Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Dedication to Alan Berman on Cousin Brucie's Show

About 10 AM yesterday I sent the following request to Cousin Brucie:

Dear Cousin Brucie:

Oldies radio recently lost a very dear friend as Alan Berman was tragically killed in an automobile crash.  He had been one of your cousins since the WABC days in the 1960s.  Please dedicate I Remember You by Frank Ifield to honor Alan.  Thank you so much.

Bruce Slutsky
Flushing, NY

I turned on his show and was recording it on my computer.  As you know the Cuz is very popular as he receives tons on requests by email and phone.  When I didn't here my request by 10:20 PM, I felt I had to turn off my computer.  Perhaps the request "feel through the cracks."

Today was Alan's funeral at the Mount Hebron Cemetery.  I thank the people who actually came and those who were with us in spirit.  I am sure that Alan feels the same way and it appreciative of the support of his family and friends.   The rabbi said she heard my request at about 11 PM.  Thanks Cousin Brucie for coming through.  You are a Radio Mensch.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Random Thoughts of the Day

I was off from work today because I had to go a periodontist in Forest Hills for surgery on my gums.  She did the upper right quadrant of my teeth.  I survived the surgery, but for a week I will only be able to chew on my left side.  I will have to come back for three more surgeries.  I guess its better to go this than to lose my teeth.  This is what happens when we get older.

Back in the early 1980s I listened to WYNY when it was an adult contemporary station at 97.1 on the FM dial.  They played a good mix of oldies and currents.  For much of that time Bruce Bradley was the morning DJ.  I just found out that he recently passed away.  Jerry Barmash wrote a nice obituary.  Earlier in his career Bruce worked at WBZ in Boston and at country WHN in NYC.  He finished his radio career in St. Louis.

I found this interesting cover of I Shall be Released by Mama Cass Elliot, Joanie Mitchell, and Mary Travers from 1969:

Back to work tomorrow.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Harry Harrison is a Class Act on and off the Air

It is just over 10 years since Harry Harrison left the morning show at WCBS-FM.  In late 2004 and early 2005 he did a Saturday morning show on WCBS-FM just before the station was hijacked.  Morning radio just has not been the same since Harry retired.  My fondest memory of his show was in May 2001 when Harry announced Lee's Bar Mitzvah on the air the day before.  We played the tape at his reception.

Through Steve Gilinsky, Harry found about about the tragic passing of Alan Berman.  The following note was posted today on Facebook.  Harry really bonds with his listeners and is a real class act.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Another Tribute to Alan Berman

This very kind message was sent to me by B. J. Biro Wood.  She and Alan were alumni of Vernon Court College in Newport, Rhode Island.

With all my heart I send my deepest sympathy to you, Mary, and the few others I have grown to know just by reading the messages Alan would post.  In a way, I feel I have met you through Alan's almost every day postings and the pictures he would put up.

I didn't fully realize how much Alan's joy and enthusiasm grew on me.  I actually looked forward to his positive, fun, postings each day.  Just for a line or two, he made me smile when he was off to a game, or what he was listening to at the moment.  I loved his joy ~ like it was the greatest moment, and that moment became delightful for me too.  I laughed!  If was fun!

The tennis championships have started;  I was so looking forward to sharing my love (and Alan's) for tennis.  We had that in common, and our love for Newport, R. I.  He was looking forward to his "every year" trip to Newport this summer.

Alan and I got in touch when I was looking for alumni who went to Vernon Court Jr. College, and that's how I found him.  I was in the first graduating class, and he was there a few years later.  He was very enthusiastic when I posted a lot of pictures of our college on FB, and shared some of his experiences and his "dorm".  Our college was really extraordinarily beautiful mansions of Newport's wonderful  past history.  The rooms on the 2nd, 3rd floors were turned into dorm rooms, yet everything, even the furniture, chandeliers, etc. remained the same as it was when these buildings were homes.  Alan said some of these gorgeous buildings are now museums, and some we had as dorms are not even open to the public.

I apologize this is long.  I haven't really been able to let out my feelings to anyone how devastated and shocked I feel about this horrific tragedy.  I have cried often.  I miss him ~ his postings.  It's glares out at me... the missing,  the emptiness of him not being on Facebook, and here everyday... He was just here Father's Day with the wonderful picture of his dad. 

Besides his joy of the oldies, sports, Newport, he seemed very nice.  A warm, kind, and nice person.  I know you know him personally, yet this is how I found him on FB.  What fun you and all his friends must have had together!  What good and special memories for you!

