Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
After months of work, The Band's new album is finally done!
It can be ordered online here.
You'll find all-new recordings of these songs:
1. Shoshanas Yaakov- yes, MSB's signature song (an early version was featured on 2007's Muqata Radio Purim Podcast), this is an original composition influenced heavily by Rush, Clapton, and Ringo Starr. How is this possible? Buy the album and find out! Described by Yitzchak Halevi as "maybe the best Jewish rock tune I have heard to date. That, Let It Rain feel. Great guitar sound...killer bass line to boot."
2. Amar Hashem- Another MSB original, an acoustic strummer with layers of lush guitar work, violin and mandolin, and a polyrhythm out of Led Zeppelin.
3. Light Up- A cover of the Himmelman/Broza Channukah song (our live video was featured in 2007's Christmahanukwanzaakah Concert hosted by our friend Neil Kramer). Current version with a kinda Southern Rock feel crossed with some funk.
4. Hashkivenu- A song I wrote with a peaceful, easy feeling. Cross between The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, with a little Jerry Garcia somewhere in there.
5. Jonah- Our cover of Shlock Rock's parody of Brian Setzer's cover of Lou Prima's song. 'Nuff said.
6. Baruch Hashem- Reggae, mon. This was one of the earliest Jewish Reggae songs, originally released on Shlock Rock's Lenny and the Shlockers. This version features the original, Police-themed riff that I wrote for the song.
7. Tzama- We've been playing this song for a while now, and it's about time it got recorded right! A Joe Walsh-like blues take on the traditional Chabad tune. As a Blogging aside, veteran blogger Velvel's review of the Chicago show where we played this led to my becoming the blogger I am today. Or at least the one I was a few years ago.
8. Aniyah- And speaking of this blog, if you've been reading it for a while, you no doubt remember the acoustic version of this song when I wrote it just after Hurricane Katrina. Well, we've rerecorded it, and all I can say is, you're in for a BIG SURPRISE.
9. Im Ain Ani- A little Texas Blues, inspired by the late great Stevie Ray Vaghan.
10. Nachamu- The Carlebach song is tucked nicely into this slow blues tune that has a Pink Floyd feel to it.
Plus bonus versions of songs we recorded in the past:
11. Horeini- a walking bassline a la the Pretender's "Back to Ohio" forms the backbone of this song about walking in the path of Hashem.
12. Ki Vo Yismach- Probably the one song on the album that's not from our live act, and is sung by our former keyboard player, but I love the arrangement so much that I had to include it. The violin part is absolutely beautiful. Completely remastered for this release.
13. Mizmor Ledovid/Freeway- This one is a favorite at shows, and we've been known to sneak all kinds of classic rock riffs into it. Enjoy the remastered original (the arrangement is based on Menachem Herman's version from Metallish, and is used with his permission).
MAKES FOR A GREAT CHANNUKAH GIFT
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??
THIS ALBUM IS NOT AVAILABLE IN ANY STORES!!
LIMITED QUANTITIES AVAILABLE!!
THE FIRST 250 PEOPLE TO ORDER WILL ACTUALLY GET AN ALBUM!!!!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
We're enjoying the picture, commenting on the 19th Century clothing, the peculiar speech, and the Naval procedings going on on screen. The PT is asking good questions and making (for her) appropriate comments.
My bike beeps, and I turn off the movie.
ME: OK, guys, we have to stop for now. We'll finish the movie tomorrow.
The PT: Nope.
The PT: NOPE.
ME: Don't you want to finish movie tomorrow?
The PT: NOPE.
ME: Why not? I thought you liked it.
The PT: I don't. I was just watching because there was nothing else to do.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
In early August 2008, Baby Gili Rossler was born in Israel with a rare
tracheal problem, a life-threatening situation that causes severe tracheal
constriction -- and only one lung.The combination of these two conditions is
extremely dangerous and causes a constant deterioration in her ability to
breathe and to the supply of oxygen to her body.
Her Israeli doctors gave her parents the horrible news that little Baby
Gili had no chance to survive.
A surgical procedure has been recently developed for the treatment of this
condition.Only two medical centers in the world have experience in the
performance of this procedure:One in London (where three procedures were
performed with a 70% success rate) and one in Chicago (ten procedures with an
80% success rate).
Under the instructions of the treating physician Dr. Tommy M. Schonfeld,
Director of Pediatric ICU, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, the
procedure must be performed urgently!
The cost of this procedure, is prohibitive and only half is covered by
Israeli medical insurance, not to mention the necessary ambulatory
See here for more info and updates. Please help if you can!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Seriously, The Band is working on a new album, and I'm too excited about the progress not to leak a little to the public.
So there's a new "rough mix*" of Shoshanas Yaakov (MSB's "signature" song, if you will) up on the Myspace page, where you can listen all you want.
