Sunday, September 30, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #39

Ever gone on a date with someone while your leg was in a cast? I have. As I've mentioned before, I managed to break my leg only several weeks after arriving in Israel at age 18. During the weeks prior to my little mishap, a few friends and I met a group of young men at a (long-defunct) pub in Jerusalem. One of my friends immediately hooked up with one of the young men (immediately being an exchange of phone numbers, of course, and not a quick round of tonsil hockey that very same evening), and thus began one of the more interesting adventures of that year.

The young men we met were Armenian, and lived in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City. They told us about life in the Quarter and they invited us to parties that took place within the walls of the Quarter's convent (the convent was essentially a complex, and many Armenians lived within its walls, resulting in creative entries and exits once the convent gates were locked each night). We snuck them into our dormitory's second-story common room (through the porch door) after the house mother refused them entrance into the building (because they weren't nice Jewish Israeli boys), and we even learned a few words of Armenian (which sadly escape me now).

It was at one of the aforementioned convent parties that I met Aram. He was the DJ, and I was a girl with a serious crush. I didn't see Aram again until after I'd broken my leg. We all went downtown as a group, and believe me when I say that it's no easy feat to get from one end of Jaffa Road to the other with a full-leg cast and crutches. Soon after that, Aram and I made plans to go to a movie, and arranged that he would pick me up at my dormitory. I was excited, and while there was some lingering concern because I didn't know him very well, I reasoned that the cast on my leg, combined with the fact that the car only had two doors, would act as a deterrent in keeping things from going farther than I was prepared to go.

Aram picked me up in his black BMW (as I recall...), presented me with a red rose (which I keep to this day in its dried form), and then we went to see a film at the long-gone Edison Theatre. The film was "Top Gun", and to this day, whenever I hear the song I've chosen for today's 80s Music Video Sunday entry, I'm immediately transported back to that evening, twenty-one years ago, a time when Tom Cruise was just a talented young actor, and not someone prone to making an utter fool of himself on national television repeatedly. The song is Berlin's "Take My Breath Away".

Take My Breath Away

Watching every motion
In my foolish lover's game
On this endless ocean
Finally lovers know no shame
Turning and returning
To some secret place inside
Watching in slow motion
As you turn around and say

Take my breath away
Take my breath away

Watching I keep waiting
Still anticipating love
Never hesitating
To become the fated ones
Turning and returning
To some secret place to hide
Watching in slow motion
As you turn to me and say

Take my breath away
Take my breath away

Through the hourglass I saw you
In time you slipped away
When the mirror crashed I called you
And turned to hear you say
If only for today
I am unafraid

Take my breath away
Take my breath away

Watching every motion
In this foolish lover's game
Haunted by the notion
Somewhere there's a love in flames
Turning and returning
To some secret place inside
Watching in slow motion
As you turn my way and say

Take my breath away
Take my breath away

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's not easy being blue and white

Sorry for the silence lately. Life has been hectic, and I haven't really had the time or energy to concentrate on blogging. I've also realized that the focus has changed around here, and I'm not packing quite the punch that I used to. I've been feeling rather frustrated and dissatisfied, and generally too annoyed with the state of the world to actually write about it. It's hard to write passionately about politics and current events when global affairs has taken on a "same shit different day" quality, and I can't seem to write myself into a frenzy about events that have become all too predictable, not to mention overwhelmingly pathetic.

I suppose the biggest story these days is Iranian President Ahmadinejad's visit to New York and speech at Columbia University. Too say that I'm simply bowled over by people's naivete as far as this man is concerned would be an understatement. I almost felt sorry for the Columbia student interviewed on Fox News (I was channel surfing, lest you think that I actually watch Fox – the channel once referred to by the Husband as a pretend news channel) who believed that having Ahmadinejad speak would perhaps create an opportunity for dialog and understanding, as people would have a chance to hear what he had to say and to ask him "tough" questions. Frankly, I can't see myself developing understanding or wanting to dialog with a head of state who openly questions whether or not the Holocaust took place, calls for the country I call home to be "wiped off the map", and claims that there are no homosexuals in his country, but hey, that's just me.

