Tag Archives: music

Depressing Discoveries: The Sequel

The phone rings; it’s my mother.

“TYTT, don’t beat yourself up. You’re very busy, and stressed, so what if you didn’t write and made a cookbook for your sister instead.”

I breathed deeply, I love supportive mothers.

“You didn’t read the last paragraph did you, what I did was just a manifestation of an underlying trait which indicated a lack of passion in an area I thought it existed.

“Ye ye,” She brushed me off, “The cookbook was a one time thing, writing is not, apples and oranges.”

I smiled, maybe supportive mothers have a point.

“But there are always one-time things that get in the way.” I said tugging at the loose thread of her theory.

“Fine, don’t write, be a defeatist. What nareshkeit are you so busy with anyway?”

Well, if she put it that way…This is what I’m so busy with, or was so busy with – one of those pressing one-time things that spring me into action…

Driving home from the co-op one day my cochlea’s were stimulated. I was listening to Radio Kol BeRama – The Jewish Music radio station in Lakewood, when a song that I actually liked came on. The station plays way to much gravelly Carlbach for my taste, but I had no patience plugging in my ipod, and even less patience for song selection (I’m so freakin’ lazy, I know!) This song though was different. It had a sax, and no trumpet, a rarity in Jewish pop. The lyrics were a mix of a posuk and English words (buncha singers have been doing that lately, notably Avraham Fried and Benny Friedman). The vocals (a duet) were trained and smooth – another Jewish rarity.  And I enjoyed. I even still remember where I was while listening to it – County line and Madison, waiting for the light to change, with Crystal Lake realty to my right, and Exxon on my left – it’s a long light; I didn’t mind.

I thought I recognized Ari Goldwag’s voice; actually, I was pretty sure it was him; his voice is pretty distinct; somehow he makes a bubble stuck in your throat sound good. Figuring a quick Google search would garner me the song, I got right to it – a good song it worth any time in the world, everyone knows that. But I didn’t find it.

I searched by the lyrics I remembered. Nothing. I combed MostlyMusic’s website for the song title (which I totally made up, but just assumed based on the song content). I went through Ari Goldwag’s discography, his website, nothing. I searched the lyrics again. Nada. And I gave up. For the time being, that is.

A few days later, I was bored, and writing takes too much thinking, so I took another stab at it. Nothing.  Searched YouTube, all English Collections: fruitless.

A Motziah Shabbos later, I somehow ended up on Radio Kol Berama’s website. Once there, I figured might as well take another stab. I submitted a song request just a description of the song, and assumed artist. Of course I was in Brooklyn at the time, so I couldn’t tune in, and of course I was called away from the computer, so I couldn’t even stick around for a possible streaming. Strike three. Or so I thought.

I was frustrated, and disappointed. Seriously, how elusive can a Jewish song be?! It’s such a small world.

Fast forward a few weeks and a random perusal of my Facebook news feed, a friend posted an audio clip, with this message:


I have this one recording of this song, does anyone know who sings it and what album its from?

IT WAS MY SONG!!! And someone else was looking for it too! Misery loves company. Now that it wasn’t just me, I was spurned on to resume my search (I’m so altruistic, no?). I qualified for Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity. I went through the same motions as before, no change in results , none.

This time though, I ended up at the Jewish Music Review blog. In a moment of inspiration, I e-mailed them, maybe they would know. On this blog, there was an article about Yitzy Spinner’s new website. Could Yitzy Spinner be the second half of the duet? Ari Goldwag and he were in Miami Boy’s Choir together, did they keep up?  I re-searched MostlyMusic  this time under Yitzy Spinner’s work, again, nothing. I went back to Jewish Music Review, and clicked the link to Yitzy Spinner’s website, maybe it would provide me with more insight. It didn’t.

In the corner of the website was a “Contact Yitzy” link. Intended for potential gigs, I made other use of it.

Hi, I heard a song, Eilecha (I made up that title). A mix of Hebrew and English lyrics. I recognized Ari Goldwag’s and I think your voice singing it. For the life of me, I can’t find a record of the song anywhere. I loved it, and am desperate for a copy of it. Do you know what I’m talking about? Can you steer me in the right direction? Thank you.

Impressively, he responded within the hour,

Nothing that I can think of. Did you try going through Ari’s music?

