Thursday, March 31, 2016

NJIT Math Professor Bruce Bukiet Predicts The Mets Will Win 98 Games in 2016

Bruce Bukiet, seen above is a Professor of Mathematics at NJIT and an avid baseball fans.  He told me that he is a member of SABR.  He just announced his predictions for the baseball season using a mathematical model as he has done for many season.  He predicts that the Mets will win 98 games and win the National League East.  His model predicts the Yankees will finish at 78-84.

Mathematical models are obviously not perfect and sometimes players under or overachieve.  It can not predict injuries to significant players which change the picture.

I certainly hope he is correct.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Random Comments of the Day

It was another trip to the periodontist (gum specialist) today for a cleaning.  She wants me to come back in a month for a full series of X-rays followed by a deep cleaning.  One of my dentists told me that most problems are caused by gums and not by teeth.

When I got home I received my 13 pack of tickets for the Mets this season.  I will be going to a total of 16 Met games and 2 Yankee games this season.

Back to work tomorrow.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Birthday Mr. Lee

Lee with his Superman Shirt

My son Lee is 28 years old today.  Where did all these years go?  He too is a fan of Superman, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Mets, and Johnny Cash.  Happy Birthday Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Watched a Mets Preseason Games Instead of Batman vs Superman

George Reeves is My Superman

There was a lot of hype about the new movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Certainly the Man of Steel has appeared many times in Bruce's Journal as I have been a fan since the 1950s.  I was still a fan of the Caped Crusader, but somewhat lesser than Superman.

The review in AM/NY, a free newspaper that is distributed in the NYC subway system was very negative giving it one star out of a possible four.  The reviewer said "There’s about five minutes of actual story buried in a two-and-a-half hour mélange of booming clashes marked by melodramatic sound design, inexplicable narrative digressions to fill in the many empty spots."  In any event the late George Reeves seen above is my Superman.

We walked over to the local multiplex to try to get into the 1:20 show, but were shut out.  I thought that since it was Easter Sunday and with the bad reviews, we could get in.  It is no big deal as we can try to get in next week.  It is common that everyone has to go the first week, and then especially after bad reviews, the demand goes down.

Instead we went home and turned on the Mets vs Nationals preseason game.  Since it is just a week away from opening day in Kansas City I thought I should see what the 2016 team looked like.  Steven Matz pitched well for 5 2/3 innings and there were home runs by David Wright and Michael Conforto.  An error by reliever Jerry Blevins lead to some runs by the Nationals.  The game ended as a 4-4 tie at the end of 9 innings.  This is the third Met preseason game in a row that ended in a tie.  I guess this is normal for spring training.

Friday, March 25, 2016

2016 Walk Around Rego Park Was Uneventful

Rego Park has appeared in Bruce's Journal many times as I grew up in this neighborhood in Queens.  Every so often I take a walk around the old neighborhood to see how it has changed.  Since alternate side of the street parking rules were not in effect today, I thought it would be a good day to drive and walk around.

I parked right by 64-12 Wetherole Street where I lived from 1980-83.  The new landlord cleaned up the lawn as it was a mess in the 1980s.  I walked to 63rd Drive and passed by P.S, 139 and then walked down Saunders Street and stopped by 61-40 where I lived with my parents.  Back then it was a rental, but years later converted to a co-op.  It too was much cleaner than it was years ago.  I saw one familiar name in the building's directory.

I then walked to Eliot Avenue and then down Queens Blvd to 67th Avenue and walked down Saunders Street and back to my car.  Ben's Best Deli was the only retail establishment that was there since the 1960s.  The Rego Park Jewish Center was still there although the demographics of the neighborhood have changed over the year.