Tales of Mahmoud in the big city weren't the only saga to get my knickers in a twist yesterday. As you all know, I decided several months ago that comment moderation would be required. I was tired of providing a voice for people who seemed to believe that my blog could be used as a platform for some rather serious venom spewing, like the individual who periodically pops up to inform me that I'm spreading ideological AIDS and should be locked up or to astound me with incredibly racist, hate-filled comments about Germans (in response to this post) and Arabs. While this individual drops by for a visit only once every few months or so, the visits are rather long-winded, and the number of comments awaiting moderation skyrockets, as he or she sends comment after comment after comment, with barely enough time for a bathroom break in between.

There are those who would say that I'm deserving of such comments, given the nature of my politics. There are many who believe that I am too accommodating and too naive/ignorant/stupid when it comes to Palestinian/Arab issues, and these people don't hesitate to share their opinions with me – sometimes respectfully, but often, not so much. For those of you, however, who might choose to believe that I go too far, there are others who believe that I don't go far enough. Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of discovering four comments awaiting moderation, all from someone named Liza. I have a cousin named Liza, and given that I'd sent her a birthday message the day before, I assumed the comments were from her. Suffice it to say that I was wrong. Very wrong. This woman had googled her own name, and thus found my blog. From the comments she left, I gather she wasn't terribly impressed by what she had read.

Comment #1 reads as follows:

"Hi, Liza,
How would you like to be living in Gaza?

Or how would you like to have been living in Lebanon during the summer of 2006.

Ah, yes, the message is slow. But people will eventaully (sic) get it. In fact, most of
the world gets it. "
Comment #2:

"Oh, blog approval is needed.
Ha Ha
Bet you get a lot of hate mail."
And in case you weren't getting the full gist of her feelings, here's comment number three:

"You're full of it, Liza. I'm so sick and tired of people who find the foreign policy of the state of Israel to be despicable accused of being anti-Semitic. No, you do not know the difference and don't claim that you do.

I do not know a Jewish person when I see one and I know nothing about your religion. That is true of almost everyone.

It is Israel that I have a problem with.

Anyhow, I have to stop reading your blog. It just infuriates me.

I have an idea for Israel that they haven't thought of yet.

STOP KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE. Stop saying that you were looking for such and such a "terrorist" and using that as an excuse for genocide.

God, please let me live to see the day when the US does not pay for Israel's wars against the Arabs. "
And the utterly charming comment number four:

"A human face on the monster known as Israel?

Good luck.

The monster remains a monster. Stop killing Palestinians and maybe in a few
generations you might look different.

The victim becomes the aggressor. It happens all the time. In this case, the victim turned aggressor is more brutal than could ever be imagined. And my tax dollars support it, against my will, of course.

Go ahead and moderate me, Liza. I'm kind of sorry we have the same name. That's how I happened to find your little blog.

I thought I would share this little message with you. The truth will eventually
spread in the US. Truth does that. And one day Americans will realize they do
not have to shoulder the blame for the Holocaust. Has there ever been a more
complete and total guilt transfer?

Maybe one day Americans will realize that Muslims are not all terrorists and that what is taking place in Gaza is genocide.

Good bye, Liza, lady with my name. I won't be back to your little propaganda filled world. Just wanted to leave you a message."
Kermit the Frog thought it wasn't easy being green. I bet it's a picnic compared to being blue and white...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just a moment?

Living in Israel for sixteen years means that I don't often pay attention to those "only in Israel" moments anymore, and events that may strike a new immigrant as unusual are no longer something out of the ordinary. The times when I'd wake up and go through my days being conscious of the fact that I was in a "foreign" country are long gone, and while I still mutter and mumble about some of the more maddening aspects of life here, it is more often than not with the full agreement of my native Israeli friends and acquaintances - in other words, I'm grumbling about life, and not about "life in Israel" (though admittedly, sometimes I become a bit more focused in my grumbling...). During my time here, I've gradually undergone a metamorphosis, changing from the wide-eyed, easily-excitable immigrant into a jaded, cynical Israeli (though the foundations for my jaded cynicism had, quite obviously, been laid far before I'd ever set foot in this country, so it really wasn't much of a stretch).

