Thursday, March 28, 2019

Wherever You Go

That's Where You Are: Edinburgh, Dusseldorf, New York City, Buenos Aires. Does it really matter?

Surely some of you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, saw this story earlier in the week.

It's turned up almost everywhere. But for now, let's stick with CNN's version.
British Airways flight was supposed to go to Germany. It went to Scotland.
Emily Dixon and Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN • Updated 26th March 2019 
Passengers on a British Airways flight from London's City Airport to Dusseldorf in Germany were met with a surprise Monday morning when their plane touched down Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. 
The travel error happened because of an incorrectly filed flight plan, leading both the pilot and cabin crew to believe the flight was bound for Edinburgh.
Piotr Pomienski, a student at Imperial College London, told CNN his girlfriend Zsófia Szabó was on the plane that landed in Edinburgh by mistake. "I saw on Flightradar that the flight was flying north instead of south, but I assumed it was a system error of some sort. That is until she wrote to me that they're in Edinburgh." 
Szabó told CNN she realized something wasn't right when she saw mountains outside the plane, instead of the "usual German industrial landscape." 
"When we started descending and I saw some taller hills/mountains, I did think that this isn't how Eastern Netherlands/Western Germany should look like but I assumed we took some small detour," she said. "Then my colleague sitting across the aisle from me told me to check Google Maps -- and it showed us being around Carlisle." 
"The information then spread around quite quickly. Everyone started asking everyone else where they were going -- everyone was for Dusseldorf." 
"When we landed there was a bit of a hilarious moment when the flight attendant asked for a show of hands for the people going to Dusseldorf, which turned out to be everyone," she said.
The USS Cod. Not the USS Codfish.

This hilariously not-tragic event immediately brought to what, after so many years, is left of Abq Jew's mind, the Cruise of the USS Codfish. As told by the famous ex-accountant Bob Newhart. Of course.

The USS Triton. The inspiration for the USS Cod.

As it turns out, the Cruise of the USS Codfish began with the Operation Sandblast Cruise of the USS Triton.
USS Triton (SSRN/SSN-586) was a United States Navy radar picket nuclear submarine. In early 1960 it became the first vessel to execute a submerged circumnavigation of the Earth (Operation Sandblast). 
Triton accomplished this objective during her shakedown cruise while under the command of Captain Edward L. "Ned" Beach, Jr. 
The only member of her class, she also had the distinction of being the only Western submarine powered by two nuclear reactors.
The 1960 The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart comedy album included a sketch entitled "The Cruise of the U.S.S. Codfish" which was a monologue involving the final address by the captain to the crew of a nuclear-powered submarine after completing a two-year-long, around-the-world underwater voyage.
Bob Newhart noted in a 2006 interview that: 
You know, I think the Triton kind of, I think was a spur for that routine as I think back. Because I then imagined what a trip like that would have been like with a totally incompetent commander, and the cruise of the USS Codfish was the final result. 
Captain Beach reportedly played "The Cruise of the U.S.S. Codfish" over the ship's public address system during Triton's first overseas deployment in the Fall of 1960.

"The Cruise of the U.S.S. Codfish" sorta begins:
Men, I know you are all anxious to be reunited with your loved ones... in some cases your wives... but we have a few moments before we surface and I've just jotted down some things that I think are kind of important, I wouldn't take the time if I didn't. 
First of all, I think we ought to give the cooks a standing ovation for the wonderful job they've done. So, if you men want to stand now and let's really hear it for the cooks. 
I don't think you men realize the difficult problem it is aboard a submarine to... uh... you men want to stand now for the cooks ? 
Come on now men, let's let by-gones be by-gones and let's hear it for the cooks, huh?  
Look men, I'm not going to surface until I hear it for the cooks!!!  
Alright, that is a little better ...
You can click here to read the entire monologue.  Or - better yet - you can watch it right here. You're welcome!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Abq Celebrates! Houston Rejoices!

Alex Bregman Signs The Deal: Yes, smack in the middle of one horrible news story after another, there is joy to be found in the sister-cities of Albuquerque and Houston. In our nation's capital (as we read in Megillat Esther) -

The President and the AG sat down to drink,
but Washington DC was perplexed.

