Archive for May, 2008



Song of the day

It is no secret that I love Broadway musicals, and there is no shortage of good music there. This morning while on my way to work, I was dialing around on my ipod and my finger stopped on the soundtrack of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” This show is in my top 5 all time favorite shows for certain.

The concept of a “Rock Opera” goes back to 1969 and the Who’s “Tommy“. Initially these Rock Operas were made as concept albums. In 1970 when the concept album for Jesus Christ was made into a full fledged Broadway Musical the term “Rock Musical” also came into being.

Lloyd Weber and Rice had already collaborated on “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” which itself became a popular Rock Musical. With Jesus Christ they showed the world what a Rock Musical really is, and finally with “Evita“, the melded the concept with more traditional Broadway style music.

Here are two of my favorite songs from the motion picture Jesus Christ Superstar.

Enjoy!

OK, I love this show so much here is a third.

One Hit Wonder Wednesday

I have been tied up with many issues over the past few days.  I hope to update on everything soon.  In the meantime, I got this joke in email today and it fits in with One Hit Wonder Wednesday.

Two men, sentenced to die in the electric chair on the same
day, were led down to the room in which they would meet
their maker. The priest had given them last rites, the
formal speech had been given by the warden, and a final
prayer had been said among the participants. The warden,
turning to the first man, solemnly asked, "Son, do you have
a last request?"

To which the man replied, "Yes sir, I do. I love dance
music. Could you please play 'The Macarena' for me one last
time?"

"Certainly," replied the warden. He turned to the other man
and asked, "Well, what about you, son? What is your final
request?"

"Please," said the condemned man, "kill me first."

Believe it or not, the Macarana is probably the number one One Hit Wonder of all time!

Enjoy!

Song of the day

I was never a huge fan of Progressive Rock bands. This is kind of odd, as the concept of “progressive rock” is really great, and based on my love of classical and other forms of music, I should be a big fan of progressive rock. Perhaps my problem is that although the groups seemed to be putting out music that did not conform to the rock “norms” of the time they still had a bit too much of a commercial feel to me.

Just my 3 cents. There are of course exceptions to every rule. and todays song is one of them. Those who know me, know I am a TVaholic. If I am not tivoing shows to watch with my wife, I am downloading them onto my computer and watching during my commute to and from work. I don’t watch everything, but I watch a lot. One of my favorite shows is “Supernatural“. I love the sci-fi and paranormal stuff and this show is right in there. One of the two main characters is a big of 70’s rock and the one song that has been played on this show more than any others is “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas. I don’t know why, but I really like this song. The music is wonderful and the lyrics are great. I thought of this song, because I watched the season finale of “Supernatural” this morning and the song was played.

Enjoy!

Song of the day

Today in music history………..

On this day in 1970, The Beatles last album, “Let It Be” is released in the US.

This album is perhaps the most interesting in terms of its recording and release. You can read all about that on wikipedia, but suffice it to say that when The Beatles were recording this album, they were all but broken up. They were not getting along and the fact that there were film cameras in the sessions made it even worse. I highly recommend the film “Let It Be” as well, and you can see the tension (although there are some times in the film where you can see how much they really love each other).

The album was shelved for about a year, during which time Abbey Road was released (which is a much better album).

Finally the recordings were given to Phil Spector and he put together what may be one of the worst Beatles albums ever produced (in my humble opinion). In 2002 Paul McCartney recruited Abbey Road studio personnel to recreate the album the way the group intended and with the permission of the remaining Beatles they produced “Let It Be… Naked” which I think is a much better treatment of the work. The most striking difference is that of the song “The Long and Winding Road“. Paul had conceived it as a piano ballad, but Phil Spector, using his “wall of sound” technique, overdubbed an orchestra and choir to this song to create what most people think of when they think of this song. The clip below, from the movie, shows the song the way Paul intended. You can also here it this way on the Naked album.

Plus if you are interested in the movie, someone on youtube has uploaded the whole thing (I will not comment on the legality of this). Click here to go to the page that contains the 9 parts.

Enjoy!

Orthodoxy?

Throughout my posts in this blog it is fairly obvious that I am an observant Jew. I am Shomer Shabbat, I eat only kosher food and I try to live my life in accordance with the laws and customs of traditional Judaism. What I have never really talked about my personal Jewish commitment and why I do what I do. As I begin to write this post, I cannot say that that is what I will write, but an article in the New York Times from about a week ago caught my eye and I wanted to comment on it and on my own choices.

