Sunday, April 29, 2012

This Woman Can Call Me Cousin Bruce

The attractive woman in this photo is Debbie Friedman who is my first cousin on my father's side of the family.  I saw her today for the first time in a few years as she did a mitzvah and visited my mother at the Bristal in Westbury.  One of the topics that came up in today's conversation was Facebook.  She said she sees my comments.  I told her about Bruce's Journal and said she should check it out.  I wish her bon voyage as in about a month she is flying to Israel to see her sister and then take a cruise to Greece.  Debbie, below is the Cousin Bruce theme song.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tigers 7 Yankees 5

We got to Yankee Stadium about an hour before game time since we wanted to the Yankee Museum.  There was plenty of memorabilia from the many Subway Series from the 1920s until 2000.  I didn't have to worry about booing Delmon Young since the Detroit Tigers put him on the restricted list before the game.

Yankee starting pitcher Freddy Garcia pitched poorly as he allowed 6 runs and was taken out in the second inning.  There were two home runs by Nick Swisher and another by Curtis Granderson, but that was not enough as a 9th inning rally fell short as the Bronx Bombers lost 7-5

Game Recap

Random Thoughts of the Day

I am going to see the Yankees play the Detroit Tigers today. If Delmon Young plays, I will boo him loudly. It is a privilege to be a professional baseball player. He should be suspended and be forced to go for sensitivity training.  These athletes make millions of dollars and should never make racial, religious, or ethnically insensitive remarks.

New York Times article

There will be big changes in the New York radio dial.  I will give a condensed version since so much of this has been discussed.  ESPN radio will take over 98.7 FM and will simulcast on 1050 until September when a Spanish version of ESPN will be heard on 1050 AM.  98.7 Kiss and WBLS FM will "merge".  All the the "experts" on the various radio message boards predicted ESPN would buy 94.7 FM.  Anyway, it is said to see 98.7 Kiss go after a classic soul format for 30 years.  I believe that sports formats should stay on AM, but it is the trend in many major markets that sports talk stations are moving to FM.  I hope that WFAN will not move to 92.3 FM as predicted by many amateur radio executives who post on message boards.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Congratulations to Bob Dylan for Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom

After 50 years as a singer songwriter Bob Dylan will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor that is given by the United States.  He is in some good company receiving the award with such noteworthy people including Toni Morrison, John Glenn, Madeleine Albright and Justice John Paul Stevens.  A hearty mazel tov to you Bob.

New York Times Article

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Tribute to Pete Fornatale

I found out the very sad news today that radio legend and author Pete Fornatale died from a stroke.  For several days we knew he was ill, but was not aware of the seriousness of the illness.  There is biographical information about Pete at:

Rather than rehash the biographical information I would like to devote this journal entry to my experiences with Pete.  I didn’t listen to him that much  during his early days, but in the 1980s he had weekend shows called Saturday Morning 60s and Mixed Bag. Both of those shows were a must listen.  Fortunately I have some tapes of these shows.  My favorite show had to be the Bob Dylan Birthday Bash every May.  One year he ranked the artists that covered Dylan songs.   On October 16, 1992 there was a concert in Madison Square  honoring Dylan for his 30 years in the music business.  Roger McGuinn, Neil Young, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton and Dylan himself sang My Back Pages.  Pete called them the “Mount Rushmore of Rock n’ Roll.”

Pete spent most of his career at WNEW-FM, but spent some time at 92.3 K-Rock when it was a classic rock station.  He started his career as a Fordham student at WFUV  and returned there several years ago to do his Mixed Bag Show Saturdays from 4 PM to 8 PM.  I tried very hard to listen to at least parts of the show every week.  Pete had to be the “King of the Theme Set”.  He could find enough songs with a theme to fill the four hours.  Right now I am listening to the archived version of Pete’s last show devoted to the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  It is quite unfortunate that the Digital Millenum Copyright Act limit’s the number of archived show that WFUV could offer listeners.

Let me add a few personal notes:

About 3 years ago I received a phone call at work from Karen stating that Pete had phone the house asking for me.  He got my name and phone number from the list of donors to WFUV.  He confused me with Martin Slutsky who was the vocalist for a group called McKendree Spring.

