Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Remembering George Harrison

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the passing of George Harrison who left us all too soon.  I found this video on Youtube of George and Bob Dylan singing If Not For You at a rehearsal before the famous Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Brunswick, NJ Revisited

In July 2008 I wrote a journal entry about living in New Brunswick, NJ from 1974-76 just after graduating from the University of Rhode Island. In much of that entry I wrote about my social life as a Jewish single in the suburbs.  Today I revisited New Brunswick since I attended a professional meeting at Rutgers.

I was quite impressed at the way the downtown area was revitalized over the past 35 years.  There were several new high rise apartment buildings near the train station.  Back in the 70s that downtown area was nodescript at best.  The College Avenue campus of Rutgers looked pretty much the same. There was not all that much time to walk around the city especially since it was raining after the meeting. I think the Busch and Livingston campuses on the Piscataway side of the Raritan River expanded greatly over the years.  I remember visiting the Library of Science and Medicine.

I did not visit:

1. 9 Hartwell Street where I lived for the first 4 months in New Brunswick.  The landlord just kept pestering me.
2.  The Colony House on George Street where I lived for most of my New Jersey years.  It is a high rise building near Landing Lane Bridge.
3. Rhodia on Jersey Avenue where I worked.  A chemical engineering student at NJIT told me that the plant closed down in 2000.  I read that Rhodia was recented acquired by Solvay.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good Morning Good Morning by the Beatles

Please take a look at this Youtube video. There are many photographs of the Beatles in this collage which I have never seen before.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

J Edgar - A non chronological biopic

Love him or hate him, you must admit that J Edgar Hoover had a phenomenal career as Director of the FBI.  It is impossible to cover every aspect of his life in a 2 hour film.  Whenever I read a biography or a see a biographical movie, I prefer that a chronological approach be used by the author or filmmaker.   In J Edgar the scenes constantly changed from his early career to his later days with stops in the middle.  Much emphasis was placed on his role in the Lindbergh kidnapping and subsequent trial of Bruno Hauptmann. Time was given to his pursuit of crriminal gangs who carried out bank robberies in the midwest.  The JFK and Martin Luther King assassinations wer briefly mentioned without detailing any FBI investigations.

Since Hoover never married there were rumors that he was gay.  The film clearly implies that Clyde Tolson, the Associate Director of the FBI, was his lover for many years.

Kudos must go to Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood and others for this fine movie.  I really think a TV miniseries with several chapters would have done more justice to Hoover's career and personal life.

Random Thoughts on Thanksgiving Weekend

I completely avoided shopping malls on Black Friday which has really been hyped by the media.  I feel that it was inappropriate for major retailers to open late on Thursday night.  Consumers have to option to shop then, but the employees have to come in and miss their family gatherings.

The concept of Small Business Saturday seems to be new.  It is said that many family owned businesses have ceased operation due to big retailers such as Wal Mart, Target, and Home Depot among many others.

I am glad that the NBA players and owners finally came to their senses and reached a tentative settlement.  There will be a 66 game season that will begin on Christmas Day. I feel sorry for the small guys like the ticket takers, vendors, and restaurant owners who lost money.  It turns out that only 8 home games per team were lost.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Alice's Restaurant - A Thanksgiving staple on NYC radio

I can remember back in 1967 when Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie was released on LP and was played on album rock stations like WNEW-FM.  For many years it has been heard on NYC radio on Thanksgiving.  Today at 12 noon it will be heard on WFUV and Q104.3.  I will be listening.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jeopardy and the Two-Dollar Bill

Google Analytics is a tool to analyze the hits on a web site.  The one site on Bruce's Journal that received the most number of hits was the tale of the 2 dollar bill that I wrote in April 2011.  It got infinitely more hits than anything I wrote about Bob Dylan, the Mets, oldies, or New York radio.

Anyway, my knowledge of the two dollar bill helped me on Jeopardy tonight.  I probably don't have the wording correct, but it was the sum of the money of bills in common circulation that has a president on them.

1 dollar bill - George Washington
2 dollar bill - Thomas Jefferson
5 dollar bill - Abraham Lincoln
20 dollar bill - Andrew Jackson
50 dollar bill -  U.S. Grant

The correct Jeopardy question - What is 78.  All 3 contestants answered 76 and got it wrong since they forgot about the 2 dollar bill.  I didn't win thousands of dollars by getting it right.  I just got a high five from Karen and Lee.

If you are curious, please go to this Presidents on Money Web site .  It states that William McKinley is on the $500 bill while Woodrow Wilson is on the $1000 bill, but those are not in common circulation.

I wonder is Lisa Weisbard got it right.

The Kennedy Assassination Remembered by Irv Kass

Every year on Bruce's Journal I recall the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  I could think of anything new to say this year.  There was little if any media coverage of the anniversary of that dreadful day.  A small percentage of people living today were born before November 22, 1963 and can remember the tragedy.  I thought I would refer my readers to the blog entry of Facebook friend Irv Kass that he wrote on November 22, 2008.