And as Ernest Lawrence Thayer first warned us in 1888 -

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
but there is no joy in DC — mighty Mueller has struck out.

No, Bobby Three-Sticks has not really struck out. All we have at the moment is one umpire's interpretation of what he wants us to believe has occurred at the plate.

But it doesn't look like he's hit a World Series-winning grand slam out of the park home run either. Fortunately for all of us, it looks like this game will go to extra innings.

But never mind all that. The important thing is: The 2019 MLB season will open  on Thursday March 28, the earliest opening day in history, excluding (of course) international openers. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will play the first-ever MLB games in Europe, June 29-30 in London.

Our beloved Albuquerque Isotopes will open their (home) season against the Salt Lake Bees on Thursday April 4. Although we have already beaten the Colorado Rockies (7-3), who will play their first (away) game of the season against the Miami Marlins on ... March 28. Their home opener will be against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday April 5.

And the Houston Astros will play their first (away) game of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays on ... March 28. Their home opener will be against the Oakland Athletics on Friday April 5.

But meanwhile, JTA reports:

Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach, Fla.,
Feb. 21, 2018.    
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Alex Bregman signs one of the largest-ever contracts for a Jewish athlete 
(JTA) — Alex Bregman has agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract with the Houston Astros — one of the largest deals ever for a professional Jewish athlete. 
Bregman, who turns 25 at the end of the month, has established himself as one of Major League Baseball’s top players. Last year he finished fifth in the American League’s Most Valuable Player voting following a season of 31 home runs, 103 runs batted in and a league-best 51 doubles. He also was named the All-Star Game’s MVP. 
The only Jewish athlete to appear to have signed a bigger contract was fellow Jewish major leaguer Ryan Braun, who signed a contract extension with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 worth $105 million.
(Both of those contracts look small compared to Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout: On Wednesday night, the two-time American League MVP signed a 12-year, $426.5 million contract, one of the largest deals ever in pro sports.) 
Elsewhere, in a story featured in the March 25 issue of Sports Illustrated, writer Ben Reiter describes a scene from Bregman’s bar mitzvah — Torah portion included. 
“When I think about the future and how I can make a difference in the world, I want to be able to use my love of the game of baseball to be a good example and a good person,” Bregman said at his ceremony at Albuquerque’s Congregation Albert in 2007. 
“I want to be a professional athlete who plays for the love of the game, never quits trying to give my best and is a good role model for all of the kids who look up to baseball players.” 
To which Abq Jew, along with all his fellow New MexiJews here in the Land of Enchantment, say

Yes, mazel has a lot to do with it. But also - an awful lot of hard work and determination.

To which Abq Jew must add (he must! he must!) the (adapted) words of our beloved Great Grand Mama, of very blessed memory:

2 gozinta 4, 4 gozinta 8.
Alex gozinta the 2019 MLB season with the Houston Astros, 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Fall River Now and Then

Lizzie Borden Started It: The news today is bad all over. Abq Jew wrote that line in December 2013 (see A Song for the Right), and it's still true today. In fact, it may be truer today than it was then.

Nevertheless. It is the week of Purim, the Feast of Lots. The holiday upon which we Jews are commanded to rejoice. To excess. In happy, topsy-turvy remembrance of the Big Battle We Jews Won.

So here is a picture of -

Beto O'Rourke Does the Hokey-Pokey

There, now. Does that cheer you up a little bit? How about this -

April the Giraffe and Her New Baby

But Abq Jew digresses.

In addition to all the sad stuff - of which there was lots - there is also this story, which (some may claim) could only have happened in Fall River, MA.

Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II of Fall River, Mass., defended himself after
he was indicted last year on charges that he defrauded investors and filed
false tax returns.   
David Souza/The Herald News, via Associated Press

Mayor of Fall River Is Ousted and Re-elected at the Same Time

By Jacey Fortin       March 13, 2019 
In a special election on Tuesday, residents of Fall River, Mass., voted their mayor out of office. But they also voted him back in, by a small plurality — on the same ballot. 
It was an odd and somewhat confusing turn of events for Fall River, an old mill city in southeastern Massachusetts. 
Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II, 27, a Democrat serving his second two-year term, was charged last year with 13 criminal counts of wire fraud and filing false tax returns. He has denied the charges, but the City Council called for him to resign. He refused, setting the gears in motion for Tuesday’s recall election. 
On Tuesday, 7,829 residents voted to recall Mr. Correia, and 4,911 voted to keep him in office, according to the city’s Election Commission. 
But on the same ballot, voters were asked to choose among five people for the mayor’s job. Mr. Correia’s name was included. There, he won a plurality, with about 35 percent of voters voting for Mr. Correia.
“We’re going to keep trying to earn people’s votes — earn their trust, earn their votes by doing good things for our community like you’ve seen us do,” Mr. Correia said to reporters after the results were announced on Tuesday evening. 

Oh, ye of few years - do you think we, as a nation, have never gone through such trying times before? Well, Abq Jew assures you - we have.

Before France was divided by the Dreyfus Affair, America was divided by ... what was that other thing that happened in Fall River, MA? Oh yeah -

Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

Or (perhaps) not. In case you are unfamiliar with the legend, Wikipedia tells us:
Lizzie Andrew Borden (July 19, 1860 – June 1, 1927) was an American woman who garnered notoriety as the main suspect in the August 4, 1892 axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts. Borden was tried and acquitted of the murders.

The case was a cause célèbre and received widespread newspaper coverage throughout the United States. Following her release from jail, where she was held during the trial, Borden chose to remain a resident of Fall River despite facing ostracism from the other residents. 
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts elected not to charge anyone else with the murder of Andrew and Abby Borden. 
Even though the crimes occurred 126 years ago, speculation about the crimes still continues. She spent the remainder of her life in Fall River before dying of pneumonia, aged 66, just days before the death of her sister, Emma.

Borden and her association with the murders has remained a topic in American popular culture mythology into the 21st century, and she has been depicted in various films, theatrical productions, literary works, and folk rhymes.
But the world will little note, nor long remember, what Abq Jew says here. While it can never forget what the Chad Mitchell Trio sings here.

Wikipedia tells us about the Chad Mitchell Trio:
The Chad Mitchell Trio - also known as the Mitchell Trio [when John Denver was a member] - were a North American vocal group who became known during the 1960s. 
They performed folk songs, some of which were traditionally passed down and some of their own compositions. Unlike many fellow folk music groups, none of the trio played instruments. 
They became popular in some quarters, and were particularly notable for performing satirical songs that criticized current events during the time of the cold war, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War, in a less subtle way than the typical folk music and singer-songwriter musicians of their time.
And here is, from the Trio's album Mighty Day on Campus - Lizzie Borden!

The delightfully biting lyrics were written by Michael Brown (who also wrote the lyrics to another Trio hit, The John Birch Society).

Now, did those marvelous lyrics just whiz by too fast for you? Have no fear - Abq Jew has you covered!
Ballad of Lizzie Borden
Yesterday in old Fall River
Mr. Andrew Borden died
And he got his daughter, Lizzie
On a charge of homicide
Some folks say she didn't do it
And others say of course she did
But they all agree, Miss Lizzie B
Was a problem kinda kid 
'Cause you can't chop your
Papa up in Massachusetts
Not even if it's planned
As a surprise (a surprise)
No, you can't chop your
Papa up in Massachusetts
You know how neighbors love to criticize 
Well, she got him on the sofa
Where he'd gone to take a snooze
And I hope he went to Heaven
'Cause he wasn't wearing shoes
Lizzie kinda rearranged him
With a hatchet so they say
Then she got her mother
In that same old fashioned way 
But you can't chop your
Mama up in Massachusetts
Not even if you're tired of
Her cuisine (her cuisine)
No can't chop your mama up in Massachusetts
You know it's almost sure to cause a scene 
Well, they really kept her
Hopping on that busy afternoon
With both down and upstairs chopping
While she hummed a ragtime tune
They really made her hustle
And when all was said and done
She'd removed her mother's bustle
When she wasn't wearing one 
Now can't chop your
Mama up in Massachusetts
And then blame all the damage
On the mice (on the mice)
No, you can't chop your
Mama up in Massachusetts
That sort of thing just isn't very nice 
Now it wasn't done for pleasure
And it wasn't done for spite
And it wasn't done because
The lady wasn't very bright
She'd always done the slightest thing
That mom and papa bid
They said, Lizzie, cut it out
So that's exactly what she did 
But you can't chop your
Papa up in Massachusetts
And then get dressed
And go out for a walk
No, you can't chop your
Papa up in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is a far cry
From New York 
You can't chop your
Papa up in Massachusetts
Shut the door and lock and latch it
Here comes Lizzie with a brand new hatchet 
You can't chop your
Papa up in Massachusetts
Such a snob I've heard it said
She met her pa and cut him dead 
You can't chop your
Papa up in Massachusetts
Jump like a fish
Jump like a porpoise
All join hands and habeas corpus 
You can't chop your
Papa up in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is a far cry
From New York 
Songwriter: M. Brown
Lizzie Borden lyrics © Hill & Range Songs
Michael Brown in New York City, 2012