Yesterday, however, I had a rare "only in Israel" moment. While sitting at my home computer playing around on Facebook trying to get some work done, I was repeatedly distracted by a truck going through the neighborhood with a megaphone. From my seat in front of the computer, I couldn't see the truck, nor did I try very hard to hear what was being said. Ordinarily, these megaphone masters are trying to sell something, whether it be fruits and vegetables or household items, and frankly, I wasn't interested. I had to hand it to them this time around, though. He was nothing if not persistent, and I finally stepped outside to hear the message, which was clearly being broadcast by an individual who had honed his craft by watching reruns of old Peanuts episodes and emulating Charlie Brown's teacher. Well, I'll be damned! Nobody was trying to sell me anything. Quite the opposite, in fact. They'd come to collect something. They'd come to collect our gas masks. That's right, you heard me. These guys were here on official government business, asking citizens to please come outside with all gas mask kits in order to return them.

They'd left a notice in our stairwell last week, but I'd forgotten. We'd had them since the second Gulf war. I'd even opened mine to check things out, as per the instructions of the Home Front Command at the onset of the war. I carried it to work with me one day, following those same Home Front Command instructions. The Husband laughed at me and my gas mask kit, and once I reached the office, I understood why. The only other colleagues who had followed instructions were immigrants. The natives were blasé, and in my desire to "go native" (not to mention the desire to get the Husband to stop laughing), I immediately left my mask at home too. After all, I was determined to assimilate, and certainly wasn't going to let a small detail like the threat of chemical warheads get in my way...

The war came and went (at least the bits that were considered dangerous for Israel), and our gas masks were once again relegated to their spot at the back of the top shelf, left to gather dust until the next threat of war would require us to take them down again. As luck would have it, we did have another war, but fortunately, the missiles being fired in our direction weren't chemical-tipped, so instead of grabbing my gas mask (which was still at the top of the guestroom closet) as I ran to our safety room when the sirens went off (an infrequent occurrence in our area), I grabbed a glass of white wine, and found it to be equally, if not more effective than my gas mask.
I didn't give our masks another thought until yesterday, when the guy from Manpower (yep, you heard correctly – the government outsourced the gas mask collection) snapped me out of my reverie and sent me scurrying for a ladder, as no chair in the house would have allowed me to reach the top shelf in our closet. As sounds of the megaphone drew closer, I dug around, dodging falling playing cards and ankle weights as I perched on the ladder's top rung, plucking two dusty gas mask kits from the murky depths.

After returning the ladder to the porch (with the Little One so engrossed in "Dora the Explorer" that he hadn't even noticed when I'd walked past him with it the first time), I left my little couch-potato-in-training and scampered off with the kits, finding the collector downstairs dealing with one set of neighbors as a motley assortment of others made their way over with identical boxes. As we each patiently waited for our turn, we exchanged stories about the lengths we'd gone to in order to find our masks. Houses torn apart seemed to be a recurring theme, and one neighbor mentioned how relieved she'd been to have a child in the house small enough to fit into the attic crawl space and retrieve the family's masks.

As I ran back up the stairs, my mind replayed the afternoon's main event, and I couldn't imagine it happening anywhere else but here. After sixteen years spent honing my jaded cynicism and trying to become more native than the natives, I was having an "only in Israel" moment. Good grief. If I start peppering my English with Hebrew words spoken with an American accent more than I pepper my Hebrew with English words spoken with an Israeli accent, then we'll know that I'm truly "een da sheet".

Sunday, September 16, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #38

We took a lot of family vacations while my brother and I were growing up. Sometimes, these getaways were relatively close to home (such as the one at Golden Acres Farm and Ranch, where my parents received special permission for me to join the hotel day camp's boys group instead of the girls group because the boys did fun stuff like dodge ball while the girls group took nature walks to pick flowers, and I was too much of a tomboy to do girly stuff), but other trips took us to far-flung Caribbean islands like Curacao and Saint Martin. The best vacations of all though, were the Caribbean cruises we took as teenagers.

Cruises are the perfect family vacation, as you don't actually have to spend all your time with your family. My parents would wake us up as they were leaving for breakfast, and then we might spot them around the ship during the course of the day. The only meal we shared as a family was dinner, prior to which, we would all squeeze around each other in our miniscule cabin, lining up to use the tiny bathroom and fight over mirror space in order to get ready. After dinner, my brother and I would once again take leave of our parents and run off to find the friends we'd made, usually heading off to the ship's disco for the rest of the evening, and eventually wandering over to the midnight buffet.

