Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thoughts on the New York Mets

Of course it was a very disappointed year for the New York Mets as they finished 77-85 which was slightly worse than their 2010 record. There obviously must be some changes made next season. First of all, the fences at Citifield must be brought in. It seemed very strange that the team’s record was worse at home. Hopefully, this will improve the performance of Jason Bay and David Wright. There is also the issue of signing Jose Reyes. The Mets should make a fair offer to him, but not overpay him. There are just too many former superstars making big bucks for mediocre performances.

First base - Ike Davis should return

Second Base - If Reyes re-signs Ruben Tejada . If not Justin Turner would play 2nd

Short Stop - Tejada will play if Reyes leaves

Third Base - Hopefully David Wright will play like a superstar

Outfield - the Mets must pay 2 more years of Jason Bay’s contract. Angel Pagan may not be back, so maybe a trade is in order for an upgrade at center field. Lucas Duda is likely to be at right field.
Starting Pitching - will Johan Santana be able to completely recover from his injury?   R. A. Dickey will return as he pitched much better than his 8-13 record indicated. Jon Neise should return, but there may be 2 new starters acquired by trades or free agent signings.

Relief Pitching - Tim Byrdak was just signed for 2012 as the situational lefty. I think Manny Acosta pitched well to earn a contract for next year. Isringhausen may retire. Bobby Parnell has be inconsistent. More bullpen help is needed.

Catching - I think Josh Thole is a question mark.

The Mets are weak in several areas. The financial situation of the Wilpons will likely preclude the Mets from spending big bucks on free agents. 2012 will likely be another tough season.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shana Tova

Best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year to all my readers.  Thanks for stopping by.

OK, I won't talk about a very bad transit delay

A few weeks ago I surveyed readers of Bruce's Journal to find out what kind of postings they liked and disliked.  Many did not like my journal entries about transit delays.  Last night I had a bad one with delays on both sides of the Hundson River.  OK, I won't talk about it. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reds 6 Mets 5

When I bought a package of tickets last spring I picked a game late in the season hoping the Mets would be in the wild card race.  Boy, was I wrong.  I am glad that this miserable season is coming to an end for the Amazins.  The Mets were ahead 4-3 in the 7th inning when Tim Byrdak gave up two singles to left handed battters.  I just hate it when a pitcher is brought in to face one or two batters to play the percentages.  For this reason the games usually exceed 3 hours.  Then Josh Stinson was brought in and on the first pitch yielded a 3 run homer to Chris Heisey.  In the 8th inning Jose Reyes hit a double, but was called out when he caught off the base.  Wait until next year.

Box Score

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One Day at a Time

I certainly remember the TV series starring Valerie Bertinelli, MacKenzie Phillips and Bonnie Franklin. But "One Day at a Time" was some very good advice that my late dad gave to me many years ago.  It still applies today as I must confront problems in my business and professional life.  I always hope for the best.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Brad Pitt hits a Grad Slam with Moneyball

You can enjoy Moneyball even if you are not into baseball.  Brad Pitt may even get an Oscar nominaton for his portraying Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane.  I was also impressed by the acting of Jonah Hill who played  Billy's assistant Peter Brand.

Trades of players were done very quickly and impulsively in the film.  The general managers were shown as insensitive when they informed players of a trade.  I don't know how these issues are handled in real situations.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Went to See The Gypsy - Bob Dylan Song of the Day

Bob's songs are always open to interpretation. Was Elvis Presley the Gypsy?


Went to see the gypsy
Stayin’ in a big hotel
He smiled when he saw me coming
And he said, “Well, well, well”
His room was dark and crowded
Lights were low and dim
“How are you?” he said to me
I said it back to him

I went down to the lobby
To make a small call out
A pretty dancing girl was there
And she began to shout
“Go on back to see the gypsy
He can move you from the rear
Drive you from your fear
Bring you through the mirror
He did it in Las Vegas
And he can do it here”

Outside the lights were shining
On the river of tears
I watched them from the distance
With music in my ears

I went back to see the gypsy
It was nearly early dawn
The gypsy’s door was open wide
But the gypsy was gone
And that pretty dancing girl
She could not be found
So I watched that sun come rising
From that little Minnesota town

