Fall Fading, Winter Rising

November 16, 2014 1 comment

longbenchAs the colors fade and the temperature begins its steady descent I feel content and grateful.  I have family, friends, work, music and poetry in my life, and I find that life holds ever new wonders for my amazement.

In poetry at Eye On Life, Donal Mahoney continues his long run of (nearly) weekly submissions and his canon at EOL has grown to be the longest of all our contributors.  Other repeat offenders, like J.K. Durick and Erren Geraud Kelly (just to name a couple) have made EOL more of a community of poets where readers can find both the familiar and the new.  We are blessed to have attracted these wonderful poets.

On the music front I continue to work to publicize the concerts I will be performing in with Too Klez For Comfort, Unclaimed Freight and my own brand new band, The Rubenoff Project.  With the Project I am learning new organizational skills and more about being a leader.  ‘Coincidentally’ (ha) my synagogue has been studying soul attributes through the Mussar tradition, and the section on humility was especially interesting.  I have long believed that one of my primary missions here has been to learn humility.  In the Mussar tradition, humility means taking up one’s rightful space:  no more, no less.  Thinking myself humble I have often taken up less than my rightful space, but now I learn – and this principle is reinforced when I play music with others – that taking up less space than one should is as bad as if not worse than taking more than one’s fair share.  Hmm.  Who woulda thunk?

Much Music

November 7, 2014 1 comment

me_boneIt is very much a pleasure to have so much music in my life.  I am very busy with it, composing, arranging, playing, organizing.   For several years now I have become steadily more involved in music to the point that now I often write lyrics instead of a poem.  I still write more poetry than lyrics, but the percentage of my writing energy engaged in creating lyrics has increased.

Coming up on November 23rd I’ll be playing with the Klezmer band, Too Klez For Comfort, at Temple Beth Zion for the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.  We’ll do a few songs and there will also be other music including church and/or temple choirs.  It was a beautiful service last year at St. Mary’s Church and I’m sure it will be even more so this year at TBZ.

On December 5th Unclaimed Freight will open the show at Copperfield’s in Boston at 9:30 PM, and on December 14th I will be performing my own music with The Rubenoff Project at the Lilypad beginning at 3:30 PM.

I am still publishing the poetry of mostly others at Eye On Life, so stop by and read.  We have new poetry every week.

The Rubenoff Project

October 31, 2014 Leave a comment

RubenoffProjectI have been working on my technique – vocal and trombonal – and writing and arranging music for some time on my way to I knew not where.  Yet I had the idea that I would play the Lilypad in Cambridge.  And now this is coming to pass.

On December 14th, 2014, at 3:30 PM the doors of the Lilypad will open onto The Rubenoff Project.

I will be back with a full report.  :)

Categories: Uncategorized

Slouching Toward September

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

wachusettPIN62014_003Submissions are up at The Poetry Locksmith, which is COOL. We are blessed that many new poets have found us at Eye On Life, enriching our pages with their work. I (and we) are grateful.  Please stop by and enjoy the voices of Nina Longfield, M. Drew Williams, Valentina Cano and many others.

As I mentioned I have started posting a little of my own work at The Poetry Locksmith, too.  For years I felt it was a conflict of interest, but since we changed the design of the whole site a couple of years ago, and because I do not place ads on other poets’ poems, I have had no place to put ads on the Poetry Unlocked pages. Now I can put ads on my own work and feel that I have not done anyone wrong by marring their work with advertising – only mine. At the same time it gives me a creative outlet. It’s a win-win situation.

Musically things are often quiet in the summer because band members are on vacation, but now things are beginning to flow again.  Gigs are scheduled for Unclaimed Freight and Too Klez for Comfort already, and I hope to schedule a performance of my own work soon. I will be sessioning with a brand new group of musicians at the end of August to see where we can go.  If good recordings result I will be sure to cue you in.

My latest and greatest music can always be found at Reverbnation, a site that offers promotion services for musicians and composers like me :)  I have a few tunes there for your listening pleasure.

In the Hardware Genius sector I published an article about electric strikes and another one about how to become an online hardware dealer.

That about sums up my creative activity for now.  Hope you all are having as much fun as I am.

Back from Israel

August 3, 2014 Leave a comment
Tzfat, Israel

Tzfat, Israel

My wife and I just returned from two weeks in Israel with the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) mission, “Follow Me To Israel.”  The 10-day mission was to interview youth groups visiting Israel to find out their motivations for coming and learn about their experience there, and also to explore first hand the range of opportunities that Israel offers to young people.   Now that we are back it will be our job to promote trips to Israel for teenagers at our synagogue.

