Elster's World

Friday, December 30, 2005

Will Billy Crystal Be Hosting?

Fellow blogger Joe (http://jschick.blogspot.com/) sent me an email today letting me know that I have been nominated for an Israeli and Jewish Blog Award (sponsored by The Jerusalem Post and Israelly Cool) in the category of Personal Blog.

At first I was confused having not realized that there even were such awards. But confusion turned quickly towards a feeling of pride (in the recognition of my work) and thanks (for all three hundred of you who thought enough of the blog to nominate it – just kidding). It’s really an indescribable feeling to know that someone thought enough of this blog to nominate it for anything other than the coveted Biggest Waste of Time in Cyberspace Award. (Of course, pride and thankfulness turned quickly to anger that no one thought to nominate me in the Jewish Humor category but whatever.)

Anyway, I started perusing the list of categories and nominees and noticed many familiar names. I started to email a bunch of them congratulating them individually but it was annoying and time consuming. So instead, I thought I would spread the wealth right here with some of my favorite blogs and the categories they were nominated in:

Best Series: Hirhurim (http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/) and Joe (http://jschick.blogspot.com/) get the nod in this category. Gil Student’s Hirhurim is truly fantastic (if not really up my alley) and Joe’s is a real trip. No one else in all of Blogland combines sports, Israeli politics and the religious issues du jour like Joe. In fact, no one else in Blogland combines sports, Israeli politics and the religious issues du jour at all. But my favorite part of the Joe Schick Experience is reading the comments of those who berate him for “wasting” his time writing about the Jets when he should focus on more “important” issues like the Slifkin controversy of the latest Lakewood debacle. Yeah, like anything could be more important than writing about the New York Football Jets. Dopes.

Best Post: Great category, though after reading through some of the nominees, I was a little disappointed. But here we get the first of McAryeh’s (http://awhisperingsoul.blogspot.com/) nominations. With all due respect to all bloggers everywhere, I will state here, on the record, that “MC” is my absolute favorite blog in the whole wide world (excluding, of course, (http://elstersworld.blogspot.com/)). The nominated post is a great example of MC’s blend of humor, popular culture, jewish culture and simply great writing. ClooJew (http://luleidemistafina.blogspot.com/) checks in for the first time here as well. The nominated post, 30 Tammuz, is actually fantastic – the first really decent post I read when I first started checking out blogs six months ago. This will definitely be getting my vote in this category. Nice Jewish Girl (http://shomernegiah.blogspot.com/) gets her first nod here as well. (Side note: If you are jewish, I think that NJG’s blog is an absolute must read. You must read it from the beginning. It is a heartbreaking tale of what it’s like to try and struggle between trying to be shomer negiah and 35 years old. It’s sad and beautiful at the same time. It’s starting to lose some of its power as time passes, but her story is one which needs to be heard. Repeat, needs to be heard.) Oh, and Joe pops in with nomination #2. Yawn

Best New Blog: MC, of course, ClooJew again and NJG all pick up their second nominations. NJG averages over 100 comments a post and ClooJew’s rabid fans would literally drink the Cool-Aide for this guy. Sorry to all, but MC’s getting the vote here.

Personal Blog: Not exactly sure what this means and not sure why it’s not Best Personal Blog, but it’s still my favorite category. The best blog in this category is (http://elstersworld.blogspot.com/), but I might be a little biased. That’s the one I’m gonna vote for anyway. Other nominees include MC (again), NJG, Rabbi Neil Fleischmann (http://rabbifleischmann.blogspot.com/), Toronto Pearl, (http://wwwpearliesofwisdom.blogspot.com/), Seraphic Secret (http://www.seraphicpress.com/) by Robert Averech, an orthodox Hollywood screenwriter (who loses point for being about as helpful as a wall with regard to my book) and R.X (http://suburbanhymns.blogspot.com/), who gains points for being British and very funny. Wow, tough, tough competition. I can honestly say that I don’t feel like I have a very good chance, but I really am honored to be mentioned among such a group.

Jewish Culture Blog: Jews are cultured? Well, MC, (again) and ClooJew (again) certainly seem to be.

