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Von Cello 

Post No. 1632
03/03/2008 04:06 PM
Comments (1)
Welcome to the block!

Hey how great is this? Finally we have a new person checking in on the guestbook. And not just anyone, but a cellist from the Netherlands! I look forward to getting your perspective. Currently our regulars include Steve over in Spain, Edward in Vermont, Neal in California, and of course, me over here just north of New York City. I once had a roomate from the Netherlands when I lived in Manhattan. And guess where we lived? Amsterdam Avenue!

I was touched to hear your comments about Israel and anti-Semitism. I recently did some searches about it on You Tube and found many shocking videos. Along with all the benefits the Internet has been bringing us (including the fact that we are even talking right now) it also brings with it all the old hatreds and provides a platform for spreading them. I don't know what exactly it is about your Christian faith that makes you a friend of Israel and the Jews, but whatever it is, I am glad. I have long been telling other Jews that the true believing Christians are becoming our allies. In a world that seems to be on the edge of a take over by secular or even Satanic forces, the religious people of the world may be the last hope for freedom. I know that sounds weird to many people, but most people are not aware of the wars that are going on behind the scenes.

As for electric cello...well you are right, I played electric guitar, so it was only natural that I would be drawn to electrify the cello. But you will be happy to know that my latest CD, "Celtar" has no electric cello on it at all! It is still a rock CD, but I make all of the sounds on the acoustic. Please sign up for my email list newsletter and you will know when it comes out. You can sign up here:

Feel free to post anytime about anything. I try to keep this little area of cyberspace a zone of total freedom. Once again, welcome!


Post No. 1631
03/03/2008 03:29 PM
Comments (0)

(spill over from my prev. post)
As a bonus (to all the stuff about cello), your spot on guestbook comments about Israel, antisemitism, antizionism, about being a Jew, great read too. 'Cs it so happens I am not a Jew but I did live in Israel twice, have been back many times, did study the Hebrew language and ever since, am daily following what happens in Israel and I see Israel ending up as standing alone as a state more and more.
Somehow I'm very sensitive to even the subtlest antisemitism, to the point that people often ask me if I'm Jewish myself (haha, to which I always reply: I'll tell you if you first tell me what difference will it make for you if you know the answer? Blank stare usually follows. As in "trapped". In fact, that in itself proves how ... what can I say, how ingrained, how almost unconscious antisemitism is. Or am I exaggerating here?)
Yes, one main reason is probably my christian faith (may sound contradictory, push that to another post) but another is that I cannot stand the truth being so gravely distorted in the media.

So, I really really liked to stumble upon yr website by chance. But, now I have to be honest: I cannot (yet, should I say that, yet?) appreciate electric cello . I ... well, I just can't, I do love rock, and jazz, and I surely have tried in my own little way to prove that cello is not only melancholic and a bass instrument etc. , but, well, I'm too much in love with its natural, unplugged sound. Maybe - I have to see E-cello as an altogether different instrument? I donot know.
How did you move to amplified cello sound? Because of already being into el. guitar?


Post No. 1630
03/03/2008 03:18 PM
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new guest on the block

Hello Aaron,

Must have been reading and listening and paging thru yr website for quite some time, but I quite enjoyed it! Forgot how I ended up here though.
I am an amateur cellist, Dutch and live in the Netherlands, and in fact, in '89 or '91 I bought the sheet music of the 3 American cello duets when I was in the States or Canada, never seen any ref. to them afterwards, but when I saw your real name on the site, I immediately remembered the duets.

It was interesting to 'dig my way around' in the old college time tapes, your writings/articles about music, cello, rock vs classical and Hendrix vs Beethoven, true musicianship as opposed to 'get a good cover photo and sell anyway no matter how you play' and parts of the guestbook. All interesting - ah, some of the tapes are a bit long, but I got the idea, and you know, it was great to 'drift back' to the '70's/80's. Gosh, that sure was a slower paced time. I often wonder. Even today's music has a crazy fast pace and is so hollow.
I recognised things you wrote like - you closed yself off of pop music after you chose the path of cello. For me, I started cello when I was 9, and at 13 I knew I would always play cello (though at 16, I decided to not try become a pro). I actually grew up completely w/o pop music and was considered a 'classical nerd' until a high school 'available instruments' band formed and me and my sister were asked to join and we did Beatles songs (whaw, and then I discovered they were actually good songs AND they even used real cello on those songs! Unique!) and Paul Simon and Ekseption (eh, Dutch rock band).
But basically I grew up w/classical only and I didnot mind at all. I was the type to listen to all classical music on radio I could get hold of - Dutch, Belgian, even German classical radiostations, and the BBC till 1 AM with my little transistor radio tucked away under my blankets so my parents wouldn't discover!
Von Cello 

Post No. 1629
03/03/2008 01:39 PM
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Heil Nader!

