Thursday, July 28, 2016

Symbiosis can work

The article today on Jambase that talks about the many successful fan efforts to get Phish to play specific songs, quite honestly, brought me to tears. It's one of the most beautiful things to be reminded yet again of the love that my favorite band has for its fans.  Because the love that I feel for the band that changed my life is beyond more than words can say. 

You all probably know by now that I would love if Phish would play in Israel

A bunch of years ago I had a whacky vision inspired by who knows what that they would play there on a specific date. 

When I asked a dear friend to pass on a whole research packet I put together (admittedly, that really does sound a bit bonkers) who is close to the band, quite legitimately, she said she wouldn't feel comfortable passing it on.  That's understandable. 

I am no social media wizard.
I am an individual, a mama, a fortunate wife. 
I am chatty.
I am friendly. 
I am sometimes misunderstood.
I am usually truthful. 
I am Loony. 
I love Phish. 

I am grateful for chatting with Fish this spring when he told me directly, in response to the Phish in Israel question, that he would "love to play that amphitheater," making no promises. 

"I just go where they tell me to set up my drumkit." -Jon Fishman, drummer of Phish

I have zero official record of that conversation.
So believe me or not.
Maybe so or maybe not. 
But Fish told me that. 

I will continue in my earnest, honest way to put out the energy in the world that a bunch of us would love it if Phamily had a reason to visit Israel to see our favorite band play an epic run. 

Politics shmolitricks. 
Love and light will prevail if Phish played in Israel. 

If you will it, it is no dream tour. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

I am a proud gun owner!

Glue guns, that is.

 Since we *are* on the topic of guns, I figured why not shout out to the world I own two guns!  I know some folks are more reserved about telling the public, and yes it would probably be wise not to give away trade secrets. 

However, I think you'd have to be living in a cave, or maybe have your head buried in an academic journal or otherwise be totally oblivious to the DIY crafting explosion over the past 20 years, to not realize there's at least one (more likely multiple locations of a) Michael's craft store in every major American metropolitan area.   No, I get no revenue by the way from that link.  I'm just nice like that.  Not like I am driving much traffic to Michael's.  But let's leave the self-deprecating stuff aside.  This is a positive place.

The glue gun is readily available at many local craft stores in both the low heat only and LO/Hi combo versions.  Hot glue sticks are available in various lengths, too. 

It's been a fun crafting evening amidst the busy life I lead of caring for a family of 6, hosting a large Shabbat lunch today with way too much food, and getting 3 children ready to leave for 5 weeks. B H for a dishwasher!

Gearing up for Summer Tour. Not like I am going on tour. I wish.  Only in my dreams.  But I am getting to at least 3 shows in the next couple of weeks. And gearing up to sell OhKeePahs, HeadyBands, hoodies, and other donut-related items in person. 

Here's a cute tote I just made. 

What exactly happened with the whole donut explosion thing?  It's like....slap some Fishman Donuts on it and people go ballistic.  I don't quite get it.  But somehow the masses love it.  So, being the enterprising and entrepreneurial self I am, I am slapping donuts on my crafting items.  This phenomenon fascinates me and is a topic I'd love to research and write about.  But that's another story.

And a fanny pack I accessorized. 

And some luxury hotel slippers, headyfied. 


Here are some of my favorite musicians visiting a gun shop somewhere in Europe a while back.  I love the theatrics, the fun and games, when Trey scratches his very white leg, the silliness between Mike and Trey, the fact that Trey tries to bargain down and then when they finally offer him lower than his offer, he *still* walks away.   These are good, solid guys!  They definitely would be fun guys to hang with but that's another story.

What exactly did Trey do with that whip?  I don't really want to know.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

Safety Concerns Especially in the Jewish Community...I Prefer a Cavern.

Your time is near, the mission's clear....

Have been thinking a lot lately about guns and gun safety.  The Orlando tragedy was just that.  Tragic.  I do believe that people have access too easily to very dangerous weapons and many people act irresponsibly.