Please know that you and Alan's friends are in my heart.  I have always looked at pictures and Alan's postings carefully.  I am recuperating (I hope!) from a broken back or you might have seen a stranger at Alan's memorial ~ me.  I would have really done all I could to come for it, if that would have been alright.  

Is there any way I can honor the memory of Alan with a donation to his favorite charity, or any place at all?

Thank you, Bruce, for listening.  

B. J. Biro Wood

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Man of Steel Brings Superman to the Younger Generation

I have stated many times in this journal that the mainstream movies these days are for kids.  The Man of Steel is no exception as the Adventures of Superman which began as a comic book character in 1938 lives on.  The producers of this film have at least used an original story line.  Of course it has all the modern special effects, but this was a little too violent for me.  I chose to see the 2D version since it is my opinion that the enhancement of 3D is not worth the higher price.  I still would recommend this movie to my baby boomer friends including Joe Mercuri.  I was disappointed that there was no Jimmy Olsen character, but Lois Lane played by Amy Adams was real sexy.

My favorite Superman has to be George Reeves.
Here is another Superman.  It look likes Clark Kent forgot to take off his glasses.

Special Tribute to Alan Berman from Enza Ardan of Yonkers

Readers of blogs can make comments on entries.  Over the years with 2300 journal entries Bruce's Journal has received only a few comments.  My tribute to Alan received 12 comments.  Since many of my readers likely would not look at the comments, I would like to share this with everyone.  If Enza is reading this, please send me your e-mail so I can keep you in the loop about future arrangements.

Dear Bruce,

We do not know one another, but I wanted to extend my deepest condolences to you concerning your good friend Alan Berman. My husband is a Yonkers Firefighter and although his "house" is not Station 14, he has completed a number of shifts at that location. My husband was not working on Father's Day, but heard about the horrible crash from his fellow firemen.

I did not know Alan Berman, but ever since I have heard about his tragic passing, I have found myself drawn to learning more about him. Since Monday morning when news of the accident reached my husband, I have been on an endless search to find out as much as I can about Alan. I stumbled across your blog and was so happy to read a number of the posts in which you made reference to Alan and his love for the Mets and oldies radio. He seemed like such a wonderful, friendly man, especially from some of the photos you posted of him on your blog and from the beautiful words you shared with us about Alan in your most recent post. It really saddens me to think of the way he passed.

My husband and I and a good friend of ours, would love to see Alan honored and remembered in some way. In reading your blog, it appears that Alan was passionate about many things. Perhaps you and Alan's many friends are already thinking of ways to honor his memory by hosting an event celebrating the very special man he was. Please let us know if there is any way we may contribute to making such a tribute happen.

I continue to keep Alan in my thoughts and prayers as well as his closest friends and family as you all struggle to make sense of his untimely passing.

With warm regards,
Enza Ardan

Friday, June 21, 2013

Remembering Alan Berman

Bruce with Alan.  He has an autographed WMCA
Good Guy Sweatshirt

I met up with Alan Berman at the Met game on Saturday afternoon June 15 as we had planned.  It was a lousy game as the Mets lost 5-2.  On Sunday he posted on Facebook that he was going to Westchester to play golf.  There were no further Facebook posts from the world’s greatest Facebook addict.  On Tuesday morning I received an e-mail from Terri saying she was really worried since there were no postings or e-mail from Alan in over a day which is so unlike him.  After I tried to call him on Tuesday afternoon and evening, I really suspected something wrong and searched his name in Google News.  I found the terrible report from News 12Westchester that he was killed in a terrible car accident.  I don’t know the whole story, but he could have suffered a heart attack, seizure or stroke while driving.

I first met Alan in July 2006 at Shea Stadium.  Back in June I organized a Meet and Greet at Ellen’s Stardust Diner for the first anniversary of the change of WCBS-FM from Oldies to the dreaded Jack Format. Alan was apologetic saying that he really wanted to come, but he had tickets for the Met game.  He asked for my phone number and we talked about oldies, radio and baseball.  We found at that we both went to school in Rhode Island in the early 1970s.  He went to Vernon Court College while I pursued my studies in chemistry at the University of Rhode Island.  We recalled listening to famed morning DJ Salty Brine on WPRO Providence.  Everybody in Rhode Island listened to Salty back then.

Alan, like all Met fans are sad since the team has lost
so much over recent years and want the Wilpons
to sell the team

It late 2006 we both became hooked on Saturday Night Oldies heard on WABC.  The show brought oldies back to terrestrial radio for 4 hours a week after WCBS-FM was hijacked.  Frank D’Agostino organized the first Meet andGreet in December 2006 for the first anniversary of that show.  We met at Ben’s Deli on West 38th Street.  These gatherings became the most important thing in Alan’s life.  As soon as one event ended, he started to talk about the next one.  He always speculated on who was going to come and how many people we would get.