Jewish Humor Blog: MC (double yawn) is hilarious. RX is funny too. But seriously, where is Elster? No, I’m serious. Whatever.

Student Life Blog: Dina (http://ilovejewfood.blogspot.com/) who also goes by Cinnamon Rugelach and other Junk, my favorite blog student, gets a nod here. This girl has posted over 500 times. That’s prodigious.

Best Political Blog: Joe again. And get this, I hate politics, but not when he writes about it. And while here, Hirhurim and Joe also got nominated for Best Series.

Best Overall Blog: Ah, now we get to the biggie. The crème de la crème of blog awards. Best Overall Blog. MC, Hirhurim and Joe. Again, sorry to all, but MC’s got my vote. While I think that all of these blogs would be worthy choices (and probably have a better shot at winning), his blog is the greatest thing since sliced bread (except, of course, for http://elstersworld.blogspot.com/. Ok, I promise to stop shamelessly self-promoting.

Well, that’s all folks. Once again, special thanks to whoever nominated me, I was very happy to be thought of. Great choices in all the categories and may the best man or woman win.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Fear's Ugly Face

So I went to a wedding last night. Because of the dreaded Christmas Day/First night of Chanukkah combo, we couldn't find a babysitter (though in all honesty, the Mrs. didn't try all that hard) and Elster was forced to fly solo. Ordinarily, this isn't such a big deal (though I often dislike going places alone) as was only going to the ceremony, not the reception, but it certainly was to become one.

I'll tell you a secret. I left right after the shmorg (place where jewish people eat like pigs before the actually ceremony takes place) and before the chupah (wedding ceremony). But to be fair, my intentions were pure. I really wanted to light the first night Chanukkah candles with my kids before they went to sleep. Channukah lighting is one of the truly special times we share together, we only get eight shots at it a year, and I didn't want to miss the very first one. Two years ago, I had to work late every night and my whole family was asleep before I got home. So every chance you get is a gift.

Well, I slipped out of the hall unseen (everyone else was making their way to find seats on either side of the aisle) and managed to quickly get lost while attempting a shortcut. Normally, this wouldn't post a huge problem but my cell was dead so I wasn't even able to call for backup. After about ten minutes of taking one poorly thought out wrong turn after another, I was forced to ask for directions and made my way to the highway. It was here that things took a bad turn (no pun intended).

At about 6:30 last night, the Lord decided to open up the skies and pour forth a tidal wave of rain. Now, I'm a pretty good driver (well, I'm at least average), but as I take a train to and from work every day, I don't really drive all that much. So there I was in the dark, already a little shakey from being lost, and I'm driving through a wall of water.

I cannot ever remember feeling this insecure behind the wheel (except for right after I was involved in a minor accident when I was younger which shook my confidence for a while). I was sure that I was going to get in an accident. I was almost frozen with fear at some points - you would have thought it was my first time behind the wheel. You know the jerk sitting in the middle lane going 45 mph while cars whiz by on both sides? Well, that me moi last night.

When I got off the highway near my home and back on the empty streets, my relief was like something you could taste. Even thinking about it now causes a quickening of my heartbeat and a sour feeling in my stomach.

Well, I got home in one piece and I lit candles with my kids. We gave them each a present (Yeshivah Boys' Choir cd for my daughter, Dumbo dvd for my son) and shipped them off to bed. I was alternatively mad at Mrs. Elster for not coming with me to the wedding and relived that I wasn't lying in a hospital bed or worse.

Why am I writing this? Because I'm home from work, babysitting my son, and feel the overwhelming need to write. I get that sometimes.

Also, I feel writng stuff like this out is very theraputic. I don't mind admitting my flaws. I don't mind throwing stuff out, warts and all. I'm sure we all have moments of sheer terror where we look back at now and wonder where it came from. I don't know why I felt such panic at the wheel last night and I hope I never feel that was again.

But at a minimum, I think it might be time for some night-driving glasses.

