Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jury Duty Day #6 - at least something happened

I arrived at the courthouse at 9:30.  At about 10:00, the court officer brought us over to the court room where the case finally began.  He thanked us for our patience since he realized we had to sit around for several days before the case could begin.  He explained it by saying that in September the courts are really backlogged with cases. Had I known this in advance I would have asked for a postponement.  I just thought it was best to get it over with, but my strategy was wrong.  The judge explained the rules and regulations regarding this and all other cases.  We are not allowed to discuss it with anyone. I will describe the case in detail when it is over.  In my opinion the incident was quite sad. I was a little amused by the high tech rules thqt now apply.  For example he said not  to visit the site where the incident occured.  He also said not to use Google Earth to look at the site or to research any of the parties using Google, Facebook or other internet tools.

The case started out with opening statements by the attorneys of the three parties.  The judge specifically stated that the jury must make its judgement by the testimony of witnesses, not by the opening statements.  After that was conclued, the attorney for the plaintiff called his first witness.  One of the defense attorneys cross examined him until the day's proceedings ended about 4 PM.  Since the judge has other business on Friday, the case will resume on Monday.  I just hate this on and off business, but what can I do.

It seems that eons ago I posted Here Comes the Judge by Shorty Long.  In honor of the start of this trial, I will post Here Comes the Judge by Pigmeat Markham.  The title of the songs are the same, but they are different.  They are both very silly songs.  Remember that I warned you before listening to the Youtube clip. Facebook friends can find it at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WBGO and WFUV are fundraising simultaneously

I understand that not for profit radio stations must have fundraising drives or else they could not operate.  I wish that such stations in the same market would coordinate their drives so that would not conflict. Perhaps there is not much overlap in the listenerships of the 2 stations. WBGO is completing their 3 week drive, while WFUV's just started last Saturday.  I do make donations to both once a year.   I donated to WFUV last week, while I will give to WBGO next winter.  They both provide programming not heard on terrestrial radio in the NY/NJ area.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jury Duty Day #5 - This Sucks

Same Crap Different Day
It was raining this morning as I boarded the bus to go to the Sutphin Blvd courthouse.  I arrived at 10 AM as instructed by the court officer.  Finally at 3:40 PM they called the people from my case.  We were told a judge was finally assigned and that we had to return on Thursday.  How many days do we have to sit arond and how long must this drag on?  I will save my major ranting for the end of this ordeal.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spotlight on Blind Willie McTell

The Sean Wilentz Book Bob Dylan in America discussed many of the recording artists who influenced Dylan. Several page were devoted to Blind Willie McTell.  Dylan wrote a song about him that was recorded in 1983, but not released until the Bootleg Series in 1991.  The Band covered that song in the CD called Jericho.  As you can see from the lyrics below Bob says " But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell."

I had to satisfy my curiousity and hear the man for myself.  I was able to purchase a compilation of his music from  Much of it was recorded  on 78 RPM records in the 1920s and 30s.  A fine job was done in transferring the recordings to CD in very good quality.

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Were his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

See them big plantations burning
Hear the cracking of the whips
Smell that sweet magnolia blooming
See the ghosts of slavery ships
I can hear them tribes a-moaning
Hear that undertaker’s bell
Nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
I can hear them rebels yell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s his
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I’m gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Citifield Tour Today

Bruce at the Citifeld Press Room

Early in the season the Mets advertised tours at Citifield. When I checked the web site, all the tours were sold out until September.  Since we got there a little early we took some photos by the Shea Stadium Apple located just outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.  We also went to the parking lot where there are plaques marking the location of the bases at Shea.

The tour guides took us through several areas of the park which are not open to the public such as the luxury suites, press box, club house, dugouts, bull pens, and press room (see above).  We were not allowed  to take photos in the clubhouse area to protect the players' privacy.  I was impressed by large displays of the covers of the Met yearbooks from 1962 to the present.  That should really be in a public area.  The tour concluded at the Mets Hall of Fame which is usually very crowded on game days.

