Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Traffic Congestion is Easing Due to the Recession

I saw an interesting report (see below) on the ABC News tonight saying that raods are less congested during this recession. If people are not working, they are not getting into their cars and driving to work. Many people telecommute these days and work from home using the Internet. When there are less goods being bought and sold there are less trucks on the road making deliveries.

I have not driven to work since 1992 when I worked at St. Johns University. The only time I notice a decrease in subway or New Jersey Transit crowding is when school is not in session. If service cuts threatened by the MTA come to pass, the trains will become more crowded.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Together Through Life

It is a shame that there are so few places to buy music these days. Today's buyers of music are quite content to download for Itunes and other sources. I have downloaded as well, but still enjoy the thrill of going to a music store to buy a CD on the day of its release. I am scheduled to work at NJIT for 1 PM - 8 PM so I left home a little early to have time to stop at the Borders by New York's Penn Station to buy it. There were two versions, one with just the CD and the deluxe version including the CD, a bonus CD with selections from the Theme Time Radio Hour. and a DVD of Roy Silver-The Lost Interview. Of course, I bought the deluxe.

I started listening to the CD as a boarded my train and was able to get halfway through it as I arrived in Newark. If I had to describe it in one word is would be "bluesy". For links to extensive reviews please see Expecting Rain. I enjoyed what I've heard so far, but this CD will not have the impact of Dylan's works from 1965-75. I was intrigued by one song titled My Wife's Home Town. I must listen more in depth to determine which of Dylan's two wives is in the song. It is well known that he was married to Sara Lowndes, but a few recent biographies state that he was also married to Carolyn Dennis, a background singer in the late 70s and early 80s. If you read his autobiography Chronicles, Dylan refers to my wife, but doesn't say which one. Please remember, his works are vague and open to interpretation.

Hopefully, my listening to the second half of the CD on the way home will "wipe out" the grumpy conductors and passengers who block the doors. If I finish while I am on the #7 train I can always listen to the Mets, Yankees, Rangers, or Devils.

Love him or hate him, you must give Dylan credit for his longevity. How many people who recored back in 1962 are still in the music business? Probably very few.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Thoughts on WABC Rewound

My radio enthusiast friends are aware that Allan Sniffen, the moderator of the New York Radio Message Board, made the official announcement today that WABC Rewound that has been played on Memorial Day for 10 years will be heard only on and WPLJ-HD3 this year. To me this brings up the issue of ageism in radio programming which I would like to discuss in detail.

It is true that there is a new program director at WABC who may not value the heritage of the station as her predecessor, but I would not take this decision personally. I would draw an analogy to a long running TV series on a major broadcast network that was relegated to cable TV. Radio and TV programs have diehards and casual viewers/listeners. I would listen to the early Rewounds religiously, but as the years went on, the novelty wore off and my enthusiasm gradually waned. Whether we like it or not, we all have aged and the Rewound audience has aged with the show. I don’t want to go into a long discourse on the hijacking of WCBS-FM in June 2005 and the reincarnation of the station with a classic hits rather than an oldies format. Older audiences are not appealing to advertisers since they are set in their ways and not easily swayed by commercials. Thus radio executives are trying to program to a younger audience. Here is why I feel WABC is wrong in making this decision:

The entire AM band appeals to older listeners anyway. WABC’s brand of conservative talk radio appeals to older listeners. Liberal talk stations have not thrived. WABC let go liberals like Lynn Samuels and Ron Kuby.

Does WABC know that the talk radio audience on a major holiday would be any younger than a WABC Rewound audience? If you are at a family picnic on Memorial Day. Would you rather listen to music or a rerun of Rush Limbaugh?

Is there any guarantee that there will be more ad revenues for talk than for Rewound?
WABC promotes the regular talk radio programming on SNO and did so on past Rewounds.

On the positive side Rewound was not killed completely. I am one of the few people who owns an HD radio, but almost everyone has a computer and can hear the stream. Allan Sniffen said there will be new tapes this year and the 2009 version will be archived. Some of the older shows are available on aircheck sites, but it is possible they will be archived.

The radio executives are out for the almighty dollar. Mark Simone’s morning show now starts at 7 AM because the bean counters thought they could make more money with an infomercial. My gut feeling is that WABC management is happy with the advertising dollars made on SNO. But nothing in this world is absolutely permanent.