Happy Chanukkah.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hard Boiled Vs Soft Shoe

HARD BOILED:

The thunder was booming like a pair of Colt .44 magnun Anacondas in a small space when she walked into my office. She looked like she had just rolled off the model factory assembly line - all blond hair and clothes too tight for a broad half her size.

"How can I help you sister?" I asked.

She gave me the cool stare. "What makes you think I need your help anyway?" She was a tough egg all right. But that was ok with me, I liked my women with some spark.

I leaned back in my creaky chair as far as it would go, put my legs up on my desk, and waited her out. Eventually they all crack in the waiting game. She sighed. To me it was the sound of the white flag being raised. I cocked one ear in her direction and waited some more. The cool stare went away. It always does. I smiled to myself, then spoke again.

"What's it gonna be sister, I ain't got all night."

"Don't call me sister. And what Big Boy, you got plans or something?"

This time I smiled on the outside. "I might."

She sighed again. It was a nice sound coming from that mouth. From those lips. She took out a box of unfiltered Malboros and a lighter, looking questiningly at me. I nodded and she lit up. Took a big drag, held it, and slowly let it out. Looked pretty good on her, if I say so myself.

"Ok partner. Here's my issue. I hope you got a strong stomach and a good constitution."

"Lady, there ain't nothing you can tell me that ain't already heard."

Now it was her turn to smile, as though she knew something I didn't. I leaned forward in my chair, suddenly intrigued. She started to speak as the thunder continued to roar in the night.....

SOFT SHOE:

The rain clinked against my office window and the thunder rumbled like the bass section of a jazz band when the woman walked into my office. She was beautiful, like a ray of light on a dark day. She wore tight fitting, sexy clothes and her honey blond hair fell across her face.

"How can I help you maam?" I asked.

"Well, I'm not even sure you can help me..." she trailed off.

I sat back in my chair and waited. Sometimes it was better to let the visitors come to it in their own time. People often had trouble letting things out. Sometimes time and space were my best tools of the trade. After a good, solid two minutes, she sighed. It was a really nice sound. I knew she was almost ready to talk.

"Take your time maam," I said. "There's no hurry."

"Do you have to call me maam? It makes me feel old. And are you always this polite or am I special?"

I smiled. "I try."

She sighed again and took a pack of Juicy Fruit gum from her purse. "I hope you don't mind. it calms me down."

"Be my guest. Now," I gently prodded, "what can I do for you?"

"Well," she replied, turning her face away. "It's a little embarrasing."

"Embarrasing is my specialty."

"Ok. You see.." And so she told me her tale as the storm's symphony played outside my window.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Devil Wears Many Faces

One of them is television.

Let's start with that premise as a given. While I don't say that all television is bad (in fact I feel just the opposite), I am saying that certainly some television is bad and too much television is bad.

I come from a long line of proud tv watchers. I watched way too much tv as a kid. I distinctly remember coming home from school, dropping the coat on the floor, and heading right down to the basement for some serious relaxation in front of the tube. Whether it was Batman and his possibly gay sidekick, or the Skipper and his doofus sidekick, or even Moe and his two moron sidekicks, there was always something on to dazzle and entrance.

Today, television has become so sophisticated that it attempts to target and reach every possible audience. I have DirecTv. I have movie channels, sports channels, fix-it channels, news channels, cartoon channels that show old cartoons form the 60's and 70's (my daughter's favorite tv show is Scooby Doo), channels aimed at kids, etc. I could go on all day. Really,. I could. There is a show for every person and a person for every show.

But what does this all mean for us? Certainly, I am not getting on my high horse and saying that all television is bad. As mentioned above, I firmly believe that tv has a number of meritorious qualities. But as the values of society decrease, art imitates life, and the next thing you know the bar has been lowered another notch. (Or, perhaps, it's the other way around. Perhaps its visual media like tv and movies which are muddying up society. Or maybe they are simbiotic - each equally pulling our ethical world deeper into oblivion. But, as I hate philosophical questions, I digress.)