However, others act responsibly.  I don't really like bringing up this topic since it can often get ugly, but I am doing it anyway.  Feel free to bash me.   When thinking about being a synagogue goer, and thinking about having spent time in Israel, I don't have to think too much to come to the conclusion that, overall, our synagogues are a lot safer in Israel (the 2014 Har Nof synagogue attack and tragedy comes to mind and is very sad).  Many synagogues are beefing up security around the United States.  It's about time, I think.  At least in Europe it's easy to find a synagogue when you're a tourist because you just look for the police car outside.   Back in the states, what this that means is that community members are carrying weapons.  And these weapons are stored in local homes.

It's a sad state of affairs, but it's not just swastikas being painted on synagogue walls anymore.

The topic was covered recently in the 5 Towns Jewish Times.

This all being said, I am concerned about my children's safety.  Five years ago when I moved here I heard murmurs that people owned guns.  I didn't think about it too much.  But now I decided to ask the question that the Brady Campaign's ASK Pledge recommends.  Which is, before you send a child over to play to another family's home, ask the simple question:

"Is there an unlocked gun in the house?"

So far, I asked twice.

The first time was a huge bomb because I didn't ask word-for-word.  The mom was highly offended and thought I was meddling which I wasn't.  I had only asked wrong, and I made a mistake.  Call me stupid, call me an airhead.  I did it wrong.   It was a mess and it took me a few weeks to ask the question again but in the right way.

The second time was totally fine.  This family happens to let their children know they own a gun.  The mom said it was a well-worded question.  Her children know that the parents go to a shooting range.  I have no idea if the children know where the gun is located in the house, but at least I know the parents keep it locked up.

A friend who lives on the Upper West Side said not to be fooled; just because she lives in a liberal area, there are gun owners.  She is just too chicken to adopt the pledge.

But you know what, it's like asking if there's a gate around the pool.  It is well-worded and an educated question.   If you don't like guns, and especially if you're a shul-goer, you're basically gonna have to get with the program and realize it's the reality.  Or just live in ignorance.   Or just hope that the people you send your children to play at are responsible.  But that is the whole point of the Brady Ask Campaign.

Not that I personally think a person can beat down ISIS when they come knocking down their door.  Especially when the gun is hiding behind the Manolos in the closet.

Personally, I prefer serpent deflectors and ribbon reflectors.  Happy Summer Tour!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Just Relax, You're Doing Fine

Had an unfortunate interpersonal fail today which ended up working out.   But it took a while.  It was energy-draining.  Also I am sleep-deprived.  And very busy with many things to do in life.  Grateful for my health, home and family above all.

Still, I found great solace in Strange Design.  As is often the case with so many Phish songs, I find tremendous goodness in their lyrics and music.   This time was no different.

Here's a beautiful rendition.  I was there at my first New Year's Eve shows in 1995.

Strange Design

I'm needing less restraint before
I'm needing to hit the lights and close the door
I'm fine, I'm fine
Cause I'm...


Dripping in this strange design
None is yours and far less mine
Hold the wheel, read the sign
Keep the tires off the line
Just relax, you're doing fine
Swimming in this real thing I call life

Can I bring a few companions on this ride?

I'm feeling, my heart's not beating anymore
I'm feeling.  It's alright, this happened once before
I'm fine, I'm fine.
Cause I'm...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hot as a pistol, and by the way do you guys keep guns in the house?

"Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile."  -Grateful Dead

Taboo topic
Gun ownership isn't talked about much in my world of observant Jews.
Out in the open, that is.
That's how it works among my kind - you do stuff and you don't necessarily talk about it.
That's not always a good thing.  Especially when it comes to child safety.

Kids turn things into guns
The Wolfman's Brother, nearly 9, lately has been making things into guns.  Legos, aluminum foil, you get the picture.  This is probably all very normal for a kid his age.  But this is pretty new, and I worry about the real deal.  Who knows what his influences in school are in this realm.