In April 2010 Pete appeared at the Long Island Radio Day at CW Post.  Many of the “Meet and Greet Crowd” including Alan Berman, Mary Shaw, Patrick Guice, and Linda Cohen among others were there to hear Pete talk about Woodstock.  He was so friendly as he spoke to everyone before his talk.  Above is a photo he took with my family.  He succeeded in making Lee smile for the photo.

Rock n Roll Heaven will be gaining a distinguished voice.  New York radio will never be the same.  Thank you Pete for all your years on the radio dial and rest in peace.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reyes goes 0 for 4 in Return to Citifield

I was not at the game last night, but the crowd reaction was mixed when Jose Reyes went to bat.  His batting average is .215 after 16 games.  He was 0 for 4 as the Mets beat the Miami Marlins 2-1.  There was bad news as Jason Bay and Mike Pelfrey went on the disabled list.  Pelfrey could be out for the rest of the season, but the Mets are seeking other medical opinions.  The team has been plagued by injuries over the past few seasons.  They are now 9-8.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beatles Song of the Day - Drive My Car

I remember how a few seconds of this was heard on the Harry Harrison morning show just before the traffic report

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Karen

Karen and I were born 6 years and 1 day apart.  When I first met her she had a knick knack for the sighn of Taurus.  We knew then our birthdays were a day apart.  5 years ago I dedicated a song to her on Sounds of the 60s with Brian Matthew.  Please give it a listen.  You two favorite men wish you a happy birthday

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It was an eventful birthday

We really enjoyed Spiderman Turn Off The Dark on Broadway. I have to give it an A+ for special effects. After the show we went to dinner at Dave and Buster's in Times Square. Some years ago we went to their restaurant in Philadelphia. Off course we followed the Mets with the ESPN app on the iPhone. The blew a lead in the top of the 9th, but scored on an error in the bottom of the inning to win 5-4. We noted that the Yankees were losing 9-0 at the end of 5 innings. When we got home the Yankees were rallying in the 8th inning. They ended up beating the hated Red Sox 15-9. Maybe Bobby Valentime should wear a disguise when he walks the streets of Boston.

In other baseball news Phil Humber of the Chicago White Sox pitched a perfect game. The Bleacher Report states that Humber is now the 7th ex-Met pitcher to throw a no hitter or perfect game for another team. In 50 years no Met pitcher has pitched a no hitter. When will this jinx end.

I found out from WFUV DJ Darren DeVivo's Facebook page that Pete Fornatale is seriously ill. This was confirmed on The nature and seriousness of his illness was not reported. I certainly wish him and Bob Shannon speedy recoveries.

Some Birthday Thoughts

I think my readers are smart enough to figure out my age.  Anyway, I was listening to Sue O'Neal on WCBS-FM this morning who announced that today is also the birthday of Queen Elizabeth and a certain oldies radio enthusiast who is exactly 10 years younger than I am.  Anyway, we live in a youth orientated culture.  So many movies and and TV show are geared to people under 35.  Much of the music that I like from the 1960s is no longer played on the radio, because it appeals to older people not swayed by advertisements.  I happy to be celebrating with Karen and Lee by going to see the Broadway show Spiderman.  I will write a review that will appear tonight or tomorrow.  I am grateful that my mother is living at the age of 92.  I will visit her tomorrow.

As I get older Touch of Grey by the Grateful Dead strikes closer to home.  "We will get by.... We will survive. I am not grey as Jerry Garcia is in this video.  If you check recent photos of me, there is only a "touch of grey." Thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday on Facebook.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thanks For The Music Levon

I don’t want my journal to be an obituary column, but today we lost Levon Helm who had a distinguished career as a musician. He was originally from Arkansas and was in a group called the Hawks who backed up singer Ronnie Hawkins. This group was later known as The Band since they were Bob Dylan’s band. Levon was the drummer of the group that I feel was one of the most underrated classic rock acts. In Spring 1966 the group backed up Dylan on his famous tour of England, but Levon stayed home and was replaced by Mickey Jones who produced a video commenting on that tour. In 1967 after Dylan’s motorcycle accident he and the Band recorded the Basement Tapes in a house called Big Pink in upstate New York. The Band recorded their seminal album music from Big Pink. In 1974 the Band backed up Dylan on his famous tour.

