Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year to All

I'd like to wish all visitors to Bruce's Journal a happy and healthy new year. This journal averages about 20 hits a day, so whether I know you or not, thanks for coming by. I use an anecdotal approach to share my experiences and interests with my readers at http://www.bruceslutsky.com and on Facebook. I am always interested in getting comments for readers. I get very few on this journal, but many on Facebook. I hope to see you back in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mellow Yellow by Donovan

I think I have discussed the Ipod nano and iPhone enough on this journal. I could talk about the movie It's Complicated that I saw this afternoon, but instead I'll post Mellow Yellow by Donovan, one of my favorite singers. Facebook friends can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCCjv2OiTxE

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ipod Nano vs iPhone

From what I understand there are Ipods that hold up to 160 Gigs of music. My Ipod nano and iPhone each have 8 gig disk drives. The Nano inlcudes only music recorded by Bob Dylan or covers of his songs. I really like using the shuffle feature and hope that I get a good blend of covers and original recordings. I only have 557 songs on the nano with about 2.3 gigs of space left.

I found out that the 8 gigs on the iPhone must hold the apps and music. I would rather save the disk space for the apps, so the playlist will only includes Beatles songs or those by John, George, Paul, and Ringo after the group split. I think I know the basics of how to use the iPhone. It will likely take me time to learn the idiosyncracies of te device. Again I hope my readers will send me apps that they think are useful.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Big Radio Day Today

Since I work for a university, I get the time off between Christmas and New Years. I spent time doing one of my favorite things, listening to the radio. I listened t0 several stations of different formats with various devices. Here goes:

  • WCBS-FM - Oldies (or should I say classic hits)
  • WFUV - Adult Album Alternative in radio jargon.
  • WBGO - Jazz
  • Sirius XM 50s on 5 - oldies
  • WMTR - Oldies
  • KMPS - HD2 - Seattle - Classic Country
  • WPYX - Albany Classic rock
  • BB King's Bluesville Channel on Sirius/XM
  • WFAN - Sports
  • WPLJ-HD2 - True Oldies Channel

I may not be finished. It is only 8:20 PM

Here are the devices that I used:

  • Accurian HD Radio
  • Bose Wave Table Radio
  • My laptop
  • GE Superradio
  • My car radio
  • iPhone

I have other radios in the house that I did't use today. It's nice to do things you enjoy

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ipod Dock for the iPhone

I am still getting adjusted to the new iPhone today. I expected there to be a learning curve involved with a new gadget. I visited my mother for a little while this morning and she was not impressed. She had gotten a cell phone a few years ago, but hardly used it and returned it. I have seen plenty of senior citizens using them over the years. I bought the Ipod dock as seen above so that I can hear Sirius/XM and other radio programs on the iPhone in other parts of the house. There are different attachments for different products sold by Apple. It also worked with my iPod Nano.

We found out that there is a little switch on the left which can turn off the ringtones completely. You can assign a different ringtone for each person on your list. When I get more adjusted to it I'll have to try to download ringtones. Maybe I should surprise Karen and have Like a Rolling Stone as my ringtone.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Hearty Mazel Tov To Me - I got an iPhone Today

I few weeks ago I said that I was going to get an iPhone right after Christmas. I didn't waste anytime. Today is December 26th and I have my iPhone after months if not years of indecision. Although it was raining today, we walked over to downtown Flushing to the AT&T store. We told the salesman that I wanted a 3G iPhone for $99. We also got a contract with 200 text messages a month for $5. I think that will be enough for me. The salesman took our old phone and transferred the contacts to the iPhone.

When we got home it was time to figure out how to use it with the thought in mind that Rome wasn't built in a day. It will take me time to learn how to use it. I first figured out how to make and receive phone calls and text messages. I then added the voice mail message.

The next step was to start to download apps for it. Your truly, the big radio enthusiast chose to download the Sirius/XM apps first. The next ones were Radio@aol which includes the CBS owned stations. I also got the app for the Cheap Channel (Clear Channel) stations. WFUV had its own app but was also included in the NPR radio app. I then downloaded the apps for Facebook and Twitter and experimented with entering data into those two services. Finally I downloaded ESPN for sports scores and ABC News. It is now about 5:10 PM, so I will put the phone aside until about 8 PM. I think I will upload some of my CDs.

