Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The 12 Million Dollar Man Sits on his Butt

Mets general manager Omar Minaya gave Oliver Perez a contract for $12 million/year for 3 years. In the photo above he is sitting on his butt on the pitchers mound but in reality has been doing that in the bullpen. He has been absolutely awful the few times he has pitched this season. In last night's game against Atlanta he gave up a home run on his second pitch. So the Mets lost 9-3 instead of 8-3. He could have spent some time in the minor leagues trying to reinvent himself, but he refused. If he can't throw a fastball at 90 MPH anymore, perhaps he could try to develop a knuckleball. The Mets are obligated to him for next season. Oy vey!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mets lose to Astros 4-1

Johann Santana was shaky in the first inning and allowed 2 runs. Then in the 5th inning Carlos Lee hit a 2 run homer which was enough to beat the Mets 4-1. The Mets got 9 hits, but
could only score 1 run. Hitting with runners in scoring position seems to be their problem. The team's record is hovering around the .500 mark.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Spotlight on Norm N Nite

I am usually not at my computer at 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon, but here I am listening to Norm N Nite on Sirius/XM 50s on 5. I'd like to thank Norm for keeping the music of the early days of rock n roll alive on the radio. Sadly terrestrial terrestrial radio has all but given up on the music of that era. It's that demographic thing again since that music appeals to listeners age 55+ who are not desirable to advertisers.

Norm was on WCBS-FM several times over the years. I loved the Top 20 Countdown show that he did on weekends since he played a lot of rarities. When WCBS-FM came back in 2007, Norm had some appearances on the Radio Greats Shows on Sunday nights, but since that show was cancelled he has only been heard on satellite radio. He is a walking encyclopedia of the music and artists of the "Heart of Rock 'n Roll."

In 1998 Karen, Lee and I visited the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. As we were waiting for our flight to Cleveland we saw Norm in the waiting area. I had a nice conversation with him about the Rock Hall.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My 3 favorite morning DJs of all time

The gentleman on top is Herb Oscar Anderson who is actually a friend on Facebook. He is best known for being the "Morning Mayor" on WABC from 1960-68. Back in those days AM radio reigned supreme and at 20% of radio listeners tuned in to WABC.
Harry Harrison is in the middle. He did 10 AM - 1 PM on WMCA before he was the morning man at WABC from 1968-79. He worked on morning drive at WCBS-FM from 1980-2003. I was disappointed that Harry did not come back when WCBS-FM returned in 2007. I certainly hope that Harry is enjoying his retirement.
My New York friends (except for Alan Berman) likely don't recognize the man wearing a sailor 's hat. He is Rhode Island's Salty Brine who worked mornings at WPRO-AM from 1942-1993. I listened to Salty when I was a student at the University of Rhode Island from 1972-74. Everybody in the state loved Salty. Alan attended another school in RI in the early 70s when he also listened to Salty.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

WCBS-FM Hall of Fame, Bruce Slutsky and Al Kooper

Only July 16th, I sent the following suggest to Brian Thomas, the program Director of WCBS-FM:

From: bruces8852@aol.com
To: bthomas@wcbsfm.com
Sent: Fri, Jul 16, 2010 5:53 pm
Subject: Suggestion for a WCBS-FM Hall of Fame

Brian - I have a suggestion for a future WCBS-FM Hall of Fame:

Rare and Well-done. Play a rarely heard hit by an artist and then follow it up with a song that is played often on WCBS-FM. Here is an example:

Beatles - Act Naturally
- I Want to Hold Your Hand

Bob Dylan - Just Like A Woman
- Like a Rolling Stone

Thanks for considering this suggestion

Bruce Slutsky
Flushing, NY

A got a two word response from him:

Great idea.

This was the theme of today's Hall of Fame on WCBS-FM. I actually got this idea from Al Kooper. A few years ago he released a 2 CD set - Rare and Well Done. I used his idea.

