Friday, 29 May 2009

More Telecommunication Nightmares

It is amazing how a simple little rant about an everyday item like a cell phone can spur you people into sharing. Yesterday's post about our tete-a-tete with Bell Canada concerning our cell phone plan, brought out the stories. One poster even ranted about Emily, the automated attendant, calling the unfortunate mechanical voice a bitch. Here are a few of the anecdotes.

One friend told of his son losing his cell approximately nine months ago. After nagging the boy to replace the phone for what seemed like an eternity, my friend finally decided to end the misery and cancel the boy's place on the family plan. When he called Rogers, he was told that he would have to pay a fee of about $400.00 to terminate the number because he was canceling in the middle of a contract. When he tried to explain that the phone was gone and no longer in use, he was rebuffed and told that it was actually cheaper to keep paying for the dormant phone, rather than cancel the contract. He tried with little success to reduce the monthly charges, but all that Ted's company would give him was a $5 rebate. DUMB???

My mother called to tell me about one of her many conversations with Rogers. Mom owns an iPhone, so she certainly understands the concept of being ripped off by her cell provider. My parents will be traveling to north Africa in about a month and my mother wanted to know about texting and emailing from her iPhone in that part of the world. After her requisite time in the automated queue, she was informed by the Rogers girl that it would stupid to text. A text would cost her $.60 each time for both outgoing or incoming. "Why doesn't she just email from her phone?", the girl inquired. It would not even come close to using up her data plan. Mom hung up feeling slightly uncomfortable with the answer, so she immediately called back, waited another long period and finally spoke to yet another customer "service" person. She asked the same question and this time was greeted with, "Why would you email?" "You will get heavily dinged for the roaming!!" Two agents, a half an hour apart and two polar opposite responses. Nobody at these companies seems to understand their products and no two customers seem to have the same plans. It is almost as if they purposefully obfuscate so that customers will accept and pay. 

The Husband and I have used Yak services for our land line long distance. It has been very reliable and relatively inexpensive. For the last month, we have been getting phone calls from Yak saying that our bill was overdue. When we went online to ascertain the problem, we discovered that the bill was for $1.16. How this occurred puzzled us, but a bill is a bill and we were more than willing to pay. They refused to allow us to pay online or at the bank because it is under $5.00 and there is no mailing address available. When we called, we were on the phone for over an hour and then disconnected. Yak has now taken to calling us every hour on the hour for the last week. When I went back online, I discovered that our bill is now $0.00. It was obviously a clerical error, but that hasn't stopped the phone calls. It is like water torture! Make it stop!!! 

I know that there are more like this out there. Keep them coming and I will publish. I am so tired of being taken advantage. Let's rally the troops and start the revolution. 

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Can Anybody Out There Explain My Cell Plan?

I hope that you all can follow this story because honestly I am having a difficult time with all of the turns. The bottom line is that we Canadians have been held hostage to three major cell phone carriers for far too long (I won't use the word collusion, but I am tempted to!) and are in desperate need of a true influx of competition in order to bring prices down and service quality up. Here in a nutshell is our latest go-round with Bell.

We have been good and loyal customers of Bell Canada since forever. Several years ago, following many nasty conversations with the company that Ted built, we became a Rogers free household. At the time, I was tempted to put a neon sign on my front lawn shouting the occasion for all of the neighbours to see, but I was dissuaded by the level-headed Husband. By totally dissing Rogers, we bundled all of our television, telephone, computer and cell phone plans into one gigantic Bell ball. Over the ensuing years, we have had a few minor issues with Bell, (satellite television is more sensitive to weather patterns and doesn't always add many of the channels that I would prefer. For example, we get Fox News and not MSNBC, which for a left-leaning liberal is a little like the Supreme Court of the United States choosing Bush over Gore.) but for the most part we have been satisfied customers. Our cell plan has always served us well in theory, but as the kids have aged and new layers have been added to cell needs like call display, long distance, text messaging, web-surfing and the like, it became obvious to all of us that our cell plan required an upgrade. Text messaging alone has become an albatross on our bill. Younger Son uses it the way we use oxygen and it has become his primary source of communication with all he comes in contact with, including special friends in the States. 

