Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

I wish all readers of Bruce's Journal a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.  Whether you are a regular reader or just found one entry through a search engine, I thank you for stopping by and hope that reading my thoughts have benefited you in some way.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cool Bobby B - Facebook Friend of the Day

Above is a photo of Cool Bobby B with his biggest fan Alan Berman.  It is a shame that Doo Wop music is no longer heard on terrestrial radio, but since I have SiriusXM I make it my business to hear at least part of Bobby's show on 50s on 5 Sunday nights at 9 PM.  Bobby is also heard on WLNG from Eastern Long Island on Tuesday nights.

You can find more information about Bobby at:

You can make a request by phoning 1-800-DOOWOPP

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Double Dose of NJIT Basketball on ESPN3

ESPN3 is a TV station that can be accessed on a laptop, desktop or smartphone.  Both the NJIT men's and women's basketball teams were scheduled at 7 PM tonight to appear on ESPN3.  The mens team lost to Villanova 70-60 in a game where they were close most of the time.  They are now 0-15 against Big East teams in the 7 years that NJIT has been in Division I.  Your team still loses whether it is by one point or 50 points.  The women lost to St. Johns 55-37.

Summary of Men's Game

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sinister Pop Art at the Whitney Museum Today

We decided to be "culture vultures" today by taken our annual trip to the Whitney Museum on Madison Avenue at 75th Street. They had an interesting exhibit called Sinister Pop which featured some of the counterculture pop art of the 1960s and 70s including artists such as Andy Warhol.  There were a few funny pictures of Richard Nixon including one portraying him in a negative fashion and encouraging people to vote for George McGovern.  This exhibit on the second floor will be shown until March 31, 2013.

Wade Guyton and Richard Artsschwagel were featured in other exhibits in the museum.  It is nice to do something different once in a while.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Visited the Paley Center Today

Karen and I visited the Paley Center on West 52nd Street as we do a few times a year.  There was a photographic and video exhibition for the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones.  There were numerous photographs on the wall in addition to a television monitor showing 10 television appearances of the Stones.

From there we went upstairs to the library to view some old shows.  Since Karen is very much into Alfred Hitchcock we viewed 3 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents which was on the air in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  We also saw one episode of All in the Family and one of One Day at A Time.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Car 54 Where are You by Martin Grams

Regular readers of Bruce’s Journal should know that for 50 years I have been a big fan of Car 54 Where are You that originally aired from 1961-63 on NBC.  I recently reported on an excellent web site on the show that lead me to this book which is the definitive volume on this show.

Grams, M. (2009). Car 54 where are you?. Albany, GA: BearManor Media.

It tells a lot about how Nat Hiken conceived the series.  Most police shows back then demonstrate the excellent work that officers do in fighting and preventing crime.  Hiken saw the need to demonstrate that policeman are people too with lives away from their jobs.  He was quoted as saying “I want to show that cops are human beings.  They’re regular guys underpaid  for what they do. And have human failings and problems.“  The working title for the show was “The Snow Whites” since back then the tops of police cars were white.  Back then two-tone cars were popular.  My dad had a 1957 Chevy Bel Air with a black body and white top.

The show was filmed in the Bronx with a red car  since in the early 1960s police cars were green.  This way Car 54 would not be mistaken for a real police car.  Reaction to the show was mixed.  For example the New York Times wrote an editorial praising the show for its humanizing police officers.  There was some criticism of the show’s portrayal as police officers as clowns.

One can not argue with success as the show garnered very high ratings in the two seasons that it was on the air.  Until I read this book, I did not know the reason that the show was only on the air for two years.  The author reports  that according to Fred Gwynne (the actor who played Officer Muldoon) Nat Hiken was under great stress to write, produce, and direct the series.  He just couldn’t handle that and sadly pulled the plug on the series.  Hiken was a heavy smoker and sadly passed away in 1968 at age 54.  I thank him for the two seasons and 60 episodes of the series.