Dead end. Again. But a stroke of genius prodded me, or maybe it was stupidity, because why didn’t I think of it before – E-mail Ari Goldwag. Easily, I found his e-mail address on his website. And he too responded quickly.

My heart quickened, and a smile burst forth when I read his succinct response,

it’s from Sheves Achim 2. I sang it with the Bell brothers.

or if you want just that track, you can get it on itunes

kol tuv,
Ari Goldwag

I found it!!! I spread the joy to my Facebook friend, who of course realized that she had the cd uploaded on her computer all along.

The resolution to this quest of course completed my life goals, and I lived happily ever after. Not really, but at least I got a song that I really love to listen to.

My friend’s thought I was insane for going as far as to e-mail the (assumed) artist to find a song that I heard once and enjoyed. I think it’s just indicative of my nature, and writing problem. Do I want in bad enough – it would seem not – again.

Sorry, supportive Ma, it’s not a defeatist writing, but a realist.

(I tried posting the song, but wordpress is not so generous with embedding mp3’s, so those of you who are friends with me on FB, can check it out, I posted it, or try the links above)



Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Humor, Jewish, Music, Slice of Life, Writing


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To Dr. Doomstein, 20 Years Later, You Still Lose

I have a bunch of earwigs driving me loo loo. They’re all from the same source, and suppose I should be thankful that at least I know most of the lyrics. Not like when you get an earwig, and you only know one word in the chorus and you mumbo jumbo the rest until that spot and you mentally belt out that “Help… mumblemumble…Help” (Beatles ‘Help’ anyone? Actually I know all the lyrics to that one, so never mind, but you get my drift) It goes on in a loop, all day and if you’re lucky you can infect someone else, just by humming a bar or two; make them just as miserable as you.

I have the Marvelous Middos Machine on repeat – in my home, and still in my head once my kid is sleeping and I can turn it off. Seder V’nikyon, Kaas, Guy’va, Tzar Bar L’chaim. C’mon you can all sing along with me,

“You gotta be neat, you gotta be clean, let Mommy take a break from the washing machine”

“…Like a big volcano that’s gonna blow its stack. Just stay calm and cool”

“Hey there Mr. Guy’va you think you’re really great…”

And the classic

“I’m a hippopotamus, from my top to my bottomus…”

They don’t make ‘em like they used to. I grew up on these tapes (now mp3 files on my ipod), and my kids are going to too (along with Shmuel Kunda’s “The Last Pesach”, “Talking Coins” and “Magic Yalmulke” to name a few). 20 years, and they haven’t made a better product, today’s kids are singing the same songs we did. Pretty dumbfounding, no?

With recording equipment, sound effects, computers, and people with the technical know-how in greater excess and accessibility, they haven’t been able to produce anything on the creative caliber as the original “Jewish Children’s Tapes”.

Of course a few of the oldies have regretfully disappeared – I’d love to get my hands on “The Amazing Torah Bike” “Bike, bike, Torah Rider, put us in your bubbleizer –anyone?” and “Torah Island”.

What do you think, are the originals way better, or am I being overly nostalgic?


Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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No Butts About It – I’m Talented

I Think They’re Laughing at Me

A while back I revealed my most creative and inventive side when I wrote about my ability to make up new, phonologically basedlyrics to songs.

The post was in reference to 8th Day’s Yalili. I’ve yet to resolve that lyrical conundrum, I still hear them singing “bet your bottom” with no “Im Yertziah Hashem” in sight. Regardless, I have a new one, once again courtesy of 8th day.

When I first heard the song “By My Side”, I couldn’t understand why they would want to lose their mainstream audience with the lyrics they had chosen. No self-respecting Bais Yaakov girl would sing such a song, Yeshiva bochur,yes, girl, no.

To my ear, the song went,

Rivers have come to surround me // To cool me and bring me down // Rivers have come to surround me // to turn my butt around.

Why would they use a word like butt? Yes, it fit, but really, is that one word worth a reputation?

I mentioned this to my sister, who looked at me incredulously, and of course burst out laughing.

“The word is BOAT, you tuchas!!”



Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Take it From Me

Kach es Sheli, from Avrhom Fried’s new album has got me thinking, and once again recognizing the pathos of my mindset.

He sings,

“Rebono Shel Olma, Ani Yodeiah, ShBais Hamikdahs Hashlishi aino bunoi mei avanim, hu vunoi me demaos, v’im cul ma shatah tzaruch rok dmaah achas, kach es sheli”

Creator of this world, I know that the third Bais Hamekdsh is not being built from stones, but from tears. And if all that you need is one more tear, take it from me.