Hall of Fame features are played near the bottom of the hour. Since I was at work today, I only listened at 8:30 AM and 1:30 PM. They didn't acknowledge me over the air. They really should have given the credit to Al Kooper.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dylan Different is Sidran Superb

< I never heard of Ben Sidran until January of this year when Gary Walker played his music on WBGO. I was informed from his Facebook page that he was playing last night at the Highline Ballroom in the Chelsea Piers section of Manhattan. I walked from Penn Station to West 16th Street after work. I never being in that section of Chelsea before. We ate dinner there and at 8 PM sharp Ben and his group took the stage. When I usually go to a concert we sit in the back, but this was a small venue so we were right in the front and could see and hear everythig clearly. Ben gave a little monologue with music playing about the significance of Bob Dylan. The show started with Gotta Serve Somebody which was my favorite of the night. He also played my birthday song Highway 61 Revisited. He started the second set with Lee's favorite Tangled Up in Blue. He also sang Like a Rolling Stone and Love Minus Zero/No limit which were not on his CD. At the end of the concert we bought a copy of an older CD of his titled Bumpin' at the Sunside. I just checked Amazon.com and noted he had several other CDs for sale.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My 3 favorite NYC Morning Radio Personalities of Today

Since I only have one set of ears, I can only listen to one radio station at a time. Let's start at the bottom and work our way up.
Dan Taylor has been the morning man at WCBS-FM since the station returned in July 2007. I just love his banter with Mr. G, the Weatherman. I met him a few weeks ago at the CBS Radio Expo at Yankee Stadium.
Claudia Marshall artistically reminds me of the late Allison Steele, the Night Bird. She always plays a good music mix when she is on the air on WFUV. I hear a fair amount of Bob Dylan when she is behind the mike. She is a Facebook friend.
Since my employer, NJIT, is located in Newark, I just had to check out WBGO whose studio and transmitter is located just a few blocks away. Gary Walker has been the morning man since I first checked out the jazz programming on the station. I must thank him again from playing Ben Sidran's Dylan Different. More on that later in the week.
When I am home in the morning, I listen to about 30 minutes of each show. When I go to work I listen to Dan, and then listen online to Claudia or Gary. I switch off each day. I can listen to online radio when I do online tasks like reading e-mail.
Back in 2007 I sent Dan Taylor a suggestion. Karen heard him read my suggestion while I was listening to WFUV.
Honorable Mention goes to Sue O'Neal who does weekend mornings at WCBS-FM.
Shortly, I will list my 3 favorite morning DJs of all time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gathering of Adventures of Superman Fans at the Scobee Diner in Little Neck

There is a photo of Lee in his Superman t-shirt. We had a gathering of several fans of the Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves as the Man of Steel. The guest of honor was Bill Dillane was traveling from New Haven, Connecticut to Hershey, PA. A few months ago Bill attended a Superman convention in Metropolis, Illinois. Bill has actually met Noel Neill and Phyllis Coates who played Lois Lane in the TV series. I remember watching it years ago on WPIX-TV. It was seen on WWOR-TV in NYC in the 1990s. We taped several episodes. We all enjoyed the breakfast and conversation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Comments on the Roger Clemens situation

But I have a photo of Mike Piazza. Much has been said about the indictment of Roger Clemens for lying to the United States Congress about taking steroids. Perjury is a crime and certainly taking performance enhancing drugs attacks the integrity of the game of baseball. Clemens certainly has credentials to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but as we have seen with Mark McGwire, few baseball writers have voted for his induction. This can happen to Clemens, Sammy Sosa and others when they become eligible for induction 5 years after their retirement.

Let's turn back the clock to the 2000 season when the Yankees played the Mets in the regular season. Clemens threw the ball right at Mike Piazza's head at about 95 MPH. That can literally kill a batter. Mike was on the disabled list for a long time and missed the All-Star Game. This had to be intentional since Clemens has pinpoint control. A few months later in the Subway Series Mike Piazza's bat split when he was hitting against Clemens who through the piece of the bat back to Piazza. His excuse was "Duh, I thought that was the ball." If he thought it was the ball, why didn't he throw it to the first basemen. Even though it was the World Series, the umpire did not eject Clemens who was just hit with a $50,000 fine. To him that was just pocket change. If I was a baseball writer I would never elect Clemens to the Hall of Fame.

Should I send this journal entry to Suzyn Waldman?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Staycation Trip to the Whitney Museum

I think I have spent enough time on this staycation driving to local parks in Queens to read books and magazines so Karen and I took a trip to the Whitney Museum of American Art. I had been there once before in June 2007.