My photos are on my Facebook profile or can be seen at

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Donated to WFUV today

On the first day of the Fall fundraising drive WFUV announced that every dollar would be matched by a foundation.  I renew my membership every Fall so this was the best day to send in my donation of $100.  They will send me two CDs as usual.  I hope my radio friends will support their favorite not for profit station.  They offer programming not heard on commercial stations.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jury Duty Day #4 - Oy Vey

Today was a carbon copy of yesterday.  We just sat until just before lunch when the court officer told the jurors on my case to return on Monday.  Tomorrow, I will return to NJIT.

Apparently this problem is caused by heavy schedule of cases. My case can't start since there is no judge available. With all the technology available can't they just contact people via e-mail, text message, web site or phone when they are certain the case will start? Why do we have to sit for days in the central jury room? Can there be some incentive for the parties to settle before the jury selection process begins?

I am in an "Oy Vey state of mind" over this.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jury Duty Day #3 - Getting Tired of Waiting

I arrived at the court room at about 10 AM as instructed by the court officer.  One side of the central jury room is for people who are coming for the first time, while the other side is for people like myself who have been assigned to a case and waiting for it to begin.  I sat with the people assigned to my case as we waited and waited.  I read the following appropriate book:

Felix, Antonia. Sonia Sotomayor: The True American Dream. New York: Berkley Books, 2010. Print.

One should do something constructive while waiting to do his civic duty.  Finally at 12:45 PM a court officer came in to tell us to come back tomorrow.  Sitting around like this really sucks.  When I return to NJIT I will have to catch up on my work.  I really feel sorry for people who lose pay from their regular job when called for jury duty and then just sit waiting.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Song of the Day - Hello Again sung by Herb Oscar Anderson

Facebook friends can see it at

There is a lyric here that is quite significant:

Lets forget the past.  Let the past forever be the past.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jury Duty Day #2

I took the #44 bus as it passed through the part of Flushing that was hit by the tornado on Thursday.  The bus actually had to make a detour.  I arrived at the courthouse by 10 AM as instructed by the attorneys on this case.  Shortly after they arrived they left the room for a few minutes to deliberate on my fate.  One of the lawyers said to me "Mr. Slutsky, my condolences.  You have been selected for this case."  I then had to wait outside while one more regular juror and 2 alternates were selected.  6 regular jurors and 2 alternates are selected for a civil case.  I was able to leave to go home at 1 PM.  The court officer instructed us to report at 10 AM on Wednesday.  I will report to NJIT on Tuesday.

It seems that when you are selected for jury duty it is always at an inconvenient time.  A prospective juror can ask for one postponement with no questions asked.  The next time may be more inconvient, so I may as well get it over with.  Then I can't be called for at least 6 years.  I will discuss the case in detail after the conclusion.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Italian Heritage Festival at Hofstra Today

Last May we went to the Dutch Festival at Hofstra.  Today we returned to the university where Italian heritage was honored.  I think there were more people at today's event.  We attended the following mini-concerts that were part of the program:

  • An Italian music, theater, and dance ensemble featuring the internationally aclaimed  artist Alessandra Belloni.
  • A concert featuring the award winning recording artist and pop-tenor Micheal Castaldo.
It was an enjoyable late summer afternoon.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz

There have likely been hundreds of books written about Bob Dylan over the years. I must have a small library of books that discuss the music, life, and poetry of Robert Allen Zimmerman. Many books were written by journalists while other by academics. Sean Wilentz, the author of Bob Dylan in America is a Professor of History at Princeton University and is historian in residence at Dylan’s official website. Needless to say his credentials are superb.

This book is not for the casual Dylan fan. It is not written in “academese” but only readers who have followed Dylan’s work for years will appreciate it. Every time I read a new Dylan book, I always learn something from the author. I usually appreciate pieces of Dylan’s works taken out of context. Thus, if I were to write a book or article about him, I would say how individual lines songs have affected me over the years. A song that didn’t hit me in 1965 could have great personal significance 40 years later.