Levon stayed with the Band until its farewell performance documented in the concert film, The Last Waltz. Over the next years Levon became a solo artist, but the Band reformed in 1983 without Robbie Robertson. He was also an actor appearing in the Coal Miner’s Daughter with Sissy Spacek. He was an active recording artist until his terminal illness.

Levon joins Rick Danko and Richard Manuel in Rock n Roll Heaven. Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson are now the only living members of the original Band.

Thanks Levon for all the wonderful music you provided over the years. Rest in peace, old buddy.

Biography from the Wikipedia

One of Levon's better performances was the classic, The Weight

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My memories of Dick Clark

I heard the news a little while ago that Dick Clark died suddenly of a heart attack at age 82.  In 2004 he had suffered a stroke, but appeared on New Year’s Eve as we watched the ball drop. It was obvious that he was not well as his speech was slurred.  I’d like to write this entry about my memories of the man who was “The World’s Oldest Living Teenager.”
Back in the 1960s I would come home from school and watch “Where The Action Is” at 4:30 on channel 7.  I remember his introducing Paul Revere and the Raider, Keith Allison, Steve Alaimo, Tina Mason, and many popular artists of that era.  I recently bought a DVD with several episodes of that show.  For a while I watched American Bandstand on Saturdays when it originated from Los Angeles.  The Philadelphia version was a little before my time.  My favorite feature was “Rate-A-Record.”  Duh, I’ll give it a 95 because it has a great beat and you can really dance to it.  One more TV memory is Pyramid in denominations of $10,000, $20,000, $25,000, and $100,000.  I watched it when it first aired. but also saw the reruns on the Game Show Network.
Let’s now remember Dick on the radio.  Back in the 1980s there was a syndicated show featuring current hits called Dick Clark Rock Roll and Remember.  if I remember correctly it was heard in NYC on Sunday evenings on WYNY before Sexually Speaking with Dr. Ruth Westheimer.  There was also Dick Clark’s Rock Roll and Remember which was an oldies show heard Sunday mornings on WCBS-FM.
So Dick, thank you so much for all you have done for entertainment world for many years.  Thanks for all the memories and rest in peace.  Condolences to your family.

Random Comments of the Day

Last night I had to switch between the following 4 games on TV:
  • Mets vs Atlanta - they lost 9-3
  • Yankees vs Minnesota - they won 8-3
  • NJ Devils vs Florida - they lost 4-3
  • Knicks vs Boston Celtics - they won 118-110
For several weeks there will NBA basketball, major league baseball and the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Baseball games are just too slow these games especially in the American League.  Some reasons:
  • The manager or pitching coach comes out too often
  • The catcher consults with the pitcher
  • The batter steps out of the box
  • The batters work out full counts and foul off many pitches
  • There are too many pitching changes.  Very often a pitcher is brought in to face only one batter
The battles between the Yankees and Red Sox are notoriously long with 9 inning games lasting 4 hours.

The powers that be changed Google Analytics.  It is now harder to use.

I am approaching 2000 entries in Bruce's Journal

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour Resumes

Bill Pagel's Boblinks site reports that the Never Ending Tour has resumed in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.  He is approaching his 71st birthday and is still going strong.  Here is the set list as reported:

1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on guitar)
3. Things Have Changed
4. Tangled Up In Blue
5. The Levee's Gonna Break
6. Tryin' To Get To Heaven
7. Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
8. Desolation Row
9. Summer Days
10. Simple Twist Of Fate
11. Highway 61 Revisited
12. Forgetful Heart
13. Thunder On The Mountain
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man

15. Like A Rolling Stone
16. All Along The Watchtower

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thank You Rich Appel and Bob Radil for the IRS 104

Oldies radio can be boring since stations like to play it safe by playing the same greatest hits over and over again.  I think I'm a little tired of hearing Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, Mony Mony by Tommy James and the Shondells, and Happy Together by the Turtles among many other "burnouts".  These are not bad songs, but listeners are just tired of them.