Ya know what it is...Nader is intelligent enough to know what he is doing. He knows he is spreading lies and hate. This is obvious. The question is, why? Why would such a bright man, who does so many positive things, also be doing such an evil thing? It is one thing to say you oppose giving aid to Israel. That is bad enough, especially if one does not also complain about the aid we give to the Egyptians, which is the same of more than we give Israel. Not to mention the aid we give even to groups that kill Israelis, like the Palestinians. And the aid we give all around the world to many other countries that no one talks about. You can even complain about the "powerful" Israeli lobby (however you should also complain about the even more powerful Saudi lobby, and many other lobbies). But when you start to use traditional anti-Semitic imagery, namely that the Jews are the puppeteers of the world, then you are saying the same kind of things Hitler said, and then one has to really wonder where in hell you are coming from.

It's may say that he doesn't trust Obama, but if one were to say that Obama is a puppet of Osama Bin Laden because his father was a Muslim, then you are crossing a line into sickness. Same if you said because he is black he must be a rapist and a murderer. What kind of sick f*&% would say such things? That would be dregging up the worst kind of racist imagery and applying it to a person in order to hurt him and denegrate him. In the case of the Jews, or Israel, dregging up the worst kind of anti-Semitic imagery does the same against a whole group of people.

So one has to wonder if Ralph Nader doesn't goose step around the house when no one is looking!

It makes you wonder who he is really representing. It seems the age old hatreds and the age old power stuggles never end. Only the faces change.
Von Cello 

Post No. 1628
03/03/2008 01:16 PM
Comments (0)
Hey Ralphy Boy

Good point! All of these people like Ralph Nader accuse Israel of being the puppeteer of the United States and make a big stink about how much money we give them for defense, yet no U.S. soldiers have ever died in defense of Israel. U.S. soldiers died to defend England and France, but does anyone complain about it? U.S. soldiers died to defend Kuwait, any complaints? U.S. soldiers are dying even now supposedly to defend Iraq and Afghanistan, is Ralph Nader claiming that they are the puppeteers? How about Germany where we still have tens of thousands of troops...are they the puppeteer? South Korea? How many millions do we pour into there every year? Where is Ralph?

It constantly amazes me how anti-Semitism rears its ugly head in the strangest of places. I mean, here's Mr. Consumer Protaction himself, Ralph Nader, the man who fought the auto industry, the man who cares about the environment, the man who cares about corruption...and here he is speaking like an ignorant Neo Nazi. Israel is the puppeteer of the U.S.?! What a joke! Israel? A country that couldn't even beat the Lebanese Army is pushing around the world's only superpower?

Nader knows good and well that Israel is not the puppeteer. He knows good and well that no one in our government is a puppet of Israel, let alone the president. Go to Nazi websites and you will hear the exact same thing Nader is saying. You will also hear it at militant Muslim sites. The fact is, in his bones Nader is an Arab and he hates Israel, and probably hates the Jews. I know that sounds like I'm jumping to conclusions, but who but a hater would spread malicious lies about Israel but someone consumed with hate? I feel better.


Post No. 1627
03/03/2008 03:40 AM
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ralph hater

colegiojudiomurcia (hace 1 hora) Mostrar Ocultar
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no american has ever died fighting for the jews or israel Israel does it alone. Americans die fighting for S.korea ,iraq ,europe in WW2. Israel makes no secret its lobby in washDC to get $ and support as do other countries. But no us marine has ever fought for israel or the jews ..Israel DOES IT ALONE.
judio college murcia

murcia spain we are the jewishCommunity..growing every month in polaris world . Israeli puppeteer? what are you talking about.
Israel gets no advantage in washington and jews get no slack. The green tea party wont win like this using the kill the jew slogan again.If you want points try the oil company or the military contractor group.
no american has ever died fighting for the jews or israel Israel does it alone. Americans die fighting for S.korea ,iraq ,europe in WW2. Israel makes no secret its lobby in washDC to get $ and support as do other countries. But no us marine has ever fought for israel or the jews ..Israel DOES IT ALONE.
Von Cello 

Post No. 1626
03/02/2008 03:03 PM
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To Ralph Nader: I think you're crazy! I think you're crazy!