Let's take things “One Day at a Time”.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Radio Show on Bob Dylan's Lyrics on BBC2

Please make this announcement on

There is a radio show on BBC2 about Bob Dylan's lyrics avialble until Saturday May 2. It can be accessed at

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Mets beat the Washington Nationals 8-2 today

We went to our second Mets game today and saw the Amazins beat the Washington Nationals 8-2. The Mets were able to take advantage of 3 errors to score several runs. Recap. The Mets have won both games we have seen at Citifield. At the end of the game there was a Mr. Met dash. As we left the stadium there must have been a line about 3 blocks long of kids with their parents waiting to run around the bases.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Received a Jury Duty Questionnaire Today

Today I received a questionnaire for eligibility for jury duty since the last time I served was in April 2004. I served on a case involving a forgery where we acquitted the defendant. The entire process including jury selection and the actual trial took 5 days. The entire process has streamlined over the years since the time spent in the central jury room has been minimized. I was able to send the cour the questionnaire through the internet. If I am called, it will be like a mini-vacation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Karen

Ii rmember when I first met Karen back in 1980 I saw a knick knack on her shelf in the living room saying Taurus. I then found out that our birthdays are one day apart, but not the same day. You will rarely see her surfing the web, but you can't keep her away from crossword puzzles, her favorite activity. I hope she enjoyed doing several of them today, her birthday. I won't reveal her age.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thanks for all the Kind Birthday Wishes

Thanks for all the kind birthday wishes that came by:
  • Facebook posts
  • Email
  • Phone
  • People who stopped by my office

Here is a Youtube video from the 1960s from a group called the Scaffold featuring Mike McGear who is Paul McCartney's brother

Monday, April 20, 2009

Some Thoughts on My 60th Birthday

I have about 2 hours to go, but I shouldn't be writing my personal journal at work. 60 years seems a long time, but we are on this earth for such a short time. We can all reminisce about the past, and I have done that many times in this journal. Nobody can predict their future, be it tomorrow or years from now. There is always things that elude us in life. Nobody can get everything he or she wants in this world. We can always hope for the best.

For this occasion I have selected what I feel is Bob Dylan's most underrated song "When the Ship Comes in" written in 1963. Like most Dylan songs it is vague and open to interpretation. Please interpret it your way. Thanks to Youtube, I am including the Dylan version and the cover by Peter Paul, and Mary.

Thanks for reading and listening.

Theme Time Radio Hour Will Return in the Fall

Since this week's theme is "Goodbye" there was some speculation that Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour would be leaving XM radio permanently. Frank D'Agostino sent me a link to an article by David Hinckley in the New York Daily News with that concern. I went to the the XM Radio Web Site there was a short announcing saying that the show ill be back in the Fall. Bob certainly picks some very rare tracks for different genres of music.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My 60th Birthday Dinner Today

Karen and Lee took me to Anthony's restaurant in Bayside to celebrate my 60th birthday (it's actually on Tuesday). We have gone to this Italian restaurant for many years. It was previously known as Villa Armando and then Villa Venuto. Anyway, we just had my mother, sister, brother-in-law, nephew Scott and old friend Roy Herschaft. Roy entertained us with his knowledge of cultural events in many genres of entertainment.

Check for more photos

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Our First Game at Citifield - The Mets beat Milwaukee 1-0

There are certain days in your life you always remember:

July 15, 1957 - my first baseball game at Ebbets Field as the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Braves 20-4. I was lucky to catch the Boys of Summer before they moved to Los Angeles. By the way, today the Cleveland Indians beat the Yankees 22-4

May 30, 1962 - My first Met game at the Polo Grounds as the Mets lost a doubleheader to the Dodgers. I went with my Dad and family friend Seymour Rosenberg. Back then there was always a doubleheader on a major holiday.

April 18, 1964 (45 years ago today) - My first game at Shea Stadium. The Mets lost to the Pitsburgh Pirates. I went with my 9th grade classmate Alan Metzger. I remember taking the #7 train to the game and seeing our Spanish teacher Miss Singer on the platform also on the way to the game. On Monday we discussed the game in Spanish.

April 18, 2009 - our first game at Citifield. The pitching was fantastic for both teams but the Mets won on an unearned run. Johnann Santana pitched 7 innings, whille J.J. Putz pitch the 8th and Francisco Rodriguez got the save. Recap. Hopefully we'll see more hitting in future games.

Check for more photos.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bob Dylan and the Byrds Play Together

How can you top this? Bob Dylan joins the Byrds in 1990 to sing Mr. Tambourine Man.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yankees lose to Cleveland 10-2 in opener of new stadium

I was at work today so I couldn't watch the Yankees open their new stadium. I had to grade papers so I couldn't listen on the radio in my office. I did monitor the game from time to time on . Anyway the Yankees lost to Cleveland 10-2. Hopefully the YES Network will rebroadcast the ceremonies before the game.