Don't know much about Michael Brown? Neither did Abq Jew. So Wikipedia tells us:
Michael Brown (14 December 1920 – 11 June 2014) was an American composer, lyricist, writer, director, producer, and performer. 
He was born in Mexia, Texas. His musical career began in New York cabaret, performing first at Le Ruban Bleu. 
In the 1960s, he was a producer of industrial musicals for major American corporations such as J.C. Penney and DuPont. 
Several of his songs have entered the American repertoire, including "Lizzie Borden" and "The John Birch Society," which were popularized by the Chad Mitchell Trio. 
Children know him best as the author of three Christmas books about Santa’s helper, Santa Mouse.
Michael Brown in 1977. He and his wife, Joy, gave Harper Lee
financial support while she wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

But here is Abq Jew's favorite Michael Brown story - and it will likely become yours, too. From the wonderful 2014 obituary that Margalit Fox wrote for The New York Times:
It was the modest windfall from ... an industrial show — a musical fashion show for Esquire magazine in the fall of 1956, Joy Brown recalled last week — that let Mr. Brown and his wife help usher “To Kill a Mockingbird” into being. 
The Browns had met Ms. [Harper] Lee through her friend Truman Capote. Mr. Brown had contributed lyrics to a song in the 1954 Broadway musical “House of Flowers,” with a book by Mr. Capote and music by Harold Arlen. 
By 1956, Ms. Lee, an Alabama native, was living in New York. Her longed-for career as a writer was stymied by the need to pay the rent, and she was toiling away as an airline reservations clerk. 
That Christmas, visiting the Browns, she spied an envelope with her name on it in the branches of their tree. 
I opened it and read: 
You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.
Ms. Lee recalled in a 1961 essay in McCall’s magazine in which she did not identify the Browns by name. 
“It’s a fantastic gamble,” Ms. Lee, in the words of her essay, told Mr. Brown. “It’s such a great risk.”

So here is the message for this Purim:

Who knows if you have not been placed
where you are now - wherever that may be -
simply to help others? 
Outside, snow was falling, an odd event for a New York Christmas. I went to the window, stunned by the day’s miracle. Christmas trees blurred softly across the street, and firelight made the children’s shadows dance on the wall beside me. 
A full, fair chance for a new life. Not given me by an act of generosity, but by an act of love. Our faith in you was really all I had heard them say. I would do my best not to fail them. 
Snow still fell on the pavement below. Brownstone roofs gradually whitened. Lights in distant skyscrapers shone with yellow symbols of a road’s lonely end, and as I stood at the window, looking at the lights and the snow, the ache of an old memory left me forever.

Alas, there is a postscript to the Fall River saga. 

Once again, the "Make It Here" city about 50 miles south of Boston is in the news. And not for a good reason. No news for more than a century, and then twice in one week?  CBS Boston (et al) reports that

59 Gravesites At Fall River Jewish Cemetery Hit By Anti-Semitic Vandals 
FALL RIVER (CBS) –  Widespread vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Fall River is being treated as a hate crime, police said Tuesday. 
Fifty-nine gravesites were targeted at the Hebrew Cemetery on McMahon Street sometime over the weekend before the damage was discovered by a groundskeeper. 
Two headstones were pushed over and the rest were desecrated with anti-Semitic language in black marker. Some graffiti referenced Hitler. One of the messages read “This is MAGA country,” apparently referring to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

And yet. It's Purim!