It was a very action-packed trip, as each day we interviewed a youth group or two and had a lecture or presentation or brainstorming session, and also toured an historic site.  We spent a few nights in Jerusalem, a couple nights in Haifa, and then a few more nights in Jerusalem.  We returned to our hotel happily exhausted every night.  We return to Boston energized and equipped with the information and experiences we need to promote Israel travel.

At the end of the Israel phase of the mission we left the group and went off on our own to spend three relatively leisurely days in the city of Tzfat in northern Israel.  Tzfat (often shown on the map as Safed) is said to be the birthplace of Kabbalah and remains a center for Jewish spirituality today, as it has been for thousands of years.  There we were able to make  personal connections with several remarkable people.  Although we were universally welcomed throughout Israel, especially since we did not cancel our trip due to current circumstances there, in Tzfat I think we found some of the friendliest people I have ever met.

Concerning the Conflict:

As our Israel journey was approaching, hostilities escalated between Israel and Gaza.   Our CJP sponsors satisfied our safety concerns and so we did not change our plans, but went as scheduled on July 15, 2014.  As we traveled through Israel under the watchful eyes of “The Situation Room”, an Israeli office run by the Israeli police, the IDF and the Israeli environmental agency that advises all groups visiting Israel about where it may be safe or unsafe to go, and our excellent guides, logistics people and leaders, we neither saw nor heard any direct evidence of the conflict.

Although our itinerary was changed daily, we never knew it because they never told us where we were going until they were sure themselves.   The itineraries of the groups we were to interview were being changed daily as well, so our itinerary was a dynamically unfolding phenomenon.

We heard no sirens and saw no rockets but were advised what to do should we hear an air raid alert. As our journey unfolded we saw more IDF soldiers.  On our way north we saw many heavy equipment trailers loaded with Israeli tanks on the southbound side.  Israeli fighter jets flew at high altitude over Tzvat and Tel Aviv.

Yet wherever we went people were welcoming and friendly.  They were happy to see us, glad that we did not cancel our trip in time of trouble.  “It’s very bad this time,” I heard several Israelis say on several different occasions.  Israel is a very small country, so the degrees of separation tend to be less than one might find in larger nations.

Inevitably as conversation progressed with the Israelis we met, it would emerge that someone they know had been called to active duty, was engaged in combat or combat support, or was sadly wounded or killed in the line of duty.   The daughter of Asher, our guide, a champion swimmer, had been called to active duty before we arrived.  Rabbi Binny Freedman’s son, who shared Shabbat dinner with us reported to breakfast on Sunday in his IDF uniform and left from there to join the other fighters in the south.   I do not think that it is a stretch to say that almost every Israeli knows someone close to them who is, was, or will be directly involved in the conflict.

I pray that peace will come soon.


I neglected to mention that I will be mostly offline between July 15th and 28th, 2014, but I will doubtless have much to share upon my return.  Poetry submitted to Eye On Life in July will be considered for publication during the month of August.

I recently joined ReverbNation, having noticed that my talented friends Tracy Clark and Louise Van Aarson did so.  I notice that there are many ways to spend money at ReverbNation.  When I have more tunes I feel might be ready for public consumption perhaps I will avail myself of a few.

Thanks to all who stop by this far flung exit off the information superhighway.  I hope you are having a wonderful summer.  I did leave a little something for you to listen to called, “Tango with Danger.”  I hope you enjoy it.


“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien


Bubbles and Streamers

PINNashoba004Motion is a lovely illusion, full of nuance and visual stimuli.  The orderly-seeming motion of water and the mysterious effects of moving air are certainly fascinating phenomena.  Motion only exists because of relative position.   The motion of an object can only measured by its changing relationship to some other object.   It must be traveling either away from or toward some other thing.  Both objects are either in the process of coming to be or ceasing to be.   The path of the moving object is always a curve because both the objects and their relative motion have separate relationships with the energy and motion of the expanding universe.

In the midst of all these unpredictable eddies and currents I write to you unsure of everything, including my own existence – or perhaps yours, or both.   One might ask, why?  But why might one ask?

During the month of June, The Poetry Locksmith feature at Eye On Life was blessed with a good crop of poetry submissions.   We posted poetry from perennial contributor Donal Mahoney, new poets J.K. Durick, Frank C. Praeger, Cynthia Vantresca, Maria Picone and others, and returning poets Michael Estabrook and Diane Webster.   Please stop by and read their fine work.  You can read some of my work there, too.

Things have quieted down musically, as they usually do in the summer when many of the musicians I play with are away.  I will also be away for a couple of weeks and away from my instrument as well, so when I return I can look forward to getting my chops back.  I did manage to get the last piece from our recording session up at Soundcloud if you would like to hear it.

I have been working on some new music and will keep you posted as to my progress.

I wrote a couple more articles about door hardware, too, if that is one of your vices ;)

Thanks once again for stopping by.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29 other followers