Monday, October 31, 2011

Alex Bennett Quote - Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

This journal entry does not have a specific person in mind, nor does it refer to a specific situation. Some years ago I picked up a booklet listing courses for the Learning Annex. There was a course titled “Moving On and Letting Go”with a description stating that life is a series of beginnings and endings and that one should not be caught in an ending. We all must face rejection in our personal and professional lives. We must accept that and learn from the bad experience. Some years back I interviewed for a university and was not hired. I found out that so few librarians at that school attain tenure, so it was for the better that I didn’t get the job. Very often friendships end abruptly through a bad experience or misunderstanding. Sometimes people just grow apart from each other and move on. In any event there is never any sense in dwelling on the past. The best thing to do is to make new friends and let go of the old ones.

My excellent autobiographical memory is a blessing and a curse. I am guilty of thinking back to bad experiences and thinking how I should have handled them differently. No matter what we do or think, the past can never be changed. I remember a quote by radio personality Alex Bennett who once worked at WPLJ. He said “Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make the best of it.”

Sunday, October 30, 2011

When I Paint My Masterpiece by the Band -Dylan Cover of the Day

The Band must be one of the most underrated group in rock history.  They are called the Band because they were Bob Dylan's band back in the mid 1960s.  Does anyone remember 33 1/3 rpm LPs?

Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble
Ancient footprints are everywhere
You can almost think that you’re seein’ double
On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs
Got to hurry on back to my hotel room
Where I’ve got me a date with Botticelli’s niece
She promised that she’d be right there with me
When I paint my masterpiece

Oh, the hours I’ve spent inside the Coliseum
Dodging lions and wastin’ time
Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle, I could hardly stand to see ’em
Yes, it sure has been a long, hard climb
Train wheels runnin’ through the back of my memory
When I ran on the hilltop following a pack of wild geese
Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody
When I paint my masterpiece

Sailin’ round the world in a dirty gondola
Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!

I left Rome and landed in Brussels
On a plane ride so bumpy that I almost cried
Clergymen in uniform and young girls pullin’ muscles
Everyone was there to greet me when I stepped inside
Newspapermen eating candy
Had to be held down by big police
Someday, everything is gonna be diff’rent
When I paint my masterpiece

Copyright © 1971 by Big Sky Music; renewed 1999 by Big Sky Music

Saturday, October 29, 2011


It is very rare indeed when it snows in New York City in October.  It didn't snow very much in Queens, but the areas north and west of here got significant accumulations.  I was going to visit my mother in Long Island today, but just did not want to drive in hazardous conditions.  This storm is supposed to end early tomorrow morning, so I"ll be able to go then.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Remembering Gene Clark

Gene Clark may he rest in peace never got the recognition he deserved and sadly passed away at age 47.  He was a founding member of the Byrds and wrote or co-wrote many of The Byrds' best-known originals, including: wrote or co-wrote many of The Byrds' best-known originals, including: "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better", "Set You Free This Time", "Here Without You", "If You're Gone", "The World Turns All Around Her", "She Don't Care About Time" and "Eight Miles High.  He left the group to pursue a solo career and eventually rejoined them long after they stopped making chart hits.

Today Lee picked one of his solo CDs to play while we ate dinner.  It featured his version of Mr. Tambourinine Man.  I invite my readers to hear this fantastic version.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Alias The Neighborhood Bully

A few days ago I reported in this journal that I was reading Stephen Scobie's book Alias Bob Dylan.  I finished it this afternoon on the subway ride back home.  Professor Scobie provided some good insights into Dylan's works.  No evaluation of Dylan or anyone else can be exhaustive.  There was a significant alias in the Dylan song Neighborhood Bully that was on the Infidels album in 1983. According to Dylan's web site he never performed it in concert. This database indicates that no artist ever covered it. Can you figure out just who or what is the Neighborhood Bully?

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
He’s always on trial for just being born
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him
’Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac
He’s the neighborhood bully

He got no allies to really speak of
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
He’s the neighborhood bully

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command
He’s the neighborhood bully

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
He’s the neighborhood bully

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say. He just likes to cause war
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
He’s the neighborhood bully

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
Neighborhood bully

Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music

Monday, October 24, 2011

The fences at Citifield will be brought in next season.

