"Moonlight in Canarsie" by Aaron Garr Minsky
Moonlight on my street
Wond'ring who tonight will be beat
Moonlight in Canarsie
Crazy Sal just shot a cop
and dragged him along up the road.
People you meet in this romantic setting
are running away from the loaded
Handgun in your face.
Kicking ass, Flatlands Avenue.
Moonlight in Canarsie.
You and me and Crazy Sal in Canarsie!
I sang "Moonlight..." with my college chorale. If I remember correctly, some of the lyrics are as follows:
ski trails on a mountainside,
Moonlight in Vermont.
Telegraph cables they sing down the highway
and travel each bend in the road.
People you meet in this romantic setting are so hynotized by the lovely
Evening summer breeze,
Warbling of a meadow lark,
Snowlight in Vermont,
You and I and moonlight in Vermont....
I think it was written in the 40's, and ther verses were written in haiku form.
It was hard to learn at first. but it's a beautiful melody, and it speaks of all the things I love about my home-state.
| Moonllight in...Canarsie?
There is a great song called, "Moonlight in Vermont". But it is hard to imagine someone writing a song called, "Moonlight in Canarsie".
I always felt that our life there was kind of sick. I used to beg my father to move, but he said, "It's the same everywhere". Yet I instinctively knew that wasn't true. I used to talk to my grandfather about how I would like to live in a place that is quiet and peaceful. He said, "What are you talking about? You need to be around people". I guess that was the Brooklyn mentality. You just HAD to be around a lot of people, all the time.
I can't even imagine what it would have been like to grow up in a place where you pretty much stayed home after school. When I would sit around the house on a Saturday, my mother would say, "Why don't you go outside and get some fresh air". I used to wonder why I need fresh air. What was wrong with the air in the house? My mother used to also say, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Wbere did they get those expressions! If I had a kid, I'd be happy if they wanted to stay home, especially if it was to work. Different mentalities, different times.
Yet, here we have Edward who grew up in a peaceful way and doesn't want to look back. And Steve, who grew up in crazy Canarsie, and loves looking back. I don't know what we can learn from that except that as crazy and sick as it was, there was also something fun and comforting about having so many friends and so much action going on around you. I also miss it in a way, but I love the quiet times I can experience now. It is so special to me. And I do notice the moon where I now live, and love the way it peeks out from between the bare branches when I look up at the cold starry sky.
| Since you mentioned me, here I go....
"if Edward did an article about his childhood associates in Vermont" -
"Associates"? What "associates"? I lived out in the sticks, Aaron, so all I had were "casual friends". Jericho, Vermont was nothing like what you have described Canarsie, New York as being. As kids, we had to rely on our parents to drive us back and forth between houses....that is of course, untill we all turned sixteen and could drive. But here I am at 26 and I still can't drive. Luckily I live out in Colchester now, which is on the public bus line....and I have a few really close friends now that I'm out of college. But I'm not able to meet them around the corner within walking distance after work. But I guess that's the great thing about the internet....you meet so many great people comming from different places. If you stray away from all those trashy sites (and stick to guestbooks and sites for independent musicians) the internet CAN actually make you less ignorant.
But it would be very hard for me to look up all of the kids I played with when I was younger. I remember them, yes, but I think I've moved on...I'm not really interested in my past to the point I want to re-visit it. Though there was this one schoolyard bully by the name of Justin...I'm kinda curious to see how he ended up.
DISCLAIMER....I am intrested in the past, just not MY PAST. These days I love to browse antique shops, and of course I love acoustic folk music of the Celtic, and World, and Americana kind (bluegrass, singer-songwriter, light country).....clasical music is good too of course. With all of the ipods and cell phones being made, and with all of the sophistacted weight-loss equipment operated in loud, crowded gyms, and with all the fast-paced, synthezied rap and techno music being released today from some money-grubbing record producer's computer, it's nice to take a visual and audible trip back to simpler (and less hurried) times....hell, it's nice just to walk or snowshoe in the woods with no watch or no cell phone on your person, and no rudimentary sounds of the highway to be heard in the distance. It's just you, your snowshoeing partner, the trees, the trail, and the clumps of snow that fall off of the branches on to your neck and sometimes trickles down your back. This is Vermont.
| officer down but not out
all canarie folks mourned the death of the officer downed by the bildersee bad boy
he was a hero and his parents still google his name daily to read comments made about him. seargent pedro smith nypd
| Where are they now?
I bet if Edward did an article about his childhood associates in Vermont called, "Where Are They Now?", he wouldn't be talking about people who shot cops and ended up in prison! Welcome to Canarsie!
I had heard that Sal died in prison, but after reading that Canarsie Courier article, now I don't know. I guess everyone just figured that a guy like him would never last in a prison. Everyone figured he'd constantly be fighting with other people and would either get killed by a fellow prisoner or a cop.