The perfect example of this moral morass is Friends. Now, I have always disliked that show and never really watched it. But I have seen more than enough episodes to know that 60 to 70 percent of the show's attempts to make its audience laugh were sex jokes. Now I'm not a prude, but that's a lot of sex jokes. Especially when that show was on at 8:00 pm, prime kid watching time. So let's get this straight. It's not ok to have wardrobe malfunctions during the Super Bowl - in fact said malfunction is a cause for major uproar in the world and exessesive finings, but no one has a problem with shows that hundreds of thousands of children under 15 are watching that have semi-naked chicks, mild cursing and tons of sexual innuendo? Huh? What am I missing here? How did that suddenly become ok? And why do we think that because the Hollywood Left shouts louder than the Right about censorship, that somehow makes them "right"?

Hey, I love South Park as much as the next guy. I think the show uses its crudeness as a filter for its brilliant social satire. Nothing makes me laugh as much (except maybe the Simpsons). But given a choice, I would say it's better that this show was never created. Not for me. I will not be corrupted by Stan, Kyle and Cartman's cussing. But rather, that 7 year old kid who has clueless parents will be.

I have reached that point where I don't watch that much tv any more. I still watch a good amount of sports, but I really am down to a couple of "must see" shows (Lost, 24 and the underrated and misunderstood Veronica Mars). Maye that's still too much. Who knows.

So...where do we draw the line? It's clear that the 2,356 networks out there are not going to do it for us. Everyone needs to decide for themselves how much is enough. And more importantly, decide for our children. Putting aside the question of whether or not my kids should watch tv at all (because they do), we try and filter what it is that they are watching. For example, no shows where the characters use the word "stupid" (that means you, Arthur). Alot of harmless videos (ah Dumbo, you silly floppy eared pacyderm). Yes, many of you will argue that's not enough. Any tv is too much tv. And I do not begrudge you your opinion.

Wow, a tv rant. Where in the world did that come from? My posts are usually reactionary. Hmm, in the immortal words of Yoda, ponder this I must. But valid points all the same. Agree? Disagree? Reactions?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Echoes (Or Grandfathers of Music Part II)

Long and tedious. I know. But a labor of love for me so sorry.

I grew up in a household not particularly big on music. Dad didn't really have much interest beyond some classical stuff (and later chassidish niggunim type stuff), but whatever interest he had could certainly not be deemed "hard core". Mom grew up listening to The Beatlles and all, but music wasn't really her thing. Sis wasn't much of a help in this department either. So I was left to tread the lonely path to music on my own.

I had very little in the ways of guidance; not a Gandalf or Yoda in sight for me. So I had to pick and chose my own way. I started with FM radio, listening to stations like WPLJ and Z100 (sorry, I simply didn't know any better) and falling in love with 80's icons such as Billy Joel and the immortal Howard Jones.

In high school, things took a turn for the better. A friend introduced me to The Beatles and I spent my formative years with the true grandfathers of rock and roll. One summer in camp, someone lent me Led Zeppelin IV, the so-called untitled album, and I was introdced to Stairway to Heaven and Battle of Evermore (a must listen to for any Lord of the Rings fans out there).

When I was in tenth grade, my parents bought me a mega stereo for my room. It had a turn-table, dual tape decks, AM/FM radio and, best of all, my first cd player. Oh good times. I bought Simon and Garfunkle's Greatest Hits at a flea market (my first cd) and then begged my parents to spend the 70 plus dollars for the newly released Led Zeppelin boxed set (more on this in the Zeppelin Post). To this day, I have no idea why they paid this immense fortune for 4 discs but thank you mom and dad, you guys still rock.

Once hooked, I made frequent trips to the library to peruse its cd collections. It was there that my eyes stunbled across Wish You Were here, by Pink Floyd. The cover art was so cool. 2 people shaking hands on an empty street. Oh, and one of them happened to be on fire.

Now this could have been a disaster. It was, after all, my first Floyd. It easily could have been Piper at the Gates of Dawn or Saucerfull of Secrets that I took out for seven days. These earliest of works were done during Floyd's psychedelic phase. Which is good if you like that kinda stuff, I guess. Many people consider these albums works of inspired genius. I just think they have really cool titles.