Here is a photo of Major Deegan. The calf, newly named, escaped from a slaughterhouse and was apprehended by the authorities on the Major Deegan Expressway (in the Bronx) on Tuesday. The calf is now at an Animal Care Centers facility in Harlem. Note: This is not Devin Nunes' cow.

Note: This is a photo of Devin Nunes' cow (@DevinCow). As Dana Milbank gleefully reports in The Washington Post:
Devin Nunes is having a cow 
It is rare that a leader takes the bull by the horns and corrals support for a cause in which all Americans have a steak. 
I’m not referring to Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s cutting-edge decision to oppose circumcision, though voters may reward his foresight in defense of foreskin. 
No, today I celebrate Rep. Devin Nunes of California, top Republican on the Intelligence Committee and close Trump ally, who has just shown the world that he has the chops to sue a cow
Not just any cow: Nunes’s defamation lawsuit names his own cow — “Devin Nunes’ cow” is its name on Twitter — and a couple of other Twitter users, as well as Twitter itself, seeking $250 million in compensation because mean things were said about him on Twitter. 
Nunes tells Sean Hannity this is “the first of many” lawsuits to come ....

There. That's better.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Urgent! Asylum Seekers Crisis!

How To Help: Mayor Tim Keller sent out the message below asking all of us to help with the ongoing Asylum Seekers Crisis.

This weekend, several hundred Asylum Seekers are being bussed to Albuquerque from ICE Detention Centers in El Paso.

Please see Mayor Keller's  list of
where to donate and some ways to volunteer.

Along with eleven other organizations in Albuquerque, Congregation Albert is accepting a bus of 50 people who will be arriving to the designated hotel in Albuquerque sometime on Sunday.

Please help Congregation Albert with this enormous task.

Please know that anyone who volunteers in any capacity MUST attend a training at the hotel at 1:30 pm. The time commitment on Sunday working with the Asylum Seekers should be about 2 hours post arrival at the hotel in addition to the 1-hour training.

Congregation Albert has an urgent need for 12 people to cook a hot dinner for Sunday night, as well as provide transportation on Monday and Tuesday.

If you can volunteer, please contact the Social Justice committee
of Congregation Albert ASAP through Rabbi Rosenfeld at

The Tikkun Olam Committee of Congregation Nahalat Shalom
is also helping in this crisis.

This is a very fluid situation, and we have some later updates:.
Latest News (Friday @ Noon):
We've got plenty of volunteers! Thank you!
Still Needed: Donations and phones!

Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

Leviticus commands, "When a stranger resides with you in your land,
you shall not do them wrong. The stranger who resides with you
shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself,
for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" [19:33-34]. 

Letter from Mayor Tim Keller

Dear Community Members,

Just under 300 migrants - folks who presented themselves at a point of entry and formally (and legally) requested asylum status - are currently moving through Albuquerque. More families and individuals are expected in the coming weeks.

As part of the asylum process, each person has a sponsor somewhere in the US who is responsible for their travel, helping them acclimate, and hosting them while they wait for their application to be reviewed. They are in Albuquerque while their sponsors arrange travel either by plane or bus to their destinations.

The city is primarily playing a coordination and support role for work being led by private and religious charities in the city. We are helping to organize volunteers and collect donations.

Currently, there has been an overwhelming response for physical donations, so at this time we are asking folks to make donations online to Catholic Charities or Annunciation House. If you are interested in mailing gift cards you can do so by sending them to Casa de las Comunidades.

We are also looking for volunteer coordinators and bi-lingual speakers who can help take down information. If you are interested, please contact Albuquerque Interfaith or email Catholic Charities at Organizations with vans are encouraged to volunteer transportation services.

If you would like to help provide meals, new or gently used clothes for children and petite adults, or toiletries please email or drop donations off at St. Therese Catholic Church Parish Hall at 212 Mildred Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107

Thank you, together we are One Albuquerque!

