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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ear Candy

I don't know if it's the 'matzav' (translation: 'situation'), the workday being interrupted occasionally by dashes to the shelter to await the 'boom' signaling that the rocket has landed somewhere and we can now go back to work... or maybe something else.  But whatever the reasons, I have been particularly 'antsy' and on-edge lately.

To try to distract myself I have started bringing my iPod with me to work... something I never used to do.  I figured that surrounding my mind with familiar music might calm me down and let me be more productive. 

However I've found I have no patience even for my favorite music.  I find myself listening to three or four seconds of a song and then skipping to the next one... and the next... and the next.  It's actually more disturbing than the vague distraction I've been experiencing.  I mean, if Steely Dan, Dvorak, Stan Kenton and Led Zeppelin couldn't get me centered... I was honestly out of ideas.

Even worse, I found that to deal with my lack of 'zitz-fleisch' (literally 'sitting meat'... the ability to sit still), I was starting to snack throughout the day... giving me a tummy ache and making my already problematic weight start to climb.

I've never been one for therapy or even self-help books, but I am not afraid of doing a little self analysis to see if I can figure out what's wrong... and how to fix things.  I can hear all you mental health professionals out there muttering 'idiot' under your collective breath, but hear me out.

I started thinking about the fact that I'd suddenly started snacking again (something I'd stopped ages ago), and what I was trying to get from the mid-day crap I was eating.  The short answer that kept popping into my head was 'comfort'.  On some level I seem to have been trying to comfort, sooth and calm myself. 

This seemed odd because my situation isn't nearly as fraught with constant worry as, say, the lives of people in Sderot and Ashkelon.  But still, the only thing that had changed in my life was 'the situation' (the war, the rockets falling on Beer Sheva... and the extremely biased media siding with our enemies against us).

I started thinking about other things besides food that might be able to get me back on an even keel... which is where I came up with the idea of the iPod and my extensive music collection.  But as I've already noted, that was a complete bust. 

Then I had an idea (yes, it happens occasionally!).  One of the things I used to do when I was stressed, upset or worried as a kid was to go veg in front of the TV.  I know, that probably doesn't speak very highly of my parents... but it was a different age, and the TV was a reliable companion to a lot of people my age.

Now obviously I couldn't take a few weeks vacation to sit in front of the tube, even if any of those old programs were available on cable here (which they aren't).  So I decided to do the next best thing. I did a Google search and found a nifty web site called 'Television Tunes'

This site seems to have every TV show theme song ever created (at least from a North America-centric standpoint) for free!  They have the opening music, closing music and even multiple versions of the theme songs if they were changed during the life of the show.  And it is current right up to the currently running shows.  Talk about a place to completely lose yourself!

Anyway, I downloaded some of my favorite TV theme songs (the majority from when I was a kid or adolescent) and loaded them up on my iPod.

Magic!  I can't tell you how much more relaxed I am now that I can put the music on shuffle and every third or forth song is followed by random TV show theme song (e.g. Pink Floyd's 'Shine on you Crazy Diamond' is followed by the memorable words, "Hello... I'm Mr. Ed!").

Here's what I've downloaded so far (Caution!  If you go to this site, prepare to waste some serious time!!!):

Addams Family
Alfred Hitchcock Hour
All In The Family
Andy Griffith Show
Barney Miller Theme
Benny Hill Show
Bewitched
(~This brought back memories of sick days home from school~)
Bob Newhart Show
The Brady Bunch
Captain Kangaroo
(~arguably the most calming music on the list~)
Car 54 Where Are You (~Did you know what JFK airport used to be called?~)
Carol Burnett Show (~sniff~)
Casper, The Friendly Ghost
Chico and the Man
Daniel Boone
Davy Crockett