Let me know what you think!
Sunday is a mega-drum recording session for me.
WARNING: This music is NOT KOSHER. It features guitar, "bendy notes", and improper use of bass. However, boruch Hashem, there is no "Devil's flute" or "2/4" beat.
*a "rough mix" is a quick mix of music tracks usually done after a recording session to give the producer something to listen to. I aways thought it would make a great album title.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shakin to the top
The sheik he drove his cadillac
He went a cruisin down the ville
The muezzin was a standing
On the radiator grille
The shareef dont like it
Rockin the casbah
Rock the casbah
The shareef dont like it
Rockin the casbah
Rock the casbah
By order of the prophet
We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that crazy casbah sound
But the bedouin they brought out
The electric camel drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the shareef
Had cleared the square
They began to wail
Now over at the temple
Oh! they really pack em in
The in crowd say its cool
To dig this chanting thing
But as the wind changed direction
The temple band took five
The crowd caught a wiff
Of that crazy casbah jive
The king called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the casbah way
As soon as the shareef was
Chauffeured outta there
The jet pilots tuned to
The cockpit radio blare
As soon as the shareef was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed
The shareef dont like it
Rockin the casbah
Rock the casbah
The shareef dont like it
Rockin the casbah
Rock the casbah
He thinks its not kosher
Fundamentally he cant take it.
You know he really hates it!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Thursday, August 07, 2008
That’s my initial impression of the iPhone 3G. I have no bars in my South Side office. None. Nada. Occasionally one. Once in a while, the 3G icon lights up to taunt me into thinking I can pick up my email or watch that YouTube video. But then just as quickly it drops to Edge, and soon after gives up altogether.
Those of you who’ve been following my relentless assimilation to all-things-Mac over the past year will probably be alternatively relieved/irritated that I haven’t fully imbibed the Kool-Aide. Yes, my household has become progressively Apple-ified. I have a new iMac, my daughter (at some urging from myself) spent probably twice the price of a new PC on a mid-level Macbook, 4 of my kids now own iPods of some sort, and my wife has two. And now, the iPhone.
I’ll paraphrase my friend, who on Facebook wrote something like, “My iPhone is great for everything except making and receiving phone calls.” That about sums it up. You can review the criteria I had for this thing when I was agonizing over a new smart phone. I didn’t really mention the ability to make or receive phone calls because I thought that would be implicit in the definition of a smart PHONE. You know, something that you use to make PHONE CALLS. Sadly, I’m not sure the iPhone should be classified as such a device yet.
I thought initially that the problem was just unique to my building. I’ve had less than optimal reception down here. But generally, I have been able to get calls. Mostly from my mother, who has a knack for calling me whenever I’m in the room with a patient. Usually doing something that shouldn’t really be interrupted by a personal phone call. I’ll give you an example:
ME: OK, Mr. Smith, if you’ll assume the position, we can get down to the moment we’ve all been waiting for.
Mr. Smith: Doc, I really hate this part.
ME: You and me both.
Mr. Smith: You need to get that, Doc?
ME: Well…probably I should…it’s my mother.
Mr. Smith: Hey, no problem, go talk to your mom. I can wait.
ME: Ma? Yeah. I’m fine. FINE. FIIIINNE! Yes. I’m good. I can’t talk. I CAN’T TALK. I’ll call you back. Yeah. OK. Yeah. OK. Yeah, g’bye.
The truth is I make it a point to answer my mom’s phone calls because I’m always worried she’s calling to tell me someone has died. Also because if she can’t get in touch with me, she assumes that I died.
So it was in this light that I decided to preemptively contact her to give her my new phone number. Yeah, I know, I could have ported my old number. But for some reason it wasn’t working, and as I stood around in the middle of the mall at the AT&T booth for over an hour trying to figure out who to call to release my 14 year old mobile number, I just gave up. So I called my mom one morning to give her the new number. It was not pretty.
ME: Ma? It’s me, Mark.
ME: Can you hear me?
Mom: WHAT?? WHO IS THIS??
ME: Mark. MARK!
Mom: Markileh, is that you?
ME: YES!! I WAN’T TO GIVE YOU THE NUMBER FOR MY NEW PHONE!!!
Mom: WHAT?? YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH A KIDNEY STONE??
ME: NO, I’m FINE!!
Mom: NEBACH!! YOU POOR KID!! YOU HAVE SO MANY PROBLEMS! YOU ARE TOO YOUNG FOR THIS!! HOW IS YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE??
ME: MA! I’M GOING TO CALL YOU BACK ON A LAND LINE!!
Mom: NOW YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH YOUR SPINE?? SO DO I. YOU’RE SISTER HAS A BAD BACK---
That was actually a pretty good call. Most calls from the office don’t even make it to the dialing stage. In fact, I’m not even sure my mom got the correct number, since I haven’t had any more interrupted Pap smears.