Gossip or truth?  Liberal NYC Jews ain't here in suburban Philly.
A few years ago, when we moved here, I was privy to a conversation at a Shabbat table where a couple told me that there's a lot of hush hush discussion about who carries a gun in town.  That some rabbis here carry weapons to shul.   That overall this is a conservative Republican frum community where a lot of people own guns.   Moving from New York City to Pennsylvania was a real culture shock in that regard.  Since then I have heard nothing, but I try to stay out of pretty much all busy-body discussions.  I don't really know what people talk about.

What my Gut tells me.
My gut tells me that I wouldn't want my children in any home where there are guns.  Period.  Loaded, unloaded, stored separate or together, in a bed stand, in the attic.  I don't want my children in a home where there are guns.  Many people here have told me they don't get me.  That they live inside the box and I am very much outside of that box.  So maybe I don't have that many friends to begin with to lose.  But I do wonder what might happen. Will people start whispering into each other's ears...Rachel Loonin the mother who likes live music, kept her last name, feeds her children kale and only 1 slice of pizza, and who knows what else goes on in that house...that the hippy liberal suspicions we had about her all along are true.  I doubt the Shabbat meal invitations are at risk because we don't get invited out much anyway!

It's not that big a deal to ask if there's an unlocked gun in the house.
 A brief bit of research shows that homes are safer if there's a gun safe.  When ammunition is kept separate.  When the safes are locked.   According to  Asking Saves Kids, which is run by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, you should ask if there's an unlocked gun in the house before you send your kids there to play.   An ABC News entry gives advice about how to ask others if they have guns in the house.  This article in the Washington Post offers a bit more nuance and discussion from a parent's perspective.

These things do give me reassurance.  However, my gut still tells me I do not want my child in another home where there is a gun.  How can I trust that the owner is responsible and will always lock their gun?   Yes, it is our constitutional right to bear arms.  That's the 2nd Amendment, right?  But it still makes me feel uncomfortable.  Am I then supposed to get into a whole discussion with the gun owner..."do you always keep it locked?  Does your child know about it?  Has your child ever touched your gun?  Did you even forget just one time?"  We're not talking the level of discomfort from them being in a home where there's junky snacks served or tv on all afternoon.   And don't even ask about drugs.  Prescription drugs are in so many of our houses and can be pretty dangerous and potentially lethal chemicals.  Just in case you thought you could get me on the cannabis argument.  This is very different.  This is about life or death.  Yes, I will let my child play in your house if you have prescription drugs. It's the reality of our society.  And what about toxic chemicals like bleach that I don't keep in my own home, partially for safety reasons?  Am I going to start preventing my children from going to homes that have Clorox?

Should I just throw in the towel and say that guns are a reason to keep my children away from your home?

And yet, I choose life.

Probably one of the few people who I am guaranteed to know will actually read this full blog is a person I know who I think owns a gun whose house we visit sometimes.  What's the answer?  Hard to know.  It is 1:27am and I still have to do dishes in the kitchen sink, pack up an order, and take a shower before I go to sleep.  What a convenient way to leave things open-ended.

This is the closest I want my children to getting to "hot as a pistol but cool inside."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fishman Donut Phish Yarmulkas don't get a refund if you OverPray

Pretty excited to have these in stock.
Have been selling some as pre-sale before Summer Tour starts.

But we are saving most of them to sell in person this summer.

Getting good feedback.

Here's our new logo.

Glad to have another great item to add to the Phish community.

this was the bad version, the first try.

Note.  Please note:  the photo above is *not* the current incarnation of the Phish Yarmulkas.

My mom is here and we got to talking about the number 127.
Mom:  "Why do you have a card with the number 127 on it hanging in your bathroom?"
Me:     "I love the number 127; I have a deep connection to it."
Mom:   "Me too"
Me:     "I know, it's your number originally in my life.  But I write about it from time to time in my blog.  So I guess you don't read my blog."

It occurred to me that most people don't read my blog.
So, if you're reading this, good for you.
You're definitely in the minority.

I don't think she's going to be reading this, but I did explain to her at least part of my prediction about Phish playing in Israel from 2012 that didn't come true.  At least I am making some progress.  I spoke in person with Jon Fishman this year and told him it would be great if they played there.  To which he said, "Yeah, I'd love to play in 'that amphitheater' but I just go where they tell me to set up my drum kit."