I usually read a book to keep my mind off an unpleasant situation. I read this book on the subway on the way to work, in the central jury room waiting to be called, on at home on Yom Kippur. The book certainly kept my mind off my hunger pangs as I fasted. Yes, I did spend a few hours in synagogue and said Yizkor for my father.

The major theme of this work which sets it apart from other Dylan books is the discussion of the influences on Dylan. Wilentz discusses Woody Guthrie, Aaron Copeland, Allen Ginsburg, and Willie McTell among others. The book has motivated me to seek out some recordings of Blind Willie McTell. As an academic librarian I am concerned with plagiarism. From pages 308-17 or so Wilentz discusses whether Dylan has plagiarized by adapting earlier works into his own. Dylan’s supposed plagiarism was part of the folk music process that he inherited from Woody Guthrie and others. One of Dylan’s later albums is named Modern Times which is the same as a Charlie Chaplin movie. This is certainly not plagiarism. Other examples are given in the text.

This book review is written by a fan for other fans. I am certainly willing to lend my copy to my Facebook friends, but they must return it. This book belongs in my personal library.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thoughts on Erev Yom Kippur

My best wishes for a happy and healthy new year and and easy fast for all observing this high holy day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jury Duty Day 1

I took the #44 bus to the Sutphin Blvd courthouse in Jamaica and arrived 8:30 AM. They try to make the situation as comfortable as possible for those coming to do their civic duty. There was wi-fi access in the building and many prospective jurors brought laptops. There were a few computers in the back of the room for jurors to surf the web. I couldn't resist going there, but those computers were old and almost useless. There were TV monitors as they showed Ferris Bueller's Day Off in the morning and The Hunt for Red October in the afternoon. I brought plenty of reading material to amuse myself while waiting.

My name was called about 3 PM for a civil case where the lawyers choose the jurors without a judge. A few people were excused because they claimed they could not understand English well enough to sit on a jury. Queens prides itself on its diversity as there are immigrants from all over the world living here. However, these people are citizens and know enough English to obtain employment here. One woman who was not that old claimed she was hard of hearing and was excused. If she had a hearing problem she should get a hearing. After she was excused, my name was chosen. The three lawyers asked me several questions and were ready to make their decision, but a court clerk came in at 4:30 saying that they must close the building.

Since tomorrow is the eve of Yom Kippur we do not have to come in. I will have to wait until Monday to decide if I am selected for this case.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jury Duty Tomorrow

I called in for 4 days and finally they reached my number. I must report tomorrow morning at 8:30 at the Sutphin Blvd. courthouse in Jamaica, Queens. This is the first time I have gone to jury duty since April 2004. In the past I have answered the questions honestly and have always been picked for a case. I'll go and see what happens.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you

Every morning I take a quick look at Facebook to see what my friends have posted on their walls overnight. I don't want to "cyberloaf" so it is usually a quick in and out. This morning my NJIT colleague Matt Brown seemed to be participating in a thread titled Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you. I felt I had to think it out and make a list when I got home. It is very hard to pick out 15 so here goes in no particular order:

Bringing it all Back Home - Bob Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - Beatles
Pet Sounds - Beach Boys
Turn Turn Turn - Byrds
Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme - Simon and Garfunkel
Dylan Different - Ben Sidran
Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert
12 X 5 - Rolling Stones
White Album - Beatles
Music From Big Pink - The Band
Mixed Bag - Richie Havens
Blind Faith
Mellow Yellow - Donovan

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jeopardy begins its 27th Season Today

Yes, and Alex Trebek has a new pair of eyeglasses. You know what this means. I will not pick up the telephone between 7:00 and 7:30 PM. Thankfully the phone calls from the candidates will end since the primaries are tomorrow.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Standby Jury Duty This Week

A few weeks ago I got my summons for jury duty. The instructions were to start calling after 5 PM on Friday September 10th. I was told not to report on Monday the 13th, but I would have to call again to see if I am needed. Jury duty is not the worst thing in the world, but they always get you at an inconvenient time. I could ask for a postponement, but the next time could be more inopportune. Every time I have reported for jury duty I have been selected for a case. I guess the judges and lawyers like me. I am hoping:
  • I am not selected as an alternate juror. I assume that it is unusual when an alternate must replace a regular juror
  • I am not selected for a civil case. Most of the time the lawyers "duke it out" for a while and then settle out of court. These cases are just a waste of time.