While I certainly enjoyed the various ports of call we visited along the way, the best times were to be had on-board. While memories of the first cruise we took are sketchy, I still have fond memories of the second cruise – taken when I was 17. Our group of new friends included Mexicans, Canadians and Brits, as well as an assortment of Americans. Days on-board were spent together, as well as our one-day docking on the cruise line's private island. As I mentioned above, evenings were spent in the disco, where I did my best to catch the eye of one of our young British acquaintances. To this day, I still don't know whether or not I succeeded (I was far too innocent and naive, and needless to say, utterly clueless about things like sending signals and making passes), but David and I remained friends, and managed to keep in touch quite regularly for approximately ten years after that vacation took place, meeting up once in NYC and again in London – no small feat given that this was the pre-email era and my snail mailing skills were questionable at best. We kept in touch during my gap year in Israel (he had spent a year in Israel as well before we met), throughout my years in Boston and during my initial years back in Israel. We exchanged camp stories while I worked at a Jewish camp in NY and he worked at a Jewish camp in Michigan, and we exchanged Israel stories for the duration of our correspondence. The last time I heard from him (at some point after I got married, as I recall), he was very happily living and working in Sydney, Australia, and had married a woman of Dutch-Lebanese descent. Somewhere, I still have all the old letters he sent (as well as nearly all the letters that anyone has ever sent me, including some real winners from a certain friend who reads and comments on this blog quite regularly), and I can even still remember his parents' address in London (I have a bizarre memory for random tidbits of information and trivia).

For some reason, there's one song that I always associate with those nights in the ship's disco. It was probably played at least once every evening, and whenever I hear it, I'm transported back in time, back to that disco. Who'd have guessed that "Tarzan Boy", by one-hit wonder Baltimora would be the song to evoke these memories of good times with "vacation" friends? Certainly not me, but given that it was the 80s, I suppose anything is possible...

Tarzan Boy

Jungle life
I'm far away from nowhere
On my own like Tarzan Boy
Hide and seek
I play along while rushing cross the forest
Monkey business on a sunny afternoon
Jungle life
I'm living in the open
Native beat that carries on
Burning bright
A fire the blows the signal to the sky
I sit and wonder does the message get to you

Night to night
Gimme the other, gimme the other
chance tonight
Gimme the other, gimme the other
Night to night
Gimme the other, gimme the other world

Jungle life
You're far away from nothing
It's all right
You won't miss home
Take a chance
Leave everything behind you
Come and join me
Won't be sorry
It's easy to survive

Jungle life
We're living in the open
All alone like Tarzan Boy
Hide and seek
We play along while rushing cross the forest
Monkey business on a sunny afternoon

Night to night
Gimme the other, gimme the other
Chance tonight
Oh Yeah
Night to night
Gimme the other, gimme the other
Night to night
You won't play
Night to night
Gimme the other, gimme the other
Chance tonight
Oh Yeah
Night to night
Night to night
Gimme the other, gimme the other

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Celebrating the holidays once again

There's something about the holiday season in Israel that makes me realize that there's no place I'd rather be at this time of the year. In some respects, it reminds me of the Christmas season in the US. The excitement and anticipation in the air are palpable, and talk inevitably turns to holiday plans. Strangers smile at one another and exchange holiday greetings as everyone gears up for the feasts and festivals that lie ahead, and inboxes are filled with electronic cards and wishes. At work yesterday, we gorged ourselves on the annual festive holiday meal served in the dining room, and found ourselves back there two hours later for a company toast of wine and sinfully delicious desserts. Leaving the office, I cheerfully exchanged my customary goodbyes for "happy new year" and "happy holidays", receiving smiles and holiday wishes in return.

Of course, given the events of last week, my usual joy is tainted with sorrow and feelings of loss, but life goes on, and given that we will have a house full of people tonight, sitting around in mourning isn't really an option. Fortunately, my sister-in-law, who loves to cook (which would be the exact opposite of me), is bringing nearly all of the food with her. Still, there's much to be done, especially as I have real work to do as well.