I have no clue if anyone in the band has heard there is at least one Loony girl who would like them to play there.  I have no clue if they know who I am or what I am up to.  It's a small world, and it's moving real fast.  So, I like to think they know who I am.  But that's not likely.  Well, Mike knows who I am.  He told me I leave him really long messages on his voicemail.  That is very true.  Yet it's also a big world and there's a lot of people in it.  So sure word travels fast, especially if you're annoying and in people's faces.  But I am an honest gal, so I have that.  If I ever get into a person's face (which has been known to happen), I do know that I am always kind, friendly and fun-loving.  And I know that at least 2 people like reading my blog and my posts on various boards, including the Freaks List.  People just don't like reading on and on when I ramble on and on and on.  For some reason people like reading Big Dog's Ramble.  And who knows maybe people like reading what I write.  Actually a bunch of lovely Freaks women came up to me at the most recent ball and told me they love my posts on Freaks list.  We are all just so busy with life and who has the time to ramble on and on.  But I am really warmed when some really nice women come up to me and say they like what I write.  You have to block out the noise, forget about the negative comments, and just move on and focus on the positivity because it's all the goodness that's out there that is what is going to propel you.    Don't let one negative thing hold you back.

 For the most part, people don't reply to what I say.  "God never listens to what I say."  That's not true, actually I disagree.  I believe that the Aybeshter does listen.  BH I have a cozy happy home with my material needs met.  And a loving dear husband and BH healthy children.  These are really and truly the things that matter.  A happy, peaceful home.  Health.  Sufficient sleep.  Can't say that the last thing really happens all that much.  Especially when you're wasting time writing a blog.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pink Talking Fish at the Ardmore Music Hall, PA 4/9/16

Fortunate for us we planned ahead and bought tickets a few weeks ago to this sold-out show.  Once again the Ardmore Music Hall booked a solid band of stellar talent, and I am feeling repeated waves of gratitude for having excellent music so accessible outside of New York.  A ten minute drive from our house with free parking makes this venue a win win all around for any local freak.

A hybrid blend of Pink Floyd, the Talking Heads, and those boys from Vermont, Phish, we enjoyed a real treat last night from talented musicians.  They put on a solid show, and we were treated to familiar Floyd tunes such as "Mother," "Dogs," and "Shine on You Crazy Diamond."  The music was absolutely on point, though as we were getting into the groove, my dance neighbor Casey, a lovely and beautiful woman who clearly knows how it happens, said that hearing David Gilmour perform one particular Floyd tune played would *really* blow your mind. No doubt, but I was really enjoying lead guitarist Dave Brunyak take the music to a contemporary level in front of my very eyes.

Here's the setlist I culled. The official setlist is posted at the end of this post.  But cut me some slack:  Me no misses nice noob, but a seasoned ├╝ber-educated music fan like Bob Lefsetz or any one of the myriad of kind freaks on Neddy and JR's list or in the greater jam band live music world I am neither:

Set I
very. very. very makeshift.  But, mama tried.  Haven't really done setlists since 1995 but I'm going back to my more youthful days.  Don't love looking at a screen so at the end of the set I can at least go back on my notes and see what I just experienced.  Yes, that did just happen.
totally incomplete but pretty good for not asking for anything except for Dogs, which I of course recognized but didn't know the title of.  Ruff ruff.

The show, which was billed as covering Phish's Gamehenge, was truly for any fan of rock & roll. You didn't need to be a Phish fan to appreciate this show.  If you're a music fan of these genres (prog rock, punk, new wave and plain ole rock) you would likely have been familiar with most of the Floyd and Talking Heads tunes played.  Incidentally, I felt a very personal sense of gratitude towards my brother who introduced me to Pink Floyd.  I likely would never have known any Pink Floyd if not for my big brother. So, thanks dude!  But if it were just Floyd and Talking Heads, that would have been enough. Dayeinu, as they say. 