I could see voting for Nader to make a statement against the two party system. A system in which the Republicans go to war without the consent of the citizens and the Democrats do nothing to stop it. But Ralph Nader is a very dangerous and sick man. I know that may sound shocking but so is this:

To call Jews the puppet masters of the world, or in this case of America, is right out of the anti-Semite's handbook. It is exactly what they say in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Nazi propaganda.

How could Ralph Nader engage in Nazi-like propaganda. Could it be because he is an ARAB?

Yes he is an Arab. Now, there is nothing wrong with being an Arab, but when you start using Nazi imagery to describe Jews who support Israel (of which I am one) then you are jumping off the deep end.

Things are seldom what they seem.

Post No. 1625
03/02/2008 02:31 PM
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Now that I think about it, it does make sense that the Vegas pollsters would favor McCain....he hails from their part of the country. Can somebody say "political bias"? How 'bout "favoritism"?

Post No. 1624
03/02/2008 02:25 PM
Email eaburke81  
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Whoever visits Vegas should stay in Vegas

Canarsie wrote:

"in vegas theyve already put the odds on the next pres. It was obama until nadar entered Now its mccain. Nader will take votes from dems and tada reps win
The odds are 4 to 1 on mccain..BIG MONEY".

Yes, republicans seem to thrive(and perhaps depend a little too much) on "BIG MONEY".....and now I think it's clear from your post where all the republicans are flocking to.

Lemme tell ya, if Obama wasn't running I would surely vote for Nader. I think he's got some good ideas to put this country back on track and he's been anti-big government for decades. I saw a documentary on him few months back; if he could just get the votes I think he'd have what it takes to lead our country fairly, and FOR US, as opposed to FOR HIMSELF.
Von Cello 

Post No. 1623
03/02/2008 07:02 AM
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I think you're crazy. I think you're crazy. I think you're crazy, just like me.

Hey, I had my first rehearsal with the Staten Island Ballet and it was amazing. I mean...imagine writing a piece of music twenty years ago, having it published by Oxford University Press, watching its fame spread around the world...and then suddenly, twenty years later, there you are in a ballet studio in a refurbished building in an old abandoned medical park in some God forsaken corner of Staten Island, playing your pieces on your cello and watching beautiful and handsome young, highly trained dancers, dancing scenarios to your tunes! I must say, I felt like I was in a dream.

Post No. 1622
03/01/2008 04:32 AM
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in vegas theyve already put the odds on the next pres. It was obama until nadar entered Now its mccain. Nadar will take votes from dems and tada reps win
The odds are 4 to 1 on mccain..BIG MONEY

the long shot is the vp on dem side. If its gooood the dems can win..but if obama comes out with nothing but his dick in his hand ,hes dead...
Von Cello 

Post No. 1621
02/29/2008 01:25 PM
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Crazy continued

That was weird...I got cut off. Hmmm...

Anyway, in the last verse he talks about his heroes who "had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb". I think here he speaks about Martin Luther King, and probably JFK and RFK. These were men who "had the heart" to speak out against the powers behind the throne and risk losing their lives. He says he wanted to be like then. And he says, "I can die when I'm done" meaning that he may risk his life for even coming out with a song like this.

So maybe he's crazy. Or maybe your crazy. Or maybe the whole world is crazy.

Is it crazy to suspect a conspiracy? Is it crazy to dismiss it? Is it crazy to give up your life trying to expose it?

What a heavy exploration of this issue!

Von Cello 

Post No. 1620
02/29/2008 01:20 PM
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Staten Island Crazy

Staten Island gets a bumb rap. There is a tough working class element and even a mafia element, but there is also a cultured element. The island also has some beautiful parks and museums, including a Tibetan Museam that has a meditative garden. There are also historic homes that date back to the 1700's. Maybe even the 1600's. That's how old it goes back.

But going back to Crazy...I think the song is about finding out about secret societies and conspiracies. If you notice in the first verse he says the problem was not that he didn't know enough but that he "knew too much". That fear is what made him feel crazy.

Then he says, "Do you really think you're in control?" That is because the country, and world, are being manipulated by powers behind the scences. He says if you think you're in conrol, "I think your crazy".

In the last verse

Post No. 1619
02/29/2008 09:57 AM
Email eaburke81  
Comments (0)
I'm going crazy, how about you?