Initially, I thought the problem was with AT&T’s network, as the signal does improve as I move out of the neighborhood. But even at home, I’m noticing a discrepancy between the iPhone and other phones. For example sitting in the kitchen, I get one bar while my wife has three on her Motorola Razor, which uses the same network.
There are some other minor problems which probably wouldn’t have been an issue with a Windows Mobile phone. I need to sync with my Mac at home, since that’s where all of my iTunes music is. But that means that I can’t also sync with my office PC for appointments and contacts. I COULD choose to pay Steve Jobs ANOTHER $100 a year for Mobile Me, which would let me keep all my calendars in sync, but a) I think I’ve given him enough money, b) I don’t think I should have to pay for this, and 3) my wife has tried the service and is unimpressed in the extreme with its performance and reliability.
So the current fix is to export contacts and appointments from Outlook in a format that iCal or Apple Address Book can read, mail them to my gmail account, and then remember to download and import them later to my iMac when I get home. Obviously, this has “major screw up potential” written all over it, and I need to come up with a more fool-proof system for this.
In all it’s a shame, because what does work on the iPhone is very cool.
It has successfully replaced 3 of my other gadgets (old phone, iPod, and PDA). We’ve discussed its merits as a phone. It should be noted though, that the bluetooth works nicely with my car.
It ably replaces my iPod, although it does have half the storage capacity, which forced me to go through my library and pick and choose songs instead of dumping the whole thing in. This in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I had a lot of crappy music in there. I still have a lot of free space on the iPhone, and I may go back and liberalize the collection a bit.
As a PDA, it is certainly not as robust as my Dell Axim was. Aside from not having the convenient Outlook integration I had before (see above), it’s just harder to enter data into, and I found the stylus was much more precise for manipulating the touch screen than my finger or thumbs. But I am getting much better at it as time goes on. Some useful applications are not available to me, and I’m constantly watching the app store to see if alternates become available. Most distressing is the fact that solitaire, which has been free on every computer and handheld I’ve ever owned since the 80’s, now costs about ten bucks for a decent version. Sheesh!
The GPS is cool, when I can get a decent signal for it to work. Here’s an example of when it came in handy: Last week we decided to take a family trip down to Kenosha where they had a reenactment of a European trader/Native American gathering with role-players in costume and authentic gear, tents, demonstrations, etc. Plus Pirates. I realize Pirates don’t really belong in this Great Lakes setting, but whatever. It was the Pirates that brought us out.
So I got the directions over the internet on my iPhone and followed them down to the place. We found a parking lot off the beach and got out and decided to walk. There were no traders/Indians in sight. So, just for the heck of it, I decided to fire up the GPS on the iPhone, which told me that we had parked probably 10 blocks north of where we wanted to be. Not only that, but I had the option of loading satellite imagery into the map (it’s basically Google Maps) and could see both the parking space where we were, and where the gathering was supposed to be. Normally, it would have been 25 minutes and a lot of sweating and kvetching before we found out we were in the wrong place. Afterwards, my wife did a search for “ice cream” on the same map, and a bunch of pins appeared listing all of the nearby places. Of course, none of them were kosher, but you see the appeal. We did find a CVS and got some prepackaged stuff.
It takes great, 2 megapixel pictures:
Videos look very good on this thing, much better than they do on the computer. Provided you load them via wi-fi. Loading YouTube over 3G or Edge gets you a much more stuttery, low-rez version that’s not really fun to watch.
The medical software I needed is available, but it’s not as full-featured as the PDA version, and is missing the CME module, which is what I was actually using. But I’ll give them time to update it.
It needs to be charged once a day at least, according to my current usage (admittedly high because of the new goofing around factor), but it’s really nice that I can sit it in my car’s iPod dock and it will charge as I drive. So I no longer worry about a few in-car phone calls draining my phone. Which is good, because I think it’s one of my office manager’s policies to page me every time I get onto the highway. Also, I still have nightmares about the time I got into an accident in a snow storm and watched my phone slowly die as I waited for AAA to call me back.
Although the TuneFlex is not designed for the iPhone, it does work with an iPod Touch so hopefully nothing bad is happening. And it’s nice that it pauses the music when a phone call comes in, which didn’t happen before. So from that perspective, it is a success.
I’m certainly willing to give AT&T and Apple more time to fine-tune things. It’s distressing that it’s not very reliable as a phone, but that is why I still carry a pager, and the truth is I do most of my calls from land lines anyway. No, NOT bad spines! LAND LINES! LAAAANNND LLLIIIINEEEESSSS……….