Davey & Goliath 
(~"Gee Davey!"~)
Dick Van Dyke Show
F-Troop
Fawlty Towers
Flintstones
Flipper
Fractured Fairytales
Frasier
George of the Jungle
(~giggle~)
Get Smart
Gidget
Gilligans Island
(~I dare you not to sing along~)
Gomer Pyle USMC
Green Acres
Happy Days
Have Gun Will Travel (Paladin)
Hawaii 5-0
high_chaparral
Hill Street Blues
Hogans Heroes
Honeymooners
Hong Kong Phooey
(~apparently before the days of political correctness~)
I Dream Of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Jeffersons
Jeopardy - Think Music
Laugh-In
Laurel and Hardy
Laverne And Shirley
Leave It To Beaver
(~right up there with Captain Kangaroo~)
Little Rascals
Lone Ranger
Looney Tunes - Opening 2
Looney Tunes - Opening 3
Lost In Space
Lost in Space - 3rd Season
Love American Style
(~sniff~)
M*A*S*H (Suicide is Painless)   (~sniff~)                     
Magilla Gorilla                       
Mary Tyler Moore Show - 1971                      
Mickey Mouse Club - 1955                      
Mighty Mouse  
(~I can't listen to this without picturing Andy Kaufman~)                  
Mission Impossible                        
Mister Ed - 2nd Version                       
Mod Squad                     
The Monkees                        
Mr Bean                        
Mr Magoo
Mr. Rogers  (Won't You Be My Neighbor)  
(~sniff~)                       
Munsters                        
Muppets - Mahnamahna                       
My Favorite Martian                       
My Three Sons                       
Odd Couple                        
Partridge Family                        
Patty Duke Show
Petticoat Junction                        
Popeye                       
Rawhide                        
Roadrunner - 1966                     
Rocky and Bullwinkle                       
Route 66                          
School House Rock - Conjunction Junction 
(~I dare you not to sing along~)               
Schoolhouse Rock - Im Just a Bill                        
scoobydoo                          
Seinfeld
Theme From Taxi  
(~sniff~)                 
Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
Twlight Zone Intro                        
Underdog                       
Waltons                          
Will And Grace                          
Wonder Years
Woody Woodpecker

Anyway, I can't promise this will work for calming all of you jittery people out there.  But I can assure you a fun trip down memory lane.  Enjoy!

Posted by David Bogner on January 13, 2009 | Permalink

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I hate to admit it, but I have all that stuff on CD and have for years. It is kind of fun.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 13, 2009 10:50:58 AM

"Steely Dan, Dvorak, Stan Kenton and Led Zeppelin "... aahh.

I remember the TV themes site! I grabbed Mod Squad, among others! ta-ta-ta-TATATADADADATATATADADADA-DAA-DAA-DADEDADAAAAA... low-rez but fun.

For Mannix, of course, I downloaded a high-quality EP version from iTunes!

As for your skipping every three seconds... what's wrong with that? Other than it drives every one around you crazy? My family is used to it, as I blaze through 8,000-plus tunes on ipod... why waste space on videos? ;o/

P.S. Faure, perhaps? He has a nice requiem... or the works of composer Hank Levy (who wrote mostly for Kenton and Don Ellis in the 60's and 70's?) -- I've always found his "college jazz band" works therapeutic. Bach's Goldberg Variations, played by Gould?

Spike Jones? ;o/

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 13, 2009 11:23:50 AM

Jack ... Go look. I guarantee you don't have anywhere near the size collection that this site does.

Wry Mouth... Just one more thing to convince me that you and I simply must get together at some point. I passed on Mod Squad because the quality was poor and would have grabbed Mannix had it occurred to me on my first pass. :-) As to Hank Levy, He wrote most of the charts on the Stan Kenton album I listened to this week(Kenton '76). My faves are 'Time for a change' and 'A Smith named Greg'. As to Goldberg Variations, there is nobody else to listen to except Gould. I have both his early and late recording (I prefer the early recording because it has more of his low-simmer passion and less of his 'grunting and moaning' caught by the piano mic).

Posted by: David Bogner | Jan 13, 2009 11:34:02 AM

I'm too young for most of these :)

Posted by: SaraK | Jan 13, 2009 11:50:24 AM

They have Ren and Stimpy and Pinky and the Brain.

Cool.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Jan 13, 2009 1:47:06 PM

Wow, another Orthodox Jew who grew up watching Davey & Goliath! I thought I was the only one!

Later, looking back, I wondered what my parents were thinking, letting me watch a God-themed show created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Even as a kid I wondered whether this was all kosher.

But just a few days ago I watched some of it on YouTube and realized that they talk about God in a very general sense, and there isn't anything that conflicts with Judaism.

And Goliath was awesome! What a terrific dog!

Posted by: Sarah B. | Jan 13, 2009 2:00:19 PM

Oops,I meant the United Lutheran Church! Small difference! :-)

Posted by: Sarah B. | Jan 13, 2009 2:05:02 PM

my always looking for productive ways to waste his time husband thanks you kindly for this diversion. me? i have the first four hours of 24 to watch - i'm already behind by a sixth!

Posted by: Debbie | Jan 13, 2009 2:21:02 PM

"Where pale-face and red-skin both turn chicken".

Wow. That brought back memories and a smile to my face.

Good times, good times.

Posted by: Baila | Jan 13, 2009 2:25:32 PM

OMG, I can't stop.......