The ironic thing about the story is that most of the people I knew were happy that that cop Sledge got killed. Although the article portrayed him as a "tough cop doing his job", he was truly hated by every kid I knew. He was more of a rogue cop, a cop who thought he was above the law. He was going to single handedly kick the ass of every kid in Canarsie. I mean, it is wrong to be glad at anyone's death. But it was sort of a perfect storm. Two down with one stone so to speak. Anyway, that is my memory from when I was a kid.
I think he went to canarsie high school, a bit older than us, I believe. Von Cello, was he really killed in prison?
was he our age
was he in our school
| crazy, man
I thought Sal was his last name. He was a complete scary lunatic. I'd even call him a terrorist.
| The good ol' days
The one found dead in a shopping cart was named Bobby. He lived on E. 82nd near Farragut. I forget his last name but he had a brother around our age named Phil. My family actually got our dog Peggy from them.
The one who got killed in jail was none other than Crazy Sal. Did he have a last name? I don't know. Everyone knew him as Crazy Sal.
Harvey Kayro also died under mysterious circumstances. Some think he was killed by some roque police officers. Larry Silverman, who used to play the harmonica (harp) all the time, died also around that time...end of high school. Of course Howard Schwartz, the great sax player and arranger died not too long ago, or maybe he just ended up in jail. I forget.
Wow...what a neighborhood we came from!
Okay boys and girls, let's sing: "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..."
| the dead
so who exactl is dead from our childhood on the block. you wrote in an essay that 1 guy was in a garbage can dumpster another in jail was killed.Who were they? and did i owe them any money? im talking about hitters or other guys we knew
i know that lonnie weiss went young and one guy died from alcohol lance finland. i ask with love not to open wounds.
Still, after all these years, there is nothing cooler than this:
Von Cello wrote:
"Snowshoeing! Sounds very cool. (Get it...cool?)"
Luckily, it was fairly mild when my father and I went for our trudges out in the snowy woods the weekend before Christmas. This week, I think the phrase you're looking for is "bone-chilling, frigid, ice-cold"....and I'm not describing a brand of beer here. A scene from "the Muppet Christmas Movie" describes how cold it is tonight:
Fozzie the Bear: Kermit, Kermit, you've gotta come outside and check out this new act I found!
Kermit the Frog: But Fozzie, it's too cold!!
Fozzie: It's not cold!
Snowman (AKA Fozzie's new act): Can I come in and warm up?
Fozzie; Ok, it's cold.
My "Muppet Christmas Movie" refference only goes to show how much of a Christmas nut (and a gentile) I am.
| What are you...a wise guy?
Always good to hear the report from Vermont. Snowshoeing! Sounds very cool. (Get it...cool?) But I would love to do that at some point.
The Three Wise Men. It would sound different if they were the Three Wise Guys, of the Three Wise Asses!
Why is it that "wise" is used as an insult in our society? What are you a wise guy? Hey, don't be a wise ass! What about "smart aleck". What is an aleck anyway. Can you be a dumb aleck? But you never hear that it's always a smart aleck. Again, smart is used negatively. Hey, don't get smart with me!
Maybe it comes from the Italian gangster tradition. To them being smart would be a drawback. You want people dumb enough to obey orders and commit crimes. So if someone tried to think for himself, the boss would say, Hey, don't get smart.
Which brings us to "Get Smart". Maybe that title for the TV show was a reaction against the Italian, Don't get smart with me mentality. Maxwell Smart was smart! The whole idea was to be smart. It actually praised intelligence. And guess what, the show was created by a Jew!
It's kind of like what we went through in Canarsie. If you were good in school, the tough Italian kids would insult you, and even beat you up. So we learned to hide our intelligence. God forbid you should be called a smart ass or something. That could lead to a beating.
Anyway, getting back to the Wise Men, I wonder if they really were wise. Did anyone interview them? Did they make speeches or write books? How do we know they were wise? What did they say that was wise. Yes, bringing those gifts was kind of neat, but was it "wise"? I suppose one could argue that questioning the wise-ness of the Wise Men is not wise. Some might even think I am a smarty pants. But hey, I'm sick of hiding my intelligence. I did that for too many years in Canarsie. So now I question anything and everything. And I say, why not?!
| Bud "wise" er
Yes, Canarsie is right. The observance of three Wise Men is a Catholic thing. My mom and I take down our tree every year on Jan. 6th - the Epiphany when the church recognizes the magi following the Christmas star to the manger. Once there, of course, they presented Jesus with gifts of gold,(to symbolize Jesus' royalty) frankincense (to symbolize his divinity), and myrrh (as a foreshadowing of his sacrifice on the cross). I always thought the wise men's gifts was why we give gifts on Christmas here in modern times....now i guess it's all to help companies reach that all-important "bottom line".