Irv and I were students at Russell Sage Junior high school in 1963, but didn't know each other.  He found me on by doing a Google search on Charles Tanzer who was the principal at that time.

I presume that in 2 years on the 50th anniversary there will be extensive media coverage.

Monday, November 21, 2011

This Beatles Song is Just For Fun

I like this version from the Love soundtrack.  Maybe Ringo can see the octopus from the Yellow Submarine.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bob Dylan Radio Documentary about his 1962-63 trip to England

This morning I was surfing Facebook when I read on Fred Velez's wall that there is a Bob Dylan documentary on BBC called Bob Dylan's Big Freeze about his trip to England during the winter of 1962-63.  Even though I have read several biographies of Dylan, I can't remember reading about this trip.  Any Dylan fans reading my journal should go to by Saturday November 26th to hear this documentary.  It seems that the BBC will only archive specialty shows for one week.  There is a good synopsis of this show at

Anyway any artist is stimulated by his experiences.  The writer of this program strongly believes that this trip inspired Bob to write several songs that appeared on subsequent albums.  Remember at this point in time "Freewheelin'" had yet to be recorded.  Let me quote from the obscure cut I Shall Be Free #10 on the Another Side of Bob Dylan album which was released in 1964.
Now you’re probably wondering by now
Just what this song is all about
What’s probably got you baffled more
Is what this thing here is for
It’s nothing
It’s something I learned over in England

I highly recommend this program for all Dylan fans.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First College Basketball Game of the Season

As time goes by it appears more likely that the NBA season will be cancelled.  These jackasses who make millions of dollars a year just can't come to a fair settlement.  I feel sorry for the little guys who lose money from this lockout.  There are ushers, ticket takers, vendors, and restuarant owners who lose many when games are cancelled.

Anyway college basketball is not affected.  Today we went to the Mack Arena at Hofstra to see their team beat St. Francis of Brooklyn 63-59.  The foul shooting for both teams was terrible, but Hofstra held on for the victory.  On the way home from work last night I stopped by Madison Square Garden and bought tickets for two St. John's game later in the season.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Congratulations to Pete Fornatale

I was reading a few radio messages boards and found out that Pete Fornatale won the  2012 AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Awards (The AMEES).  As I have written in this journal many times Pete has been an asset to New York radio for over 40 years.  I look forward to listening to his show on WFUV on Saturdays from 4 PM - 8 PM.  My hearty congratulations to Pete whom I wish many more years on the radio.  Below is a photo of Pete with the Slutsky family at the Long Island Radio Expo at CW Post in April 2010.  He was very friendly to all of the radio enthusiasts he met that day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Time to Revisit Murray the K

Back in September 2008 I wrote a journal entry  about radio personality Murray the K as the anti-chart guy.  As I am writing this journal entry I am listening to an aircheck of Murray the K from WINS on October 15, 1963 on Rewound Radio.  I believe that Alan Berman has this aircheck on tape.  With internet technology recordings of old radio shows can be transmitted much more easily.  I remember spending countless hours in the 1990s recording radio tapes and trading them with people over the country.

Any there is a good Wikipedia article about Murray, thus is not necessary for me to repeat his biography.  He passed away at age 60 in 1982.  He last appeared on a syndicated radio show called Soundtrack of the 60s which was heard in NYC on WCBS-FM.  Cousin Bruce Morrow on SiriusXM and Dick Biondi on WLS-FM in Chicago are still active in oldies radio when they are well into their 70s.  I think that Murray would have been active in oldies radio had he lived longer.  The Wikipedia article stated that he lived in Los Angeles, so he may have gotten a gig on KRTH.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Congratulations Roger Craig

I heartily congratulate Roger Craig of Newark, Delaware for winning the 2011 Jeopardy Tournament of Champions.  He defeated two excellent opponents in Tom Nissley and Buddy Wright.  In yesterday's game he bet his entire bank in two daily doubles in a row.  His winning of $250,000 in this tournament added to his $231,200 total in 7 games last year brings his grand total to close to a half a million dollars.

I would love to see him compete against Jeopardy legends Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oldie of the Day - Sally Go Round the Roses by the Jaynetts

Louise Murray who sang with the Jaynetts was one of the honored guests at the recent Oldies Meet and Greet.  Sally Go Round the Roses charted at number 2 for them in Billboard in 1963.  Louise treated the group by singing Gee Whiz which was a 1961 hit for Carla Thomas.  Below is a recording of Sally.  Hopefully Louise will sing it on November 10, 2012.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Report from the 2011 Oldies Meet and Greet

The 6th Annual Meet and Greet of Oldies Radio Enthusiasts took place today at Ben’s Deli on West 38th Street with about 60 people attending. A few other people were wanted to come, but illness or other factors prevented them from attending. It is one thing to connect with people through message boards, Facebook, and Twitter, but you really can’t get to know people until you see them in person. I’ve known Mary Shaw and Linda Cohen since the late 1990s after we first met on the WCBS-FM AOL folder. Over the years I have become acquainted with many people through these gatherings. Some of the radio personalities who came:

Keith Allen - seen below

Famous Amos - Russ DiBello

Anita Bonita

Bob Radil

Joe Accurso

Scott Lowe

Kristen LaBar

We were treated by a performance of Gee Whiz by Louise Murray who sang with the Jaynetts.