Bell likes to tout its wonderfully interactive website in order to access all of your wireless needs, but the site is incredibly difficult to navigate. It seemed logical to The Husband that in order to figure out how to upgrade our plan, we first needed to fully understand what we already have. The only detail that we were able to definitively discover on the web is how much our current bill is. Nowhere on the bill does it outline the details of our plan. Also, new plans and bundles must be hidden under a menu that we couldn't find or access. Every time I thought I had it figured out, it kept bouncing me back to our billing. (Bell must really be worried about getting paid!!) With Younger Son leaving for his summer employment at camp in the heart of the Midwest this week, it became imperative that we resolve these issues immediately. An aside: Last summer our text messaging bill was in the hundreds of dollars as a result of his texting. The kids on camp would use texting the way we used to use a walkie talkie. A sample text conversation might go something like this.

1. "Where are you?"
2. "Up top!"
1. "You are supposed to be in a staff meeting"
2. "OH!"
1. "Get your butt to the Moadon now!!"
2. "Ok"
1. "Bye"
2. "Bye"

In Bell land, that counts as eight texts (we here in the Great White count incoming and outgoing) so we knew that we needed a better fit. On Tuesday afternoon, in anticipation of Younger Son's departure, The Husband braved the automated call centre of Bell Canada. After waiting in the queue for an hour and ready to yank out whatever was left of his hair, he announced that mission had been accomplished. "Great", I said. "What does the new deal look like?" He looked perplexed and stated categorically, that he had absolutely no idea what the details were. After an hour on the phone and attempting to navigate 4 separate changes to our plan (upgrading texting for Canada, upgrading texting for the US, long distance for the US and more minutes for the family plan) he became so totally confused and overwhelmed that he just said yes to everything. I was able to discern that we now have unlimited texting in Canada, but that doesn't help Younger Son's issues south of the border. We think he has 100 minutes of long distance talk time, but only 200 texts per month. He could eat through that in a week. If he goes over 200, it will cost (are you ready?) $.60 a text, incoming or outgoing!!! Stunning. We made it very clear to Younger Son that we want no part of Bell's usury and he must monitor his texting. He whined about the special friends, and while we are sympathetic, we cannot and will not be forced into bankruptcy by our cell phone bill.

He is smarter than all of us. Yesterday when he arrived in Indianapolis, he went to WalMart and bought a pre-paid phone. For $50.00 a month he has 400 minutes of talk time and for an extra 10 gets unlimited texting. Nothing on Bell even came close to this deal, so we gave him our blessing and gladly paid for the purchase. Anybody here in Canada who has ever attempted to navigate the mess that is Rogers, Bell or Telus knows what I am talking about. Our American cousins can access cheap affordable cell packages that include everything from unlimited data plans to unlimited texting and a smorgasbord of options, while we here continue to accept being raped by our telecommunications companies. I know you all have stories. I would love to hear them.


As the Husband has eloquently pointed out in the comments, his prepaid plan actually gives him unlimited talk time in the evenings, when he will be using it the most. Thanks, Husband. I knew there was a reason I keep you around. ; )

Monday, 25 May 2009

There's Sloppy and Then There's Dirty!

It seems that a Cleveland man called 911 late last week after arguing with his son about cleaning his room. What makes the story even more bizarre, is that the son in question is a 28 year old school board official who still lives with his parents. Apparently younger man got into a heated discussion with his dad over the lack of cleanliness in his living space, and threw a plate of food at the older gent. He also balled up his fist and shook it in papa's direction, apparently scaring the old guy enough to incite the 911 call.  Now anybody who has had the privilege of parenting has probably engaged in a discussion of this nature. Usually it starts innocently enough with the parent not so quietly suggesting to the progeny that maybe a bit of straightening up is required, and it often ends with one party or the other screaming territorial boundaries and slamming doors. This incident in the birthplace of rock and roll sent my synapses flaring. I started wondering (aside from the obvious and slightly off-putting question of why a 28 year old employed person is still residing in mom and dad's domain) about how bad a child's room would have to get before calling in the authorities? Exactly how disgusting would disgusting need to be in order to push me over the edge? I have compiled a list.