Related to the Magi, Von Cello had some good thoughts on "being wise":
"Most people are not wise. Most people don't even want to be wise. It is hard these days to even know what being wise means".
I don't know about people not wanting to be wise, 'cause sometimes I push myself too hard to look like I know all the anwsers...I have all my life. My teachers in the younger grades wanted us to have the answer to a question in a second flat...they didn't really emphasize the importance of taking the time to think about the question or topic at hand. So now that I'm older, I often confuse arguments with actual conversation. Don't we all sometimes?
But yes, it is hard to know what makes a person truely "wise". Jerry Garcia was truely a "Wise Old Man", but did his songs have all the answers? Did drugs make him less-wise?
In terms of business today....is it wise to manufacture plastic packaging that is hard to open and has the potential to cut your fingers or someother unfortunate body part? Sure, the company makeing the plastic packaging for a specif product makes a buck off of it, but blood on the wrapping paper is never pretty (in case you're wondering, this did not happen to me this Christmas).
In terms of politics, is it wise to send an army into a rogue nation with no plan or definate time table of withdrawl?
To be wise, for a president, I think, is to consult with congress, and to have a definate plan of what exactly the army is going to achieve there and when the families of those army men and women can expect back the ones who live to tell the stories and horrors of war.
Anywho - my Christmas was good. I was wise not to go all out this year. i only bought minimal small things for my friends and family members.
other things I did over my holiday vacaion (in no particular order):
1. Went snowshoeing with my dad two thrilling times
2. Cooked several festive holiday meals complimented with several festive wines
3. Attended several festive masses and small minor Christmas services.
4. Opened my packages on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Morning accompanied by a festive glass of Bailey's Irish Cream.
5. Started writing a new play for this year's work with my theater company.
6. Aired what must have been 6 or 7 consecutive radio shows with nothing but Christmas and Chanukkah music.
I made merry, quite simply.
Happy 2008 all. I hope this will be a good year for Von Cello, classical music, free thought, and politics.
And of course, there is a difference between a wise man, a wise guy, and a wise ass.
| 3 wise men ( no woman ,now thats wise)
the wisemen heard of a baby and took 2 weeks from its birth to get there..from xmas day to 3 kings day...not so wise they probbly got lost or stopped along the way to hear a jewish comedian.
really its a catholic thing and you live in a protestant thing THE USA ,santas your man ..
| Wise Potato Chips
Here in America we don't celebrate the Three Wise Men. We don't celebrate any wise men. How can you make any money off of some old wise men?
The first time I ever heard of the Three Wise Men was when I was in 12th grade. At that point I was in City As School and we used to have school meetings in downtown Brooklyn. I showed up to a meeting in mid winter with two friends who were sporting big bushy beards, as was the hippy style back then. We walked into the building and the custodian said, "Hey, it's the Three Wise Men!" I had no idea what he meant, other than he was goofing on us because we looked to old for our years. Sometime later I found out that there actually is this Christian story about these three dudes that saw a star and knew that the messiah had been born. They then came to see the baby Jesus bringing frankinsense, myrr, and God knows what else.
It's funny how in the Latin world this day is a big deal, yet in the Anglo world it is all but ignored. Recently I saw a TV show where they said that they were "wise" because they were astronomers who knew about what was happening in the sky. There is also a line, I think it is from Daniel, where it talks about some men who "knew the times". The Rabbis interpreted that to mean that they were aware of the heavenly bodies and knew how to tell the time and the seasons.
I once read an article by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He said it was very important to keep up with the times. What he meant was that you had to be aware of what Torah portion was read each week. Of all the people I ever came in contact with, he was one that I would consider wise.
Most people are not wise. Most people don't even want to be wise. It is hard these days to even know what being wise means.
"Hey, what are you a wise guy?"!
| who the h was jack frost¿
here we are aaron
its 08 and i just finished my canarsie calls to wish everyone a hny
ellem bashist reynolds in ithaca
maurice soriano in miami
glenn braunstein in phili
eric shapiro in losangels
was ok here we went to my wifes country house (look for casalola in goole maps)
we were 20 people but i went to bed at 230. i guess im old. next day began with a 3 hour walk in the mountains near casalola
now work until saturday when the 3 wisemen come here .and you and yours??
| Dancing With Myself
I guess everyone is too busy sleeping off their New Years parties. I took a drive this morning around my neighborhood and there was barely a car on the road. It's a chilly, rainy day...the kind of day people call "nasty". But for me it is perfect because it is so quiet and peaceful.
I think the gentile calendar existed before the birth of Jesus, so I guess it was too late to move Jan. 1st to Dec. 25th. So scrap that last idea. I still don't know why they didn't make New Years on the day we call Dec. 25th. I would make sense to have the calendar start on the shortest day. At least it would make sense in the northern hemisphere. How in the world did they decide to make it six days later? Could you imagine that committee meeting...