After three seasons the Mets will bring in the fences at Citifield.  The Mets have always stressed pitching and defense with only a few major sluggers in their history.  Shea Stadium was always a pitchers park, but with the open outfield balls would often carry.  I have seen so many long drives fall short in Citifield, so hopefully the shorter fences will help David Wright and Jason Bay. On the other hand, the shorter fences will help the visiting team. Story from ESPN.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jay Bushinsky - Then and Now

It has been some time since I have taken a walk down memory lane.  From 1957-1962 I was a student at the Hebrew School at the Rego Park Jewish Center.  During my first two years Dvora Bushinsky was my teacher.  I remember her telling the class that she was a soldier in the Israeli War for Independence.  During my last year her husband Jay Bushinsky was my teacher.

I have heard his reports from Israel on 1010 WINS radio for years and think back to his classes.  There is a nice biography of him at this CBS Philadelphia site.  I must assume that his reports are heard on CBS radio stations throughout the USA.  When I saw his picture, he looks like Benjamin Netanyahu.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Finally Reading Alias Bob Dylan by Stephen Scobie

Scobie, Stephen. Alias Bob Dylan. Red Deer, Alta., Canada: Red Deer College Press, 1991. Print.

I am going to turn the clock back to November 11, 2002 when we saw Bob Dylan play at the main arena of Madison Square Garden.  I chatted with the gentleman sitting next me who  was Stephen Scobie who wrote book listed above.  I vaguely remember reading a book review of that, but I don't think I ever read it.  Anyway this week I was able to get it from the Queensborough Public Library.  I am quoting from the book jacket "Bob Dylan has taken on many guises.  Engimatic and elusive, he has never once given his vast audience anything close to what is expected.  He has preferred instead to be "Alias" the character that he played in Sam Peckinph's film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

I just started the book and read only the first chapter, so I will have write a revised entry later.  Anyway when I see the alias theme I think of my two favorite Dylan songs Maggie's Farm and (Stuck Inside of Mobile) With the Memphis Blues Again .  Maggie is a person I know very well while the farm is a place I must visit quite frequently.  Likewise Memphis and Mobile are not cities in the South.

Certainly much has been written by and about Bob in the 20 years since the publication of Alias Bob Dylan.  I first think of the film Masked and Anonymous where Dylan plays Jack Fate who fronts a band called Simple Twist of Fate.  Of course there is the surrealistic biopic I'm Not There where 5 actors and one actress play Dylan with 6 different names.

I will have to use my library skills to see if Stephen Scobie has written articles since 1991 on Dylan and the alias theme.  I have three books on my Amazon Kindle that I have not finished, but I think I am going to have to drop to read one more Bob Dylan book.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Sad Story of Lenny Dykstra

Long time fans of the Mets remember Lenny Dykstra fondly from his accomplishments in the mid to late 1980s.  With Dykstra batting in the lead-off spot, the 1986 Mets coasted to the division crown with a fantastic 108-54 record.  In game 3 of the NLCS Lenny won the game with a walk off home run.  His lead off homer in game 3 of the World Series against the Red Sox sparked the Mets to a come from behind victory in the series.  Sadly, he was traded to the Phillies during the 1989 season in a very bad deal for the Mets.

The New York Daily News reported today that Lenny took a plea deal in a grand theft auto case in Los Angeles.  The story by Nancy Dillon states he pleaded "no contest" to three felony counts of grand theft auto and one felony count of preparing phony paperwork in a deal that could carry up to four years in state prison, the sources said.  He still has other legal problems and could face additional jail time.

It is quite sad that a professional athelete who made millions of dollar in his career  and was idolized by millions 25 years ago has to resort to a life a crime and must pay the price.  Perhaps many athletes who must retire by age 40 just don't know what to do with their lives after their sporting career ends.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bob Dylan News from Rolling Stone Magazine

I was reading the October 27th issue of Rolling Stone and I found out that in early 2012 there will be an album of Dylan  covers titled Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 years of Amnesty International.  All proceeds will benefit that human rights group.