See, Floyd started out under the control of Roger Waters and Syd Barret. In the early stages, Barret was the creative guy and he was into the whole psychedelic scene. He was also into the whole heroin scene and by 1968 he was partially insane. He would phase out at concerts and became completely unreliable. The band brought on Dave Gilmore just to play guitar when Barret phased out. Shortly thereafter, barret was dumped from the band and spent some time in an insane asylum. Good times all around.

But I digress. The reason I love Floyd is their diversity. People talk about how U2 is so amazing because they were able to re-invent themselves so many times. While I agree that is true, they were nowhere near as re-inventive as Floyd. After their beginings, the band put out a number of albums you probably never heard of (More, Ummaguma, Atom Heart Mother, Relics, Meddle and Obscured By Clouds) which contain some of the finest music you've ever heard. The albums generally have one extremely long song (going over 20 minutes in some cases) and then a bunch of regular length songs.

It was these long songs that really sets Floyd apart. They play almost like classical pieces. There is a short introduction, followed by the "main theme" followed by tangents, and then everything coming back together at the end. Examples are Atom Heart Mother (from Atom heart Mother) and Echoes (from Meddle). Also are these not famous gems - Wots Uh the Deal (which could be the lyrics to someone pining for the Beis Hamikdash, though obviously they are not meant to be) from Obscured by Clouds, If from Atom Heart Mother (just a touching song) and Fat Old Sun off of Atom Heart Mother (the greatest ode to summer I've ever heard).

After this, the band shifted again and really hit its stride. As Roger Waters gained complete control of the band, they started in with more theme related albums. What followed is an absolute murderer's row of albums (most of which you have heard of): Dark Side of the Moon (someone falling into madness), Wish You Were Here (featuring the hauntingly beautiful Shine On You Crazy Diamond, a half hour ode to Syd Barret), Animals (only 5 songs long breaks down the world into three types of people: Dogs - the killers, Pigs (three different kinds) - the rich people and Sheep - the followers), The Wall (the ultimate tale of someone's descent into madness and perhaps the greatest rock opera ever made) and The Final Cut (requiem for the post war dream - or how the world fell into the toilet after WWII).

After The Final Cut, Roger Waters (who at this point was writng all the music, causing major animosity within the band) left Pink Floyd to follow a solo career. The group put out a few albums after his departure but they were uninspired.

So there you have it. We have touched on The Beatles and Pink Floyd. All that's left is the Greatest Rock and Roll Band of All Time - the mighty Zeppelin - to be lovingly covered another time.

Shabbat Shalom and good weekend to all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

They Carry News That Must Get Through

Or in this case, I carry news I'd like to share with you all. What news? you ask. Ah, I say. Tis good tidings that I bring. For me anyway.

It seems as though Mrs. Elster is with child. Yes, Elster's having a baby!! I told you it was good news.

As the proud father of a five years old girl (Birthday bowling party this Sunday morning - sorry I can't get y'all on the guest list, there will be pizza, cake and apple juice) and a two and a half year old boy (or "three in July" as he would say if you asked him), you'd think this would be old hat to me. But it never gets old. I remember my wife telling me on the phone that she thought she was pregnant (after all, 4 twenty dollar pregnany tests can't all be wrong, right?). The feelings that welled up inside me were indescribable.

Another soul brought into the world, another chance to raise someone who may turn out to be a wonderful, torah jew. (Another chance to crank out someone to support me in my old age)

I try to keep even keel about the whole thing. After all there's a loooong way to go until the big day (early June). There's acid reflux, sciatica, achy-ness, weird cravings (yesterday's was apricots) and doctor's appointments. And that's just me. Just kidding.

But as the days pass, the excitement grows. Another girl? A boy? Who cares, so long as the little tyke is healthy. I have said that since my wife was pregnant with number one and I will stick to that as long as the babies keep coming. I can live without having a starting basketball team full of boys. Girls are cool too (at least until they start dating - then I'm gonna go get me the biggest shotgun around and take to sitting on a rocking chair on my porch and make threatening looks at everyone).