If any of my readers can recommend some apps or offer an advice on using the iPhone, please let me know.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Resting at Home Today

I drove to Cunningham Park this morning with Lee. We knew that snow would still be covering the basketball court, but we would just walk around. The Parks Department plowed a path on the concrete area so people could walk or jog.

We walked over to the local multiplex to see Avatar in 3D. I was really surprised to see the theater was so busy on Christmas Day. I would think that the kids would stay home and play with their new toys, but I guess people want to get out of their houses on a cold day.

When we got home we dug out some out videos of one of the 7 things that keep the Slutsky family together. We saw a few episodes of Car 54 Where Are You? Lee was laughing like crazy at his favorite TV character Gunther Toody. Readers of this journal may remember that a few years ago I sang the Car 54 theme over the radio. This clip is about 4 1/2 minutes, but my singing comes in at about 1:15 http://www.4shared.com/file/47202439/a22e983a/Car54.html

You can hear the offical version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnVdaTlQNMU

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Back to the Color Songs

Since I don't observe Christmas, I don't have much to say today. I certainly wish all observing it a happy and healthy holiday. I don't want to repeat what I wrote here last Christmas so I think I'll post a video of one of my favorite color songs Yellow Submarine by the Beatles. I remember seeing the movie when it came out in December 1968. Facebook friends can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCsYDZ2M04M

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Knowing the NYC Subway System Helps

On the way home tonight I entered the subway system at the 7th Avenue and 34th Street station. It is especially crowded close to Christmas with people schlepping luggage and packages. When I reached the platform there were 6 people deep waiting for the uptown 1,2, and 3 trains. It was obvious that there was a delay in service although there were no announcements made. I decided to take the #2 train downtown to 14th Street since I knew there was a transfer to the Sixth Avenue F train. I had to walk a long distance through an underground corrider to get the F which I took to Roosevelt Avenue and 74th Street in Queens where I transferred to the #7 train. My delay was only 10 minutes.

I really lucked out this morning on New Jersey Transit since the power was turned off between Newark and NYC at 8:45 after I had arrived at work. It seems that there are numerous delays after a snowstorm.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour Will Continue in 2010

I just found out from Bill Pagel's Bob Links site that Dylan has dates in March 2010 in Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo Japan. And the Never Ending Tour continues. He has played over 2000 shows since June 1988. Hopefully, he will return to NYC sometime in the following year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shades of Grey - The Monkees

I have featured black songs, white songs, and one with black and white. When you mix black and white you get gray sometimes spelled grey. Below is a video I got from Youtube of a live performance of the Monkees in 1997 doing this minor hit. Facebook friends can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBSrutNa6ug

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More random thoughts with snow on the ground

Last night as I was listening to Cousin Bruce I glanced at the current issue of Goldmine Magazine which featured Creedence Clearwater Revival. I then accessed Amazon.com and saw that an MP3 version of their greatest hits album with 20 songs was available for download for only $5. I still prefer to get CDs the old fashioned way but this was too good a deal to pass up.

It started to snow steadily last night and ended this morning with an accumulation of about 10 inches in Queens. It snowed on the wrong day of the week since if today was a work day, NJIT would have likely closed. We were planning to take the subway to Madison Square Garden to see college basketball with St. Johns meeting Hofstra in the holiday tournament. Since the #7 Flushing line is mostly above ground, I was afraid there would be problems getting into Manhattan. I really don't want train problems on weekends, when I have enough during the week. We'll see enough basketball this season.

We walked over to the multiplex and saw the movie Armored. We decided to wait until Christmas Day to see Avatar. We saw the end of the Jet game as they lost to Atlanta 10-7. We switched to the MSG network and saw the second half as St. Johns beat Hofstra 72-60.

Back to work tomorrow as I have to hang in ther until Thursday.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Random Thoughts of the Day

There was a forecast for a big snow storm in NYC today so Lee and I left the house a little this early so that he could play basketball in Cunningham Park before the snow began. He doesn't mind the cold weather and we even took our usually two laps around the park.

About 12 noon we took a walk to the local multiplex to see Did You Hear About the Morgans. The story was silly, but the acting of Sara Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant saved the movie. When we left the theater at about 2 PM it was snowing.

The NJIT basketball team played Rutgers as the game was broadcast on WOR. I listened to part of the game as the NJIT Highlanders lost to the Scarlet Knights 71-62. At least they were competitive.

I had a stack of magazines on my table, so I thought I should try to catch up on some reading. I picked up the recent issue of Discover which discussed the top 100 science stories of the year.