The featured exhibit was Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield

It was something different for us.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Favorite 25 Bob Dylan Songs for Personal Reasons

Bob Dylan has written and recorded hundreds of songs since the early 1960s. Everyone must have their favorites for whatever reason. I am listing my 25 favorite Dylan songs that hit me in a personal way. They are in no particular order:
  • Blowin' in the Wind
  • Don't Think Twice it's Alright
  • The Times They are a Changin'
  • Maggie's Farm
  • It's Alright Ma, I'm only Bleeding
  • Queen Jane Approximately
  • Memphis Blues Again
  • Dear Landlord
  • Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You
  • If Not For You
  • Too Much of Nothing
  • Highway 61 Revisited
  • Just Like a Woman
  • New Morning
  • I Shall be Released
  • Forever Young
  • Shelter from the Storm
  • Gotta Serve Somebody
  • Neighborhood Bully
  • Trust Yourself
  • Death is not the End
  • Disease of Conceit
  • Not Dark Yet
  • I am a Lonsome Hobo
  • Most Likely You Go Your Way (and I'll Go Mine)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Mets should not void K-Rod's contract

Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) did something very foolish by fighting with his girlfriend's father. His injured thumb now requires surgery and he will now miss the rest of this season. Since he was injured in a non-baseball situation, the Mets have the right to void his contract. I am guessing that the media is fueling this speculation since the Mets organization have not made a statement about this yet. We all make mistakes in life and have to pay the price. IMHO voiding his contract is too big of a price for this indiscretion.

My suggestion is that K-Rod lose his salary for the rest of this season and be required to go for anger management therapy. He would come back for the 2011 season, hopefully a new man. Can the Mets get a better closer? Let's hope for the best.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Recalling August 16, 1977

In August 1977 I was working at Pfizer in Groton, CT while living in nearby New London. At that time I was still friendly with Jay B from central New Jersey. We made arrangements to take a vacation in Cape Cod. We were staying in Hyannis and drove around the night of August 16. We stopped in a diner and heard the announcement on the radio that the King had died. When we returned to our hotel room, we watched the news on TV.

IN 2003 Karen, Lee and I visited Graceland in Memphis. Most of the visitors were not yet born on August 16, 1977. His popularity transcends the generations.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friends on Fakebook

Oh, the Sunday New York Times has again motivated me to write an entry for my journal. This time I will take a remark out of context. The article in today's Style section is titled "The Language of Fakebook" by Kate Roiphe, a teacher at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU. I certainly invite my readers to see the entire article, but here is the passage that I would like to discuss:

"Being “friends” on Facebook is more of a fantasy or imitation or shadow of friendship than the traditional real thing. Friendship on Facebook bears about the same relation to friendship in life, as being run over by a car in a cartoon resembles being run over by a car in life."............. Do you know anything at all about your Facebook friends?"

In July 2009 I did an analysis of my Facebook friends:

New York Librarians - 37 8.4%
New Jersey Librarians - 23 5.3 %
NJIT Colleagues - 48 11.0%
American Chemical Society Colleagues - 30 6.8%
Other Librarians - 21 4.8%
Radio enthusiasts - 99 22.6%
Family - 9 2.0%
NJIT Students - 110 25.1%
People from my past - 14 3.2%
Other Slutskys 13 0.2%
Bob Dylan Enthusiasts 1 0.2%
Others - 31 7.1%

I did not analyze how many of them I have actually met. I did a major edit of my friends list shortly after that.

I agree that you really don't know a person until you have met him/her face to face. I have had some very nice online discussions with people whom I have never met. I should make a new edit of my friends list. I have found out some interesting information about some of my Facebook friends:
  • Valerie is a cat person
  • Mary Ellen just had a baby - Congratulations
  • Pete who runs dylanradio.com is a big Mets fan
  • Richard and Mark M. who are librarians are also big Bob Dylan fans
  • Flora just left her position at Vassar to move to Alaska - best wishes Flora

I just had a conversation with my NJIT colleague Ann who does not want to join Facebook. She feels that this friending and unfriending issue just creates misunderstandings.

I will close with one of my infamous quotes:

"There are more important things in this world than Facebook."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Harry Caray: Voice of the Fans

Hughes, Pat, and Bruce Miles. Harry Caray: Voice of the Fans. Naperville, Ill: Sourcebooks MediaFusion, 2008

I highly suggest that my friends from the Jay Buckley get this book with an audio CD. It is a biography of Harry with Pat Hughes giving a commentary on the CD. Harry did play by play for the Cardinals, Oakland A's, White Sox and Cubs. He really loved baseball for his entire life. He rightfully earned his place in Cooperstown.