Copyright © 1970 by Big Sky Music; renewed 1998 by Big Sky Music

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Karen Finally Got the DVD/VCR Player Recorder to work

I can't make my wife Karen Facebook friend of the day since she is not on Facebook.  She refuses to join especially after she reads my nonsense posts.  If you read my post of a few days ago we mistakenly thought that our new gadget was incompatible with our old TV, but Gary Brefini who earned the  honor of being my Facebook Friend of the Day last November convinced me that this model does work with an old analog TV.  Karen's perseverence paid off today as she finally got the player/recorder to work.  We will both have to learn how to use its features and use it to its fullest capabilities.  Thanks Gary.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Few Radio Notes

I have been a fan of WBGO for years and am pleased to donate $100/year to the station.  Their studios and transmitter are in downtown Newark within walking distance of NJIT where I work.  I can receive the station in my car radio when I am driving around Queens, but the reception in the apartment is spotty.  WBGO is trying to raise $3 Million to build a new transmitter in Times Square which is twice as high as the current one in Newark.  The station will be able to reach about 1 million more listeners. I ask my radio enthusiast friends who are reading this journal to support WBGO.

Right now I am listening to Real Jazz on SiriusXM.  Les Davis, a veteran in NYC radio is behind the mike.  Les worked for WRVR, the last commercial jazz station in NYC.  He also appeared on CD-101.9 and WYNY when it was an adult contemporary station at 97.1 FM.

106.7 HD2 finally came back to life playing country music.  I am likely one of few people with an HD radio who can hear it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Random Thoughts of the Day

First of all Alan Berman took the first step to plan the 2011 Oldies Meet and Greet.  He phoned Ben's Deli in Manhattan and reserved the back room for Saturday November 12.  So I ask all of my oldies radio friends to keep the date open.  I can not emphasize more that this event and its organizers do not in any way endorse any radio station or program.  I should add that Jeff Scheckner is the other organizer who works hard to get well known radio personalities to come.  We will announce it formally early in October.

The Jeopardy began its 28th season today.This version started in 1984 with Alex Trebek as the host.  The Art Fleming version began in 1964.  At the last second I got the final Jeopardy question correct.  Who is Thoreau?
Congratulations Mariano Rivera who earned his 602nd career save to set the major league record.  The Yankees are seeking their 28th world championship.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Coping with Technological Obsolescence

My family has owned Sony TVs for about 40 years.  The one in our living room is over 10 years old and still has a very sharp picture.  When VCRs became popular in the 1980s we would tape tons of movies and musical specials and saved them.  Obviously DVRs have overtaken VCRs as a new technology relplaces an old one.  Since we wanted to keep and play our tapes, for years we have a dual VCR/DVD player,  We can record and play tapes, but only play DVDs.  Finally, this player conked out after years of heavy use.  So we bought a combination VCR/DVD player which records and plays both.  However, we found out that it is not compatible with the old Sony TV.  It looks like we will have to buy an HDTV.  That is technological obsolescence for you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I consider this a Personal Blog

There is an excellent article in the Wikipedia about blogs in general.  I would like to quote a section of that article that describes the personal blog:

"The personal blog, an ongoing diary or commentary by an individual, is the traditional, most common blog. Personal bloggers usually take pride in their blog posts, even if their blog is never read. Blogs often become more than a way to just communicate; they become a way to reflect on life, or works of art. Blogging can have a sentimental quality. Few personal blogs rise to fame and the mainstream but some personal blogs quickly garner an extensive following."

I do consider Bruce's Journal a personal blog.  I don't expect my readers to share my interests.  Most of the people who read it found it by searching Google under a specific term.  I was amused to find out that so many people read my entry about the two dollar bill.  Recently people found my article about the Beatle's butcher album cover.