The only change that I observed was that many store fronts on Queens Blvd. were vacant.  Perhaps the rents have gone up and merchants just can't afford them.  This time I did not encounter any friends or acquaintances as I did on my 2014 trip.  I did pass by the former residences of:

  • Ellen and Linda Dule
  • Ronald Blum
  • Dr. Forray (my pediatrician)
  • Roy Herschaft
  • Steven Gaber
  • Rysee Katz
  • Fran Cohan
  • Ron Freisenger
  • Rich Jacoby

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

IOS 9.3 is No Big Deal

Last night it took me abut 25 minutes to download IOS 9.3 for my iPhone.  It really was no big deal as the only "enhancement" is the ability for the phone screen to automatically dim during the night hours.  I assume that before we know it there will be an iPhone 7 and IOS 10.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bob Dylan's Fallen Angels CD to Be Released May 20

Since I ordered 4 tickets to the concert in Forest Hills, I get two copies of the forthcoming CD Fallen Angels.  It is to be another collection of adult standards that Dylan will cover.  I wish it would be a CD with his songs, but I can't have everything.  This time I won't be going to a pop up store and wait on line to buy it or even have to order it from Amazon.  I will just have to wait for two months to get it in the mail.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Twitter is 10 Years Old Today

I joined Twitter in October 2007 and have tweeted 4537 times since them.  I follow 1023 people while 323 follow me.  My Facebook account is configured so that my posts there come to Twitter.  Likewise entries in Bruce's Journal are linked to Twitter.  There is only so much that one can say n 140 characters.  Many tweets have links to other internet sites.  I am sure that I am acquainted with very few of my followers.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Another Saturday Afternoon at the Paley Center

Since we are members of the Paley Center we get to see up to 3 hours of TV shows in their library of TV shows.  Today we did searches on:

  • The Rolling Stones
  • Richard Nixon
  • The Beatles
We saw a 30 minute rockumentary on the Rollings Stones that was shown on MTV c1990.  We then found Midnight Special hosted by Wolfman Jack in 1981 that featured the Rolling Stones.

For some strange reason Lee has a fascination with Richard Milhouse Nixon.  We found a 20/20 show from 1978 where Barbara Walters interviewed him on foreign policy iissues of that time.

Finally we saw an appearance by the Beatles in 1964 which was originally on British TV.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Facebook Friend Inventory

Tonight I decided to inventory my Facebook friends and categorize them.  I really should defriend many of them, not because they are undesirable in any way, but because I have not maintained an online or personal relationship with them.  When I first got on Facebook about 10 years ago I was anxious to friend people, but since then the novelty has worn off and I am reluctant to make friends with people I don't know.  Sadly some of my Facebook friends have passed away.

Work Related - 194
Radio enthusiasts - 180
Old friends (high school, college) - 58
Family - 17
Baseball - 11
Neighbors - 10
Bob Dylan - 5

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Harlem Shuffle by Bob & Earl - It Should Have Charted Higher

I just heard this on Tom Petty's Buried Treasure Show.  I just looked at my Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Book and this peaked only at #44 nationally.  It really should have charted at #10 or higher.  I must report this to Rich Appel.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

WNEW-FM Returns to the NYC Radio Dial

WNEW-FM at 102.7 has some distinguished history in NYC radio.  I think the most thorough story of the station can be found in the NY Radio Archive. The Wikipedia article may be a little easier to read.  It was album oriented rock at its finest.  To make a long story short it died a slow death in the 1990s and early 2000s.   In January 2007 it changed its format  to adult contemporary and branded as Fresh FM and changed its calls to WWFS.  In the years after that CBS radio parked the calls in Jupiter, Florida and then Bowie, Maryland.  WNEW-FM at 99.1 FM in Bowie was an all news station serving Washington and Baltimore, but in December 2015 became Bloomberg radio station.

Just today the WNEW-FM calls returned to 102.7 FM in NYC.  It did not change format and the branding remains as Fresh FM.  Few radio stations brand with their call letters today anyway.

Another announcement was made today stating the CBS was looking to divest their radio holdings.  This could mark the end  of an era in American broadcasting history.  I am not in the radio business, but it would be unlikely that the radio stations would be sold individually.  Could any company afford to buy all CBS radio stations.  I think it would be more likely that the radio division would be spun off.

These announcements kept the various radio message boards busy today.

Monday, March 14, 2016

My Adventure in Buying Bob Dylan Tickets Today

Back in 1965 when Dylan appeared at Forest Hills one couldn't buy tickets online.  I guess you had to stand in line for hours or phone in and get a million busy signals.  When the concert was announced about a week ago there was a pre-sale beginning today, but only for American Express Card holders.  The general sale is to begin this Saturday March 19.