  •  Creepy Crawlies: I am not in the least bit bug-phobic. As a matter of fact, I am the go-to person in a house of men when it comes to annihilating, spraying, vacuuming, or flushing anything with more than four legs. I do not however, roll out the welcome mat for these creatures, and dirt is indeed an invitation that there is an insect party just waiting for a start time. If things are crawling, nesting or flying around the house because they were welcomed by garbage in one room, I might need to bring in the cops.
  •  Rodents: See above explanation with the explicit caveat that these creatures leave little presents behind and can carry disease, so I am much more squeamish about Mickey, Minnie and all of their little nieces and nephews.
  • Rotting Food and Dirty Dishes: There is nothing more repulsive than the odour of old, uneaten, decomposing food. We are not running a medical lab in this house and therefore the creation of penicillin is not an activity in which we engage. Food is consumed in the kitchen and occasionally in front of the TV. Dishes do not leave the vicinity and should never be in the sleeping quarters. Food and dirty plates left untreated invites the aforementioned creepy crawlies and rodents. This is an issue on which I am unbending and would be very willing to call in the authorities. 
  • Unwashed Laundry: While I couldn't live with it in my own space, I can understand a certain amount of clothing littering a young person's room. I don't like it and believe me, Younger Son and I have had many a battle over the years about picking up clothing off of his floor, but I draw the line at weeks of unwashed, malodorous t-shirts, boxers, gym socks and jeans piling up in small versions of Kilimanjaro. Laundry is to be done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and clothing is too expensive to be treated so carelessly. It is the smell that really gets me, though. Remnants of everything from last night's pizza to last weekend's swim party tend to linger and become embedded in the carpets, pillows and sheets. It might be enough to dial 911.
I have been a parent long enough now to realize that as long as these simple rules are followed, I can live with a little disorder, an unmade bed or two, or some piles of books in the corner on the floor. I hate it and more often than not I would like to go in and clean it myself,  but I have learned to simply close the door and accept that I can't have it all even in my own home. Break one of Dawn's commandments of cleanliness however, and you might find yourself in the back of a police cruiser headed to central booking. 

Monday, 18 May 2009

Theatre of the Absurd

This is one of those stories that leaves everyone scratching their heads and collectively exclaim "Huh???" It defies logic and yet, as I write this post I am watching the repercussions play out on my front lawn. It goes like this.

We have a pool in the backyard. It is a wonderful living space that we custom designed so that it would become an extension of our home. The pool is surrounded by a myriad of flowering trees; maples, oaks, pear and a lovely apple tree in my next door neighbour's yard. There are also some pine, fir and much flora, and as such we have created our own little slice of nature, even if we can only enjoy it for a fraction of the year. Every year, as is the cycle of the earth, many of these trees shed their leaves and much of this organic debris deposits itself in our already winterized covered pool. By the time the spring rolls around, the resulting pond of sludge that has accumulated in our pool cover is a smelly disarray of guck. The ducks and geese may enjoy swimming in pond scum, but it is not fit for most mammals. 

Every year I wait with anticipation for the pool company to come and open up the pool; as much for the cleanliness as for the swimming season that lay ahead. But there is a hitch. When the guys from the pool company clean out the leaves from the cover, they place the mess-water and all-into transparent plastic bags. Now, I don't know what the city bylaws are like where you live, but in my end of the world, the city will only pick up organic yard waste in enviro-friendly paper bags that are open at the top. This leaves it to us to transfer the foul-smelling mess from plastic to paper. Last week, Younger Son and I attempted to attend to this task, but we didn't do it very well. After hauling excessively heavy wet leaves and water into the paper bags, we lazily left in some of the plastic. I know that we were absolutely at fault here, but it was as close to an impossible household task as I have been faced with in a long time. Of course, the inevitable occurred and the city refused to haul the refuse, leaving behind a caustic note. Now, by my logic and The Husband's, we pay the pool company a great deal of money to clean and open the pool, the least they could do is place the crap in paper bags. So, The Husband calls the pool company and politely and patiently explains our problem in the hopes that they will come and haul the bags. The owner of the company calls back and just as gently and just as patiently explains to The Husband to either deal with it or find a new pool company. Business must be good in the pool world, as I don't know anybody who would risk losing clients in this economy. He tells the Husband that he doesn't know of a company in the area that will do it any differently (remains to be seen!) and he also states quite clearly that nobody else ever complains about this and that this issue is our problem not theirs. He even goes so far as to give the Husband a primer on how to transfer the leaves from one bag to another. It seems to me if it were that easy, they would have done it in the first place and not given us a make-work project. 

After the ridiculous phone call, we went out to buy new paper bags so that we could make the transfer in time for the next trash pick-up. The Husband and Younger Son are engaged in this project as I type, all the while swearing, kicking, screaming and stinking. The Husband thinks that he has injured his back and Younger Son said that he will think twice about coming home before this task is completed. I still cannot be-"leaf" the entire tale. Maybe the answer is to move the pool to the desert where deciduous trees are not an issue. Phoenix is looking pretty good right about now.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Haven't They Learned, Yet?