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
The Three Laws of Computers
1. A computer may not injure a human being’s work (whether audio, video, or text) or, through inaction, allow a human being’s work to come to harm
2. A computer must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law
3. A computer system must protect its own existence and not crash randomly, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law
I might add a few more laws to this list:
4. A computer shouldn’t take 10 minutes to boot up, and then sit for another 20 minutes “thinking”
5. A computer shouldn’t randomly freeze when you click on something in the tray
6. A computer shouldn’t require antivirus programs that progressively insinuate themselves into every aspect of your system and then throttle it with one mighty grasp
7. A computer shouldn’t update its operating system without your knowledge and then make half of your programs incompatible with it overnight
8. An operating system shouldn’t progressively bloat itself up until it consumes your entire hard drive
9. A computer shouldn’t allow you to spend hours, days, nigh, weeks on a video project and lull you into a false sense of security, and then suddenly freeze up halfway during final compiling FOR NO DISCERNABLE REASON
I could go on and on, but do I really have to?
Bye, bye, Windows. It’s been…something.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
INTERIOR ENTERPRISE OFFICER’S MESS
ENTER KIRK AND SPOCK
KIRK: Computer, leftover tray from last night’s salmon and spaghetti.
ENTER SCOTTY CARRYING A PILE OF UNWASHED LAUNDRY
SCOTTY: Aye, they’re into the machinery, all right. None of the basement computers are working, the XBOX 360 is dead and the TV is emitting a high-pitched whine.
SULU (over intercom): Sulu here, captain.
EXIT KIRK, SPOCK, SCOTTY
INTERIOR ENTERPRISE BRIDGE
ENTER KIRK, SPOCK, SCOTTY
KIRK: Uhura, get me Starfleet Command.
KIRK: Spock, we’ve got to get these kids off of the ship before they destroy it.
McCOY: Jim I think I’ve got it! All we have to do is quit feeding them. We quit feeding them, and they stop growing!
Thursday, July 03, 2008
And if you're a Santana fan, check out this one.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Fudge (on the couch checking emails): Uh-oh. Er...hi Abba...is it shlepping time?
PT: No. No. No...more...shlepping... I'm leaving it all in the van. I have another gig Sunday and I'm not bringing all those speakers and poles and amps and stands in again. My back is KILLING me! (moves to kitchen)
Curly: Oh hey, Abba, how was your gig?
PT: Good, but I'm totally parched. There wasn't much water for the band and I was shvitzing like an old man in a sauna. I need a cold one. (opens fridge). What the--! NO COLD ONES?? Curly, go check the downstairs fridge.
Curly (returning): Sorry Abba, no cold ones downstairs. I see one in the pantry though.
PT: Is it cold?
Curly: No. It's in the pantry.
Curly: Lemme look in the fridge again. How about some steak sauce? It's cold.
PT: I don't think I should drink that. Grrrr....I guess I'll have to drink this warm Kiwi/Strawberry Snapple.
Curly: Um, that's Mom's. I don't think she wants you to drink that.
PT: She should have thought of that before she didn't put any cold ones in the refrigerator.
some time later
Curly: How was your Snapple?
PT: As it turns out, the ideal conditions for drinking Snapple include it being cold on its own. Watering it down with ice doesn't do the trick.
Curly: Better luck next time, Abba.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
On top of this, I have become more convinced than ever that it was a dire mistake to move my wallet from my front left pocket to my rear left pocket, as the thickness of that wallet is entirely variable and related to a complicated interaction between loose change, when I last went to the candy machine, Walgreen’s receipts, how many guitar picks I've lost, and the coming and going of assorted business cards. The net effect of which is that now I sit or drive cockeyed.
All this is making me one very uncomfortable Psychotoddler. But what to do, what to do? I need all this stuff. I do.
I need my wallet (and some of what’s in it). I need my pager. I need my cell phone. I need my keys, my PDA, and my iPod. Most of all my iPod. Oh, to think there was once a time when I was brash enough to say that I didn’t need one. What a fool I was! If I could lose them all, and keep my iPod…dayenu!
But I need to do something. Which brings me to the title of this post. Convergence! We’ve been talking about it for years! Well, I’ve been talking about it for years. At least thinking about it. Er…contemplating thinking about it. You know what I mean.
Can’t I squeeze all these moderately sized gadgets into one good gadget? In an age of cell phones that can take movies, download music and play games, why do I need all of these devices?
A wise person once said, “the older I get, the smarter my phone gets.” Actually I think it was my wife. Anyway, I’m thinking about smart phones again. A smart phone won’t get rid of my keys. Or my pager (not yet, anyway). Or my wallet. But maybe it can combine my phone with my PDA and my iPod.