When I do report for jury duty I always think that it could be worse. I am not on trial and nobody is sueing me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

CW Post Football Today

Yesterday was my last baseball game of the season, while today we took in our first football game. For several years we went to both Hofstra and CW Post on Long Island. The tickets are very inexpensive and close to home. Last year Hofstra announced that it was closing its football program. Today CW Post lost to California University of Pennsylvania 40-13.

Good Luck Bob Radil

Bob Radil's show which was heard on WNHU - New Haven and was one of my favorite radio shows. Since he was not bound by issues confronted by commercial radio stations, he specialized in playing alternative versions and other rarities. Friday nights with dinner, Jeopardy, ball games and the such are always busy for me, but I always tried to listen to his show for an hour or so.

Last night the word came that his show was cancelled by the station. I understand that a college radio station must appeal primarily to students age 18-22, but I was told there was other programming on that station that appealed to an older audience. I was most annoyed by the fact that Bob was not given a chance to have a farewell show. He is certainly professional enough not to say anything inappropriate over the air on his last show.

I am hoping his show will appear on Rewound Radio or another internet stream in the near future. I am sure that his listeners will follow.

Mets Lose to the Philles 8-4

The only thing left for the Mets to do this season is to become spoilers in the National League East pennant race. A fine pitching performance by Roy Halliday coupled with home runs by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard was just too much for the Amazins as they lost 8-4 to the Phillies. We met fellow radio enthusiast Cara Sieden in section 514. She must learn that during any ball game, I don't want to converse about other issues.

Thankfully, this was the last game of the season for us. Hopefully there will be some changes for the better made in the offseason. I would like to see General Manager Omar Minaya shown the door. He made some poor trades and gave bag contract to

Remember the victims of September 11

Last year in this journal I wrote about how I found out about the tragic events of September 11, 2001. This year I am stopping to think of the victims of that tragedy. Close to 3,000 perished on that tragic day, but we should also remember the first responders who later succumbed to illness caused by breathing the toxic air. Right now I have the TV in the background listening to names read at Ground Zero.

On this day we we should put aside the controversy over the mosque at Ground Zero. I am grateful to read that Pastor Terry Jones now says that he will never burn the Koran. We should not blame millions of peaceful Muslims for the actions of the few that planned and carried out the tragic events of September 11.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Facebook Friend of the Day - Bill Anderson

For many years Bill Anderson was Assistant VP of Enrollment Planning at NJIT. His office was across the hall from the Van Houten Library. He was always friendly when we saw him in the library and other parts of the campus. Some years ago he moved on to William Paterson University in Wayne. Today he came by the NJIT cafeteria and said hello to me as I was eating pizza after my Chemical Information Literacy Doubleheader. He said that although he had a Facebook profile, he would lurk but not write on his own wall. He remarked that Lee was taller than me. Many years he briefly met Karen and Lee when they came to NJIT for an open house. It was nice to see him and hopefully he'll drop by NJIT again.

A Happy and Healthy New Year to All

My best wishes for happy and healthy new year for all observing Rosh HaShanah.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Random Thoughts on Labor Day

We went out to breakfast down the street at Uncle Bill's Diner. We usually do that on Monday holidays. We went to my mother's old apartment in Forest Hills to clean out some stuff. We have until the end of September to get everything out. All of the small stuff is gone, but we will try to donate the furniture she doesn't need to a charitable organization. On the way we were listening to WFUV as they played Dylan's Labor Day song Maggies Farm.

After we finished in her apartment we drove to Westbury to see Mom in her new digs at The Bristal. She certainly appreciated our coming over. Joyce and Keith came by a little later and brought her some stuff she needed from the old apartment. The new place is certainly shaping up. It will still some time for her to adjust to the new living environment. I am sure that it is for the best.