Posted by: Baila | Jan 13, 2009 2:31:05 PM

Mighty Mouse.. AWESOME!

Greatest American Hero pretty relaxing......

Posted by: David Zlotnick | Jan 13, 2009 2:46:56 PM

SaraK ... They have TV theme songs up to and including this season's shows.

Karl Newman... They have shows I've never even heard of! Take the online test they have... very tough!

Sarah B.... The theme music is the Christian 'Reformation ' anthem. WHen I was playing with an orchestra and we were rehearsing Mendelssohn's 5th Symphony (Reformation) I suddenly shouted out "Hey, that's the theme from Davey & Goliath!!!". The conductor wasn't amused.

Debbie ... Tell your husband there is no need to thank me... I'm a giver. :-)

Baila ... I warned you!

Posted by: David Bogner | Jan 13, 2009 2:57:01 PM

Awesome!

Danger Mouse
Gummi Bears *Sniff*
Kung Fu the legend continues
Time Trax
Taz-Mania - just got the lyrics and realized I would sing along to something different. :-)
Lois and Clark
Sesame Street - 1980
Supergran - *Sniff*
Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs - *Sniff*
Cheers back to school anthem

Thanks!

Posted by: Rami | Jan 13, 2009 2:57:47 PM

I have long had the original theme to Wonder Woman in my playlist - if the awesome bassline doesn't cheer you up immediately, lyrics like "stop a bullet cold / make the Axis fold" are impossible to listen to with a straight face

Posted by: Michal | Jan 13, 2009 3:03:06 PM

David Zlotnick... Sorry I missed your comment in my last response. YEs, he was pretty amazing. But if you go to the video I linked to you will never be able to hear the song again without thinking of the late Andy Kaufman.

Rami... I'm a giver. :-)

Michal ... Ah Wonder Woman. Forget the theme music. Linda Carter in that costume got a lot of boys my age through puberty. :-)

Posted by: David Bogner | Jan 13, 2009 4:09:35 PM

Without any intention of preachiness, there's another thing that lessens anxiety (and is supported by lots of evidence): cardiovascular exercise. Take a walk for 30 minutes every day, or whatever cardio you like to do.

Also sex might work. Not as much evidence for it, but it's worth a try.

No need to thank me.

Posted by: Albert | Jan 13, 2009 5:22:27 PM

I don't know if it's the 'matzav' (translation: 'situation'), the workday being interrupted occasionally by dashes to the shelter to await the 'boom' signaling that the rocket has landed somewhere and we can now go back to work... or maybe something else. But whatever the reasons, I have been particularly 'antsy' and on-edge lately.

Huh. Wonder what's causing it? 'cause, you know, periodic dashes to a bomb shelter aren't THAT big a deal.

[*thwack*]

Posted by: uberimma | Jan 13, 2009 5:31:46 PM

Uberimma... OK, you might have a point there. :-)

Albert ... What do you call running to the shelter, resting? :-)

Posted by: David Bogner | Jan 13, 2009 5:34:19 PM

(hopefully that ends the italics...)


Just reading the list had the songs playing in my head. I'll definitely be checking this site out at home.

About two weeks ago my wife and I were talking about tv theme songs, and started a small contest, I'd start singing or humming a theme song, and she'd try to guess it. She was shocked at how many I knew. The kids were enjoying it even though they didn't know any of the songs. The only one they thought I was whacked out about was Wonder Woman though. Maybe I sang a little too enthusiastically. ;-)

Posted by: JDMDad | Jan 13, 2009 6:22:44 PM

Oooo! I have a bunch of theme songs on my ipod (Firefly, The Hair Bear Bunch, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Doom Song from Invader Zim) but all of them are pretty bad, low volume recordings. These'll be great replacements.

Thanks!

Posted by: Tanya | Jan 13, 2009 6:55:31 PM

JFK was Idlewild, and I know al the words to the Car 54 song. Also, is "It's About Time" on the list? And explain Frasier to me - tossed salad and scrambled eggs? What's up with THAT? And who was Idlewild? Or better yet...did Idlewild have a 3 letter code, like all airports do now (ETH is Eilat, did you know that?) or was it long before the days of 3 letter codes? Google that!

Posted by: Marsha, freezing in Englewood | Jan 13, 2009 7:38:07 PM

When I was stressed at work (for VERY different reasons), I used to listen to an album with ALL the 007 themes on it. Great fun.

Posted by: Noa | Jan 13, 2009 7:53:25 PM

Here's one that's not on the list, but I place as probably my all-time favorite (possibly challenged only by Mannix, but that's a musician-chord change-composition thing).

