Showing posts from June, 2012

Second Place Is NOT First Loser

Irving Berlin never learned to read or write music. He hummed or sang his songs to a secretary, who wrote them down in musical notation. His name was Helmy Kresa, a songwriter in his own right. Mr. Kresa's was the first published arrangement of "All of Me," written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons. Mr. Kresa composed the instrumental sound track for Martin Scorsese's film "Raging Bull" and, with Carroll Loveday, he wrote "That's My Desire," which Frankie Laine recorded. In 1926, Mr. Kresa began working for Mr. Berlin and eventually became the general professional manager of the Irving Berlin Music Company. Obviously, as a composer, he never reached the level of notoriety as his boss, though without his notations, there would be no songs like "White Christmas," "God Bless America," or "There's no business like show business." The question arises: would there even be an Irving Berlin without a Helmy Kresa? 


The Hole Truth

It was dark and cold in that hole. In reality, the hole was not that deep. However, to a four year old kid, it might as well have been an abyss. I was the four year old kid, and I cannot remember ever being anymore afraid in my life. There was some construction being done in front of our house, and right outside the front door was a hole that was around six feet wide, four feet across, and maybe five feet deep. I had just finished breakfast, and my mom announced that we were going shopping. I remember being very excited (ironically, I despise shopping now), leaping to my feet and running out the door. The next thing I remember is being at the bottom of the construction hole, terrified and screaming. Within seconds, I saw my mom’s hand, grabbed it, and was returned to safety. Had I waited two more seconds before running out the front door, I would have heard mom instruct me that we were going to go out through the garage because of the large hole by the front door. Whoops. I was excited…