Happy new year to all...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"Ready, aim, sing!"*

As you've probably guessed by now, my sense of humor is often rather quirky and off-beat. I appreciate intelligent, wry commentary, and would be lying if I didn't say that one of my favorite pastimes is exchanging clever, witty banter with friends online, either via email or using any one of my growing collection of chat applications. The writer in me enjoys using words this way, and I find myself drawn to people who can keep up the pace. Words are both magical and powerful, and there are few things that attract my attention more than people who know how to use them well, especially if the words make me laugh and think, and allow for an ongoing exchange in the same vein.

I've had (and continue to have) friendships and relationships that began as a result of my admiration for an individual's writing skills, though obviously, the relationships, as they grew, were not solely based on this one trait. When it comes to entertainment, I tend to prefer high-brow stand-up comedy. Low-brow, lewd, sex jokes do not impress me, nor does the gratuitous use of swearing, for despite the fact that I can and do curse like a truck driver under certain circumstances, if you look carefully through this blog, you will find very few such words among my entries. It's not my style, and it's not the way that I choose to communicate while writing. As in my friendships, I gravitate towards performers who make me think as well as laugh, and if they can intelligently incorporate current events into the act, then so much the better. And because I'm sure that you're dying to know, yes, I do have a favorite. While not a stand-up comedian in the traditional sense, this individual's talent for side-splittingly humorous commentary is unparalleled.

Given my addiction to passion for current events and politics, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I would gravitate towards the material of the incredibly talented Tom Lehrer. His songs are timeless, and I sometimes find it rather shocking that lyrics he wrote in the early 1960s are just as relevant today as when they were originally written. I can't decide if that says more about his uncanny understanding of popular culture or the sadly predictable state of the world. I think I wore out my copy of "That Was the Year That Was", a live album released in 1965, and favorite tunes include "National Brotherhood Week" (a toe-tapping ditty about race relations), "MLF Lullaby" (a charming little tune about the Multilateral Forces), "Smut" ("I do have a cause, though. It is 'obscenity'. I'm for it...") and "Vatican Rag" (everything you wanted to know about Catholicism but were afraid to ask...). While I'm not going to link to all the songs on the album, if you're up for a laugh, I'd strongly recommend taking a glance at all of his lyrics, which can be found on this website. There are also clips for many of the songs on YouTube, which are definitely worth checking out.

As I mentioned above, many of his tunes are still relevant today, whether it be "So Long, Mom" (about a young soldier going off to fight in World War 3) or "Who's Next" (a song about the nuclear arms race). Check out the clip below for a spot-on assessment of American foreign policy.

(Lyrics for all Tom Lehrer songs can be found here.)

If you'd like to listen to "This Was the Year that Was" in full, some kind soul has been thoughtful enough to upload it to YouTube in sections:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five (contains only "Vatican Rag")

Disclaimer: Drinking liquids is not recommended while listening to Tom Lehrer. If you choose to do so, it is at your own risk. Your snarfing is not my responsibility.

*The title of this post is the last line of the Tom Lehrer song "Folk Song Army".

Monday, September 10, 2007

Playing tourist with the parents...

So yes, it's true. We've survived another visit from the parents. We survived the inevitable, disgusting heat that summer in Israel brings, and for the most part, we did our best to stay away from the blistering sun. We played tourist and tour guide, and somehow, despite the fact that they've been to visit us nearly every year for the past 16 years (have I really been living here for 16 years? Wow...), we still manage to take them places they've never been, and often, never even heard of before. The Sanhedrin burial caves at Beit Shearim, which I mentioned in a previous post, is one such place. The Little One delighted in running around the caves, descending steep stairs and climbing in and out of the various cave openings. Note the Husband in the shot below, entering one such cave as though it were Platform 9 and ¾ at King's Cross Station in London.

Forced into a state of semi-vacation mode, we found ourselves dining in a variety of restaurants around the north and center of the country. Fish and seafood was often the order of the day, and dining beachside on the Mediterranean was a regular occurrence. This picture was taken from our table at Manta Ray, where Savta Dotty and I switched plates about midway through the main course.

At "Ha'kdera Shel Noga", located on Moshav Beit Shearim, the spring chicken was a big hit.

