Sunday, September 13, 2015


Here's a funny little anecdote.

A few nights ago, I was at my mom’s apartment and she and I were on the balcony. It was a nice night with a nice warm breeze, I had my guitar, and we were just sitting out there chatting.

Eventually, the conversation began to peter out, and when it did, I suggested we play a game. We had played this game before, and it goes like this: I play a song on my guitar and my mom has to guess whether the song is mine — i.e., whether I wrote it — or if someone else did.

My mom agreed to play and said, “OK, go.”

And so I did. The song I chose was “Real Love,” off the Imagine soundtrack. I played the first verse:

"All the little boys and girls/living in this crazy world/all they really needed from you/is maybe some love."

“So what do you think?” I asked. “Did I write that song or did someone else?”

My mom grinned. “Publish it” was all she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked

“That's not yours.”

“Yes it is!” I said.

“Publish it then," she said. "If that's yours, that is, like, wow, beyond amazing."

I must say, at this point I was pretty impressed. After all, I had only played the first verse, though the chord progression was signature John Lennon: D, D major 7, B minor, A augmented.

“OK, it's not mine," I said.

“I didn't think so.”

“It's John Lennon.”

“Ya see; I could tell."

What can I say, the woman's got a good ear.

Friday, September 04, 2015

The penny drops

You know, it's funny how and when certain things just come to you.

In the neighborhood where I grew up, Great Neck, there’s this village called Thomaston. Thomaston is very residential, quiet and pretty. Anyway, when I was younger, I always used to notice that there were these stickers on the backs of many street signs in Thomaston. The stickers were white, square and had the letters "V.T." printed on them. 

Anyway, I used to always wonder what that "V.T." stood for. I had been very much into graffiti when I was younger, so for the longest time, I thought that "V.T." was a tagger and that these were his stickers. I had had some other guesses about what "V.T." possibly stood for, but for the most part, the meaning behind those letters just always puzzled me. 

Fast forward to today. On Tuesday, I arrived home from Germany after not having been in the United States for two and a half years. I didn't feel like doing much the first few days after my arrival, but today, I decided to go running. And I decided to go running in Thomaston. 

So there I was, running through Thomaston. I chose to run in Thomaston because, well, it's pretty and quiet, remember? 

On the last leg of my run, I looked at the back of a stop sign, and guess what I saw. Yup, one of those "V.T." stickers. Once I saw it, I said to myself, "Wow, they still have those mysterious stickers up." But then almost immediately after I thought that, I finally realized: "V.T." It’s not a tagger or anything mysterious. "V.T." means “Village of Thomaston.” Those stickers were placed on the backs of the signs to show that the signs are the village's property.

Incredible. It took, like, a childhood and not living in the United States for two and a half years for that penny to finally drop.