I appreciate constructive criticism.  I will take more time to proofread my entries and correct typos in the future.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Biggest Tennis Match of the 20th Century

It was not Connors vs McEnroe nor was it Evert against Navritolova.  These photos are in the September 15 issue of Rolling Stone magazine.  If you look closely it is Bob Dylan against George Harrison.  I really don't think Alan Berman attended this match.  This photo likely took place around 1970-71 before the two collaborated at the concert for Bangla Desh.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Dedicated Follower of Tennis

You can see Alan Berman in 7th Heaven as he attends the US Open in Flushing.  He has spent quite a bit of time there over the past 2 weeks.  Every summer he goes to the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI to see a tournament.  Maybe one of these years he will go to Wimbleton, the French Open and the Australian Open.  The only time he will be happier will be on November 12 when he eats his tongue sandwich among his many friends and admirers.  I would like to play A Dedicated Follower of Fashion by the Kinks to Alan as he looks quite dapper in his US Open shirt.  Alan has told me in confidence what he will be wearing on November 12.  Keep following Bruce's Journal to read the announcement of the social event of the year.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Major League Baseball Really Made A Bad Decision

I am sorry to say that Major League Baseball really dropped the ball by forbidding the Mets to wear baseball caps honoring the first responders on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. They were allowed to do this at the end of the 2001 season, so why not on a milestone anniversary of the biggest national tragedy of our lifetime? Would wearing those caps give the Mets a competitive advantage over the Cubs? Perhaps the Cubs would have worn the caps as well. Would MLB have fined the Mets? If so they should have donated the money to a fund for medical care to the first responders who are suffering years after the tragedy.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11 - Then and Now

September 11, 2001 started out as a normal day. I don’t recall any transit delays that morning. About 8:30 I gave Freshman Seminar tour to a group led by Father John Dennehy. When I finished my colleague Jackie said that a plane hit the World Trade Center. A few minutes later I heard that a second plane hit the South Tower. Of course I heard about the planes at the Pentagon and Western Pennsylvania. I went into my boss’ office where we listened on the radio. After 12 noon when NJIT stopped classes I found at that all the mass transit in New York and New Jersey had stopped. My boss Richard Sweeny graciously let me stay over his house in Metuchen. Dan Noonan, another colleague, lived in Trenton and also came to work by train. Rich drove us to his house and let Dan take his car to drive home in Trenton. I watched the TV news for most of the time. I thought of all the thousands of people that likely perished. I was inconvenienced for one night, but others died. Rich’s son Tommy worked at the World Financial Center which was close to the Twin Towers. Tommy made it back home early in the afternoon.

NJIT open the next day, so Rich drove us back to work. I left NJIT about 12 noon and arrived home in the early afternoon. I took the attitude that I did not want those miserable terrorists to beat me and tried to resume my normal routine. When they published the names of those who perished I saw the name William Bernstein. I was a friend of a person with that name when I was an undergraduate at CCNY. When the New York Times gave short biographies of those who perished, I realized that this gentleman was not my friend at CCNY.

10 years later things have obviously changed for me and those who lost loved ones. Jack Gentul, the Dean of Students at NJIT lost his wife in the South Tower. I heard her name announced when I watched the ceremonies this morning. I think that everybody should stop for a few minutes today and recall the events of that terrible day. I feel especially badly for the children who lost a parent 10 years ago. There is a lot of construction that is progressing at the site and eventually there will some normalcy there. The memorial opened up today so we can pay our respects to those who died on September 11, 2001.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cubs 5 Mets 4

Since we didn't have anything planned for this Saturday, we decided to see the Mets play the Cubs.  I checked out StubHub and was able to buy tickets for $18.50 that were marked as $31.50.  I guess that people are willing to sell their tickets at a loss.  We went to the game hoping the Mets will finish the season above the .500 mark.

It was a terrible game as the Mets committed 4 errors.  They overcame a 3-0  Cub lead by scoring 4 runs in the 8th inning.  For our second game in a row they blew the lead and lost 5-4.