The next big event was the WABC Rewound Cruise in June 2007.  On that day Alan was the happiest man on the face of the earth.  The guests included Cousin Brucie, Dan Ingram, and the late Soupy Sales.  We met same radio enthusiasts including Ron Soldano, Rob Frankel, Peter Kanze, Eileen G, Eileen W, Paula Ross Guice, Carol Kruger, Jeff Scheckner, Jay Mandel and others.

Bruce, Linda. Alan, Mary and Ron Soldano at the 
WABC Cruise

The Meet and Greets that began in 2006 became yearly events.  As soon as one gathering ended, Alan would talk about the next one.  He always speculated on who was coming and how people we would get.  Over the years several major radio personalities including Bobby Jay, Pat St. John, Jim Kerr, Broadway Bill Lee, Keith Allen, Jim Kerr, Carol Miller, Cool Bobby B and Bob Radil came to the events.  In a short period of time Cool Bobby B became Alan's favorite DJ.

Cool Bobby B with his favorite listener

We had major gatherings at Ben's Deli every year which became better as the years went on.  Of course Alan was always the first to arrive and the last to leave.  We had several smaller gatherings over the years at various places in Queens and Manhattan.  One of the gatherings was at the Long Island Radio Day in April 2010.  Alan met Mary, Linda and Paula in Manhattan and drove them to Post.  The highlight of that day for me was meeting the late Pete Fornatale.

Alan met Don K Reed at the Long Island Radio Day.

Alan always told me that the hijacking of WCBS-FM was a blessing in disguise since it created a virtual community of oldies enthusiasts who were outraged at the worst format change in radio history.  That virtual community became real through the various gatherings.  Alan made many friends in this radio group.

Alan with Don Tandler who runs Pop Gold Radio

Here are some random thoughts about Alan:

  • He was also a big Bob Dylan fan.  He always said that I was Dylan's biggest fan, but I respectfully denied that.  Mel Prussack who has a Bob Dylan museum in his home has that distinction.
  • Alan's mother was in failing health for several years before she died in May 2010.  Alan spent so much time caring for her during her illness.
  • Although Alan was a big Met fan he also rooted for the Yankees (except during the Subway Series)  He and I were the same in that regard.  He was going to go the Yankee Old Timers game on June 23.
  • Alan was a big tennis fan (  Every July he vacationed in Newport Rhode Island near the Tennis Hall of Fame.  There was a tournament there.  He religiously attended the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows Park every September
  • Alan was excited when WCBS-FM returned in July 2007.  However, he was very disappointed when  their playlist emphasized 70s and 80s music while he preferred the "Heart of Rock n Roll."  He embraced many online radio stations including Pop Gold Radio, Hy Lit Radio, and Rewound Radio.
  • Alan enjoyed playing golf.
  • Alan's biggest vice had to be Facebook.  Sometimes I wondered if he was on Facebook 24/7
I last saw Alan on Saturday June 15th at Citifield as we saw the Mets lose to the Chicago Cubs 5-2.  I first met him at a Met game and saw him the last time at a Met game just one day before his tragic accident.  Alan was on his way home after playing golf.

Alan worked in his family's insurance business until it was sold in December 2009.  He retired at that point.  He spent his last years pursuing the things that he enjoyed.

Rest in peace, Alan.  You will be sorely missed by your many friends.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Tragic Death of Alan Berman

Read it and weep.  I was good friends with Alan since 2006.  I'll have to write more when I am somewhat more composed.  He was the greatest fan of oldies radio and the New York Mets.

Michael Batcho Facebook Friend of the Day

Michael Batcho reports the passing of his father who was near his 91st birthday.  I send my condolences to Michael and his family at this very difficult time.

He is one of my many Facebook friends whom I've never met in person.  We became acquainted electronically through the Saturday Night Oldies message board some years ago.  I lost interest in that show, but I think Michael stayed with it until the very end.  I have certainly enjoyed many "conversations" with Michael on Facebook over the past few years.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Adventures in Father's Day Baseball with the Mets and Yankees

I was visited my mother as we watched the lethargic Mets play the Chicago Cubs.  The same old story as the Mets had no hitting and even worse fielding as they were behind 3-0 as we left my Mom’s place at the end of the 7th inning.  We listened to music on the way home, but as we arrived Karen checked the ESPN sports news to find that the Mets won 4-3.  It turns out that in the bottom of the 9th Marlin Byrd hit a solo home run to make the score 3-1.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis  then hit a 3-run HR in 9th to cap Mets' winning rally.  I didn’t see the festivities on TV.

