIMCHA.  SO, keeping YIddishkeit on the air is up to you.  WFDU does what radio stations have to do---stick with what supports the station.  You get the point.  GIve me a call at 201 692-2012 or go to the website  

This brings me to TRADITIONS.  No sense in repeating myself. Suffice it to say that there is no other program that presents the eclectic sound and the sound of new and old that you, surely, appreciate.  Nowhere on the now defunct radio "dials".   Bottom line---your support is vital.   If there were dials WFDU would still be the right place on the left side---with your support.

On to another topic now.  As you know we do try to stay topical and there are some items that we can play on the air--musically.  Many of our singer / songwriters have come up with some meaningful material about current topics.  Gun control among them.  Music has helped many causes.  Especially if they were "anthems"  We play them on the program but we do not share our opinions given the parameters of that "bully pulpit".   SO, some brief thoughts and, I am sure, they have been voiced by others---

1) Why do we so protect the 2d Ammendment? We have voided and upgraded others.
2)  What is so unreasonable about limiting the amount of ammo in a clip---the weapon  is still there.  The Founding Fathes only had Muskets.
3)   People have died and still the dollars from the Lobby(ies)  for guns seem to influence and dominate the conversation.   The NRA and their spokesman contradict themselves at every turn.   At least the late and not lamented Heston said it like it was--for them.    

So, back to music now.   There are some great artist in our presence and I hope you will be appreciating them on TRADITIONS and also all the  new material we offer on SUNDAY SIMCHA.
By the way----this Sunday (2/10) I have the 2d half of my conversation with Neil Barsky.  The film  maker of the documentary about the (sadly) Ed Koch---KOCH.   Terrific film