For several years Rich Appel has conducted a survey of songs that should have charted in the Top 10 years ago.  Many songs become more popular as oldies than they were as hits.  He calls this the IRS (It Really Should have) 104, which he plays as we must submit our tax forms.  I submitted my list to Rich, but 8 Miles High by the Byrds was my only selection that made the list which can be seen at

These 104 were heard on Friday night on Bob Radil's show on Rewound Radio and Saturday and Sunday on Rich Appel's show The Rest of the Week on WRNJ from Hackettstown, NJ.

Thank you Rich and Bob for all your efforts.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Three Stooges Then and Now

There have been several posts in Bruce’s Journal about the Three Stooges over the years including our trip to the Stoogeum near Philadelphia and Lee’s appearances with his t-shirt. I have noticed that are very few new ideas for movies. Comic books, old TV series, and classic movies have been converted to modern movies. Back in the early 1960s the Three Stooges appeared on WPIX TV Channel 11 in NYC with Officer Joe Bolton as the host. Please see the video below which celebrated his 100th birthday. You will even see Joe in the Polo Grounds in a New York Giants uniform. I fondly remember watching the episodes after school every day. About 10 years ago the episodes appeared on AMC, and we taped them all for Lee who became our family’s biggest fan.

This movie was an updated version of the TV series with silly story lines and numerous incidences of the boys hitting each other. The actors looked exactly like the original Moe, Larry, and Curly. At the end of the movie, the directors, Bobby and Peter Farrelly warned the kids viewing the movie not to hit anyone with tools as was shown in the film. Office Joe Bolton did the same thing 50 years ago.

I enjoyed the film as it brought back memories of the TV series. Hopefully the movie will attract younger viewers to DVDs of the original series. Maybe there will be more movies. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk

David Wright Appears Headed for the Disabled List

A report from the Sporting News indicates that David Wright is headed for the disabled list.  If he can't hold a bat or throw, this is the best thing for the Mets to do.  Thus, two starting position players will be on the DL.  This gives Justin Turner a golden opportunity to prove himself as regular player since he would start at third base.  Daniel Murphy hits well, but his fielding at second base is questionable.  He booted a ball in the 9th inning last night, but the Mets had a big enough lead.  Maybe Justin will get more playing time when everyone is healthy.

Addendum - the journal entry above was written at 11 AM.  Although the Sporting News is a reliable publication, they were wrong bout David Wright's injury.  He appeared in today's game and had 3 hits including a home run as the Mets won 5-0.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Thursday Morning

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the first game that the Mets played on April 11, 1962.  I remember watching the game on TV with my dad as the Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 11-4.  Roger Craig who started tat game in 1962 threw out the first pitch in yesterday's game.  I read that 29 out of the 45 1962 Mets are still living.

It is very tragic when anyone is murdered.  Sadly there are thousands of killings in the United States every year.  The death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is very tragic, but why all the media coverage?  Does the media report or create the news?  It seems that this murder is getting as much attention as the OJ Simpson case in the 1990s.

Today is the 49th anniversary of Bob Dylan's first solo concert at Town Hall.  I was not there.
Off to work in an hour or so.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Will Injuries Plague the Mets Again this Season?

The Mets lost their first game of the season to the Washington Nationals last night 6-2.  Even the best team will lose 50 games a season.  The injuries that two Mets have incurred since the beginning of the season concern me.  On opening day center fielder Andress Torres injured his calf and will be out at least two weeks.  David Wright fractured his pinky.  Surgery can not be used here, so his finger will be placed in a splint and evaluated day to day.  In recent seasons injuries have really hurt the Mets.  Let's hope that injuries this season will be minimal.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Beatles Song of the Day - Let it Be

I remember being a student at CCNY when after my last final exam I took the subway down to Times Square to see the Beatles movie Let it Be.  Back then a movie would open in Manhattan before it came to the local theaters in the outer boroughs.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mets 7 Braves 5

It was our first trip to Citifield in this 50th anniversary season of the New York Mets.  Since I have been with the team through the good, bad, and mediocre years, I thought I should buy a t-shirt with the logo seen above.  After I bought three for the entire family at the team store, we went up to our seats in section 509 in the Promenade level.

