Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yankees 5 Blue Jays 4

Even though we are big Mets fans we like to go to Yankee Stadium a few times a year.  I was able to get these tickets from Stub Hub.  We sat in the last row of the upper deck a little past first base.  A. J. Burnett was not at his best as he allowed 4 runs in 6 innings.  The bullpen completely shut the Blue Jays down as the Yankees won 5-4.

As we passed the site of the original Yankee Stadium we noticed that Heritage Field was finally taking shape 2 1/2 years after the last game was played there.  Most of the grass was down for three baseball fields.  Hopefully it will open soon since the people in the South Bronx should get the park space that they lost from the new stadium.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baby Its You - Some Reviews are in after the opening

I'll quote from Fox News.  We report you decide.  I am going to provides links to a few reviews including my own and my readers can decide for themselves.  I will make some comments.

Needless to say my review is much more positive than those in the two newspapers.  However, I am not a professional theater critic. The Daily News review states "the songs are so blandly performed they don't make an impression."  I must respectfully disagree.  Perhaps the reviewer listens only to Lite-FM.  Another quote "The story, framed by a deejay/narrator  who sets the scenes, is sometimes so cliched you wonder why they didn't just do a concert."  Again, I must disagree since I feel that the songs were well integrated into the story line.  He also objects to songs by artists other than the Shirelles are in the show.  I feel that it places the songs of the Shirelles in the context of other hits of that which which I feel helps the non-oldies enthusiast enjoy the show.

The article in the New York Times seems less negative, but the reviewer states "But mostly they bop around acting like blandly innocent Jersey Girls, generic teenagers getting ready for a sock hop, or even Mouseketeers."

Certainly the show will appeal to my oldies radio friends who grew up during the era when the Shirelles hit the charts.  They key to its success will be whether it appeals to enthusiasts of other genres of music.  Certainly, the Jersey Boys did that, but it remains to be seen whether Baby Its You can duplicate that feat.

I should also make my readers aware that Dionne Warwick and Shirelles are suing the producers for using their names and likenesses without permission.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It is a Shame That Bob Dylan and John Lennon Never Recorded Together

About two years ago I reported in this journal that Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney would record together.  This never came to pass.  Bob and George Harrison recorded together on several occasions.  Sadly Bob  and John Lennon never collaborated.  That would have been some duo.  The Youtube video is a conversation between the two that occurred in London in May 1966.  It was a clip taken from the documentary Eat the Document.  I highly recommend that fans of either of these icons watch this 12 minute video.  My readers can see it at

Monday, April 25, 2011

Knick Ticket Prices to increase dramatically next season

You can read the facts here.  The Knicks finished the regular season at 42-40, lose in the first round of the playoffs and then raise the ticket prices.  The article only talks about season tickets, but I assume the prices for single game tickets will go up as well.  Thus, I would have to pay about $200 for 3 tickets for the 300 level behind the basket.  Back in high school I would only have to pay $1.25 for a game at the old Madison Square Garden.  I guess the fans have to pay for the $800 million renovation of the garden and the salaries of the superstars.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

How About Those Mets

The Mets have now won 4 in a row.  All of these victories happened after my birthday.  Could there be a link?  It is more likely that this winning streak is a result of the return of Jason Bay.  We are not out of trouble yet.  The team is now 9-13 which is still a poor record.  Ove the course of a season things even out.  There is a long way to go.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Teac HD Radio with Ipod Cradle

I have owned an Accurian HD radio since October 2006.  Recently its performance has declined.  In any event no product lasts forever, so I wanted to buy an table radio for the dining room.  It has been well documented on radio message boards that HD radio has not caught on with the general public.  The programming on most HD2 and HD3 stations has not been completely developed.  I like the smooth jazz station on 101.9 HD2 and the country music station on 106.7 HD2.

The sound quality on this Teac radio is much better than the sound on the Accurian which was the second HD radio on the market in 2006.  The HD signal does not fade in and out on the Teac radio as it did on the Accurian.  I only paid $100 for this new radio.  My next radio will have to be an internet radio.

Friday, April 22, 2011

6 years and 1 day apart

Today is Karen's birthday.  I found out on our first date back in 1980 that her birthday was the day after mine.  Since I am off from work today (Good Friday) we'll have some time to be together.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birthday Song for April 21

My birthday is tomorrow, April 21, but I likely will not have time to write a long entry until the evening.  Since I am working on the late shift today, I have time this morning to express my thoughts.  As we age we begin to think about our own mortality.  Over the past year I discovered that a former co-worker and a classmate in graduate school passed away.  As time passes I have confonted ageism.  We live in a youth culture and very often older people are ignored.  Technology is changing and it is very difficult to keep up with the new developments.  Older people are often resistant to change.  I am not going to report my age here, but it is pretty easy to figure it out. For my birthday song I have selected Not Dark Yet by Bob Dylan which appeared on the Time Out of Mind album in 1997.  There is a Youtube video of a Dylan performance still online.

Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don’t see why I should even care
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, I’ve been to London and I’ve been to gay Paree
I’ve followed the river and I got to the sea
I’ve been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Copyright © 1997 by Special Rider Music

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Passover

Happy Passover to readers of Bruce's Journal who observe the holiday.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rich Appel - Facebook Friend of the Day

Rich Appel is on the left with radio legend Harry Harrison

I met Rich Appel in the mid 1990s through the radio club Decalcomania.  I met Rich in his office at Sony Music in midtown Manhattan as we talked about radio airchecks and then went out for dinner.  Rich treated me to a ticket to see Bob Dylan at the Roseland Ballroom.  That in itself makes him a good friend.  I hadn't been in touch with Rich for a few years until I met him last November at the Oldies Meet and Greet at Ben's Deli on 38th Street.  If you need more information about this event, Alan Berman will be more than happy to talk to you about it.

Rich, along with Tom Natoli, Mike Riccio, Don Tandler, and Bob Radil (please forgive me if I've omitted anyone) are known as the chart guys.  These esteemed gentleman know more about surveys from WABC, WMCA, Billboard, Cashbox and other sources than anyone else.  Back in the 1960s I religiously listened to those stations and copied and memorized them.  As I got older I felt that if I liked a hit, I really didn't care how high or low it charted.

Rich and his buddies through the Oldies Message Board have a yearly survey of listeners' top oldies.  You may click here to view the latest results.  For the past two years Rich has a survey called It Really Should Have (IRS) .  He surveyed the listeners to compile a list of songs that should have charted higher.  Since he called it IRS it was aired on April 15 and 16 on Bob Radil's show on Rewound Radio on Saturday Night and completed on Rich's show on WRNJ - Hackettstown, NJ on Saturday Morning.  Here are my votes.  I stoped at 6.  None of these made the chart:

So You Want to be a Rock N Roll Star - Byrds
You Baby - Turtles
Just Like a Woman - Bob Dylan
Hurt Yourself - Frankie Valli
When We Was Fab - George Harrison
Dangling Conversation - Simon and Garfunkel

Everyone who voted this year was entered in a contest.  I was one the lucky ones.  My prize is 4 CDs with the 104 songs that made the chart. The results are at .  You will have to click on April 15.

Thank you Rich Appel.  You have certainly earned the honor of being my Facebook Friend of the Day.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Baby Its You on Broadway is a Winner

Karen, Lee and I go to Broadway shows a few times a year on special occasions.  Karen and I have birthdays on April 22 and 21 respectively so every April we hit the Great White Way.  We have seen many so called jukebox musicals over the years and have enjoyed them very much.  Many of them like The Times They are a Changin', Ring of Fire and All Shook Up did not fare well on Broadway.  Whenever we see a new musical that covers the oldies era we usually hurry to get tickets since we are afraid the show will close shortly after its opening.  We missed Good Vibrations which of course was about the Beach Boys.  Previews for Baby Its You begain March 26 while the official opening is April 27.

The show tells the story of how Florence Greenberg, a New Jersey housewife, met the Shirelles through her daughter and guided them through the career from 1958-1965.  Obviously the show featured the music of that era which is rarely heard these days on terrestrial radio.  I can hear them on SiriusXM's 50s on 5 channel and on Cousin Brucie's show.  This show is another Jersey Boys and will be a winner.  The directors of the show do a good job of integrating the songs with the story line of the show.  My radio friends will appreciate that Jocko Henderson was featured in the show.  Cousin Brucie was mentioned once.

The following statement was made in the Playbill - "Although this play is inspired by actual events, xome material has been fictionalized for dramatic purposes."  One of the story lines is a romantic relationship between Florence Greenberg and songwriter/producer Luther Dixon.  I wonder if that was exaggerated in the show.

I highly highly recommend this show to my readers.  I predict it will last as long as Jersey Boys.  I would also like to refer my readers to a New York Times obituary of Florence Greenberg.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Tale of the Two Dollar Bill Today

Today I left NJIT at about 11:30 to attend the METRO Science Librarians SIG meeting in Manhattan.  I arrived in Newark Penn Station at about 11:45.  I walked over to the Dunkin Donuts in the waiting room to get an early lunch.  I dare not use the "B" word or else Matt from Stamford may jump on me. :)  Anyway I gave a 10 dollar bill for my sandwich and drink that cost $5.  The clerk gave me three singles and a 2 dollar bill as change.  This is the first time in years that I saw a  2 dollar bill.  There is a good article about them in the Wikipedia.  The article states that banks with 2 dollar bills won't give them to customers unless specifically requested, but they are in circulation.