Today, Alan Berman was the happiest man on the face of the earth

Photos can be seen at

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It looks like I may have to read about the Knicks this season

There doesn't seem to be a settlement of the NBA lockout in sight, so there is a distinct possibility that the pro basketball season could be cancelled.  These guys are making millions of dollar a year to play a boys game and they want more money.  I feel sorry for people like restaurant owners, ushers, and others who lose money when the games are not played.

Today I was reading the book review of the New York Times when I saw a review for:

Araton, Harvey. When the Garden Was Eden: Clyde, the Captain, Dollar Bill, and the Glory Days of the Old Knicks. New York: Harper, 2011. Print.

I remember those days in the early 1970s when the Knicks were the champs.  So it looks like I may just have to read about the Knicks this season.  Hopefully they will come to their senses and settle to save at least part of the season.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

R.I.P. Curtis Speller

A few days ago I heard the terrible news that my NJIT friend Curtis Speller died of a heart attack.  From the photo above you can see that Curtis with the nickname Caz was a stand-up comic.  He tried very hard to get comedy gigs but obviously needed his day job as a custodian for NJIT.

Around 1994 Curtis was assigned to clean the library before it opened.  The library didn't open until 9 AM while Curtis would be in early to clean.  He would work with his boombox on listening to Sam Cooke music.  One day I walked over to him and and talked about Sam.  I must say that Curtis should have been appointed Distinguished Professor of Sam Cooke by NJIT.  He knew about concerts and obscure recordings and outtakes.  Felix Hernandez should have invited him to his Rhythm Revue Show on WBGO.

I was disappointed when Curtis was transferred to another building.  Over the years I ran into Curtis on the campus and continued our discussions of Sam.  Curtis gave me a few videos and burned some CDs for me.  I send my condolences to his family.  I hope that when Curtis goes to heaven he will meet up with Sam.  I am sure that if Sam had lived he would have been appreciative of Curtis's knowledge of his recordings.  Sadly both of them left this world too soon.

I'd like to dedicate to Curtis A Change is Gonna Come

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yesterday's Paper by the Rolling Stones

One of favorite early Rolling Stones LP was Between the Buttons which was released in early 1967 when I was a senior at Forest Hills High School.  The two most popular cuts have to be Ruby Tuesday and Let's Spend the Night Together.  Back in those days the latter originally the A Side was a little too suggestive for AM radio so DJs flipped it over.  One of my favorite cuts that was not a 45 RPM single was Yesterday's Paper.  Enjoy

Monday, November 7, 2011

Spotlight on Judy Collins

Tonight as I do on most Monday nights I am listening to Breakfast with the Beatles with Dennis Mitchell.  He interviewed Judy Collins on this show.  Thus, I would like to feature her cover of the Beatles' In My Life.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lee was the family's biggest fan of Andy Rooney

The entire family likes to watch 60 minutes, but Lee was the biggest fan of Andy Rooney.  We all enjoyed his comments ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime.  He did so many pieces over the years that I can't think of any particular one the affected me the most.  He will be sorely missed by his millions of fans.  Below is Andy Rooney on sleeping.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises is filming in Newark

The next Batman movie titled The Dark Knight Rises was filmed for the last two days in Newark.  Today as the New Jersey Transit bus passed the underground Light Rail Station, I observed the crews were going into the station to film.  I said to someone today that anyone who lives and works in Newark should get a free pass to see the movie.  There were no scenes taken at NJIT or Rutgers. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kudos to New Jersey Transit

Regular readers of Bruce's Journal know that I regular complain about mass transit delays by New Jersey Transit or the MTA.  The last leg of my commute to NJIT is a short ride on the Newark Light Rail from Penn Station to Warren Street.  About a week ago there was announcement that due to the filming of a movie in Newark the light rail would run on November 3rd and 4th and would be replaced by bus service.  The buses ran very often and with minimal delay as a substitute for the train service today.  Thank you New Jersey Transit for a job well done.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jeopardy News

Today the Tournament of Champions featuring the best 15 players of the last year started.  I especially like this tournament since the games will be very competitive with very difficult questions.  Today Jeopardy started to take applications for the online contestant quiz to be held in January.  Maybe this year I will live out my fantasy and become appear on the show and tell Alex that I have watched the show since the Art Fleming version began in 1964.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Judging the 2011 Battle of the Dylan Cover Bands

Facebook friend and fellow New York Mets fan Pete Freckelton asked me to be a judge in the 2011 Battle of the Dylan Cover Bands which is featured on  It is very difficult to make a judgement as to whether or not a group makes it to the second round.  I am looking for originality and  good instrumental backing.  I will not vote for any group that imitates Dylan or does not offer an original cover version.  I will post the final results.
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