At about 5 PM I turned on WFUV and listened to Pete Fornatale who interviewed the group Aztec Two-Step. After the interview he played my favorite holiday oldie, Santa Claus is coming to town by the Four Seasons. I had always enjoyed that version since it was released in the early 1960s.

It is shortly 8 PM now and am listening to Cousin Brucie. So far there is only 2 inches or so of snow on the ground the the weather forecast is for 10-15 inches in NYC. We are hoping to see the St. Johns-Hofstra game at Madison Square Garden tomorrow,

Friday, December 18, 2009

Black and White by Three Dog Night

I have featured white songs and black songs, so here is one that has both. Facebook friends can see and hear it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68i4tMmv9F4

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sh-Boom! - The Explosion of Rock 'N' Roll 1953-1968




Years ago (1983-90) when I worked at the New York Public Library I wrote book reviews for our publication called New Technical Books. In the early 90s I wrote some reviews of science books for Library Journal. These were essentially short annotations indicating the level of the book and which type of library should purchase it. Now I am writing a review of a book a few weeks after I met the author. The title of the book, Sh-Boom, The Explosion of Rock ‘N’ Roll 1953-1968 by Clay Cole only tells part of the story. It is essentially an autobiography with numerous anecdotes of that 15 year period.

I knew of Clay Cole as I was growing up in the 1960s listening to rock n roll radio, but I didn’t watch his show regularly. I guess I was spending my leisure time listening to WABC, WMCA, and records and didn’t have too much time for TV back then. Clay’s popularity has increased recently with his appearances on some radio shows to promote this book. I suggest readers of this entry check out the interview at Ronnie Allen’s page at http://www.jerseygirlssing.com/RonnieRadioPage.html . Warning, it is 90 minutes long, but you don’t have to listen to it all. I had the pleasure of meeting Clay Cole at the recent BeatExpo as you can see from the photo above. I bought the book there, but had to put it aside as I was reading a biography of Paul McCartney.

About 10 days ago I was able to start reading it on my daily commutes to work. I would love it if I could sit down for hours and read a book in one sitting, but my schedule just does not allow for that. So it took me over a week to finish it. Clay was born Albert Rucker in Youngstown, Ohio and got into show business at a very young age. He hosted a music show there called Rucker’s Rumpus Room. In 1958 he came to New York City and started his famous Clay Cole Show on Channel 13 which was a commercial station. He took the stage name Clay Cole after his uncle. Perhaps at my advanced age I should get into show business and call myself Sy Wagman after my Uncle. I sure sounds better than Bruce Slutsky .

I don’t want to write a long entry scare people away, so I will be brief. I was quite impressed by Clay’s memory of events of 40 - 50 years ago. Many autobiographies are slanted, but Clay is very honest with his readers and talks about his failures He actually walked away from his very successful gig on WPIX - TV in 1968. He became a freelance television producer and now lives in North Carolina.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is into oldies. If you can’t pick it up at a bookstore, I am sure it is available from Amazon.com.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Black Magic Woman by Santana

Santana and Bob Dylan toured together in 1993. Karen and I went to a concert with the two on September 11, 1993 at Jones Beach. Since I am still featuring "black" songs below is a video of Black Magic Woman by Santana. Facebook friends can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uItwS66qIuk .

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Listening to the Mount Rushmore of Rock Music Under the Hudson River

I think the title of this journal entry needs some explanation. From 1993 until about 2005 I collection hundreds of radio tapes. Some I recorded myself while I traded for others. Once a month or so I dig out an old radio tape and listen on the way to work. This morning I pulled out a tape titled Pete Fornatale's 40th anniversary on radio. I recorded it in November 2004 on WFUV. Pete started his radio career as a student on WFUV in November 1964 and is best known for his days at WNEW-FM. For several years his Mixed Bag show is heard from 4 PM until 8 PM back on WFUV. I was on the train in Penn Station as Pete announced that the next number features the Mount Rushmore of Rock Music:


  • Roger McGuinn
  • Neil Young
  • Tom Petty
  • Eric Clapton
  • George Harrison
  • Bob Dylan

As the train entered the tunnel under the Hudson River Pete played My Back Pages that the above superstars performed at the 30th anniversary tribute to Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden on October 16,1992. Back in those days one couldn't buy tickets over the Internet, so I phoned Ticketmaster numerous times, but couldn't get through. I did record the audio that night on WNEW-FM and the video from Pay Per View.