I am working late at NJIT tonight so I'll pass Citifield on the #7 train on the way home as the Mets complete their opening series with the San Diego Padres. I'll be able to catch the last few innings on TV when I get home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Retired Numbers of the Yankees and Mets

Regular reader of this Journal Frank D’Agostino suggested that I write something about retired numbers of baseball players. Let me first discuss the New York Yankees who in my opinion have devalued the meaning of the retired number. Let me analyze each. No comment means that it was deserved:

1 – Billy Martin was fired 5 times. Miller Huggins and Joe McCarthy should be similarly recognized.
3 – Babe Ruth
4 – Lou Gehrig
5- Joe Dimaggio
7 – Mickey Mantle
8 – Yogi Berra
8 – Bill Dickey
9. – Roger Maris – beside one fantastic season had a mediocre career
10 – Phil Rizzuto
15 – Thurman Munson – some sympathy involved due to his untimely passing. He likely would have mad the Hall of Fame had he had a full career
16 – Whitey Ford
23 – Don Mattingly – excellent career but did not make the Hall of Fame. The Yankees were not big winners during his playing days
32 – Elston Howard –sadly he died at 48, but his credentials did not justify his number being retired.
37 – Casey Stengel
44 – Reggie Jackson – He only played 5 years for the Yankees
49 – Ron Guidry – excellent career, but in my opinion without election to the Hall does not deserve a retired number.

The following numbers should be retired in the future

2 – Derek Jeter
6 – Joe Torre

The Yankess will retire A Rod’s #13 although it will be tainted by steroid use and other off field activities.

I suggest the Yankees immediate honor Bob Sheppard with a plaque in Monument Park. Likewise, Mel Allen and Frank Messer should be recognized. I would also put a microphone by Phil Rizzuto’s #10.

The Mets have retired only 3 numbers:

14 – Gil Hodges
37 – Casey Stengel
41 – Tom Seaver

Next to those numbers the Mets have honored William Shea.

I would definitely retire #31 for Mike Piazza and #45 for John Franco when and if they are elected to the Hall of Fame. Sadly Gil Hodges has not been elected. I would also honor broadcasters Bob Murphy, Lindsay Nelson and Ralph Kiner.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sad News - Lenny Schneider passes away at 67

On July 11, 2008 I discussed 1978-1981, my Queens B'nai Brith Singles years. There was a short discussion of Lenny Schneider.

Tonight I received a phone call from Herb Hollander saying that Lenny passed away today at the age of 67. I checked back in this journal and it was on June 7, 2008 that I met him at the Flushing Town Hall at a jazz concert. At that point I hadn't seen him in over 20 years.

My condolences to his family.

Rarity in Baseball last night

While the Mets were playing their first regular season game at Citifield last night the Yankees lost to Tampa Bay 15-5. When I checked the box score, I found out that first baseman outfielder Nick Swisher pitched the 8th inning for the Yankees. Since they were losing so badly manager Joe Girardi didn't want to "waste" another relief pitcher. Newsday reported that this was the first time since 1997 that the Yankees used a position player as a pitcher. Back then it was Wade Boggs. I did a little research and found these instances when the Mets used a position player to pitch (see chart to the upper left)

First Major League Game at Citifield

Last night was special in my life. It is not every day when a new stadium opens in NYC. There will be two opening this week. I will be brief here, but will write something more detailed after my first game this Saturday April 18. When I got home last night at 6 PM, we watched the pre-game show on SNY. We did not watch Jeopardy at 7 PM as usual. Karen taped the show at 5 PM on Channel 55 from eastern Long Island. I did not even turn on the computer. Here is the historic first pitch from Tom Seaver to Mike Piazza.

The game itself was a disappointment as the Mets lost to the San Diego Padres 6-5. The only highlight was David Wright's home run.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beatles Song of the Day - Good Day Sunshine

First of all, a Happy Easter to readers of this journal who celebrate it. It was quite cool this morning, but the sun was out, a big difference from yesterday. With that thought in mind, here is an appropriate Beatles song:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I Just Hate Rainy Saturdays and Monday is Coming

I won't even talk about the movie we saw just to get out of the house for a few hours today. It didn't stop until about 6 PM.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Car Inspection Today

Since NJIT is closed on Good Friday I thought this would be a good day to bring me car in for its yearly state inspection. It is hard to believe that I own this Chevy Cavalier for 9 years now. since I don't drive to work I have only put on 35,000 miles on the car. For the first time I needed some work to pass the emissions inspection. The car needed a new catalytic converter. I had no choice but to have it installed.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

First Seder at the White House

For the first time in history there was a Passover seder at the White House. Thank you Mr. President for reaching out to the Jewish community. Please see the article in the New York Times.

Happy Passover

Happy Passover to readers of this journal who are observing the holiday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Kris Kristofferson - Bob Dylan Connections

When one picks up a magazine you don't know when an article will really hit you. Certainly Rolling Stone Magazine normally appeals to people much younger than I. Some time ago I was offerred a free subscription to it for about 6 months. In the April 16th issue there was an article titled The Last Outlaw Poet by Ethan Hawke about Kris Kristofferson. I didn't realize what a multfaceted ferformer Kris really is. When I looked at my Joel Whitburn Top Pop Book, Kris had only 7 Top 100 pop hits with only one hitting the top 20. Kris was better known as a country music artist. I didn't realize that Kris appeared in 70 films. Ethan Hawke made the following statement in the article:

"There are many musicians who have dabbled in film and actors who have tried their hand at a recording session. But only Frank Sinatra has done both on the level that Kris has, and with Sinatra it was different: Sinatra was a showman. Kris is a poet who sometimes sings and acts extremely well."

The photo above is of Kris and Dylan in the movie "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid." Kris was the host of the 30th Anniversary Tribute Concert to Dylan popularly known as the Bobfest on October 16, 1992. In 1986 on the album Knocked Out Loaded Dylan cover a Kris Kristofferson song called "They Killed Him." Kris said:

"Havin' Dylan cover one of your songs is like being a playright and having Shakespeare act in your play" That is some compliment.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mets Win Season Opener 2-1 in Cincinnati

The Mets started their season on the road at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. I was able to listen to part of the game on the radio while I was in my office this afternoon. Daniel Murphy hit a home run early in the game while Johann Santana held the Reds to one run in 5 2/3 innings. This time the bullpen, last season's big weakness, held the Red scoreless as the Amazins won 2-1. Recap.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hello Citifield. It was nice meeting you today

The construction of Citifield began during the summer of 2006. Whenever I passed the site on the #7 train I would always look out the window to see how the construction was progressing. However in Fall 2008 when the deconstruction of Shea Stadium began, I just couldn’t look. Now that the Shea is down I now look at Citifield as I anticipate the beginning of the 2009 baseball season.

Some months ago I bought a package of 15 game tickets for this season. A few weeks ago I received some tickets from the Mets to see the team workout on April 5th, the day before the start of the season. The purpose of our trip today was to see the new ball park, not necessarily to see batting practice.

W entered through the right field entrance and walked toward home plate. The corridors are very wide like the new ballparks that we visited on the Jay Buckley baseball tours of 2006 and 2007. There were plenty of food concession stands and souvenir shops. There is plenty of space to stand whenever there is a rain delay. We took a full tour of the ballpark. The mini amusement park that stood outside of Shea Stadium is now back of centerfield. There are plenty of TV monitors where you can see replays. We enjoyed the Jackie Robinson Rotunda placed by the home plate side of the park. We walked up to section 527 in the upper deck on the third base side where our plan tickets are to get a preview of our view.

From there we went to a souvenir shop where everyone got a tee shirt commemorating the opening of the park. We also bought to small model of Citifield to add to our set of New York City stadium models that include Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium.

Our last stop was the Home Run Apple that was taken from Shea Stadium. Citifield has a new apple which is in centerfield. You can see photos of our day at More will be written about Citifield and the Mets in future journal entries.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Shopping for Suits Today

I hadn't bought a new suit since Lee's Bar Mitzvah in 2001. I guess there just haven't been too many occasions where it was necessary to wear a suit in the past 8 years. We drove over the the Men's Wearhouse in Bayside to buy a suit for myself and for Lee. In late May we are going to the Bar Mitzvah of my brother-in-law Paul's step son. It's nice to get all dressed up once in a while.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Beatles Song of the Day - Rain

I hope it stops raining today so the Mets and Yankees can play their first major league games at their new stadia. It is scheduled to be Mets vs Red Sox and Yankees vs. Cubs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WABC Rewound will only be heard online this year

For readers who are not radio enthusiasts WABC was the greatest Top 40 music station from 1960 until 1982 when it became a talk radio station. For about 10 years on Memorial Day for about 12 hours the station featured WABC Rewound where airchecks from the music radio era where played. We were able to hear classic DJs like Herb Oscar Anderson, Bruce Morrow, Dan Ingram, Charlie Greer and others. I have read tonight on several radio message boards that this year Rewound will be heard only online. Here is a post that I submitted to the Yahoo Saturday Night Oldies Board:

There are possible reasons for the demise of WABC Rewound on the Air:

1. There is a new program director. Very often when there is a new boss he/shelikes to assert managerial muscles and makes changes for to show who is in charge. Perhaps she does not have an appreciation for the heritage of thestation.

2. They may have run out of Musicradio WABC airchecks and just did not want toplay repeats.

3. Not enough advertising revenue which has been said before.I feel that listenership to talk radio would be very light on a major summerholiday. How many people would listen to repeats of Limbaugh or Hannity? Howmuch advertising would 12 hours of talk radio bring in? It seems that thisonline only Rewound could be a compromise. I guess it is not known how long itwill be or if there will be a show with Mark Simone, Alan Sniffen, and WABC DJs. Another compromise could be having a shortened over the air show. Nothing in this world lasts forever.
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