It seems that the Conservative party of Canada is starting to concern itself with its political fortunes. Their poll numbers have been dropping precipitously since the revelation of the do-nothing budget in the fall and the corresponding rise in unemployment figures. The economy is in turmoil, unemployment insurance is under attack from both opposition members and party insiders, including the wife of the Minister of Finance, who herself has ambitions to be the leader of the Ontario Tories. The Prime Minister has been uncomfortably quiet on hot-button issues like Afghanistan, green projects, and cutting red-tape to release promised stimulus monies, and yet his party has decided that the time was apparently ripe to launch a series of attack ads on the newly-minted leader of the Grits. The new ads attack Michael Ignatieff as a cultural and intellectual elite who has been parachuted back into the country and obviously cannot converse on a genuine level with regular Canadians. Watch:

Haven't we seen this show before? Wouldn't you think that the Conservatives would have learned a real political lesson from the election campaign just waged south of the border? Voters in general have decided to forgo voting for the candidate with the stupid gene, and instead have decided that intelligence, education, ideas and calm temperament are far more important character traits than down-home folksiness and intellectual incuriousity. I don't feel the need to have a beer with my Prime Minister, (I actually don't feel that connection with Sweatered Stevie the Stiff either!) and I don't want him or her making crucial decisions from the proverbial gut. I want him or her to be an esoteric problem solver, creative thinker, articulate conveyor of thought and, frankly an Ivy-League education is a good resume item to help down that path. I want to believe that the people that I elect are smarter than me. If they aren't, then we are all in real trouble. Mr. Ignatieff has a great deal still to prove to the people of Canada before we entrust him with an address on Sussex Drive, but his intellectual prowess and real-world skill set gained from years of teaching, studying, listening and traveling abroad are advantages to his growth as the Liberal leader not character flaws. I think that the Conservative Party of Canada could find a better use for its funds and its "creative" department than these miserable ads. How about employing a few intellectual elites to help solve the economic crisis and other real problems facing this country? I am sure that a few of them could use the work.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Happy Peace and Disarmament Day!

It is no great secret that I am not a tremendous fan of Mother's Day. Last year in this space, I delved into the history of the greatest scam that Hallmark has ever perpetrated on the North American public, but I also acknowledged with some reluctance that there is a true moral dilemma facing all of us on this day. If one subscribes to the school of thought (as do I) that having a separate designated day to heap praise upon moms is tremendously unnecessary, provided that said praise is done on a regular basis, then why is the guilt that comes from external forces to recognize this ridiculousness (those that are BBQing and brunching) so tremendous? If I say to my own children that Mother's Day is meaningless to me, (and it truly is!) why do I feel neglected if I don't hear from them? Have I turned into a classic Jewish mother who bitches and moans? The two-faced monster that has been created out of the debris of Mother's Day is disconcerting to me to say the least. Last year I offered my own mother a thank you list that is still relevant and true.  This year, I thought that rather than look at this retail concoction of a holiday from the point of view of a daughter, I would look at it from a mother's perspective and offer my sons a primer. These are the things that I require from my children and will relieve them of all present and future Mother's Day commitments. Note that none of them involves gift wrap, brunches, wasteful greeting cards or a single flower. 