While in Jerusalem (following a trip to the Sorek Stalactite/Stalagmite Caves outside of Beit Shemesh), we sat for a late lunch at a restaurant downtown, just off of Hillel Street. Sadly, the name of both the restaurant and the street it's on escape me (Help me, Jerusalemites! The side street has Blockbuster and Aroma on either corner of Hillel...), but I'm certain that we will make it a point to go back there whenever we find ourselves requiring sustenance in the capital. You know how it is. You enter a restaurant and peruse the menu. Sometimes, you can't find anything that strikes your fancy, while other times, there are so many mouthwatering choices that you just can't decide what you'd prefer. In this case, it was definitely the latter. I ordered the sweet potato ravioli while Mom and Dad both chose the eggplant and goat cheese ravioli. You have no idea... So, so good...

Lunch in Jerusalem was followed by a ride on the Jerusalem Time Elevator, which was followed by a walk to the Old City, skirting the Muslim and Armenian Quarters and a stroll through the Jewish Quarter(where we were startled to discover that the Hurva Arch is no longer standing, and has been turned into a construction site of sorts), ending on the stairs overlooking the Western Wall and Dome of the Rock, a site that never fails to take my breath away.

We spent one day up in Acco, wandering around the Old City and taking in the sites that Husband and I had somehow missed on all of our previous trips. I've always liked Acco, despite the fact that I find quite a few of the restaurants there to be a bit overrated, with the unpredictable service often found in establishments where the staff have an overdeveloped (and in many cases, undeserved) sense of importance. The antiquities are impressive, though, and the architecture is striking. Beware of shop owners who may take issue with your attire, especially if you happen to be a woman in a tank top and shorts.

And of course, all of this running around was simply the backdrop for the main event – allowing a certain little boy spend time with his grandparents. During our trip to the US in April, it was amazing to watch the Little One come to the realization that he would be unable to get by solely in Hebrew and slowly but surely switched to English in order to make himself understood. Following our return, he continued to use English, but as time passed, he eventually reverted back to Hebrew. In the company of his grandparents, he once again found himself in a situation that required him to speak English, and while he stumbled occasionally, his ability to switch back and forth upon request was great fun to observe, especially as he switched between accents as well.

On the morning of my parents' departure, the Little One and I were sitting together on the couch. I told him that I was sad because his grandparents had left. I was once again reminded of how much I love my son when he responded by patting my head and saying, "Don't worry, Mommy. I'll stay with you. I'll take care of you." When the Husband returned from the airport he was told, "Mommy's a little sad. She needs a hug and a kiss." And these are the moments that get me through the day, helping me to preserve my sanity as we watch "Toy Story" yet again (giving the phrase "to infinity and beyond" a whole new meaning), and I am told that I'm no longer his friend because I've cut off the cookie supply. Aaah, the joys of motherhood...

The photos below were taken at the ancient port in Caesarea.

(Some of the above photos were taken by me, while others - the better ones - are courtesy of my mother.)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #37

Growing up in the 1980s, I'd never heard the term "hip hop", and "rap" was a fairly new phenomenon; at least it was for me. In my high school, we had students who did their best to emulate the "white-gloved one" by moonwalking, and we were all trying (and mostly failing, with few exceptions) to breakdance. Living in suburbia, our music of choice tended to be new wave, with some daring to go "punk". Looking back now at the artists and songs that were popular way back when, though perhaps distinct from other genres, they all more or less fit into the same mold, a mold that groups nearly all the songs of the day under the generic title of "80s" music.

That being said, there were also a number of songs that didn't fit the mold, songs that were so different as to be exciting, songs that took us by surprise and made us stop, think, and simply admire the originality. Today's choice is one such song, and not only does it fall into categories mentioned in this feature in earlier entries (songs with unintelligible lyrics performed by artists who meet the "one-hit wonder" definition), it's a song that was far ahead of its time in terms of its use of sound and technique.

When it was released in 1984, "Jam-On It" became an immediate hit. We all sang along, despite a complete inability to understand the lyrics (for a while, we were convinced that "jam-on it" actually rhymed with "Zamboni" which, as every hockey fan knows, is the machine used to resurface an ice rink). While the trailblazing artists behind this song, Newcleus, are still together, they have, as far as I know, never been able to match the success of "Jam-On It".