Well, naturally, since the iPod is my favoritest of my childr—er, I mean, gadgets, I should start there. Apple has its iPhone. Sleek….Sexy…Something else that starts with S… This is a very attractive option for me, as it would let me replace my iPod, PDA, and phone, and allow me to charge it and listen in the car at the same time (through the excellent Griffin Tuneflex--assuming it's supported). Unfortunately, 16 gigabytes is a serious step-down from my current iPod, which means I'd have to hack and slash at my library. Also I'm not really clear on how functional this is as a PDA. Currently, I do medical education on my PDA. Will the iPhone support the same apps? How is it with Outlook? And how well with the upcoming 3G version work? Questions for the Mac-O-philes out there.
The other possibilities in more "traditional" smart-phones are:
A Windows Mobile based “tilt phone”—the major advantage being that it will directly replace my PDA, interface and sync smoothly with Microsoft Outlook and import all of my contacts, email and appointments, and run all of the
Palm Treo—my friend Doctor Bean swears by his, and now they run Windows Mobile (although 5.0 instead of 6.0 like the tilt phone), but the screen is smaller and square so that’s a little annoying.
Blackberry—people seem to like these things, but I can’t really figure them out. They have their own operating system and applications? How well would this integrate with my Outlook? Also it has the smaller screen which I don’t care for, and I don’t know if it will run my medical apps and games. And I don’t need satellite radio (but there are other models which are cheaper).
So as usual, I open this up to what remains of my loyal readership to try to sway me one way or the other.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I just realized that the title to this post makes for a very unfortunate acronym. Anyhoo.
Contrary to what you may think, this blog has not devolved into a series of self-promoting music advertisements. And since it's the exception that proves the rule, on to today's post!
As you know, I've received many complaints/comments/congratulations etc. about the fact that I'm not blogging much, and I'm not going to go into all the reasons for that again because I did that, what, two posts ago? Suffice it to say that, during the course of writing even this crummy post, I was interrupted at least 17 times. But anyway, a good chunk of not blogging is related to my music: doing various shows, rehearsing, weddings, and most relevantly, releasing Kabbalah: Kollection.
Kabbalah was my second band, formed during the '80s, and I wrote a lot of songs for it. We recorded two albums (three really, if you include Rock of Sages), which I am very proud of, because we wrote, arranged, and performed all of the music ourselves. Those albums really did represent the creative output of our band (rather than the vision of a hired arranger).
As I've gone on to form different bands, I've always incorporated the songs I wrote with Kabbalah into our playlist, and yet the albums have been out of print and unavailable for 20 years. So I finally decided to produce an anthology CD and release it. Rather than hit you with a heap of hysterical hyperbole, I'm going to quote the recent write up by my blogfather, Blog in DM:
Kabbalah - Kabbalah Kollection
When I was in high school, the mashgiach banned a Jewish rock album called Kabbalah. Had he not done so, I likely would not have heard it. Since he chose to make the school aware of the album, someone obtained a copy and it was surreptitiously passed around the dorm.
The album featured original rock settings of tefilah. Times have changed, and what was under-appreciated then just might get some more attention now, especially given the success of so many other Jewish rock bands.
Now available in a CD re-release featuring songs from 1986’s Kabbalah and 1987’s Kabbalah: Classic, the disc can be purchased at CD Baby.
Consisting of bassist/vocalist M Skier (now known as Psycho Toddler), guitarist Izzy Botnick, drummer Simcha Kagan, Moish Taubenblat (volume 1) and Brian Gelfand (volume 2) on keys and vocals, with saxophonist Adam Greebler (volume 1) and Jacob Rosenthal on guitar, Kabbalah was unashamedly a Jewish rock band playing Jewish rock music. And, they did it well.
This disc rocks. If you like classic rock, you should definitely check this out. Jewish music as influenced by the Ramones, The Kinks, Squeeze, and so many more.
This collection includes classic tracks like Shru Lo and Yismechu as well as covers of Eurovision hit ‘Abanibi” and Diaspora Yeshiva Band’s “Hakol Yoducha.” There are also two previously unreleased tracks: “Ohr Chadash” and “Shivti”. Recorded in the '80's, this album holds up very well today.
Moshe Skier - Rock of Sages
Also included in the review package with the Kabbalah Kollection, this album is what would have been Kabbalah 3, had funding come through. It features Moshe Skier originals as well as one song by Izzy Botnick and one co-written with Lenny Solomon.
Both CDs can be ordered here or directly from me.
MP3 albums can be downloaded directly from Amazon.com. Amazon must be trying to steal business from iTunes, because it's offering its downloads for the same price or lower, but giving higher quality MP3s (256 kbps vs 128 or 160) and making them DRM (digital rights management) free, so that, unlike iTunes songs, they can play on any MP3 player and you can burn them to disk as often as you like.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I'm still trying to exercise most nights (thank G-d for BSG DVDs)
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
So I'm expanding my writing into a new genre, which I will label "The PT Grafik Novuls". Here's my first effort, based on the best-selling hit "Nuthing Lik a Famule." For other entries in this field, see "Nuthing Lik a Dat" and "Nuthing Lik a Vampir."