But oh did those Lizard people gather and that famous mockingbird did fly. What I mean by that is that if you were there because you love Phish (which I am guessing was most of the audience) at many points during this show in suburban Philadelphia, you'd probably be smiling all the way to King of Prussia.  Especially when my new and local mama friend Sam called it when they started the first notes of "Possum."  (note:  even though I knew they played this song, it didn't make it to the set list.  Such is life).

Tela...pretty psyched!  Wilson seemed as if unfinished, and I felt a sense of emptiness with the absence of Mike Gordon's fun "blat boom," (or is it blap boom, feel free to debate) so when they played Dogs then AC/DC with sounded like a M*A*S*H theme song intro (see below:  clearly that was my own idea and not what was played) and back into the classic Wilson ending, the sense of closure was fulfilling. 

Set II

One very special moment at 1:10 (approx) minutes into the intro of Shine on You Crazy Diamond (see video above), I glanced onto the stage and saw keyboardist Richard James do some kind of half moon motion with both arms, as if conducting the group to its next stage in this 10+ minute long song and into the entire Second Set. As if to say, here we go, and we're all in this together.   Right on, Richard!

Phish's "Moma Dance" followed by Pink Floyd's "Mother" was fun back to back, especially since some interpreters tend to think of Phish's tune as having a maternal feel to it because of its name (which if you look at the lyrics doesn't really, and more makes you feel like you are a prep school hippy summering in Oak Bluffs with your Vineyard Vines khakis, or back in the day, Vuarnets).

We are in the throes of a presidential election year, so when they arrived at the lyric "mother should I trust the government" in "Mother" I couldn't help but elevate on a nearby bar stool look out at the sea of fans and wonder if anybody else was thinking about what will happen this November

An added bonus, of course, is that while everyone there comes for the good vibes and tasty tunes, there's always a great communal feel at these types of shows. Either you see people you know, meet new friends, or don't even talk to a single soul but you have the feeling of connecting with something greater than you because of the music.  The question is: what do you do with that feeling when you walk out the door?

Thank you to PTF for posting the official setlist.

April 9th, 2016
The Ardmore Music Hall
Ardmore, PA
Gamehendge concept
Set 1:
Wilson Prelude*>
In The Flesh>
The Lizards>
Psycho Killer>
The Lizards
Have A Cigar>
Esther Interlude>
Crosseyed And Painless
AC/DC Bag>
Wild Wild Life
Colonel Forbins Ascent>
Great Gig In The Sky**>
Famous Mockingbird>
Once In A Lifetime>
The Sloth
Set 2:
Shine On You Crazy Diamond****>
What A Day That Was>
Moma Dance
Take Me To The River>
Down With Disease>
Life During Wartime>
Down With Disease
E: Loving Cup
*w/ Is There Anybody Out There? and Houses In Motion lyrics
**w/ Aly Paige on vocals
***w/ David Bowie tease and "I Want My MTV" lyric from Money For Nothing
****w/ Harpua and David Bowie teases

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bernie Reprise: Two TV Sets & Two Cadillac Cars

Many moons ago, my dear friend Ariela told me that if this is a Phish blog, she'd be lost.  I assured her that it is not.  Sure, I am inspired by much of my favorite band's lyrics, but as stated in the subheader, this is a cultural commentary.  I talk about parenting and other stuff too.

However, it's a presidential election this year.   Me?  I don't get too into it.  I can say I will not vote for a bigoted and racist fool.

So far, the thing that has caught my attention is that Bernie Sanders has wonderful things to say about the band that changed my life.   Yep, Loony gets about that deep when it comes to her politics.  As the old adage goes, "Her life was saved by rock-n-roll" (and the Torah).

I know that most of you reading can't relate to the power of a Tweezer Reprise, but there is incredible power, emotion, depth of heart in experiencing that song live.   Ask any phan and no one will deny the proper respect that a Tweeprise deserves.  There's little debate that this tune is emblematic of the Phish experience.  It's filled with positivity and hope and all good things.  It is a very motivational tune.

So when Bernie walked out to this tune at a recent rally, I was pretty psyched.