Jam-On It

Jam on it
(Yeah, yeah, we know, we know)
(Yeah, Goggles, you gonna rock it, right)
(You gonna do it down, right)
Ha-ha-ha-ha, yeah
(Hey, Cozmo, what's the name of this again)
(I forgot)
Jam on it
(Oh, Chilly B, get down, ho)
(Oh, oh, here comes Cozmo)
(We get to say wikki-wikki-wikki again)

(Shut up)

Three words to the whack, step yourself back
Just gettin' down, and you then you're givin' no slack
Like a Burger King with a sack of Big Macs
We're throwin' down with the radical sacks
On time, in your mind you see
You gotta boogie to your best ability
You gotta funk it up until it knocks you down
And when you're funkin' up, be sure to pass it around
Come on, let's go to work
We got what'll make your body jerk
Make you throw your hands up in the air
Shake your booty and scream, "Oh, yeah"
'Cause we are the Jam On Crew
And jammin' on it is how we do the do
We'll funk you up until you boogie down
So come people check out the sound
Check out the sound, check out the sound, check out the sound, check out the sound
Check out the sound, check out the sound, check out the sound, check out the sound
Check out the sound

(Jam on it)

There's going to sound
They're going to get down

(Jam on it)

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Chilly B
And I'm a surefire, full blooded bonafide house rockin' Jam-On Production MC
If you want the best, put me to the test, and I'm sure you'll soon agree
That I got no force 'cause I'm down by law when it comes to rockin' viciously, you see
'Cause when I was a little baby boy my mama gave me a brand new toy
Two turn tables with a mic, and I learned to rock like Dolymite
Time went by, on this God creation, I knew someday I would rock the nation
So I made up my mind just what to do and I joined with the Jam On Production Crew
So go crazy, go crazy, don't let your body be lazy
I said don't stop the body rock till your eyesight starts to get hazy
Clean out your ears and you open your eye, if you wanna hear the music just come alive
If you don't know how get ready to learn
'Cause Cozmo's takin' his turn to burn

Take the "C" and "O" and the "Z"
Then they add "M-O" and the freaky "D"
Add a funky beat, and then what do you see
It's Cozmo D, yeah, baby, that's me
I've got the beat that's, oh, so sweet
Without me rockin' it's incomplete
So rock this, yo', rock that, yo'
Rock on and don't you dare stop
You rock this, rock that, and that's a fact
'Cause the Jam On Crew will rock your body right back
Rock a steam locomo ride off the track
And give the whole wide world a funk attack
A to the beat y'all, get down
Let me rock it to the rhythm of the funk sound
From hill to hill, from sea to sea
A when Jam On's rockin' everybody (Jam on it)
Jam on it
Jam on and on, on and on it
And if you're feelin' like you wanna dance all night
They go on ahead and flaunt it
'Cause jammin' on is what we do best
It's what separates us from the rest
And if you go deep, I'll cruise down for real
Let me tell what happened to the man of steel

(Said Superman had come to town to see who he could rock)
(He blew away every crew he faced until he reached the block)
(His speakers were three stories high with woofers made of steel)
(And when we boys sit outside, he said "I boom for real")
He said, "I'm faster than a speedin' bullet when I'm on the set
I don't need no fans to cool my a**, I just use my super breath
I could fly three times around the world without missin' a beat
I socialize with X-ray eyes, and ladies think it's sweet
(And then he turned his power on and the ground began to move)
(And all the buildings for miles around were swayin' to the groove)
(And just when he had fooled the crowd and swore he wouldn't fight)
We rocked this bet with a 12 inch cut called Disco Kryptonite
Well, Superman looked up at me, he said, "You rock so naturally"
I said now that you've learned to deal, let me tell you why I'm so for real
I'm Cozmo D from outer space, I came to rock the human race
I do it right 'cause I can't do it wrong
That's why the whole world is singin' this song

(Jam on it) Jam on it
I said jam-j-j-jam on it
As days turn to night and night turns to day
Whatever time it is i wanna hear you say
(Jam on it) Jam on it
I said jam on-on-on, jam on it
Jam all around and upside down
And keep jammin' to the Jam On Production sound

(Jam on it) Jam on it
I said jam-j-j-jam on it
I said Jam On is the funky beat that takes control
With a sure shot boogie that'll rock your soul
(Jam on it) Jam on it
I said jam-j-j-jam on it
Get outta your seat and jam to the beat
And don't you dare stop till early mornin'