Mayor Tim Keller

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hal Blaine, Drummer, Dies at 90

May He Rest Forever on 2 and 4: You may not have heard of Hal Blaine. But you have heard Hal Blaine playing drums plenty, as he contributed something immutable and inspirational to all our lives.

Hal Blaine, one of the most famous drummers in the history of pop music,
poses in front of an oil painting of himself in younger days at his home
in Palm Desert.   
Gina Ferazzi / LA Times via Getty Images file

NBC News (via The Associated Press) reported:
Hal Blaine, the Hall of Fame session drummer and virtual one-man soundtrack of the 1960s and '70s who played on the songs of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys and laid down one of music's most memorable opening riffs on the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," died Monday. 
Blaine died of natural causes at his home in Palm Desert, California, his son-in-law, Andy Johnson, told The Associated Press. He was 90. 
On hearing of his death, the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson called him 
"the greatest drummer ever."
Hal Blaine in about 1970. He played drums on at least 40 singles that
reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

And Richard Sandomir of The New York Times reported:
Mr. Blaine, who played on at least 40 singles that reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart, was a reliable and adaptable musician, able to offer delicate brushwork on a ballad or a booming beat on records produced by Phil Spector, who was known for his so-called Wall of Sound
Mr. Blaine brought drama to a song’s transitions, often telegraphing a big moment with a flurry of strokes on a snare drum or tom-tom. 
If he had a signature moment on a record, it was on the Ronettes’ 1963 hit, “Be My Baby,” produced by Mr. Spector. The song opened cold, with Mr. Blaine playing — and repeating — the percussive earworm “Bum-ba-bum-BOOM!” But the riff came about accidentally. 
“I was supposed to play more of a boom-chicky-boom beat, but my stick got stuck and it came out boom, boom-boom chick,” he told The Wall Street Journal in 2011. “I just made sure to make the same mistake every few bars.”
Hal Blaine, who died at 90 this week, was the drummer behind the famous
"Be My Baby" beat and many others.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

And then there was The Wrecking Crew.
Mr. Blaine was part of a loosely affiliated group of session musicians who in the early 1960s began dominating rock ’n’ roll recording in Los Angeles. 
Along with guitarists like Glen Campbell and Tommy Tedesco, bassists like Carol Kaye and Joe Osborn, and keyboardists like Leon Russell and Don Randi, Mr. Blaine played on thousands of recordings through the mid-1970s. 
He famously said he gave the group its name, the Wrecking Crew ...
Yes, it was Mr Blaine (not Dennis Wilson) who played drums for The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" - plus
Mr. Blaine’s other studio credits include Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” the 5th Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man,” Ms. Streisand’s “The Way We Were,” the Crystals’ “Da Doo Ron Ron” and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’s “A Taste of Honey.”

Wait a minute! Abq Jew hears you exclaim.
Where's the Jewish angle?

Funny you should mention it. 
Hal Blaine was born Harold Simon Belsky on Feb. 5, 1929, in Holyoke, Mass., to [Jewish immigrants] Meyer Belsky, who worked in a leather factory, and Rose (Silverman) Belsky. 
When he was 7 the family moved to Hartford, where he was inspired to learn drumming by watching the fife and drum corps of the Roman Catholic school across the street from his Hebrew school. 
“One of the priests noticed I was watching, and before long I was playing with these kids,” he told The Hartford Courant in 2000

So let's talk about Hal Blaine's signature hit "Be My Baby". Wikipedia tells us:
"Be My Baby" is a song written by Jeff Barry [Joel Adelberg], Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector. It was recorded on July 5, 1963 at Gold Star Studios Hollywood by American girl group the Ronettes and released as a single in August 1963 and later placed on their 1964 debut LP Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes featuring Veronica
Ronnie Spector is the only Ronette to appear on the single; her future husband Phil produced their elaborately layered recording in what is now considered a quintessential example of his Wall of Sound production formula. 
It is considered one of the best songs of the 1960s by NME, Time, and Pitchfork staff members. In 2004, the song was ranked 22 by Rolling Stone in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time ...

Want to hear more of Hal Blaine's work? 