"So, Antochius, why don't we make the first day of the year on the shortest day?"
"Ah, Bolonius, that's soooo obvious! Let's make it a few days later just to flip everybody out."
And so, to this day, we start the gentile New Year six days after the shortest day of the year. So it was, so it is, and so it will be!!!
It still begs the question...since the gentiles of Europe accepted the Bible as the word of God, and they accepted the history and the morality and even the prophecy as being God given, why did they not accept the Jewish calendar? After all, it was in use for thousands of years already when Rome was just the twinkling of an eye. I guess the Greeks and Romans had their own calendars already going when they met the Jews. But they changed so many other things, they even changed their gods, so why did they insist on keeping their calendar?
Now their calendar has basically become the calendar of the world and all ignore the originally biblically based Jewish calendar, except the Jews. According to that calendar the physical new year begins in the spring during the month of Nissan (not the car company). Doesn't that make sense...to start the year when the growing season begins? Then in the fall, around harvest time, you have the spiritual new year, known as Rosh Ha Shanah. That makes sense too, because at harvest time you look back at what you grew that year and finally get to eat the fruit of your labor. It is a time for reflection and preparation of your mind before the long cold winter. There are two other new years in the Jewish calendar, there is the new year for trees known as Tu B'Shvat. And I forget what the other one is!
Maybe it is just too complicated with all these new years, with all these reasons. Maybe that is why when Bolnius said, "Hey lets flip everyone out and make it in the middle of the winter...but not on the shortest day, but, I don't know, maybe six days later", most people said, "Yeah, why not".
| Happy Gentile New Year!
We had quite a laugh on a recent gig when people were saying "Happy New Year" and I started saying "Happy Gentile New Year". Then this pretty, blond, girl of Dutch background started saying it too. It was funny to see her saying that.
I was thinking about it, and I wondered: Why didn't the Christians make the birth of Jesus, Jan. 1st? I mean, they designed the calendar that we all follow, and they could have started it on the exact day of his birth. I mean, you could put Jan. 1st anywhere if you are starting a new calendar. Then they could have said that God made his son to be born on the very first day of the new calendar, representing a new beginning for all humanity! That would have been really cool.
It's too bad I wasn't there at the time.
Anyway, Happy New Year!
| To Spend or not to Spend
I think, though, that you are applying religion where it is not the cause. For example, I know a lot of Jewish girls who love to spend money. And I know non-Jews who are very frugal too. Maybe it is more of a class thing. You probably came from a Canarsie family similar to mine, where you had to really watch what you spent or you would end up with nothing left. People like us always watch what we spend even if we become rich. But people who grow up rich, or have parents that let them buy whatever they want, tend to just spend without thinking.
I think the Bible summed it up when it said, "To everything there is a season". A time to save and a time to spend.
In any case, money is an interesting thing isn't it?
| spending all your life with me
wheres the hanuka smiley??
it is a jewish thing also when we eat soup ,we jews slurp. this is considered bad by spanish so i accomodate them They have a community salad where everybody digs into a big common sald bowl This is to me bad disgusting, so my wife doesnt do it
we each nauseate the other with slurps and spity salads...
but after all ..we get along
i gota say i like her attitude about money. she doesnt think a second about spending 200 for a saturday night dinner show
I spend a month thinking about it and then...say no
but i really do enjoy the show and i would after all jus take that 200 with me to the grave..i mean it doesnt leave me broke
she buys my kids 80 dollar sneakers
30 dollar a pounsd salmon
50 dollar bottle of whisky
i complain but after 20 yrs we are ok financially and my friends dad died recently leaving behing 400000 dollars for his kids to share
Ill leave 300000. the 100000 is for my wife to spend.
this is my philosophy...as a jew it hurts to spend PERIOD
we need a spender in our lives...
| To talk or not to talk...
Yes, you are right, the Jewish preoccupation with family and talking is shared by other cultures. I guess the WASP cultures tend to be less vocal. Also middle eastern cultures are really into bargaining, this goes for Arabs and Jews, and probably middle eastern Christians as well. That is why it seems funny to us to imagine that some people just say "I'll take it" without asking a lot of questions and trying to get the price down.
I had a friend of German ancestry who sometimes made comments about Jews being "too friendly" or "talking too much". He also thought it was very funny to tell me really negative Jewish jokes. I always thought that was weird. Anyway, as the years went on he got more political and became a rabid supporter of the Palestinians, and took the position that Israel had no right to exist. As much as we were friends, and did a lot of things together like hiking, skiing, playing music, etc., our political differences became so big that it was hard to hang out with each other.
I would still hang out with him and continue to discuss our differences, and try to develop more understandintg between us, but he pretty much stopped responding to my emails and phone calls.
I think he thinks I talk too much!