There was a long article about the late Steve Jobs saying he was a big Dylan fan.  The article states that he spent much time rewriting Dylan lyrics in his own words.   He used Dylan songs to make sense of his world.  He actually hung a picture of Dylan over his bed when he lived with girlfriend Chrisann Brennan.  Perhaps Steve Jobs was Dylan's most famous fan.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Good Things Happen On October 16

October 16, 1969 - The Mets won the World Series

October 16, 1992 - 30th Anniversary Concert for Bob Dylan - this had to be the greatest concert ever.  I remember I unsuccessfully tried to get tickets by phoning Ticketmaster the first hour of the sale.  Back in those days one couldn't buy tickets on the internet.  That night Karen and I watched the concert on TV

October 16, 1983 - Karen and I were married.  It is hard to believe that it has been 28 years.

This photo was taken at the Oldies Meet and Greet in December 2009.  I believe Bill Dillane was the photographer.

There is a Bob Dylan song for every occasion so I am dedicating to Karen "Tonight I'll be Staying Here with You" from the Nashville Skyline album when "that young angry kid went romantic."

Throw my ticket out the window
Throw my suitcase out there, too
Throw my troubles out the door
I don’t need them anymore
’Cause tonight I’ll be staying here with you

I should have left this town this morning
But it was more than I could do
Oh, your love comes on so strong
And I’ve waited all day long
For tonight when I’ll be staying here with you

Is it really any wonder
The love that a stranger might receive
You cast your spell and I went under
I find it so difficult to leave

I can hear that whistle blowin’
I see that stationmaster, too
If there’s a poor boy on the street
Then let him have my seat
’Cause tonight I’ll be staying here with you

Throw my ticket out the window
Throw my suitcase out there, too
Throw my troubles out the door
I don’t need them anymore
’Cause tonight I’ll be staying here with you

Copyright © 1969 by Big Sky Music; renewed 1997 by Big Sky Music

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Every October Karen and I go to see a Broadway show to celebrate our anniversary (it is tomorrow).  This year we chose Priscilla Queen of the Desert which was in part produced by Bette Midler.  In the show two drag queens and a transexual get a gig in the middle of the desert when their bus breaks down.  The sets and the costumes were absolutely beautiful.  There was some very familar music featured including:
  • What's Love Got to Do With It
  • I Say a Little Prayer
  • Material Girl
  • True Colors
  • Colour My World
  • Thank God I'm a Country boy
  • MacArthur Park
I highly recommend this show.  After the show we went to dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner with its singing waiters and waitresses.  The first time I was at Ellen's was on June 3, 2006 at a Meet and Greet of oldies radio enthusiasts on the first anniversary of the hijacking of WCBS-FM.

6th Anniversary of Bruce's Journal

It was 6 years ago today that I started Bruce's Journal.  The entries have ranged from the mundane to the sublime.  I've discussed activities with my family, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, radio stations, transit delays, the New York Mets, and oldies music among other topics. There were just over 1800 journal entries over the 6 years. I use a service called Google Analytics  to track the hits.  Most people find me by googling a word or phrase.  Suprisingly the entry about how I found and spent a 2 dollar bill got the most hits.  A few friends follow me regularly, but most readers just look at my journal once.  Here is my first journal entry from October 15, 2005.

Today we went to see Hofstra play the University of Maine.  Hofstra won 44-0.  It only costs $8 to see a college football game.  Even though it was a one sided game we had fun.

It is a very mundane entry, but I do get hits from people who have searched on Hofstra.  Since that time the university dropped its football program.