So yea. This was for me as much as for you. I want to shout it out from the rooftops. We are pregnant! Life will change - for the better - once again. And I can't wait....

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Fine Fifteen

McAryeh posted a little music related challenge he saw on some other blogs so I thought I would join in. The challenge was to shuffle your MP3 player and write down the first 15 songs that come up - no cheating and no "accidentally" starting over again because your favorite Sinead O'Conner song popped up.

Well, as I was over 200 songs into an Ipod shuffle already (my absolute record), I did not want to start again. I want to keep my current shuffle going as long as possible. So, without further ado, songs 218-232:

218 - Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers (Blood Sugar Sex Magik). Off of the Chili pepper's best work, one of their most recognized hits.

219 - The Garden - Guns N' Roses (Use Your Illusion I) - This double cd should have been the begining of this band's breakout. Instead, it was their peak. The bottom fell right out after that. Go figure. Was it excessive sex and drugs? The loss of Izzy Stradlin? Did The Spaghetti Incident have so much of a negative impact that they simply not recover? I need to know these things. Also, I think Slash was a charter member of the part black and part jewish triumverate with Lenny Kravitz and the lead singer of 4 Non Blondes. Just a little historical tip for you all.

220 - Slow Ride - Fog Hat (Dazed and Confused Movier Soundtrack) - One of the most underrated movies ever and a top 25 banner member of Elster's Top 100, this movie had a powerfull soundtrack as well. Not to mention it being the pinnacle of Jason London's career. Slow riiide...take it eazzeh...

221 - She's Electric - Oasis (What's the Story Morning Glory) - Seriously, what an album. Top to bottom. Highly recommended.

222 - I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow - The Soggy Bottom Boys (O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack) And yes, I know they weren't a real band. But still....

223 - Wild Horses - Rolling Stones (Hot Rocks 1967-1971) Overrated song. For the Stone's best ballad song, my money's on Angie.

224 - Creep - Stone Temple Pilots (Core) - Breakout album for a great band. If it weren't for Scott Weiland's massive heroin addiction, they could have been an all-time great.

225 - Untitled - Oasis (What's the Story Morning Glory) Hey, didn't we already have a song from this band? And this album? Can that happen with a shuffle?

226 Where the River Goes - Stone Temple Pilots (Core) Yes it can. Apparantly more than once.

227 - Jelly 292 - Jimi Hendrix (Jimi Blues) Everyone knows to say things about how good Jimi Hendri was. But how many people can name any of his songs besides his cover of Wild Thing, All Along the Watchtower and maybe Hey Joe? Take a listen to Red House. The man was a genius.

228 - A Pillow of Winds - Pink Floyd (Meddle) Ok song, great band.

229 - Fearless - Pink Floyd (Meddle) Ok what the heck is going on here?

230 - Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd (Skynryd's Innyrds) Eh. Another overrated song.

231 - Darlene - Led Zeppelin (Boxed Set II, Disc 2) Blah song from the Greatest Band Ever.

232 - Stupidity Tries - Elliot Smith (Figure 8) Closest thing to the Beatles is old Elliot. A little too depressing, but what a songwriter. If you aven't already, check him out. But don't expect any new material, he killed himself.

BONUS: The very next song was John Lennon's Watching the Wheels. Nicely appropos to my previous post.

So there you go. All in all, a pretty solid list. Covers many decades and not one "Um....how did that get in there?" songs. Whew. keep it going, it's a fun game.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

So I Sing this Song of Love for...The Beatles

I interrupt the literay entry I was going to finish and post today (and will eventually get to) to bring you a bit of (non-jewish) musical history.

It was twenty-five years ago today.... that Mark Davis Chapman, a deranged fan, shot and killed John Lennon in front of The Dakota in New York City. People all over the worlld will mark this somber anniversay. In New York, thousands will gather to celebrate Lennon's life and music, so closely connected to The Beatles, and his solo career, tied to his wife Yoko Ono.