I has been such a tough season for the Amazin’s so I really think they had a right to celebrate.  I doubt if this dramatic walk off victory will turn the season around for the Mets.  Look at what happened after they defeated the Yankees 4 in a row.

Anyway, NBC broadcaster Bob Costas made an absolutely stupid remark by calling the celebration "another indication of the ongoing decline of western civilization."  Come on  Bob, let the Mets have some fun.

When I got home I decided to sit outside to read the New York Times.  When I was finished Lee was watching the Yankee game as they were leading the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6-0 going in the 9th inning.  I thought it would be a formality to get the Angels out in the bottom of the 9th to secure the victory.  Well, it wasn’t so easy.  The Angels roughed up David Robertson and Mariano Rivera to close the gap to 6-5.  Rivera struck out Albert Pujols to secure the victory for the Bronx Bombers.

Remembering Irving Slutsky 1917-1997

On Father’s Day I always think back to my Dad who passed away over 15 years ago at the age of 79.  I remember how as a manager of a woman’s clothing store, he usually worked 6 days a week to support the family.  In Decembers he had to work several late evenings a week.  He was there for us when we ever had to confront a problem.  I miss him after all these years.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cubs 5 Mets 2 - Here We Go Again

The same old story at Citifield with no hitting as the Met lost to the Chicago Cubs 5-2.  Scott Feldman, the starting pitcher for the Cubs actually drove in the first two runs in the 4th inning.  Is there anything more I can say?  They have had terrible teams since the stadium opened in 2009.

Game recap

Before the game we stepped into the Team Store to check out the All-Star Game merchandise.  They wanted $40 for a t-shirt. At that price, not thanks.  We figure that after the game, they will lower the prices since they will want to move the souvenirs.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oakland A's 3 Yankees 2 in 18 Innings

The Bronx Bombers have not been playing like champions of late.  They have just lost 3 straight to the Oakland A's.  They just lost the last game 3-2 in 18 innings in a game reminiscent of last Saturday's 20 inning loss by the Mets.  The Yankee's pitching was excellent, but they just could not hit in the clutch.  There were several times in the extra innings when the Yankees had runners in scoring position, but just couldn't connect.

Box Score 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hey This Guy Looks Like Me

David Doty

The gentleman in the photo above is David Doty, an executive with IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau).  Without the cleft chin, he is a dead ringer for me.  I thank Frank D'Agostino for bringing this to my attention.

Bruce Slutsky

Remembering Music from James Bond Films

There was a category tonight on Jeopardy about singers of themes from James Bond movies.  It is quite amazing that Bond films have been around for over 50 years.  Even after all of the Ian Fleming books were made into movies, the James Bond character lived on for many years.  My favorite has to be Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Will Two Joshes and a Cowgill Make A Difference?

If only took 10 innings today as the Miami Marlins beat the Mets 8-4.  Miami is now 8-3 against the Mets and 10-41 with the rest of Major League Baseball.

Sandy Alderson made a few moves to really shake up the team:

Ike Davis, Mike Baxter, and Robert Carson go to AAA Las Vegas

Josh Edgin, Josh Satin and Collin Cowgill come up to the Mets.

Oy vey

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This Man Suffered for 6 hours and 25 Minutes

The distinguished gentleman in this photo is Alan Berman who has been at many historical games played by the beloved New York Mets.  I am sure that he will fill me in on the rest but I know he attended:

  • The first home game of the Mets at the Polo Grounds in 1962
  • The first game played at Shea Stadium in 1964
  • The last game played at Shea Stadium in 2008
Today the family went to see Star Trek into Darkness at the local multiplex.  We came home at about 4:10 PM as the Mets and Miami Marlins were tied at 1-1 at the end of 9 innings.  We watched the rest of the game as the Mets blew several scoring opportunities in the extra innings.  Adeiny Hechavarria hit an RBI single in the 20th inning and the Miami Marlins outlasted the New York Mets 2-1.  Those stinking Mets were 0-19 with men in scoring postion.

Game Recap

Anyway, Alan stayed until the very end of the game to see the "Mighty Mets" lose.  He was one of perhaps only 1500 or so diehards who saw every pitch in this historic loss.

I hope he wasn't too hungry at the end since I am sure that the food concessions closed by the 9th inning.  I think Fred Wilpon should have treated Alan to a tongue sandwich from Ben's Deli.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Johnny Cash is Honored with a Postage Stamp

The Man in Black has been deservedly honored with a postage stamp that was issued yesterday .  New York City's biggest Johnny Cash fan already ordered a sheet of stamps that he can use to send letters to his friends.