Since I didn't have an American Express Card I thought I would apply for one.  I was able to do so online a few days ago and even got an account number online with a code.  At 12 noon today I tried to buy tickets but my account number was denied on Ticketfly (Ticketmaster does have competition).  I phoned customer service at American Express that stated that my account is valid and that it should have been accepted.  When I phoned Ticketfly, they said to call American Express.  I went through this cycle about 3 times and gave up at about 1:30 PM figuring that I would have to wait until Saturday.

At 3:30 PM the postal mail came with the actual American Express Card.  I called the number and validated it.  I went on to Ticketfly again and was able to purchase the tickets.

Alls well the ends well.

Staycation Day

It is spring break week at NJIT so there are no classes, but the library staff is expected to come in.  The library closes at 4:45 and few people come to the building.  Most of the resources are online, so students and faculty can use the library from home.  I decided to take a vacation day today.  I have plenty of time so I may as well use it.  It is raining today, so I may as well just stay home and take it easy.  Thank goodness there was no strike on New Jersey Transit.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Remembering Tower Records and Other Music Stores

A recent issue of Goldmine Magazine reviewed the movie All Things Must Pass which covers the history of Tower Records.  I bought the DVD and viewed it today.  It started in California and moved to the east coast.  I fondly remember the store at Broadway and 4th Street near NYU in Greenwich Village.  Whenever I was in that area I would walk around and browse and most likely buy a record and later a CD.  They had some selection with recordings in all genres of music.

Certainly downloading music files from iTunes and Amazon led to the demise of Tower,  but the chain expanded too rapidly and later built up a lot of debt.  They still have a web site and stores in Japan.

Other record stores that I miss:

  • Alexanders record department in Rego Park  - Every Friday after school I went there and spent my allowance money.
  • Triboro Records in Jamaica
  • Downstairs Records on W 43rd Street - I went there when I worked at NYPL in the 1980s
  • DiscoMat - 5th Avenue and 35th Street - another place I went to on my lunch hour in the 1980s
  • Nobody Beats the Wiz
  • Coconuts
  • House of Oldies in Greenwich Village
  • Sam Goody's
  • Virgin Records

Friday, March 11, 2016

Remembering Past Transit Strikes

Thank goodness there will be no New Jersey Transit strike was averted with a tentative settlement announced this evening.  I have to think back to some transit strikes of the past:

  • January 1, 1966 - John Lindsay had just become Mayor of NYC while the flamboyant Michael Quill led the Transport Workers Union to a very bitter strike.  It was in the dead of winter as commuters had to make other arrangements.  I was a student at Forest Hill High School at the time.
  • April 1 1980 - I was living in Queens at the time and commuted to Schering in Bloomfield, NJ. On the first day of the strike I woke up at 4 AM and waited for the Q60 bus which was running since it was a private bus at that time.  I couldn't get on the bus, but somebody in a car picked me up and left me off near the PATH on 33rd Street.  I then made it into work.  I stayed with a colleague in Ridgewood, NJ until the weekend.  I went home and then during the second week I drove to Maplewood, NJ and stayed with another colleague until the strike ended.  That was bad.
  • December 20, 2005 - this was described in Bruce's Journal.  I was working at NJIT at the time and took a few vacation days.  Thankfully this strike was short.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tribute to George Martin

Thanks George for all the fine work you did over the years.  The lord blessed you with a long life.  Your contributions to the world of music will last forever.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Shea Stadium in 1975

Karen was reading one of the local Queens newspapers and saw a review of the book seen above.  I couldn't resist so I bought the paper version of it on Amazon instead of the Kindle version.  1975 was a unique year in New York baseball history as the Mets, Jets, Yankees and Giants played at Shea Stadium.  From 1964-84 the Mets and Jets shared big Shea, but the original Yankee Stadium was being reconstructed at that time compelling the Yankees to play there.  The football Giants played most of the 1973 season and all of 1974 at the Yale Bowl in New Haven.  They were 1-11 in New Haven and thought that the inconvenience of playing at Shea was less than forcing their fans to drive 75 miles.