Friday, August 13, 2010

They make millions a year and act like children

The recent episode of Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) assaulting his girlfriend's father is sad since it shows that athletes that make millions of dollars a year often act like children. Young kids look up to professional ballplayers who just don't know how to behave themselves. Perhaps K-Rod should use some his big bucks and pay for anger management training. And of course the media eats up a story like this. It appeared on the front and back pages of the New York Daily News. I guess it sells papers and adds rating points to the TV news.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More Bad News for the Mets after 6-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies

Last night's game was part of our 6 pack. It started off with a 2 run homer by Angel Pagan. The Mets lead help up for 7 innings as Jonathan Niese pitched a nifty game. The bullpen faltered as Manny Acosta gave up a grand slam home run to Melvin Mora in the 6th inning. The Rockies won the game 6-2. Box Score

Closer Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) got into an altercation with his father-in-law at the lounge at Citifield. You can read the report in the NY Daily News. How will this affect his abilty to pitch for the rest of the season.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Message to the Knicks - Do Not Hire Isiah Thomas

In any organization hiring mistakes are made all the time. Sometimes, the person just does not work out for whatever reason. Other times a good employee disappointments management by not staying on the job very long after a difficult search. Isiah Thomas was terrible in roles of President of Basketball Operations and Caoch of the Knicks. I remember the chants of "Fire Isiah" in Madison Square Garden. He was named one of the top 50 players in NBA history, but he never played for the Knicks.

He has just been hired as a consultant to the Knicks just a few years after they did not renew his contract. Hold everything! Isiah is still the coach of Florida International University (FIU). There is an obvious conflict of interest in someone being employed by an NBA team and a college. My advice to Donnie Walsh is to let Isiah coach at FIU and keep him away from Madison Square Garden.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Spotlight on Bill "Rosko" Mercer

When I think of Bill "Rosko" Mercer I think of the Album Rock Radio the way it was in the late 1960s. I also think of a man who really stood up for his principles. Very often we disagree with what our employers do, but can't really say anything since we don't want to "bite the hand that feeds us." I don't want to give a lengthy history of New York radio in the 1960s, but people were getting tired of the restricted playlist of AM radio. The FCC declared that AM and FM stations with the same owner had to air different programming at least 50% of the time. Thus WOR-FM at 98.7 split from its AM sister station in 1966 and started progressive rock radio in NYC. Bill "Rosko" Mercer was one of its first DJs. However in October 1967 Rosko resigned on the air when WOR-FM moved to a more restrictive format. He later moved to WNEW-FM.

Dave Saviet donated to Reelradio a one hour aircheck of Rosko on WNEW-FM on November 13, 1967 when I was a freshman at CCNY. For a nominal charge Reelradio offers a museum of airchecks from all over. Thanks Dave for this wonderful recording.

Short Biography of Rosko

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Keeping Track of Bob Dylan

Bob was in Kansas City last night. The current leg of the Never Ending Tour is set until September 4th according to Bill Pagel's Boblinks page. Let hope he comes to the Big Apple later in the year.

Kansas City, Missouri
Starlight Theatre

August 7, 2010

1. Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard)
2. SeƱor (Tales Of Yankee Power) (Bob center stage on harp)
3. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
(Bob on keyboard then center stage on harp)
4. My Wife's Home Town (Bob on guitar)
5. Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
6. Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard then center stage on harp)
7. Ballad Of Hollis Brown
(Bob center stage - no harp, Donnie on banjo, Stu on acoustic guitar)
8. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Tony on standup bass)
9. Cry A While (Bob center stage on harp, Donnie on violin, Tony on standup bass)
10. Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard then center stage on harp)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12. I Feel A Change Comin' On (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob center stage on harp)

15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
16. Jolene (Bob on keyboard, Tony on standup bass)
17. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)

Pete Fornatale - Facebook Friend of the Day

I am very selective of whom I make my Facebook Friend of the Day. Just minutes ago I made friends with Pete on Facebook. He simultaneously made friends with Alan Berman. Hopefully Alan will tune it Pete's show on Saturdays. I have listened to Pete on the radio for about 40 years on WNEW-FM, WXRK and WFUV. A few months ago Karen phoned me at work saying that Pete had called and asked for me. He was looking for a bass player for a band, and I wondered why would he call me.

In April we met Pete at the Long Island Radio Day at CW Post. He was very pleasant to myself, Lee, Karen and my other radio friends who were there. If you click on the link above you will see a photo that he took with the entire family. It turns out that Pete was looking for Martin Slutsky who plays with a band McKendree Spring. He found my name on the WFUV contributor list and confused me with Martin (no relation).

I always donate to WFUV during their Fall fundraising drive. I will make sure I make my donation during Pete's show this year.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tales from the Tunnel at the Bleecker Street Theater

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from the Straphangers Campaign, a local advocacy group, about a new off-Broadway show called Tales from the Tunnel . Regular readers of Bruce's Journal are aware of some of my postings complaining about delays and other issues relating to mass transit in New York and New Jersey.