Below is the video of that historic performance. Since I couldn't find it on Youtube, I had to search Google to find it. Facebook friends may see it at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2ebzc_bob-dylan-my-back-pages_music




We will not be renewing our 15 ticket package for the Mets in 2010

In 2009, the first season at Citifield, we bought a 15 ticket package for Lee's graduation. We also thought that since the seating capacity at the new stadium was 15,000 less than at Shea that it would be dificult to get tickets. Needless to say the season was a disaster. A few weeks ago we got an invitation to renew for next season. Even though the price was 7% lower I am declining for a number of reasons:
  • I will have to commit by December 18th and pay several months before the start of the season.
  • The package includes 10 Saturdays and 5 weekday games. We like going to games on the weekend, but it was an inconvenience to go during the week. I should go to the games that I want not the ones that are imposed on me the the team's management.
  • As of this writing there have been no improvements made to the team. Some free agent signings and trades may come in the weeks to come, but I don't see a substantial improvement for next season.

The only consequence would be that without a package, it is likely impossible to get tickets for the Met-Yankee series. I'll have to watch them on TV. Perhaps if many people renew their ticket packages, they will offer 6 packs as they did in the last years at Shea Stadium.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Baby's in Black by the Beatles

Nothing much happened today, so it is back to the color songs. I am listening to Yesterday by the Beatles and will be posting about Baby's in Black. Facebook friends may see and hear it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVYuGVdGhhE .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rainy Sunday at the Multiplex

Lee and I were able to get out early in the morning as it didn't start to rain until about 11 AM. Later, we walked over to the College Point Multiplex to see Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. I must say that Morgan Freeman was a dead ringer for Nelson Mandela. In the film Mandela had recently become President of South Africa after being released from prison. He tried to unite is country through the language of sport. Apartheid had recently ended and he needed to bring together the racial factions. South Africa had entered the World Cup of Rugby which is not known very well in the United States. I would recommend this film.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ben's Deli had hot pastrami for me but not Sirius/XM

Tonight Cousin Brucie read my e-mail about today's Meet and Greet at Ben's Deli. I requested Hot Pastrami by the Dartells, a hit in 1963. The Cuz wasn't able to play it. Apparently Sirius/XM did not have it in their library of MP3 files. I must assume that radio stations rarely play vinyl, tapes, or CDs these days. Anyway I found this recording on Youtube. I don't know if the quality of the audiof from Youtube is good enough for satellite radio. My facebook friends can hear it at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXxYFnrl5HU

CORRECTION - At 9 PM the Cuz played it. Maybe I should just say that Ben's Deli served hot pastrami faster than Sirius/SM :)

2009 Oldies Meet and Greet Today

I went through some grief in the planning of the 4th annual meet and greet of oldies enthusiasts at Ben's Deli in Manhattan. If anyone is interested, please contact me privately since anyone can read this post. Above is yours truly with Alan Berman, the Dean of oldies listeners wearing his WMCA sweatshirt. This annual gathering is Alan's pride and joy. At 6:50 PM tonight Alan and I had a good belly laugh about something unrelated to today's event. About 30 people came which is somewhat lower than turnouts in the past. I think many people couldn't come since they were busy preparing for Christmas. Bob Radil and Joe Accardi who do oldies shows on WNHU-New Haven and WTSR-Trenton, respectively, came. I try to listen to parts of Bob's show which I have discussed in this journal. I will have to try to find some time on Sunday mornings to listen to Joe. We all had a good time. I think it is the quality not the quantity of people coming to an event which is more important.

My Facebook friends can find the photos that I took on my wall. Others can see them at http://picasaweb.google.com/Bigtownman/2009OldiesMeetAndGreet#

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Channukah to All

The cold weather this morning reminds me that winter is just about here. Happy Channukah to all my Jewish friends.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Son the Subway Enthusiast

Lee has always loved riding on subways. Whenever we take public transportation anywhere, he is sure to take his subway map with him. He has used the subway systems in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Chicago and San Francisco. In the photo above he and Karen are at the New York City Transit Museum in Brooklyn sitting in a #7 train car from 1964. Today we saw an advertisement for a watch with the logo for the #7 line in the face. That will be his Hannukah present for this year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Black is Black - Los Bravos

I am now moving to another color. Below is Black is Black by Los Bravos, a Spanish one hit wonder group from 1966. Facebook friends may see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntHVZdIZ7Vk .