  • Call on a regular basis. I know that this is classic maternal nagging, but mothers require regular contact with their children. It has something to do with that internal shredding that we go through for nine months. We like to think that the pain wasn't suffered needlessly, and a bit of vocal contact with our progeny satisfies the separation anxiety. (Instant messaging can also accommodate the same thing, but there is a closeness that is achieved by hearing your voices. It sets off the maternal pheromones.)
  • When you do manage to find the time to call, support your end of the conversation. I hate feeling like I am pulling teeth when I talk to my children. Initiate, converse and fill in details. I don't know why, but the minutiae of your lives is important to me.
  • Keep me posted about the exciting and the mundane. Every day isn't filled with life highlights, nor do I expect every day to be a laugh riot, but keeping me up to date is crucial to me. It allows me the belief that I am not an after- thought in your worlds. If you really want to give me a gift, indulge my fantasy.
  • Put a mezzuzah up on your living quarters. I worked very hard at raising what I hope are competent, caring and proud Jewish men. I don't for a minute expect you to believe all that I believe, but a mezzuzah is a symbol that a Jew lives here. Your Judaism is an integral part of who you are, whether you know it now or not, so indulge me. I have a great deal invested in it. I will even provide the necessary item and the hammer to do the job.
  • Keep a measure of family commitment with you, always. While you are both at stages of your lives where independence is sacred, you are never alone and familial support is always paramount. In other words, when you are invited-show up.
  • Remain each other's friend. I realize that I am telling you something that I probably don't need to, but there are always issues between siblings that have destructive potential. One of the great joys of my life is knowing that my two sons genuinely and affectionately like each other and enjoy spending time together. I have no idea what I did to deserve this gift, but I want it to stay for a lifetime. A sibling is the only person in your life that knows you from childhood through to old-age. They are the only person that shares all common experiences and bonds. Friends can know some, spouses know some and parents know some, but siblings know all. Cherish each other and rely on each other's strengths while learning from each other's weaknesses. Watching the two of you together is a wonderful gift.
  • Let's continue to have fun as a family. We can go to dinner, a movie or simply talk about the philosophy behind Lost. We can argue about the Blue Jays, rail against the Leafs or marvel at a new play. We are learning a new relationship dynamic as adults. Let's enjoy it. 
  • I want you both to live happy and productive lives. This means finding self-satisfaction in whatever career path you might choose, and finding life partners that fit with you and your goals and compliments your ambitions. Life is hard enough without someone special to share it with. 
So there you have it. No gifts necessary. Just a few easy (?) life lessons to follow from the old lady that one day expects to be placed in a nice "home" by her boys. I should point out for those that might be interested, that both of the them called today to chat. No gifts mind you, but thoughtful caring conversations. The only hard-copy gift that I received was a single white rose from the clerk at What a Bagel. I appreciated the phone calls much more. 

Happy Peace and Disarmament Day to all.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Suddenly, I am in the Hospitality Biz

When did my house become a hotel with benefits? When did I start running a bed and breakfast free of charge? When did my home become a gratis refuge and storage facility? After almost nine months of peaceful easy feelings and blissful order, cleanliness and organization, my children have returned home, albeit temporarily, and brought with them an avalanche of shit! 

Older Son made his way home this week to begin the long-procrastinated process of packing up his bedroom. He has lived out of the house for most of the past 4 years, and he is finally making the move into his first adult (read: not student!) place of residence. He asked if he could take certain items from the room (like the bed and bookcases) to seed the new place, and The Husband and I were more than willing to accommodate his request, provided that he clean up the space to our satisfaction and toss the crap that has been accumulating over his entire lifetime. After spending most of Tuesday evening cloistered in the room with boxes and garbage bags, he informed me that he has pretty much decided which items would be making the move to the new place and which items would be staying put. STAYING PUT????? I don't want any of it to stay put. I told him that if he left it behind, I would toss it into a dumpster-much to his chagrin. There is stuff in there from his elementary school days, Mad magazines that are at least 5-10 years old, and keepsakes from his camper days. There are clothes in the closet that haven't been worn since Clinton was president (in fairness-most of these are t-shirts from camp!) and video tapes that he can't play anymore because he doesn't own a VCR. (who does?) Now, I am as sentimental as any mother could be, but my attitude is to pack up the memories in a box and heave the rest out with the trash. When I tried to voice my concerns that his room was fast becoming my junk pile, he categorically stated "Don't worry, Mom!" (I hate those three words!!) "I will move everything to the peripheries of the room so that they will be out of the way." My heated response was "Get this shit out of here, NOW!" Funny how we fall back into old parent/child dynamics. The truck is coming on Saturday to move the big stuff and I plan on attending Shabbat morning services so that I don't have to watch his landfill project transfer to my home. I have given him a deadline of June 30th. Whatever is left goes to Goodwill. 

And then there is Younger Son. His freshman year at university is finally at an end, and he returned home yesterday complete with duffle bags and boxes packed to overflowing. I truly don't recall sending him off in September with all of that shit. I offered to drive down with The Husband to pick him up, but I was told that there probably wasn't enough room in the car for all of his crap and me. (Nice isn't it, how I have been lumped in with the crap?) We got him and his paraphernalia into the house and, of course he had trouble finding space for all of it. He asked if he could store some of the crap in Older Son's room, and suffice it to say that the sarcasm that dripped from my mouth is not really printable in this family-style blog. "Just for a while, Mom!" (a few more words that I hate!) He did manage to hide the worst of the mess, so at least I don't have to see it. (Where it is is a true mystery, but I am not tempting the fates.) He came downstairs after the unpacking, raided the refrigerator, asked what was for dinner and vegetated in front of the TV all evening. (4 exams in 3 days!) He then reminded me that he was taking off the next morning for a 5 day road-trip with his frat buddies and that he would see me on Monday. He departed this morning leaving his bed unmade (I guess the maid will get to it?) and a wet towel in the bathroom. He will be back for a few days and then off again next weekend. He is working at camp for the summer and departs at the end of the month, but in the meantime I am dreading the grocery bills. I have become his weigh station.