On the way home I tuned in WCBS-FM to hear their Top 1001 listener countdown. As I turned on to the Northern State Parkway Dave Packer announced Like a Rolling Stone as the #21 song. It is still good to hear the Bob Dylan National Anthem on the radio after all these years. Knockin' on Heavens Door was the only other Dylan hit that charted with WCBS-FM's listeners at #370. Some what later, the countdown was posted on the station's web site. Rag Doll by the 4 Seasons was voted #1. I don't hate the song, but there were so many better 4 Seasons hits over the years. I have a feeling that someone may have stuffed the ballot box. In any event I have not been a big fan of countdowns in recent years.

When I got home I turned on the Met game. They lost to the lowly Washington Nationals 13-3. They even brought in Oliver Perez to mop up.

I went downstairs to read the Sunday New York Times. It was pretty boring since holiday weekends are usually slow news days. I opened up the book review section and saw an advertisement for:

Wilentz, Sean. Bob Dylan in America. New York: Doubleday, 2010. Print.

It is coming out on Tuesday. When I finish writing this entry, I will go to to order it. No need to run to the few bookstores which still exist. Maybe I'll buy a Kindle soon and just download it. Here are some comments from the advertisement:

"If you thought there was nothing new to say about Bob Dylan's impact on America, this book will make you think twice." --- Bill Flanagan

"Reading Sean Wilentz's Bob Dylan in America is as thrilling thrilling and suprising as listening to a great Dylan son" ----Martin Scorsese

Finally, readers of this journal know that I regular listen to Dennis Mitchell's Breakfast with the Beatles in the evening. This week the 1000th edition of the show was released. Congratulations to Dennis and his staff for producing such a fine radio program. I hope the show will be around for many years. to come.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Wish I was at Wrigley Field Today

Mets 18 Chicago Cubs 5

"Ruben Tejada hit his first major league homer and drove in five runs, Ike Davis also connected and the Mets erupted for 21 hits and pounded the Chicago Cubs 18-5 Sunday to avoid a weekend sweep. "

Quoted from

I guess it's too little too late for this season.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happy 91st Birthday Mom

Since Mom was born in Europe the exact date of her birth was not recorded. Since it was close to Rosh Ha Shana she always celebrated it on September 4th. I am very grateful that she has lived to a ripe old age and is in reasonably good health. This was a rough summer since the hot weather is especially tough on seniors. After living by herself for 13 years since my dad passed away, she decided to move to an assisted living facility in Westbury, Long Island. It was her decision. In this way she will always be surrounded by people. Today Karen, Lee, my sister Joyce and my brother-in-law Keith helped clean out her apartment in Forest Hills. You don't know how much stuff you have and don't need until you move. Since she lived in that apartment for 30 years there was plenty of stuff. She even had some junk back from our apartment in Rego Park.

Mom - "May you stay Forever Young." I must take one stanza out of context from this Bob Dylan classic which is actually song from a father to his son.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

Copyright © 1973 by Ram's Horn Music; renewed 2001 by Ram’s Horn Music

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hurricane Earl kept away from NYC

I brought my umbrella to work, but it hardly rained in NYC today. There was not much wind either. The storm veered out to the east and lost intensity. I guess we lucked out this time, but after 25 years we are due to be hit by a hurricane.

Article in the New York Times

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Remembering Hurricane Gloria September 1985

It is now 25 years since a hurricane hit the New York City area. We have gotten a few tropical storms and sometimes the outskirts of a hurricane brings rain to the area, but Gloria in 1985 made a direct hit on Nassau County. Back then I worked at the big New York Public Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. I heard nothing about a cancellation when I left home. When I arrived at 9 AM, they announced that the library was closed. I got home by 10 AM as the rains and wind really were coming down.

Hurricane Earl is coming, but we never know the exact path of the storm until it actually arrives. The current projection is that it will veer east of NYC. Eastern Long Island and Southern New England may really got socked, but for now NYC will get some rain and winds up to 35 MPH. To quote a former history teacher of mine "We shall see what we shall see."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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