The author, Brett Topel, gives a good history of the events leading up to this unique situation and describes in detail many of the events of that year.  Bill Virdon was the only Yankee manager never to have won in the Bronx as the two years he managed the Bombers played at Shea.  He was replaced late in the season by Billy Martin.  Likewise in that years the Mets fired Yogi Berra as manager and hired Roy McMillan as interim manager.  I am almost finished reading book.

When I ride the #7 train in the morning I still look at at the parking lot where Shea Stadium stood. "It was a dump, but it was our dump."

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bob Dylan to Return to Forest Hills after 51 Years

It was a big day for Bob Dylan fans as a the American leg of the 2016 Never Ending Tour was announced.  On July 8 he will be playing at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium for the first time since August 28 1965.   Mavis Staples will be the opening act. It was also announced on BobDylanIsis that his next studio album called Fallen Angels will be released on May 20.  It will be a collection of adult standards.

This will be the first time that Dylan has played in NYC since November 2014.  The presale will be on March 14 but one must have an American Express Card.  Sadly I don't have one, so I have will have to wait until the regular sale starts on March 19.  I assume that only linited tickets are available through the pre-sale.  Let's hope for the best.  Even if I applied for an American Express Card tonight, I wouldn't get it in time.

Now I'll turn the clock back to August 28, 1965 when Like a Rolling Stone was near the top of the chart.  Dylan's folk music fans were outraged as he went electric in 1965.  This concert was described in detail on this web site .  The first half was acoustic, but when Dylan went electric in the second half there was hostility in the crowd.  Al Kooper was in Dylan's backup band.  Hopefully Al will make an appearance at the 2016 show.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Providence 90 St. Johns 76 at Madison Square Garden

Today's game ended a disappointing season for the Red Storm as they were defeated by the Friars of Providence College 90-76.  I have observed in many college games that the players don't try to penetrate and go outside to try to get 3-point baskets.  The Friars got 13 pointers as they were led by 30 points by Jalen Lindsey.  The Johnnies were 23 points behind at half time, but were too far behind to make a comeback.

Game summary

When I see Providence College I think back to my days at the University of Rhode Island (1972-74) when the two schools were big rivals in basketball.  Back then Marvin (Bad News) Barnes and Ernie DiGregorio were the big stars for the Friars.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Again I Got the Final Jeopardy Correct While the 3 Contestants Missed it

This anthematic song was the first #1 by an Australian artist in 1972.

The ironic thing was that all three contestants were women.  That is unusual for Jeopardy.  In recent years there have been more women contestants, but it is unusual when all three are women.  I am sure that Julia Collins would have gotten it right.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Chris Christie Must Resign or Be Removed from Office

I live in New York, but work in New Jersey and pay taxes in both states.  I have observed that Governor Chris Christie seems very insensitive to the needs of citizens of the Garden State who put him into office.  I read that for 261 days out of 365 days he was out of state likely running for president.  He gave up after getting 2% in Iowa and 7% of the vote in New Hampshire.  Now he is spending much of his time campaigning for his new buddy Donald Trump.  Just weeks ago he trashed Trump while now he is actively supporting him.  If Trump becomes president, heaven forbid, Christie would likely get a cabinet appointment.

It really bothers me that Christie is doing nothing about averting a possible NJ Transit strike which would be devasting to the entire state.  Maybe he'll do something when his limosine is stuck in traffic. Since people he appointed orchestrated Bridgegate, he is indirectly responsible for it.  The man on top must take blame when subordinates fail.

Several newspapers in the state including the Star-Ledger have called for his resignation.  I think it would be almost impossible to gain enough signatures to recall him.  I concur that it time for this jerk to go.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Thanks to Desolation Row by Bob Dylan I Got Final Jeopardy Right Tonight

Warning - this song is 11 minutes long

I don't know much about poets and poetry, but that was the category on Final Jeopardy tonight.  The correct question "Who was T.S, Eliot?"  All three contestants got it wrong.  I really didn't know it but I ventured a guess based on Desolation Row by Bob Dylan.  Partial lyrics are below:

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row
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