PRATIE PLACE

Monday, December 31, 2012

Yiddish New Year's Eve song for all

Update: I am told by a reader that  the translation is actually from Gut Yuntif, Gut Yohr by Marie B. Jaffe, (c) 1965/7/9. I was originally informed it was by Matthew Rothenberg. In any case, here's a Yiddish version of the Scottish New Year's favorite Auld Lang Syne:

Ver ken fargesen alte fraynt
Zey ligen in gedank,
Lomir gedenken alte fraynt,
Un simkhes mit gezang.

Dermon zikh fun di alte teg,
Dermon zikh fun amol,
L'khayim tsu di alte teg,
Un simkhes fun amol.

Ot iz mayn hant, maynt guter fraynt,
Un gib mir yetst daynt hant;
Lomir makhen a shnaps, maynt fraynt,
Mit freylekhs zayn bekant.

A translation from the Yiddish text of Auld Lang Syne:

Who can forget old friends
They like in the memory
Let's remember old friends
and celebrations with song

Remember the old days
Remember long ago
Let's raise a glass to the old days
And celebrations of long ago

Here's my hand, my good friend,
And now give me your hand
Let's take some shnaps, my friend
And be friends with freylekhs (happy dance tunes)

I've moved one of my obsessions to a different blog, if you're interested go visit An exploration of Yiddish Theater songs and kleynkunst. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Where are Shlomo Lindenfeld's recordings?

This winter, instead of sewing a quilt, I'm doing something similar: I am hunting for clues to the performers, composers, and recordings referenced in the seven books of theater song lyrics by Itzik Zhelonek. I found these little books of lyrics (no melodies) in the National Library of Jerusalem and the Chabad Library in Brooklyn. These were supposedly the most popular songs of their day, there are about 130 in all, but some seem to have disappeared completely from the surface of the earth.

One of my greatest frustrations is the total disappearance of Shlomo Lindenfeld. He made a lot of records but not a one survives among all the databases and collections I can find except this:

Opgeforn by Die Idische Bim-Boms (Di Yidishe Bim-Boms). The Jewish Bim-Boms was a duo: Herman Feinstein and Shlomo Lindenfeld. One record.

If anybody knows where I can find anything more by Shlomo Lindenfeld, please let me know. I'm looking for these songs:

Nerven, nerven (Nerves, nerves)
Gevald, vu nemt men a direh? (Golly, where can one find an apartment?)
Di velt hot zikh ibergekert (The World Turned Upside Down - same tune as the previous)
Yontif / Yom-tov in der vokhn (mid-week holiday)


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Adapt or die

Bobbed Hair Drives Hat Pin Maker to Suicide

November 30, 1924: Anton Stickler [sic], a Swiss hat pin maker, has ended his life in Geneva. His wife said that he had been out of work for many months because all the hat pin factories were closed because no more hat pins were needed with women wearing the new style of tight-fitting bob covers.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The amazing rudeness of cell phone slaves

I was at a party of (mostly) strangers last night. I never subject myself this kind of noise and drinking and pointlessness, but having promised my son to go to one if he would, he did, so I did, punto.

I sat in a corner watching a woman in animated conversation suddenly inform those around her: "my leg is buzzing." She pulled out her phone and read her message while the people she'd been talking with stood patiently waiting. The phone went back in the pocket, the conversation continued, the leg buzzed again, the woman pulled out the phone. This time she not only read it but popped her thumbs at it for quite a while as the polite humans around her went into a vague suspended animation, smiles politely frozen onto their faces (I would have walked away).

Belatedly noticing something amiss, after one of the texts the woman with the cell phone endeavored to be more social by showing the message to the strangers.

Later we got our dinners and sat down. The guy across from me left his cellphone on the table and at its (frequent) mellifluous chimes he instantly tended it, abandoning us the way butlers in Upstairs, Downstairs leave the servants' quarters and rush off to discover why the master of the house is ringing.

Someone next to me obliquely mentioned the rudeness of cell phones at parties. You might snigger, thinking this couldn't actually be oblique under the circumstances, but the guy cheerfully chimed in: "I hate 'em, I don't need 'em at all."

When pushed, he got very animated, reached down to his little briefcase and pulled out a notebook computer which he started waving in the air, and that's when I bolted.

Old codgers think the person directly in front of you has priority over one pulling your strings from afar. Why do cashiers stop checking people out to have lengthy phone conversations? Because one who is already in line is a 'bird in the hand' and therefore birds in the bushes may be wooed without penalty?

Yes, I'm just another codger amazed there's nothing wrong with taking calls in public and yakking away, interrupting real-world conversations and activities, when in fact electronic connection is cheap and constant and it's face-time which is rare and precious...

I close this antiquated rant with a quote from the Urban Dictionary.
Pavlovian Texting: The phenomenon occuring in groups of people when one person in the group reaches for their cell phone to receive a message, text, etc thereby causing all other members of the group to also check their phones for messages.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A doina on the subject of good and bad latkes

Aviva Enoch and I, purveyors of new funny Hanukkah music, did our last scheduled concert of our Mrs. Maccabee songs last night for the Fearrington Village Havurah. They fed us a great brisket dinner and gave us a standing ovation! We had Paul Deblinger there working the slide projector - we've discovered that if we flash the words on the wall, people sing along even if they never heard the songs before.

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Saturday, December 08, 2012

For the first night of Hanukkah: "Sour Cream and Hanukah Latkes," the first of the Mrs. Maccabee songs

It was just a year ago that Aviva and I premiered the first two of the songs that have now become the Mrs. Maccabee's Kitchen cd. "Sour Cream and Hanukah Latkes" was the first one. Listen for free!


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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Dixie Draft Horse, Mule, and Carriage Auction, November 2012

The day after Thanksgiving is always the first day of the Dixie Draft (as we call it at my house). My daughter Hannah and I drove 2 hours to Troutman, NC to what turned out to be the biggest of these auctions I've ever seen. The place was packed, there was nowhere to park, and the crowds were so large we couldn't get near the auctioneers. So instead of watching auctions, we just watched people, horses, mules, donkeys, and a couple of goats, and a whole lot of really tiny dogs. People with huge horses seem to favor tiny dogs. Next Dixie Draft is in March of 2013.











































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