When people advise you of the "Empty Nest Syndrome", they rarely warn you that it is a temporary state of being. You see, once you have children they are yours for life. They never really and truly leave you. Instead, they leave remnants of their presence in every hall, room and crevice of your personal space. I love my boys, really I do, and I love having them around, but I just don't happen to love all of their stuff. My days as a hotelier are at an end.

Monday, 4 May 2009

I love Geeses to Pieces!

The goslings have arrived! In an update to my previous post about the nesting geese in front of the distillery, I wanted to advise that the little ones made their appearance this afternoon. We sent Older Son out with a flak jacket and the camera again (Mama Goose was in attack mode!) to document the happy event. Hopefully the entire family will find new lodgings as soon as the 5 (we think?) babies are travel-worthy. 

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Happy Birthday Pete!

Happy 90th, Mr. Seeger. You have been a true inspiration to musicians, activists, environmentalists and social commentators the world over. May we look back and celebrate with you today a life fully and joyfully lived with admiration, respect for convictions, and art shared with all. Musical celebrations are taking place the world over today, not just in NYC. Concerts and shows scheduled include Australia, Boston, Toronto, Scotland, Richmond Va, Knoxville Tenn., Dayton Ohio, Rockville MD, Bellingham Wash, Seattle, and Ithaca NY. Some interesting Seeger facts.
  • Awarded the Mid Hudson Civic Centre Hall of Fame. Pete loves this type of not for profit stuff.
  • Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
  • National Medal of the Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Kennedy Centre Lifetime Achievement Award
  • The Harvard Arts Medal
  • Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • 2 Grammy Awards-most recently this past year for his album At 89
  • The Letelier-Moffat Human Rights Award

Pete is still performing. He was onstage at the concert commemorating President Obama's inauguration, sang a few weeks ago at Earth Day celebrations, and jammed at Preservation Hall in New Orleans last month. While his voice is a bit quieter and his fingers a little slower, the passion is still readily apparent and the music still there in abundance. Yesterday, Older Son asked me what my fascination with Mr. Seeger is all about. (I think that he secretly worried that I might turn into some creepy stalker lady!) I told him, quite bluntly, that every musician that he admires draws some influence from Pete. One only has to review the long and eclectic list of artists honouring him tonight at Madison Square Garden, to see that perspective. Simply put, the man is the best. How can one not admire and be fascinated by the best? Was he perfect? Certainly not. Did he make mistakes? Absolutely! But the music speaks for itself and cannot be denied. Happy Birthday, Mr. Seeger. Many more to come. 

Saturday, 2 May 2009

If I Had a Hammer

In 1986, Pete began performing with his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger on a regular basis. This performance of his classic If I Had a Hammer was done in concert with Arlo, Tao and various family members at Wolftrap in 1993. Today, it is not unusual to catch Pete and Tao in local performances close to his home in the Hudson Valley, often supporting environmental causes or even the local church. Just as he does in this video, Pete is still a master of involving the audience. He loves being enveloped by the music of the crowd.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Weavers (Re-union) - Wimoweh

In 1980, suffering from the ravages of tuberculosis and diabetes, Lee Hays decided to finally write his oft-postponed autobiography. That transformed into a very different project that became a documentary film by Jim Brown about The Weavers. Wasn't That a Time was based around interviews and discussions with the various members and culminated with 2 reunion concerts held at Carnegie Hall on November 28th and 29th, 1980. All four of the original members were there; grayer and certainly more worldly, but none the worse for voice, especially Pete. He still hits the high notes on Wimoweh with perfect pitch, delighting the sold-out crowd. Lee Hays died shortly after the concerts at Carnegie, leaving behind a lasting legacy of music, and Pete as the reigning Old Folkie. I love that the interviews in the crowd show people of all generations, young and not-so-old. The circle remains unbroken. Wasn't That a Time can still be viewed from time to time on PBS and is available on VHS at Amazon. What a wonderful way to wish you all Shabbat Shalom.