On the way home I stopped by the Mitchell-Linden Branch of the Queens Library.  I picked up a book to read for pleasure.  When I reached the circulation desk, there was a little box asking for donations saying that even one dollar would be appreciated.  I dug into my wallet and donated the 2 dollar bill to the Queens Library.  It will help them buy new books.  Believe me, I am aware of libraries with budgetary problems.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bob Dylan and Paul Simon Perfect Together and Apart

New CDs for Paul Simon and Bob Dylan were released today.  The one for Dylan was not exactly new since it was a concert recorded at Brandeis University in 1963.  This concert tape concert tape was discovered recently in the archives of the noted music writer and Rolling Stone co-founder Ralph Gleason.  The Paul Simon CD is a new one titled So Beautiful or So What.  It was like old times since on the way home from work I was able to stop by the Borders by Penn Station and buy the two CDs.  When I got home from work I only had time to listen to Dylan before Jeopardy started at 7 PM.  I'll listen to the Paul Simon CD in a day or so.

This brings me back to late July 1999 when Dylan and Simon toured together.  We saw them at Jones Beach when they performed separately and together.  I fondly remember that concert.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times was a little Rough on Bob Dylan

This journal entry is dedicated to Pete Freckelton seen above who complained about my last article about the Mets losing to the Washington Nationals.  I explained to Pete that every time we go to Citifield I write up the game for Bruce's Journal which is imported to Facebook.  Pete's claim to fame is his being the owner of Dylanradio, All Dylan all the time.  I just found out after reading his Facebook entry, that he is also a fan of Jeopardy.  So 3 out of 3 is pretty good.

In yesterday's New York Times Maureen Dowd wrote an op-ed article titled Blowin' in the Idiot Wind.  It has been in the news that Dylan just played in China and Vietnam for the first time.  The Chinese government vetted his set list and would not allow him to play political songs.  Classics like Masters of War, Blowin' in the Wind, and The Times They are A Changin' could not be played.  Maureen criticized Dylan for not standing up to his principles as he did in the 1960s.  She recalled how a 22 year old Dylan refused to play on the Ed Sullivan Show when the producers would not let him sing Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues.  She implies that Dylan should not have played in China unless he could pick his play list.

The Bob Dylan of 2011 is not the same as the one in 1963. I think he really wanted the people of China and Vietnam to hear him live after all these years.  I wish that in 1965 I had the money to see Dylan at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium which was within walking distance of my house in Rego Park.  I just couldn't scrape up enough allowance money to pay for a ticket.  In this past decade it has cost me over $200 to take my family to hear Dylan who is clearly past his prime.  I don't care what some pompous AM radio personality says about Dylan retiring.  I hope he continues to tour as long as he wants.

Here are the set lists from Bill Pagel's Bob Links Web Site:
I noted that the 3 concerts started with Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking which was on the Slow Train Coming Album during the Born Again Christian period.  You can interpret this and any Dylan composition in different ways.  I will take some of the lyrics out of context.

Gonna change my way of thinking
Make myself a different set of rules
Gonna change my way of thinking
Make myself a different set of rules
Gonna put my good foot forward
And stop being influenced by fools

So much oppression
Can’t keep track of it no more
So much oppression
Can’t keep track of it no more
Sons becoming husbands to their mothers
And old men turning young daughters into whores

Stripes on your shoulders
Stripes on your back and on your hands
Stripes on your shoulders
Stripes on your back and on your hands
Swords piercing your side
Blood and water flowing through the land

Well don’t know which one is worse
Doing your own thing or just being cool
Well don’t know which one is worse
Doing your own thing or just being cool
You remember only about the brass ring
You forget all about the golden rule

You can mislead a man
You can take ahold of his heart with your eyes
You can mislead a man
You can take ahold of his heart with your eyes
But there’s only one authority
And that’s the authority on high

I got a God-fearing woman
One I can easily afford
I got a God-fearing woman
One I can easily afford
She can do the Georgia crawl
She can walk in the spirit of the Lord

Jesus said, “Be ready
For you know not the hour in which I come”
Jesus said, “Be ready
For you know not the hour in which I come”
He said, “He who is not for Me is against Me”
Just so you know where He’s coming from

There’s a kingdom called Heaven
A place where there is no pain of birth
There’s a kingdom called Heaven
A place where there is no pain of birth
Well the Lord created it, mister
About the same time He made the earth

Copyright © 1979 by Special Rider Music

I think that Bob was trying to be cool.  He wanted the people of China and Vietnam to hear him.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Washington Nationals 7 Mets 3 in 11 Innings

Our first trip to Citifield of the 2011 turned out to be a disappointment as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals 7 to 3 in 11 innings.  Everything was fine at the end of 7 innings as Chris Young pitched a beauty of a game and left as the Mets were leading 3-1.   Again like last season the Mets failure to add on runs to a lead hurt them.  D. J. Carrasco allowed the Nats to tie the game.  Blaine Boyer failed the Mets in the 11th inning as he gave up a run scoring single to Ivan Rodriguez which gave the Nats the lead.  A three run homer by Laynce Nix sealed the victory for the visitors.  No clutch hitting and poor relief piching did the Mets in today.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saddened to learn of the Passing of Michael W. Frechette My Classmate at the University of Rhode Island

The Pastore Chemical Laboratory seen above was my home from January 1972 until January 1974 when I was a masters student at the University of Rhode Island.  In this internet era, I have successfully reconnected with many people from my past.  It is fun to recall many of experiences from all those yeas ago.  I have had some difficulty reconnecting with my fellow graduate students at URI.  It is relatively easy to find people with unique names.

For some reason tonight I decided to search for my old friend Mike Frechette.  I remember playing baseball with him outside the chemistry building all those years ago.  The last time I saw him was at his wedding in September 1973.  He married Karen Koerner who was one of his students..  I knew that shortly after he received his doctorate he was appointed Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.  When I googled him tonight I discovered his obituary.  He passed away in October 2008 at the age of 60.  My belated condolences to his family.

$4.10 for a gallon of gas!

Since I use public transportation to get to work during the week, I generally use my car only on weekends.  On the way home from visiting my mother in Westbury, I stopped for gas and had to pay $4.10/gallon.  I must presume tht the unsettled political situation in the middle east has caused prices to rise.  In the months to come the prices will likely go up more since the demand for gasoline increases in the summer.  I believe the gas prices were the highest during the summer of 2007 when I once paid $4.50 a gallon.

Back when I started driving in the late 1960s the price of gas was 35 cents a gallon.  People my age can remember the lines for gas in 1973, 74 and 79.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Manager Must Appoint the Right People

I usually don't comment on political issues, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the biggest gaff in his three terms by appointing Cathie Black as Chancellor of the New York City school system.  Ms. Black was appointed  only 3 months ago with absolutely no educational experience.  Bloomberg said that her departure today was by mutual agreement.  Let's face it, you don't leave a job until you have secured another position.  To be blunt and to the point, Black was fired.  I observed from afar that she seemed extremely insensitive to issues facing school children and their parents.

This is a case of cronyism at its worst.  A manager in business or government must be fair and appoint the right person for the job.  Under the old system the Chancellor was appointed by the Board of Education, but Bloomberg changed the process to make that position a mayoral appointee.  Bloomberg appointed Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott as the new Chancellor.  At least he has some background and experience with the educational system in NYC.

Here is my suggestion to the next mayor of NYC.  Appoint a committee of parents, educators, and students to evaluate any and all applicants for the position of Schools Chancellor.  The committee will submit a short list of candidates to the Mayor who will make the appointment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Mets have won 3 out of their first 4

It is too early to jump for joy, but the Mets have started the 2011 season by winning 3 out of their first 4 games.  Last night they defeated the hated Phillies 7-1.  Chris Young set a record by being the first Met pitcher in 50 years to get 2 hits in one inning.  He also tied a team record for getting 3 hits in a game.  Who needs the designated hitter?

Of course it it is a long season and a losing streak can come at any time.  It will even out in the long run.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dictionary Definition of Brunch

This is from :

Brunch - a meal that serves as both breakfast and lunch.

There is nothing in this definition stating that a brunch must be eaten at a fancy restaurant.  Many people on the weekend wake up very late and will eat their first meal at about 11 AM and call it brunch.  Yours truly is an early riser and eats breakfast before 7 AM.  If I get hungry at about 10:30 I can go into Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks or an inexpensive diner and call my meal brunch.
Yes, there are fancy restaurants that on a Sunday will serve brunch from 10 AM - 3 PM and include delicacies such as lox.  So there can be an expensive brunch and a cheap brunch.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Erasing the Digital Past

For the umpteenth time an article in the Styles Section of the New York Times has caught my eye.  Everyone loves Google that seems to be able to find anything on the internet.  The article discusses that people are hiring online reputation managers to help unflattering information fade away.  Since I have a unique name it is easy for people to find information about me using any search index.  Between Bruce's Journal and Bruce at the NJIT Library I have authored over 2000 blog entries.  I certainly have tweeted and posted on Facebook many times.  I admit that some of my posts were silly, but not malicious.  Mr. Pompous and some guy in Canada made fun of me since I reported that I was at Dunkin Donuts and at Rite Aid.  However, just about everyone makes sily posts.

One must always keep in mind that anything on the Internet is public information.  An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so always be careful what you say online.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mets lose season opener to Florida 6-2

To be optimistic I will say that it was only one game and that there are 161 to go.  But the Mets lost to the Flordia Marlin 6-2.  They didn't get a hit until the 7th inning and Mike Pelfrey gave up a grand slam home run to John Buck in the loss.  Game 2 is today.  Game Recap.
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