I am not here to sing the praises of John Lennon. I have read that he was egomaniacle (which I believe) and that he had let his fame go to his head. But he was also a richly talented singer/songwriter and above average musician, who combined with Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey (better known to you non-musies as Ringo Starr) to form the what is arguably the greatest band of all time.

The Beatles were also the springboard off of which which everything followed. There would be no Pink Floyd, no Zeppelin, heck not even Brittany Spears, at least not as we know them today, without these great forefathers of rock and roll. They combined beautiful lyrics with stunning harmonies to create music that is timeless. Let's face it, their music stands up as well today as it did back in 1966. That is quite an accomplishment in our ever-changing musical world.

Most people (even those who hate that old rock n' roll) can sing the lyrics to classics like Help, She Loves You and I Saw Her Standing There, much like my dad (who I never ever once saw or heard listening to any non-jewish music) is able to quote lines from Simon and Garfunkle's Sounds of Silence. But they fundamentally shifted from male pop-tarts to more serious musicians in Rubber Soul and even clearly embraced the dark side of drugs with Revolver (and the stunning Tomorrow Never Knows). Revolver, Sgt. Peppers, Magical Mystery Tour, The White Album, Yellow Submarine and Abbey Road is an absolute murderer's row of great music (well, maybe not Yellow Submarine). Listen to any top 1,000 rock and roll songs and count the Beatle tunes that come in.

Far be it for me to critique these masterpieces. I would only say that Abbey Road is probably my favorite album (side B is unparalleled) and the White Album represents the fab Four at their most raw. They were a perfectionist band who release only one technically "imperfect" White Album. Remember, this was a band that did over fifty takes of Strawberry Fields Forever.

They also had a real sense of humor, as can be more clearly seen on easily obtainable bootlegs and on the recently release Anthology stuff (Volume III is great). Paul McCartney laughing his way through Rocky Raccon is a real treat, as is John Lennon bemoaning a guitar screw up in an otherwise "perfect" version of Julia.

I recently downloaded a number of their discs onto the ipod. What a treat. What a band. And the funny thing is, it didn't take the brutal murder/drug overdose/suicide of one of their members to make people realize how great they were. The Beatles had already been broken up when Lennom was murdered. People recognized their greatness while it was happening, an extreme rarity in our times in any genre.

I could go on an on. Believe me, I could just be getting warmed up. I could tell you how a buddy in high school dubbed all of the albums onto tape for me and how I would fall asleep every night with them in my ear (much how I fell asleep every night of my freshman year of college to The Wall). But I think I've said enough.

So, I sing this song of love. Not for Julia, as Lennon once did, but for the Beatles. For what they represented and for everything that followed (most of it good, some of it really really bad). And for you fogies out there who will one day be telling your kids to "turn down that crap", remember, your parents were once scowling at that Beatles/Stones/Floys/Zeppelin/Allman Brothers/Duran Duran/Brittney Spears/Etc album you used to listen to also.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Like David Bowie says. I need a change. I look at my last few posts when I check in and I'm sick of 'em. Not that there's anything wrong with them per se. Sports, books, pnuemonia; It's an absolute blogger's feast. I just want to see something else.

The nights come much quicker now don't they? They just seem to spring upon us, unlike the summer when shadows slowly crawl in over the course of hours (not seconds). I'll be doing something on my computer at work (most likely wasting time) and the next thing I know nightime blackens my window like an oil spill in emeral green waters.

The short days of winter have a lesson built into them. Or at least I see a lesson in there. Time is short. Our time on Earth seems endless when we waste away the lazy summer days of our youth. It's almost as though we will live forever under blue skies and green trees. But as our winters approach, the shadows grow longer quicker. We pick up our proverbial heads and lo, it's almost night time.

And the first thought we have when we see the darkness is panic. How can it be night already? Where have the hours of sunlight gone? And we know in our hearts that we can never get the subnlight back.

I'm not trying to be depressing. To the contrary. I don't want to sudenly see that the fleeting day has become night. I want to live in the light to the fullest extent. I want to take a chance. I want to break away from night's bonds and be free. I want to run ahead of the setting sun. I want to fly before the shadows, laugh in their face and say...."you will never catch me."