"But maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy". - Gnarls Barkley

I think there are alot of songs about realizing that either you're crazy, your neighbors are crazy, the whole world's crazy or a combination of the three....and this should come as no surprise becuase the world today gives us much to be crazy about...the government, religion, terrorism, the economy, the War in Iraq, the manners of people you meet on the street, the kind-of "instant gratification" and "sacrifice-human-service-to-save-a-few-bucks-where-we-can" mentality that is running rampant in our society: "Actual, live people answering phones for us? Nooooo, we can't have that.....just set us up an automated telephone service with several options...we'll keep our customers pushing buttons on the phone for hours. mwhahahahaha! That way, we won't have to pay people to answer phones for us in our call center. Ha! That'll screw 'em!!! Intern, check my Exxon stock, get Mit Romney on the speaker-phone, and pour me some cognac on the double"!

Sorry....just a little anti-coorporate rant there.

Anyway, one need only listen to Jimmy Buffet's "Fruitcakes" to know how messed up the world is. But like Jimmy, I think we all need is to kick back and not worry so much about meeting the so-called "bottom-line". I'm a recent Buffet fan and I like his mentality of enjoying life with your friends and cohorts in the islands.....but since not everywhere in the world has tropical islands, I think we can take a lesson from Buffet no matter where we live and learn to kick back and enjoy life a little more. Say "hello" and "have a good day" to a stranger. Turn off your cell phone and have a conversation with a complete stranger on the bus. Bring non-perishable food items to your chuch for the homeless and hungary. Turn off your TV and play a board or card game with your friends or pick a day to go out into the woods for a picnic. Take time to enjoy the beauty of nature, and your fellow human being, for as Jesus said "what ever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me". If the above is just too much for you then simply pick an hour out of your day to meditate in your room or read a good book. I think the world and we, the people within it, would be much less crazy if everyone paid attention to the little things that make life meaningful. For Catholics, Lent is a time to do just that.

Post No. 1618
02/29/2008 06:20 AM
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staten island ballet sounds like gifilta orduerves
Von Cello 

Post No. 1617
02/28/2008 06:36 PM
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Not Crazy!

I heard this song a million times but never really looked at the lyrics before today. What do you think he's talking about?

Lyrics: Gnarls Barkley - Crazy

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that phase.
Even your emotions had an echo
In so much space

And when you're out there
Without care,
Yeah, I was out of touch
But it wasn't because I didn't know enough
I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy

And I hope that you are having the time of your life
But think twice
That's my only advice

Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are
Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think you're in control

Well, I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
Just like me

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb
And all I remember Is thinking, I want to be like them
Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun
And it's no coincidence I've come
And I can die when I'm done

But maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy
Maybe we're crazy
Von Cello 

Post No. 1616
02/28/2008 09:30 AM
Comments (0)
Dance for Joy!

This weekend I start rehearsing with the Staten Island Ballet. No...I will not be dancing! I will be playing my Ten American Cello Etudes for the dancers. This is the first time my music has been used for a ballet. I always love when people dance to my music...but THIS will be something else!

Von Cello 

Post No. 1615
02/25/2008 01:09 PM
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The Power of Music

What is the job of a musician? To many people, especially young people, they think the job of a musician is to entertain kids. The musician is there to make music for you to dance to, or party to, or make out to. Some kids start to understand that music can be there to protest to, or dream to, or learn from. Adults go to the symphony to experience new emotions and states of mind. Jazz fans go to be amazed at improvisational skills or to feel cool grooves.

But music is also a healer. In fact, they just did a study that showed that stroke victims who listen to music recover faster and better than those who don't! Rather amazing.

I have played several times at funerals and memorials. I have seen the healing power of it lifts a broken heart, how it soothes a troubled mind.

What an amazing thing music is!
Von Cello 

Post No. 1614
02/23/2008 05:54 PM
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Goodbye Samuel

I conducted a string orchestra this morning at a Haitian church in Rockland County. We were playing for a 14 year old violin student of mine who suddenly passed away due to illness. It was very sad, but uplifting in a way. So many people came, and so many groups performed in his honor. Of all the "gigs" I have had in my life, this was one of the most important. He was a wonderful boy, and he was taken away in 9th grade...a time that we often reminisce about. He had so much potential! But I guess we have to be glad that we had some time to share with him.

God bless you Samuel!

Post No. 1613
02/23/2008 12:48 PM
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everygody go here at same time

Post No. 1612
02/22/2008 03:50 PM
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oh yeah

Rabbi Lederman...very funny, brilliant man.
Von Cello 

Post No. 1611
02/22/2008 01:47 PM
Comments (0)
Rabbi Bright Eyes!