I was also pretty psyched to meet the very solid and kind Tom Marshall, one of Phish's essential lyricists and collaborators, recently though a friend.   Sometimes it's hard to keep all of my seemingly disjointed thoughts together, but I shared with his wife, whose name is spelled Lea Lea but pronounced "LiLi" as in the song "Yaalili", that her name reminds me of this really catchy tune that was popular in the Jewish world like 5 years ago.   She definitely gave me a blank stare, but was kind about it.  Am I nuts?  Nah, just got a little bit of the loony thing going on.

When you have a conphergence of a person who loves both Phish and her ancient heritage (that's me you're talking about!), you get one freaky, heady holy chiller!

How I get from a Princeton prep school hippy who writes noodley jamband tunes (the classic one being Golgi Apparatus)  to heart-o-Flatbush observant, chassidic Jews who created a tune that has reached millions of Jews is the power of my ever connecting thoughts.  I attribute this ability to the aybishter, as always.  What can I say, it's a G!d-given gift.  I just want more people in my life who can appreciate this stuff.

I just hope that Tom and Lea Lea got a kick out of the video.  And of the Balki-looking guy towards the end.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Farberware is Built to Last!

My mother's friend Shelley always swore by Farberware, so when I first married I got a few pieces.  Over the years, I have acquired more.  As a kosher keeper, I have two sets, naturally.  I still use some of the other brands, but I really do love Farberware.

check out what I have for meat!

So I was pretty disappointed when the lid to my dairy 8 quart slipped on the counter and the knob fell off.

I called Farberware's 800 number,  800-809-7166 isn't so easy to find, but find it I did!  Can I tell you how amazing of a customer service experience this was?  In this day and age of long queue waits on the phone and being given the runaround by companies, this was not at all the case with Farberware!

My friendly customer service rep, Richard G, was nothing but pleasant over the phone.  He said if it is a factory defect they will send me a replacement for free.  Within an hour of looking at the photo I emailed (to his personal email at the company, not some anonymous address), he replied to me, stating indeed they would replace it for free.  And actually I am getting not the glass top (which I never really loved), but the stainless top, which is my preference.

As the music I love is always on my mind, I could not help but state:

Farberware is built to last!

And so is Jerry, whom I continue to thank for being part of such an important venture.

There are times that you can beckon
There are times when you must call
You can shake a ton of reckoning
But you can't shake it all
There are times when I can help you out
And times that you must fall
There are times when you must live in doubt
And I can't help at all

Three blue stars / Rise on the hill
Say no more, now / Just be still
All these trials / Soon be past
Look for something / Built to last

Wind held by the collar
Got a cloud held by the breeze
You can walk on coals of fire
But sometimes you must freeze
There are times when you offend me
And I do the same to you
If we can't or won't forget it,
then I guess we could be through

One blue star / Sets on the hill
Call it back / You never will
One more star / Sinks in the past
Show me something / Built to last.

Built to last till time itself
Falls tumbling from the wall
Built to last till sunshine fails
And darkness moves on all
Built to last while years roll past
Like cloudscapes in the sky
Show me something built to last
Or something built to try

There are times when you get hit upon
Try hard but you cannot give
Other times you'd gladly part
With what you need to live
Don't waste the breath to save your face
When you have done your best
And even more is asked of you
Let fate decide the rest.

All the stars / Are gone but one
Morning breaks / Here comes the sun
Cross the sky now / Sinking fast
Show me something / Built to last

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mighty Quinn on the Bus

It's ticket pre order season for summer shows and I am figuring out what we're going to do.  Continuing feeling grateful and blessed we can now finally get to more shows.  Stango is so supportive, and that's really the best part.

Been busy with headybands, hoodies, and other mech-related products to Whole Phamily.  So the blog has been dormant.  But I know there are some of you who enjoy  this blog.  So consider this an entry just for you.

There's just so much I love about live music.

You're either on the bus or you're off the bus.

So glad to be on it.

When Quinn the Eskimo gets here...

The author of the Mighty Quinn