It is my intention to continue writing entries for my journal.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I supported WFUV today

Regular readers of Bruce's Journal know that I am all over the radio dial and the internet listening to different genres of music.  I discovered WFUV in the early 1990s during a special for Bob Dylan's birthday.  It seems very hard to label their format.  In radio jargon it is know as Adult Album Alternative.  In the past they have branded themselves as City Folk and Roots of Rock.  IMHO, those labels were confusing.  To quote their web site, they play "anything from Bob Dylan, Joan Osborne and The Decemberists (weekdays) or The Beach Boys and Christine Lavin (Pete Fornatale's Mixed Bag), to Cherish the Ladies and The Saw Doctors (our weekend Irish shows), or Fats Waller and Paul Whiteman (The Big Broadcast)."  I don't have to worry about hearing oldies burnouts like Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison.  It is not a bad song, but I am so tired of hearing it umpteen thousand times over the years.

There is an HD-2 channel which features their regular music mix on weekends while the HD-1 station has special programming.  The HD-3 channel is indie music full time.

The station features Dennis Elsas, Pete Fornatale and John Platt who are veterans of heritage station WNEW-FM.  The weekday lineup includes Claudia Marshall, Darren Devivo and Corny O' Connell among others.

I contributed today, the first day of the fall fundraising drive sinc my contribution will be matched by FJC, a foundation of donor advised funds.  I will recieve their annual New Music Sampler and FUV Live #14.  I have a full set of those CDs.  It is a shame that only about 5 - 7 % of listeners of non-profit radio stations support them financially.

I suggest to my radio friends that they sample WFUV and if they like it and become a regular listener, support them financially.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lee Beat His Father at his own game

The scholarly young man in this photo got today's Final Jeopardy question while his father missed it.  This person won the Academy Award for both acting and song writing.  The correct question:  Who is Barbra Streisand.  If you read this journal entry from 2008 you will read how Lee feel in love with Barbara after seeing her picture on a bus shelter by Cunningham Park.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Former WCBS-FM Personality Bill Brown passes away

Long time New York radio personality Bill Brown just passed away at the age of 69. There was some confusion last night as a radio message board post announced his death from his Wikipedia entry. We all know that anyone can post information on the Wikipedia and it is not always a reliable source of information. When I heard Dan Taylor announced it this morning, I knew it was true. Bill actually came to WCBS-FM before it became an oldies station in July 1972. He was the last DJ on the station when it was hijacked on June 3, 2005. I would like to refer my readers to fine articles by Vince Santarelli and Jerry Barmash which detail Bill’s radio career.  It was a shame that Bill never did another radio show after WCBS-FM flipped to Jack.  He never got a chance to say goodbye to his listeners.

I would like to add my Bill Brown story. I think this must have happened in the late 1990s when there was a feature on his show called the Brown Bag. Listeners could send Bill a list of songs with a theme. If you set list was picked, you would win a WCBS-FM tote bag. I knew that May 24th, Bob Dylan’s birthday was coming up. I asked Bill to play a set list of Bob Dylan covers that were top 40 hits. If I remember correctly I requested:
  • It Ain’t Me Babe - The Turtles
  • Mr. Tambourine Man - Byrds
  • The Mighty Quinn - Manfred Mann
  • Don’t Think Twice - The Wonder Who
  • Blowin’ in the Wind - Peter. Paul and Mary

I usually take vacation on Dylan’s birthday and was listening to WCBS-FM at 12:20 to hear the Brown Bag. Sadly, my set list was not played. A few months later I received a package with my WCBS-FM tote bag with a note saying that my set played. I obviously missed it since on most weekdays when Bill was on the air I was at work. Oh well.

Right now I am listening to an air check of Bill Brown from July 12, 1971 one year before the station adopted the oldies format.


My condolences to his family.


Monday, October 10, 2011

I certainly didn't forget Ringo Starr

I have featured the other 3 former Beatles in my journal over the past few days.  I certainly didn't forget Ringo who has appeared in several of my blog entries over the years.  Anyway, one of my favorite Ringo hits is It Don't Come Easy.

It don't come easy,
You know it don't come easy.

It don't come easy,
You know it don't come easy.

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,
And you know it don't come easy.
You don't have to shout or leap about,
You can even play them easy.

Forget about the past and all your sorrows,
The future won't last,
It will soon be over tomorrow.

I don't ask for much, i only want your trust,
And you know it don't come easy.
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time,
And you know it just ain't easy.