I believe that the law in the United States allows only dead people on stamps.  I am sure that Johnny is smiling in heaven.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rego Park Revisited 2013

So what is this guy wearing a red NJIT t-shirt doing walking around Rego Park?  For several years in a row during my Spring vacation I made it a ritual to walk around the old neighborhood to see how it had take the changed.  I hadn’t done it in a few years so I thought I would revive the tradition and take the tour again.

I walked along Saunders Street, 63rd Drive, Queens Blvd. and Wetherole Street to recall where people lived all those years ago and what commercial establishments existed in the 1950s and 60s.  The only business establishments that are still there were:

  • Ben’s Best Delicatessen
  • Barber Shop in the 63rd Drive Subway Station
  • Sprung Monuments
  • Mobil Station on Queens Blvd

I passed by the three apartment buildings where I lived:

  • 61-40 Saunders Street - I looked at the names on the directory and noted that an F. Reisher still lived there.  I must assume that their son took over the apartment
  • 64-12 Wetherole Street - I look by the mailboxes and noted that the building had a new owner.  I moved out of there in 1983 so Mrs. Bonk must have passed away.
  • 62-60 99th Street (Saxon Hall) - Karen and I lived there when we were first married.  I just passed by.

I noticed that the schoolyard at PS 139 was really crowded.  It seems that several classes were on recess together.

I had two interesting experiences on this trip.

At the corner on 63d Drive and Saunders Street I met Judy Gerber who was a classmate of mine at PS 139 over 50 years ago.  I became reacquainted with her through Mike Seidman and on Facebook where we play Family Feud together.  We had a nice chat about how the neighborhood had changed over the years in terms of the ethnic makeup and of  “beloved” retail establishments that no longer exist.  I have a much better memory our PS 139 classmates than she.

After leaving Judy I had to see the Rego Center which recently opened at the site of Alexanders’ parking lot.  I had seen it from the LIE, but never visit it.  I usually don’t like to walk around shopping malls, since I will inevitably purchase something that I don’t need.  I browsed for a few minutes and then sat down to rest when a gentleman approached me and asked if I graduated from Forest Hills High School in 1967.  I most certainly did.  His name is David Blustein.  His name was familiar but I didn’t recognize him.  I vaguely remember that he was in my Physical Education class with Chet Gusack back in High School.  We had a nice chat and exchanged business cards.  We didn’t know each other back then, but I was pleased that he recognized me.

Before I end this entry I must make a “shout our” to Jean O’Connor-Prokopchuk  who was my classmate at PS 139.  We have reconnected on Facebook.  She asked how my visit went.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Save Money and Buy Electronic Books for Your Personal Collection

Gooden, Dwight, and Ellis Henican. Doc: A Memoir. Boston, MA: New Harvest, 2013. Print.

Over the last few years I have purchased most of my personal books for the Amazon Kindle.  There is some savings over the print version, but today I really struck a bargain when I purchased the newly published autobiography of Dwight Gooden.  The list price for the print book is $27.00 while Amazon sells it for $16.20.  The cost of the e-book for the Kindle is $5.99 which is a tremendous savings.

When I purchase books for the library the price of the print and electronic book is essentially the same.  The intellectual effort in producing any book is essentially the same.  The cost of the paper, printing and binding is minimal.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Can't Figure out those Mets

They can beat the Yankees in 4 straight games, but lose 3 in a row to the Miami Marlins who are the worst team in baseball.  The major problem seems to be the lack of hitting, so bringing up Zack Wheeler is not the solution.  If he gives up 1 run, the Mets will lose 1-0.  I really think there will not be a winning team in Flushing as long as the Wilpons are the owners.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Random Thoughts on a Busy Day

Today's Radio Log:

  • WINS
  • WCBS-FM with Sue O'Neill
  • WBGO - Saturday Morning Function with Bob Porter
  • Dylan Radio,Com - Traveling Wilburys Weekend
  • WRNJ - The Rest of the Week with Rich Appel
  • Rewound Radio - Dick Clark Radio Premiers on CHUM - Toronto
  • Pop Gold Radio - WLS Countdown of June 1, 1965
  • WFUV - Mixed Big with Don McGee
  • SiriusXM 60s on 6 - Cousin Brucie
I took Lee to Cunningham Park to Play basketball.  We took a walk to the Flushing Library to see a jazz concert.  It was pretty good, but it only lasted 40 minutes.

How can those Mets beat the Yankees 4 games in a row yet lose to the Miami Marlins the worst team in baseball?

Karen and I went to the local multiplex to see the Great Gatsby.

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Jean Stapleton at age 90.  Back in the 1970s All in the Family had to be my favorite TV show.

Personal-Journals blog