Nuthing Lik a Beepur
This book belogs to
In the morning, I anser my pajur
My wife dosin’t lic to, not vare
My kids slep late
I tak a showur and forget to trn off my beepur
My wife gets mad
War...AAA...my payshunt is
(where is my patient?)
Oh, uh “where is my patient”
er...where IS my patient?
In raydiolojee, that is war he is
(what’s going on on this page?)
(he’s waiting for the elevator)
(how about this page?)
(who’s in the restraints?)
(the alcohol withdrawal patient)
(they put the withdrawal patients in restraints?)
(yeah, the nurses like to put them in there)
(who’s the guy with the tie?)
(that’s the hospital administrator)
AAA! (looking at hospital list)
(ah, there he is reading the charts)
(what are all those things hanging from the IV poles)
(it’s like thingies that hang from the IV poles)
(are they antibiotics?)
(no, look this gives you a hint. Can you guess)
(it’s covered in foil? Is it nitroprusside)
(No. See, all these gives you a hint)
(Is he in the ICU?)
Wut cind uv consult is this!?
You didn’t write a good note
(Boy, are you gonna leave the hospital? Are you going to eat a kit kat in the doctor’s lounge? No, I think I’m going to go answer my pager…)
(what’s happening in this picture?)
(dreaming…doo doo doo)
(what’s he dreaming about?)
(page page page page…he’s dreaming he’s getting paged all night by the ER…oh wait…he IS getting paged all night by the ER)
Wi do I cep getting payjed!!
(because you’re on call)
Hmmm mm mabe yor pages are good
FFF for “forgot to call for refill during the week”
D for drug-seeker
Pashunts are mor importint
Evere uther day!
(doo doooo doodoo doodoo doo)
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Doctor Bean: Mark? Hi, it's Doctor Bean calling. Look, I'm just calling to make sure you're OK, because you haven't posted in 13 days, and
The PT: HELLO???
Me: Hang up, The PT.
DB: The PT?
The PT: (stunned silence)
DB: The PT? Hello? Are you there?
The PT: (raises eyebrows)
DB: Are you still on the phone?
The PT: Yes...
DB: It's me, Doctor Bean. Do you remember me?
DB: Yes, well...er...I came to visit you...last year...from California...or rather I came to visit your parents...
DB: ...and then a year before that they flew to California to visit us? And maybe you stayed with your grandparents? Do you remember?
The PT: No.
DB: Oh, well, you were pretty young. Do you still have your cast?
The PT: No.
DB: Oh, um, that's good.
The PT: Do you know what I have in my hand?
DB: No, what?
The PT: An eyeball.
DB: ...really...and do you still have two eyeballs in your head?
The PT: Yes.
DB: Well, then that's OK.
Friday, March 28, 2008
At this point, I'm thinking, the heck with it. Let's go for #1! Snow at the Seder? Bring it on!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Me: Er...thanks...is it Doctor's Day already (checks watch)?
Lady: It certainly is! Would you like a boutonniere? (hands me red flower)
Me: Ummm....sure. Is this a boutonneire?
Lady (laughs): Why of course it is! Would you like help pinning it on?
Me: No thanks, I'll just eat it here.
Lady: (horrified expression)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
I'm pretty sure these Great Men who have been Talibanning Jewish Music concerts would never watch Fiddler, simply because there are women singing. And I think it's a great shame. Because they could learn a thing or two from the good people of Anatevka, who seemed to remember that Jews can live through the worst of times and still manage to sing and dance and serve their Creator with simcha, joy.
It's too bad our so-called leaders are so much more eager to emulate the former leaders of Afghanistan than Tevyeh the Milkman.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
There are those who believe that putting “wireless” in front of everything makes it cooler and more useful. You know, like, “wireless” telephones and “wireless” internet and “wireless” coffee. These are the same people who told us that if you put “i” in front of a word it will be hipper and old people won’t be able to use it, like the “i”phone, or that putting “e” in front of word makes it modern, like “e”mail and “e”vacuum cleaner.
“I” would definitely be one of those people. And so it is with this attitude that I drove my “e”car down to the “wireless” music store and bought my first wireless instrument system. To be fair to the salesman, he first attempted to sell me a much more expensive system that probably actually worked. I gave him my “i”expression (hip and savvy and not in any way over 40) and demanded something cheaper.
He countered with the Nady DKW 8 GT DKW 8 HT Guitar and Microphone Wireless Package, which I had seen on the “wireless” internet. This came with a wireless instrument transmitter that you hook onto your belt and a receiver, and included a free wireless hand-held microphone and receiver. It even included a battery! All for about 80 bucks. To quote Eddie Murphy, “Waat a bahgin!”