Box score

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oldie of the Day - The Cover of Rolling Stone - Dr. Hook

I received by copy of Rolling Stone magazine in the mail today with George Harrison on the cover.  The documentary about him produced by Martin Scorcese will air October 5 and 6 on HBO.  So I decided to request The Cover of Rolling Stone by Dr. Hook on Bob Radil's show tonight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy 77th Birthday Dan Ingram

For readers of Bruce's Journal who are not into radio, Dan Ingram is the premier radio personality in New York.  He is now retired, but was heard on 77-WABC from 1961-82, and had a weekend show on WCBS-FM from 1991-2003.  The article in the Wikipedia discussed his career.  I would also recommend this site authored by Allan Sniffen  There are several short airchecks on Dan at that site.  There are several airchecks of Dan at Reelradio which is a subscription service.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dan at the WABC Rewound cruise in June 2007.  I took the photo of him seen above.  Proud to be amonst you, Dan and have a happy and healthy birthday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I was never a fan of Listener Countdowns on Radio Stations

This weekend WCBS-FM played the top 1001 songs voted by their listeners.  I usually vote in these surveys even though it is very difficult for me or anyone else to pick their favorite songs.  I always vote for Like a Rolling Stone, Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds and a Simon and Garfunkel hit.  As I previously stated, my favorite songs are those that have personal significance for me.  Like a Rolling Stone of course is Dylan's biggest commercial success and is best know by his casual fans.  It is a very bitter song whose lyrics have no special meaning for me.  I vote for it since it is likely to chart high while my real Dylan favorites are not known by WCBS-FM's listeners.

This year Brown Eyed Girl was voted #1.  I don't dislike the song, but it has been played to death for years on oldies stations.  I think the biggest burnout has to be Mony Mony by Tommy James and the Shondells.  I guess listeners vote for songs that are most familiar to them.  For years In the Still of the Night by the Five Satins was number one.  When WCBS-FM returned in July 2007 hits from the early days of rock 'n roll were played seldomly since that music appeals to people older than the desired 25-54 demographic.  In spite of that In the Still of the Night charted at #15 this year.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We enjoyed the BBQ for my Mom's 92nd Birthday today

We picked up my Mom at the Bristal early this afternoon.  The managers  put a birthday balloon at her seat in the dining room.  We drove over to my sister Joyce's house in Dix Hills where we had a BBQ to celebrate her birthday.  She is in amazingly good health for someone 92 years young.  Casey, their dog, made a pest of himself.  Below is a picture of Casey bothering Lee while he was watching a baseball game.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Papa Was A Rolling Stone by the Temptations - Song of the Day

I was in the car shortly after 4 PM today listening to Pete Fornatale on WFUV.  The first song he played with Papa was a Rolling Stone by the Temptation.  Try to figure out why this hit is so appropriate for today.  The full version as heard below is actually 12 minutes long:

It was the third of September.
That day I'll always remember, yes I will.
'Cause that was the day that my daddy died.
I never got a chance to see him.
Never heard nothing but bad things about him.
Mama, I'm depending on you, tell me the truth.

And Mama just hung her head and said,
"Son, Papa was a rolling stone.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."
"Papa was a rolling stone, my son.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."

Well, well.

Hey Mama, is it true what they say,
that Papa never worked a day in his life?
And Mama, bad talk going around town
saying that Papa had three outside children and another wife.
And that ain't right.
HEARD SOME talk about Papa doing some store front preaching.
TalkIN about saving souls and all the time leeching.
Dealing in debt and stealing in the name of the Lord.

Mama just hung her head and said,
"Papa was a rolling stone, my son.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."
"Hey, Papa was a rolling stone.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."


Hey Mama, I heard Papa call himself a jack of all trade.
Tell me is that what sent Papa to an early grave?
Folk say Papa would beg, borrow, steal to pay his bill.
Hey Mama, folk say that Papa was never much on thinking.
Spent most of his time chasing women and drinking.
Mama, I'm depending on you to tell me the truth. Mama looked up with a tear in her eye and said,
"Son, Papa was a rolling stone. (Well, well, well, well)
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."
"Papa was a rolling stone.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."

"I said, Papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Playing Games on Facebook

There are several games that I play on Facebook:

  • Jeopardy (of course) - Playing the online version is especially helpful since the TV version is showing reruns until at least September 14.  The web site states that the 3 shows against IBM's Watson will air from Sept 12 -14.  Thus the earliest the season would start is September 15
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - The TV version is on at 12:30 PM.  Perhaps we record it once a week.  I still like the old Regis Philbin version better.  I play it every day on Facebook.
  • Family Feud - maybe I play it once in a while.  A syndicated version airs on Channel 9 in NYC while the reruns are shown on GSN
  • Wheel of Fortune - Lee is the family champion here. 
Personal-Journals blog