Monday, March 9, 2009

Purim Short Takes (With a Touch of A.D.D)

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What better time than Purim to run this video with Alonzo Garbanzo and Karl O'Sandt. It is a takeoff on Eric Clapton's song "Cocaine" and is titled "Propane". Like Weird Al Yankovic, the song not only has good lyrics but also works musically as well. Drug songs never did much for me, with the possible exception of "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd, which I like to listen to with a beer at the end of a long work day.

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Here I am in America, a Jew of Croatian background. Who is one of my favourite musicians? Weird Al Yankovic, who is of Serbian ancestry. In Europe, Serbs and Croats were killing each other. My attitude towards Serbs is best exemplified by the remark a friend of mine made. "What the hell.. They both have a 'vich' at the end of their names. Here, we get along. A couple years ago I was in the emergency room waiting for stitches.The doctor who was checking me out was Serbian. Her parents honeymooned in my grandparent's home town. We were both sad that the war had broken up Yugoslavia. We were talking about great Yugoslav rock before the country split up. That is how I get a lot of my good music leads, by talking about music with Taxi drivers, doctors and store keepers. New York is great for that. The video below is "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al.


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One of my favourite African singers is Ismail Lo of Senegal. There are two things I will credit the French for. One is their contribution to the English language. The other is their popularisation of African music. It is a lot easier to get Afropop in France than it is in America. The American music scene has only taken a few drops from the rich ocean of Africa's musical diversity. It's a pity. Many African Americans who don't know where in Africa their ancestors came from would find a resonance in a lot of music that gets nowher near enough coverage on American top 40. I may be a tiny voice in cyberspace, but one of my pet causes is to get America to listen to African and South American music.
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I don't need to hate someone to know who I am. I love my family. I love the Jewish people and land. That deepens my appreciation for the feelings of other people. When I read the Megilla and then read about Iran cooking up nukes to hit Israel, it makes me feel like the Megilla is talking about modern day events. Everything that is going on seems almost supernatural, from the disproportionate attention focused on Israel to the repeated miracles in which G-d saves us not only from our enemies but from ourselves. There is a lot of hate and violence in the world. As long as it has been with us, it still seems unnatural. The nations of the world are meant to function in harmony, like limbs of one body. Our present state is like that of a stroke victim, whose limbs can not follow the command of the body. I truly believe that as Peter Himmelman says in his song of the same name "This too will pass." A joyous Purim to all.


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