I decided to try them out at my next gig, a Sheva Brachos. I thought the wireless mic would be perfect for it, as it could be passed around between the people saying the blessings.
Once the band was set up, we did some warm-up songs, mostly slow dinner music. The transmitter worked fine. My band mates watched in amazement, maybe a little envy, as I suddenly walked away from the group, moved out to the middle of the room, turned to face them and appraise the sound mix. They were even more bewildered when, instead of returning to the bandstand, I moved to the back of the room, approached the dessert table, and sliced a big piece of chocolate cake, put it on a plate, moseyed over to a table in front of the band and began to eat it with my right hand, all the time continuing to play the song with my left hand on the fret board. Fretting and fressing*, as it were.
(As an aside, there are really two problems with eating chocolate cake and playing bass simultaneously: First, you get crumbs on the bass. And second, it’s very easy to end up with frosting in your beard. Embarrassing, to say the least.)
Anyway, I found the newfound freedom to be very refreshing. For example, typically when someone comes up to make a speech, I am trapped up there with him because of the cable. This time, I slowly edged myself off to the side and then slipped out of the room with my bass still on me.
The speakers were happy to have the wireless mic—at first. By about the third or fourth speaker (hey, this was a Jewish event) it started cutting out frequently, and by the time The Rabbi got the mic it was practically useless. This despite a change of battery (both new). They went back to using a wired mic. I never even got to try it for singing with a full band.
Nevertheless, I did enjoy being able to pluck a few notes on the bass out in the hallway, to the amusement of all the other low-lifes who skipped out on The Rabbi’s speech and to the dismay of The Rabbi, who was still trying to speak as my bass amp spewed forth random blurts of D-flat behind him.
Finally, it was time for the big dance set. I moved into position next to the guitar player, the better to see the charts, but prepared to make a quick dash out to the center circle, to be adored by the dancing celebrants, who would no doubt be delighted to see the guy with the big guitar in their midst.
The sax player called the first tune, gave a quick count, and then—
My bass made a few crackling sounds, then quit. The band took off like a bunch of horses at the starting gate, and I was left behind playing air guitar. The thing was totally dead. I got maybe 20 minutes out of it on a fresh battery.
I made a quick switcheroo and was back to wirefull bass for the remainder of the gig.
Back to the store with this one.
*© 2008 Ralphie
Monday, February 25, 2008
The PT: (breathing)
Fudge: Hello? Is anyone there?
The PT: Um, hello? Don't you hear me breathing?
Fudge: Oh man...The PT, it's--
The PT: I know who it is! You think I don't know what you sound like?
The PT: Can I put you on speakerphone?
Fudge: What the--
The PT: This phone is KILLING my shoulder. I'm putting you on speakerphone.
Fudge: Well actually, I wanted to talk to Mommy, is she around?
The PT: What? I can't hear you. I'm putting you on speakerphone.
Fudge: No, The PT, don't--
The PT: (click).
The PT: Hello?
Fudge: Hi, The PT, can I talk to Mommy?
The PT: Not anymore. She just left the room, and I am doing kriah. Wanna listen? Cha....cha...er....chaer...
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Frequently, I’m the sound man for the band, which means I adjust the volumes and individual levels, and I normally can’t listen to the bass when I do that, so I add it in later and hope for the best (and watch the old ladies cover their ears).
Even when I’m not doing sound, I find myself the target of volume offense accusations:
“We’re too loud because of YOU!!”
“Wuat? I can barely hear my bass!”
“No, man, you can’t tell when you’re right in front of it. You need to hear it from OUT THERE (points to back of room, not outer space)!!”
Plus I guess it would be, y’know, cool to get out into the crowd every once and while during a gig.
So if you are a bass player and you have any experience or suggestions for particular units, pipe in.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Today we will inaugurate a new feature at Psycho Toddler called Ask PT. You ask the questions, and I will attempt to answer them. Just email me through my profile.
I'll start us off with the first one:
Do you think it is a good idea to snap pictures of funny license plates with your cell phone while you are driving in bumper to bumper traffic in bad weather?
Look Tizzy, since you are very obviously not me, I will favor you with a reply. NO. I think it is a VERY bad idea to surreptitiously attempt to photograph other drivers on the road, especially when you are the one behind the wheel.
I could think of a lot of reasons, many of them having to do with the dangers of fiddling with gadgets while you are trying to control a 1.5 ton vehicle in close proximity to other similar or larger sized vehicles.
But the main reason is that you never know when the person you are filming suddenly decides to follow you to your destination and demand to know why you are filming him.
But thanks for the picture!