This one is the genius of Henry Mancini at his best, both with arrangement and composing. It is also the soundtrack to my TV life. And the horns... ohhh...(shiver)...! The finest musicans in LA, no doubt, and polished to a sparkle.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkvS8XLc874

I sent it a few weeks ago to our friends, including musical god Harry Max, with a pitch-corrected MP3 (YouTube & iTunes always mess up the original song pitches for some reason) Here's the message I sent him:

**********************************
It charmed me as a kid and now I see why. Mancini and Riddle, boy...

I love the bass pattern here shared with the kick & hi hat...
Bomm, b-bomm/ Bubbub, bum b-bom
Bomm, b-bomm/ Bubbub, bum b-bom...
Throughout the entire thing, without a detour!

Mixed with the guitar "chick" on every other eighth, it makes such for such great movement, if you know what I mean. The melody just glides gracefully over the top with horns, strings & synth.

Here's an MP3 for you. The YouTube recording (like most downloads) was off-pitch (434), so I fixed it with software. It's now in true G, give or take .001%
*****************

(Let me know if you'd like the MP3 I sent him)

Enjoy.

Posted by: GV | Jan 13, 2009 8:03:28 PM

Tanya:

Appropo you bring up "The Doom Song"... I keep hoping the IDF air force are humming it to themselves as they go about their business:

ZIM: Grr; it's time to rain some Doom down upon the Doomed inhabitants of this planet!

GRR: I'm gonna sing the Doom Song now! DOOM, DOOM, DOOM-doom, da Doom-Doom-Doooooom... etc.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 13, 2009 9:07:03 PM

OK, you've got "All in the Family" - but what about "The Jeffersons"?

Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 13, 2009 9:40:17 PM

The walk thing is a great idea.... combined with your MP3 idea: When you go out walking, bring your music and blast it. I prefer hip-hop, but whatever works for you... preferably with a loud beat, to properly clear out the brain.

Posted by: A Living Nadneyda | Jan 13, 2009 10:01:45 PM

really love "television tunes." thank you. (current chicago free tv programming includes the andy griffith show, dick van dyke show, perry mason, happy days, i love lucy, leave it to beaver, beverly hillbillies, cheers, taxi, green acres, laverne and shirley, batman, bewitched, cosby show, bob newhart, mary tyler moore, that 70s show, married with children, the odd couple, the untouchables, honeymooners, eight is enough, all in the family, etc.) i will consider "televions tunes" my prize for being the first to correctly identify walter winchell the other day.

Posted by: lynne | Jan 13, 2009 10:58:19 PM

Just because your situation isn't as bad as in Sderot doesn't mean it doesn't affect you, or that you should ignore it or shrug it off.

After the Gulf War in 1991 we all jumped out of our skins at the slightest noise for months and months after it all ended. The sound of motorbikes was worst, because they sounded like the beginning of a siren. To this day, the thought of that beep beep beep sound of the beginning of the "Nahash Tzefa" alert gives me shivers.

No point denying it or ignoring it. It's a very stressful situation because you're not doing anything about it. Although they are in far greater danger, the soldiers are in a better place, psychologicaly (should that be with a double 'L' at the end?), I believe, because they are fighting. Nothing worse than being a sitting duck.

Being stressed doesn't mean we're not strong, or we can't take it. That's exactly where Hamas and others like them, got us wrong. They mistaked our humanity and sensitivity for weakness. Big mistake.

But I suppose you realize all this. I think the Brady Bunch is an excellent solution.

Posted by: Imshin | Jan 13, 2009 11:05:10 PM

Mistaked? That doesn't sound right.

Posted by: Imshin | Jan 13, 2009 11:06:42 PM

Now I'm stuck humming Mighty Mouse. I'm going to drive everyone crazy with that one tomorrow at work. And I've just got over Numa Numa.

Posted by: Imshin | Jan 13, 2009 11:17:05 PM

How about a pacifier? I'm sure Meira would lend you one of hers (on second thought, she probably wouldn't)!

Posted by: MoC | Jan 13, 2009 11:26:39 PM

Idlewild airport, originally called after the Idlewild golf course on whose grounds the airport was built, never had that as its official name, although its call letters were IDL. The official name was New York International Airport, in 1963 changed to Kennedy airport. And it was the only airport to ever have its call letters changed, now going by JFK.

Have you got any idea just how much time you can spend at the tv tunes site?!!!Don't know whether to thank you or to blame you if dinner is waaaay late tonight. ODing on the Mickey Mouse Club--puts all that "must do" work into perspective.

Posted by: ProfK | Jan 14, 2009 12:10:57 AM

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