When I listen to it, I feel inspired, like I can do this, we are close, redemption is near, and I can be a part of it.
But then I look around at my life. I sit and complain all day, about the smallest the thing. The driver that doesn’t know to ease into the intersection when making a left turn, the secretary that misplaced my papers – again. When it takes me more than thirty seconds to decide what to make for supper, when my kid gives me a run for my money when I try to change his diaper.

Kach Es Sheli?

Who am I kidding. I can barely handle day to day stresses gracefully, appreciatively, what nerve do I have asking Hashem to make me cry for my benefit. I’m not even appreciating the tears he gives me on a regular basis, am I an idiot? A glutton for punishment, asking for more?

It’s a beautiful song, but if I’m very honest with myself – that Kach Es Sheli – let him take Avrhom Fried because, well, I’m a baby who cries from everything, but I’m not an idiot who attempts a muscle to look strong and says “punch me” hoping the other person won’t take me seriously.


Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Musings


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60 Second to a Minute

Alarm clock

Alarm clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m coming to appreciate how lazy I am.

Of late, there have been a few songs sporting the lyrics
“Hayom Kutzer Vehamelacha meruba, vhapoalim atzeivah v’haschar harbei, ubaal habeis dochek”

Roughly translating to,

“The day is short, there’s a lot of work, the workers are lazy, the payoff is great and the owner is concerned.”

It’s a metaphor to this world and the world to come and man is lazy. (for those of you not religiously or literary inclined)

I don’t know why these lyrics are generally matched with catchy tunes, but I find myself hearing them very often – mostly in the form of A.K.A. Pella’s new album, and I’d like to think that they thought for a moment or two about the words that they chose for the song, so I in turn should consider them – and I did – and am.

Now, while I know I have lazy tendencies, I’m not usually slapped in the face with them.

Three weeks ago I was offered a tutoring job that would go through June. I wanted the job, it was a high school girl, with issues right up my alley. My only hesitation though was the time – 9:15 to 11:15 in the morning. I usually didn’t even look groggily at my alarm clock (with no alarm set) until 9:30. How would I possibly manage to pull myself together: up, dressed, fed, ditto for kid, drop off the kid, and be someplace 15 minutes before I even ordinarily scowled properly at the coming day. And besides, a woman in her 8th month doesn’t have that much energy to spare, right?

The money was good though, and with the summer coming, and no jobs, but a baby scheduled, I couldn’t just pass it up.

“I’ll try it out.” I told my husband. “See how it works, how I feel.”

And reassuringly he said,

“Whatever you decide, it’s your decision, I’m good either way.”

So, I took the job, secure in my husband’s support and my option to back out. Two weeks later, I’m ashamed. Did I seriously wake up that late every day? Did my day really not start until I left to teach around two? Was it possible that I never stepped outside, or ran an errand until I had to leave to teach. What was I doing with my time?

Yes, breakfast with my kid was an entire morning’s affair, so was getting him dressed, and changing his diaper. It was leisurely, bordering on lazy, nah, let’s be honest, it was lazy. Now it’s astonishing what I can accomplish in 45 minutes these mornings. And come 11:15 I’ve already achieved, and I’m up and about, doing things I previously felt I had NO TIME for (like I’d constantly tell my husband). My day is profitable (literally and figuratively) at a time where I’m generally wishing I could put my kid in for an early nap. Its horrifying to discover at my age that I actually have the capability to be efficient, and even worse, I might actually be a morning person after all.

My husband too – he’s davening at an earlier minyan so he can still see me in the morning, and I drop him off at yeshiva a 45 minutes before seder even starts (about half hour before he’s usually there). It’s almost a shame the amount of prime parking spots I pass while dropping him off. And he’s learning more, writing more, accomplishing more – in a day that both of us thought had no time in it.

And now I’m left wondering, how much work have I left undone in the field? How much will I have to answer for? Yes, I may have accomplished, but I’m learning that I’m capable of a lot more. How many more hours will I discover in my day, and how soon will I unearth them?

The day is short, there’s a lot of work, and sometimes this worker is not lazy, though the owner’s still concerned.


Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Musings, Slice of Life


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Bet Your Bottom I’m Right

My husband loves to listen to me sing. Not because I have a beautiful voice (which I do, thank you), but he enjoys listening to my version of the song – my lyrics. I notoriously butcher songs. I sing them phonetically, whatever words I hear are the ones I sing whether it makes sense of not. Whether the word is in fact a word or not when it comes to Hebrew songs.

On our third date my husband, making fun of girls not knowing lyrics, passionately sang “Avinu Av Harachman, hameracheim, Rochel Imeinu” He didn’t know he was talking to the leader of the movement. Of course I didn’t fess up until he heard me in action.

I never sing too loud by kumzitzes, not wanting to be called out for enunciating a mem instead of a noon, or a completely avoiding the middle of a word. Zemiros are quality comedy, or probably blasphemous with the words I replace. I’ve tried using a bentcher, but when I read the correct words I’m baffled as to how so many syllables are supposed to fit into such a small meter, and I end up singing on a seven second delay.

 I try to compensate, read the jackets of cd’s and memorize pesukim that I should really know already. When I do that I’m usually stupefied by myself, wondering how I ever sang the words I thought I heard. Once I read the lyrics, listening to the song becomes so much clearer, and I can hear the singer sing the words instead of a garble of phonemes that I had heard originally.

8th Day’sYa-Alili stumped me though. When I listened to it, I thought I heard all the words, they articulated themselves pretty well. But at the end of the first verse of “Sh-te-hay l’mazal” it sounded as though they said “Bet your bottom She-te-hay” I thought it was interesting to put it mildly, but I supposed it fit, if not totally appropriate.

I mentioned this to my husband who first  burst out laughing and chalked it up to my usual “every song I sing is of my invention” malady. But he listened  to the song, and he heard it too – “Bet your bottom She-te-hay”. He mentioned this to his brother who laughed, checked up the lyrics, and told us that it’s “Im yerziah Hashem by you”. I nodded in agreement, those lyrics made more sense.

Listening to the song after this revelation, I waited for that moment. The moment where I’d HEAR the correct lyrics and laugh in amazement that I ever thought I could be anything else. But that’s not what happened. I still hear “Bet your bottom”, and can’t fathom how “Im  yertziah Hashem by you” can be deciphered from the vocals I heard.

I think I may have reached the point of no return from my lyrical condition.


Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Humor, Jewish


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How To: Survive Sefira

Concerning me, my family and friends aren’t so big on sefira, or the three weeks, or any time listening to music is prohibited..

You see, I go little crazy.

Not crazy as in irritable, moody, grouchy, sensitive, suffering from excruciating withdrawal symptoms. (although I do miss my music a lot). I go useless knowledge crazy. These time periods are when I stock up on my statistics, random facts, history, quirky grammar rules, and irrelevant science.

I’m not reading more, that I can do any time. I’m listening—to podcasts.

They are, as an invention, to put it mildly, somewhere between, the toaster oven and electric samovar. Which is pretty high, I think, at least for me (well, maybe not considering that since I’ve gotten married, I don’t own a samovar, but I want to, I just have no use for it right now, or counter space).

Podcasts are for everyone, even normal people like you (although, don’t know how normal you are considered relatively if you’re reading my blog, but never mind).

There are podcasts of old radio programs, like Abbot and Costello, GunSmoke and the like.

There are historical podcasts of all eras in History told in authoritive voices with British accents.

If you want to feel like you know more science than your friends, listen to The Naked Scientist (name’s a tease, it’s squeaky clean).

If you want random and useless knowledge to the extreme, listen to’s podcast (my favorite!!, I now know how Redheads, Twinkies, smart mobs, exorcism, Thanksgiving, and Entomophagy work.)

For a grammar pick me up, check out Grammar Girls podcast, and while you’re at it, try all the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast (name a tease again) like the Mr. Manners, Legal Lad and the like. (I now know the proper etiquette concerning recycling gifts, how to find a lawyer, and whether funnest is a word [word spell checker doesn’t think so, what do you think, and why…you need to know grammar to make a cohesive argument either way])

The History Channel also has some great video podcasts.

Happy Tree Friends is for those who have the darkest, blackest, most morbid sense of humor (HYSTERICAL!!!!)

And there are many more if you’re into sports, news, celebrity gossip, literature, and what not.

These podcasts keep me sane, although most will disagree as to my definition of sanity in this case. Just check out the podcast library on iTunes(or google podcast and your choice of topics), and let me know which ones are your favorites!


Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Jewish


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