We got tickets for todays show which began at 4 PM. The 6 actors and actresses did about 40 skits in 90 minutes about various experiences that happen to all of us on the subway. I will list a few:
  • A baby carriage was stuck in the subways doors with the baby until someone rescued the child as the train started to leave the station.
  • A person jumped on the tracks to retrieve a lost handbag
  • Smelly people on the trains
  • Homeless people panhandling
  • Kids selling candy on the trains to support their school clubs

I would recommend this show to regular subway passengers like myself who can relate to he stories. It plays Saturdays and Sundays until September 5.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Case of the Media Creating the News

Caroline Giuliani, the daughter of the former NYC mayor, was caught shoplifting cosmetics. Minor crimes like that happen all the time. Honest customers must have to pay higher prices to make up for loses to shoplifters. This young lady has plenty of money and could have afforded to pay for the cosmetics.

Since she is the daughter of a former mayor, the news media picked up the story. Rudy Giuliani was always tough on crime and his daughter's indiscretion is an embarrassment to him. Does John Q. Public want to read about this? Will more people buy scandal sheets like the Daily News and Post to read about this. Will TV news ratings increase?

Some Thoughts on Social Networking Sites

For several years we have been in the Web 2.0 era with social networking sites such as:
  • Facebook
  • Myspace
  • Twitter
  • Blogs
  • 4 Square
  • Gowalla

We must think of how much time we spend each day on the various services that are available. Are we benefitting by this or is it just a big waste of time. I have observed that some unemployed people seem to be using these services for hours every day. Looking for a job is a full-time job in itself. There is also much redundancy with these sites. 4 Square is used to tell everyone where you are. You can use Facebook and Twitter to do the same thing. Who cares if Joe Doe is standing at Hollywood and Vine and 6:15 PM?

Often people post things on sites that are too personal or may offend other people. Someone may post photos from a private party and offend people who were not invited.

I have to plead guilty to spending too much time on these sites.

Just some random thoughts on a Friday morning.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Meet and Greet Alan Berman My Facebook Friend of the Day

Alan Berman is known as the Dean of Oldies Listeners. Above is a photo of him at a bright and cheerful deli in midtown Manhattan. He is wearing a WMCA Good Guy Sweatshirt. If he ever invites you to his home he will show you an original sweatshirt signed by the original WMCA Good Guys. He is a walking encyclopedia of major league baseball, oldies radio, and performing artists.

When Alex Bennett was a talk host on WMCA, he would say that "Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make the best of it." Today Alan has turned over a new leaf in his life by dropping some former friends who were very nasty and cruel to him. This includes an arrogant and pompous radio host who does not appreciate his listeners. We all must move on and let go of unpleasant situations that happened in the past be it yesterday or years ago.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A-Rod went 0-5 while I was at Yankee Stadium

I bought the tickets for this game several months ago, so I obviously didn't know that Alex Rodriguez would be stuck at 599 home runs. Steve Swisher hit two home runs and Mark Texeira hit one, but none for Alex. They Yankees were down at one point 8-2, but could not rally enough and lost 8-6. There was a moment of silence for the 31st anniversary of the untimely death of Thurman Munson.

Box Score

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Major League Baseball Comments of the Day

Today Frank Cashen, Davey Johnson, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden were inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame. This brought back very fond memories of the 1986 team which won the World Series. That team was awesome. There is a sad story regarding Darryl and Dwight. They both had potential to reach the Baseball Hall of Fame, but they self-destructed. There is certainly much written about that elsewhere, so there is no need for me to repeat it. No New York Met pitcher ever threw a no hitter by Dwight Gooden did it for the Yankees in 1996.

I am glad that the Mets did not make any trades this year at the deadline. I remember how they traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano some years ago. This was one of their worst trades. I would not want to lose Thole, Davis, Tejada or any other young players for a quick fix. I think this season is in the books for about 78-83 victories.

The Mets lost 14-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks today. When it was 10-1 Oliver Perez was brought in. He gave up 4 runs in 2 innings. He is Omar Minaya's biggest mistake at $36 Million over 3 years. It may be best for the Mets to get rid of him and eat the contract.

In August 2007 we saw Alex Rodriguez hit his 500th home run. We bought the tickets months in advance and were lucky. This could happen tommorow when A-Rod goes for #600. Likewise, we bought the tickets months in advance and could see it at Yankee Stadium. He must have had about 40 at bats since #599.
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