Here's a guide by Christopher R Weingarten of The New York Times.
Hal Blaine: Listen to 12 Essential Songs
The drummer, who died at 90, was the beat behind Phil Spector innovations, Beach Boys experiments and easy listening hits.
Hal Blaine, who died on Monday at 90, was the greatest and most prolific session drummer during the turbulent Sixties crescendo from pop to psychedelia, keeping the nation’s heartbeat through dozens of No. 1 hits during the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations. 
His resume included ambitious art-rock totems, easy listening schmaltz, TV theme songs, incendiary folk-rock, Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” and Steely Dan’s smooth softscapes. 
His beats backed a hall of fame of mid-20th century icons, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, the Supremes, Simon and Garfunkel, Sam Cooke, Barbra Streisand, Herb Alpert, John Denver and Leonard Cohen. 
But his most legendary beat is the primordial thump-thump-thump-crack heartbeat in the first four seconds of the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.” 
Here’s just a fraction of what Blaine tapped into musical history.

Enjoy this blog post?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Marine Creature Attacks Japan!

Disaster Averted: You might have missed this. It's been a really tough week for us New MexiJews - indeed, for Jews all over the country - what with the "US Representative Ilhan Omar said this but US Representative Ilhan Omar meant that" controversy and the many repercussions thereof.

Which is not to mention the shocking (but not surprising) news of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's a) impending indictment; and b) cozying up to the Kahanists to get re-elected. And the attack on the Women of The Wall.

But Abq Jew digresses. CNN on Shabbat Pekudei reported:

Boat's collision with 'marine creature' leaves 87 injured
By Junko Ogura, CNN Updated 11:04 AM ET, Sat March 9, 2019 
Tokyo (CNN) More than 80 people were injured after a high-speed boat collided with a "marine creature" off the northwest coast of Japan, the country's Coast Guard told CNN. 
The boat was carrying 121 passengers during the collision, injuring 87 people traveling on the vessel, according to the Coast Guard from the Niigata prefecture. 
Five passengers had to be airlifted to hospital but they remained conscious. The crew of the high-speed vessel told officials that "it hit the object [which appeared] to be a marine creature." 
The Coast Guard dispatched vessels and helicopters to investigate the cause of the collision, but they have yet to find the alleged animal or any other cause of the crash. 
The incident occurred between Niigata and Sado Island, off Japan's northwest coast.

This nearly-tragic occurrence immediately brought to what, after all these years, is left of Abq Jew's mind - the second tragic event that occurred on November 22, 1963.

The first event - we of a certain age will never forget.

The second event - we of a certain age may not even remember, since its tragedy was drowned in the tragedy of the first event.

Abq Jew speaks, of course, of

The Staten Island Ferry Octopus Disaster

About which Abq Jew blogged in November 2016 (see Another Disaster, Another Memorial). Don't remember? Here is the story:
It was close to 4am on the quiet morning of November 22, 1963 when the Steam Ferry Cornelius G. Kolff vanished without a trace. 
On its way with nearly 400 hundred people, mostly on their way to work, the disappearance of the Cornelius G. Kolff remains both one of New York’s most horrific maritime tragedies and perhaps its most intriguing mystery. 
Eye witness accounts describe “large tentacles” which “pulled” the ferry beneath the surface only a short distance from its destination at Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. Nobody on board survived and only small pieces of wreckage have been found … strangely, with large “suction cup-shaped” marks on them. 
The only logical conclusion scientists and officials could point to was that the boat had been attacked by a massive octopus, roughly half the size of the ship. 
Adding to the tragedy, is that this disaster went almost completely unnoticed by the public as later that day another, more “newsworthy” tragedy would befall the nation when beloved President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. 
Artist Joe Reginella has taken it upon himself to spread awareness of this maritime tragedy - via a website, a Facebook page, a documentary, and the Staten Island Ferry Octopus Disaster Memorial Museum.

The Staten Island Ferry Disaster Museum
hopes to preserve the memory of those lost
in this tragedy, and to educate the public
about the only known giant octopus-ferry
attack in the NY-NJ-CT tri-state area.

You can learn more about the Staten Island Ferry Octopus Disaster here and here.

Let us never forget.

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