The author provides a synopsis of the 60 episodes and an appendix of unused plot suggestions and outlines.  He provides biographical information on most of the cast members and much minutiae about the series.  No book is perfect, I would have liked to see more information about cast members Beatrice Pons, Hank Garrett and Charlotte Rae.   I must commend Martin Grams for providing a lengthy bibliography of sources he used to write this book.  It is highly recommended for Car 54 fans who saw the show in the 1960s or those who found it in later years.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

College Basketball at the Barclays Center

We really wanting to see a sports event at Batclays Center after seeing Bob Dylan in concert there in November.  Since the price of professional basketball tickets is prohibitively high, we wanted to economize and pick college basketball.  There was a tripleheader there today:

  • Hofstra vs Tulane - 3:00 PM
  • Manhattan vs South Carolina - 5:30 PM
  • LIU Brooklyn vs Seton Hall - 8:00 PM
Since we have seen games at the Mack Arena on the Hofstra campus for many years we decided to come for game 1.  The two schools were tied at 30-30 at half time, but Tulane scored 20 unanswered points at the beginning of the second half.  Tulane coasted to an 83-62 victory.  Game Summary

We stayed for the first half of the second game which ended with South Carolina winning 63-56.

Seton Hall beat LIU Brooklyn in the third game 89-58

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Congratulations Mike Wallace of Sunnyside

I picked up one of the Queens local newspapers and saw a mention of Mike Wallace of Sunnyside, appearing on Jeopardy on December 20.  I turned on the show as usual at 7 PM and saw him win the game with over $20,000.  It is always nice to see a local person win on the show, so I wish him well in his future appearances.

Ken Jennings still reigns supreme with 74 victories with Dave Madden a distant second at 19.  Good luck Mike.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ring Them Bells - A Very Timely Bob Dylan Song

Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
’Cross the valleys and streams
For they’re deep and they’re wide
And the world’s on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride
Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know
Oh it’s rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow
Ring them bells Sweet Martha
For the poor man’s son
Ring them bells so the world will know
That God is one
Oh the shepherd is asleep
Where the willows weep
And the mountains are filled
With lost sheep
Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf
Ring them bells for all of us who are left
Ring them bells for the chosen few
Who will judge the many when the game is through
Ring them bells, for the time that flies
For the child that cries
When innocence dies
Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room
Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they’re breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thanks R.A. Dickey - It Was Short but Sweet

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of reading R.A, Dickey's biography:

Dickey, R A, and Wayne R. Coffey. Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball. New York: Blue Rider Press, 2012.

He was very candid about his sexual abuse and how his baseball career struggled as he went from team to team at the major and minor league levels.  His 20-6 season as he won the Cy Young award was one of the few highlights of the 2012 Mets whose record was a terrible 74-88.  His trade to the Toronto Blue Jays was finalized today.

The Mets get:

  • 23-year-old Travis d’Arnaud considered an excellent catching prospect
  • Noah Syndergaard - a pitching prospect
  • John Buck - a veteran catcher
  • Wilmer Becarra - minor league outfielder
The Blue Jays get:
  • R.A. Dickey - age 37
  • Josh Thole
  • Mike Nickeas
Any trade is a risk.  Since Dickey is a knuckleballer he doesn't have to throw very hard.  It is hard to predict how long he can pitch.  Perhaps last season was a fluke or maybe he can pitch effectively for several more years.  Will the 4 young players become superstars or busts?

Bill Madden of the New York Daily News states that this trade could be Sandy Alderson's Gary Carter trade.  Back in the 1980s Frank Cashen gave up popular Hubie Brooks to get Gary Carter who was a superstar for the Mets in the 1986 World Series.

Only time will tell how this trade will work out.  I will certainly miss R.A. Dickey.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Tragedy in Newton, Ct

Why did he have to kill small children?  It so sad that there have been so many mass killings in recent years.  There is a list of mass killings in the United States since Columbine in 1999 at  .It is so sad that too many mentally deranged people carry guns.  Can changing the gun laws prevent similar tragedies?

All I can say that I send my condolences to the family and friends of those who perished in this senseless tragedy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ravi Shankar Dies at 92

It was reported today that Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar died at age 92. He is best know to followers of pop music as teaching Beatle George Harrison to play that very complex musical instrument.  Back in the late 1960s Ravi did teach at City College of New York when I was a student there.  My condolences to his family and friends.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Random Thoughts of the Day

We have a bank CD coming due in the middle of January.  We can get only 1.04% interest if we renew this CD for 5 years.  How low can they go?

There are 9 more working days until the holiday break.  The university wide holiday party will be this Thursday at 3 PM.  While the library luncheon will be Thursday the 20th.  This Wednesday is the last day of classes as final exams begin on Friday.

As the days go on it appears more likely that there will be no hockey season.