Open up your heart, let's come together,
Use a little love
And we will make it work out better.

(ah -)
(ah -)

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,
And you know it don't come easy.
You don't have to shout or leap about,
You can even play them easy.

Peace, remember peace is how we make it,
Here within your reach
If you're big enough to take it.

I don't ask for much, i only want your trust,
And you know it don't come easy.
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time,
And you know it don't come easy.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

71 If

John Lennon would have been 71 years old today had he lived.  It is a good time to think about the music that he left behind.  One of my favorites is Beautiful Boy which he wrote for Sean.  Back when Lee was a little boy I would always sing it to him.  It was also played at his Bar Mitzvah.  This morning when we were in the car Ken Dashow played it on his Breakfast with the Beatles show on Q-104.3.

Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He's on the run and your daddy's here,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It's getting better and better,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,
Darling Sean.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

George Harrison - Living in the Material World Part 2

George's career certainly skyrocketed after the breakup of the Beatles in 1970.  Part 2 of this documentary started at that time with George's recording of the 3 album box set of All Things Must Pass.  It continues to cover his solo career until his passing in 2001. It includes interviews with Phil Spector, Ravi Shankar, Olivia Harrison, Dhani Harrison, Jim Keltner, Jackie Stewart and others.  Some footage of the historic Concert for Bangla Desh was shown.  Of course, I was pleased to see the Traveling Wilburys which included Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan.  I understand that a documentary can't cover anything, but I wish Scorcese had included a little time on the Concert for George in 2002 exactly a year after his passing.

 All Things Must Pass is my favorite George Song.

Sunrise doesnt't't last all morning
A cloudburst doesnt't't last all day
Seems my love is up and has left you with no warning
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away

Sunset doesnt't't last all evening
A mind can blow those clouds away
After all this, my love is up and must be leaving
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
None of lifes strings can last
So, I must be on my way
And face another day

Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
All things must pass away

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yom Kippur

To readers of Bruce's Journal who observe the Day of Atonement I wish you an easy fast. A happy and healthy new year to all.

George Harrison - Living in the Material World Part 1

Part 1 of this documentary focused on the Beatles years in the career of George Harrison. It was obvious that George did not get the recognition he deserved playing behind Lennon and McCartney arguably the best song writing team in the history of popular music. During those years, very few Harrison compositions were on Beatles albums.

There were interviews with Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Patti Boyd, George Martin and other figures involved with the Fab Four. I believe much of the footage with George was taken from the Anthology which was released in the mid 1990s. This special is really aimed at people who grew up with the Beatles and have followed them from the 1960s till today. Certainly, the Beatles appeal spans the generations, but in my opinion the casual fan would not appreciate the details of this documentary. Don’t expect a concert from this documentary. Martin Scorcese certainly did an excellent job.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Web Site of the Day - J! Archive

Regular reader of Bruce's Journal know that I regularly feature an oldie of the day.  Starting today, I would like to feature a web site of the day.  The first one is J!Archive which is devoted to the history of Jeopardy since 1984.  It documents every show since the Alex Trebek version of the show began.  It lists the contestants for each day and even gives the answers and questions.  Beautiful!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday November 12 - 6th Annual Meet and Greet of Fans of Oldies Radio

Readers of Bruce's Journal are invited to the 6th Annual Meet and Greet of Fans of Oldies Radio.

Saturday November 12 2 PM - 4 PM

Bens Deli (
209 West 38th Street
New York, NY

This is a golden opportunity to meet new and old friends who share the same enthusiasm for oldies radio. This event does not endorse any radio station or program. In the past celebrities from major radio stations have appeared. Presently we are inviting some well known personalities and will announce special guests after they have confirmed their appearance.

We choose Ben’s since they are moderately priced and have always allowed to have a private room without an additional charge. You only have to pay the restaurant on the day of the event. We may ask for $1 from each person to pay for the lunch of any special guests. This is an open event, so please invite any friends who are interested.

We would like to get an approximate head count so please respond to Alan Berman, the Distinguished Professor of Oldies Meet and Greets.  His e-mail is  He will be very pleased to hear from you. 

A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

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