Jam on it, jam on it, jam on it, jam on it, jam on it, jam on it, jam on it, jam on it

(Yeah, that's how you do it Cozmo)
(You were right, kid, that's the way you do it)
(Yeah, like did you see when he went in the corner)
(And he started doin' this)

(Ah, man, this is too funky for me)
(I'm goin' home)
(Hey, Mergatroid, let's go)
(Hey, you fellas seen my sister Mergatroid)
(She was standin' over here just a minute ago)
(Yeah, I think I saw her over there with Randy)
(He's rockin' the mic, you know)
(Diggy dang diggy dang da dang dang da diggy diggy diggy dang dang)
(Diggy dang diggy diggy)

(The beat is fresh y'all)
(Yeah, fresh)

Said don't you hear the sound
Jam On is gettin' down

Friday, September 07, 2007

Emanuel (z''l)

After graduating from college, I travelled to Israel for what was supposed to be ten-months. Four months on, I met the Husband. Once my ten-month program was complete, I opted to stay for the summer, and we moved in together. Towards the end of the summer, when we were discussing my immediate plans, I remarked that if we could get a puppy, I'd stay. Fifteen years later, I'm still here, but sadly, that "puppy" is no longer with us.

Emanuel 1992-2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #36

There's one band out there that can put me in a good mood more than any other group or solo artist. When depressed, I often put on one of their CDs (or cassettes) at high volume, and the music almost never fails to bring a smile to my face. If I've got a stack of dishes to wash or have to do some cleaning around the house, I know that I can do it faster if I'm singing along to this group.

The Beach Boys were formed back in 1961, and have been making music ever since. Changes to the group lineup may have slowed them down at times, but they always managed to roar back to life with their distinct, fabulous sound. I know the words to nearly all of their songs, and have seen them perform live twice. The first time was at Tanglewood, located in the beautiful Berkshires region of Western Massachusetts. I went with my friend Jenny, who had come for a visit so that we could go to the concert, and we stayed at my family's lakeside cabin in Lee. It was, of course, an amazing concert, and there are a few moments that I've managed to retain in my aging memory.

We went to the concert during the summer after I returned from my year in Israel. I still had pins in my ankle from having broken it while abroad, and when we wanted to stick around for a bit after the concert, I used my ankle as an excuse when a security guard asked us to leave. I told him I needed to rest for a bit and let him feel my ankle. The moment he realized that he was touching screws, he pulled his hand back as though he'd touched dog poo, said we could stay as long as was needed, and then ran away. When we finally decided to leave, we made our way to the parking lot. We found the spot where we'd left the car, or rather, where we thought we'd left the car. We couldn't find the car! We wandered around and around in the lot, wondering where the car had disappeared to. Suddenly, we noticed people walking past our parking lot, which is when we realized that there was more than one parking lot. Sheepishly, we joined the parade of post-concert goers and found our car just where we'd left it – in the other parking lot.

The second Beach Boys concert that I attended was at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. It was a few days before my wedding (which would make it exactly 14 years ago, as our 14th anniversary is later this week), and I went with my soon-to-be husband and his sister; somehow, we'd managed to snag seats in the first row of the balcony. We sang along with the opening act, America (at least I think it was them), and once The Beach Boys came on stage, we started dancing as well. Lots of room to dance in the first row of the balcony, and the completely unobstructed view was simply outstanding.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to get to any Beach Boys concerts since then. I keep waiting for them to come to Israel, but so far, there's been no "Love" on these shores. This band always makes me think of summer, and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate mark the end of summer vacation than to feature a song by The Beach Boys for today's edition of 80s Music Video Sunday. And those of you who grew up watching TV in the 80s should definitely recognize the drummer...

The Beach Boys

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take ya
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go

Off the Florida Keys
There's a place called Kokomo
That's where you wanna go to get away from it all

Bodies in the sand
Tropical drink melting in your hand
We'll be falling in love
To the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take ya
To Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

To Martinique, that Monserrat mystique

We'll put out to sea
And we'll perfect our chemistry
By and by we'll defy a little bit of gravity

Afternoon delight
Cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye
Give me a tropical contact high
Way down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

Port Au Prince, I wanna catch a glimpse

Everybody knows
A little place like Kokomo
Now if you wanna go
And get away from it all
Go down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo