Monday, May 31, 2010

Facebook Friend of the Day - Jet Screamer

I met Jet Screamer, who chooses to be anonymous on Facebook, today. I actually met him through Alan Berman, the Dean of Oldies Listeners. We chatted in Alan's apartment for about an hour before going out to a diner on the east side. Jet lives most of the year in Winnepeg, Canada although he is originally from New York City. He enjoys baseball and hockey and is heavily in 1960s music. He actually dislikes WCBS-FM since he does not care for the 80s music that the station plays.

He says he will be back in NYC in September. Hopefully we can hook up then.

Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Songs

Rolling Stone Magazine recently published a list of 500 Greatest Songs of all times chosen based on votes by 172 musicians, critics, and music-industry figures. Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan was voted #1. Radio stations of different formats often get votes from listeners on their top hits of all time and play them back usually on a holiday weekend. For every person voting there are different reasons for voting. A popular song by an artist is not necessary the best. Like a Rolling Stone is certainly Dylan's biggest hit as it peaked at #2 on the Billboard Charts. It is a very powerful song, though very bitter in tone. Every time that a radio station has a vote I always vote for it and it usually ends up high in the voting, but not necessarily #1. I do that because this is likely the only Dylan song that would chart very high.

In reality the songs that are my favorites have personal significance for me. I have posted many songs in this journal that have affected me emotionally over the years. Many have been written by Dylan but other artists and songwriters have influenced me greatly.

I would never criticize anyone else's choice of favorite song or artist.

I always get a kick out of Sebastian Cabot's reading of Like a Rolling. Facebook friend can hear it at

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Another New York Times Article about Facebook

Are 5,001 Facebook Friends One Too Many appeared in today's New York Times Sunday Styles section. Regular readers of Bruce's Journal know that I have commented on Facebook several times over the past few years. I have to make some comments on this article written by Aimee Lee Ball.

She quotes Roger Fransecky, a clinical psychologist, who states that "friending sustains an illusion (emphasis is mine) of closeness in a complex world of continuous partial attention." Can someone be friends with 5,000 people? The terms connections and followers used by LinkedIn and Twitter, respectively seem to be more accurate terms.

Ball states that Facebook discourages adding strangers as friends. As of today I have 378 friends, but how many are real friends? Many are friends of friends whom I have never met. I have established some good electronic relationships with some people that I will likely never encounter in real life. I would recommend that all Facebook members be careful about their privacy settings. On the other hand you may also offend people that you refuse to friend or unfriend.

There are more important things in this world than Facebook :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Exploring other forms of music at the Flushing Library

For the third Saturday in a row we hiked over to the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library to see a concert. This time it was classical piano music by Jeni Slotchiver. She is described as a champion of 20th century composers. Should I start listening to WQXR?

Famous Amos Facebook Friend of the Day

This Famous Amos does not make cookies. His real name is Russ DiBello who works in radio. It is a small world since I found at that he is a cousin to Barbara Kebbekus, a retired chemistry professor at NJIT.

This morning Lee and I went to the Bay Terrace Mall. We went to Barnes and Nobles to buy a few baseball books to read on the Jay Buckley Baseball Tour. We stopped by the FYE, one of the few music stores left and bought the reissued Rolling Stones CD Exile on Main Street. On the way home Famous was on WCBS-FM filling in for Broadway Bill Lee. Famous really bashed a moderator of a well know radio message board. This person unfairly criticized Russ's professional abilities. I have always enjoyed listening to him on the radio and wish him well in his professional endeavors.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Mets are on a roll

The Mets have now won 5 games in a row against the Yankees and Phillies who appeared in last year's World Series. They actually shut out the Phillies in the 3 games at Citifield. Their record for the season is now 25-23. They now go on the road for 6 games. They have played exceptionally well at Citifield. Maybe it took them a season to get used to the next ballpark. The National League East seems to be evenly matched this season, so we can hope for divisional title. Let's hope that injuries don't hit again.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James by Manfred Mann

This song is a good example of British hit that didn't get any radio play in the USA in the mid 1960s. It peaked at #10 in the UK while ito didn't even reach the Billboard Top 100 according to my Joel Whitburn book. If this entry is imported into Facebook it can be heard at . Maybe I should ask Bob Radil to play it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Remembering the Beatles Butcher Cover

Back in 1966 the Yesterday and Today album by the Beatles was originally released with the cover seen above. Since it was so grotesque Capital Records recalled them and re-released the record with a simple cover with the Beatles standing around a trunk. One day back then I was in Greenwich Village and visited the House of Oldies which has a butcher cover on sale for $20. Back in those days I didn't have that kind of money with me so I didn't buy it. Now these albums are on sale for thousands of dollars.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How I celebrated Bob Dylan's birthday

I celebrate over 2 days. This year I even went to work on May 24th. Anyway here were my activities:
  • I put my Ipod Nano on shuffle as I listen to Dylan and covers of his songs
  • I listened to the New Morning LP on Vinyl
  • I listened to the episode of Theme Time Radio Hour on Happiness
  • Lee wore his Bob Dylan t-shirt to work
  • When I got to work I turned on WFUV. At 8:16 Claudia Marshall played Things Have Changed. She asked listeners to send in the name of their favorite Dylan cover. This is an extremely difficult question to answer. I selected Blowin' in the Wind by Stevie Wonder
  • When I got home Lee put the I'm Not There soundrck on the CD player.
  • At 7:30 after Jeopardy I started to listen to

The only disappointment of the day was that there were no Dylan questions on Jeopardy.

Scott Fybush - Facebook Friend of the Day - I didn't know he was a Dylan fan

I met Scott Fybush around 1993 when we were both joined Decalcomania, a club of radio enthusiasts. I did trade airchecks with him back then when he lived in the Boston area when he worked as a writer for WBZ. He since moved back to Rochester where he now works for WXXI. I last saw him in July 1995 when the Decalcomania convention was held in East Brunswick, NJ. I think I have kept in touch with him electronically on and off since then.

Scott has certainly earned the title of Distinguished Professor of Radio Towers. If you have a question about towers, past or present, Scott will know it. When I take NJ Transit I always see the towers for WEPN and WMCA and think about Scott. He is extremely knowledgeable in a wide range of radio topics and posts regularly to several message boards.

For the first time today I found out that Scott is also a big fan of Bob Dylan. Today he used the photo of Dylan from Blood on the Tracks as his Facebook photo while I used the one from New Morning. He commented on my Facebook note imported from Bruce's Journal on Zimmy's birthday. Radio shows about Dylan should make us both very happy. I have many tapes of them in my collection. I'll have to dig them out and play them.

I hope that the next time Scott comes to the NYC area I hope we can hook up.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan - It's A New Morning

The New Morning album was recorded during the summer of 1970 and released in October. It was done a few months after the release of Self Portrait that was highly criticized by the music community. I pulled out my vinyl copy of it and listened to it this afternoon. It is certainly one of the most optimistic songs in the Dylan catalog. It does not appear on Youtube, so my readers can listen at

The Never Ending Tour resumes May 29th after a two month hiatus. Bob was supposed to tour in China, but their government wouldn't allow him in the country.

I certainly wish Bob a happy and healthy birthday and hope that the year to come is very productive and artistically successful for him. May he stay forever young.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Edy Martinez Jazz Ensemble at the Flushing Library

For the second Saturday in a row we walked to the Flushing branch of Queens Borough Public Library to see a concert. This time it was Latin Jazz by the Edy Martinez Jazz Ensemble. Please see this link for a review of his album called Midnight Jazz Affair.

Congratulations Vijay Balse

Since I was at Citifield last night, we taped Jeopardy. There is no way that I was going to miss the last game of the Tournament of Champions. Vijay Balse, the chemical engineer from Chatham, NJ was the winner of the $250,000 prize. Congratulations!

Article from

Mets Lost to the Yankees 2-1

We bought a 6 pack of tickets to Citifield so we could see one Subway Series game. The game started out as a pitching duel between Javier Vazquez and Hisanori Takahashi who was making his first start for the Mets this season. The Mets hitting really fell asleep as they could only manage 4 hits against the Yankees. Second baseman Alex Cora made a crucial error that lead to two runs by the Yankees off reliever Elmer Dessens. Mariano Rivera Rivera gave up consecutive two-out doubles to Jason Bay and Ike Davis in the ninth inning, but it was not enough to beat the Yanks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rooting for Vijay Balse to win the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions

The Jeopardy Tournament of Champions begins with the 15 biggest winners over the past year. After the first week, the field is cut down to 9. By Thursday of the second, the three finalists remain. This year the three excelllent finalists are:
  • Vijay Balse
  • Stefan Goodreau
  • Jason Zollinger

I guess I like Vijay since he is a chemical engineer living in New Jersey. I have not seen his biography, but perhaps he is an NJIT graduate. I found out today the Vijay tried 6 times over 16 years to become a contestant. Persistance finally paid off for him. He even has a fan page on Facebook.

At the end of one day of the final round, Vijay is in the lead. Since I will be at the Subway Series tomorrow night, we will have to tape the show and not find out until Saturday who won.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Interpretation of a quote by Jaron Lanier

On page 177 of "You are Not a Gadget" Jaron Lanier says "when you deny the specialness of personhood, you elicit confused, inferior results from people."

For years I have "met people" on the internet via listservs, email, message boards and social networking sites. However, after 15 years of this I still understand that you don't really "know" a person until you meet face to face. Even numerous phone calls are not a substitute for an actual meeting. Electronic communication often results in misunderstandings that can quickly end a "relationship".

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Movie Day

It was raining today so in the morning I pulled out the DVD for the Dylan biopic I'm Not There which I haven't seen in over a year. Every time I see a movie I see something that I didn't catch teh first time. The soundtrack CD for the film included covers of Dylan songs except for the title song. The movie soundtrack had some original Dylan songs.

I didn't want to stay couped up in the apartment all day so I walked in the rain to the local multiplex and saw Letters to Juliet featuring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave. Although it was essentially a chick flick, I still enjoyed it.

Back to work tomorrow.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Checking out the Book Review Section of the Sunday New York Times

On Mondays I usually bring the following sections of the New York Times with me on my commute to work:

-Week in Review
-Book Review

In any event there is so much to read in the New York Times that I just can’t get to it all. Some weeks I don’t even get to the book review section. The aim of a book review is to provide enough information so that you know if you want to buy the book. I will talk about two book reviews that I read this afternoon while sitting on a park bench. Remember, I am on staycation this week.

Browning, Dominique. Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas & Found Happiness. New York: Atlas & Co, 2010.

The author lost her job as House & Garden Magazine. I know that job loss can have the same psychological effect as a long illness or bereavement. Losing a job can cause the victim to become very angry. The sensitive parts of this describe the triumph of spirit over circumstance.

As I read this book review I thought of the postings of a Facebook friend (DW) who is so bitter about not being able to find a job in this miserable economy. I have never met DW, but I certainly understand his pain and wish him well. I will try to get this book from the public library. I can always use interlibrary loan. The author has a web site at

Ravitch, Diane. The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. New York: Basic Books, 2010.

I will be brief and say that I agree with the author that students should not be taught just to score high on an examination. Assessment at all levels of education is important, but it must be done the right way.

Does anybody think that Bruce’s Journal is a nickel blog?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Silence is Golden by the Tremeloes

Silence is Golden by the Tremeloes peeked at #11 on the Billboard chart in 1967. The Four Seasons also covered it. I would like to dedicate it to Double Dee and the Dean. This song does not perfectly express my sentiments about a situation at hand. I have bolded the lyrics that are most significant. Thanks for listening. Facebook seems to be inconsistent these days on importing my journal entries. If you are viewing this as a Facebook note you can see and hear the video at

Oh don't it hurt deep inside
To see someone do something to her
Oh don't it pain to see someone cry
How especially if that someone is her

Silence is golden, but my eyes still see
Silence is golden, golden, but my eyes still see

Talking is cheap people follow like sheep
Even though there is no where to go
How could she tell he decieved her so well
Pity she'll be the last one to know

How many times will she fall for his lines
Should I tell her or should I be cool
And if I tried I know she'd say I lied
Mind your business don't hurt her you fool

Silence is golden, but my eyes still see
Silence is golden, golden, but my eyes still see

The composer is Bob Crewe

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Viva Patshiva at the Flushing Library

We walked over to the Flushing branch of the Queensborough Public Library to see Viva Patshiva, an underground gypsy rock opera. It featured a cast of musicians, singers, comedians, and dancers who have developed this show over the past few years. About a year ago it played at the Interart Theater on West 52nd Street.

Pulbic libraries do a good job at providing entertainment for its patrons. The three public library systems in NYC are facing terrible budget gets for the next fiscal year. Some branches will either close or sharply reduce their hours. It would be a shame if programs like this would be cut out or sharply reduced.

Friday, May 14, 2010

First Impressions about a book questioning Web 2.0

This afternoon I picked up this book at the local public library:

Lanier, Jaron. You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.

I usually don't comment on books that I read until after I read them, but I am quite impressed with this book after reading just one chapter. We all must think of Web 2.0 services such as Facebook and Twitter and think how they have changed our lives and way of thinking. It is a small world since Lanier's biography states that he was the graduation speaker at NJIT in 2006.

I must make two exact quotes from the book:

"Emphasizing the crowd means deemphasizing individual human beings in the design of society, and when you ask people not to be people they revert to bad moblike behaviors. This leads not only to empowered trolls, but to a generally unfriendly and unconstructive online world."

Hmm... This reminds me of a moderator of a certain message board.

Another quote:

"If you are twittering, innovate in order to find a way to describe your internal state instead of trivial external events."

This is difficult to do in 140 characters. I will have to work on this.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Start of May Staycation

Staycation is a coined term meaning staying home during vacation time. At NJIT I get 20 vacation days plus 3 personal days. Since traveling is so expensive, I must use much of my vacation time staying at home. I will not spend all my time at the computer as is done in the cartoon above. I think all of us spend too much time on Facebook and other social networking sites. I'll do some reading, walking, and just relaxing until next Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Please Don't Repeat Yourself

I have a very good memory. If you have said something to me, I heard you. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Song of the Day - My Best Friend - Jefferson Airplane

I just heard this on Sirius/XM Deep Tracks. It appeared on the Surrealistic Pillow album back in 1967. Facebook friends can see and hear it at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jeopardy Tournament of Champions Begins Today

The Jeopardy Tournament of Champions began today with the 15 biggest winners of the past season appearing. They are doing it now since it is sweeps month so the afffiliates will get higher ratings. The questions posed to the contestants are somewhat more difficult than they are during regular games. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

For the umpteenth year in a row I picked up my mother in Forest Hills and drove her to my sister Joyce's house in Dix Hills, Long Island. It was too cold to have a barbeque so we ate indoors. I didn't bring a camera so I am posting a photo of her from her 90th birthday party last August. Thank goodness she is in very good health. Hopefully we will do it again next year.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mets 5 Giants 4 in 11 innings

For the second day in a row the Mets won the game with a walk off home run by the catcher. The Amazins were ahead by 4-2, but the bull pen blew the lead. I just hate it when the manager brings in a reliever to face just one batter. Fernando Nieve, Pedro Feliciano, and Jennry Mejia eached pitched to just one batter in the 8th inning. When the game went into extra innings we were afraid that Jerry Manuel would deplete his bullpen as he almost did in the 20 inning game a few weeks ago. Henry Blanco ended the game in the 11th inning with a walk off home run.

We were sitting with Alan Berman, the Dean of Oldies Listeners. I found out through Facebook that radio friend Amy Auerbach was also at the game.

Box Score

Friday, May 7, 2010

What a tiring week

  • Monday was normal
  • Tuesday night we went to the Yankee game and didn't get home until 11:40 PM
  • Wednesday was my late night at the NJIT library but on the way I hit a train delay. The New Jersey Transit train was sitting in the Newark station, but there was an announcement saying there were switching problems. I went to NYC via PATH which takes longer
  • Thursday night to pay Alan Berman a shiva call at his apartment on the upper east side. I got home very late.
  • Friday was another train delay. I was on the #7 train at Times Square. The conductor said that there was a train stuck in the tunnel. I had to go to the E train to get into Queens. This took about 30 minutes longer than usual.

I will have to end this journal entry with an appropriate song. How about I'm So Tired by the Beatles. Facebook friends can see it at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yankees 4 Orioles 1

Even though we are Met fans we see the Yankees a few times a year. Since I could not get tickets for any weekend games we went on Tuesday night. It was sad to see the old Yankee Stadium almost completely demolished. The people in the South Bronx deserve more park space as the new stadium was built on park land. I arrived about 6 PM, but it was too late to get into Monument Park.
It was a pitching matchup of A.J. Burnet and Brian Matusz. Regular catcher Jorge Posada had the night off while Derek Jeter served as the designated hitter. Backup catcher Francisco Cervelli was the star of the game as he hit a triple and made a spectacular catch of a foul popup as he landed in the Yankees dugout.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine - Bob Dylan Song of the Day

You never know when a Bob Dylan song hits close to home. The beauty of his songs is that you can interpret them anyway you like. This morning at work I was listening to Claudia Marshall on WFUV as she played the Blonde on Blonde Version of this song. It really struck close to home as I think of 2 people who have rejected me for the silliest of reasons. The people who produced the video below have interpreted the song as many other Dylan fans have. My take on it is quite personal. I include the video since the original studio recording as I heard this morning is there. Facebook friends can see it as

You say you love me
And you’re thinkin’ of me
But you know you could be wrong
You say you told me
That you wanna hold me
But you know you’re not that strong
I just can’t do what I done before
I just can’t beg you anymore
I’m gonna let you pass
And I’ll go last
Then time will tell just who fell
And who’s been left behind
When you go your way and I go mine

You say you disturb me
And you don’t deserve me
But you know sometimes you lie
You say you’re shakin’
And you’re always achin’
But you know how hard you try
Sometimes it gets so hard to care
It can’t be this way ev’rywhere
And I’m gonna let you pass
Yes, and I’ll go last
Then time will tell just who fell
And who’s been left behind
When you go your way and I go mine

The judge, he holds a grudge
He’s gonna call on you
But he’s badly built
And he walks on stilts
Watch out he don’t fall on you

You say you’re sorry
For tellin’ stories
That you know I believe are true
You say ya got some
Other kinda lover
And yes, I believe you do
You say my kisses are not like his
But this time I’m not gonna tell you why that is
I’m just gonna let you pass
Yes, and I’ll go last
Then time will tell who fell
And who’s been left behind
When you go your way and I go mine

Copyright © 1966 by Dwarf Music; renewed 1994 by Dwarf Music

Thanks for listening and reading

Monday, May 3, 2010

Condolences to Alan Berman and family

We got the sad news today that Miriam Berman, mother of Alan passed away after a long illness. We certainly send our condolences to Alan, his sister and the rest of the family at this difficult time. Alan was a very devoted son by visiting his mother during her illness.

Alan, please observe the mourning process in which ever way you feel appropriate. Please do take a few days aside to think about your mother and what she did for you over the years. Remember her for the time that she was healthy and a devoted wife and mother. Our best wishes to you and your family.

Bruce, Karen, and Lee

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dutch festival at Hofstra University

We went to the Dutch Festival today at Hofstra. For $5/person it was a real bargain. We saw three musical groups there:
  • East End Trio
  • Hofstra University Jazz Ensemble
  • New York's Most Dangerous Big Band

There were other musical groups there that we missed, but there were many craftspeople and exhibitors.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Congratulation Dick Biondi

Congratulations to Chicago radio personality Dick Biondi on the 50th Annivesary of his first appearance on WLS. I became aware of Dick from radio friend Mark Strickert whom I met in the early 1990s. Mark has since moved to Anaheim, California. Over the years I did collect some airchecks of Dick on various radio stations. Some of his shows can be hear on Reelradio and other sources on the Internet. There will be a 5 hour tribute to Dick Sunday May 2 on WLS-FM where he appears nightly.
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