Most predictions for the Mets this season were for a 90 loss season, so I came to the game with low expectations.  The Mets had a 7-0 lead after 6 innings.  At that point  Jonathan Niese had not allowed a hit.  Throughout their history, the Mets have been known for excellent pitching, but there have been no no hitters by Met pitchers.  The Braves broke the no hitter and rallied for 4 runs in the 7th inning.  Brian McCann hit a solo homer in the 8th bring the Braves two runs behind.  Could this be another collapse?  Frank Francisco closed the door in the 9th to gain his third save in 3 games.

I am pleased that the Mets won their first 3 games, but it is very long season.  Things will even out in the long run.

Game recap

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Random Thoughts of the Day

My comments will be quite mundane.  I don't think anyone will hit this entry on Google.

It can be a nuisance to bring my car in for servicing.  I never like to sit at a service station to wait for the work to be done.  There is a Mobil station near my home in Flushing at 20th Avenue and Parsons Blvd.  I brought my car in for a state inspection and oil change today at 8 AM.  At 8:45, Carlos the service manager phoned me to say that job was done.  That is really good service.  My car is now 12 years old, but has only 47,000 miles.  It is certainly in good condition for a car that old since the mileage is low and since I keep in a garage.  But as a car ages, things wear out and must be replaced.

Later in the afternoon we went to downtown Flushing to do some shopping.

I pleased to see that Mets have won their first 2 games.  I think Alan Berman has brought the team some good luck.  We are going tomorrow to see Jonathan Niese pitch.  Hopefully, the winning will continue.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks Album to be Made into a Movie

The web site Digital Spy reports that Bob Dylan's 1975 album Blood on the Tracks will be made into a feature film.  Some years ago the listeners of WFUV voted it the number one album of all time.  It includes some Dylan classics including Tangled Up in Blue, Shelter from the Storm, and Simple Twist of Fate.  I am guessing that the film will be about the breakup of a romance.  It will likely be a few years before this film is released since the film company RT Features is looking for a director.  I recall a few other classic albums that were made into a film:
  • Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band - absolutely terrible
  • Pink Floyd The Wall
  • Tommy by the Who

There are 161 games to Go

The baseball season began today at Citifield.  The prognosis is not good this season for the New York Mets as they lost Jose Reyes and cut payroll quite a bit.  If everyone has a good season, the best I can hope for is a .500 record.  But, if there are injuries and poor performance, this could be a 100 loss season.  I was at work today, but loyal fan Alan Berman was at the game as he saw the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0.  Alan took the photo below of Johann Santana throwing the first pitch of the game.  Notice that the fences were moved in.  Hopefully, the Mets will hit more home runs than their opponents.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Running out of Ideas for Bruce's Journal

I have written almost 2,000 entries for this journal over the past 6 1/2 years.  I seem to be running out of ideas for topics to discuss here.  I use Google Analytics to survey people who have read one or more entries.  I really doubt if anyone listens to the songs that I post.  There are some Bob Dylan fans that have hit a few of my comments, but I doubt if any of them read my journal regularly.  Now that baseball season is here, I will likely write more about the New York Mets.  It may be a very tough season out at Citifield.  Nothing extraordinary has happened on Jeopardy lately.

I guess I'll keep writing, but perhaps I'll minimize my output.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Remembering Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye would have been 73 years old today had he lived.  His life and music career was multi-faceted, successful and tragic.  Yesterday was the 29th anniversary of his senseless death.  When we think of Marvin, we also recall Sam Cooke, John Lennon and others who died before their time.  We'll never what music they would have produced had they lived.  Let me pick a simple Marvin Gaye hit - Hitch Hike.  This version was done on the TV show Shindig.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Oldie of the Day - Everybody Plays the Fool by the Main Ingredient

This video is from Soul Train with the late Don Cornelius.  I guess this is the perfect song for April Fools Day.
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