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

John Lennon 1940-1980

It is hard to believe that it has been 29 years since John Lennon was tragically taken from us. Back then I was working at Schering-Plough and had to wake up very early in the morning. I must have gone to sleep about 10:30 PM and didn't find out about the tragedy until 6 AM the next morning, The photo above was taken by Bob Gruen. The video below of Bob Dylan and John Lennon was taken in 1966 and is an outtake from the film Eat the Document. Facebook friends may see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8OkqwY0tvc


Monday, December 7, 2009

A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum

I was at a librarian's meeting today and wrote it up for my professional blog. Since I have no desire for creative writing today, I will go back to videos of color songs. I remember in 1967 Murray the K playing A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum. I distinctively remember buying their LP with this song on it all those years ago. Facebook friends can see the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbWULu5_nXI .

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jazz Concert Today

Karen and I often look in local newspapers like the Queens Tribune and the Queens Courier for inexpensive things for the family to do on weekends. Today Karen found a notice for a jazz concert at the Voelker Orth Museum within walking distance of our house. The performers were Dotti Anita Taylor on flute and Bertha Hope on piano. They performed a set of songs relating to the sun, the moon and the stars. It was something different for us to do on a Sunday afternoon.

Decision about the iPhone

I decided to get an iPhone but will wait until the Christmas break to get it. I am sure that there is a learning curve on how to use it. Since I will be off from work from December 25 - January 3, I will have time to learn how to use it. I assume that some of the apps come loaded with the phone when it is purchased while others must be downloaded. If there is anyone reading this note with an iPhone, I would appreciate any advice. Joe Murphy, how about you? I will also have to teach my wife how to use it. She is not very tech savvy.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Lee and I were able to go to Cunningham Park early this morning, but we had to cut it short since it started to rain. Since it was a cold, windy, and rainy day, it meant a trip to the local multiplex. We saw The Twilight Saga: New Moon. We have learned from experience not to attend a blockbuster movie on the first week of release. I read that people waited for hours to see this movie on the first day. I enjoyed the film, but as I have said before, most movies these days are not aimed at baby boomers like myself. It ended abruptly, which means there will be a sequel released eventually.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues

I am in a TGIF mood and just not in the mood to do any creative writing. So, its back to my color songs. Nights in White Satin has been a staple of classic rock radio for many years. According to Joel Whitburn's Top Pop it was originally released in 1968 but "bubbled under" at #103 on the Billboard charts. When it was re-released in 1972 it peaked at #2. Facebook friends can view the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9muzyOd4Lh8 .

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hofstra ends its football program

I found out that Hofstra is ending its football program. The announcement states that this decision reflects a strategic reallocation of the university's resources. The president Stuart Rabinowitz stated that the football program costs about $4.5 million a year and is the most costly sports expenditure. The feeling was that the program did not bring enough recognition to this fine university for the money spent.

For many years Karen, Lee and I have attended games at James Shuart Stadium on the campus. It certain was an entertainment value at $10/ticket. We could never get tickets for the Giants and Jets anyway. It was always disappointing to observe small crowds at this stadium. In the announcement the president stated that on a typical game day only about 500 students attended at no cost to them. Apparently, most students go home for weekend and are not there to see the games. Schools like Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Mississippi are in communities where the college is everything and thus can draw crowds up to 100,000 for a game. Hofstra is just a blip on the New York metropolitan area scene.

We will continue to go to basketball games there especially with the Knicks doing so poorly (4-15 at this writing). In the fall we'll still go to CW Post but look into seeing games at Fordham, Iona, and Columbia.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Million Dollar Quartet is Coming to Broadway

Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash as seen above comprise the Million Dollar Quartet. On December 4, 1956 those four united at Sun Records storefront studio in Memphis for an impromptu jam session. A musical based on this recording session has been playing in Chicago for about a year.

Sometimes it pays to listen to radio commercials. On Monday night I heard Bob Shannon on WCBS-FM talk about the opening of this show on Broadway in April. Previews will begin on March 13. In the commercial Bob said if you go to Ticketmaster this Friday December 4th, the anniversary of this famous session, tickets may be bought for $19.56. It is certainly a bargain to go to a Broadway musical at that price. It would be perfect for us to go at the end of March for Lee's birthday since he is NYC's biggest Johnny Cash fan. He likes the other three as well. You may follow Million Dollar Quartet News on Twitter @milliondquartet.
 
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