The article is entitled “Among Orthodox Jews, More Openness on Sexuality“. I never liked the way newspapers and magazine title their articles. But I understand that they need to sell their product and titles help that (and that is a total different topic). I recommend reading the entire article as it is very interesting, but I will summarize. In the right wing Orthodox Jewish world, there is little talk about sexuality and when young adults are getting married, they really have no idea what to do. Some in the Orthodox world are working to solve this problem and I hope they are successful.

I bring up this article to highlight a reason why I am not an Orthodox Jew. I consider myself a Conservative Jew. To try to explain the differences between Orthodoxy and Conservatism can (and does) take books, so I will not attempt to do that here. In many ways, from the outside, I look no different from a Modern Orthodox Jew. I wear a kippah all the time. I eat only kosher food and I observe Shabbat. The difference is in my beliefs. For example, while I believe in the divinity of the Torah, I see it as a document that records man’s understanding of divine revelation. That is to say that God reveled himself at Sinai to the Israelites and the Torah is their understanding of what they experienced.

Everything else is commentary. I am not saying that the laws that came later have no authority, but I do believe that they are not written in stone and although the earlier interpretations need to be given much weight, I do believe that everything is still open for discussion. A friend of mine, Rabbi Geoff Haber used to explain the difference between Orthodoxy and Conservatism with this simple analogy. It may be a bit too simple, but it works.

Imagine Jewish law as a chess game. Each piece has a specific role in the game. Pawns can only move one square, bishops on the diagonal, etc. Before moves are made, the players will look at every move and what the other player might do based on their move, and they will try to do this as many moves out as they can. Finally, after careful examination, a move is made. In Jewish law this was the way it was for many years. Rabbis would examine everything and after that careful examination, they would make a ruling. But what happened is that by the middle of the last century, when Jews gained a level of freedom they never had before, the Rabbis countered by placing a clear case over the chess game. The game could still be studied, but the moves could no longer be made. Conservative Judaism still proceeds with the game open.

As I said that is simplistic, but it does work. If the Rabbis had chosen to allow certain things, they could have, but they chose not to. I prefer to be involved with Judaism that is still willing to interpret laws based on the changes in society around us, not a Judaism that reacts to the world by closing themselves off from the world.

Getting back to the article, I want to focus on the part where the teacher told her class (women who were about to be married) that sex was horrible and painful. This is an example of an even further reaction by Orthodox today where they are not only closing themselves off, but they are making things even more difficult. The fear is that if people were to think that sex was a beautiful and enjoyable experience, then people might start trying to experience it outside of marriage. Better people should think sex is horrible then the community have to deal with teaching young people sex education.

These stringencies are appearing in every aspect of Jewish life, from kosher laws to sabbath laws. This is why I choose to be involved with Conservatism. Do I agree with everything in the Conservative movement? No, of course not. But I do believe it is the most authentic way to be Jewish. All I can do is try my hardest to live my life the way I think God wants me to. I hope I am doing my best.

I want to end with a joke (this post was a bit serious) and a youtube video.

A man comes to his Rabbi and asks, “Rabbi, is it ok for my wife and me to try different positions when we have sex?” The Rabbi says “of course.” “So it’s ok if she is on top” he asks. “Yes” says the Rabbi. “What about if she is on her knees and I am behind her like a dog?” “Whatever you do in the bedroom is fine” answers the Rabbi again. “Rabbi, what about having sex standing up?” “NO” says the Rabbi sternly. “Absolutely not!” “It might lead to mixed dancing!”

In the same vein, here is a wonderful number from “Fiddler on the Roof”. This number was for whatever reason left out of the movie (and it is too bad, because it perhaps one of the funniest moments in the show!) I added this myself on youtube. Listen to the whole thing, as the “punchline” is at the very end.

One Hit Wonder Wednesday

It’s that time again. One Hit Wonder Wednesday. I have a great song for today, although I am not sure if it is really a One Hit Wonder. In the US, I think for sure it is as I don’t think anyone will ever remember any other song by Katrina and the Waves except “Walking on Sunshine“. They did have a few hits outside of the US including their 1997 Eurovision song contest win.

I loved this song from the first time I heard it. It is fun, upbeat, you can sing along, you can dance to it. It’s just an all around feel good song.

Enjoy!


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