Talk about "bright"...look at Rabb Baruch Lederman's eyes on the front page of his website:

The amazing thing about Rabbi Lederman is that he was best friends with me and Neal, who sometimes stops in on this page, when we were in junior high school. At that time he was known simply as Barry. He was a brilliant student, particularly in math. In fact he went to Princeton as a math student before deciding to become a rabbi. But Barry was also an incredible joker!

Once, when I was in my last year of high school, I was sitting in a restaurant near Brooklyn College when suddenly I hear this guy sitting next to me talking to me as if we were in the middle of a conversation. I turned to see what "nut" had sat next to me only to find Barry Lederman!! I started laughing, but Barry kept talking showing no emotion. He would go SO FAR for a joke! I hadn't talked to Barry for probably a good 3 or 4 years by then.

I once asked him how he went from math to Judaism. He said that when he started exploring the highest levels of math he was struck by how cold and empty it was. That is when he realized that Judaism was just as complex but full of life and warmth. Quite an interesting guy1

Post No. 1610
02/22/2008 12:23 PM
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Joking in the name of the Lord

"I could have been an actor but I couldn't get past the first stage".

Ha! That's a good one.

This Lederman guy sounds awesome...are most rabbis known for their jokes?

"I coulda been a contendah...I coulda been somebody" - Marlon Brando in "A Streetcare Named Desire".
Von Cello 

Post No. 1609
02/22/2008 10:37 AM
Comments (0)
And now a message from Rabbi Lederman...

I could have been a writer but it seemed like a life sentence.

I could have been an accountant but it just didn't add up.

I could have been a firefighter but I was too burnt out.

I could have been a cook but it didn't pan out.

I could have been a chef but my goose was already cooked.

I could have been a waiter but I tabled that idea.

I could have been a stockbroker but it was all inequity and bondage.

I could have been a gardener but there wasn't much room for growth.

I could have been a mathematician but I hear that does a number on you.

I could have been an actor but I couldn't get past the first stage.

I could have been a firefighter but that plan went up in smoke.

I could have been a dentist but I couldn't do the drill.

I could have been a lawyer...but NO, I had to become Von Cello!
Von Cello 

Post No. 1608
02/22/2008 10:28 AM
Comments (0)
I Lent you a Bright idea!

Wow, now I'm impressed! A forty day Catholic holiday! i had now idea.

Now sit down and take a deep breath, because there is a Jewish 50 day holiday!

This is from a site called Judaism 101:

You shall count for yourselves -- from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving -- seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days... -Leviticus 23:15-16

You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu'ot for the L-RD, your G-d -Deuteronomy 16:9-10

According to the Torah (Lev. 23:15), we are obligated to count the days from Passover to Shavu'ot. This period is known as the Counting of the Omer. An omer is a unit of measure. On the second day of Passover, in the days of the Temple, an omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering. This grain offering was referred to as the Omer.

Every night, from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavu'ot, we recite a blessing and state the count of the omer in both weeks and days. So on the 16th day, you would say "Today is sixteen days, which is two weeks and two days of the Omer." The Orthodox Union has a chart that provides the transliterated Hebrew and English text of the counting day-by-day.

The counting is intended to remind us of the link between Passover, which commemorates the Exodus, and Shavu'ot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah. It reminds us that the redemption from slavery was not complete until we received the Torah

It's different than Lent, of course, because you are not giving up anything...unless you consider it a sacrifice that you have to remember every day for 50 days to count the day and say a certain set of prayers. Believe me, that is not as easy as it sounds. I tried to do if for a few years and I don't think I ever made it through without missing a day or getting a day mixed up. Also, one of the reasons you are counting is to remember a sacrifice of barley that was done in the days when the Temple stood. So, instead of doing the sacrifice (which can't be done without the Temple) Jews say the prayer and make the count as a substitute. So, I guess in essence it is a 50 period of sacrifice, similar to Lent.

It is quite amazing when you realize that almost every tradition in the Catholic Church has its origins in a Jewish tradition. Even here, they established a long holiday of sacrifice not too far from the Jewish long holiday of sacrifice! You find the same kind of thing with Chanukah and Christmas. Chanukah is called the "Festival of Lights" since you light the menorah. So the Christians set up a holiday very close by in time which they celebrate with lights!

A bright idea!

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