Friday, February 08, 2008
Apparently, my ploy to use Fudge as our family’s Bad Travel Karma Magnet is working, since my flight with Moe to La Guardia went without a hitch. We took off on time, landed on time, and even got our luggage. And we had a magnificent view of Manhattan as we circled around from the north for a southern runway approach. We waited approximately 30 seconds on the curb before the Enterprise Shuttle (I believe it was the Galileo 7) picked us up, and we even got our car upgraded to a Chrysler 300.
And since then, she has passed on, the house has been sold, and has gone the way of most of the houses which get sold in my mother’s neighborhood. It was torn down, to be replaced by some gargantuan edifice extending to the sidewalk, obliterating the lawn. Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought that a house that goes up in a neighborhood should look at least a little like the surrounding houses, so that it looks like it belongs there. Fudge would remind me later on that, looking around the block, it’s not so out-of-place anymore.
What really bothers my mom is that the workers show up every morning at 6:30 and start making a racket. She was very happy when I pulled my 300 up in front of her house.
“Good! Now those jerks won’t be able to park there!”
After some reheated Benjy’s Pizza, we had an appointment to visit Boba.
From left to right: My mother, Moe, Fudge, Cousin Meyer, Cousin Rosie, and Boba, in Boba’s parlor, where she greets visiting dignitaries and Internet celebrities. Note that in my family we follow the convention of pre-pending the title to the relative’s name, e.g. Uncle Fester or Cousin It. This does not apply to Boba, however, because that is not her real name. She acquired that name from me, as apparently, much like Adam, all creatures in our family were paraded before me as a child to name (see Moish), and I was unable to pronounce “Aunt Paula” and so anointed her “Boba,” and it stuck.
We take that in our family as Urban Legend, or maybe Suburban Legend, much like the famed story of “Moishe's Fish Has Feathers,” or the one about how I use to call soda “clumsy” because whenever Cousin Yossi poured soda, he spilled it, causing Boba to yell “CLUMSY!!” Or the story of how apparently I borrowed money from my sister when I was twelve and never paid it back.
“Your sister was like a bank!” Boba exclaimed. “She ALWAYS had money. You,” a dismissive flip of the wrist towards me, “gornisht!”
“Yes, that’s true,” said my mother. “You were always borrowing money from her. And then when she went to collect, you asked for an I.O.U., and she didn’t have one, because you wouldn’t give it to her, so you never paid her.”
“I have no memory of this.”
“Markie! You are losing your mind!”
Mom: How do you like that! You (gesturing at my sister and brother-in-law) finally get a night away from your kids, and what happens? They sit you at a table next to a bunch of screaming children!
Fudge (mortified): It’s OK, grandma, they really aren’t making much noise.
Mom: (yelling over the shrieking baby) Ha! If your aunt and uncle wanted to eat with a bunch of vilde chayos they could have stayed home!
Me: I don’t really care. As long as they’re someone else’s kids, they can make noise. It only bothers me when it’s my own kids.
Mom: Your kids! Your kids would never make noise!
Me: Well, not everyone can get a baby sitter. I don’t mind. It’s heimish.
Moe: Heimish, eh? I have to remember to use that word more.
Mom: (to my sister) So, you remember when your brother used to borrow money from you?
Me: Mommy seems to be under the impression that I borrowed money from your wife.
Me: Like around 1978. Do you remember this?
BIL: How much money?
Mom: I don’t know. Five dollars.
Sister: I don’t remember this.
Me: Neither do I.
BIL: Five dollars! In 1978! Did you ever pay it back?
Me: How should I know? I don’t even remember borrowing it.
Mom: He never paid her back. He told her “the Torah says you should be happy with your lot.”
Fudge and Moe: WUAT??
Me: That doesn’t sound like something I’d say…
BIL: Five dollars in 1978? Do you know how much that would be worth today??
Mom: I don’t know. Probably ten dollars.
On the Lasting Impression I left at YU
Monday we drove up to Washington Heights for Moe's interview. During the 5 hours he was doing his thing, I was studiously attempting not to be a helicopter parent. So basically I had...nothing...to do...for several hours. A situation I rarely find myself in these days.
Fortunately, I was able to call on my old college buddy and former roommate to rescue me by doing what we did 20 years ago. Hang around campus
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
I had to take the day off. I couldn't get to work. Here are some sequential pictures:
Now you see it:
Now you don't!
I felt pretty bad staying home. It's like I was playing hooky. Well, it didn't matter. The clinic closed anyway and virtually every other business in town shut down too. The kids were home. There were innumerable accidents and at least one fatality by tractor trailer on the highway not far from where I work.
I actually got some stuff done today, aside from shoveling and making hamburgers for dinner. I bought a new bass preamp/direct box/pedal at the suggestion of an excellent Chicago Bass Player and I can't believe how much better I sound/perform with it. I played for 3 hours today, mostly going over Aaron Razel's material for an upcoming show on 2/17.
That is, assuming I'm not buried alive here.