I just hope the Mets keep R.A. Dickey.  How can a team trade away the Cy Young Award Winner?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Car 54 Where Are You Web Site

 I was looking at the Car 54 Facebook page and I found a reference to a terrific Car 54 web site.  It includes everything you ever wanted to know about the show.  It includes, photographs, videos and biographies of the members of the cast.  As far as I know Hank Garrett (Officer Nicholson) and Charlotte Rae (Sylvia Schnauzer) are the only cast members still living.  I was impressed by a biography of Bea Pons who played Lucille Toody.  Until now I was not able to absolutely ascertain if she were still leaving.  She passed away in 1991 at the age of 85.

I certainly thank John J. Williams of Nottingham, UK who is the web master. I suggest to Alan Berman the number one reader of Bruce's Journal to check it out since he is likely not going to try to get his first hole in one until 2013.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It was Hitchcock Day in the Slutsky Family

Karen has been a fan of Alfred Hitchcock and his movies for many years.  Back in the 1980s when we first got a VCR she taped many of his films.  She has been anticipating the release of the new movie Hitchcock staring Anthony Hopkins.  It wasn't playing at the local multiplex so we took a short drive to the Kew Gardens Cinema.  Hopkins was absolutely superb in his portrayal of Hitchcock.  This movie showed his role as director of Psycho released in 1960.  The shower scene in Psycho was considered very violent in 1960, but is quite tame by today's standards.  We recalled that back then a movie opened in one or two theaters in Manhattan and weeks later came to neighborhood  cinemas.

When we got home we couldn't resist going into our library of VHS tapes and viewing the original Psycho.

The Greatest Concert Performance Ever

A picture is worth 1000 words - My Back Pages and Knockin' on Heavens Door

Friday, December 7, 2012

I Ate My Last Ring Ding Tonight

A few weeks ago it was announced that Hostess Brands is ceasing operations.  One of their products was Drake's Ring Dings.  For many years I have eaten either and Ring Ding or a Yodel made by the same company after dinner.  It looks like my ritual may be coming to an end.  I am just hoping that another company picks up Hostess Twinkies and Drake's cakes.  All I can do is hope.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jeopardy News

I was not home last night so I so the show on tape early this morning.  The Final Jeopardy Answer:

Category - American Icons
Question - He won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is a member of the Rock and Roll and Minnesota Music Halls of Fame.

The question - Who is Bob Dylan?

The three contestants got it wrong, but Lee got it right!

I found out yesterday that the Jeopardy game will be taken off Facebook on December 18. :(

Monday, December 3, 2012

Viewing Demolition Sites on the Way to Work

I spend most of my commuting time reading  newspaper, magazine or book.  I do pick up my head and look at the scenery in Queens and New Jersey.  When I moved to Flushing in 1984 I took my car to Paul's service station at the corner of 35th Avenue and Linden Place.  He was an excellent mechanic until he retired around 2002.  For the past 10 years the property was used as a parking lot, but the garage remained intact.  Over the past few days the garage was finally demolished.  Perhaps a building will be constructed on that property.

Last May I reported in this journal that the former Hartz Mountain factory in Harrison, NJ was finally being demolished.  After 6 months the job is finally complete.  They now have tons of rubble to clear away. Hopefully an apartment complex will come to that site.  It is certainly very convenient to public transportation.

The deconstruction (I am not saying demolition here) of Shea Stadium was the saddest.  I just hated to look outside the window as the #7 train passed by the site.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Already Thinking Ahead to the 2013 Baseball Season

This weekend Jay Buckley announced his baseball tours for 2013.  If you search on the box at top of the page under Jay Buckley you will see that we went on his tours in 2006, 2007 and 2010.  We always like to visit new cities as we saw that Tour 11 visits Tampa Bay and Miami.  Since we have never been to those ball  parks, this tour is appealing to us.  I would not look forward to visiting Florida in early August.  It is many months away so we have plenty of time to decide if we want to go.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

St. Johns 57 NJIT 49

For many years I have gone to college basketball games at Hofstra, Queens College, And LIU Post.  For logistical reasons it is difficult to attend games at NJIT.  The mid-week games end very late and it would be difficult for me to get home as the trains run less often.  It is tough enough to commute to Newark 5 days a week; thus I don't want to have to travel a 6th day for a basketball game.  Today the NJIT played the St. John's University Red Storm at nearby Carnesecca Arena in Jamaica.  I was able to get tickets from the Athletics office and sat in a section with about 20 NJIT students who made the trip from Newark.

The Highlanders started off well as they were ahead 35-23 at the end of the first half.  They fell apart in the second half as St. John's won 57-49

Game Summary

Personal-Journals blog